Michigan

Songbird Protection Coalition

NRC Participation in Violation‚Äč

In the 1980s, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), with the assistance of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), bypassed the legislature, ignored significant public opposition and illegally established a mourning dove hunting season in Michigan.  Due to the blatant violation of public trust, the courts [1985] issued a permanent injunction that the DNR/NRC cannot promote the hunting of doves in Michigan.  The DNR and NRC have since violated this injunction several times.

Prior to HB 5029 (in 2004, repealed via referendum 2006) being signed by Governor Granholm, the law had not been changed and the DNR/NRC could not legally weigh in on any discussions regarding the promotion and administration of a dove hunting season, nor indicate support.

However, the NRC worked behind closed doors with groups and individuals to promote and establish the administration of a mourning dove hunting season in Michigan.

One example: The Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC)in collaboration of the NRC Chair Keith Charters, drafted and submitted a proposed "compromise" to Governor Jennifer Granholm so that she would be advised and influenced to sign the dove shooting bill into law.

In the letter that Sam Washington, Executive Director of the MUCC, sent to Governor Granholm on April 16, 2004, he states, "I have proposed the following to the National Resources Commission (NRC)...and "NRC Chair Keith Charters has indicated that he can support this proposal for a pilot mourning dove season."

The Detroit Freepress also confirmed NRC Chairman Keith Charters "indicated he would support a trial dove hunt" going on to quote him as saying "we should reclassify doves from songbirds to game birds."

The NRC's "job" was to respect and follow the laws of Michigan in good faith - and the courts of Michigan.  On September 25, 1985, the Honorable James T. Kallman, Circuit Judge of Ingham County issued the following
Permanent Court Order: "IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED that Defendants (NRC/DNR) are hereby enjoined and restrained from holding, administering, overseeing or promoting an open hunting season on mourning doves."

Despite
repeated warnings to the DNR/NRC not to violate the injunction, there was obvious support to promote and administer a mourning dove hunting season.  This is just one more example of the NRC's arrogant disregard of the judicial system's effort to protect public interests.  The NRC's participation further substantiates that this non-elected, politically appointed body regularly promotes the narrow interests, affiliations, and agendas of a small but vocal faction.  An examination and overhaul of the NRC is long overdue.