Lansing, Michigan - -(Ammoland.com)- It’s almost time to toot our horn. No it’s not New Year’s Eve, but when Governor Snyder signs HB 4993 into law, as is expected, Michigan sportsmen and women will have reason to celebrate.
The bill sponsored by Representative Jon Bumstead, would create a statewide council, called the Michigan Wildlife Council, which would be charged with hiring a marketing firm and directing funds for the creation and implementation of a targeted multi-media marketing campaign.
Here is how the plan would work: Revenue for the information campaign will be derived from the hunting and fishing license package already signed into law. Beginning in March 2014, a $1 surcharge on every hunting and fishing license purchased will be used to educate the general non-hunting and non-fishing public relative to the significance of wildlife conservation through hunting and fishing.
Following Colorado’s lead, Michigan would be the second state to implement such a plan. The campaign focuses on collective interests of sportsmen and non-sportsmen alike through the recognition that much of the conservation funding comes from hunting and fishing license fees.
A survey of Colorado citizens after the establishment of the campaign showed:
- 7 of 10 polled said they’d vote against restrictions on hunting
- 8 of 10 said they’d vote against restrictions on fishing
- 30% said they had become more supportive of sportsmen after the campaign
While it is always a difficult proposition to fight emotion with facts, the estimated $1.6 million expected to be generated the first year would be the sportsmen’s best weapon against well-funded out-of-state interests that oppose hunting and fishing without regard to science-based reason.
The Wildlife Council charged with administering the $1 surcharge fund and hiring a marketing firm to research and develop the media driven public education campaign will consist of the following:
- The DNR Director or his/her designee
- Four individuals who have regularly purchased hunting or fishing licenses (at least one must be a hunter, at least one must be an angler)
- One individual representing a local hunting/fishing business
- One individual representing agricultural producers
- One individual with a media or marketing background
- One individual representing rural areas where economies are substantially impacted by hunting and fishing
In addition, funds from the license fee hike – estimated at $18.1 million the first full year, apart from the surcharge – will be spent to improve fishing and hunting opportunities, habitat protection, and for conservation officers and wildlife biologists.
Our long-established hunting and fishing heritage continues to be under attack by clever groups that prey upon the ignorance of the public. Now genuine stakeholders in Michigan’s outdoors will be more equipped to continue on a path of sustainability for the game animals we’ve cherished all along.
About Glen Wunderlich Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press (www.argus-press.com) and blog site at www.thinkingafield.org Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM). Adjutant of Perry, Michigan Sons of Amvets Post 4064 and Chairman Perry (MI) Youth Hunt Extravaganza, a sanctioned event of Perry Sons of Amvets held the third weekend of September each year.