Michigan House Bill 6354 (HB 6354), which recently passed the Michigan House of Representatives, would remove the authority of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to issue an order or interim order requiring a hunter to report the harvest of deer or retain a harvest confirmation number for that deer. In June, the NRC approved mandatory harvest reporting in the state, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that 2022 deer seasons would require online harvest reporting. This legislation upends these actions.
Please consider joining the National Deer Association (NDA) in opposing HB 6354. The NDA supports mandatory harvest reporting as an important deer management tool, and we believe that deer management decisions like harvest reporting should remain with state wildlife agencies. CLICK HERE to ask your state senators to oppose HB 6354 in its current form.
Current reporting rates to DNR’s post-season mail surveys is about 40% – down from 75% twenty years ago. Last year, nearly 7,000 hunters voluntarily reported their deer harvest online to help test the DNR’s new reporting system, and the DNR has rolled out mandatory harvest reporting for the 2022 deer seasons. The NDA has fought to make this happen in Michigan and elsewhere, and it’s a positive development for deer management in the state. Online harvest reporting will allow the DNR to collect a near real-time estimate of deer harvest as it occurs – a valuable tool that the state has never had access to before.
The text of HB 6354 originally reduced the penalty for not reporting a harvest within 72 hours to a maximum fine of $150. The DNR, the NDA Michigan Advisory Council and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) all supported the bill as introduced. However, the bill was amended to its current form before passing the House. It must now work its way through the Senate.