Why It Matters: Presently, Michigan does not have a well-regulated system for controlling its commercial hunting and sport fishing guide industry. A package of bills that would remedy this problem by providing important requirements for guides while simultaneously providing funding to the state natural resource agency is still waiting to be brought to the House floor for a vote. Diligent sportsmen and women should be aware of the bills on the docket that may affect the time-honored traditions of their state.
- Only ten states, including Michigan, have full-time legislatures that meet year-round. However, during the summer, legislators often spend time in their home districts, and those legislatures stand in recess.
- Before the Michigan Legislature began its summer recess, it worked on multiple bills affecting sportsmen and women. Now that the legislature is returning to Lansing, these bills could be brought to the floor for a vote.
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter of support in April on three such bills, which would collectively create a new license and guidelines for commercial hunting and fishing guides in the Great Lakes state.
Michigan House Bills 5358, 5359, and 5360 would create a framework for hunting and fishing guides in the Great Lakes State. Guide services are crucial to hunting and angling, as expert guides can dramatically increase enjoyability and potential success of a hunting or fishing trip. However, there is little regulation over guiding in Michigan, and this bill package would create a licensing system, reporting requirements, and much-needed minimum-safety standards.
The licensing system would create an additional stream of revenue for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and contribute to the American System of Conservation Funding. Guides would pay a fee of $150 for a commercial guide license that is good for three years. Reporting requirements provided by the bill package would also help the state’s DNR by supplying it with critical data, which is necessary for the agency to continue its science-based management of Michigan’s plentiful fish and wildlife. The bills’ safety standards would also ensure that both guides and clients alike may enjoy Michigan’s outdoor activities through safe hunting and fishing practices.
The legislation was championed by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), a partner of CSF, who has been supporting hunting and fishing guide legislation in the state for years. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will continue to work with its National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses and partners like MUCC to support legislation that benefits not only hunters and anglers, but also state fish and wildlife management agencies.
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?