History of the MWTHA

6/9/87: Called Senator Engler’s office to enquire about the status of H.B. 4047 (87). Still lingering in committee (just like they all do – where are MUCC and all of the sportsman’s organizations?). Requested that the bill be moved to committee and that we would like it passed by September… (Note: A portion of House Bill 4047 would raise the minimum fine from $200 to $500, the maximum fine from $1,000 to $1,500, and the minimum term of imprisonment from five days to fifteen days for a person convicted of the illegal killing, possession, purchase or sale of a deer, bear or Wild Turkey).

6/10/87: Called Carl Hosford (DNR Wildlife Division Chief). Discussed with him those items that were discussed with DNR Director Guyer on 4/4/87. He advised that the patch program and voluntary checking and testing of turkeys would start next spring. I wished him well in trying to reorganize and change his division. How many other issues will be acted on remains to be seen?

5/20/87: Had an article published in the North Woods Call in answer to DNR biologist Ed Tucker’s charges in the Grand Rapids Press that the northern Wild Turkey is inferior and that the southern Michigan birds are superior. Many DNR biologists are in complete disagreement with Tucker and his own people and DNR brass had rebutted him.

6/18/87: Wrote to State Representative Sid Ouwinga supporting H.B. 4647, which controls the use of poisons by Christmas tree growers and orchard owners. He called back on 6/23/87 to advise that the bill had passed the House and was now before the Senate. Will have to lobby for the bill when the Senate convenes in September. Received information that last winter 13 dead turkeys, suspected of Zinc Phosphide poisoning, being located in Wexford, Benzie, and Grand Traverse counties. DNR asked for time to look into it. Received a letter from Dr. James Hall of Traverse City, president of the local chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society. They had just learned of the problem and are very upset about it. Wrote a letter of reply to him advising that we are on top of it and have conferred with Karl Hosford and Director Guyer. Will require follow up on H.B. 4647 and find out how widespread the problem is.

6/24/87: Jay Drilling and I met with U.S. Forest Service ranger, Gordon Joiner of White Cloud. We discussed their plan of land trading to consolidate the Huron-Manistee National Forest. They plan on trading 40,000 acres in parcels of 40 acres and up that are isolated from the large blocks. We feel that these are far more important for wildlife considerations and are used far more by the public than the large tracts, and should remain in public ownership. Most are accessible by county roads or right-of-way. Local people in the area affected are opposed to disposing of the property. We have consulted with several biologists who believe that the Forest Service is making a big mistake when looking at the wildlife management aspect. Many locations that we now hunt will be private and no longer available to us. Contacted Tom Washington of MUCC who referred me to Charlie Guenther, the northern rep for MUCC. We are now on the mailing list for all proposed land trades by the Forest Service. (Note: wrote to Guenther and am still waiting for a reply or acknowledgment to the letter.)

Editor’s note – There were some horrible trades being made. Eventually, we appealed each proposed trade and eventually the Forest Service withdrew those 40,000 acres from consideration.

To be continued…