New Zorn, Pavlov legislation protects our natural resources

LANSING, Mich. — Protecting Michigan’s natural resources, hunting heritage and wild game just got easier under legislation sponsored by state Sens. Dale Zorn and Phil Pavlov and signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Zorn sponsored Senate Bills 245 and 246, now Public Acts 188 and 189 of 2015. The measures toughen penalties and increase restitution for individuals convicted of the illegal killing, possessing, purchasing or selling of certain animals in Michigan.

“These new laws help to ensure wild game is protected and the long heritage of hunting in Michigan is preserved for future generations,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “They also preserve the natural resources of Michigan for enjoyment by everyone.”

Under Zorn’s legislation, an individual convicted of illegally killing, possessing, purchasing or selling moose or elk will 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 will lose their license for five calendar years for a first offense and for ten years for a second offense.

Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, sponsored SB 244, now PA 187 of 2015. The law increases existing fines for these crimes. The new fines are 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.

“Our natural resources and hunting heritage must be protected,” said Pavlov, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources. “Poaching is a despicable, illegal activity that threatens these traditions. With these laws, we have more weapons in the fight against poaching.”