Grants awarded to improve deer habitat across UP

MARQUETTE –The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has awarded a total of $100,000 in deer habitat improvement grant funding to a dozen entities for projects in the Upper Peninsula.

The Deer Habitat Improvement Partnership Initiative is a competitive grant program designed to enhance deer habitat on non-state lands in the Upper Peninsula.

“I think we have a good crop of projects this year, and some new partnership and project opportunities,” said Bill Scullon, DNR wildlife field operations manager and administrator for the grant initiative. “These projects will allow us to continue making deer habitat improvements on private lands, which is an important component of our Upper Peninsula deer management strategy.”

A 25 percent match is required for the projects, which allows the DNR to reach beyond the original grant investment to accomplish more important habitat work.

“With this latest round of grant awards, we have funded 95 projects over the past decade,” Scullon said. “The total match dollars generated by those projects exceeds half a million dollars.”

The total match for this year’s projects was $62,123.

Wildlife Unlimited of Iron County has been awarded $4,595 and is contributing a match of $1,532. The group will maintain 10 food plots and hunter walking trails totaling 21.9 acres. Additionally, 15 5-foot apple trees will be planted with protective fencing.

The Iron-Baraga Conservation District will receive $15,000 for habitat improvement in deer wintering complexes. The district will contribute a match of $7,170. The district plans to plant 525 oaks, 3,850 white pines, 1,550 wildlife shrubs and 255 apple trees and provide 780 tree protectors to participating landowners.

Groups eligible for these grants include organizations with a formal mission to promote wildlife conservation and/or hunting, such as sportsmen’s clubs, conservation districts, land conservancies, industrial landowners with more than 10,000 acres, or private land affiliations where two or more unrelated persons jointly own 400 or more acres.

Primary goals for each of the projects include producing tangible deer habitat improvements, building long-term partnerships between the DNR and outside organizations, and showcasing the project benefits to the public.

Scullon said the total amount of grant funding available is $100,000. The maximum amount of individual grants is $15,000, and the minimum is $2,000.

Now in its 11th year, the initiative is supported by the state’s Deer Range Improvement Program, which is funded by a portion of deer hunting license revenue.

Availability of the grants was announced in January, with a March 1 deadline to apply. There were 14 applicants in this year’s grant cycle.

For more information on the grant program, contact Scullon at 906-563-9247 or