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News Articles

18
Bill would protect Michigan hunting
OUTDOORS: NOTES

By LOUIE STOUT
Tribune Correspondent

A bill introduced in Michigan would make it part of the Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) mission to promote hunting.

House Bill 6272 introduced Sept. 30 by Rep. Susan Tabor, R-Delta Township, would direct the Michigan DNR and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to promote and preserve the state's hunting heritage. Tabor is the representative who initiated the bill that got Michigan its dove season this fall.

The bill awaits action in the House Committee on Conservation and Outdoor Recreation. It is designed to help protect the rights of the nearly one million sportsmen who enjoy hunting opportunities in the state.

In many states, when anti-hunting groups attempt to ban hunting through legislation, ballot issues or lawsuits, wildlife agencies are muzzled because their missions are to manage wildlife, not defend or promote hunting. As a result, the public does not get to hear from wildlife experts on sportsmen-related issues including trapping and hunting with hounds. House Bill 6272 would give the DNR a voice.

The Illinois legislature passed a similar bill in 1999 as did New Hampshire in 2001.

Diamond tourney

Bass anglers looking for late season competition will find it on Diamond Lake (Cassopolis) Oct. 31. That's when the St. Joseph Valley Bassmasters will host a fund-raiser tournament with proceeds going to the "Reins of Life Therapeutic Horseback Riding Of Michiana."

Entry fee is $60 per team $10 (optional) for a big bass pot.

Tournament hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. (CST), and sandwiches and soft drinks will be provided to contestants afterwards. Entry forms are available at area tackle shops or by calling Dewayne Wilda, 272-4633.

DNR reviews regulations

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has approved a series of fisheries orders for next season.

The orders comprise Michigan's trout, salmon, whitefish and lake herring regulations, establishing size limits and creel limits for Michigan waters. They are reviewed annually to reflect environmental changes and department management objectives.

Most regulations remained the same, although one substantial change involves extending Type 4 designation on the Muskegon River, from the Croton Dam to Bridge Street. The river has been split since 2000, with Type 3 designation from the Thornapple boat launch to M-120 in an experimental effort to produce more trout 15 inches or longer. The new designation will enhance angler opportunities to keep fish on this stretch of river.

In an effort to improve Lake Superior's coaster brook trout population, the minimum size limit was increased to 20 inches and the bag limit reduced to one fish.

Additional fisheries orders address special hook size regulations designed to discourage illegal fishing during the fall salmon run, Michigan-Wisconsin boundary water regulations, and other special fishing regulations on various waters. The orders will be available on the DNR Web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr.

The Natural Resources Commission also reviewed proposed regulations for the 2005 spring turkey hunting season. Spring turkey hunters in Michigan select from 28 management units, comprising 44,524 square miles.

The proposed 2005 regulations include expansion of units L, P, and X, in an effort to offer hunters more hunting destinations within those units. The proposal is available for public review and comment for the next 30 days, and the commission will make a final decision about the 2005 regulations at its Nov. 4 meeting in Lansing.

Wolf week

Governor Jennifer Granholm has proclaimed this week as Wolf Awareness Week, recognizing the wolf as an important part of Michigan's natural heritage.

Gray wolves have naturally re-colonized Michigan's Upper Peninsula after nearly being exterminated from the state. During the 2004 winter track survey, at least 360 wolves were counted on the mainland. In addition, there are 29 wolves in two packs on Isle Royale, in Lake Superior. The DNR says return of wolves to the Upper Peninsula occurred naturally through the immigration of wolves from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and across the St. Mary's river from Ontario.

The wolf population in Michigan has exceeded the recovery goals set by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the process of taking the species off the list of threatened and endangered species act has been initiated.

Tribune Correspondent Louie Stout:

lstout@net-link.net

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