House Bill 5226: a bill that seeks to give farmers relief from nuisance bear cleared the Senate late last week during the final day of lame duck and is now headed to the Governor for his signature. If you remember, this bill was first introduced last winter by Rep McBroom and sought to provide bear crop damage permits to just about any farmer who applied for one.
As introduced MUCC, MI Bear hunters, Hunting Dog Federation, and the UP Bear Houndsmen Alliance were all opposed to the bill. But, thanks to the willingness of the bill sponsor, Rep McBroom, MUCC and its Bear Hunting groups were able to come to a compromise that allowed the bill to move forward in 2014.
This bill would allow the DNR to issue out of season bear crop damage permits to landowners that could be used by a hunter licensed to take a bear during that calendar year. HB 5226 does the following:
• Allow the DNR to issue out of season bear crop damage permits to landowners; • Allow the tag to be used by a hunter licensed to take a bear during that calendar year; • A hunter must use the allocated bear license in the same BMU for crop damage; • No more than 5% crop damage permits per BMU zone, with at least one per. • Successful participant must register the bear with a DNR field office within 72 hours; • DNR has 4 days to respond to the request, ten days to make a determination, and; • Requires the DNR to report to the Legislature within 3 years, how it works, and suggest any modifications.