The Michigan House passed the decriminalization of failure to report a deer harvest on a 61-47 vote at the end of June, and the bill was signed on July 11 by Governor Whitmer.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) worked with Sen. Cherry and his office toward the passage of the bill. MUCC and other stakeholders testified in support of the legislation during committee meetings in both chambers.
Protecting Michigan’s hunting heritage was the driving factor for Sen. Cherry to push this legislation.
“As an avid hunter and former DNR employee, I understand the significance of gathering deer harvest data to make informed decisions about our deer herds’ management. Yet, it was clear to me that the penalties associated with non-reporting were disproportionate to the offense, particularly considering the absence of direct harm to the resource,” said Sen. Cherry. “It’s important that Michigan continue to preserve our hunting heritage, and I’m happy that SB 52 will ensure that our hunters will not be subject to undue penalties.”
By statute, any order passed by the Natural Resources Commissioner is automatically a misdemeanor. It is then the responsibility of the legislature to tweak the penalties for certain offenses, said Justin Tomei, MUCC policy assistant.
“This issue did not rise to the level of a misdemeanor, and all the things that go with that classification of crime,” Tomei said. “This was an easy way for stakeholders, the DNR, and the legislature to come together and fix it before it became an unnecessary burden on Michigan hunters.”
Included in MUCC’s legislative priorities, harvest reporting decriminalization was among the first of many successes for MUCC and conservationists during this legislative session.
Stay in touch with all of MUCC’s legislative calls to action HERE.
To ensure our natural resources remain protected and managed thoughtfully and our outdoor heritage defended, join Michigan United Conservation Clubs today: http://bit.ly/JoinMUCC.