JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Hunters in Mississippi could begin to voluntarily tell the state how many deer or turkeys they kill.
The proposal is in a bill that passed the state Senate on a split vote Wednesday.
The original version of House Bill 1390 proposed a mandatory program for hunters to report their deer and turkey harvest numbers to the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.
The Senate changed mandatory to voluntary.
Senate Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Committee Chairman Philip Moran, a Republican from Kiln, said the voluntary proposal is intended to boost wildlife conservation.
One opponent, Democratic Sen. Juan Barnett of Heidelberg, said he didn't see the point of passing legislation for a voluntary reporting program. Barnett, who grew up hunting, said he strongly opposes any type of reporting — mandatory or voluntary.
"This is the first step of having the government come in and count every and anything that we do," Barnett said.
Sen. Angela Hill, a Republican from Picayune, said she opposes government overreach and has spoken to hunters in her district who support voluntary reporting to help with stewardship of land and wildlife. Hill added: "I'm not a tree hugger, by any means."
The bill returns to the House, where members will have two choices. They could either accept the Senate change from mandatory to voluntary or seek negotiations to try to make more changes to the bill.