Senator Proos Blasts White House Inaction on Asian Carp

WSJM – RadioSilverhead Asian Carp

State Senator John Proos is putting the blame for the discovery of environmental DNA from invasive silver carp in the Kalamazoo River squarely on the shoulders of the Obama administration. The St. Joseph Republican says there has been “consistent inaction” by the White House that has resulted in the species of Asian carp to “inch closer to destroying our vital Southwest Michigan waterways.”

Proos joins Congressman Fred Upton in noting the carp, if they were to get established in the Great Lakes, threaten a $4 billion fishing and tourism industry. He adds he’s continuing to push for the closure of the Chicago locks to separate that city’s water system from Lake Michigan in order to prevent the invasive fish from getting in.

Speaking to WSJM News, Proos blasted delays by the Obama administration on separating the Chicago River system from the Great Lakes.

The Department of Natural Resources notes that just because eDNA was found in one sample from 400 taken this summer, they have no evidence there are actually silver carp in the rivers that feed the Great Lakes. Another 200 samples were taken on Tuesday, and those are now being tested.

Time Running Out to Apply for Antlerless Deer Hunting License

Dowagiac Hunters
Senator Proos speaks with sportsmen at the annual Sportsman’s Jamboree in Dowagiac

Hunting in Michigan’s great outdoors is a tradition for many Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors. Helping attract more hunters to Michigan than any other state, our rich hunting heritage plays a key role in our economy and way of life.

Deer firearm season is Nov. 15-30 and is the most popular deer hunting season, but it’s not the only one. In fact, antlerless deer license applications are already on sale through Aug. 15.

I encourage interested hunters to apply for an antlerless deer license. The good news is that there are no limits on the number of public-land licenses you can buy during the season until the quota is met. The bad news is that the quota has been reduced this year as a result of the harsh winter. This means that licenses may sell out.

Hunters may apply for one license in any open deer management unit (DMU). A nonrefundable $5 fee is charged at the time of application. Starting Sept. 4, drawing results and leftover license availability may be viewed at http://www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings. Beginning Sept. 11 at 10 a.m., any leftover licenses will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Residents may apply for one private-land or public-land license at http://www.mdnr-elicense.com. Young hunters, ages 9-16, can also purchase one junior antlerless deer license over the counter until Aug. 15. No application is required.

For all but one DMU, hunters are limited to purchasing five private-land licenses. However, private-land licenses within certain DMUs can enable hunters to take advantage of the early or late antlerless firearm seasons.

The early antlerless firearm season is Sept. 20-21 in DMUs generally located in the Grand Traverse Bay area and in eastern Michigan from Monroe to Presque Isle County.

The late antlerless season runs Dec. 22 to Jan. 1 in the same DMUs as the early season, plus every county south of Ludington – including all of Southwest Michigan.

Hunting guides, including all rules and regulations, can be found at: http://www.michigan.gov/hunting. In addition, the 2014 Antlerless Deer Digest can be found at local license agents or online at http://www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests.

And remember to always be safe. By hunting safely and legally, we all can help ensure our hunting heritage lives on for generations to come.

Hunting Season is Underway

Dowagiac HuntersHunting is a tradition for many Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors. Our great outdoors offers something to interest every type of hunter — helping Michigan attract more hunters than any other state.

Our rich hunting heritage plays a key role in Michigan’s economy and way of life, and I will continue to protect your hunting rights.

Deer firearm season has begun, and I want to pass along some useful information and urge all hunters to hunt with safety in mind.

The regular firearm season from Nov. 15-30 is the most popular deer hunting season, but it’s not the only one. Archery season continues Dec. 1 to Jan.1; muzzle-loading season in southern Michigan is Dec. 6-22; and late antlerless firearm season runs from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1.

Hunting guides, including all rules and regulations, can be found at: http://www.michigan.gov/hunting.

Hunters can use Mi-HUNT on the website to create and print customized maps on 7 million acres of public lands. Residents can also buy hunting licenses online 24 hours a day at: http://www.mdnr-elicense.com.

With firearm deer season underway, I offer two reminders. First, please hunt safely. Most hunting injuries and casualties are preventable. Please follow gun safety rules like wearing “hunter’s orange” and never mixing hunting with drinking.

Second, remember the impact of poachers on the sport and on the herd.

I supported recent bills to preserve the hunting experience by toughening penalties for trespassing on private property and for illegally killing a protected animal or trophy buck.

By hunting safely and legally, we all can help ensure our hunting heritage lives on for generations to come.

Happy hunting! I hope everyone has a safe and successful season.

Michigan’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend Set for Feb. 16-17

Ice FishingMichigan offers two weekends each year when Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors can get together and enjoy some of the world’s best fishing – at no charge.

This year’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend is Feb. 16-17.

The free weekend is an excellent opportunity to introduce the joy of fishing to children or to try winter fishing for the first time.

During the weekend, all fishing license fees will be waived, but all fishing regulations still apply.

To encourage involvement in the Free Fishing Weekends, organized activities are being scheduled in communities across the state. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations, including local and state parks, constituent groups, schools, businesses and others.

For more information on Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

The website also includes useful information about ice fishing. The article, entitled “Fishing Technique: Ice Fishing, The Coolest Sport Around,” is located under Related Resources. It features safety advice and basics on getting started and commonly used equipment.

I encourage Southwest Michigan anglers – and those who have never gone fishing – to get out and take part in one of our state’s premier outdoor activities this weekend.

Michigan has more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes for residents to enjoy.

If you head out on the ice or water this weekend, please remember that having fun starts with being safe.

Program Offers Free Skiing for Michigan 4th Graders

SkiingWinter too often result in kids staying indoors, watching television.

To help get children active, the Michigan Snowsports Industries Association (MSIA) is giving fourth graders the opportunity to get three free lift tickets to 20 participating Michigan ski areas.

I encourage Southwest Michigan families to take advantage of this chance to introduce young kids to new activities and experiences or just to have fun in our great outdoors.

The Fourth Grade Ski & Ride Passport is part of MSIA’s “Cold is Cool” program, which is dedicated to improving the health of the children in the state by offering winter outdoor activities for all Michigan kids and their families.

In order for fourth graders to use the free lift or trail pass coupons, a paying adult must accompany them.

Up to two fourth graders can ski free with each paying adult. Although the skiing is free, MSIA charges a $15 printing and shipping fee for each passport ordered.

Applications for the passport have been sent to all Michigan elementary schools. Parents and children can also pick up the applications at participating MSIA ski shops or by visiting the group’s website at http://www.goskimichigan.com.

On the website, families will find valuable information on other money-saving programs, ski equipment and Michigan lodging. One link offers updated information on ski and snow conditions at Michigan resorts, as well as details on amenities.

Even if you are unable to participate in the program, I encourage you to consider getting out and enjoying Michigan skiing.

Allow Hunters to Help Farmers Protect Crops from Excess Deer

Agriculture is Michigan’s second largest industry, yet hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of crops are lost each year due to nuisance deer. The problem has been exacerbated over the years as the number of deer has increased.

Farmers and other landowners may soon be able to enlist the help of hunters to protect their crops.

Legislation I sponsored may soon be signed into law to create a “Hunters Helping Landowners” program in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The program will help connect farmers experiencing crop losses with potential hunters interested in helping reduce the number of excess deer.

Individuals willing to hunt nuisance deer would submit an application to the DNR and indicate up to two Michigan counties in which they are interested in hunting. Landowners who need additional antlerless deer harvested on their property would contact the DNR and request a list of those who have expressed interest in hunting in their county.

I modeled the program after an Indiana initiative and designed it to complement an earlier reform that gives landowners with significant crop damage more flexibility in managing deer on their property.

My previous reform became law in March, allowing someone with a DNR deer damage shooting permit to include up to 15 authorized shooters to implement the permit.

Southwest Michigan families know about the importance of agriculture to our region and way of life. I worked to enact both of these common-sense measures because they will allow our family farmers to protect their livelihoods and the crops that fuel a multi-billion-dollar industry and support thousands of Michigan jobs.

Proos Nuisance Deer Legislation Goes to the Governor

WSJM- Radio

State Senator John Proos says that he has a plan to help Michigan farmers better protect their crops from nuisance deer. Legislation that he introduced to hook those farmers up with eager hunters is now on its way to Governor Rick Snyder. Under Proos’ bill, farmers looking to rid themselves of those troublesome deer can simply contact the Department of Natural Resources and find out who in their county has signed up to be a special volunteer hunter.

A previous plan from Proos allowed a few extra deer to be shot offseason if they’re found to be a nuisance to farmers. This new legislation organizes the process a bit by letting the DNR match up the farmers with the shooters. Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign it.

Michigan’s Summer Free Fishing Weekend Set for June 9-10

The state’s annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend is an excellent time for Southwest Michigan families and out-of-state visitors to get together and enjoy some of the world’s best fishing on both inland and Great Lakes waters.

This year’s weekend is scheduled for June 9-10.

The tradition is also a wonderful chance to introduce the joy of fishing to children and relax with family and friends – at no charge.

Since 1986, Michigan has annually celebrated the Summer Free Fishing Weekend as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources and the sheer fun of fishing.  During the weekend, all fishing license fees will be waived, but all fishing regulations still apply.

To encourage involvement in the Free Fishing Weekends, organized activities are being scheduled in communities across the state. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations, including local and state parks, constituent groups, schools, businesses and others.

For more information on Free Fishing Weekend, including a list of activities across the state, visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing.

Berrien Springs Village President Milt Richter says that the St. Joseph River in Berrien Springs is an ideal fishing location. Stake out a spot near the dam and you will find plenty of salmon and walleye.

With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes, Michigan and fishing go hand in hand.

I encourage Southwest Michigan anglers – and those who have never gone fishing – to get out and take part in one of our state’s premier outdoor activities this weekend.

Pure Michigan = $1 Billion in Tourism

A record number of out-of-state visitors were attracted to the state in 2011 as a result of last summer’s Pure Michigan campaign.

According to the state tourism group Travel Michigan and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the summer promotion generated 3.2 million trips to Michigan and visitors spent $1 billion at local businesses, paying $70 million in taxes.

The successful, award-winning tourism promotion program has had a direct, measurable effect on boosting tourism in Southwest Michigan.

John Marple, who owns the Old Harbor Inn in South Haven said: “The ads have given my business a boost and have done the same for many hotel owners across the state. Right now, we are gearing up for another season of growth at the inn.”

In addition to supporting our state’s tourism industry and the thousands of Michigan job providers and families who depend on tourism, the program is helping the state budget. For every dollar we invested in Pure Michigan last summer, the state got back almost five dollars in revenue.

The 2011 summer campaign cost $14.3 million and brought back $4.90 in taxes for each dollar spent. The state also recently announced a new advertising partnership with Coca- Cola. Under the partnership, idyllic Michigan scenery will cover Coca-Cola trucks and vending machines at no cost to the state.

I strongly support the Pure Michigan program because it accomplishes three goals at once: helping keep and create jobs, generating more state revenues and improving Michigan’s national image to entrepreneurs considering locating in our state.

The campaign is a productive investment, and I hope its success continues in Southwest Michigan.

Explore Michigan Outdoors with Free DNR Mobile App

Southwest Michigan families have an additional tool to use when planning their outdoor activities this year: the “MI Camping and Recreation Locator” mobile application.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) app makes it easier for residents and out-of-state visitors to get out and enjoy our state’s wonderful natural resources.

I encourage outdoor enthusiasts to take advantage of this app to locate information about our state parks, forest campgrounds, boat launches and other state outdoor activities. It is easy to use and free of charge.

The app allows users to search for state parks, forest campgrounds and boat launches by region, city or proximity. Features include camping, lodging and boating information; maps showing the location of each state park, forest campground and boat launch; distance between you and each recreational opportunity; and touch-to-call phone numbers to easily contact the facilities.

State park and forest information like the size and description of the park, park rules and activities you can find there; and information about boat launches like name and size of a lake, river or pond; facts about the ramp; and number of parking spaces, are all available through the app.

This convenient resource will help residents and tourists to find the best place for them and their families to camp, hike, boat and swim—many of which are right here in Southwest Michigan.

Michigan’s great outdoors offers a variety of activities, and this app will help ensure that everyone has a fun and enjoyable time.

To learn more about the app, go to: http://www.michigan.gov/CampAndRecLocator.

The site includes links for downloading the app.