Michigan’s oil and gas industry has provided tremendous benefit to the state. From economic impact to jobs to energy, the benefits of a robust oil and gas industry are many. Well, add wildlife habitat to the list.
With Michigan’s annual firearms deer season on the horizon, many hunters will owe a debt of gratitude to Michigan’s oil and gas industry when they fill their tags on habitat created by oil and gas extraction. One of the most overlooked benefits of Michigan’s oil and gas industry is the fact that petroleum extraction and exploration has helped create access and varied habitat that’s ideal for deer hunting. Access to some of Michigan’s public lands has been made possible by the creation of roads and trails that were used to service and create oil and gas wells, particularly in northern Michigan. Just getting to your favorite spot is plenty of benefit – but the oil and gas industry should also be credited for creating some top-notch wildlife openings as well.
While it may seem that vast stretches of unbroken timber would be great for deer (and other wildlife), that’s simply not the case. The very best habitat for whitetails, as well as other game and non-game species, is habitat comprised of varying types. The openings created when wells are completed and restored provide exceptional habitat variety and well sites are carefully restored to benefit wildlife and to enhance the natural beauty of the areas they’re in.
Thanks to ever-evolving technology and processes, many hunters may be surprised to realize that one of their favorite forest openings is actually an active gas well. Modern wells take up very little space and the only evidence that a well exists a small PVC pipe protruding from the ground along with a series of small valves and gauges. These wells produce very little noise – odds are some hunters have hunted very near a working gas well and never even knew it.
Of course, some caution must be used when hunting near a well – as well as respect for private property. But this is a lesson not unlike when hunting near farm machinery or other personal property.
The Michigan Oil and Gas Association is proud of the work done by its members to improve Michigan’s habitat and wishes all of Michigan’s hunters a safe and enjoyable deer season.