Hunting

George Heartwell portrait
ferris.edu

For the second time this month, Michigan's Republican-led Senate has blocked one of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's appointments to the state commission that regulates hunting and fishing. The Senate on Thursday rejected George Heartwell, a former mayor of Grand Rapids. Gun-rights groups opposed his nomination in part because, as mayor, he backed an ordinance banning guns in public buildings and was a member of a gun-control group co-founded by former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Heartwell, who no longer hunts but fishes, has said he supports the Second Amendment and hunting.

DNR logo
Michigan Department of Natural Resources / michigan.gov

Michigan Senate Republicans have blocked Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's appointee to a commission that regulates hunting and fishing. Democrats say Thursday's mostly party-line vote rejecting Anna Mitterling of Mason to the Natural Resources Commission was done because the GOP opposes a different nominee to the commission who supports gun control. It marks the first time in nearly a decade that a governor's nominee was rejected by the Senate. Whitmer named Mitterling, a Lansing Community College adjunct biology professor, to the commission in December.

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A Lake Michigan community has voted to spend $20,000 to kill as many as 30 deer at two parks in western Michigan. The unanimous vote by the Muskegon City Commission is an effort to control growing herds, although there are different opinions among residents.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports the cull by sharpshooters must be completed by March 31. “It’s an action, not an ultimate answer. We know that,” Mayor Stephen Gawron said Tuesday.

Hunting wildlife has long been ingrained in Michigan's culture, but it is currently on a decline across the state.

The decline is partly due to more baby boomers aging out. Young adults, urbanites and others are also far less likely to participate in hunting.

Michigan had as many as 1.2 million hunters in the 1970s, '80s and into the '90s. But MLive.com reported Sunday that by 2018, less than 675,000 people had at least one hunting license in the state.

Child hunter
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A bill advancing in the Michigan House would allow 10- to 13-year-olds hunt on public land Children as young as 10-years of age could hunt on public land under a bill advancing in Michigan's Legislature.

State law currently allows those who are 10, 11, 12 or 13 years old to hunt with a gun on private property if they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or authorized adult.

The measure approved 102-7 by the House Wednesday would allow 10- to 13-year-olds to also hunt deer, bear and elk on public land.

Officials say more than 70 deer have been killed so far during Ann Arbor's expanded 2018 deer hunt as part of the city's deer management efforts. A hunt to kill up to 250 deer started Jan. 8 and runs until Jan. 31. It's being carried out by sharpshooters. 

Photo of Deer
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Michigan officials have scheduled an additional firearm hunting season for antlerless deer in Alpena County. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says the hunt will take place from Jan. 4-7 and Jan. 11-14 on private land south of state highway 32. 

Photo of Judge with gavel
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A judge has ordered a 62-year-old hunter safety instructor to stand trial on a lesser charge in the fatal shooting of a 13-year-old boy who was squirrel hunting in western Michigan. Roger Hoeker of Jenison was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but 78th District Court Judge H. Kevin Drake this week sent the case to circuit court on a charge of reckless discharge of a firearm. 

State officials say five ruffed grouse have tested positive for the West Nile Virus. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says it marks the first time the disease has been confirmed in the state's ruffed grouse population. The five birds were collected from August through October in Iron, Delta, Roscommon and Missaukee counties. Two were found dead and three were shot by hunters. 

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Plans are being detailed for Ann Arbor's expanded 2018 deer hunt as part of the city's ongoing deer management efforts. The Ann Arbor News reports nonprofit contractor White Buffalo will complete sterilizations from Jan. 2-7 by tranquilizing up to 26 female deer and surgically removing their ovaries. 

A hunt to kill up to 250 deer is scheduled Jan. 8-31. A number of parks will be closed 3 p.m.-midnight every day for the hunt. It could be the city's biggest hunt if it goes according to plan. A total of 156 deer were killed during hunts the last two winters.

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