Rep. Cole’s youth hunting bill goes to governor

A proposal led by state Rep. Triston Cole to expand hunting opportunities for Michigan’s youth was sent to the governor’s desk Wednesday for his signature.

“This plan enhances the Mentored Youth Hunt program’s effort to give more Michigan kids the opportunity to learn a rewarding skill by allowing them to hunt on public land,” Cole, of Mancelona, said. “Many kids don’t have access to private land for hunting, and so expanding the mentored youth hunt to include public land will allow more parents and grandparents to pass their love of the outdoors to the next generation. I am pleased to see this proposal take another big step toward becoming law.”

Michigan’s mentored youth hunting program, established in 2011, allows children younger than 10 to hunt alongside experienced parents and guardians on private land. Cole’s plan, laid out in House Bill 5711, would allow kids to participate on state-owned land as well.

Cole, an avid hunter and conservationist, said more than 4.5 million acres of public land would be open to Michigan families for hunting.

“Hunting is an important part of our Michigan heritage, and I am committed to any program that will encourage kids’ enthusiasm for Michigan’s priceless natural resources,” Cole said.