Conservation Affairs January 2016

By: Larry Witte

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE (CWD) 

CWD was discovered in 3 deer in Meridian Township in Ingham County in 2015. The deer were found to be genetically related and were taken within 1/8 of a mile of each other. Testing continues with a goal of testing 3000 to 4000 deer. No other deer have been found with CWD at the time of this writing. 

UP MOOSE POPULATION 

DNR reports that the West UP moose population appears to be in decline. Supporting this is a reduction in cow/calf ratios observed from previous surveys. One of the factors which may be contributing to a decline in numbers is the very warm weather experienced recently with moose not doing well in heat and which causes an increase in parasite ticks and loss of hair. 

This followed by recent back to back hard winters has the potential to affect reproduction and calf survival. In addition, the consecutive hard winters have reduced deer populations which are the primary prey of wolves in those areas that support deer and moose. It is possible that wolves are switching prey as deer become less abundant. Very few calves are sighted where wolf territories overlap with moose range. 

Additional studies will be necessary. SCI has a vested interest in these moose as Michigan Safari Club chapters were instrumental in the capture and importing of Canadian Moose in the 1980’s. 

FERAL SWINE (RUSSIAN BOAR) 

DNR has captured and radio collared several Russian Boar this past year in order to locate population centers. Movement of the boar was much greater than expected with travel up to 15 miles. Movement provides information on well-defined travel corridors. Since Michigan has a relatively small feral swine population (found in 76 of 83 counties) compared to some other states at this time, DNR is considering applying for “elimination status” with the US Department of Agriculture Wild Life Services. This would result in additional federal funding for feral swine control. 

MICHIGAN WOLVES 

At the time of this writing the appeal of the ruling that put wolves back on the Federal Endangered Species List continues, effectively removing them from state management. Animal rights groups recognizing that federal budget language could remove the wolves from the endangered List are attempting to settle the lawsuit but oppose hunting by sportsmen. 

SCI REPRESENTED ON THE MICHIGAN SPORTSMEN’S CAUSUS ADVISORY COUNCIL 

The important mission of the Council is to advance Michigan’s outdoor heritage through science based wildlife and fisheries management and to protect and advance the rights and traditions of Michigan citizens to hunt, fish and recreationally shoot and trap by engaging in an open dialogue with Michigan’s Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus. 

Mike Leonard of the Lansing SCI chapter represents Michigan chapters on the council. Fourteen Michigan and National hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting organizations participate on the council. 

SUPPORT SCI (FIRST FOR HUNTERS) 

Sponsor a new SCI member for just $35.00 now. The new member will receive all the benefits of SCI including representation by the premier hunter’s organization, 7 issues of Safari Magazine, 12 issues of Safari Times, access to the SCI Online Record Book and much more. Add a $25.00 Mid-Michigan Chapter membership to enjoy the camaraderie and share experience and information with men and women who care about the future of hunting. New members will receive 4 issues of Mid- Michigan Chapter’s award winning Front Sight Magazine and a $35.00 gift card from Jay’s Sporting Goods of Clare and Gaylord. 

DNR EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS FOR 6TH THROUGH 12TH GRADES 

Educators looking for a fun way to integrate flora and fauna into their curriculum and still meet required educational standards are invited to explore the following free educational opportunities. 

A year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear is available to 6th, 7th, and 8th grade educators. Throughout the school year, students will learn about the life cycle of the Michigan black bear and general black bear biology and behavior, as well as how the DNR manages and maintains a healthy black bear population. Over the school year, students also will get to “follow” a bear through its seasonal movements by using actual data points from a radio-collared Michigan black bear. 

For 9th through 12th grade educators the Elk University-Educating Tomorrow’s Wildlife Managers Program. Elk University is a semester-style curriculum, developed to meet educational standards while touching on Michigan history, forest management, elk biology, wildlife disease and social considerations for wildlife management. Students will learn about how the DNR manages and maintains a healthy elk herd for current and future generations. 

Visit www.michigan.gov/wildlife and click on the educator button to learn about these and other DNR wildlife education opportunities. 

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT 

If you can listen to the William Tell Overture without thinking about the Lone Ranger, you may be an intellectual. (Author Unknown)

Posted on February 2, 2016 .