A wildlife cooperative gathers private landowners, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts to enhance their local wildlife and habitat. The participants share their wildlife experiences with each other, accumulate more knowledge of wildlife from activities, improve relationships with neighbors and have a chance to use land management techniques on a bigger scale.
Currently, Michigan has 120 wildlife cooperatives, a number that has been increasing since 1991, according to the MUCC.
“The ones I work with are often larger over time, with 25 or so members, and 3,000 -12,000 acres of combined properties,” Mitterling said.
Deer cooperatives and pheasant cooperatives are two of the major types in Michigan.
Deer cooperatives focus on the quality of deer herds. Pheasant cooperatives work to create and enhance grassland habitats.
“In our deer cooperative, we have an annual buck pole, we do a youth deer pole on the weekend of the youth hunt and we work with the DNR to put a plane in the air to look for poachers,” said Harold Wolf, the president of the Southern Mecosta Whitetail Management Association.
Wolf said cooperatives are good for the people who join: He got to know his neighbors better, felt pride in improving the deer herd and shared happy experiences and memories with family and friends.
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