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U.P. Habitat Workgroup reconvenes with renewed focus on improving deer winter range

MARQUETTE— The DNR has announced that the Upper Peninsula Habitat Workgroup has reconvened with new members and a renewed mission focused on improving and conserving critical U.P. winter deer habitat.
    The workgroup, comprised of natural resource professionals, private landowners and sportsmen’s groups, is led by Natural Resources Commission member J.R. Richardson of Ontonagon and Jim Hammill of Crystal Falls, a wildlife management consultant who is also a retired DNR biologist.
    “The group was reassembled and new members recruited to address the negative impacts of recent back-to-back severe winters on the U.P.’s deer population,” said Richardson. “With an eye on rigorous deer habitat management, our goal will be to develop deer winter range improvement strategies across all land ownerships in the U.P.”
    The workgroup’s new mission is to develop comprehensive habitat strategies for identified U.P. deer yards, focusing primarily on lands not managed by the DNR. Private landowners will be offered technical assistance and other incentives to encourage support for maintenance and enhancement of winter deer habitat on their property, such as wildlife habitat and forest stewardship grants.
    “The majority of winter deer habitat in the U.P., an estimated 80 percent, is

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