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2018 SPRING EDITION www.michiganoutofdoors.com www.michiganoutofdoors.com MICHIGAN’S PREMIUM OUTDOOR JOURNAL SINCE
2018 SPRING EDITION
www.michiganoutofdoors.com
www.michiganoutofdoors.com
MICHIGAN’S PREMIUM OUTDOOR JOURNAL SINCE 1947
Dreams of
Green &
Gold
Bass
++PLUS++
Suppressors
Steelhead
Turkeys
Shed hunting
Bluegill
Trout
High-fence deer
$5.99 US | Spring 2018
Please Display Until June 1
Official Publication of Michigan United Conservation Clubs

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When you plant the seed of conservation, you never know what might grow. Find a
When you plant the
seed of conservation,
you never know what
might grow.
Find a VOLUNTEER WILDLIFE HABITAT project near you and sign up at
www.mucc.org/ontheground

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SPRING 2018 SPRING 2018 VOLUME 72, ISSUE 2
SPRING 2018
SPRING 2018
VOLUME 72, ISSUE 2

contents

SPRING 2018 SPRING 2018 VOLUME 72, ISSUE 2 contents 7 DIRECTOR'S DESK 8 ON PATROL 12

7

DIRECTOR'S DESK

8

ON PATROL

12

AROUND MICHIGAN

14

CONSERVATION NATION

16

ENDING THE SILENCE ON SUPPRESSORS

20

THE PERSISTENT PROBLEM OF CAPTIVE DEER

CHRIS LAMPHERE DARREN WARNER

FISH

26

DREAMS OF GREEN AND GOLD

NOAH O'REILLY

30

PRE-SPAWN GILLS

DAVID ROSE

32

A FULL CIRCLE OF STEEL

CALVIN MCSHANE

36

AFTER DARK

BLAKE SHERBURNE

42

SMALL STREAMS CAN OFFER BIG REWARDS

ANDY DUFFY

TURKEY

54

BAGGING THE BOSS

JASON HERBERT

58

ATTENTION: CALLING ALL TURKEYS

DARIN POTTER

62

LIL' MISS BECOMES A WIDOW

MATT MCQUEEN

64

THE LADY AND THE SWAMP GOBBLER

TOM LOUNSBURY

DEER

68

THE PRECARIOUS LIFE OF A NEWBORN FAWN

JOHN OZOGA

72

THE STORIES WINTER'S THAW CAN TELL

MIKE MALLORY

76

FULL DRAW: THE END OR THE BEGINNING?

TOM NELSON

MISC. AND STAFF REPORTS

78

A LATE-SEASON SMACKDOWN

NICK GREEN

82

THE THAW

CALVIN MCSHANE

85

FINDING THE SILVER LINING IN A FAILED HUNT TEST

SARA CHISNELL

88

PICKING THE RIGHT PUPPY

TIM LINTZ

90

EDUCATION CORNER: OTG JR. GEARS UP FOR YEAR TWO

SHAUN MCKEON

94

THROWBACK: A POND'S STORY

ADAM CARL

96

ONE LAST CAST

NICK GREEN

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b A secamp

Nick Green, Editor

WELCOME TO MICHIGAN OUT-OF-DOORS

MICHIGAN'S PREMIUM OUTDOOR JOURNAL

Spring is a time of rejuvenation: We shake off winter’s grip, watch the landscape around us go through Mother Nature’s transition and set our sights on the outdoor pursuits for the year ahead. We must also reflect on what has and hasn’t worked for us in the past, heed those lessons and commit to putting our best foot forward in our future endeavors. Michigan Out-of-Doors is no exception. Everything in our outdoor world is transitioning, much like the changing of a season. In January, Bonnier Publishing announced the slashing of 70-plus jobs, most of which were editor and staff positions for Field & Stream and Outdoor Life — two of the heavyweights in outdoor publications. Publication schedules also scaled back for the two magazines. We don’t live in a world where print is dying; we live in a world where print is evolving. Those publications had become predictable and comfortable. This is something we can’t afford to have happen at Michigan Out-of-Doors. Too many of us have something invested in the outdoor stories that are the very fiber of our being. I’ve learned more than I thought I would ever care to know about what makes a magazine tick — the ever- flowing deadlines (an oxymoron, I know), the difficulty of soliciting advertising, how to try and bring the best out of each writer and the difficulty that comes with laying out a 100-page magazine. However, I won’t stop learning or pushing the envelope of the magazine that we all love. We strive at Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Michigan Out-of-Doors to tell your story, advocate on your behalf and educate those who aren’t like us to help them understand the importance of hunters, anglers and trappers in the natural resources world. I need your voice to help guide the direction of the magazine. I want to know what your thoughts about the magazine are, where you see its place in Michigan’s outdoor pursuits and how we can better serve you as a reader. Feel free to email me at editor@ michiganoutofdoors.com. The spring 2018 edition represents, what I believe to be, the best writing our magazine has featured in a decade. We dug into “newsy” topics a little deeper, new writers brought a skill level to the table that will force the status quo to change and this edition features stories that are both entertaining and thought-provoking.

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and thought-provoking. Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 5 The view from one of the editor's favorite stretches

The view from one of the editor's favorite stretches of river to fish early-season mayfly hatches.

In this issue, Chris Lamphere examines the mystery

surrounding suppressors in Michigan — both for recreational use and hunting. Calvin McShane brings his own brand of philosophical writing to life as we envision the obsession that fuels his Yooper pursuits. Finally, Matt McQueen makes us laugh with a fictional turkey hunting story that I hope isn’t a familiar one. We are excited to resurrect and re-establish a column from John Ozoga, one of the most influential voices in Michigan’s deer biology. Ozoga’s writing is unique — it is scientific, yet easy to understand. He doesn’t use the usual jargon that makes the normal person’s head spin. Michigan Out-of-Doors is honored to feature Ozoga’s writing moving forward.

Shed hunting, fishing in the dark, turkey hunting and the silver lining of a failed hunt test round out this spring’s issue. The aforementioned thoughts aren’t a precursor to Michigan Out-of-Doors’ wavering. We are as strong as we have been in years, and that isn’t going to change under my watch. We must remember, though, to not become complacent, comfortable and predictable.

A time of transition is upon us. Let us embrace it,

discuss it, learn from it and become a better version of ourselves than before. Enjoy your spring and outdoor endeavors. I will enjoy mine — I see a large brown trout engulfing my dry fly in the near future.

Yours in conservation,

mine — I see a large brown trout engulfing my dry fly in the near future.

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8:02:07 AM

DEAR EDITOR, MOMENTS of MEMORY Just finished reading my fall edition of Michigan Out-of-Doors, and
DEAR EDITOR,
MOMENTS of MEMORY
Just finished reading my fall edition
of Michigan Out-of-Doors, and
wanted to get The with bedrock you on of the conservation new is taking care of our natural resources so that they can be passed down to
design of the future magazine. generations. The natural resources that we conserve today were conserved for us by generations of
conservationists preceding us, and these generations are ever changing, ever flowing. Here we honor the passing
Call me old school, but I enjoyed
the magazine better the old way.
When I normally read the mag-
azine its from cover to cover,
although my passion is mostly deer
of one generation of conservationists to the next.
In memory of
Thomas Pringle
hunting ,and fishing I enjoy reading
about some of the other passions
from
Jerry & Constance Thompson, Daniel & Penny Atkinson, Perry & Amada Ragon, Tom & Becky
as well.
Thompson and Dansville Schools
And I liked it better with the shorter
stories that I could read in just a
few minutes in the morning before I
head off to work.
In memory of
John Duve
I do like the larger print now that
the years have been added to my
birth date, and the eyes don't do
so well. But that could be obtained
by reducing the picture sizes. I have
been reading the magazine for
probably over 40 years now, and
hunting, and fishing the out doors
for probably 10 years more than
from
Friends from Bendle
In memory of
Benjamin Brush
from
that, and The still Bear find them Hunter's both to Friends: be Paul, Ken, Drew, Jeff, Denny, George, Bowjam, Tim, Chris and Alan.
refreshing, and The joyful. money I also from liked this Moments of Memory went to Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp.
the smaller paper size of the old
magazine, and soft covers for this
allowed you to fold the pages and
hold it in one had comfortably. I
know I'm only one person and like
your final story different from all
In memory of
Bob Schmitzer
from
azine others, much John but I better. really & Marsha like And the truly Kaczynski, old agree mag- Jane Rogner, Robert Burk, Al Pavlicek, Dave Zehnder, Eugene & Anne
to Hunt Your Own Hunt. Schiefer, Jerry & Karen Thompson, Mike & Debbie Varley and Jill Ritter
But do it ethically and honestly.
Sincerely, DeLoy C. Clark
Muckegon, MI
If you have recently lost someone you would like to honor here,
please contact Sue Pride at spride@mucc.org.
DEAR SIR,
Having recently finished reading the
new format magazine, my first im-
pression in a word is "slick". Upon

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LIFE MEMBER Thank you to the following conservationists who have made a lifetime commitment to
LIFE MEMBER
Thank you to the following conservationists who have made a lifetime
commitment to conserving, protecting and enhancing Michigan's
natural resources and outdoor heritage by becoming Life Members
of Michigan United Conservation Clubs:
Dennis Pace of Dimondale, Michigan
If you are willing and able to make a lifetime commitment to conservation, you can become a Life Member of
Michigan United Conservation Clubs with a $500 contribution to the organization.
Life members receive a lifetime subscription to Michigan Out-of-Doors, a Life Member MUCC ballcap,
a Life Member patch and a certificate commemorating your commitment to conservation.
Contact Sue Pride at spride@mucc.org or visit www.mucc.org/join_mucc and select "Life Membership."

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PUBLISHER DAN EICHINGER

EDITOR Nick Green editor@michiganoutofdoors.com

ART DESIGN & TEMPLATE SOLO 71 / DAVE BEHM

ADVERTISING

AMBER ALBERT

sales@mucc.org

PRESIDENT THOMAS HERITIER

IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT RON BURRIS

VICE PRESIDENT GEORGE LINDQUIST

TREASURER

JIM DECLERCK

BOARD OF DIRECTORS TREVOR HODGES BILL MALLOCH JANE FINNERTY CAROL ROSE DAWN LEVEY CHUCK HOOVER FRAN YEAGER KRIS MATTHEW GREG PETER BRUCE LEVEY DOUG KRIZANIC

Michigan Out-of-Doors (ISSN 0026-2382) is the official publication of Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), 2101 Wood St., Lansing

MI 48912, and is published quarterly. Telephone: 517.371.1041.

Receipt of this publication is through membership in MUCC. For membership information, call 1.800.777.6720. Single copies available

to the public for $5.99 each. Periodicals postage paid at Lansing,

Michigan, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Michigan Out-of-Doors, PO Box 30235, Lansing MI 48909.

All advertising communications should be sent to PO Box 30235.

Views expressed by freelance writers are their own and do not nec- essarily express those of Michigan Out-of-Doors or Michigan United Conservation Clubs. Copyright 2017 by Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC). The Copyright Act of 1976 prohibits the reproduction of Michigan Out-of-Doors without written permission from Michigan United Conservation Clubs. MUCC members may reproduce one copy for personal use without permission. For permission to reprint a specific article, and for inquiries, contact the editor at editor@michiganoutof- doors.com.

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 8
Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd
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doors.com. Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 8 Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) is a 501(c)(3)

Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1937 by sportsmen clubs from around Michigan to protect conservation from politics. Representing over 50,000 members and supporters and approximately 250 affiliated conservation clubs, MUCC is the largest state-based conservation organization in the nation. MUCC members determine its conservation policies through a robust grassroots process, which MUCC staff works to implement by working with elected officials, state and federal agencies, its members and the public. MUCC has published Michigan Out-of-Doors since 1947 and operates the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp in Chelsea, MI. Learn more about the full range of programs MUCC uses to advance conservation in Michigan and become a member at www.mucc.org.

MUCC Staff

DAN EICHINGER

AMY TROTTER

Executive Director

Deputy Director

deichinger@mucc.org

atrotter@mucc.org

NICK GREEN Public Information Officer ngreen@mucc.org

LOGAN SCHULTZ Digital Media Coordinator lschultz@mucc.org

ANNA MITTERLING

SHAUN MCKEON

Wildlife Co-op Coordinator

Education Director

amitterling@mucc.org

smckeon@mucc.org

SARAH TOPP Wildlife Volunteer Coordinator stopp@mucc.org

AMBER ALBERT Membership Coordinator aalbert@mucc.org

TYLER BUTLER Youth Camp Director tbutler@mucc.org

SUE PRIDE Membership Relations & Tracks Coordinator spride@mucc.org

ASHLEY BUR Policy Assistant and Gourmet Gone Wild Director abur@mucc.org

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Rights and Privileges

Director's Desk

Dan Eichinger, Executive Director

I have wondered whether doing so is really in the best long-term interest of hunting and fishing.

When I think about hunting and fishing as a

We talk an awful lot about our hunting and fishing heritage, our responsibilities as stewards of our natural resources and the importance of passing these traditions on to future generations. A lot of times, we talk about hunting and fishing in terms of being a right here in Michigan. We all instinctively understand what a right is — it’s something that we are entitled to solely by virtue of our citizenship. In a legal sense, rights are granted by the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Michigan. Hunting and fishing are not recognized as rights in either of these documents, presently. Every year, there is some discussion around Lansing about enshrining our rights to hunt and fish in Michigan’s constitution as a way to forestall attacks by the antis, and there are good arguments to be made in favor of doing so. There are some risks, too, but the point of this column is not to dive into that debate at the moment. Rather, it is to explore the concepts of rights and privileges as it relates to hunting and fishing. I am guilty, as some of you may be, of describing hunting and fishing as rights. I certainly feel as though they should be; that I, by virtue of my citizenship, have a right to enjoy the plentiful, renewable resources that are our fish and game. In doing so, I have hoped to create a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. If I call it a right often enough and treat hunting and angling as such, it would be self-evident by the non-hunting public. But recently,

privilege, my whole attitude about those activities changes. Privileges, as we all know, are things we are allowed to do and that can be taken away, as I am quick to remind my children. When I think about hunting and fishing as a privilege, I have to acknowledge that my ability to do so can be taken away. This, of course, is the reality we confront here in Michigan. Hunting and fishing can be taken away from us. It compels one to think even more about the perception of their activities, their duties as an ethical sportsmen and the important role ambassadorship plays in how we conduct and represent ourselves as members of the hunting and fishing society here in Michigan. If we construct in our minds that hunting and fishing are rights, I fear it can make us lazy in these supremely important responsibilities. We act as though it doesn’t matter how we do it because we have a right to do it anyway we want to. Some of us act that way, and some of us especially act that way in front of non-hunters. There may come a day when hunting and fishing are enshrined as rights here in Michigan, and I would certainly welcome that day. But I have chosen, and encourage many of you to do so as well, to never think of them that way. I encourage you to view hunting and fishing as activities that I have been given the privilege to do. If we act like this is a privilege, everyone else will

treat it like it's a right.

MUCC Executive Director Dan Eichinger and his son, Peyton, wait patiently for a deer to walk by their hunting blind during firearm deer season. Eichinger instills in his children the importance of hunting as a privilege, not a right.

the importance of hunting as a privilege, not a right. Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 9 Spring

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ON

PATROL

In each issue of Michigan Out-of-Doors we highlight some of the recent cases our brave Michigan Deparartment of Natural Resources conservation officers handle. You don't want to find yourself on this list.

handle. You don't want to find yourself on this list . December 31, 2017 through January

December 31, 2017 through January 13,

investigation he conducted this fall. CO Lynch had received a complaint of a spike-horn deer ille- gally taken. He obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s residence. The search turned up evidence of the illegal deer and marijuana. Interviews were conducted. The deer, rifle, and marijuana were seized, and a report was turned

new 2017 trail permit was observed

2018

in his wallet along with his 2018 trail permit. When asked, the operator stated it was too cold last year. The operator was not displaying

It's a snow burn

 

Conservation Officer (CO) Brian Lasanen assisted the Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Department with a snowmobile that caught fire. By the time the officers arrived, the fire was out and the only thing left of the snow- mobile was the frame and engine block. The owner/operator was uninjured.

a

registration on his machine, either.

When asked about his registration,

he could not provide proof, but stated

it

The VIN# on the snowmobile was covered by his custom wrap.

was registered in Wisconsin.

in

to the prosecutor’s office.

A four-count arrest warrant was put out for the suspect including the following violations: taking

After a lengthy investigation, it was determined that the operator had two valid warrants for snowmobile violations in Marquette County from

a

deer with rifle during a closed

 

season, taking a deer without a license, possession of marijuana and discharge of a firearm within the safety zone. The subject was arrested and lodged in the Delta County Jail. The suspect was sentenced to $2,450 in fines and restitution, five days in jail, hunting privileges revoked for five years, including the current year, and the firearm used was condemned.

Snowmobiling mishaps

 

2003.

Be careful with your dogs

 

Enforcement action was taken along with a significant amount of

CO Shannon Kritz responded to a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint about a subject who let his dogs out of his house before checking to see if there were any deer in his yard. The dogs chased a young deer causing it to run into a fence and injure itself. The deer had to be dispatched because of injuries. Enforcement action was taken on the individual for dogs chasing wildlife and the deer was given to a family in need.

High and out of season

bond.

High speed snowmobile chase

Sgt. Mark DePew was working snowmobile activity when he observed a snowmobile travel through an intersection at approx- imately 15 mph and operating in a careless manner. Sgt. DePew pulled from his posi- tion and began pursuing the snow- mobile southbound onto US 27 in his fully-marked patrol unit with his emergency lights and siren activated. During the 20-mile pursuit, the suspect crossed 17 public roadways at speeds of over 90 mph. The suspect was apprehended by Sgt. DePew and

While participating in a group snowmobile patrol in Grand Marais, CO Brett Gustafson contacted a snowmobile operator after he was observed not displaying a snowmo- bile trail permit. The operator stated that it was “too cold” to put it on his snowmo-

CO

Chris

Lynch

received

the

disposition

back

from

an

bile. When he opened his wallet, a

COs Nathan Sink and Kyle Cherry.

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The

suspect

was

charged

with

a

anglers, one of them advised CO Neal his ticket from the last year had been taken care of and this year should be a “gimme” year. CO Neal asked the anglers how many tip-ups they had out and they advised, “maybe seven or eight.” CO Neal could see ten tip-ups from where he was standing, and after a short walk, found a couple more. The anglers were cited for fishing with too many lines a second year in a row.

CO Page, after yelling to the subject and tapping him on the shoulder, was unable to get a response. CO Page then gave the subject

felony

and

lodged

in

the

Otsego

County Jail.

 

Don't be wasteful

 

sternum rub, and at that time, the subject became conscious and stood

a

CO Josiah Killingbeck was checking an ice shanty on a local lake near Irons when he detected the odor of marijuana. CO Killingbeck asked the subjects if anyone had a medical marijuana card, to which they replied no. The subjects told CO Killingbeck that they had found the pipe and marijuana lying on the ice nearby and did not want the marijuana to go to waste. Enforcement action was taken.

up from the snow bank. CO Page detected a strong odor of intoxicants and obvious signs of intoxication. The subject was unwilling to provide CO Page with

any background on how he got to the access site or whom he was with. The subject refused to be checked

DUI on a UTV

out

by medics and was then arrested

and lodged for outstanding warrants

CO Steve Lockwood and Probationary CO Amanda McCurdy noticed a side-by-side ORV with an expired registration operating down the middle of a Gladwin County road. By the time they were able to turn around the patrol vehicle and catch up to the ORV, it had turned onto a Michigan highway and continued down the middle of the highway. The operator was very slow to respond to the emergency lights and siren from the patrol vehicle. When the female operator finally noticed the signals to stop, she pulled to the side of the road and immediately threw a beer can out of the ORV. During the course of the inves- tigation, it was discovered that the operator was driving on a suspended license, as well as operating while intoxicated (OWI). The operator was arrested and lodged in the Gladwin County Jail. Due to numerous priors, she was charged with felony OWI.

out

of Kalamazoo County.

First, okay, maybe second time

They caught a break

 

CO Brian Brosky was working private property in Mason County for snowmobile trespassing when he observed four snowmobiles fail to stop at a stop sign and enter onto a roadway at a high rate of speed. CO Brosky caught up to them over a mile away when they ended up at a cabin along the Pere Marquette River. When the CO made contact with them and asked why they didn’t stop, they claimed they never saw the CO with his emergency lights. One of the operators asked if the CO would be so kind as to give the operators a break for their violations. After CO Brosky advised them of all of the violations, which included oper- ating at an unreasonable speed, regis- tration paperwork violations, failing to stop before entering a roadway, failing to operate to the extreme right side and exceeding the posted 55 mile an hour speed limit, they were happy to receive a civil infraction ticket for careless operation.

CO Mike Drexler was on patrol in Sylvan Township when he observed a

pickup truck with a dog box in the bed parked in the roadway. CO Drexler pulled up next to the vehicle that was running just as

a

coyote hunter popped out of the

woods. The CO checked licenses and discovered the subject had a loaded and uncased firearm in the vehicle. The hunter swore to CO Drexler that it was the first time and he never leaves his firearm loaded in the vehicle. A computer check revealed the subject had been cited for possess loaded/uncased firearm in a motor vehicle twice before. Enforcement action was taken.

Thanks, son

Too cold for that, dude

 

CO Troy Ludwig contacted

CO Matt Page was flagged down by a concerned citizen in reference to a suspicious subject at a local lake access site. According to the citizen, the suspicious person was not dressed for the conditions and was wandering around the parking lot near vehicles. CO Page arrived on scene and observed a subject fitting the descrip- tion of the suspicious person lying unconscious in a snow bank. The temperature at the time of contact was approximately 10 degrees.

a

hunter after finding a deer

with tagging irregularities while performing a taxidermy inspection. When questioned, the hunter admitted to taking the deer and

Two years in a row? Really?

 

tagging it with his father’s kill tag. Enforcement action was taken.

CO Craig Neal was patrolling Crooked Lake in Missaukee County when he noticed a shanty in a similar location to where he located anglers fishing with too many lines the previous year. While talking with the three

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Subscribe, become a member and get MUCC and Michigan Out-of-Doors gear at www.mucc.org and www.michiganoutofdoors.com

gear at www.mucc.org and www.michiganoutofdoors.com Get Michigan Out-of-Doors by becoming a member of Michigan

Get Michigan Out-of-Doors by becoming a member of Michigan United Conservation Clubs

Visit www.mucc.org/join_mucc or Call Sue Pride at 517.371.1041

Affiliate Club members: Ask the person at your club who handles membership about subscribing to the print edition for a discounted rate.

10 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

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MUCC's OTG ("On the Ground") program is in its

sixth year, with multiple projects planned across

all ages and experience levels to participate

in "on the ground" public land wildlife habitat projects and provide an opportunity to engage in hands-on conservation while learning about wildlife habitat needs.

MU

sixth

all

On Saturday, March 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., volunteers will be meeting at the Dansville State Game Area Shooting Range to complete a wild- life habitat improvement project. Volunteers will be improving hunter access trails and building brush piles for rabbitat — please RSVP to volun- teer! On March 24 and 25, MUCC’s On the Ground program and the Heavy Equipment Re- sponse Coalition are offering a Chainsaw Safety Training course for all experience levels — from no sawyer experience to advanced. The course will be hosted at the Hal & Jean Glassen building at the Rose Lake Shooting Range and will begin at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Sessions are expected to go until 4 p.m. on both days. Reg- istration is required.

On Saturday, April 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., volunteers will continue wildlife habitat improve- ments in the Keeler State Game Area by building brush piles for rabbitat. This project has been com- pleted in the region each year since the start of the program in 2013. Then, on Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., volunteers will be plant- ing 300 tree seedlings in three-gallon pots at the Crane Pond SGA DNR Field Office. These trees will be monitored and cared for until they are large enough to plant in wildlife openings in the area to provide browse and thermal cover for the area’s wildlife.

area to provide browse and thermal cover for the area’s wildlife. Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 13
area to provide browse and thermal cover for the area’s wildlife. Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 13

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Around MICHIGAN

CONSERVATION NEWS FROM TWO PENINSULAS AND FOUR GREAT LAKES

Some Gander Mountain stores reopening as Gander Outdoors in Michigan

Annalise Frank, Crain's Detroit Business

12 |

Several Gander Mountain stores are reopening as Gander Outdoors after Marcus Lemonis of the CNBC business turnaround show "The

Profit" bought the company's assets in bankruptcy court. The outdoor retailer's Utica location on Hall Road reopened in mid-December and one in Port Huron is expected for May, according to a press release. Stores in Traverse City, Saginaw, Flint, Kalamazoo, Marquette and Coldwater are to reopen in spring.

are currently pursuing

other locations for reopening and expansion and expect to announce additional locations and markets in the coming weeks," Lemonis said in the release. A manager at the Gander Outdoors Utica location declined to comment and messages left with corporate representatives weren't immediately returned. Lemonis' Camping World Holdings Inc. — Lincolnshire, Ill.- based outdoor and sporting retailer — purchased "certain assets" of Gander Mountain Co. in May, the release said. Gander Outdoors will continue to focus on hunting, camping, fishing and other outdoor sports. St. Paul, Minn.-based Gander Mountain and subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March due to challenges from lack of traffic, shifting customer demand and the success of e-commerce, the company said in its news release at the time. The company had approxi- mately 162 stores in 27 states. It

We "

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wasn't immediately clear how many of those are to reopen.

'Hunter pink' memo riles Michigan outdoorswomen

Emily Lawler, MLive

LANSING, MI - A picture of comments submitted in favor of legislation allowing Michigan hunters to wear pink has gone viral on Twitter and offended some, including sportswomen. The hullabaloo started over a re-introduced bill that would let Michigan hunters wear "hunter pink" instead of the traditional "blaze orange" required in the woods for hunter safety. The idea first came up last session, when then-Rep. Lisa Lyons, a hunter herself, introduced it. But that bill ended up leaving the decision to the Natural Resources Commission, which shot it down. Rep. Steven Johnson, R-Wayland, took up the mantle with House Bill 5416, which would take the matter out of the hands of the Natural Resources Commission and legislatively declare hunter pink allowable. Johnson testified along with two citizen supporters of the idea in the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday. "It's a bill that gives people more options," Johnson told the committee. The bill is still in the committee process. But one of the things to come out of that hearing was a viral photo of some language distributed to lawmakers. It was tweeted out by Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, who is not on the committee but received the memo from a colleague. The memo reads, in part:

" - Using pink makes women

feel more welcome and included

in a sport that's always been male-dominated

- Women prefer to always look

and feel attractive (even while

hunting), having pink as and option can help with any insecurities over what they are wearing.

- When a woman walks into a

hunting apparel retailer and can

see a section of pink, she can imme- diately identify that section of the store is specifically for her

- Pink is color that can immedi-

ately identify a female, women don't want to be mistaken as a man, even from a distance in the woods" Moss said he made the memo public because it was offensive. He voted against the hunter pink bill last session, because he didn't think the legislature should be spending time on it. "Last year it was silly. Now it's gone from silly to offensive," Moss said. "I don't think a bunch of men need to tell women what they should wear to make themselves feel attrac- tive while out in the woods hunting." Drew Born, who runs an outdoors website, turned the memo in. He's surprised at the attention it's gotten, and said it was only offensive when taken out of context. "The funny thing is I wrote that with a woman friend of mine and it was more of just my talking points I was going to discuss," Born said. He said the best argument is the safety argument. It's a hunter recruitment tool, he said, and also pink is easier to identify than orange in some situations, like when leaves are turning. Johnson said the handout did not come from him, but was submitted by a private citizen. His office did not review it. Asked if he agreed with any of the points in the memo, Johnson said he had not read

it.

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8:02:15 AM

But when it was posted on the internet, some women rejected the memo's contents. Comedian Chelsea Handler mocked it. Stephanie Ray, a Michigan hunter who has followed the issue of hunter pink and runs a popular Instagram account, said the memo was degrading. It takes the focus off the reasons women hunt, she said, like filling the freezer and a love of the sport. "I am by no means glamorous when hunting; if it's cold, my nose is running. If I harvest an animal with fur, my eyes are swollen, I'm sneezing, and probably using an inhaler. If it's cold, my nose is red and my eyes are watering. But I love it - I'm not out there to look 'cute,' I'm out there for the love of the sport and to achieve the goals I have set," Ray said. She said she would prefer manu- facturer's make men's clothing in smaller sizes, as she's almost always disappointed in the selection avail- able in the women's section. "Those comments paint the picture that female hunters want blaze pink so they can 'look cute' and 'feel confident.' Confidence is built around hours of practice, mental rehearsal, experience, and the desire and drive to achieve your goals; not because of your blaze pink hat you bought in the women's section," Ray said. The bill is still pending in the House Natural Resources Committee. It would need to pass the full House and Senate and earn a signature from Gov. Rick Snyder to become law.

MUCC's Stance

Michigan United Conservation Clubs opposes the bill and believes that the decision to allow hunter pink should be decided by the Natural Resources Commission. In addition, there is no interna- tional or OSHA standard for hunter pink, and the Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division concluded in September that there are currently no safe alternatives to hunter orange.

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Is a Sandhill Crane hunt coming?

Lara Moehlman, Michigan Public Radio

Right now, it’s illegal in the state of Michigan to hunt the sandhill crane, the state’s largest and oldest bird. But a proposal to hunt the species within the state is gaining traction and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says if the state of Michigan asks, it will grant permission to hunt the bird. Michigan would join 15 other states that currently allow sandhill crane hunting. In these states, hunting requires both a state and federal license. Detroit Free Press reporter Keith Matheny has been following this proposal closely. He explains Michigan is part of a “flyway” that’s home to the eastern population of sandhill cranes, a population that’s been smaller in size for a while. The species was almost hunted into extinction in the early 20th century in Michigan, but now, Matheny reports, it’s “making a rebound.” According to Matheny, because the sandhill crane is a migratory bird, it falls under the umbrella of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, meaning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has the final word on whether or not the population can be hunted. “Because the population has rebounded to a point that they believe it can sustain hunting, basi- cally any state along this flyway that asks will be able to hunt it,” Matheny said. In Michigan, Matheny said the Michigan United Conservation Clubs have been pushing for the legalization of sandhill crane hunting. The state House of Representatives passed a resolution supporting hunting the sandhill crane this past fall. The state’s Natural Resources Commission has not yet considered the resolution, but according to Matheny there’s “some indication that there is support for a hunt at the DNR level.”

While the Department of

Natural Resource’s official position is neutral on this issue, Matheny says emails obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveal otherwise, with private emails between staff openly advocating for hunting the sandhill crane. Some support the hunt for agri- cultural purposes. Some farmers, for instance, say the bird uproots young corn shoots in the spring to eat the kernels. “There is a federal program where hunters that are experi- encing a nuisance from these birds can get a permit now to shoot them,” Matheny said. “You actually can eat them after you shoot them when you kill them with this permit, but that permit use in Michigan has been

pretty limited. It’s under 80 permits as of last count, have been used in

a

year.”

When the state House was considering the resolution to support a hunt, James Lower,

R-Cedar Lake, presented a photo of

a

farmer’s tractor surrounded by

what looked like hundreds of birds. He argued this photo was an accu- rate representation of the nuisance the sandhill crane poses to farmers. “Well, turns out that photo came from a USDA report and it was a photo from Israel, not Michigan,” Matheny said. “The birds were another type of crane, not sandhill cranes, and that tractor in the photo was there to feed them, which is why they were crowding around, the idea being if we feed them in this location, maybe they’ll leave our crops alone.” For now, the state is waiting on a decision from the Natural Resources Commission, which says it’s currently looking for more information on what problems

farmers are having and what poten-

tial alternatives there are to a hunt

in

an effort to mitigate agricultural

problems caused by the sandhill crane. “If it’s approved at the state level, it will then have to go through this federal process,” Matheny said.

“But my reporting’s indicated that

federal process will be more or less

a rubber stamp allowing a hunt.”

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Conservation Nation

CONSERVATION NEWS FROM THE REST OF THE COUNTRY

Ducks Unlimited recognizes World Wetlands Day

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – On Feb. 1, 2018, cities across the world cele- brated World Wetlands Day (WWD), and Ducks Unlimited (DU) added its voice to raise awareness of this important day. Since 1937, DU has conserved more than 14 million acres of wetlands and associated habitats across North America. On average, DU and its many partners help conserve more than 250,000 acres per year. WWD marks the signing of the Convention on Wetlands on Feb. 2, 1971, in Ramsar, Iran. Each year since 1997, government agencies, non-governmental organizations and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and the Ramsar Convention. “Ducks Unlimited focuses on conserving wetlands to maintain healthy waterfowl populations, but the state of our wetlands affects everyone in many ways,” said Ducks Unlimited Chief Conservation Officer Nick Wiley. DU’s conservation projects provide habitat for more than 900 species of wildlife. People also benefit from healthy wetlands and grasslands, which provide flood absorption, community resilience, clean water, recreational opportu- nities and fisheries resources. And while people across the globe rely on wetlands to help provide clean water, in the last 50 years the United States alone has lost more than 17 million acres of wetlands. “World Wetlands Day is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the threats wetlands face and how they

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are important. Every day, however, is wetlands day at Ducks Unlimited, and without the support of great, conservation-minded partners our work would certainly be limited,” Wiley said. Economists estimate that one acre of wetlands can provide up to $200,000 worth of benefits to people. Nearly 44 percent of America’s popu- lation regularly depends on ground- water for its drinking water supply, not to mention the health benefits of wetlands. Wetlands in or near urban areas are the focus of this year’s WWD theme. Parks, ponds and near-urban wildlife refuges provide important opportunities for people to spend time outdoors in a healthy, natural setting. For more information about World Wetlands Day, visit www. worldwetlandsday.org.

Leading Conservationist Joins National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation, America’s largest conservation orga- nization with 51 state and territorial affiliates and more than six million members, today announced that Laura Daniel Davis will serve as Vice President for Conservation Strategy. Davis comes to the National Wildlife Federation with more than two decades of public policy and government experience focused on conservation and natural resource issues. She served as Chief of Staff under Secretaries of the Interior Ken Salazar (2011-2013) and Sally Jewell (2013-2014), after serving Salazar as Associate Deputy Secretary (2009-2010). In the 1990s, she held a

variety of leadership roles at the Department of the Interior under

Secretary Bruce Babbitt. She also served as a top advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colorado). Most recently, Davis has led the Heritage Outdoors Project of the Resources Legacy Fund, which works with conserva- tion organizations to preserve and protect public lands and wildlife. “Laura is among the most visionary and effective conservation- ists of our time,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Throughout her time at Interior, on the Hill, and in the non-profit sector, she has always found innovative ways to bring people together, find common- sense solutions, and accomplish big things for conservation. We could not be more excited to have Laura join the Federation family at this critical time for conservation.” Davis will lead the National Wildlife Federation’s overarching federal strategy to advance key prior- ities established in its new strategic plan, including increasing America’s wildlife populations, improving federal management of public lands, encouraging conservation on private lands, and restoring America’s waterways. At this time of partisan gridlock, Davis will significantly expand the Federation’s reach and ability to achieve bipartisan conser- vation victories in the Congress and within the Administration. “For decades, the National Wildlife Federation has brought Republicans and Democrats together to advance wildlife conservation across America. Now, more than ever, we need to create new oppor- tunities for those passionate about protecting our natural resources to work across the aisle for common

sense solutions,” said Davis.

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S ometimes, it seems that sportsmen can’t agree on anything; think slot limits, antler point

S ometimes, it seems that sportsmen can’t agree on

anything; think slot limits, antler point restrictions, chumming, gear restrictions, you name it. One thing we can agree on, though, is that Asian carp cannot be allowed to invade the Great Lakes. In December, 50 hunting, angling, conservation and outdoor industry organizations submitted public comments in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) Tentatively Selected Plan (plan) to improve defenses at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The stakes couldn’t be higher. In June 2017, a live silver carp was found in the Chicago Area Waterway System just nine miles from Lake Michigan – and on the Lake Michigan side of the existing electrical barriers designed to deter them. Just a few months earlier, the United State Geological Survey (USGS) released a report analyzing food availability (like algae) for Asian carp in Lake Michigan, which predicted they would find ample food within at least the mile closest to the shoreline and in bays, inlets, and connected river mouths, allowing access to connected inland waters. The Brandon Road Lock and Dam — near Joliet, Illinois, and below the Chicago Area Waterway System — is a choke point with the potential to reduce the risk of the invasive Asian carp from swimming directly into Lake Michigan. The Corps’ draft plan – released in August, 2017 after an unexpected delay by the Trump

50 Sportsmen’s Groups Support Swift Action on Asian Carp Plan

Drew YoungDyke (NWF)

administration in February 2017 —

proposes a gauntlet of technologies

i including an electric barrier, water

j jets, complex sound and a flushing

l lock to reduce the risk that Asian

carp get through while still allowing navigation through the lock. The Corps held a series of public meet-

i ings on their plan in the Fall of 2017,

coinciding with a public comment

period which closed on December 8,

2017.

Tens of thousands of individual public comments were organized by a coalition of environmental groups, which also submitted formal comments, but what was unique about the sportsmen’s coalition letter was the breadth and focus of the organizations assembled, including large national organi- zations like the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), the Izaak Walton League of America and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation; state organizations like Michigan United Conservation Clubs and fellow NWF affiliates Minnesota Conservation Federation, Ohio Conservation Federation, Indiana Wildlife Federation and the Conservation Federation of Missouri; and smaller local groups like Anglers of the Au Sable and the Montmorency County Conservation Club, and local and state chapters of larger organizations. “The organizations submitting these comments represent millions of hunters, anglers and outdoor recreation enthusiasts across the nation, including those who support the Great Lakes $7-billion sport- fishery and even larger outdoor recreation industry,” said Marc Smith, Great Lakes conservation director for the National Wildlife Federation. “We understand that the Asian carp knocking on the door of the Great Lakes threaten our way of life, the economy we support and the fish and wildlife which support us.

While not perfect, the Army Corps of Engineers' Brandon Road plan is the best near-term option for keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. We cannot waste this opportunity to act.” While expressing support for the TSP, the groups in the letter also urge the Army Corps of Engineers to pursue full federal funding of the $275 million estimated cost, rather than require a local cost share, due to the national significance of the issue. Additionally, the groups iden- tify that Congress authorized the Corps to prevent aquatic invasive species transfer between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, and therefore, the Corps needs to continue pursuing a two-way solu- tion to preventing aquatic invasive species transfer. However, that pursuit should be simultaneous without diverting resources from moving ahead with the TSP. The groups also encourage the Corps to explore aquatic nuisance species (ANS) treatment technology that can be used in the locks, as well as continuing existing non-structural practices which reduce the Asian carp population below the lock and dam. “We need stronger controls in place now in order to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from continuing to swim closer to — and eventually into — the Great Lakes,” the groups state in their comments. “Without firm and swift action to stop the further movement of Asian carp and other invasive species, the future of hunting, fishing and our outdoor heritage in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River region is at risk.” The Corps issued a timeline with the release of the plan which estimates a final report in August 2019, at which point it will be up to Congress to approve and fund the project, with a construction comple- tion date of 2025 if there is no delay

in approval and funding.

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Ending the Silence on Suppressors By Chris Lamphere
Ending the
Silence on
Suppressors
By Chris Lamphere

Experts dispel rumors about firearm suppressor devices, discuss their potential to save hunters' hearing

I t’s a dramatic portrayal we’ve all witnessed countless times in television and movies — a mysterious, black-clad opera-

tive slinks through hostile territory, picking off unsuspecting foes one at a time using a pistol affixed with a muzzle silencer. Hollywood producers depict the gunfire as little more than a brief squeak, enabling the clandestine shooter to avoid detection by the enemy and complete their mission. It’s definitely entertaining, but

it’s not accurate. Silencers, known more formally as suppressors, became legal for private citizens to own in Michigan following a 2016 declaration by Attorney General Bill Schuette that

became legal for private citizens to own in Michigan following a 2016 declaration by Attorney General

mirrored federal changes in the law. Prior to the law change, indi- vidual county sheriffs in the states that allowed suppressor use deter- mined whether or not someone could obtain a permit. Depending on the personal opinions and political philosophies held by a sheriff, some would flat out refuse legitimate requests for a suppressor permit. Under the federal law change implemented by the Obama admin- istration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives now processes all suppressor permit applications, bypassing local sheriffs and their biases entirely. While this standardized the

process of obtaining a suppressor, it

also lengthened it and created some federal loopholes to jump through.

The red tape

ATF representative Rhonda Dahl said in order to obtain a suppressor permit, applicants must complete several steps. First, they must file an ATF Form 4 application (available on the ATF website), which includes photographs, fingerprint cards, and payment of a $200 transfer tax. Individuals purchasing a suppressor must undergo a FBI background check and obtain a special federal license to own such a

device. This is the same background

check performed on all prospective

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8:02:17 AM

buyers buyers by by feder federally licensed fire- arms dealers. arms dealers. Upon approval, the
buyers
buyers
by
by
feder
federally
licensed
fire-
arms dealers.
arms dealers.
Upon approval, the suppressor
Upon approva
is
is
transferred
transferred
from
fr
the
seller
to
the buyer. ATF
the buyer. ATF approval registers
the
th
suppressor
to
t the applicant in a
federal database.
fe
Dahl said it
takes
ta
four to six
months for the ATF to process a
months for the
transfer applicati
transfer application but suppressor
activists say this process can take
activists say this
much longer, up to 14 months.
much longer, up t
Dave
Dave
Wessell,
Wessell,
owner
of
Great
Guns, near Traverse City, said his
Guns, near Trave
customers
customers
ask
ask
questions about
the legalities of
the legalities of suppressor use in
Michigan every d
Michigan every day.
Great Guns is one of the few shops
Great Guns is o
in the area that sell suppressors.
in the area that se
Wessell Wessell
said said
a big reason for
this this is is because because unlike u other shops,
Great
Great Guns has
Guns
has
kiosk kiosk
on-site on-site
to to
a fingerprinting
allow suppressor
applicants applicants to to take take care of all the ATF
requirements requirements up-front, up- rather than
having having to to go go to to the th Grand Traverse
County County Sheriff’s Sheriff’s Office. O
Many Many
customers cu
have
complained complained
about abo
the inconve-
nience nience and and high high cost c of the process,
Wessell Wessell said, said, as as well w as the length of
time time it it takes takes for for ATF A to approve the
application. application.
Despite these obstacles, however,
interest in suppressor use is growing

throughout the country.

Suppressor sales exploding

Since the federal law change, sales of suppressors in the United States have more than doubled. Knox Williams, president of the American Suppressor Association, said in 2015 there were around 140,000 to 150,000 applications for a suppressor license. In the first six months of 2016 — the most recent data avail- able —there were around 300,000 applications. The two most common suppres- sors that people buy are for .22- and .30-caliber rifles. The average cost of a suppressor depends on the caliber and features that a user wants, but they generally range from $500 to $1,000, Williams said. Currently, 42 states allow private citizens to own suppressors, with the eight holdouts being Hawaii, California, Illinois, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Delaware. In 40 of the states that allow suppressor use, hunters can also use them in the field, with Vermont and Connecticut prohibiting this use. Williams said there are common myths associated with the use of

suppressors, chief among them that

they completely silence the weapon, contributing to fears about their use by mass shooters and poachers. Even with a suppressor, Williams said the noise emitted by a large-caliber firearm still is quite loud, resembling a “jackhammer hitting cement.” “You still absolutely hear the gunshot,” Williams said. “You have a controlled explosion happening right next to your face but (suppressor use) makes a big difference. It makes shooting a much more pleasant experience.” Williams also noted that suppres- sors reduce recoil, making them well suited for training purposes, as the shooter is able to focus more on fundamentals rather than antici- pating the discharge.

Hearing benefits of suppressor use

In most of the states where civilian suppressor use isn’t allowed, advocates are lobbying with legisla- tors to make them legal primarily on the basis of hearing safety. In March, 2017, the National Hearing Conservation Association’s Task Force on Prevention of Noise- Induced Hearing Loss from Firearm Noise stated that “using firearms equipped with suppressors” is one

of “several strategies (that) can

cont. pg.18

How Suppressors Work
How Suppressors Work

•High-level impulses are generated by a sudden release of high-pres- sure gases that accelerate the projectile •Pressure is reduced by coupling a chamber with larger volume to the end of a barrel •Baffles within the chamber act as a muffler

of a barrel •Baffles within the chamber act as a muffler Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors

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be employed to reduce the risk of acquiring NIHL and associ- ated tinnitus from firearm

be employed to reduce the risk of acquiring NIHL and associ- ated tinnitus from firearm noise exposure.” Michael Stewart, lifelong hunter and senior audiology professor at Central Michigan University, said widespread use of firearms for recreational pursuits is one of the leading causes of noise-induced hearing loss in the United States. Reports indicate that more than 70 percent of hunters never wear hearing protection while in the field and about half report not consis- tently wearing protection at the shooting range. Stewart said hearing loss and tinnitus can occur even after a single exposure, especially if that exposure occurs in an enclosed area, such as a hunting blind, which can increase the duration of the noise from 2-5 milliseconds to 70-100 milliseconds. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets a 140-decibel sound pressure level (SPL) threshold as the point at which sound can become harmful to hearing.

Small caliber rifles produce a peak decibel level from 140 to 145, while large-caliber rifles, pistols and shotguns have decibels ranges from 150 to 170. Stewart said suppressors don’t reduce the sound by as much as some of their advertisements claim but they have been found to lower SPL by 7 to 32 decibels, which on the high end is similar to the reduc- tion achieved by wearing personal hearing protection such as ear muffs or plugs. He said the use of subsonic ammunition with a suppressor maximizes the potential reduction in sound pressure. While not practical in the field, Stewart said subsonic ammunition is an adequate substitute for super- sonic ammunition at the shooting range. Another benefit of suppressor use at the range is the reduction in sound pollution that neighbors have to endure, Stewart added. Stewart concluded that the combined use of hearing protection devices, suppressors and subsonic

ammunition (when possible) is ideal

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for mitigating hearing loss from gunfire. He said this applies not only to hunters and target shooters, but military and police personal, as well. “The bottom line is that suppres- sors have the potential to save a lot of hearing,” Stewart said.

Use in hunting

In Michigan, there are no restrictions on the use of suppres- sors for hunting any game, any time of year, said Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division Lt. Tom Wanless. “As long as you have legal access to a suppressor, you can hunt with that suppressor,” Wanless said. Prevailing fears expressed by suppressor detractors that they would be used by poachers to take game more discretely have been found so far to be unfounded. Wanless said he’s unaware of any incidents involving poachers using suppressors, although he added it may be too early to

2/28/2018

8:02:21 AM

determine the potential for this happening in the future. “It may take a few more

determine the potential for this happening in the future. “It may take a few more years before we see more (suppressors) out there,” Wanless said. “So far, it doesn’t appear they have any impact on anything.” Stewart suggests hunters use both suppressors and personal hearing protection while in the field but some outdoorsmen have ques- tioned if they would be able to hear approaching game with ear plugs in.

Fortunately, Stewart said there are high-fidelity hearing protection devices available that let softer sounds through while blocking out the harmful sound pressure produced by the shot.

Future of suppressors in Michigan

Amy Trotter, deputy director of Michigan United Conservation Clubs, said a number of their members have expressed concerns about the use of suppressors, espe- cially pertaining to the rumors they would be used for poaching. To educate themselves on the facts about suppressors, members of MUCC met with conservation groups, the DNR and American Suppressor Association during a demonstration day. It quickly became apparent during the demonstration that suppressors don’t completely silence the fire — a misconception spread by some politicians in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas. As for the potential that suppressors could make the poach- er’s job easier, Trotter said they are very sensitive to this concern, which is why they lobbied to make

stricter penalties for illegally taking deer, basing the fine on the animal’s antler point count. MUCC officials, as well as the American Suppressor Association, have been advocating to ease over-regulation of the federal suppressor permitting process. Trotter said there is pending legislation to achieve this goal but with the unpredictable nature of national politics, it’s difficult to say when Congress will take the bill up for discussion and a vote. Trotter said their efforts to reduce the federal red tape asso- ciated with suppressor use came about as a result of grassroots interest by their members. She said any member who would like to contribute to the conver- sation about MUCC’s suppressor policy can email her at atrotter@

mucc.org.

mucc.org.
 
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Desperado Deer: The Persistent Problem of Captive Deer RunningWild By Darren Warner W hen 79-year-old
Desperado Deer:
The Persistent Problem of Captive
Deer RunningWild
By Darren Warner
W hen 79-year-old bowhunter
Frank Schmaltz (Leroy,
Michigan) first saw the
white-tailed buck with enormous
antlers eating off his bait pile, he
briefly questioned whether the
creature was just a figment of his
imagination. The Osceola County
hunter had seen few deer during
the 2017 archery season – certainly
nothing that came close to matching
the colossal buck with skyscrap-
er-reaching antlers standing next to
his bait – and he blinked a few times
to make sure the deer was real.
“It was about 3 in the after-
noon, and I was walking to my deer
blind when I saw him,” Schmaltz
him, but I only got to within 35 yards
from him before he took off. He was
mad that I interrupted him feeding.”
After emitting a couple snorts
and foot stomps, the deer bounded
away, leaving Schmaltz to think
about just how close he’d just come
to bagging the buck of a lifetime.
Amazingly, the retired mapping
photographer saw another monster
buck when he passed by a different
stand on his way home at dark.
Two days later, Schmaltz bagged
his lifetime buck – a 25-pointer,
including a 9-inch drop-tine, with
a 22 ¾-inch inside spread – and an
identification tag dangling from one
of its ears.
buck to a Michigan Department of
Natural Resources check station.
An investigation later revealed
the buck had escaped from a deer
breeding facility two miles away.
If you think this is an anomaly,
think again.
Ryan Soulard, a wildlife biolo-
gist and privately-owned cervidae
coordinator for the DNR, noted that
captive deer escaping into the wild
is an all-too-common occurrence.
“Last November [2017], over
a dozen facilities reported losing
deer,” Soulard said.
Keep in mind that’s just the
number of facilities that reported
losing deer in one month – not the
recounted. “I tried to sneak up on
An ear tag? Schmaltz took the
A buck looks at other deer inside one of Michigan's captive-deer facilities. Deer
inside of these facilities are required to have ear tags that identify the facility and
deer.
number of deer they lost. Many
times, facility owners/managers
don’t know how many deer escape.
Other times, facilities don’t know
deer have gotten away or they
choose to not report deer escapees
over concerns of being penalized for
losing animals.
Let’s take a closer look at the
problem of deer permanently
escaping from captive facilities.
More specifically, we’ll consider
recent trends in the number of
captive deer escaping, the penalties
for not reporting cervid escapees,
what state officials are doing about
the problem and what more can be
done to keep farm-raised deer out of
the wild.
Given the recent increases in
the bovine tuberculosis rate and
the number of deer testing positive
for chronic wasting disease (CWD),
deer escapees are a great concern in
the Great Lakes State.
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and raised at each hunting ting facility facility to be rounded up and tagged. gged.
and raised at each hunting ting facility facility
to be rounded up and tagged. gged. So, So, if if
Cervid Escapees –
Measuring the Problem
a deer is killed and there’s
ere’s
no sign of an ear tag,
For starters, no one knows for
sure how many deer escape from
high-fence facilities each year.
Neither the DNR nor the Michigan
Department of Agriculture and
Rural Development keep accurate,
complete records of the number of
escapees reported by citizens and/or
investigated by DNR conservation
officers. Only in 2017 did the DNR
first begin using an electronic data-
base to monitor escaped cervids.
Currently, there are 333 licensed
captive cervid facilities in the state,
most of which are breeding farms
(161) or hunting ranches (132),
holding over 21,000 whitetail deer,
fallow deer, red deer, Sitka deer
and elk. While the amount of deer
escapees voluntarily reported has
declined over recent years, the
numbers do not include escapees
that are never reported.
Complicating matters is the fact
that only deer from breeding facili-
ties are required to have ID ear tags.
Those from hunting ranches don’t
need to be tagged, as it would be just
about impossible for all deer born
it’s unlikely officials
will ever find out
which facility the
animal escaped from.
What’s more,
the
e
DNR often doesn’t investigate vestigate
deer suspected of
escaping caping
from from
high-fence operations.
“While we may contact ontact [DNR] [DNR]
Wildlife
Division
staff
taff and/or
and/or
conservation officers to give them a
o
give them a
‘heads-up,’ we generally don’t send
ly
don’t send
them on a wild goose chase chase if if there there
is an ear-tagged animal mal photo photo or or
sighting, unless it is an animal that
n
animal that
appears sick,” Soulard added. “If
d
added. “If
the animal was killed by by a a vehicle, vehicle,
hunter or found dead, we’ll try to
,
we’ll try to
find out where it came me from. from. But But
unless it has an official l traceable traceable ID ID
of of deer deer that that
or is laying three feet outside outside of of a a
have have escaped escaped from from high- high-
[high] fence, many of them hem are are dead dead
fence facilities ” said Am
fence facilities,” said Amy Trotter,
Trotter
ends.”
If you see any of this as prob-
lematic, you’re not alone.
“Given that the stakes are so
high in terms of protecting whitetail
deer and the future of deer hunting,
deputy director for Michigan United
Conservation Clubs (mucc.org).
Low Penalties?
To deter facilities from failing
it’s disappointing that the state
doesn’t maintain a central registry
to report deer escapees, Michigan’s
This picture shows where an ear tag from a captive-deer facility was ripped out.
There was no way to determine what facility this deer escaped from or when.
Privately-Owned Cervidae
Producers Marketing Act (Act 190
of 2000) mandates owners report
escapees to both the DNR and the
MDARD within 24 hours of discov-
ering the loss(es). Penalties are
assessed by the local court having
jurisdiction over the area where the
facility is located. Failing to report
escaped animals will incur a fine
$300-$1,000 per incident (not animal)
and may include jail time of 30-90
days. Some believe these penalties
may not be enough to deter owners
from violating the regulations.
“Typically, our members are in
favor of stiff penalties for violating
laws that impact our natural
resources, and I think it would be
a good idea to reexamine these
penalties to see if they need to be
strengthened to encourage those
facilities to report deer that escaped
and to do everything they can to
prevent escapes,” added Trotter.
cont. pg.22
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If you’ve ever owned livestock, you know that it’s not always easy to know when
If you’ve ever owned livestock,
you know that it’s not always easy to
know when they’ve gotten out and
are roaming the countryside. The
same goes for deer farmers.
“We have a facility in the U.P.
[Upper Peninsula] that is 5,000
acres, so it could take some time
for larger facilities to learn they’ve
lost deer,” said Kent Syers, presi-
dent of the United Deer Farmers of
Michigan (udfom.com). “Losing just
one breeder buck can cost an owner
$5,000 or more, so we do everything
we can to keep our deer behind our
fences. And if a deer is ever found
alive, no owner that I know of would
ever bring the deer back into their
facility, regardless of how much it’s
worth, because the risk of disease
transmission is just too high.”
Act 190 also gives facilities 48
hours to locate and capture all
escaped deer. If an escaped cervid
isn’t recovered within 48 hours, it
must be culled and may be tested by
MDARD for disease. While the DNR
and MDARD encourage hunters
who harvest an escaped deer to have
it tested for disease, testing is only
mandatory if the deer is harvested
in Michigan’s CWD Management
Zone. Escaped deer are fair game
for Michigan deer hunters, meaning
they’re allowed to harvest and keep
the deer if they tag it with a valid
Michigan hunting license.
To date, a total of four captive
deer heads, submitted by owners of
three separate facilities, have tested
positive for CWD in Michigan.
This number may be inflated, as
the agency is still investigating
the possibility that two of the deer
may have not come from one of the
captive facilities.
None of this means that captive
deer are responsible for CWD trans-
mission in the wild.
“To date, we have never been
able to determine that a free-ranging
deer contracted CWD from a captive
deer,” Syers said. “Deer that escape
are moving from a low-risk environ-
ment inside a facility into a much
higher or even unknown risk envi-
ronment outside the fence.”
Fixing the Problem
Obviously, the best way to
prevent the risk of disease trans-
mission between captive and wild
deer is to prevent farm deer from
escaping. While double-fencing can
help, it won’t prevent deer escapes
due to human error, Mother Nature
or vandalism.
“When we investigate why deer
got out of facilities, usually it’s
because someone accidentally left
a gate open or a storm knocked
down fencing,” Soulard explained.
“Rarely do we find that it’s due to
vandalism.”
There are several strategies
the DNR can employ to better
keep track of deer escapes and to
DNR employees cut the skull cap off of a harvested white-tailed buck in order to begin the CWD testing process. Scenes like
this are common at deer check stations throughout Michigan, especially in the mandatory check zones where CWD has been
discovered.

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8:02:28 AM

Two DNR employees in Lansing, MI check a doe head for CWD. MUCC's Cooperative Coordinator
Two DNR employees in Lansing, MI check a doe head for CWD. MUCC's Cooperative Coordinator Anna Mitterling was able
to participate in several days of lab testing. Through testing, the Michigan DNR has discovered more than 50 CWD-positive
white-tailed deer in Michigan.
design solutions to reduce escape
occurrences. First, designing and
utilizing an electronic database
containing comprehensive infor-
mation on reported escapes and
confirmed sightings of escaped deer
will enable the agency to better
measure the problem. It will also
help the agency gain information on
what factor(s) are most responsible
for deer escapes. For example, such
a database may reveal that some
facilities have more escapes than
others, and that escapes are more
likely to occur during breeding
time, enabling the DNR to work
more closely with facilities to iden-
tify solutions and reduce escapes.
Many cervid facilities still main-
tain paper records, making it diffi-
cult to monitor deer movements.
“A lot of deer movement occurs
in the captive cervid industry,”
Soulard explained. “Maintaining
electronic inventories of all deer
breeding facilities own and compre-
hensive information on deer imports
and exports will enable us to better
keep track of deer. By keeping better
track of deer, we can do a better job
of tracing back where CWD-positive
deer came from, helping us to better
manage the disease in Michigan.”
Instead of having 24 hours
to report an escape, Soulard also
believes facilities should be required
to report deer losses immediately.
The sooner escapes are reported,
the sooner the DNR can implement
an escape response plan, which
involves visiting the facility to deter-
mine why the escape(s) occurred
and then working with the facility
to fix the problem.
While none of these strategies
will keep all captive deer within
fences, they would enable us to
better measure its severity, devise
cost-effective strategies to curtail
escapee incidents and help prevent
CWD transmission between captive
and wild deer in Michigan.
“Given that the stakes are so high in terms of protecting whitetail deer
and the future of deer hunting, it’s disappointing that the state doesn’t
maintain a central registry of deer that have escaped from high-fence
facilities.” Amy Trotter, MUCC Deputy Director
Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors
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The Passing of George Riley, a Conservation Legend
The Passing of George Riley, a
Conservation Legend

George Riley poses with campers at Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp for the dedication of the Riley Lodge in Chelsea, Michigan. Riley was on-site for the dedication and the filming of "Learning in the Wild."

G eorge F. Riley, age 85, Chairman of The George F. Riley Foundation, died Friday, January 5, 2018, in Naples Florida.

George was born January 15, 1932, in Detroit, the son of James and Arla (Wessel) Riley. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and married Dolores Dailey on August 16, 1952 at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Detroit. Dolores preceded him in death on April 29, 2010. George’s lifelong interest in electronics, honed in the Navy as an aviation and radar man, led him to open a TV repair business in 1952. That grew into Clover Technologies in Wixom, now the site of DPTV’s studios. Clover Technologies, a privately held company purchased by Ameritech (a fortune 50 company which is now AT&T), was commonly referred to as a company that had grown from a one man operation to a company with over 450 employees and eight offices nationwide. The growth was achieved with no outside capital invest- ments, but by the sound management practices George possessed. He had the natural ability to attract the best staff and partners, and to inspire them to achieve supe- rior customer satisfaction. George also mentored and empowered key members of his executive leadership team to manage and operate daily business operations. George was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year

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Award along with many other community and civic recognitions. When George sold the business, he and his wife Dolores established the Riley Foundation to give back to the community, including many facilities that bear the Riley name such as Riley Park in Downtown Farmington and special outdoor camps for disadvan- taged children that continue to this day. The Riley Foundation supports the community of Farmington Hills with major funding for an archery range and skate park, profiled in the DPTV documentary “Taking it Off the Street.” The Foundation also provides tuition support and medical help to young people in need. Charitable projects of the Riley Foundation also include, Angela Hospice in Livonia, The George F. Riley Healing Garden located at the Beaumont Cancer and Breast Care Center in Farmington Hills and The Riley Wilderness Youth Camp in Novi. A $5-million gift from the Riley family became the cornerstone of DPTV’s capital campaign in 2005 and a vivid demonstration of their belief that public TV improves America’s future through continued educa- tion for all. The station he loved reflects his values. George was a friend, a mentor and an inspiration to the team at DPTV. His gift helped transform the organi- zation and opened the door to all that they are building

2/28/2018

8:02:30 AM

today. Surviving are his children, Daniel G. Riley, George K. Riley, William D. Riley and Kimberly A. (John Eric) Fouts; grandchildren, Arianna E. Riley, Logan D. Riley, Sean T. Riley, Kevin G. Riley, Rosalyn M. Riley, Gary M. Riley, John P. Riley, Lisa M. Riley, Linda Riley, Amanda M. Riley and Ryan Fouts; great granddaughter, Riley Rowan; daughter-in law, Maria Riley; siblings, Nancy (Stan) Masternak, Michael (Ann) Riley, Suezann (Gary) Weber, Bonnie Riley and Paul (Jannie) Riley. George is also survived by his dearest friend and nurse of 11 years, Janice Anderson and his best friend and busi- ness associate of 38 years, Leonard A. Kruszewski. In addition to his wife, Dolores, George was preceded in death by sons, Gary (d. 1970) and Michael (d. 2010), siblings, James (Peggy) Riley, Shirley (Richard) Burden and Judy (Ron) Zambrowski. The Riley family received guests on Friday, January 12th with Prayers and Remembrances at the Heeney- Sundquist Funeral Home. A Funeral Mass was celebrated on Saturday, January 13th at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 23815 Power Rd., Farmington. In lieu of the customary remembrances, memorial tributes are suggested to Angela Hospice.

Thank you for keeping the Riley family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Future Conservationists: Then and Now In our

Future Conservationists: Then and Now

this difficult time. Future Conservationists: Then and Now In our 2012 May/June edition, we featured Christian

In our 2012 May/June edition, we featured Christian T. Walker as a "Future Star." He was four months old and had received his first fishing license. In 2017, five-year-old Christian was able to walk up to the counter at Cabela's and purchase his own fishing license. We are excited to see the impact that Christian will make on Michigan's natural resources.

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25

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Dreams of Green & Gold By Noah O'Reilly 26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd
Dreams of Green & Gold By Noah O'Reilly 26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd
Dreams of Green & Gold By Noah O'Reilly 26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd
Dreams of Green & Gold By Noah O'Reilly 26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd
Dreams of Green & Gold By Noah O'Reilly 26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd
Dreams of Green & Gold By Noah O'Reilly 26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd
Dreams of Green & Gold By Noah O'Reilly 26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd
Dreams of Green & Gold By Noah O'Reilly 26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd
Dreams of Green & Gold By Noah O'Reilly 26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com
Dreams of
Green & Gold
By Noah O'Reilly
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down down and and my my 8-pound 8-pound test test line was ripping ripping out
down down and and my my 8-pound 8-pound test test line was
ripping ripping out out of of my my baitcasting b reel,
and and I I could could n not remember the last

time I set the drag system on this particular reel. I turned the crank twice and started the long fight. Despite my best efforts, I looked down and saw my line still peeling out. The brutal winds pushed my kayak one way while the fish pulled the other. My buddies paddled over

to check out the commotion — I’m

I
I

"Twitch, twitch, pause…"

M y wrists began to grow sore from the constant cadence. Twitch, twitch, pause. That was the

ticket for a jerkbait all spring – why change it now? My search for a trophy-sized smallmouth bass was

in the works for a few years. Patience

played a big role in my quest. Which, for me, just meant ignorance. Every time I went on Facebook and saw

a buddy who reeled in a monster

smallie, it fueled my fire and my urge to hit the water again. Twitch, twitch, pause. I constantly questioned whether I was in the right spot or performing the right cadence. The week prior,

I heavily fished the same area of

Lake St. Clair. The GPS function on my fishfinder looked like a mess

of scribbles from drifting over the area repeatedly. My kayak proved

to be no match for the high winds as

I fought my way closer to shore to

make another drift. When in these

tough situations, I always tell myself the same thing: simplify. Instead of paddling and casting into the wind,

I just turned my kayak sideways

and drifted east to west. I made the farthest cast I could and reeled a few feet of line in, getting my bait to dive down to the depth I wanted.

I continued with the same cadence,

this time without the pause, due to

a tug. I set the hook and fought the

smallie all the way to my kayak. This bronze beauty was only about 18 inches long and not the trophy I was looking for, but it was a great start. The weather took a drastic turn; howling winds mixed with the emergence of sunshine invaded the bay that I was scouring. To have a successful day on the water ripping

a jerkbait one needs a small amount

of a few things: sunlight, stained water and wind. The conditions were lining up perfectly. However, time was running out as the sun was

starting to blend into the shoreline.

I was beginning to realize the stars

had to align in some crazy fashion

for me to pull this off by the end nd of of

crazy fashion for me to pull this off by the end nd of of the day.

the day. Twitch, twitch, pause, and then, I felt the weight. It was like the hooks of the jerkbait were embedded in a log at the bottom of the bay. I expressed my concern out loud, “Please let this be a bass.” As soon as those words came out, I saw the football shaped beast rocket straight out of the water; not once,

not twice, but three times. I looked

of the water; not once, not twice, but three times. I looked cont. pg.28 Left: O'Reilly

cont. pg.28

Left: O'Reilly fishes from his kayak in Southeastern Michigan. This is one of the author's favorite ways to fish. Bottom: O'Reilly's kayak sits on the shore of a local, Southeastern Michigan stream waiting to set sail.

a local, Southeastern Michigan stream waiting to set sail. Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 27 Spring

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comes from chucking a weightless, straight-tail worm hooked through the middle along the drop-offs.

comes from chucking a weightless, straight-tail worm hooked through the middle along the drop-offs.

I

have pulled numerous 4- and

5-pound largemouth bass from this lake. That day, though, I was looking for the big one. Towards the middle of the day, fishing was slowing down and Mike began to use different baits while my sister put down her fishing rod and

set her sights on catching turtles. My phone started distracting me, making my chances of catching “the big one” slimmer with every cast. We all paddled to the back corner of the lake which usually produces numbers. On this brutally hot afternoon, we were desperate to catch something.

 

I

watched as my bait soared

through the air and landed just a few feet away from shore — right where I wanted it. My tactic was simple; let the worm sink all the way to the bottom on slack line, reel in and cast again. When the 5-inch straight tail

worm sinks, the ends flutter almost irresistibly from the perspective of a bass. However, my bait sank no more than a foot before my line

ripped off the surface of the water

as

the unknown fish propelled itself

to

the depths. I pulled up the rod and

set the hook out of surprise, which never yields a quality hookset.

O'Reilly displays "the big one" he set out for on a known largemouth bass lake in Southeastern Michigan. O'Reilly caught the fish using a straigh-tail worm.

 

I

was using light line on my

spinning combo so I knew I had to

 

take it slow and steady. As the fish swam deeper, I felt the head shakes

pretty sure I was yelling. I carefully played every move of the fight. My rod moved where the fish moved, I turned the reel handle when the fish stopped running, and I grabbed my net when she got close enough for me to make a swipe. The next few moments are unclear as to how I got her in the net and in my kayak, yet I looked down and there she was. The sun shone off her scales, making the fish not bronze, but a beautiful gold color. She measured 20 inches and must have been around six pounds. I looked over at Mike Laritz, a fellow kayak angler, and let out a cry of joy as I could not contain my excite- ment. He snapped a quick photo, I brought the fish down to the water

and we watched her slowly swim the same way she wanted to go

the whole time, leaving me with a memory I will not soon forget.

Rewards of Simplicity

I pulled my kayak out of the bed of my truck and gently laid it down on the grass just a few feet away from the water’s edge. This was going to be a laid-back trip for the three of us. The sun was shining, and the temperature was starting to rise into the 90s. I gathered my gear and took a seat in my kayak as Mike pushed me off. This particular lake is open to the public, yet not many anglers know about the caliber of its fish. It is only 15 acres and has a maximum depth of 54 feet, making

and its pull. I stayed calm, as most of the bass on this lake fight the same way. I knew every move the fish was going to make. I was surprised as the fish began to swim up and towards me – this was new. I reeled

in

the slack line as fast as I could,

looking down to see the fish lying

motionless at the side of my kayak. I quickly grabbed him with one hand and swung him in. Mike was there yet again to capture this moment for me as I put her on the measuring board; 21.75 inches and about six and a half pounds. To catch fish like these in Michigan might seem ordinary, but to do it from my kayak

is

an accomplishment that I remain

it a big fish bowl. Most of my success

proud of to this day.

proud of to this day.

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Pre- Spawn 'Gills By David Rose I t doesn’t take long for ice cover on
Pre-
Spawn
'Gills
By David Rose
I t doesn’t take long for ice cover
on a lake to melt away once
spring-like weather loosens
winter's frigid grasp. For avid
anglers, the newly-open water of a
lake known for its booming bluegill
population is a welcome sight.
The moment the solidified
surface disappears, water tempera-
tures quickly rise and panfish
immediately start migrating
towards the warmest areas in the
system. The water is the clearest it
will be all year, and the likely loca-
tions bluegill will be are easy to spot
with nothing more than a pair of
polarized sunglasses, you may even
see the fish.
What is the best part of targeting
‘gills this time of year? The fish
are hungry, and fooling them with
artificial offerings over live bait is a
great way to go. And once you figure
out what bait, exactly, is triggering
the most strikes, the catching will
come easy.
But there’s more to catching
pre-spawn ‘gills than just an aimless
cast out into the abyss; several envi-
ronmental factors need to be taken
into consideration before fooling
them with fake baits can begin.
Rose displays a nicely-colored pumpkinseed that he caught using a jig in early
spring. Pumpkinseeds are very similar to bluegill and can often be caught on the
same lakes.
The heat is on
Generally, anglers head for the
shallows to find panfish in the spring;
which, overall, is a good ploy. But the
fish aren’t always lurking within the
skinniest water.
Shallow bays with a dark,
silted bottom will warm first as the
blackened lake base absorbs sun rays
and heats the surroundings. Also, it’s
the shorelines on the northern half
of a lake that sees the most sunshine
due to the position of the sun during
this time of year. And bluegills, being
the cold-blooded creatures they are,
will head right for these warming
waters as soon as they start warming
into the 40’s.
But a springtime cold front can
kill a good shallow-water bite. The
panfish that had once been basking
in the warmth while searching for
the year’s first hatching insects will
vacate the shallows in mere minutes
the moment the weather starts to
turn.
Overall, fish won’t go far when
the pressure starts falling and wind
kicks up. The first steep drop offs
nearest the shallow water is where
the majority of bluegill will head;
there they’ll stick tight to structure
like weeds, wood or rock. Depending
on the lake, the fish may move off into
water in the 10- to 20-foot depth.
If the weather turns severe
enough, the fish may belly-up to
bottom amongst the structure and
become lethargic. As the cold front
passes, however, the fish will start to
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rise higher in the water column along the steep breaks before it turns warm enough
rise higher in the water column along
the steep breaks before it turns warm
enough for fish to head back in the
shallows.
Do you see what I see?
The structure you should be
casting to is easy to spot this time
of year by donning nothing more
than a pair of high-quality polar-
ized sunglasses to cut surface glare.
A long-brimmed also helps to cast
shade over your eyes.
Most structure will show up as
dark patches under the surface, no
matter what type it is. And whether
you’re in a boat or wading, the key is
to
stay as far back from the structure
as
possible so as not to spook fish.
And fish are easily scared off in the
clear-water conditions of spring,
with nothing more than a shadow or
the slightest movement sending them
into a panic. One tip is to keep your
clothing to dull, natural colors to help
camouflage your actions.
While short rods create more
accurate casts, long rods will send a
lure flying farther. Light and ultra-
light spinning rods of 7 feet and longer
are best for bluegills this time of year.
A
soft, subtle line of 2- to 4-pound test
is
perfect for tying tiny jigs to, as the
Weather is the No. 1 factor that influences targeting and catching early-season
'gills, according to Rose. If the weather is warming the water up, it is time to get
out on the lake.
small diameter allows your lure the
most natural movement under water.
While monofilament has been a
go-to line for decades, it has enough
stretch to it that getting a good hook
set on a long cast can be difficult.
Fluorocarbon, on the other hand,
has much less stretch to it, is smaller
in diameter than monofilament of
the same pound test and is nearly
invisible in the water. And unlike the
lines of yesteryear, modern-day fluo-
rocarbon is much softer and has less
memory, so coiling off the spool is no
longer an issue and allows it to be cast
farther.
The great fake bait debate
Walk into an isle full of softbaits
and jigs for catching panfish in your
favorite tackle shop and you can’t help
but be overwhelmed at the choices.
And to tell you the truth, most every
artificial will catch fish.
With that said, bluegills are
targeting the tinniest forage this
time of year — minuscule morsels
such as bloodworms, water daphnia
and freshwater shrimp filling their
gullets. It’s the smallest jigs you can
find, including some of the very
ice-fishing baits you offered up during
the ice season, that best emulate the
forage ‘gills are feasting on.
Don’t overlook slightly bigger
baits you’d consider throwing for
bass, though. The old adage “bigger
baits catch bigger fish” holds true
with big bluegills, too. Rubber worms
up to 4 inches have taken plenty of big
bull bluegills in the past.
Overall, choose the softest
soft-plastics you can find, and use
small jigs with fine hackle or
marabou feathers tied in. Even
pliable baits and feathers will waft
in the water current, similar to the
lags and gills of aquatic insects and
crustaceans.
Bluegill basics
While catching bluegills before
they spawn is actually quite easy,
it’s also far from a no-brainer.
The key to catching success lies
in paying attention to the weather
conditions, and then start probing
for fish. If the weather has been
warm for several days, search the
shallows, and if a cold front is
creating chaos, make your casts
into deeper water near their shal-
low-water haunts. Tie your tiny
tidbits to ultra-light line, and make
as long of casts as you can muster
to structure. You'll be eating bluegill
when the jig is sitting still, the
for supper in no time.
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"My hobby became less and less about the fish and more and more about me…"
"My hobby became less and less
about the fish and more and more
about me…"

By Calvin McShane

T he interior of my home is a cool 45 degrees, rivaling the temperatures outside hovering around freezing.

It is just past dark on a mid-April evening, and my first objective is to get the wood stove up and burning. I start a fire, feed my two wet and exhausted dogs and hang my waders and vest above the wood stove beside the thermometer that so graciously reminds me of my recent residential neglect. I haven’t showered in enough days that it

would upset my mother and signif- icant other. My face is blemished by my poor attempt at a beard, and thankfully, the overgrown mess

on my head is hidden by ball cap that reads, “My mission is going fishin’!”, a fashion statement that my girlfriend refers to as nerdy. My plan for the evening is to scour for some leftovers, pen another entry in my fishing log and crash out on the couch promptly located in front of the wood stove. My alarm is set for 6 a.m., enough time for coffee and a quick bite to eat before I head back to the stream. I’ll drift off to sleep accompanied by dead-tired dogs and my solitary thoughts. I get to go steelhead fishing tomorrow, just as I did today, and I cannot imagine a better life than right here, right now.

My first steelhead was hooked at the ripe age of 12. Dunking crawlers for brook trout in mid-May, I happened on a rainbow trout that would change my life forever. Over the years, I’ve learned that drifting worms on a five-foot ultralight rod may not be the best approach and have since graduated to an adept steelheader. In my youth, besides being addicted to the adrenaline rush, I was definitely obsessed with the catching of the fish. If I didn’t land a steelhead, I had failed, and even though ill-intentioned, I worked harder and harder to hook and even- tually land more steelhead.

I explored every type of steelhead

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8:02:39 AM

fishing I could get my hands on. I threw crankbaits, bottom-bounced, bobber fished and toyed around with a centerpin. More than fishing, I read so much that organizing the information outweighed its useful- ness in the field. Once I mastered the technique, I moved onto reading water and exploring new rivers. Eventually, I got quite good at this steelhead fishing thing and catching steelhead was no longer the hardest part; catching ‘many’ steelhead became the new operative goal. Numbers were the measure, and I, again, was a fool for thinking I had anything figured out. If numbers didn’t bring me ulti- mate steelhead bliss, what would? Surely recognition. I began to post on every social media platform avail- able to be sure everyone could see how great of a fisherman I was. If I hadn’t posted it, did it really happen? The evidence of my skill was the photos, likes and comments. Little did I know that with every like and every spike in my ego, my hobby became less and less about the fish and more and more about me. The

notoriety and envy of others, albeit satisfying was inherently empty. The college kid posting endless photos in search of attention looked nothing like 12-year-old me, grinning ear to ear looking up at my proud father, breathless and awe struck; a feeling I have been trying to get back to ever since. Eventually, I matured and no longer post endlessly on social media hoping for boundless approval. I was still addicted to steelhead but found my passion to be much simpler. I was tinkering with technique and exploring new options. I started to mess with fly fishing, fly tying and even played around with a two handed rod. The fisherman I admire most take to the fly, and I thought, why shouldn’t I? I read about how ultimately catching a steelhead on the swing, while most exhilarating, is also the most difficult. I’ve found truth in both assertions; however, swinging for steelhead was devel- oped out of necessity, like all forms of fishing. Two-handed rods are best utilized for west coast ocean-run

standards. On my home waters I can cross most streams in a few long strides, and swinging flies was clearly only satisfying some idea I found to be cool. Steelhead don’t care about what is on the end of my hook as much I would like to believe. If I was going to continue down this route, I would have to come to terms with my own self-interest. I also realized if fishing was really about difficulty, I could certainly think of many other ways to make it harder on myself — blindfolds and hand ties are the first to come to mind. Obviously, I was way to caught up with, well, myself. Undeserving of their grace, I kept fishing, hopeful that I may become a pioneer on what it means to be both true to myself and true to the fish. Fishing, and maybe steelhead fishing more than others, is an interaction between the wild and the tame. Man and creature cross paths, and in doing so, enter into a singular experience entirely different than any preceding. We fish how we do because of convenience and ideals, these sorts of things are entirely

fish on huge rivers by Michigan

on our end as fisherman. The fish

cont. pg.34

McShane hooks into a steelhead on an Upper Peninsula stream. He realized shortly into his college career that his steelhead endeavors had become more about the attention he received from catching fish than the journey he took to get there.

"The college kid posting endless photos in search of attention looked nothing like 12-year-old me,
"The college kid posting endless photos
in search of attention looked nothing like
12-year-old me, grinning ear to ear
looking up at my proud father, breathless
and awe struck; a feeling I have been
trying to get back to ever since."

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Top: McShane displays a beautiful buck he caught before releasing it back into the depths.

Top: McShane displays a beautiful buck he caught before releasing it back into the depths. Top Right: Even McShane's dogs get in on the action during a steelhead adventure. Bottom Right: McShane admires a fish and remembers why he spends so much time chasing these incredible creatures.

dictate where, but most importantly, why we fish. The hooking, fighting, and potential harvesting is beyond

days of steelhead season are spent digging my truck out of the snow and searching for open water. The first few fish of the year catch me by surprise, usually robust males so gaudy in red and green that they resemble a sea monster more than the chrome we steelheaders so often covet. I rarely land any of the first fish I am lucky enough to hook. I am, to be truthful, overly confident and usually overly excited. I get caught up with goals outside of my current

well-chilled Lake Superior. Snow swells are common in between periods of intense sunlight, the streamswarmingandcoolingseveral times a day with regularity. The air, for the first time during a long winter, has a distinct smell besides that of snow. The streams are intimidating as they roar powered by the influx of heavy rains and melting snow. It all seemed and seems to this day like too much to handle all at once, not even mentioning the steelhead. At some point we all have sat back and taken in the beauty around us while on the river. In the middle of our reflections, a chrome fish has, what felt like, reached out and grabbed us by our throats and taken us on a ride that is most aptly described as, indescribable. After these moments, it's hard to make sense of what drew us to these places in the first place. What is certain, but all too many times forgotten, is that we found ourselves in these places not because our own ego but to get away from our ego.

thoughts of contest, it is not some- thing to be won. Instead, the sum of these actions is the crossroads

of

anxiety, excitement and aston-

ishment. We cannot pretend that

the

techniques and motives behind

why we take to the river are entirely disconnected from our egos. Once a steelhead is caught and the apex of

the

battle passed, the conversation

is between who we actually are and

context, like whether or not I will get

who we thought we were. Each tail grab brings about a new individual, different from the person who held

a

photo and how important it will be

to begin the season on a success. My

only wake up to reality being violent tail thrashes and the bulldogging of

the

fish before this one. Concerns of

numbers, attention and elitism are a meaningless attempt to elevate pride above the honest reason why we all

chose to go fishing anyway; the fish. Today, I still struggle with finding

a

pissed off steelhead. It’ll take me

many more butt whoopings before I come to terms with the truth — these fish have more toughness, smarts and wisdom than I do, and I should stop trying to fight it.

a

balance between connecting

with others while at the same time not getting too caught up in my successes. As the spring begins, I am easily humbled. Many of the first

I can remember vividly my first days of steelheading as a kid. Warm temperatures bring unpre- dictable weather when they meet a

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8:02:41 AM

I get to go steelhead fishing

tomorrow and the day after that, and

if I am successful in my attempts to

further evade my responsibilities,

the next day too. I spend my Marchs, Aprils and Mays doing all that I can to get on the river. I, unlike most, am lucky and have practically centered my life around steelhead fishing and the wisdom it yields. At many times throughout my life

I had forgotten what, as a young

boy, became so startlingly clear. I was under some stupid notion that the sport was lucky to have me; a steelhead slaying purist with one hell of a social media presence. I am not saying I have won all these battles but I am content with at least acknowledging their existence. At the end of my days, when I am lying on my couch staring into the haze of the wood stove, if I am caught up thinking about anything else other than the grace and exquisiteness of those big lake-run rainbows, I am doing a disservice to them and their beauty. Steelhead exist not solely for our consumption or utilization; they exist as an entity belonging entirely to themselves. We are lucky enough to intercept them occasionally and in a few moments of withdrawal learn the lessons far beyond the words of man.

of withdrawal learn the lessons far beyond the words of man. Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 37
of withdrawal learn the lessons far beyond the words of man. Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 37
of withdrawal learn the lessons far beyond the words of man. Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 37

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8:02:42 AM

Af·ter Work /column/ /column/ A tribute to those who work A tribute to those who
Af·ter Work
/column/
/column/
A tribute to those who work
A tribute to those who work
9-5 everyday. Your outdoor
9-5 everyday. Your outdoor
pursuits pursuits are are precious precious — — we we
hope this helps you cherish
hope this helps you cherish
them.
them.
By Blake Sherburne
ByBy BlakeBlake SherburneSherburne
"After Dark"
"After"AfterAfter Dark"Dark"Dark"
ex season is High Church
a a
little little
worse worse
for for
wear wear
when when
he he

H ex season is High Church

in my family. Our year is almost scheduled around the event. For instance,

when my wife and I were planning our wedding she suggested late June or early July. I jokingly suggested that would be fine, but I might not be able to make it. Luckily for me, I married a woman who understands my family obsession. I practically learned to fly fish in the dark. There were training runs on bluegills and smallmouth bass but it was all really aimed at Hex season. Early on my jobs were simple. My first responsibility was to be (relatively) quiet. Hex fishing is as much listening as anything else. Secondly, I was to listen and learn. I paid attention to what a feeding fish sounded like, different from current burbling around limbs and stones, also different from the occasional beaver splash that dad always tried

to to get get me me to to fish. fish. I I also also paid paid attention attention to how dad maneuvered the boat in the dark. It was a good thing, too, because after I reached the age of 13 or 14, dad never piloted a boat again. We’ve now owned two different boats of which he has never been at the helm. Job number three was, when checking the water for bugs, to keep the bright flashlight pointed outside of the boat to preserve our valuable night vision. Even today, when the beam gets a little too low, I can hear him in my head, “Out of the boat, Blakie.” My dad can tell the story of his first trout. He grew up in a non-fishing family, not really sure how he caught the bug himself. He can remember digging worms out of the garden and riding his bike down to the culvert adjacent to their farm. This is where it happened. A small brookie that got shoved to the bottom of his worm can, and looked

proudly gave it to his mother to cook for dinner, lead to a lifelong obses-

sion with fishing generally, and trout specifically (also to brook trout even more specifically). Thanks to my dad’s obsession,

I do not remember my first fish. I don’t remember if it was a trout or anything else. My dad started me too young for me to recall that memory.

I do, however, remember my first

quality brown trout, I couldn’t have been older than eight or nine. It came, not on the Hex, but just before. Our stretch of river has good hatches besides the Hex, but they do not bring fish up to the surface except on evenings before the Hex hatch has begun. It sort of seems that the trout use them to “limber up” before the big bugs hit the water after dark. We get a good gray drake hatch that starts a week or so before the Hex hatch and lasts until well after it is

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"Hex season is High Church in my family

"

finished. My brown came on a Wulff pattern, out of a hole my dad named
finished.
My brown came on a Wulff
pattern, out of a hole my dad named
Lanny’s Hole, after his uncle Lanny,
who used to fish there from the bank.
I hooked and landed it on a short
4-weight rod that Dad tied using a
Fenwick blank. We still fish that
spot regularly but I don’t think we’ve
caught a trout out of that exact lane
since, but I can recall that one with
clarity.
I also do not remember my first
Hex fish. I know it must have been
shortly thereafter, but there has
been too many browns caught in the
dark since then. Dad made me wait
until I was at least a proficient caster
and I remember being, and some-
times still am, amazed that with
familiarity with a rod and line and
good technique, you could land a fly
in a fish’s feeding lane with accuracy
in complete darkness.
All this is to say that, at least
in Michigan, if you want to be a
successful fly fisherman, you have to
at least be comfortable, if not enjoy,
fishing in the dark. Some hatches
do bring trout to the surface in the
daylight in some places in Michigan,
but the bulk of our best dry fly
fishing comes on hatches that do not
keep banker’s hours. Also, our big,
piscivorous browns move best after
the sun goes down.
Fortunately, this schedule works
well for those of us who have day
jobs. These hatches happen after
work. In my case, pruning Christmas
trees during the day and chasing
Hex-eating browns at night leads to
an effect that looks like the de-evolu-
tion of man in the hero shots we take
night after night.
Streamer fishing is best after
work, too. I often meet my fishing
buddy at the ramp on his way home
from work where we can get in a
couple hours of ripping streamers.
All of this practice in the dark
has lead to our new obsession,
mousing. While not at easy as strip-
ping a streamer in the dusk or setting
up on a fish feeding on hexes, those
disciplines have lent themselves well
to drifting, stripping and swinging
mouse patterns in water we know
well.
Steely nerves are sometimes
required. A beaver crashing next
to our boat one night almost sent
the editor of this magazine packing.
We were rowing a small, local river.
Nick was roll-casting mice in the
bow. This was one of his first nights
fly fishing in the dark. We rounded
a bend and a beaver blew up the
surface of the river just to the right
of our little raft. “What the (exple-
tive deleted) was that?” he asked me
with more than a little tremor in his
voice. We laugh about it now, and I
laughed long about it then, but that
event just about ended Nick Green’s
night fishing career.
Dad and I used to do a lot of
walleye fishing after dark, too. We
would cast stickbaits near where the
in the spring. Those little, confused
trout would bring the walleyes in
after dark. Every once in a while, a
walleye would follow a bait right to
the tip of the rod, then try to inhale it
just as it broke the surface. I can still
just about get my knees to knock just
thinking about that hollow, strange
sound. It was worth it, though,
because those nights resulted in
stringers of walleye sandwiches.
One’s night time fishing educa-
tion never ends either. Last season,
my fishing buddy Kenny and I, were
floating a relatively new-to-us piece
of water, trying to find a brown
willing to roll on a mouse. It was
well after midnight when we could
hear loud voices upstream of us and
the competition was closing fast.
We were approaching our take-out
point but neither of us wanted to be
hurried so we decided to pull over
the inside of a bend to let them go
DNR had planted their fingerlings
by. Surprisingly, it was a couple
cont. pg.38
Sherburne displays one of the many 20-plus-inch browns he has caught hex
fishing after dark. Hexing in the Sherburne family is a religion. Year after year, the
Sherburnes spend two(ish) weeks fishing big browns well into the night.

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8:02:44 AM

out for a midnight kayak trip. Now, neither Kenny nor I are particularly loud talkers

out for a midnight kayak trip. Now, neither Kenny nor I are particularly loud talkers and our raft doesn’t make much noise, but I thought the couple had seen us. So, as the couple pulled alongside us, I politely said, "hello." Turns out, they had not seen us. We learned some new words that night, words that might actually help us on future nighttime fishing expeditions. It was a bucket list trip for the woman. She told us loudly that she had always wanted to float the river in the night but was afraid of the dark. I don’t think we helped. We could hear her cursing and shrieking, and him laughing, for several minutes after they passed us. I dearly love to explore new water in the dark. However, a new piece of water in the dark is not a new piece of water for us. We always scout our stretches in the daylight until we become familiar with them before we float or wade them in the dark. The best part of fishing in the dark is learning, be it catching a fish in a new spot, floating a new piece of water or learning new words to describe our foibles after work.

or learning new words to describe our foibles after work. Erika Sherburne, Blake's wife, poses with

Erika Sherburne, Blake's wife, poses with her first hex fish — a 24-inch brown trout she caught feet from the boat. The Sherburnes are careful with who they invite, though. "Some things should stay close to the vest," Blake's dad, Wade, says.

stay close to the vest," Blake's dad, Wade, says. 38 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd

38 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

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GIVE INVASIVE SPECIES THE BRUSH OFF. Clean Your Gear Before Entering And Before Leaving The
GIVE INVASIVE
SPECIES
THE BRUSH OFF.
Clean Your Gear Before Entering
And Before Leaving The Recreation Site.

Help Prevent The Spread Of Invasive Plants And Animals.

REMOVE plants, animals & mud from boots, gear, pets & vehicle.

CLEAN your gear before entering & leaving the recreation site.

STAY on designated roads & trails.

USE CERTIFIED or local rewood & hay.

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd

41

or local rewood & hay. Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 41 STOP INVASIVE SPECIES IN YOUR TRACKS.

STOP INVASIVE SPECIES IN YOUR TRACKS.

2/28/2018

8:02:48 AM

By Roger Hinchcliff Strike GGGoooooollllllllldddddd on Bronze-backs
By Roger Hinchcliff
Strike GGGoooooollllllllldddddd
on Bronze-backs

A sk any springtime Great Lakes angler if he or she loves to catch a big smallmouth bass. The

answer will be a resounding YES! Pound for pound, the smallmouth bass is one of the hardest-fighting, greatest-biting fish and loves to get air during the fight. The Great Lakes region is home to some of the best smallmouth fishing on the

between the mid-40s and 50s, the fish will start feeding before the spawn. Giving the bank or wading angler a chance at some quality fishing. No boat is needed here, folks, and some say the wading or bank angler even have it better than a person with

a

boat because they have access

to

water that a boat cannot get to.

Kayakers love this type of fishing.

Places to fish

planet. Folks come from all over the world to catch them every year. Springtime is a busy time of year for

many because of steelhead fishing, morel mushroom picking, and gobbler hunting. Many that can find some time will tell you pre-spawn smallmouth bass fishing can be phenomenal. The weather, temps and winds play a huge role in your success. Knowing what to look for is key. When water temps climb from the 30s and start reaching the 40s, usually in late- March or early-April, the fish will start to move into shallower water and be ready to bite. Peak spawning occurs from late-May through early- June, and when water temps reach

Harbors, marina docks, piers, islands, boulders and beaches are places to start looking for small- mouth bass. My favorites are wind-protected bays with sand or rock piles; these will attract smal- lies like a magnet. Did I mention this structure usually doesn't go anywhere? So, every year, once these key places are found, you can come back and catch them. The baitfish are also attracted to the warmer water, and if you find the warmer water, you will strike the bronze gold. Typically, if temps are

dropping and the wind is blowing,

40 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

the fish will move out to deeper water in depths between 10 and 20 feet and school up. However, when those bays start to warm and calm again, they will be right back in the shallows and will spread out.

Baits to use

When the temps reach the 50s, pretty much anything will catch you fish. But depending on condi- tions, soft plastics really shine. A tube jig, worm or grub matching a goby, shiner, crawfish or smelt is tough to beat. Try using the darker shades of greens, purples, black, brown or pumpkin. In very clear water consider white, pearl, or smoke. I love using these colors with red or silver flake. All these colors match the forage base in the Great Lakes. Sometimes when fighting the fish, they will spit up what they are feeding on. Pay atten- tion to this small detail, and it can pay big dividends. Color, size and profile is very important, and my

favorite sizes to use are 3- to 4-inch

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"From the cold winter, a new season shall be woken, a bronze-back beauty from the
"From the cold winter, a new season shall be woken, a bronze-back
beauty from the shallows of spring will give a man a renewed spirit
that was once broken."
baits. I generally use a wide variety
of lead heads in sizes 1/8 oz. up to
1/2 oz. depending on the fall rate of
the bait I want. If the fish have been
pressured or conditions call for a
more finesse approach, a shaky
head with a plastic worm or tube
whacks fish, too. If you’re fishing on
a day when the fish have moved out
deeper on you, having that heavier
jig will allow you to cast out farther
into the deeper water allowing you
a chance at that 5- to 6-pounder.
Crankbaits and stick baits such as
#10 and #12 husky jerks and #5 to
#9 original floating Rapalas can be
deadly on big smallmouth. Also,
pay attention to your surroundings
and match the hatch. If you see
gobies, schools of alewives, smelt or
shiners, that’s what they are feeding
on. Try to match the presentation to
the bait you're seeing and you will
not believe the numbers you can put
on the board in a day. I’ve had many
100-fish days.
My favorite sizes of baits are
in the 2.75- to 4.75-inch range for
smallies. However, bigger baits do
take bigger fish. So, leave nothing
on the table here. Swim baits, spin-
ners and jigs tipped with shiners
should never be overlooked. Lastly,
streamers for the fly angler can be
productive. Yes, I love stripping
streamers for these fish, and I prefer
to do that if I can. I use a 7-weight
with a RIO Outbound Short fly line.
Long leaders are not needed here,
folks. A 5-foot leader will do the
job. My favorite all-around bass rod
medium power such as a Lamiglas
XP or Infinity in a 703S series. If you
like to fish out of a Kayak, try the
kayak Paco model in a 724S. Line
choice for me is braid because it
has no stretch. I pair it with a 6- to
10-pound fluorocarbon leader.
This time of year produces some
big small jaws, and 3- to 5-pounders
are common. We are truly blessed
to live in Michigan and have the
fishery we do. Don’t miss this fishing
opportunity in the Spring; it’s truly
one of my favorite times of the year.
It’s when nature begins a new life.
Once smallmouth fever happens
to you, it’s over. Vacation time will
be planned every year in the early
spring to chase these fish.
would be 7-foot spinning rod with
Hinchcliff is the owner and operator of Steelhead Manifesto. He doesn't only fish steelhead, though. In fact, in the spring-
time, one of his favorite outdoor pursuits is chasing smallmouth bass in Michigan.
Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors
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CreekFishing: Small streams can offer big rewards By Andy Duffy 40 MICHIGAN OUT-OF-DOORS | SUMMER
CreekFishing:
Small streams can
offer big rewards
By Andy Duffy
40 MICHIGAN OUT-OF-DOORS | SUMMER 2017

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8:03:20 AM

M y niece and her family, visiting from the arid Southwest, had one afternoon to
M y niece and her family,
visiting from the arid
Southwest, had one
afternoon to spend with
me. I asked if they had anything
they would like to do. My niece,
Charlie, said the children wanted to
go fishing.
Sometimes a fishing trip can be
a
problem. I know of some lakes that
offer great angling from shore when
the 'gills are on their beds. It was
midsummer, though, and I knew of
nowhere I could take a family of five
where we had a reasonable prospect
of catching pan fish from shore.
So, we went trout fishing. We
spread out along the stream. We
leapfrogged from pool to pool,
and all three children – from five-
year-old Wesley right up through
the rivers would hardly ever be
fished for anything resembling a
trout. And, of course, special regu-
lations often govern the best parts
of the best streams. Because many
trout anglers aren’t interested in
learning to fly fish, they fish with
bait on small streams.
Trout anglers forced onto creeks
because they don’t fly fish needn’t
feel persecuted, though. The creeks
offer a great angling experience.
Along the small streams, anglers
find a different world. Instead of
crowds, they find solitude. Instead
of fellow anglers, they find wildlife.
Instead of cottages, they find woods.
river fishermen seldom find.
Creeks are tremendous fish-
eries, too. Cubic foot for cubic foot,
small streams hold a much higher
number of trout than rivers do.
It makes sense that the creeks
teem with fish. Headwater streams
are a lot cooler than larger rivers
are. A high percentage of a creek's
water is freshly-emerged ground
water. Trout are a cold-water fish.
And trout are wonderfully suited
for life in a small stream.
Don’t think all trout found in
creeks are small. They have plenty
of 12-inch fish – and lots of smaller
ones. And a 12-inch creek fish is
The streams offer a paradise that
comparable to a two-pound river
cont. pg.44
nine-year-old Raelene – caught fish.
They weren’t just fish, either. The
kids were catching Michigan's state
fish, brook trout. The fishing was
as natural to Michiganians as the
trout were. Fishing creeks is how
Michigan anglers typically catch
their trout.
It isn't that Michigan doesn't
have trout rivers. We have plenty
of them, from the famed Escanaba
in Michigan's Upper Peninsula
right down to the St. Joseph at
the southern end of the Lower
Peninsula. Anglers throng to those
rivers for resident and anadromous
trout and salmon.
Even though the rivers see lots
of angling action, though, I would
bet my best creek rod that most
Michigan trout anglers seldom visit
one of the famous waterways. Most
Left: Duffy's granddaughter, Koleen Hildebrand, hoists aloft a nice brown trout she
took from a creek. Creeks hold lots of legal fish and some monsters. Bottom: Lorelei
Chavez, who lives in the arid Southwest, caught this nice brook trout while on a
trip to Michigan. An influx of groundwater can keep small creeks cool all summer.
anglers fish creeks and small rivers
those ranging from a foot to 30 feet
across.
Angling books and magazines
are brimming with articles about
fishing rivers for resident trout.
To most Michigan anglers, though,
river fishing means catching small-
mouth bass, pike, walleyes or anad-
romous fish.
There is a reason why many
Michigan anglers seldom fish rivers
for trout. The lower waters of most
of Michigan's rivers are marginal
trout water at best. If it weren't for
the runs of salmon and steelhead,
Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors
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of fun. In Michigan, lots of good creeks flow across public land. Those streams are
of fun.
In Michigan, lots of good creeks
flow across public land. Those
streams are open for anyone to fish.
Many other good creeks flow across
private land. Those who want to
knock on a door and ask might be
able get permission to fish them. It
never hurts to try.
Creeks are often tough to fish.
Throughout much of the season,
a person will want to have plenty
of insect repellent along with him.
Poison ivy and stinging nettles are
found along them. Casting can be
tough. In fact, little casting even
happens on creeks. The "casting" is
really dapping and lobbing.
Frequent creek anglers learn
little tricks of the trade. Although it
may seem counter intuitive, a long
rod may be the creek angler's best
friend. With a long rod, he can keep
farther away from the stream and
reach through the brush and twigs
to drop his bait in the water.
The best creek anglers often
present their bait – usually worms
– on a dead drift. A person does that
by just dropping the bait in the water
with little or no weight on the line.
The reel's bail should be open so the
Matt Hildebrand, Duffy's son-in-law, caught this fine brace of brown trout from a
small stream. Small streams often play host to good populations of trout. Some of
the trout are veritable trophies.
current can take line out as it carries
the bait downstream. I hold the line
very loosely between my thumb and
first finger as line plays out. That
makes strike detection easier. But
anglers can also watch for a sudden
fish. It is a blast to catch even a
12-inch trout on light tackle in a
creek.
But some trout living in creeks
are veritable monsters. Consider
these catches:
not more than 12 feet wide. A friend
caught an 18-inch brown trout from
paper, I nodded knowingly to myself
and figured it was a steelhead that
hadn’t bothered to wander back to
Lake Michigan yet. I was wrong. It
came from a tributary somewhere
above Tippy Dam, a dam that blocks
all fish passage. My friend won't
even tell me what stream the trout
came from.
Another friend and I were
fishing a small brook trout creek,
the same one I took my niece and her
family to. My friend spooked a pool
and we watched with our jaws agape
as a brook trout we both figured
was at least 18 inches long swam up
the creek and out of our sight. And
lurking among the mammoth fish
are the more abundant seven-to-12
inch small ones. Michigan anglers
who target the creeks can have a lot
tightening of the line or for the line
to move counter to the direction of
the current. Sometimes an angler
will find water that will allow him
to follow the drift of the bait just as
My brother-in-law once caught
fly anglers nymphing larger rivers
do. Then the technique is the same
a 17-inch brown trout from a creek
a nearby, similarly-sized stream. I
as fly anglers use. Just hold the rod
tip high enough to keep all the slack
line off the water and watch for the
line to do something erratic. When
caught an 18-inch brown from the
narrow headwaters of a Michigan
river. The section of river from
which the trout came was no more
than 30 feet across. On the opening
day of Michigan's 2017 trout season,
an outdoor writer friend of mine
caught a 20-inch rainbow trout
from a tributary of the Manistee
River. When I saw the picture in the
it does, close the bail and set the
hook.
Creek anglers fight a constant
battle with brush on the banks and
debris in the water. The log jams
that frequent creeks are a double-
edged sword. They offer ideal trout
cover, but they also are hook-grab-
bing hazards. When fishing a small
stream, plan on either losing lots
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of hooks or spooking lots of fish while wading in to save your hooks. And
of hooks or spooking lots of fish
while wading in to save your hooks.
And streamside brush can make an
impossible situation.
I waver between using a long
rod or a short one for creek fishing.
On the one hand, a short, ultra-
light rod is great for maneuvering
through the brush and for making
those sometimes-possible and even
desirable short casts – lobs – to
get the bait in the water. I already
mentioned the advantages a long
rod offers.
And a word about scaring fish is
important.
Trout will flee when shadows
fall across a stream. The stream
may be covered with shadows cast
by trees branches. Let a new one
move across a stream, though, and
the trout will be gone. They also flee
at the sight of an angler or when a
heavy footfall sends vibrations into
a stream. Fishing for small-stream
trout is an activity closely aligned
with hunting. Anglers actively stalk
their quarry. The difference is that
the quarry is generally unseen. The
stalker needs to just judge where a
fish might by reading the water.
Trout can hold in a lot of places.
Log jams are obvious spots. So are
undercut banks. The slack water
downstream from boulders offer
good fish-holding spots. Where
streams flow through meadows,
the grass bending over a stream
offer good hiding places for trout.
The watercress that fills so many
streams during the latter part of
each summer offers shelter for
fish. I regularly angle one creek
that during the early season seems
to have no fish in it at all. In fact,
maybe it doesn't have fish. During
that time, the trout may be down-
stream in the river into which the
creek flows.
When the vegetation appears
in the creek and the river warms,
though, trout appear like magic.
They hang out in the watercress
and wait for food to drift by.
The moving water usually keeps
one clear channel free of the weeds.
An angler merely needs to drift his
bait along the open channel, and
lurking trout will dart out and grab
it. That is exciting fishing. That is
the time when it is common for the
angler to see a trout strike.
trying to catch the fish. I don't
remember what was hatching.
Midges, maybe. Nothing noteworthy
A
person can use flies or spin-
ners on these tiny streams, but he's
nuts if he does. Those lures are the
wrong tools for the water.
First, except for tiny portions of
water, a fly angler won't be able to
cast on a small stream. He might be
should have been hatching that time
of day and year.
I finally caught the fish by
spending most of my lunch hour
creeping into position behind it and
using a bow-and-arrow cast to get
my fly in front of it.
able to dap his fly in spots, but the
effort expended for the fish he will
catch makes the method an unten-
able affair. Even a weighted fly is
nearly weightless. Just getting a fly
I felt a wave of exhilaration
when the trout took the fly. But the
fish was overmatched even with
the five-weight rod and the fly line
I was using. The battle was quickly
in
the water of a creek is an ordeal.
I
speak from experience. I've
over, and I unhooked the seven-inch
brown trout and released it. Then
often tried to fly fish small creeks.
One recollection lingers in my mind.
I would go fish a small creek
on my lunch hour. I tried different
methods of fly fishing. I would lay
I wondered why I had invested so
a
cast across the ground so only
my fly and leader fell in the water. I
would use wet flies and try to swing
them in the current. I would work
up stream along a tiny, brush-free
portion of the creek using dry flies
and nymphs. During that time, I
remember catching only one trout.
The trout seemed like a decent
fish when I saw him rising. His
holding lie was under a little pile
much time into catching the little
thing. I've also used spinners on tiny
creeks, and the results are equally
unsatisfying. A person just can't get
a spinner in many of the locations
where the fish hang out. Again, if he
tries, he will hang up. Then he will
need to break off the lure or wade in
and scare off the trout. If he breaks
off a hook and a worm, though, he's
lost little. Bait fishing is the method
to use on small streams.
And, although some fly fish-
ermen may look down their noses
of sticks and twigs the stream had
strewn in a jumbled mass along the
creek's edge. The trout would come
out and feed when a hatch was in
progress.
at the bait-using creek anglers, the
creek anglers will keep on sneaking
along tiny creeks, catching lots of
trout and taking them home to fry.
Little in this world is more fun than
fishing a small stream for trout.
I spent several lunch hours
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(888) 999-5396 | bwaters1@hughes.net | watersedgeup.com

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By Jim Bedford Be Different W hen the river conditions are good on our steelhead
By Jim Bedford
Be
Different
W hen the river conditions are good on our
steelhead streams there is one constant in
the spring — there will be other anglers
sharing the water with you. There will be
to net or hand hooked on spawn or other drifted offering.
g.
How do I know?
Well my other quirk is keeping a log
og
and recording every steelhead that I have ever
Casting lures and fishing water that others pass by
by
the die-hard serious steelheaders along with a whole
bunch of others that just have spring fever after a long
Michigan winter. It will be rare to find a good run or
hole unoccupied and almost all the anglers will be
drifting their offering under a float.
Last fall, I spent well over 100 hours of actual fishing
time plying nine different rivers and never encountered
a wading angler that was not drifting their bait, bead or
jig with the current. All but one or two were utilizing a
float. Usually, there was a spawn bag on the end of their
line, either on a bare hook or a small jig, but beads and
flies were also commonly used. The only times I saw
lures in use were a couple of instances when I encoun-
tered a boat pulling plugs.
My suggestion and the gist of this article is that
maybe this spring might be the time to get creative
and try something different than what the masses are
employing. I think you will be pleasantly surprised
when you offer the steelhead something different and
fish different parts of our tributary streams to the Great
Lakes.
It will come as no surprise to regular readers of
will definitely make you “different” on our steelhead
ad
streams. I like to call the marginal holding spots in the
he
tributaries “in-between water.” Weighted spinners and
nd
minnow plugs are a great way to check out all of these
se
spots that are skipped by the drift anglers.
Just a few
w
casts will let know if there is a steelhead present so you
ou
can quickly move on to the next possible holding spot. ot.
Of course, if a big pool or long deep run is free from
m
other anglers you will also want to fish it hard as you
ou
move along. Covering water is a real key to fishing lures
es
for steelhead.
Cover is very important to migrating steelhead, and
nd
good overhead protection is almost always a key compo-
o-
nent of the best runs and pools. Water depth usually fills
lls
the bill in the prime spots but over hanging vegetation,
n,
submerged boulders and logs, and a riffled surface are
re
real keys to creating the marginal spots. If the overhead
ad
cover keeps you from seeing a steelhead, then a steelie
lie
could be present.
Of course, the less well hidden the
he
fish, the less time it will likely stay in that location.
continues to amaze me, though, how little cover is
sometimes necessary.
In the Rogue River, one of our most heavily
It It
Michigan Out-of-Doors that I am a big fan of casting
and retrieving lures for steelhead. In over 50 years of
serious steelhead chasing, less than 0.02% (2) have come
fished spring steelhead streams, the number of
deep runs and holes is somewhat limited. In my

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a a “marginal “marginal holding holding areas” areas” as as you you can. can. The
a
a
“marginal “marginal holding holding areas” areas” as as you you can. can.
The The flash flash and and vibrations vibrations of of
it it
it
it based on past experience, the more t
I I
pound pound it it the the next next time time it it comes comes past. past.
clearer clearer Great Great Lakes Lakes tributaries. tributaries.

water wat

favorite stretch there is a prime rocky run that is prob-

ably never devoid of anglers in the daylight and it is rare that I am ever able to fish it by the time I have reached that point. Just above this named honey hole there is

small run that is relatively shallow and is bordered

by a bunch of tag alders on the bank. It is routinely passed by most anglers as it seems too shallow and open plus you have make a somewhat rigorous crossing just above the popular run to fish it properly. A number of years ago, I approached the popular run and not unexpectedly there were three anglers

drifting their offerings under floats through it. I excused myself and eased myself behind them and then, using my wading staff, crossed the fast water above them. On the second sweep of my spinner under the tag alders

steelie clobbered my shiny lure and took off down-

stream. There was no stopping the fish and I had to excuse myself again and apologize for causing the drift anglers to have to pause a minute before casting again. I finally caught up to and landed and released the silver bullet. As I came back upstream, I wondered when this

marginal run would start being fished by the masses but

still still have have never never encountered encountered an an angler an fishing it.

And And now now that that almost almost all a drift anglers

use use floats floats it it probably prob never will

be be fished fished by by them t since the

tag tag alder alder branches b touch

the the water wa and could

“gra “grab” the bobber. At any g given time most of the

i i n - b e t w e e n

hold

fish fish so so it it is is important important to to use use a a method method that t allows you

won’t

to to cover cover the the water water quickly. quickly. Cast Cast and and dash das becomes the

operative operative motto. motto. You You will will greatly greatly improve improv your chances

by by moving moving right right along along and and covering covering as as many of these

Tossing metal,

especially especially weighted weighted spinners spinners my my favorite fav steelhead

method, method, is is ideally ideally suited suited for for fishing fishing in-between in-be water.

the the revolving r blade

attract attract steelhead steelhead from from a a considerable considerable distance d so that

takes takes fewer fewer casts casts to to cover cover an an area. area. Steelhead Ste usually

hit hit a a spinner spinner right right away away so so you you don’t don’t have to make

many many casts casts to to the the same same spot. spot. Of Of course, course the better the

steelhead steelhead lie lie looks looks and and the the more more confidence confiden you have in

based on past experience, the more thoroughly you

will will cover cover it. it. And, And, even even in in the the more more marginal mar the spots,

have have a a two two cast cast rule rule because because the the steelhead stee may not

be be ready ready to to grab grab the the spinner spinner on on the the first firs cast but will

My My preference preference is is to to fish fish upstream upstream when fishing

these these diminutive diminutive lies lies so so as as to to not not betray betray my presence.

This This is is especially especially important important in in our smaller,

Approaching

the the steelhead steelhead from from behind behind makes makes it much easier

to to stay stay out out of of their their cone cone of of vision. vision Sand and silt

are are also also found found along along the the edges edges of o many of our

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd

49

streams and the downstream wading angler will send a cloudy water warning to the fish. Not alerting the fish to your presence is especially important when using artificial lures since they are not natural offerings and fish that are even slightly “spooked” will ignore or flee from them. Accurate casts are critical, and I favor the under- hand, pendulum toss because it allows me to cast under overhanging brush. The target areas in the in-between water are often small, so whatever you cast you employ make sure you are very good with it. The need for spot on casts is another reason to employ spinners and spoons because their compactness makes them easier to toss into the holding spot. The types of holding areas are many and varied but I have found that those that offer some overhead cover to be the best. In our Michigan streams, this is frequently some overhanging vegetation in the form of a tree, bush or long grass. The smaller the stream, the more important the streamside vegetation becomes. Undercut banks are common on our more sinuous trib- utaries and these make excellent holding cover the big migrants. Submerged logs, large rocks, and clay and rock ledges can also provide some overhead cover as well as current breaks. Sometimes the cover is simply a choppy surface. Even bubbles or foam may provide just enough protec- tion. The usual rule of thumb is that if you cannot easily see the bottom or the fish then a steelhead could

hold in that area.

cont. pg.48

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Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors

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47

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Terri Bedford with red-sided spring steelhead on a spinner. Bedford caught the steelhead on a
Terri Bedford with red-sided spring steelhead on a spinner. Bedford caught the steelhead on a small Michigan stream that the
Bedfords frequent year-round. They target anadromous fish with spinners and plugs
Just this season I had a very memorable battle with
I quickly took a photo, lowered the net rim and watched
a steelhead that was holding in two feet of water with
a disturbed surface. On my first cast with a #4 silver
spinner I felt a bump that seemed alive. One more toss
to the same spot and it was game on. The silver steel-
head took off downstream with me in hot pursuit trying
to stay close so that I would have a chance to steer it
clear from the abundant wood in the water. Just a half
hour earlier, I hooked a nice, but smaller, steelhead in
front of a log pile and was unable to keep it from diving
into the logs, wrapping up my line and breaking off.
So, it was a nervous chase down over 200 yards of
stream with me stumbling after and the fish making
periodic dashes. Probably due to luck more than skill
the big buck swim away.
High water is another time to concentrate on the
in-between water of your favorite steelhead river. The
turbidity of the water will result in virtually no light
penetration to the bottom in the deeper runs, and thus,
won’t allow the steelhead to see your lure. Pay special
attention to the pocket along the edge of the stream
because this is where the travel lanes are when the river
is raging. Especially good will be those spots where a
I was able to keep the steelhead from diving under a
clearer tributary enters the main stream. Sweep casts
from above the fish will work particularly well now
as the fish are less likely to be spooked by you in the
higher water with reduced visibility. Hanging your
lure in their face from above will also give the steelhead
log and saying sayonara. Finally, I got below the brute
and guided it into my net. Not sure who was more tired
but it was safe to say that both angler and fish were
exhausted. I just stared at the beauty of the very thick,
deep-bodied male steelhead for a moment as it lay in
the meshes in shallow water. I dug for my DeLiar and
weighed it in the net. After correcting for the net, the
final approximate weight was a hair over 17 pounds. It
was my largest steelhead over the last ten years and in
the top ten of my Michigan steelhead over my lifetime.
a better chance of finding it in the off-color water.
Steelhead lying in the in-between or marginal
holding water are usually more aggressive or on edge.
They are also likely to be on the move. This makes them
easier to catch. Another plus is that usually not many
anglers will have made any presentations to these fish.
Make it a point to give these diminutive holding areas
a real good try this spring, I don’t think you will be
disappointed.
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Be even more different While casting and retrieving a lure is already an alternative to
Be even more different
While casting and retrieving a lure is already an
alternative to what most anglers are using on your
favorite steelhead streams, you will enhance your
fishing by having an alternative lure to what you
usually use.
This will be especially helpful when cold weather
or low water have the steelhead hunkered down and
not moving in the spring. My favorite alternative to
the weighted spinner is the minnow plug. Examples
are the Rapala Husky Jerk, Bomber Pro Long A and the
Kinchou Minnow. These crank baits are all suspending
and dive several feet under the surface, just where we
want them for in-between holding spots. While they are
not feeding, steelhead in the spring seem to not like to
have other fish in their space so they aggressively try
to “take out” the intruder. These plugs also work well
at any time when the water is slower and of moderate
depth where steelhead can get a long look at them. In
addition, in a hole or run where I have had lots of past
success these lures are used in addition to spinners.
Small, size-2 black duo-lock snaps are on the end of my
line at all times so I can change lures quickly.
Terri Bedford admires spring steelhead that she caught using a spinner. The Bedfords release all of the steelhead they catch in
hopes of getting to tangle with them another day or that another angler may get to experience catching one.
SUMMER 201Winter7Fall| MICHIGAN20201817 || MichiganMichiganOUT-OF-DOORSOut-of-DoorsOut-of-Doors
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Michigan-Made By Rob Harrell "Mixing Shorelines with Science" “Hi, Nick; it’s Ted (Nugent). I’m out
Michigan-Made
By Rob Harrell
"Mixing Shorelines with Science"
“Hi, Nick; it’s Ted (Nugent). I’m
out hunting right now, but I wanted
to call and tell you I feel your Dad’s
presence with me and let you know
that in the wind he’s still alive”.
As Nick Andrews sat down
behind his father’s desk for the
first time after he passed away, he
was overcome with emotion. Even
more emotional was the fact that
Nick would be replacing him as the
new vice president of marketing
and advertising at ScentLok
Technologies. As he sat back and
looked around the office that his
father (Mike Andrews) had deco-
rated with Ted Nugent memorabilia,
his phone rang, and right on cue, it
was Ted. Those were the words Ted
shared with Nick in that special and
spiritual moment.
Mike grew up in the 70s, enjoyed
playing the guitar and loved being
outdoors. Naturally, Ted Nugent
became his idol and hero. Lucky
for Mike, he had a chance to meet
Ted and eventually the two grew to
become good friends. In 2013, Mike
Andrews lost his battle with lung
cancer, and the hunting industry
mourned his passing. After more
than a decade of passion and hard
work, Mike helped grow ScentLok
Technologies to the brand you see
today.
Located in Muskegon, Michigan,
ScentLok has established itself as
the industry leader in scent and odor
control products for hunters. Greg
Sesselmann founded the company
in 1992 on a pool table in his parents'
basement. Greg came from an engi-
neering background and asked to
take on a job that required him to
find solutions for filtering out chem-
ical odors that were produced when
cleaning clothes in the dry cleaning
industry. Greg did some research
and eventually stumbled upon tech-
nology known as activated carbon.
Using activated carbon as a laminate
that could be applied to fabrics, he
realized he had found a solution for
the dry cleaning industry. Greg’s
ingenuity and vision didn’t stop
there. In fact, he was just getting
started.
As an avid bowhunter, Greg was
in his treestand one day and was
winded by a deer that intersected
his scent cloud. He decided right
then that he was going to apply
the activated carbon technology
and develop a product that would
prevent hunters from getting busted
by a deer’s nose. He worked with a
company in Germany that printed
activated carbon to develop his first
batch of suits that encapsulated the
entire body. These suits were green,
and they were so stiff that they
could basically stand on their own.
Without any money to advertise or
market his new suits at dealer trade
shows, Greg sat in the parking lot
of those trade shows and sold every
one of those suits the old-fashioned
way. Pretty soon, Cabela’s called
to place an order and the business
took off from there.
In 2002, the activated carbon
technology got a big boost when an
application was perfected to lami-
nate a sheet of activated carbon
between two layers of fabric. This
felt better to the touch, increased
mobility and was lighter in weight.
This helped open the market up to
the south and west, where tempera-
tures are a bit warmer.
This is about the time Nick
Andrews began his career at
ScentLok. Nick graduated with
a marketing degree from Kendall
College of Art and Design in Grand
Rapids. Nick quickly found himself
working for his dad at ScentLok ,
where he created sales flyers and
took on other small projects. As
Nick’s workload and responsibili-
ties grew, he found himself moving
up in the company from graphic
designer to marketing manager.
An opportunity presented
itself at Hunter Safety Systems in
Alabama and Nick left Michigan
for a couple years to pursue this
new venture. After receiving news
that his father had gotten sick, Nick
decided it was time to move back
to Michigan. In 2013, Pat Hylant

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8:03:28 AM

purchased the company from Greg, and it seemed like the right oppor- tunity for Nick
purchased the company from Greg,
and it seemed like the right oppor-
tunity for Nick to rejoin his father
in Muskegon. He took over for
his father as vice president of the
company and has been making his
family and peers proud ever since.
The technology and science of
activated carbon can be somewhat
complex, especially when its being
applied to help prevent a white-
tailed deer from smelling human
odor. I’m going to put my prover-
bial “lab coat” on for a minute
and explain the basics behind the
science of it all.
First, we must understand the
types of odors that humans produce.
There are three sources of odors
that a human can give off while in
a
stand: bacterial, metabolic and
ambient. Bacterial odors are traces
of
bacteria microbes that attach to
us
when we expose ourselves to the
elements. Metabolic odors come
from within our bodies and will
vary depending on the type of food
we ingest, gender and hormones
we excrete. Lastly, ambient odors
are generated from spending
time in environments with strong
smells where, eventually, you
will start inheriting those scent
characteristics.
To simplify, let's imagine you
plan on hunting tomorrow morning.
You have a nice Italian-style dinner
with a few beers the night before.
You wake up and grab your hunting
clothes from a rack in the garage
next to the dog crate. You then get
dressed, start the truck to warm it
up and stand at the back of your
tailgate packing up your gear. Well,
by the time you make it to your tree-
stand, you have all three sources
of odors working against you. The
garlic spices and beer are giving off
metabolic odors, your clothes have
absorbed the bacterial odors of
your garage and dog, and on top of
that, you have exposed yourself to
the exhaust fumes from your truck
picking up ambient odors.
ScentLok’s goal is to not just
offer a product that reduces or
removes just one of these sources of
odor; they are providing a complete
product line that attacks all three.
Activated carbon is the founda-
tion from which their science is
has evolved throughout the
years. Nick and his team patented
Carbon Alloy, which is a process of
combining activated carbon with
other substances to boost capabili-
ties. This hybrid technology allows
ScentLok clothing to filter a larger
variety of odors, making it the most
effective scent control technology
on the market.
Throughout the years, ScentLok
has been challenged by skeptics and
forced to defend their technology
and claims of effectiveness. In 2008,
they faced a class action lawsuit
from a handful of hunters from
Minnesota who, essentially, claimed
that the company was guilty of false
advertising. Normally, in these
types of lawsuits, large companies
tend to settle out of court in fear of
lingering litigation and bad press.
Greg Sesselmann was faced with
this very decision when the attor-
neys were advising a settlement
agreement. Greg believed in his
product and knew that if he settled
the case, the integrity and reputa-
tion of the entire company would be
jeopardized. He refused to settle and
built; however, that technology
in the end, the judge required that
cont. pg. 52
Vice President of Marketing and Advertising Nick Andrews displays one of ScentLok's new garments for 2018. Andrews has
big shoes to fill after his father, who formerly held Nick's position, passed away from lung cancer.

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd

53

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8:03:29 AM

the garments be tested by an inde- pendent lab at Rutgers University. When Rutgers Lab
the garments be tested by an inde-
pendent lab at Rutgers University.
When Rutgers Lab Technicians
presented the testing results, it was
concluded that ScentLok met every
scientific claim that they advertised
and the law suit was dismissed. In
the end, it cost the company a lot of
money to defend their technology,
but in this industry, your reputation
is priceless. This was a landmark
case in the scent control world and
really drove a lot of attention to
ScentLok, both good and bad.
Three years ago, Hylant
began an initiative to refresh the
company brand and image. Part
of this re-branding effort involved
creating a new, updated logo. “If
we’re going to try and get into some
others spaces, we need to have a
logo that means more than just
hunting. Pat was really instru-
mental in the recent growth and
innovation since he took over,”
Andrews said. For an entire year,
Nick challenged his team to create
at least five new logos per week.
Eventually, they narrowed it down
to the top three and had to present
them to Sesselmann, who was not
initially on board with the idea.
After rehearsing the presentation
as a team for two days, they decided
it would be best if Nick presented all
three designs, which removed any
potential bias influence.
After all the prepping and
being extremely nervous driving in
that day, the team received a great
compliment. “Greg admitted that
when he showed up for this meeting,
he was prepared to shoot down
every new logo that we presented
because he was against the idea.
But when he saw how much hard
work went into it and the fact that
we had meaning and reason behind
each design, he was impressed
enough to agree to the change,”
Andrews said. This design, known
as the “Hex logo,” is a youthful, new
look when compared to the previous
“Legacy logo."
ScentLok is three years into
their five-year rebranding imple-
mentation plan. The hexagon logo
design stems from the number
six because carbon is the sixth
element on the periodic table. The
interlocking chains reference the
and the two colors represent the
alloy technology where there is a
combination of technologies being
used. There was purposeful intent
in removing the word ScentLok as
the company decided that moving
forward it wanted to be a symbolic
brand with a recognizable icon.
One of the most recognized logos
in the scent control industry is the
ScentBlocker “shield.” ScentLok
and ScentBlocker have been long
time competitors constantly trying
to stay one step ahead of each other.
Each company has solidified their
market share with two different
sections of the demographics. For
years, ScentLok’s biggest customer
base was males ages 55 and up.
Conversely, ScentBlocker appealed
to the younger demographics, hence
one of the reasons ScentLok decided
to rebrand themselves.
Due to a multitude of unfor-
tunate circumstances, Robinson
Outdoors (ScentBlocker’s parent
company) filed for Chapter 11
Bankruptcy in early 2017. The
Minnesota-based company cited
the slow sales from big box retailers
molecules that trap and lock in odor
such as Gander Mountain and

52 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

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8:03:31 AM

Cabela’s, as well as record warm warm high high temperatures during recent recent from from
Cabela’s, as well as record warm
warm
high high
temperatures
during
recent recent
from from
hunting
seasons,
as
contributing
uting
factors to their financial stress.
s.
The ownership at ScentLok
k
recognized that this was
a a
great opportunity to expand
their demographic and
decided to acquire Robinson
Outdoors Products on July 6,
2017. Besides ScentBlocker,
this acquisition included
several other recognizable
brands such as ScentShield,
Tree Spider and Whitewater
Outdoors.
“It’s probably going
to be about a year before
we relaunch ScentBlocker
with a new attitude and
new direction, but I’m
really excited on where it’s
going to go,” Andrews said.
“The brands will all go on
to live, and it’s going to be a
great portfolio."
Besides the recently acquired
Robinson Outdoors products,
ScentLok has a lot of exciting new
items that are launching in 2018.
With ozone technology being
such a hot trend in the market,
ScentLok has been working on
several products that utilize this
technology to further expand on
the options consumers will have
when attempting to eliminate
their scent. These new products
are being labeled as the “OZ”
product line. Also being released
this year is a revolutionary base
layer system with new body-map-
ping technology. This technology
brings a new level of function
along with cutting-edge fit and
form to allow for better mobility.
Both the “OZ” and new base layer
line were recently unveiled in
January at the 2018 ATA Trade
Show in Indianapolis.
Focusing on the Midwest white-
tail hunter, Michigan is the perfect
state to produce a product that is
meant to keep human odor from
contacting a deer’s nose. Hunting
white-tailed deer in Michigan is
one of the most challenging types
of hunting based on the amount of
hunting pressure in the woods. The
sh
m
d
c
p
e
A

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and

makes

them

exper experience is the perfect proving

grounds grou for ScentLok’s products.

Muskegon Mu is the birth place of

special

place pla in the company’s heart.

the different owner-

ship changes they could have

ScentLok Sce

Through Th

and

holds

a

moved anywhere but decided to

stay st where their roots are. “A lot of times on opening

day,

I’ll

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head

down to the

DNR

check station,

pass out some hats and just

talk t to the hunters that come by. b It’s something I really

enjoy and look forward to,”

the

generous g contributions to the main conservation groups such s as QDMA, Pope & Young, etc., ScentLok places an emphasis on giving back to their local community, especially the youth hunters. There is a Youth Day in Muskegon every year that they are heavily involved in, as well as Ray Howell’s Kicking Bear Camp. This is a weekend fun camp that exposes underprivileged and inner-city kids to faith and the outdoor lifestyle. “Being involved in mentoring our youth is something we as a company are very proud of,” Andrews said.

Andrews

said.

Besides

are very proud of,” Andrews said. Andrews said. Besides Michigan-Made is a new column that highlights

Michigan-Made is a new column that highlights and elaborates on Michigan-made products in our outdoor industry.

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors