The Michigan Court of Appeals says it was legal for hunting guides to help with an off-season bear hunt in Emmet County back in September of 2010. The guides were assisting Todd Yoder, an American Indian hunter.
For Yoder, the hunt was clearly legal because of tribal hunting and fishing rights. But his two assistants are not Native American, and by their own admission, their help was vital to the success of the hunt. Their dogs ran the bear up a tree, where it was shot. Emmet County court found the guides, William McNeight and Blaine Levigne, guilty of “taking” a bear in the off-season.
But this week an appeals panel reversed that decision. The judges say the state law that applies to this case says the “taking” of an animal involves a firearm, crossbow, or bow and arrow. So the guides could help, they just couldn’t shoot.
The state could appeal.