When House Bill 4624, the hunting license increase, was introduced into the legislature we began lobbying by submitting letters and appearing twice at two House of Representative subcommittee hearings. We also asked that the bill be amended to include language that the DNR be accountable back to the legislature to insure that those restricted funds be used for their lawful, intended purpose. 
The legislation hit a big snag and the legislature would not take action. The DNR projected an $8,000,000 shortfall for 2008. Let’s face it- the cost of living and doing business continues to climb, which is true for the operation of the DNR. General fund dollars allocated to the DNR has shrunk considerably, leaving the major funding source on the backs of we hunters and fisherman.
 
We joined a coalition of statewide conservation organizations within the Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) to obtain short term reasonable funding and long term funding for conservation and management of our natural resources. At the same time we would be insistent that any increase must include those restricted funds. After months of study and talk, H.B.4624 was introduced last July. The license increases were certainly not popular yet many organizations and individuals took the DNR at their word and continued supporting additional funding. On December 11 DNR Director Humphries confirmed to the state legislature that the DNR would indeed have a $10 million fund balance in the Fish and Game Protection Fund rather than the projected $10.8 million deficit. Apparently in August the DNR was aware of the fund balance yet remained silent for four months leaving organizations as ours with mud on our faces. 
 
We have seen this before. When seeking additional funding the first thing the DNR does is threaten to lay off the most visible people in their organization, the conservation officers. In November the DNR announced, in addition to the conservation officers, closing some managed waterfowl areas, eliminate fish surveys and creel clerk positions, close a fisheries research station, dock a Great Lakes research vessel, close some field offices and parks among others, yet knowing that they had the money to fund them, yet the bureaucracy at Lansing headquarters apparently would remain intact. 
 
The DNR has a mandate to scientifically manage our natural resources. As stated many times before our restricted Wild Turkey Fund brings in somewhere around 1.5 million dollars to mange our Wild Turkeys yet they have discontinued the traditional winter population surveys. There was no funding this year of corn plots that if managed correctly assists in the survival of wintering flocks at locations where they are normally found. The fall hunting season is supposed to based on population. 
 
There appears to be a lack of turkey money for equipment and supplies used by field personal to provide and enhance habitat. Scientific management of our turkeys? Where? There seems to be no lack of using the turkey fund for lake and stream frontage purchases, buying inflated priced land, uses not even closely related to turkeys. For a number of years we have questioned and protested the use of “our” fund but keep getting blown off.
Adding movement to the hunt
Kenowa Beards and Spurs Chapter - Spring 2008 Update