How to do a Crowing Count for Pheasants

By Anna Mitterling, MUCC, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator Believe it or not, pheasants are starting to make a comeback in different parts of Southern Michigan. The trail camera picture shows a flock of pheasants flying by, and believe it or not, those are pheasants on a parcel of well managed habitat in Gratiot County. The phrase, build it and they will come, is proving true in pockets around Michigan, where well managed native grasslands have been established. Whether you know you have pheasants, or if you hope you have pheasants, running a crowing count this spring is a great way to get outside, watch the sunrise, and listen for crowing pheasants. Continue reading

MUCC's On the Ground Program Expands to Include K-12 School Groups

Two more wildlife habitat improvement projects will be completed in different regions of the state by the end of this week.  Tomorrow, we will be teaming up with the Reese High School Out-of-Doors Club to maintain wood duck nesting boxes in the Fish Pointe Wildlife Area. Then, on Saturday, we will be teaming up with the Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops local to the Gourdneck State Game Area to complete Brandon Thomas’ Eagle Scout Project. Brandon has recruited up to 50 volunteers to plant a total of 1,100 trees in a wildlife opening in the Gourdneck State Game Area. The native trees for this event were donated by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF); thank you for your support! Continue reading

Volunteers With MUCC Complete the First Spring Projects

Volunteers with MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Program have already completed three wildlife habitat improvement projects in the past week and a half! Crabapple trees were planted in the Southwest region, brush piles were built for rabbitat in the Southeast region, and Scotch pine was removed from a Jack pine plantation and brush piles were built in the Northeast region of the state.  Volunteers local to each area dedicated a day to make a lasting impact on the areas wildlife habitat. Each project was determined in coordination with the areas DNR Wildlife Biologist or Technician based on the current Wildlife Management Plan. There are several more upcoming events to improve wildlife habitat in various regions of the state; see details and RSVP to volunteer here! Continue reading

Legislative Spring Break Means Local Coffee Shop Hours

With the Legislature on spring break from April 3rd through April 14th it’s a great time to meet with your state representative during their local office hours and introduce yourself over some coffee!  If you aren’t sure who your state representative is, don’t panic, just head over to http://www.house.mi.gov/mhrpublic/ where you’ll see a search tab for Finding A Representative.   Continue reading

How to Conduct a Deer Browse Survey

by Anna Mitterling, Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator, MUCC When you are looking to "manage" deer, it is very helpful to collect information that clues you into understanding deer numbers in your area and their impact on their habitat. Trail cameras can help estimate numbers of deer, and browse impact studies can help determine the impact they are having on their food source. If deer are over eating their food source, even without knowing "how many" deer there are, you should know that more does need to be harvested for the sake of the health of the herd. The deer browse impact survey is a great tool that gets out out into the woods and helps you evaluate the level of impact deer are having. Below we cover some of the basics, however there are links to articles with more details at the end of this blog. Continue reading

Spring 2017 Wildlife Habitat Improvement Projects

With the warmer temperatures and frequent rains that come along with the spring season, it’s the perfect time to start planting trees for wildlife! Volunteers with MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Program aren’t hesitating to get started and will be planting mast-producing trees and shrubs this Saturday in the Barry-Middleville State Game Area.  Then, next week on Wednesday, volunteers in the Northeast region will be removing invasive Scotch pine from a Jack pine plantation to improve wildlife habitat and the native tree species growth. Also coming up on April 1st, volunteers in the Southeast region will be building brush piles for rabbitat in the Chesterfield Mini State Game Area in Macomb County; see more details and RSVP here. See what other three planting projects are scheduled for April 2017 and RSVP to volunteer for wildlife at an event near you at www.mucc.org/ontheground Continue reading

Call for Nominations of 2017-2018 MUCC Officers

The MUCC Nominations Committee is calling for nominations of candidates for the open seats on the 2017-2018 Executive Board and Conservation Policy Board. There are 6 open seats available on the Executive Board, which will have a 2-year term. All 40 Conservation Policy Board members serve only a 1 year term and thus must be nominated and re-elected/appointed each year. Continue reading

DNR Recommends Reauthorizing Straight-Walled Cartridges in Southern Michigan

In the past three years, the most consistent calls we receive at our offices are questions about the use of straight-walled rifle cartridges for deer hunting in the southern Michigan limited-firearm zone. Most of the time, the questions relate to the specifications of the cartridge, but lately there has been worry about the three-year sunset contained in the original 2014 Natural Resources Commission (NRC) order allowing straight-walled cartridges. Last week, the Department of Natural Resources sent a memo to the NRC recommending that they reauthorize the order.  Continue reading

Amid Proposed Budget Cuts, MUCC is Fighting for the Great Lakes

A couple weeks ago, a leaked early federal budget draft showed a 97% cut in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Today, the official Trump administration budget proposal was released showing a total elimination of funding for the program which has pumped $2 billion into the Great Lakes region since 2009 for wetland restoration, pollution cleanup and invasive species control, for example. Michigan United Conservation Clubs isn't taking it sitting down, though: our Executive Director Dan Eichinger spoke in front of the U.S. Capitol steps yesterday about why the GLRI is so important for hunting and fishing in the region.  Continue reading

Building New Brush Piles and Utilizing Last Year's Habitat Improvements in the Fulton SGA

Last weekend, a group of 13 volunteers built new brush piles in the Fulton State Game Area. In previous years, volunteers have built brush piles for rabbitat at four separate events with MUCC’s Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program, making this the fifth event in the Fulton SGA. This weekend’s event was hosted in the north end of the state game area, whereas the previous four were completed in the south and central areas. Thanks to these volunteers that dedicated a Saturday to wildlife, the Fulton SGA is among many areas that have improved cottontail rabbit habitat. In fact, volunteer building brush piles for rabbits and small game is written in the DNR’s Wildlife Management Plan for the area. Continue reading