CAMO AT THE CAPITOL: ANTI-POACHING BILLS MOVE FORWARD
Drew YoungeDyke, Public Relations Manager Drew YoungeDyke,
Public Relations Manager
Bills to crack down on poachers have taken the next step forward in the state Senate after being unanimously reported out of the Committee on Outdoor Recreation and Tourism yesterday.
Senate Bills 244, 245 and 246 are a package which raise restitution and hunting licence suspension penalties on elk, moose, bear, turkey, waterfowl and eagles. The legislation was introduced by Senators Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair) and Dale Zorn (R-Monroe), and builds upon legislation passed last year to increase poaching penalties on white-tailed deer. Both packages began as Michigan United Conservation Clubs resolutions introduced by Jim Pryce of Tri-County Sportsmen’s Club (testifying with fellow MUCC member Bill Houston of the Montmorency County Conservation Club in the video below):
The new package increases the restitution penalty for elk to $5,000 for any elk, and an additional $250 per point for an elk with 8 to 10 points (4×4 to 5×5), and an additional $500 per point for an elk with 11 or more points. Additionally, someone who poaches an elk will lose their hunting license – for any species – for 15 years the first time, and if they poach a second time, they will lose their hunting license for a lifetime!
MUCC members Bill Houston and Jim Pryce testifying in support of the anti-poaching bills at the first committee hearing. MUCC members Bill Houston and Jim Pryce testifying in support of the anti-poaching bills at the first committee hearing.
The same penalties apply for poaching moose, except that in addition to the $5,000 base restitution, there is an additional $5,000 for any antlered moose. There is also a $3,500 restitution for bear, $1,500 for an eagle, an additional $1,000 for a bearded turkey (on top of the base $1,500 restitution) and $250-500 for waterfowl, and $500 per waterfowl for subsequent conviction.
It’s important to remember that this push to crack down on poachers is coming from the hunting community, not from anti-hunters. When animals are taken outside of the regulations established by state wildlife biologists, it jeopardizes the North American Model of Conservation that we have to make sure that there is game to hunt without jeopardizing the wildlife populations of game species. Also, poaching steals from legal hunters who have purchased the license, which supports wildlife conservation. Poaching is not hunting, but the general public doesn’t always make that distinction, so in addition to jeopardizing our conservation system, game populations, stealing from legal hunters and shirking the responsibility to take care of the resource, poaching also jeopardizes hunting rights.
We’re very grateful to Senators Pavlov and Zorn for introducing this legislation. It will now go before the full Senate.
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