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By the early 1900s, the wild turkey population in North America had been reduced to an estimated 30,000 birds and there were almost none in Michigan. Rampant poaching and the degradation of the wild turkey’s habitat were primarily responsible for their decline.
Careful management of the wild turkey’s habitat and strategic relocation efforts have led to wild turkey population increases in Michigan from 2,000 in 1960 to over 200,000 in 2015. Currently, the population of wild turkeys has increased to the point where hunting is allowed – which through the sale of hunting licenses directly provides much-needed revenue to fund management efforts now and into the future.
The ambitious goal to repopulate Michigan with wild turkeys required the coordination of dedicated wildlife professionals, conservationists and volunteers along with a lot of hard work that included:
The primary source of funding for wild turkey habitat management in Michigan comes from hunting and fishing license revenue in addition to external grant funding – not from taxes.
Always a rare bird, the Kirtland’s warbler became even rarer when its habitat in Michigan was disrupted substantially in the early 1900s by the unintended consequences of forestry operations. Kirtland’s warbler came perilously close to extinction in the 1970s, when the population consisted of fewer than 500. As if that wasn’t enough, their preferred habitat, jack pine forests, can only be found in a handful of places in Michigan, Wisconsin and the Canadian province of Ontario and, currently, nowhere else on Earth.
Wildlife management practices that include a much larger, more global perspective than previously employed have increased the Kirtland’s warbler population to 5,000 in 2016. To this day, people come to Michigan from all over the world to catch a glimpse of this extraordinarily rare bird.
Since jack pine forests cover much of northern Michigan, it is important to note that these wildlife management efforts help not only the Kirtland’s warbler, but also other species such as rabbits, snowshoe hare, white-tailed deer, woodcock, ruffed grouse and other game and non-game species.
The continued success of Kirtland’s warbler requires several tactics, including:
The primary source of funding for Kirtland’s warbler habitat management in Michigan comes from hunting and fishing license revenue in addition to external grant funding – not from taxes.
Osprey populations declined drastically from the 1950s to the 1970s due in part to the toxic effects of insecticides such as DDT on their reproductive cycle, as well as to the loss of breeding grounds and poaching.
Few wildlife restoration programs have been more successful than Michigan’s effort to strengthen the state’s osprey population. The ban of DDT in combination with other conservation programs has helped the osprey population increase. Conservationists had set a goal of 30 nesting pairs statewide by the year 2020. That goal was surpassed in 2010.
The scientifically based management activities responsible for the osprey’s dramatic recovery include:
The primary source of funding for osprey habitat management in Michigan comes from hunting and fishing license revenue in addition to external grant funding – not from taxes.
Lake Sturgeon are a threatened species, which means they are vulnerable to becoming endangered in the near future. Habitat degradation and over-fishing that occurred in the distant past are the primary reasons for the Lake Sturgeon decline. The goal is to conserve sturgeon populations that are currently self-sustaining and to rehabilitate smaller populations that are not.
Today, Lake Sturgeon numbers are on the rise. In 2015, sturgeon eggs were found on four different man-made spawning reefs in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers. Not only that, the eggs were incubating and producing healthy young Lake Sturgeon.
To ensure the continued success of Lake Sturgeon, their habitats are managed in a variety of ways:
The primary source of funding for Lake Sturgeon habitat management in Michigan comes from hunting and fishing license revenue in addition to external grant funding – not from taxes.
Elk actually disappeared from Michigan around 1875. Conservationists reintroduced elk to Michigan in 1918 by relocating seven elk from western states to Cheboygan County. Over the last hundred years the population has waned when poaching and habitat quality were not managed.
In 2016, the elk population in Michigan was estimated to be more than 1,300, exceeding the goal population of 500–900.
Elk habitat is managed in a variety of ways to ensure that it is suitable for elk and provides adequate food resources. Management activities include:
The primary source of funding for elk habitat management in Michigan comes from hunting and fishing license revenue in addition to external grant funding – not from taxes.
Too many deer adapting to, and encroaching upon urban and suburban residential areas can be disruptive to both deer and human populations in many ways:
The deer population was estimated at 1.75 million in 2016 – up from an estimated 1.5 million deer in 2015. Conservationists are now working toward reducing the fall herd to 1.3 million deer to balance the population with habitat resources.
To achieve balance between the needs of the deer and the needs of the people of Michigan, management of the deer herd takes many forms:
The primary source of funding for deer habitat management in Michigan comes from hunting and fishing license revenue in addition to external grant funding – not from taxes.