Our projects have won awards from: U.S. Forest Service, Michigan
Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State University and
Michigan United Conservation Clubs!
The projects listed are that of all the organizations, some are
done in each county and others are a joint effort by the
organizations. (Education is a major concern and is supported by
each organization in their local counties.)
Projects include, but are not limited to: Major sponsor of
Hunters safety, new shooting range and building for the Boy Scouts
summer camp in Upper Michigan, the 4-H shooting team sponsor,
Trap-Tag and Release deer migration studies (on going 13 year
study), scholarships in forestry and biology, reforestation -
actual tree planting as well as a major sponsor of Michigan State
University's study on white cedar regeneration,
Books in schools and public libraries on wildlife and wildlife
of educational meetings between the Department of Natural Resources
and the sportsmen as well as other seminars to help educate the
general public, Cost share programs for Wildlife food plot openings
and winter-feeding programs (if needed), billboard advertisement
- Let'em GO - Let'em Grow for volunteer deer management, just to
mention a few.
Note: Let'em GO - Let'em Grow is a copy right of the
Wisconsin Buck and Bear Club.
Menominee River Organization Makes Jerky for Soldier
MENOMINEE — Every tradition starts with a good idea. Menominee River U.P. Whitetails Inc. hopes its idea grows like a trophy buck's antlers.
Club members met Saturday at the Ingallston township home of Wayne Kellner to make venison jerky for Travis Menacher, a Marine stationed in Afghanistan.
A 2007 Menominee High School graduate, Menacher operates a mine roller, which is designed to detonate anti-tank mines. Menacher's company will soon dig into a care package stuffed with a little U.P. pride.
Saturday, 16 club members brought venison to Kellner's home, where an assembly line of production transformed about 50 pounds of venison into 7-8 pounds of jerky. "This is our first year. We kind of brought it up at the last minute," said club member Mike "Scooch" Hubert. "Next year I'm sure we could do better."
Hubert's son, Matt, first brought up the idea with his buddy, Menacher. "Travis said 'jerky, that sounds real good. Send me some,'" Scooch Hubert said.
It went over so well that the club got involved and went into mass production. They had a grinder on hand and mixed in spices. They used caulking guns, or "jerky cannons" to lay strips on the racks which go into the dehydrators. "It probably takes five to eight hours for the jerky to become dried out completely," according to Scooch.
The jerky was then vacuum sealed before delivery. "Apparently they'll accept dehydrated meat," Scooch said. "They won't accept it otherwise."
They hope the idea catches on to other whitetail clubs across the U.P. "It's a good feeling for all of us," club officer Jerry Plansky said. "We know they're doing a job for all of us. It's something we can give back. It's a tremendous feeling."
The club members brought three flavors but settled on cajun. "It's probably 110 there, and we're sending spicy jerky," Scooch said.
"He's just a fun kid," Matt Hubert said. "He likes cars — Ford Mustangs."
It's the latest project by Menominee River U.P. Whitetails Inc., which meets on the second Wednesday of each month. Among the other projects are a food plot program, a predator hunt, apple tree program, a Menominee hunter education program and a outdoor wildlife conservation program which awards $500 scholarships to Marinette, Menominee and Stephenson students.
The club is not a member of a national organization, so all club dollars are used locally. Their latest project will improve the quality of life for a company of Marines about 6,750 miles away.
"For a whitetail club it doesn't get any better," Scooch said.
Trap, Tag and Release Project
For some years now different articles have been published on
how far a deer will travel. Most of those articles were written
about southern deer. Let me define that for you; a southern deer
area to anyone from Upper Michigan means an area in winter that
does not have three-six feet of snow!
Due to the snow depth in Upper Michigan (mostly flat land) the
deer have both a summer and a winter range!
Large numbers of animals migrate down from the north (out of the
deep snow) to try and survive in the southern regions of Upper
Michigan where the snow is not as deep! This migration creates
Deer-concentration (yarding) areas where the deer in past years
have numbered in the thousands during winter.
Where do they all come from? The following project was designed
to find out the answer to that question.. But why you may ask? The
information gathered would give us an understanding of the
migration route between summer and winter range to better manage
the herd size so the deer would not eat themselves out of house
and home during winter! Winter deer kill estimates in past
years have been over a hundred thousand animals in one year!
It all started in December of 1988 when U.P. Whitetails
Association Inc. asked a local Biologist by the name of Richard
Aartila with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
for a wintering deer management project. Mr. Aartila stated the
Department was having a problem trying to set the number of doe
permits in different areas due to lack of information. After a few
meetings Mr. Aartila came up with the idea of a Trap, Tag and
Release Project for the winter of 1989-1990. The idea was to
gather information concerning the migration of deer between their
summer and winter range in Upper Michigan. This information was
needed to better regulate herd size in the high migration areas.
U.P. Whitetails Association Inc. signed an agreement with the
Michigan Department of Natural Resources to pay all trap costs and
supply labor for the Trap, Tag and Release three to five year
project. (The project is now in it's thirteenth year!)
The trapping method would be the same proven method used in a
one square mile fenced in deer study area near Munising Michigan
at the Cusino Wildlife Center of the Michigan Department of
The wildlife center at that time had a head biologist by the
name of John Ozoga. Yes, the same John Ozoga you read articles
from in Deer and Deer Hunting, and other major magazines. One of
the best deer specialists in the world! We worked side by side
with John at Cusino as well as receiving John's expertise and
knowledge on how to make the traps and handle the deer. John's
technician at the center and the man who gave the actual hands on
training of how to handle live deer out in the field was Dan
DeLisle. Dan at present is the President of the Michigan United
Conservation Clubs with over 500 member clubs. The local DNR
technician Frank Short, U.P. Whitetails Association members Don
Seymour and Pete Jandro were the main crew chiefs and schedule
keepers also played a major roll in this ongoing project. Our
volunteer members who worked with the deer-trapping projects over
the years would number in the hundreds and saved the DNR an
estimated $20,000.00 per year in labor costs alone. This savings
enabled the DNR to do a project of this size that funding would
not have been available for otherwise. This deer project could
only be done in the winter after the migration from deep snow
country had moved south to their winter yarding areas.
A number of Large box traps were built and used for the
project. Please understand no drugs what so ever are used with
these animals! The animals are all handled by hand! We have
handled as many as two hundred plus deer in one winter season
without the need for a Band-Aid for the help or the deer. Trapping
takes place in midwinter after the bucks have dropped their horns.
As the sun is coming up and the frost is heavy on the trees we
are driving to our trap sites every morning during the project.
The snow under the tires of the truck is making a loud crunching
noise, which means it is very cold and the deer were moving during
the night to stay warm. As we get close to the first trap we can
see the doors are down! Walking toward the trap the crunching
sound from the snow is now under foot. Kneeling down in front of
the trap we slowly rise to door about an inch or two and look into
the trap. A large doe is lying there looking back. Using a smaller
transfer box and a side door with a little sunlight at the end, we
transfer her into the smaller transfer box (which she walks into).
Now the work begins!
Four men carry the transfer box twenty to thirty feet to a
nearby open area. This is so the animal and the handlers will not
get hurt. An escape route for the deer is also planned before the
animal is handled. Two men handle the back legs, one the front
legs and one the head to cover the eyes with a special hood. We
cover the eyes to prevent damage to the eyes and to settle the
animal. Oh yes, one more man to tag the animal.
You may be thinking four or five men on one poor little deer -
poor deer. Bull! Poor workers, you have no idea the power of these
animals. Our people are very well trained, in fact some of the
best in the country we have been told by John Ozoga and we have
all we can do to tag some of these larger animals. When ear
tagging; the animal is only on the snow for a few minutes and
released. When radio collaring the animals as we have done with
Michigan State University on a three year study, the animals are
on the snow about five to eight minutes and released. The animals
are not hurt; in fact one year our Schoolcraft County Organization
trapped the same animal fourteen times! He had good food, was
warm, and knew he would be released. Not so dumb are they! Please
do not try this at home. You could hurt or kill the animal or you
if not trained in the proper manner.
A local herd of deer in Upper Michigan may travel seven to
fourteen miles between their summer and winter range. A majority
of the migration animals will travel 28-32 miles, while others will travel over sixty miles in Michigan's Upper Peninsula!
During our radio collar project with Michigan State University a
group of animals traveled fourteen miles overnight!
Since 1955, 2154 deer have been individually marked in
Michigan. A total of 347 deer were marked using self-attaching
deer collars during the 1955-1988 periods. Colored ear-tags have
been used to mark 1807 additional deer since 1989. These marking
efforts have yielded 1706 observations of tagged deer that are
appropriate for determining the spatial distribution of tagged
deer. Reports of another 56 deer may be used for demographic
analysis but do not have adequate information for
determining where the animals were observed.
We trapped and handled some very large animals over the years,
but every year we had a few that made us really wonder; how big
does a deer have to be to break the end of the trap, walk away and
have five men happy he did so?