On April 8, 2010 we appeared before the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) with all of the facts and figures why not to open a fall hunting season three weeks early and why not to have a fall season in Area HA, with 1,700 permits to be issued. As expected it turned out to be another wasted day.
When the fall turkey season quotas appeared for the 2011 fall season the DNR is still going to issue 1,700 permits for Mecosta, Newaygo and Oceana counties Area HA. An order was submitted for information on April 7, 2011 at the NRC meeting that would reduce the fall quota in the Upper Peninsula (Area M) from 4,000 to 1,500 licenses.
In a March 1 meeting between UP turkey partners and the DNR Wildlife Division staff it was requested that the DNR recommend lowering the fall license quota in Area M from 4,000 to 1,500 licenses. The proposed amendment reflects that recommendation. Apparently it dawned on the turkey hunters in the UP that their turkeys were declining just as it is in the northern lower peninsula.
Apparently our organization is not recognized as a turkey partner with the DNR as they are in the UP. In our 28 years of existence it has never been what is in it for us but rather what is best for the resource and the art of turkey hunting, yet our educated recommendations fall on deaf ears.
We attended the NRC meeting at Lansing on April 8,2010. John Madigan is the chairman of the NRC Wildlife Committee. We asked for 5 minutes to speak to his committee. He advised that “there was too much on their plate and there was no time for us”.
For the past 28 years we have supported the expansion and survival of Wild Turkeys into new counties and areas through our winter survival programs. In order to insure quality and ethical turkey hunting we have initiated many of the current rules for hunting them. When it appeared that poaching was impacting restoration of Wild Turkeys in Michigan we initiated and obtained big game status with increased penalties. We successfully lobbied a restitution bill that obtained $1,000 restitution for each turkey killed illegally. This did not occur over night. It took many years of dedication and expense by our non paid, all volunteer organization.
We have also successfully dealt with many other conservation issues. Despite 28 years of impacting our natural resources John Madigan didn’t have 5 minutes for us because ” his plate was full”. This came as no surprise however. In recent years we have appeared before the NRC, only to be ignored. Letters written to the NRC are never answered or acted on. There was a time in the past when members of the NRC were honestly interested in the subject presented and gave ample time to explain an issue. Now we have 4 minutes before a sign goes up allowing 1 more minute, then we are out of there. Just one more indication that conservation is dying in our state.