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Safari Club rewards Michigan hunters for survey participation

Two Michigan hunters were presented with new hunting equipment by the Michigan Involvement Committee of Safari Club International at last week’s meeting of the Natural Resources Commission in Lansing, Michigan. The gear – a Weatherby rifle and a TenPoint crossbow – was given by the committee as thanks for all hunters’ participation in Department of Natural Resources hunter surveys.

Sixty-year-old Tim Balzer, of Unionville, snagged the rifle, while Bob Block, 75, of Bay City, collected the brand new crossbow.

For more than a decade, the SCI Michigan Involvement Committee has presented bows and firearms to a few lucky hunters randomly selected each year from among the thousands of hunters who respond to DNR Wildlife Division surveys. Balzer and Block completed surveys following the 2013-14 hunting season.

“The responses from hunters to these surveys are extremely important to Wildlife Division,” said SCI Michigan Involvement Committee Chairman Bob Taylor, who made the presentation. ”The Wildlife Division needs this information to manage wildlife populations, especially the deer population, in Michigan, and we’re pleased to be able to help them.”

Both prize-winning hunters said they were surprised at being drawn for the awards and that they were unaware they were eligible for awards by returning the surveys – they were just doing their small part to help the DNR better manage wildlife populations.

“This is the first time I’ve ever won anything,” said Block, a retired autoworker who was given the option of a compound bow or crossbow. “I think it’s wonderful.”

Balzer, who was given his choice of caliber for the rifle he was presented – he picked a 30.06 – said he has been surveyed numerous times over the years and regularly responds to DNR questionnaires.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Balzer, a tool and die maker. “I’ve never won a gun in my life.”

In addition to the rifle and crossbow, the SCI Michigan Involvement Committee announced that it had also awarded some $8,000 in scholarships to six wildlife management graduate students at two Michigan universities.

The SCI Michigan Involvement Committee was formed in 1980 with representatives from each Safari Club International chapter in Michigan. Committee members work with the Department of Natural Resources to coordinate funding of DNR wildlife conservation programs and research projects that might otherwise not be funded. Learn more at www.scimic.org.