LANSING, Mich.— Legislation to toughen penalties for illegally killing a protected animal or trophy buck in the state of Michigan passed the Michigan Senate unanimously with bipartisan support on Thursday.
“This is good news for Michigan sportsmen and the deer herd. Some of the very best bucks are being illegally shot at night under a spotlight in the crosshairs of a scope,” said Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes. “We want to make sure to protect our wild resources so all hunters can enjoy what Pure Michigan has to offer for generations to come.”
Senate Bills 1340, sponsored by Pavlov, and 1341, sponsored by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, 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. In addition, offenders would have their hunting privileges revoked for the remainder of the year in which they were convicted and five subsequent years for the first offense and up to ten years for the second. Fines would be deposited into the state’s Game and Fish Protection Fund.
The bills now head to the House Committee on Natural Resources, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation.