Senate approves bill to ban hunting via Internet

By Bill
Parker
Editor

Lansing — By early fall, it will be illegal in Michigan to
participate in any form of Internet hunting if a package of bills
continues to sail through the state legislature.

A three-bill package makes it illegal to use a firearm, bow, or
crossbow to shoot animals via the Internet and sets penalties for
violating the laws.

The bills passed the Senate on June 29 by a unanimous 37-0
vote.

Last year, a company in San Antonio began offering live hunts
via the Internet, sparking a rash of criticism and calls for
restrictions.

At a remote location on a private ranch in Texas rests a scoped
rifle mounted on a pan-tilt device. The crosshairs in the scope are
synchronized with a nearby camera, which is hooked up to the
Internet.

Internet users, for a price, are able to aim and shoot the rifle
either at stationary targets or live animals.

Ranch workers will then track and tag the animal and send it in
for processing. Meat and mounts are then mailed to the shooter.

“That is not hunting. I think it demeans hunting,” said state
Sen. Michelle McManus (R-Lake Leelanau), sponsor of one of the
bills. “I first heard about the issue last fall while I was hunting
in Texas. I heard about it, came back, and requested the bills.

According to McManus, Michigan is not alone in its quest to
outlaw Internet hunting.

“There are bills like these being submitted all over the
country, not just in Michigan. But we’re one of the states that’s
doing it,” she said.

McManus’ bill, Senate Bill 373, makes it illegal to shoot a bow
or crossbow by way of the Internet. House Bill 4465, sponsored by
Rep. Glenn Steil (R-Cascade Township) makes it illegal to shoot a
firearm via the Internet, and SB 629, sponsored by Sen. Bruce
Patterson (R-Canton) sets penalties for violating the laws. A first
offense would be punishable by up to 93 days in jail and up to a
$500 fine. Subsequent offenses would misdemeanors punishable by up
to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

“Michigan hunters take our sport seriously,” Patterson said in a
release. “Activities like this are a disgrace to those of us who
proudly call ourselves sportsmen.”

HB 4465 already has passed both

houses of the Legislature. The two Senate bills were sent to the
House Conservation, Forestry and Outdoor Recreation Committee,
chaired by Rep. Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba). Those bills were not
taken up on June 30, the last day of the House session before a
two-week summer break. House members return to Lansing on
Wednesdays only until mid-September. A spokesperson in Casperson’s
office said the chairman had not decided if his committee will take
up the bills this summer or wait until September.

“The Internet has made it easier and more convenient to do many
things, but hunting shouldn’t be one of them,” Steil said. “This
legislation is important to maintain the integrity of wild game
hunting in Michigan.”

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