Conservation Affairs July 2015

By: Larry Witte

PERMIT NO LONGER REQUIRED TO PICK UP ROAD KILL

Legislation passed last year allows Michigan residents to take road kill deer and other game animals without obtaining a permit from law enforcement officers. The person hitting the animal has first priority. Fresh road killed deer can be consumed and can be an additional source for soup kitchens and food banks.

2015 TURKEY COOPERATOR PATCH AVAILABLE

Hunters and collectors can purchase 2015 Turkey Cooperator patches for $5.00 including postage and handling. This is made possible through a partnership between DNR and the Michigan Chapter of the National Wild Turkey federation. Send orders along with checks or money orders made out to the National

Wild Turkey Fereration to the following address:

National Wild Turkey federation
Wild Turkey Patch Program
P.O. Box 8
Orleans, Michigan 48865

Proceeds fund wild turkey projects. Youth hunters, 17 years old and younger, who have a valid turkey hunting license may receive a free patch by sending and complete address with a legible copy of the youth’s valid turkey license to the address above.

VICTORY FOR SCI CONSERVATION AND PRO HUNTING GROUPS.
ATF SURRENDERS AND WITHDRAWS AMMO BAN PROPOSAL.

In a stunning victory for hunters and gun owners the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms, and Explosives (BATF or AFT) withdrew its ill-fated regulatory proposal to ban rifle ammunitions.

SOUTHERN MICHIGAN BLACK BEAR COOPERATIVE PROJECT

Bear are not always cooperative. To quote Dwayne Etter, DNR Wildlife Research Biologist March 2015: “We had an interesting but not very memorable day on bear dens yesterday. We had a sow with 3 yearlings in an exposed den within 200 yards of 131 just North of Big Rapids. We lined the road with DNR staff and COs in case any of them squirted out. When we went in it was obvious they had been out wandering lately and a turkey carcass was in the den. The whole group fled and tried to cross 131. Fortunately we got them turned around and just backed out. It’s too much of a risk to try her again so we’ll wait for her collar to come off later in the summer. We then decided to go check the den that we had scheduled for SCI to attend next Tues. The way the den is constructed and the fact she has several yearlings with her (means) there is no way to safely access her. We also had 2 collar failures this fall so there are other bears out there, but we don’t know where their dens are. So, unfortunately I have no den to take your Chapters to this year. Although my project is ending, we still have several bears collared in the NLP for orphaning so I’ll make sure you’re on the list for next year.”

MICHIGAN DNR COMPLETES LATEST MOOSE POPULATION SURVEY

The 2015 population estimate in the western U.P. is 323, compared to an estimate of 451 in 2013. From 1997 to 2007 surveys of prime moose habitat in Baraga, Iron, and Marquette counties suggested the U.P.’s moose population was growing at a modest rate of about 10 percent per year. From 2009 to 2013, survey results showed an apparent change in that trend with the growth rate slowing to about 2 percent per year. Future surveys will be needed to identify any long-term trend for Michigan’s moose population. Other states and provinces have reported declines in moose populations near the southern edge of North America’s moose range, yet other populations are holding steady or increasing. Researchers in Michigan have hypothesized several potential causes for a possible ddecline of moose numbers in Michigan. Among potential factors:

-Back-to-back severe winter weather that negatively affected moose condition, survival and reproduction success.
-Year-round climatic changes, especially warmer temperatures, that led to increased parasite loads on moose weakening their overall condition.

-A possible increase in wolf predation on moose calves due to the region’s lowered deer population. The next moose population survey is planned for early 2017. However, given moose population trends, the DNR will again recommend to the Michigan Natural Resources commission that there be no moose hunt in the state. (from DNR publications)

THE ROLE OF HUNTING IN PRESERVING THE FUTURE OF WILDLIFE SPECIES IN SOUTH AFRICA

Thanks to the significant increase in game numbers and the land used to breed wildlife, South Africa is quickly becoming the recognized authority in global conservation, best practices, and the sustainable use of natural resources. There are an estimated 10,000 privately owned game ranches in South Africa, predominantly in marginal agricultural areas, covering an estimated 20.5 million hectares of land. Fifty years ago, a headcount of all the game in the country would have numbered around 500.000. Today there are around 20 million, of which about 16 million are privately owned. South Africa’s wildlife and conservation success story is unparalleled anywhere in the world and it’s almost entirely due to the safari hunting industry. South Africa’s model for sustainable wildlife conservation also has important ramifications for many of the country’s other social challenges, particularly employment creation, skills development and food security. More than 100,000 people are employed in the wildlife industry. Additionally, about three times more people are employed on a game farm than a traditional livestock farm. (From Conservation Matters—second edition. Written by Adri Kitshoff, Chief Executive Officer Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa.)

WOLF ATTACKS UP IN 2014

Wolf attacks in the U.P. last year were responsible for 17 hunting dogs and 26 farm animals. The total number was higher than the 20 reported losses in 2013. DNR reported that wolves may have turned to domestic animals due to back to back harsh winters which have reduced deer numbers.

ALERT TO SCI MEMBERS ABOUT CHANGES TO REQUIREMENTS FOR TRAVELING FROM THE U.S. WITH FIREARMS/AMMUNITION

Safari Club International has received information about changes in the requirements for hunters who wish to export/bring their firearms and ammunition with them when they travel to hunt outside the United States. SCI is researching these new requirements in order to understand exactly why these changes are going into effect and what will be required of members who wish to travel with their firearms and ammunition to hunt in other countries. A great deal of confusion remains. The implementation of the new rules was thought to be April 2015 but now delayed to October. In the past all that was needed was a form 4457 from Customs and Border Patrol. The National Rifle Association has advised that Customs and Border Patrol has instituted a temporary plan for those who wish to export their firearms and who are either unaware of the new requirements or are unable to use the computer system required. Also, it is not known how the requirements will be met by those who are driving outside of the country, often to Canada. If you are planning a trip in the near future, contact Customs and Border Patrol for requirements. Look for future updates from SCI.

Posted on July 22, 2015 .