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Conservation group sues over closure of coyote hunting season

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(The Center Square) – The Michigan United Conservation Clubs sued the Natural Resources Commission challenging the three-month closure of the coyote hunting season.

The MUCC testified in opposition to the closure.

The March 28 lawsuit follows a 4-2 vote to close the coyote hunting season from April 16 through July 14 through the adoption of Wildlife Conservation Order #1 of 2024.

MUCC filed in Ingham County, arguing the commission unlawfully closed Michigan’s coyote season, violating their responsibility and legal charge. The Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers has also filed a lawsuit against the commission in Mackinac County.

The NRC is a seven-member public body appointed by the governor. The Commission has exclusive authority to regulate the taking of game and sportfish, and is authorized to designate game species and authorize the establishment of the first open season for animals through the issuance of orders.

The NRC hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment.

MUCC Chief Executive Officer Amy Trotter said the NRC relied on unsubstantiated claims of negative public perception and perceived potential loss of management control.

“The record is unambiguous: the commission has not heard or cited any scientific literature or rationale justifying the closure,” Trotter said in a news release. “Meanwhile, there were hours of public testimony on the practical benefits of coyote hunting during the spring season, while being reinforced with cited literature.”

MUCC President Rob Miller said the group aims to unite citizens to conserve, protect, and enhance Michigan’s outdoor heritage.

“The board voted unanimously to take this action, consistent with MUCC’s mission,” Miller said in a statement. “MUCC was founded on the belief that game management decisions should be grounded in science and insulated from political and social pressures. This is a foundational issue for our organization, and we were obligated to act on behalf of Michigan’s conservationists.”

MTPCA President Mark Spencer said the idea that trappers and predator callers are behind the closure is misguided.

“The stance taken with litigation clearly shows the trappers and predator callers of Michigan are firmly united behind the principles of science-based management,” Spencer said. “Our groups present a united front to ensure our outdoor heritage is protected and grounded in science for generations to come.”

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