The Beaver Island Wildlife Club recently held its monthly meeting at the St. James Township Hall.
Club President Jeff Powers called the session to order, and after secretary and treasurer’s reports, special guest Brian Mastenbrook of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources was introduced, and a number of important topics were discussed.
Jeff provided an update on the cormorant control initiative. This is designed to help keep the cormorant population in the Beaver Islands under control, within reasonable limits, thus providing some protection to the island fishery. The Wildlife Club has been working closely with the Michigan DNR and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for some time on this effort. This year’s objective will again be for a 10% population reduction of the local colony.
The status of the walleye pond on Beaver Island was reviewed. The opportunity to obtain walleye fry from the DNR has been constrained by their inability to assure freedom from the VHS virus. However, we will likely be getting a direct fingerling plant, which would not require use of the pond. Alternate pond uses were discussed.
At this point Brian Mastenbrook provided an update in the phragmites control results from last year, and the plan for 2008. This will be discussed in greater detail elsewhere in the newsletter.
The planting of food plots for wild turkey and the availability of state funds in support of this was reviewed. Money is expected to be available again this year, and will pay for approximately one third of the cost up to $135 per acre.
The meeting concluded with a discussion of the island deer herd. Driving survey data suggest population level and doe:buck ratio have remained relatively unchanged over the period 2003-2007. antler-less quotas for the coming season were reviewed and a recommendation for a late season for antler-less deer, on private land only, will be taken forward. This would help bring the doe:buck ratio closer to the desired range. A proposal to make Beaver Island a Quality Deer Management (QDM) area was discussed. If implemented, this would restrict the buck harvest to those with a certain minimum number of antler points which would in turn, over time, lead to a herd with more mature bucks supporting larger antlers. A committee was appointed to further investigate.
Brian Mastenbrook was thanked for his participation in our meeting and his active interest and support of our island and its environment. The meeting was adjourned.