News from the Beaver Island Wildlife Club
At our January meeting we discussed concerns about the 2002 whitetail deer harvest, which had dropped off nearly 50% by our best estimate. The consensus was to write to Rebecca Humphries, Chief of the Wildlife Division of the DNR. On February 14, 2003 we received a response. She said we had raised a number of pertinent and important issues, including counting deer, the Island's carrying capacity, habitat management, and assessing the deer harvest. She said Beaver Island has an interesting deer history and is continuing to experience change. Questions had been raised about the rapid increase in deer population and the likely accompanying habitat degradation and diminished deer health. The question she posed is, what is the right number? And since the appropriate number balances both biological and social concerns, our input as a club is appreciated and needed.
As a result of this correspondence we expect a visit from Brian Mastenbrook, Wildlife Habitat Biologist from Gaylord, in May. He will spend the day with us inspecting browse levels, and suggest habitat improvements, possible ways to count deer, and other deer issues. We will discuss coyotes and their impact, and other wildlife concerns such as turkey feeding sites and habitat. In the evening we will invite him to a special club meeting to present his findings and answer questions. Look for notices about this event.
In keeping with our agreement to keep up our end of the bargain to assist in better record keeping of the deer harvest, we have launched our Successful Deer Hunting Contest. The purpose is to encourage all hunters to register all deer and be eligible for a substantial prize in a lottery drawing. The grand prize will be a 12 gauge Mossberg shotgun. Second and third prizes will be hunting knives. Rules, regulations, and sign-in sites will be announced closer to October 2003.
If you are interested in establishing a habitat food plot for whitetail deer call one of the following members for assistance: Doug Tilly, 448-2024; Phil Wyckoff, 448-2874: or Alvin LaFreniere, 448-2465. We have a set of guidelines for this project.
We have joined the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the largest statewide conservation organization in the nation with nearly 100,000 members and more than 500 affiliated clubs. The mission is to unite citizens to conserve Michigan's natural resources and protect our outdoor heritage. Under the umbrella of our club membership, any other member of the WLC can join for a $15.00 annual fee.
Our next meeting will be April 10, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. at the St. James Fire hall.
Lois Williams, secretary
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