Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

December 11, 2013

Another View: When Big Bad Wolf isn't a wolf at all

The story was untrue, fabricated and misleading — much like the fairy tale.

Unfortunately, the Big Bad Wolf in this story isn’t a wolf at all.

Earlier this month, Michigan Sen. Tom Casperson R-Escanaba, acknowledged he put false information about wolf sightings into his 2011 resolution that resulted in stripping gray wolves of endangered species protections. That’s what paved the way for Michigan’s first wolf hunt in nearly 40 years taking place right now in parts of the Upper Peninsula.

So it’s Casperson, not the wolf, who is the villain of this story.

Supporters of Michigan’s wolf population — which the DNR estimates at 658 — say the numbers are healthy and secure. They insist a hunt is needed to rein in a predator that has killed or injured hundreds of cattle, sheep and dogs since the mid-1990s.

Opponents say the damage and danger of Michigan wolves are exaggerated — much like Casperson’s resolution. They report relatively few farms have experienced problems and the landowners already have legal authority to shoot wolves caught attacking livestock.

But we’re not debating whether a hunt is right or wrong for Michigan. The real issue is that the hunt should have been left up to voters in the first place. And now — with the truth out there — voters should get a say whether or not there’s a second hunt.

Casperson’s resolution cited an incident in Ironwood which stated “wolves appeared multiple times in the backyard of a daycare center shortly after the children were allowed outside to play. Federal agents disposed of three wolves in that backyard because of the potential danger to the children.”

But on a Nov. 8 post on Casperson’s Facebook page, the senator writes, “But as it turns out, children were not in the backyard as the resolution implied. Nor were the wolves killed in the backyard of the daycare. Rather, three wolves were indeed eventually killed in the vicinity.”

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