Contact: Kent Keene, Assistant Manager, Lower Midwestern States and Agriculture Policy
Why it matters: Hunting and fishing guides often provide a critical service by assisting hunters and anglers in their pursuits. By employing a guide, many hunters and anglers, especially those traveling to an unfamiliar area, can improve their likelihood of a successful trip, often improving their overall experience and likelihood to participate again. Recognizing the role of commercial guides, currently proposed commercial guiding bills in Michigan seek to establish a basic set of guidelines to ensure the safety of sportsmen and women, the sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources, and the opportunity for all sportsmen and women to have equitable opportunity in the field or on the water.
On April 28, members of the Michigan House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation conducted a hearing on three bills related to commercial hunting and fishing guides. House Bills 5358, 5359, and 5360 collectively represent a package of legislation that has long been a priority for many in the Great Lakes State’s sporting-conservation community. Included among these pieces of legislation is the creation of guiding licenses, reporting requirements and, most important, a set of minimum safety standards that guides must meet to ensure the well-being of themselves and their clients.
Guide services represent an important component of the hunting and angling industries. Often staffed by expert guides, their employment can greatly increase the likelihood of an enjoyable and, in many cases, successful hunting or fishing trip. However, commercial guiding, save for fishing guides operating on the Great Lakes, is relatively unregulated in Michigan. By creating a 3-year, $150 commercial guide license and establishing reporting guidelines, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will be able to rely on guides to support the American System of Conservation Funding while receiving critical data needed to ensure the science-based conservation of the Great Lakes State’s fish and wildlife resources.
Working with partners such as the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, who has been championing this legislation for years, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation submitted formal notices of support for this bill package ahead of the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Committee’s meeting. If passed by the committee, these bills will next be sent to the full House floor for further consideration. For more information on these bills from the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, click here.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?