DNR check station staff hunting valuable deer data

Most Michigan deer hunters have been in the woods as much as possible during this firearm deer hunting season.

However, one group of deer hunters — members of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division — have given up some of their days afield to check other hunters’ deer at check stations around the state.

Two DNR check station workers inspect a deerCollecting valuable data about the state’s deer population is something the DNR has been doing for decades.

The DNR is aided in its efforts by students and other volunteers and through partnerships with meat processors, taverns, recreation vehicle dealers and other businesses that provide some of the most popular check station venues.

“We get a ton of information from our hunters,” said Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer specialist, who is located at the Rose Lake Research Center. “It’s the one time of year when we can really get our hands on so many deer.”

The DNR collects data on the age and sex structure of the harvest, location data from where the deer are being taken and a glimpse of the herd’s overall health.

“We get a lot of data at the township-range-section level,” Stewart said. “Any one data point doesn’t have much value. But, when you get that same data over time, it has a far greater impact. We’re able to tell where these deer came from and anything that changes over time regarding any of the factors we’re looking at.” Read more

Wildlife officials ask for hunters’ help in eliminating chronic wasting disease in Michigan

The 2015 Michigan deer season is the first being conducted following a finding of chronic wasting disease in a free-ranging deer in Michigan. The disease was first detected in an Ingham County white-tailed deer this past spring.

Wildlife officials are optimistic, however, that CWD can be eliminated in Michigan and are asking for hunters’ assistance.

So far, public response has been “overwhelmingly positive,” said Chad Stewart, the Department of Natural Resources deer and elk specialist.

“Most people right now are on board with what we are doing,” he said. “They seem to understand the regulatory changes we’ve made. Not everyone likes them, but they understand them.”

In April, Meridian Township police dispatched a 6-year-old female deer that was exhibiting signs of DSK524 52.jpgneurological disease. An initial screening at the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Laboratory identified the deer as a CWD suspect. Soon, the National Veterinary Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the DNR’s suspicion: Michigan became the latest state to have found CWD in its free-ranging deer herd. Read more

U.P. Focus: U.P. deer harvest in line with DNR forecast

Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists said today the firearm deer hunting season in the Upper Peninsula is moving ahead according to forecast, with many hunters seeing fewer deer, while others are harvesting some fantastic older bucks.

After three consecutive severe winters in the region, DNR biologists predicted hunters this firearm deer season should expect to see fewer deer in the U.P., especially in the 1 ½- and 2 ½-year-old age classes.

Two girls from Indian River display their bucksThe season opened Nov. 15 to unseasonably warm temperatures, but with colder air and snow in some areas over the past few days, hunters have anticipated improved hunting conditions.

DNR Upper Peninsula Regional Wildlife Supervisor Terry Minzey said the season so far has been great for some hunters, disappointing for others.

“We’re killing some beautiful older bucks,” Minzey said. “But there are large areas where we’re hearing people are not seeing many deer at all.”

At the 15 DNR check stations across the U.P., the harvest is down 48 percent compared to the 10-year average.

However, some check stations are up over last year. For example, the Marquette check station is 46 percent below than the 10-year average, but the number of deer checked is up 28 percent over last year. Read more

NWTF Aligns With National Movement to Increase Participation in Hunting and Shooting Sports

The CAHSS board of directors is made up of leaders from conservation non-profits, hunting and fishing industries and state fish and wildlife agencies.

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The number of sportsmen and women in the U.S. has been declining since the 1980s. As they diminish, so does funding and support for wildlife conservation. The National Wild Turkey Federation has proudly joined forces with the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports and the Wildlife Management Institute to strengthen national efforts to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters and target shooters.

The national partnership of more than 33 non-profit and conservation groups, firearms and archery industry leaders and state fish and wildlife agencies has pulled together a coalition of experts who have been working for the past year to draft a comprehensive action plan that outlines the critically needed strategies and tools to create more hunters and shooting sports participants.

“The completion of this action plan signifies a monumental achievement and is a real game changer for our sporting community,” said Dan Forster, director for the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division. “The Council’s innovative approach to address a national problem will now serve as a catalyzing agent for conservation partners to develop strategic approaches for addressing localized challenges.”

This plan to recruit, retain and reactivate, abbreviated to R3, is designed to re-energize past shooters and hunters, bring more non-traditional audiences into the fold, and ensures that conservation organizations are maximizing the impact of their R3 efforts. Read more

DNR conservation officers find lost hunter and deer tracker in Gladwin County

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers were successful early Saturday in locating a lost bowhunter and a friend of his who had tagged along to help track a wounded deer in Gladwin County.

The two men had gone to the Lame Duck Foot Access Area in Bourret Township Friday evening to try to find a deer the bowhunter had shot the night before. As darkness fell, the men lost their way out of the walk-in-only hunting area, which is located within 11,000 acres of state forest land in northeast Gladwin County.

At about 1 a.m. Saturday, DNR conservation officers Steve Lockwood and Josh Wright were sent to the area by Gladwin Central Dispatch.

Gladwin County Sheriff’s deputies Kyle Binger and Robert Doyle were closer to the scene and also responded to the area, where family and friends had been searching for the two lost men.

“Family members had been talking to them on a cell phone,” Lockwood said. “They were walking out toward them and then they turned the other way and they lost contact with them.”

The battery had died on a global positioning satellite unit the lost men had with them. Read more

Cabela’s Outdoor Fund Supports Pheasants Forever Youth Initiatives with $100,000 Grant

St. Paul, Minn. – Pheasants Forever is the recipient of a $100,000 grant from the Cabela’s Outdoor Fund in support of the organization’s wildlife-habitat conservation and outdoor youth education efforts. The new funding will support various aspects of Pheasants Forever’s No Child Left Indoors® Initiative, including pollinator habitat projects, the FOREVER Shooting Sports program and conservation leadership training for members of the organization’s National Youth Leadership Council. Read more

The KILO2000 from SIG SAUER® has set a New Standard in Range Finding

NEWINGTON, N.H. – The recent introduction of the highly innovative SIG SAUER Electro-Optics Division took SHOT Show 2015 by storm. This new line of premium, high performance optics boasts some of the most advanced technology that the industry has ever seen. A member of this all-new SIG SAUER product line that truly has the ability to set the standard for its category is the KILO2000 Rangefinder.

Extreme accuracy was the goal throughout the engineering process of the KILO2000. Updating at 4x per second in HyperScan mode, the KILO2000 rangefinder with patented LightWave™ DSP technology is amazingly fast as well. Couple that with the ability to range reflective targets at 3,400 yards, trees at 1,500 yards, and deer at 1,200 yards for simple, intuitive long distance ranging. Read more

Upper Peninsula firearm deer season opens with improvement over last year

Young hunter on his first deer hunt, Menominee County

Michigan Department of Natural Resources staff said Sunday’s opening day of the firearm deer hunting season was improved in some parts of the Upper Peninsula over last year, based on reports from deer check stations.

Young hunter on his first deer hunt, Menominee CountyAcross the region, temperatures reached the low 50s, with sunny skies, though lingering snow that had fallen earlier in the week remained on the ground in some places.

Last year, much of the northwestern part of the U.P. was buried under 3 to 4 feet of snow by opening day, in the wake of a strong winter storm that began Nov. 10 and continued for three days, followed by lake-effect snow showers.

At the Marquette DNR check station, one deer was checked on opening day last November. This year, the Marquette station checked six deer, closer to the 10-year average of 10 deer brought in on opening day. Read more

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