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NRC Presentation

Dear Natural Resources Commission,

Good evening. My name is Marc Yenkel. I am representing the Mid Michigan Branch of Quality Deer Management Association and the Browns Corner ) Whitetail Coalition. Thank you for allowing me to address the Commission this evening. In your packet you will find a copy of my presentation, the specifies of the proposal I am making today, a summary of our survey results as well as statistics from the DNR for DMU 107 from the years 1990 - 1996.

Our groups would like to propose to the Commission that you make Deer Management Unit 107 a demonstration area for Quality Deer Management in the state of Michigan for the next five hunting seasons. We propose mandatory regulations of antler restrictions on bucks and an increased antlerless harvest be instituted to achieve quality deer and quality habitat for the deer.

Specifically, we propose that only bucks with three points on one side be harvested during the 1998, 1999, and 2000 hunting seasons. Subsequently, only bucks with four points to one side may be harvested during 2001 and 2002 deer hunting seasons if a majority of hunters surveyed following the deer hunting seasons in the 2000 are in favor of this increase in antler restriction. If there is not a majority in favor of the progressive standard, it shall remain at three points to one side for the 2001, and 2002 deer hunting seasons. Following the deer hunting seasons for the year 2000, we will work closely with the DNR to survey hunter attitudes relative to antler restrictions and if a change is indicated we will approach the commission to make the appropriate change. Additionally, an appropriate number of antlerless permits will be allowed as determined by the Department of Natural Resources.

The basis for the change to antler restrictions is found with in data supplied by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for DMU 107. Their data indicates that three points to one side saves 49.6% of the year and one half old bucks while four points to one side saves 86% of the year and one half old bucks. A 14 inch spread would save 100% of the year and one half old bucks, however our survey results indicate that hunters are not ready for this and need further education to differentiate antler spread in a hunting situation.

This is the second time we have come before the Commission requesting the implementation of a Quality Deer Management Demonstration area. Last year we proposed a different area that

fragmented DMU 107 and DMU 106. This year we are proposing that the Commission use an already existing DMU. DMU 107 consists of 99% private lands.

We have had several meetings and phone conversations with DNR personnel who have advised us as to the correct procedures to follow to initiate this change in regulations. Pete Squibb and Dale Rabe have been very helpful. Bill Moritz assisted us in revising and desegregating data from a survey that I will summarize briefly in a minute. Field Biologist Dick Schellenbarger has been extremely helpful and gave an outstanding presentation at our Town Meeting that drew more than 350 people at Jays Sporting Goods. We have followed the suggestions and requests of the DNR precisely.

On January 11th we held a Town Meeting at Jays Sporting Goods. The turnout was overwhelming. It was estimated that over 350 people were in attendance. 63% of those surveyed were in favor of this proposal. We also sent surveys to 700 people. 200 of these people were landowners in DNM 107, while the other 500 people came from a DNR data base of Clare Co. Hunters. While we did not achieve a 70% response rate to these surveys as Mr. Moritz prefers, we did get 300 of these surveys returned to us, which I feel is a significant number.

Summarizing from the survey we found that 65% of the landowners were in favor of some type of quality deer management with antler restrictions while only 25% disagreed with the concept. In fact 76 % thought the buck harvest should be restricted to improve the buck to doe ratio while 63% thought the buck harvest should be restricted to increase the number of larger antlered bucks in the population. Only 13% disagreed to restricting the buck harvest to improve the buck >to doe ratio while 28% disagreed with restricting the buck harvest to increase the number of larger antlered bucks. The remaining percents of the respondents, 11 and 9 % respectively were not sure of their position on quality deer management.

Desegregating the data further we found that 58% of the hunters in DMU 107 were in favor of some form of Quality deer management while only 28% disagreed with the concept. 14% were not sure. 70% agreed to restricting the buck harvest to improve the buck to doe ratio. Only 17% disagreed with that concept. 60 % of DMU 107 hunters agreed to restricting the buck harvest to increase the number of larger antlered bucks in the population. 25% disagreed with this concept. The other statistics you may read at your leisure. Allow me to point out that we feel the results of this survey clearly indicate that the people who own land and hunt in DMU 107 are willing to become a demonstration area, an experiment if you will, for Quality Deer Management in the state of Michigan.

Our groups are willing to do follow up surveys to determine hunter and landowner attitudes relative to the satisfaction with this experiment during the next five years. We are also prepared to volunteer for the DNR at check stations to collect data that would determine if Quality Deer Management works in DMU 107.

We believe that hunter and landowner satisfaction will mirror the Dooley County Georgia situation. We have informal survey results that indicate 80% hunter satisfaction rates currently in hunters who have voluntarily opted for QDM in our immediate area. The hunter satisfaction rate was less than 30 % in 1995 when this was first initiated as a volunteer option. It is our opinion that during the five years this experiment entails we can turn many of the people who are not sure about the concept of QDM into believers in the concept. We also believe we can turn many of the skeptical disagreers in believers.

An added feature of the QDM concept that is not touched on by many people is that the total numbers of deer will be reduced. The quality of the deer will increase as will the quality of their habitat. Crop damage to agriculturalists will be reduced as will the risk of passing bovine TB to deer and possibly to domestic livestock. Agriculturalists in our area, and we have a large number of dairy and cattle farms in DMU 107, are very concerned and are monitoring what the state is instituting toward the prevention of spreading bovine TB to domestic livestock from the free ranging whitetail deer herd. The QDM concept will assist the state in dealing with this severe situation that may face our agriculturalists.

As commissioners you have an opportunity to be proactive in managing the whitetail deer of Michigan. You have the opportunity to use us as the vehicle to implement a program that has been successfull in other states. You may use us as the vehicle to demonstrate to the general public and the average hunter that quality deer management can and will lead to a quality whitetail herd with quality habitat. No longer will John Doe hunter have to be satisfied with the first one and one-half year old buck that saunters past. He can wait for the mature buck he has scouted and patterned for weeks while watching other wildlife perform before him. You have the opportunity today to make a positive impact on the history of whitetail deer hunting in Michigan. I challenge you to make a positive change and find in favor of this proposal.

Sincerely,

Marc L. Yenkel

NRC Proposal for DMU 107

The hunters of deer management unit 107, (DMU 107), propose that DMU 107 be used as a demonstration area for quality deer management for the next five years.

Only bucks having antlers with three points on one side may be harvested during the 1998, 1999, and 2000 deer hunting seasons. Subsequently, only bucks having antlers with four points on one side may be harvested during the 2001, and 2002 deer hunting seasons if a majority of surveyed hunters support the increase in antler restrictions. If there is not a majority of support for four points to one side, then the antler restriction would remain at three points to one side for the hunting seasons 2001 and 2002.

An appropriate number of antlerless deer, as determined by the DNR, shall be harvested in accordance with DNR regulations.

Definitions:

An antler point must extend one inch from the main beam and have a height greater than it's width to be counted as a legal point.

Antlerless deer are deer with no antlers.

* * Point of emphasis: Hunters should take extra precautions to harvest female deer and not button bucks.

Respondents in the agree category checked strongly agree or agree to either 3 point, 4 point or 15 inch spread antler restrictions. This relates to questions 11 e, 11 f and 11 g from the survey.

Landowners - 59 (65%) Agree, 9 (10%) Not Sure, 23 (25%) Disagree; Total Respondents = 95

DMU 107 Hunters - 69 (58%) Agree, 17 (14%) Not Sure, 33 (28%)Disagree; Total respondents = 119

Question 12A: Buck harvest should be restricted to improve the ratio of bucks to does.

Question 12B: Antlerless harvest should be increased to improve the ratio of bucks to does.

Question 12C: Buck harvest should be restricted to increase the number of larger antlered bucks in the population

Landowners

Question 12A - 66 (76%) Agree, 10 (11%) Not Sure, 11 (13%) Disagree; Total respondents = 87

Question 12B - 55 (63%) Agree, 16 (18%) Not Sure, 17 (19%) Disagree; Total respondents = 88

Question 12C - 56 (63%) Agree, 8 ( 9%) Not Sure, 25 (28%) Disagree; Total respondents = 89

DMU 107 Hunters

Question 12A - 82 (70%) Agree, 15 (13%) Not Sure, 20 (17%) Disagree; Total respondents = 117

Question 12B - 75 (63%) Agree, 20 (17%) Not Sure, 24 (20%) Disagree; Total respondents = 119

Question 12C - 70 (60%) Agree, 17 (15%) Not Sure, 29 (25%) Disagree; Total respondents = 116

According to DNR statistics for DMU 107 from 1990 - 1996

12.8 % of the bucks harvested were one half year olds (button bucks).

64% of the bucks harvested were one and one half year olds.

20% of the bucks harvested were two and one-half year olds.

Antler Size

Age Average # of Points

1 ½ year old 4.56

2 ½ year old 7.2

3 ½ year old 8.5

1-2 points = 20.3%, 3-4 points = 29.3%, 5-6 points = 36.4% and 7+ points = 14%

Summary of DNR Data

2 points to one side saves 20.3% of 1 ½ year old bucks.

3 points to one side saves 49.6% of 1 ½ year old bucks.

4 points to one side saves 86% of 1 ½ year old bucks.

14 inch outside antler spread width or 14 inch beam length saves up to 100% of 1 ½ year old bucks.


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