DNR official uncertain about effect of proposal.
JUSTIN KROLLCapital News ServiceLANSING -- A proposal to move up the opening of the deer rifle hunting season on a weekend instead of a weekday could save hunters the trouble of taking time off from work, a representative said.
Rep. Rick Shaffer, R-Three Rivers, said he wants the season to begin on the second Saturday in November to be more convenient to hunters.
That would be Nov. 10 this year instead of Nov. 15, a Thursday.
The season would still last 15 days.
Shaffer also predicts an economic benefit if Michigan follows the lead of states including Arkansas, Wisconsin and California, that moved their firearms date up.
"I look at it also as an economic driver," Shaffer said. "This would allow tourists to drive to Michigan and hunt. This way they are spending their money here and helping out our economy."
Shaffer, who is on the House Appropriations Committee which deals with budget, said some colleagues are receptive but he has no co-sponsors for the bill.
Shaffer said he has received favorable responses from conservation clubs but Rodney Stokes, the legislative liaison for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), said he hasn't heard the same reaction.
"We did a survey a couple years back that talked about moving the date and what most hunters would think about moving the date up," Stokes said. "There wasn't a strong difference in hunters caring or not caring on whether the date was moved up or not."
The DNR is analyzing Shaffer's bill and other legislation that could change the hunting season, but Stokes said he is uncertain about the current bill and its effect.
Shaffer acknowledged that the bill wouldn't wipe out the budget deficit, but said he hopes for some benefit from the change.
"In times like our current tragic economic time, we as legislators must look at any way that could help our situation. This could be one of those situations," Shaffer said.
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