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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got back from tonight's meeting on the deer population goals for south central MI. It was packed with a standing room only crowd. The DNR made a good presentation on how they set deer population goals. Then the public comment period began. I guess I wasn't in the minority at least at this forum.

There were overwhelming comments that the DNR's deer herd population estimates for south central MI are way too high. These comments came from hunters who spent considerable time forming their opinions based on in the field observations. Some reported on their logs from prior years compared to recent years. Some debunked statements made in the DNR's draft proposals. It was very clear that all felt our herd is much lower than the DNR reports and the population trend is downward in the last 2 years. One key point made is that reducing the deer herd is not about crop damage but more so about the insurance industry's desire to increase their profits. They have the big money to influence the policy makers in Lansing to do things their way, regardless if it is good for our deer herd. That speaker presented good data I wish I wrote down to support their statements.

There was not one single person who made a comment in support of the DNR's goal to reduce the deer herd by 50% in Jackson county or in any of the other DMU's this meeting covered. Farmlegend, we missed you there. All the QDM folks who spoke felt the DNR's population estimates are not accurate. I counted 32 comments against the DNR's proposal and 2 comments who felt things were ok as is but they did not express a desire to reduce the herd further. There were many more people there and from applause, it was clear those who didn't speak felt the same way. Trophy Specialist brought forth some good comments. I liked your point on lack of leadership from the DNR on the bucks in our herd.

Now, I will be following this very closely to see if the draft proposals are changed to reflect the input expressed at this meeting. The DNR will be holding these meetings throughout the state and I encourage you to get involved in your local areas.
 

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I appreciate the fresh news and I'm looking forward to the meeting for my DMU's.

Let me ask this: Was it civil?
I'm concerned, given the 'over-the-top' comments I often hear amongst hunters, that some in the audience will try to make this public meeting into a pie-throwing-event......with the DNR guys wearing the bullseyes. I've seen it before in such meetings where a couple of semi-literate jerks give us hunters a bad name when they approach deer and/or DNR issues as if they are still fighting Communism.

I read your comments on the popular sentiment about insurance companies. Your observations on audience reaction is credible. Blaming insurance companies for not seeing deer is so often heard in hunter discussions it's become a cliche'. It runs a real close second to blaming the DNR.

Personally, I think it is a myth, just a convenient scapegoat to blame something on. Hell, who likes insurance companies anyway?

Page 2. EDB......I read your post ---on another thread--- about hunter money financing the DNR and therefore we should have a large voice in DNR policies. You make good points, and I can agree. But, I also believe we DO have a large voice in DNR policies. But, I simply don't believe that ours should be the only voice. There are many "user-groups" of our deer resource: hunters, of course, but also, farmers, landscapers, auto-drivers, insurance companies, gardners, orchard-operators, recreational-viewers, etc.

I hold a belief that if deer populations were solely regulated by hunters we'd be overrun with deer to the great degradation of the habitat. News reports have hinted that that lies at the heart of much of the controversey in Pennsylvania. Hunters have...and firmly believe they should have....the dominant voice in deer issues. And that has led to too many deer in many areas.
 

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It was nice seeing you there Ed. Was hoping to meet the legend there too. Maybe next time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Erik, good to see you again, now that hunting is done, we gotta chase steel.

The meeting was very civil although a couple folks missed the objective, which was providing feedback to the DNR on proposed population goals, and rambled a bit. A couple people were a bit rude to the DNR Biologists and directed frustration at them. They did not represent hunters well but fortunately there were very few of them. I think it is clear the final decisions are made in Lansing. The biologists make recommendations and the politicians(NRC) make the final call. I felt the DNR conducted the meeting well. I had respect for them, they were polite and took lots of notes. Our comments were recorded. A question and answer period would have been nice but the biologists provided contact information to reach them and encouraged people to contact them with any questions. They spent time one on one with people before and after the meeting.

I think most of the hunters there were receptive to the idea of shooting does to control the herd. I agree too. I don't want an overly large deer herd but I don't want it reduced a lot farther than where it is at today. But a main concern from a lot of people there was that they are observing less and less deer each of the last few years and the population trend is down not up. It was clear the group did not want lower population goals.
 
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To say it was a “standing room only” crowd would be an understatement. They were only expecting a dozen or so people, so I’m sure the DNR folks were shocked by the turnout. I didn’t count how many people were there, but the place was packed with people. The meeting was limited to discussions about Washtenaw, Jackson, Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties. Jackson County has the highest car/deer rate I the state and a “DNR estimated” deer population of around 75 DPSM and the DNR wants to cut that herd in half. The other three counties are above target levels and they want the deer herd cut there as well, but not so drastically. I took notes of all the comments made and 37 people voiced their concerns. You had to sign up before the meeting to speak. There were a couple people that I couldn’t discern what point they were trying to get across, so I didn’t consider them as being relevant. All but a couple people thought that the DNR was way off with their herd estimates. Just about everybody complained that there were not enough deer. Just about everybody does not want the herd cut further. Most everyone said they were far fewer deer and the sizes of the bucks are getting smaller. A lot of people asked how the DNR came up with their herd size estimates, but the DNR basically refused to answer most any questions including that important one that was on everybody’s minds. I chastised them for that because that information should have been explained in advance. They told people to call their area biologists if they had questions or wanted details on how herd levels were calculated, however they didn’t provide any phone numbers, but they did give out email addresses. A half dozen or so pro-QDM or MARS comments were made. A couple people wanted a one-buck limit. One person called for a split opener between the U.P. and L.P. A half dozen or so wanted mandatory check-ins. One guy wanted bounties on predators. A bunch of people said that crop damage complaints were B.S. and should not be a factor in deer management decisions. Lots of people blamed the insurance industry and farm industry for the current deer management strategy and that brought about the loudest applause from the crowd. Two people wanted crossbows liberalized. A few people were concerned about a lack of deer and what that means for the recruitment of new hunters. My last comment to them was a direct question concerning whether they were actually going to use the comments made by hunters in their decision making process and I brought up how they did the same type of public comment stuff with DNR QDM policies and then ignored all those comments with their final decisions. They did answer that one question and said they would present a summary of the comments to the DNR decision makers. Only time will tell if we hunters have any weight in these decisions. If they persist with their goals as planned, then the meetings and comments people made or will make will be worthless. If you want to voice your concerns by email, send your comments to:
[email protected]

Mike Veine
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Opps, you can't see the underscore _ on the link but it is needed
 

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Thanks guys for the report on your meeting. The comments sound about the same as at the Cadillac meeting for the NW region of the LP.

I couldn't stay at our meeting until the end, but the audience was led to belief there would be a question/answer period. That may have been in small groups with the biologists that were there. Bob F. can you give us any insight as to whether or not this was done at the Cadillac meeting after I left?

Mike, could you give an estimate of the response to any suggestions for MARS and/or the desire to bring our buck/doe ratio into a better balance? At the Cadillac meeting this was greeted with some of the loudest applause of the evening. The loudest applause and laughter from everyone who was there was directed at the guy who compared the DNR's deer management with that of the Detroit Lions. Everyone had a good chuckle over that.

As was your meeting the one in Cadillac was fairly civil with hunters representing themselves well.
 

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Tanx for the reports. It seems like everybody is on the same boat as me so it'll be interesting to see what the DNR does
 

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Were there any other constituencies offering comment? Such as - farmers, orchadist, landscapers, etc.? I know better than to ask if any insurance execs stood up to demand less deer.

Was there anybody there who advocated less deer?
or even keeping the herd size as is?
 

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Good Data thanks for posting and passing it on - we look forward to reports from the other meetings as well -

Thanks guys !

ferg....
 

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A couple of thoughts...

Trophy Specialist said:
...but the DNR basically refused to answer most any questions including that important one that was on everybody’s minds. I chastised them for that because that information should have been explained in advance. They told people to call their area biologists if they had questions or wanted details on how herd levels were calculated, however they didn’t provide any phone numbers, but they did give out email addresses....
First, understand that there are varying types of meetings that state agencies hold. Public forums such as these are just that...a place for the public to express their opinions. That's part of the reason they are normally taped so that appropriate staff can review comments made, and when you get to the formal public hearing formats, a court recorder is required to transcribe. But the staffers that attend these forums typically do not have the answers to those questions because they are not the policy makers...just staffers, who are there to provide general information. I've been the person behind that table (not for DNR though), and trust me it ain't an easy thing. But it's no different than asking a policy question of a field biologist...they can offer their opinion (if they dare), but they refuse to answer broad policy issues.

Trophy Specialist said:
...My last comment to them was a direct question concerning whether they were actually going to use the comments made by hunters in their decision making process and I brought up how they did the same type of public comment stuff with DNR QDM policies and then ignored all those comments with their final decisions. They did answer that one question and said they would present a summary of the comments to the DNR decision makers...
My point exactly. This public forum is a chance to express your thoughts in a public setting instead of sending comments to Lansing...nothing more. The staff in attendance normally aren't ducking your specific policy questions...they won't answer the questions simply because they usually don't know.

Regarding the specifics of what was reportedly discussed, and the fact that so many voiced their opinions that the DNR population estimates were way too high, I guess if I were the staffer behind the table I would want to say "our estimates may be high, but where does the typical hunter get his/her population estimates?" We hunters know that just because we aren't seeing a lot of deer doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't there. I would offer that car/deer accidents, averaged over several years (not just during the rut) would be a pretty reasonable population estimate. Hunter observations, while a good piece of the puzzle, wouldn't to me be all that pertinent. JMO :hide:
 

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Trophy Specialist said:
Only time will tell if we hunters have any weight in these decisions. If they persist with their goals as planned, then the meetings and comments people made or will make will be worthless.
Mike Veine
Mike I couldn't agree more.

I got news for all the attendee's, your words won't make one bit of difference......

Sorry to be the one to say it

But I sent an email anyways :) :

"Until the DNR comes to the realization that SLP hunters are going to need some sort of incentive in order to reduce the DOE population, the SLP herd numbers will remain UNCHANGED.

Your (MIDNR/NRC) plee's have gone unanswered in the SLP since when 1988?

Don't you (MIDNR/NRC) think it's time for a change in tactics?

Year in and year out SLP hunters overharvest the 1.5 year old buck population across the board (archery/firearms seasons).

If you show SLP hunters that you are working to increase the buck population and buck age structures across the SLP then and only then will you see a willingness to harvest and reduce the DOE population.

Let the Peyton/Bull study be your guide, MI hunters want the MIDNR/NRC to manage towards an older buck age structure. Let MI hunters experience a Quality hunt instead of basing their experiences on Quantity."
 
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Whit1 said:
Mike, could you give an estimate of the response to any suggestions for MARS and/or the desire to bring our buck/doe ratio into a better balance? At the Cadillac meeting this was greeted with some of the loudest applause of the evening. The loudest applause and laughter from everyone who was there was directed at the guy who compared the DNR's deer management with that of the Detroit Lions. Everyone had a good chuckle over that.
When I took notes from everybody’s comments, I also noted the reaction from the crowd. When people mentioned QDM it was met with plenty of applause. I didn’t write down notes on my own comments, but I don’t remember hearing any booing.

The most laughter came when someone asked if the biologists were hunters or tree huggers. Brent Rudolph didn’t answer, but David Domine the supervising biologist for the area responded by saying that he was a full blood Indian and member of the TC Band of Ottawa. To prove his point that he was a hunter h went on to say that he once mistakenly put two charges and bullets in his muzzle loader and realized it by the making on his ram-rod. He then put the gun on the opposite side of a big tree, wrapped his arms around it and then pulled the trigger with the tree blocking any explosion, which didn’t not happen. He then said that that was the only time he has ever been a tree-hugger and that got a big laugh from everyone.

I was a little disappointed that the DNR brass was not in attendance at the meetings. In my opinion, the DNR Director and the wildlife chief and at least one NRC member should have been present at each meeting to learn first hand what people are thinking of deer management in Michigan.
 
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fairfax1 said:
Were there any other constituencies offering comment? Such as - farmers, orchadist, landscapers, etc.? I know better than to ask if any insurance execs stood up to demand less deer.

Was there anybody there who advocated less deer?
or even keeping the herd size as is?
There were several farmers that spoke, a couple were full-time farmers too, but none wanted more of a reduction in herd size, not one spreaker wanted further deer herd reductions. Lots of people addressed the car/deer and crop damage issues and everbody that spoke was against using it as a reason to reduce the herd further.

Besides myself, there were two other writers (that I know of) in attendance, so you should see some articles on this subject in papers and magazines.
 

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Hey Trophy, kinda makes me wonder on the education poeple had on QDM with their applause because theses are same poeple that think the doe population does not need to be reduced by 50% and sounds like some want the herd as is or more but yet any QDM program would most likely require a huge reduction in does and the increase in doe permits. Was there any mention or feel on people complaining about "buck hunting" being bad or the quality of bucks AND WHY they feel that way?
 
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just ducky said:
I would offer that car/deer accidents, averaged over several years (not just during the rut) would be a pretty reasonable population estimate. Hunter observations, while a good piece of the puzzle, wouldn't to me be all that pertinent. JMO :hide:
Jackson County leads the state in car/deer accidents and Washtinaw County also has number of car/deer accidents. Both of those counties have increasing human populations; some of the highest growth rates in the state. The Jackson County growth is due to people finding work in the Lansing and Ann Arbor (and further east) areas. That means lots of cummuting going on which means lots of people driving as fast as possible, which means more car/deer accidents. Estimating the deer population based on car/deer accidents would not be very accurate. If the DNR would have taken a few minutes at the beginning fo the meeting to explain how they counted the deer, it would have answered a lot of questions, but it is my opinion that they did not want to reveal that info because it would have caused even more questions and comments on their methods.
 
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beer and nuts said:
Hey Trophy, kinda makes me wonder on the education poeple had on QDM with their applause because theses are same poeple that think the doe population does not need to be reduced by 50% and sounds like some want the herd as is or more but yet any QDM program would most likely require a huge reduction in does and the increase in doe permits. Was there any mention or feel on people complaining about "buck hunting" being bad or the quality of bucks AND WHY they feel that way?
There were several complaints about the size of bucks going down and most blamed it on eithor shooting button bucks or shooting too many yearlings. If the buck to doe ratio was evened out I doubt that people would be complaining nearly as much. Forinstance, if there is now 100 deer per square mile and that herd now is composed of a buck to doe ratio of 1 to 9 or 10 bucks and 90 does. If that herd was balanced to say 1 to 1 and the herd was also cut in half then you would have 50 dpsm composed of 25 bucks and 25 does, which would be a drastic increase in the number of bucks in the herd. By balancing the sex ratio you can have fewer deer, more bucks and much beter quality bucks.
 

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I got there right at 6pm(only minutes after my truck narrowly missed an antlerless deer which ran across Pierce Road), the place was packed, and I left before my name was called to speak. The small room was overflowing, and I spent most of the time listening in from outside the main room. Recognized a few good friends in the audience, and none of them spoke, either. Today, I've submitted my comments in writing.

I found the meeting mostly disheartening. To me, this event resembled an episode of The Jerry Springer Show.

Of all the folks that spoke, you could count the ones that appeared to have done their homework on the fingers of your hand. Maybe I live a sheltered life, but I was surprised at how many uninformed, inarticulate folks were there speaking on behalf of the hunting community. The audience gave hearty approval to passionate comments which reflected their own beliefs.

The two minute time limit on individual's comments was not enforced.

Darn near everyone opined that the DNR's herd estimates were inflated. Many comments about their not being as many deer as there used to be. Fears were expressed that our kids would become video-game junkies unless there were enough deer around for them to hunt.

There was frequent outrage expressed that the DNR had established a goal of reducing the deer herd in Jackson County by 50%.

The insurance industry bogeyman was a frequent refrain. Whenever a speaker punctuated his remarks about this industry's desire to wipe out our deer, the comments were accompanied by enthusiastic applause. If folks only understood how politically impotent property and casualty insurers truly are in this state, they'd be embarrassed. One guy made the wild and fatuous claim that Farm Bureau spends $680 million a year on political activities in this state.

Another fellow, who badly violated the two minute time limit, educated the audience on the exponential effect of doe harvest, whereby, in a single season, we're really killing 6 million deer, based on all the does we kill and all the unborn offspring and their respective unborn offspring over the ten-year life of a doe.

A number of speakers were obviously negatively-disposed toward the need for doe harvest.

Antipathy was commonly directed at those who complained of car/deer accidents, crop damage, and damage to shrubbery/gardens. It was apparent that many participants regarded deer hunters as the DNR's most legitimate constituency.

Sometimes it was hard to hear the speakers (even the DNR staff) because of all the folks busy whispering to their buddies.

If I were the DNR, I'd be reluctant to hold these type of public forum bitchfests in the future. Just not productive. Thank goodness there wasn't a video camera rolling; the 93% of Michiganders that don't purchase deer tags would not have been impressed.

Before composing this post, I compared notes with another attendee, just to make sure I wasn't overboard with my impressions. We had a good chuckle, as his impressions were identical.
 

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:grouphug: :bash: :help: :gaga:

""Recognized a few good friends in the audience, and none of them spoke, either."""

""""..and I left before my name was called to speak..."""

Thats too bad, the meetings are set up to voice ones opinion...must of felt you might get mobbed! Funny how different opinions and perspectives come about from these meetings. Interesting and enlightening stuff....hopefully this will open some eyes up...
 
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