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A Better Partnership
July 06, 2012

COA Opinion: Hunters did not violate 'open season' statute by taking bear out of season without the use of a firearm, crossbow or bow and arrow.

In the case of Michigan v. Levigne, the Michigan Court of Appeals held the defendants did not 'take' a bear in violation of a Michigan statute when they used hunting dogs to assist a hunter with the capture and killing of a bear out of season. The statute prohibits the 'taking' of a bear in violation of the statute that sets the open season for 'taking a bear with firearms, crossbows, or bow and arrow.' In Levigne, the defendants were acting as guides and dog handlers, helping a hunter with an out-of-season permit harvest a bear. Neither defendant utilized a firearm, crossbow, nor bow and arrow. The hunter actually killed the bear after the dogs had treed it. The trial court held that the defendants violated the statute despite the fact that neither defendant was carried or discharged a gun because they had participated in the hunt. The Michigan Court of Appeals disagreed with the trial court, finding that the statute in question required the hunters, not only to take the bear, but to do so with a firearm, crossbow, or bow and arrow. The court reasoned that neither defendant had a weapon, and therefore were not in violation of the statute. Accordingly, the Court reversed the trial court's decision.

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