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$5.99 US | Spring 2018
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Official Publication of Michigan United Conservation Clubs
Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 1 2/28/2018 8:02:03 AM
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
Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 2 2/28/2018 8:02:05 AM
Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 3 2/28/2018 8:02:05 AM







2 |www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 4 2/28/2018 8:02:06 AM
bAsecamp Nick Green, Editor


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 The view from one of the editor's favorite stretches of river
in outdoor publications. Publication schedules also to fish early-season mayfly hatches.
scaled back for the two magazines. In this issue, Chris Lamphere examines the mystery
We don’t live in a world where print is dying; we live surrounding suppressors in Michigan — both for
in a world where print is evolving. Those publications recreational use and hunting. Calvin McShane brings
had become predictable and comfortable. This is his own brand of philosophical writing to life as we
something we can’t afford to have happen at Michigan envision the obsession that fuels his Yooper pursuits.
Out-of-Doors. Too many of us have something invested Finally, Matt McQueen makes us laugh with a fictional
in the outdoor stories that are the very fiber of our turkey hunting story that I hope isn’t a familiar one.
being. We are excited to resurrect and re-establish a
I’ve learned more than I thought I would ever care column from John Ozoga, one of the most influential
to know about what makes a magazine tick — the ever- voices in Michigan’s deer biology. Ozoga’s writing is
flowing deadlines (an oxymoron, I know), the difficulty unique — it is scientific, yet easy to understand. He
of soliciting advertising, how to try and bring the best doesn’t use the usual jargon that makes the normal
out of each writer and the difficulty that comes with person’s head spin. Michigan Out-of-Doors is honored
laying out a 100-page magazine. to feature Ozoga’s writing moving forward.
However, I won’t stop learning or pushing the Shed hunting, fishing in the dark, turkey hunting
envelope of the magazine that we all love. We strive and the silver lining of a failed hunt test round out this
at Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Michigan spring’s issue.
Out-of-Doors to tell your story, advocate on your behalf The aforementioned thoughts aren’t a precursor to
and educate those who aren’t like us to help them Michigan Out-of-Doors’ wavering. We are as strong as
understand the importance of hunters, anglers and we have been in years, and that isn’t going to change
trappers in the natural resources world. under my watch. We must remember, though, to not
I need your voice to help guide the direction of become complacent, comfortable and predictable.
the magazine. I want to know what your thoughts A time of transition is upon us. Let us embrace it,
about the magazine are, where you see its place in discuss it, learn from it and become a better version of
Michigan’s outdoor pursuits and how we can better ourselves than before. Enjoy your spring and outdoor
serve you as a reader. Feel free to email me at editor@ endeavors. I will enjoy mine — I see a large brown trout
michiganoutofdoors.com. engulfing my dry fly in the near future.
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 Yours in conservation,
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.

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 5 2/28/2018 8:02:07 AM

Just finished reading my fall edition
of Michigan Out-of-Doors, and
wanted to get with
The you onofthe
bedrock new
conservation is taking care of our natural resources so that they can be passed down to
design of the magazine.
future 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 of one generation of conservationists to the next.
the magazine better the old way.
When I normally read the mag-
azine its from cover to cover, In memory of
although my passion is mostly deer
hunting ,and fishing I enjoy reading Thomas Pringle
about some of the other passions from
as well. Jerry & Constance Thompson, Daniel & Penny Atkinson, Perry & Amada Ragon, Tom & Becky
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 from
the years have been added to my Friends from Bendle
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 In memory of
probably over 40 years now, and
hunting, and fishing the out doors Benjamin Brush
for probably 10 years more than from
that, andThe
stillBear Hunter's
find them both toFriends:
be Paul, Ken, Drew, Jeff, Denny, George, Bowjam, Tim, Chris and Alan.
refreshing, and The money
joyful. from
I also likedthis 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 In memory of
know I'm only one person and like
your final story different from all
Bob Schmitzer
others, but I really like the old mag-
John & Marsha Kaczynski, Jane Rogner, Robert Burk, Al Pavlicek, Dave Zehnder, Eugene & Anne
azine much better. And truly agree
Schiefer, Jerry & Karen Thompson, Mike & Debbie Varley and Jill Ritter
to Hunt Your Own Hunt.

But do it ethically and honestly.
If you have recently lost someone you would like to honor here,
Sincerely, DeLoy C. Clark
please contact Sue Pride at spride@mucc.org.
Muckegon, MI


Having recently finished reading the
new format magazine, my first im-
pression in a word is "slick". Upon

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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."

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 7 2/28/2018 8:02:10 AM

Nick Green

SOLO 71 / DAVE BEHM 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
PRESIDENT largest state-based conservation organization in the nation.
THOMAS HERITIER MUCC members determine its conservation policies through
a robust grassroots process, which MUCC staff works to
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT implement by working with elected officials, state and federal
RON BURRIS agencies, its members and the public. MUCC has published
Michigan Out-of-Doors since 1947 and operates the Michigan
VICE PRESIDENT Out-of-Doors Youth Camp in Chelsea, MI. Learn more about the
GEORGE LINDQUIST full range of programs MUCC uses to advance conservation in
Michigan and become a member at www.mucc.org.

MUCC Staff
JANE FINNERTY Executive Director Deputy Director
CAROL ROSE deichinger@mucc.org atrotter@mucc.org
Public Information Officer Digital Media Coordinator
ngreen@mucc.org lschultz@mucc.org
BRUCE LEVEY Wildlife Co-op Coordinator Education Director
DOUG KRIZANIC amitterling@mucc.org smckeon@mucc.org

Michigan Out-of-Doors (ISSN 0026-2382) is the official publication of SARAH TOPP AMBER ALBERT
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), 2101 Wood St., Lansing Wildlife Volunteer Coordinator Membership Coordinator
MI 48912, and is published quarterly. Telephone: 517.371.1041.
Receipt of this publication is through membership in MUCC. For
stopp@mucc.org aalbert@mucc.org
membership information, call 1.800.777.6720. Single copies available
to the public for $5.99 each. Periodicals postage paid at Lansing, TYLER BUTLER SUE PRIDE
Michigan, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address Youth Camp Director Membership Relations &
changes to Michigan Out-of-Doors, PO Box 30235, Lansing MI 48909.
All advertising communications should be sent to PO Box 30235.
tbutler@mucc.org Tracks Coordinator
Views expressed by freelance writers are their own and do not nec- spride@mucc.org
essarily express those of Michigan Out-of-Doors or Michigan United ASHLEY BUR
Conservation Clubs. Copyright 2017 by Michigan United Conservation
Policy Assistant and Gourmet Gone
Clubs (MUCC). The Copyright Act of 1976 prohibits the reproduction of
Michigan Out-of-Doors without written permission from Michigan United Wild Director
Conservation Clubs. MUCC members may reproduce one copy for abur@mucc.org
personal use without permission. For permission to reprint a specific
article, and for inquiries, contact the editor at editor@michiganoutof-

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 8 2/28/2018 8:02:10 AM
Rights and Privileges Director's Desk
I have wondered whether doing so is really in the best
Dan Eichinger, Executive Director 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 privilege, my whole attitude about those activities
heritage, our responsibilities as stewards of our natural changes. Privileges, as we all know, are things we are
resources and the importance of passing these traditions allowed to do and that can be taken away, as I am quick
on to future generations. A lot of times, we talk about to remind my children. When I think about hunting and
hunting and fishing in terms of being a right here in fishing as a privilege, I have to acknowledge that my
Michigan. We all instinctively understand what a right ability to do so can be taken away. This, of course, is the
is — it’s something that we are entitled to solely by virtue reality we confront here in Michigan.
of our citizenship. In a legal sense, rights are granted by Hunting and fishing can be taken away from us. It
the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State compels one to think even more about the perception
of Michigan. Hunting and fishing are not recognized as of their activities, their duties as an ethical sportsmen
rights in either of these documents, presently. and the important role ambassadorship plays in how
Every year, there is some discussion around we conduct and represent ourselves as members of
Lansing about enshrining our rights to hunt and fish the hunting and fishing society here in Michigan. If
in Michigan’s constitution as a way to forestall attacks we construct in our minds that hunting and fishing are
by the antis, and there are good arguments to be made rights, I fear it can make us lazy in these supremely
in favor of doing so. There are some risks, too, but the important responsibilities. We act as though it doesn’t
point of this column is not to dive into that debate at the matter how we do it because we have a right to do it
moment. Rather, it is to explore the concepts of rights anyway we want to. Some of us act that way, and some
and privileges as it relates to hunting and fishing. of us especially act that way in front of non-hunters.
I am guilty, as some of you may be, of describing There may come a day when hunting and fishing
hunting and fishing as rights. I certainly feel as though are enshrined as rights here in Michigan, and I would
they should be; that I, by virtue of my citizenship, have a certainly welcome that day. But I have chosen, and
right to enjoy the plentiful, renewable resources that are encourage many of you to do so as well, to never think
our fish and game. In doing so, I have hoped to create a of them that way. I encourage you to view hunting and
self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. If I call it a right often fishing as activities that I have been given the privilege
enough and treat hunting and angling as such, it would to do. If we act like this is a privilege, everyone else will
be self-evident by the non-hunting public. But recently, 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.

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 7

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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.
December 31, 2017 through January 13, investigation he conducted this fall. new 2017 trail permit was observed
2018 CO Lynch had received a in his wallet along with his 2018 trail
complaint of a spike-horn deer ille- permit. When asked, the operator
It's a snow burn gally taken. He obtained a search stated it was too cold last year.
warrant for the suspect’s residence. The operator was not displaying
Conservation Officer (CO) The search turned up evidence a registration on his machine, either.
Brian Lasanen assisted the of the illegal deer and marijuana. When asked about his registration,
Ontonagon County Sheriff’s Interviews were conducted. he could not provide proof, but stated
Department with a snowmobile The deer, rifle, and marijuana it was registered in Wisconsin.
that caught fire. By the time the were seized, and a report was turned The VIN# on the snowmobile
officers arrived, the fire was out in to the prosecutor’s office. was covered by his custom wrap.
and the only thing left of the snow- A four-count arrest warrant was After a lengthy investigation, it was
mobile was the frame and engine put out for the suspect including determined that the operator had
block. The owner/operator was the following violations: taking two valid warrants for snowmobile
uninjured. a deer with rifle during a closed violations in Marquette County from
season, taking a deer without a 2003.
Be careful with your dogs license, possession of marijuana and Enforcement action was taken
discharge of a firearm within the along with a significant amount of
CO Shannon Kritz responded safety zone. bond.
to a Report All Poaching (RAP) The subject was arrested and
complaint about a subject who let lodged in the Delta County Jail. The High speed snowmobile chase
his dogs out of his house before suspect was sentenced to $2,450 in
checking to see if there were any fines and restitution, five days in jail, Sgt. Mark DePew was working
deer in his yard. hunting privileges revoked for five snowmobile activity when he
The dogs chased a young deer years, including the current year, and observed a snowmobile travel
causing it to run into a fence and the firearm used was condemned. through an intersection at approx-
injure itself. imately 15 mph and operating in a
The deer had to be dispatched Snowmobiling mishaps careless manner.
because of injuries. Enforcement Sgt. DePew pulled from his posi-
action was taken on the individual While participating in a group tion and began pursuing the snow-
for dogs chasing wildlife and the snowmobile patrol in Grand Marais, mobile southbound onto US 27 in
deer was given to a family in need. CO Brett Gustafson contacted a his fully-marked patrol unit with his
snowmobile operator after he was emergency lights and siren activated.
observed not displaying a snowmo- During the 20-mile pursuit, the
High and out of season bile trail permit. suspect crossed 17 public roadways
The operator stated that it was at speeds of over 90 mph. The suspect
CO Chris Lynch received “too cold” to put it on his snowmo- was apprehended by Sgt. DePew and
the disposition back from an bile. When he opened his wallet, a COs Nathan Sink and Kyle Cherry.

8 |www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 10 2/28/2018 8:02:11 AM
The suspect was charged with a anglers, one of them advised CO Neal CO Page, after yelling to the subject
felony and lodged in the Otsego his ticket from the last year had been and tapping him on the shoulder, was
County Jail. taken care of and this year should be unable to get a response.
a “gimme” year. CO Page then gave the subject
Don't be wasteful CO Neal asked the anglers how a sternum rub, and at that time, the
many tip-ups they had out and they subject became conscious and stood
CO Josiah Killingbeck was advised, “maybe seven or eight.” up from the snow bank.
checking an ice shanty on a local lake CO Neal could see ten tip-ups CO Page detected a strong odor
near Irons when he detected the odor from where he was standing, and of intoxicants and obvious signs
of marijuana. after a short walk, found a couple of intoxication. The subject was
CO Killingbeck asked the subjects more. The anglers were cited for unwilling to provide CO Page with
if anyone had a medical marijuana fishing with too many lines a second any background on how he got to the
card, to which they replied no. year in a row. access site or whom he was with.
The subjects told CO Killingbeck The subject refused to be checked
that they had found the pipe and DUI on a UTV out by medics and was then arrested
marijuana lying on the ice nearby and lodged for outstanding warrants
and did not want the marijuana to go CO Steve Lockwood and out of Kalamazoo County.
to waste. Probationary CO Amanda McCurdy
Enforcement action was taken. noticed a side-by-side ORV with an
expired registration operating down First, okay, maybe second time
They caught a break the middle of a Gladwin County road.
By the time they were able to turn CO Mike Drexler was on patrol in
CO Brian Brosky was working around the patrol vehicle and catch Sylvan Township when he observed a
private property in Mason County up to the ORV, it had turned onto a pickup truck with a dog box in the bed
for snowmobile trespassing when he Michigan highway and continued parked in the roadway.
observed four snowmobiles fail to down the middle of the highway. CO Drexler pulled up next to
stop at a stop sign and enter onto a The operator was very slow to the vehicle that was running just as
roadway at a high rate of speed. respond to the emergency lights and a coyote hunter popped out of the
CO Brosky caught up to them siren from the patrol vehicle. When woods.
over a mile away when they ended up the female operator finally noticed The CO checked licenses and
at a cabin along the Pere Marquette the signals to stop, she pulled to the discovered the subject had a loaded
River. side of the road and immediately and uncased firearm in the vehicle.
When the CO made contact threw a beer can out of the ORV. The hunter swore to CO Drexler
with them and asked why they didn’t During the course of the inves- that it was the first time and he never
stop, they claimed they never saw the tigation, it was discovered that the leaves his firearm loaded in the
CO with his emergency lights. operator was driving on a suspended vehicle.
One of the operators asked if the license, as well as operating while A computer check revealed the
CO would be so kind as to give the intoxicated (OWI). subject had been cited for possess
operators a break for their violations. The operator was arrested and loaded/uncased firearm in a motor
After CO Brosky advised them of all lodged in the Gladwin County Jail. vehicle twice before.
of the violations, which included oper- Due to numerous priors, she was Enforcement action was taken.
ating at an unreasonable speed, regis- charged with felony OWI.
tration paperwork violations, failing Thanks, son
to stop before entering a roadway, Too cold for that, dude
failing to operate to the extreme right CO Troy Ludwig contacted
side and exceeding the posted 55 mile CO Matt Page was flagged down a hunter after finding a deer
an hour speed limit, they were happy by a concerned citizen in reference with tagging irregularities while
to receive a civil infraction ticket for to a suspicious subject at a local lake performing a taxidermy inspection.
careless operation. access site. When questioned, the hunter
According to the citizen, the admitted to taking the deer and
Two years in a row? Really? suspicious person was not dressed tagging it with his father’s kill tag.
for the conditions and was wandering Enforcement action was taken.
CO Craig Neal was patrolling around the parking lot near vehicles.
Crooked Lake in Missaukee County CO Page arrived on scene and
when he noticed a shanty in a similar observed a subject fitting the descrip-
location to where he located anglers tion of the suspicious person lying
fishing with too many lines the unconscious in a snow bank.
previous year. The temperature at the time of
While talking with the three contact was approximately 10 degrees.

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 9

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 11 2/28/2018 8:02:11 AM
Subscribe, become a member and get MUCC and
Michigan Out-of-Doors gear at www.mucc.org
and www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Get Michigan Out-of-Doors
by becoming a member of
Michigan United
Conservation Clubs
Visit www.mucc.org/join_mucc
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

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 12 2/28/2018 8:02:12 AM
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.

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.

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 13 2/28/2018 8:02:15 AM
Some Gander Mountain wasn't immediately clear how many in a sport that's always been
of those are to reopen. male-dominated
stores reopening as Gander - Women prefer to always look
Outdoors in Michigan 'Hunter pink' memo riles and feel attractive (even while
hunting), having pink as and option
Annalise Frank, Crain's Detroit Business Michigan outdoorswomen can help with any insecurities over
what they are wearing.
Several Gander Mountain stores Emily Lawler, MLive - When a woman walks into a
are reopening as Gander Outdoors hunting apparel retailer and can
after Marcus Lemonis of the CNBC LANSING, MI - A picture of see a section of pink, she can imme-
business turnaround show "The comments submitted in favor of diately identify that section of the
Profit" bought the company's assets legislation allowing Michigan store is specifically for her
in bankruptcy court. hunters to wear pink has gone - Pink is color that can immedi-
The outdoor retailer's Utica viral on Twitter and offended some, ately identify a female, women don't
location on Hall Road reopened including sportswomen. want to be mistaken as a man, even
in mid-December and one in The hullabaloo started over a from a distance in the woods"
Port Huron is expected for May, re-introduced bill that would let Moss said he made the memo
according to a press release. Michigan hunters wear "hunter public because it was offensive. He
Stores in Traverse City, Saginaw, pink" instead of the traditional voted against the hunter pink bill
Flint, Kalamazoo, Marquette and "blaze orange" required in the woods last session, because he didn't think
Coldwater are to reopen in spring. for hunter safety. The idea first came the legislature should be spending
"...We are currently pursuing up last session, when then-Rep. Lisa time on it.
other locations for reopening and Lyons, a hunter herself, introduced "Last year it was silly. Now it's
expansion and expect to announce it. But that bill ended up leaving the gone from silly to offensive," Moss
additional locations and markets in decision to the Natural Resources said.
the coming weeks," Lemonis said in Commission, which shot it down. "I don't think a bunch of men
the release. Rep. Steven Johnson, need to tell women what they should
A manager at the Gander R-Wayland, took up the mantle with wear to make themselves feel attrac-
Outdoors Utica location declined House Bill 5416, which would take tive while out in the woods hunting."
to comment and messages left with the matter out of the hands of the Drew Born, who runs an
corporate representatives weren't Natural Resources Commission and outdoors website, turned the memo
immediately returned. legislatively declare hunter pink in. He's surprised at the attention
Lemonis' Camping World allowable. it's gotten, and said it was only
Holdings Inc. — Lincolnshire, Ill.- Johnson testified along with offensive when taken out of context.
based outdoor and sporting retailer two citizen supporters of the idea "The funny thing is I wrote that
— purchased "certain assets" of in the House Natural Resources with a woman friend of mine and it
Gander Mountain Co. in May, the Committee on Wednesday. was more of just my talking points I
release said. Gander Outdoors "It's a bill that gives people was going to discuss," Born said.
will continue to focus on hunting, more options," Johnson told the He said the best argument is
camping, fishing and other outdoor committee. the safety argument. It's a hunter
sports. The bill is still in the committee recruitment tool, he said, and also
St. Paul, Minn.-based Gander process. But one of the things to pink is easier to identify than orange
Mountain and subsidiaries filed for come out of that hearing was a viral in some situations, like when leaves
Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March photo of some language distributed are turning.
due to challenges from lack of to lawmakers. It was tweeted out Johnson said the handout
traffic, shifting customer demand by Rep. Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, did not come from him, but was
and the success of e-commerce, the who is not on the committee but submitted by a private citizen. His
company said in its news release at received the memo from a colleague. office did not review it. Asked if he
the time. The memo reads, in part: agreed with any of the points in the
The company had approxi- " - Using pink makes women memo, Johnson said he had not read
mately 162 stores in 27 states. It feel more welcome and included it.

12 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 14 2/28/2018 8:02:15 AM
But when it was posted on the Is a Sandhill Crane hunt Natural Resource’s official position
internet, some women rejected the is neutral on this issue, Matheny
memo's contents. coming? says emails obtained through the
Comedian Chelsea Handler Freedom of Information Act reveal
mocked it. Lara Moehlman, Michigan Public Radio otherwise, with private emails
Stephanie Ray, a Michigan between staff openly advocating for
hunter who has followed the issue Right now, it’s illegal in the hunting the sandhill crane.
of hunter pink and runs a popular state of Michigan to hunt the Some support the hunt for agri-
Instagram account, said the memo sandhill crane, the state’s largest cultural purposes. Some farmers,
was degrading. It takes the focus off and oldest bird. But a proposal to for instance, say the bird uproots
the reasons women hunt, she said, hunt the species within the state young corn shoots in the spring to
like filling the freezer and a love of is gaining traction and the U.S. eat the kernels.
the sport. Fish and Wildlife Service says if “There is a federal program
"I am by no means glamorous the state of Michigan asks, it will where hunters that are experi-
when hunting; if it's cold, my nose is grant permission to hunt the bird. encing a nuisance from these birds
running. If I harvest an animal with Michigan would join 15 other states can get a permit now to shoot them,”
fur, my eyes are swollen, I'm sneezing, that currently allow sandhill crane Matheny said. “You actually can eat
and probably using an inhaler. If it's hunting. In these states, hunting them after you shoot them when you
cold, my nose is red and my eyes are requires both a state and federal kill them with this permit, but that
watering. But I love it - I'm not out license. permit use in Michigan has been
there to look 'cute,' I'm out there for Detroit Free Press reporter pretty limited. It’s under 80 permits
the love of the sport and to achieve Keith Matheny has been following as of last count, have been used in
the goals I have set," Ray said. this proposal closely. He explains a year.”
She said she would prefer manu- Michigan is part of a “flyway” that’s When the state House was
facturer's make men's clothing in home to the eastern population of considering the resolution to
smaller sizes, as she's almost always sandhill cranes, a population that’s support a hunt, James Lower,
disappointed in the selection avail- been smaller in size for a while. R-Cedar Lake, presented a photo of
able in the women's section. The species was almost hunted into a farmer’s tractor surrounded by
"Those comments paint the extinction in the early 20th century what looked like hundreds of birds.
picture that female hunters want in Michigan, but now, Matheny He argued this photo was an accu-
blaze pink so they can 'look cute' and reports, it’s “making a rebound.” rate representation of the nuisance
'feel confident.' Confidence is built According to Matheny, because the sandhill crane poses to farmers.
around hours of practice, mental the sandhill crane is a migratory “Well, turns out that photo came
rehearsal, experience, and the desire bird, it falls under the umbrella from a USDA report and it was a
and drive to achieve your goals; not of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, photo from Israel, not Michigan,”
because of your blaze pink hat you meaning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Matheny said. “The birds were
bought in the women's section," Ray Service has the final word on another type of crane, not sandhill
said. whether or not the population can cranes, and that tractor in the photo
The bill is still pending in the be hunted. was there to feed them, which is
House Natural Resources Committee. “Because the population has why they were crowding around,
It would need to pass the full House rebounded to a point that they the idea being if we feed them in
and Senate and earn a signature from believe it can sustain hunting, basi- this location, maybe they’ll leave
Gov. Rick Snyder to become law. cally any state along this flyway our crops alone.”
that asks will be able to hunt it,” For now, the state is waiting
MUCC's Stance Matheny said. on a decision from the Natural
In Michigan, Matheny said the Resources Commission, which says
Michigan United Conservation Michigan United Conservation it’s currently looking for more
Clubs opposes the bill and believes Clubs have been pushing for the information on what problems
that the decision to allow hunter pink legalization of sandhill crane farmers are having and what poten-
should be decided by the Natural hunting. The state House of tial alternatives there are to a hunt
Resources Commission. Representatives passed a resolution in an effort to mitigate agricultural
In addition, there is no interna- supporting hunting the sandhill problems caused by the sandhill
tional or OSHA standard for hunter crane this past fall. The state’s crane.
pink, and the Michigan DNR Law Natural Resources Commission has “If it’s approved at the state
Enforcement Division concluded in not yet considered the resolution, level, it will then have to go through
September that there are currently but according to Matheny there’s this federal process,” Matheny said.
no safe alternatives to hunter orange. “some indication that there is “But my reporting’s indicated that
support for a hunt at the DNR level.” federal process will be more or less
While the Department of a rubber stamp allowing a hunt.”

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 13

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 15 2/28/2018 8:02:15 AM
Conservation Nation
Ducks Unlimited recognizes are important. Every day, however, Secretary Bruce Babbitt. She also
World Wetlands Day is wetlands day at Ducks Unlimited, served as a top advisor and Deputy
and without the support of great, Chief of Staff to then-Rep. Mark
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – On Feb. 1, conservation-minded partners our Udall (D-Colorado). Most recently,
2018, cities across the world cele- work would certainly be limited,” Davis has led the Heritage Outdoors
brated World Wetlands Day (WWD), Wiley said. Project of the Resources Legacy
and Ducks Unlimited (DU) added Economists estimate that one Fund, which works with conserva-
its voice to raise awareness of this acre of wetlands can provide up to tion organizations to preserve and
important day. Since 1937, DU has $200,000 worth of benefits to people. protect public lands and wildlife.
conserved more than 14 million Nearly 44 percent of America’s popu- “Laura is among the most
acres of wetlands and associated lation regularly depends on ground- visionary and effective conservation-
habitats across North America. On water for its drinking water supply, ists of our time,” said Collin O’Mara,
average, DU and its many partners not to mention the health benefits of President and CEO of the National
help conserve more than 250,000 wetlands. Wetlands in or near urban Wildlife Federation. “Throughout
acres per year. areas are the focus of this year’s her time at Interior, on the Hill,
WWD marks the signing of the WWD theme. Parks, ponds and and in the non-profit sector, she has
Convention on Wetlands on Feb. near-urban wildlife refuges provide always found innovative ways to
2, 1971, in Ramsar, Iran. Each year important opportunities for people bring people together, find common-
since 1997, government agencies, to spend time outdoors in a healthy, sense solutions, and accomplish big
non-governmental organizations natural setting. things for conservation. We could
and groups of citizens at all levels For more information about not be more excited to have Laura
of the community have taken World Wetlands Day, visit www. join the Federation family at this
advantage of the opportunity to worldwetlandsday.org. critical time for conservation.”
raise public awareness of wetland Davis will lead the National
values and benefits and the Ramsar Leading Conservationist Wildlife Federation’s overarching
Convention. federal strategy to advance key prior-
“Ducks Unlimited focuses on
Joins National Wildlife ities established in its new strategic
conserving wetlands to maintain Federation plan, including increasing America’s
healthy waterfowl populations, but wildlife populations, improving
the state of our wetlands affects The National Wildlife Federation, federal management of public lands,
everyone in many ways,” said Ducks America’s largest conservation orga- encouraging conservation on private
Unlimited Chief Conservation nization with 51 state and territorial lands, and restoring America’s
Officer Nick Wiley. affiliates and more than six million waterways. At this time of partisan
DU’s conservation projects members, today announced that gridlock, Davis will significantly
provide habitat for more than 900 Laura Daniel Davis will serve as Vice expand the Federation’s reach and
species of wildlife. People also President for Conservation Strategy. ability to achieve bipartisan conser-
benefit from healthy wetlands and Davis comes to the National vation victories in the Congress and
grasslands, which provide flood Wildlife Federation with more than within the Administration.
absorption, community resilience, two decades of public policy and “For decades, the National
clean water, recreational opportu- government experience focused on Wildlife Federation has brought
nities and fisheries resources. And conservation and natural resource Republicans and Democrats together
while people across the globe rely on issues. She served as Chief of Staff to advance wildlife conservation
wetlands to help provide clean water, under Secretaries of the Interior Ken across America. Now, more than
in the last 50 years the United States Salazar (2011-2013) and Sally Jewell ever, we need to create new oppor-
alone has lost more than 17 million (2013-2014), after serving Salazar tunities for those passionate about
acres of wetlands. as Associate Deputy Secretary protecting our natural resources to
“World Wetlands Day is a great (2009-2010). In the 1990s, she held a work across the aisle for common
opportunity to raise awareness of the variety of leadership roles at the sense solutions,” said Davis.
threats wetlands face and how they Department of the Interior under

14 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 16 2/28/2018 8:02:15 AM
50 Sportsmen’s Groups Support Swift
Action on Asian Carp Plan Drew YoungDyke (NWF)
administration in February 2017 — While not perfect, the Army Corps of
proposes a gauntlet of technologies Engineers' Brandon Road plan is the
including an electric barrier, water best near-term option for keeping
jets, complex sound and a flushing Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.
lock to reduce the risk that Asian We cannot waste this opportunity to
carp get through while still allowing act.”
navigation through the lock. The While expressing support for
Corps held a series of public meet- the TSP, the groups in the letter also
ings on their plan in the Fall of 2017, urge the Army Corps of Engineers
coinciding with a public comment to pursue full federal funding of the
period which closed on December 8, $275 million estimated cost, rather

S ometimes, it seems that 2017. than require a local cost share, due
sportsmen can’t agree on Tens of thousands of individual to the national significance of the
anything; think slot limits, antler public comments were organized issue. Additionally, the groups iden-
point restrictions, chumming, gear by a coalition of environmental tify that Congress authorized the
restrictions, you name it. One thing groups, which also submitted formal Corps to prevent aquatic invasive
we can agree on, though, is that comments, but what was unique species transfer between the Great
Asian carp cannot be allowed to about the sportsmen’s coalition Lakes and Mississippi River basins,
invade the Great Lakes. letter was the breadth and focus and therefore, the Corps needs to
In December, 50 hunting, of the organizations assembled, continue pursuing a two-way solu-
angling, conservation and outdoor including large national organi- tion to preventing aquatic invasive
industry organizations submitted zations like the National Wildlife species transfer. However, that
public comments in support of the Federation (NWF), Trout Unlimited, pursuit should be simultaneous
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Ducks Unlimited, Bass Anglers without diverting resources from
(Corps) Tentatively Selected Plan Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), the moving ahead with the TSP. The
(plan) to improve defenses at the Izaak Walton League of America groups also encourage the Corps
Brandon Road Lock and Dam to keep and the Congressional Sportsmen’s to explore aquatic nuisance species
Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Foundation; state organizations (ANS) treatment technology that
The stakes couldn’t be higher. like Michigan United Conservation can be used in the locks, as well as
In June 2017, a live silver carp Clubs and fellow NWF affiliates continuing existing non-structural
was found in the Chicago Area Minnesota Conservation Federation, practices which reduce the Asian
Waterway System just nine miles Ohio Conservation Federation, carp population below the lock and
from Lake Michigan – and on the Indiana Wildlife Federation and dam.
Lake Michigan side of the existing the Conservation Federation of “We need stronger controls in
electrical barriers designed to deter Missouri; and smaller local groups place now in order to prevent Asian
them. Just a few months earlier, like Anglers of the Au Sable and the carp and other invasive species from
the United State Geological Survey Montmorency County Conservation continuing to swim closer to — and
(USGS) released a report analyzing Club, and local and state chapters of eventually into — the Great Lakes,”
food availability (like algae) for larger organizations. the groups state in their comments.
Asian carp in Lake Michigan, which “The organizations submitting “Without firm and swift action to
predicted they would find ample food these comments represent millions stop the further movement of Asian
within at least the mile closest to the of hunters, anglers and outdoor carp and other invasive species, the
shoreline and in bays, inlets, and recreation enthusiasts across the future of hunting, fishing and our
connected river mouths, allowing nation, including those who support outdoor heritage in the Great Lakes
access to connected inland waters. the Great Lakes $7-billion sport- and Mississippi River region is at
The Brandon Road Lock and Dam fishery and even larger outdoor risk.”
— near Joliet, Illinois, and below the recreation industry,” said Marc The Corps issued a timeline
Chicago Area Waterway System — is Smith, Great Lakes conservation with the release of the plan which
a choke point with the potential to director for the National Wildlife estimates a final report in August
reduce the risk of the invasive Asian Federation. “We understand that the 2019, at which point it will be up to
carp from swimming directly into Asian carp knocking on the door of Congress to approve and fund the
Lake Michigan. The Corps’ draft the Great Lakes threaten our way of project, with a construction comple-
plan – released in August, 2017 after life, the economy we support and the tion date of 2025 if there is no delay
an unexpected delay by the Trump fish and wildlife which support us. in approval and funding.

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 15

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 17 2/28/2018 8:02:16 AM
Ending the
Silence on
By Chris Lamphere

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

t’s a dramatic portrayal we’ve mirrored federal changes in the law. also lengthened it and created some
all witnessed countless times Prior to the law change, indi- federal loopholes to jump through.
in television and movies — a vidual county sheriffs in the states
mysterious, black-clad opera- that allowed suppressor use deter- The red tape
tive slinks through hostile territory, mined whether or not someone
picking off unsuspecting foes one at could obtain a permit. ATF representative Rhonda
a time using a pistol affixed with a Depending on the personal Dahl said in order to obtain a
muzzle silencer. opinions and political philosophies suppressor permit, applicants must
Hollywood producers depict the held by a sheriff, some would flat complete several steps.
gunfire as little more than a brief out refuse legitimate requests for a First, they must file an ATF
squeak, enabling the clandestine suppressor permit. Form 4 application (available on
shooter to avoid detection by the Under the federal law change the ATF website), which includes
enemy and complete their mission. implemented by the Obama admin- photographs, fingerprint cards, and
It’s definitely entertaining, but istration, the Bureau of Alcohol, payment of a $200 transfer tax.
it’s not accurate. Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Individuals purchasing a
Silencers, known more formally now processes all suppressor suppressor must undergo a FBI
as suppressors, became legal for permit applications, bypassing local background check and obtain a
private citizens to own in Michigan sheriffs and their biases entirely. special federal license to own such a
following a 2016 declaration by While this standardized the device. This is the same background
Attorney General Bill Schuette that process of obtaining a suppressor, it check performed on all prospective


Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 18 2/28/2018 8:02:17 AM
buyers by federally licensed fire- throughout the country. they completely silence the weapon,
arms dealers. contributing to fears about their use
Upon approval, the suppressor Suppressor sales exploding by mass shooters and poachers.
is transferred from the seller to Even with a suppressor,
the buyer. ATF approval registers Since the federal law change, Williams said the noise emitted by
the suppressor to sales of suppressors in the United a large-caliber firearm still is quite
the applicant in a States have more than doubled. loud, resembling a “jackhammer
federal database. Knox Williams, president of the hitting cement.”
Dahl said it American Suppressor Association, “You still absolutely hear the
takes four to six said in 2015 there were around gunshot,” Williams said. “You have a
months for the ATF to process a 140,000 to 150,000 applications for a controlled explosion happening right
transfer application but suppressor suppressor license. next to your face but (suppressor
activists say this process can take In the first six months of use) makes a big difference. It makes
much longer, up to 14 months. 2016 — the most recent data avail- shooting a much more pleasant
Dave Wessell, owner of Great able —there were around 300,000 experience.”
Guns, near Traverse City, said his applications. Williams also noted that suppres-
customers ask questions about The two most common suppres- sors reduce recoil, making them
the legalities of suppressor use in sors that people buy are for .22- and well suited for training purposes,
Michigan every day. .30-caliber rifles. as the shooter is able to focus more
Great Guns is one of the few shops The average cost of a suppressor on fundamentals rather than antici-
in the area that sell suppressors. depends on the caliber and features pating the discharge.
Wessell said a big reason for that a user wants, but they generally Hearing benefits of
this is because unlike other shops, range from $500 to $1,000, Williams
Great Guns has a fingerprinting suppressor use
kiosk on-site to allow suppressor Currently, 42 states allow private
applicants to take care of all the ATF In most of the states where
citizens to own suppressors, with civilian suppressor use isn’t allowed,
requirements up-front, rather than the eight holdouts being Hawaii,
having to go to the Grand Traverse advocates are lobbying with legisla-
California, Illinois, Rhode Island, tors to make them legal primarily on
County Sheriff’s Office. Massachusetts, New Jersey, New
Many customers have the basis of hearing safety.
York and Delaware. In March, 2017, the National
complained about the inconve- In 40 of the states that allow
nience and high cost of the process, Hearing Conservation Association’s
suppressor use, hunters can also use Task Force on Prevention of Noise-
Wessell said, as well as the length of them in the field, with Vermont and
time it takes for ATF to approve the Induced Hearing Loss from Firearm
Connecticut prohibiting this use. Noise stated that “using firearms
application. Williams said there are common
Despite these obstacles, however, equipped with suppressors” is one
myths associated with the use of of “several strategies (that) can
interest in suppressor use is growing suppressors, chief among them that cont. pg.18

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

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 17

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 19 2/28/2018 8:02:19 AM
be employed to reduce the risk Small caliber rifles produce a for mitigating hearing loss from
of acquiring NIHL and associ- peak decibel level from 140 to 145, gunfire.
ated tinnitus from firearm noise while large-caliber rifles, pistols He said this applies not only to
exposure.” and shotguns have decibels ranges hunters and target shooters, but
Michael Stewart, lifelong hunter from 150 to 170. military and police personal, as
and senior audiology professor at Stewart said suppressors don’t well.
Central Michigan University, said reduce the sound by as much as “The bottom line is that suppres-
widespread use of firearms for some of their advertisements claim sors have the potential to save a lot
recreational pursuits is one of the but they have been found to lower of hearing,” Stewart said.
leading causes of noise-induced SPL by 7 to 32 decibels, which on
hearing loss in the United States. the high end is similar to the reduc- Use in hunting
Reports indicate that more than tion achieved by wearing personal
70 percent of hunters never wear hearing protection such as ear In Michigan, there are no
hearing protection while in the field muffs or plugs. restrictions on the use of suppres-
and about half report not consis- He said the use of subsonic sors for hunting any game, any time
tently wearing protection at the ammunition with a suppressor of year, said Department of Natural
shooting range. maximizes the potential reduction Resources Law Enforcement
Stewart said hearing loss and in sound pressure. Division Lt. Tom Wanless.
tinnitus can occur even after a While not practical in the field, “As long as you have legal
single exposure, especially if that Stewart said subsonic ammunition access to a suppressor, you can hunt
exposure occurs in an enclosed is an adequate substitute for super- with that suppressor,” Wanless said.
area, such as a hunting blind, which sonic ammunition at the shooting Prevailing fears expressed by
can increase the duration of the range. suppressor detractors that they
noise from 2-5 milliseconds to 70-100 Another benefit of suppressor would be used by poachers to take
milliseconds. use at the range is the reduction in game more discretely have been
The Occupational Safety and sound pollution that neighbors have found so far to be unfounded.
Health Administration sets a to endure, Stewart added. Wanless said he’s unaware of
140-decibel sound pressure level Stewart concluded that the any incidents involving poachers
(SPL) threshold as the point at combined use of hearing protection using suppressors, although
which sound can become harmful devices, suppressors and subsonic he added it may be too early to
to hearing. ammunition (when possible) is ideal

18 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 20 2/28/2018 8:02:21 AM
determine the potential for this Amy Trotter, deputy director stricter penalties for illegally taking
happening in the future. of Michigan United Conservation deer, basing the fine on the animal’s
“It may take a few more years Clubs, said a number of their antler point count.
before we see more (suppressors) members have expressed concerns MUCC officials, as well as the
out there,” Wanless said. “So far, it about the use of suppressors, espe- American Suppressor Association,
doesn’t appear they have any impact cially pertaining to the rumors they have been advocating to ease
on anything.” would be used for poaching. over-regulation of the federal
Stewart suggests hunters use To educate themselves on the suppressor permitting process.
both suppressors and personal facts about suppressors, members Trotter said there is pending
hearing protection while in the field of MUCC met with conservation legislation to achieve this goal but
but some outdoorsmen have ques- groups, the DNR and American with the unpredictable nature of
tioned if they would be able to hear Suppressor Association during a national politics, it’s difficult to say
approaching game with ear plugs demonstration day. when Congress will take the bill up
in. It quickly became apparent for discussion and a vote.
Fortunately, Stewart said there during the demonstration that Trotter said their efforts to
are high-fidelity hearing protection suppressors don’t completely reduce the federal red tape asso-
devices available that let softer silence the fire — a misconception ciated with suppressor use came
sounds through while blocking spread by some politicians in the about as a result of grassroots
out the harmful sound pressure wake of the mass shooting in Las interest by their members.
produced by the shot. Vegas. She said any member who would
As for the potential that like to contribute to the conver-
Future of suppressors in suppressors could make the poach- sation about MUCC’s suppressor
er’s job easier, Trotter said they policy can email her at atrotter@
Michigan are very sensitive to this concern, mucc.org.
which is why they lobbied to make

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 19

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 21 2/28/2018 8:02:23 AM
Desperado Deer:
The Persistent Problem of Captive
Deer Running Wild
By Darren Warner
hen 79-year-old bowhunter him, but I only got to within 35 yards buck to a Michigan Department of
Frank Schmaltz (Leroy, from him before he took off. He was Natural Resources check station.
Michigan) first saw the mad that I interrupted him feeding.” An investigation later revealed
white-tailed buck with enormous After emitting a couple snorts the buck had escaped from a deer
antlers eating off his bait pile, he and foot stomps, the deer bounded breeding facility two miles away.
briefly questioned whether the away, leaving Schmaltz to think If you think this is an anomaly,
creature was just a figment of his about just how close he’d just come think again.
imagination. The Osceola County to bagging the buck of a lifetime. Ryan Soulard, a wildlife biolo-
hunter had seen few deer during Amazingly, the retired mapping gist and privately-owned cervidae
the 2017 archery season – certainly photographer saw another monster coordinator for the DNR, noted that
nothing that came close to matching buck when he passed by a different captive deer escaping into the wild
the colossal buck with skyscrap- stand on his way home at dark. is an all-too-common occurrence.
er-reaching antlers standing next to Two days later, Schmaltz bagged “Last November [2017], over
his bait – and he blinked a few times his lifetime buck – a 25-pointer, a dozen facilities reported losing
to make sure the deer was real. including a 9-inch drop-tine, with deer,” Soulard said.
“It was about 3 in the after- a 22 ¾-inch inside spread – and an Keep in mind that’s just the
noon, and I was walking to my deer identification tag dangling from one number of facilities that reported
blind when I saw him,” Schmaltz of its ears. losing deer in one month – not the
recounted. “I tried to sneak up on An ear tag? Schmaltz took the number of deer they lost. Many
times, facility owners/managers
A buck looks at other deer inside one of Michigan's captive-deer facilities. Deer
don’t know how many deer escape.
inside of these facilities are required to have ear tags that identify the facility and
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.

20 || www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 22 2/28/2018 8:02:24 AM
and raised at each hunting facility
Cervid Escapees – to be rounded up and tagged. So, if
a deer is killed and there’s
Measuring the Problem no sign of an ear tag,
it’s unlikely officials
For starters, no one knows for will ever find out
sure how many deer escape from which facility the
high-fence facilities each year. animal escaped from.
Neither the DNR nor the Michigan What’s more, the
Department of Agriculture and DNR often doesn’t investigate
Rural Development keep accurate, deer suspected of escaping from
complete records of the number of high-fence operations.
escapees reported by citizens and/or “While we may contact [DNR]
investigated by DNR conservation Wildlife Division staff and/or
officers. Only in 2017 did the DNR conservation officers to give them a
first begin using an electronic data- ‘heads-up,’ we generally don’t send
base to monitor escaped cervids. them on a wild goose chase if there
Currently, there are 333 licensed is an ear-tagged animal photo or
captive cervid facilities in the state, sighting, unless it is an animal that
most of which are breeding farms appears sick,” Soulard added. “If
(161) or hunting ranches (132), the animal was killed by a vehicle,
holding over 21,000 whitetail deer, hunter or found dead, we’ll try to
fallow deer, red deer, Sitka deer find out where it came from. But
and elk. While the amount of deer unless it has an official traceable ID of deer that
escapees voluntarily reported has or is laying three feet outside of a have escaped from high-
declined over recent years, the [high] fence, many of them are dead fence facilities,” said Amy Trotter,
numbers do not include escapees ends.” deputy director for Michigan United
that are never reported. If you see any of this as prob- Conservation Clubs (mucc.org).
Complicating matters is the fact lematic, you’re not alone.
that only deer from breeding facili- “Given that the stakes are so
ties are required to have ID ear tags. high in terms of protecting whitetail Low Penalties?
Those from hunting ranches don’t deer and the future of deer hunting,
need to be tagged, as it would be just it’s disappointing that the state To deter facilities from failing
about impossible for all deer born doesn’t maintain a central registry to report deer escapees, Michigan’s
Privately-Owned Cervidae
This picture shows where an ear tag from a captive-deer facility was ripped out. Producers Marketing Act (Act 190
There was no way to determine what facility this deer escaped from or when. 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

2018||Michigan Out-of-Doors 21
MichiganOut-of-Doors 21

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 23 2/28/2018 8:02:28 AM
If you’ve ever owned livestock, MDARD for disease. While the DNR deer,” Syers said. “Deer that escape
you know that it’s not always easy to and MDARD encourage hunters are moving from a low-risk environ-
know when they’ve gotten out and who harvest an escaped deer to have ment inside a facility into a much
are roaming the countryside. The it tested for disease, testing is only higher or even unknown risk envi-
same goes for deer farmers. mandatory if the deer is harvested ronment outside the fence.”
“We have a facility in the U.P. in Michigan’s CWD Management
[Upper Peninsula] that is 5,000 Zone. Escaped deer are fair game Fixing the Problem
acres, so it could take some time for Michigan deer hunters, meaning
for larger facilities to learn they’ve they’re allowed to harvest and keep Obviously, the best way to
lost deer,” said Kent Syers, presi- the deer if they tag it with a valid prevent the risk of disease trans-
dent of the United Deer Farmers of Michigan hunting license. mission between captive and wild
Michigan (udfom.com). “Losing just To date, a total of four captive deer is to prevent farm deer from
one breeder buck can cost an owner deer heads, submitted by owners of escaping. While double-fencing can
$5,000 or more, so we do everything three separate facilities, have tested help, it won’t prevent deer escapes
we can to keep our deer behind our positive for CWD in Michigan. due to human error, Mother Nature
fences. And if a deer is ever found This number may be inflated, as or vandalism.
alive, no owner that I know of would the agency is still investigating “When we investigate why deer
ever bring the deer back into their the possibility that two of the deer got out of facilities, usually it’s
facility, regardless of how much it’s may have not come from one of the because someone accidentally left
worth, because the risk of disease captive facilities. a gate open or a storm knocked
transmission is just too high.” None of this means that captive down fencing,” Soulard explained.
Act 190 also gives facilities 48 deer are responsible for CWD trans- “Rarely do we find that it’s due to
hours to locate and capture all mission in the wild. vandalism.”
escaped deer. If an escaped cervid “To date, we have never been There are several strategies
isn’t recovered within 48 hours, it able to determine that a free-ranging the DNR can employ to better
must be culled and may be tested by deer contracted CWD from a captive 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

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 24 2/28/2018 8:02:28 AM
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 Many cervid facilities still main- to report deer losses immediately.
occurrences. First, designing and tain paper records, making it diffi- The sooner escapes are reported,
utilizing an electronic database cult to monitor deer movements. the sooner the DNR can implement
containing comprehensive infor- “A lot of deer movement occurs an escape response plan, which
mation on reported escapes and in the captive cervid industry,” involves visiting the facility to deter-
confirmed sightings of escaped deer Soulard explained. “Maintaining mine why the escape(s) occurred
will enable the agency to better electronic inventories of all deer and then working with the facility
measure the problem. It will also breeding facilities own and compre- to fix the problem.
help the agency gain information on hensive information on deer imports While none of these strategies
what factor(s) are most responsible and exports will enable us to better will keep all captive deer within
for deer escapes. For example, such keep track of deer. By keeping better fences, they would enable us to
a database may reveal that some track of deer, we can do a better job better measure its severity, devise
facilities have more escapes than of tracing back where CWD-positive cost-effective strategies to curtail
others, and that escapes are more deer came from, helping us to better escapee incidents and help prevent
likely to occur during breeding manage the disease in Michigan.” CWD transmission between captive
time, enabling the DNR to work Instead of having 24 hours and wild deer in Michigan.
more closely with facilities to iden- to report an escape, Soulard also
tify solutions and reduce escapes. believes facilities should be required

“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 23

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 25 2/28/2018 8:02:29 AM
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."

eorge F. Riley, age 85, Chairman of The George Award along with many other community and civic
F. Riley Foundation, died Friday, January 5, 2018, recognitions.
in Naples Florida. When George sold the business, he and his wife
George was born January 15, 1932, in Detroit, the Dolores established the Riley Foundation to give back
son of James and Arla (Wessel) Riley. to the community, including many facilities that
He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War bear the Riley name such as Riley Park in Downtown
and married Dolores Dailey on August 16, 1952 at St. Farmington and special outdoor camps for disadvan-
Boniface Catholic Church in Detroit. Dolores preceded taged children that continue to this day. The Riley
him in death on April 29, 2010. Foundation supports the community of Farmington
George’s lifelong interest in electronics, honed Hills with major funding for an archery range and
in the Navy as an aviation and radar man, led him skate park, profiled in the DPTV documentary “Taking
to open a TV repair business in 1952. That grew into it Off the Street.” The Foundation also provides
Clover Technologies in Wixom, now the site of DPTV’s tuition support and medical help to young people in
studios. Clover Technologies, a privately held company need. Charitable projects of the Riley Foundation also
purchased by Ameritech (a fortune 50 company which include, Angela Hospice in Livonia, The George F. Riley
is now AT&T), was commonly referred to as a company Healing Garden located at the Beaumont Cancer and
that had grown from a one man operation to a company Breast Care Center in Farmington Hills and The Riley
with over 450 employees and eight offices nationwide. Wilderness Youth Camp in Novi.
The growth was achieved with no outside capital invest- A $5-million gift from the Riley family became the
ments, but by the sound management practices George cornerstone of DPTV’s capital campaign in 2005 and
possessed. He had the natural ability to attract the best a vivid demonstration of their belief that public TV
staff and partners, and to inspire them to achieve supe- improves America’s future through continued educa-
rior customer satisfaction. George also mentored and tion for all. The station he loved reflects his values.
empowered key members of his executive leadership George was a friend, a mentor and an inspiration to
team to manage and operate daily business operations. the team at DPTV. His gift helped transform the organi-
George was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year zation and opened the door to all that they are building

24 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 26 2/28/2018 8:02:30 AM
today. Thank you for keeping the Riley family in your
Surviving are his children, Daniel G. Riley, George thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
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.

Future Conservationists: Then and Now

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.

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 25

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 27 2/28/2018 8:02:32 AM
Dreams of
Green & Gold

By Noah O'Reilly

26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 28 2/28/2018 8:02:32 AM
"Twitch, twitch, pause…"
y wrists began to grow for me to pull this off by the end of down and my 8-pound test line was
sore from the constant the day. ripping out of my baitcasting reel,
cadence. Twitch, twitch, Twitch, twitch, pause, and and I could not remember the last
pause. That was the then, I felt the weight. It was like time I set the drag system on this
ticket for a jerkbait all spring – why the hooks of the jerkbait were particular reel. I turned the crank
change it now? My search for a embedded in a log at the bottom twice and started the long fight.
trophy-sized smallmouth bass was of the bay. I expressed my concern Despite my best efforts, I looked
in the works for a few years. Patience out loud, “Please let this be a bass.” down and saw my line still peeling
played a big role in my quest. Which, As soon as those words came out, I out. The brutal winds pushed my
for me, just meant ignorance. Every saw the football shaped beast rocket kayak one way while the fish pulled
time I went on Facebook and saw straight out of the water; not once, the other. My buddies paddled over
a buddy who reeled in a monster not twice, but three times. I looked to check out the commotion — I’m
smallie, it fueled my fire and my cont. pg.28
urge to hit the water again. Left: O'Reilly fishes from his kayak in Southeastern Michigan. This is one of the
Twitch, twitch, pause. I author's favorite ways to fish. Bottom: O'Reilly's kayak sits on the shore of a local,
constantly questioned whether I Southeastern Michigan stream waiting to set sail.
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
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

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 27

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 29 2/28/2018 8:02:33 AM
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 I was using light line on my
Southeastern Michigan. O'Reilly caught the fish using a straigh-tail worm. spinning combo so I knew I had to
pretty sure I was yelling. I carefully the whole time, leaving me with a take it slow and steady. As the fish
played every move of the fight. My memory I will not soon forget. swam deeper, I felt the head shakes
rod moved where the fish moved, I and its pull. I stayed calm, as most of
turned the reel handle when the fish the bass on this lake fight the same
Rewards of Simplicity way. I knew every move the fish
stopped running, and I grabbed my
net when she got close enough for was going to make. I was surprised
I pulled my kayak out of the bed as the fish began to swim up and
me to make a swipe. The next few of my truck and gently laid it down
moments are unclear as to how I got towards me – this was new. I reeled
on the grass just a few feet away in the slack line as fast as I could,
her in the net and in my kayak, yet I from the water’s edge. This was
looked down and there she was. The looking down to see the fish lying
going to be a laid-back trip for the motionless at the side of my kayak. I
sun shone off her scales, making the three of us. The sun was shining,
fish not bronze, but a beautiful gold quickly grabbed him with one hand
and the temperature was starting to and swung him in. Mike was there
color. She measured 20 inches and rise into the 90s. I gathered my gear
must have been around six pounds. yet again to capture this moment
and took a seat in my kayak as Mike for me as I put her on the measuring
I looked over at Mike Laritz, a fellow pushed me off. This particular lake
kayak angler, and let out a cry of joy board; 21.75 inches and about six
is open to the public, yet not many and a half pounds. To catch fish
as I could not contain my excite- anglers know about the caliber of
ment. He snapped a quick photo, I like these in Michigan might seem
its fish. It is only 15 acres and has a ordinary, but to do it from my kayak
brought the fish down to the water maximum depth of 54 feet, making
and we watched her slowly swim is an accomplishment that I remain
it a big fish bowl. Most of my success proud of to this day.
the same way she wanted to go

28 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 30 2/28/2018 8:02:35 AM
Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 27

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 31 2/28/2018 8:02:36 AM
By David Rose

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
Rose displays a nicely-colored pumpkinseed that he caught using a jig in early
out what bait, exactly, is triggering
spring. Pumpkinseeds are very similar to bluegill and can often be caught on the
the most strikes, the catching will
same lakes.
come easy.
But there’s more to catching blackened lake base absorbs sun rays the moment the weather starts to
pre-spawn ‘gills than just an aimless and heats the surroundings. Also, it’s turn.
cast out into the abyss; several envi- the shorelines on the northern half Overall, fish won’t go far when
ronmental factors need to be taken of a lake that sees the most sunshine the pressure starts falling and wind
into consideration before fooling due to the position of the sun during kicks up. The first steep drop offs
them with fake baits can begin. this time of year. And bluegills, being nearest the shallow water is where
the cold-blooded creatures they are, the majority of bluegill will head;
will head right for these warming there they’ll stick tight to structure
The heat is on waters as soon as they start warming like weeds, wood or rock. Depending
into the 40’s. on the lake, the fish may move off into
Generally, anglers head for the
But a springtime cold front can water in the 10- to 20-foot depth.
shallows to find panfish in the spring;
kill a good shallow-water bite. The If the weather turns severe
which, overall, is a good ploy. But the
panfish that had once been basking enough, the fish may belly-up to
fish aren’t always lurking within the
in the warmth while searching for bottom amongst the structure and
skinniest water.
the year’s first hatching insects will become lethargic. As the cold front
Shallow bays with a dark,
vacate the shallows in mere minutes passes, however, the fish will start to
silted bottom will warm first as the

30 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 32 2/28/2018 8:02:36 AM
rise higher in the water column along
the steep breaks before it turns warm
enough for fish to head back in the

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 Weather is the No. 1 factor that influences targeting and catching early-season
is perfect for tying tiny jigs to, as the 'gills, according to Rose. If the weather is warming the water up, it is time to get
small diameter allows your lure the out on the lake.
most natural movement under water. artificial will catch fish. pliable baits and feathers will waft
While monofilament has been a With that said, bluegills are in the water current, similar to the
go-to line for decades, it has enough targeting the tinniest forage this lags and gills of aquatic insects and
stretch to it that getting a good hook time of year — minuscule morsels crustaceans.
set on a long cast can be difficult. such as bloodworms, water daphnia
Fluorocarbon, on the other hand, and freshwater shrimp filling their
has much less stretch to it, is smaller Bluegill basics
gullets. It’s the smallest jigs you can
in diameter than monofilament of find, including some of the very
the same pound test and is nearly While catching bluegills before
ice-fishing baits you offered up during they spawn is actually quite easy,
invisible in the water. And unlike the the ice season, that best emulate the
lines of yesteryear, modern-day fluo- it’s also far from a no-brainer.
forage ‘gills are feasting on. The key to catching success lies
rocarbon is much softer and has less Don’t overlook slightly bigger
memory, so coiling off the spool is no in paying attention to the weather
baits you’d consider throwing for conditions, and then start probing
longer an issue and allows it to be cast bass, though. The old adage “bigger
farther. for fish. If the weather has been
baits catch bigger fish” holds true warm for several days, search the
with big bluegills, too. Rubber worms shallows, and if a cold front is
The great fake bait debate up to 4 inches have taken plenty of big creating chaos, make your casts
bull bluegills in the past. into deeper water near their shal-
Walk into an isle full of softbaits Overall, choose the softest low-water haunts. Tie your tiny
and jigs for catching panfish in your soft-plastics you can find, and use tidbits to ultra-light line, and make
favorite tackle shop and you can’t help small jigs with fine hackle or as long of casts as you can muster
but be overwhelmed at the choices. marabou feathers tied in. Even to structure. You'll be eating bluegill
And to tell you the truth, most every when the jig is sitting still, the for supper in no time.

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 31

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 33 2/28/2018 8:02:38 AM
irc l eo
C f
l l

A Fu

ee L
"My hobby became less and less
about the fish and more and more
about me…"
By Calvin McShane

he interior of my home is on my head is hidden by ball cap My first steelhead was hooked
a cool 45 degrees, rivaling that reads, “My mission is going at the ripe age of 12. Dunking
the temperatures outside fishin’!”, a fashion statement that crawlers for brook trout in mid-May,
hovering around freezing. my girlfriend refers to as nerdy. My I happened on a rainbow trout that
It is just past dark on a mid-April plan for the evening is to scour for would change my life forever. Over
evening, and my first objective some leftovers, pen another entry in the years, I’ve learned that drifting
is to get the wood stove up and my fishing log and crash out on the worms on a five-foot ultralight rod
burning. I start a fire, feed my two couch promptly located in front of may not be the best approach and
wet and exhausted dogs and hang the wood stove. My alarm is set for have since graduated to an adept
my waders and vest above the wood 6 a.m., enough time for coffee and a steelheader. In my youth, besides
stove beside the thermometer that quick bite to eat before I head back being addicted to the adrenaline
so graciously reminds me of my to the stream. I’ll drift off to sleep rush, I was definitely obsessed with
recent residential neglect. I haven’t accompanied by dead-tired dogs the catching of the fish. If I didn’t
showered in enough days that it and my solitary thoughts. I get to land a steelhead, I had failed, and
would upset my mother and signif- go steelhead fishing tomorrow, just even though ill-intentioned, I worked
icant other. My face is blemished as I did today, and I cannot imagine harder and harder to hook and even-
by my poor attempt at a beard, and a better life than right here, right tually land more steelhead.
thankfully, the overgrown mess now. I explored every type of steelhead

32 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 34 2/28/2018 8:02:39 AM
fishing I could get my hands on. I notoriety and envy of others, albeit standards. On my home waters I
threw crankbaits, bottom-bounced, satisfying was inherently empty. The can cross most streams in a few long
bobber fished and toyed around college kid posting endless photos in strides, and swinging flies was clearly
with a centerpin. More than fishing, search of attention looked nothing only satisfying some idea I found to
I read so much that organizing the like 12-year-old me, grinning ear to be cool. Steelhead don’t care about
information outweighed its useful- ear looking up at my proud father, what is on the end of my hook as
ness in the field. Once I mastered breathless and awe struck; a feeling much I would like to believe. If I was
the technique, I moved onto reading I have been trying to get back to ever going to continue down this route, I
water and exploring new rivers. since. would have to come to terms with my
Eventually, I got quite good at this Eventually, I matured and no own self-interest. I also realized if
steelhead fishing thing and catching longer post endlessly on social media fishing was really about difficulty, I
steelhead was no longer the hardest hoping for boundless approval. I was could certainly think of many other
part; catching ‘many’ steelhead still addicted to steelhead but found ways to make it harder on myself —
became the new operative goal. my passion to be much simpler. I blindfolds and hand ties are the first
Numbers were the measure, and I, was tinkering with technique and to come to mind. Obviously, I was
again, was a fool for thinking I had exploring new options. I started way to caught up with, well, myself.
anything figured out. to mess with fly fishing, fly tying Undeserving of their grace, I kept
If numbers didn’t bring me ulti- and even played around with a two fishing, hopeful that I may become a
mate steelhead bliss, what would? handed rod. The fisherman I admire pioneer on what it means to be both
Surely recognition. I began to post most take to the fly, and I thought, true to myself and true to the fish.
on every social media platform avail- why shouldn’t I? I read about how Fishing, and maybe steelhead
able to be sure everyone could see ultimately catching a steelhead on fishing more than others, is an
how great of a fisherman I was. If I the swing, while most exhilarating, interaction between the wild and the
hadn’t posted it, did it really happen? is also the most difficult. I’ve found tame. Man and creature cross paths,
The evidence of my skill was the truth in both assertions; however, and in doing so, enter into a singular
photos, likes and comments. Little swinging for steelhead was devel- experience entirely different than
did I know that with every like and oped out of necessity, like all forms any preceding. We fish how we do
every spike in my ego, my hobby of fishing. Two-handed rods are best because of convenience and ideals,
became less and less about the fish utilized for west coast ocean-run these sorts of things are entirely
and more and more about me. The 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, 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."

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 35 2/28/2018 8:02:39 AM
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, days of steelhead season are spent well-chilled Lake Superior. Snow
why we fish. The hooking, fighting, digging my truck out of the snow swells are common in between
and potential harvesting is beyond and searching for open water. The periods of intense sunlight, the
thoughts of contest, it is not some- first few fish of the year catch me streams warming and cooling several
thing to be won. Instead, the sum by surprise, usually robust males times a day with regularity. The air,
of these actions is the crossroads so gaudy in red and green that they for the first time during a long winter,
of anxiety, excitement and aston- resemble a sea monster more than has a distinct smell besides that of
ishment. We cannot pretend that the chrome we steelheaders so often snow. The streams are intimidating
the techniques and motives behind covet. I rarely land any of the first as they roar powered by the influx
why we take to the river are entirely fish I am lucky enough to hook. I am, of heavy rains and melting snow. It
disconnected from our egos. Once a to be truthful, overly confident and all seemed and seems to this day like
steelhead is caught and the apex of usually overly excited. I get caught too much to handle all at once, not
the battle passed, the conversation up with goals outside of my current even mentioning the steelhead. At
is between who we actually are and context, like whether or not I will get some point we all have sat back and
who we thought we were. Each tail a photo and how important it will be taken in the beauty around us while
grab brings about a new individual, to begin the season on a success. My on the river. In the middle of our
different from the person who held only wake up to reality being violent reflections, a chrome fish has, what
the fish before this one. Concerns of tail thrashes and the bulldogging of felt like, reached out and grabbed
numbers, attention and elitism are a a pissed off steelhead. It’ll take me us by our throats and taken us on a
meaningless attempt to elevate pride many more butt whoopings before I ride that is most aptly described as,
above the honest reason why we all come to terms with the truth — these indescribable. After these moments,
chose to go fishing anyway; the fish. fish have more toughness, smarts it's hard to make sense of what
Today, I still struggle with finding and wisdom than I do, and I should drew us to these places in the first
a balance between connecting stop trying to fight it. place. What is certain, but all too
with others while at the same time I can remember vividly my many times forgotten, is that we
not getting too caught up in my first days of steelheading as a kid. found ourselves in these places not
successes. As the spring begins, I am Warm temperatures bring unpre- because our own ego but to get away
easily humbled. Many of the first dictable weather when they meet a from our ego.

34 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 36 2/28/2018 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.

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 35

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 37 2/28/2018 8:02:42 AM
Af·ter Work
A tribute to those who work
9-5 everyday. Your outdoor
pursuits are precious — we
hope this helps you cherish

By Blake Sherburne

"After Dark"
ex season is High Church to get me to fish. I also paid attention a little worse for wear when he
in my family. Our year is to how dad maneuvered the boat in proudly gave it to his mother to cook
almost scheduled around the dark. It was a good thing, too, for dinner, lead to a lifelong obses-
the event. For instance, because after I reached the age of 13 sion with fishing generally, and trout
when my wife and I were planning or 14, dad never piloted a boat again. specifically (also to brook trout even
our wedding she suggested late June We’ve now owned two different boats more specifically).
or early July. I jokingly suggested of which he has never been at the Thanks to my dad’s obsession,
that would be fine, but I might not helm. Job number three was, when I do not remember my first fish. I
be able to make it. Luckily for me, I checking the water for bugs, to keep don’t remember if it was a trout or
married a woman who understands the bright flashlight pointed outside anything else. My dad started me too
my family obsession. of the boat to preserve our valuable young for me to recall that memory.
I practically learned to fly fish night vision. Even today, when the I do, however, remember my first
in the dark. There were training beam gets a little too low, I can hear quality brown trout, I couldn’t have
runs on bluegills and smallmouth him in my head, “Out of the boat, been older than eight or nine. It
bass but it was all really aimed at Blakie.” came, not on the Hex, but just before.
Hex season. Early on my jobs were My dad can tell the story of Our stretch of river has good hatches
simple. My first responsibility was his first trout. He grew up in a besides the Hex, but they do not
to be (relatively) quiet. Hex fishing non-fishing family, not really sure bring fish up to the surface except
is as much listening as anything else. how he caught the bug himself. He on evenings before the Hex hatch
Secondly, I was to listen and learn. I can remember digging worms out has begun. It sort of seems that the
paid attention to what a feeding fish of the garden and riding his bike trout use them to “limber up” before
sounded like, different from current down to the culvert adjacent to their the big bugs hit the water after dark.
burbling around limbs and stones, farm. This is where it happened. A We get a good gray drake hatch that
also different from the occasional small brookie that got shoved to the starts a week or so before the Hex
beaver splash that dad always tried bottom of his worm can, and looked hatch and lasts until well after it is

36 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 38 2/28/2018 8:02:43 AM
"Hex season is High Church in my family..."
finished. disciplines have lent themselves well in the spring. Those little, confused
My brown came on a Wulff to drifting, stripping and swinging trout would bring the walleyes in
pattern, out of a hole my dad named mouse patterns in water we know after dark. Every once in a while, a
Lanny’s Hole, after his uncle Lanny, well. walleye would follow a bait right to
who used to fish there from the bank. Steely nerves are sometimes the tip of the rod, then try to inhale it
I hooked and landed it on a short required. A beaver crashing next just as it broke the surface. I can still
4-weight rod that Dad tied using a to our boat one night almost sent just about get my knees to knock just
Fenwick blank. We still fish that the editor of this magazine packing. thinking about that hollow, strange
spot regularly but I don’t think we’ve We were rowing a small, local river. sound. It was worth it, though,
caught a trout out of that exact lane Nick was roll-casting mice in the because those nights resulted in
since, but I can recall that one with bow. This was one of his first nights stringers of walleye sandwiches.
clarity. fly fishing in the dark. We rounded One’s night time fishing educa-
I also do not remember my first a bend and a beaver blew up the tion never ends either. Last season,
Hex fish. I know it must have been surface of the river just to the right my fishing buddy Kenny and I, were
shortly thereafter, but there has of our little raft. “What the (exple- floating a relatively new-to-us piece
been too many browns caught in the tive deleted) was that?” he asked me of water, trying to find a brown
dark since then. Dad made me wait with more than a little tremor in his willing to roll on a mouse. It was
until I was at least a proficient caster voice. We laugh about it now, and I well after midnight when we could
and I remember being, and some- laughed long about it then, but that hear loud voices upstream of us and
times still am, amazed that with event just about ended Nick Green’s the competition was closing fast.

familiarity with a rod and line and night fishing career. We were approaching our take-out
good technique, you could land a fly Dad and I used to do a lot of point but neither of us wanted to be
in a fish’s feeding lane with accuracy walleye fishing after dark, too. We hurried so we decided to pull over
in complete darkness. would cast stickbaits near where the the inside of a bend to let them go
All this is to say that, at least DNR had planted their fingerlings by. Surprisingly, it was a couple
in Michigan, if you want to be a cont. pg.38
successful fly fisherman, you have to Sherburne displays one of the many 20-plus-inch browns he has caught hex
at least be comfortable, if not enjoy, fishing after dark. Hexing in the Sherburne family is a religion. Year after year, the
fishing in the dark. Some hatches Sherburnes spend two(ish) weeks fishing big browns well into the night.
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

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 39 2/28/2018 8:02:44 AM
out for a midnight kayak trip. Now, Erika Sherburne, Blake's wife, poses with her first hex fish — a 24-inch brown trout
neither Kenny nor I are particularly she caught feet from the boat. The Sherburnes are careful with who they invite,
loud talkers and our raft doesn’t though. "Some things should stay close to the vest," Blake's dad, Wade, says.
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.

38 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 40 2/28/2018 8:02:48 AM
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 &
• CLEAN your gear before entering & leaving the recreation
• STAY on designated roads & trails. IN YOUR TRACKS.
• USE CERTIFIED or local firewood & hay.

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 41 2/28/2018 8:02:48 AM
By Roger Hinchcliff

Strike Gold
on Bronze-backs
sk any springtime Great between the mid-40s and 50s, the fish the fish will move out to deeper
Lakes angler if he or will start feeding before the spawn. water in depths between 10 and 20
she loves to catch a big Giving the bank or wading angler a feet and school up. However, when
smallmouth bass. The chance at some quality fishing. No those bays start to warm and calm
answer will be a resounding YES! boat is needed here, folks, and some again, they will be right back in the
Pound for pound, the smallmouth say the wading or bank angler even shallows and will spread out.
bass is one of the hardest-fighting, have it better than a person with
greatest-biting fish and loves to a boat because they have access Baits to use
get air during the fight. The Great to water that a boat cannot get to.
Lakes region is home to some of Kayakers love this type of fishing. When the temps reach the 50s,
the best smallmouth fishing on the pretty much anything will catch
planet. Folks come from all over Places to fish you fish. But depending on condi-
the world to catch them every year. tions, soft plastics really shine. A
Springtime is a busy time of year for Harbors, marina docks, piers, tube jig, worm or grub matching
many because of steelhead fishing, islands, boulders and beaches are a goby, shiner, crawfish or smelt
morel mushroom picking, and places to start looking for small- is tough to beat. Try using the
gobbler hunting. mouth bass. My favorites are darker shades of greens, purples,
Many that can find some time wind-protected bays with sand or black, brown or pumpkin. In very
will tell you pre-spawn smallmouth rock piles; these will attract smal- clear water consider white, pearl,
bass fishing can be phenomenal. lies like a magnet. Did I mention or smoke. I love using these colors
The weather, temps and winds play a this structure usually doesn't go with red or silver flake. All these
huge role in your success. Knowing anywhere? So, every year, once colors match the forage base in
what to look for is key. When water these key places are found, you can the Great Lakes. Sometimes when
temps climb from the 30s and start come back and catch them. The fighting the fish, they will spit up
reaching the 40s, usually in late- baitfish are also attracted to the what they are feeding on. Pay atten-
March or early-April, the fish will warmer water, and if you find the tion to this small detail, and it can
start to move into shallower water warmer water, you will strike the pay big dividends. Color, size and
and be ready to bite. Peak spawning bronze gold. Typically, if temps are profile is very important, and my
occurs from late-May through early- dropping and the wind is blowing, favorite sizes to use are 3- to 4-inch
June, and when water temps reach

40 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 42 2/28/2018 8:03:15 AM
"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 on. Try to match the presentation to medium power such as a Lamiglas
of lead heads in sizes 1/8 oz. up to the bait you're seeing and you will XP or Infinity in a 703S series. If you
1/2 oz. depending on the fall rate of not believe the numbers you can put like to fish out of a Kayak, try the
the bait I want. If the fish have been on the board in a day. I’ve had many kayak Paco model in a 724S. Line
pressured or conditions call for a 100-fish days. choice for me is braid because it
more finesse approach, a shaky My favorite sizes of baits are has no stretch. I pair it with a 6- to
head with a plastic worm or tube in the 2.75- to 4.75-inch range for 10-pound fluorocarbon leader.
whacks fish, too. If you’re fishing on smallies. However, bigger baits do This time of year produces some
a day when the fish have moved out take bigger fish. So, leave nothing big small jaws, and 3- to 5-pounders
deeper on you, having that heavier on the table here. Swim baits, spin- are common. We are truly blessed
jig will allow you to cast out farther ners and jigs tipped with shiners to live in Michigan and have the
into the deeper water allowing you should never be overlooked. Lastly, fishery we do. Don’t miss this fishing
a chance at that 5- to 6-pounder. streamers for the fly angler can be opportunity in the Spring; it’s truly
Crankbaits and stick baits such as productive. Yes, I love stripping one of my favorite times of the year.
#10 and #12 husky jerks and #5 to streamers for these fish, and I prefer It’s when nature begins a new life.
#9 original floating Rapalas can be to do that if I can. I use a 7-weight Once smallmouth fever happens
deadly on big smallmouth. Also, with a RIO Outbound Short fly line. to you, it’s over. Vacation time will
pay attention to your surroundings Long leaders are not needed here, be planned every year in the early
and match the hatch. If you see folks. A 5-foot leader will do the spring to chase these fish.
gobies, schools of alewives, smelt or job. My favorite all-around bass rod
shiners, that’s what they are feeding 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 41

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 43 2/28/2018 8:03:17 AM
Small streams can
offer big rewards

By Andy Duffy

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 44 2/28/2018 8:03:20 AM
y niece and her family, the rivers would hardly ever be river fishermen seldom find.
visiting from the arid fished for anything resembling a Creeks are tremendous fish-
Southwest, had one trout. And, of course, special regu- eries, too. Cubic foot for cubic foot,
afternoon to spend with lations often govern the best parts small streams hold a much higher
me. I asked if they had anything of the best streams. Because many number of trout than rivers do.
they would like to do. My niece, trout anglers aren’t interested in It makes sense that the creeks
Charlie, said the children wanted to learning to fly fish, they fish with teem with fish. Headwater streams
go fishing. bait on small streams. are a lot cooler than larger rivers
Sometimes a fishing trip can be Trout anglers forced onto creeks are. A high percentage of a creek's
a problem. I know of some lakes that because they don’t fly fish needn’t water is freshly-emerged ground
offer great angling from shore when feel persecuted, though. The creeks water. Trout are a cold-water fish.
the 'gills are on their beds. It was offer a great angling experience. And trout are wonderfully suited
midsummer, though, and I knew of Along the small streams, anglers for life in a small stream.
nowhere I could take a family of five find a different world. Instead of Don’t think all trout found in
where we had a reasonable prospect crowds, they find solitude. Instead creeks are small. They have plenty
of catching pan fish from shore. of fellow anglers, they find wildlife. of 12-inch fish – and lots of smaller
So, we went trout fishing. We Instead of cottages, they find woods. ones. And a 12-inch creek fish is
spread out along the stream. We The streams offer a paradise that comparable to a two-pound river
leapfrogged from pool to pool, cont. pg.44
and all three children – from five- Left: Duffy's granddaughter, Koleen Hildebrand, hoists aloft a nice brown trout she
year-old Wesley right up through took from a creek. Creeks hold lots of legal fish and some monsters. Bottom: Lorelei
nine-year-old Raelene – caught fish. Chavez, who lives in the arid Southwest, caught this nice brook trout while on a
They weren’t just fish, either. The trip to Michigan. An influx of groundwater can keep small creeks cool all summer.
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
anglers fish creeks and small rivers
– those ranging from a foot to 30 feet
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 43

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 45 2/28/2018 8:03:20 AM
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
current can take line out as it carries
the bait downstream. I hold the line
Matt Hildebrand, Duffy's son-in-law, caught this fine brace of brown trout from a very loosely between my thumb and
small stream. Small streams often play host to good populations of trout. Some of first finger as line plays out. That
the trout are veritable trophies. makes strike detection easier. But
anglers can also watch for a sudden
fish. It is a blast to catch even a paper, I nodded knowingly to myself tightening of the line or for the line
12-inch trout on light tackle in a and figured it was a steelhead that to move counter to the direction of
creek. hadn’t bothered to wander back to the current. Sometimes an angler
But some trout living in creeks Lake Michigan yet. I was wrong. It will find water that will allow him
are veritable monsters. Consider came from a tributary somewhere to follow the drift of the bait just as
these catches: above Tippy Dam, a dam that blocks fly anglers nymphing larger rivers
My brother-in-law once caught all fish passage. My friend won't do. Then the technique is the same
a 17-inch brown trout from a creek even tell me what stream the trout as fly anglers use. Just hold the rod
not more than 12 feet wide. A friend came from. tip high enough to keep all the slack
caught an 18-inch brown trout from Another friend and I were line off the water and watch for the
a nearby, similarly-sized stream. I fishing a small brook trout creek, line to do something erratic. When
caught an 18-inch brown from the the same one I took my niece and her it does, close the bail and set the
narrow headwaters of a Michigan family to. My friend spooked a pool hook.
river. The section of river from and we watched with our jaws agape Creek anglers fight a constant
which the trout came was no more as a brook trout we both figured battle with brush on the banks and
than 30 feet across. On the opening was at least 18 inches long swam up debris in the water. The log jams
day of Michigan's 2017 trout season, the creek and out of our sight. And that frequent creeks are a double-
an outdoor writer friend of mine lurking among the mammoth fish edged sword. They offer ideal trout
caught a 20-inch rainbow trout are the more abundant seven-to-12 cover, but they also are hook-grab-
from a tributary of the Manistee inch small ones. Michigan anglers bing hazards. When fishing a small
River. When I saw the picture in the who target the creeks can have a lot stream, plan on either losing lots

44 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 46 2/28/2018 8:03:21 AM
of hooks or spooking lots of fish it. That is exciting fishing. That is trying to catch the fish. I don't
while wading in to save your hooks. the time when it is common for the remember what was hatching.
And streamside brush can make an angler to see a trout strike. Midges, maybe. Nothing noteworthy
impossible situation. A person can use flies or spin- should have been hatching that time
I waver between using a long ners on these tiny streams, but he's of day and year.
rod or a short one for creek fishing. nuts if he does. Those lures are the I finally caught the fish by
On the one hand, a short, ultra- wrong tools for the water. spending most of my lunch hour
light rod is great for maneuvering First, except for tiny portions of creeping into position behind it and
through the brush and for making water, a fly angler won't be able to using a bow-and-arrow cast to get
those sometimes-possible and even cast on a small stream. He might be my fly in front of it.
desirable short casts – lobs – to able to dap his fly in spots, but the I felt a wave of exhilaration
get the bait in the water. I already effort expended for the fish he will when the trout took the fly. But the
mentioned the advantages a long catch makes the method an unten- fish was overmatched even with
rod offers. able affair. Even a weighted fly is the five-weight rod and the fly line
And a word about scaring fish is nearly weightless. Just getting a fly I was using. The battle was quickly
important. in the water of a creek is an ordeal. over, and I unhooked the seven-inch
Trout will flee when shadows I speak from experience. I've brown trout and released it. Then
fall across a stream. The stream often tried to fly fish small creeks. I wondered why I had invested so
may be covered with shadows cast One recollection lingers in my mind. much time into catching the little
by trees branches. Let a new one I would go fish a small creek thing. I've also used spinners on tiny
move across a stream, though, and on my lunch hour. I tried different creeks, and the results are equally
the trout will be gone. They also flee methods of fly fishing. I would lay unsatisfying. A person just can't get
at the sight of an angler or when a a cast across the ground so only a spinner in many of the locations
heavy footfall sends vibrations into my fly and leader fell in the water. I where the fish hang out. Again, if he
a stream. Fishing for small-stream would use wet flies and try to swing tries, he will hang up. Then he will
trout is an activity closely aligned them in the current. I would work need to break off the lure or wade in
with hunting. Anglers actively stalk up stream along a tiny, brush-free and scare off the trout. If he breaks
their quarry. The difference is that portion of the creek using dry flies off a hook and a worm, though, he's
the quarry is generally unseen. The and nymphs. During that time, I lost little. Bait fishing is the method
stalker needs to just judge where a remember catching only one trout. to use on small streams.
fish might by reading the water. The trout seemed like a decent And, although some fly fish-
Trout can hold in a lot of places. fish when I saw him rising. His ermen may look down their noses
Log jams are obvious spots. So are holding lie was under a little pile at the bait-using creek anglers, the
undercut banks. The slack water of sticks and twigs the stream had creek anglers will keep on sneaking
downstream from boulders offer strewn in a jumbled mass along the along tiny creeks, catching lots of
good fish-holding spots. Where creek's edge. The trout would come trout and taking them home to fry.
streams flow through meadows, out and feed when a hatch was in Little in this world is more fun than
the grass bending over a stream progress. fishing a small stream for trout.
offer good hiding places for trout. I spent several lunch hours
The watercress that fills so many

Waters Edge Resort
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, Munuscong Lake/ St. Mary's River
maybe it doesn't have fish. During
that time, the trout may be down-
stream in the river into which the
creek flows.
— Raber, Michigan —
When the vegetation appears
in the creek and the river warms, Fish for walleye, northern pike, muskies, herring, bass and perch.
though, trout appear like magic.
They hang out in the watercress The resort features clean, two-bedroom cottages, modern camp-
and wait for food to drift by.
The moving water usually keeps
grounds, boats, motors and bait.
one clear channel free of the weeds.
An angler merely needs to drift his (888) 999-5396 | bwaters1@hughes.net | watersedgeup.com
bait along the open channel, and
lurking trout will dart out and grab

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 47 2/28/2018 8:03:21 AM
By Jim Bedford

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

46 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 48 2/28/2018 8:03:23 AM
favorite stretch there is a prime rocky run that is prob- streams and the downstream wading angler will send a
ably never devoid of anglers in the daylight and it is rare cloudy water warning to the fish. Not alerting the fish
that I am ever able to fish it by the time I have reached to your presence is especially important when using
that point. Just above this named honey hole there is artificial lures since they are not natural offerings and
a small run that is relatively shallow and is bordered fish that are even slightly “spooked” will ignore or flee
by a bunch of tag alders on the bank. It is routinely from them.
passed by most anglers as it seems too shallow and open Accurate casts are critical, and I favor the under-
plus you have make a somewhat rigorous crossing just hand, pendulum toss because it allows me to cast under
above the popular run to fish it properly. overhanging brush. The target areas in the in-between
A number of years ago, I approached the popular water are often small, so whatever you cast you employ
run and not unexpectedly there were three anglers make sure you are very good with it. The need for spot
drifting their offerings under floats through it. I excused on casts is another reason to employ spinners and
myself and eased myself behind them and then, using spoons because their compactness makes them easier
my wading staff, crossed the fast water above them. On to toss into the holding spot.
the second sweep of my spinner under the tag alders The types of holding areas are many and varied
a steelie clobbered my shiny lure and took off down- but I have found that those that offer some overhead
stream. There was no stopping the fish and I had to cover to be the best. In our Michigan streams, this is
excuse myself again and apologize for causing the drift frequently some overhanging vegetation in the form of
anglers to have to pause a minute before casting again. a tree, bush or long grass. The smaller the stream, the
I finally caught up to and landed and released the silver more important the streamside vegetation becomes.
bullet. As I came back upstream, I wondered when this Undercut banks are common on our more sinuous trib-
marginal run would start being fished by the masses but utaries and these make excellent holding cover the big
still have never encountered an angler fishing it. migrants. Submerged logs, large rocks, and clay and
And now that almost all drift anglers rock ledges can also provide some overhead cover as
use floats it probably never will well as current breaks.
be fished by them since the Sometimes the cover is simply a choppy surface.
tag alder branches touch Even bubbles or foam may provide just enough protec-
the water and could tion. The usual rule of thumb is that if you cannot
“grab” the bobber. easily see the bottom or the fish then a steelhead could
At any hold in that area. cont. pg.48
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Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 47

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 49 2/28/2018 8:03:25 AM
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 the big buck swim away.
a disturbed surface. On my first cast with a #4 silver High water is another time to concentrate on the
spinner I felt a bump that seemed alive. One more toss in-between water of your favorite steelhead river. The
to the same spot and it was game on. The silver steel- turbidity of the water will result in virtually no light
head took off downstream with me in hot pursuit trying penetration to the bottom in the deeper runs, and thus,
to stay close so that I would have a chance to steer it won’t allow the steelhead to see your lure. Pay special
clear from the abundant wood in the water. Just a half attention to the pocket along the edge of the stream
hour earlier, I hooked a nice, but smaller, steelhead in because this is where the travel lanes are when the river
front of a log pile and was unable to keep it from diving is raging. Especially good will be those spots where a
into the logs, wrapping up my line and breaking off. clearer tributary enters the main stream. Sweep casts
So, it was a nervous chase down over 200 yards of from above the fish will work particularly well now
stream with me stumbling after and the fish making as the fish are less likely to be spooked by you in the
periodic dashes. Probably due to luck more than skill higher water with reduced visibility. Hanging your
I was able to keep the steelhead from diving under a lure in their face from above will also give the steelhead
log and saying sayonara. Finally, I got below the brute a better chance of finding it in the off-color water.
and guided it into my net. Not sure who was more tired Steelhead lying in the in-between or marginal
but it was safe to say that both angler and fish were holding water are usually more aggressive or on edge.
exhausted. I just stared at the beauty of the very thick, They are also likely to be on the move. This makes them
deep-bodied male steelhead for a moment as it lay in easier to catch. Another plus is that usually not many
the meshes in shallow water. I dug for my DeLiar and anglers will have made any presentations to these fish.
weighed it in the net. After correcting for the net, the Make it a point to give these diminutive holding areas
final approximate weight was a hair over 17 pounds. It a real good try this spring, I don’t think you will be
was my largest steelhead over the last ten years and in disappointed.
the top ten of my Michigan steelhead over my lifetime.

48 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 50 2/28/2018 8:03:26 AM
Be even more different

While casting and retrieving a lure is already an and dive several feet under the surface, just where we
alternative to what most anglers are using on your want them for in-between holding spots. While they are
favorite steelhead streams, you will enhance your not feeding, steelhead in the spring seem to not like to
fishing by having an alternative lure to what you have other fish in their space so they aggressively try
usually use. to “take out” the intruder. These plugs also work well
This will be especially helpful when cold weather at any time when the water is slower and of moderate
or low water have the steelhead hunkered down and depth where steelhead can get a long look at them. In
not moving in the spring. My favorite alternative to addition, in a hole or run where I have had lots of past
the weighted spinner is the minnow plug. Examples success these lures are used in addition to spinners.
are the Rapala Husky Jerk, Bomber Pro Long A and the Small, size-2 black duo-lock snaps are on the end of my
Kinchou Minnow. These crank baits are all suspending 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.

Fall 2018 OUT-OF-DOORS
2017 | Michigan 47
Out-of-Doors 49

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 51 2/28/2018 8:03:27 AM
Michigan-Made By Rob Harrell

"Mixing Shorelines with Science"
“Hi, Nick; it’s Ted (Nugent). I’m the industry leader in scent and odor shows, Greg sat in the parking lot
out hunting right now, but I wanted control products for hunters. Greg of those trade shows and sold every
to call and tell you I feel your Dad’s Sesselmann founded the company one of those suits the old-fashioned
presence with me and let you know in 1992 on a pool table in his parents' way. Pretty soon, Cabela’s called
that in the wind he’s still alive”. basement. Greg came from an engi- to place an order and the business
As Nick Andrews sat down neering background and asked to took off from there.
behind his father’s desk for the take on a job that required him to In 2002, the activated carbon
first time after he passed away, he find solutions for filtering out chem- technology got a big boost when an
was overcome with emotion. Even ical odors that were produced when application was perfected to lami-
more emotional was the fact that cleaning clothes in the dry cleaning nate a sheet of activated carbon
Nick would be replacing him as the industry. Greg did some research between two layers of fabric. This
new vice president of marketing and eventually stumbled upon tech- felt better to the touch, increased
and advertising at ScentLok nology known as activated carbon. mobility and was lighter in weight.
Technologies. As he sat back and Using activated carbon as a laminate This helped open the market up to
looked around the office that his that could be applied to fabrics, he the south and west, where tempera-
father (Mike Andrews) had deco- realized he had found a solution for tures are a bit warmer.
rated with Ted Nugent memorabilia, the dry cleaning industry. Greg’s This is about the time Nick
his phone rang, and right on cue, it ingenuity and vision didn’t stop Andrews began his career at
was Ted. Those were the words Ted there. In fact, he was just getting ScentLok. Nick graduated with
shared with Nick in that special and started. a marketing degree from Kendall
spiritual moment. As an avid bowhunter, Greg was College of Art and Design in Grand
Mike grew up in the 70s, enjoyed in his treestand one day and was Rapids. Nick quickly found himself
playing the guitar and loved being winded by a deer that intersected working for his dad at ScentLok ,
outdoors. Naturally, Ted Nugent his scent cloud. He decided right where he created sales flyers and
became his idol and hero. Lucky then that he was going to apply took on other small projects. As
for Mike, he had a chance to meet the activated carbon technology Nick’s workload and responsibili-
Ted and eventually the two grew to and develop a product that would ties grew, he found himself moving
become good friends. In 2013, Mike prevent hunters from getting busted up in the company from graphic
Andrews lost his battle with lung by a deer’s nose. He worked with a designer to marketing manager.
cancer, and the hunting industry company in Germany that printed An opportunity presented
mourned his passing. After more activated carbon to develop his first itself at Hunter Safety Systems in
than a decade of passion and hard batch of suits that encapsulated the Alabama and Nick left Michigan
work, Mike helped grow ScentLok entire body. These suits were green, for a couple years to pursue this
Technologies to the brand you see and they were so stiff that they new venture. After receiving news
today. could basically stand on their own. that his father had gotten sick, Nick
Located in Muskegon, Michigan, Without any money to advertise or decided it was time to move back
ScentLok has established itself as market his new suits at dealer trade to Michigan. In 2013, Pat Hylant

50 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 52 2/28/2018 8:03:28 AM
purchased the company from Greg, smells where, eventually, you has evolved throughout the
and it seemed like the right oppor- will start inheriting those scent years. Nick and his team patented
tunity for Nick to rejoin his father characteristics. Carbon Alloy, which is a process of
in Muskegon. He took over for To simplify, let's imagine you combining activated carbon with
his father as vice president of the plan on hunting tomorrow morning. other substances to boost capabili-
company and has been making his You have a nice Italian-style dinner ties. This hybrid technology allows
family and peers proud ever since. with a few beers the night before. ScentLok clothing to filter a larger
The technology and science of You wake up and grab your hunting variety of odors, making it the most
activated carbon can be somewhat clothes from a rack in the garage effective scent control technology
complex, especially when its being next to the dog crate. You then get on the market.
applied to help prevent a white- dressed, start the truck to warm it Throughout the years, ScentLok
tailed deer from smelling human up and stand at the back of your has been challenged by skeptics and
odor. I’m going to put my prover- tailgate packing up your gear. Well, forced to defend their technology
bial “lab coat” on for a minute by the time you make it to your tree- and claims of effectiveness. In 2008,
and explain the basics behind the stand, you have all three sources they faced a class action lawsuit
science of it all. of odors working against you. The from a handful of hunters from
First, we must understand the garlic spices and beer are giving off Minnesota who, essentially, claimed
types of odors that humans produce. metabolic odors, your clothes have that the company was guilty of false
There are three sources of odors absorbed the bacterial odors of advertising. Normally, in these
that a human can give off while in your garage and dog, and on top of types of lawsuits, large companies
a stand: bacterial, metabolic and that, you have exposed yourself to tend to settle out of court in fear of
ambient. Bacterial odors are traces the exhaust fumes from your truck lingering litigation and bad press.
of bacteria microbes that attach to picking up ambient odors. Greg Sesselmann was faced with
us when we expose ourselves to the ScentLok’s goal is to not just this very decision when the attor-
elements. Metabolic odors come offer a product that reduces or neys were advising a settlement
from within our bodies and will removes just one of these sources of agreement. Greg believed in his
vary depending on the type of food odor; they are providing a complete product and knew that if he settled
we ingest, gender and hormones product line that attacks all three. the case, the integrity and reputa-
we excrete. Lastly, ambient odors Activated carbon is the founda- tion of the entire company would be
are generated from spending tion from which their science is jeopardized. He refused to settle and
time in environments with strong 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 2/28/2018 8:03:29 AM
the garments be tested by an inde- initially on board with the idea. and the two colors represent the
pendent lab at Rutgers University. After rehearsing the presentation alloy technology where there is a
When Rutgers Lab Technicians as a team for two days, they decided combination of technologies being
presented the testing results, it was it would be best if Nick presented all used. There was purposeful intent
concluded that ScentLok met every three designs, which removed any in removing the word ScentLok as
scientific claim that they advertised potential bias influence. the company decided that moving
and the law suit was dismissed. In After all the prepping and forward it wanted to be a symbolic
the end, it cost the company a lot of being extremely nervous driving in brand with a recognizable icon.
money to defend their technology, that day, the team received a great One of the most recognized logos
but in this industry, your reputation compliment. “Greg admitted that in the scent control industry is the
is priceless. This was a landmark when he showed up for this meeting, ScentBlocker “shield.” ScentLok
case in the scent control world and he was prepared to shoot down and ScentBlocker have been long
really drove a lot of attention to every new logo that we presented time competitors constantly trying
ScentLok, both good and bad. because he was against the idea. to stay one step ahead of each other.
Three years ago, Hylant But when he saw how much hard Each company has solidified their
began an initiative to refresh the work went into it and the fact that market share with two different
company brand and image. Part we had meaning and reason behind sections of the demographics. For
of this re-branding effort involved each design, he was impressed years, ScentLok’s biggest customer
creating a new, updated logo. “If enough to agree to the change,” base was males ages 55 and up.
we’re going to try and get into some Andrews said. This design, known Conversely, ScentBlocker appealed
others spaces, we need to have a as the “Hex logo,” is a youthful, new to the younger demographics, hence
logo that means more than just look when compared to the previous one of the reasons ScentLok decided
hunting. Pat was really instru- “Legacy logo." to rebrand themselves.
mental in the recent growth and ScentLok is three years into Due to a multitude of unfor-
innovation since he took over,” their five-year rebranding imple- tunate circumstances, Robinson
Andrews said. For an entire year, mentation plan. The hexagon logo Outdoors (ScentBlocker’s parent
Nick challenged his team to create design stems from the number company) filed for Chapter 11
at least five new logos per week. six because carbon is the sixth Bankruptcy in early 2017. The
Eventually, they narrowed it down element on the periodic table. The Minnesota-based company cited
to the top three and had to present interlocking chains reference the the slow sales from big box retailers
them to Sesselmann, who was not molecules that trap and lock in odor such as Gander Mountain and

52 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 54 2/28/2018 8:03:31 AM
Cabela’s, as well as record warm high pressure pushes deer away
temperatures during recent from areas easily accessible by
hunting seasons, as contributing humans and makes them much
factors to their financial stress. more skittish. This type of hunting
The ownership at ScentLok experience is the perfect proving
recognized that this was a grounds for ScentLok’s products.
great opportunity to expand Muskegon is the birth place of
their demographic and ScentLok and holds a special
decided to acquire Robinson place in the company’s heart.
Outdoors Products on July 6, Through the different owner-
2017. Besides ScentBlocker, ship changes they could have
this acquisition included moved anywhere but decided to
several other recognizable stay where their roots are.
brands such as ScentShield, “A lot of times on opening
Tree Spider and Whitewater day, I’ll head down to the
Outdoors. closest DNR check station,
“It’s probably going pass out some hats and just
to be about a year before talk to the hunters that come
we relaunch ScentBlocker by. It’s something I really
with a new attitude and enjoy and look forward to,”
new direction, but I’m Andrews said. Besides the
really excited on where it’s generous contributions to the
going to go,” Andrews said. main conservation groups
“The brands will all go on such as QDMA, Pope & Young,
to live, and it’s going to be a etc., ScentLok places an emphasis
great portfolio." on giving back to their local
Besides the recently acquired community, especially the youth
Robinson Outdoors products, hunters. There is a Youth Day in
ScentLok has a lot of exciting new Muskegon every year that they are
items that are launching in 2018. heavily involved in, as well as Ray
With ozone technology being Howell’s Kicking Bear Camp. This
such a hot trend in the market, is a weekend fun camp that exposes
ScentLok has been working on underprivileged and inner-city kids
several products that utilize this to faith and the outdoor lifestyle.
technology to further expand on “Being involved in mentoring our
the options consumers will have youth is something we as a company
when attempting to eliminate are very proud of,” Andrews said.
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 Michigan-Made
along with cutting-edge fit and
form to allow for better mobility.
is a new column
Both the “OZ” and new base layer that highlights
line were recently unveiled in
January at the 2018 ATA Trade and elaborates on
Show in Indianapolis.
Focusing on the Midwest white- Michigan-made
tail hunter, Michigan is the perfect
state to produce a product that is products in our
meant to keep human odor from
contacting a deer’s nose. Hunting
outdoor industry.
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

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 53

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 55 2/28/2018 8:03:33 AM

By Jason Herbert

he powerful gobble shat- through the forest canopy, the woods with this fat tom hung over
tered the otherwise silent tom pitched down from his perch, my shoulder. With a long beard and
spring woods; it echoed breaking twigs and slapping limbs, sharp, dagger-like spurs, I knew
down through the valley on his way to me. this was the boss. Once I got him
below. Good, I thought to myself. It is on now, I thought to myself, home, I put him on the scale and
He sees me. I replied softly with a as I raised my gun and rested it on had to do a double take. I called my
few tree yelps, hoping to continue my knee. The tom's red and blue dad over to be sure I wasn’t seeing
to keep the tom's interest. Fighting head was ducked behind some things. This tom weighed more than
every urge I had to continue to call, brush. Looking like an overfed 26 pounds and is the heaviest of my
I waited patiently. About 20 minutes black bear lumbering along through hunting career. I felt a bittersweet
later, as the first rays of sun peeked the woods, he made his way toward range of emotion — happy to put
over the ridge opposite the valley me. Never once did he stop to strut my tag on this bird but sad that our
below me, he let another thundering or gobble. I quietly clicked off my chess match was over so quickly.
gobble rip. Squinting through the safety. The boom of my shotgun It dawned on me that I would have
blinding sun, I could see the bird momentarily drowned the song- to wait another year for another
re-adjusting himself on his perch birds' early morning serenade, but encounter with a bird. To be honest,
in a giant oak tree about 150 yards after a few moments, everything calling it a "chess match" is a bit of
away. He is ticked off, I thought was quietly back to normal. a stretch — I only hunted this bird
to myself. Once again, I returned I put my safety back on, grabbed one time, and the entire hunt took
the conversation with some tree my spent shell casing and quietly me about 45 minutes. I did, however,
yelps; but this time, I used a little walked over to put my hands on the put a lot of time and thought into
more aggressive tone. He immedi- tom. Thanking God for a wonderful preparing for the hunt.
ately responded, "Gobbblleeee!!!! experience in his creation, I sat When I first started turkey
Gobbblleeee!" Nothing in the there for a moment admiring this hunting 20 years ago, I would have
woods was still asleep. The old tom mature bird. It wasn't even 7 a.m. been proud of any legal tom. My
was fighting mad. Sounding as if yet and I was back in my truck with first bird was an 15-pound jake, and
someone just shot a cannonball a sore back from the hike out of the it took me years to put my tag on an

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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 56 2/28/2018 8:03:35 AM
official long-beard. I'll never forget
either hunt, and both beards and
fans still have a place on my wall at
home. As I've learned more about
turkey hunting and had greater
success, I'm starting to hunt them
like I do white-tailed bucks: I focus
on the biggest, baddest, most domi-
nant tom in the woods.

Pre-hunt work
Before ever stepping foot in the
turkey woods, it's important that
hunters understand a bit of the
natural tendencies of a turkey.
Let's face it, game animals are all
the same when it comes to priori-
ties; they want to eat, breed and stay
alive. During the spring breeding
season, a tom's strut and gobble,-
show off its stuff. Wanting to ensure
the health of their offspring, the
hens try to find the most dominant
tom to mate with, and the girls
chase the boys just like you'll see on
an elementary school playground.
There is certainly a pecking order
among wild turkey communities,
and it becomes sort of like the
"quarterback and cheerleader" Herbert displays the beard of a mature tom he harvested using the tactics he
theory from high school — the most describes in this article. This tom had an 11-inch beard.
dominant tom will, naturally, be
paired up with the most healthy areas seem to hold a big buck each First, I think that loudmouth birds
hen. By having the alphas mate with fall, certain spring turkey hunting draw a lot of attention to themselves,
each other, Mother Nature does her spots will also seem to produce big either from natural predators or
best to make sure that there will be birds each year. For a tom to get hunters, resulting in more of them
healthy turkeys around to hunt next old, there needs to be ample food getting killed at a young age. Also,
year. and room to roam, lots of cover, I think a dominant tom tends to be
Naturally, the first step in my some water and plenty of female the "strong, silent" type, whereas
plan is to find the most dominant company. Mature toms tend to not his actions show how tough he is,
tom. Much of locating a big tom is gobble much. I have a few theories not his mouth. Big toms tend to
based on geography. Just like some as to why they are so tight-lipped. strut a lot and start strutting early.
cont. pg. 56

"As I've learned more about turkey hunting and had
greater success, I'm starting to hunt them like I do
white-tailed bucks: I focus on the biggest, baddest,
most-dominant tom in the woods."
Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 55

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 57 2/28/2018 8:03:38 AM
They generally travel alone. They My favorite hunting spot is area, they are able to show off what
tend to be pretty lazy, only covering a rolling hardwood saddle where they have in hopes of attracting a
ground when they have to. Just like three ridges connect. These types mate. Naturally, a strut zone needs
a bedded buck, a mature tom needs of locations provide visibility from to be in an area where the sunlight
to feel safe when he roosts. Turkeys, hundreds of yards in all directions. can reach. This area also needs to
in general, like to fly down off the They are a perfect strut zone because come with a lot of visibility for that
trees away from the sun. They also the sunlight is able to sneak through tom to be seen from great distances.
like to fly down into the wind. By the canopy. Easily seen from all Weeks before the season starts, I
landing into the wind, with the sun directions, the strutting tom knows sneak into the spot and set up a trail
at their back, they have the best that this is a great place to show camera. I also bring a hard rake
chance of a well-controlled landing off his stuff. Tom turkeys have a with me and clear the area of leaves
in an area they choose (which is beautiful iridescent coat of feathers and debris. Every week or so, I'll
free of danger) because the sunlight when the sunlight hits them just return to check the camera, and it
helps them see it well. right, and by strutting in an open never fails, that a dominant tom will
be strutting in front of my camera. I
Herbert displays, what he calls, "dagger spurs." They are sharp, long, hooked and
also bring back the rake every time
measured 1 3/8”. In fact, these spurs were so long that this particular bird was a
I come back. I look for big tracks
true limb-hanger.
in the dirt. A tom's track will also
look like a cross, with his side toes
close to perpendicular to the middle
and back toe. Along with tracks,
I'm looking for wingtip marks
from a strutting bird and potential
sign from a beard dragging on the
ground. If I do find wingtip marks, I
like to gauge how far apart they are,
giving me an idea how fat the bird is.
A dragging beard line will, of course,
indicate a big tom. The trail camera
pictures help me confirm what I'm
dealing with, possibly giving me a
look at his spurs or a double beard,
while showing me which direction
he's coming from. Also, by looking
at trail camera pictures, I can see
if there's one bird strutting all by
himself or a group of two or three
younger ones strutting together.
Generally, the solo bird by himself
is the dominant gobbler. I've seen
dominant tom's chase away other
strutters as often as I've seen them
run off competition for food.

The hunt
When it is time to hunt, I
sneak in the perfect setup: I bring
two decoys, a strutting jake and a
submissive hen. I put the hen on the
ground like she's ready to be bred,
and I'll put the jake directly behind
her about 10 yards. For the most
part, the shots will happen between
the jake and the hen because a domi-
nant tom will try to get in between
the two to head off my jake decoy.
I always face decoys towards me so
that when a tom tries to cut off the

56 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 58 2/28/2018 8:03:39 AM
strutting decoy, I have a perfect
shot at the back of his head. This
allows me any sort of movement
necessary. Usually, I'm shooting the
birds when they're 25 to 30 yards
out, but sometimes they sneak into
my decoy set. I've actually missed
birds at 10 yards because they were
t0o close. Another trick I've adopted
over the years is to take an old, red
sock and cut out the end of it. I then
slide it over the neck of my strut-
ting tom decoy, making him stick
out like a sore thumb. I really think
that bright red sock over my decoy’s
neck is what makes the dominant
tom who is roosted nearby angry.

As far as calling to these birds,
I usually don't have to make much
noise. As I described before, I'll get
the dominant bird's attention and
let him know that I'm there. Then,
I'll start to ramp it up a little bit
more because I want my hen decoy
to appear like she is also a dominant
hen. Generally speaking, that tom is Herbert displays his best bird to date: A 26-pound mature tom that he harvested
flying out of the roost and coming near his home in Michigan. Herbert has this bird, as well as the first male turkey (a !

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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 59 2/28/2018 8:03:42 AM
Veggie, Fortun
By Darin Potter

Calling all turkeys
s the sun peeked over the It’s the one call that they take out when two toms approached us. I
horizon, I found myself when nothing else seems to fool an did my best to imitate a hen on
nestled against a red old, wary gobbler. my slate call, but they completely
pine eager to face the It amazes me how many ignored me and kept walking on
2003 spring turkey season. A light different types of calls are available by. Desperate, I quickly switched to
dusting of snow covered the alfalfa to hunters. It can be overwhelming a glass call, which caused them to
field before me, causing me to ques- sometimes walking down the turkey turn 180 degrees and come to within
tion the time of year. It was Michigan call aisle of a sporting goods store. shooting range. This is when my
and springtime — a combination When standing in front of all of wife harvested her first turkey.
where anything can happen. Up those turkey calls, I admit, I usually Each spring, the turkey woods
until this point I carried only two can’t leave the store without buying are filled with a multitude of situ-
turkey calls with me in the turkey one. It’s an addiction that I will ations that test our patience and
woods — a push-pull style and a always live with unless my family can cause many of us to begin
small box call. Young and naive, I sets up a turkey-call intervention. questioning our sanity. No matter
figured this would be enough to get You can never own too many calls. how many different types of calls
the job done. As daylight increased, Typically, in the months leading you have in your turkey vest it is
gobbles reverberated throughout up to the spring turkey season, important to know what calling
the woods at my six sending my you will find new types of turkey strategies work best throughout the
body into a frenzy of shivers. calls on the market. One of these season.
Eventually, a few soft yelps on my could be the ticket to luring a
push-pull call coaxed two gobblers gobbler within shooting range and Calling strategies
within shooting range, allowing me filling your spring tag. After all,
to tip over my first gobbler. it is extremely important to have a One particular story sticks in
Although my turkey call arsenal wide assortment of turkey calls in my mind: With over 20 days logged
has expanded since that hunt, that your arsenal for varying hunting in the turkey woods and another
push-pull call still stands out as one scenarios and turkey personalities. early-morning failure, I was about
of my favorite calls. Retired from Owning numerous turkey calls ready to call it quits. However, once
service, it sits on top of a shelf on a gives you the ability to sound like I reached the road that I live on I
turkey beard board in my man cave. more than one hen by creating decided to turn on my right blinker
Every turkey hunter has their different tones. A couple of years and try one more set up before I
favorite call — whether it is a slate, ago, my wife and I were set up in a threw in the towel. I was determined
diaphragm, push-pull or box call. tent blind along the edge of a field to fill my late-season Michigan

58 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 60 2/28/2018 8:03:44 AM
tag. There was a section of public when coupled with decoys, can be the commotion, I decided to let out
ground that, up to that point, I had irresistible, especially later in the a few short series of sleepy tree
only hunted a couple of times, and season when hens disappear. yelps mocking the live hens on the
based on my scouting trips, I knew Without a doubt, my favorite roost. Then. I restrained from doing
this location held birds. time of day to be in the turkey any more calling. Once I knew that
After setting up a hen decoy and woods is at sunrise — birds are the the longbeards had flown down, I
draping a 3D camouflage cloth over most vocal then. Locating birds on decided to let out a series of excited
some brush in front of me, I settled the limb, either the night before or cackles. I also incorporated a flap-
in for the late-morning hunt. During at first light, will help put you near ping hat against my leg simulating
this time of day, birds seem to flip a their runway when they fly down. a hen flying down. The combination
switch and become silent so I keep The type of calling you perform of this calling strategy along with
my calling to a minimum and use during this time can set the stage for my hen decoys was too much for one
a slate call to produce the sounds success or failure. of the gobblers to handle allowing
of some soft purrs and occasional If you are fortunate enough my brother to fill his first turkey
clucks. Over-calling can make birds to put turkeys to bed, there is one tag.
call shy in a heartbeat — especially calling strategy that can be quite
in areas that have received a lot of effective — imitating a hen that is The right call for the right
hunting pressure. Most gobblers on the roost. This will help make
have heard just about every type your yelps sound more natural, and situation
of call during the late-season hunt. in turn, get the gobblers fired up.
Why wear out a familiar tune? A few years back, my brother and As I turned over on my side
With the warm sun shining I were set up about 70 yards away once more to look at the clock, now
down, my eyes soon became heavy. from a roost on the edge of a clover showing 3:45 a.m., raindrops were
Before long, I heard a cluck. Was I food plot. Gobbles thundered across falling hard against the roof of my
dreaming? I thought. No, this was the valley below us and soon they house. Desensitized by Michigan
the real deal — at 15 yards stood a erupted from all direc- weather, I rolled out of bed and
tom, jake and a hen. Unfortunately, tions like surround greeted another day to try and fool
the tom instantly spooked and sound speakers. a bird.
high-tailed it back into the woods. Because of all Spring weather and the eastern
However, the jake offered me a shot cont. pg. 60
opportunity, and finally, my late-
season tag was filled.
By late spring, most hens will
lose interest in toms because they
will be on a nest incubating their
eggs. Throughout this period, hens
that are bred will be completely
silent to avoid drawing attention
to their nest from predators.
During this time frame,
gobblers can become
vulnerable to calling. If
toms are responsive to
yelps, I will continue
to use this type of call.
However, as I begin
to hear less yelps,
I will switch to
purrs, which indi-
cate a bird that
is content and
is often associated with
an adult turkey that is feeding.
I also like to incorporate clucks to
help coax them into shooting range.
My favorite place to setup is
strutting zones where toms can
show off and try to pick up the
ladies. I have found that calling,

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 61 2/28/2018 8:03:45 AM
The author was able to harvest this jake using the slate call that is pictured. Slate calls are just one of the many calls available
to turkey hunters.

wild turkey have one thing in bushes to move around in the turkey that I own will sound the same wet
common: both can be extremely woods which impairs a turkey’s as when it is dry. This particular
unpredictable. The range of condi- ability to hear and see clearly. It will call has saved me on more than one
tions that the turkey hunter will also make them even more nervous occasion in the turkey woods.
encounter throughout the spring than they already are by nature. On
can vary greatly. Rain, snow, these types of days, I will increase Hang-ups
high winds, fog and hot and cold the volume of my calling. Slate and
temperatures are all possible on any box calls work the best in this type If you have ever experienced a
given day. Despite these conditions, of situation. However, even though gobbler that hangs up out of range,
turkeys will still be turkeys — they you are calling louder, it is still then you have joined the ranks
fly off the roost to feed and go about important to not over call. Let the of many other frustrated turkey
their day. Although they are less turkeys know that you are there but hunters, including me. One calling
vocal in bad weather, gobblers will don’t be a chatterbox. Use the same tactic that works requires you to have
still come to the call. strategy as you would on a calm day a second person who is experienced
On one particular spring hunt, except with more volume. at calling in turkeys. The caller will
the rain was pounding on top of my Rain can cause a lot of turkey set up in a concealed location about
tent blind so hard it prevented me calls to not function properly; there- 50 to 100 yards behind you. This will
from hearing anything else. If a fore, it’s best to learn how to use a put you between the caller and the
turkey was making noise nearby, I diaphragm call. Although I haven’t longbeard and help convince one to
didn’t hear it. However, during the quite mastered this particular call come in close enough for a shot.
late afternoon, I was able to grab yet, I have hopes of eventually With the spring turkey season
the attention of a couple of passing figuring it out. With this call you just around the corner, it’s time to
gobblers with a few spaced out yelps don’t have to worry about the rain take inventory on all of the turkey
followed by some moderate purring affecting its performance, and it calls that you own and blow the dust
on my slate call. This turned the allows your hands to be free for off of them. Find some time to make
direction of the long-beards by 90 the shot. Those two reasons alone some turkey music with them, and
degrees and sent them straight make it the best call to use when it remember to avoid standing in the
toward my hen decoy. is raining. Thankfully, there are turkey call aisle for very long. You
Turkeys will also move to open other types of calls out there that just might just join me in the ranks
areas during windy conditions. have been manufactured to operate of turkey-call addicts.
Wind will cause branches and even when wet. One of the box calls

60 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 62 2/28/2018 8:03:46 AM
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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 63 2/28/2018 8:03:46 AM
Lil' Miss becomes a Widow
By Matt McQueen
Artwork by Maggie Madsen

"Before I could decide what action to take, the
hunter pulled himself into his shooting position
and leveled the bead on my jake decoy."

ine Creek gurgled through on the ol' box call, all followed by hike in. Thirty minutes later I sat at
the mass of willow and an easy 25-yard shot. If all went to the base of a big white oak, ready. I
ash roots while I carefully plan I could be home in time for a sat quartering downhill to where the
walked across a narrow log late breakfast. roosting tree grew. With this view I
to the other side. The night was The next morning I was up could see a good distance of forty or
dark, but the light of the moon was before my alarm. I had the coffee more yards through the semi-open
enough to cast shadows through pot on and a couple pieces of toast undergrowth of the mature, decid-
the leafless trees as I made my way down with plenty of time to spare. uous forest. My decoys, a beauti-
back to my truck. About 45 minutes Dressed in camo from head to toe, I fully detailed hard plastic hen, who
earlier, I had roosted a big gobbler stepped out the door and was driving I affectionately named “Lil’ Miss”,
and marked a waypoint on my GPS. down the road fifteen minutes before and a foam jake, oscillated slowly in
The turkey’s “What was that?!” I needed to be. Halfway to my desti- the light breeze at twenty-five yards.
gobbling retort gave him away when nation a light rain began to pepper Shortly after the first gray of
I hooted like an owl, the way my my windshield. I drove on trying to light began to filter through the
grandfather taught me when I was not let the drops of rain change my inky black forest, a roar of gobbles
eight; “Who cooks for you? Whoo?! outlook for the day’s mission. erupted from the roosting tree. My
Whoo?!” By the time I arrived at my heart jumped at the sound! I waited,
As I put my hunting pack in the hunting area the rain had stopped. silent, as the old bird told the forest
passenger side of my truck, I I sat in the truck for a few minutes of his great life as a king of these
started to visualize the next day’s and contemplated my good fortune. woods. Adrenaline coursed through
hunt: a brisk hike in before light to After a time of counting my bless- my veins with such driving force
the waypoint, stake a couple decoys ings, I grabbed my hunting pack, that I failed to notice the changing
in the ground, strike a few yelps shotgun, and GPS and started my weather. Rain had started to fall and

62 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 64 2/28/2018 8:03:52 AM
I had no rain jacket to keep dry. along the forest floor clutched in his pieces of styrofoam. The jake’s head,
The rain started quietly, barely camouflage gloved hand. completely severed from its body,
noticeable. I tried to ignore the Before I could decide what action laid on top of an old decaying oak
cold, and now persistent, precipita- to take, the hunter pulled himself into branch near the base of Lil’ Miss’s
tion, but a sudden increase in wind his shooting position and leveled the post.
indicated a storm was imminent. bead on my jake decoy. Time stood “Holy Catfish!” The man finally
Thunder rumbled softly in the still. Ridden with anxiety I opened exclaimed as he realized what had
distance, causing the Tom to shock my mouth to speak something to taken place.
gobble repeatedly. The old bird stop the utterly ridiculous chain of We both stood up and I walked
gobbled like a psychotic person, events unraveling before my eyes, down to the man as he continued to
enraged at the incoming storm. The but the words wouldn’t come out. shake his head in complete embar-
constant gobbling was enough to KA-BOOM!! The twelve gauge rassment. As I walked down to meet
drive any turkey hunter insane! roared out in the wet morning air. him, I realized that this man and I
Suddenly, I heard something I The man’s shot struck my decoy already had one thing in common.
feared greatly: the sound of a hen square in the head sending the styro- We both envisioned our hunts would
yelping 50 or more yards in front of foam bird cartwheeling end-over-end end much differently than they
me. She had strategically located as if pummeled in a tornado of had. The storm was full on us now
herself between my trophy and conflicting winds. The jake landed as we met face-to-face in the cold
I. “Dang it!” I thought to myself. 10 yards away from its origin. Wild April rain. The tree tops whipped
“She’s going to cut me off!” I heard turkey colored pieces of styrofoam back and forth as the rain continued
the old tom flap down from his roost littered the ground and settled in driving down.
in search of the hen. The whole hunt with the oak and beech leaves. Lil’ “I am so sorry…” the man began
seemed to be going down the drain as Miss, completely unaware of the a long line of apologies as the rain
quick as it started. cold-blooded murder of her courting dripped from the brim of his camo
“I’ve got to do something!” I counterpart, continued her enter- ball cap.
thought to myself. I grabbed my prising search for a mate in a cold “Have fun eating that one!” I
most trusted turkey call, a custom and heartless way. said as I gave him a cheerful slap on
cherry wood box call, handmade by I didn’t know if I should cry, the back. “And thanks for the great
my grandfather. I started with a few scream or laugh. Slowly, I gave hunt! I haven’t laughed that hard in
subtle yelps in hopes of not startling way to the overwhelming urge and years!”
the old tom. Time went by and I started to laugh hysterically. The
heard nothing from the gobbler. I man’s head, fully shrouded in a
tried calling again, but the rain had camo face mask, swung toward me
developed enough humidity to turn as I proceeded to roll around in the
the chalk on the underside of the wet leaves. I slowly began to contain
paddle of my box call to a thick, pink myself as my face began to hurt from
paste. A weak and disgusting sound smiling and laughing so hard.
exuded from my wooden box. Then I Through fogged glasses,
heard the hen responding again with the man stared at me in
a more raspy tone. I knew exactly utter confusion, obvi-
what she was saying to me, “Over my ously not sharing
dead body! Get your own man and in my humor.
leave mine alone!” Grasping a
Light had now taken over dark- slate pot
ness and through the now pouring call in
rain I detected movement. The move-
ment was directly downhill from me
about thirty yards. I strained
my eyes to make sense of
what I was seeing, thinking
at first it could be a turkey,
alas, it was another turkey
hunter! The man was moving at
a pace so slow that I was still not his hands, he
completely convinced of what I was slowly turned
seeing. Totally shrouded in leafy to where his
3D camo, the only thing undeniably turkey lay dead
giving him away was what looked on the ground
like a self-propelled shotgun inching surrounded by

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 65 2/28/2018 8:03:59 AM
The Lady and the Trophy
Swamp Gobbler
By Tom Lounsbury

he ink-black sky filled with order for Deb Robinson of Macomb and threw out a series of hen yelps
bright stars and a partial to ease into the dark interior and get interspersed with occasional purrs.
moon gave just enough light setup in a comfortable camp chair Nearly 50 years of turkey hunting
to find my way through the on the far left side. With my hen experience had my instincts telling
dense cover with the lady following turkey decoy (that I have dubbed me this was an occasion to be a bit
close behind. Pastel yellow and “Norma Jean”) in hand, I eased on “mouthy.”
violet hues hinting in the eastern down into the ravine and staked We immediately got a response
sky let me know we would be setting the decoy 15 yards from the blind’s — three different gobblers at the
up at just the right time. Our desti- window. I quickly returned and got same time, spread out somewhere
nation was a hunting blind on the setup on a stool in the blind with behind the hilltop across from us,
high ground in a heavily wooded my back resting against the door. started to respond to my call. It
swamp; the perfect setting for a With the woods steadily became evident that the far right
mid-May turkey hunt in Michigan's becoming more definitive in gray gobbler was coming towards us,
thumb region. light, I told Deb to “load up.” Her and I strained my eyes to pick
Fortunately, I kept my bearings 20-gauge pump shotgun (she had up the telltale “snowball” in the
(it’s not a good start if the guide gets recently purchased) was a vintage brush which represents the main
turned around), and I soon spotted Winchester (featuring a Polychoke coloration of a mature gobbler’s
the two-person blind’s rooftop in set at full), which she stoked with head. That is when a fourth gobbler
the gray, predawn darkness. The number-6 turkey loads. On my sounded off close by. I immediately
blind was similar to a cedar-log recommendation, Deb left the gun put the Easy Yelper out the window
bunker and is quite unique in that it barrel resting on the windowsill in front of me and sent out three
is tucked into and just below a steep with the buttstock tucked comfort- long purrs to let the gobbler behind
hilltop. It offers a long and narrow ably under her arm. I then began us know that Norma Jean, who was
shooting window facing a cleared my calling. set down below, was fully interested
ravine down below, which featured To keep matters simple, and to in his amorous advances.
a small soybean food plot that had let Deb know that she didn’t need With my back resting against
yet to sprout up. a whole bag full of calls to bring the plywood door, I felt the vibra-
I opened the door and shined in in a spring gobbler, I had brought tion of the gobbler as he drummed
my flashlight (which I had avoided only two calls: a vintage “Ben Lee” and gazed at Norma Jean over the
using up until then so as not to alert box call and a Quaker Boy “Easy blind’s roof, and I knew he was
any roosting wild turkeys, which Yelper” with the convenient to use standing right next to the door.
could be anywhere in that swamp) in pushrod. I started with the box call I carefully whispered to Deb to

64 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 66 2/28/2018 8:04:00 AM
freeze and not to even blink, and
the gobbler, a gorgeous representa-
tive (featuring a striking red, white
and blue head) with a long and full
beard, suddenly appeared by Deb’s
side of the window and stood less
than a yard from her gun barrel
protruding out. Thanks to the
blind’s dark interior, the gobbler
couldn’t make us out as he then
cautiously moved downhill towards
winsome Norma Jean.
This was definitely a mature
gobbler, and we weren’t his first
rodeo because every time he
fanned out and his colorful head
disappeared, he would immediately
de-fan before Deb could shoulder
her shotgun and twitch his head
around to get a full sharp-eyed
pan of his surroundings. This
happened about three times with
me whispering “shoulder” and
“freeze." Deb performed admirably
on cue with a close range and very
Left: Jeanette Rousseaux, of Port Austin, is learning from Nate Levitte from the
wary gobbler.
DNR how to properly dress out the gobbler she bagged. Above: Women partici-
The gobbler was right next
pating in the BOW program check the patterning results of their shotguns.
to the decoy and puffed up and
fanning with iridescent feathers Deb was finally able to shoulder her gobbler’s head suddenly peering
glowing in the new sunlight when shotgun. That is when I noticed the from under his fan, and he picked
cont. pg. 66

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 67 2/28/2018 8:04:00 AM
Ron Sting, of the Michigan DNR, shows the BOW participants a typical decoy setup when turkey hunting. In addition to
explaining the use of different decoys in different situations, Sting also explains proper shot locations and how to differen-
tiate between a hen, gobbler and jake turkey.

up the slight motion of the gun This was all part of a two-day comes to hunting, women represent
barrel. The gobbler immediately Wild Turkey Hunting Seminar for the fasted growing demographic.
slicked his plumage down and the Becoming an Outdoorswoman Fitting, for me, because it was my
began a quick exit to the left, and (BOW) program, which was spon- late mother who taught me how
I let out a long and loud hen yelp sored by the Michigan Department to hunt and fish. She was an avid
from my throat which caused him of Natural Resources and held last outdoorswoman in her own right
to briefly stop and stick his head spring at the thumb’s Cass City DNR and recognized no gender gaps. It
straight up,. I hoarsely whispered, Field Office. Ron Sting, who had is why when Ron Sting asked me to
“shoot,” abruptly followed by the organized the seminar, had orig- help there was no hesitation on my
blast from Deb’s 20-gauge shotgun. inally put a cap of 10 participants part.
The headshot gobbler dropped (due to the number of mentors who The first day of the seminar
on the spot, and Deb and I did an could be one on one guides for the included speakers on all the
automatic high-five. Deb Robinson hunt), but once he posted it online, various aspects of turkey hunting
had performed flawlessly on cue he had an overwhelming response. (I covered scouting) which included
and without hesitation. The wary This was a first-come-first-serve ethics and safety. I was impressed
and wise gobbler had suddenly situation, and Ron was able to come by how all the ladies remained
appeared at pointblank range and up with another mentor, which attentive throughout and asked
finally allowed her to get an 18-yard brought the total to 11 ladies. good questions, and it was readily
shot. It was a distinct honor for me The BOW program has been apparent they were very serious
to be her mentor and to share my helping to teach women how to about absorbing it all. This was
expertise on her first spring turkey enjoy all facets of the outdoors for followed by a trip to a nearby
hunt. more than 20 years, and when it shooting range to pattern shotguns

66 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 68 2/28/2018 8:04:00 AM
on turkey targets, where they all arrived at the Cass City DNR Field enough from her mentor, Bob
listened to instruction and didn’t Office the following morning at 4:00 Walker of Kingston, that she was
hesitate to touch the trigger. This a.m., and the ladies, all dressed ready to continue turkey hunting
began with light loads, but all in camouflage, were excitedly on her own for the remainder of the
the ladies quickly let it be known grouped up having breakfast and spring season. Stacey Roberts and
they wanted to know what their definitely filled with anticipation. her friend, Amy Mahanic, also of
magnum turkey loads would do. They were eager to head out with Grand Rapids, were already plan-
One young woman started their mentor/guides. ning their own turkey hunt for the
right off obliterating the turkey This feeling of warm camara- following weekend.
targets using magnum turkey loads derie would continue after the hunt This all works for me, and I’m
in her 12-gauge autoloader, and I back at the Cass City DNR Field already looking forward to assisting
complimented her on her shooting Office, where turkeys harvested with the next BOW Wild Turkey
prowess. That is when I discovered were properly dressed out (a final Hunting Seminar.
Stacey Roberts, of Grand Rapids, part of the seminar) and hunting For more information
was a U.S. Army veteran who had stories shared. Deb Robinson contact Assistant BOW Program
served a tour of duty in Iraq. ‘Nuff would discover her hefty swamp Coordinator Michelle Zellar at
said! gobbler was 4 years old, and a zellarm@michigan.gov or call (906)
In no time, a bunch of targets distinct trophy. She made it clear 293-5131, ext 4004.
were shot up with gusto. I could that this was just the beginning of
tell the ladies were ready to give her hunting adventures to come
it a serious go, and I truly felt a and she was echoed by the rest
kindred spirit with all present. present. Pam Walton of Lapeer
This feeling would continue when I commented that she had learned
Ron Sting, of the Michigan DNR, explains to participants what to expect from hens and gobblers when hunters are in the
turkey blind. Sting stressed the importance of knowing the difference between the two and understanding where to properly
place a shot on a gobbler.

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 69 2/28/2018 8:04:01 AM
Life of a
By John Ozoga

n Northern Michigan, most and accidents. But the mother’s predators for a longer period of
whitetail does breed in nutritional intake during the last time.
November. This is no mere one-third of pregnancy is by far the The critical period
coincidence. This is natural most crucial factor determining a
selection at work — the bulk of newborn fawn’s fate. Isolation of the mother and
fawns are born during late May and newborn shortly after birth, and
early June when climatic condi- Nutritional stress the mother’s careful grooming of
tions are favorable, food and cover the infant, are essential in estab-
abundant, and the prospect for fawn If the mother is malnourished lishing the mother-infant bond. It is
survival is at its best. during late pregnancy, she is more during this first three to six hours
The narrow breeding period likely to give birth to dead or weak that a mother must express certain
demonstrated by northern white- fawns weighing less than 5 pounds maternal care traits and imprint
tails also means most fawns will be that die in a day or two. Following upon her newborn. Any distur-
born within a relatively short period extremely harsh winters — all bance during this critical period can
of time. This results in something too common in Michigan’s Upper lead to breakdown in the imprinting
referred to as “prey saturation” or Peninsula — it is not unusual to process, resulting in abandonment
a predator “swamping effect.” Since lose more than half of the fawn crop and death of the newborn
predators are literally overwhelmed because so many stunted fawns die Although the mother normally
with potential prey, a greater shortly after birth. imprints upon her fawn within a few
proportion of the fawns survive. Nutritionally stressed mothers hours, it may be several days before
Newborn fawns may succumb are also more inclined to abandon the fawn becomes fully imprinted
to a host of factors: accidents, aban- their young, not nurse them, or fail on the mother. Meanwhile, the
donment, predation, parasitism and to defend them against predators. newborns are apt to follow any large
disease. On average, even well-fed Even if they survive a few weeks, moving object — including other
whitetail does living on excellent poorly nourished fawns develop deer, predators and even humans —
range lose about 10 percent of their slowly, are more likely to contract necessitating their complete isola-
fawns as a result of birth defects disease and are vulnerable to tion and mother’s protection.

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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 70 2/28/2018 8:04:09 AM
My research conducted in mile when only a few hours old. drawing attention to them, but
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Following the critical period of close enough to protect them when
revealed that whitetail does with bond formation and nursing, the doe necessary.
newborn fawns demonstrate a form leads her fawns to widely-spaced bed In upper Michigan, important
of territorial behavior lasting four sites within her fawning territory. predators of newborn fawns include
to six weeks. Each doe with newborn Littermates bed several hundred the coyote, black bear, bobcat and
fawns defends an exclusive area, 10 feet apart until they are about 25 gray wolf. When abundant, pred-
to 20 acres in size, from which she days old. That way, a predator might ators take 20 to 30 percent of the
drives away all other deer. find and kill one fawn, but spacing of fawns in any given area. Lack of
Typically, a mature doe domi- young fawns minimizes the chances good hiding cover, in the form of
nates the best habitat and uses the that both (or all three) would be lost. dense, low-growing vegetation,
same area for fawn-rearing year may also contribute to excessive
after year. Young does fawning for Hiding newborn fawn depredation, espe-
the first time establish fawning cially where
areas border-to-border with their Newborn browsing by
mothers. Does fawning for their whitetails are overly abun-
second time normally disperse considered dant deer
a quarter mile or so to establish “hiders” as denudes
new fawning grounds, as long as opposed to the the forest
the family’s matriarch is still alive young of bison, floor.
and controls the ancestral fawning sheep, muskox cont. pg. 70
grounds. and caribou, which are
Such forced social isolation “followers.” In follower
ensures that the newborn will species, the mother and
imprint upon their mother. In infant stay close together. In
addition, reduced deer activity and hider species, such as white-
associated odors in the vicinity of tails, the mother and infant are
the newborn minimize detection by separated out of contact for long
predators. periods of time.
Since does defend fawning areas, Instead of fleeing from
no two does may simultaneously use predators, the young whitetail’s
the same area to raise fawns. Hence, chief defense mechanism is its
available space determines how inactivity and speckled, camou-
many does can raise fawns. Surplus flage coat. When frightened, they
pregnant does must disperse greater crouch and hide, sometimes even
distances to find suitable fawning exhibiting depressed breathing and
grounds or retreat to less favorable a slowed heart rate, referred to as
habitat, where more of their young “alarm bradycardia.”
succumb to abandonment, acci- When less than 10 days old, the
dents or predation. fawn is active only two or three times
daily, when the mother seeks out the
Cleanliness fawn for nursing or grooming. After
each bout of activity, which lasts for
Immediately after giving birth, 10 to 30 minutes, the mother leads
the doe carefully licks the newborn her fawn several hundred feet to a
clean of amniotic fluids and fresh bed site. In this way, the fawn
membranes. She eats the afterbirth is gradually introduced to its moth-
and even the vegetation stained er’s territory.
during the birthing process. This
renders the newborn and vicinity Maternal defense
clean of odors that might otherwise
attract predators. Survival of newborn fawns
Healthy whitetail fawns also depends upon diligent
normally weigh six to nine pounds mothers who are quick to
at birth. Some may weigh as much defend their fawns from pred-
as 12 pounds. They are usually ators. The successful mother
standing and walking within 40 must stay far enough away
minutes. And, if necessary, they’re from her fawns to minimize
capable of traveling up to a quarter

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 71 2/28/2018 8:04:25 AM
Older, more experienced does are 54 percent, respectively of their Throughout the process, the young
the most successful mothers. They young. I concluded that learning whitetail changes from a meek
are more dominant, compared to experience and outright defense hider to a strong runner.
younger does, and control superior of their young largely accounted Fawns reach their peak milk
habitat. They also employ polished for the older does’ improved fawn- consumption when about one
anti-predator skills when raising rearing success when threatened by month old, then decline steadily
their young. For example, older does bears. thereafter. They start eating some
space their young fawns farther vegetation when two to three weeks
apart and move them greater Fawn nutrition old. But they cannot survive without
distances from one bed site to the their mother’s milk because their
next. The mature doe may even Deer milk is higher in fat, protein four-chambered stomachs are not
lead fawns outside her established dry matter and energy content than fully developed.
territory, if necessary, to evade domestic cow’s milk. The mother’s Disease and parasitism seldom
predators. diet does not seem to influence the pose a serious threat to well-nour-
However, among anti-predator composition of her milk, but poor ished fawns in Michigan. In southern
strategies employed by whitetail nutrition may cause her to produce states, however, bacterial diseases,
mothers, outright defense of their less milk than normal. Or, when screwworm flies, stomach worms,
young might be as important as seriously malnourished, a doe lung worms, ticks and assorted
any. Irate does have been observed might produce no milk at all. other infections periodically cause
charging and striking domestic Early in life, the fawn conserves serious problems. Regardless of the
dogs and coyotes in defense of their energy to maximize its growth rate. region, such maladies will be most
young. Given a good supply of the moth- prevalent among malnourished deer
In my studies, older does lost er’s milk — 16 to 24 ounces per day living in high-density populations.
only 17 percent of their newborns — young fawns gain nearly a half By two months of age, fawns
when exposed to predation by black pound per day. They may double become functional ruminants.
bears. By comparison, first- and their birth weight in two weeks This is when the rumen-retic-
second-time mothers (two- and and triple it by one month of age. ulum portion of their stomach
three-year-olds) lost 32 percent and achieves nearly adult proportions.

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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 72 2/28/2018 8:04:30 AM
Thereafter, fawns can compensate Cusino Wildlife Research Station.
for decreased milk intake by eating As a researcher, John authored or
more vegetation, and they can
survive without milk if necessary.
co-authored more than 90 technical
publications. Although his scientific
The bottom line work includes papers on elk, bears,
foxes, coyotes, songbirds and small
In Northern Michigan, highest mammals, his research focused
newborn fawn death rates invari- primarily on white-tailed deer ecology,
ably follow tough winters, especially physiology, reproduction, nutrition,
in areas of poor habitat where food
and cover are inadequate. Likewise,
behavior and population dynamics.
overly abundant deer on summer John started writing magazine and
range reduce the availability of newspaper accounts of his research

nutritious food, devastate fawn- ohn Ozoga and his wife, Janice, in the early 1980s. Since then, he has
rearing habitat and contribute to were born and raised in Crystal had seven books and hundreds of arti-
higher-than-normal newborn fawn Falls, Michigan. They started going
mortality — even in areas of rela-
cles concerning facets of white-tailed
together when John was 16 and Jan deer life published. He has served as
tively mild winters.
On the other hand, when was 14, were married in 1958, have research editor for "Deer and Deer
provided with favorable habitat, one daughter, three sons and four Hunting" magazine since 1994.
whitetails are geared for maximum grandsons. His honors include awards from the
reproduction. Healthy deer popula- After completing his B.S. and M.S.
tions can easily withstand 20 to 30
Wildlife Society, Michigan Department
in wildlife management at Michigan of Natural Resources Wildlife Division,
percent newborn fawn mortality
due to natural causes. In fact, such State University, he and Jan moved Safari Club International, Quality
a drain helps dampen wild oscil- back to Michigan's Upper Peninsula Deer Management Association and
lations in deer population size, where John spent the next 30 years Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
thereby protecting the habitat from as a wildlife research biologist at the

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 73 2/28/2018 8:04:34 AM
The Stories Winter's Thaw
can tell

By Mike Mallory

fter a long winter of continue to grow and really blow up ditch that the deer like to travel in
freezing temperatures and as a three year old. Well, after Nov. order to get back to the tall switch
large amounts of snow, 15, 2016, Brad never saw Crooked grass that grows above the ditch
the spring can be a time Brow again and became increas- bank to bed. All of a sudden, Sadie
for many avid deer hunters such as ingly worried that the buck came running from the ditch up to
myself to finally get back out into had disappeared from his where we were standing carrying a
the woods and begin looking for shed area or, worse, had been shed. This was not out of the ordi-
antlers. Now, there is more to shed killed. Muzzleloader nary, as she had been trained to shed
hunting than just walking around season and late bow hunt from the time she was just
aimlessly hoping to eventually season went by with still a puppy; however, what was
stumble upon a shed; in fact, it can no sign of the buck that strange was what happened
be one of the most difficult things to was once a regular all of next. We watched her as
do in the outdoors. However, if you October and early November. she dropped the first
or somebody you know has access As the season came to a close, shed antler at
to a piece of property that held a Brad was sure that somebody Brad’s feet, then
few bucks the fall before, it can be a had shot Crooked Brow and that his whirled
very rewarding experience that can story had ended.
help lead to a successful hunt for the Fast forward to the spring of
following season. 2017, when Brad and his dog Sadie,
The fall of 2016 was when along with myself, were cruising
Brad Martyn first got trail camera a piece of property Brad hunts around
pictures of a buck he eventually looking for sheds. To be more exact, and headed back to
named “Crooked Brow,” as the it was the same piece of property he the ditch before returning with
buck’s left brow tine was crooked had hunted Crooked Brow on the another antler! After closer inspec-
compared to its right. Brad watched previous fall. We had just come into tion of the second antler, we realized
the dandy two-year-old buck all a major bedding corridor the deer not only was this a perfect match,
fall a but wanted to give the buck like to use, with a winter wheat field but this was Crooked Brow’s sheds!
another year in hopes that it would to the west and a large, overgrown He was still alive and he was still

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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 74 2/28/2018 8:04:35 AM
in this area. What a great surprise property for the following season.
for Brad, and now the hunt was on
for 2017, as the buck was sure to
Oftentimes, finding a shed is just
the icing on top of the cake. Many
"We watched her as she
be a very nice three-year-old deer.
Without getting out and walking
times, the activity that a piece of
property sees in February and
dropped the first shed
that particular property, Brad may
have not ever known that the buck
March is similar to what it sees in
December, meaning that tendencies antler at Brad's feet,
was still alive, let alone still right in and sign in the spring can help put
the center of the property.
The hunt for Crooked Brow
you in a great place to shoot a late
season buck.
then whirled around
continued in 2017 and sure enough
the buck had become a very nice
So, when the weather turns a
little bit warmer and more inviting, and headed back to the
three-year-old that Brad would have grab a friend and an excited dog and
been more than happy to harvest.
However, with only one encounter
head to the woods in search of the
illustrious shed antler — it can pay
ditch before returning
in bow season and none in rifle, the
buck almost seemed to disappear as
off in more ways than one.
with another antler."
he did in 2016.
As we found out before, though, The author accompanied his friend, Brad Martyn, and Martyn's
that does not necessarily mean he dog, Sadie, on a shed hunting trip to a property that Martyn
is dead and we are both anxiously hunts. During this trip, they found evidence that Crooked Brow,a
awaiting to see if we can locate his nice two-year-old deer at that point, had made it through the
sheds this upcoming spring. With hunting season.
that being said, I think Brad and I
learned a valuable lesson from this
When the calendar turns to
spring and deer hunters across the
state have had enough of winter’s
harsh weather, it is important to
head into the woods and begin
spring scouting.
We had an idea of where bucks
on this particular property liked
to bed and used that to our
advantage to not only find
Crooked Brow’s sheds,
but Brad was able to
hang a stand late in
the season the
following year
and see a
ton of
d e e r, as well as
bucks that
had survived up
to that point.
Spring shed
hunting is more than
just finding sheds; it’s
an opportunity to walk
new pieces of land
and learn a lot
about a
o f

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 73

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 75 2/28/2018 8:04:40 AM
Conservation Celebration:

A Century of
Elk in Michigan

Sponsored by the Michigan Wildlife Council

t’s hard to explain the benefits wildlife conservation and manage- Each year, the elk drawing uses a
of hunting to someone who ment in Michigan. “Through the weighted chance system – giving an
doesn’t participate. Aside from hard work of conservationists and advantage to those who apply for an
the obvious attractions – the the strong support of Michigan’s elk license every year, but giving a MIC
sense of freedom from spending hunting communities, we’ve been chance to those who just started to
time outdoors, the serenity of able to bring back a sustainable apply. While the number of licenses
communing with nature – advan- population of one of the state’s most issued per year varies, according Crea
tages such as controlling wildlife beautiful species.” to the Michigan Department of Legi
populations and preventing the A bit of background: Elk, which Natural Resources, the number
spread of issues like chronic are also known as wapiti, are ungu- is most often between 100 and 200
wasting disease (CWD) are lost on lates and are of the same family licenses. However, elk hunting can trem
most non-hunters. as deer, moose and caribou. But prove to be a once in a lifetime oppor- of h
But among the positive aspects before state parks were established tunity as there is no guarantee that
of the sport that many of them don’t and hunting regulations were a hunter will be chosen in his or her to th
think about is that hunting actu- developed, a variety of factors – lifetime. Furthermore, each hunter wild
ally helps wildlife thrive. In fact, including habitat loss – wiped them is allowed only one bull in his/her
many wildlife species in Michigan off the Michigan landscape. Today, lifetime, and one cow per year.
would simply not be here if not for however, the state’s wild elk herd “It was the hunt of a lifetime,”
hunting – and in 2018, everyone will is flourishing, with over 1,000 living said Jean Rittley, 60, who shot a licen
be talking about one of them. This in a 105,000-acre area encompassing bull elk last December in northern seek
year marks the 100th anniversary of the Pigeon River Country State Michigan. “I was overwhelmed with
elk being reintroduced to Michigan Forest near Gaylord. The herd is joy, but at the same time, I was kind amo
after being completely wiped out in doing so well, in fact, that there’s of sad, because I knew it was over. and
the 19th century. now an annual elk-hunting season And it was very meaningful that
“Plain and simple, elk would to address social and ecological I was able to experience that with
not be in Michigan if not for concerns caused by its growth. Robbie. He’s the one who made me
hunting,” said Matt Pedigo, chair of The first, experimental season want to experience an elk hunt in Lear
the Michigan Wildlife Council, an was held in 1964-65, and then in 1984 the first place.” Her
organization dedicated to educating an annual hunt was made perma- Her son, Robbie McLennan,
the public about the importance of nent. The limitations are strict. is an elk-hunting guide, and he’s

74 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 76 2/28/2018 8:04:41 AM
the one who tracked the bull elk With their distinctive mating calls, hunting laws and regulations were
that Rittley shot. Bull elk hunting commonly referred to as bugling, created to ensure healthy popula-
licenses are awarded by lottery, to and intricately branched antlers, tions of both game and non-game
ensure Michigan’s elk population elk are striking animals to behold. wildlife, and the state’s elk herd is
remains in balance. Rittley got hers “Early Michigan settlers were one of the best examples of this.”
on her third try; her husband and enchanted by the elk, but they didn’t To commemorate this momen-
two sons still haven’t received one. realize the harm they were causing,” tous anniversary, the Secretary
“There was some playful teasing Pedigo said. “And the science of of State has swapped its popular
when I got the license, but I know sustainable hunting hadn’t even loon license plate for a new plate
they’ll keep trying,” Rittley said. been thought of. Fortunately, we’ve featuring an elk. Since its introduc-
“Hunting is a strong tradition in been able to reverse that harm, tion in 2001, the loon plate has raised
my family. My dad used to take me which has not only given this species over $2.6 million for the Michigan
out rabbit hunting when I was 10, a second chance, but increased their Nongame Wildlife Fund, which
and I’ve loved it ever since. I just population to great numbers.” supports wildlife habitat conser-
like being out in the woods, either Thanks to the funds raised by vation within the state. The visual
stalking or sitting in a blind. I know hunting license fees, elk are back of the elk on license plates will
I’ll never be able to get another bull, for good. In fact, the bulk of the elevate the profile of these majestic
but I’ve already asked Robbie if I funds generated by hunting licenses creatures.
can go out with him next year when go toward conservation efforts “Elk are an important part of
he does his tracking.” that help maintain the forests and Michigan’s ecosystem, and their
The elk season has had a posi- streams that help all Michigan wild- survival helps promote conserva-
tive economic impact on northeast life, including elk, live and thrive. In tion efforts across the spectrum,”
Michigan thanks to the seasonal a very real way, hunting is helping Pedigo said. “It’s taken the efforts of
influx of elk hunters and elk hunt Michigan wildlife flourish. generations of concerned hunters
guiding operations. Visitors also “Many people think of hunting and the general public to restore
flock to the region for elk-viewing as something that removes, but elk to their rightful place as part of
opportunities at other times of in the broadest sense, hunting Michigan’s heritage.”
the year, and it’s easy to see why. creates,” Pedigo said. “Michigan’s


Created in 2013 by the Michigan
Legislature, the Michigan Wildlife
Council aims to highlight the
tremendous value and importance
of hunting, fishing and trapping

to the conservation of Michigan’s
wildlife, waters and public lands.

Funded via $1 from every base
license sold in Michigan, the council HUNTERS AND ANGLERS
seeks to build understanding for your help protecting Michigan’s wild places. Your licenses
among the state’s non-hunting provide nearly $40 million a year to conserve wildlife, public
and non-fishing residents through lands and waters. Because of you, habitats have been restored
videos, news and much more. and populations of deer, elk, waterfowl and other game species
preserved for the use and enjoyment of future generations.
Learn more at

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 77 2/28/2018 8:04:41 AM
Full Draw:
The End or the Beginning?
By Tom Nelson

itting here staring at the am already thinking and planning early-spring days. Runways are
pile of plastic totes and for next season. I keep a journal of especially easy to locate and take
other assorted containers my hunts, writing down wind direc- note of. Perhaps the biggest benefit
half laying open with their tion and temperature every day that of this postseason scouting is that
former contents strewed about the I hunt. I scribble down where I sat once in a while a keen-eyed hunter
basement floor, I am reminded that and what I saw. I make notes of any may locate a dropped antler. My wife
bow season is over for me. Filling changes that need to happen before and I find shed hunting to be a great
my Michigan tags is always a reason next season — such as trimming way to spend time in the woods, and
for celebrating; yet, to this bow out a new shooting lane in a certain locating a dropped antler or two lets
bender, it is also a bittersweet time. tree or not hunting another spot in me know that a buck or two survived
Sure, I was able to punch my tags a west wind, as the deer seemed to the past season and will be an even
on a couple nice whitetails this past come from the east at the stand. Just bigger-antlered whitetail come next
fall, but that also meant that my little things that I will look back on fall.
time spent in the woods and fields next year and take advantage of. One of the most common fail-
was over. As bowhunters, we wait Other little notes were a reminder ures of bowhunters is the lack of
with great anticipation for October to get a new camo cap for colder practice in the off season. Winter
first to arrive. Even before then, weather; my old, reliable knitted and spring is a grand time to join
savvy bowhunters are out scouting, cap was getting a bit worn and an archery league and gain some
hanging stands and checking trail the small hole in its side was now off season practice by shooting
cameras. To me, this preseason large enough to let a pretty good indoors because it is too cold to do
scouting and preparation is as fun breeze through on windy days. One so outside. This keeps your muscles
and exciting as the time spent actu- thought of more importance was to tuned and your eyes sharp. Plus, it
ally bowhunting. replace the worn straps on a couple helps to maintain proper form and
When bow season ends, whether of portable tree stands. All of these archery accuracy. Participating in
because of filling ones tags or the last items are important, and thanks to an organized archery league with
day of the season comes and goes, my notes, will be handled during other archers will pay dividends
most bowhunters are doing exactly the off season. come next bow season.
what I am right now — washing When all seasons come to In retrospect, for me, deer
camo clothing and packing it away a close, I will still be starting to season never really comes to a
until it's needed again in the future. take hikes into my hunting areas complete end. Even on the most
The same thing happens to most of scouting areas that I normally frigid of winter days, I am actively
our bows. They are placed in cases; would not venture into for fear of doing something pertaining to deer
or perhaps, like mine, hung on a peg spooking deer and alerting them hunting. It may be cataloging trail
in my shop where at least I can stare to my presence. However, the off camera photos from the previous
at it. For many, our bow and arrows season affords me the opportunity year or perhaps re-fletching some
just sits around gathering dust until to do this and not worry about worn arrows with new vanes or
next summer arrives and thoughts spooking whitetails, as they will feathers. Whatever the case may
of fall start prodding archers to get have months to forget my intrusion be, deer season never seems to end,
out and fling some arrows. into their sanctuary. Scrapes and there is just a new beginning.
For me the end is not really at rubs from the previous fall show
hand. I, like many other bowhunters, up well during the late-winter and

76 || www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 78 2/28/2018 8:04:42 AM
Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors
Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 77

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 79 2/28/2018 8:04:43 AM
A Late-season

By Nick Green
Photos by Dylan Snyder

flock of 120 ducks wanted 600 mallards, several hundred black hunting,” I asked Eric. “Nine,” he
to be there: We were on ducks and hundreds of geese. replied. Any glimmer of hope I
the “X.” They made one That Saturday’s forecast called had for the day was gone. It’s hard
j-hook before starting to for 0 degrees at 7 a.m., with moderate enough to hide four guys in a field;
cup up and commit to our decoys. winds and snow throughout the day. I wondered how we would hide nine
I patiently watched through the I weighed my sanity and decided in a cut corn field with snow.
netting of my layout blind as 10, I would give my first season of Luckily, the night before, Eric
then 20, then 50, then 75 started to waterfowl hunting one more run, and some of his friends had set up
sit down mere yards from us. Jake knowing that, as my luck usually the blinds, placed the snow covers
Sawyer laid to my left in his blind; goes, a goose egg was probably in they had on some of them, sprayed
he was calling the shots. “Kill ‘em,” order. fake snow on the rest and brushed
he yelled. Nine of us popped up and I met Eric at his father-in-law’s them in. I couldn’t find them in the
unloaded our guns. house at about 4:45 a.m. after a light of the headlights despite them
Our volley took down 12 birds two-hour drive south from Fowler in being 30 yards in front of us — a
— the most I had ever seen taken at less-than-ideal road conditions. We good sign.
one time. It was piss-poor shooting, hooked on to his 16-foot trailer that We weren’t only hunting with
though. Before anyone could get was filled to the brim with decoys, the Hillsdale crew — we had two
out of the blinds to start retrieving layout blinds, clothes and other guys from Indiana, Kyle and Tracie,
ducks, another flock was circling. waterfowl hunting apparatuses that who had drove up and a guy from
Seven cupped up, and two flew away. were foreign to a newbie like me. Ohio, Dylan, who would be taking
The late-split for waterfowl was Knowing nothing about the pictures and recording the day on a
December 30 and 31. Until that time, plan, I was expecting three or four video camera.
my 2017 duck harvests consisted guys, cold weather, misery and zero It took about an hour to set up
of one drake mallard, a merganser birds. We parked on the road and the close to 200-decoy spread that
and a bufflehead, despite getting waited for the rest of our party to we would be using. We had full body
out more than 20 times. I got a call show up. One truck, two trucks and geese, sleeper shell geese and full
from my brother-in-law, Eric, on then three trucks pulled into the body mallards. My snot stuck to my
Friday night saying that he had a field. mustache and icicles formed as we
field in Hillsdale County with 500 to “How many guys are we made a careful and conscious effort

78 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 80 2/28/2018 8:04:43 AM
"We were on the 'X.' They wanted to be there."
to make as few tracks as possible “kill ‘em,” as we popped up and deceased cohorts weren’t enough
putting out our decoys. dropped three of the ducks. Then to deter them from our spread. We
The trucks and trailers pulled came the flock of 120. harvested six more in short order.
out of the field, and we got settled It was the highlight of my water- It was 8:05, and we had dropped
into our layout blinds. Shooting time fowl career thus far. The birds made 25 mallards and a black duck. My
was 7:37 — we had about a half hour. one pass across us gazing down at day would have been a success if we
Banter quickly fired up between our spread before making an almost stopped there.
guys, many of whom had never met. 180-degree j-hook. They got low, then Some early geese followed
As the pink sunrise started to cast lower and then they started to put quickly. Kyle and Shaun, one of the
light over our enormous (at least in their feet down and cup their wings. Hillsdale crew guys, sprinted back
my opinion) spread, we all started to A few feeder calls from Tracie three to our blinds having retrieved only
get antsy. It has been my experience blinds to my left, coupled with my about a quarter of the ducks on the
that ducks usually start to fly about brother-in-law’s soft quacks to my ground. The flock was high, honking
10 minutes before shooting light — it right, centered the birds. and circling us. They had played
was 7:30. “Kill ‘em,” Sawyer yelled. Out the game before. We shut the mojos
At 7:40, we had our first flock fly of the 12 harvested birds, one was a off, and Eric and Tracie worked the
over the tree line. They were roosting black duck — a great bonus to our birds.
on a small irrigation pond that must poor volley because they are some- About 10 decided to commit and
have been spring fed. Almost every- what rare in Michigan. Quickly, we come down within shooting range.
thing else in the county was frozen dropped five more from the flock of Our volley took down three of them.
due to the unusual deep freeze we seven that came over the trees almost We decided this would be a good time
had during the preceding week. immediately following the survivors to get out, retrieve our birds and
About 10 mallards worked our of the big flock’s exit. stretch our legs despite ducks still in
decoys quickly. They made one All of our birds still laid in the the air working our spread.
circle, and on the second, they made field as another flock of about 20 We retrieved our birds, tucked
a poor life decision. Sawyer yelled, decided to commit. Apparently, their the ducks under the sleeper shells
cont. pg. 80

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 81 2/28/2018 8:04:43 AM
his third shot connected. The bird
folded and fell to the snow. Each os us
finished with our limit of mallards in
an epic way; but, we weren’t done.
We could hear geese starting to
honk on the irrigation pond. Several
flocks later, we had 10 more geese on
the ground.
Ducks kept coming, though.
At one point, we were all sitting up
talking and eight ducks decoyed 20
yards in front of us. We were on the
Our final birds of the day were
a pair of black ducks — a hen and a
to our back left and put the geese in also hit by other guys he was hunting drake. It happened almost perfectly.
our spread with their heads tucked. with. The pressure was on. Because we already had our limit of
Sawyer, being the rabble-rouser, A flock of about 10 came from our mallards, we had to be careful not to
started to comment on the right right and started to work our decoys. shoot around them if we saw other
side’s (me, Eric and Eric’s buddy, They were crossing from our right to species of ducks.
Hansen) shooting. “I shot all three our left trying to land into the wind. The pair we harvested peeled off
of those geese, what were you guys One duck peeled off and started flying of a flock of about 30 ducks. They
shooting at?” It was all in fun, though. right toward Hansen’s blind. were the first ones trying to land,
The next hour went much like The drake mallard’s feet came and it was easy to tell they were black
the first: Ducks came, and ducks fell. down and his wings cupped up. I ducks. It was the perfect ending to my
By 9:30 a.m., we had 35 mallards (one thought for sure the duck was going best waterfowl hunt so far.
away from our nine-man limit), one to land on Hansen’s layout blind. Eric We decided to pack things up
hen pintail, two black ducks and four whispered, “Hansen, take him, take despite geese still in the air and a few
geese. With one mallard left to take, him.” Hansen rose from his blind and random pintail and black ducks being
we decided that it was time to put the duck cocked his head in surprise. spotted. We were all riding a wave of
Hansen in the spotlight. I could see the iridescence from the disbelief in the day we had. In total,
He was pretty new to waterfowl drake’s head and wing. we had harvested 36 mallards, one
hunting and, aside from that day, ‘Bang,’ miss, ‘bang,’ miss again. pintail, four black ducks and 13
hadn't had a true, solo bird yet. He The drake quickly made it 20 yards geese, one of them banded.
had shot ducks before but they were out straight in front of Hansen when

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Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 81

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The Thaw
By Calvin McShane

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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 84 2/28/2018 8:04:45 AM
ere in God’s Country, annoying but tolerable, the third hibernation that ended
tradition holds court over miserable and by the fourth month not so long ago. Most
all things. This time of the ,we are on our knees begging the Ice nights I lay awake
year, the grip of winter God for mercy. Ultimately mercy is anxious for my next
has finally eased — hopefully — and bestowed, the signs being sprouting days exploits while
Yoopers everywhere are crawling trout lilies and returning orange-bel- my thoughts follow
out of their cabins in one final lied robins. Nervously, we finally put the songs of the
taunting of cabin fever. The even- away our snow shovels and venture peepers. Other
tual passing of March 20th brings outside to blossom ourselves. We nights, I am with
with it the first official day of spring, visit the woods, lakes and streams friends telling stories
which laughingly suggests that hostile to revisit the things we hold from the previous
Mother Nature gives a damn about so dearly about this time of the year. years successes. The
being punctual to the plans of mere Regularly, we begin our rituals too early mornings are
mortals. Before our minds focus on early — tapping maples too soon, spent on a river,
the litany of preparations dedicated spending hours on the beach long watching the fog
to next winter, we must properly before the steelhead arrive and linger and dance
celebrate the ending of the previous waiting impatiently in the dark for just above the
one. Celebrations vary homestead smelt that are occupied with plans rivers seams and
to homestead, but in one form or unrelated to our expectations. In a eddies — whis-
another, private and communal, we winter-like fashion, all we can do is pers of moving
allow our frustrations to melt away wait and strategize amongst friends. steelhead just out
with the thawing snow. Even in disappointment, conversa- of arm's reach.
For me, this means frequenting tions outside of ice and snow are I will spend as
the streams of my winter daydreams enthusiastically welcomed and with many days as I can
to do the year's first fishing for Lake proper company and able libation, walking Superior
Superior steelhead. I break the first the wait for our spring sensations streams chasing
footpaths in knee-deep snow, weeks passes with haste. fresh run steel-
before the roads are reopened, and Sometime between ice head and spend
chip away shelf ice to make a suit- out and when the crickets begin even more time
able spot for drifting spawn sacks their evening recitals, the spring exchanging
along the river bottom. Whether peepers let us know Lake cont. pg. 84
or not the fish are there, I am — a Superior smelt are bound
nearly frozen fool who refuses for an appearance. These
to accept that spring may still be appearances vary between
a week or two away. Eventually, bleak and mind blowing.
the steelhead, probably overcome To me and my friends, such
with pity, move upstream past concerns are meaningless
outstretched newly budding alders because we smelt dip regard-
into the entanglement of Lake less of assurances. Armed
Superior streams. These months are with two gallon pails and
surely my favorite; myself some sort headlamps, we grab our hand-
of spring connoisseur. Taking full me-down smelt nets and load
advantage of the end of my winter into the truck to cruise the
duties, I am sure never to miss the shoreline. The nets have about
opportunities of a flowering land- as many holes in them as we
scape. Like the black bears not far to do in our brains, our late night
my south, I awake from my slumber antics sufficient evidence. The
enthused. Each of us forage and nights when everything comes
gorge, knowing this spring will be together are legendary in the
like all the others — gone before we short term. That is, until the
have ample time to digest its abrupt years go by and we easily forget
beauty. how well we did and on what
As I’m sure you already days. What we do remember is the
know, a winter along the south smell of sizzling smelt in blistering
shore of Lake Superior is nothing oil at hours well past midnight and
to laugh about. Once in full swing, the sensation of content bellies, full
locals swear the snow not only falls, of fish and laughter.
but also rises from the ground. My springs nights are
The first month is cozy, the second mostly sleepless ones, unlike the

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 85 2/28/2018 8:04:47 AM
words with those I meet on the river,
familiar and foe; all of us smiling
and laughing, pawns in the game of
the wild, overly earnest suitors to a
fish dead set on breaking our hearts.
The only reason I do return
home is to check my taps, making
my rounds from maple tree to maple
tree, carrying five gallon buckets
full of sweet sap. Around my small
five-acre lot, I carve out meandering
trails through a winter’s worth of
compacted snow in order to tap
enough trees for a years worth of
maple syrup. Nights under and days
above freezing are the perfect duo
for swells of heavy-running sap.
The sap collects in used milk jugs,
and daily, I go collecting while I
whistle familiar tunes, my mouth
watering from the thought of a high
stack of pancakes to satisfy my insa-
tiable appetite. Soon I will call over
my smelting buddies to accompany
me in a boil to reap the reward of
weeks of labor. Noticing the cloud McShane displays a mess of smelt that he dipped on an Upper Peninsula stream
of evaporating sap, neighbors are last winter. McShane takes full advantage of spring's return by smelt dipping and
sure to stop in for quick glance at the tapping maple trees to get a taste of liquid gold.
boiling liquid gold, making it clear
do we do in spring? Really the same of the wild dictates our behavior.
they’d be willing to take any extra
sorts of things we do in the winter; Contrary to our flawed convictions,
syrup off my hands — absurdly
drink beer, spend the time we have we, not the wild, are the creatures
presuming there is such a thing as
outdoors with our closest of friends, of change. With spring comes
‘extra’ syrup. The hot fire provides
and reap whatever rewards the blossoming, blooming and a swirl
just enough heat to keep our toes
land bestows upon us. Year after of activity. Those of us drawn to
from frosting as we watch the snow
year the spring land looks just as it Michigan’s great outdoors can be
melt on the sides of my makeshift
did before — wet, lush and perpet- thankful our consciousness follows
cinder block stove. We’ll talk about
ually resilient. Season to season, suit and harmonizes itself with the
whether or not the whitefish have
from freeze to thaw, the rhythm true way of the north.
come into our nearby shallow bays,
our upcoming ventures to find
morels and wild leeks and how
happy we are to have put the snow

Fish for Stocking
plows away for another season.
To myself and any critters who
spend their winters above snow,
the idea of bare ground had become
a forgotten concept. But now that
the thaw is finally upon us, we
Michiganders — human and animal • Most varieties for ponds or lakes
— relish in a footing grounded
in another color besides white. • Laggis' Fish Farm
Walking the rolling hardwood hills
we hunt for turkey and scout for • Days: (269) 628 2056
whitetails, we are thankful for the
land only a few come to know so
intimately. This far north we are
• Nights: (269) 624 6215
never too far from the land. It heats
our homes, fills our stomachs and
enriches our imaginations. What

84 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 86 2/28/2018 8:04:47 AM
Finding the Silver
Lining in a Failed
Hunt Test By Sara Chisnell
when it comes to NAVHDA but peed at least eight times (upon
— both her sire and dam my return to Kentucky, Lana was
are Versatile Champions diagnosed with a UTI, which could
and her sire was just certainly affect a four-month-old
inducted into the puppy’s performance). The judges
GSPCA Hall of Fame even set her up for a bird; but still,
(his sire is an inductee nothing. Let’s face it, we all bring
as well). She has it all: our dogs to the line in NAVHDA
stunning looks, an with hopes of a Prize I, and to say
incredible nose, drive I was disappointed is an understate-
for days, obsession ment. I came off the field in tears.
with water and a With no birds pointed, there can be
sweet, biddable no prize, and this sure was a long
temperament. way to travel for that kind of result.
The way she I’m a cup-half-full kind of girl, so
was working there are still lessons to be learned
on birds this despite that kind of overwhelming
summer, the few times I had her disappointment.
out, she was a little rock star and
should have been a shoe-in for a Lesson 1: Don’t quit.
Prize I in Natural Ability. Everyone
who saw her work was justifiably The field portion was the first
impressed. So, I entered her in part of three in our NA test. I seri-
an NA test in New Jersey so her ously thought about quitting at that
breeders could see her ace the test. I point and scratching her from the
made the trek from Kentucky to the test. That would have been silly,
Garden State and was incredibly and I’m glad I listened to others
confident in this four-month-old

who encouraged me to finish it out.
pup. I chose to treat it as a training day
ost people would choose
Friday before the test, we put and kept chugging.
not to talk about their
five chuckar out for her and she
dog’s failure at a hunt
ran huge in the field, like a field
test, much less write Lesson 2: Emotion has no
trial dog, and smoked all the birds
about it; but, sweeping things under
the rug is not my style. I prefer to
in no time. I was excited for the test. place in dog training.
That wild, field-trial-like dog did
learn from the experience and share
not show up on Sunday. During the This was a good reminder to
it with others.
field portion, Lana would run about keep emotions out of training. It’s
Lana (ShoreShot’s Lust For Life)
20 yards out, look at me, run back really, really hard to do this some-
is my newest pack addition that I
and repeat. During the 20-minute times. It can be hard not to take a
have incredibly high hopes for. She
run, she didn’t point a single bird dog’s performance, or lack thereof,
is bred "to the nines," especially

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 85

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 87 2/28/2018 8:04:53 AM
personally. Instead, we should take you least want them too. any good. Bad test days happen to
these moments of time in the dog’s the best handlers in the sport. Take
life as a humbling reminder that Lesson 4: Listen to those the loss, learn from it, be humble
dogs are not perfect, nor are we, and move on. Equally important,
and we should roll with the lows as who have been in the sport show good sportsmanship and
well as the highs. If it’s a trained congratulate others and celebrate
behavior that failed, we should take This was a big takeaway for their success. One of my biggest
the opportunity to see what’s lacking me that day, and one of the things pet peeves across all dog sports are
in our training program rather I really love about the NAVHDA poor sports who can’t acknowledge
than blame the dog. Since this was world — SO MUCH SUPPORT. I had others.
truly a “natural ability” test with so many pep talks that day from
not much training involved, I had complete strangers who sought me
out. Several told me some of the best Lesson 6: Enjoy the test!
no real training failure to examine.
Instead, I was reminded this was a UT dogs had failed NA tests. One of
these strangers was the one who Take the day to watch and learn
four-month-old puppy, just a baby, from others. Despite our terrible
really. convinced me to continue on in the
test. Even one of the judges pulled start to the day, I really did enjoy
me aside after the field portion the rest of the day. Several of Lana’s
Lesson 3: Dogs are not and reminded me this test is but a littermates were in the test as well
machines moment in time in the dog’s life and so it was a lot of fun to watch them
not to take this to heart. I have to all run and get to know their owners.
Dogs are living, breathing say, all the support from all these I met all kinds of NAVHDA people
beings that are far from 100 percent great people who have had phenom- from a new chapter — one of the
predictable. Sometimes they just enal dogs was touching. things I love about testing at other
have off days, just like we do, where chapters. I always feel welcomed
it’s not necessarily a reflection of at new chapters, and the Del-Val
Lesson 5: Don’t be a sore NAVHDA in New Jersey was no
your training or even a reflection of
the dog themself. You can prepare loser exception. Plus, you are outside
and train but cannot control every- with your dog and other dog-crazy
thing, and you have to be prepared Dwelling on what went wrong or people doing the things you all love.
for these off times happening when the fact your dog didn’t get a prize Life could be much worse.
doesn’t do you, your dog or anyone

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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 88 2/28/2018 8:04:54 AM
Lesson 7: The score does
not define your dog
This is the most important
lesson to me. I know what an
amazing little dog I have, and she is
so much more than this one day of
her life. I am very glad her breeders
got to see her run two days before
the test and see how incredible she
truly is — they were just as shocked
as I was by her lackluster run in the
field. I am firmly convinced her UTI
threw her off her game, and had she
felt 100 percent, it would have been
a completely different result. Will
I run her in an NA test again? I’m
not sure. Regardless, she still has
great things in her future, including
her first season on wild birds, and I
can’t wait to see what kind of ride
she takes me on!

Above left: Lana, the author's four-
month-old German shorthaired pointer,
runs the field portion of the Natural
Ability test. Bottom: Lana on point during
a training session prior to testing day.
Right: Chisnell and Lana pose for the
camera before hitting the field during an
NA test.

Sara and Lana redeemed themselves just a few months later when they ran an AKC
field trial. Despite it being a first for both handler and puppy, they placed third both
days they were entered, and both might have a new field trial addiction!

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 89 2/28/2018 8:04:58 AM
Picking the

Perfect Puppy
By Tim Lintz

pring is here and many of us house train and care for a new pup does one find such a dog?
are thinking about the year when the weather is nice. Breeders
ahead, our future hunts, are able to get pups outside when Pick a breeder
what gear we will buy and they are a few weeks old to exer-
where our outdoor pursuits will cise and play. The dam is able to If you know positively what
take us. play with the youngsters under the breed you want, start contacting
In addition, many of us have breeder’s watchful eye. Spring can breeders now. Ask the right ques-
aging four-footed hunting partners be a great time to find a breeder and tions about their breeding program.
and are wondering how many more meet their pups, even if a puppy I’ll be honest here; if the first
years they will be able to accom- isn't in the cards until the following consideration you have is how much
pany us afield. Or, we may be trying year. the dog costs, you may not be ready
to decide if we should get our first Many breeders already have for a hunting dog. The initial cost of
hunting dog and what breed would future litters planned, and unless the dog is the least expensive part of
best fit our needs. Whether it be the breeder is no more than a puppy investing in a hunting partner you
future hunting trips or adding a K-9 mill business, they are careful are going to have for many years to
partner, now is the time to do your which dogs they breed so they come. The maintenance cost alone
research. This is especially true of pass on sound temperaments with is not cheap. Besides the cost of
finding a puppy that will fit in with proven hunting abilities. In other food, there are regular vet visits for
the family as well as your hunting words, a quality breeder is breeding routine shots, there are monthly
style and needs. in order to produce a potentially heartworm, flea and tick control
great family/hunting companion. costs and then the unplanned vet
Pick a breed The buyer wants to see that poten- visits. A hunting buddy of mine
tial fulfilled in a dog that they could just had to cut a Michigan grouse
Most hunting breeds are sold have as a loving pet as well as a hunting trip short to make a trip
in the spring and summer months gundog who can turn on the prey to the Michigan State Veterinary
simply because it is much easier to drive afield. So, the question is how Hospital to have a sliver removed

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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 90 2/28/2018 8:05:01 AM
from his springer’s eye to the tune I recently had a gentleman call to to parts unknown. This has and does
of $2,600. Hunting dogs are an say he wanted to surprise his wife happen. You should be able to visit
expensive addition to the family. with a German shorthaired pointer. the kennel where you are getting the
I have yet to sell a puppy to I advised him to surprise his wife pup to observe conditions. However,
someone whose first question is with jewelry or flowers but not a sometimes that is not possible and
“How much are your pups?” You dog. Many breeders want to stay references should be able to help
are not price shopping to see how in touch, and if something in your answer your questions.
much a widget costs from store life drastically changes where you Making a decision to add a
“A” compared to store “B.” You are are unable to care for the dog, they hunting dog to your family should
making a commitment to a living, will usually want it back in order to not be taken lightly. Take some time,
breathing being with a unique find it a good home through their do your research, ask questions, visit
genetic make-up that will depend contacts in the dog world. different kennels or go to sporting
on you for food, shelter, care and dog events near you. Talk with
affection for many years to come. In Be mindful handlers and owners about the pros
turn, you will be repaid with every- and cons of their particular breed
thing that dog has to give in the field Be very cautious of going and know what you are getting into
and in your home. someplace where there are a mass with a high-energy hunting breed.
of puppies for sale in one location. Purchasing a dog on an emotional
What to ask and what to Puppies are susceptible to some very whim is not a good plan. There is a
serious diseases which can be spread reason there are rescue groups dedi-
expect from your breeder cated to just sporting dogs. Sporting
rapidly. Unsuspecting people go
from pen to pen petting pups which dogs require time, energy and dedi-
When people call me to ask cation, and even though most make
about our dogs, I appreciate the full can spread sickness. A few days later
you may be at your vet with a very fine family dogs, they require an
gamut of questions, and I will put outlet to burn energy and keep their
them in touch with other buyers sick pup and the breeder may be off
minds challenged.
on social media. Some of the ques-
tions you should ask include: Do the Top Left: Editor Nick Green's GSP, Summit, poses for the camera. Summit came
dogs live in the house? What kind from Shotgun Kennel, owned by author Tim Lintz and his wife, Debbie, in Grand
of temperament do they have with Blanc. Bottom: Summit sits next to his big brother, Calvin.
children or strangers? What are the
health guarantees on the pups? Have
both parents had health screenings?
Are both the stud and the dam on
site? Can I call the stud owner? How
many litters does the breeder have
each year? Where are the puppies
raised and how are they socialized?
Are the pups checked by a vet prior
to going to new homes? Do you have
references from previous puppy
buyers? What is the pedigree, and
what are the particular hunting
styles of both parents? Can I see
the dog hunt? Will the breeder help
with training advice or assistance?
Is there a buyer’s contract?
Responsible breeders should
also be asking you questions to see
if their particular line and breed of
dog is a good fit for you such as: What
is your experience with this breed?
Do you understand the exercise and
training requirements? Do you plan
on having the dog inside or kenneled
outside? Do you have a fenced yard?
What type of hunting do you plan to
do and will this dog fit your needs?
Is the whole family, especially the
wife, “all-in” on getting a new dog?

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 89

Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 91 2/28/2018 8:05:01 AM
Conservation Through Education

OTG Jr. Gears up for Year Two
Shaun McKeon, MUCC Education Director Here are the numbers for the first year of OTG Jr:
With spring on its way, we are getting busy with our • Seven OTG Jr events
second season of our OTG Jr. program. For those of • Six different public land areas in five counties
you who may have missed the pilot season, OTG Jr. is • Four types of public lands affected (State Game
an extension of MUCC’s very successful On the Ground Area/State Forest/State Recreation Area/State Wildlife
public habitat restoration program. The extension is Area).
for school-aged youth. We work with classrooms from • 237.5 acres of wildlife habitat improved.
grades five through 12 to get kids connected with their • 224 students/teachers and chaperones engaged in
public lands. wildlife habitat improvement and outdoor recreation
Through a field trip experience, we provide groups activities
of students the chance to improve habitat in state game • 31 hours dedicated to wildlife habitat improve-
areas and teach them a recreation activity. During our ments and outdoor recreation activities
first year, we had a very successful launch. For this
program, I am lucky enough to work with our MUCC One of the key components of the OTG Jr. program
Volunteer Coordinator Sarah Topp. Sarah works with is creating a connection between the students and
the DNR biologists to come up with projects for the public land. The whole concept behind this program
students to complete. is to show students and their parents/teachers that
The idea of using field trips to get students out there is accessible outdoor recreation not far from
on public land to improve habitat and teach them an where they live. We are trying to show them they do
activity like fishing or archery has really caught on. not have to drive hours away to get outside and engage
with Michigan’s natural resources. We are attempting

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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 92 2/28/2018 8:05:03 AM
to develop a stewardship ethic in the people who join us heavily on their stance, grips and follow through. After
and help them to feel a connection to their public land. a couple of errant arrows, the kids began to get the
So far, projects have included students planting hang of things. By the end of the session, many of the
trees, removing invasive plants, clearing fields, and kids could consistently hit the target and were having a
building brush piles. It has been our early opinion great time learning.
during the pilot year that kids are yearning for the With our first season's success behind us, we are
opportunity to do more stewardship work. It is a looking forward to expanding the program during 2018.
common phrase to hear today that kids do not go Helping students learn new skills and the importance
outside and play anymore. However, for this program, of connecting them to conservation is why we devel-
it has been hard to get the kids out of the woods. Once oped this program. So next time you find yourself
we get them off the bus and working on a project, we complaining about “kids these days playing to many
have not had any trouble keeping them motivated. The video games,” invite one of them to join you on a hunt
excitement and enthusiasm they have even just picking or hike. Or, talk to their teacher about contacting me
sticks up out of the field has been outstanding. to see if we can set up a field trip opportunity. I can be
On top of the initial introduction to the public land reached at smckeon@mucc.org. The kids are dying to
idea and teaching about the importance of conserva- get outside; they just may not be sure where to start.
tion, the kids are also able to develop a sense of pride for Remember, no one frames pictures of their kids playing
the work they have done. We have heard the students video games.
talking about wanting to come back to see the fields
after they have been planted with native grasses. We MANAGE THE

have also heard students talking to each other about
whose tree will grow the biggest in 10 years. I even

heard a group of sixth graders say they wanted to come
back with their parents to show them all of the hard
work they completed for wildlife.
Beyond the connection to the land itself, this
program teaches the students a tangible skill. For the
projects completed during fall of 2017, we chose archery
to be the recreation activity. We had over 150 students MORE INFORMATION PLEASE
complete three different projects. This was a new 517.336.1928
opportunity for the students, as roughly 90 percent of OR
them had never held a bow before.
After going over parts of the bow, the parts of an FERAL SWINE 
arrow and extensive safety precautions, all the kids had NATURAL RESOURCES,
a chance to put arrows down range. With Sarah and CULTURAL SITES 
myself running the archery line, we taught the kids the
11 fundamental steps for archery. We had the kids focus

Spring 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 91

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The CAMPFIRe By Tyler Butler
s we prepare for our 2018
season, we would like to high-
light a partner of Michigan
Out-of-Doors Youth Camp and their
continued support.
The Abrams Foundation offers
their assistance to a variety of
organizations found across the state
of Michigan. Originally, the endow-
ment that was founded by the late
Talbert and Leota Abrams, focused
on science and education projects
in our beautiful state. Since, the
Abrams Foundation Board of
Directors, which consists of Ted
and Leota’s family, have established
partnerships that reflect each indi-
vidual board member’s interests.
The Michigan Out-of-Doors
Youth Camp is honored to have
been recognized by this generous
In 2014, the Abrams Foundation MUCC Camp Director Tyler Butler poses with Shane Patzer, a member of the
aided MOOD Camp in developing Abrams Foundation board, who has chosen Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp
both our “Wetland Wonders” and as a recipient of the Abrams Foundation grant.
“fur harvesters” curriculum. These
additional week-long themes have 230-acre property, and an off-road intrusive flora and fauna, we found
become popular among our campers vehicle to be used for emergencies ourselves borrowing equipment
and further diversified the type of at our camp, if they were to occur. from many enthusiastic partners.
programing we provide at Cedar With the aid of the Abrams With the funding from the
Lake. 2014 also began our overhaul Foundation, 2016 gave light to a Abrams Foundation this year, we
of the latrines in each area because brand new program our campers will be able to establish the invasive
they were in desperate need of an would be able to partake in. Our species week-long curriculum as a
update. “Fantastic Forests” themed camp permanent stay at camp and feature
The Abrams Foundation is still young, but it holds a lot our own equipment.
returned to camp in 2015 to help us of potential. This camp allows This summer, we welcome the
improve both the “Fur Harvesters” campers to discover techniques in installation of our sea lamprey
program and our hunter safety proper forest management, a look at tank in the lodge and our invasive
education curriculum. Alongside the history of the lumber industry feral swine radio telemetry tracking
these programs, we were able to in our state, woodland ecology and equipment to help our campers
develop a week-long “hunting heri- an understanding of dendrology. to get hands-on with this new
tage” camp that gives our campers This year, our relationship curriculum.
the opportunity to learn about the with this outstanding foundation We will also be introducing
historical implications of hunting has opened the doors to many programs based in Michigan
in the state of Michigan, as well improvements and extensions to geology and backpacking, as well as
offers them tips and strategies for our programming. improving our “Fantastic Forests”
becoming ethical and responsible Last year, we introduced program with new equipment.
hunters for their generation. our invasive species program to One of the most exciting
Camp also became the proud campers that have already gradu- improvements we are making to
owners of two utility vehicles to ated from both our hunter safety camp comes in the form of online
aid in the day-to-day function and and leave no trace programs. In registration through CampDocs.
upkeep of our facility. One being our efforts to educate our youth on This will be the first year that the
a zero-turn lawnmower that has invasive species and the methods to Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp
been essential in maintaining our track, prevent and eradicate these will be able to sign campers up

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The Abrams Foundation has not
only had their hand in our program-
ming and curriculum, but have also
played a key role in improving the
facilities at Cedar Lake.
The Michigan Out-of-Doors
Youth Camp has established many
long-lasting partnerships in its
72 years of programming. These
organizations consistently offer
their time, funding and efforts to
ensure that our camp offers the best
environmental science curriculum
and outdoor recreation instruction.
They have went above and beyond
to ensure MUCC accomplishes
our goal of “conservation through
These upcoming changes to
camp are undeniably exciting.
However, Cedar Lake would not be
complete in the summer without
our campers and staff.
The Michigan Out-of-Doors
Youth Camp is hiring 24 staff
members to look after our facility,
programs and growing conserva-
tionists for the summer of 2018.
All positions, with the exception
of program assistants (must be 16
years of age), require applicants be
18 years of age or older. These posi-
tions are seasonal and offer lodging
on-site, three full meals a day and
The 2018 camp season calls
for nine types of positions. These
include programming assistants,
conservation educators, kitchen
service assistants, lead chef, range
officers, health director, waterfront
director, facilities manager and
assistant director. If you have a
passion for introducing the youth to
their natural recourses, there is no
better place to be than Cedar Lake
Outdoor Center.
You can apply for these positions
through both the MUCC web page
(www.mucc.org) and the MUCC
camp page (www.mucccamp.org).
For more information on regis-
tration or hiring for the Michigan
Out-of-Doors Youth Camp, please
contact Tyler Butler at (517)346-6462
or tbutler@mucc.org.

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Throwback: April 1991
By Adam Carl
Illustration by Mitch Smith

a small
pond behind
a strip of move
land on the on.
south shore of There are
Lake Superior. fish — perch, some bass,
It was formed a couple of pike.
during a confron- Cranberry bushes proliferate,
tation between the adapts
and the center becomes a boggy
crashing might of a to this
island. The jack pines along the
Lake Superior storm change. New life
shoreline witness the changes and,
and the irresistible emerges in the quiet
in their turn, change themselves.
flow of the Chocolay waters.
Here and there a clump of birch
River. Occasionally, there is a break-
trees stands. Alder brush takes root
The driving waves a n d through. Morning light reveals a
at the water’s edge.
shifting sand choked off the river new finger of sand stretching into
Mosquitoes and other insects
mouth. The river water backed up; the lagoon. A hardy shrub takes
that crawl, hum buzz or chirp estab-
pressure increased. It burst forth root. The chance is assimilated. The
lish themselves. Swallows, frogs
a couple miles to the west. A new pond, diminished slightly, continues
and other insect-eaters make the
outlet was formed. The abandoned to exist.
pond home. Red-winged blackbirds
channel, robbed of the purging Ducks discover the shelter. A
balance on the bobbing cattails and
current, is dormant. Blowing sands flight of Canada geese lands for
sing their little hearts out. A wild-
bridge the waters. Vegetation grows. the night. Pond and marsh grasses
life community is born.
Stabilizing root systems strengthen provide some feed. Some nest in the
Along about 1910 some folks
the new perimeter. The backwater marsh. Some spend a day or two and
from nearby Marquette come upon

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the scene and like what they see. with mustard and ketchup. They’re attic. A porcupine digs under the
They select a quiet spot among delicious. floor. Some of the roof blows off. A
the softly sighing pine trees. They Sand! There’s always sand. broken window stares vacantly over
decide to build a cabin. A railroad It grinds between the teeth. I the marsh.
track had just been laid to the south. guess that’s why they call them The pond ages. The shoreline
Stout logs are brought in from the “sand-wiches?” shifts. The brush gets thicker. A tree
Newberry area, a few at a time. The There are toasted marshmal- falls.
train, bound for Marquette, would lows, some golden brown, some The road is straightened,
stop in the woods, roll off the logs burned black, all a real delight. improved. Electric wires follow the
and continue on its way. The logs The water is always there. The road. More people come. They begin
were skidded to the site and experience wouldn’t be the same to stay year ‘round.
raised, vertically, to form the without it. The waves softly lap A muskrat moves in — and out
cabin walls. against the short. They’ve been again. The moose has gone. There
It was a summer place. The doing that ever since there was are turtles sunning themselves on a
heavy snows of winter effec- “firmament in the midst of the fallen tree trunk thrust out into the
tively isolated the area ‘til waters.” water. A blue heron stalks minnows
spring. Travel to and from is Nothing changes. Amidst the in the shallows.
by foot or on the occasional clamor and confusion, the funda- A bittern makes its presence
train. No one chooses to mental things are constant. known with its “gallumping”
confront the severity of In the shelter of the bayou the sound. It takes a sharp eye to
the wilderness in the waters are still. locate it. It stands with its beak
winter. Did you know that sheep won’t thrust skyward, its buff and brown
The new addition drink from running water? That’s streaked breast blending perfectly
is accepted. A moose why they must be led “beside the with the reeds and marsh grass. A
wades among the lily still waters.” family of mallards swims by, a hen
pads feeding on the With a full belly and a warm and five little balls of fluff.
aquatic vegetation. fire, there’s a mood of reflection; Bird houses sit on poles scat-
A rabbit hops philosophical thought. The silent tered throughout the marsh. Tree
under a bush. search for truth. swallows are regular residents.
An eagle circles “For you know not whence you They feed mainly on flying insects. I
overhead. come, nor why… for you know not put up the birdhouses, and they eat
O t h e r where you go, nor when,” Omar the mosquitoes. The arrangement
people are attracted Khayam said. works well.
to the area. They build The fire consumes the drift- A collie dog, tan and brown
cottages, still summer places. Soon, wood, fades to embers and goes out; and white, sits quietly, looking out
a dirt road winds its way between night closes in. Eyes squint in the over the water. I wonder what he is
the trees. sudden inky darkness. Shadows thinking?
The pond remains. seem to move of their own accord. The sun sinks slowly behind the
Living is simple and easy for the When you look, there’s nothing hills to the west. Darkness oozes
summer dwellers. The slow pace of there. A kerosene lantern casts a up from the earth, slips into the
life is relaxing. There are fish in the soft, golden glow in the gloom. The low ground, eases out of the heavy
pond. There’s game in the woods. long day rests heavy on the shoul- timber, obscures the marsh. The
When the sun goes down, there isn’t ders. Feet tread wearily on the soft reflected sky transforms the quiet
a whole lot of reason not to go to pine needles. A cozy bunk beckons. water into a pool of gold, then red,
bed. Cabin beds were functional, purple and blue. Finally, it becomes
Some nights host a bright moon. even to the pallet on the bare floor. a dark, sparkling mirror reflecting
The water sparkles in the soft light. The King of England may not have a multitude of distant worlds,
The pine trees stand somber and slept in beds like those, but, wher- complete solar systems.
stately. Stars shine brightly against ever he slept, he didn’t sleep any A frog begins the evening sere-
the indigo night sky. better. A chorus of frogs sings a nade. A raccoon splashes, unseen,
Flying squirrels live here too. lullaby. An owl hoots mournfully. A at the water’s edge.
They’re shy, nocturnal creatures coyote yips in the distance. I stare out at the dark waters —
whose large liquid eyes are adapted The old log cabin ages. The the still waters. So much has gone
to the dark of the night. They’re not horizontal foundation logs decay. before. What is yet to come? I am but
often seen, but they’re there. The vertical logs begin to settle. The a caretaker of a brief moment in the
Someone builds a campfire on door binds. The roof leaks. People life of this pond, in the destiny of
the beach. Hot dogs, speared on a don’t return as often as they once this world, in the grand and glorious
sharp stick, are roasted ‘til their did. Then, one day, they don’t come scheme of the universe.
skins blacken. They get smeared back at all. Squirrels move into the

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One Last Cast
Nick Green, Editor

In lieu of not writing a Green Broke column this
issue, I thought I would touch on my 2018 plans for
Summit and Calvin in One Last Cast.
In early January, Summit, who was seven and half
months old at that time, ran his first field of birds. He
had pointed before and had been exposed to lots of
different environments and cover.
To say that I was impressed was an understatement:
He ran the field boldly and quickly, using his nose like
a good pointing dog should. It's interesting to compare
his style with Calvin's — who is much slower working
and more methodical.
When I let Calvin, our small Munsterlander, out
of the truck, he waits for my commands and works
the foundation from which you have to build on in a
himself into a field slowly. Summit, he takes off going
versatile hunting dog.
100 miles per hour.
The NA test consists of a field portion (where the
Some of that difference could be Summit's training
dog has to search a field and point birds for a specified
— I haven't put any pressure on him yet and am still
period of time), a water test (the dog must swim at least
letting him be a puppy, make mistakes and learn from
twice) and a tracking portion (where a dog must follow
those mistakes. It could also be the difference in breeds.
the scent of a dragged pheasant). Summit will also be
When we picked Summit up, our breeders told us to hold
judged on his biddability and conformation, among
on because we were living in the world of a German
other things. Only dogs under 16 months of age can be
shorthaired pointer now.
Nonetheless, Summit pointed all three of his birds
Preparation for the test doesn't require much —
that early-January day. He even retrieved them, kind
expose the dog to a field, water and a track or two, and
of. His idea of retrieving was running to get the bird
let them figure out the rest. After all, the point is to judge
and then playing a game of keep-away as he proudly
his natural ability, not a dog that has been "trained up."
displayed his prize.
Calvin's spring training will consist of a much
Summit will run in his first North American
stricter regime. I plan to apprentice as a woodcock
Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) test this
bander this spring, which will require Calvin and I to
spring. The Natural Ability test is designed to assess
work closely under the tutelage of a mentor.
In early summer, we will be working on steady to
shot and wing — a feat that some handlers undertake
and some do not. To me, it is important to have a bird
dog hold until a retrieve command is given.
Other training will include the teaching of "place"
and blind retrieves. I plan to hunt Calvin in the duck
blind this fall because of his calm demeanor, natural
retrieve and love of water.
Calvin had a handful of grouse and a good number
of woodcock shot for him last fall . It is amazing to watch
a dog that was gun-shy less than a year ago get birdy
and excited when I grab my gun. Calvin is a testament
to time and patience being able to undo things in a dog's
past. He's the best rescue dog in the world; I'm sure of it.
Both dogs will get to run pheasant fields this spring
and fall. They will also both get a taste of running a field
together and what it means to work with another dog.
I have big plans for both of our boys this year — one
will just be coming into himself as an adult, the other
will be refining the skills he already has and tagging
along on some pretty neat adventures.

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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 98 2/28/2018 8:05:09 AM
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Spring 2018 MOOD DRAFT.indd 99 2/28/2018 8:05:11 AM
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