In the Field: Summer Cooperative Activities

by Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator, MUCC

It is summer time! Vacations, bonfires, late nights, hammocks…. Gotta love summer! But how can you capture some of the summer fun and create a cooperative activity that can help build relationships, and recruit new members? I have a few ideas! Let me know yours, and I will add them to this blog. Just email me at

Counting Deer

Have you ever just hoped in the truck and drove around in the evening? It is a great time to see deer! You could make this as simple or as formal as you would like. If you want to create a series of routes that can be done a couple times of year for multiple years in a row, you can compare the numbers you find over time. This can help determine trends in your local deer population. Since you can see antlers now, you can pull some rough buck-to-doe ratios too. If all you want to do is grab a couple buddies and go count some deer… bring on the fun!

Planning a Trail Camera Survey

The best time to start a trail camera survey is in August. Fawns still have vivid spots, antlers have developed… and in most areas you can put down food bait. **NOTE: You man not but down food bait in the CWD or TB counties.** Trail camera surveys are helpful at estimating deer numbers and buck-to-doe ratios, and they are fun!  Click here for more details.

Archery Shoot

Have you been practicing all spring and you are ready to show off your skills? Or challenge your neighbors to a competition? Have an archery shoot at you house. You could have a competition of sorts, maybe even bow golf – where you set up a course and you get a score of three shots at each station. This is something the women and kids can even enjoy!

Clay Shooting

Who doesn’t love blowing up some clay pigeons? Gather up your cooperative members, chip in to buy some clays, and invite everyone out to come shoot clays! This can be simple and fun, or detailed and competitive. Your call.

Grassland Tours

The wild flowers are about in the peak of bloom right now. When you have grasslands with lots of flower diversity, it is a good sign! Ask DNR or a Farm Bill Biologist to help you set up a time you can invite your neighbors to come over and learn more about grasslands, and the many birds and insects they support… not to mention pheasants, deer, and quail!


Have a cookout and bonfire. Super easy. Make it a potluck, maybe provide a main dish. You could encompass any of the above activities with the food. Who doesn’t love food? Sometimes kicking back with a full belly and a cold beer and talking deer is the best way to get to know a neighbor.

So what are you summer cooperative plans?

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