On August 27, the Michigan House of Representatives affirmed its commitment to professional fish and wildlife management by approving the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (SFWCA) with a vote of 65-43. This action was preceded by Senate approval on August 13, meaning the SFWCA will now become law. Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Terry Brown (D) and Jon Bumstead (R) led the necessary bipartisan efforts in the House to ensure safe passage of this important initiative, while Co-Chairs Senators Mike Green (R) and Jim Ananich (D) did likewise in the upper chamber.
Following the vote, Rep. Brown stated, “Michigan is a paradise for anyone who loves wildlife. I was happy to be a part of the bipartisan effort today that will preserve our hunting heritage and protect the future of every species and the humans that live, work, and play among them.”
Rep. Bumstead also praised the legislation: “Today’s approval of the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act is a win for Michigan sportsmen and women, it’s a win for the state’s fish and wildlife, and it’s a win for the Department of Natural Resources and Natural Resources Commission. Letting professionals take care of fish and wildlife management and keeping that responsibility out of the hands of out-of-state anti-hunting groups is what we accomplished today.”
The SFWCA will ensure that the fish and game regulatory authority remains in the hands of natural resource professionals whose decisions are guided by sound scientific principles. In addition, it provides free hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses to active duty military members and appropriates an additional $1 million for invasive species control and prevention efforts.
Ultimately, it was a unified sportsmen’s community that joined forces to gather enough signatures to initiate the SFWCA and present the initiative to the legislature. Without the steadfast efforts of the ballot committee, Citizens for Professional Wildlife Management, and its partner groups, the ill-informed objectives of two anti-hunting referenda would have stood uncontested on the November ballot, leaving the future of professional fish and wildlife management at risk in the state of Michigan.
Professional management of fish and wildlife resources is made possible by the American System of Conservation Funding, supported exclusively by sportsmen and women, and ensures that healthy fish and wildlife populations are available for the enjoyment of current and future generations. The SFWCA safeguards the integrity and continued success of this model of fish and wildlife management, and on August 27 the Michigan Legislature acted as conservation champions by approving this critical initiative.
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?