by John Barnes, from MLive.com
Michigan's largest conservation organization is expected to push for changes in laws that have vast differences in fines for illegally killing elk versus trophy deer.
Drew Youngedyke, spokesman for the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, says the organization likely will take up the matter by this summer's June convention.
Under a new law, poachers face a $10,000 fine for illegally killing a buck deer with six points per antler, 12 total. The fine is $1,500 for killing a royal elk, sometimes a herd bull, with the same amount of antler tines. The $1,500 is true for an imperial elk, 14 points, or the monarch, 16 points.
That makes little sense, with less than 700 elk in Michigan, versus more than perhaps 1 million deer, about one-third of them bucks, anti-poaching advocates say.
Youngedyke said an MUCC member is preparing a position the organization may take up that addresses the discrepancy.
In a recent column for MUCC, he wrote that a fraction of illegal hunters is hurting the community of legal hunters, and chastised "anti-hunting forces."
"They don't pay attention to the 700,000-plus legal and ethical hunters who take to the woods every year. They only notice the few slob hunters and poachers who make headlines," Youngedyke wrote. "So stop it. Whether that's you or someone you know, stop it. If you hear about it, report it. No more 'wink, wink.' No more 'shoot, shovel and shut up.' Those days are over. They never should have existed in the first place. They have to be over; otherwise no one will be able to hunt in the future....