As this is being written during the third week of January, our chapter began our winter survival program for Wild Turkeys on December 26. As of this time we have purchased 20,000 pounds of shelled corn. We have distributed it to 4,017 Wild Turkeys found in 64 flocks. When we started our program some 25 years ago the program was based on the price of corn at $80 to $100 a ton. The price of our last purchase was $210 a ton. With the cost of a gallon of gasoline around $3.00 many people are going to be reluctant to travel any distance to pick up corn at our location. Add this to the high cost of corn makes us wonder what effect it will have on turkey survival throughout the north.
The following is intertwined between our chapter and the state chapter. We attended the MWTHA state chapter meeting at Clare on 8/12/07. Fourteen items were the subject of discussion. These semi-annual meetings are what holds our organization into one. Our organization has threads to other conservation organizations. On 9/12/07 we attended the Michigan Resource Stewards meeting at Clare. These are professional natural resources managers who retired from the DNR and DEQ. We are a member of the Michigan United Conservation Club’s (MUCC) Habitat and Access committee. We attended the committee meeting in Lansing on 9/13/07. Perhaps through this committee we can once again regain critical wildlife habitat on our public forests.
We appeared before the Natural Resources Commission in Lansing on 9/13/07 and gave testimony on solutions to resolve the Pigeon River Country State Forest problems. (See Paradise Lost article). We attended a MUCC District 13 meeting on 9/16/07 near Scotville. We expressed our concerns regarding the hiring of a new executive director.
We attended Sportsman’s Day at the Capitol on 9/19/07. We set up a booth and received more interest from legislators than we did the previous year. Later in the afternoon, we attended a meeting to establish a coalition to fight anti hunting, fishing and trapping initiatives in Michigan.
We participated in a conference call with MUCC and Darin Goens of the National Rifle Association regarding their opposition and lobbying the legislature against any hunting and fishing license increase. Their reasoning is vague and unreasonable, with a hidden agenda.
We participated in the Fall Wild Turkey Hunting Workshop at Jay’s Sporting Goods in Clare on 9/29/07. Fall hunting has never garnered the following and excitement that the spring season brings. It was successful and brought in additional funds to the state chapter.
On 10/19/07 we attended a NWTF sponsored Wild Turkey seminar for teachers at the Kettunen Center near Tustin. We made the offer to the teachers there that we would fund one half of the costs of bringing the MUCC Wildlife Encounters to their respective schools.
On 11/14/07 we attended the MUCC District 13 meeting at Lake City. Attended the Michigan Resource Stewards meeting at Clare on 12/12/07 where I was elected to the board of directors. We held a chapter meeting on 12/18/07 where we discussed various issues and began the planning process for the next Rendezvous.