MUCC letter to Gov. Whitmer underscores bobcat hunting, trapping expansions

This letter was sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer in response to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission unanimously approving Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment 1 of 2022.

Dear Governor Whitmer,

On March 10, 2022, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission unanimously voted to expand bobcat hunting and trapping opportunities in Michigan. The order was drafted and supported by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources using the best available science.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs supports the commission and department’s unwavering commitment to Proposal G of 1996: a voter-passed referendum (passed with about 69 percent of the popular vote) that gives the commission the exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game and directs that the commission use sound, scientific principles in making management decisions.

Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment 1 of 2022 highlights the success of our collective conservation work. Bobcat ranges expanding and populations remaining stable and healthy are indicators that Michigan’s biologists, its stakeholders and those you appointed to carry out the important work of conservation on the NRC are undertaking this job dutifully and diligently.

Specifically, this order does not increase the harvest limit but does increase the area that bobcats can be hunted or trapped. It is expected that this will disperse hunters and trappers more throughout the bobcat range.

We should be proud to point towards the conservation success of healthy, stable and expanding bobcat populations, as proven through scientific data, when other states around us and throughout the country are restricting opportunities to hunt and trap. We should also be proud that any expansion of opportunity or access could lead to more conservation dollars — dollars that almost exclusively fund the management of Michigan’s game and nongame species, including the Kirtland’s warbler, Eastern massasauga rattlesnake, wolves, moose, American woodcock and bobcats.

Inherently, conservation extends to every corner of this state and every person within it. Michigan’s rich outdoor history is a part of who we all are. From beloved, late-Governor William Milliken, who championed our outdoor way of life as the means to create bipartisanship, to the small business owner who depends on Michigan’s combined annual $11.7 billion impact of hunting and fishing, conservation is the knot that binds us all.

Overall, 89 percent of Michiganders approve of or are neutral toward legal, regulated hunting. About 65 percent approve of or are neutral regarding legal, regulated trapping. And finally, 94 percent approve of or are neutral regarding legal, regulated fishing. This data is available through the Michigan Wildlife Council and is independently reviewed by Responsive Management, an internationally recognized survey research firm.

MUCC, its 200 affiliate clubs and more than 40,000 conservationists throughout the state would like to thank you for thoughtfully and carefully ensuring that Michigan’s conservation legacy is preserved by conservation champions in the department and at the Natural Resources Commission. These folks have gone above and beyond to dive into the issues in front of them, thoughtfully consider all sides and use sound science as the driving force behind natural resources management.

Yours in Conservation,

Amy Trotter

Executive Director, Michigan United Conservation Clubs

And the undersigned organizations:

Michigan Hunting Dog Federation 

Michigan Bear Hunters Association

Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen

Michigan Fox Hunters Association

Michigan State United Coon Hunters

Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association

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