March 28, 2001
Just as soon as my fingers thaw out Iíll be able to write this letter a bit faster. Itís March 24th
4:30 p.m. and itís cold outside (25 degrees Fahrenheit). I have a feeling this is winters last blow. Just finished broadcasting 50lbs. of Dwarf Essex Rape on 6 acres with my quad. We planted an experimental 10 acres of a large variety of food plots last year with a quad. I worked with Mr. Bob Collins who has 80 acres in Alcona County. The interesting data is now posted on our web page, QDMA.net.
Sad News: Our treasurer Phil Andres and his wife lost their youngest son Justin 21-years-old last February in a snowmobile accident. Our hearts go out to Phil and his family. Justin leaves 2 brothers (Nathan & Ryan) & a sister. I first met Justin in 1992. I was in an oak tree with my bow as Justin, Phil, & Nathan were tracking a doe. I like Justin. He is good people, and well he should be, he comes from good stock.
That 160 class 10-point buck, I shot at twice last year during the muzzle season, lives. My wife Patricia found his sheds on January 15th in a 1 acre Winter Canola food plot that was planted by the quad. He must have been eating shrink food because he only measured 150 Boone and Crockett if he is given 20-inches inside spread. Throughout the month of January, I observed many deer pawing through 1-foot of snow in this Winter Canola plot. This includes at least 5 different bucks, 1 of which was a nice 2 Ĺ-year-old 8-point that watched my blind for a half an hour and finally at 6:30 p.m. came to within 30 yards of me and commenced to dig away.
We had a booth at the deer spectacular in Lansing last February. There was a mob at our booth constantly. Between my persistent wife Pat, persuasive Perry Russo, cool hand Paul Plantinga, dynamic Dan Timmons, professional Boyd Wiltse, and soft spoken but dangerous Bill Sclesky, a ton of educational material was sold along with signing up 38 new members. I think intense Tony LaPratt had something to do about that with his seminars. I did nothing but sit back and enjoy the show.
The thumb area branch had a very successful workshop at the Ubly Fox Hunters Club. I understand there were over 270 people present. A survey taken showed 98% were in favor of a mandatory restraint in the buck harvest for the thumb area. Our Executive Director Brian Murphy and nationally known Dr. James Kroll were exceptional. I believe 32 members joined the QDMA. Set your standards high and good luck to you guys.
The thumb branch is having a spring barbecue & workshop at the Tuscola Archers Club on April 29th 9:00 a.m.-4:00p.m. Check our web page for details. Speaking of web page, check out our New Forest management section headed off with an interesting and informative article on planting Oaks by Yupper Leon Hank. This is your web page, send in your article to Boyd.
I attended the Southeast Deer Study Group in St. Louis last February 18th. Most of the sessions are scientific presentations and I understand they arenít for everyone, but they are informative and this is important in making good deer management decisions. They have an interesting and lively evening session called shooting from the hip. I am told that some sessions in past years generated a good deal of heat. It is also informative to talk with professionals from other states. I am hearing some very interesting things about Dr. Gary Alt of Pennsylvania. Single handedly he is turning the traditional poorly managed deer program around. The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the DNR Executive Director gave him a mandate to do for the deer what he did for the bear population. Pennsylvania just may have in the 2002 deer season a statewide mandatory 3-points on one side minimum buck rule and replace their late anterless season with an early mid-October one using any weapon, and this is just for starters. Yes, he has a few special interest groups upset, but who can argue against good deer management. I have never met him, but I am told he is in his senior years and does not have the appearance of a movie star. Yet, he has a strong and persuasive personality, is knowledgeable, and is building more support than resistance, and this includes the bowhunters. Dr. Alt is in contact with Brian Murphy and is receiving QDM information. Where is our Dr. Gary Alt?
The 1st annual national QDMA banquet and seminar was held last March 3rd in Athens, Georgia and was quite impressive. Over 600 attended the banquet and over 700 attended the afternoon free wheeling audience participation seminar. It was so successful that a special meeting was held the following day and it looks like it may be a 2-day event next year. You all received a notice about it and the talent loaded panel lived up to their reputation. The new Arkansas DNR Executive Director Mr. Hugh "Dynamite" Durham let it all hang out and took on all comers in his defense of QDM. I have mentioned in the past how the Dooly County experiment evolved. Well the conductor of it, Georgia DNR Wildlife Division District Supervisor, Mr. Terry Kyle was invited to be on the panel, but was ordered not to by his superiors. In his place was Georgia DNR Wildlife Assistant State Supervisor, Mr. Dan Forster. There was an interesting exchange between Hugh and Dan. Same place probably the 2nd weekend of March next year. Mark your calendar.
Speaking of banquets, our 1st annual mid-Michigan banquet is scheduled for Saturday, September 22nd at the Doherty Hotel in Clare. Bob and Sheila Jacobson have volunteered to co-chair this committee. Mark this on your calendar. Details to follow.
Our next branch meeting is set for April 7th 12:00 noon at Jayís. Several items need to be discussed and we need your input. Vice President Frank Meyers and Executive Director Norm Engel represented us at the Ad-Hoc Crossbow Committee, which was chaired by Commissioner Jerry Bartnik. In summary, our position is that there is room for a crossbow to manage our deer. The thumb and the mid-Michigan branch each ordered a ton of specially formulated minerals and vitamins for deer. We will be selling a 25lb. bag for $10.00. See you on April 7th.
Are deer minerals necessary and when is it legal to use it? The data I have tells it like this. If your land has good soil with the surrounding land similar and soil tests are taken with minerals applied to maintain high levels of nutrients, using minerals probably wonít make a big difference. Yet, many humans take minerals and vitamins daily under the advice of doctors. My doctor told me to take them. I guess they canít hurt. With poor soil itís a no brainer. The University of Wisconsin did a study a few years back. They put out on state land a commercial cattle mineral and vitamin mix and found that there could be an increase up to 20% in antler growth depending on soil fertility. The poorer the soil the greater the benefit. Makes sense to me.
Recently, I asked a DNR Conservation Officer on the legality of the use and time periods allowed for minerals. The answer was "They were illegal anywhere anytime". I put that information in the round file and called another conservation officer. His answer was anywhere anytime within 100 yards of your home. Also on October 1st until January 1st anywhere even on public land. I asked him if the thousands of farmers and ranchers who use the identical ingredients just a different formulation for their livestock year-round, and the millions of farmers and home owners who used fertilizer in their fields and gardens with many of the same minerals like, Phosphorous, Potash, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Cobalt, Zinc, Copper, and Sulphur were in violation. There was a long pause then he finally said, "probably not, but I really donít know". So put out a goat in your backyard or plant a carrot seed in your mineral lick & get some sleep.
Letís analyze the enclosed bio harvest data for DMU 107 (now 118). Itís only the 2nd year, but its showing 3rd and 4th year results. We couldnít ask for better. All the columns are important and they each tell a story, but there are 4 critical data columns, which when viewed together tell you a lot of whatís happening in your deer herd. Hopefully, after this explanation you will keep your own records.
Letís start with the male fawns. Itís holding at 11% of the total anterless deer harvested. I believe the state average is 22%. This improvement comes automatically when QDM is practiced, voluntarily or mandatory. Itís called a change in the mind set. With the button buck restraint memo in last years-game rulebook, I was hoping for even better numbers.
In the harvested adult doe average age column the 3.01 number is where you want to be. This column is important. It will tell you if does are being harvested and more importantly to what degree. The number should be between 2.5 and 4.5 (prime age does) with the lower number being preferred. The 3.01 average age of the harvested doe indicates you are turning over the doe herd and reaping benefits if you have a high-grade deer management program. This 3.01 number means you are passing on good genetics rapidly, but still staying within the prime age, which equals high fawn productivity. Going much below 2.5 will improve the buck to doe ratio but will lower the fawn productivity. The importance of the information this column gives can not be overemphasized. How many does should I shoot? Keep records and you will know.
In the adult buckís chart, the 1 Ĺ-year-old harvest percent of the total adult buck harvest is now down to 47%. I expected that number in a couple years. I think this means hunters understand the value of QDM and are complying with the mandatory 3-points on one side minimum rule. There is still no citations issued in DMU 107 for violations for the 2nd year now. We commend the DNR conservation officers for their understanding in our learning curve. A town meeting held on February 6th, 2000 at Jayís Sporting in Clare showed 90% support. A town meeting held on February 3rd, 2001 showed 94% support. DNR personnel counted these surveys. The 3-year base average of 78% would make it difficult to have a buck to doe ratio of 1:2. It should be 65% or less. If the male fawns harvested were to be included this number would exceed 80%. Last time I checked they looked like bucks to me. So far the latest numbers indicate a buck to doe ratio approaching 1:2.
The last critical column is the doe to buck harvest ratio. The data received from the DNR for DMU 107 for the years 1990 through 1995 indicated a doe to buck average harvest ratio of 1:3. This ratio would make it difficult to have a buck to doe ratio of 1:2. Even the base ratio of 1:1.9 would make it difficult. For the mid-Michigan area of DMU 107 (a transition zone) the doe to buck harvest ratio should be around 1:1.4 to obtain a buck to doe ratio of 1:2 on October 1st. The 1:1.1 ratio is just what the doctor ordered.
The DMU 107 bio harvest data indicates that mandatory QDM works with hunters and landowners supporting it. I expect the numbers to hold and possibly improve the next year. We should think about raising the bar. The 3-points on one side minimum rule protects approximately 50% of the yearling bucks. This is absolutely the minimum standard and should be viewed as a learning tool only. There is the possibility that this hygrading harvest method may over time degrade our deer. Mississippi has a statewide minimum 4-point buck rule (fork) since 1995 and is now concerned that in certain areas antlers and deer weight size is dropping. Whereas many studies have shown protecting at least 90% of the 1 Ĺ-year-olds increases the antler and weight size.
May common sense be your guide and patience keep you alert in your blind.
Keep the Fun in Hunting!
Ed Spinazzola, President Mid-Michigan Branch QDMA
Board of Directors QDMA
P.S. I am asked constantly "Whatís happening in DMU 107"? Letís get the word out. I encourage you all to give your local paper a press release. Use the bio data chart along with my description of the important columns starting with the sentence, Letís analyze the enclosed bio harvest data or write your own press release. No one else will do it.
P.S.S. We now have 665 members. 4 years ago it was 76. What seems to be working for many members is to buy their skeptical neighbor a membership. There are several members who have said that they would like to start a branch in their area. Please call me (1-810-784-8090) and weíll get your show on the road.