Bear Crop Damage Bill (House Bill 5226) Update

House Bill 5226: Amending 1994 PA 451, “Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act” Section 40114 (MCL 324.40114) This morning the Agricultural Committee unanimously voted out HB 5226, where it now will go before the full House for consideration. This bill woBlack Bearuld allow the DNR to issue out of season bear crop damage permits to landowners that could be used by a hunter licensed to take a bear during that calendar year. Initially the Department of Natural Resources, MUCC and many of Michigan’s Bear hunting organizations were opposed to the bill as it was introduced. The bill was seen as too open ended and had the ability to erode the traditional bear hunting season. But, thanks to the willingness of the bill sponsor, Rep McBroom, MUCC and its Bear Hunting groups were able to come to a compromise that allowed the bill to move forward out of committee. HB 5226 as amended would do the following:
  • Allow the DNR to issue out of season bear crop damage permits to landowners;
  • Allow the tag to be used by a hunter licensed to take a bear during that calendar year;
  • A hunter must use the allocated bear license in the same BMU for crop damage;
  • No more than 5% crop damage permits per BMU zone, with at least one per.
  • Successful participant must register the bear with a DNR field office within 72 hours;
  • The DNR would have 4 days to respond to the request, ten days to make a determination, and;
  • Require the DNR to report to the Legislature within 3 years, how it works, and suggest any modifications.

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