In the Field: Why We do What We do

 by Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator

If you have ever had little kids, they ask ‘why’ all the time. Even as adults, we ask ‘why’ pretty frequently. We have a need to understand the motivations behind why we are being asked to do a particular task, join a group, or spend some money. One of the reasons ‘why’ is such an important and fundamental question, is that if answered correctly, it can attest to the motivations and rationales for action and participation.

When we asked a group of cooperative and QDMA leaders ‘why’ they wanted to be involved in a cooperative, many answered because they want to see more mature deer, know their neighbors better, build relationships, work together to improve habitat, etc. These are valid reasons, and when we understand the motivations even better, we can see how cooperatives have the potential to instigate a major change in how wildlife and habitat are managed across the state.

I frequently get asked ‘why’ I wanted to be the Michigan Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator, covering the entire state, working weekends and traveling many miles. To a hunter, it seems like the dream job, to a non-hunter, it sounds like torture.

 So why do I love what I do? Why do I see my time spent as an important investment in our hunting legacy? Why do I wake up thinking about cooperatives every morning? Because the hunting community matters. Because if we don’t change how we do business, our hunting heritage is heading down a dangerous road. Because the potential of cooperative management outweighs the capability of regulation changes. Because local landowners and hunters have the authority, knowledge, and resources to take management to their local level.

Ask a cooperative leader ‘why’ they do what they do. Ask why the spend countless hours going door-to-door talking to neighbors. Or why they spend hundreds of dollars sending out mailings or supplying food for gatherings. It is not because they are bored or can’t think of a better way to spend their time and money, it’s because they too believe that they can make a difference in the quality of hunting and habitat in their community. Because they want better hunting for their kids and their grandkids. They want to leave a legacy behind, to build relationships centered around managing the amazing resources we are privileged to have in Michigan. They do it for themselves, and they do it for you.

If you too would like to join the Cooperative Community, think about WHY. Once you have your ‘why,’ let me know how I can help you spread it around. I can be reached at 517-364-6454 or

Leave a Comment