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.

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