In the Field: Cooperative Meeting in the Northeast

by Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator, MUCC

On Saturday, I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the Anchor Creek Rendezvous. Galen, a Dairy Farmer in the Cooperative talked about the importance of cooperative, from an agriculture perspective and not a hunter. Managing deer and cows do run parallel together, we just have different tools to accomplish the goals. He suggested cooperative members use respectful conversation and engage diverse stakeholders.

Ron Sigel, with Allband Communications Cooperative, has an education program focused on enhancing wildlife habitat, agriculture, and forestry research through education and the availability of advanced high-speed fiber and wireless tech in our rural community. Allband has been an incredible partner with Anchor Creek Cooperative and has many great ideas! Learn more about them at

Shelby, the local DNR biologist provided a TB update: there is a minimum of 13 TB positive deer. Alpena County had 8 positives, plus a few more suspects. The good news is that the minimum number sample goals in each county were met. Over 5,000 heads tested for TB across the state.

Perry provided an overview of Anchor Creek Cooperative’s accomplishments – which are impressive. They started with 11 members and 642 acres in 2016. In 2016 they were awarded a $10k PLAN Grant, and for 2018 they will receive $10k more. The Cooperative is applying for Wildlife Habitat Grant for $50k in 2018. For more information on these grants, click here For more details on all of these presentations, feel free to watch them! All of the presentations can be found on the Allband Center for Education, Wildlife and Research FaceBook page. The video is below:

James DeDecker, with Michigan State University Extension, addressed crop damage on the farm. The most significant damage happens before the plant (soybean) grows 6 leaves. This time would be ideal for harvesting deer in problem areas, but this is in the spring when deer are pregnant or have just dropped fawns. Average yield loss in the research James has done was 10% via deer. Deer browse also increases weeds in fields because it decreases the crop leaf canopy preventing the weeds from growing.

Dean Smith and Dan Timmons talked about APR’s and disease. Their presentations can be found on the Allband Center for Education, Wildlife and Research FaceBook page.

Wayne Sitton, manager for the Turtle Lake Club, has been working at the Club for 21 years.  Over 1300 necropsies have been done on deer harvested at the Club. They look at kidney fat, bone marrow, etc. They really look at the condition of deer during the worst time of the year, mid-February. They also take fetal measurements of the does that are harvested. When looking at kidney fat, they have found that lactating does have 6.6% fat vs non-lactating have 30.9% fat on kidneys.  Wayne talked extensively about the importance of doe harvest. Does are giving a return on investment. As population increases, fawn crop decreases. Fawn recruitment is around 15-20% in Michigan based on one fawn born per doe.  

Turtle Lake has collected data on thousands of deer and has found some interesting trends: At 2 years old, a doe has an 80$ chance of having a single buck. At age 3 and 4, there is a 50/50 split between buck/doe fawns. After age 4, twin fawns, both are female 75% of the time.

Over the past ten years, Turtle Lake Club has drastically increased their doe harvest. Their buck to doe ratio is now close to 1:1. Recruitment went from 20% to 80%. More bucks are recruited than females. The rut is 2 weeks earlier, and disease has been reduced by 70%. Turtle Lake kills a lot of deer. Just this year, they killed 351 does so far, and about 50 bucks. They also donated 2800 pounds of meat to Detroit food kitchen. Wayne’s advice to deer managers who want to see healthier, larger, and well-managed deer: shoot more does.

To see Wayne’s entire presentation, please click here.

Special thanks to the UP North Journal podcast for live streaming the event! Check out UP North Journal on Facebook.


  1. Goedon Klann on January 10, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Hi Anna, was in attendance at this meeting and was quite impressed with all the info. Have a question that i thought of after and it would be in your field of expertise. What is the oldest coop in the state? One other question. As a coop grows does it have access to more and larger grants?
    thanks Anna

    • amitterling on January 11, 2018 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Gordon! Glad you could make the meeting! The oldest cooperative in the state is over 30 years old.

      I have not had a cooperative apply for a grant other than Anchor Creek, but especially if a cooperative is near State Land, the opportunity for a grant is pretty high.

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