Four Weekends for Wildlife

This summer, Michigan United Conservation Clubs is recruiting hunters, anglers, trappers and outdoor enthusiasts to improve wildlife habitat and hunter access on Michigan public lands.

Through our public-private partnership with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – called Michigan On-the-Ground – we’re recruiting volunteers willing to put their muscles where their money is and prove that hunters, anglers and trappers aren’t just the original conservationists: we’re the modern ones, too.

On July 27, we need volunteers to clean wood duck boxes at Allegan State Game Area, south of Grand Rapids. The Allegan SGA contains one of Michigan’s finest managed waterfowl units and three wildlife refuges that keep the waterfowl coming back. Volunteers will have an opportunity to see them via canoe, kayak, flat-boat or foot by cleaning out wood duck boxes that provide cover and nesting habitat for one of Michigan’s most striking waterfowl species.

The next Saturday, August 3, we’ll be at the Somerset Game Area in northern Hillsdale County to improve whitetail habitat in the middle of big buck country. Volunteers will clear sticks, roots, stones and other debris from oak-bordered fields so they can be planted to clover, providing food for whitetail deer, wild turkey and cottontail rabbits.

August 10 will find us at Crane Pond State Game Area in southwest Michigan to create rabbitat (rabbit habitat) by cutting and stacking autumn olive into brush piles, providing cover from predators for one of Michigan’s most fun small game species. In the winter, we’ll return to host a youth rabbit hunt to encourage young hunters and show them the vital connection between habitat and hunting.

We’ll wrap up our summer schedule on August 17 at Harsen’s Island in Lake St. Clair to clear weeds, phragmites and overgrown cattails from hunter access ditches that connect waterfowl hunters to managed waterfowl units at another one of Michigan’s “Wetland Wonders.”

In the fall and winter, we’ll move up north to improve trout habitat on the Rifle River on September 14 , improve deer and turkey habitat on October 19 in the Gaylord Forest Management Unit by planting crabapple trees, and build muskie structures on western Upper Peninsula inland lakes in the winter.

Volunteers will earn a one-year subscription to the online edition of Michigan Out-of-Doors Magazine, a greater understanding of wildlife habitat, and improved public lands to hunt waterfowl, whitetail, wild turkey and small game. If you can make it to any (or all!) of the projects, or want more details, please email Drew YoungeDyke, MUCC Grassroots Manager, at dyoungedyke@mucc.org or call (517) 346-6486.

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