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Friday, SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 | www.cadillacnews.com

cadillac news | Trusted. Local. Connected

2016

fall outdoors

E1

recreation, hunting, & fishing


Avid hunter scopes out squirrels
is probably less of a challenge for him than it is for
many. He has made a science of the sport.
EVART For hunters
Though he does use a
looking for a challenging
rifle rather than a shotgun.
hunt, Evart resident Hal
Hutchinson suggests going Besides that, though, he
does some things to tilt the
after squirrels.
odds back in his favor.
Early season hunting
Hutchinson always takes
is difficult because of all
shooting sticks with him
the foliage, he admits. If
to the squirrel woods.
youre a die-hard squirrel
Squirrels are a tiny target,
hunter, you have to have
perseverance. It is fun. It is and a person cant always
depend on a nearby tree
always fun, he said.
to steady a rifle against. A
And a successful hunt
By Andy Duffy
Special to the Cadillac News

person can buy commercially made shooting sticks


and bipods. Hutchinson
made his, though. Theyre
a couple of pieces of pipe
pointed at the bottom and
attached to a pin on which
they can swivel about two
thirds of the way up. A
piece of rope connecting
the tops of the pipes offers
a shooter a cradle for his
rifle.
See Squirrels on page 2

Andy Duffy | Special to the Cadillac News

Courtesy photo

Mature forests offer squirrel hunters exciting hunting action. Aidan Vincent took this fox squirrel on
one of his excursions.

Evart squirrel hunter Hal Hutchinson pauses for a picture with the results of a recent hunt.
Hutchinson still hunts. He slowly walks through forests of mature, mast-bearing hardwoods searching for squirrels. When he is able to take a shot, he shoots his quarry with a small-caliber rifle.

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E2

cadillac news | Trusted. Local. Connected

www.cadillacnews.com | Friday, SEPTEMBER 23, 2016

Hunters could be on the cusp of a good deer season


Thank the weather and antler point
restrictions for an improved outlook
for this season

bly be the biggest factor in


the quality of the season,
Autenrieth said.
Hunting season is
always a gamble, Autenrieth said. Deer are going to
be impacted greatly by the
By Andy Duffy and Nick Green
the nutrients they need
weather just like you and
to have a healthy start in
Special to the Cadillac News
I. If its hot, we dont want
life.
Antler point restrictions to do a lot of moving; if
Hunters who experience
its cool, we will get up and
a great season this fall may may have done their part,
move more to be comforthave the mild winter and a too.
able.
In 2013, a 12-county law
rainy spring to thank.
And biologists can deterwent into effect for NorthMichigan Department
mine such things as deer
west Lower Michigan
of Natural Resources
requiring bucks to have at populations, the quality
Deer Program Biologist
of the mast crop and other
least three points on one
Ashley Autenrieth said
factors before a season beconditions were perfect for side in order to be hargins. The weather, though,
vested. The law came as a
antler growth, a healthy
doe population and larger- result of a wave of hunters is always an unknown
element of an upcoming
than-normal litter sizes for petitioning the DNR to allow bucks to reach an older season.
fawns.
While meteorologists
The mild winter enabled age before being harvested
might be cautious about
deer to find food and cover ultimately leading to
more big bucks in the area. trying to give a detailed
more easily last winter,
weather forecast this far in
Autenrieth said the
and above average rainadvance, others are bolder.
restrictions are working
fall in the spring greened
things up quickly and pro- and they could be voted on The Farmers Almanac
vided important nutrients again as early as next year. predicts the second half of
September will be cooler
If it restrictions arent
for deer at a critical time
brought up for a vote, they than normal. If that foreof the year. The same nucast turns out to be true,
will be in effect until at
trients that gave deer susdeer might begin moving
tenance in the spring have least 2019 because of the
just in time for opening of
DNRs three-year regulahelped does and fawns
bow season. That weather
tion cycle.
thrive and contributed
could be just what the docBiologically speakto healthy antler growth,
tor ordered for this falls
ing, we have seen a major
Autenrieth said.
deer seasons.
The mild winter came at decrease in 1 1/2-year-old
Is there any looming bad
bucks being brought in to
a good time, right on the
news?
check stations, Autenriheels of the brutal 2013-14
Maybe, but even it has a
eth said. There has been
and 2014-15 winters. FPS
silver lining.
an increase in 2 1/2- and 3
Archery owner Kim ForAutenrieth said the
telka said a lot of the bucks 1/2-year-old bucks, meanacorn crop might be iffy
ing we are graduating
that would have been in
those younger bucks to the this year. Hunters who can
that 2 1/2- and 3 1/2-yearfind a producing oak tree,
next age class.
old class just didnt make
though, should be in a good
In 2010, before the APR
it. But things are now lookwent into effect, 70 percent position to see lots of deer.
ing up.
Hunters should look for
of bucks brought to check
Fortelka said the buzz
stations in Osceola County a front moving in or a drop
around his shop this sumin temperatures to get deer
were 1 1/2-year-old deer.
mer has been promising.
In 2014, in the second year moving, Autenrieth said.
Customers have been sayof the APR law, 27 percent Those are the times to
ing they are seeing lots of
nice bucks, more than nor- checked in were 1 1/2-year- get on the stand and hunt
hard.
old. The number of 2
mal compared to the past
1/2-year-old deer checked
few years.
Cadillac Branch Quality in doubled during the
Reminders
same time and the numDeer Management Assober of 3 1/2-year-old deer
ciation President Tim LiAutenrieth said hunters
should read the hunters
ponoga said the 80 acres he tripled.
In Wexford County, 68
digest and be aware of any
owns, hunts on and manpercent of bucks checked
regulation changes for the
ages are holding promise
in during the 2010 season
upcoming season. These
for the upcoming hunting
were 1 1/2-year-old deer.
guides can be found anyseason.
In 2014, 23 percent. The 2
where licenses are sold.
We are seeing triplet
1/2-year-old numbers dou- Baiting is legal in our area.
fawns for the first time in
bled and 3 1/2-year-old deer However, only 2 gallons at
several years on our propeach hunting location are
erty, Liponoga said. The more than tripled.
But it is still too early
allowed and the bait must
increase in food availabilibe spread over a 10-foot by
ty this spring allowed does for hunters to take a great
season for granted. Ulti10-foot area.
to carry their young to
mately, weather will probaBow season opens Oct.
term and to provide them

News file photo

Deer hunters this season may catch a break from the weather. A mild winter last year and a wet
spring provided needed nutrients to deer. Reports indicate more and larger bucks are being seen.
1, and general rifle season
opens Nov. 15. Fortelka
said bow hunters, especially compound bow users,

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get a chance while hunting


grouse or rabbits.
Hutchinson is trying to
change that, though. After
his grandchildren grew old
enough to hunt by themselves, he found another
hunting buddy, Aidan Vincent. Under Hutchinsons
tutelage, Vincent shot his
first squirrel.
To Hutchinson, it is important to pass along the
hunting tradition. Get
those kids out there and
get them to enjoy it, he
said.

game in the grass


game in the tree
but youll never shoot
what your eyes cant see!

US 1
3

ing for movement. Only


when he sees movement
might he sit for a spell.
Hutchinsons also uses
Hutchinson hunts about
a rifle that shoots a projectile faster than does the an equal mix of private
and public land. Hunters
ubiquitous twenty-two.
find squirrels, of course,
Instead, he opts for the .17
among mast-bearing trees
Hornady Mach 2, a round
oaks and beeches. An
with a muzzle velocity
ideal hunting location is an
of 2,100 feet per second.
oak or beech forest not far
He has an 18-power scope
from a corn field, Hutchinmounted on his rifle to assist with finding a squirrel son said. When he sees a
squirrel on the forest floor,
because if you cant see
it, you cant shoot it. It is a he cradles his rifle between
his shooting sticks and
little different set-up than
tries to get off a shot.
the squirrel rifles used by
He usually finds himour New England forbears.
It is quite a squirrel gun, self alone in the squirrel
woods. He doesnt know of
Hutchinson said.
anyone else who specifiHutchinson does little
cally targets squirrels, he
sitting. Instead, he still
said. He knows hunters
hunts. He slips quietly
through the woods search- who shoot squirrels if they

if needed and afford the


hunter enough practice to
make an ethical kill, Fortelka said.

The Buck Stops Here

Dont overlook squirrel hunting


Continued from page 1

should start shooting their


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each year. This will allow
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Friday, SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 | www.cadillacnews.com

cadillac news | Trusted. Local. Connected

E3

DNR, Ruffed Grouse Society providing GEMs hunting locations


By Andy Duffy
Special to the Cadillac News

Michigan is now a
GEM state, courtesy of
your DNR and the Ruffed
Grouse Society.
The GEMS are scattered
across the state and hunters are free to find them
and use them.
Each GEM, a grouse enhanced management site,
is an area that should offer
good grouse hunting and
good access.
The GEMs, besides having the required emerging forest habitat grouse
require, has also been
planted with a complement
of other grouse favorites
such as fruit-bearing trees
and shrubs and clover.
Hunters understand
grouse need young forests,
the same kind of habitat
required for hares and
liked by deer, too. Not as

Photo courtesy of the Michigan DNR

The Michigan DNR and the Ruffed Grouse Society, along with other groups like the National Wild
Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan United Conservation Clubs and the U.P. Wildlife Habitat
Fund helped develop areas that provide good wildlife habitat as well as easy access.
well understood, perhaps,
is the role the new license

structure has in providing young forest on state-

owned property. The extra


cash flowing to the DNR al-

lowed the agency to do the


preliminary work required
before making timber
sales. And timber sales, of
course, are the keys to having an abundance of young
forest. Once an area is
logged, new forest springs
up. In the thick, young forest, grouse, hares, deer and
other species thrive.
At the GEMs, the Ruffed
Grouse Society worked
with the DNR to make the
extra plantings possible
and to clear trails, place
signs and install gates.
Also assisting in the efforts
were the American Woodcock Society, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey
Federation, Michigan United Conservation Clubs and
the U.P. Wildlife Habitat
Fund.The GEMS are being
touted as great places for
older hunters, young hunters and wounded veterans
to hunt. Cross-country

skiers, snowshoers and


others will also enjoy the
sites. More information
on the sites is available on
the DNRs Web site, www.
michigan.gov/dnr.
Of course, Michigan has
lots of additional acreage
available that if not cut
and polished GEMS may
be diamonds in the rough.
A person can find them the
old-fashioned way, by driving through state forest or
national forest land and
looking for good habitat or
by knocking on doors and
asking for permission to
hunt private land. A modern option, of course, is
to look at satellite images
showing vegetation types.
Hunters once wasted a lot
of hunting time looking for
good grouse covers. Now
that can get taken care of
in a persons den, leaving
more to spend in productive hunting spots.

A study in contrasts: Hares begin turning color before the snow flies
By Andy Duffy
Special to the Cadillac News

held my fire.
A person needs to know
a lot for certain before
squeezing the trigger on a
firearm. Besides knowing
what the target is, he needs
to be certain nothing else
is around that he doesnt
want to shoot. I hadnt been
able to do all the calculus
necessary in time to get off
a shot.
When my dog came running up a moment later,
it confirmed my original

My English springer has


large splotches of white on
her, but I was pretty sure
it wasnt she running by.
She had been way off to my
right moments before.
We were out bird hunting and I had forgotten to
put her bell on her. Still,
somehow Id been aware of
her whereabouts. But even
knowing the creature I was
seeing wasnt my dog, I

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Your Deer Feed

identification. I had just


passed up a shot on a hare.
Call them what you
will. Call them snowshoe
rabbits, varying hares,
jackrabbits. Even call one
a lepus Americanus if
you want to. Your spouse
might give you a worried
look. People might talk
about you after you leave
the party. They will know
what youre talking about,
though.
You, however, might be
the only person around
who will think of hunting
them before the deep freezes of winter set in.
Fall seems to be made for
hunting birds and squirrels. As great a sport as rabbit hunting is, people usually reserve it for winter.
Perhaps tradition is the
reason. At one time, rabbit
season was the only hunting season still open after
the New Years fog cleared
out of peoples minds.
People became accustomed
to hunting rabbits in the
winter.
And another force may
have been at work, too. Old-

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time hunters once claimed


cold weather would kill off
any hares suffering from
tuleremia. That may be
true, but if a person is really concerned about catching tuleremia, he should
also avoid getting bitten by
deerflies and be certain the
water filter he uses when
getting water from lakes
and streames is in good
shape. A person doesnt get
exposed to the bacterium
only by hares. Besides, the
concern is probably overblown.
If a hare is acting normally, it probably is a
healthy animal.
The point is this: Hare
season opens in Michigan
each season the same time
grouse and squirrel seasons open on Sept. 15.
A person can miss a lot of
good hunting by waiting for
winter to hunt them.
Hares are famous for
turning white in winter
and reverting to a brown
or grayish brown color for
the summer. The amount of
daylight governs the color
changes, and hares begin

showing areas of white


well before snow flies. It
was the tell-tale white on
the leaping critter I saw beyond me in the brush that
day that made me suspect
my dog sneaked in on me.
The white, natures way of
giving a hare protection
during a snowy winter
works to the creatures
disadvantage in the fall.
A blotchy white coat is
the hares Achilles heel.
Hunters can use that to
their advantage. The hare
something spooked so it
ran by me that day was
very visible even though I
didnt think I could make
a positive ID of it at first.
That is reason number one
for hunting them before
snow falls.
This is reason number
two: A person who hunts
hares with hounds may
not want to be running his
dogs during the heat of the
day in September and even
in some of October. Still,
autumn provides great
scenting conditions. Autumnal rains fall and trees
suck less moisture from
the soil after the autumnal
equinox. The damp soil can
really hold the scent. Dogs
can scream during such
conditions. I havent hunted
hares a lot during autumn,

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e, whitetail,
Small gam
etc.
waterfowl,

but I have often enough


to know how successful a
person can be. And often I
have hunted cottontails in
the fall. The best scenting
conditions of the year occur in the fall before snow
flies and in the spring after
the snow is gone.
A lot of hunters, of
course, dont have rabbit
hounds. They can still hunt
hares. All they need to do is
walk slowly through good
cover the same type of
cover that holds grouse.
They might spot one sitting. If the hare takes off
running, though, litttle difference exists between taking a shot at it or taking a
shot at a low-flying grouse.
Anyone can certainly do
by design what I did by accident that day jump a
hare.
The closer we get to
the Nov. 15 firearms deer
season opener, the whiter
hares will become. In
September, the growing
white coloration may be
nearly indiscernable. By
November, though, many
hares will have some very
discernable whiteness.
From now until then will
be a great time to hunt for
hares or to get off a shot
at one while hunting for
something else.

LeRoy Milling Co.


107 S. Kent St., LeRoy, MI 49655
231-768-4441

Brought to you by:

TRUST IN THE TRADITION

Share your trail cam photos with thousands of


Cadillac News readers in print & online and
you could WIN a $200 gift card to
How to EntEr

1. Email picture and brief explanation


to: jbailey@cadillacnews.com
or mail to Trail Cam Contest,
PO Box 640, Cadillac MI, 49601
2. Go to facebook.com/cadillacnews
and submit your picture with a
caption or comment under the
above photo explaining your photo.

One winner will be chosen in August and


September. Of those two winners, one grand prize
winner will be announced and will win a $200 gift
card to Jays Sporting Goods in Clare or Gaylord.

Trusted. Local. Connected.

*No Purchase Necessary. Must be a resident of Lake, Missaukee, Osceola, or Wexford County in Michigan. Void where prohibited. Contest ends September 30, 2016.
Official Rules can be picked up at the Cadillac News office located at 130 N. Mitchell Street, Cadillac Michigan.
**All photos are subject to publisher approval.

E4

cadillac news | Trusted. Local. Connected

www.cadillacnews.com | Friday, SEPTEMBER 23, 2016

DNR gives outlook on small game hunting


woodcock are migratory,
and although their population densities are higher in
the northern two-thirds of
the state, they often can be
found in good numbers in
southern Michigan later
in the season as the birds
head south. All woodcock
hunters must obtain a
free woodcock stamp in
addition to a valid base
license; the endorsement
stamp is available at all
license agents or online at
E-License.

From the Michigan DNR

Opportunities for small


game hunting abundant in
Michigan this fall.
A base license, which allows hunters to hunt small
game, can be purchased
online at E-License or anywhere licenses are sold.

Rabbits
Season: Cottontail rabbits and varying (or snowshoe) hare can be hunted
from Sept. 15 to March 31,
2017, statewide. The daily
bag limit is five in combination with a possession
limit of 10.
Outlook: Cottontail populations are good throughout their range over much
of the state. Concentrate
on thick cover, such as
briar patches and brush
piles, often near agricultural fields. Snowshoe hare
populations are down from
historic levels. Look for
early-successional forests
(such as aspen stands) and
low-lying conifer swamps
with blow-downs and
brush piles in the northern
two-thirds of the state.

Squirrels
Season: Sept. 15 to March
1, 2017. The daily bag limit
is five per day with 10 in
possession.
Outlook: Both fox and
gray squirrel populations
are at moderate to high
levels across much of the
state. Areas that had good
mast production last year
are a good bet, as are wood
lots adjoining corn fields.

Ruffed grouse
Season: Sept. 15-Nov.
14 and Dec. 1-Jan. 1, 2017,

Sharp-tailed grouse

Photo courtesy of the Michigan DNR

Hunters return from the the woods after a day of small game
hunting.
statewide. The bag limit is
five per day/10 in possession in the northern twothirds of the state (Zones 1
and 2), and three per day/
six in possession in Zone 3
(southern Michigan).
Outlook: Grouse populations are cyclical, typically
rising and falling over a
10-year period, and indications are that we are beginning the upward trend of
the cycle. Spring drumming counts in 2014 and
2015 were up. Hunters are
expected to see about the
same or slightly more birds
this year than in 2015,
said Al Stewart, DNR upland game bird specialist.
Young to moderate-aged
aspen stands about 6 to
15 years of age with a
thick understory of witch
hazel or dogwood are
prime grouse habitat. Food
sources are important,
but wild fruit and berry
production should be very
good this year due to good

spring rains. Grouse are


most numerous in the Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula, but
hunters may find local
populations in areas with
good habitat in southern
Michigan as well. Grouse
and woodcock hunters are
asked to assist the DNR in
monitoring populations
by reporting their results.
Cooperator forms can be
found on the DNR website
at mi.gov/hunting (select
Upland Game Birds and
then Ruffed Grouse).

Woodcock
Season: Sept. 24 to Nov.
7 statewide. The daily bag
limit is three with a possession limit of six.
Outlook: Michigan is
the number-one woodcock
harvest state in the nation.
This fall, hunters can expect about the same results
they had last year. Found
in all parts of Michigan,

Processor gives break to youth hunters


By Andy Duffy
Special to the Cadillac News

BIG RAPIDS This one


thing Colin Kelly of Kellys
Deer Processing never
wants to hear the cost
of processing kept a young
deer hunter out of the
woods. Kelly gave a break
on processing during the
youth hunt.
The special for youth
hunters who have successfully completed a hunter
safety course within the
past year. Those hunters
will be able to have their
deer processed for $50.
Even those young hunters who passed their hunter safety class more than a
year ago will be able to get
a processing price. With
a coupon in Kellys Deer
Processing advertisements
located in area newspapers,
hunters will receive $25 off
the cost of the processing.
Kelly said the average
deer will net a hunter between 50 and 75 pounds of
venison.
Michigans youth hunt,
held Sept. 17-18. Called the
Liberty Hunt, it is a hunting opportunity available
for those 16 and younger.
Hunters may use a deer or
deer combination license
for an antlered or antlerless
deer during the hunt. Antler point restrictions do not
apply. Hunters may also use
a Deer Management Assistance permit during the
hunt to take one antlerless
deer if the permit has been
issued for the land where
the hunter is hunting. the
bag limit for the Liberty
Hunt is one deer. Hunters
are required to wear hunter
orange.
Besides the processing
discount, those participating in the youth hunt will

also be able to receive a


discount on having their
antlers mounted.
In addition to the Liberty
Hunt, Kelly offers a Jerky
for the Troops program.
The jerky is made with venison hunters donate. Money
is also gathered throughout
the deer seasons at various
collection points to help defray costs. The jerky is then
sent to soldiers all over the
world. Kelly only asks that
those sending jerky to a
soldier help out with the

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Pheasants
Season: Oct. 10-31 in
the Upper Peninsula in
Menominee County and

and shrub lands adjoining


picked agricultural fields.

Quail
Season: Oct. 20-Nov.
14. Quail can be hunted
only in Branch, Calhoun,
Clinton, Eaton, Genesee,
Gratiot, Hillsdale, Huron,
Ingham, Ionia, Jackson,
Kent, Lapeer, Lenawee,
Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Montcalm, Oakland,
Saginaw, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Sanilac, Shiawassee,
Tuscola, Washtenaw and
Wayne counties. The bag
limit is five per day/10 in
possession.
Outlook: Back-to-back
harsh winters and ice
storms have significantly
lowered quail populations.
Quail hunters that had success last year can expect
similar results in 2016.
Dont forget that a base
hunting license entitles
hunters to hunt rabbit,
hare, squirrel (fox and
gray, black phase included), pheasant, ruffed
grouse, sharp-tailed
grouse, woodchuck, woodcock (HIP endorsement
required), quail, crow,
coyote (applies to Michigan
residents only) and waterfowl (with a federal waterfowl stamp and Michigan
waterfowl hunting license,
if 16 years of age or older)
during the open season for
each species.

2016

TR AIL CAM
Contest
Brought to you by:

TRUST IN THE TRADITION

Share your trail cam photos with


thousands of Cadillac News
readers in print & online and
you could WIN a
$200 gift card to
One winner will be chosen
in August and September.
Of those two winners, one
grand prize winner will be
announced and will win a
$200 gift card to Jays Sporting
Goods in Clare or Gaylord.
How to EntEr

1. Email picture and brief explanation


to: jbailey@cadillacnews.com
or mail to Trail Cam Contest,
PO Box 640, Cadillac MI, 49601

All Michigan
trail cam pho
tos
welcome!

Small gam
e, whitetail
,
waterfowl,
etc.

2. Go to facebook.com/cadillacnews
and submit your picture with a
caption or comment under the
above photo explaining your photo.

FISHING SHOP
Fishing Tackle Shop and Bait Store

231-775-5412

www.pilgrimvillagefishing.com
M-115 (across from Mitchell State Park)
Fishing
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shipping cost. Those sending jerky provide the name


and address of a service
member. People can either
take the jerky home to ship
and add personal items to
the package, or they can
bring additional items to
the packaging points.
Kellys shop is located at
19077 E. 12-Mile Road south
of Big Rapids in Mecosta
County. For more information, visit www.kellysdeerprocessing.com or call (231)
796-5414.

Season: Oct. 10-31 in the


eastern Upper Peninsula,
east of M-129 and east of
I-75 north of M-48. The limit is two daily, with four in
possession; six per season.
Outlook: Sharptails use
grasslands and associated
shrubby habitat; think
pheasant habitat. Often
found in small flocks and
sometimes difficult to approach, sharptails often
require relatively longrange shooting compared
to ruffed grouse. Sharptail
hunters are required to
have a (free) sharp-tailed
grouse endorsement on
their hunting licenses.

portions of Iron, Marquette, Dickinson and


Delta counties, Oct. 20-Nov.
14 in the Lower Peninsula;
and Dec. 1-Jan. 1, 2017 in
selected areas of Zone 3
(southern Michigan). The
limit is two cocks daily,
with four in possession.
Outlook: Pheasant habitat is being highlighted in
the state by a strong team
of partners through the
Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative. Pheasant
populations have been in
decline for a number of
years, primarily because
of changes in agricultural
practices and/or urban
sprawl. Typically, the best
habitat is on private lands
that have been managed
for pheasants, especially
those that are enrolled in
farm set-aside programs,
and many southern Michigan public lands are being
intensely managed for
pheasants too. Generally
speaking, hunters who
enjoyed success last year
should find similar hunting conditions in the same
areas. The best counties for
pheasant hunting are in
south-central to mid-Michigan and into the Thumb,
though locally abundant
populations can be found
almost anywhere. Look
for warm-season grasses,
especially on idled farm
fields. Late-season hunters
can have success in cattail

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*No Purchase Necessary. Must be a resident of Lake, Missaukee, Osceola, or Wexford County in Michigan. Void
where prohibited. Contest ends September 30, 2016. Official Rules can be picked up at the Cadillac News office
located at 130 N. Mitchell Street, Cadillac Michigan.
**All photos are subject to publisher approval.

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Friday, SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 | www.cadillacnews.com

cadillac news | Trusted. Local. Connected

Paddling through autumn color


by Dave Foley
Special to the Cadillac News

Even if you dont think


of yourself as outdoorsy,
when the leaves paint the
forest in a palette of reds,
oranges and yellows, in

early October, its hard


to stay indoors. Natures
color show is dazzling. And
fleeting. By Halloween
about the only natural orange on the landscape are
pumpkins.
In my opinion the best

place to catch autumns


splendor is from the seat of
a canoe or kayak. Moving
downstream in a river or
following a lakeshore the
viewer gets a double shot,
catching both the actual
color in the shoreline veg-

etation and a second shimmering dose reflected in


the water. Floating up close
to shore next to a maple
decked out in red and or-

ange, the rippling water


beside the canoe swirls out
waves of color. In October
my camera clicks off more
scenery photos than in all

E5

of the other months put


together.
See Autumn on page 6

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Dave Foley | Special to the Cadillac News

Tippy Dam Backwater offers a spectacular fall color show.

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E6

cadillac news | Trusted. Local. Connected

www.cadillacnews.com | Friday, SEPTEMBER 23, 2016

Kayaking in the autumn gives up-close view of colors


Continued from page 5

While the autumn hues


seems to be peeking out
from every corner of our
area, if I had to pick a
favorite paddling destination, it would center on
Red Bridge which spans
the Manistee River halfway between Hodenpyl
and Tippy Dams.
River paddlers will like
the stretch below Hodenpyl Dam. The most challenging part of this particular trip comes with the
launching.
Whether you come from
the east off the end of
South Hodenpyl Road or
drive 13 miles farther beyond Red Bridge to put in
from the Dam on the west
side, the carry down to the
river offers a choice of a
steep sloping gravel road
or a long set of stairs.
The water swirling out
from the dam might look
intimidating to the novice, but its pretty straight
forward. If you can keep
the craft pointing downstream and have someone
in the stern that knows the
j-stroke, youll be fine. The
width of the river, ranging
from 60 to 90 feet, leaves
plenty of room for paddlers to find safe passages
away from water hazards.
Most challenges come
from the strong eddies on
bends that will grab a boat
and try to spin it around.
This surprising pull may
startle paddlers who may
initially lean the wrong
way causing the canoe to
wobble. Although some
tufts of whitewater appear,
the rocks are well below
the surface so travelers can
just enjoy the ride. During
September and October
weekends, youll be sharing the water with a flotilla
of kayaks, some canoes,
and the occasional fishing
boat.
Within a few minutes

the Little Mack appears.


This heavy duty wooden
footbridge allows hikers
to do a loop combining the
11 mile Manistee River
Trail on the east side with
the 12 mile section of the
North Country Trail on
the other side of the river.
Though some hikers with
backpacks might be seen,
most walkers are doing
day trips.
Even leisurely paddlers
will complete the trip to
Red Bridge in three hours.
During weekends when
color is at its peak, it may
be hard to find parking
at Red Bridge or in the
Manistee River Trail lot
just up the road to the east.
While most of the interest
revolves around the hiking
trail and watercraft finishing their run down from
Hodenpyl Dam, some of
the best views of autumns
splendor awaits those who
paddle a canoe or kayak
downstream into the Tippy
Dam Impoundment.
A year ago Cyndy and I
paddled here during the
peak weekend for fall color.

Launching from the landing at Red Bridge the river


splits into side channels.
We keep to the left as we
approach the first island
and continue to go left at
each turn opportunity. By
heading east and south,
rather then having to do
and out-and-back tour, we
will create a loop, seeing
new scenery as we return
along the west shore.
With more than nine
thousand acres in the
Tippy Dan Backwaters,
there is much to explore.
Narrow bays, tight passages between islands and
meandering side waters
snaking through wetlands
bring the shoreline color
in close. The thickly forested hillsides adorned with
brilliant red, yellow, and
orange foliage contrast
with the green of the pines
creating a spectacular
natural palette. And then
looking out over the water
the splendor reappears as
brilliant reflections shimmering in the lake.
Ahead of us flotillas
of waterfowl float on the

surface taking a break


on their southern migration. We pull away hoping
not to spook them but a
flock of teal skitter away
and then rise into the sky.
More vocal are the Canada
geese, who we seem to encounter in every bay and
invariably go airborne as
soon as they see us with
a cacophony of honking.
Later we come upon a pair
of swans in the distance.
They regard us with indifference and continue to
feed on underwater weeds,
seemingly oblivious to our
passing.
After an hour, we stop on
a narrow point of land and
have lunch. While eating
we look up into the trees at
an eagles nest thats nearly as big as a dumpster.
Other years weve seen
baby eagles, but this trip it
looks empty.
Our progress is leisurely,
as I snap photos. The best
shots, as is often the case,
will be the ones where I
face toward the sun catching the special illumination of backlight that

kellys
deer processinG

Dave Foley | Special to the Cadillac News

A kayaker gets an up close look at the colors in the backwaters of


the Tippy Dam.
makes it appears as though
the leaves are the source of
the light.
We end our paddle outing going upstream pushing against the gentle current as we make our way
back to Red Bridge and our
car.
Within a week the leaves
would be down. And I

know thats how it will


probably be again this
year. Soon that north wind
is going to start putting
some bite in the air, and
you can be sure theres
cold rains coming our
way and maybe even some
snow. Autumn in northern
Michigan is too short to
waste. Get out and enjoy it.

Good luck
hunters!

home of Jerky for the troops

Bring this ad in for $25 off our kelly cut for youth hunt only!!
Road Big Rapids, MI 231-796-5414
email: info@kellydeerprocessing.com www.kellysdeerprocessing.com