LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. John Proos, to increase restitution and toughen penalties for individuals convicted of the illegal killing, possessing, purchasing or selling of certain animals in Michigan.
“Hunting is a favorite tradition and way of life for many Southwest Michigan families. Poaching isn’t hunting; it’s a crime,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Michigan residents are committed to protecting our natural resources, which includes our diverse types of wild game. Poaching is a threat to animal populations, our ecosystem and our economy. This is about sending a strong message to poachers that Michigan will not tolerate the illegal taking of game.”
Under Senate Bills 245 and 246, an individual convicted of illegally killing, possessing, purchasing or selling moose or elk would lose their license for 15 calendar years for a first offense and for lifetime for a second offense. If the animal were a bear or antlered white-tailed deer, the individual would lose their license for five calendar years for a first offense and for ten years for a second offense.
SB 244 would increase existing fines for these crimes. The new fines would be as follows:
- Elk: $5,000 per animal (with additional fines for antlered elk);
- Moose: $5,000 per animal (with additional fines for antlered moose);
- Bear: $3,500 per animal;
- Eagle: $1,500 per animal;
- Bearded turkey: $1,000 per animal; and
- Waterfowl: $500 per animal.
“I proudly supported these initiatives as part of my firm commitment to protect our hunting rights and traditions,” Proos said. “Southwest Michigan’s hunting heritage and our wild game need to be protected from criminals who have used rifles, baseball bats and even golf clubs to illegally take wild animals. We must crack down hard on these appalling incidents of poaching and punish the offenders.”
SBs 244, 245 and 246 now head to the Michigan House for further consideration.
Editor’s Note: Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.