Pavlov fights for outdoor integrity, Michigan sportsmen

LANSING, Mich.—Sen. Phil Pavlov, along with Sen. Tom Casperson, on Thursday introduced legislation to toughen penalties for illegally killing a protected animal or trophy buck in the state of Michigan.

“From St. Clair to Escanaba, poaching and quality deer management are serious concerns for property owners and sportsmen alike,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes. “Protecting our wild resources is important to all of us who enjoy Michigan’s great outdoors, and we must do more to deter violators who do not play by the rules.”

Senate Bills 1340 and 1341 would increase existing fines for illegally killing a protected animal and impose additional penalties for poaching trophy bucks. The new measures are consistent with policies in neighboring states.

Under the proposed laws, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would use the “Boone and Crockett” scoring standard to assess an additional level of restitution when a trophy buck is taken illegally. The score is based on gross size of the antler measurement and is already used by other states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Offenders would be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 per deer, additional restitution based on antler size, possible misdemeanor fines and up to 90 days in jail. Offenders could also have their hunting privileges revoked for the remainder of the year convicted and three subsequent years. Fines would be deposited into the state’s Game and Fish Protection Fund.

The bills were referred to the Senate Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes Committee, where a hearing is expected in October.