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DNR can't guess your age

The firearm hunting season is in full swing. And even though a new state law that removes a minimum age for children to hunt won't be fully implemented until next spring, there's reason to believe some youngsters are hunting this month who shouldn't.

That's a conclusion drawn from a new Auditor General's report on the licensing system operated by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The audit noted an oversight weakness in DNR's licensing system and stated, "DNR issued hunting licenses to customers who may not have met the minimum age to purchase various hunting licenses."

Of greater ongoing concern might be the loophole in the system at the other end of the age spectrum: "According to the data in RSS, 14,428 (2.3%) of 635,876 senior licenses were purchased by customers ranging in age from 1 to 64 years. The sale of senior licenses to these customers resulted in discounts totaling $164,321."

DNR is hardly in a position to be giving discounts indiscriminately, as these charts show. DNR needs money to engage in reasonable oversight and maintenance of the state's natural assets. The holes in DNR's sales system are not massive, but they do make the department's job that much more difficult.

Comprehensive coverage of Michigan's natural resources issues:

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