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Changes Coming to Michigan’s Wildlife Regulations Cycle

October 9th, 2013

In an effort to simplify and stabilize the ever changing hunting and trapping regulations, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has proposed a set cycle for reviewing, renewing and possibly changing wildlife regulations. Moving away from the annual regulations process to multi-year regulations will not only provide some assurances for the hunter and trapper on what the rules are, but also give biologists more of a chance to collect scientific data to see the impact of the regulations and the relative trend of wildlife populations before proposing changes.

Here are the proposed Wildlife Conservation Order cycles for multi-year regulations, which is on the agenda for approval by the NRC on November 7. Note that some have changed, while others remain the same (bear and furbearer regulation have already been on this multi-year cycle). Wolves will remain an annual cycle for now as this is our newest season and extra care will be made to determine each year where the hunt is necessary to address conflicts.

MUCC supports this change.

 Wolves (to remain 1 year)

First season to take place in 2013

This is meant to

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of hunting in addition to nonlethal and targeted lethal control measures at resolving wolf-related conflicts
  • Adapt to changing situations and to reflect knowledge gained from analyzing the previous year’s harvest and wolf-related conflicts

Bear (2 year cycle remains the same, but transitions to an odd year cycle)

Keeping the same timing is meant to:

  • Aid in evaluating the impact of regulation changes
  • Remove one variable in population trend analysis (regulatory changes)
  • Increase public understanding of current regulations
  • Enhance compliance
  • An Off cycle update would still be provided to the NRC

Furbearer (To remain a 2year cycle)

This is meant to:

  • Aid staff in evaluating the impact of regulation changes
  • Reduce public confusion regarding regulations
  • Enhance compliance

 Elk (From a 1 year to a 2 year cycle)

This is expected to:

  • Aid in evaluating the impact of regulation changes on recreational opportunity, agricultural conflicts, and nuisance control
  • Promote understanding of regulations by public and elk hunting guides
  • Enhance compliance
  • It is important to note that The Elk Management Workgroup supported this proposed change

Deer (From a 1 year to a 3 year cycle)

This is expected to:

  • Remove one variable that may influence deer population trends (regulatory changes)
  • Increase staff time available to evaluate impacts of regulation changes, educate public, and assess public opinions
  • Reduce public confusion regarding regulations
  • It is important to note that all three Regional Deer Advisory Teams (RDATs) support the proposed change

Turkey (To remain a 3 year cycle)

This is expected to:

  • Aid staff in evaluating the impact of regulation changes
  • Reduce public confusion regarding regulations
  • Enhance compliance
  • The DNR notes that surveys show turkey hunters desire this stability

Falconry (To remain a 3 year cycle)

This is expected to:

  • Help staff evaluate potential conflicts in resources use between falconers and non-falconers
  • Allow for timely compliance and implementation of federal regulations
  • Reduce public confusion regarding regulations
  • The DNR states that the Michigan Hawking Club supports maintaining the current process

 Waterfowl (From a 1 year cycle to a 3 year cycle)

  • Federal frameworks are still set annually, but provided there are no changes the opening dates and bag limits will be stabilized.
  • Proposing regular duck season opening dates for a 3-year period, is expected to make it easier for hunters to plan for upcoming hunting seasons
  • Proposed recommended dates for 2013-2015 regular duck season were shared in August with the NRC
  • It is important to note that CWAC supports the proposed recommendations

Small Game (From “as needed” to a 5 year cycle)

Maintaining this timing is expected to:

  • Provide consistent opportunity for stakeholder feedback
  • Aid in evaluating the impact of regulation changes
  • Remove one variable in population trend analysis (possession and daily limit changes)
  • Increase public understanding of current regulations
  • Enhance compliance

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