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Monday, March 6, 2000

By Mike Spencer
TIMES OUTDOORS WRITER


A group of area hunters believe the proof of quality
deer
management is in the pudding so why wait for their just
dessert.

The Mid-Michigan Branch of the Quality Deer Management
Association is asking the Natural Resources Commission
to consider a statewide antler point restriction on deer

harvested this year.

Last year, the state chapter of the QDMA successfully
got
NRC approval for a similar buck restriction in the Clare

County area.

While a quality deer management plan can take up to
three years for conclusive results, Mid-Michigan QDMA
president Ed Spinazzolla says he already knows the
outcome will be nothing but positive.

That's why his group is asking the NRC to adopt a
three-point on one side minimum for first bucks taken in

the Northern Lower and Upper Peninsula and a four-point
one side restriction for Southern Lower Michigan.

"Our branch believes this proposal is both
scientifically
and socially valid and would result in improvement
management and stewardship of the white-tailed deer
resource," Spinazzolla said while addressing the NRC
last
month.

Like QDMA proposals submitted in years past, the impact
would be:

Improved adult sex ratio and buck age structure.

Increased number of quality bucks available for
harvest.

Increased antlerless harvest by shifting pressure from

protected bucks to antlerless deer.

Increased hunter interest, involvement in management
and satisfaction.

Spinazzolla said his group will address the NRC this
Wednesday and next month at its monthly meeting in
Lansing and hopefully get a five-year proposal to a vote
in
the next couple of months.

"I'm not getting any data yet, but I'm sure it's there,"
said
Spinazzolla. "And the attitude of the people is changing

fast.

"They're' starting to see the light and we're not
sitting back
and talking. We're doing something."

"I am a very strong believer in quality deer
management,"
said Keith Charters, the NRC chairman. "And if I a
dictator, I'd wave the wand and Michigan would be a QDM
program asap.

"But with all the turmoil over bovine tuberculosis in
deer, I
don't think that it would be wise for us to even
consider
this at this time."

Under the proposal, the state Department of Natural
Resources and NRC would be asked to review the current
antlerless deer harvest quotas and the permit/tag system

and that liberalized antlerless harvest opportunities be

considered for areas with densely populated herds.

Spinazzolla said the plan protects about 50 percent of
the
1 1/2 year old bucks and would likely increased the
adult
sex ratios to 1:1.6 in the U.P., 1:1.7 in the entire
lower
peninsula.

"We had no intention of asking this this year or next,"
said
Spinazzolla. "But one thing led to another.

"We kind of jumped the gun, but I think we're doing the
right thing."

Hunters from three other deer management units had
approached the Mid-Michigan Branch to help them set up
a demonstration area in those areas, Spinazzolla said.

He also said there were no complaints from last year's
demonstration area in Clare County, which had a
three-point minimum on one side.

Charters said he wants to see the Clare County data
before approving anything statewide.

"I think we have to have two or three years to see the
results," said Charters. "I would love to see positive
results
that has public buy-in, hunter compliance and then
experiment in other areas of the state.

"And then 15 to 20 years down the road, see the state
mandate QDM."
 
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