Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) hosted its most important event of the year this past weekend in Owosso: our Annual Convention. Delegates representing MUCC’s 46,000-plus members and 250-plus affiliate local sportsmen’s clubs voted on what hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation policies we will pursue, honored dedicated conservationists, elected officers and even improved local wildlife habitat!


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

  • Support for the use of bait barrels on public land for bear hunting (Mike Thorman, Michigan Hunting Dog Federation)
  • Support to allow hunters to possess and use both a crossbow and legal firearm, simultaneously, while hunting deer during the December muzzleloader and late antlerless seasons (except the Upper Peninsula December deer seasons) (Millard Holton, Individual Member)
  • Creation of a sandhill crane hunting season in the state of Michigan (Saginaw Field and Stream)
  • Support to designate mourning doves as a gamebird (Jim Pryce, Region 8 Policy Board)
  • Development of a short term (7 day) non-resident waterfowl license system (Ducks Unlimited, Inc.)
  • Support for Michigan pheasant release for hunter recruitment (Ken Dalton, Individual Member)
  • Educating hunters about the risks of hunting from a treestand without a full body harness/fall arrest system (Tim Kobasic and Fred Truschke, Policy Board and the Tomahawk Archers)
  • Reintroduction of Lake Herring (Cisco) in Saginaw Bay (Saginaw Field and Stream Club)
  • Oppose the use of resistance board weirs in terms of research impacting fisheries and angler experience (Cedar Rod and Gun Club)
  • Oppose the sale or exchange of State of Michigan-owned or managed lands greater than 80 acres, or parcels which would restrict public riparian access without having been previously designated “excess” or “surplus” through a transparent process (Paul Rose, Past President)
  • Oppose or seek to amend any legislation which requires the expenditure of the DNR funds for tasks or functions which may result in a diversion of hunting and fishing license revenue or funding whose use may otherwise be restricted (Paul Rose, Past President)
  • Support Michigan adopting a stance that any cervid carcass brought into Michigan (whether taken from a wild or captive population be in the form of deboned meat, clean skullcap, finished taxidermy, and/or other parts not anticipated to carry CWD prions, and work to increase fines and penalties for violations of this whole carcass prohibition, and work to make this a federal regulation (U.P. Whitetails of Marquette County)
  • Support captive cervid regulation reform (Michigan State Chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association)
  • Support the removal of regulations for suppressors from the National Firearms Act of 1934 and work with legislature to allow the purchase of a suppressor to follow the same guidelines currently in place to purchase firearms through the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) program (South Kent Sportsman’s Club)
  • Support the acquisition of severed minerals where the State owns the surface only to protect and control the commercial use of public land, and highest priority should be given to minerals in State Parks and lands purchased with PR and Game and Fish Funds (Michigan Resource Stewards)
  • Reinstate cormorant control (Straits Area Sportsmen’s Club)

Additionally, we recognized conservationists from around the state for their contributions to our natural resources and outdoor heritage during our annual Conservation Awards Banquet. The awards this year included:

  • Metro West Steelheaders, Affiliate of the Year Award
  • Kris and Jody Matthew, Past Presidents’ Award
  • Matt Lefler, Conservation Educator of the Year Award
  • Ervin Industries, Corporate Conservationist of the Year Award
  • Representative Andrea LaFontaine, Legislator of the Year Award
  • John Kriewall, President’s Award
  • Robert Borchak, Gary Moore, William Furtaw, Gerald Chie, Paul Sand, and Paul Farrell, Special Conservation Awards

Finally, our member and member club delegates elected Executive Board Members for the Michigan United Conservation Clubs Board of Directors for odd numbered regions. The 2017-2018 Executive Board includes the following individuals:

  • 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
  • Trevor Hodges, Calumet-Keweenaw Sportsmen’s Club, Region 1 Director
  • Bill Malloch, Individual Member, Region 2 Director
  • Jane Finnerty, Cadillac Sportsmen’s Club, Region 3 Director
  • Carol Rose, Montmorency County Conservation Club, Region 4 Director
  • Dawn Levey, Past President, Region 5 Director
  • Chuck Hoover, Saginaw Field & Stream Conservation Club, Region 6 Director
  • Fran Yeager, Past President, Region 7 Director
  • Kris Matthew, Huron Valley Conservation Association, Region 8 Director
  • Bruce Levey, Michigan Bow Hunters, Region 9 Director
  • Greg Peter, Chelsea Rod & Gun Club, Region 8 At-Large Director 

Those in BOLD were elected this year.

An At-Large Region 5 Director will be subsequently appointed by the President since there were no nominations, and members were also elected by region to our Conservation Policy Board. The 2017-2018 Policy Board includes the following individuals:

  • Region 1: Joe Hudson, Keith Lynch, Bryan Reynolds
  • Region 2: Gary Gorniak, Don Canfield, Jay Maki
  • Region 3: Bruce Finnerty, Jim Maturen, Greg Nicolaou
  • Region 4: Pete Demos, Jim Chaskey, David Markle
  • Region 5:  Kevin Eldred, Jack VanRhee, Kayla McKern
  • Region 6: Ted Schulz, Dan McMaster
  • Region 7: Roberta Reed, Dave Van Lopik, Furmer Reed
  • Region 8: Eric Braden, Roger Calhoun, Jim Pryce
  • Region 9: Rob Miller, Sam Morello, Gary Summers

The MUCC Annual Convention is a true grassroots process. Any member of MUCC 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 MUCC, which 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. This process is the reason why MUCC has been successfully conserving Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage for 80 years!

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