DNR Offers Beginning Handgun Shooting Class for Women March 3 in Linwood

The Department of Natural Resources is offering an Introduction to Handgun Shooting class through the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program in Linwood, near Bay City, on Saturday, March 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hosted by Linwood-Bay Sportsman's Club, with instruction by the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), this popular class teaches women all of the basics of handgun safety and use.

The morning session will include an overview of handgun safety and the opportunity to shoot (live fire) .22 LR handguns. After lunch, the IDPA will set up a scenario where participants will shoot on the move while using cover. Women will also have the opportunity to shoot larger-caliber handguns.

All firearms, ammunition, and eye and ear protection will be provided. Attendees are asked not to bring their own firearms to this class.

This is not the class required by law to obtain a concealed pistol license, but is a great prerequisite course for those who are considering obtaining a CPL.

Cost per person is $25, which includes lunch. The class is first-come, first-served, and class size is limited, so those interested in attending are encouraged to register early. The registration deadline is Feb. 21.

Linwood-Bay Sportsman's Club is located at 1643 E. Linwood Rd. in Linwood. For driving directions or more information about the club, visit www.linwoodbaysportsmans.com.

For registration forms and information on this and other BOW events, visit www.michigan.gov/bow, email dnr-outdoors-woman@michigan.gov or call 517-241-2225.

BOW is a noncompetitive program for women, in which each individual is encouraged to learn at her own pace. The emphasis is on the enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of outdoor activities, and sharing in the success of one another.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Senate approves Green-led legislation to redefine pistol length

LANSING, Mich.—The definition of a pistol would be changed from a firearm with an overall length of 30 inches or less to one of 26 inches or less if legislation approved by the Michigan Senate on Tuesday becomes law.

State Sen. Mike Green led the effort and said the change is needed to clear up confusion among firearm manufacturers and dealers, and to bring Michigan more in line with the definition used in federal law and by most other states.

“Because Michigan’s legal definition of a pistol is out of step with most others, many firearms considered long guns by the federal government and other states are actually treated as pistols here,” said Green, R-Mayville. “That makes it more difficult for firearms makers, retailers and buyers to do lawful business in this state, especially as it relates to youth hunting firearms and sporting rifles.

“Hunting and recreational shooting contribute a lot to our economy and this legislation will have a positive impact on that industry.”

Federal and state requirements for background checks at the point of purchase will not change, nor will laws concerning concealed pistol license holders who lawfully purchased, registered or carried a firearm as a pistol under the old definition.

Senate Bills 760-62 were each approved by votes of 36-2, and they now go to the state House for consideration.

Senate approves Green bill to reduce tax burden on ag-related machinery

LANSING, Mich.–Machinery used to install or implement soil and water conservation techniques in agriculture applications would be exempted from personal property tax assessments under legislation approved by the Michigan Senate on Thursday.

“This bill fixes an oversight in existing law, making it clear that equipment used for agriculture conservation efforts should be exempt from the personal property tax, like all other farming equipment,” said bill sponsor Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville. “This will help reduce the tax burden and promote private soil and water conservation in Michigan.”

It is common for machinery to be used both in agricultural and non-agricultural applications and, as a result, situations arise where items are either exempted from the Personal Property Tax (PPT) too much or not at all. Because the PPT relies on self-reporting, it is vital to have clear definitions for tax-exempted items, which Senate Bill 563 helps to do by specifying multi-purpose machinery exemptions based on the percentage of time the machinery is used for agricultural operations.

While reducing the tax burden on equipment owners, the impact on local government revenue will likely be negligible, according to a non-partisan analysis.  Any reductions to schools will be made up by the state School Aid fund.

SB 563, which enjoys support from the Michigan Farm Bureau, passed the Senate by a vote of 34-1 and now goes to the state House for approval.

Federal Funding Available for Private Grassland Projects

The Department of Natural Resources reminds landowners in the Saginaw Bay and the western Lake Erie watersheds that money is available to help establish, restore or improve the quality of grasslands on their property.

The United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has made funding available for private landowners who want to create high-quality grasslands or enhance the quality of present grasslands.  The NRCS’ Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) offers financial assistance for site preparation, seed, planting and other needed practices to help improve or increase grasslands on private property.

The WHIP program differs from other USDA programs in that landowners do not need to have an agricultural history on the land to be eligible.

“Increasing acres of grasslands and improving present grasslands are major goals of the Department of Natural Resources,” said DNR Wildlife Division Chief Russ Mason.  “And it ties right into our Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative, which we began earlier this year in cooperation with many conservation partners, such as Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Pheasants Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and several USDA agencies.”

Signup for this program will be allowed for most of the month of December. More information is available through the local NRCS office or the conservation district in your county.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.

Bay City State Recreation Area Gearing Up for Winter Fun

The Department of Natural Resources is planning several new winter GO-Get Outdoors recreational activities for the users of Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay County.

DNR staff will begin grooming and track-setting five miles of trails inside the park, located at 3582 State Park Dr. in Bay City, as soon as adequate snow exists. Grooming will primarily involve the Andersen Trail as well as many of the park’s trails at the Tobico Marsh. One side of the trails will be track-set for cross-country skiers while the other side will be smoothed for hikers and snowshoers.

Novice and experienced hikers and snowshoers are reminded that trail etiquette dictates that non-skiers use the opposite side of the groomed trails to avoid stepping in the set tracks.

“When people leave footprints in the ski tracks, it greatly diminishes the effectiveness of the tracks for skiers,” said DNR Park Manager George Lauinger. “If each type of user stays to his or her side of the trails, Bay City State Recreation Area will be able to accommodate many new types of trail users this year.”

Park staff will also be plowing a one-mile outer loop of the heavily wooded campground for walkers seeking easier terrain than the groomed trails. This is the first year this section of the park will be plowed for those looking for new winter hiking opportunities in the Bay City area.

The DNR is also constructing an access path from the park’s day use parking lot to the Saginaw Bay. This would allow icefishers using snowmobiles or ATVs to legally access the bay from the parking lot. The access path will be located east of Shelter #3 in the day use area. Construction is expected to be completed by mid-December.

Bay City is one of 16 parks that will be participating in Michigan state parks’ “Shoe” Years Day special events on Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012. These events are opportunities for those who resolve to get fit in 2012 to take their first step in that direction. Park rangers will be on hand to lead a two-mile hike from the Visitors Center starting at 11 a.m.

For details, contact George Lauinger, 989-684-3020 or e-mail lauingerg@michigan.gov.

A Recreation Passport is required for vehicles entering Bay City State Recreation Area. The Recreation Passport has replaced motor vehicle permits for entry into Michigan state parks, recreation areas and state-administered boating access fee sites. This new way to fund Michigan's outdoor recreation opportunities also helps to preserve state forest campgrounds, trails, and historic and cultural sites in state parks, and provides park development grants to local communities.


Michigan residents can purchase the Recreation Passport ($10 for motor vehicles; $5 for motorcycles) by checking "YES" on their license plate renewal forms, or at any state park or recreation area. Nonresident motor vehicles must still display a valid nonresident Recreation Passport ($29 annual; $8 daily) to enter a Michigan state park, recreation area or state-administered boating access fee site; these can be purchased at any state park or recreation area, or through the Michigan e-Store at www.michigan.gov/estore. To learn more about the Recreation Passport, visit www.michigan.gov/recreationpassport or call 517-241-7275.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.