MUCC’s 2016 Annual Convention Recap

Michigan United Conservation Clubs had its most important event of the year this past weekend in Big Rapids: our Annual Convention, where delegates representing our 50,000-plus members and 250-plus affiliated local sportsmen’s clubs vote on what hunting, fishing, trapping and conservation policies we will pursue, honor dedicated conservationists, elect officers and even improve local wildlife habitat.


New conservation policies adopted by MUCC’s membership (and their sponsors) this weekend include:

  • Support for the use of centerfire rifles at night for coyote hunting. (Chris Kettler and Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association)
  • Banning the use of large quantities of chocolate in bear bait. (Michigan Hunting Dog Federation and Michigan Bear Hunters Association)
  • Educate bear hunters about the danger of using chocolate in bear bait. (Richard P. Smith)
  • Base chumming regulations on the best available science. (Adam Trenz, Metro-West Steelheaders)
  • Creation of a statewide urban deer management plan emphasizing bowhunting and venison donation. (Tomahawk Archers)
  • Define and regulate “airbows” as pneumatic firearms, not archery equipment. (Michigan Bow Hunters)
  • Reverse MUCC’s prior opposition to the use of crossbows during the archery deer season. (Elden Montross, Oakland County Sportsmen’s Club)
  • Support for bass tournaments. (Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation)
  • Encourage the DNR to use adaptive management for bass. (Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation)
  • Increase waterfowl hunting opportunities in county parks and extend liability protection to local government units which allow hunting on their properties. (Macatawa Bay Waterfowl Association and Jack Van Rhee)
  • Create a Federal Fish and Wildlife Disease Trust Fund. (MUCC Wildlife Committee)
  • Reduce the use of chemicals in native aquatic vegetation management, which provides fish habitat. (Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation)
  • Move the start date of the early turkey season in southern Michigan up from a Monday to the prior Saturday. (Millard H. Holton)
  • Allow rough fish harvested during bowfishing tournaments to be donated to rendering facilities. (Rob Miller, Bowfishing Association of Michigan)
  • Encourage the DNR to recognize Michigan’s diverse landscape in management decisions. (Tom Heritier, Saginaw Field & Stream Conservation Association)
  • Increase penalties for hunter harassment. (Jim Pryce)
  • Allow purple paint to be used in place of “No Trespassing” signs. (Jim Pryce)
  • Support the designation of the monarch butterfly as the official state insect. (Tomahawk Archers)
  • Support the designation of a 1.8-mile stretch of county road in a Grouse Enhanced Management System in Marquette County, currently open for ORV use, as a multi-use ORV route to allow funding allocation for signage. (Tim Kobasic, Hiawathaland Trail Association)
  • Confirm an earlier emergency resolution to encourage moose culling at Isle Royale National Park. (MUCC Wildlife Committee) Read more

Senior Official of Beverly Hills Auction House Sentenced for Wildlife Trafficking

Joseph Chait, 38, of Beverly Hills, California, the senior auction administrator of I.M. Chait Gallery, located in Beverly Hills, was sentenced today to one year and one day in prison and a $10,000 fine for conspiring to smuggle wildlife products made from rhinoceros horn, elephant ivory and coral with a market value of at least $1 million, announced Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden for the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for the Southern District of New York and Director Dan Ashe for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). On March 9, Chait pleaded guilty to a two-count Information before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken for the Southern District of New York, who imposed today’s sentence.

“Conspiring in the trafficking endangered wildlife is a serious crime, and those involved in the auction industry should take note that facilitating this trade can result in prison,” said Assistant Attorney General Cruden. “The African Elephant, the rhinoceros, and coral are all deeply threatened species that have undergone dramatic losses in recent decades as the trade in them has become highly lucrative. We must stop this trade, and we will vigorously investigate and prosecute those engaged in it.”

“By illegally trafficking in wildlife, including rhinoceros horns, Joseph Chait and his co-conspirators have fueled the illegal trade in endangered wildlife,” said U.S. Attorney Bharara. “Chait’s conduct, a federal crime for which he will now spend time in prison, threatened the already precarious existence of certain endangered species of animals.” Read more

Michigan urges travelers to leave firewood at home

As the summer travel season begins, the Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and Natural Resources remind vacationers to leave firewood at home to prevent the spread of invasive tree insects and diseases.

Hauling firewood from one part of the state to another is a common way for these destructive pests to move to new locations, which could be devastating to Michigan’s native trees. The emerald ash borer already has wiped out millions of ash trees across the state. High-impact diseases, including oak wilt and beech bark disease, now are making their way through Michigan – often helped by travelers with trunkloads of wood harboring unseen fungi that can spread to healthy trees in new areas.

“Visual inspection does not always reveal disease or insect damage in wood,” said Gina Alessandri, MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division director. “Disease may be in an early stage, and insect larvae can be hidden under bark. The safest choice is to burn firewood at or near the location it was harvested.” Read more

Michigan: State Adds 103rd State Park

DNR announces Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve in southern Michigan as Michigan’s 103rd state parkThe Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced a $2.9 million purchase of 717 acres of land in Norvell Township, Jackson County. Combined with 405 acres of contiguous land owned by the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission in Manchester Township, the property will become the 1,122-acre Watkins Lake State Park and County Preserve.

The DNR property will become Michigan’s 103rd state park and will be the first state park in Michigan to be jointly managed with a county recreation agency. Adoption of a formal management plan to guide the development of the park will take place following a series of yet to be scheduled public input meetings. The park’s planned recreational offerings include hiking, bird watching, upland hunting, mountain biking and other activities. Read more

Do We Need Central Command to Manage Our Moose?

By Glen Wunderlich

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will aid the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the federal agency’s evaluation of whether the northwestern subspecies of moose – found in four states including Michigan – should be added to the list of threatened and endangered species affording federal protection. 


The northwestern moose subspecies (Alces alces andersoni) found in the Upper Peninsula, including Isle Royale, northeastern and northwestern Minnesota, northeastern North Dakota, as well as a small, recently established population in Wisconsin is being evaluated for Endangered Species, brought on by a petition submitted by The Center for Biological Diversity and Honor the Earth.


It’s a simple scheme:  Get the animal listed for protection so that it can never be hunted, unless it is returned to all of its original territory.  That’s the current position, as determined by a federal judge relative to our wolf population – even though wolves are well beyond any established recovery goals.  And, if these extremists get their way, the same precedent-setting “logic” will be applied to moose.


During the subspecies status review – commonly referred to as a “12-month finding” –the Service will take a closer look at the moose subspecies population, including threats.

At this point, the Service will solicit additional scientific and commercial information from all sources to inform their decision.  Ninety-day findings are published in the Federal Register and represent the Service’s first step in assessing the measures proposed in the petition.


“In Michigan, the moose population has declined for a variety of reasons, including habitat loss, predation and climate change,” Russ Mason, DNR Chief said. “Moose thrive in cold conditions due to their thick insulating fur, long legs and wide feet. Warmer temperatures put moose at risk of overheating, which causes malnutrition and immune system concerns.” 


Moose are native to Michigan and occurred throughout all except the southwestern Lower Peninsula prior to European settlement. With habitat loss, hunting and brainworm, moose disappeared from the Lower Peninsula in the 1890s, and only a few scattered individuals remained in the Upper Peninsula.


In the mid-1980s, the DNR translocated 59 moose from Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada and released them in Marquette County near Michigamme. These relocated moose increased their numbers, given improved habitat conditions with fewer white-tailed deer and poaching widely discontinued.


DNR population surveys in recent years have estimated the moose population at roughly 400 in the western U.P. and, based on citizen reports and field observations, about 100 in the eastern part of the region.  Michigan Natural Resources Commission determined that current conditions of the state’s moose population did not support authorizing a hunt.


The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) makes a living suing mainly the federal government, and then recouping those fees and more. The Obama Administration recently cut a deal with the anti-hunting activists at the CBD on accelerated Endangered Species Act (ESA) listings. Per the legal agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is required to consider adding 757 species, subspecies, or distinct population segments to the list of endangered or threatened species. Decisions on all 757 must be rendered by October, 2016. The list includes species that are presently fished, hunted or trapped, including golden trout, cottontail rabbits, sage grouse, fisher, and wolverine.


The question is do we really need a judge from “Central Command” to mandate how we manage our wildlife?  I think not, but it’s a moot point – for now.

Online Video: Fawn and Food Plot Robbers, Plus Aging Velvet Bucks

In the newest online video from they’re in the blind taking aim on a few groundhogs that are wreaking havoc on their food plots. While in the Redneck Blind they see some developing antlers which put their aging deer on the hoof skills to the test. Stay tuned to see a fawn robber in action, Click here to watch this online video today!About a popular on-demand web series that shares current information about deer hunting and deer management. The videos focus on what the GrowingDeer team of experienced hunters and deer managers are doing in the field week to week: action packed hunts, proven hunting strategies, habitat management, food plots, trail camera techniques and the gear it takes to get it all done. A new episode is released every Monday, 52 weeks a year with no repeats. Videos are available for viewing anytime at The site automatically converts for mobile viewing or the shows may be shared and embedded with the link supplied on the player. Social media users may join the conversation with the team on Facebook and @GrowingDeer on Twitter. Also follow the team on Instagram ( and Pinterest (!

Hunting Tourism and the African Economy

Washington, DC – Results from a newly published study show that the overall contribution of hunting tourism in eight African nations is an estimated $426 million annually. More than 18,000 hunter tourists visit Africa every year. The study was featured in an article by Bloomberg Economics on June 3.”This work demonstrates that hunting has a much more significant economic impact across southern and eastern Africa than previously thought,” stated Joseph Hosmer, President of SCI Foundation. The report was produced by Southwick Associates, a leading market research and economics firm specializing in outdoor industries. Read more

6 Tips for Drought Proofing Food Plots

WEST POINT, MS – This time of year means that parts of the whitetails’ range are or could soon be under a drought. Following these six steps for drought proofing food plots could mean the difference between having some food for deer or a complete withered failure.

Select the right location. You can’t just select any open spot and expect success. As an example, if you choose a spot that has beach sand for soil, you shouldn’t expect much. First and foremost, the site needs to be able to sustain your selected crop.

Time your planting properly. Read more

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