Legislative Analysis
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MENTORED HUNT Analysis available at
House Bill 5737 (H-1) as reported from committee
Sponsor: Rep. Abraham Aiyash
Committee: Natural Resources
Complete to 6-4-24
BRIEF SUMMARY: House Bill 5737 would amend sections 43517 and 43520 of the Natural
Resources and Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) to establish when an individual with a
developmental disability or intellectual disability who is unable to successfully complete a
hunter safety course may participate in hunting.
FISCAL IMPACT: The bill is likely to affect revenues for the Department of Natural Resources
(DNR) by expanding those who may qualify to participate in the mentored hunting program.
It is unclear whether this expansion will result in additional hunting license sales of various
types, or whether the expansion will result in a reduction of sales revenue due to the
discrepancy between mentor and apprentice license prices versus the extant adult base license
price. The bill is unlikely to directly affect DNR costs, local government revenues, or local
government costs. The sale of hunting and fishing licenses generated an estimated $63.1
million in revenue in FY 2022-23. The department’s Wildlife Division funding totals $47.7
million Gross ($4.5 million GF/GP) and 230.5 FTE positions in FY 2023-24.
Under current law, once an individual reaches 17 years of age, they can only hunt under a
regular license in Michigan. However, a person is required to successfully complete an
approved hunter safety course before they can receive the regular hunting license. Minor
children under the age of 17 are also required to complete the hunter safety course to hunt
under a regular license if they have hunted under the youth apprentice license for two years.
For some individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability (both minors and adults),
completing the hunter safety course is a barrier to being able to progress to hunting under the
regular license, as their learning style does not align to the test component of the hunter safety
course. So, while an individual with one of these disabilities may be able to follow proper
hunter safety protocols under the guidance of a friend or family member, they cannot
demonstrate that understanding to satisfy the course requirements.
To remedy this, the bill would allow individuals with developmental and intellectual
disabilities to participate in the mentored hunt, a program originally designed to allow hunters
ages 10 and under to partner with an eligible adult to safely hunt under the adult’s guidance.
The bill would allow a minor child or an adult who has a developmental disability or
intellectual disability to participate, or continue to participate, in the mentored youth hunting
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program (which the bill would rename as the “mentored hunting program”) if that individual
is unable to complete the required hunter safety course.
For those younger than 17, section 43517 establishes conditions under which their parent or
legal guardian may allow that minor child to hunt. The bill also would add language expanding
the applicability of these exemptions to an individual with a developmental or intellectual
Presently, for a minor child (under 17) to hunt under a license, one of the following must apply:
• The minor child hunts only on land on which a parent or guardian is regularly domiciled
or a parent or guardian, or another individual at least 18 years old authorized by the
child’s parent or guardian, accompanies the minor child. (This exemption does not
apply if the license is an apprentice license or if the minor child is younger than 10.)
• If the license is an apprentice license, a parent or guardian, or another individual at
least 21 years old authorized by a parent or guardian, who is licensed to hunt that game
under a license other than an apprentice license accompanies the minor child. The bill
would allow an adult with a developmental or intellectual disability to also qualify
under this exemption.
• If the minor child is younger than 10 years old, they may only hunt with a mentor in
compliance with the mentored youth hunting program.
Developmental disability would mean (as defined in section 100a of the Mental Health
Code 1):
• If applied to an individual older than five years of age, a severe, chronic
condition that meets all of the following requirements:
o Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or a combination of
mental and physical impairments.
o Is manifested before the individual is 22 years old.
o Is likely to continue indefinitely.
o Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the
following areas of major life activity:
 Self-care.
 Receptive and expressive language.
 Learning.
 Mobility.
 Self-direction.
 Capacity for independent living.
 Economic self-sufficiency.
o Reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of
special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment, or other services
that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned
and coordinated.
• If applied to a minor from birth to five years of age, a substantial developmental
delay or a specific congenital or acquired condition with a high probability of
resulting in developmental disability as defined above if services are not
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Intellectual disability would mean (as defined in section 100b of the Mental health
Code 2) a condition manifesting before the age of 18 years that is characterized by
significantly subaverage intellectual functioning and related limitations in two or more
adaptive skills and that is diagnosed based on the following assumptions:
• Valid assessment considers cultural and linguistic diversity, as well as
differences in communication and behavioral factors.
• The existence of limitation in adaptive skills occurs within the context of
community environments typical of the individual's age peers and is indexed
to the individual's particular needs for support.
• Specific adaptive skill limitations often coexist with strengths in other adaptive
skills or other personal capabilities.
• With appropriate supports over a sustained period, the life functioning of the
individual with an intellectual disability will generally improve.
The bill would also amend section 43520, which outlines when the Department of Natural
Resources may issue a hunting license to a minor child, to reflect when a license may be issued
to an adult with a developmental disability who has a guardian.
Currently, if the following are met, a license may be issued to a minor child:
• A parent or legal guardian of the minor child applies for the license on behalf of the
minor child.
• The parent or guardian represents that the requirements of Section 43517, as applicable,
will be complied with.
• The license fee is paid.
House Bill 5737 would amend these provisions to provide that they also apply to the guardian
of a developmentally or intellectually disabled minor child or adult who is unable to obtain the
certificate of completion of hunter safety, as long as the parent or guardian also complies with
the requirements in section 43517 regarding the circumstances under which the individual is
allowed to hunt.
The final change made by the bill would be to change responsibility for complying with the
requirement for individuals born on or after January 1, 1960, to successfully complete the
hunter safety course or present proof of previous hunting experience in the form of a hunting
license issued by another state, a providence of Canada, or another country. Currently, the
responsibility lies with the person authorized to sell hunting licenses to ensure they do not sell
to an ineligible person. The bill changes this to prohibit an ineligible person from buying or
attempting to buy a license.
MCL 324.43517 and 324.43520
Under NREPA, an individual must possess a valid license or permit that authorizes them to
hunt the species specified by that license or permit. If an individual is younger than 17 years
of age, they may participate in hunting either through the mentored youth hunt (if younger than
10 years old), or with an apprentice hunting license if they are 10 to 16 years old and have not
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successfully completed an approved hunter safety course. An apprentice hunting license may
be acquired twice, after which time the youth must complete the hunter safety class before they
are eligible to obtain a regular hunting license. Until that child turns 17, they will still need to
have adult supervision unless they are hunting on the property where their family lives or are
supervised by an adult 18 years or older.
The Natural Resources Commission established the following rules for hunters under 10 years
old as part of the Mentored Youth Hunting Program (these rules would presumably be amended
to implement the changes made by the bill if enacted into law):
• Mentored youths must be accompanied by an adult at least 21 years old, with hunting
experience and possession of a valid Michigan license to hunt other than an apprentice
• The hunting party may not exceed two hunting devices (shotgun, rifle, bow, crossbow,
or slingshot) in the field per mentor (adult).
• When handing a hunting device, the youth hunter must be within an arm's length of the
mentor at all times w when in the act of hunting.
• Any hunting device possessed by a mentored youth must be sized appropriately to fit
the physical abilities of the mentored youth. The mentor (adult) will be held responsible
for all actions of the mentored youth hunter while in the field.
While there is no limit to how many mentees the mentor hunter may have in the field with
them, the two-device limit applies to the mentor regardless of the number of mentees under
their guidance.
Representatives of the following entities testified in support of the bill (5-27-24):
• Department of Natural Resources
• Michigan United Conservation Clubs
• Michigan Hunting Dog Federation
Legislative Analyst: Josh Roesner
Fiscal Analyst: Austin Scott
■ This analysis was prepared by nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency staff for use by House members in their
deliberations and does not constitute an official statement of legislative intent.
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Statutes affected:
Substitute (H-1): 324.43517, 324.43520
Substitute (H-2): 324.43517, 324.43520
House Introduced Bill: 324.43517, 324.43520
As Passed by the House: 324.43517, 324.43520
As Passed by the Senate: 324.43517, 324.43520
House Concurred Bill: 324.43517, 324.43520
House Enrolled Bill: 324.43517, 324.43520