By Nick Buggia, Midwestern States Manager
On March 5, the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and the Caucus’s Advisory Council hosted a welcome briefing and reception for new state legislators.
The Michigan Advisory Council consists of 16 member organizations and two ex-officio members that assists the Caucus by providing advice on policy issues and helping host Caucus events throughout the year.
The Advisory Council’s welcome reception provided an opportunity for new legislators to learn about the Caucus (now the largest caucus in the state), the American System of Conservation Funding, and the importance of science-based fish and wildlife management. The Advisory Council also develops an informational booklet for legislators that provides background on historical natural resource policies and information on current issues facing the state.
Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Adam Hollier and Representatives Triston Cole and Leslie Love addressed attendees. The Co-Chairs discussed Caucus efforts for educating new legislators about sportsmen’s policies in the state as well as their commitment to hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) efforts in 2019.
In addition to the Caucus leadership, speakers included:
- Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Upper Midwestern States Manager Nick Buggia, who discussed how CSF supports the Caucus.
- Newly-elected Advisory Council Chair Bryan Burroughs of Trout Unlimited, who discussed the role of the Advisory Council.
- Bill Vander Zowen of Pheasants Forever, who presented on conservation funding in Michigan and the importance of the American System of Conservation Funding.
- Mike Thorman of the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, who discussed the importance of science-based wildlife management.
- Representatives from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, who discussed the past, present, and future state of Michigan’s natural resources.
Since its creation, the Advisory Council has assisted in the development of policy and has provided hunting, fishing, trapping, and recreational shooting opportunities for legislators.
The Michigan Advisory Council Members include: Ducks Unlimited, Michigan Bass Nation, Michigan Bear Hunters Association, Michigan Hunting Dog Federation, Michigan Steelhead and Salmon Fishers Association, Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association, Michigan United Conservations Clubs, National Rifle Association, Pheasants Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, Safari Club International, Trout Unlimited, U.P. Bear Houndsman Association, U.P. Sportsmen’s Alliance and Zero Day.
CSF and The Hal and Jean Glasson Memorial Foundation serve as ex-officio members.
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- Improve hunter and target shooter involvement in regulatory and legislative processes. (12.80%)
- Enact or expand temporary hunter education deferral programs (apprentice license programs, multiyear options, programs for all first-time hunters regardless of age, and programs promoting hunting of multiple game species). (10.40%)
- Offer shooting sports and hunter education as school activities and recreation programs. (61.60%)
- Link existing programming into family-oriented organizations (such as churches and home-school groups) where participants will have the social support to continue. (15.20%)