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Held Thursday 1/12/06 in Baraga.

Approximate attendance was 110 to 120 people filling the room to capacity.

My observations: The DNR at the higher level (Rod Clute-DNR Big Game dude) is totally against QDM and sounds like he knows little about it or just doesn't believe in it.
All the DMU's in the western U.P. are under the proposed population goals (except the southern DMU's). With the DNR's opposition QDM, I wonder if they are going to cease doe tags to bring up the overall population but this would further skew the sex ratio and put greater pressure on the bucks.

The DNR gave an overview on their proposed deer population goals and how they determine population's trends. They emphasized that the deer population was primarily governed by winter weather and timber practice. DNR wants to reduce deer numbers in the southern UP and increase them in the central and northern areas. They also talked about the ownership changes occuring in large areas of corporate land.

Comments by those in attendance and responses by the DNR.

Advocates of QDM.
DNR said there is not much hunter interest as there was a couple years ago in the people they talk to. DNR Big Game guy Rod Clute: Mississippi study states QDM is high grading. PA the jury is still out. Mississippi after 10 years antler quality has gone down slightly. QDM is unproven and has not passed peer review. "Just because a few guys with letters after their names write in magazines doesn't mean QDM is a proven method."

Why 66% for QDM to be adopted?
DNR: 66% insures that the people really want it and it prevents the NRC from overruling it.

Attendee: Vote on QDM should be limited to those living in the U.P.

What is the buck to doe ratio?
DNR: preseason it's 2 to 1 post season its 7 or 8 to 1.

What's the buck age distribution.
DNR answered with about 3 minutes of total ********. (They have no clue.)
DNR: In an expanding herd 70% of bucks are yearlings. After a bad winter 45% are yearlings.

DMU007 -Wolves and bow hunters impact the doe numbers contributing to low deer numbers.
DNR said primary influences are winter severity and forest practice.

DMU007 is too large.
DNR noted the concern.

Mandatory deer registration for two years.
DNR stated that states that require it only get 80%-85% compliance and then they fudge the numbers. DNR current methods achieves 98% accuracy on a statewide basis and at the DMU level an accuracy of about 85%. DNR looks a trend not absolutes. A lot more cost to register deer.

042DMU (Keweenaw) population's goals are ok with the folks up there. (Several sportsmen's groups.)

What's being done to help deer habitat.
DNR is trying to increase hemlock in winter areas (<1000a total), talked about some private land habitat programs. DNR & Feds work together in the National Forests.

One buck license.
DNR said that there is wide spread support for a one buck license but be careful what you wish for. Statewide 5% of hunters take two bucks. DNR feels that the two buck license gives the hunter an opportunity to keep hunting if he scores early in the season. By law the DNR must sell archery and rifle buck licenses.
Attendee: If two buck license make the first buck be a 3-point on one side.

We are the top of the food chain not wolves and other predators, so we should be first at the table.

We should be able to shoot coyotes during deer season.

12 year olds should be able to hunt firearms deer season.
DNR agrees and also supports 10-year-old archery hunters.

Button bucks taken should have to be tagged with an antlerless license.
DNR said that&#8217;s a possibility.

I hope that many of you attend the Marquette meeting on Tuesday January 17th. Those of you who are very versed in QDM (NorthJeff) will have a field day engaging this Rod Clute guy in a discussion!

-Ed
 

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UP Ed said:
My observations: The DNR at the higher level (Rod Clute-DNR Big Game dude) is totally against QDM and sounds like he knows little about it or just doesn't believe in it.

This is not accurate. Mr. Clute understands QDM very well. DNR leadership, near as I can discern, is favorably disposed toward QDM.

They are opposed to mandatory antler point restrictions, as are a great number of QDM advocates.


UP Ed said:
Why 66% for QDM to be adopted?
DNR: 66% insures that the people really want it and it prevents the NRC from overruling it.
I think we're confusing QDM with proposals for antler restrictions. This is understandable, though, since the DNR/NRC has mandated that antler point restriction proposals be formally called "QDM" proposals.
 

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FL,
Questions for clarification of your statements.

(1) Has there ever been a true QDM sponsored proposal to the DNR/NRC that did not include an antler restriction provision?

(2) Will any future proposals be presented by MiQDM that will not have antler restriction provisions and if so how will they be enforced if mandated?


Not trying to start a debate, but would like more knowledge of this issue as I believe that, other than MARS, QDM philosophies and those that I personally utilize are not so different, especially concerning habitat improvement.

thanks for reading and carry on
glen
 
G

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UP Ed, I hope that your interpretation of MDNR officials attitude is wrong.

The Mississippi antler restriction program is not high grading, I'm sure that Rod knows that, (in fact Rod told me himself that it wasn't high grading). UP Ed, would you spend some time and think back and try to be exact on his remark. Even the research personnel in OL Miss admit that the harvest data does not indicate high grading, it is the result of the antler restrictions in place and besides if it was high grading, it would take many years for it to be defined as high grading.

The Pennsylvania antler restriction approval is not in limbo, (rod's,"The jury is still out?)". The hunter support has been surveyed by the PA. Game Commissionnce the year before the antler rules were in force, (mid fifty% support) and for the following three years, 2004 being last, (66%+ for these three years). One private phone survey in 2004 showed 85% support. The 85% is not recognized by PA authorities due to it being a private phone survey and not sanctioned by them. The above numbers are true and recently verified by officials. It is staying at 66% min. not dropping and Rod knows this. The hunters are upset with the high doe harvest and lack of deer sightings not the antler restrictions.

Same thing UP ED, think back, how strong were these statements made by Rod? We have talked and met UP Ed and I know that you are not biased and the style and inflection of your report shows me that you are not biased, I still ask you to post again, I'm bothered by your first post.

The DNR personnel have been infornmed by their superiors to be neutral about QDM and not voice their opinions. If what you say is true UP Ed, I really am bothered.

Is it possible for you Ed, to contact others who were at the Baraga meeting for their input?
 

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"Attendee: If two buck license make the first buck be a 3-point on one side."

You know, there's something to that. There's an idea in there that needs incubation.

As you read posts about the Population Goals meetings you will often come across the suggestion that we re-set the regs to 1 hunter/1 buck vs the current Combo allowance of of 1hunter/2 bucks (one w/MAR).

Then, of course, we read that under the current Combo lisence only a very small percentage (something like 5%) of all hunters who buy the Combo actually kill two bucks. And, yet, it is a very very popular lisence product. Perhaps, THE most popular. So, in effect, the DNR is getting a premium price ($30) for a product that 95% of hunters really only need to spend $15 for. That's good marketing, you gotta admit.

Then too, you read the post on the recent NRC meeting where the Chairman alludes to the fact that the Combo lisence is the product that carries the freight for DNR revenues. The golden-goose, if you will.

So, you've got an interesting business school case problem: Address the apparent growing popularity of limiting a hunter to just one buck ----- but do so without killing the product that not only has the highest unit-sales volume but ALSO a very high gross margin.

Perhaps a little niche marketing? Tailor the product to fit various market segments?

How 'bout this?

Combo 'A' as it is now: 1buck any antler, 2nd buck = 4pts side...at a price of say, for the sake of exercise, $50.

Combo 'B'...2bucks with minimum 8pts each.....for $40.

Combo 'C'.....(for DMU's in SLP) 1buck +1doe = $30.

One Buck Lisence: $20

One Doe Lisence: $12
 

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Ed Spin04 said:
Is it possible for you Ed, to contact others who were at the Baraga meeting for their input?
Several people at the meeting suggested antler restrictions and/or QDM. My take on it was that Clute spoke out pretty strongly against the antler restrictions in particular, not QDM in general. The following is from memory rather than written notes. (The single quoted items are my paraphrasing of things he said, not exact quotes).

He did indicate that the the 'jury was still out' over the success of antler restrictions in many of the states where they are being tried. He did use the example of Mississippi as a place where antler restrictions have been in place for a long time and 'where studies indicate it _may_ be leading to the highgrading of antler points'. At one point he indicated that it wasn't the DNR's goal to produce a herd of trophy deer. At one point he characterized antler restrictions as a "prostitution" (his word, not mine) of what QDM really is.

I got the impression that he is strongly against antler restrictions but neutral to positive on the topic of QDM. I'm inclined to think the distinction between the two was lost on most of the crowd at the meeting who tended to think of QDM and antler restrictions as one in the same thing.

The topic of habitat improvements in the local area came up. The DNR listed some of the things they have done (on a fairly limited scale, with spotty success). In the end they pointed out that they own very little of the yarding areas, don't have the funds to buy all of the yarding areas and that, in the end, what they could realistically do with respect to large scale habitat improvements was very limited. They pointed out that almost _anything_ that they can do habitat-wise would have little to no short term effects on deer numbers - that habitat improvements (specifically hemlock regeneration and deer yard improvements) where to be looked at as investments on our kids/grandkids hunting experiences rather than our own. The DNR indicated that (in the western UP anyway) they'd rather spend what habitat improvement monies that were available to them on cooperative agreements with private landowners/timber companies (conservation easements, management assistance, etc) than on buying deer yard acerage directly.

-na
 

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Gentlemen - those of us that could not attend appreciate this information.
Our hunting camp is in Houghton Co so this is of great interest. Keep it coming, please.

I cannot believe that the DNR is effectively "giving up" on habitat improvement in the western UP, which is what I seem to be hearing. Do others find this unacceptable as well?

I work, live, and bowhunt in Marquette Co so I'll be at Tuesday's meeting
 
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Thanks Nick Adams. you put some light on the subject.

Antler restrictions are only a tool to improve the buck age structure for the herd to be more natural and I do have a problem with its use as a mandatory rule without allowances for honest mistakes. If there is a mandatory antler restriction rule in place, let there be provisions of a minimum restitution fine like Pennsylvania's $25 and you get to keep the buck less antlers. No mention of a violation on your record. Let peer pressure do its job, it does work and over a few years it becomes a non issue. In fact antler restrictins if used are third on the list when following QDM guidelines. First is the overall health of the herd and the habitat, which amounts to controlling deer density and habitat management. Second is having a more natural sex ratio and or one that susutains the herds productivity, then thirdly, a more natural age strurture in the herd of both sexes.

What you hear from our officials is intransigence or any allowances for consequences when making honest mistakes. they site potential doom for mistakes, (especially for the youth as how they will be subject to a $2,000 fine and jail for taking an illegal deer if antler restrictions are put into place). That rule is not new but is used as a scare tactic. You all have heard their rhetoric and it is obvious that they do not want antler restrictions in any form.

Nick your summary of the DNR's view of habitat for winter survival in the UP is encouraging. I agree, the DNR buying expensive land for winter carry over of deer is out of the question, very expensive and foolish especially when you do not have a plan to regenerate or maintain the wihte cedar or hemlock. Yes again, I agree and have been pushing the NRC and DNR to create an incentive program for private and commercial timber, (winter carry over type) property owners to create sustaining winter habitat. See my article in the next issue of WNW.


The know how to create, and susutain for an indefinate time a winter deer yard that will carry the deer through a tough period has been known and proven since the 1980's. Talk to Lou Verme or John Ozoga and find out about the conferance in Sault Ste Marie in 1990 with many true experts attending and agreeing, that there is a workable solution. So why havn't our decision makers made a move?

They all know about the answer and yet pretend as if there is no answer. Go figure!

Nick, Your report that Rod said that they would like to have a working agrement with private and commerciak timber owners (I assume to improve winter habitat) is the first time that I have heard of anything in this direction. Well, this is certainly a great move if they are serious about it and come up with an incentive program that the land owners cannot refuse. We should put their feet to the fire in this area guys and gals. Can you imagine the UP once again being the deer hunters mecca.

It is doable!

Thanks again Nick Adams.
 

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Ed Spin04 said:
Nick, Your report that Rod said that they would like to have a working agrement with private and commerciak timber owners (I assume to improve winter habitat) is the first time that I have heard of anything in this direction.
That wasn't Clute talking, but one of the other guys (not Clute and not Aho, but the guy in between whose name I do not recall).

I also presume, based on the other comments at the meeting, that they were talking about winter habitat. They emphasized several times that the two factors that most directly infuenced deer numbers in the western UP were winter weather and level of pulpwood harvest - everything else (wolves, hunting regulations, etc) where minor factors in comparison.

Outside of southern Marquette and Dickinson Counties, the state is a relatively small landowner in the western UP. (I put up a map a while back showing ownership distribution at http://www.michigan-sportsman.com/photopost/data/500/deer_public-access_2.jpg if you want to take a look). The vast majority of the habitat is owned by the Ottawa National Forest, private landowners and the timber companies.

The conservation easement (CE) option is a fairly recent development and a result of a lot of timberland changing hands lately. The historic timbland owners (Mead/International Paper/Champion/Lake Superior Land/Keweenaw Land Association) never considered it to be an option (for a variety of good economic reasons). Those lands have been moving into the hands of investor groups like Plum Creek and The Forestland Group over the last several years, which as a class have been more willing to discuss CEs. The State of Mich/Nature Conservancy bought a large CE from the Forestland Group a year or two ago in the eastern UP. Plum Creek has sold some CE's to the State of Wisconsin.

-na
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi All,

Farmlegend
This is not accurate. Mr. Clute understands QDM very well. DNR leadership, near as I can discern, is favorably disposed toward QDM.
Farmlegend, if the DNR is for QDM, sending Rod Clute the Big Game guy for the state to the meeting as a representative of that policy was a poor choice. The impression I came away with is the DNR is not for QDM. I hope I am wrong but this is the impression I got.

Ed Spin04
Antler restrictions are only a tool to improve the buck age structure for the herd...
I agree with this, if someone has a better way I'd like to here it.

Is it possible for you Ed, to contact others who were at the Baraga meeting for their input?
Per your request Ed, I called 5 other meeting attendee's and asked them a simple question: "from the DNR meeting the other night, is the DNR for or against QDM?" The response from all five was against. Three of the five specifically singled out Rod Clute as being against it.

If the DNR is supportive of QDM, Rod Clute did a poor job of letting that be known.

I'm tempted to make the trip to Marquette on the 17th to listen again to Rod Clute. Maybe I would come away with a different view.

-Ed
 
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Thanks Nick and UP Ed.

Nick the fellow that made the statement about having cooperative agreements with land owners that had deer winter carry over habitat, could it be bob Doepker, DNR Wildlife Division Western UP District Director. Bob is one individual that understands the UP problem and knows how to make the changes in cedar and hemlock for a sustained deer winter forage source. Bob is also a rare breed when it comes to working with hunters's concerns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
There were a total of DNR people at the meeting of which three spoke. Rod Clute, Bob Doepker, and Rob Aho.
 

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UP Ed said:
Hi All,
I'm tempted to make the trip to Marquette on the 17th to listen again to Rod Clute. Maybe I would come away with a different view.

-Ed

Tempt! Tempt! Tempt! I'd send ya $10 to help with the gasoline. It would be very interesting to see what your take is from two different meetings.........GO! GO! GO!
 
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