LANSING — Bills establishing safety regulations for hunting and fishing guides are being considered by the Michigan Legislature with bipartisan support.
The collection of bills — SB 103, 104 and 105 — would establish a licensing system for hunting and fishing guides.
Sen. John Cherry, D-Flint, introduced one of the bills and spoke in support of the package at the House Natural Resources, Environment, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Committee at their Thursday meeting.
“The purpose of these bills are to create a basic regulatory framework for commercial hunting and fishing guides for the protection of Michigan’s natural resources and to encourage positive sports personal experiences in the state,” said Cherry. He said the main goals of the bill were supporting client safety, enhancing professionalism across the guidance industry and increasing the data collected on the state’s fish and game populations.
Under the proposals, the state would institute new requirements on commercial guides, including licensing in CPR training, having a valid Michigan license and not having any felony or game violations within the last three years. Guides would also be required to carry a first aid kit with their party.
The application for the license — which is valid for three years — would include a $150 fee for state residents and a $350 fee for non-residents.
The fishing guide licensure requirements only applies to guides operating in inland lakes or streams and guides would be required to file monthly reports about the type and quantity of fish caught. Hunting guides would similarly be required to report information about game and their operations.
If passed, the measures would go into effect in March 2024.
Amy Trotter, CEO of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, said the requirements would allow novice hunters and anglers to have more confidence in their personal safety when in unfamiliar settings.
Advocates said the data collection aspect of the package would allow them to better conduct conservation efforts.
“This wasn’t created to discourage people from guiding or to limit guiding or have big government interfering with these guys — this was all about the data,” said Mike Thorman, legislative director for the Michigan Hunting Dog Federation.
The bills would have little effect on the day to day actions of hobbyist hunters and anglers, said Rep. Dave Prestin, R-Cedar River.
“They have it narrowly defined as far as individual landowners, individual sportsmen,” he said. “To a large extent it’s not going to have an effect on people, especially up in my neck of the woods that are living, thriving in our area.”
“This is more so meant for the guides from out of state, as well as in-state, that make living at this and facilitating a hunt for people that largely have never had any experience doing it,” he said. “It’s it’s all good stuff that makes it a safer hunt, a better hunt, probably a more successful hunt.”
Prestin added that he was “largely supportive” of the package. The bills will be voted on by the committee at a later meeting, after which they would need to be considered by the full House and Senate.