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      Grants help target new hunting opportunities

      The Department of Natural Resources is announcing a new round of financial help to boost deer cover on private land and in turn help hunters.

      The Department of Natural Resources is announcing a new round of financial help to boost deer cover on private land and in turn help hunters.

      Michigan's new hunting and fishing license structure , which began on March 1, is helping bring new opportunities to improve animal habitats.

      The DNR's Deer PLAN (Private Land Assistance Network) will expand natural areas and improve hunting opportunities through the habitat grants. The grants, available to private landowners in a six-county area of northeast Michigan, are specifically designed to enhance food and cover for deer on private land.

      "Fifty thousand dollars will be divided among the 12 successful applicants," said DNR habitat biologist Brian Piccolo. "Fruit- and nut-bearing tree species are very popular in this area because they provide a long-term food source for deer and many other wildlife species. On-the-ground habitat work like this will provide great wildlife benefits to the region as well."

      The following organizations will receive Deer PLAN grants in 2014 for deer habitat improvement projects:Alcona County: A landowner will receive $2,644 to create a 7-acre wildlife opening planted to clover, and 20 apple trees will be planted around the border of the opening.

      Alcona County: Lost Lake Woods Association will receive $6,477 to plant 25 oak and 50 apple trees and 25 highbush cranberry shrubs.

      Alpena County: A landowner will receive $2,000 to plant 30 3-year-old apple trees. The trees will have the potential to begin producing fruit the same year they are planted.

      Chippewa County: No Doe Hunting Club will receive $5,559 to plant 300 oak and 100 crabapple seedlings.

      Crawford County: A landowner will receive $4,000 to create a series of wildlife openings totaling 16 acres.

      Montmorency County: A landowner will receive $2,000 to plant 300 oak and 300 northern white cedar seedlings.

      Montmorency County: A landowner will receive $5,559 to plant 200 oak and 100 crabapple seedlings.

      Montmorency County: Canada Creek Ranch will receive $2,940 to create a series of wildlife openings that will be planted on over 4 miles of old logging roads.

      Oscoda County: Durkee Lakes Hunt Club will receive $3,400 to plant 20 apple trees, 55 American chestnut, 500 white oak, 200 red oak, 250 jack pine, 250 highbush cranberry, 250 nannyberry and 400 hawthorn seedlings.

      Presque Isle County: A landowner will receive $3,440 to regenerate northern white cedar through new protection methods. The new protection methods will be showcased for educational purposes.

      Presque Isle County: A landowner will receive $2,130 to create a 3-acre wildlife opening.

      Presque Isle County: Black River Ranch will receive $10,000 to plant a series of openings totaling 39 acres.

      Grant recipients submitted qualified grant applications detailing their proposed projects by the May 31 deadline and were scored competitively against other applications. Each grant recipient must provide a minimum of a 25-percent cost share and all work must be completed before Sept. 30, 2014.

      "This is an exciting new grant program," said Piccolo. "Look for the 2015 grant application period to begin later this summer for next year's Deer PLAN Program."