Michigan United Conservation Clubs challenges shortened coyote hunting season

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By Michigan Advance

April 9, 2024


Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) has filed a challenge to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission’s recent decision to bring back a three-month pause in Michigan’s coyote hunting season.

The Natural Resource Commission is made up of seven members appointed by the governor who regulate hunting and fishing in the state.

In 2016, Michigan’s coyote season was changed to a year-round season, whereas it previously lasted from July 15 to April 15. At the commission’s meeting on March 14, members voted 4-2 to approve changes to the season, returning the season to its previous schedule.

During the commission’s Feb. 8 meeting, Cody Norton of the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division gave a presentation on the proposal to shorten coyote season, noting that stakeholders were looking to exclude the time when coyotes have dependent young, citing public perception concerns and potential impacts to future hunting and trapping opportunities.

This change would make the season more consistent with hunting seasons for most other game species, which are not hunted while they have dependent young, Norton said.

In an evaluation of the issues listed on the order approving the change, the commission noted that during the shift to a year round season, the average number of coyotes harvested per hunter had not increased.

MUCC’s suit filed last week argues the commission unlawfully closed Michigan’s coyote season, violating its responsibility and legal charge.

In addition to MUCC’s suit filed in Ingham County, the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers has also filed a lawsuit against the commission in Mackinac County.

In a statement, MUCC Chief Executive Officer Amy Trotter said both groups believe the commission relied on unsubstantiated claims of negative public perception in making its decision.

In the commission’s evaluation, it noted the Department of Natural Resources had heard strong input on all sides on the issue including support from the Furtaker User Group and opposition from predator callers.

“The record is unambiguous: the commission has not heard or cited any scientific literature or rationale justifying the closure,” Trotter said. “Meanwhile, there were hours of public testimony on the practical benefits of coyote hunting during the spring season, while being reinforced with cited literature.”

According to the commission’s evaluation of the adopted proposal, predator callers would be able to hunt year-round on private lands where coyotes are doing damage or are physically present where they could imminently cause damage.

The commission’s chair, Tom Baird, told the Advance he was unable to comment on the filings due to pending litigation.

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license.




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