Mother Nature was not kind for the 2018 LEGLEG Summit! She pummeled Michigan with freezing rain, ice and snow and did her best to shut it down. She did her best to frustrate and turn our members away. But what happened on April 14, 2018 embodied everything this movement is about.
320+ souls braved the elements, laughed in her face and showed her that nothing was going to stop them.
This was the epitome of exactly what this group and this movement is about. We may not win every battle, and the opposition will do its best to keep us down. But our passion and our dedication to making Michigan a great whitetail state is undaunted.
The night was filled with appreciation for our Military, Police, Fireman and First Responders. Focus was put on the future of hunting in Michigan…..our children. The ladies represented in
huge fashion! Influential representatives from our state were present. Riveting presentations were provided by Wayne Sitton and Dr. Jim Brauker. And the passion, the knowledge and the love for our great outdoors was shared by everyone.
One of the most important moments of the night was the revealing of a proposal that will be submitted to the DNR and NRC on April 19, 2018. This proposal had been written by Tony Smith, a long time leader in this movement. This proposal has been reviewed and affirmed by several influential and knowledgeable people.
This proposal is our new and re-energized battle cry as the LEGLEG group to move forward in the face of CWD and any that lack the intestinal fortitude to make sound, scientific and necessary changes for the sake of our hunting future in Michigan. And it is as follows:
CWD/Btb Zones continue with discounted antlerless (unlimited)
Antlerless Quotas Statewide continue under lottery system
Reduce OTC Antlerless Licenses to 3/per hunter from 5 on Private (Non CWD)
Liberalize access to antlerless disease control permits for private land owners
UP changes – Upon implementation of HC regulations in the UP shifts away from the combo to the single license option occurred and have remained consistent among hunters purchasing their license in the UP. Placing a 2 pt APR on the Single License in the UP, will encourage hunters to revisit the Combination license as a preference. This change should result in recapturing lost revenues to the department. (Conservative est. $80,000.00+ annually.)
Department surveys show strong support for protecting spikes among UP hunters.
Zone 2 changes – Create uniformity of regulations across the entirety of the NLP excluding DMU 487 where we recommend OBR/APR (3 pt).
The Department has never garnered the level of support and enthusiasm for any regulation like that of the APRs currently in place in the “NW 13”. Multiple Department surveys show 2:1, or greater, support for expansion of APRs.
The Department and NRC were poised to approve expansion as recently as May 11th, 2017 at the Scottville NRC meeting. The Department and USDA also recommended expansion of APRs for DMU487. All parties here today supported the reasoning behind the Department’s proposal.
SLP changes – CWD is established in the SLP according to the Department. All experts agree that a reduction in herd numbers is crucial in containing/combating CWD. A fundamental culture change among deer hunters in Michigan must occur sooner rather than later and regulations aimed at keeping hunters engaged, while achieving the necessary herd reduction, must be strongly considered.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC), in an effort to drastically reduce deer numbers, implemented APRs on their long standing One Buck license while at the same time liberalizing antlerless opportunities. These changes resulted in halving their deer herd while at the same time maintaining 60% annual support for APRs from Pennsylvania’s deer hunters!
SLP antlerless seasons and tag availabilities are well established. Changing the options on the Combination license in the SLP to OBR w/APR, coupled with APR on the Single license option, have the potential to achieve results that mirror those of the PGC and result in the necessary herd reductions that the Department has long sought even prior to the discovery of CWD in our free ranging herd.
Leaving the option for SLP hunters to hunt “second bucks” in both the NLP and UP should not negatively affect sales of the Combination license in the SLP and should provide hunters with good reasons to purchase stand alone antlerless license(s) to protect that option.
These suggestions are designed to:
A) Reduce overall herd numbers (where necessary) while only modestly increasing buck age structure
B) Increase license revenues to the Department
C) Keep hunters engaged and participating
D) Streamline regulations across each region
E) Creates regulations that a majority of Michigan deer hunters support
F) Aggressively deal with disease in the deer herd
Leon Hank – Chairman, QDMA National
Erik Schnelle – President QDMA State Counsel
Lincoln Rohn – President Michigan Deer Hunters LGLG
Chad Thelen – President Clinton/Ionia QDMA, MI CWD Counsel
Tony Smith – President Lower Peninsula Deer management Initiative
As you can see, this was a very in depth and thought out plan of action. This past year, our goal of Statewide APR's was not realized. The landscape has changed due to CWD and moving forward, we need to conform our goals to account for these kind of factors.