Deer Private Land Assistance Network grant application period opens

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that the application period has opened for the Deer Private Land Assistance Network (Deer PLAN) grant program. It is designed to support private-land deer habitat improvement projects in the northern Lower Peninsula.

The Deer PLAN program is funded by the state’s Deer Range Improvement Program funds. In 2018, a total of $50,000 will be made available. The focus area will include private lands in the following counties: Alcona, Alpena, Crawford, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle. Funds will be allocated across these six counties based on a competitive grant application scoring process. Read more

Michigan DNR conservation officer recruits begin rigorous journey


Candidates will be pushed to their limits as 8th Recruit School begins SundayTwenty-five candidates will try to make the grade as Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers when the 8th Conservation Officer Recruit School gets under way Sunday, July 16, in Lansing.Recruits face 23 weeks of intensive training that taxes their bodies, minds and spirits. This year’s class is composed of 18 men and seven women. Four candidates are from the Upper Peninsula, 18 are from the Lower Peninsula and three are from out of state.

The DNR will provide weekly blogs that offer a closer look at life in this year’s Conservation Officer Recruit School. The blogs highlight weekly training events and challenges. You can subscribe to the blogs, which also will be posted on the Michigan DNR Facebook page.

“These men and women have the chance to be part of something special, but they have to earn it,” said Gary Hagler, chief of DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “Anyone who wears the green and gray uniform of a Michigan conservation officer must carry on our 130-year tradition of service and excellence. Those who have what it takes can look forward to an exciting, rewarding career protecting Michigan’s natural resources and the people who enjoy them. But it all starts at Recruit School.” Read more

NSSF Sportsmen/Sportswomen Survey

Your input helps shape the outdoor industry

The National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the trade association for the firearms and outdoors industry, is conducting the following consumer study in an effort to better understand sportsmen’s and sportswomen’s hunting and target shooting participation.

Your individual responses will remain fully confidential and will not be shared with anyone for any reason and you will not be contacted as a result of taking this survey.

Manufacturers, retailers, state wildlife agencies and industry organizations rely on feedback from outdoor enthusiasts to shape future programs, products and wildlife restoration efforts so your input is extremely valuable and we appreciate you completing this survey in its entirety.

TAKE THE SURVEY

For additional information on National Shooting Sports Foundation, please visit www.nssf.org

Dallas Safari Club Grant Will Support Delta Waterfowl’s Drone Research

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — A $10,000 grant from the DSC Foundation, a charitable arm of the Dallas Safari Club, will boost Delta Waterfowl’s breakthrough research into using drone-mounted, thermal-imaging cameras to locate nesting ducks and other wildlife.

The grant will fund Delta Waterfowl studies aiming to use drone technology to find over-water nesting ducks such as canvasbacks, monitor densities of waterfowl predators, and detect the nests of upland-nesting birds such as mallards, pintails, teal, pheasants, songbirds and piping plovers.

“DSC Foundation and the Dallas Safari Club are proud to support Delta Waterfowl’s drone research, as well as its Predator Management program,” said Richard Cheatham, president of the DSC Foundation. “Delta Waterfowl’s willingness to commit time and money to study emerging technology with the goal of integrating that technology into waterfowl research is both admirable and exactly the type of forward thinking that wildlife management needs.”

In 2016, a team led by Dr. Frank Rohwer, Delta’s president and chief scientist, performed an initial test-flight using a drone carrying a thermal-imaging camera over grassland cover. Rohwer was able to pinpoint nesting ducks indicated by the camera’s heat signature. The discovery led to formal research that could revolutionize the way ducks are studied and surveyed.

“Even in the digital age, waterfowl researchers are required to painstakingly search for duck nests,” said Joel Brice, Delta’s vice president of waterfowl and hunter recruitment programs. “Drones are an innovative, potential game-changer. Delta is pleased to have the backing of the DSC Foundation, whose shared goals include supporting science-based research, conserving wildlife and securing the future of hunting in North America.” Read more

Boyt Harness Joins Boone and Crockett Hunt Fair Chase Initiative

MISSOULA, Mont. – Iowa-based Boyt Harness Co. is the latest name added to a growing list of supporters behind a new initiative led by the Boone and Crockett Club intended to highlight the core values of fair chase and to strengthen the image of the North American hunter.

“There was a time when sportsmen were openly admired and praised for their commitments to wildlife and habitat conservation,” said CJ Buck, the Club’s vice president of communications. “Today we’re subject to increasing attack and misrepresentation. As grossly unfair as this has become, no one is going to restore the positive image of hunters and hunting other than sportsmen themselves. The Hunt Fair Chase initiative seeks to help sportsmen become better brand ambassadors for hunting by rallying behind the time-honored traditions of fair chase and putting our best foot forward.”

The Hunt Right: Hunt Fair Chase initiative hopes to inspire sportsmen to unite behind an effort to improve their own public image and control the narrative about hunting that others have taken. The initiative will launch later this summer.

“Our society is governed by laws. Hunting too is governed by laws, but out of a sense of responsibility for the game we hunt and the country they live in, sportsmen go one step further,” said Buck. “A sporting approach ensures the game is respected and never threatened; the privilege of hunting is honored, and the no-guarantees nature of hunting and the memorable experiences we seek remain intact. There is a lot tucked up under the umbrella of what we know as fair chase.” Read more

Dakotaline Introduces Complete Land Management Predator Trapping Package


GW: A good idea for the beginner, but make sure to check your state’s regulations as to the specific legality of these snares and traps.
Predators are threatening game species everywhere, it’s time to fight back, here’s howLennox, SD – Serious hunters and land management experts know that maintaining a healthy deer herd is not just about food plots and waterholes. To truly maximize your lands wild game potential, you must also manage your predator population. With their new Complete Land Management Predator Package, Dakotaline has streamlined this sometime intimidating and arduous process. This kit has all of the tools a land manager may need to successfully manage predators on their property.

For most large predators, the foothold trap is the way to go. With a bit of bait, and a properly set trap, the coyote will walk in on a string, paying more attention to the setup than his steps, and be waiting for his moment of fate when you arrive back the next day. The Dakotaline Predator Management Package comes with everything you need to quickly and effectively set up the six included Bridger #1.75 traps.

Along with footholds, neck snares work well for large predators like for coyotes. Simply find the trail the animals are using, brush it in a bit to funnel their movement, and wait. The Dakotaline Predator Management Kit comes with everything you’ll need to run 12 neck snares. Read more

Food Plots Lead the Way Among Hunter Land Management Practices

FERNANDINA BEACH, FL. —While roughly three out of 10 surveyed hunters are actually involved in managing or attracting wildlife on the land where they hunt, of those who do, more than 80 percent of their efforts are spent on creating food plots. In fact, the HunterSurvey.comsurvey conducted by Southwick Associates found that food plots were the leading practice by nearly double most other practices.

Following are the top five management practices as revealed by the survey:
Food plots 81 percent
Mineral sites 49 percent
Timber management 45 percent
Plant management 42 percent
Feeders 39 percent
Other practices measured included creating man-made water sources (17 percent), controlled burns (15 percent), maintaining water level or flow (11 percent) and other (6 percent).

The survey also examined the interaction of hunters around their feeding sites. Of those hunters who do use feeders (where legal) to enhance opportunities, 86 percent monitor those sites with trail cameras, 67 percent of them do so year-round, 33 percent run feeders year-round, and 83 percent hunt over them or near them.

“This survey shows that food plots and other means of attracting and holding game in an area or on a particular property are important management tools among a third of today’s hunters,” says Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com.

To help continually improve, protect and advance hunting, shooting and other outdoor recreation, all sportsmen and sportswomen are encouraged to participate in the bi-monthly surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and/or AnglerSurvey.com. Every other month, participants who complete the surveys are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

Biologists Set To Begin Grizzly Bear Trapping For Research Purposes In The Custer Gallatin National Forest

Public Reminded To Heed Warning Signs

BOZEMAN – As part of ongoing efforts required under the Endangered Species Act to monitor the population of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, the U.S. Geological Survey is working to inform the public that pre-baiting and scientific trapping operations are about to begin within the Hebgen Lake drainage basin in the Hebgen Lake Ranger District of the Custer Gallatin National Forest, Montana. Biologists, with the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST), will begin work in the area beginning July 15th and will continue through August 31st. Trapping operations can include a variety of activities, but all areas where work is being conducted will have major access points marked with warning signs. It is critical that all members of the public heed these signs.

Monitoring of grizzly bear distribution and other activities are vital to ongoing recovery of grizzlies in the Yellowstone Ecosystem. In order to attract bears, biologists utilize natural food sources such as fresh road–killed deer and elk. Potential trapping sites are baited with these natural foods and if indications are that grizzly bears are in the area, culvert traps or foot snares will be used to capture the bears. Once trapped, the bears are handled in accordance with strict protocols developed by the IGBST.

Whenever bear trapping activities are being conducted for scientific purposes, the area around the site will be posted with bright warning signs to inform the public of the activities occurring. These signs are posted along the major access points to the trapping site. It is important that the public heed these signs and do not venture into an area that has been posted. For more information regarding grizzly bear trapping efforts call the IGBST hotline at 406-994-6675.

Bovine tuberculosis – a disease still worth fighting


DNR continues to work to eradicate bovine TB; help neededMichigan Department of Natural Resources
After more than two decades of study and testing white-tailed deer for bovine tuberculosis, Michigan has become world-renowned for its research and expertise on managing this serious contagious disease.

Over this time, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife managers have learned a great deal, including that continued assistance from hunters and others remains vitally necessary to make significant gains in battling bovine tuberculosis into the future.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious disease caused by certain bacteria that attack the respiratory system of animals and humans.

There are several types of tuberculosis, but bovine tuberculosis (bTB) can infect the widest variety of animals and is what wildlife managers have been trying to eradicate from white-tailed deer in Michigan.

“Michigan is one of the leading experts in management and information related to bTB,” said Kelly Straka, DNR state wildlife veterinarian. “We are the only state in nation that has bTB established in wild deer.”

Although originating and typically occurring in cattle, bTB can infect nearly any mammal, including humans. Bovine TB is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium bovis (M. bovis), which is part of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex. Read more

Conservation Money to be Wasted in Court

By Glen Wunderlich

With the Yellowstone population of grizzly bears having grown from a threatening low number of 136 bears in 1975 to a present estimate of 700, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, has announced that federal protections are to be removed. Accordingly, management of the magnificent beasts is to return to the affected states and tribes. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) Distinct Population Segment (DPS) consists of portions of northwestern Wyoming, southwestern Montana and eastern Idaho. Grizzly bear populations outside of this DPS in the lower 48 states will be treated separately under the ESA and will continue to be protected.

Success? Not so fast, says the largest anti-hunting organization in the world, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Its lawyers have lined up in advance of the next round of nonsensical court battles between scientific game management and its emotionally charged rhetoric. It matters not that grizzly bears have more than doubled their range since the mid-1970s, now occupying more than 22,500 square miles. Once again, the fight is over hunting.

One thing we’ve learned over the years is that sustainability of any species of game animal is guaranteed, if hunting is permitted. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, it works every time it is employed. Just like so many other North American success stories including whitetail deer, wild turkeys, elk, antelope – you name it. They are all thriving under management plans that use hunting as a primary tool to manage the balance between a growing human population and habitat resources.

The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear population was determined to be recovered because multiple factors indicate it is healthy and will be sustained into the future. These factors include not only the number and distribution of bears throughout the ecosystem, but also the quantity and quality of the habitat available and the states’ commitments to manage the population from now on in a manner that maintains its healthy and secure status.

The GYE population of grizzly bears has surpassed recovery goals in both population benchmarks and duration of time meeting those goals, proving that the population is not just recovered, but stable and growing. Moreover, more than 100 grizzly bears have been killed for depredation of livestock or attacks on humans in the last two years – a significant number indicative of the population having reached social tolerance levels within the available habitat.

However, Wayne Pacelle of HSUS states in his blog, “ Specifically, the delisting rule ignores the ongoing existential threat posed to these bears by habitat loss, disappearance of staple foods like whitebark pine and cutthroat trout…”

What is ironic about this statement is that if these essential elements of the bears’ existence actually remain in jeopardy, then why would any group supporting the animals’ welfare take taxpayer dollars for lawsuit expenses earmarked for the very habitat improvements it says are lacking?

Simply stated, it’s to pad its annual $130 million budget and fund its hefty retirement accounts, to stop all hunting, and to put us all on strict diets of vegan shoots and sprouts.

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