LANSING – With the conclusion of the firearm hunting season, State Representative John Chirkun (D-Roseville) introduced a bill recently that would make it more affordable for Michigan’s senior citizens to hunt. House Bill 5084 would provide seniors with a free base hunting license and cut the cost of deer hunting, wild turkey and fur harvester licenses by 80 percent of the base price.
“This bill will encourage more people to hunt in the state of Michigan,” said Chirkun, an avid outdoorsman and a member of the Richmond Sportsman Club and Ducks Unlimited. “My bill would make it more affordable for senior citizens to hunt and encourage them to mentor younger hunters to engage in this wonderful pastime.”
In 2014, the DNR estimated that the number of people who hunted deer dropped by 7.1 percent from 2013, and there was a significant drop in hunting licenses sold throughout the state. This reduction has a major impact on managing the state’s deer population, as well as impacting important segments of Michigan’s economy such as the tourism and lodging industry.
Under current law, senior citizens in Michigan are charged $5 for a base license, $8 for a deer license, $6 for a turkey license and $6 for a fur harvester license, which is a 60 percent discount for senior citizens over the base price.
“Hunting is an important tradition in our state and an essential component of the economy in areas of the state that benefit from hunting,” said Chirkun. “Free hunting licenses for seniors will mean that they can spend their money in other local businesses when they go hunting. Anything we can do to promote more hunting to help the economic well-being of our communities is a good thing.”