Crop Damage Permits Discussed in the Legislature

For years, the tension between farmers and hunters heats up any time out-of-season crop damage deer permits are mentioned. While MUCC recognizes that these tools are needed to address very specific damage concerns, all landowners should, as a first step, seek to use licensed hunters during the regular deer season.
With that being said, farmers have continuously requested to have more eligible shooters under their crop damage permits. Currently, they can name only 3 people who are eligible to use these permits. A legislative bill has been introduced to expand this pool of possible shooters to 15. Senate Bill 685 was introduced by Senator John Proos (R-St. Joseph), which passed 35-1 through the Senate in January.
MUCC made sure this would in no way expand the number of permits landowners receive, but only add to the number of shooters that can use them. The number of permits a landowner may receive is determined by the local DNR Wildlife Biologist, which will continue under the new legislation. We also hope this might open up opportunities for hunters to help farmers experiencing problems with deer damage.
Upon passing the Senate, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, where Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) introduced an amendment to the program. Both MUCC and the DNR worked with Rep. McBroom on refining this amendment and we appreciate his willingness to listen to our initial concerns. This legislation now gives the DNR 5 business days to respond to a request for permits, or 10 days to give reasons for denial in writing along with suggestions for controlling or preventing the damage caused by deer.
This amended bill is now on the House floor awaiting action.

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