by Anna Mitterling, Michigan Wildlife Cooperative
This past weekend I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the Mid-Michigan QDMA Branch Habitat Day at Jones’ Farm in Gladwin County. It was a beautiful day, and the group had a great turnout.
Ed Spinazzola (Deer Attraction) presented on land and deer management. Ed talked about having a rotating forestry management plan, where plots of 10-25 acres are clear cut every 15-20 years, on an 80+ acre parcel. This allows for the young browse to be available somewhere on your property. Young clear-cuts provide cover, bedding, and food. Ed also talked about using corn in kill plots, planting in 2-row segments, with soybeans and/or sugar beets planted in between.
Matt Bednorek, the Mid-Michigan Branch president, talked about the importance of data collection. He said that data collection, herd monitoring, makes it possible to set better harvest goals. The observations and data also allow hunters to set better local buck harvest expectations. Debunking unreasonable expectations has improved Matt’s deer hunting experience substantially.
Chuck Jones, landowner, Pheasants Forever and QDMA member, past branch president, spoke on managing small properties for wildlife. Chuck has about 160 acres he manages for habitat and harvesting quality deer. He walked us through his planning process for his own property and emphasized the importance of using local DNR and Conservation District resources. The staff he worked with provided a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Chuck also mentioned that membership with Pheasants Forever has vastly increased his ability to plant quality native grasses and forage for deer and other wildlife on his property.
If you live in the Gladwin area, there are a few guys who are interested in starting a wildlife cooperative. Would you like to be one of them? There is a lot of support for these efforts! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-346-6454.
A fun idea the Mid-Michigan QDMA Branch is implementing this year is a gun raffle for youth who harvest does this coming season. Any youth who harvests a doe during the youth season and brings it into one of the pre determined check stations (they will be listed in the branch’s Facebook page), will be entered into the raffle. They will be able to check deer Saturday and Sunday until 6pm. The doe must be legally tagged, and an adult must be present. The winner will be announced the following Tuesday! Sounds like a neat idea to me. Great work Mid-Michigan Branch!