Legislation by state Rep. Matt Lori allowing rifles to be used for hunting in the southern Lower Peninsula with special cartridges is now a new rule initiated by the Natural Resources Commission.
The NRC approved the order in response to a bill introduced by Lori. Rifles have not been permitted for hunting in the southern half of the Lower Peninsula because of safety concerns with the higher population density. Only shotguns, muzzleloaders and some pistols could be used in the sport.
Lori said the measure was critical because communities in Southern Michigan were losing hunters to Indiana, making those small businesses, sporting goods stores and lodging accommodations miss out on economic opportunities during hunting season.
Under the proposal, which will be on a trial basis until 2017, rifles that take .35 caliber or larger ammunition could be used in the southern zone as long as the cartridges used are straight walled with a minimum case length between 1.16 and 1.80 inches.