This past winter we saw considerable snowfall early, then by January 8 the snow melted. Winter then returned with a vengeance. It was a very brutal winter on wildlife with deep snow and weeks with below 0 temperature. Our winter survival program is based on share costing with those people giving a handout to the turkeys. We try to fund the lions share. This past winter we purchased 25,500 pounds of corn. It was distributed it to 5,415 Wild Turkeys found in 87 flocks over our 13 county chapter area. 
 
Corn prices have tripled and is expected to get much higher. How many people will no longer become involved in winter feeding because of the high cost is a serious concern. The high cost of gas will keep some from traveling any distance to pick up corn, even being free. This will certainly have an impact on future populations throughout northern Michigan. Our northern chapters are certainly going to have to tighten their belts. 
 
The following is intertwined between our chapter and the state chapter. On 4/13/08 we attended the semi-annual state chapter meeting at Clare. These meetings are what holds the organization together. 16 items were discussed. Organizational items are always on the agenda. Consensus is reached among the chapters of action to be taken on current conservation issues. 
 
A presentation has been developed about the biology of the Wild Turkey and it’s living requirements during the four seasons of the year. Depending on time constraints they can run from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. Instead of just seeing a big black bird out in a field we try to give our youth an understanding and appreciation of the very unique and precious Wild Turkey. Lately much has been said about the recruitment of our youth into hunting and fishing. Many of our next generations will not be outdoorsmen but it is just as important that they have knowledge and appreciation of our natural resources. If today’s kids don’t know the sights, sound and smell of a trout stream, don’t know Barred Owls, Wild Turkeys, woodcock, Ruffed Grouse, etc. or the interactive forests they will never be the future stewards of our outdoor world. 
 

On 3/1/08 we gave a presentation to 20 4H leaders from around the state at the Kettunen Center located near Tustin in Osceola County. The Kettunen Center is the Michigan State University 4H Center in Michigan. The importance of teaching the 4H kids about our natural resources was stressed. 
 
On 3/10/08 we attended an information meeting in Cadillac about future funding proposals for the DNR ny State Representative Joel Sheltron, which we support. On 3/12/09 we attended a Michigan Resource Stewards meeting at Clare. On 3/18/08 we held our last chapter meeting before the Rendezvous. Last minute details were ironed out and discussion on several conservation issues were discussed. 
 
On 4/14/08 we attended a meeting at Pellston of the Michigan Bird Conservation Initiative Ornithological Congress (MIBCI). Turkeys are birds too and we wanted to see where they fit into the scheme of things. On 4/6/08 we manned a MWTHA booth at a gun show at the Big Bear Sportsmans Club at Kaleva. A few items were raffled off and a shotgun was purchased for the next Rendezvous. 

 

On 4/18/08 we attended a meeting of the Michigan Conservation Coalition at MUCC headquarters in Lansing. Perhaps someday other hunting and fishing organizations will realize we are being short changed on public forest management. Ignorance is truly bliss. On 5/4/08 we attended the MUCC District 13 meeting at Clare. We updated the clubs present on the various meetings and presentations made and the action taken. 
 
On 5/5/08 we gave our Wild Turkey presentation in three segments to 321 senior citizens (I can relate) at Elder Hostel at the Kettunen Center. We had a great feedback. On 5/8/08 we attended the Natural Resources Commission meeting at Lansing. We testified in support of the proposed Land Use Rules for the Pigeon River Country State Forest and urged the DNR Director to adopt them. (See article entitled Paradise Lost in this issue). On 5/13 we traveled to the state capitol in Lansing for a hearing on access restrictions in the Pigeon River State Forest before the House Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources committee. The horse people were trying an end around maneuver. We once again testified in support of the DNR Director’s Land Use Orders. For the past 25 years we have been attending various legislative meetings at the Capitol. I used to return home rather impressed after watching democracy in action. These days I have to take a shower upon my return. 
 
On 5/14 & 15/08 spent the two days presenting the Wild Turkey program to 325 4th grade students, from the 4 school districts within Osceola County at Rural Education Days in 20 minute segments. Once again we were well received. As a side note the Earth Day presentations for about 145 5th grade Reed City School students was cancelled because of a bomb threat. The make up day was rained out. 
 
On 5/15/08 we attended a Muskegon River Watershed Assembly meeting at Reed City. An update on various habitat projects and problems confronting our local Muskegon River watershed was presented. 
 
On 5/22/08 the Wild Turkey program was presented to 70 5th grade students from the Whittmore-Prescott school at the Kettunen Center. On 5/29/08 the Wild Turkey program was presented to 112 5th grade students and 28 adults from the Lakeview School at the Kettunen Center. 
 
On 6/11/08 attended the Michigan Resource Stewards meeting at Clare. On 6/21 & 22/08 we attended the MUCC convention that was held at Sault Ste. Marie. Although the resolutions brought forth were short on conservation, those that did were of interest to us and most of the time we prevailed. 
 
On 6/27/08 a letter was sent to DNR Director Rebecca Humphries opposing the proposed sale of 1,693 acres of state forests in Crawford County for use as an amusement park. This will set a horrible precedent for the future. Because of the noise and activity thousands of adjacent acres will be affected. If some corporation wants land for an amusement park then let them buy private land and deal with the local units of government. 

 
For many of us in our organization it is not for today and us. We must leave at least a portion of our wild and natural world for our grandchildren and their grandchildren. Do you agree? 
 
The 28th Wild Turkey Hunters Rendezvous will be held on Saturday March 28, 2009. Mark your calendars. See you there! 
This past June our chapter brought the MUCC Michigan’s Wild Woodlands program to 25 4H Youth Development Program members. We funded half of the cost of the program with the 4H. We have made an offer to all of our area schools that we would fund half the cost of bringing the MUCC Wildlife Encounters to them.
Paradise Lost: The final chapter (we hope)
Let's Get Organized