|Michigan has some of the best wildlife-based recreation opportunities around. This quarterly newsletter will give you updates on the great work going on for wildlife conservation across the state and some tips on how to get involved. Mowing snow for wildlife at Flat River State Game AreaMeet the staff: James MillerMichigan Wildlife CouncilDeer harvest survey: share your thoughts featured species: whistle pigJoin our wildlife team – apply for a summer position events/VolunteerGrants and JobsSupport WildlifeMowing snow for wildlife at Flat River State Game Area|
After snow covered the Flat River State Game Area, DNR staff mowed over the snow to benefit the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. These pale blue, dime-sized butterflies can only be found in small pockets of savanna habitat where wild lupine grows in the open sunlight. Karner blues depend on lupine for survival, as females lay their eggs on the plant and emerging caterpillars feed on the leaves.
For Karner blue butterfly populations to thrive, the area must be periodically burned with fire or mowed to remove any large, woody species that may cast shade on the lupine. To protect the lupine and over-wintering egg clutches, mowing can only occur when at least 4 inches of snow has accumulated. This winter habitat management activity will produce flourishing habitats this spring and summer, which will host native wildflowers and fluttering insects and benefit game species like deer, woodcock, and rabbits. Meet the staff: James Miller
Meet James Miller.Title/position: Wildlife habitat biologistField office: Flat River Field OfficeCounties and state game areas you cover: I cover Montcalm and Ionia counties. There are eight state game areas I oversee: Flat River, Stanton, Vestaburg, Edmore, Langston, Saranac-Lowell, Grand River, and Portland. Tell us about yourself: I explain myself as someone who is fortunate enough to have my job encompass all of my hobbies. After I go home from a day of painting timber and having walked seven-plus miles through the woods I am immediately ready to go back into the woods to hike, hunt, track, forage, etc. … In the summer I enjoy running with my dogs, fishing and spending time traveling with my wife. I have lived all over the state of Michigan and been able to gain an appreciation for all the natural resources it has to offer. Favorite outdoor winter activity: I am a dedicated deer hunter and that is by far my favorite winter sport. However, I also love hiking in the winter because the views you get are amazing and it is always fun to share those images and moments with others. If you are interested in learning more about wildlife management or state game areas near you, contact your local wildlife biologist or email DNR-Wildlife@Michigan.gov.Michigan Wildlife Council
Hunting and fishing are crucial to the management of Michigan’s wildlife, our state’s economy, and our outdoor traditions. However, statewide research revealed that most Michiganders don’t understand the need for wildlife management by people and the funding required to successfully enhance and conserve Michigan’s forests waters, and wildlife. That’s why the Michigan Wildlife Council was created by the Legislature in 2013 to oversee a public education campaign about the benefits of hunting and fishing and the essential role sportsmen and sportswomen play in conserving, managing, and protecting Michigan’s wildlife. The work of this nine-member, governor-appointed council is funded by a $1 surcharge from each hunting and fishing license sold. Listen to the DNR’s “Wildtalk” podcast episode featuring an interview with Nick Buggia, Michigan Wildlife Council’s chairman, to learn more. “Wildtalk” podcast: Michigan Wildlife Council ►Deer harvest survey: share your thoughts us know how your deer season went by filling out a 2020 deer hunter harvest survey. This annual survey helps biologists understand more about Michigan’s deer hunters and the state’s deer herd. Wildlife surveys and reports are available at Michigan.gov/WildlifeSurveys.Featured species: whistle pig
Better known as woodchucks or groundhogs, “whistle pigs” – so named for the loud alarm whistle they sometimes make – are members of the squirrel family. While woodchucks prefer to spend their time foraging for greenery on the ground during the summer months, they can climb trees when they need to. You won’t find woodchucks out during the winter months here in Michigan; they’ll be hibernating soundly in their underground dens until spring. Visit our website to learn more about woodchucks and other Michigan squirrels. Join our wildlife team – apply for a summer position
The Wildlife Division regularly hires additional staff to work at DNR state field offices, customer service centers, and state game areas. The seasonal staff helps in several areas, such as: Assisting with wildlife habitat maintenance and improvement, which may include cutting clearings and adjusting water levels. Mowing, landscaping, and facility maintenance duties. Handling tasks related to wildlife surveys, nuisance animal control and equipment operation, and maintenance. Learn more about our seasonal positions in the Wildlife Division – and other openings throughout the department – at Michigan.gov/DNRJobs; scroll to the Seasonal and Temporary Positions section.