In 2010 the DNR submitted the proposed expenditures of $1,693,000 from the restricted portion of the Turkey Fund. It was broken down into various areas of the state. The allocation for the entire northern lower peninsula and the upper peninsula is as follows: $111,796 to the northwest LP, $101,100 to the northeast LP, $25,172 to the western UP and $888 to the eastern UP. $239,955 was allocated to 3.9 million acres of state forests while $1,453,095 was allocated to agricultural southern Michigan.
Within our state forests are large areas of mass producing hardwood forests that hold great potential to provide superb Wild Turkey habitat if only managed. In and effort to require the DNR to begin managing for Wild Turkeys state senator Darwin Booher introduced Senate Bill 412 on our behalf. Unfortunately as the bill progressed through the legislature the language was drastically changed from the original language. Regardless, the final version calls for the Creation and Management of Wild Turkey habitat on state forestland. It also requires the DNR to provide the legislature a report detailing the expenditure for the prior year. By ‘detailing’ we mean not general, but specific details on funds spent for creating and maintaining habitat.
Not seeing any increased allocation of the Turkey Fund to our state forests, the DNR upland bird specialist was contacted to request the allocation the Turkey Fund to each DNR District throughout the state for 2011, 2012 and 2013. He advised that he did not have the information but to call a person in the Wildlife Division who would have the information. We called her office on January 3, 14, 15, 17 and again on February 4. Each call brought a fresh recording advising to leave our name, phone number and a brief message and that she would return the phone call.
No return call was ever received. You don’t suppose that she was instructed not to return our phone calls do you?
In the meantime a copy of the Wildlife Division annual report for 2010-2011 was received. The section Funding the Wildlife Division—An Overview gives general expenditures of the various fund, including Turkey. This was not what we had requested. On March 11 a letter from MWTHA president Bruce Cocklin was sent to DNR Director Keith Creigh outlining our frustration and again requesting the breakdown and specific use of the Turkey Fund. President Cocklin received a letter dated March 28 from Wildlife Division chief, Russ Mason. Basically the letter indicated the information was given to Jim Maturen. Enclosed was a summary of fiscal year 2011-2012 expenditures for the restricted turkey fund.
We did not receive the information that was requested. The accounting of the Turkey Fund that they sent totaled 5 1/2 inches. Those of us who are buying hunting and fishing licenses are funding the management of our wildlife, both game and none game and our fishery. Apparently the current DNR administration assumes that they are not accountable to the people who fund conservation. We have every right to know what and how they are managing the natural resources of our state.
We never did receive an explanation why they refused to answer our telephone calls.