Hunters gaining ground in SE Michigan

Posted on March 16, 2011

With hunters and snowmobilers fighting to maintain their right to use the Huron-Manistee National Forest, and hunting property being nibbled away here and there around the state, it is quite nice to see what's happening in southeast Michigan's Washington Township right now.

In February, the township board, on the advice of a committee formed a year ago, voted unanimously to repeal a 30-year ordinance that made it illegal to hunt west of M-53 between 26 and 28 Mile roads. The committee recommended that the township follow a long-existing state rule that prohibits hunting within 450 feet of an occupied dwelling without permission of the owner.

The township lies in the northwest part of Macomb County, a place with plenty of room for hunters in some spots. It's just east of Stony Creek Metro Park, which has an abundant deer population that has been held in check in recent years though hunting.

Next step is for the Department of Natural Resources to hold a public hearing on the proposed rule change, and that's set for March 30. The public will have a month after the hearing to submit written comments.

Imagine! Hunters getting more ground, instead of less, and a redundant law possibly being pulled from the books. The township said the move will preserve the rights of hunters and people who just want to shoot on their properties.

Indeed, it will. The rule was never necessary in the first place, since the longstanding "450 feet rule" protected property owners already. It's great to see the township recognizes that fact and is moving to make things right.

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