Tuscola County has a new Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative cooperative, courtesy of the dedicated efforts of Viola Cobb. Cobb, 86 years old and a longtime pheasant admirer, single-handedly generated the support and garnered the enthusiasm necessary to form this co-op in the Millington area through phone calls, knocking on doors and distributing flyers.

In May, the co-op met for their first formal meeting. Ben Wickerham of Pheasants Forever and Jeff Kalin of Gratiot Conservation District spoke to the group, and after the meeting, a ceremonial pair of pheasants was released to commemorate the kick-off of the new cooperative.

The 15 landowners within this southern Tuscola County cooperative will manage their properties, totaling over 1,200 acres, to help pheasants thrive. Pheasants require large blocks of grassland habitat for nesting, and tall wetland and grassland plants such as cattails and switchgrass for winter cover.

The Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative is a conservation initiative of diverse partners working together to restore and enhance Michigan pheasant habitat, populations and hunting opportunity on private and public lands. The initiative is accomplishing its goals through the formation of cooperatives in the southeastern Lower Peninsula. The MPRI’s goal is to establish 10 cooperative areas by 2015, totaling 15,000 to 20,000 acres of quality pheasant habitat.

Current pheasant cooperatives include the Lake Hudson Cooperative in Lenawee County, the Cheboyganing Co-op in Saginaw and Bay counties, the Baltimore Township Co-op in Barry County, the Saginaw County Co-op in Saginaw and Shiawassee counties, the Grindstone-Port Hope Sportsmen’s Club Pheasant Co-op in Huron County and the newly formed Tuscola County Pheasant Cooperative.

Those interested in participating in the Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative, forming their own neighborhood pheasant cooperative or finding out where they can join an existing co-op can contact their local wildlife biologist or visit www.michigan.gov/pheasant.

The Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative is a cooperative partnership between the DNR, Pheasants Forever, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, local conservation districts and other conservation organizations to facilitate a revitalization of Michigan’s pheasant population. This initiative is intended to enhance small game hunting opportunities, increase wildlife populations, improve hunter satisfaction and help Michigan’s economy.

Logo courtesy Michigan Department of Natural Resources

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