Drew YoungeDyke Drew YoungeDyke
This past year, 400 volunteers showed up to improve fish and wildlife habitat through MUCC’s On the Ground program. Scanning my Facebook feed over the last month, I’ve been excited to see a few of them connecting on deer this season. I’m not saying it’s karma rewarding them with venison for their volunteer efforts, but just in case, I’ll remind you that we have a project December 13 at Allegan State Game Area…
Gabriel and Walt Seitz with Walt's firearm doe. Gabriel and Walt Seitz with Walt’s firearm doe.
Last February, Walt Seitz showed up to the rabbitat project at Sharonville State Game Area. Actually, Walt was very involved with the planning to make sure it fell on a date when his Christian Service Brigade youth group could make it. He brought parents and youth group volunteers, including his two sons, Nathaniel and Gabriel. Then, in September, he and his sons came to the hinge-cutting project at Dansville State Game Area and helped cut shooting lanes for a limited accessibility blind earlier constructed by an Eagle Scout.
So I was doubly pleased to see this photo on my Facebook feed of Walt and Gabriel with a nice doe Walt got this past Opening Weekend for firearm season.
Said Walt, “It was a great year, Gabe got to see his first deer harvest!”
I couldn’t help but thinking what a great introduction to hunting that must be for Gabe. He volunteered on two projects building habitat for game animals, including deer, in the same year he saw his first deer harvested accompanying his dad. So in just one year, he has seen the circle complete from improving habitat for the species to harvesting and utilizing the venison.
Similarly, about a month ago I saw that Kevin Peltier harvested a fine doe during bow season. Kevin volunteered on that same Dansville State Game Area hinge-cutting project, along with several other members of Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). I have to share what Kevin wrote about it, showing ultimate respect for the doe:
Kevin Peltier with a fine archery doe.  Kevin Peltier with a fine archery doe.
“This afternoon, I was once again blessed with an opportunity to take a doe. Although I have taken the lives of a number of deer with my bow, this is the first that I witnessed the entire progression of events during and after the shot; from life to death. The reality of my action set in as I watched her take her last breath and after, the woods fell silent.
“What had just happened has been replayed millions of times over the course of human history. I am a hunter in search of my game. My game has given me life. This is who I am.”
These are the words of the type of hunter who gives up his Saturday to improve habitat for the game he hunts at state game area he doesn’t even hunt himself.
As I mentioned, we’re kicking off a new field season for On the Ground wildlife habitat projects on December 13, 2014, at Allegan State Game Area. We’re going to be cutting down old aspen so new aspen can grow up, providing habitat for grouse, deer and turkeys. You can sign up for that project by clicking here.
I’m not promising that you’ll be successful hunting deer next year by volunteering on a habitat project in December, but it can’t hurt!

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