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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
There are about 20 State game areas in Southern Michigan. I think the key would be how do we select one and sell the concept to the hunting public and the DNR?

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Boyd
 

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There may be 20 state game areas in the southern part of the state, but most of them are very small. I don't think a QDM area would work because all the people owning land next to it could shoot anything. You need a big track of land like in the U.P. or the northern lower. Besides, we grow'em pretty big down here anyways!!! :)
 

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Darn tootin we grow em big down here! But just imagine the possibilities if all the spikes and forks were allowed to grow up into mature animals! Oh baby, I can see em now!

Ben
 

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In my opinion a mandatory "form" of QDM is going to be addressed for the first time since 1958 by the DNR this year and rightly so! It will have to have time to evolve because it will really take some time to get public opinion behind it while the DNR struggles with taking care of our deer instead of the special interest groups.

Also, some of the previous posts mentioned a one buck annual limit with add-on doe permits. I believe that is going to HAVE TO HAPPEN. In response to the concerns about deer hunting(gun or bow) and having to pass up a buck, nice or not. Yup, ONE would be the LIMIT!! As an example- If you shot two roosters in the morning and went pat hunting in the afternoon and flushed a rooster should you shoot it? Heck no you wouldn't and you wouldn't want a 14 year old to either. You already filled your rooster LIMIT for that day, now you're hunting something else. Same goes for deer, buck & does. All points taken by the posters on this forums topic are also some of the same pills the DNR hasn't wanted to take.
 

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F.Y.I.

PROCEDURE FOR INITIATION, EVALUATION, AND REVIEW OF MANDATORY
QUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT PROPOSALS

INTRODUCTION:

Quality Deer Management (QDM) is an approach to deer management that requires restrictive buck
harvests and sustained antlerless harvests to produce a more balanced sex ratio and populations in
balance with available habitat. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) supports
the voluntary implementation of these practices on private land. Recently several proposals,
requesting mandatory implementation of QDM practices on larger land areas, have been presented
to the Natural Resources Commission (NRC).

Three areas, South Fox Island, Drummond Island, and Deer Management Unit (DMU) 101, have
been designated to have experimental antler restrictions to reduce pressure on yearling bucks. Each
area proposal was unique in concept and desired regulations. The process of acting on each
proposal was also undeveloped. The South Fox Island QDM proposal was part of a research
project looking at population estimation techniques (recommended by the Wildlife Bureau and
approved by the NRC with public comment). The Drummond Island QDM proposal focused only
on bucks and was jointly developed with field management personnel (recommended by the Wildlife
Bureau and approved by the NRC). The DMU 101 QDM proposal was proposed by a private
individual directly to the NRC and approved at the same meeting.

In 1997, a proposal was submitted to create a new Deer Management Unit (DMU) with QDM
guidelines for a portion of Clare County (78 square miles). The proposed mandatory rules were
returned to the sponsors with the NRC requesting that the sponsors resubmit a modified proposal in
1998. The revised 1998 proposal was expanded to include all of DMU 107, covering 172 square
miles in Clare County. To gauge public support for this proposal, the Wildlife Bureau worked with
the sponsoring organization to survey a sample of the hunters and landowners in this area. Based on
survey results, support for the proposal was judged insufficient by the Wildlife Bureau. The proposal
failed for lack of support in NRC deliberations. A three-points-on-a-side antler point restriction was
approved for DMU 107 for the 1999-2003 seasons.

Clearly, there is growing demand for mandatory QDM guidelines in localized areas and a need for a
systematic process to evaluate these proposals. Keys to successful implementation of QDM-type
regulations include four factors: a) willingness of the sponsoring parties to coordinate

and support public information meetings, data collection, and evaluation, b) support of both
landowners and hunters who would be affected, c) regulations that are understandable and
enforceable, and d) a sufficient trial period for the regulation to impact deer herd structure. A
process that accomplishes systematic evaluation based on the above four criteria and that measures
public support will enable the best biological/social recommendations to be put into practice.
Regulations affecting the taking of animals are enacted by the NRC.

In July 1998, the Wildlife Bureau formed a QDM working group to develop such a process. The
group consisted of Wildlife Bureau staff, field biologists, and representatives of seven organizations
(Appendix A). A copy of the guidelines used by the state of Georgia was used as the basic
framework for consideration. The following criteria reflect adaptation of those guidelines to
Michigan’s resource conditions, social makeup, and regulation process. Regulations from this
process should result in a population in balance with habitat, an older age structure of bucks, a
desirable buck-to-doe ratio, and optimal fawn production and survival. Trophy management is not a
goal of Quality Deer Management or the MDNR; the emphasis is on graduating a higher proportion
of yearling bucks to the next age class.

MDNR POSITION STATEMENT ON QUALITY DEER MANAGEMENT:

The MDNR supports the voluntary implementation of QDM practices on private lands in Michigan.
Mandatory regulations should be imposed in a DMU only when it can be shown that a clear majority
(66 percent) of hunters and landowners support implementation.

PROCEDURES:

Areas to be considered:

The smallest unit in deer management decision making is the DMU. These areas range from 67
square miles to 3,009 square miles. Criteria used to establish DMUs included deer population
density, habitat conditions, crop/horticulture damage, land ownership patterns, safety concerns, and
seasonal deer movement patterns. Attempts were also made to define boundaries that were easily
identified by hunters. The number of DMUs also ensured that field staff and law enforcement
personnel had time to develop and enforce regulations at the DMU level. Currently, there are
approximately 165 DMUs administered by eight Wildlife Management Units.

Proposals to implement QDM-type regulations will be reviewed and considered for any DMU in the
state, regardless of land ownership patterns. Proposals to realign DMU boundaries will be
considered; however, these boundary changes must result in a DMU that is considered practical by
the Wildlife Management Unit Supervisor. Additional features of the areas which could influence
success of QDM programs (Appendix B) have been identified by Murphy (1997). Proposal
sponsors should review that list of features and design their QDM proposals to minimize those
factors that could make QDM more difficult to achieve.

Project initiation:

Interested parties should initially contact the appropriate Wildlife Management Unit Supervisor
responsible for implementing deer regulations in the proposed area (Appendix C). The Wildlife
Management Unit Supervisor will provide information on the current guidelines and required forms
for submitting QDM proposals. If an individual or organization contacts Wildlife Bureau personnel
about a QDM proposal in an area, that person should be referred to the appropriate Wildlife
Management Unit Supervisor.

These proposals will require substantial Bureau effort for one species in a relatively small geographic
area. This has been a point of concern expressed by people and organizations interested in having
adequate attention paid to management in other geographic areas and for other species. To ensure
that the Wildlife Bureau is efficiently using personnel time and that sponsors are committed to
successful implementation of mandatory QDM in a DMU, a “good-faith,” non-refundable
contribution to support Wildlife Bureau administrative responses to the QDM proposal is required.
A contribution of $2,000 per proposal submission should be made out to the Wildlife Bureau Gift
Account.

Wildlife Management Unit Supervisors will allot time for staff to work on no more than two new
proposals per year in each Wildlife Bureau Management Unit. Proposals may be submitted annually.
Each proposal submission will be handled as a new proposal, even if the proposal is resubmitted
following an earlier rejection. Each resubmittal will require a contribution of $2,000. If more than two
proposals are received or multiple proposals are made for a single DMU in a single year, then the
Management Unit Supervisor will select those proposals with the greatest potential for successful
review (including public support) and implementation.

The first step in the process is to provide a draft proposal with a preliminary measure of support to
the Wildlife Management Unit Supervisor. The proposal should contain a statement of purpose
(what the proposal is intended to accomplish), proposed regulations, and proposed methods of
evaluation.

The statement of purpose should include management objectives for both bucks and does (i.e., older
buck age structure, sex ratio goals, antlerless harvest to meet population goals, etc.) as well as
societal values (i.e., stewardship, education, etc.).

Proposed regulations must protect at least 50 percent of yearling bucks to be considered effective
and measurable. In the Upper Peninsula, a “no-spike” rule would be recommended to meet this
threshold, based on data from 1987-98. In the Northern Lower Peninsula (see Appendix D for area
definition), a three-points-on-a-side rule would be needed to protect at least 50 percent of yearling
bucks. To protect at least 50 percent of yearling bucks in the Southern Lower Peninsula, an antler
point restriction rule would need to protect animals with less than four-points-on-a-side. These
minimum standards are recommended for proposal sponsors to reduce complexity of regulations
across geographic regions while still ensuring protection of yearling bucks for Quality Deer
Management objectives.

The regulations will be in effect for a five-year period. Graduated or step-up regulations are not
permitted (i.e., three-points-on-a-side for two years followed by four-points-on-a-side for the
remaining three years). This requirement is to keep regulations as simple and understandable as
possible for the affected parties. The Wildlife Bureau retains authority to set antlerless harvest quotas
to maintain deer populations at appropriate levels in the DMU based on available biological
information and input received from all stakeholders. Recognition of antlerless harvest as part of any
QDM proposal is required.

The proposal will be evaluated for completeness and soundness by Wildlife Bureau staff, and a
written critique will be given to the sponsoring party. Staff personnel will include the Wildlife
Management Unit Supervisor and the District Law Enforcement Supervisor. It may be returned for
improvement or clarification, or accepted for the next step, public notification.

The preliminary measure of support is either a) a petition of 100 supporting individuals (at least 50
people who have hunted in the affected area and at least 50 landowners of 40 acres or more in the
affected area) or b) one organization with local ties to the affected area. Individuals or organizations
can initiate proposals. Interested parties are encouraged to form an organization (or solicit an existing
organization) to serve as the proposal sponsor, with identified leaders. This helps to publicize the
sponsoring organization, making the dissemination and collection of information more efficient. This
step should be completed two years prior to proposal implementation (October 1), allowing all of
the subsequent steps to be completed in a timely manner.

If a proposal is rejected and the sponsoring organization (or individual) believes the Management
Unit Supervisor did not give adequate consideration to the proposal before rejection, they may
appeal the decision to the Wildlife Field Operations Supervisor for a second review. The Wildlife
Field Operations Supervisor can utilize other staff at his/her discretion or request review by the
biologists on the QDM working group.

The proposed regulation, once accepted, will be incorporated into the Hunting and Trapping Guide
(and related guides such as the Antlerless Deer Application Guide) in the year prior to
implementation. This Guide is printed in June; therefore, the final proposal must be completed by
May 15. The Guide will announce the proposed regulation, proposal sponsor (with telephone
number), location, and date of a local public meeting on the topic. A copy of the proposal will be
distributed to Wildlife Bureau and Law Enforcement Division personnel for discussion at meetings
and speaking opportunities.

The public meeting must be advertised in local media and occur at least ten months prior to proposal
implementation (no later than December 1). Announcement of the meeting will also be included in
MDNR press releases. Wildlife Bureau personnel will be involved in the public meeting and shall
provide a balanced presentation on the positive and negative impacts of the proposal. Groups that
have presented a mandatory QDM proposal to the NRC before October 1998 may bypass the
steps of public meetings and public notification and move to Wildlife Management Unit Supervisor
review of the proposal in anticipation of a survey in December.

In December of the year prior to proposal implementation, a formal mail survey will be conducted by
the Wildlife Bureau to measure support for the proposal. A sample of landowners within the affected
area and a sample of persons that deer hunt within the affected area will be selected to achieve a fair
representation of the views concerning the proposal. The actual sample size necessary will be
determined by Wildlife Bureau survey staff and will be based on the number and distribution of
affected stakeholder populations.

The landowner sample will be obtained from county tax records. In counties with electronic
databases, the Wildlife Bureau will obtain the necessary sample. In counties that cannot provide
electronic files of landowners for sampling, the sponsoring organization will be required to obtain the
landowner sample from county tax records for the Wildlife Bureau. The Wildlife Bureau survey staff
will provide landowner-sampling methods, which will ensure acreage ownership patterns are
reflected in the sample. Only landowners with acreage greater than or equal to the minimum acreage
requirement for private land antlerless hunting licenses in the prior year will be included in the sample.

A random sample of hunters who hunted in the affected area in the previous year will be used as the
sample of hunters. The sample of hunters will be obtained from the most recent Deer Hunter Survey
(conducted annually by the Wildlife Bureau). In this survey, location of hunt is recorded as county,
thus the hunter sample may include hunters of nearby areas that may not be affected by the
regulation. These individuals will not be included in the response tally.

If the volume of proposals exceeds the Wildlife Bureau’s ability to complete the survey process and
analyze results, an independent third party (e.g., university) may be used to conduct the surveys.

A standardized survey will be developed for this purpose and include a question on the specific
proposal. Response options to the question on the proposal will be “yes”, “no”, “undecided”, and
“don’t care” (Appendix E). Additional questions regarding the respondent’s background (hunting
activity in affected area, age and sex, etc.) and opinions on related issues may be included. The
sponsoring organization will have input to any changes made for the purpose of adapting the
questionnaire to a particular proposed area. The name and address of contacted individuals will be
kept confidential, but they may be subject to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

To obtain the maximum response, a post card reminder will follow the first questionnaire mailing. A
second questionnaire will be sent to those who have not responded within a reasonable period to the
first questionnaire. A 50 percent response rate (number of returned surveys divided by the number
of delivered surveys) will be considered the minimum acceptable response rate for each sample
(landowners and hunters). The Wildlife Bureau will determine if non-response bias should be
evaluated if the response rate is below 70 percent.

The percentage of support will be measured by dividing the number of “yes” responses by the sum
of those responses indicating “yes,” “no,” or “undecided.” People who indicate “don’t care” or who
do not answer the yes/no/undecided/don’t care question will not be considered in the tally. Support
must be indicated by at least 66 percent of landowners and 66 percent of deer hunters to the
question concerning the specific proposal.

The proposal for mandatory QDM regulations will be terminated if the survey fails to attain either of
the following conditions: (1) a minimum 50 percent response rate for each of the landowner or hunter
sample as described above; or (2) support by 66 percent of survey respondents in either the
landowner or hunter sample as described above.

The survey results will be summarized and distributed by March 1. The Wildlife Bureau will include
proposal recommendations as part of the April NRC meeting for discussion, with Commission action
at the following NRC meeting in May. If approved, the regulation will be incorporated into the
Hunting and Trapping Guide and implemented that fall. The NRC action will be included in a
Department news release. If the NRC does not approve the proposed change, the sponsoring
organization may address the reasons for rejection and resubmit the proposal at a later time.

Project duration:

The proposed regulations will be in effect for five (5) years. The specific regulations, once
implemented, cannot be changed for three (3) years. Petitions to drop the regulation can be
submitted after year three (3). In response to such a petition, the original survey of support must be
redone. A sponsor must agree to pay for redoing the survey of support, which will be conducted by
the Wildlife Bureau. The new public opinion survey must show at least 66 percent support from each
group (landowners and hunters) to keep regulations in place.

In the absence of any challenges, the Wildlife Bureau will survey landowners and hunters after the
fourth year to measure support for the regulation and to determine the appropriate path to be taken
after the fifth season. The Wildlife Bureau survey participants will be asked if the regulation should
remain in place or be dropped. The same criteria will be used to interpret results.

Evaluation of the effectiveness of the regulation change:

Evaluation must begin prior to the establishment of the regulation. During hunting seasons of the year
prior to proposal implementation, the sponsor will be required to collect baseline information on herd
age and sex structure. Evaluation of local area regulations will require intensive data collection and
will be the burden of the sponsoring organization. A minimum of 100 bucks and 200 antlerless deer
(or all harvested antlerless deer if expected antlerless harvest is less than 200 animals) will be
required for the year prior to season implementation and each year of the proposed regulation
implementation. Deer checked at MDNR-operated check stations would be included in the sample
to increase sample sizes for evaluation. A sample of this size is needed to assess whether the
regulation is having the desired impact on herd age and sex structure. Details of data collection will
be worked out cooperatively between the sponsoring organization and the Wildlife Bureau staff.
Failure to collect the pre-regulation data (in the year prior to anticipated implementation) will halt the
process until this requirement is satisfied.

Areas with limited antlerless harvest or regulations that bias or interfere with data collection may
require alternative data collection techniques that are not harvest-based (camera samples, summer
deer observations, deer seen while hunting, spotlight surveys, pellet counts, etc.). These techniques
will be developed with input from surveys staff and Wildlife Management Unit personnel to ensure
consistency of data across spatial areas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
That's the procedure, however, nobody has applied as it isn't particularly user friendly, and the NRC has indicated they will be revisiting it later this year. Also, anyone can make a QDM or other proposal during any of the NRC monthly public speaking sessions. Next NRC meeting is Wednesday, February 9th at the Lansing Center, with public speaking appearances starting at 4:30 pm.

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Boyd
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
The important point to emphasize here is that everybody has an opportunity to go before the NRC on a monthly basis, and make a QDM or other wildlife/hunting proposal, regardless of whatever procedures or regulations may be out there.

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Boyd

[This message has been edited by bwiltse (edited 01-30-2000).]
 
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