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24150 31 MILE ROAD, RAY TWP., MI 48096



June 9, 2000

 Hi Neighbor:

Well, we are off to a good start, early spring and plenty of moisture. Deer health and antler growth is directly related to weather, especially, timely rains during the growing season.

The West Shore Branch, under the leadership of President Gary Anderson and their enthusiastic and positive thinking directors, put on an impressive seminar last April 15th in Ludington. Our Executive Director, Mr. Brian Murphy, gave two presentations. With his knowledge and style I think he could have kept the audience interested for many more. Many thanks to the other speakers like DNR Big Game Specialist John Urbain. Ms. Rebecca Humphries, DNRís Chief of Wildlife and her able staff of Mr. Pete Squibb, John Urbain, and Dr. Bill Moritz graciously met with Brian, our secretary, Boyd Wiltse, and myself on April 14th. We also met with Executive Director, K. L. Cool and Assistant Deputy Director, Mr. George Boygoyne through Beckyís assistance. We appreciate this opportunity and feel very positive about this meeting. We look forward to working with the wildlife division.

At the West Shore Seminar during the question and answer period, Mr. Alan Taylor of Sparta suggested that the newly formed CRMI Regional Resource Professional Group be given a QDMA membership package. This membership package is only $10 and is possible through a grant to QDMA and is offered to professionals. The Mid-Michigan Branch had previously voted to make the package available to the DNR leadership and NRC commissioners and with Brianís blessing, this has happened. The CRMI Regional Resource Professionals are assigned to counties and work through the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Department. Their task is to work with private landowners in many conservation areas from forestry to food plots. There are 31 resource professionals in Michigan and Alan Taylor has most generously offered to cover half of the cost of the 44 total memberships. Thanks, Alan! Recently, the wildlife division approached me and thanked us for this gift. It was suggested that there are approximately 40 DNR Field Biologists and they also work with private landowners. On July 1st, our next branch meeting, we will discuss this. For your information, there are over 700 professionals throughout the U.S. and five other countries who are members of the QDMA. This is fitting since professionals formed The Quality Deer Management Association. Joe Hamilton, our founder, is a retired field biologist from the South Carolina DNR.

There will be a hunterís safety class at Jayís from June 21st through June 24th put on by the Clare County Sheriffs Department. Deputy Roger Zelinsky is the organizer. Many thanks to MMB volunteers Bruce Patterson, Al Urban, Marc Yenkel, Frank Myers, and Bill Sclesky. I hope to be there. Also, several of our members are sponsoring youth hunts to be offered at this safety class. Anyone else interested in mentoring a youth hunt in the Clare area, please contact our vice-president, Mr. Frank Myers at 517.386.9194 before June 24.

Mr. Jeff Sturgis of Wetmore, (south of MunisingóU.P.) is having a QDMA branch-forming meeting on June 12th. Speakers will be Midwest QDMA Director, Harley Sampson and Michiganís own deer guru, Mr. John Ozoga. Lots of Luck, Jeff. You show class and I know you will be successful. Speaking of the U.P., things sure are happening. The Superior Deer Management Group with President Jim Lande at the helm is sailing toward mandatory QDM. I understand they have taken the first necessary steps under the DNR QDM procedure guidelines. Sounds great! Also, I understand another group in Iron Mountain with Mr. Jim Nicholson leading is making a similar move. I, also, hear a group in the Leelanau Peninsula is organizing a QDM mandatory drive. Hopefully, things shake out positive.

The bar is raised very high to qualify using the existing mandatory QDM guideline procedure. I showed the procedure to a public opinion poll statistician and she felt there would have to be at least 85-90% true support to garner 66% yes votes. She mentioned something else quite interesting. She said, "This procedure would work if the survey was taken after the fifth year and QDM had a chance to show its value." The Dooly County experience verifies that statement. A survey taken in 1999 showed 95% support.

Our effort to have mandatory statewide QDM this year is due to the insurmountable standard in the procedure. Three different groups approached us and said they wanted to try, but after they understood the rules they didnít think it could happen. We all agreed to try statewide. I am getting feedback that there may be a change in the procedure to make it easier to qualify. Wisconsin is now designing its procedure and has set the approval target at 60%. Pennsylvania is also organizing its procedure. Maybe the Midwest Stateís DNR wildlife divisions could come up with a uniform fair procedure.

Speaking of Pennsylvania, what about their new State Deer Specialist, Dr. Gary Alt. Dr. Alt has been given powers by the Pennsylvania DNR Executive Director to turn their deer management program around. If any state needs to be turned around itís there and Dr. Gary Alt has the skill and determination to do it. This year, Dr. Alt gave 45 presentations in 71 days and is pushing QDM with the emphasis on habitat management, passing on young bucks and harvesting an adequate number of does. He is actually telling his audience to join the Quality Deer Management Association. At the first of the year there were 60 QDM members in Pennsylvania. There are now 535 with two new branches formed. This is the same story in Arkansas. One official in their DNR Wildlife Division took the lead and caused their state to have mandatory QDM (three points-on-one-side-minimum). Well, I think we can guess what direction deer management is heading.

Just got the word our NRC has voted to allow baiting with slight modifications. I fully understand baiting is not universally accepted, and I wouldnít be surprised to see pressure maintained to end it. I have a few close friends that hunt on my property during the muzzle season. I encourage them to harvest does, and they did a few years back. Last year no does, not even a button buck was taken. I feel a doe has the same value if not more than a buck. Alas, I have lost my touch in selling my message. These guys are defying me to the point of using a mock chant, "Shoot a doe, Shoot a doe." We did take 10 doe last year (no bucks), no thanks to these guys, but baiting did help.

I mentioned that I intend to plant experimental food plots this year. So far I planted 25 plant types of about .1 of an acre each with exclosures along with a 6-acre experimental field for our national organization. This 6-acre field is for a comparison of biologic fall premium perennial and alfalfa and a legume meadow mix. As the season advances, I will plant additional plant types like turnips, spring canola, winter canola, oats, rye, and wheat. I planted 8 acres of spring canola two years ago on the 1st of August. This stuff grew four feet high and didnít seed out due to the intentional late planting. The deer hit the yellow blossoms starting in late September and munched on the leaves and thick stalks all winter long. Come snowmelt there was nothing left but 1" stubs. The leaves stay green if covered with snow. The stalks are thick, tapered, stay erect, and are easily crunched by hand, even when frozen. I intend to stay with this interesting experiment and I suggest hunters in the North Country play with it for a winter food plot. Spring canola is inexpensive, drought tolerant, grows in somewhat light soil (not sand), slightly tolerant of acid soil, high in protein, and stands all winter long. Plant around the first two weeks in August with 70 lbs. nitrogen, 40 lbs. phosphorous, 40 lbs. potash, and 8 lbs. spring canola seed per acre. Please let me know your results.

Enclosed is the flyer for our 7th annual QDM educational seminar. We have some big hitters this year. Whoops! Except for the man doing the premium food plot demonstration. Donít miss this one! Also, enclosed are three tickets for our raffle. This is our primary means of support. PLEASE HELP! Call or write me for more tickets. Mail your stubs and check to me.

Sorry for the long letter, but itís you members doing great things that I am writing about. Looking forward to seeing you at 12:00 noon on July 1st at Jayís for our next MMB meeting.

Go outside, face the wind, look up at the clouds and thank the man responsible for all this, and donít forget to keep the fun in hunting!

Ed Spinazzola, Executive Board Director QDMA

24150 31 Mile Road, Ray Twp., MI 48096