Michigan Hunters Can Help Fight Hunger
Last year, almost 23,000 pounds of venison was provided to local charities by hunters participating in the program through licensed venison processors "On a local level our food banks say they are seeing up to a 40 percent increase in the need for food because of the economy," said Jane Marshall of the Food Bank Council of MichiganLast year, almost 23,000 pounds of venison was provided to local charities by hunters participating in the program through licensed venison processors.
"On a local level our food banks say they are seeing up to a 40 percent increase in the need for food because of the economy," said Jane Marshall of the Food Bank Council of Michigan. "We need all the help we can get this year."
"For more than a decade, hunters in Michigan have done an outstanding job in donating venison to help families in need in all parts of the state," said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. "We are grateful for the support of hunters who donate venison, whether it''s as little as a few pounds or the whole deer."
But, a recent report by a North Dakota researcher has brought up the issue of lead fragments in venison, prompting the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to inform hunters of ways to reduce their exposure to lead in venison.
As many hunters know, a controversy has developed surrounding lead contamination of venison. This is because high-velocity rifle bullets will sometimes fragment on impact, especially if they hit bone. The small fragments are likely too small to be seen or felt while chewing.
There are a number of ways to reduce potential exposure to lead. For example, hunters may select loads that are less likely to fragment; or non-toxic loads that contain little or no lead. In addition, slower shotguns and M7 projectiles do not fragment the way high velocity lead bullets do.
Regardless of weapon, once a deer has been taken, liberal trimming around the wound channel will help limit lead exposure. Discard any meat that is bruised, discolored or contains hair, dirt, or bone fragments.
"Lead fragments have been found, but we don''t know that it''s a health risk," said Michigan Department of Natural Resources veterinarian Steve Schmitt. "People have been consuming venison for hundreds of years and may have been consuming some lead fragments, but we''re not aware of any health problems. Whether or not it''s a risk, we don''t know." People who are concerned about ingesting lead with their venison might limit themselves to whole cuts, as opposed to ground meat. A study by the Federal Center for Disease on whether lead in venison poses health risks to humans is expected to be completed soon.
To learn more about the program or for a list of participating licensed processors, visit the MSAH Web site at http://www.sportsmenagainsthunger.org.
Many hunters unfamiliar with Quality Deer Management (QDM) incorrectly assume QDM is only about large-antlered bucks. Many also feel antler point restrictions (APRs) are synonymous with QDM. Pieces from both of these beliefs can be parts of QDM programs but QDM is about much more than just antlers or APRs.
Quality Deer Management (QDM) is a management philosophy/practice that unites landowners, hunters, and managers in a common goal of producing biologically and socially balanced deer herds within existing environmental, social, and legal constraints. This approach typically involves the protection of young bucks (yearlings and some 2.5 year-olds) combined with an adequate harvest of female deer to maintain a healthy population in balance with existing habitat conditions and landowner desires. This level of deer management involves the production of quality deer (bucks, does, and fawns), quality habitat, quality hunting experiences, and, most importantly, quality hunters.
Quality habitat is important for bucks and does in all age classes. Does need nutritious forage to raise healthy fawns, bucks need it for large bodies and antlers, and both sexes require adequate cover to escape predation. Given the average deer eats 2,000 pounds of vegetation annually, it?s easy to see a tremendous amount of forage is necessary to support even a low-density deer herd. Larger herds and herds managed to maximize body and antler growth and reproductive capacity require even more high-quality foods.
In simplest terms QDM involves balancing the deer herd with the habitat and having deer - bucks and does - in multiple age classes. Determining and achieving the right number of deer for the habitat is a topic for another discussion and this article will focus on multiple age classes of deer. Most areas have a good age structure for the doe population as it is common for hunters to harvest does 1.5-6.5+yrs. This age structure exists because of traditional deer management practices where hunters focused much of their harvest pressure on bucks and allowed does to survive and fill multiple age classes.
The big question then is what is the best way to protect yearling bucks? Antler point restrictions are a common technique and they involve establishing a minimum number of points a buck must possess to be eligible for harvest. The disadvantage of APRs is the number of antler points is a poor predictor of animal age. Yearling bucks can have a rack ranging from short spikes to 10+ points. Therefore it can be difficult with APRs to protect the majority of the yearling age class while still making other age classes available for harvest.
Quality Deer Management isn?t about protecting bucks until they are 5.5yrs old - that?s trophy management. Quality Deer Management, in simplest terms is about protecting yearling bucks. Yearling bucks are the easiest adult deer to harvest, but if hunters pass them and allow them to reach 2.5yrs, they become a little smarter and some will avoid hunters and reach 3.5yrs. Pretty soon you end up with a deer population that has bucks in multiple age classes even while allowing bucks 2.5yrs and older to be harvested. A complete age structure is good for deer and great for hunters.
Deer Management and Michigan Hunters fighting hunger! At Workwear 1''s Blog, we are keeping you informed.