Casperson bills to help manage Michigan wildlife signed

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson to advance the scientific management of wildlife in Michigan was signed Wednesday by the governor.

Senate Bills 288 and 289 build upon voter-approved policy from 1996’s Proposal G, which saw nearly 70 percent of voters express their desire that the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) have exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game, and that the commission use sound scientific management in making decisions to the greatest extent practicable.

Additionally, as part of the process, the NRC has to issue orders and provide the public with an opportunity to provide public input before any decision is made, thereby ensuring that the voice of Michigan residents is heard. 
Among other things, the bills provide for:

• Right-to-hunt-and-fish language in state statute to recognize their importance for the conservation, preservation and management of the state’s natural resources;
• Allowing the NRC to add species to the game list and establish hunting seasons while retaining the Legislature’s ability to both add and remove species on the list;
• Complimentary hunting opportunities for active service members; and
• Allowing the NRC to regulate the taking of fish as they regulate the taking of game.
“These new laws reaffirm the people’s desire for Michigan’s wildlife to be managed using scientific, objective standards,” said Casperson, R-Escanaba. “Sound management through the use of methods including hunting and fishing is extremely important for the health of our natural resources and for the preservation of our way of life in Michigan. 

“I am very appreciative of the wide and diverse group of stakeholders and elected leaders that came together to support this legislation as it is critical to our sporting heritage and to our way of life in the Upper Peninsula. Consequently, I want to sincerely thank everyone who helped in what was truly a team effort, with support from biologists, property owners, farmers and sportsmen, all of whom moved to ensure our wildlife will be managed through science and not emotion.”

SBs 288 and 289 were signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Rick Snyder in Lansing and are now Public Acts 21 and 22.