Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
Executive Order No 2020-59, signed by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan on April 24, extends the state’s stay-at-home order until May 15 while loosening several restrictions on outdoor activities. This includes rescinding the previous prohibition on the use of motorized boats. It would also allow sportsmen and women to travel to homes owned elsewhere in the state to hunt and fish, as long as they remain “at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household.” In addition to the social distance requirements set forth by the governor, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources recommends, “individuals use only their own equipment to prevent the transmission of the virus through the touching of shared surfaces.”
This order comes in the middle of turkey season and one day before the inland water opener for walleye and trout. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) supports the idea that hunting and fishing are excellent ways to practice social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. CSF encouraged sportsmen and women to take advantage of these opportunities in Michigan and throughout the country while practicing social distancing and adhering to Centers for Disease Control guidelines and the executive orders enacted by the states. CSF would also like to remind sportsmen and women to practice social distancing while at boat launches by remaining in or near your vehicle until it is your turn to launch.
Recently, CSF partnered with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Bass Pro Shops, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and other Mission Partners to develop the #ResponsibleRecreation social media campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to encourage sportsmen and women to take advantage of opportunities to participate in our outdoor heritage safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The onus is on us as sportsmen to practice responsible recreation, as we have for generations, so that future executive orders do not inhibit our abilities to hunt and fish during these challenging times.
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?