Michigan United Conservation Clubs had its most important event of the year this past weekend in Big Rapids: our Annual Convention, where delegates representing our 50,000-plus members and 250-plus affiliated local sportsmen’s clubs vote on what hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation policies we will pursue, honor dedicated conservationists, elect officers and even improve local wildlife habitat.


New conservation policies adopted by MUCC’s membership (and their sponsors) this weekend include:

  • Support for the use of centerfire rifles at night for coyote hunting. (Chris Kettler and Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association)
  • Banning the use of large quantities of chocolate in bear bait. (Michigan Hunting Dog Federation and Michigan Bear Hunters Association)
  • Educate bear hunters about the danger of using chocolate in bear bait. (Richard P. Smith)
  • Base chumming regulations on the best available science. (Adam Trenz, Metro-West Steelheaders)
  • Creation of a statewide urban deer management plan emphasizing bowhunting and venison donation. (Tomahawk Archers)
  • Define and regulate “airbows” as pneumatic firearms, not archery equipment. (Michigan Bow Hunters)
  • Reverse MUCC’s prior opposition to the use of crossbows during the archery deer season. (Elden Montross, Oakland County Sportsmen’s Club)
  • Support for bass tournaments. (Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation)
  • Encourage the DNR to use adaptive management for bass. (Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation)
  • Increase waterfowl hunting opportunities in county parks and extend liability protection to local government units which allow hunting on their properties. (Macatawa Bay Waterfowl Association and Jack Van Rhee)
  • Create a Federal Fish and Wildlife Disease Trust Fund. (MUCC Wildlife Committee)
  • Reduce the use of chemicals in native aquatic vegetation management, which provides fish habitat. (Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation)
  • Move the start date of the early turkey season in southern Michigan up from a Monday to the prior Saturday. (Millard H. Holton)
  • Allow rough fish harvested during bowfishing tournaments to be donated to rendering facilities. (Rob Miller, Bowfishing Association of Michigan)
  • Encourage the DNR to recognize Michigan’s diverse landscape in management decisions. (Tom Heritier, Saginaw Field & Stream Conservation Association)
  • Increase penalties for hunter harassment. (Jim Pryce)
  • Allow purple paint to be used in place of “No Trespassing” signs. (Jim Pryce)
  • Support the designation of the monarch butterfly as the official state insect. (Tomahawk Archers)
  • Support the designation of a 1.8-mile stretch of county road in a Grouse Enhanced Management System in Marquette County, currently open for ORV use, as a multi-use ORV route to allow funding allocation for signage. (Tim Kobasic, Hiawathaland Trail Association)
  • Confirm an earlier emergency resolution to encourage moose culling at Isle Royale National Park. (MUCC Wildlife Committee)

Additionally, we recognized conservationists from around the state for their contributions to our natural resources and outdoor heritage during our annual Conservation Awards Luncheon. Our awardees included:

  • Bill Demmer, Conservationist of the Year
  • Meijer Corporation, Corporate Conservationist of the Year
  • Representative John Kivela, Legislative Conservationist of the Year
  • Mark Stephens, Conservation Educator of the Year
  • Jordan Burroughs, Unsung Hero
  • Dennis Eade, Fisheries Conservationist of the Year
  • Jim Baker, Past Presidents Award

An additional President’s Award will be presented at a later date.

Finally, our member and member club delegates elected officers for the Michigan United Conservation Clubs Board of Directors, including:

  • Tom Heritier, Saginaw Field & Stream Conservation Club, President
  • George Lindquist, U.P. Whitetails of Marquette County, Vice President
  • Jim DeClerck, Saginaw Field & Stream Conservation Club, Treasurer
  • Ron Burris, Individual Member, Immediate Past President
  • Richard P. Smith, Life Member, Region 1
  • Bill Malloch, Individual Member, Region 2
  • Jane Finnerty, Cadillac Sportsmen’s Club, Region 3
  • Carol Rose, Montmorency County Conservation Club, Region 4
  • Jack Van Rhee, Hamilton Rod & Gun Club, Region 5
  • Chuck Hoover, Saginaw Field & Stream Conservation Club, Region 6
  • David Van Lopik, Kalamazoo Rod & Gun Club, Region 7
  • Kris Matthew, Huron Valley Conservation Association, Region 8
  • Bruce Levey, Michigan Bow Hunters, Region 9
  • Greg Peter, Chelsea Rod & Gun Club, At-Large Director
  • Bill Krepps, Ravenna Conservation Club, At-Large Director

Two at-large directors will be subsequently appointed by the President and members were also elected by region to our new Conservation Policy Board, which we will profile at a later date.

The MUCC Annual Convention is a true grassroots process. Any member of Michigan United Conservation Clubs or any affiliated club can propose a policy resolution. Every full affiliate club can send a delegate to vote on its behalf, or send its votes by proxy with another club. Individual members are polled electronically on the proposed resolutions and the answers of those who respond are provided to regional individual member representatives to advise their votes. Policy resolutions are debated extensively before votes are taken. And only when adopted by the member delegation do these resolutions become the official policy of Michigan United Conservation Clubs, which even requires a super-majority to change a law or regulation.

This process assures that when we take a position on an issue, it isn’t the spur-of-the-moment opinion of one person. It is the result of a deliberate democratic grassroots process that carries the weight of Michigan’s conservation clubs, the largest group of hunters, anglers and trappers in the state, and the will of Michigan’s hunter-, angler- and trapper-conservationists. MUCC isn’t just an organization, it’s a process by which an individual can take and idea and turn it into reality only by vetting it with and convincing his or her peers in Michigan’s out-of-doors, and this process is the reason why MUCC has been successfully conserving Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage for 79 years!

 Join Michigan United Conservation Clubs today!

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