DNR Acquires Winter Deer Habitat

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Michigan Department of Natural Resource officials today announced the purchase of a 600-acre parcel of winter deeryard habitat in the eastern Upper Peninsula, the first purchase completed under the DNR Wildlife Division’s new Deeryard Acquisitions Initiative.

“Through this initiative, wildlife biologists and staff worked closely with the landowner, Mead Westvaco Corporation in this case, to ensure conservation of these lands,” said Bill Scullon, DNR DRIP Coordinator. “This is a very important purchase of critical deer winter habitat because these particular forest types provide excellent winter thermal cover and food, which is essential to whitetail deer survival.”

Acquisition of this parcel contributes to the DNR goals of conserving habitat, limiting land fragmentation, securing wildlife corridors, enhancing wildlife management potential, consolidating ownership, and increasing public recreational opportunities. Numerous future purchases of critical winter habitat using Deer Range Improvement Program funds are planned across the UP.

Established in 1971, the DRIP Program earmarks $1.50 from each deer license for the purpose of improving and maintaining habitat for deer and for land acquisition. Countless projects have been completed across the state since the program’s inception, including the purchase of thousands of acres of critical deer range and improvement of many more acres of public land through habitat management and timber cuttings to benefit deer and other wildlife species.

Approximately $240,000 of DRIP funds were used to secure this important parcel near the community of Hulbert in Chippewa County. The land is located in the Hendrie Deeryard Complex and is adjacent to current state lands that are important to deer and other wildlife.

Following DNR Director and Natural Resources Commission approval earlier this month, final transfer of the parcel to state ownership is expected to be complete by March.