It looks as though anti-hunting groups are starting to have an effect on hunting, and not the one they had hoped for. With the now popular trend of sharing images and videos of hunters with the intent of harassing them, Michigan has decided to update their laws to make such behavior illegal.
House Bill 4340 would “prohibit the recording of an individual, with the intent to harass that individual, who is lawfully taking an animal or fish. Currently, under NREPA, an individual is prohibited from obstructing or interfering in the lawful taking of animals or fish by another individual.”
“The bill would add that it would be a violation of the prohibition to intentionally or knowingly photograph, videotape, audiotape, or otherwise record an individual who is lawfully taking an animal or fish with the intent to harass that individual.”
The bill is sponsored by state Rep. John Reilly who says the laws are outdated. “In the social media age, harassment has taken on a whole new dimension,” Reilly said. “Like-minded activists … are able to mobilize brigades to attack an individual’s life and livelihood.”
He went on to say, “The important thing is hunting is lawful and legal. Most people respect that legal right. Unfortunately, some do not and are willing to go to extreme lengths to prevent lawful hunting. Harassment and intimidation are, to some people, acceptable tactics to advance their policy goals.”
Amy Trotter, executive director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, says this is a preemptive response to harassment of wolf hunters in Wisconsin. She specifically referenced a group called “Wolf Patrol”, who was founded by Michigan resident Rod Coronado. “We’re trying to get ahead of this activity here in Michigan,” Trotter said.
Many hunters have called for an update to hunter harassment laws. This is a great first step. Should more states follow suit? What other behaviors should be considered hunter harassment?