2016-12-08 / Opinion

CAC Sought Information on Tribal Deer Harvest To Encourage Working Together


To the Editor:

I have been a member of the Department of Natural Resources’ Eastern Upper Peninsula Citizen’s Advisory Council (CAC) for more than six years. We are a group of concerned citizens who provide input and advise the DNR of our concerns with reference to local issues.

To begin, we did not invite Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Wildlife Biologist Eric Clark to dispute any tribal or treaty issues. We, as a CAC group, recognize that our deer herd is at an all-time low. I believe that in order to attempt to remedy this situation, we should involve all interested parties, including the tribe. Mr. Clark’s excellent presentation did a great job in explaining why and how the tribe operates.

To sit back and point fingers at the DNR as to why the deer herd is at an all-time low will not change the situation. We need to participate.

In the November 10 article in The St. Ignace News, or at the October 20 meeting, nothing was stated that the EUPCAC or that the DNR believe that the tribe is the cause of the dwindling deer herd. Instead, it was the intention of the October 20 meeting to encourage the tribe to participate in attempts to recover our deer herd.

Upper Peninsula winters are the most devastating cause to the reduction of the U.P. deer herd. The second problem is predators. Between the wolves and coyotes, we likely lose 60,000 deer per year across the entire U.P. It is difficult to maintain a deer herd in the presence of such harsh conditions. In response to those conditions, the DNR has implemented many good habitat projects across the U.P., and has also removed the doe tag from firearm and archery licenses in all but two counties in the U.P. Additionally, the DNR has increased the coyote hunting season to all 12 months of the year. As for the wolves, the battle remains unresolved.

So, I would like to say, to last week’s letter writer Tony Grondin, I would love to sit down with you to get your input on how we can all work together to help to increase our deer herd. I did like your suggestion [to temporarily limit the harvest to three deer for tribal members], and that is what we were asking for.

Gary Gorniak

DNR East CAC Member


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"limit the harvest to three

"limit the harvest to three deer for tribal members]" What the heck is this? When are tribe members going to be treated like any other hunter or state resident? Are not certified tribe members provided an allocation large enough to afford to buy groceries like the rest of us? And as far as the unresolved wolf harvest issue, it's high time that the decision be made by local residents rather than Detroiters.

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