Compact takes bite out of poaching

Michigan’s efforts to combat poaching just got more teeth. The state’s reach to punish poachers now extends to 38 other states. This is a positive development for the Upper Peninsula, where a proud and long-standing hunting and fishing tradition exists.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation Tuesday to enter Michigan into the multi-state Wildlife Violator Compact. Under the rules of the compact, the Department of Natural Resources can suspend the hunting, fishing and trapping licenses of poachers who are found in violation in any of the compact’s 38 other member states. Participating states will be also able to suspend the license of their residents who violate Michigan game laws.

This could prove to be a powerful tool in the fight against poaching. Poachers now have the added punishment of losing hunting and fishing privileges in their home state of Michigan should they fail to follow regulations in other states. Although this will not stop all poaching, it will certainly give potential violators reason to think twice before violating wildlife laws. The law has a far reach – farther than the boundaries of any one state.

We believe the legislation is fair because it provides for an appeals process and the opportunity for an evidentiary hearing. It also requires the DNR to inform residents of suspensions.

Poaching is an ongoing problem and we have seen our share here in Delta County – ranging from deer taken out of season to illegally caught walleye in the Bays de Noc. Poaching will never be completely eliminated. The Wildlife Violator Compact, though, is another weapon in the arsenal to fight poaching here and across the country.