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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chuck Collier's mission to change tracking regulations in Michigan

We wrote about Chuck Collier from Hillman, Michigan a year ago. Chuck, who is a State Trooper and member of United Blood Trackers, has been working hard to change tracking regulations in Michigan. As it is now no weapons can be carried, day or night, during tracking. Tracking is allowed at night but only with lights that can be carried in the hand. No tracking of elk is allowed with a dog. Chuck is trying to modify the regulations, and today there was an article on these issues posted at click here. We wish Chuck good luck as his battle is not over yet.

Wildlife officials consider plan to help hunters find mortally wounded game

By The Grand Rapids Press

January 31, 2010, 7:25AM
Victor Skinner | The Grand Rapids Press
LANSING -- State wildlife officials might adopt changes to how wounded deer, elk and bear are tracked in a move designed to recover more wounded animals.

The Natural Resources Commission soon might allow hunters to use licensed trackers and their dogs to help blood track deer, elk and bear to put down the mortally wounded animals.

The commission has reviewed and amended a proposal raised by State Trooper Chuck Collier, a professional tracker, several times and is expected to take action on some form of the measure next month.

“The main reason we do this is to recover the meat from the animal and put the animal out of its misery,” Collier said. “I’ve had a lot of support from people, even anti-hunters.”

He said other states, including New York, have similar laws that allow professional trackers to help hunters recover game animals, and his proposal loosens rules that restrict the use of weapons and lights.

State regulations allow the use of leashed dogs to find wounded animals, but those tracking cannot carry a gun while doing so.

The new blood tracking measure would allow pros to help hunters find mortally wounded game using dogs and allow hunters to carry a gun afield to finish the animal, during the day and at night.

The new regulation also would ensure trackers pass a state-approved test, contact area law enforcement before and after each track, pass a criminal history check, possess a concealed weapons permit and abide by other safety measures, Collier said.

Collier said permitting only the hunter, not the tracker, to finish a wounded animal complicates tracking efforts, especially after dark, but added he is “thankful that we are allowed to have some means to put the animal down” under the proposed regulations.

Collier, whose 2-year-old dachshund has helped recover 26 deer and three bear, is one of about 10 professional trackers in the state, he said.

NRC member John Madigan said the regulation change specifically would benefit older or younger hunters who have a harder time tracking wounded animals.

The NRC has mulled the proposal for several months, Madigan said, and likely will take action on it at the panel’s Feb. 4 meeting in Lansing.

The commission, however, still is studying the proposal, including when a hunter can load his or her weapon while with the tracker and the definition of a “mortally wounded” animal.

“The commission is very concerned we have qualified people (tracking) and it’s not misused by poachers,” Madigan said. “That’s why we are taking our time and drafting these regulations carefully.”

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