The Michigan DNR expects sportsmen to pick up the full tab on their looming budget deficit. Yet, they refuse to license hunting guides, requiring they pay their fair share. Individuals guiding for turkey, elk, deer, bear, and bobcat do not need a license in MIchigan...with the exception of those guiding bear hunters with hounds...they'd need a participation license. In fact, one individual operating as a guide was convicted of hunter harassment, losing his hunting privledges for 3 years. Yet, he continued his guiding operation because he did not need a license to make money off the resource!!!
Likely the biggest windfall goes to the individuals operating commercial bear baiting operations. Fees have been averaging $750.00 to $1,500.00 per week per bait. They often maintain 20 to 30 bait sites, or more. Unlike other guiding operations these individuals seldom accompany the hunter...they just charge a fee to sit on their bait. Therefore, they tend to have a lot more clients than regular guides. It is only fair a percentage of their profits should go to the budget deficit. Makes more sense than charging some kid from a low-income family $40.00 for a fishing license!
Like any business in Michigan, guides would be required to have a federal tax ID...and they are required to pay state & federal income taxes as well as business taxes. However, our DNR obviously believe taxes due are paid via the honor system...a luxury no other industry is allowed, seeing as they are not willing to provide the necessary oversight.
Please call or email your Michigan state senator and state representative and tell them not one thin dime in license increases until guides are licensed and regulated.
I am not against guiding. Guides are making a lot of money off the resource, mostly on public land and it's time they state paying their share.