In the last issue of Michigan Turkey Tracks we reported on Senate Bill 412 that was introduced on our behalf by State Senator Darwin Booher. We reported on the language of the bill and the very specific reasons for it. The article stated “It is gratifying that our organization and the Michigan Chapter of the NWTF were able to set down and come up with an agreement that is agreeable to both organizations.” This was short lived as the bill moved to the House of Representatives.
Those of us who were fortunate to have hunted our 3.9 million acres of state forest during the 1940?s and early 1950?s found excellent numbers of game including deer, grouse, woodcock, rabbits and hares. Hunting on the public forests was actually fun. Today game on these same forests are severely depressed. What has happened?
Quite simply the DNR has been managing our state forests as tree farms and has invested very little resources to manage varied habitat absolutely critical to wildlife.
This article is a continuation of a series of articles on the management or rather mismanagement of our public forests in Michigan. Michigan contains more public forests than any state east of the Mississippi River. There are 7.4 million acres of public forests of which 3.9 are state forests. We have written off the 1,000,000 acre Huron-Manistee National Forest because of the 2006 plan that is so devastating to our game animals and birds. A detailed report of our appeal to the plan was published in this publication in the March 2007 issue.
A license to hunt Wild Turkeys began in 1977. There was a promise to turkey hunters that if they were willing to purchase a special turkey hunting license that it would be used to manage Wild Turkeys across their entire range. The law that began the license simply stated “From fees collected under subsection (1) or (2) the following amounts shall be used for scientific research, biological work on turkeys and other wild turkey management in this state.”
This sounds good. So what is the problem?
8/22/11 Chapter secretary Jim Skipper and I met with DNR Wildlife Chief Russ Mason and DNR upland Bird Specialist Al Stewart at the DNR RAM Center near Roscommon. Because we had another meeting in Lansing to attend it was a short meeting and the issues we wanted to deal with never were discussed. Because of the decline in turkey numbers and poor nesting success we urged them to contract a study with a university. Turkeys in a selected area would have radios attached and important information can be obtained.