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Do you participate in a QDM Co-op?

  • Not currently, but would like to.

    Votes: 11 40.7%
  • Currently do, but would like to get out.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes I do.

    Votes: 8 29.6%
  • No way.

    Votes: 8 29.6%

Are you in a QDM Cooperative?

1652 Views 17 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  brokenarrow
I'm currently the Focal Point for the Sucker Creek QDM Cooperative north of the Lincoln area, which consists of over 2100 acres and growing.

I'm just curious as to who else is in a co-op out there?
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I voted yes, but that is sorta a qualified yes.

I am currently working with Perry to start a Coop around my farm. I am trying to schedule a kick off meeting before the winter breaks. Most of the neighbors that I have talked to have been reasonably receptive about the idea, so wish me luck on the initial try.

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Letmgro -
I'm currently investigating the possibility of setting up a co-op in our area. I'm in Owosso, and am pretty excited about the potential. I've contacted Perry Russo, and he's sent some good information. After I get a plat book from the courthouse, I'm going to start contacting landowners to see about a potential meeting.
Since you're currently in a co-op - could you answer a couple of questions for me? I'm sure the first question that will be asked by our area hunters is, "how many doe do we harvest?" (We've got a lot of traditional hunters who are very leery about taking doe.) I know that we want to get the herd to a 1:1.5 b/d ratio, and, like many other areas, we have more doe than bucks. My theory is this: we protect the 1.5 yr. old bucks. Then, for each 2.5yr old+ buck that is harvested, we harvest at least 1 doe. In the end, we should harvest slightly more doe than bucks. Over the course of time, we should bring our ratio to a more even level.
My question is - how do you make sure you're not taking too many doe? Do the members of the co-op report a buck harvest each time, so that the co-op can keep track of how many doe need to be harvested that season? Or do you rely on the hunter that harvests a buck to ensure that a doe is taken as well? Not sure how this process works out.

We're on 240 acres of primarily agricultural land. In my estimate, the land in our area is approx. 8-12% wooded per square mile, with the remainder being farmland - so I'm anticipating that we could have a large land area in the co-op pretty quickly (2000 acre +). I don't think I'll be able to get all the members to give accurate observational data right away, to predetermine the harvest goal of doe. I know what I see on our 240, but that doesn't necessarily represent the rest of the co-op. In my opinion, we are not at capacity for the land - we could probably go a year or two without harvesting doe, and not hurt anything. But given that there are not that many 2.5 yr old bucks in the area, I don't want to discourage people in the beginning by limiting their ability to harvest something.

I'd really appreciate any advice that you'd have on getting started. I'd like to keep it simple - start with an antler restriction (4 points one side). After a few years, we'd change the antler restriction to protect more 1.5 yr. old bucks. And a harvest goal for doe. The bucks are easy - the does are what I'm struggling with.

But I'm pretty excited to get things going..
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Huntmaster- Good luck! Just don't give up!

rz- I was afraid someone was going to ask that question of me.

"How many does do we harvest?"

It's not a simple answer, especially up in Alcona county where I hunt. Let me explain the situation first.

We have very diverse habitat across our co-op, (everything BUT farmland) from marsh to tag alder and cedar swamp, to open hardwood and black spruce ridges. (Total mast crop failure this year by the way.)

We currently have about 1700+ acres of low lands, which naturally hold the deer heavy, and 400+ acres open upland/ hardwood forest, with few deer. (even fewer this year because there was hardly an acorn/beechnut to be found.)

I'm in the middle, (literally). On one side a landowner is upset that he's not seeing any deer, and that everybody else is shooting too many does. (He's half right, he didn't see any deer on his open ridges). On the other side, I have landowners rounding up all the friends they can find to fill their antlerless tags in the late season. ( No lie, every morning and evening the deer came out of the tag/cedar jungle in droves to feast upon his foodplots!) I actually harvested a doe off his property this year, because my 40 went dry.

What do I tell the landowner who's not seeing deer?

I try to explain to him/them that deer are oppertunist, constantly seeking better habitat, and frankly explain that he just doesn't have the habitat (on 200 acres with 160 open hardwood with total mast crop failure) to support a constant flux of deer. Better years are to come, hopefully the Red oaks and Beech trees are loaded next year. They hit his foodplots hard, but when the bullets started to fly, the deer headed for the swamps.

Some on this board scream that there are no deer left in dmu001,
and want them to stop handing out doe permits, that may be true for their properties, but it would really hurt us.

Basically, the answer is; Buy the permits and if you are seeing does repeatedly, harvest the first mature doe that presents a good shot. If you're not seeing does, then don't shoot one. But understand that there are many more underlying circumstances than what actually meets the eye.

If you have offered to be the focal point, buy a flack jacket. Better yet, listen to what the landowners are saying, and just try to find common ground!;)
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My family deer hunts some areas not too far from you. We have been practicing QDM for about 3 years now. There is a cooperative in our area, not a QDM coop, but has similar goals. THere are about 2500 acres enrolled in Southern Alpena County. We have seen substantially lower deer numbers in last 5-8 years. We have also seen more bucks than typical. I love the Doe permits, We are finally starting to see some cedar regeneration. The habitat is a lot healthier.
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I voted wrong. I'm not in a co-op. I'm practicing QDM. I didn't read the post before I voted.

I belong to the very large club just north of you. I've noticed some signifcant changes in the herd structure and the size of the deer since the club adopted a quality deer management type program.

Habitat improvement programs are ongoing, including large clearcuts, supplemental feeding programs have stopped, deer numbers have been reduced through doe harvest and the quality of the deer has generally increased.

With the vast resources of the club & membership I truely expect the long term quality picture to increase. I've maintained a house and memership at LLWC since '77 so I've seen all kinds of changes.

I don't hunt the club anymore since I own land elsewhere but it's nice to know I have another spot to go with like minded people.
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letmgro -
Thanks for the advice - glad to hear that you're seeing deer there in Alcona county - My father-in-law has about 140 acres there, mostly hardwoods, some cedar swamp, that borders a large area of public land. They've been seeing fewer deer, but still manage to take some nice bucks each year. My F-I-L complains that there isn't enough deer any more, but frankly (and I'd never tell him this) he's just getting a little lazy in his old age - same blinds every year, noisy, and not much scent control... I'll be up there next bow season, down in the swamp..

It sounds like we'll be ok if we don't take more doe than bucks - things will eventually even out, and we'll still have good fawn production. Our land is a challenge as well - with so much agricultural land, its hard to tell the densities sometimes. As I mentioned before, we're at about 8-12% wooded area per square mile. Tons of food, but not a lot of cover. In the summer, you'll see 10-15 deer out in a field, grazing. When they take the corn off, you can't believe how many deer are in there. By this time each year, all the deer herd up and head out. Where they go, I'm not sure - but you go from seeing all kinds of signs to seeing nothing in a period of a few weeks.. by spring, you start to see deer again..

How often does your co-op meet, or communicate ? Do you guys keep running tallies of harvest numbers throughout the season, or just report back at the end of the season?

Would you say that your co-op is generally producing better deer?
Thanks for the info..
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My co-op is in the works, should start off with about 1500 acres.
Sure glad to see the interest in forming coops! When talking to neighbors, just remember that change can be somewhat difficult and usually takes longer than we'd like. Patience being the key.
to get into a coop - I'm just south of Lincoln - I don't have much - only 20 acres - but I sure would love to add it into what around me to get everyone on the same page - if anyone knows of such a 'ground swell' in my area besure to let me know - I want in !!!

Section24 Gustin
rz-Basically, We don't meet.

I am the focal point, so all info channels thru me. I put out a newsletter 4 times a year, I currently have the first quarter newsletter in the works, in which I mail out a landowner survey of all the deer harvested off their property. I then share that info with the rest of the Co-op, plus any pictures that are mailed back to me. I also ask for a small donation to help cover the cost of my mailings. The newsletters are a huge hit amonst the hunters.

Luv2, if you go to the Lost lake club house, you'll find my newsletter, I have several contacts within the club.

We never meet, just because everyone is so spread throughout the state. I have a calling card that really gets alot of use, and that's how I got the co-op going, by finding out everyones phone number.

We have noticed a HUGE difference in the overall size of the herd, and body weights of the deer, but that is mainly due to Lost lakes efforts over the last 8 years. We are currently into our 3rd year.
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Ferg, I would be happy to put you on my mailing list, just email me.

[email protected]
on the way - thank - ferg....
I'm trying to talk my neighbors into starting a coop in the bellevue area. It looks like I might be getting somewhere.
It looks like we have about 380 acres commited.
Stay committed buckacc.

I found it very helpful to let each individual neighbor decide as to what level of voluntary participation they would like to practice at.

Currently we have 580 acres committed to 4 points to one side, (with 40 of those being mine) and roughly 1600 acres committed to at least 3 pts to one side.

The surprising thing that has occurred, is that many of those who chose to participate at 3 pts to one side, are usually only shooting bucks at 7 points or larger. And holding off on the 6 points and smaller.

When I asked then why they only want to committ to at least 3 pts to one side, they've all said it's just their comfort factor. Meaning that if they accidentally harvest a 5 or 6 point, they wouldn't be going against their word to the rest of the co-op.

It works for us!:)
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Thats what I've been doing. My biggest problem is getting my neighbors not to worry about what was done in the past.
I figure any improvement is better then no improvement.
I think the biggest reason I've been getting more neighbors to
commit is that they see the results I've been having on my property.

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if you are seeing does repeatedly, harvest the first mature doe that presents a good shot. If you're not seeing does, then don't shoot one
Your words are so true and simple! If we can only get the rest of the hunters to see what shooting a adult doe instead of a mistaken nub buck will do over a few years. I am bound and determined to get the message and info on getting the herd in my area to as close to one to two as possible. Its hard, real hard. Keep the good information flowing here, I am learning something new everyday.
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