March Natural Resources Commission Recap

Commissioners passed bear regulations at their March Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting and heard information regarding dog tracking legally shot game.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) is a member of the Michigan Bear Forum. The organization supports a consensus-based approach through the forum and these regulations. In addition, MUCC believes hunters should be able to use bait barrels on public lands.

MUCC members, the National Deer Association and MUCC staff spoke regarding the order that would allow dog tracking off-lead if the dog is wearing a GPS collar, among other things.

In 2019, MUCC members passed a resolution supporting off-lead tracking, but ultimately the organization amended the resolution to remove a GPS requirement. The concern at the time was cost and why these dogs were singled out, said Justin Tomei, MUCC policy assistant.

“MUCC members heavily debated the GPS requirement for tracking dogs when the 2019 resolution was passed,” Tomei said. “There are concerns among our membership regarding why only certain dogs would be required to wear GPS collars and if this prices certain users out of being able to track.”

NRC Fisheries Committee members received presentations regarding “hoot owl regulations,” which are meant to help protect trout from warm weather handling in the summer. The DNR does not recommend implementing them in Michigan, but it encourages educational efforts surrounding the 70-degree pledge. The wildlife committee received a presentation regarding urban deer management.

MUCC supports more proactive and creative urban deer management strategies, especially since the issuance of a “research permit” allowing deer sterilization in Ann Arbor.

There were five land transactions up for information for the director. Those transactions can be viewed on the March agenda.

MUCC Director of Communications and Marketing Nick Green gave public testimony regarding tracking legally shot game, migratory bird regulations and the proposed Great Lakes Consent Decree.

“The commission has a full slate of tricky issues relating to fisheries and wildlife that they have to navigate the next few months,” Green said. “Their role in rule implementation related to the Consent Decree and how they tackle tracking legally shot game will shed light on how this  commission works through issues since there will be more controversial ones to come.”

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