Yesterday, Gov. Snyder signed House Bill 5321which prohibits the Michigan Department of Natural Resources from issuing any sterilization permits to municipalities for game species, into law.

For more than a year, Michigan United Conservation Clubs has worked on this legislation with bill sponsor Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona. This law puts in a place a four-year moratorium on game sterilization permits being issued to Michigan municipalities in response to the current white-tailed deer sterilization efforts in Ann Arbor.

Per a Detroit Free Press article Dec. 13 by Kathleen Gray: “Why do we need deer sterilization in the first place when we have sportsmen who are fully capable of managing our deer species,” Cole said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for urban residents to learn about quality deer management and the benefits of hunting to the entire state.”

This law allows the current “research permit” granted to the city of Ann Arbor to run its course; however, no sterilization permits to Ann Arbor or any other city will be issued until at least April 1, 2022, giving the Natural Resources Commission, Legislature, and DNR time to study the effectiveness of the current project and determine if there are more suitable ways to manage urban deer herds.

Michigan United Conservation Clubs Deputy Director Amy Trotter said this is a victory for sportsmen and women across the state.

“MUCC firmly believes that the proper management of game species in Michigan belongs to its citizens who pay, through licensing dollars and other methods, to manage these species,” Trotter said. “We have worked this bill hard since its inception, and the passage of this bill into law is a testament to the grassroots process and engagement that MUCC brings to the table.”

MUCC would like to thank all of you who called your representatives, sat in on hearings and helped to spread the word about this bill. It is because of you that our game species in Michigan will remain protected from sterilization and under the management of Michigan hunters.