coyote hunting

March NRC: Commission Votes to End Year-round Coyote Hunting

Commissioners voted to close Michigan’s coyote season from April 15 to July 15 at March’s Natural Resources Commission (NRC) meeting.

Commissioners voted on Wildlife Conservation Order #1 of 2024, and based their decision on perceived social pressures, shirking their responsibility and legal charge to follow sound scientific management.

MUCC Chief Executive Officer Amy Trotter said that this sets future managers at a disadvantage, making it harder to use lethal control.

“No scientific evidence has been presented to justify the closure of the coyote hunting season, and the NRC had an obligation to oppose this part of the order per Proposal G and the authority it provides to them,” Trotter said. “Now enacted, it will make the fight to defend lethal wildlife management that much harder.”

MUCC Policy and Government Affairs Manager Justin Tomei said the science on coyote management is clear.

“Today, we laid out a clear scientific argument for the use of lethal coyote management, via hunters, during the spring and summer months,” said Tomei. “Coyote management is most effective in the spring when you can actively control local predator populations, limit depredation and increase deer densities.”

MUCC also made the case that the commission should at least wait until the conclusion of the Deer Management Initiative (DMI) to see what recommendations the workgroup comes up with regarding predator management.

“The first question during the first DMI meeting was about predator management,” Trotter said. “The DMI will inevitably make some recommendation regarding predator management, and the commission should wait to ensure all stakeholder opinions are considered.”

The vote came after commissioners rejected attempts from commissioners Nyberg and Walters to remove the closure from the wildlife conservation order and table the vote. Ultimately the closure was adopted on a 4-2 vote, closing coyote season beginning April 15.

coyote hunting

MUCC opposed the closure based on a 2005 and 2024 policy supporting year-round coyote hunting. For many years, MUCC has advocated on behalf of its grassroots members to expand opportunities to harvest coyotes.

At MUCC’s Annual Convention this past weekend, its membership unanimously adopted another resolution reinforcing our unwavering commitment to sound scientific management and year-round coyote hunting.

Before the committee of the whole, the wildlife committee saw a presentation on deer predation in the UP, and the fisheries committee saw a presentation on invasive carp.

The director’s report featured a 40 years of service award, the wildlife division annual report, migratory game bird hunting seasons overview, elk regulations, and a Deer Management Initiative update.

The commission had two orders up for information at the meeting.

Wildlife Conservation Order #2 of 2024 sets season dates, within federal guidelines, for migratory waterfowl species. The season dates and bag limits fall in line with the 2023 season structure.

Wildlife Conservation Order #3 of 2024 sets elk regulations, to which there are no substantive changes to dates, regulations, or quotas. The order includes a return of in-person check stations, something constituents have asked for as a community event.

Both of these orders are eligible for action at the April 11 meeting.

MUCC reviews all land transactions exceeding 80 acres, of which there was one. Land Transaction Case #20240002 is a gift of 200 acres, which will be dedicated as part of the Barry State Game Area.

To ensure our natural resources remain protected and managed thoughtfully and our outdoor heritage defended, join Michigan United Conservation Clubs today!


  1. Brian Aldrich on March 15, 2024 at 10:34 am

    NRC members are selected by the governor. Those who blatantly ignore the science-based charge of the body should be removed. The governor is the root of this problem. Not sure how we remove those who fall short of their legal obligation.

    • Doc on March 15, 2024 at 6:26 pm


  2. Ralph Workman on March 15, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    What makes those 4 members think they can change things to suit themselves? I live in the U.P., and deer hunting has progressively gotten worse in the last few years. The antler restrictions have done absolutely nothing to create bigger racked bucks here in Ontonagon county. The Natural Resources Commission is an abomination.

  3. Glen Matthews on March 15, 2024 at 5:13 pm

    The shrillness of MUCC’s response to the coyote hunt restrictions is a “sky is falling” situation. People have been trying to suppress coyotes for many decades and by various methods and the result has been a stable and expanding coyote population. I lived in the UP for a few years in the mid 70’s and folks talked about digging out dens to get the pups for a bounty bonus. That didn’t work and bounties were ditched — with the support of conservation organizations. The fact is, coyotes do not need to be managed other than by livestock producers. Producers have the right and the tools to do that twelve months a year.

    As conservationists, we have the obligation to support wise use, humane take and fair chase methods. For coyotes, wise use means emphasizing take when their fur is prime, roughly October 15 to April 1. Sport hunting of coyotes during spring and early summer wastes the animal and potentially leaves pups to die of malnourishment. I think in the long run, in the world we live in, hunters and trappers are served by bending on this issue. It’s a weak and bad look to be insisting that coyotes can and must be managed by killing them when they are raising young, even if the science says the population can take it.

    Hunting and fishing regulations are not strictly about what harvest a population can take. Night-lighting of deer in underharvested areas would be good idea, biologically. Legalizing use of ferrets for cottontail hunting could be scientifically justified. As long as bag limits were set properly, why not allow baiting of waterfowl? Elk might be more efficiently harvested if drones were allowed.

    Not to be all negative, Nick; keep up the great work with the magazine. The last couple years they have been really good.

    • Brian Clay on March 16, 2024 at 1:24 am

      I completely disagree. The best time to kill them is during pup rearing season. You can wreck a family group during this time. Often the alpha male and female will come to your calls and you can take them both out with a shotgun. Watch where they come and after you kill them, go find the active den and kill the pups. This is what we do in Georgia. No mercy for the fawn and turkey killers

    • Dan Antonetti on March 17, 2024 at 7:50 am

      So we should manage hunting and fishing based on “how things look”….. To whom???? There’s plenty who think it’s a “bad look” to kill any animal or fish, we should only eat vegetables. We live in a state where killing unborn children is legal but not wolves and now coyotes for 3 months. How’s that look?????

    • Cameron Jones on March 19, 2024 at 10:35 pm

      Clearly you have an anti agenda when it comes to the taking of many animals. Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with facts on the number of fawns taken by coyotes during the April to July time frame.
      Predator control is KEY to management of ALL game species. Coyotes must be managed to manage game species; it’s a circle of life.
      There’s a reason there are no rabbits and hares in northern LP anymore, and fox populations are down as well; coyotes.
      Get educated.

  4. […] March 14, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission voted 4-2 to close the year-round coyote hunting season for three months from April 16 to July […]

  5. Nick on March 15, 2024 at 8:39 pm

    The NRC should be leading the effort to do what’s right for the people they represent and not worry what special interests groups want. Who pays the bills. Whitetail hunters! If you can’t stand up for what is right you should step aside.

  6. Keith Machiela on March 18, 2024 at 1:30 pm

    Who voted for the closure and who against?

  7. Kevin Kuzera on March 18, 2024 at 1:54 pm

    Shame on the NRC. NRC members are selected by the governor. Those who blatantly ignore the science-based charge of the body should be removed. The governor is the root of this problem. Vetting of future NRC commissioners needs a rigorous process in order to follow the recommendations of the real stewards of Michigan’s wildlife resources. .

  8. J. B on March 29, 2024 at 8:45 am

    If I’m confronted by coyotes walking my pet on my property I will definitely defend myself and my pet. I don’t need your permission to do that so I will not follow your ignorant rule of no coyote hunting during that 3 month period. Secondly your ignorance is obvious when that is fawn season and that is the time when coyotes kill fawns.

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