History of the MWTHA

4/4/86: Met with Senator Engler at the Osceola County courthouse. Discussed the $3.00 application fee collected from each turkey hunting application. The lottery is financed by earmarked turkey license instead of the application fee. The $3.00 application fee is then returned to the DNR general fund. The DNR complains of lack of money for various turkey projects. Senator Engler advised that when appropriations came up the $3.00 fee could be earmarked at that time. (DNR doesn’t like their money earmarked!)

8/2/86: Attended a conference at the Kettunen Center in Tustin by the Ruffed Grouse Society and MSU Cooperative Extension Service on wildlife habitat management.

8/3/86: Our first contact with the U.S. Forest Service. Public announcements ask for comment on the proposed 50-year management plan for the nearly 1,000,000 acres Huron-Manistee National Forest. Gary Truxton prepared a statement calling in part for management of our national forest for wildlife and Wild Turkeys in particular. He attended the meeting.

8/9/86: Members, Drilling, Truxton, Dahlquist, Tighe and Maturen attended the first annual Hunter’s and Trapper’s Rendezvous at Wellston. Conducted two hunting and calling demonstrations on stage & maintained a booth.

11/86: I suggested to the state chapter (National Wild Turkey Federation) that we develop a Certificate of Professional Excellence award for members of the DNR who do outstanding work on behalf of the Wild Turkey. This would be our way of a special thank you for a job well done. The board agreed and I developed the certificate. The state chapter had them printed on 12/23/86. Five were awarded to conservation officers, 3 of which were awarded on our cases to COs Bob Smith, Ron McCarty & John Dallas. (Current note: DNR biologists had also received the award.)

12/17/86: Met with DNR director Gordon Guyer in Lansing. Discussed the $3.00 application fee going to the general fund ($75,000 + $75,000 matching P.R. Fund = $150,000). We pay $22,000 out of the earmarked turkey license money to run the permit lottery and are being told that there is no money for turkey programs. Application fee should also be earmarked to run the lottery. Suggested that a turkey patch would be given upon registering a kill to allow blood samples and other data to be collected. This would give our turkey flocks an annual physical examination. We discussed the need for an accurate population count each winter. We discussed legislation and buying out game breeders. We discussed research into the dwindling turkey population in several counties. Also asked for his consideration for a study of cheating on permit applications & for the completion of a plan for the management of the wild turkey in Michigan. Not sure what will come out of the meeting but am seriously considering introducing a bill to earmark the $3.00 application fee to the turkey program.

1/87: Made the motion to increase the total years the president of the Michigan Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) can serve from 2 to 5 years. Was voted on and passed. Gives a working and dedicated person more time to complete their goals and objectives.

1/20/87: Jay Drilling and I met with U.S. Forest Service people at their Baldwin field office. Present were Horace Labombard, Bill Irvine and other personnel. The meeting was called at their request to discuss management of our Huron-Manistee National Forest for wild turkeys. The meeting lasted for several hours. Prior to the meeting some of our members, as well as the DNR, were consulted. Some of our suggestions were: preserve current mature oak stands, reduce some pine plantings, develop openings and then seed with rye or other grasses, also seed any roads that are closed, discontinue clear cutting huge square blocks of land but do cut with wildlife habitat in mind, control current destruction by off-road vehicles, and limit running of dogs during certain times of the year. Also advised them that the Michigan DNR is in the planning stage of a draft for the management of the Wild Turkey and developing habitat models. Now we shall see how serious the Forest Service is of turkey management.

2/87: Planning 6th Festival. Paul Butski will be our featured speaker. DNR director Gordon Guyer & State Representative Sid Ouwinga have been invited and will attend. (Rep. Ouwinga was given a token of our appreciation for his legislative work on behalf of the wild turkey and received a large round of applause).