Michigan Court of Appeal Overturns Convictions

Michigan News, Bear Hunting Magazine

Two northern Michigan men who used dogs to help another hunter harvest a black bear out of hunting season cannot be charged with breaking the law, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled this week.

The court ruled 3-0 and overturned the misdemeanor convictions of the two men from Emmet County. In 2010, they used their hunting dogs to help an American Indian man who was allowed to hunt for bear a month beyond regular season dates.

District and circuit court judges found the men guilty, saying their no-kill permits kept them from "taking" a bear outside of the Sept. 17-25 season. But the appeals court, citing a Michigan DNR order, said it only prohibited hunting a bear with a firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow.

"The statutory provision and the DNR order at issue do not prohibit an unarmed individual from assisting someone with the lawful taking of a bear, nor do they prohibit someone from taking a bear without a firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow," the judges wrote.

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