Michigan funds deer habitat improvements on private lands

Dad's big buckI have to thank a friend of Maine’s outdoors for sharing this story.  Ed Meadows served for a time as Commissioner of Maine’s Department of Conservation before moving to Michigan where he served as the Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which includes fish and wildlife programs. Ed’s back in Maine and has been sharing news of Michigan’s hunting and fishing programs and initiatives on a regular basis, and I have to say that they are very impressive.

One that recently drew my interest is Michigan’s Deer Private Land Assistance Network (Deer PLAN). In the most recent round of grants, $50,000 was available to support deer habitat improvement projects on private land.

“The focus area concentrates habitat projects in a region to provide greater benefits to deer hunters in areas where Deer PLAN funding results in immediate, on-the-ground efforts to improve deer habitat. Funds will be given across these six counties based on a competitive grant application scoring process,” the agency reported in its announcement.

Two new criteria were added to the program this year, for additional points toward a final score:

  • Form or join a cooperative, or create partnerships with neighbors. This includes having at least two properties with at least 150 acres combined in the application.
  • Deer management: harvesting deer, especially antlerless, having deer tested for bovine tuberculosis, and completing a deer camp survey on the applicant’s property.

“The new changes will encourage more partnerships and increase the amount of habitat work in the area,” said DNR wildlife biologist Shelby Hiestand. “The deer management criteria will help to decrease the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis, which is a top priority for this area of the state.”

The Deer PLAN is funded by the state’s Deer Range Improvement Program funds. To learn more,  visit www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants and follow the Deer PLAN link at the bottom of the page.

Might be a great idea for Maine!

PHOTO: My Dad, Ezra Smith, with one of his big bucks.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.