In the past three years, the most consistent calls we receive at our offices are questions about the use of straight-walled rifle cartridges for deer hunting in the southern Michigan limited-firearm zone. Most of the time, the questions relate to the specifications of the cartridge, but lately there has been worry about the three-year sunset contained in the original 2014 Natural Resources Commission (NRC) order allowing straight-walled cartridges. Last week, the Department of Natural Resources sent a memo to the NRC recommending that they reauthorize the order.
The 2014 NRC order approved the use of straight-walled cartridges over .35 caliber, with a minimum case length of 1.16 inches and a maximum case length of 1.8 inches. It was based on a 2010 Michigan United Conservation Clubs resolution. The DNR memo recommends not just the renewal of the order, but a removal of the sunset. The Law Enforcement Division evaluated the pros and cons, noting that initially there was concern about safety or property damage from missed shots in the more heavily populated southern limited-firearm zone. However, they found that:
"During the 2014-2017 evaluation period, there was no documented increase in casualty incidents or a significant increase in complaints or confirmed incidents involving these firearms and property damage."
The DNR memo was submitted March 13 for information, meaning it must be approved by the Natural Resources Commission at a future meeting, possibly in May or June.
For those of you hunters who have already made the investment in a straight-walled cartridge rifle meeting the specifications, or those of you thinking about purchasing one, and for retailers with these rifles in inventory, this is great news.
The order allowing straight-walled cartridges was based on a 2010 MUCC policy resolution. Any member of MUCC can introduce a resolution which, if approved at our Annual Convention, becomes the policy that we advocate for, just like straight-walled cartridges. Become a member of MUCC today to support our work to make your voice count in Lansing!