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From Terry Short a Warden in Upper Michigan.
From our raid on St. Martins Island on Nov. 19, 2009.
31 bucks and 9 does on the pole. Nothing smaller than a 7 point.
Another approx. 10 deer, antlers, and heads found on the ground around the camp.
A mix of smaller bucks and does. 10 deer without tags, approx. another 10 deer with wives/girlfriends tags.
Investigation continues.


Island deer 030.jpg

Island deer 032.jpg
 

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Wow...what a crazy day it's been for this topic. First, I want to apologize if any of my wording previously was mis-construed as endorsing illegal activities. The picture below (actually not this one but other ones of this buck pole) and the many news stories circulating depicts 31 bucks that were killed on St. Martin's island in Lake Michigan, about 16 miles off the coast of Michigan's southern U.P. There are a million rumors about going around about how all these or even some of them were poached. I'll present the information as I know it, you can decide.

My step-brother, Kris, knows Rich (one of the hunters of the island) personally. I know Rich through Kris. Rich and his crew have been managing this island for many years now. About 4 years ago, Kris helped Rich and his crew manage some does on the island. It was then that Kris (and Rich) convinced the rest of their crew that to truly get better trophy bucks off the island they needed to start culling more of the inferior bucks. (Previously, they would only shoot 10 points or better).

Last year, Rich's group finally all "bought-in" to the idea of culling some bucks. They killed about 15-20 bucks all 8 pts or less. Which brings us to this year (I'm trying to make a long story not quite as long).

Last year they didn't take enough, so this year they brought in 22 hunters to help get more bucks. Rich told me that about 30 different hunters hunted the island during the season (22 was the largest number at one time I guess).

I honestly don't recall how many square miles St Martin's Island is off the top of my head. Someone can look that up. It's big though. You can imagine the attention these guys get when they come back to the main land... worse yet when they get back to town and people don't even know about the island. Jealousy and accusations start to boil. Rumors spread. Wardens get called.

The DNR raided the island this year on the tips of many concerned hunters that "illegal stuff" was going on out there. What the DNR found was 31 bucks on the pole, and several small bucks and does laying around. 10 of the bucks were untagged. The DNR did a thorough investigation, questioning everyone they could. In the end, there were 10 tickets given for the untagged deer.

Let me clarify "untagged deer". These guys had tags for their deer. They were not simply untagged. They just plain hadn't tagged them yet because they were on a private island and weren't too concerned about wardens out there. The tags and the hunters that shot them were there though. So the tickets were more for "delayed tagging" than that of poached deer.

Here's where my opinion comes in:
No, I do not condone them not tagging these deer, and I'm glad they got ticketed for this. They and everyone should know better. However, I do not see this as poaching. How many of you have ever "waited until you got back to camp" or "waited til the next morning" even to get your tag on a buck. It's not right and should be punished, but I don't see it equivalent to poaching. Buying a tag after the fact, putting someone else's tag on it that didn't shoot it, or not having a tag at all are some of my definitions of poaching. If this were found to be true the DNR would've acted accordingly and I would support them for it.

Some other information:
Rich and his guys all divide up and sit with each person who is actually doing the shooting. They get most hunts on video even. If Rich ever gives me permission, maybe I'll feature a clip or two on the site. They do this to ensure that these friends of theirs that they invite in shoot the right buck because not all of them are able to identify the right bucks to shoot.

I do not condone poaching or any illegal activities. If the DNR officers that were on the scene thought there was anything more to the situation than what there was, all of those deer would've been confiscated immediately. I've never know the DNR to leave a stone unturned. I believe these guys were wrong for not tagging each deer immediately, but I do not believe they are poachers. If any other FACTS come to light in this situation, I will post them.

I'll leave this thread unlocked now so anyone else can chime in with their opinions too. Please try to keep it clean and be respectful. I will not stand for this forum being a place for unsubstantiated rumors and accusations to fly around. If I've left something out that I can clarify, let me know. If there are details I don't know, I'll try my best to get an answer.

Thanks everyone.
 

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Around here, deer must be tagged before gutting it or even moving it after it has been killed. I know guys who have been ticketed for not tagging the deer before moving it. Still, that deer camp is one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. We gotta get some poles for our hanging tree.
 

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nice story. Looks like they did a good job thinning out the inferior bucks. I wish the truth would have come out a little later so I could have a better laugh at the WHOLE group of regular "hang 'em high" band-wagoners.
 

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Reality Break...

How many times has everyone seen an emailed photo that turns up with an incorrect description and then it gets forwarded and posted on the internet time and time again with different locations and descriptions?

I've seen that one before, but look at the last photo with the four game wardens and all the hunters and everyone is SMILING! That wouldn't be the case if there had been a big bust for illegal hunting.

Biggest problem I see is they have the deer hanging from the horns rather than the hocks so the blood will drain out rather than settle in the hams leaving them with the so called gamely taste.
 

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Cont...

Note that the only mention of this is on internet forums. There is NOTHING reported in the news media from Michigan or national.

There are actually four St. Martin Islands, all located in the St. Martin Islands chain which are part of either Delta or Mackinac Counties in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Both counties are in Law Enforcement District Two.

This would be a major bust, yet the date 11/19/09 puts it in the time frame for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Report for 11/16/09 - 11/29/09.

Note that there is no mention of any such bust in District Two or anywhere else...

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/11-16-09__11-29-09_303168_7.pdf

Yes it is 100% B.S.
 

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Legal or Illegal ... Leaving the hides on from the first kill to the last kill dosn't make for very good meat in my opinion ! People tell me all the time "I cant believe how good this deer tastes" it matters how they are taken care of. Were they all killed on the same morning?
 

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Killed in Michigan. You can hang a deer indefinitely if its cold enough.

Legal or Illegal ... Leaving the hides on from the first kill to the last kill dosn't make for very good meat in my opinion ! People tell me all the time "I cant believe how good this deer tastes" it matters how they are taken care of. Were they all killed on the same morning?
 

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Legal or Illegal ... Leaving the hides on from the first kill to the last kill dosn't make for very good meat in my opinion ! People tell me all the time "I cant believe how good this deer tastes" it matters how they are taken care of. Were they all killed on the same morning?
Another ignorant statement. Michigan climate is not the same as Texas climate.
Skin that deer and let it hang in the elements (much like you would in a freezer) and it will burn.
"Professionals" keep posting, My ribs hurt from laughing and it makes me feel better about myself to know that there are people like YOU I can make fun of.
 

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Furthermore...
Leave a skinned kill out in the Michigan elements and let me know how long it lasts. I can bet you money that NEGATIVE temps will burn a body quickly. Leaving a skin on "protects" and insulates a kill from the elements. I'm sure you knew this though.
 

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Picture

It looks like to me that the game wardens are in the last picture on the right! Gater
 

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Biggest problem I see is they have the deer hanging from the horns rather than the hocks so the blood will drain out rather than settle in the hams leaving them with the so called gamely taste.
I've noticed that at deer camps in Wisconsin too. They hang'em by the head/horns. Skin them that way too. We hang from the hocks here abouts and skin them alot easier that way. Go figure.
 

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I've noticed that at deer camps in Wisconsin too. They hang'em by the head/horns. Skin them that way too. We hang from the hocks here abouts and skin them alot easier that way. Go figure.
Been hanging them from the head/horns for thirty years. Definitely easier to skin and quarter that way.

:p

I think it is all in how you learned it first. I have tried the hanging from the hocks and can't stand doing it that way.
 
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