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Crazed Country Rebel
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Here are my observations/notes from the DNR meeting in Marquette last night. These are my impressions only; others that attended please chime in with your take on things:

· There were many protesters/picketers outside the University Center with signs expressing dissatisfaction with the DNR and advocating license boycotts for '06. These folks were peaceful and non confrontational
· This meeting was well attended – I would guess several hundred people(?). From all walks of life – everyday working guys, professionals, students, retirees, blatant rednecks, and so on.
· Although the DNR prefaced the meeting with statements indicating that this is "our" meeting and they're here to hear our views, they spent the first 45+ minutes with powerpoints laying out their methodologies – this obviously annoyed many
· Universal agreement that deer numbers are way down. Hunter after hunter told how after x decades of hunting from their camp, this year they saw very few (sometimes 0) deer. Many old timers relating how the current deer numbers remind them of the 60s. Some real pathetic stories testifying how something is terribly wrong for whatever reason and we demand that the DNR effectively manage the herd which is what we pay them to do
· Strong public support for going back to 1 buck license. The DNR indicated that this would require law changes as they are mandated to sell firearm and archery licenses
· Many advocates for shorter seasons – one of the old timers very eloquently told how back in the day there were shorter seasons for rabbits, partridge, and trout but you could see and take many of each. Made the analogy to deer and basically asked how can we expect any different when we hunt for 3 months?
· This is huge and the main point I wanted the DNR to hear - Migrated does taken in December. The UP is unique because our deer migrate, and they move into areas where many doe permits are issued. The result is slaughter and obviously deer that never make it back to where they migrated from
· The DNR is pretty clear that they feel winter kill and lack of timber harvest in appropriate areas have the highest negative impact on the deer herd.
· Predator control was the point of heated discussion. Of course there are the wolf concerns, but good points were made about how many fawns are eaten by bears each spring. Most in favor of increased bear harvest quotas
· Discussion of building habitat back up and the $6 million DRIP fund that we paid for but is locked up by the legislature. DNR said they would love to have that money to use as intended. Everyone urged to write/call/email their state representatives and general outrage that the money hasn't been used as intended.
· Surprising success stories from the QDM/AR areas about seeing more and older bucks
· Discussion of timber harvest and concerns that the company that recently purchased Mead (?) has a reputation for laying waste to cedar/hemlock deer yarding areas.


I had never attended such a meeting and found it to be worthwhile; you can learn something from everyone, even if it’s how not to be an a$$hole. Many attendees were cynical that nothing would come of our venting and the DNR would forget most of what they heard before they left town. I believe these individuals do care about our deer herd – this is what they’ve chosen as their life’s work, after all. It was interesting to see John Madigan (NRC), Rod Chute, Ron Doepker, Craig Albright and others in person to put faces with the names.

What’s at question is what will happen to our concerns once they’re funneled into the great abysmal political vortex downstate.

I wouldn’t hesitate to attend such meetings in the future - Hey, I got to meet Richard P Smith!

Don’t forget to provide your feedback regarding the goals to [email protected]

Was anyone else from this site there and what did you think?
 

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Crazed Country Rebel
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Discussion Starter #3
Sorry about the fonts - imported from Word and had some "issues"
 

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Yup, hard to read. But a huge thank you. Had pool league last night and our whole team (which constitutes camp) wished the meeting had been held monday.

Thanks again. I appreciate your notes.
 

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Thanks yooperkenny, 550 miles from home and out of vacation time.Wish i could of attended. I have wrote in my thoughts. I went to the view tab on the tool bar and clicked on text size, then selected large and was able to read your post just fine.
 

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Kenny,

Did you really get a feel for the "direction" that the DNR wants to take with some of these items?

Are they going to try to change the legislation to one buck?
Are they planning to increase the bear harvest?
Are they going to shorten the season?

I guess I was wondering in essence is did they say what they "wanted" or were "trying" to do, or was it just a feedback session on where it is now and what people/DNR think that needs to change?

Thanks again.
 

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Hey Kenny, I really appreciate your honest input on this one. I was watching TV6 last night and they had a blurb about it, and I kept reminding myself to ask you about it. Of course I forgot, but think it was great that you posted it.


Thanks again,
Dan
 

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I was trying to tune in as well between that and Bohnak but my kids didn't feel the need at the same time. I think they plan it ahead of time for this kind of stuff, missed Discovering too:sad:
 

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"There were many protesters/picketers outside the University Center with signs expressing dissatisfaction with the DNR and advocating license boycotts for '06."

I see that as taking care of two issues....If all those people boycott the 06 hunting season and encourage their friends to do so as well, then we will have more bucks to shoot, less hunters in the woods, and can keep the two buck law in place.;)

Really though, a lot of this boils down to the 900,000 deer we lost during the past 15 winters and our poor winter habitat that is ever decreasing in quality and supporting less total deer. It wouldn't matter if we went to 1 buck, no bucks, and bounties on all predators, we are still dealing with a shrinking winter habitat that supports less and less deer each year, especially in the northern most regions of the U.P.

Thanks for the update! A close friend of mine was there and he gave me some good insite into the discussion...he said he actually stayed until they turned the lights out and was able to talk to most of the professionals, including Rod Clute for almost a 1/2 hour. I don't think he got home until after 11:00..glad I didn't go, I would have still had a 65 mile drive back home at that time.
 

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Crazed Country Rebel
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Discussion Starter #12
Gilbey said:
...Did you really get a feel for the "direction" that the DNR wants to take with some of these items?

Are they going to try to change the legislation to one buck?
Are they planning to increase the bear harvest?
Are they going to shorten the season?

I guess I was wondering in essence is did they say what they "wanted" or were "trying" to do, or was it just a feedback session on where it is now and what people/DNR think that needs to change?
There were so many public comments that at one point they decided to hold their (DNR's) feedback until the end. Well that didn't happen until well after 9:30 as I recall; I left a little before 10 and they were still going at it.

The impression I got, and this is pretty intuitive, is the DNR would like to
cut back to one buck. I did not hear them indicate that they favor bear quotas increasing or any seasons being shorter.

Remember that the focus was supposed to be on what does the public think of the deer population goals. Many expressed that the goals for DMU 007 were too low. Basically everyone said there are too few deer and the 3 DMUs in question at this meeting (007,152,252) should have more deer; the heated discussion centered around how to accomplish that. For my part I provided written feedback about DMU 131 where I hunt and indicated that the goals are too low in my opinion because we should get our friggin DRIP money and work on habitat.
 

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Thanks for all the typing Yooper Kenny....you saved me having to do it. I was also at the meeting last night and I think you covered it really well. I would only add that there were many many who complained about the number of predators in general(not only wolves). I also believe this to be a much bigger factor than is believed by most of the DNR and many hunters. The DNR mainly blames lack of winter habitat for low deer numbers...must have been lots of logging started in the last few years. I also think most of the hunters do not believe the DNR estimates for deer populations in some areas of the DMU's. This meeting was mainly about 007 and the 2 to the South(152 & 55 I believe).

Gilbey posted;
Are they going to try to change the legislation to one buck?
Are they planning to increase the bear harvest?
Are they going to shorten the season?

They did not make any indication either way on these questions.

UP Ed posted;
What was your impression of the DNR's position on QDM?
What was your impression of the hunter's position on QDM?

I don't remember the DNR bringing up QDM at all or having a position either way. QDM was brought up by a couple of hunters who told of their success in the areas they hunted with QDM regulations. Those areas are farther South though and I think the group was overwhelmingly from 007 where deer numbers are at 60's populations. I heard most hunters saying we needed some deer first before worrying about QDM. I hunt in Northern Marquette County and believe we could use a little plain old deer management before we worry about quality.

Hope all that adds a little flavor to Yooper Kenny's post.....
 

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Crazed Country Rebel
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Discussion Starter #14
UP Ed said:
What was your impression of the DNR's position on QDM?

What was your impression of the hunter's position on QDM?
The DNR did not have much to say specifically about QDM. As I wrote, some of the public was impressed with the results they've seen in DMUs 152 and 252 (MAR areas). But on the other hand, others with camps in those areas said they've never seen it so bad. So it's mixed.

There was mention of state programs that private land owners can participate in to improve the habitat on their lands.

Maybe the answer to your question is inherent in the discussions. Using the 3 tenets of QDM that you folks have communicated so well here:

  1. Deer populations at or below holding capacity of habitat: Well, everyone seemed to agree that the herd is below capacity, and habitat needs to be improved.
  2. Balanced sex ratios: Most in attendance expressed dismay at the lack of buck sightings
  3. Buck age structures: Well, if they didn't see any bucks that means they didn't see any older ones
So is this a stretch or can we make the jump that most in attendance were implying that we need some QDM? I'm half joking here, but what I got out of everyone's comments is that all of the above is moot if there are no deer to begin with. I'm serious here - the people in attendance at that meeting are convinced that we are on the road to doom and if this keeps up there will be no deer season because there will be no deer.

Extreme? Maybe, but perception is reality and that's what they're thinking!

Sorry, but I would be a pretty crappy secretary - maybe others in attendance could provide some feedback as well.
 

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Crazed Country Rebel
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Discussion Starter #15
glock29 said:
I heard most hunters saying we needed some deer first before worrying about QDM. .....
That is the crux of what I mean to say.
 
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Interesting that the DNR reps didn't say anything about QDM and their position on it as they did in Up Ed's case. Perhaps someone was reminded by higher officials that the official MDNR position is, "The MDNR is neutral about the practice of QDM".
 

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The funny thing is that QDM would help hunters in the area, and it further goes to show how far we have to go in the understanding of QDM up here. For starters..pass on the young bucks and there will be more bucks in the woods, which in turn increases the entire population. Also, just because there is QDM doesn't mean you have to shoot does, especially when the DMU's are so far under goal. Protect the mature does at all costs, protect the yearling bucks, and you will have a more stable herd that is still in balance with the habitat, with a larger and older buck herd....and it's still QDM!

And don't go saying that the yearling bucks can't make it through a U.P. winter...how do you think they survived as a fawn that weighed half as much?

Again maintain a high doe age structure, which in turn is more experienced, productive, and able to withstand the harshest of U.P. winters, and increase the age and size of the buck population by passing on young bucks....pretty simple stuff. Also, an older buck age structue is also a more stable buck population that can buffer the effects of severe winters. Right now we lose our fawn crop during the winter...and we lose our buck crop for the following year. Also, if we lose a spring fawn crop we lose our buck herd in two seasons. We can't keep relying on young bucks to provide recreational opportunity.
 

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I hunt in the rock area DMU is that 007 im not sure, But the numbers have went up in the past five years with 4 nice mature bucks taken out of our camp and more seen. I cant complain at all, just more deer in general fom does, small bucks, yearlings everything Im very happy with it
 

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Jeff,

You seem to be one of the most experienced and respected posters in the deer forum with much insight into deer behavior. I can tell you have a real passion for the deer heard in general. However, I never seem to be able to make the jump to your way of thinking(QDM) cause something is missing from your formula. I just can't believe it's as simple as letting small bucks go. First, I have said before that youth should have a pass...but never mind that issue for now. I have hunted in Northern Marquette County in the same area for over 20 years now. When I first began hunting this area I would say I was a meat hunter. I would take a legal buck...many were small ones...for years and years. They just kept coming year after year. Sometime a long time ago I decided this was not what I wanted...way before talk of QDM up here. I started passing on the small bucks and waiting for nice deer. They came also....things were good. We are still passing on the small bucks...problem is...nothing mature is coming after. In most years after years following a sighting of small deer...nothing comes...not even more small bucks. In 2003 we saw 7 bucks, 1 nice 8 which eluded us, 6 small bucks of which the kids picked off 2. In 2004 we never saw an antler. In 2005, 6 again but all small, kids pick off 2 smaller ones leaving 4 young bucks for seed. We'll see what comes next year. I'm not only talking hunting sightings here...I spend lots of time on my land...deer numbers are WAY down and THEY DON'T LIVE LONG. We don't have many other hunters around us so it isn't pressure and there hasn't been a tree cut in 5 miles so the DNR can file that idea. These deer winter locally and the yarding area has not been touched. I never would find dead deer in the winter when snowshoeing...but I do now....can't tell what happened to them. Many of these dead deer I find are early in the winter...to early for winter kill. What the H is going on?
 

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Hundreds protest DNR: Deer management focus of frustration

http://www.miningjournal.net/news/story/0118202006_new01-n0118.asp

MARQUETTE - Hundreds of local hunters held a "peaceful picket and demonstration" prior to a Michigan Department of Natural Resources meeting on deer population goals Tuesday evening at Northern Michigan University. Specifically, protesters were upset with the DNR's deer herd management practices. Many brought home-made signs to show their displeasure.

[ModNote] see link for balance of article.
 
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