Senate panel approves Zorn’s hunting license app bill, hears testimony on commercial guide measures

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LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Committee on Wednesday heard from Sen. Dale Zorn about legislation to establish standards for hunting and fishing guides and took testimony on bills to allow hunters to show proof of a license on their smartphones.

Senate Bills 1070-1072 would create a basic set of standards for commercial hunting and fishing guides in Michigan.

“Michigan currently does not require any training or general insurance to lead a guided hunting or fishing trip,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “During the past six months, we have partnered with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan United Conservation Club and other groups to develop a fair policy that would help ensure that guides know and comply with laws to protect our natural resources and are focused on providing a safe fishing or hunting experience.”

Under SBs 1070-1072, to obtain a commercial guiding permit, valid for three years, an individual must submit an application to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), be certified in First Aid and CPR, be covered by commercial general liability insurance, and be eligible to purchase a license for the game species for which the person is acting as a commercial hunting guide.

Guides would not be able to be a convicted felon or have been convicted of a major hunting or fishing violation within the past five years. The bills include certain exemptions, such as for owners or employees of game bird hunting preserves or privately owned game ranches.

The committee approved SBs 1073-1075, which would require the DNR to provide smartphone applications that display base hunting, waterfowl and all-species fishing licenses for customers by March 1, 2018. Zorn is the sponsor of SB 1074, which pertains to waterfowl.

“Allowing duck hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts in Michigan to have their hunting and fishing licenses on their phones is good for sportsmen and our state,” Zorn said. “People have access to a world of valuable information and services on their smartphones. This easy-to-use app will increase convenience and further enhance the outdoor experience for residents and tourists who enjoy hunting and fishing in our state.”

The bills would also require the DNR to further implement mobile technology into other services, such as providing information on points of public access, nearby trails, descriptions of game species and hunting boundaries.

SBs 1073-1075 now head to the full Senate for consideration.

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Editor’s note: A print-quality version of the above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s website at: www.SenatorDaleZorn.com/Photowire.