Senate guiding bills to provide data, prevent poachers from guiding

Senate Bills 103, 104, 105 Quick Hits:

  • Currently, Michigan has little regulation for inland hunting and fishing guides.
  • Nothing stops someone from guiding who has been convicted of egregious wildlife violations.
  • Guide data reporting would be required to help manage our natural resources.

Commercial guiding regulation has been a priority of the conservation community for almost a decade, and MUCC membership first saw the need for reform in the late 1990s.

Currently, Michigan’s commercial guiding industry is largely unregulated. A regulatory framework would prevent poachers and other bad actors from posing as legitimate guides while providing new critical tools to law enforcement and biologists alike.

Allowing someone who can no longer hunt because they were found guilty of poaching to guide hurts hunters and conservationists, said Amy Trotter, MUCC executive director.

“Certain, egregious wildlife violations should and would preclude someone from enjoying our natural resources and wildlife as a guide,” Trotter said. “Our wildlife laws are in place to protect our wildlife species and ensure bountiful opportunities for all Michiganders. ”

She said that data reporting from guides would be a critical component of wildlife resources management moving forward as state agencies become more strained.

“No one knows the resources better or cares for it more than Michigan guides. We need their help to manage better and ensure that our wildlife and habitat continue to thrive tomorrow for the next generation,” she said.

During the 2021-2022 legislative session, HB 5358-5360 received near unanimous support from the conservation community but ultimately got no further than to the house floor with a light legislative schedule in an election year.

Data gathering should be a critical part of any legislative package. Guides are on the water and in the field more than anyone and sometimes host hundreds of clients yearly. The data these guides provide to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will help to better manage our species in a proactive and timely manner.

This package of bills requires a minimum entry requirement to protect Michigan’s rich outdoor heritage and the important economic contributions of Michigan’s hunting and fishing guides.

Common sense exemptions respect private landowners and hunting and angling recruitment efforts for nonprofits like MUCC.

Requirements of the bill

  • $150 three-year registration fee for residents; $300 for non-residents.
  • Existing charter captains operating with a US Coast Guard license are exempt from the registration fee.
  • Data reporting is required, similar to what is required currently on the Great Lakes and connecting waterways.
  • All commercial guides must possess: a valid base hunting ($11) or fishing license ($26); must be CPR and first aid certified, and have a state identification card or driver’s license.
  • A person must not have been convicted of any felony or certain fish and game violations in the past three years.


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