I wrote an article entitled “Where The Money Isn’t Going” in the September 2010 issue of Michigan Turkey Tracks. It explains the frustration of our organization and partial reasons why Senate Bill 412 was introduced.
Senate Bill 412 was several years in the making after consultation with state senator Darwin Booher of Evart, while he was a state representative. We furnished what we wanted the bill to contain and Senator Booher’s staff created the language for it. To his credit Senator Booher wanted to investigate what the turkey fund was being used for. After frustration set in, the bill was introduced.
In addition to the original language added was
- CREATION AND MANAGEMENT OF WILD TURKEY HABITAT ON STATE LAND
- ANNUAL WILD TURKEY POPULATION SURVEYS
- ANNUAL RANDOM DISEASE TESTING ACROSS THE WILD TURKEY RANGE IN THIS STATE.
Under section 4 the language reads:
- THE DEPARTMENT SHALL TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE USE THE MONEY FROM SUBSECTION (3) ACROSS ALL STATE LAND ON A PER ACRE BASIS. THE DEPARTMENT, PROIR TO JANUARY 1 of EACH YEAR PROVIDE THE STANDING COMMITTEES IN THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THAT PRIMARILY CONSIDER ISSUES RELATING TO NATURAL RESOURCES A REPORT DETAILING THE EXPENDITURES FOR THE PRIOR YEAR UNDER SUBSECTION (3).
Since the beginning of the MWTHA in 1983 we became aware that the DNR was investing nothing within our 3.9 million acres of state forest s to create and manage turkey habitat requirements. In partnership with the Michigan Conservation Foundation we have examined a great many forest compartments only to find that not one contained the necessary habitat requirements for our Wild Turkeys, or many other wildlife species as well.
As a frequent visitor to the Pigeon River Country State Forest I found amazing numbers of Wild Turkeys there. A series of wildlife openings were created and planted with such plants as rye to hold the Elk within the inner portion of the forest. On September 19, 1991 Art Cocklin and I traveled to the Pigeon to listen to the bull elk and to try to call one up to the video camera. While scouting various openings to find where we wanted to set up that evening we observed about 25 turkeys foraging in buckwheat that had been planted. Further down the road we saw maybe a dozen cross the road. Further on we spotted a large flock on a side trail. We decided to try to break them up and call them back to the camera. They all flew in the same direction so back to scouting. We finally settled on a small opening of several acres planted in rye. As evening progressed a cow and calf elk app eared to graze. About 22 deer were there. About 35 turkeys came into the opening, most of them jakes as we could tell. We even had them gobbling for the camera. Because the Pigeon was being managed for wildlife the numbers of Wild Turkey, deer and elk was just amazing, especially on public land. At that time the Pigeon contained more Wild Turkeys that the rest of the state forest combined.