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April 12, 2000

Natural Resources Commission

P.O. Box 30028

Lansing, MI 48909


Dear Commissioners:

There is a bigger story in the DMU 107 demonstration experience than what this report and biological data shows.

The 90% support shown at the town meeting is not an aberration. There was 63% support at the town meeting introducing QDM in January 1997 with over 400 people attending. This mirrors the mandatory statewide QDM experience in other states, such as Arkansas. A statewide survey taken there in 1997 showed 52% support for mandatory QDM. A statewide survey taken in 1999 after the first statewide mandatory QDM season of 1998 showed 86% hunter support. Their statewide QDM standard is three points on one side minimum. Why the big increase of support in a program that hasnít had a chance to prove itself. It comes from expectations and anticipation. Unfortunately to say the vision in many minds of seeing uncountable big trophies in DMU 107 will not happen. This is a minimum QDM program, not trophy deer management. There will be an improvement and the following should happen:

The historical harvest number should not change. There could be a slight drop in the harvest of bucks around 10% with a corresponding increase in the anterless deer harvest. Three points on one side minimum standard protects 50% of the 1 Ĺ year old bucks in DMU 107. After a few short years this will protect approximately 30% of the total buck population. With an adequate harvest of does the hunters in DMU 107 will finally see what the DNR is claiming exist in our present deer population. They will see one buck for every two does viewed. I do not expect the 90% support in DMU 107 to improve or maintain that level. The standard is to low and the dreams will not materialize. The Dooly County support as shown by a survey taken in 1999 shows 95%. This is primarily due to the high standards applied and the result of it. Their standard of 15" minimum outside spread protects up to 100% of the yearlings and up to 30% of the

2 Ĺ year old bucks. This high grade QDM standard makes the dream a reality.

The lowered number of citations issued also is not an aberration. The Georgia Dooly county experiment is an example. A single citation was issued in 1993, the first year of mandatory countywide QDM. Also a single citation was issued in the first year (1996) of Macon Countys QDM experience. This stems from a vested interest in the bucks that the hunters passed up on. They are now vigilantly patrolling and policing themselves. The bragging rights have been taken away from the poachers. They no longer boast of the big buck that they shot last night. They just may be talking to an ex-poacher.

The same heightened awareness shows up in the lowered number of button bucks harvested. The thinking goes something like this, If I canít shoot spikes, three point and four point bucks why on earth should I take a button buck and lose what I have just invested in.

Another very important subject is hunter safety. Having a protected segment in the deer herd forces all to identify and select before pulling that trigger.

The percentage of the 1 Ĺ year old bucks harvested shows a 10% drop. I fully expect this to become no more than 33% of the total buck harvest by the fifth year of this QDM demonstration, with a corresponding increase in the harvest of older bucks. Again this QDM DMU 107 demonstration is not a high grade one. Donít expect too many 4 Ĺ year olds to walk in front of your blind. If the 4 Ĺ+ year old bucks attain 15% of the total buck harvest it would be primarily due to the hunters raising their own harvest standards. That is exactly what the goal of this QDM demonstration is all about. Hopefully with success we can turn around our deer management thinking into creating a natural deer herd similar to that which inhabited our country before whatís his name stepped on Plymouth Rock. This means an adult buck to doe ratio of around 1:1.3, the deer population in line with the habitat capability and the habitat managed for year round nutritious forage. This can happen if we all become truly deer managers.

Commissioners, Thank you for your vision and trust.

Respectfully Submitted,

Ed Spinazzola, Executive Board Director

Quality Deer Management Association