Why Michigan Clubs Should 'Defend the Hunt'

Two of the most pressing issues facing Michigan’s conservation clubs today are membership and fundraising. While there’s no magic bullet for either, participation in the Defend the Hunt program can promote both. Defend the Hunt is the joint program organized by the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association and Michigan United Conservation Clubs to raise money for the defense of hunting rights by encouraging hunters to donate their deer hides.
So where do conservation clubs fit in? We need places where hunters can drop off their deer hides during the season, starting November 1 and running through mid-December. By serving as drop-off locations, clubs can attract area hunters to their facilities to drop off hides and show off their facilities to hunters who may not have been aware of them. It’s a perfect way to get a steady stream of area residents to come to your club who are also the residents most likely to join a conservation club.
And while the proceeds of this first year’s Defend the Hunt program will go toward defending hunting rights from the anti-hunters trying to repeal Public Act 21 of 2013, participants in this year’s program will gain first-hand experience in a fundraising program that can be repeated in future years for club programs.
The most important reason, of course, is the reason why clubs like yours formed Michigan United Conservation Clubs in the first place back in 1937. By working together, Michigan’s conservation clubs can accomplish much more that they can working alone, and when our rights to hunt, fish and trap are threatened by out-of-state activist groups with deep pockets, only a united front can stop them.
When clubs serve as drop-off points for deer hides, they’re contributing to the defense of hunting rights in the same way that clubs did in 1996 when they agreed to be distribution points for yard signs and petitions that helped win Proposal G. Now we’re battling some of the same people on almost the same issue, and we need your help.
So what’s required? Not much: A plastic bin, a bag of salt, rubber gloves, a pallet, and a couple volunteers. Every three to four days, volunteers will remove the hides from the bin, spread salt on them, roll them up and stack them on the pallet. We'll provide signage. They can be stored inside or out, because once salted, the hides will keep for months. Volunteers from the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association will pick the hides up in December, after which they’ll be sold at fur auctions and the money donated to the campaign to defend hunting rights.
In the process, your club will attract area hunters to your grounds and gain experience in a fundraising program that can bring extra revenue to your club for years to come.
If your club is willing to serve as a drop-off location for Defend the Hunt, email me at dyoungedyke@mucc.org

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