Swingin' Steel

+ Hare Hunting Whitetail Scouting
Predator Control Mentoring a Trapper
Darkhouse Angling & More

$5.99 US | Winter 2017
Please Display Until March 1

Official Publication of Michigan United Conservation Clubs
Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 1 11/10/2017 10:40:08 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
Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 2 11/10/2017 10:40:10 AM
Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 3 11/10/2017 10:40:10 AM


Swingin' Steel
VOLUME 71, ISSUE 4 + Hare Hunting Whitetail Scouting

Predator Control Mentoring a Trapper
Darkhouse Angling & More

$5.99 US | Winter 2017
Please Display Until March 1

8 ON PATROL Official Publication of Michigan United Conservation Clubs

10 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 1 11/7/2017 11:07:21 AM






2 |www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 4 11/10/2017 10:40:11 AM
bAsecamp Nick Green, Editor


Whew! Fall is fleeting, and if you're anything
like me, there is never enough time to partake in all of
the outdoor pursuits I want to during this time of year.
It has been an exciting three months here at
Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Michigan
Out-of-Doors. Since our fall issue hit newsstands, we
have expanded our presence to 80 Meijer locations and
numerous Kroger, CVS, Target, Walgreens, Walmart
and Barnes and Noble stores throughout the state.
We expect a continued increase in circulation as the
months progress.
I want to thank those of you who have been
loyal MOOD readers, and I also want to thank those of Editor Nick Green's first grouse that he shot over his dog,
you who are reading this magazine for the first time. Calvin, during a weekend trip to Northern Michigan.
Without you, I wouldn't be able to enjoy walking into dogs, good pictures and/or upland birds, you won't
work every day, sharing the joys of our Michigan want to miss this feature.
outdoor pursuits and carrying on a heritage so steeped Another new writer, Blake Sherburne, pens his
in tradition. first After Work column — an entertaining take on the
This fall has been a fall of firsts for me: I shot small amount of time we outdoor enthusiasts get to
my first flushing grouse, I shot my first goose, I shot spend doing what we love after a long day of work.
my first duck and I caught my first steelhead spey Winter is also a time for preparation — whether
fishing — it has been a ride. I had my first speaking it be reloading, tying flies, cleaning gear or cleaning
engagement as MUCC's public information officer, and out closets — most of us never seem to have enough
I attended my first Policy Board meeting. prep time during the winter. Calvin McShane details
I received my first criticisms of the fall his prepping process and how he gets through the
magazine, and I received my first praises for it. I doldrums of U.P. winters.
attended my first youth outreach event and spoke at Pike spearing like you've never experienced
my first public hearing regarding the Brandon Road (unless you've spent time in a darkhouse) is told
Lock and Dam. through a gripping, detailed story by Jason Crean,
Many more firsts are on the horizon for Michigan Darkhouse Angling Association Southeast
Michigan Out-of-Doors and me as we move forward, Michigan Chapter president.
I'm sure of it. As always, Michigan Out-of-Doors wants your
Bow hunting took a backseat this fall for me feedback. We are constantly striving to better serve our
because of my new-found love for bird hunting. Our readers, and we need your input to make that happen.
small Münsterländer, Calvin, had his first birds shot Shoot me an email (editor@michiganoutofdoors.com)
for him in early fall and eventually hit the grouse or stop in to chat. I would love to hear from you.
woods getting his teeth on some grouse and woodcock. Check out our revamped website, www.
I will detail my progress as an amateur dog handler in michiganoutofdoors.com, if you haven't already. We
a new column titled Green Broke. will continually update it and feature timely news
Early-October brought some big bucks to the that can't wait until our next quarterly issue. This
dirt, and there is no doubt that most of those successful resource is a great place for you to keep up-to-date on
hunts were due to year-round scouting by hunters. conservation issues that are happening now.
Tom Nelson shares his thoughts on late-season tactics
for brutes in this season's Full Draw.
A new face to MOOD, Perry Masotti, details Yours in conservation,
the daily happenings of 2017 Upper Peninsula grouse
camps through a multi-page photo story. If you like

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 5 11/10/2017 10:40:12 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- In memory of
azine its from cover to cover,
although my passion is mostly deer Tim McKeon
hunting ,and fishing I enjoy reading from
about some of the other passions Lenore and the boys
as well.
In memory of
And I liked it better with the shorter Lynn Richards
stories that I could read in just a from
few minutes Lizin Fall,
the morning
Paul &before
Sherry I Bucholz, Caroline Meisterheim, Cynthia Bowen, Mr. Mrs. Nick Rayer,
head offDietrich
to work. & Mary Schulze, Ruth Ann Musbach, Douglas Bowen, Risa Lyn Richards, Susan Bearn,
Shirley Bowen, Jeffery & Lisa Kuebler, Lyle & Marilyn Laidlaw & Family
I do like the larger print now that
the years have been added to my In memory of
birth date, and the eyes don't do
so well. But that could be obtained Ken Voltz
by reducing the picture sizes. I have from
Tim Beringer,
been reading Paulfor
the magazine & Sherry Bucholz, Royce Hornbacher, Orin & Frances Engelhardt, Paul & June
over 40Lee & Betty
years Southgate, Don & Sally Adams, Rhoda Bolzman, Angela Mandich, Royce &
now, and
hunting, and fishing the outSheila,
doors Dave, Paul & Ruby, Jan, Audry & Tona, Bernette Adams
for probably 10 years more than
that, and still find them both to be
refreshing, and joyful. I also liked In memory of
the smaller paper size of the old
magazine, and soft covers for this
Jack Weinman
allowed you to fold the pages and
Great Lakes Historical Society, Jim & Sue Williams, Robert Kapture , Barbara Thilly, Marifran
hold it in one had comfortably. I
know I'm only one person and like
your final story different from all
In memory of
others, but I really like the old mag-
azine much better. And truly agree Lennie Cote
to Hunt Your Own Hunt. from
Lenore Seelye, Spectrum Health Big Rapids & Reed City Hospital, Lenore Seelye, Rod Murray
But do it ethically and honestly.
In memory of
Sincerely, DeLoy C. Clark
Muckegon, MI Leslie Wonsey
Terry & Dawn Pieprzak, Teagen Lefere, Terral & Kathleen Hodo, Patrick & Elizabeth Pudvay,
Robert & Bonnie Vamos, Gary & Barbara Mills
In memory of
Having recently finished reading the
new format magazine, my first im-
John Duve
pression in a word is "slick". Upon
Frankie & Erika Martin, Robert & Bethany Delay, Kenneth & Carol Smith, Terry & Laura Blower,
William & Carol Sweatland, Sharon Shpakow

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 6 11/10/2017 10:40:13 AM
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:

Greg Peter of Chelsea, Michigan

Jayson Perry of Willis, 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."

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 7 11/10/2017 10:40:15 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-

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 8 11/10/2017 10:40:15 AM
Director's Desk
Dan Eichinger, Executive Director in Congress, called VIDA (Vessel Incidental Discharge
Act) that would transfer that authority away from
As one would expect, much of our advocacy the EPA and move it to the US Coast Guard, stripping
work happens at the state level, either working the Michigan and other states of their authority to regulate
halls of the State Capitol to pass bills that conserve our the discharge. This is where we again need our delega-
natural resources and expand our outdoor recreational tion to strongly lead the region and build a firewall to
opportunities, or representing your interests in front resist this move.
of the Natural Resources Commission and other DNR MUCC is heavily involved in both of these and a
officials. number of other federal issues as well. We testified on
Yet, there are some issues that require federal the Brandon Road Study during the public meetings held
attention and federal action. By now, most have heard by the Army Corps of Engineers and submitted written
that the Army Corps of Engineers have released a long- comments as well. We have also submitted comments
awaited report analyzing the different actions available and have signed on to letters regarding VIDA. MUCC
to prevent invasive Asian carp from moving up through members and hunters and anglers all across the state
the Chicago River and becoming established in Lake understand the stakes involved when we are talking
Michigan. This was after an unconscionable, White about the health of the Great Lakes, because more often
House-ordered delay in its release. Emerging from that than not, we are the first ones to feel the effects of poor
report, often referred to as the “Brandon Road study,” water quality, invasive species, nutrient pollution and
was an option favored by the Army Corp that forces carp other stressors on this system.
to pass by a series of deterrents and barriers to layer To stay connected with how MUCC is working
onto the effectiveness of the current electrical barriers. for you at the local, state and federal level, sign up
Our colleagues at the National Wildlife Federation for our weekly email update and follow us on social
have termed the sequential barriers as “the gauntlet” media: www.facebook.com/mucc1937 ; twitter.com/@
because it includes acoustical barriers, water jets and mucc1937.
other enhancements to the current electrical barrier.
The theory is that by layering deterrents and imped- Yours in conservation,
iments upon one another, we achieve ever-growing
barrier effectiveness. A perfect solution? Probably not.
But after nearly 20 years of study, shipping-industry
orchestrated delay and other impediments, we cannot
afford to wait any longer.
We are fortunate in Michigan that our congres- MUCC Executive Director Dan Eichinger speaks at the
National Assembly of Sportsmen's Caucuses in October.
sional delegation has repeatedly stepped forward to
lead the region in calling for aggressive action on carp.
They are often joined by members of Congress from
Ohio and Wisconsin. The congressional delegations in
Indiana and Illinois have been more reluctant to call for
aggressive action on carp, and that has to change if we
are going to be successful implementing the measures
called for in the Brandon Road study. Doing so will
require authorization from Congress, and of course,
But as we are concerned about carp moving up
from Chicago, conservation groups and policymakers
throughout the Mississippi River basin are rightfully
concerned about invasive species moving down from
the lakes and becoming established there. Under the
Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency
has delegated authority to Michigan to issue permits
and regulate ballast water, but legislation is moving

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 7

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 9 11/10/2017 10:40:17 AM
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.
August 27 - September 9, 2017
An interesting goose hunt Well, that's settled
Don't cheeseburger and drive
CO Kevin Postma responded While patrolling Lake
CO Ethen Mapes was on to a hunter harassment complaint Michigan, CO Andrea Albert
patrol when a BOLO came out for a involving three groups of goose contacted a subject fishing for trout
vehicle the officer had just passed. hunters in one field. Upon arrival, CO and salmon without a license. He
CO Mapes was able to locate Postma could see one goose hunter was observed reeling in a line from a
the vehicle, and upon contact, the sitting in a lawn chair in the middle downrigger.
driver was found to be sober. The of a cut barley field. After receiving a cita-
driver was eating a cheeseburger The complainant advised tion, the angler asked if they just
and trying to open another can that the goose hunter now sitting needed enough fishing licenses
of pop when he swerved into in the middle of the field was also on the boat to cover the rods that were
oncoming traffic. shooting at any geese that flew even out. CO Albert explained that anyone
CO Mapes discussed the remotely close. The complainant fishing in the boat, which includes
dangers of distracted driving with advised he wants to press charges handling lines, casting and netting,
the individual and sent him on his against the hunter in the chair for needs a license. It was explained
way. hunter harassment. that fishing licenses don’t cover the
After interviewing individ- lines that are in the water — they are
Put a plug in it uals from all three of the hunting needed for everyone who is fishing.
parties, it was determined that the
CO Pat Hartsig was complainant’s party didn’t have Dude, that smell is strong
checking goose hunters in a field. permission from the proper land
When asked for his license, one owners and several in the party were Working the Indian Bridge
hunter stated it was in his truck. missing hunting licenses. area of Mason County, COs Kyle
He placed his shotgun in his layout Due to these important Publiski and Brian Brosky were
blind and shut details, the hunter sitting in the field addressing parking issues that
the doors and tried to lead Officer could not be prosecuted for hunter included vehicles impeding the flow
Hartsig away from it. harassment. of traffic.
CO Hartsig thought the Several juveniles were As CO Brosky was citing
behavior was suspicious and a warned with regards to not vehicles for violations, CO Publiski
check of the firearm revealed having their hunting license. The was standing at a vehicle parked
there were five shells loaded in the complainant was advised how to seek on the bridge when he noticed the
firearm. Enforcement action was permission from the rightful owner subject had an extraordinary amount
taken for hunting waterfowl with of various parcels of property and of vehicle scent wafers placed over
an unplugged gun. the harassing hunter was encour- the vehicle and the smell was very
aged to use better discretion when strong.
resolving hunting conflicts. As the subject opened his

8 |www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 10 11/10/2017 10:40:17 AM
door, CO Publiski also detected the Legal everywhere else, but not here Goss made contact.
smell of marijuana coming from One of the subjects had the
inside the vehicle. COs Craig Neal and Ethan same name as the suspect from the
CO Publiski then explained Gainforth responded to a complaint original call;however, he claimed that
to the subject that even with all the of bird shot BBs hitting a house in he was only fifteen years old.Upon
scent wafers, he could still smell Missaukee County. running the name through dispatch,
marijuana. A search of the vehicle Upon arrival, feathers were it was discovered that he was actually
resulted in marijuana, drug para- scattered all over, the hunters had seventeen. After explaining this to the
phernalia and a pistol under the back what appeared to be dove decoys on a suspect, the suspect told CO Goss that
seat being found. Enforcement action pole and there were several mourning he had a brother with the same name
was taken. doves flying around the area. and he was seventeen, but he had died
CO Neal made contact with a few years ago.
Grand theft...semi the suspects who stated they were CO Goss then placed him in
hunting feral pigeons. handcuffs and explained that they
CO Josiah Killingbeck heard The hunters quickly began would be going to the county jail in
a call being dispatched of a stolen pulling mourning doves out of the tall order to figure out the truth. The
semi that had been taken from a gas grass and weeds. All guns were photo- subject quickly admitted that he was
station and then crashed into a fence graphed as evidence, the mourning seventeen and said he didn’t want
across the street. doves were seized and citations were to go to jail. CO Goss was issuing a
CO Killingbeck was the issued to all parties involved. ticket for fishing without a license
closest law enforcement unit and when the suspect’s buddy showed up
responded. CO Killingbeck arrived on This isn't deer hunting on a bike holding a fishing pole. The
scene and found a male lying on the suspect said to CO Goss, “There’s my
ground below the driver’s door of the CO Jon Warner was buddy, he’s nineteen.” The buddy
semi. patrolling for goose hunting activity approached CO Goss to find out why
The subject attempted to walk on the opening weekend of early the suspect was in handcuffs.
away when he saw CO Killingbeck. goose season in Iosco County when After explaining it to him, CO
CO Killingbeck stopped the subject he noticed a lot of geese circling in the Goss asked him if he had a fishing
and found him to be intoxicated. same area. license. The man said “No, I’m not
The subject would not admit CO Warner went to investi- fishing”. CO Goss explained that he
to taking the semi, but numerous gate and found a disked wheat field was just inquiring because it looked
witnesses said the man was the next to standing corn with hunters like he was intending to fish. The man
driver. The subject refused sobriety set up in the corn rows. CO Warner said “No, I just brought the fishing
tests but submitted to a PBT where he made contact with the six hunters. pole for another buddy that’s on his
was found to be three times over the While doing so, he noticed corn way down here.”
legal limit. spread among the goose decoys. CO Goss, being suspicious of
The subject was arrested and Upon further investigation, the man decided to leave and circle
lodged in the Lake County Jail for it was evident the hunters had taken the block to see if the man would start
OWI and numerous other violations. ears of corn from the field and spread fishing. While CO Goss was making a
it among the decoys. large loop, he approached an intersec-
Know your limit CO Warner also noticed none of the tion and observed a man clearly flip-
corn was pressed into the soft disked ping his middle finger out the window
CO Angela Greenway, along ground and was lying on top of the towards his patrol vehicle. CO Goss
with COs Casey Varriale and Jeff hunters own foot and vehicle tracks. decided to follow the car and paced it
Ginn, were working the Enforcement action was at ten miles per hour over the posted
Hardy Hot Boat patrol and located a taken against all six hunters for speed imit. CO Goss initiated a stop
very sick individual who was hanging hunting waterfowl over a baited area. and discovered that the subject had an
off the bow of a boat laying in his own The geese that were shot were also expired registration. When asked why
vomit. seized. he flipped CO Goss the middle
Upon investigation, it finger, the subject said “I don’t really
was learned the subject had been A busy afternoon like cops that much.”
drinking liquor all day. He was some- After issuing a ticket, COGoss
what responsive but EMS felt he was CO Jeff Goss responded to a headed back to check on the man
too incapacitated to make his own complaint that came over Calhoun along the river. Upon arrival, he
decision to seek treatment. The COs County central dispatch of a subject observed the19-year-old fishing with
provided transport to the ambulance fishing without a license. Upon arrival the man who had just received the
for evaluation. at the complaint, CO Goss ticket. CO Goss made contact and
located two subjects fishing. After issued the nineteen year old a ticket
watching them fish for a while, CO for fishing without a license.

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 9

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 11 11/10/2017 10:40:17 AM
Letters to the Editor
Dear Mr. Editor, a few suggestions: rates - which I believe to be one of
1. I like the new look and feel very your goals.
I want to second all the much. 4. When I read the Fall Edition 2017,
thoughts about your new magazine 2. I like the larger print and the use I found myself turning pages trying
design articulated in the letter from of a standardized font throughout. to determine if an article had ended
DeLoy Clark in the Spring 2017 3. I looked in your magazine for a or was continued on the next page.
issue. I have been reading Michigan page or section that covered Hunting Please consider using a symbol
Out-of-Doors for a long time, and and Fishing seasons, application like a fletched arrow pointing to
have been a subscriber for about periods, etc. If you did not publish the right indicating that the article
the last 15 years. The new format it, or if I could not find it when you is continued on the next page.
and content really rubs me the did publish it, that is a PROBLEM! Consider a large blackened circle or
wrong way. Over the past couple How is a person reading your publi- square to indicate the article has
years I have seen the magazine go cation, new to hunting and fishing, ended (or a MUCC or MOOD styl-
from a monthly publication, to a going to get involved if they don't ized symbol)..
bi-monthly publication, to a quar- know when seasons begin and Your magazine is educa-
terly publication. I used to look end? It's fine to tell me hunting and tional, entertaining and useful. It is
forward to getting and reading the fishing is fun, ethical, necessary, highly valued in my home. Thank
magazine every month. Now I don’t healthful, etc. but a huge hole exists you for publishing such a valuable
know when to expect it, and I forget if you don't tell me how and when I tool for your readers and thank you
about it altogether. Frankly, a quar- might get involved. for considering my questions and
terly publication is not going to be I have long wanted a page suggestions.
newsy or topical. The news becomes dedicated to Fishing/Hunting Wish you and yours every
old news and the topics become too Species, Seasons and Dates: I would success and every blessing.
broad to be current and relevant. like to know that a certain page,
At one time, the short articles were every edition, would address what Ron Delorme
written by active local Michigan seasons (e.g., fish, birds, big game,
hunters and fishermen, with timely etc) were open, what application Nice looking magazine.
tips on strategies, methods, and hot periods are open now or coming Great pictures, nice articles and
spots. I don’t see that in your new up (like antlerless deer), and the I especially liked the same fonts
magazine. You are not competing starting and ending dates for active throughout the magazine.
well with Woods-N-Water News, my seasons or application periods. It is
new favorite. not helpful to bury this info in an Gregg Claxton
If my vote counts for article I may not read or to spread it
anything, I say go back to the old out over many pages and articles. It
format. would be most helpful if I can find it This space is reserved for comments,
on one page, in a predictable location critiques or inquires related to the
Sincerely, in your magazine, in every edition. magazine. As editor, I applaud
My preference would be for a grid and welcome any comments or
Charlie Lafayette or matrix format with rows and
columns addressing what species
criticisms related to the magazine or
Mr. Nick Green, and seasons were coming up, how/ its content — they help me to better
when to apply for licenses, season serve our readers and produce a
Just received the Fall 2017 dates (beginning and ending), etc. quality product that we at Michigan
edition of the Michigan Out-of- For instance, my brother and Out-of-Doors can be proud of. If
Doors magazine. I have missed several Elk applica-
First, allow me to congrat- tion periods over the years because
you have any comments, please
ulate you on your new position and our busy lives kicked the topic to send them to editor@michiganoutof-
extend to you my sincere wishes the curb. Would have been nice if doors.com with Letters to the Editor
that you are successful in all your your magazine (and others) would in the subject line.
endeavors related to our environ- list such seasons and dates in every
ment and the MUCC mission. edition as a reminder. My brother
Also, I would like to offer and I also believe that such a page
Yours in conservation,
some feedback on the magazine and just might increase participation Nick Green

10 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 12 11/10/2017 10:40:17 AM
MUCC's OTG ("On the Ground") program is
about to begin its sixth year, with multiple projects
planned acrossof all ages and experience levels
to participate in "on the ground" public land wild-
life habitat projects and provide an opportunity to
engage in hands-on conservation while learning
about wildlife habitat needs.

In late August 2017, volunteers planted 300 trees
and shrubs to provide wildlife browse and cover
in the Grouse Enhanced Management Site locat-
ed near Melstrand in Michigan’s Upper Peninsu-
la. The tree varieties, donated by Alger County UP
Whitetails, included red oak, red osier dogwood,
high-bush cranberry, and American hazelnut. This
project was partnered with the Mid U.P. chapter
of the Ruffed Grouse Society and the areas DNR
Wildlife Biologist, Cody Norton.

On September 23, 2017, a group of volunteers
planted 70 crabapple trees in Camp Grayling for
a project partnered with Camp Grayling Environ-
mental staff member, Mike Ravesi, DNR Wildlife
Biologist Brian Piccolo, and the National Wild
Turkey Federation Regional Biologist, Ryan Boy-
er. The trees planted will enhance edge habitat
in wildlife opening to provide browse for turkey,
deer, black bear, grouse, and more.

You can sign up for projects like these at www.

For more information, email Sarah Topp, Wildlife
Volunteer Coordinator, at stopp@mucc.org.

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 13 11/10/2017 10:40:19 AM
Seasonal lake sturgeon lake sturgeon, visit michigan.gov/ will display abnormal behaviors,
sturgeon. progressive weight loss and phys-
releases put nearly 6,000 ical debilitation; however, deer can
fish into Michigan waters Youth hunter's deer, taken be infected for many years without
showing internal or external symp-
The Michigan Department in Montcalm County, toms. There is no cure; once a deer is
of Natural Resources and several suspected positive for infected with CWD, it will die.
partners released nearly 6,000 “Infected deer don’t neces-
juvenile lake sturgeon into various
chronic wasting disease sarily look sick,” Straka said.
public waters across the state this “Having your deer tested is the only
A 3 ½-year-old female deer way to know if it has chronic wasting
summer and fall in an effort to reha-
taken during Michigan’s youth deer disease.”
bilitate this culturally significant
hunting season is likely to be the 10th Since May 2015, the DNR has
fish species.
free-ranging deer in the state found actively conducted surveillance for
“Many of these stocking
to have chronic wasting disease. The CWD. To date, more than 14,000 deer
efforts were public events that
animal was harvested in Montcalm have been tested since the first posi-
shined a spotlight on how important
Township in Montcalm County, tive case was found, with nine cases
lake sturgeon are to Michigan,” said
and preliminary tests indicate the of CWD confirmed in free-ranging
DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim
animal may be positive for CWD. The white-tailed deer previously identi-
Dexter. “Our state has a long history
DNR is awaiting final confirmation fied in Ingham and Clinton counties.
with the lake sturgeon, and working
from the Michigan State University To date, there is no evidence
with our partners helps us protect
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. that CWD presents any risk to
them for future generations.”
The suspect deer was non-cervids, including humans,
Juvenile lake sturgeon were
harvested by a youth hunter during either through contact with an
collected from the wild during April
the September youth season. The infected animal or from handling
and May and reared in streamside
hunter voluntarily took the animal venison. However, as a precaution,
facilities until they were large
to a DNR deer check station and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
enough to tag. Most fish were tagged
submitted the animal for testing. and the World Health Organization
prior to being released into their
“We cannot thank this family recommend that infected animals
respective rivers to allow future eval-
enough for bringing their deer to a not be consumed as food by either
uations of stocked fish.
check station,” said Dr. Kelly Straka, humans or domestic animals.
The lake sturgeon is on the
DNR state wildlife veterinarian. As additional deer have tested
Threatened Species list in Michigan,
“Without their effort, the disease positive for CWD within Michigan,
and these annual stocking efforts
may have gone undetected in this the DNR has put specific regulations
are critical to restoring the state’s
area. We encourage hunters from in place. Currently, there are two
lake sturgeon population. It takes
any part of the state, especially the CWD Core Areas, which are deer
the work of many partners to
south-central Lower Peninsula, to management units (DMUs) 333 and
secure funding and resources to
have their deer tested." 359. To review regulations related to
make restoration possible. Partners
CWD is a fatal neurological those areas, visit michigan.gov/cwd.
include the DNR, the Black Lake
disease that affects white-tailed Regarding this new suspect
chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow,
deer, mule deer, elk and moose. It positive deer, the DNR is determining
the Kalamazoo River chapter of
is caused by the transmission of next steps as outlined in the CWD
Sturgeon for Tomorrow, the Little
infectious, self-multiplying proteins Response and Surveillance Plan.
River Band of Ottawa Indians, the
(prions) contained in saliva and Proposed recommendations include:
Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa
other body fluids of infected animals. Creating a nine-township
Indians, the Match-E-Be-Nash-
Susceptible animals can acquire Core Area that would include
She-Wish band of Pottawatomi
CWD by direct exposure to these Douglass, Eureka, Fairplain, Maple
Indians, the Keweenaw Bay Indian
fluids, from environments contami- Valley, Montcalm, Pine and Sidney
Community, Michigan State
nated with these fluids or the carcass townships in Montcalm County, and
University, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
of a diseased animal. Oakfield and Spencer townships in
Service and the U.S. Forest Service.
Some CWD-infected animals Kent County. Within the Core Area
For more information about

12 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 14 11/10/2017 10:40:19 AM
specifically: its 100th anniversary of elk poster Fisheries survey work paints
1) Instituting mandatory registration contest.
of deer within 72 hours of harvest, Cole’s painting depicts clearer picture of Oakland
starting Nov. 15. a wintry landscape mimicking County's Paint Creek
2)Removing antler point restrictions Wolverine, Michigan, where the
for the restricted tag of the combo state’s original seven elk were The Michigan Department of Natural
deer license if license is used within released in 1918. Resources recently concluded a
the nine-township Core Area. “You’ve made my day,” said mark and recapture fisheries survey
3)Allowing antlerless deer to be Cole after receiving the phone call on Paint Creek in Oakland County to
tagged using the deer or deer combo about winning the poster contest. better understand the waterbody’s
license(s) during the firearm, Cole, a self-taught wildlife brown trout population.
muzzleloader and late antlerless artist who has hunted elk in the The DNR manages a portion
seasons. western U.S., currently hunts deer of Paint Creek, downstream from
4)Allowing the public to pick up in the Upper Peninsula. The winning Lake Orion, as a high-quality brown
road-killed deer and allow them to artwork will be showcased in the trout stream – as evidenced by its
be possessed with a salvage tag if the poster celebrating the 100th anniver- inclusion in the department’s Trout
deer head is submitted for testing sary of elk poster and distributed to Trails online application.
within 72 hours of pick-up. elk enthusiasts across Michigan and “Brown trout naturally
5)Allowing disease control permits, beyond. reproduce in Paint Creek, but we
effective immediately, for land- “We want to thank everyone stock an additional 5,600 yearling
owners with five or more acres who submitted artwork for the brown trout each year to supplement
within the nine-township Core Area. poster competition,” said Katie that population and create more
5)Banning the feeding and baiting of Keen, DNR wildlife communications fishing opportunities," said local
deer in Kent and Montcalm counties, coordinator. “We were amazed by DNR fisheries biologist Cleyo Harris.
effective Jan. 2, 2018, and encour- the interest and number of submis- The recent survey, conducted
aging hunters not to bait and feed in sions. Over 60 poster designs were late this summer, used electrofishing
these areas immediately. submitted, and each one was unique, to generate population estimates
“With some hunting seasons making it a very hard choice.” at certain spots along the stream.
already under way, we are not As the winner, Cole will On average, 130 brown trout were
recommending that a new deer receive a one-night stay at Treetops found per mile in the upper portions
management unit be created for Resort in Gaylord, a $100 gift card of Paint Creek (upstream of Gunn
the area at this time,” said Chad to Jay's Sporting Goods and a Road) and 400 brown trout per mile
Stewart, DNR deer specialist. “If you guided elk-viewing trip with DNR in the lower portions (downstream
purchase or have purchased licenses staff. All who participated in the of Gunn Road). The lower portion
for DMUs 354 or 341, they can be contest will receive a 100th elk of the stream is slightly wider and
used in the new Core Area, but it’s anniversary 2018 calendar devel- provides a little more available
critical for hunters to follow the final oped by the Montmorency County habitat.
regulations related to those nine Conservation Club. The calendar is Steelhead also were found
townships.” available to purchase by visiting the during the survey, having made
Starting Nov. 1, several Montmorency County Conservation their way into Paint Creek from the
new check stations near the new Club Facebook page or calling Clinton River. Roughly 27,000 steel-
Core Area will accept deer for 989-785-4380. head are stocked annually by the
CWD testing. Archery hunters are Next year marks the 100th DNR into the Clinton River down-
strongly encouraged to have their anniversary of the beginning of stream of Yates Dam.
deer checked at existing check Michigan’s elk population. In 1918, The section from Gunn Road
stations during the early archery seven elk were brought from the upstream to the Lake Orion Dam
season. western United States to locations and the section from Tienken Road
near Wolverine. Today’s healthy and downstream to the Clinton River are
abundant elk population is a result regulated as a Type 1 trout stream.
100th anniversary of elk of intentional land management and
increased law enforcement. Learn If you see topics in the media that are of
poster contest winner more about Michigan’s elk conserva- interest to you and that you think might be of
chosen tion success story at michigan.gov/ interest to our readers, please send an email
elk. to Nick Green at editor@michiganoutof-
The Michigan Department Michigan residents can cele- doors.com so they can be included in the
of Natural Resources has chosen brate the 100th anniversary of elk next issue of Michigan Out-of-Doors.
retired police officer Gary Cole of – look for the DNR elk license plate,
Dearborn and his acrylic painting available starting Dec. 1.
of Michigan elk as the winner of

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 13

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 15 11/10/2017 10:40:20 AM
Conservation Nation
Michigan United Conservation Instead, HB 5095 would require House members ask EPA Chief
Clubs, National Wildlife only that ships follow inadequate Pruitt to fix ethanol mandate
Coast Guard standards for ballast - Jordan Lubetkin (NWF)
Federation oppose rushed water to obtain a permit. Moreover,
ballast bill the U.S. Coast Guard technologies Today more than 60
are not currently installed on any members of the U.S. House of
Aquatic invasive species ocean-going vessels until the ships
have been the Great Lakes’ greatest Representatives sent a letter to
next dry docking schedule, which U.S. EPA Administrator Scott
threat since the St. Lawrence could be 3-5 years out from, thus
Seaway first opened in 1959. Pruitt, urging him to fix the broken
leaving Michigan waters unpro- corn ethanol mandate. Here’s an
Situated in the heart of the Great tected from new introductions of
Lakes, with lakeshore communi- on-the-record statement from Collin
invasive species in the interim. O’Mara, president and CEO of the
ties heavily dependent on Great “Sea lampreys cost
Lakes fisheries, tourism and recre- National Wildlife Federation:
millions to control each year, and “Fixing the ethanol mandate
ation, Michigan has the most at quagga and zebra mussels have
stake in keeping invasive species is essential if we are to protect our
wreaked havoc on municipal water clean water, public health, and
out of our waters. Unfortunately, intakes and shoreline tourism,”
the Michigan Legislature rushed wildlife, and this letter is strong
said Dan Eichinger, Executive proof that the necessary bipartisan
passage of HB 5095, which removes Director of Michigan United
protections against the introduc- support exists in Congress to make
Conservation Clubs. “We’re asking it happen. The ethanol mandate has
tion of aquatic invasive species the Senate to allow enough time
stowing away in ballast tanks, had disastrous unintended conse-
for a serious discussion to find a quences on our natural resources
and ignores the threat they pose workable path forward that does
to Michigan communities and our and economy. There is a set of
not leave our Great Lakes open common-sense reforms that work
outdoor economy and heritage. to new aquatic invasive species.”
“The Great Lakes are too for family farmers to protect public
The bill, sponsored by health and the environment, while
important to risk on rushing Representative Dan Lauwers
through legislation which abdi- keeping us moving forward on our
(R-Brockway Township) clean fuel goals the right way. We
cates Michigan’s role in protecting passed the Michigan House of
its own waters and communities look forward to working with the U.S.
Representatives on November 2 House and Senate leaders to reform
from aquatic invasive species,” and the Senate Natural Resources
said Marc Smith, Great Lakes the Renewable Fuel Standard, before
Committee, chaired by Senator the problems get worse and more
Conservation Director for the Tom Casperson (R-Escanaba), less
National Wildlife Federation. costly.”
than a week later after just one
“The invasive species we have committee hearing on short notice.
already cost us too much, and Founded in 1936, the
Tribal leaders, conservationists
we can’t afford to risk more on National Wildlife Federation urge Trump not to cut national
rushed legislation that leaves represents 6 million members and Mmonuments
Michigan waters unprotected.” supporters nationwide, uniting - MIles Grant (NWF)
HB 5095 strips away the all Americans to ensure wild-
Department of Environmental life thrive in a changing world. WASHINGTON, D.C.
Quality’s requirement that ocean- Founded in 1937, Michigan United (October 27, 2017) – President Trump
going vessels docking at Michigan Conservation Clubs represents has reportedly told Utah Sen. Orrin
ports demonstrate that they will over 50,000 Michigan hunters, Hatch that he will order a cut in
not introduce aquatic invasive anglers and trappers, uniting Bears Ears National Monument,
species into Michigan waters, or citizens to conserve, protect a 1.35-million-acre protected area
that they use environmentally and defend Michigan’s natural of public land in southeast Utah,
sound technologies to prevent the resources and outdoor heritage. along with Utah’s Grand Staircase-
transfer of aquatic invasive species Escalante National Monument,
if they discharge ballast water. and Nevada’s Gold Butte National

14 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 16 11/10/2017 10:40:20 AM
Monument. According to the archaeological and cultural sites than 900 other species of wildlife.
Washington Post, “Interior officials that, by any reasonable interpre- Investments in the conservation of
have privately indicated that the tation of the Antiquities Act, all wildlife habitats, like wetlands, are
administration plans to shrink qualify for protection. Like Grand vital in preserving, protecting and
[Bears Ears] by hundreds of thou- Staircase Escalante, Bears Ears also advancing our nation’s long hunting
sands of acres.” More cuts to National contains spectacular land to hike, and angling heritage. At the end of
Monuments across America may be hunt, and fish, as well as important the day, it’s all about ensuring that
still to come. habitat for wildlife such as mountain all Americans and those generations
Just this week, a new ad lions, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, to come, have access to the wildlife
began airing in the Washington, and peregrine falcons. and wild places that we enjoy today.”
D.C., area featuring a delegate of “The National Wildlife Section six of Secretarial
the Navajo Nation Council calling Federation stands shoulder-to- Order 3356, is dedicated to migratory
on President Trump to “protect shoulder with the Hopi Tribe, Navajo waterfowl, including expanding
America’s heritage, protect our Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute hunting opportunities through
national monuments,” including Indian Tribe, and the Pueblo of Zuni science-based conservation
Bears Ears National Monument, in opposition to reducing the bound- practices:
which an intertribal coalition has aries of sacred national monuments. Section 6 reads "increase
worked for decades to protect. We urge the President to change migratory waterfowl popula-
Collin O’Mara, president course and support our tribal tions and hunting opportunities
and CEO of the National Wildlife brothers and sisters. We encourage throughout large portions of the
Federation, said today: him to take a page from Roosevelt’s country by:
“Let’s not mince words playbook and create a bold conserva- (a) enhancing and improving the
– President Theodore Roosevelt, tion legacy, one that would improve use of voluntary perpetual grass-
who signed the Antiquities Act and access for sportsmen and women land and wetland conservation
created the first national monu- while also restoring habitat and easements;
ments, would have fought tooth and reversing the decline of our wildlife (b) expanding habitat and water
nail against efforts to significantly populations. The National Wildlife conservation/protection efforts on
downsize protected areas and allow Federation remains committed to wintering habitats;
mining and drilling operations defending our national monuments (c) assessing and utilizing sound
in sacred places. In fact, when and will fight this decision on behalf science to direct the development
Roosevelt faced special interests of public land owners around the of proposed project and/or policy
who were preparing to expand country and our nation’s wildlife.” proposals to enhance waterfowl
mining operations near the Grand production;
Canyon and build a railroad along Sec. Zinke signs order supporting (d) identifying partnerships and
its rim, he stood up and designated conservation and sportsmen resource opportunities; and
it as a National Monument. It is - Ducks Unlimited (e) utilizing sound scientific evidence
hard to believe that this anti-con- in conjunction with landowner/
servation decision is being made on WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sept. stakeholder input."
the birthday of America's greatest 15, 2017 – U.S. Secretary of Interior In March, Zinke invited
conservation President. Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order Ducks Unlimited and other sports-
“President Trump should 3356 today, supporting sportsmen, men’s groups to witness the signing
listen to tribal leaders. If the Present public access, wildlife management of his first secretarial orders, which
indeed plans to cut Bears Ears and and conservation opportunities in benefitted hunters, anglers, conser-
Grand Staircase Escalante National the United States. In addition to vation and outdoor recreational
Monuments, he will be breaking increasing public access for hunting opportunities. Secretarial Order
the promises made to tribal leaders and fishing, the executive order 3356 now helps fulfill his previous
to respect their interests, culture, specifically outlines important poli- commitment by outlining specific
and sovereignty. Bears Ears was cies benefitting migratory waterfowl. directives for the Department of
designated after a long collabora- “On behalf of the more than Interior, while working with partner
tive process, led by an inter-tribal one million members and supporters organizations, to help execute these
coalition representing the Hopi of Ducks Unlimited nationwide, I’d policies.
Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain like to thank Secretary Zinke for his
Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe, and actions today to ensure both the long- In the coming months, Ducks
the Pueblo of Zuni. The coalition term survival of vital habitats and Unlimited’s volunteers, members
sought monument designation in their use by American sportsmen and and staff are committed to working
order ensure their traditional uses, women,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO with Secretary Zinke and his team
ancestral lands, and way of life Dale Hall. “Wetlands are not only a as they work to implement these
would be protected for the future. valuable resource for our nation’s pivotal and critical priorities.
The monument contains over 100,000 waterfowl, but they also benefit more

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 15

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 17 11/10/2017 10:40:20 AM
CWD: Michigan's deer hunting
death sentence?
In early October, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources partnered with the Department
of Agriculture and Rural Development to conduct a two-day Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
Symposium. This event provided a venue for other state agencies and Michigan stakeholders to
learn more about CWD research and management across the country. The CWD Symposium was
also attended by designated members of the CWD Task Force as constructed by the Michigan
Natural Resources Commission.
Amy Trotter, MUCC Deputy Director against eating the venison from a genetic strains seem more resis-
Anna Mitterling, MUCC Wildlife CWD infected deer. tant to the disease. There has also
Cooperative Coordinator been some work done to find some
CWD Research accurate live sampling methods,
and while there is some hope, more
CWD is found in much of The first day of the CWD work needs to be done.
North America, and recently was Symposium focused primarily on Funding for research has
discovered in South Korea and research that has been conducted declined drastically over the past
Norway. The first documented cases on various elements of CWD. The several years. In the early 2000’s
were found in a Colorado research transfer of the disease was the there was significant federal
pen back in the 1970s. Over time, the primary focus for many of the funding for research as more about
disease spread and is now in several research projects. At varying the disease was being discovered.
states and Canadian provinces. This levels, CWD is known to be present However, research is still occur-
disease has become a national focus in saliva, feces and urine. It has ring. In addition to some of the
as it continues to spread. also been documented that CWD mentioned research concepts
CWD is a highly-infectious can transfer to fawns in-utero. The above, Michigan State University
prion disease and will eventually prions become even stronger when has a lab — the Boone & Crockett
result in death of any cervid (white- bonded to the soil, and they have Quantitative Wildlife Research
tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose, also been found in plant stems and Center — with researchers dedi-
etc.) that becomes infected. When leaves. This disease is more likely cated to disease research. Much of
the animal is close to death from this to be transferred to other cervids their work is applied, meaning that
disease, the clinical signs include when they have more interac- it is directly applicable to manage-
skinny deer that appear disoriented tions with the disease - whether ment of wildlife. The conclusions
and confused. CWD is not known to it be directly from an animal or they draw from their research can
transfer to humans, but the Center from prions in the environment. have direct management implica-
for Disease Control recommends In captive herds, deer with some tions for Michigan DNR.

CWD doesn't present physical symptoms in a deer immediately. In fact, it can take years for a white-tailed deer to look
like the photograph on the left (a deer that tested positive for CWD in Wisconsin). Deer with CWD can and will look like
the deer on the right for a number of years during which time they will spread the disease into the herd and soil


Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 18 11/10/2017 10:40:20 AM
CWD Facts
Human dimensions
research has been conducted
around hunter perceptions and
understandings of CWD, as well
as their trust and responses to
agency management and commu- •There are NO documented biological
nication of the disease. Research
has shown that high percentages of
hunters have very poor knowledge
factors to reverse CWD trends
of CWD, however hunters are very
supportive of having testing sites •There IS a geographic spread of CWD
to bring their deer and surveillance
efforts. To learn more about the
research mentioned above, visit
•There ARE population impacts
•There ARE areas of local increases in

CWD Management
The second day of the
CWD Symposium, the focus
behind fences in Michigan. Since understand the scope of the disease.
was primarily on how states
2011, 96 captive cervids have been Many, like Michigan, used sharp-
are responding to CWD in their
legally imported to breeding shooters along with strong hunter
borders. It is understood that
facilities in Michigan. In 2008 a involvement in collecting samples.
CWD is a newer and spreading
facility in Kent County found one While sharpshooters prove effec-
disease. Based on how sampling
positive deer, the rest of the herd tive in the small, known CWD
and discovery are occurring, every
was depopulated and no additional hot spots, Tami Ryan, Wisconsin
state agreed that this disease is new
positives were found. In 2017 two Department of Natural Resources,
to this area and to these animals
positive heads were turned in from said “managing CWD is really all
within the past 50 years. As preva-
a facility in Mecosta County. The about having hunter support.”
lence rates get above 30 percent in
rest of that herd was depopulated Various methods have been
some areas, they are starting to see
and no additional positives were used by state agencies to motivate
population level impacts to the deer
reported. Additional regulations hunter participation. All of the
on captive facilities include 100 states offer free CWD testing to all
percent mortality testing when a hunters. At one point, Wisconsin
Inside the Fence: CWD CWD positive cervid is found in had a $400 reward to be split
within the Captive Deer a farm within 25 miles away, or between any hunter and landowner
75 miles away from a CWD posi- who brought in a positive CWD
Industry tive wild deer. This testing must deer. They also use a ‘weighted
continue for five years. surveillance’ where they work with
There is a nationwide farm taxidermists to collect samples
certification program run through from older deer, as the disease is
the U.S. Department of Agriculture State Management of CWD
more commonly found in mature
and applied the state level agri- deer. Pennsylvania has bins where
cultural agency. The certification Several states including,
Wyoming, Wisconsin, Missouri, hunters can drop of heads at their
program is voluntary, unless convenience. Unlike some other
required otherwise by the state, Pennsylvania, Illinois, along with
Michigan, presented on their CWD states, Pennsylvania decided to
but after being in compliance with keep antler point restrictions in
the guidelines for five years, and histories. Wyoming has known
about CWD in their mule deer and place because of the high hunter
staying CWD free, they can become support. Jason Sumners, Missouri
certified as a low risk farm. These elk for over 30 years, Wisconsin
and Illinois discovered the disease Department of Conservation, said
farms have CWD testing completed “hunter attitudes are more closely
on each mortality, and report the in 2002. This discovery led to many
states, including Michigan, devel- tied to satisfaction with abundance
results to the agency. States then of deer rather than the regulations.”
have a process in place for when a oping management plans should
CWD enter their state. Pennsylvania As long as hunters are having good
positive animal is found. opportunities to harvest deer,
In Michigan, 93 herds are and Missouri have found CWD in
their boarders in the last several they seem pretty happy. However,
enrolled into the program. Over Missouri removed their antler point
1,900 cervids are in the program, years. Most of these states used an
intense initial response strategy to restrictions to reduce the migration
yet there are over 21,000 animals

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 17

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 19 11/10/2017 10:40:20 AM
CWD Prior
to 2000

These maps show the known distribution of chronic wasting disease in North America prior to 2000 and as of October
2017 within the free ranging cervid populations (deer, elk, moose, etc.), and active and depopulated captive facilities.
CWD now exists in 24 states and two Canadian provinces. States across the nation, including Michigan, are limiting or
banning the importation of live cervids and the inter-state transport of hunter-harvested cervids to reduce the risk of
potential spread. To protect the Michigan deer herd, a Michigan hunter that hunts out of state can only bring back the
following parts into Michigan: hides, deboned meat, quarters or other parts of the cervid that do not have any part
of the spinal column or head attached, finished taxidermy products, cleaned teeth, antlers, or antlers attached to a
skullcap cleaned of brain and muscle tissue.
of yearling bucks carrying the Since the first positive After two days of this year’s
disease. CWD deer in a captive facility in Symposium to give a broad base-
Wyoming, Wisconsin and 2008, there were no additional line of information, the CWD Task
Illinois biologists all made it clear cases found in Michigan until Force met for an additional day to
that the impacts of this disease 2015, when a wild deer was found discuss action items and outcomes.
take a long time to see. Dr. Mary with CWD in Ingham County. They have been charged to have
Wood, Wyoming Fish and Game Since then, 10 wild deer have been recommendations to the NRC by
Department, said that the lessons determined positive for CWD, with December 2017.
learned are that “the impacts of the latest being found in Montcalm More information about
this disease are not measured County. Michigan DNR, along what states are doing to combat
in years, but in decades. Any with MUCC, other stakeholders CWD can be found at http://
management of CWD will take and the NRC have been proactive, cwd-info.org/. Information
many years and a deep commit- first addressing CWD in 2002 with pertaining specifically to CWD in
ment.” They also all agreed that the Surveillance & Response Plan, Michigan can be found at www.
it is quite apparent CWD is a new last updated in 2012. Currently, michigan.gov/cwd/.
disease on the landscape. Doug there is a task force that has been
Dufford, Illinois Department of assigned by the Natural Resources Future Planning
Natural Resources made it quite Commission, to bring together
clear that “because of how we are an expert panel and discuss CWD While we don’t know what
finding CWD, we do not believe it and the different implications of the Michigan CWD Task Force
has ‘been here all along.’” various management strategies.

18 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 20 11/10/2017 10:40:20 AM
CWD as of
October 2017

will recommend, there are several awareness on the side of the hunter Commission and DNR to do so.
major topics MUCC feels they, are crucial to ensure these regula- MUCC has also encouraged the
along with the Natural Resources tions are followed. Ultimately, it Michigan legislature to approve
Commission and the DNR, need to is important that hunters under- the necessary funding to do what
consider. stand the impact they can have by is necessary according to the
It was clear as the not properly disposing potentially response plan. Taking a step back
speakers were presenting at the CWD-positive remains on the land- to evaluate what other states are
Symposium, that public support scape. In addition, working with doing, what research is showing,
for CWD management is crucial if the Department of Agriculture and finding how that aligns best
the agency hopes to move forward and Rural Development to stop with Michigan and our unique
with a management plan. In cases potential spread of CWD via the situation is of great value. We
like Wisconsin, public support was movement of live captive deer is challenge hunters to become more
lost, and the agency has struggled critical as well. engaged in this issue, and to take
to contain the disease. Public When it comes to baiting the initiative to dive in and deeply
support can be attained through and feeding, would a more proac- understand the disease and the
careful communication and tive approach of banning baiting complex nature of its management.
messaging around CWD, its impor- and feeding statewide help It is incredibly clear that without
tance to manage, and specific decrease transferability points of hunter support, the management
ways hunters can play a role in the disease? Concerning antler of CWD is impossible. It is also
combating the disease. point restrictions, is there risk in notable that we only have 10 posi-
allowing young bucks to spread on tive wild deer in Michigan after 15
The transportation of deer, the landscape as Missouri feels, or years of surveillance, and we know
both dead and alive, is an obvious is it more valuable to encourage our prevalence rates are incred-
method of disease transmission antler point restrictions to help ibly low. This means that the time
over distances. While there are increase hunter satisfaction as to act is now, and the actions taken
regulations in place to eliminate Pennsylvania advocates? must be strong.
the transportation of deer remains MUCC has been encour-
from other states, education and aging the Natural Resources

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 19

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 21 11/10/2017 10:40:21 AM

20 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 22 11/10/2017 10:40:22 AM
wingin' Steel Cold-weather steelhead fishing is tough.
Swinging flies for them is tougher.
he water was high and off-colored — a Steelheading in late-fall and winter is
reminder of the close to eight inches of the reason I fish. I go just enough trips between
rain and snow that fell within a week. It catching a fish that I almost call it quits and
was Halloween, and although I wasn’t donning sell every rod I own. Then, though, a bobber
my used Hunter S. Thompson costume again, I drops, and I am reminded of how strong and
was dressed for another occasion: swinging flies beautiful this worthy opponent is.
for steelhead. Notice I wrote “bobber.” Those who
A wet snow had recently fallen on 127 truly fly fish for steelhead in the winter, not
North — a testament to the usual luck that that chuck-and-duck rigmarole, are the defi-
befalls me when I plan for a day of fishing. I was nition of insane: “In a state of mind that
to meet my guide, Jeff Hubbard, at 7:30 a.m. in prevents normal perception, behavior, or
Baldwin at Houseman’s Food Center. I was late. social interaction; seriously mentally ill.”
I scurried out of the vehicle with some Those who swing flies for steelhead
excuse about the weather or roads. It was readily should be committed.
apparent that Hubbard wasn’t interested. He Nonetheless, Hubbard talked me into
had broken his arm about three months before the boat at Green Cottage and said we would be
our trip and it was going to be one of his first swinging flies for the day. It was quiet for the
days back at the oars. As with most diehard, first few bends, and the only sound to be heard
successful (if you can even call them that) steel- was the water dripping from the oars. I tried
headers, Hubbard was optimistic that we would to muster up some self-inflated conversation
find some fish. about my fly fishing past. Hubbard humored
me before pulling over on the next bend.
From the moment I got in his truck, I
could tell Hubbard was an all-inclusive kind
of guide. He didn’t expect anything from his
clients except a willingness to learn and listen.
He tied the knots, he rigged up the rods and he
rowed — all things I am used to doing during
my angling adventures.
Hubbard stepped out the boat with the
rod I would be using. After a quick casting
lesson, he turned me loose. I won’t get into
casting a two-handed fly rod; the process can
be as simple or as complicated as you want
to make it. Those guys flailing the line every-
where are just showing off, in my opinion.

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 21

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 23 11/10/2017 10:40:24 AM
The casts I was making were and Hubbard started celebrating. most efficient way possible. About
short, maybe 30 to 40 feet. Hubbard I hadn’t just landed the halfway through the run, I received
stood next to me and talked me normal seven- to eight-pound steel- a tug. I lifted the rod tip and a chrome
through each swing. He helped me head that graces the Pere Marquette hen rolled on top of the water before
to understand exactly what my River. I had put a 15-plus-pound spitting the fly and turning up a fin
fly was doing and what effect that fish in the net. It was the biggest that I can only imagine is the fish
might have on a steelhead thinking Hubbard had seen so far this year — version of a middle finger.
about gobbling it up. a little too big for my first steelhead "It isn't often they come
Every question I had was on the swing, if you ask me. I was unhooked," Hubbard said. "But, it
answered enthusiastically and addicted. happens."
definitively. I remember Hubbard After a few grip-and-grin I continued down the run as
saying, “I want everyone who takes shots, we got the buck back into Hubbard worked it behind me with
a trip with me to leave the river the water and let him regain his a different fly. About ten casts later,
having learned something.” bearings while we did the same. We I had another tug, and this time, the
Our next stop along the slapped high fives at least four times buck didn't come unbuttoned. He
river was a hole that Hubbard said before getting back into the boat to was no match for my preparedness
“swings good,” whatever the hell float down to our next hole. after the first fish of the day —
that meant? In my earlier lessons, The quiet, calculating weighing in at about eight pounds, I
Hubbard had instructed me to not Hubbard became chatty. Quickly, quickly brought him to the net.
set the hook immediately if a steel- our conversation turned to bird "So, should we hit the grouse
head took the fly; I was to wait until dogs, deer hunting and women. woods?" Hubbard asked in a passive
I felt a tug and some line peeled out. Hubbard has been swinging attempt to bask in the day's success.
I had to keep rehearsing this process flies for more than two decades — in After a short float, we pulled
in my mind. the world of Michigan fly fishing, off again to have lunch. Hubbard
It was my third cast through he is likely one of swinging's forefa- warmed up some venison chili that
the hole when my rod was given thers. He talked about a time before had just the right amount of spice,
a long, slow pull. I didn’t set the modern lines when he would splice meat and whiskey. It was tasty.
hook, but the fish came unbuttoned. together different kinds of fly lines Both of us knew how good
Hubbard, being the ever-optimistic in order to achieve the proper sink- of a day we were having. The mood
steelheader, said to keep casting. and-swing method. had peaked, and we were both riding
Actually, he has swung flies long Through all the conversa- the comedown hard.
enough to know a steelhead will tion, though, I couldn't take my Conversation again turned
come back for more. mind of the brute I had just landed to future grouse hunts, winter
Two casts later, an even — it was the biggest steelhead I have swinging trips and the magazine.
slower, longer tug about took the landed. I had made a friend — not just a
rod out of my hands. I waited about Hubbard had said earlier in "friend" who is a guide — a true
two seconds and lifted — the battle the day that swinging for steelhead, friend.
was on. although mostly unproductive when Hubbard's humble, soft
Hubbard didn’t know me compared to other kinds of fishing, personality was a joy to be around.
or how many fish I had played. He usually yields the biggest fish in a He was more excited than I was
shouted orders and I followed them respective piece of water. when I hooked the three fish that
— I am glad I did because on a river This makes sense — we were day — that says something about a
as small as the Pere Marquette it is swinging four- to five-inch flies. The guide.
pretty easy to lose a fish in a log jam. steelhead that are going to chase "I didn't really know that
The reel “zinged” as the flies that big are aggressive and are when I got into guiding it would
fish took drag. The fish was taking meat eaters. essentially mean I no longer got to
too much drag, though. Quickly, Hubbard rowed us another fish," Hubbard said. It's the same
Hubbard caught up with me and few hundred yards down river with most guides, I assume.
cranked the drag down as tight as it before stopping us at a run where he However, Hubbard does
would go. It didn’t put a client on some fish a few days spend the slow winter months on
matter. The fish was still peeling before. the river with a two-handed rod.
line, and both of us thought some- It should be noted that one He swings religiously and is even
thing was wrong with the reel. steelhead a day swinging is a good rewarded on occasion with more
My arms burned as I did day. Chasing more is just greedy — than ice in eyelets and frozen snot.
everything in my power to turn the but we persisted. "Swinging for steelhead
fish’s head and get it pointed toward I slowly worked my way is the closest you will ever get to
Jeff, who was holding the net near down the run; after each cast I reaching out and grabbing the fish,"
the bank. After about a five-minute would take a step downstream in Hubbard said. He was right.
fight, I coaxed the fish into the net an attempt to cover the water in the

22 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 24 11/10/2017 10:40:28 AM
"Swinging for steelhead
is the closest you will
ever get to reaching out
and grabbing the fish,"
- Jeff Hubbard, Outfitters North

| Michigan
| Michigan
Out-of-Doors 23 23

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 25 11/10/2017 10:40:43 AM
Top Left: Hubbard patiently swings a run on the Pere Marquette River.
Top Right: The author displays the second fish he landed of the day.
Bottom: A decaying king salmon carcass eyeballed the author as he
landed his second fish of the day.

24| |www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 26 11/10/2017 10:40:49 AM
Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 27 11/10/2017 10:40:51 AM
Burt Lake

Tom Goniea, fisheries biologist at
the Michigan DNR, makes a several
winter trips to Burt Lake each year
for perch.

by Bob Gwizdz

ike many anglers, I can be as deep as I’d ever fished that way this is where it got tough: Ever try
hard-headed. Sometimes it before and, truth be told, too deep to retrieve 27 feet of line without a
pays off. And sometimes it for that sort of tactic to be practical. reel? I didn’t want to go hand-over-
bites me in the rear. I experienced a But I was determined to master the hand with it as I needed to keep the
little bit of both last winter fishing technique, one that can pay off in tension on the line, lest the fish get
through the ice at Burt Lake. spades when things are going well. enough slack to spit the hook.
I was on the 17,395-acre With the barbless hook, you can Frankly, I did better than
Northern Michigan lake with a simply slap the fish on the ice, it’ll I thought I would. I pointed the
handful of guys getting ready for come off, and you can let the bait jigging stick away from me to the
one of Mark Martin’s ice fishing drop right back down to where it right, grabbed the line with my left
vacation/school extravaganzas, and was – a big plus as perch are often hand and pulled it as far to the left
although the bulk of the fellows in big schools and since they tend as I could, brought the stick tip back
were focused on walleye fishing, I to move around a lot, time is of the and caught the line and pushed it to
had decided to go all in on perch, essence. the right again, and repeated until
for which the lake is also noted. In After about 30 minutes of I’d brought the fish – which turned
fact, I rigged up a jigging stick with doing nothing, I felt a fish bite, and out to be an 18-inch walleye – to the
a barbless beaded spoon and started when I set the hook, I soon realized hole and with one last pull slid it
fishing with it in 27 feet of water, it was either a darn good perch or out on to the ice. (And, it fell off the
which is about four or five times I had hold of something else. And hook immediately.)

26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 28 11/10/2017 10:40:54 AM
At that point, I’d proven water. (Fact is, some call them phones started ringing and the bulk
the technique would work. I should ling cod.) They are rarely pursued of the crew reported catching a few
have declared victory, re-rigged by sport anglers, though, they are fish, mostly a mixture of perch and
with a rod and reel and gone back quality table fare — they’ve been walleyes. The reports were consis-
to fishing. Instead, I simply dropped called poor man’s lobster — and tent in that it was never fast and
the beaded spoon back to the bottom there are modest commercial fish- furious – as though both the perch
and went back to jigging. And when eries associated with them across and walleye were traveling individ-
the next fish bit, it made the 18-inch the globe. ually instead of in schools – but they
‘eye look like bait. At any rate, I got the burbot were all good fish. No one reported
It was a burbot and a dandy up to right below the hole and was a sub-legal walleye (i.e. <15 inches)
one at that; Martin guessed it at trying to figure out what to do next, and the perch were all fine speci-
“seven or eight pounds,” though when, suddenly, it just pulled off, mens – 11 to 15 inches, the kind that
I argued that it weighed at least 20 which served me right, not only for might inspire you to forget about
pounds (#alternative facts). For fishing with a jigging stick in 27 feet the walleyes and concentrate on the
the uninitiated, burbot are bottom- of water, but for staying with a barb- perch, except that they were large
dwellers in cold water systems that less hook. enough to handle walleye-sized
resemble sort of a cross between a Ah, the thrill of victory and baits anyway.
catfish and an eel, the only members the agony of defeat. That has been my experi-
of the cod family that live in fresh In short order, the cell ence on Burt Lake in the past during
Les Dennis, left, and his son, Calvin, show off a nice stringer of walleye and perch caught jigging through the ice on
Burt Lake. Burt Lake holds perch longer than 15 inches.

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 29 11/10/2017 10:40:59 AM
Brian Mulherin shows off a brown trout caught while jigging for walleyes on Burt Lake. There is a good coldwater
fishery consisting of brown trout and steelhead that can be had through the ice on Burt Lake.
soft-water season. Often we caught to Burt Lake; its deep cold water The state record smallmouth bass
more perch than we did walleyes, supports a trout fishery, too. It’s a was taken from the Indian River,
though. If you were watching us classic two-story lake. which is the outflow from Burt Lake
you’d have sworn we were walleye “There’s a good cold-water into Mullet. There are muskies and
fishing, jigging with Hopkins fish community, both steelhead and pike in there, too.
Spoons on break lines. And walleye brown trout,” Godby said. “Really, I Since my original foray
is probably the main game on Burt think the trout fishery in Burt Lake through the ice on Burt, I’ve been
Lake. is under-appreciated. It has a great back, but I no longer use the jigging
“It’s a fantastic walleye population of brown trout and good stick – there are just too many
fishery,” explained Neal Godby, the numbers of rainbows. Both of them opportunities to hook big fish to fool
Department of Natural Resources run up in the Sturgeon River and around with rudimentary gear. I’ve
fisheries biologist who oversees the Maple River and they provide gone back to rod and reel, which
Burt Lake. “That whole east shore opportunity for big fish up in those is fine for perch fishing. And I’ve
is wind-swept and gravelly and rivers. And that Sturgeon River learned that perch are the prime
provides fantastic spawning and strain of brown trout is what we use target for many ice anglers on Burt
nursery habitat for walleye. to provide fish for stocking around Lake.
“It’s a very popular walleye the state.” Tom Goniea is one of them.
lake, but at times of the year, it’s Funny thing is. With all that A fisheries biologist with the DNR
very popular for perch as well,” he going for it, Burt Lake has even who works out of Lansing, Goniea
continued. more to offer. It is part of the Inland makes the long trek to Burt Lake
In early afternoon, fellow Waterway (along with Mullet, several times a winter just to fish
outdoor writer Brian Mulherin Pickerel and Crooked Lakes) that for perch. He concentrates on Maple
got on the phone and reported the features some of the best — some Bay, which is the site of a state
catch of the day: a 27-inch brown would say THE best, period — big launch ramp that affords easy access
trout. This is an additional element smallmouth bass fishing in the state. to some fertile perch grounds.

28 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 30 11/10/2017 10:41:07 AM
“Walking out of the launch Goniea says minnows — a weekend, I can catch two limits of
at Maple Bay, you can find perch especially big minnows — are the perch. I’ve fished it more in the last
pretty much anywhere you go, but ticket. He uses a tiny treble hook on two years than I did in the first eight
you have to move a lot to consis- a leader about a foot below a swivel combined.”
tently find fish over the course of and pinches on a split shot above the Goniea said that he is some-
the day,” said Goniea, with whom swivel. “I put it in perspective,” he times rewarded with a bonus fish but
I’ve fished a number of times for a said. “Larger baits catch larger fish.” “the story is perch" and the catch
variety of species. “You’ll find a spot Goniea said the perch fishing on Maple Bay is probably 98 or 99
and it’ll produce nice fish for 20 or 30 can be outstanding. He often catches percent perch. But you get that occa-
minutes and then it will shut down limits. sional surprise – picking up a walleye
– it won’t shut down in terms of all “If you’re on a good spot, here or there is not unheard of. They
the perch will disappear, but you’ll your limits going to be fish that are get pike every once in a while. And
just start picking up small fish and 8 ½ inches or better,” he said. “I’ve a couple of years back a buddy of
you’ll have to move to find the good caught fish up to 12 ½ inches in mine caught a 26-inch brown trout.
ones. Maple Bay and I’ve heard of some So at any time you’re only a bite
“There are places out there even bigger.” away from something you’re going to
that will hold good fish over the So have I; I’ve seen 15-plus- remember.
course of a whole day, whether it’s inch perch — something you hear a “That makes that bay kind of
a hump or a slight depression or a lot more about than you ever actu- cool.”
rock pile or a stump or whatever, but ally see — come out of Burt Lake. Goniea says it’s one of his
I‘ve found some of those places that Goniea said he’s been fishing favorite places to take his buddies
I go to consistently. But it’s finicky. Burt Lake for about 10 years but has who rarely fish because the fishing’s
If you get off that spot by 20 yards in really honed in on it the last couple good enough that it’ll keep them
any direction, the catch goes down of years as ice conditions have been entertained.
dramatically.” tenuous around much of the state “There’s plenty of action,”
To make sure he’s on the the last couple of year and Burt Lake he said. “You’re usually not sitting
sweet spot, Goniea – who fishes from has always got good ice. very long in between bites. There
a portable shanty – often puts out a “Burt Lake has been my isn’t a lot of twiddling your thumbs.
couple of tip-ups a few yards away go-to location because the ice is good You can take people out there and
from his shack, then adjusts as he and the fishing is good,” Goniea show them a good time.”
sees where the fish are. said. “I’m confident that if I fish for And that’s the point of

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 27

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 31 11/10/2017 10:41:08 AM

by Jim Bedford

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 32 11/10/2017 10:41:13 AM
ith over 50 years and many thousands of
hours of hardcore steelheading under my
wading belt, I’ve landed a bunch of steelhead
I shouldn’t have. Usually, the story involves logs or
other underwater obstacles. Most of the time when a
steelhead takes you into the wood, it manages to break
your line and escape. Sometimes if you are patient, you
get fortunate and the steelie swims back out the same
way it swam into the jam. More often than not I have
had to pass my rod under a log or find my line with my
wading staff below the wood and try to hand line the
fish to the net.
When I thought the fish still had too much fight
left in it, I would, after the fish quieted down, cut my
line, pull it out of the logs and then re-tie. Blood knots
are hard enough to tie at home, but when you are on the
river with a big steelhead or salmon on the end of your
line, they become really difficult. Once a steelhead gets the fish could only very begrudgingly take line. And after
you into a log jam, you lose control and often it will find four relatively calm fights, this steelhead got really frisky.
something else to wrap the line around while you are It jumped completely out of the water but somehow didn’t
trying to free your line from the first spot. A number of dislodge the lure. Then, it made several strong runs while
times, I have had to chase a big steelhead and free the line I waded after it and extended my arm toward the fish
from multiple snags. trying to decrease the pressure on the rod and line. Before
A bunch of winters ago, I found a new way to get the fight was over, I couldn’t give any line at all. When
really lucky landing a steelhead — I shouldn’t have even the fish ran back toward me, I had to wade away from the
hooked this fish. The weather had been very cold and steelhead to keep the line tight.
cabin fever was really building. I was anxious to get back Eventually, the steelhead tired and I carefully
on the river. Finally, I gave up on waiting for the tempera- brought in line hand-over-hand. I still had to give line
ture to get to the freezing mark and ventured to the upper a couple of times when the fish made last ditch short
Grand River with a forecasted high of 27 degrees. Most runs. Finally, I was able to corral it in the net. Using long
of the river was frozen, as were most other rivers, so I handled forceps, I freed the 10-pound female from the
picked a spot below a dam where I knew there would be plug, dropped the net rim and it swam back to the depths.
some open water. The water temperature was dead on the I wish now that I had taken a photo of it but at the time I
freezing mark, so I knew I would have trouble with ice in knew the steelhead was really tired and I wanted to get it
the guides; there would be no dipping the rod in the water released as soon as possible. Besides, my hands were cold
to allow the flow to slowly remove the ice. and wet and there was line everywhere — digging for the
Steelhead remain active and will still chase a lure camera in my vest didn’t seem like a good idea.
at water temperatures down to freezing and even slightly I don’t think it would be possible to get any luckier
super-cooled below the 32-degree mark. For some reason, than I did hooking and landing that steelhead. I fish less
the steelies were quite willing to chase spinners and stick- on those days when the air temperature is below freezing
baits on this day, and I hooked and landed four in about and the water is right at 32 degrees now; but when I do, I
three hours of fishing. Since the fish were hitting I would religiously deice the guides before they become close to
put off deicing my guides as long as possible. Because the freezing shut.
air temperature was relatively mild at 26 degrees, water
was being carried to all the guides before completely
freezing. Sometimes I would just melt the ice out of the
guide that was completely full and leave the rest until
Staying as close as possible to steelhead that are
later. This procrastination was not a good plan, and I was
hooked in relatively small rivers with lots of logs and
soon to pay.
roots is key to getting them landed. Rarely can you stop a
I approached a good run and cast my favorite
steelhead headed for the wood, but usually, you can alter
steelhead stick bait, a suspending Bomber Long A, across
their course a bit with rod pressure. But, if the fish is a long
and down the river. When I started to reel I couldn’t
way up or down stream from you, there will be no leverage
bring in any line. Four guides and the tip top were now
available when it decides to turn left or right and head for
completely filled with ice. So, with the line and plug
the logs or roots.
trailing downstream, I started to suck the ice out of the
I was fishing a relatively small northern Lake
tip top. Wham, a steelhead grabs the lure with the rod tip
Michigan tributary when a good-sized steelhead hammered
in my mouth. I grabbed the line and feebly tried to set
my spinner. Most of the stream flowed over a firm gravel
the hook. Somehow we were still attached but now I had
substrate and was only a couple of feet deep, but along both
another problem. There was no way to reel in line and
sides of the river there were lots of logs and exposed roots.

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 31

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 33 11/10/2017 10:41:14 AM
So, as the fish took off on a strong run, I quickly waded this purpose and splint my rod. I overlapped the broken rod
after it. It should have been easy with the relatively shallow sections with the tip under the butt section and wrapped
gravel bottom but there was a surprise; an unseen stub of tightly with the tape. The repair job was tested right away
a branch was buried in the gravel, and I did a complete by a ten pound hen and I landed the fish. The rod was
header when I tripped on it. Off came my hat and glasses, wobbly and not very much fun to fish with but it was better
but I kept from breaking my rod and reel. The fish was than losing two hours of fishing time on a stream full of
still on and had not wrapped the line up on any wood. The steelhead.
battle continued until the fish tired and I corralled it in the Fast forward to last summer; I was using a light,
net. 7-foot high modulus graphite rod on a modestly-sized trout
The search for my glasses and hat began after I stream that also contained some summer steelhead that
released the steelhead. The hat was easily spotted, but I had strayed into it to cool off from the warm river they had
never found my glasses. Strangely, I did find my clip-on migrated up from Lake Michigan. I beefed up my line test
polarized sunglasses but not what they were attached to. to 10 pound test to give myself a chance at landing a steel-
Luckily, my old age farsightedness had just about “neutral- head in the creek while still casting small enough lures for
ized” my lifelong nearsightedness so I was able to keep resident brown trout.
fishing with only slightly impaired vision. The best news The plan seemed to be working — I hooked a large
was that I didn’t have to tie another knot, as I would have summer run and was just barely able to keep it out of the
needed the bifocal part of my glasses. wood. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally thought
If anybody was watching, I am sure they would it was ready for the net. As I guided it toward the mesh,
have thought that it was strange that this angler kept the steelie suddenly dodged the net and dashed through the
holding up clip on sunglasses to his eyes to survey the next five hole. In a semi panic, I tried to step over the line but,
piece of holding water. I even caught some more steelhead with my rod pointed to the sky, the steelhead surged and
before reaching the bridge where I ended my day. So far, snapped my rod just above the butt guide. It was definitely
I have been successful at watching where I am wading angler error and my brain had cramped at a critical time.
as well as keeping track of the hooked steelhead without Luckily, the steelhead was pretty tired as I fought
falling in again. I do occasionally grab the wading staff it with half a rod. At the end, I hand-lined the beautiful
when chasing hooked steelhead to help me stay upright. fish into the net. As I held the tired 31-inch trophy in the
gentle current until it was ready to swim off, I decided to
“Crack” give myself a bit of a break (pun intended) on my repeated
About a dozen years ago, I was fishing the same
stream where I took the header. My partner and I were
fishing adjacent stretches. He dropped me off at lower
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32 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 34 11/10/2017 10:41:15 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.

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 35 11/10/2017 10:41:16 AM
a michigan
darkhouse tradition

by Jason Crean

n the shack it was completely collect every last bit of light. every way from its camouflaged
silent, save for the gentle crack- Careful not to shuffle his skin, to its forward eye and mouth
ling of the fire in the small wood- feet for fear the resonation would position, to the powerful muscula-
stove he used for warmth and the spook everything for a great ture making it capable of explosive
rhythmic cadence of his breathing. distance, he reached over and gave strikes. It had sensed the pressure
He had sat for several hours in the his decoy string a sharp upward changes and vibration created by its
near complete darkness created by pull. As it had countless times in prey’s sudden movement, and was
his shelter, watching the activity the past several hours, the wooden further drawn to its injured glide.
below and enjoying a peaceful effigy rose up nearly to the surface Utilizing the towering vegetation
serenity which can only be provided before gliding slowly in a sweeping to its advantage, the predator had
by Mother Nature. He was not alone, circle to its original starting point stealthily slid in unnoticed by its
however, and had frequent visitors — its dance a mimicry of wounded prey. Slowly, the leviathan moved
to the world beneath his boots, going prey. He had been staring at the in closer, every inch of its being
about their business oblivious to the same landscape for so long without preparing for a fatal strike on its
spectator looming above. change, the sudden appearance of target.
The sunset outside had lit the massive creature below was a Above, the man had expertly
the sky ablaze with a cornucopia shock to his senses. He began to slid the head of his spear in the
of brilliant colors and in turn elec- tremble slightly as his breathing water (an act which had taken him
trified the air inside the shack. The quickened, the increase and inten- years of experience under pressure
daily crescendo to prime activity sity of steam in the wood-smoke- to perfect) and prepared for a strike
was upon him. The daytime fur, fish scented air was readily apparent. of his own. The creature below had
and fowl feverishly increased their He grabbed his weapon from its entered his comfortable range. The
activity to prepare for the night and resting place against his shoulder banging in his chest, the percussion
its frigid grasp, as their nighttime hoping, wishing and praying for the audible in his ears seemed to rattle
counterparts got an early start. It opportunity that he had patiently the decoys hanging from the dark
was shift change, and everything waited so long for would present walls. He could no longer hear the
was bustling. He sat physically itself. songs of the winter juncos outside
motionless, yet buzzing inside and Just out of range the crea- or the popping of logs in his old
hyper alert for his target that could ture waited, sizing up prey of its own, stove, but only the pounding of his
arrive any second or not at all before calculating the perfect opportunity own heart. His vision narrowed –
darkness won out. His heartrate to attack. Evolution had made it the nothing else existed in his moment
was elevated; his pupils dilated to perfect ambush predator in nearly other than him and his target, which

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 36 11/10/2017 10:41:16 AM
was locked into a tunnel-vision-like
trance of its own. His grip tight-
ened on his spear, hovering over its
target with an instinctive aim. He
took a breath and held it. Time had
slowed to a crawl.
The strikes came simultane-
ously as the creature darted for its
prey and the man thrust his spear
upon it. The previously serene fish-
bowl was set a boil with a torrent
of vegetation, bubbles and silt. In
seconds the thrashing ceased, and
once again all was calm.
The man grasped the rope
and slowly began to retrieve his
spear with the glimmer of uncer-
tainty that always comes with the
absence of visibility. The rope felt
noticeably heavier in hand as the
handle emerged from the forest
of milfoil, followed by the head.
Attached to the spear, with tines
firmly buried to the hub the fish
lie motionless, the skillfully placed
blow through its spinal cord and
vitals rapidly bringing it to an end.
The man exhaled in deep relief
the breath he had unknowingly
been holding in. He reached over
and opened the door, momentarily
blinded by the dramatic increase
in light and invigorated by the rush
of cold air. Wisps of blood stained
the water as he lifted the fish from it
and removed it immediately out the
door onto the slate grey ice, recently
coated by a dusting of powdery
white snow.
He removed his heirloom
spear and leaned it against his
shack. He picked up the fish and
admired its heft, length and beauty.
He also admired the fact its tender
flesh would yield several meals for
his family, and memories would
feed his soul for the rest of his life.
He laid the fish back on the ice and
smiled, soaking up the scene
as the winter sun faded
into the clouds. Today
was a good day.

Jason Crean is the
president of the
Michigan Darkhouse
Angling Association
Southeast Chapter.

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 35

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 37 11/10/2017 10:41:17 AM
Af·ter Work
A tribute to those who work 9-5
everyday. Your outdoor pursuits are
precious — we hope this helps you
cherish them.
by Blake Sherburne

love Northern Michigan. What lake trout and smallmouth (is there ice cream headache first thing in
a place to live. We up here live a place in the world that offers the morning, knowing that the first
where those who live south of better smallmouth bass fishing?), eats of the day wouldn’t come until
Clare love to vacation and dream to one starts to realize that Northern the big rainbows felt a little warm
someday retire. Michigan may offer more outdoor up in the water toward lunch time.
But we are the proverbial opportunities than any other place Come Saturday and Sunday,
jack of all trades, master of none. in the world. though, the big river tends to get a
Our rivers are cold, but only kind of. The steelheading in little busy for a steelheader who
Our tailwaters are special, but only Northern Michigan is excellent. is used to the barrenness of the
kind of. We have great hatches, but Being a Christmas tree grower middle of the week. So, my friend
only kind of. We have great white- definitely has its perks; the most Kenny and I have taken to floating a
tailed deer hunting, but only kind important being business drops slightly-lesser-known small stream.
of. We also have elk, bears, coyotes off pretty precipitously December Kenny’s dad was a mail carrier in the
and great upland and waterfowl 26th. This affords me lots of time to area for thirty years and knows all
hunting, but all these options are chase sluggish winter steel. Well, the right people in the right places.
better somewhere else. The skiing it used to. Now, during the winter, Introductions to landowners were
is good in small doses. The snowmo- when the tree fields are waist deep made and life was easy. We gained
biling is as good as it can be with our in snow, I’m a stay-at-home-dad to access to a private put-in that puts
relatively uneventful terrain. While the world’s greatest two-year-old us on a seldom floated section of
these all do seem to be mediocrities, boy, Jacoby. I still get some time to water.
we do have all of them. I can’t think sneak away, though. Now, I feel like Access here is limited, as are
of another place that offers as much a 9-5 work day weekend warrior. motors, so once we shove off, we’re in
diversity. If you add in our mostly Used to be, I got to fish more it for the long haul — no jet-sledding
put-and-take steelhead and salmon during the week. I loved to fish the back to the launch come inclimate
fisheries and our truly world-class big Manistee, jetting my way to an weather or otherwise unfishable

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 38 11/10/2017 10:41:19 AM
conditions. Chainsaws and ropes for and rock, meaning the water was Fishermen-1, conditions-0.
deadfalls are de rigueur, as are good likely at or below freezing. I noticed We floated the next couple
clothing, warm waders and matches that I had forgotten the chainsaw. of miles of river uneventfully. The
and tinder, should the unthinkable The conditions had quickly become anchor ice had us discouraged and
happen. the odds on favorite to win the day. it was so cold that the line above
Winter is a great time to Our first obstacle appeared and below our bobbers froze solid.
be on the river. It’s quiet. It’s not shortly after put-in — a log that Our guides iced up, making casting
just the lack of competition or the spanned the entire width of the nearly impossible.
snow-silencing cliche. Most of the stream, just under the surface of Then, our next challenge
birds are gone. No insects buzz or the water, had collected ice until appeared. Another tree was down,
chirp. The heat of summer appears it created a sort of ice bridge. The this one hung up above the river,
to have simmered some of the water chainsaw that was locked safely in branches trailing in the current.
off, leaving the water thickened and the truck wouldn’t have done us any This time, the saw would have been
moving more slowly. It trickles a good here. Log jams are common useful. Instead, we had to go under
little more quietly around the rocks in Northern Michigan and Kenny and through. Once more, I had to
and deadfalls. and I have navigated our fair share. get out of the boat into the freezing
We shoved off from Rural The recent cold weather had made current. Kenny stayed in the boat
Route Customer - or Current this one special, though. Fourteen to push through and between the
Resident’s land first thing in the inches of ice had developed all the limbs. I lowered the boat down
morning, knowing the fishing would way around the log. We floated the river via a rope as rowing was not
not peak for hours but also knowing boat up against the jam while we an option. Once again, we made it
that we had a long float ahead of debated our options. through safely.
us. We couldn’t quite back up to the We had to drag the boat over Finally, the steelheading
river with the trailer so we had to the log, and there was only one way gods started smiling on us. Our
slide the boat off into the snow and to do that. I found myself wishing first success was spotting a pair
drag it a piece, earning our water a for my old studded wading boots. of bobcats on the bank. This one
little in the process. We cautiously stepped out of the sighting doubled my lifetime bobcat
Kenny noticed the anchor boat and stood on the icey log. With encounters. A few bends later, we
ice first. It covered the river bed in one of us on either side, the boat spotted a Golden Eagle. While we
most places. Under the water, dirty, slid over easily. We hopped back in were discussing how to differentiate
brown-gray ice clung to every snag the boat and tried not to get cocky. a Golden from an immature Bald,
The sight from Rural Route Customer - or Current Resident’s put-in on a small Northern Michigan stream. The author and
his friend, Kenny, braved a cold day to make the float. They were even rewarded with fish.

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 39 11/10/2017 10:41:20 AM
Kenny Mlcek displays a brightly-colored buck steelhead he caught floating a small Northern Michigan stream with the
author. The pair had a memorable trip that included wildlife sightings, some dicey maneuvers and a few fish.
the Golden was joined above the we declared the day a success. We course). We both took pulls to honor
river by four mature Bald Eagles. had spotted some of Northern this toad and I considered pouring a
We were busy appreciating our Michigan’s most elusive wildlife sip in the river as tribute.
good fortune for the day when our and landed some of its most elusive We barely fished on the
bobbers started dropping. gamefish, all while navigating some float out. There’s hardly a way to
As we had gotten lower in of its worst conditions. Then Kenny improve such a day and I think we
the watershed, we had picked up struck again, this time a male that knew that. We were happy to have
some warmer water from a couple would turn out to be the fish of seen the bobcats. We were happy
spring-fed creeks and a swamp. the season, maybe of the last five to have seen the eagles. The winter
The anchor ice cleared up and the seasons. steel success was almost too much
midday bite started. After spending A big fish, for Michigan to believe. But mostly, I think, we
all morning lamenting and fighting standards, it would go about twelve were relieved to be dry, warm and
the abysmal conditions, we were pounds and sported red gill covers safe.
both surprised by the first takes. and a red stripe that even my We’ve floated that stretch
We each missed a fish or two before color-impaired eyes could appre- of water many times since then.
Kenny connected with a skipper ciate. It remains the most beautiful Days have gone by where it seemed
that would go about twenty inches. steelhead I’ve ever seen. In water there was nary a fish in the state,
I hooked up next but the fish came barely above freezing, the buck took let alone in our little float. We’ve
unbuttoned before we could manage us over 100 yards below our hot had days where it seemed every
it into the net. My bobber slipped hole before we were able to get it likely-looking lie held a player steel-
under again on the next cast and in the net. We always carry a flask head. We’ve never had a better day
a hen of about seven pounds came of cheap whiskey for a celebratory than that one, though.
quickly to the net in the frigid water. “victory dance” after the landing
After the obligatory hero of a particularly nice fish (“nice”
shots, and a successful release, varies with the day and quarry, of

38 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 40 11/10/2017 10:41:21 AM

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 41 11/10/2017 10:41:21 AM
Cold by Rick Fowler
It was 5:30 a.m. The air
temperature hovered around eight
degrees on this early Saturday
morning in February. There
seemed to be a little breeze outside
the cottage, but a little breeze often
translates into stiffer air when trek-
king across hundreds of yards of
hard water. The rest of the camp’s
occupants were not up yet, which
included my son and daughter plus
a couple of their friends willing to
ice fish with “the old man” once
It’s no wonder the rest are
still in bed what with the dozen or
so games of euchre and an ample
supply of snacks that were indulged The author displays a walleye he caught while ice fishing with his children.
in the night before. Plus, it’s cold! Bottom right: The author's daughter displays her first pike she caught on a
The 75-year-old cabin had insulated particularly cold day.
us from the real bitter cold, slight younger adventurers of this week- began wondering about my own
wind and the unexpected 6 inches end’s entourage sleeping on a sanity. Florida, Arizona, Texas and
of snow that had fallen last night. pull-out next to my gear. In their 20s, Alabama all sounded good right
But, it was still cold as evidenced by they would need only a few minutes about now. I could be fishing in the
the light frost rings on the full logs to acclimate themselves to their Gulf or on the Atlantic for grouper,
of the north side bedroom. surroundings and don their gear. banana fish, marlin, mahi mahi and
I fired up the coffee pot and Unlike me, who needed more and a myriad of other ocean species.
began my preparations for a day more time every year to prepare. I MUST BE NUTS. Nonetheless, I
on the ice. My rods had been rigged As the fi rst layer was continued layering.
the night before, portable shelters applied and the second prepped, I Our “sled” has a carbu-
stocked with provisions and gear wondered, “What am I doing?” I’m retor issue so we couldn't use that
and now 3 thermoses were ready 64 years old. I’ve been ice fishing for for transportation that weekend.
to be filled for periodic warm-ups over fi ve decades. I have been lucky Luckily the hot spot in the summer
throughout the morning. Polar long enough to ice many, many walleye, also produces in the winter and it’s
underwear, two pair of socks, turtle- a few lunker pike, proudly pose with only a few hundred yards out from
neck, Under Armor windbreaker, an assortment of brown trout and the cabin. But, it’s cold!
ice parka and bibs, boots and gloves go through the anguish of losing By 6:00 a.m. I was almost
waited, draped over a corner chair. dozens more. I’ve walked out with ready to venture out but first a quick
Soon I would begin suiting up for ice my portable, and towed out a perma- glimpse at today’s live bait. The
fishing once again. nent shanty on too many lakes to blue shiners and perch minnows
I plopped into the chair mention in pursuit of my winter were none the worse for wear after
careful not to awaken two of the passion. But now, this morning, I spending their night on the porch

40 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 42 11/10/2017 10:41:23 AM
insulated with a blanket and aera- I had iced a dandy 18-inch walleye. fate and Mother Nature by venturing
tors. I headed out the door with bait It was exciting to say the least and I out onto a slab of ice?”
in hand, placed the minnow buckets admired my foe as I released the jig I remembered my response,
in my portable sled and checked head from its mouth and gently put “Because it’s fun.” In reality though,
again to see if the auger, skimmer him back down the hole. what could be fun about hiking
and rods were still there. With that The sun peeked through a half mile through waist-deep
done I grabbed the rope on the sled, a bit as I checked my baits. In the snowdrifts while lugging a sled
tucked my Stormy Kromer down on distance I could hear the crunching loaded with rods, a minnow bucket,
my head and started out. of footsteps approaching. Seemingly portable shelter and an 18-pound
The first 20 or so steps were this bit of foot traffic stirred up the auger? What is fun about having to
easy since I was on top of the crust pike cruising on the bottom below towel off after drilling through two
but as I approached the water's because another bite turned into a feet of ice and then changing into
edge, I started to go down nearly nice fight with a northern. “How’s it another sweatshirt so the chills don’t
to my knees in the fresh snow that going, dad,” my daughter asked as drive you back to shore? Where does
had fallen. Pulling a loaded shelter she and my son neared the shelter. the fun lie when your fingers turn
with gear in deep snow in the dark They knew something was up when shades of blue after dipping them
of a morning is probably not on I didn’t answer right away and into an icy minnow bucket? How
anyone's bucket list, but to get to heard the sizzle of my reel. “Ah, is it enjoyable to leave the shelter
the fish I needed to keep going. My not too bad! I’ve got a nice fish on in to check a tip-up when the wind is
headlamp revealed the slightest here. Maybe you guys can give me a howling at 25 knots?
trace of snowmobile trails which hand-eh?” The fun revolves around
made walking a little less difficult as They unzipped the door and two, now adult kids still reveling in
I could find steadier footing. At last peered in adjusting their eyes to the the thrill of ice fishing just as they
I reached an area that was about light of the heater and the shine of once did when I first took them out
8-10 feet deep, a drop-off just to the the Vexilar. “Hey, get ready to grab two decades earlier. The fun centers
west with cabbage weeds offering this geezer by the gills as I get him on the fact that even though the day
adequate structure for walleye and near the top of the hole, okay?” began very cold, it warmed up not
a feeding ground for ravenous pike. Eventually the pike was on the ice, only because of catching fish but
I was breathing a little hard so I not a lunker, but a nice 24 inch nasty through the realization that maybe,
took a minute before I started up the northern. Within another minute just maybe, my passion had rubbed
auger. Luckily, the engine fired on (and after phone camera pictures off on my children.
the third pull and I drilled enough were taken) this guy was also heading
holes, side-by-side for shelters and back to the depths.“Everyone else
singles for tip-ups, for all of us to still sleeping?” I asked my kids when
use. Sweat began to form as the last the excitement had worn down. “Oh
hole was finished. I took another yeah.”
minute, dried my face and neck with “Hey why don't you guys
a towel and proceeded to set up my take this shelter and fish for awhile?
two-man shelter. I need to stretch. I’ll set a few tip ups
Within minutes, I had two out. Later one of you can go back in
presentations ready and lowered and bring out the other portable.”
into the water. The Vexilar shared I gave up my spot and rods so they
one of the holes, and then I got could enjoy themselves and headed
the Mr. Heater warming up my out to tip up land. Within a couple
residence. In such a quiet venue of minutes I heard, “Whoa” coming
thoughts cascaded through my from the shanty. “This has to be a
mind as I continually jigged one rod pike.” Before I could get another
while keeping an eye on my dead answer there was another, “Oh
stick for any tremor of movement. yeah” and the fight for pike was now
I thought about past ice fishing in unison.
adventures, especially with my Needless to say, both kids
wife and two kids. I also recalled landed their fish which were indeed
the hoots and hollers of friends pike. And just like that it didn’t seem
who have joined me on the hard as cold outside anymore.
water be it because of icing a fish A friend of mine who was
or losing one. Memories…and then adverse to fishing on hard water
suddenly my Vex lit up followed by once asked me, ”Why on earth would
a quick tap tap and I set the hook. It a man with a college degree, and a
had only been about 20 minutes but former teacher at that, want to tempt

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 41

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 43 11/10/2017 10:41:23 AM
Every Hunt
has a
by Andy Duffy


Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 44 11/10/2017 10:41:24 AM
P What gun should I use?
ictured on a map, the large
tract of state forestland I was
traipsing across looked like a
giant puzzle piece set among all the
other pieces of farmland and forest There's no right or wrong answer, of course. Everyone seems to
making up a rural slab of Northern have his personal preference. I've noticed, though, that answers seem
Michigan. On the ground, towering to vary according to how serious a person is about taking home meat
oaks with spreading branches for the crock pot vs. savoring the hunt and limiting his kill. Twelve-
looked over open expanses of snow
gauge shotguns are common in the hare woods. A shotgun maximizes
while the regenerating forest of
maples, poplars, gray dogwood and a hunter's chances of spoiling a hare's day. With a shotgun, a hunter
other types of vegetation fought can take shots he would probably pass up were he carrying a rifle.
foot passage of humans. It did, The At one time, I always carried a twenty-gauge. It got the job
young forest provided lots of tender done just fine. Eventually, though, I developed a preference for a .22
bark and protection for the hares semi-automatic rifle. It gives me the balance I like. Hares get away and
that inhabited the land. An old the dogs get to continue the chase. I still get the thrill of getting off some
logging road, by then nearly over- shots.
grown so only a foot path remained, Others handicap themselves even more. One of my hunting
led up a hill. On the path were the companions loves to use a Judge, the revolver that fires a .410 bore
prints from half a dozen pairs of
shotgun shell. Pekrul makes his hare hunts even more challenging by
A friend and I had arrived early using a lever-action repeating rifle.
and released my trio of beagles. Suddenly, erupting from a rabbits, do. That alone makes them
They were soon on a trail, and my form fifteen feet or so away from us, challenging to hunt.
friend and I traveled up and down a blur of white exploded across the One of the things about hare
the hill jockeying for position in snowy landscape. Despite a parade hunting is it's a throwback sport.
hopes of seeing the hare when it of hunters going up and down that We often hunt deer and pheasants
approached the path. trail and dogs having gone by on a in and around cultivated fields. We
After arriving, we heard another hare trail not so far off, that partic- sometimes hunt squirrels in mature
pack of beagles that sounded as if it ular snowshoe rabbit had remained hardwoods between farm fields.
were a couple of ridges beyond us. in its form there until the knot of Nobody does that with hares. We
The dogs must have lost the hare hunters standing nearby had finally hunt hares in big, wild country, in
they were running, because they unnerved it. Naturally, it escaped country that stretches, often, for
soon joined my pack. I didn't care if unscathed. Nobody was able to get miles. It is hunting such as our
the two packs of dogs joined forces, off a shot at it. The critter's surprise pioneer forebears did. For hare
and neither did the owners of the appearance on our hare-hunting hunting, we need compasses and
other dogs. The pack size doubled, stage just added a little additional survival gear. It's not for the faint of
and so did the number of hounds drama to the morning's hunt. heart. Hare hunting makes a man
men. Every hunt is different, but every feel like a man. It's chest-beating,
It was a typical, cold, late-December one is the same. The end is always testosterone-producing and heart-
day. Shreds of Christmas wrap- to take home one of Michigan's rate-raising fun.
ping paper probably still littered jackrabbits, the elusive snowshoe During the summer, hares are a
the floors of some living rooms in rabbit, also known as the varying rusty brown. As winter approaches,
town, and plans for New Year's Eve hare. they begin turning white. When
parties were in their final stages. I always think of hare hunting snow is on the ground, the hares are
Causing our muscles to contract, a as Michigan's answer to western almost impossible to see. Hunters
chilly breeze occasionally wandered pronghorn hunting. Michigan has who like to spot and stalk them find
down the necks of our blaze-orange plenty of public land available for a hare track after a fresh snow and
coats. Sometimes light flurries filled anyone to use. Hares proliferate carefully scan ahead looking for a
the air. on that land. The hares are wary large, black eye or the tuft of black
I could hear the beagle chorus still and tough to harvest. They have a hair that edge its ears.
in the valley beyond the ridge jutting great natural defense system. With The females may have up to four
upward before me. I wandered down their large eyes and sensitive ears, litters each year. Usual litter sizes
the path where I encountered a they have acute vision and hearing. range from three to eight young.
couple of the strangers who had Their large hind feet allow them to The babies are precocious. Soon
thrown in with us. We stood in a run on the fluffiest of snow. They after birth, they are capable of
huddle and conferred while we aren't called snowshoe rabbits for getting around quite well.
waited for the circling hare to draw nothing. And they make larger Despite what many in the Upper
closer. circles than their cousins, cottontail Midwest and Northeast tend to

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 43

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 45 11/10/2017 10:41:24 AM
any were close to my home. As far as
I knew, I had never seen one.
I was probably not alone. I'd bet
that a lot of Michigan residents have
never seen a hare – even if they live
in hare territory. Hares are active
during twilight and darkness. And,
unlike cottontail rabbits, they're
seldom found in towns. They require
expansive tracts of shrubs or young
trees, flora that will provide large
numbers of small stems. Loggers
and clearcuts are the friends of
hares. So are those areas of low
ground that seem to always hold a
dense network of small-diameter
trees regardless of the age of the
woody growth. Plantations of young
conifers also provide hare habitat.
Unless a person spends time in those
environments, he might possibly
spend his entire life in the state and
Matt Hildebrand, Paul Bullock, Mark Bullock and Josh Dorn roast hot dogs never notice a hare.
while waiting for the dogs to bring a hare around. Winter afternoons in the In the fall and spring, a hare's
woods offer all kinds of possibilities. color change occurs across about a
think, varying hares are widely Even here in Michigan, I 10-week period. I occasionally spot
distributed. They're found from think the farther north I go, the more one in the fall when I'm out hunting
Alaska to Newfoundland along hares I see. Although I can find hares birds or deer that has a very mottled
the northernmost reaches of their to hunt near my home somewhat appearance as it is changing its color.
range and from British Columbia north of the U.S. 10 corridor, still, I By the end of Michigan's season,
to Connecticut and Rhode Island in covet those times when I can make it they are obviously changing color
the east. Their range also extends closer to the tip of the mitt or even to again.
south along the Pacific Coast ranges the Upper Peninsula to hunt. Hares The theory of hunting hares with
well into California, the spine of are plentiful, public ground is ample hounds is pretty simple. A hunter
the Rockies down into New Mexico and more acres of hare habitat exist merely needs to take his dogs to jack-
and the Appalachians as far south there. rabbit country and turn them loose.
as Tennessee and North Carolina. The hares may even be bigger up The hounds will find a hare track and
In the United States, though, it is north. Biologists have noted that begin baying on it. The hare, having a
the northern tier of states from often individual members of a species home territory it won't want to leave,
Minnesota to Maine that receive the tend to be larger in colder climates. will run in a circle. The hunter can
bulk of hunting attention, perhaps They believe that is because larger just wait until the hare comes past
because of the prevalence of tula- animals have a lower surface area the spot where the dog began baying
remia in the West. in proportion to their body mass on the trail and take a shot.
As a general rule, the farther north than smaller animals do. Whether or Ah, but only the naive believe
a person is, the greater number of not the principle is at work in hares things actually work that way.
hares he will find. In Alaska and and makes a noticeable difference First, hares don't really circle any
Northern Canada, sometimes hares between those at the southern end of more than a child playing a game
reach incredible numbers only to their range in Michigan and those in of tag in his yard will. They might
shortly suffer a population crash. the Upper Peninsula, I've certainly make a figure eight or backtrack.
Some researchers have documented seen some huge hares while hunting They might see or hear the hunter
population cycles that range in north of the bridge. and change their route. They might
length from seven to 17 years. The I began hunting hares while I do any number of things. Hares have
cycles may be closely tied to lynx was still in my teens. A neighbor a lot of tricks up their sleeves.
cycles. I have a friend who was had a brace of beagles, and I often When the snow is deep, hares will
stationed in Alaska when he was in accompanied him on cottontail tend to travel on routes they and
the Air Force. During his time there, hunts. When he invited me to go others have gone before. A hunter
hares were near the peak of their after "jackrabbit" hunting with him, in the hare woods will notice these
cycle. My friend said hares were I was mildly surprised. I was aware main routes littered with tracks. A
everywhere. of hares, but I guess I never realized wise hunter will find a vantage point

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 46 11/10/2017 10:41:25 AM
What should I do?
where he can watch one of those
hare highways.
And speaking of wise hunters, I
firmly believe this: Hare hunting is
as good an IQ. test as anything Alfred
I want to hunt hares, but I don't have a dog
Binet ever originated. Just watch
the good hunters. First, they have Most of the hare hunters I know are happy to introduce others
an uncanny sense of place. They're to the sport. Even if a person just casually knows a hare hunter, he
rarely disoriented. They seem should feel free to ask if he can join a hunt sometime. If the hunter is
capable of wandering far off the OK with the idea, he'll get back with the person. If he doesn't want the
beaten path without fear of getting company, he just won't bother returning the person's call.
lost. They quickly analyze the circle A couple of things can help a person receive an invitation to
a hare is making, and get in position hunt hares. First, I want to know a little about the person. Is he (or she)
to take a shot.
safe with a firearm? I never want to be in the woods with someone
Often, though, hare cover is so thick
a person will rarely see more than
who can't keep his gun barrel always pointed in a safe direction. Also,
a glimpse of his quarry. In those does the person have some discretion? Will he keep hunting locations a
areas, a hunter is mainly exercising secret? Nobody wants to take a friend or an acquaintance out hunting
his dogs while listening to the hound only to learn later that the person went back repeatedly (or, worse
chorus. Even that is enough to get yet, went back with other hunters who tried to shoot every hare in the
me to the woods. I simply like being woods). Almost all the areas I hunt are on public land and anyone can
outdoors, watching the dogs work hunt them. And other people do hunt them; I know that. But after I've
and enjoying nature. scouted and found a location, I don't want every Tom, Dick and Harry
When a person isn't seeing hares, he in the world to be told about it by a supposed "friend." A person's
can still find plenty to do. One typical
ability to keep secrets has a lot to do with his chances of getting invited
hunt went like this: I rounded up a
group of guys to go on a daylong hare out on more hunts.
hunting excursion with me. We went typical creek-bottom types of cover
eating venison jerky and candy bars.
to a parcel of state forest I had found – alders, a few aspens, tall grass
One of them had seen the hare when
tracks in a couple of weeks earlier. and other assorted types of vegeta-
it came by, but once again couldn't
We let the dogs out of the truck and tion. Outside the creek bottom was
get off a shot at it. After a while, the
found a fresh sign. Baying happily, a regenerating aspen clearcut and
dogs came back through. We loaded
the dogs took off for all the places a a smattering of cedars, tamaracks
them up and headed home.
hare likes to go. and hemlocks. A hundred yards or
Even when a hare comes right by a
The hunters fanned out, each one more away, my beagle was hot on a
person, it can present difficult shots.
hoping to find the magic spot where hare track. We could hear her baying
First, the swamp ghosts are erratic.
he could get a shot.. swelling across the snowy landscape
They typically stay way out in front of
The dogs trailed the hare back as if they were waves rolling up on a
the dogs. Sometimes they will just sit
through the general vicinity where beach.
and wait for the dogs to nearly catch
the chase began a couple of times, The trail my dog was on must have
up. Then they will flee at a dead run.
but nobody was able to get a shot at taken her close enough to another
Other times, they just hop along far
it. hare so the second hare became
ahead of the dogs. I've had them hop
The thing must have decided to try totally unnerved. This I know: A
behind me unnoticed. I didn't realize
to outwit the dogs in another area or hare bolted along the creek bottom
they were nearby until the dogs came
the dogs switched hares. Anyway, straight toward me. It looked like
through. That happens because of
the beagles took off for new country. a shadow running along. Then it
their camouflage. A person can try
I, trying to guess where the hare turned to parallel the road and
to keep looking around furtively, but
was headed from the arc of the dogs' charged toward Pekrul.
the things are so easy to overlook.
path, went on a wild goose chase I gestured frantically hoping to
Usually we don't really see hares. We
through hemlocks and red pines. catch Pekrul's attention. He saw
see blurs of movement when they
With snow down my neck and pine me pointing toward the woods and
come by.
needles in my face, I realized I had spotted the hare. It was sitting again
But every generalization has an
miscalculated. The hare was back in by then. The bullet from Pekrul's .22
exception. Last winter Fred Pekrul
the area where we had parked. Winchester magnum tore through
and I were on one of the Upper
It was mid afternoon by then and I the hare's engine compartment,
Peninsula hare hunting excursions
was exhausted. I made my way back and Pekrul had something to add to
we love. About a hundred yards
toward the truck. When I got there, his game pouch. That is what hare
apart, we stood on a seasonal road
someone had built a fire. The other hunting is all about: Big country, big
where a little stream flows under it.
hunters were roasting hot dogs and rabbits and lots of excitement.
Along the stream bottom were the

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 45

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Birds, Dogs, Traditions

by Perry Masotti

The "Sweet Rig" is home away from home for hard-working bird dogs.

46 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 48 11/10/2017 10:41:32 AM
Woodcock tracks and bore holes mean one thing: a timberdoodle is holding
tight nearby.

A woodcock is pinned with nowhere to go but up. Eight-month old Paint River
Llewellin sisters, Missy and Stella,were precocious and humbled during their
first season afield.

Ruffed grouse, woodcock, pasties, smoked fish and
camaraderie — from early- to mid-October, the author
returned to hunt the beautiful and wild Upper Peninsula
with eight friends and four breeds of bird dogs. They
hailed from New York, West Virginia, and the Upper
and Lower Peninsulas.
Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 49 11/10/2017 10:41:43 AM
Riley, a German shorthaired pointer, has a woodcock pinned down.

The photographer's GSP, Elk, proudly displays
this woodcock he helped New York resident
Larry Giordano harvest.

46 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 50 11/10/2017 10:41:51 AM
Upper Peninsula resident Dennis Stachewicz tallies the day's grouse and
woodcock contacts.

Dan Canedo, of the Lower Peninsula, had just
harvested this bird over his brittany spaniel,

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

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 51 11/10/2017 10:41:58 AM
On the photographer's last evening in the U.P.,
he and his GSP, Elk, flew 20 woodcock — the
flights were in full-swing.

Only the important things in life can adorn
a grouse vest.

New York's Kyle Warren and his setter are Yoo

48 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 52 11/10/2017 10:42:08 AM
A Yooper ruffed grouse and the 80-year-old Lefever that brought it to the bag.

A crafty woodlander prepares to blast off.

setter are Yoopers for a month and a half each fall.

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 53 11/10/2017 10:42:16 AM
a new

by Darin Potter

The author's nephew, Brock, with his weekend catch of muskrat. Brock received the colony traps he used to catch the
muskrats as a Christmas present from the author. Right: The author helps his nephew remove a muskrat from one of the
colony traps he received as a Chirstmas present.

hortly after arriving at my too, became interested in learning cage. I explained to my nephew how
parents' hunting property my how to trap. After loading up our this potato would fool a muskrat
nephew, Brock, was eager to traps and supplies in the back of the into believing it was a root, which
set up the two colony traps that I side-by-side we drove down a farm rats love to dine on. We hoped that
had bought for him as a Christmas lane, which led to the south end of on this outing it would be enticing
present just a few weeks earlier. a three acre pond. It was in this enough to lure a muskrat inside
Every winter it has been a family location that we decided to place of the trap. After we finished
tradition to travel to this particular one muskrat colony trap below the completing this set we decided to
property and fit in some small game ice in a narrow run that the musk- place two more colony traps on the
hunting along with trapping. Brock rats had been using. Inside of the east side of the pond to help increase
had joined me on many trapping trap we placed a small piece of a our chances of success. With a total
adventures on this property in the skinned potato, which we wired of three traps placed beneath the ice
past, and it wasn’t long before he, about halfway in to the inside of the we left the area in hopes of finding

52 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 54 11/10/2017 10:42:18 AM
some fur the following day. If you have never had the opportu- improve. It is amazing how excited
Most trappers with whom I have nity to be a mentor to someone that young trappers get when you take
spoken got into trapping because a is new to trapping, consider sharing them out on the trap line and they
friend or family member took them your time and knowledge with begin experiencing trapping for the
along on a trap line and showed someone who would like to begin. first time. Whenever I show my
them how to trap. As for my interest You will quickly find that regardless nephew fresh sign, whether it is a
in trapping, it began with a couple of whether they are young or old it muskrat den or fresh woodchips
of old, rusty traps hanging on the is not only extremely fulfilling, but made by a beaver, his enthusiasm
wall in my dad’s tool shed. One day it ensures that the future of trap- and excitement puts a big smile
as I passed by them my curiosity ping will continue to flourish. on my face and causes me to work
consumed me and before long I Being a mentor to my nephew harder as a mentor. Allowing
found myself tagging along with is something that I look forward to younger trappers the freedom to
him and laying down some steel of each trapping season. After all, this make some of their own decisions
my own. I can easily recall my first is the best spent time in the outdoors is also important when mentoring.
experience trapping with him on that I have ever experienced. These could consist of, how many
my grandparents' farm. We set a When mentoring others, I have traps they would like to set and the
few footholds out near a pond along found that patience is one of the length of time they would like to
an old fencerow, where we found most important qualities when stay afield. A low-pressure learning
some signs of raccoon. Although I spending time on the trap line with environment is key to keeping new
was unsuccessful on this particular someone new to the sport. Taking trappers interested in trapping.
outing, it had no bearing on my the time to answer questions and According to Mark Earl, public
desire to keep trapping. I soaked explaining the types of traits and relations director for the Michigan
up all of the knowledge that my dad habits associated with a partic- Trappers & Predator Callers
could teach me like a sponge and ular fur bearer such as sign, food Association and a member of the
from that point on I was addicted to and habitat will help educate the National Trappers Association,
trapping. beginning trapper and help them “The very first piece of advice I can

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 53

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 55 11/10/2017 10:42:19 AM
give is to keep it basic and keep the Mark advises, “An older child or of muskrat setups and the best
trapper interested. Checking empty teenager will do well starting with locations to set them. The expert
traps is an important aspect of trap- muskrats or raccoons. Again, these advice also provided him with more
ping as even the most experienced are not too difficult to catch and are knowledge about the basics of
trappers do this, but a new trapper plentiful in most areas. Putting muskrat trapping than I was able
needs to see a little success. The age up raccoons requires a little more to offer. However, nothing can beat
and maturity of a trapper determine strength and is a suitable task for the hands-on experience of showing
how I will mentor them.” an early teen. A younger child will someone how to trap directly out in
Muskrats are oftentimes the not have fun trapping a large critter the field.
first type of furbearing animal that that they can’t even carry. Younger Besides mentoring the younger
comes to mind when trappers recall trappers seem to learn fast with generation of trappers, it’s
their first experience trapping. The muskrats as they are not difficult to important not to overlook older indi-
simplicity of trapping them makes catch and the size makes them very viduals who would also like to begin
them the perfect animal for a new manageable. The time spent in a trapping or expand their knowledge
trapper to "cut their teeth" on. The fur shed is important and putting of the sport. Although I haven’t
equipment is minimal and they up muskrats will not overwhelm a mentored any older trappers Mark
can be fairly easy to catch if traps child.” has had numerous opportunities in
are set in an area that holds good Even though my nephew and I this area and shared the following
rat numbers and sign. This type only have a few days each season to experience about a friend of his.
of trapping will help new trappers trap together this is plenty of time “In my experience, many new
gain confidence in their trapping to teach him more about trapping trappers these days that are older
abilities and allow them to build up and hold his interest in the sport. are drawn to it because of coyotes.
to other furbearing animals such as Besides buying him a couple of Watching coyotes from a deer stand
fox and coyote, which can be more colony traps for Christmas, I also or hearing the haunting howls after
difficult to trap. Along with rats, bought him a muskrat trapping dark is exciting and creates a little
mink, beaver and raccoons are also DVD that we watched together one mystery. I have spent time with
excellent choices for the beginning evening. This helped him visu- many new trappers in their forties
trapper. alize some of the different types that want to trap to help their deer
Brock uses an ice sifter to prepare for the placement of a colony trap on property owned by the author's parents.

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 56 11/10/2017 10:42:21 AM
The author's nephew, Brock, pulls out one of his colony traps from the ice and finds a muskrat inside.
population. Mentoring an older Michigan offers two options for To sign up for a traditional
or even retired trapper can be very trapper education: traditional class- trapper education class near
rewarding. A friend of mine trapped room and online. Traditional class- you visit www.michigan.gov/
as a child and decided to get back room is instructor led.” recreationalsafety.
into it now that he is retired. I had
a great time working with him in the
fur shed and can’t describe how good DAMAGE

I felt when his put-up fur looked even
better than mine. When he caught
his first coyote he sent a picture to

my phone and I felt happier than I
would have been if I had made the

Besides being a mentor to a new
trapper, another excellent alterna-
tive is to help them enroll in a trapper
education class.
Since 2009, the Michigan TO REPORT FERAL SWINE OR FOR
Department of Natural Resources MORE INFORMATION PLEASE
(MDNR) has offered a trapper educa- 517.336.1928
tion program for those individuals OR
who are interested in learning more WWW.MICHIGAN.GOV/FERALSWINE
about trapping. According to the
MDNR, “The purpose of the Trapper FERAL SWINE 
Education Program is to help indi- DAMAGE AGRICULTURE,
viduals throughout the U.S. acquire PROPERTY, PEOPLE AND
the knowledge, skill, attitude, and CULTURAL SITES 
judgment to selectively and respon-
sibly trap furbearing animals.

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 55

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 57 11/10/2017 10:42:23 AM
by Jason Herbert

56 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 58 11/10/2017 10:42:25 AM
oney, get the kids inside “He's huge! Please tell me
quick! Where are the you didn’t trap a German Shepherd!”
dogs?” My wife's frantic My wife exclaimed a few days later.
screaming from the other end of On a whim, she decided to check
the house caught me off guard. I've the trapline with me one Sunday
been married long enough to know afternoon. Not long into our hike,
that I should just react rather than we walked up on that same huge
ask questions. Like an early pioneer male coyote that had been caught
dad saving his family from a grizzly in a neck snare. She was right, at
bear attack, I hollered at all the kids 58 inches from nose to toes and
to come back inside. weighing in at almost 40 pounds,
“What's going on?” I asked. this giant male was certainly a force
“There's a huge coyote in the back- to be reckoned with.
yard,” she replied with genuine Some may ask, “Why hunt
concern. and trap predators?” Predators of
Chuckling, I replied to her. all shapes and sizes are a problem
“Don't worry, he's not going to hurt in Michigan. With a huge garden
anything.” and barns full of livestock, I don't
I finally had time to peek want predators tearing up my sweet
out the window to see what she was corn or killing my chickens. As an
so worried about. Standing proud avid hunter, whose family depends
and tall in broad daylight, gently on the venison, wild turkey and
strolling through the field behind rabbits that I harvest each year,
my house was the biggest coyote I don't want predators eating the
I had ever seen. I got on the back meals that are supposed to go to
deck and started yelling at him. The my family. Another good reason to
coyote just looked at me without a be a fur taker is that selling pelts
care in the world and trotted off. is one of the few outdoor sports
With the way the wind was blowing where someone can actually make
this particular morning, I could money to offset the cost of the other
tell he was scent checking the deer hobbies.
bedding area behind the picked bean As far as predator hunting
field that I am fortunate enough to goes, I only hunt coyotes. I’m priv-
call my backyard. ileged to have hunted around the
That encounter with Mr. world and can honestly say that I
Coyote was in the middle of winter, have never met a more challenging
and I assumed that he was probably adversary than a coyote. The name
worn out from breeding, cold and “Wile E. Coyote” is famous for a
pretty hungry. I understood his reason. They are incredibly difficult
needs, but also that didn’t mean I to lure close enough to get a good
approved of the way he planned shot. Not only is predator hunting
to go about meeting them. I don't and trapping just plain fun, it
really appreciate coyotes that close makes sense. With the deer fawns
and comfortable to my home and in Michigan being born from late-
farm. With a house full of young April to early-June, coyotes have a
children and pets, plus my livestock, six-week period to feast on them.
I don't want to have to worry about It is also astounding how many
any loss to predators. Also, let's not healthy adult deer a coyote can kill
forget deer, wild turkeys, rabbits each season. In Michigan, coyotes
and other game animals that I are not our only concern, wild dogs
encourage to live on my property. I are also hunting deer in the Lower
quickly realized that the Mr. Coyote Peninsula, and ask any Yooper what
needed to go. the wolves have done up north of the
My philosophy when it bridge — the problem will become
comes to predators is simple, the clear. Raccoons, possums, skunks
farm isn't big enough for the both and feral cats are terrorizing wild
of us, so either we eat or they eat. turkey nests and their young poults
I knew my priority so it was time to too. Not only is trapping and hunting
set some traps. predators a great way to beat cabin

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 57

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 59 11/10/2017 10:42:27 AM
Look closely and you'll see a Michigan legal neck snare. In Michigan, each trap needs to be tagged with the owners
identifying information. Also, a “deer stop” needs to be installed above the end, preventing the snare to close too tight
and possibly snagging a deer leg. Herbert likes to “brush in” his snares and funnel the coyote movement right into the
trap. For starters, begin by securing the snare someplace along a well used trail. Then, add a few extra twigs or brush
on either side of the snare to force the animals into the loop. Also, extra trapping wire will always come in handy for
making overhanging hanging lines to secure the snare in place.
fever, it's the least we outdoorsmen the continent to hunt consistently. natural instincts. The ideal setup
can do to help populations stay in To successfully hunt a is to get where there's no possible
balance and better manage our predator, you'll first need to find way the coyote can get downwind
properties for game species. one, which isn't hard to do. A bit of of you or the call. The shot usually
I'm convinced that most scouting for fresh tracks and scat will come when the animal is trying
predator hunts are over before they will help you pinpoint where the to circle downwind. In some situa-
start because of noisy, careless predators are hanging out. Listen tions, I've also had them just come
hunters not accessing their setup at night for howling, and talk to running in to see what's going on.
properly. As I said, my predator of neighbors. Usually, everyone in Unless that animal has just had
choice to hunt is the coyote, but some the neighborhood knows where a fresh kill and is already full, or
Michigan hunters may also have a the coyotes are. Once you realize they're sleeping in the den and they
crack at bobcats — and depending where the animals are, it's time to can't hear the calls, they will come
on the year, wolves. Either way, formulate a plan. When hunting in running very quickly. Like I said,
setting up for a predator hunt is the predators, take the geography and the devil is in the details, and in
same, and the devil is in the details. wind direction into consideration. theory, hunting coyotes really isn't
I don't know if we humans will ever In my opinion, there is no perfect that hard as long as you pay atten-
truly comprehend the power of a setup for predators, but there are tion and get the right set up.
predator's nose, but in a nutshell, some things to check off that can put An example of my favorite
it is wise to remember that these the odds in your favor. Look for is setup is on a farm that borders a
animals live and die by their sense an area that you can quietly sneak large river. The coyotes have a den
of smell. They also have incredible into, downwind of where you think on this particular farm in some
hearing and eyesight which makes the animals are hiding. My number thick brush upwind of the river.
them one of the hardest animals on one trick is to exploit the animal's The predators also hunt rabbits

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 60 11/10/2017 10:42:33 AM
and birds all over this thick area. I
park far away, along the road and I
will walk in directly to the river —
on a southwest wind. Then, with
my scent dropping into the river,
I will quietly turn to the west and
approach the thick, nasty area
where I know the coyotes frequent. I
always hunt in a team, and without
a sound, I will set up my electronic
caller between my hunting partner
and myself. Generally, within five
minutes of the first call sequence,
we will either have a coyote down
on the ground or we'll be tracking,
if we've done everything right.
I primarily focus on trap-
ping raccoons, possums, skunks,
and coyotes. I equate trapping to
bottom-fishing in the ocean because
you never know what you're going
to get. That being said, there are
different setups for large and small
predators. Be sure before setting
a single trap that you are very
familiar with the local laws because
there are a lot of them. For trapping
coyotes we use one of two things,
neck snares and leg holds.
When snaring coyotes, the
trick is to find a place that they're
already traveling. In the circum-
stance I described above where we
got that giant male, my dad had
pinpointed his tracks in the snow
exactly where he was crossing a
fence line. Then it was as simple
as some scent free rubber gloves
and few pruners to brush in the
gap nice and tight. Next, we wired
a snare to a nearby tree and simply
waited. We checked our traps daily. Just the slightest touch of the pan can fire a well-set leg-hold trap. Here we can
Not only is it the law, but is the only see a closeup of a coyotes leg. The blood on the fur indicates that the animal
humane way to trap. By the second was dispatched before the picture was taken, otherwise the picture may not
day, we had him. Everybody has have been so close.
different opinions when it comes a lot has to go right to successfully small tree and building some sort of
to setting coyote neck snares, but I snare a large predator by the neck, backstop of brush against the tree.
like to make the snare loop about 10 it is a great and inexpensive way for Then we will dig a small hole, drop
to 12 inches in diameter and hang someone to get started trapping. some scented bait lure into it and
it about 8 inches off the ground. The most effective way, in set the trap a few inches away. We
Generally, when snaring, we get the my opinion, to consistently catch cover the trap ever-so-slightly with
coyote by the neck or the front leg large predators his to utilize leg pine needles, dirt or some other
and the neck. Be ready to dispatch hold traps. Neck snaring brings the sort of debris to keep it covered up.
the animal because I guarantee you trap to the animal, where a leg hold It is important not to be too heavy
they are not going to be happy when brings the animal to the trap. When handed on it, ensuring that the trap
you walk up on them. We usually running leg holds, most people will still fire, holding animal's leg
just bring a .22 long rifle with us utilize some sort of bait set up to get securely when they do step on it.
and a quick shot to the head means the animal to cooperate. We've had The reason we use a backstop is that
lights out for the animal. Although good luck fastening our trap to a it only allows the animal to access

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 59

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 61 11/10/2017 10:42:33 AM
To keep it simple, several trapping companies are making per-packaged predator trapping kits for land managers.
Pictured are the contents of the Dakota Line Complete Land Management Predator Package. The package includes
leg-hold traps, neck snares, several trapping tools, lures and bait, plus instructional DVDs. The traps will need to be
rusted up a bit and dyed; but other than that, this gear is ready to use out of the package.
the scent from a certain direction, Like I mentioned before lot out of our garden, and will get
increasing our chances of a possible when it comes to eating, it's either multiple chickens in one night.
snare up. In areas where there are us or them. We also protect our POSSIBLE SIDEBAR??? On a side
no trees, you'll need to use an earth summer sweet corn and tomatoes note, you might hear all about a way
anchor. Also, dig a deeper hole as well as our chickens and turkeys to poison raccoons, possums and
for the bait and pile the extra dirt from predators. We use a different skunks from old farmers in your
on one side of the hole, creating a set up though, and simply live trap area. Not to make this a lecture, but
situation where the coyote still has them in the spring and summer. We don't use poison. I just read about a
to step into it from a certain direc- set the live traps in the corn patch farmer who got in a lot of trouble
tion. Practice setting the traps long or the tomatoes and check it every with the DNR because he was
before you actually use them. Also morning. When we do catch one of poisoning raccoons. When running
traps should be good and rusty so the hungry rascals, (hoping it’s not poison, you can't control who will
that they don't shine it all and they a skunk) we throw in the back of the come drink and you don't want to
need to be dipped in wax to keep truck, drive it a couple miles away find your neighbor's dog dead in
any human scent off them. I really and let it go on the side of the road. your garden.
recommend getting on the internet At this time of year these animals If you're going to get serious
and watching trapping videos are full of fleas, their pelts are not about predator control, you owe it
because there are tons of great prime, and we have so many other to yourself and the animals to learn
sources of information out there. things going then we don't even how to skin and prep their hides
Ask experienced trappers for help need to worry about furs. What we for sale on the open market. In a
too. They tend to be a quiet bunch, do worry about is keeping them nutshell, it is important to quickly
but every single one that I have met out of our garden. Although all skin the animal, remove any left-
has been very eager to share infor- small compared to a coyote, skunks, over flesh and fat from the hide, and
mation with me when asked. possums, and raccoons will eat a get it on a stretcher to dry as soon

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 62 11/10/2017 10:42:40 AM
as possible. From there, collect your
dried hides all winter long to sell at
an auction fur harvesting event. If
you don't want to hassle with furs,
another option is to simply find a
trapper who would appreciate you
donating anything you kill to them.
There are also fur buyers who will
simply pay you for the dead animal
carcass. You won't make as much
by selling the dead animal, but it's
better than nothing at all.
Give predator control a
try this winter. Not only will you
have fun getting out of doors and
learning a new hobby, the game
species on your property will be
better because of it. All of creation
belongs in our natural environment, Herbert practices predator control
but without regulated hunting on his property that he manages
seasons on certain things, their for white-tailed deer and turkey.
population could get out of control. Herbert shares the experience with
It's our job as sportsmen and women his children and teaches them the
who truly want what's best for the proper predator control techniques
environment to continue to manage so that they can pass the tradition
predators. on to their children.

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 59

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 63 11/10/2017 10:42:47 AM
by Andy Duffy

t was a church camp, but I was
going there to hunt rabbits. My
hunting buddy assured me we
would have lots of action. He'd been
there hunting a week or two earlier,
and rabbits were everywhere.
His buildup didn't let me
down. The thirty or so acres in
the heart of Michigan's Lower
Peninsula was a rabbit heaven. The
camp consisted of a chapel, a dorm,
a director's unit and not much else
in the way of buildings that I can
recall. The rest of the grounds were
covered with jagged jack pines, their
trunks and branches, crooked and
green, standing in sharp contrast to
the pale white of the snow covering
the ground. So I found myself a
hunter of rabbits where during the
summer the denomination's parish-
ioners were taught to be fishers of
I don't remember how many
cottontails our hunting party shot
that day, but it was plenty. The
pack of beagles we had along had
no trouble finding another rabbit to
track each time a gun cracked and New Mexico resident Andrew Fromer found a bit of paradise when he visited
the shadow of death passed over the Michigan for a rabbit hunt. With a passion that borders on religious fervor,
one they were currently running. confirmed rabbit hunters love to pursue cottontails.
We didn't have ten command-
in their gardens. If the solution was on areas humans staked out for
ments for the day, but there were a
to sacrifice a few rabbits on the altar themselves. Every little bit of odd
couple: Thou shalt be careful with
of rabbit hunting, they were fine cover can be home to a cotton-
each shot and thou shalt not be shy
with letting the group of hunters tail. They are like unwholesome
about shooting rabbits. Any time
wander around their holy land. So thoughts: They just kind of sneak
a hunting party has more than a
for several years, I was part of an in and take up residence. They live
couple people, everyone needs to be
annual pilgrimage to the camp- in town in the neighbor's shrub-
very careful about the direction he
grounds, a place that became our bery, they live in the suburbs in the
shoots. And regarding the second
own personal basilica. little brush lots, and they live in
commandment, the camp's director
A lot of places in Michigan the country in the damp potholes
and some of the neighbors whose
can be someone's holy land. that farmers don't bother trying to
houses lay just beyond the camp's
Cottontails are just everywhere. cultivate.
boundaries were tired of having
Unlike grouse, rabbits can encroach A friend and I used to hunt
cottontails eat up all the vegetables

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a spot in the middle of a field. The we would let the rabbit go and give hay looking abandoned and forlorn
bit of cover held a huge tree trunk Rosie time to squirm out of the pile. stood in a somber row alongside
lying on its side and a bunch of She would take the track and be off the farm equipment. There also
brush piled around it. Whoever in hot pursuit. We would just wait was an old shed with doors askew
took down the tree and limbed it out for the rabbit to circle and come containing other items that could
left a lot of stuff behind too small back. One memorable afternoon, conceal a rabbit. A neighbor had
for firewood. Grass grew up around Rosie drove seven cottontails out planted a few acres of pines next
the brush pile. Untold numbers of of that one brush pile. We stopped door to our erstwhile farmer's place,
little crevasses were available for going there when the wood decayed and they were of a perfect size to
rabbits to take cover in. Any time and stopped holding rabbits. Before hide rabbits. Rabbit tracks just
we wanted to, I think my friend and the pile went to, um, heck, though, littered the ground around the farm
I could have kicked around in the those resident bunnies must have machinery.
brush pile and scared out a rabbit. thought the hounds of Satan We would turn Rosie loose
We didn't need to bother himself were after them every time among the farm equipment. Soon
with that routine, though. I had a we stopped by. she would roust out a rabbit. An
pretty good beagle named Rosie. Hunters might want to uproar would ensue as the rabbit,
When we hunted there, we would really focus on those isolated bits of as if it were fleeing from the gates
just put Rosie to work. She would cover a lot of people ignore. Another of hell, would ricochet around in
worm into the pile and begin to bay. place I used to hunt frequently the machinery and then rocket
Sometimes we caught glimpses of consisted of some 20 acres that off. Rosie's bays rolled across the
rabbit deep in the pile. Eventually had a little swale that often held countryside as she followed in hot
one would come bursting out. If my a rabbit or two. The swale wasn't pursuit. Nobody but the rabbit
friend had a good shot at the rabbit, what made the place a heavenly knew where the chase might end.
he would take it. In those situations, destination, though. Around the Sometimes one of the rascally crit-
of course, a person needs to be rickety house were assorted pieces ters would run inside the old shed
certain the dog isn't on the heels of of old farm equipment – a hay baler, and take cover there. Sometimes
the rabbit, so he would wait until a combine, a couple of tractors and one would lead Rosie on a merry
the rabbit was well on its way before other assorted odds and ends. Big, chase that probably resembled the
he would shoot. Generally, though, round bales of several-year-old search for the Holy Grail. Around
Searching for a rabbit, the author's beagle disappears into the catacombs. Areas with folded over vegetation offer
rabbits lots of protection and, therefore, great hunting. Beagles will worm their way into the grottos and ferret out the

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 61

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 65 11/10/2017 10:42:50 AM
shrubs that bend over under the
weight of snow. Under the shrubs,
little caverns remain. The caverns
are catacombs: They form a vast
network of interconnected grottos
and recesses. Such swamps form
amazing refuges for rabbits. A good
beagle, though, will worm down
into the caverns and ferret out the
rabbits. I once trained a half-grown
pup in such an area, and she would
trail a rabbit an amazing distance
entirely under the snow before the
beleaguered cottontail would finally
pop to the surface. I would track the
progress of the chase by watching
the quivering snow and listening for
the pup's muffled bays and yelps.
Adult dogs don't have it so easy.
Still, they fight their way into the
caverns and get the job done. They
eventually harry the rabbits into
coming to the surface where a
The author's beagle, Scout, hunts among the catacombs last winter. Such areas proper dog chase can go on.
as those pictured are rabbit havens. The religious ramifica-
and around the rabbit would go – certain, but I think I'm seeing more tions of such hunts are obvious.
through the pines, into the swale, youth in the woods. Time will tell. The rabbits are Christians, and
back past the old farm machinery Still, the religious over- the beagles are Roman soldiers. A
and into the moldy hay. tones of rabbit hunting remain person should root for the rabbits.
We got some shooting in everywhere. Cottontails are Life sometimes gets warped, though.
often enough. We couldn't see what demons invading everyone's own, We root for the wrong team.
was happening in the pines, but personal Garden of Eden. They So during the hunt, Matt
when the rabbit was between its need snuffed out before all of para- and Mark both connected with
other hangouts, we often could dise is destroyed. Rabbit hunters rabbits. I guess I'm not averse to
blaze away. The pine's low-hanging are pilgrims engrossed in a quest scrambling my metaphors. I posted
limbs eventually died, making to reduce rabbit numbers to a a picture to a social media site with
them worthless for rabbit cover. manageable number. Hunters are the comment that St. Matthew and
But while that paradise remained, John Bunyan's Christian seeking St. Mark had both taken a rabbit
we had loads of fun whiling away a the Celestial City, and to get there, during the afternoon's hunt in the
wintertime afternoon. they must conquer the sins repre- catacombs. I could have mentioned
One of the things I miss sented by rabbits. Or how about that St. Joseph hadn't, but I didn't
about the old days is that rabbit this: Beagles are travelers mired in want to get too carried away.
hunting is no longer a rite of passage the Slough of Despond, and hunters A friend quickly responded
the way it once was. Years ago, the need to rid the slough of rabbits by asking how St. Andrew had done.
beagle was the most popular dog before they can continue their Uh, St. Andrew hadn't done
breed in the United States, children journey. Choose your metaphor. so well. Some questions should go
were confirmed on rabbit hunts And now, curiously intermingled unasked.
and their catechism was the rules with old hunting traditions and There was peace in the
of gun safety. Then those halcyon Christian terminology, the Internet valley, though. We'd spent the
days disappeared. So many gener- comes into play. Hunters report afternoon hunting in paradise,
ations passed that city folks lost their success – or lack thereof – getting baptized by the cold, fresh
their country roots. Big farming immediately by way of social media. air and having communion in the
practices took hold and fence rows Hidebound traditionalist great outdoors. The hunt over, we
disappeared. Deer hunting grew that I am, I make frequent public leashed up the dogs and went on our
big, and a lot of people stopped both- comments myself. So I was out way. And, of course, I was in their
ering with small game. Now, with hunting a couple of winters ago number as the saints went marching
Michigan's fee structure changed to with Joe, Mark and Matt, favorite in.
include a base small-game license, hunting buddies of mine. We were
I hope things will change. I'm not in a boggy area littered with small

64 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 66 11/10/2017 10:42:50 AM
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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 67 11/10/2017 10:42:51 AM
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64 ||www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 68 11/10/2017 10:42:53 AM
Late-season Lessons
pressed myself against the trunk a late season hunt during the middle a scrape, another had his nose to
of the ancient white pine as I of December. the ground as if trailing an estrous
attempted to hide my silhouette Far too many bow benders doe. Others were heading back into
from the prying eyes of the doe neglect the deer hunting opportu- a thick stand of pines, I assumed to
some 20 feet below me. But, I should nities that Michigan’s late season bed down for the day. I was pretty
not had worried as her full atten- affords. For many deer hunters, the much froze out when I finally
tion was on the two bucks that had end of firearm season spells an end climbed out of my treestand close
been chasing her about the area all to their deer season. When in fact, to noon that day, but the pain was
morning long. They stood off some most are missing out on some great worth it.
40 yards away, panting from the time afield by not taking advantage My final reason for partic-
chase. Their breath hung heavy in of Michigan’s late bow season. I ipating in the late season hunt
the cold early morning air as they for one look forward to December is just the opportunity to be out
tried to decide when to resume the bowhunting for a number of bowhunting. We as hunters wait
chase. The two of them looked as if reasons. First and foremost for me all year for deer season so why not
they were twins. They both sported is the shear lack of other hunters take advantage of the whole season.
tall yet narrow six point racks. The in the woods and fields this time of Sure it can be a bit chilly, but if
only difference was that one bucks year. A large percentage of hunters one prepares and dresses accord-
rack was light colored, almost white have now stowed away their camo ingly, late season hunting can be
and the other was a dark hue. Then clothes and bows and spend their very enjoyable. I take advantage of
suddenly they were back in the weekends watching football and modern technology as it applies to
chase, running directly at the doe catching up on their fall chores that clothing and attire myself in camo
under my stand. As she streaked they neglected to this point. If you clothing that is lightweight yet well
off down towards the cattail swamp hunt state of federal land you most insulated. I utilize chemical hand
north of me, the light antlered buck likely will have your pick of choice warmers, battery powered heated
came to a sudden halt under me, hunting spots as your early season insoles for my boots and even a
directly where the doe had been competition is now raking leaves. heated vest that is powered by a
standing, while the other continued With the lack of hunters, whitetails small rechargeable battery. Even
the pursuit. quickly start to calm back down and in the most frigid and blustery of
He sniffed the ground for resume a more normal schedule. conditions, I can stay somewhat
a brief moment then with a deep Now on the cusp of winter, white- comfortable. Staying warm is a key
grunt lit off after the now departed tails have to start putting on the to being able to draw your bow back
doe. As he too disappeared into the needed fat reserves to survive the when that late season shot presents
cattails I smiled to myself as I looked upcoming cold and snowy months itself.
at my bow hanging next to me. I ahead. This Thanksgiving take the
had never picked it up throughout My second reason for time to ready yourself for the late
this mornings activity. I was too hunting the late season is the advent season. Practice shooting your bow
engrossed in taking photos with of the second rut. Does that were with the added clothes on that will
my phone to worry about my bow. not bred the first time around come be needed. Do a bit a scouting to
Besides I had to have proof of what back into estrous. Bucks in the area see where the local whitetails are
I had just witnessed, otherwise my take up the chase and resume their feeding and traveling. In all, get
bowhunting buddies would ques- rutting activity. Last year I was yourself geared up for some extra
tion my story of today’s hunt when fortunate to witness seven bucks on time in the outdoors. Besides what
I retold it back at the diner at lunch one mid- December hunt. No, they a better excuse when someone else
time. For you see, this hunt did not were not all in one bunch chasing a wants you to go Christmas shop-
take place during the November rut doe. Each was on a separate mission ping than to say, sorry, I’m going
or even the end of October. This was of some sort. One stopped and made bowhunting.

2017||Michigan Out-of-Doors 67
MichiganOut-of-Doors 65

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 69 11/10/2017 10:42:59 AM
aims to build on

66 || www.michiganoutofdoors.com
68 www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 70 11/10/2017 10:43:02 AM
ith much of the state’s or bird-watching.”
attention focused on this
month’s opening of firearm
"About 80 percent of Sportsmen: the original
deer season, it’s an ideal time for
Michigan’s hunters to shine – and Michiganders strongly The key, Pedigo said,
is helping non-sportsmen and
not merely in the sense of bagging non-sportswomen understand how
a big buck.
Rather, they should consider
or at least moderately important hunters and anglers
are to conservation and wild-
turning the spotlight that’s coming
their way to all the good they do year-
approve of hunting." life management. For instance,
Michigan Wildlife Council educa-
round in protecting and preserving - according to a report by the MWC tional materials consistently point
the state’s vast outdoor resources out the fact that sportsmen are the
for the benefit of all Michiganders. management practices – including primary funders of conservation
In doing so, sportsmen and sports- regulated hunting and fishing – are projects through their purchases of
women would help to create a more essential to preserving the state’s equipment and hunting and fishing
positive connection among the cherished outdoor resources. licenses. Wildlife conservation
non-hunting public. “Many non-hunters love the work is not funded through state
The Michigan Wildlife outdoors every bit as much as those taxes.
Council, created by the state legis- of us who do hunt or fish,” Pedigo “We’re helping people realize
lature in 2013, is kicking off the said. “What we’re aiming to do is that what we do as hunters and
third year of its five-year campaign capitalize on those shared values.” anglers helps make possible what
to educate the public about the Since it began its education they enjoy doing outdoors – and it
importance of conservation and campaign, the Michigan Wildlife also helps ensure that our state’s
wildlife management – including Council has presented stories in forests, waters and wildlife will
hunting and fishing – and its role a range of news outlets – social be here for future generations to
in preserving Michigan’s outdoor media, TV, magazines, and news- enjoy,” Pedigo said.
heritage for future generations. papers – about the men and women As its education campaign
“The publicity surrounding who tirelessly work or volunteer to progresses and evolves, the
the opening day of firearm deer protect our resources. For example, Michigan Wildlife Council will
season is a prime opportunity for it has produced stories about the more directly promote the effec-
hunters to positively engage with decades of effort that have gone tiveness of hunting and fishing as
people who are curious about it,” into restoring the state’s elk, lake conservation and wildlife manage-
said Matt Pedigo, chairman of sturgeon, peregrine falcon, Karner ment tools.
the Michigan Wildlife Council, blue butterfly and wild turkey “We’re positioning
whose nine volunteer members are populations. sportsmen as the original conser-
appointed by from the governor. The stories typically are vationists who are committed
Generating understanding and not told directly from a hunting to protecting and preserving
appreciation or fishing perspective. Rather, the our outdoor resources,” Pedigo
The Michigan Wildlife outreach efforts are geared toward said. “Essentially, we are aiming
Council is taking a disciplined, reaching a general audience in the to generate understanding and
methodical approach to building population centers of West and appreciation for how hunters and
on the goodwill that hunting and Southeast Michigan. anglers demonstrate responsibility
fishing already enjoy, even among The messages might initially seem for healthy animal populations and
the majority of people who don’t subtle to hunters or anglers who environments.”
participate in either activity. For view the educational materials, Much of the public might
example, preliminary research which, in addition to written arti- not immediately grasp the notion
found that about 80 percent of cles, include billboards, digital and that hunters who shoot animals in
Michiganders strongly or at least print advertisements, and televi- fact care deeply for the well-being
moderately approve of hunting. sion interviews. of wildlife and are actually stew-
Furthermore, research found that “It’s all about creating ards of our natural resources.
non-hunters have a greater appre- connections,” Pedigo explained. “But all responsible hunters
ciation for our outdoor traditions “As sportsmen, we understand the know that’s the case, and they can
when they know that hunting is emotions, experiences and memo- serve as our best ambassadors
done in a humane, legal and regu- ries tied to hunting, fishing and when trying to win the hearts and
lated manner. generally being outdoors. What we minds of non-hunters,” Pedigo said.
Knowing that, the Michigan might not appreciate is that many “The impact of our language and
Wildlife Council is steadily non-hunters experience similar actions is so important to growing
building the case that scientifically feelings when they’re outdoors, appreciation and to changing the
based conservation and wildlife whether they’re kayaking, hiking perceptions of non-hunters.”

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 69

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 71 11/10/2017 10:43:03 AM
While it’s not necessary to
go to the formal, structured lengths
that the Michigan Wildlife Council
Approval rates
does in its education efforts,
sportsmen and sportswomen could
help further the non-hunting
of hunting in
public’s knowledge and appreci-
ation by sharing positive stories Michigan
about hunters and anglers and the
direct benefits they provide to the
community – such as food dona-
tions and conservation work.
“We certainly don’t need to
defend our beliefs and traditions,”
Pedigo said. “We have plenty to be
proud of – though we do have a great
opportunity to help build a greater
understanding of the impact of
hunting and fishing. Not just for us
but for all that benefit from it. Our
outdoor heritage depends on it.”
More information about
the Michigan Wildlife Council and
its efforts to promote conservation
and wildlife management is avail-
able at HereForMIOutdoors.org.

The Michigan Wildlife Council hired a data report to find out what the approval rates of hunting in Michigan are. Using
that data, a marketing firm has developed a strategy to educate the public about hunting, hunters' dollars and the
benefits that Michigan hunters bring to the state.

The Michigan Wildlife Council was created in 2013 to imple-
ment and oversee a public education campaign to promote the
essential role that sportsmen and sportswomen play in furthering
wildlife conservation and to educate the general public about the
role of hunting, fishing and the taking of game, which includes the
importance of conservation and wildlife management to Michigan’s
natural resources and outdoor traditions. The councils’ “Here. For
Generations.” campaign was launched in April 2016.
The council is a governor-appointed, nine-member public body
established by Michigan Public Act No. 246 of 2013. The legislation
updated the hunting and fishing license fee structure and requires
the state Department of Natural Resources to use $1 from the sale of
every license to fund the Michigan Wildlife Council public education
campaign. The $1 share of each license sale generates approximately
$1.6 million annually in revenue.

Learn more at www.hereformioutdoors.org
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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 72 11/10/2017 10:43:03 AM
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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 73 11/10/2017 10:43:03 AM
by Jason Herbert

ell, I lost another hunting spot,” my dad for our deer that also doubles as a food source. The field
said. Any hunter knows that losing a we started with 15 years ago was 100 percent tillable
hunting spot is the equivalent of getting and in cultivation. We started by planting a checker-
kicked in the gut. I was a little worried about my dad board pattern of different conifers, shrubs and grasses.
because he seemed okay with losing it. Actually, he If you're in a similar situation, the first thing you need
seemed happy. “Yep, Andy leased out all his property to do is plant cover for your animals. We prefer to use a
to those other guys. Looks like I'm going to have to hunt variety of everything we plant in case one of the species
here,” he said with a grin that was both peaceful and gets hit by a disease, for instance, so it doesn't wipe out
expectant. our entire crop. For example, in our conifer stands we
My dad was happy because he and I have spent use a mixture of white pine, Norway and blue spruce, as
the last 15 years grooming our property to become a well as white cedar. I would recommend something like
white-tailed deer paradise. Seeing the writing on the Red Osier Dogwood, Arrowwood, Mulberries, or other
wall years ago when farmers in our area started leasing thorny berry bushes to create brushy areas. Consider
up land to the highest bidder, dad and I decided that, creating cover phase one, and if you already have cover
as a family, we needed to set aside some of our own on your property, it's time to segue into phase two.
private property for guaranteed good hunting land. We The term cover itself is used pretty loosely
are blessed to own 60 acres of pristine private land in because not all deer cover looks the same. We start
Southwest Michigan; however, we only actually develop by creating bedding areas and like to set them up in
thirty of it for hunting. More than 30 acres is a for some several different arrangements. Primarily, we focus on
guys to own, but it's quite a bit less than most around catering to does and establishing core areas for several
here. Either way, if you're hunting five or 500 acres, different doe groups. When creating a doe bedding area,
it's all the same. The lessons that we've learned can we look for all sorts of locations because the does do not
transfer over to you and help you improve your hunting need to bed in the same spot throughout the year. For
property as well. instance, in the summer, they're going to want to bed
somewhere shady and cool. In the winter they're going
Cover to want to have as much sunlight as possible while
being near thermal cover to help them stay warm and
In my opinion, cover is absolutely the most block the wind. While the does are having their fawns,
important thing to have on your property in order to they like to lay in big chunks of soft grass that acts as
hold deer. Believe it or not, a majority of a deer's appe- a comfortable bed for them. The thick grasses also clog
tite depends on woody browse. We like to create cover up the prevailing winds so that predators cannot cruise
downwind and scent check the area for the newborn

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 74 11/10/2017 10:43:06 AM
fawns or signs of fresh blood. down by sunlight, lying in wait for the does to cruise by.
When creating a doe bedding area in thick cover, A clumsy or well-intentioned hunter could easily bump
we start by hinge cutting a handful of trees at about that buck out of his bed on the way to his morning stand
shoulder height and dropping them in a random direc- and never even realize it. We want to encourage these
tion. This tends to open up the canopy a bit, allowing bucks to feel safe on our property, so we don't hunt
the sunlight to come through which encourages new them in the mornings until our trail cameras show that
growth for a thicker floor. We then take a handful of six- there is in fact buck movement in the mornings. This
to eight-foot logs with no branches on them and scatter usually starts near the end of October.
them throughout the bedding area in a fashion similar
to that of someone dropping a box of toothpicks. The Water
does have strength in numbers so they tend to bed in
groups. Generally, they will each pick a log to lay up Another great way to spice up your property is
against in a random order so that there are sets of eyes by adding a waterhole. Creating a water source can be
covering all 360° of the doe bedding area. done in a few different ways. One thing we to do is get
a thick rubber livestock tank and bury it up to the rim
Catering to the Ladies in the ground at a low area where rainwater runoff will
keep it full.
I would be amiss to not mention exactly how we Another option is to set a livestock tank or heavy
cater to the doe groups. We try to encourage a hierarchy water container on the ground and build some sort of
among our doe groups. Many times the most dominant funneling structure behind it to create a bigger surface
group will get the best bedding area, the best food, etc. area to catch rainwater. In these situations, we build a
That dominant doe group will also go into heat first two-by-four frame behind the water tank and cover it
and produce the healthiest fawns in the spring. I like with barn steel in a sort of half-cone shape that funnels
having the hierarchy of doe groups on my property water into the tank. Depending upon the summer
because that ensures that from the end of October weather, we may have to drive out and fill the tank a few
through November, there are always does in heat. Each times with bucketed water — other than that the water
doe bedding group gets their own waterhole, their own containment systems usually work pretty well. Be sure
small food sources and their own mineral when legal. to leave a stick or log in the tank so rodents can crawl
We also add rubbing trees and scraping trees into their out if they accidentally fall in. You don't want your deer
food plots if there aren't any natural ones growing
nearby on their own to ensure continued buck interest.

Buck Bedding
In our experience, bucks aren't too picky
about where they bed down. A lot of a rutting bucks'
behavior is similar to that of a college fraternity guy
sleeping where he can and eating what he can as long
as the ladies are plentiful. That being said, we do have
a few tricks to create buck beds as well. For buck beds,
we also hinge cut trees about shoulder high. Then, we
lay a four- or six-foot chunk of log right at the base of
the hinge cut tree. Generally, we run the log north and
south. When a buck comes into this bedding area he
will lay along the north-south log facing the east. That
way with a predominant west wind, the buck can smell
everything behind him and see everything downwind
that he cannot smell. We place these buck bedding areas
well away from the doe bedding areas for the summer
months. We also create secondary buck bedding areas
between the doe bedding areas and our food sources for
the fall. When the bucks start to think about breeding,
they will lay in between where the does are eating and
where they are feeding hoping to intercept a doe in heat
in the morning on her way back to the bed. On a side
note, we personally do not hunt October mornings until
the end of the month for this very reason. In early- to
mid-October, most mature bucks are already bedded

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 73

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 75 11/10/2017 10:43:07 AM
drinking smelly, rotten water due to a decaying rodent

Food plots are important to any land manage-
ment program, but land management is not just about
food plots. Like I said earlier, we would rather plant
cover for the deer to feel secure that doubles as a food
source than focus on actual food plots as the number
one priority.
Clover is a great year-round food plot offering
and we plant lots of it. We have small clover plots
located throughout our property. Many of our trail
systems are also planted in clover because I believe in
not wasting a single square inch of space. Other food
plot offerings are, of course, grain crops like beans and
corn. Brassicas such as turnips and radishes are also
great to plant in the late summer so they will be prime
for eating in the fall. The starches in brassicas turn to
a sweet, tasty sugar after the first few hard frosts of fall
and animals quickly gobble them up. Deer will also dig
all winter long for any of the root crops that grew below
the soil surface.
We engineer some small “killing” food plots
around tree stand locations that are easily accessed
and exited. We call these tiny plots killing plots because
we will hunt directly on them when the time is right,
The author hinge cuts a dead pine tree to help create
and expect to see mature buck movement in these plots
cover where there is none. The hinge cut will create some
during the daylight. These killing plots are often small,
more horizontal cover while allowing the sunlight to
squirrelly-shaped plots surrounded by thick, dense
better hit the ground which encourages fresh forage
cover where a deer will feel secure feeding during

Pictured is a freshly-cut edge feathering project. The author recently went through and dropped the outer
two rows of white pines in the stand for a few reasons. First, it will allow sunlight to penetrate this
otherwise sterile landscape which encourages fresh young forage growth to establish. Also, by edge
feathering, the Herberts will follow up and carve out a few access trails in the debris, funneling deer
movement right by their tree stands.

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 76 11/10/2017 10:43:10 AM
daylight. Our bigger food plots are more square-shaped
and open, with the intention of just simply supplying
a food source so the deer do not need to leave the area.
We do not hunt these larger plots, but will downwind of
them hoping to pick off a buck as he sent checks them
from a distance.

Deer are creatures of habit and can be condi-
tioned to do anything similar to how dogs can be trained
to do almost anything. We like to create extensive trail
systems connecting bedding, food, water and other
features on our property to funnel deer movement. The
deer will get in the habit of traveling on these trails
and the transition areas also become wonderful stand
locations. As I mentioned earlier, wherever possible we
Above: This is a “strip style” food plot. Below: The author throw clover down on our trails as well.
attributes most of his deer hunting success to proper
management and care for deer habitat on his land. Using
the specified techniques, Herbert has been able to create Continual Rewards
habitat that holds deer on his property year-round and
helps them to survive harsh Michigan winters. Not only is land management a wonderful hobby and
way to give back to the earth that has been so good to us,
it is incredibly rewarding. My dad and I have so much fun
watching animals choose to live their lives on our prop-
erty. Our deer and turkey populations have skyrocketed,
and we have created an environment where my children
and their children will continue to enjoy for years to
come. That’s probably my biggest reward — watching
the kids have fun hunting. I know my dad feels the same

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 77 11/10/2017 10:43:14 AM
Green Broke
My first foray into bird dogs and upland hunting

by Nick Green

alvin quartered the field tall. Yet, he commands respect, and time, though, Calvin did what was
beautifully that September the dogs know that. asked, and I came to understand that
evening. With his nose held From the get-go, our trainer we were teaching each other about
high, he looked like something that meant business. I was given home- ourselves throughout the process.
belonged in a painting — almost work each week, I was schooled in Field work accompanied table
setter-esque. The field was familiar to the art of force fetch, I rehearsed the work each Friday, and from day one,
him. It was where we had trained all training verbiage that I would use and Calvin was birdy. The first day we met
summer, making the 2.5-hour drive I became accustomed to leads, check our trainer he put out a pigeon for
one way each Friday from Mason to cords, bumpers and treats being with Calvin to see what would happen —
Meauwataka. me everywhere I went. Essentially, I this helps him to determine if there is
I have to back up, though. My was trained to train my dog. a foundation on which to build. I had
fiancé, Emily, and I adopted Calvin, People either start yelling at to slowly work Calvin into the bird, as
a small Münsterländer, in May. He you or they whole-heartedly agree he wouldn’t range more than 10 yards
was gun-sensitive (he cowered when when you start talking the nuts and from me at that time. He slammed on
he saw a gun and ran away when I bolts of force fetch. For some, they feel point and our trainer said, “Yep, he
worked the action), sharp with the negative reinforcement (the whole will be a bird dog.”
previous family’s toddler and had no basis for force fetch) isn’t a viable Despite reading every book I
bird exposure. Calvin was my first dog training option. For Calvin, who could get my hands on — from Joan
bird dog and he was what most would is a “soft” dog, it lifted his confidence Bailey’s “How to Help Gun Dogs
call a “project” dog and even a “lost through the roof and formed a bond Train Themselves” and “How to Have
cause.” between him and I that I’m confident the Best Trained Gun Dog” to the
A series of events led me to wouldn’t have come any other way. tried-and-true Richard Wolters’ “Gun
our trainer, who wishes to remain It wasn’t easy, though. There Dog” and even the NAVHDA green
unnamed. He’s a reserved man — the were days when Calvin and I battled bible — I was and am an amateur dog
kind that you can tell is calculating during force fetch. We both left with trainer.
every flick of a dog’s tail, movement wounds — physical and emotional. Calvin continued to progress
of their eyes and lift of their head and In fact, Emily even passed throughout the summer — eventu-
computing those actions in his head. out during one of the sessions from ally, I had him heeling and picking
He only stands 5-foot-7-inches(ish) the tension. About 95 percent of the up only the items I told him to off the

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 78 11/10/2017 10:43:15 AM
ground. More importantly, he was
ranging out to 50 or 60 yards, pointing
birds from up to 10 yards away and
holding that point until I got to him —
a verification that all of the “whoa”
work and confidence building I was
doing with him was paying off.
I worked with Calvin three
to five nights a week on my own and
spent 10 to 15 minutes with him each
day that we trained.
We still couldn’t get over
the gun, though. He didn’t like loud
noises. We tried giving him treats
and shooting off in the distance, a
CD meant for helping with gun sensi-
tivity and banging things around him
while he was eating. Nothing seemed
to work. I used primer loads in the
field when the pigeons would flush, me a nod as if to say, “We are almost not broke, but he was fairly steady.
and Calvin still showed a sensitivity. there, look at what your hard work as He froze, then continued to wag his
It was the beginning of done.” tail when the bird fell. Immediately, I
September, and bird season was just It was dry and we had almost walked him to the bird, and he picked
around the corner. I told our trainer no wind that night — conditions that it up.
it was now or never for Calvin and are tough for veteran dogs, let alone a That is where it clicked for
the gun. Many trainers would frown young one like Calvin. He was about him. I could see a look in his eye that
on this because of the uncertainty. 20 yards from us when he caught the I hadn’t before — he now understood
We had exhausted all of our efforts, scent of one of the chukars we had what the four months of training,
though, and there was only one thing planted. He locked up. hundreds of planted pigeons and
left to do — shoot a bird for Calvin. I calmly made a large circle blood and sweat that went into table
We knew this would go one of around Calvin while repeating work were for.
two very different ways: Calvin could “good woah, good woah” in a calm Within a week, I had put
have associated the birds that he voice. Our trainer carried the gun, Calvin on about 10 birds and dropped
loved with the gun shot that he hated as I trusted his shot more than mine, them all for him. By the seventh, he
and shut down. Or, he would realize and we only had one chance at this. stood staunch, marked the bird as it
that the gunshot meant he got a bird. Slowly, I crept in to where I could see fell and waited for the tap on the head
Thankfully, it was the latter. the bird, kicking the grass as I went. and “fetch” to run out and get his
This brings me back to that Suddenly, the chukar flushed. prize. We had made it.
early-September evening. While I BANG. The bird dropped Moving forward, this column
watched Calvin work, I was reminded about 15 yards from us. Calvin was will touch on my experiences as an
at how far the both of us had come. at the point in his training where he amateur dog handler and new upland
My trainer smiled at me and gave wouldn’t chase very much. He was hunter. It will track Calvin’s progress,
as well as introduce our German
shorthaired pointer puppy, Summit.
I will touch on the grouse woods,
preserve hunts, our triumphs, our
defeats, what has worked for me and
share with you the story of me and my
best friends — Calvin and Summit.
As I finish this piece, Calvin
lies asleep at my feet in my office. I
can’t help but get emotional when
I think about where we started and
where we are now. As he sleeps,
he makes groaning noises, and the
twitch of his noise tells me he is
dreaming. I would like to think his
dream is about a bird. In fact, I know
it is.

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 77

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 79 11/10/2017 10:43:17 AM
The Endowments of
by Calvin McShane

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 80 11/10/2017 10:43:40 AM
ild weather for a U.P. winter further fuel for my reflections of of my small forest dwelling home.
is anything above freezing seasons past and seasons to come. It is just large enough for the essen-
and anything less than Regardless if a fisherman tials; countless pairs of waders, an
a white-out. Sure, I miss winter has a room to call his own, each innumerable number of fishing
steelhead and escape for a week or person has space dedicated to their rods, endless amounts of tackle and
two to head south and drift a few craft. These spaces fulfill their a suitable bragging board. To me,
spawn sacs in Michigan’s popular destiny in months like these. For and all who are granted entry, it's a
rivers but most of the time I am many weeks they lie dormant, sacred space. Here, beyond rod and
huddled inside with my bird dogs, only used to dry waders and store reel, the brainwork of my fishing
counting the days until the ice newly bought equipment. They are finds its’ seeds. In the company of
breaks and mother nature offers ignored and neglected, many times tackle I have drafted the brilliant
a reprieve. The downtime offers a unorganized disheveled places that plans that have lead to more fishless
moment to reflect on the successes serve as an outward manifestation days than I can recall. Within the
and failures of my fall season which of our inward fishing frustrations. confines of the room, following in
includes more birds missed and fish These spaces hold the hopes for the tradition of folklore, the size of
lost than I’d like to admit. Unlike trophies and appetite for bounties. the fish caught grow as big as the
many Michigan sportsman, I am They house the flies, rods, reels, fisherman’s ego leaving any bad
not much of an ice fisherman. The line, and tackle necessary to make memories a figment of the past.
few times I do venture onto the ice it all come together. As much as the My time spent in the fishing
it is usually because I was invited fisherman relies on the stream for room is primarily dedicated to orga-
by a friend to avoid frostbite in the their identity, the tools that bind the nization and inventory. So far, I have
comfort of a well-suited shanty fisherman together are found in the stored all new and excess fishing
in the hopes for a few cooperative fishing room. gear in a space where it draws
whitefish. Nevertheless, these As I figure it, as much as minimal attention from the signif-
outings are rare and instead my winter is the culmination of the icant other. I have also managed to
time is spent daydreaming about year’s hard work it is equally a trash an otherwise relatively usable
dodging ice flows and flashes of time dedicated to preparation. To space in the matter of a few months.
bright silver in water hovering just avoid shoveling and plowing, even Thus, it is now time to thoroughly
above 32 degrees. In between these if for just a short while, I look to audit every hook, sinker, and
daydreams I manage to keep the the duties of my fishing room. My swivel — as well as try to detach all
wood stove hot and the coffee fresh, fishing room sits on the outer edge the lures that have found a home

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 79

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 81 11/10/2017 10:43:45 AM
"Winter is my reprieve — time
dedicated to deep breaths
and reflections on what has
happened and what is yet to
- Calvin McShane

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 82 11/10/2017 10:43:49 AM
deeply embedded into the 70s shag
carpeting. Once the space is usable,
I begin my winter rituals with the
cleaning and greasing of my reels,
whether they be used or unused this
past season. Each holds a special
place in the realm of my fishing life,
and each deserves a moment of its
own for me to ponder its untapped
potential. After they are cleaned
and arranged in a line like soldiers
ready for duty, I patch my waders
and pray for one more year of dry
feet even though for the last what-
ever amount of years my prayers
have been unanswered. Now that
everything is in order and arranged,
it is the time for visitations. I will
Winter is a special time of year for McShane. It is a time when he slows down,
invite many into my fishing room,
reflects on the past year and contemplates the year ahead.
to either brag or to share in insecu-
rities. An act of fisherman sharing the year (usually a gross under- but these occasions are sparse. The
thoughts and secrets, a tentative estimate) and that I am properly activities of winter, like all seasons,
dance done in mutual respect. I organized (usually to the chagrin are dominated by those who have
have found that this rendezvous is of my significant other), and I will mastered their craft. Rarely do we
best accompanied with photos, cold begin counting down the days until as sportsmen admit it, but many
beers, and the warmth of fire. I can remove the rod from the rack, times we find ourselves immersed
The fishing room is a place break the seal on my newly patched in the communities that we are in
for map studying and intensive waders and find my footing in the because of the sense camaraderie it
reading. Hours on the internet loose gravel of an Upper Peninsula provides. My masteries are enjoyed
help me find new beaver ponds and trout stream. Once winter breaks, throughout the year, while the
undiscovered stretches of river. The my year follows a regular pattern. winter is dedicated to the remem-
local librarian is regularly annoyed With ice out comes steelhead, and brance of the skill of those I envy
by my prying and prodding through the occasional troll along Lake and the luck of my own.
old publications in the hopes of Superior’s sandy beaches. After Watching the snow pile up
finding something new to me, that, it’s all specks and panfish, gives me an excuse to stay home and
finding use in what has been previ- until the leaves change and I tran- converse with my bird dogs. I can
ously discarded. I’m told I hold onto sition back to salmon, steelhead tell fish stories, while they complain
way too many magazine articles and and the occasional outing into the of all the birds still flying amongst
book excerpts, in what appears to be upland fields. The winter months the aspen. I might read a little after
in a religious fashion. I preach that are the time spent making sure the I stoke the woodstove. Sometimes I
rereading articles offers the chance other seasons go as planned. stand at the entrance of my fishing
to pick up subtleties and jog my Winter is my reprieve — room, looking upon the tools of the
own ideas for the upcoming spring. time dedicated to deep breaths and trade; admiring the thought of a
I thoroughly believe you cannot reflections, on what has happened worn and torn ragged fishing vest
reread something too much, because and what is yet to come. There is hanging amongst its brethren. I
when it comes to fishing, accuracy a famous quote that floats around sit in my fishing room and peruse
is of the utmost importance. Beyond social media, about how hunting through photos to induce a smile
the technical aspects, winter is a and fishing are special because you before retiring to the living room.
time to pick up Gierach, Harrison get to enjoy them twice; once during To all my Michigan friends chasing
and McGuane, so that we laymen the action and another time during steelhead on open water to my south,
can see our own experiences in the the anticipation and memory. all the rabbit hunters savoring the
magnitude they deserve. After an While the snow is falling and the howl of scattered beagles, and the
evening of tying leaders and sharp- Michigan forests dull into a serene hordes of fishermen huddled in ice
ening hooks, good literature can hibernation, I tinker with tackle shanties across the state, I wish you
recenter a fisherman, putting them with my memories and enthusiasm. the best of luck — I will see you
in the perfect balance of practicality Occasionally I convince my ice when the ice thaws and the bears
and pious impracticality. fishing friends to let me tag along tell me it is time to rejoin you in the
Eventually, I tell myself I or bug my neighbor with beagles field.
have tied all the flies needed for to let me join in on a rabbit hunt,

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 81

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 83 11/10/2017 10:43:50 AM
Sundance Kid

This is Matt McQueen's first fiction column
for Michigan Out-of-Doors. We are excited to
feature a little different take on our outdoor world
and the heritage attached to it.

t was a blustery morning out little chuckle, his bright, red beard too far for me to see any flags.”
on the ice. The wind blew from contrasting sharply against his grey “A kid won big in the contest
the northwest enough to give head. “Knowing our luck we’d blow last year. Maybe that’s him.” I said.
the two-person portable shanty a ourselves up.” he added. “Maybe.” Karl said looking
rhythmic vibration as the canvas “You been watching that kid more intently out the window now.
slapped against the frame. The across the lake? He’s been running “I figured his dad helped a lot.”
Little Buddy heater burned steadily back and forth from tip-up to tip-up “Well. I guess it’s my turn to
as my mind lazily wondered from for an hour.” I asked and pointed go bust the holes.” I said as I started
thought to thought. Conversation across the lake where a shallow bay to stand and stretch.
was tangential, diving from set back near some seasonal lake “Yup.” Karl said in smug
Falwell’s ice fishing contest to Larry houses. “I can’t tell if he’s catching agreement sitting back in his seat.
Fitzgerald taking a plunge two days anything or just trying to stay I put my gloves and hat on and
ago on his UTV into Portage Lake, warm.” zipped up my coat. Quickly, I opened
among other subjects. Karl wiped his window of the shanty door and slid outside and
“Man, this is one slow bite. condensation and took a squinting just as quickly closed it back. The
Got any dynamite?” I asked jokingly. look. “That’s a long ways off. I can air was like a knife, cutting quickly
“I wish!” Karl said with a hardly see. He is running a lot. It’s through my brown Carhartt coat

82 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 84 11/10/2017 10:43:50 AM
and bibs. I walked/slid to the first shaking his head. “To see what day. The old-man looked to be in
hole to find an eighth inch of skim that kid caught.” “You’ll see him his 80s with liver spots showing
ice on the top of the hole. I chis- tonight,” I said assuredly. on the tops of his wrinkled hands.
eled out the tip-up gently with the It was dark by the time His faced permanently weathered
handle of my skimmer and put it to we got to my house, quickly fixed from a lifetime of outdoor work and
the side. Then, with the toe of my sandwiches, and got everything put neck drawn up like a turtles’. The
pack boot, I broke open the rest of away. By the time we got to Falwell’s old man had gentle, content eyes
the hole and scooped it out with the there wasn’t a parking spot left so that spoke ‘patience’ in their own
skimmer. we double parked it behind an old language.
I glanced in the direction of wood-sided station wagon. As we “Sorry guys.” I started.
the kid, and through watery eyes I walked in I saw a bucket of tip-ups “There wasn’t anywhere else to
could see him dashing from hole in the back of the old car. park.”
to hole, light-footed like a squirrel Inside it was packed with The old man just smiled
dancing in the sun. Giving my people for the size of the small store. a patient smiled that said “that’s
attention back to my task, I slowly A large group of diehards, some alright” and the boy looked at the
pulled the line up until I could with their wives and kids conversed old man.
see the flash of the meaty sucker around the counter. There was I quickly walked out to my
minnow below and released it back truck, jumped in and fired it up. As I
down to the depths. I gently grabbed
the old wooden tip-up, checking the "I glanced in the direction backed up my truck, the man slowly
made his way to his car, carefully
spool and trigger for ice buildup and picking his steps through the fresh
placed it back into the hole.
Head down into the wind
of the kid, and through two inches of snow. The boy hopped
in the back. I waved as they passed
I walked the thirty-five feet to the
next hole and repeated the process
watery eyes, I could see by and I parked in the open spot.
The winners were being
this time not giving attention to the
kid. After putting a fresh minnow him dashing from hole to announced when I returned,
starting with the kid’s class. It was
on the last tip-up I started sliding clear that none of these children
my way back to the shanty. As I
slowly made my way back I watched
hole, light-footed like a won with the big pike I saw. Then
came the adult’s class fish. The
in the direction of the kid and saw
a crouching figure barely visible. squirrel dancing in the categories were read and the top
three fish awards from each cate-
Then he stood with what appeared gory were awarded with a prize.
to be a fish as long as he!
“Holy Catfish!!” I yelled.
sun." “And I’m glad to announce
the overall biggest fish award
“What!?” Karl started, thrashing a few kids but none looked to fit goes to Brian Faltz!” Dan Falwell
around in the shanty trying to get a the bill for the one we saw. Some announced. “Brian wins an all-in-
look at me and my exasperation. sheepishly stood by their moms and clusive fly-in fishing package for
“That kid just caught dads, while a few others wandered two to Clifton Lake in Manitoba!
a monster! Look!” “I can’t see throughout the store looking and Unfortunately, Brian had to leave
anything. This window is froze.” pawing at the lures and duck calls. early. I need to add that Brian is 10
“Don’t worry.” I said. “I’m sure None of the children had the energy years old and caught a thirty-nine
you’ll see it tonight at the weigh-in.” of the squirrel-like figure jumping inch pike out of Portage Lake for
Morning turned into afternoon and from hole to hole early in the day. the win!”
by four-thirty the sun was getting “Who has a red F-150?” I “I’m going to have to find
low in the sky. Karl and I managed heard Dan Falwell shout over the this Brian and see if he’ll take me
to land a few nice pike and a dozen loudness of the crowd. “I do!” I with him!” Karl looked at me with
or so crappie throughout the day, spoke up as if I’d won a door prize. big eyes.
but nothing worthy of entry into “Well you need to move your truck “Good luck! I’m pretty sure I
Falwell’s contest. We decided to so these people can leave.” Dan said know who he’s taking. And it won’t
pack it up, head to the house, and sharply. be you, Karl.” I said.
get a bite to eat before going over to “Ok. Sorry. I’m on it.” I A tip of the hat to all who
the store for the winner’s announce- said digging for my keys in my mentor and groom our future
ment at seven o’clock. jeans pocket feeling a bit embar- anglers through love and patience.
Emerging from the shanty rassed. I looked at the people and Without you, our sport would be
we noticed the kid was gone. saw it was an old man and a boy nothing more than people catching
“He must have left when we of about 10-years-old. The boy’s fish.
were snoozing.” I said. “We should red hair shoved up in a cow lick
have gone over there.” Karl said and his face wind burned from the

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My Dog
brings me
My Shoes

by Andy Duffy
Lily retrieved this grouse for Cadillac hunter David Stoutenburg during the 2017 bird season. Some hunters use a "hunt
dead" command when a dog doesn't see a bird fall. Now, I just use the fetch command. Lily understands a bird is down
whether she sees it drop or not.

y dog brings me my shoes. Later, after I learned to read, me my shoes.
Maybe that doesn't sound I would race home from school each I haven't kept up with the
like a big deal. Maybe it day, grab the paper and turn to the Bumsteads lately. My funny page
isn't a big deal. It's kind of a big deal comic page. I sometimes had to wait reading declined through the years
to me, though. in line, because I had brothers and as many of my old favorites disap-
My dog is an English sisters who also liked to read the peared. Really, what is a funny page
springer spaniel. She's my bird dog. funnies. And the funny page back without Li'l Abner and Buz Sawyer
I like it when she fetches things, then was good, too. I got to catch up and others? So I can't say for certain
especially if those things are birds. on Rip Kirby, Grandma, the Family if Daisy still brings Dagwood his
But back to my shoes. Circus, Li'l Abner, Buz Sawyer, slippers each evening when he gets
When I was a kid, I became Beetle Bailey and other cartoon home from avoiding Mr. Dithers
addicted to the funny page of the friends. And, of course, there was at the office each day and slips into
daily newspaper that came in the Dagwood Bumstead and his family, his easy chair. I can say for certain
mail. I remember my dad coming friends, boss and neighbors. As all that Daisy's charitable act always
home from the factory each day old timers claim, things were better fascinated me. I wondered if it were
for lunch. He would eat his meal when I was a kid. The funny page really possible to train a dog to bring
and spend a few minutes with the certainly was. slippers. I even tried to train some of
paper before heading back to the I know: Some of those my previous dogs to do what Daisy
shop. He would always take time cartoon strips still linger on mixed did, but they never seemed to under-
to read some of the comic strips. in with things not worth reading. stand exactly what I wanted.
Sometimes he would read one of the But I'm concerned here with the My current dog is Lily, and
better cartoons to my mother. historical aspect of my dog bringing she is extremely devoted to me. My

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wife, Mandy, accuses me of acting Fetching is a skill already in her
more excited about seeing Lily when
I arrive home than I am to see her.
" Part of training tool box, though, and I decided to do
what I could to help her develop her
I tell her that she doesn't greet me
the way Lily greets me. If she would
anything or anyone, already formidable aptitude for the
wiggle all over, roll on the floor at my
feet and offer me little, affectionate though, is to discover I'd been searching for a while
for a method to reinforce the "hunt
growls, I would act excited about dead" command many bird hunters
seeing her, too.
Lily is a pretty decent bird
a talent and work to use. As all bird hunters have, I've
encountered those situations in
dog. She hunts close, and she does
a good job of goading grouse and enhance it" which the dog hasn't seen a bird drop
and has no idea one is down. With
woodcock into the air. She finds and - Andy Duffy me, such occasions happen most
retrieves downed birds. The only frequently when a woodcock goes
bird-hunting-related job she doesn't grandchildren are over. up.
do is wait for a fetch command when I walked out into the mud Woodcock love the thick
a bird falls before going after it. I can room, grabbed one of my shoes and tangles of cover. When a bird flushes
live with that flaw. gave it a toss. I again told Lily to fetch. from deep in a mass of tag alders
Lily, though, has a peculiar She grabbed the shoe and brought or whatever other thick shrubbery
habit. it right to me. I put the shoe away, they may be hanging out in, the bird
On the front of our home is and Lily and I re-entered the house. disappears from the flushing dog's
an addition many would appropri- I left the door open, of course. Then sight almost immediately. And, of
ately call a mud room. There I leave I once again asked Lily to fetch. She course, birds flush sometimes when
my old tennis shoes when I come in wandered around our living room as the dog is nowhere around. Hunters
from cutting the grass. The things if she were trying to find something miss often enough that the dog
are tattered, smelly and stained. handy to bring to me. She then went doesn't know just from the sound of
But when I've been gone and arrive out and grabbed one of my shoes the discharge if a bird has dropped.
home, Lily, in her excitement at my and proffered it. I lavished praise It's easy for someone to say
appearance, grabs one of the shoes, upon her and once again told her to we need to mark the spot where a
shakes it around, and leaps up on fetch. That time, she went right out bird fell. It is something else to glue
the couch where she wiggles and and brought me my other shoe. Now your eye on a spot where a bird fell
squirms until she decides it is time the procedure is part of our regular through a green, leafy canopy 30
to grovel at my feet and get her belly routine. yards away, walk through a tangle
rubbed. That's another thing Lily Often when I'm lurking near of tag alders and find the bird. That
does to show her devotion that my the kitchen counter, Lily will try to is one reason to have a dog: Dogs are
wife won't do. I tell myself that Lily bum a treat off me. She will come to so much better at recovering birds
loves me so much and gets so excited me, sit there and speak. If I'm not too than we are. Lily is always eager to
when I arrive home that she wants to busy, I will tell her whoa, get a treat, retrieve a bird for me if she sees it
grab onto anything that reminds her and ask her to speak again. She will fall. The problem sometimes comes
of me. The smelly shoes probably are bark, and she will get her reward. if she doesn't know one is down.
good at reminding her of me. But now, sometimes, I have an extra So when I realized I could
Lily, as most dogs from one task for her. I ask her to fetch. She get her to search for something
of the hunting breeds will, fetches will then go out and grab one of my to retrieve with a simple fetch
things willingly. I can toss a ball shoes to bring me. If I give the fetch command, I got excited. Now the shoe
for her, and she will happily chase command again, she will bring in the fetching game is a fun activity for us.
it down. I can tell her to wait, and other smelly thing. She doesn't seem to mind fetching
she will watch a ball until I release Naturally, I don't ask her the smelly things, and I don't mind
her. Then she will fetch it. So I came to fetch just so I can keep up with giving her a treat in exchange for her
home one day, Lily grabbed one of the Bumsteads. Part of training effort.
my smelly shoes and jumped up on anything or anyone, though, is The game is the essence, I
the couch, and the germ of an idea to discover a talent and work to think, of a good training activity. It
began to form. enhance it. Good employers will try isn't onerous. It requires little effort.
That evening, I opened the to help their employees polish the And it can continue beyond bird
door between the mudroom and skills they already have. Parents do season through the winter, spring
the house proper. I got a dog treat the same with their children. I do it and summer months right in the
and told Lily to fetch. She started with my dogs. comfort of home. It doesn't require
looking around the house and, I I'm pretty certain I could any time away from the family as
think, brought me one of the toys never teach Lily to point. I prob- even yard work with dogs often does.
we have lying around for when the ably can't train her to run a rabbit. A person can take a few minutes to

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 85

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 87 11/10/2017 10:43:52 AM
reinforce the behavior he is looking the lexicon of professors in teacher her to run rabbits; that ability just
for from the dog, and neither man nor education programs at every univer- wasn't in her makeup. She was intel-
beast should tire of the activity. We're sity a person would care to visit. A ligent, though, and eager to please. I
not talking about a long training person "universalizes" behavior if taught her to sit and stay and speak,
session. If Lily fetches my shoes for he learns it in one setting and then and she was good at obeying. She had
me a couple of times a week, that is is able to use it in another setting. A another talent, too. She could jump.
plenty. I've reviewed the lesson with simple example might be reading. Every time I was about to
her so the command remains fresh Once a first grader begins learning drive off when she was loose in the
in her mind throughout the long off to read, he is able to read words not yard, she would jump up at my open
season. just in the classroom but on road car window. One day I gave her a
We review a host of other signs and cereal boxes, too. And, little encouragement. She jumped
useful hunting commands in a despite the differences between the up, hooked her front paws across
similar fashion, too. The "whoa" home and the field, dogs will eventu- the door and pulled her way inside
command gets a lot of rehearsing ally obey the commands they hear in the car. I was ecstatic. I had my
just because it has so much to do with the home to situations in the field. own doggie version of Luke Duke. I
having a dog with good manners. Lily, now three and in her thought her talent was pretty neat.
Besides Lily, Mandy I have fourth bird season, is becoming a The car eventually gave
a big golden retriever living inside better field companion all the time. I way to a pickup truck. Angie wasn't
with us. The details don't matter, have no doubt that the training she very tall, and she had a boxy build
but I suppose it is fair enough to say receives at home works together with besides. I supposed she wouldn't be
the golden is a rescue dog. I don't her growing maturity and experience able to jump in the open window
mean she was a search-and-rescue to help her progress further toward of the truck. I let her try, though,
dog, just that she was in need of a becoming the dog all hunters want and after a couple of jumps to get
different home. Sometimes older dog their dog to become. Lily is a great the height right, she began doing
owners need to leave their home and hunting companion now. She isn't her Duke rendition with the truck.
cannot take a beloved pet along. perfect. No dog will ever be perfect I think she enjoyed jumping in my
The golden came to us obese, just as no dog owner is perfect. I trea- truck as much as I enjoyed watching
the result, probably, of an overly-in- sure Lily's talents, though, instead of her do it. I would often climb in the
dulgent, elderly owner who was dwelling on her imperfections. Every truck and shut the door so she could
unable to give her the exercise she dog has a unique set of strengths enter the unorthodox way. Her
needed. I thought I might be able to and weaknesses, and an important jumping prowess still brightens my
help the dog develop into a hunter. part of training is to accentuate the day every time I think of it.
We straightened out her diet and strengths. Probably all parents are wise
she has lost quite a bit of weight, but This is a lesson we can univer- enough to not try to turn a child with
her former obesity may have forever salize beyond bird dogs. I once had a the mind of a banker and the body
ruined her for engaging in much mixed-breed dog that looked as if she of a figure skater into a defensive
strenuous activity. And, apparently had some beagle in her ancestry. Her lineman. Instead, they work with
she never received a lot of training. name was Angie. I never could get the unique talents their child has.
She retains a competitive
spirit, though, and she loves to go on
rides. When I invite the dogs to go
with me on a trip to town, she races
Lily to the front door. There the dogs
skid on the door mat and create a
traffic jam while I try to open the Your e-collar Specialist Since 1988
door and let them out.
I started giving the whoa Shop Local!
command as I walked to the door.
Lily, of course, complies. The golden
All the Best Brands in Stock!
is getting better, but she still needs
reinforcement. Every time Lily
whoas for me and waits to move until
I tell her to go on, she is receiving
valuable field training even if she is
in the house. 800-430-2010
Educators are constantly
talking about behaviors that univer- collarclinic.com
salize. Derivatives of the word 1517 Northern Star Dr.
universal are now a major part of Traverse City MI 49696 Buy-Sell-Trade & Repair

86 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com
MOOD.indd 1 6/28/2017 11:58:06 AM

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 88 11/10/2017 10:43:52 AM
Healthy Local Sustainable
venison chorizo stuffed dates

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 87

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 89 11/10/2017 10:43:53 AM

by Tyler Butler
Campers get ready for an intense game of capture the flag. Campers are split into two teams — red and blue.

ust a few months ago, I would with their very own hunter safety In the spring, we finished
step out of the lodge to hear certificate that indicates that they renovating the “B” area latrine.
laughter from a round of the are now prepared to participate This was a complete overhaul of
habitat game, “buddy-check” whis- further in Michigan’s outdoor the building including gutting the
tles coming from the beach and the heritage. old materials and replacing all
“snapping” of .22’s on the range. We added many new of the stalls, doors, counters and
I would see groups of campers programs to this camp season to storage areas. We also rerouted
huddled around a compass trying continue our mission in conserva- the plumbing and electrical inside
to orient themselves to the next tion through education. of the latrine, adding a heater and
point, inquisitive minds taking in a To name just a few, Fish air-hand dryers.
skins and skulls lesson from under- Camps were able to gain experience While we were at it, we also altered
neath the white pines or campers in kayak fishing over Cedar Lake, the electrical work inside the lodge
returning from their hike to the many campers got to experience to add multiple light switches and
Eddy Discovery Center. invasive sea lamprey as we had four outlets.
Stepping onto the quiet specimen on-site to discuss and Perhaps the biggest change
grounds of a post-camp Cedar Lake observe, budding biologists had the inside the lodge can be found in the
Outdoor Center definitely takes its opportunity to embark on herpe- kitchen! Both of the conventional
toll on the director. tology hikes through the Waterloo ovens were replaced with more
Our camp staff was ready State Game Area and our Forestry recent models, including a double-
for a break by the last week of camp, Camp was taught the importance of stacked convection oven. This
though, we unanimously agreed proper forest management and how improvement blew us away this
that the summer didn’t last long to identify local trees! summer as we learned that we could
enough! I could not have asked for a bake 400 corn dogs in just about 20
2017 brought Cedar Lake 378 better staff this year and appreciate minutes. As you can imagine, when
campers into the world of conser- all of their hard work! you are feeding 80 hungry campers
vation and environmental sciences Our facility committee had a busy and 24 staff members, these ovens
and outdoor recreation. year in 2017. We finished many large received a warm welcome!
Our hunter safety program and daunting task that will benefit We added a deck to the west
graduated 162 new sportsmen and the Cedar Lake Outdoor Center and end of the arts building and finished
women, awarding those campers our programs for years to come. the kayak rack near the beach.

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 90 11/10/2017 10:44:00 AM
We are moving forward with
our bunk-bed project in 2018. This
project has been ongoing as we have
been trying to replace all of the
metal bunks with white pine models
we are milling and assembling at
camp. To date we have finished 34
wooden bunks, but are 75 bunks
away from completing the project.
Our metal bunks are aged and
ready to be replaced. The wooden
bunks amplify the feel of camp and
pull together the interior of cabins
nicely. This project will require
many hours of labor and therefore
we will be looking to volunteers to
help us with this venture in the near
The Cedar Lake Outdoor
Center would not be in the fantastic
condition it is in if not for our facil-
ities committee and volunteers. We
could not hold our programs with
the amount of success we do without
their time, efforts and passion for
the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth
Camp. Top: Campers patiently wait for Camp Store to open during free recreation
Though camp may be over time. Bottom: A camper receives congratulations after receiving his hunter
until next year we are not taking safety certification by moving through a high-five line.
any time off! We are glad to be
working with undergraduates of
the Michigan State University in a
project that will allow them experi-
ence in developing outdoor educa-
tion programs. These students will
be developing a “rainy day” curric-
ulum for our educators to utilize
during the summer. We do our
best to keep our campers outdoors
as much as possible, but sometime
the weather does not permit us to
continue scheduled programming.
As a result, we are in need of
programs that will still immerse our
campers in their natural resources,
but can be accomplished indoors.
Thank you to all of our
affiliate clubs and members in your
support for camp. We are able to fill
a much needed niche in the world of
summer camps and youth develop-
ment because of you.
I can be reached at the MUCC head-
quarters at (517)346-6462 or tbutler@
mucc.org with any comments
concerning camps our outreach

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 89

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Sportsmen for Youth
Nick Green, MUCC Public Information Officer Out-of-Doors magazines and promotion of our youth
camp as a viable education option for their children.
Have you ever seen more than 1,000 kids lined up MUCC Members Jack and Judy VanRhee were
for anything to do with hunting and fishing? If you have, on hand to help us at the table, and without them, I am
you’ve probably been to Sportmen for Youth’s Youth not sure Tyler and I could have pulled the day off.
Day. If you haven’t been, get there next year. Another member, Bill Krepps, was one of the
Michigan United Conservation Clubs Camp original founders of Sportsmen for Youth and the
Director Tyler Butler and I arrived on Sept. 9 about 30 Youth Day that has become an annual tradition in the
minutes after daybreak. Neither of us really knew what Muskegon area. 2017 marked the 25th year of the event.
to expect because MUCC Education Director Shaun Krepps is still active with the Youth Day. I was
McKeon usually attended the event in the past. All we able to catch up with him while he was sorting and
knew was that it was the biggest youth day in the state. passing out t-shirts. “We do it for the kids,” Krepps said.
It definitely lived up to that reputation. “This thing has gotten so big, and yet, we still manage to
More than 100 vendors were on sight, and every- pull it off every year.”
thing was free. Kids received casting lessons and t-shirts, More than 3,500 kids passed through the gates
were able to shoot shotguns, learn about amphibians for the outdoor-oriented day. It was truly amazing. Every
and even watched a free fishing demonstration from kid left the gates with as much enthusiasm as when they
professional angler Mark Martin. entered – a testament to the quality of exhibitors that
Tyler and I manned the MUCC booth, which the event hosts each year.
was located almost directly in front of the entrance. We I look forward to attending Youth Day next year,
had pelts, mounts and skulls for the kids to touch and and hopefully Bill will save me a t-shirt that isn’t a kids
learn about. While Tyler gave the kids quick lessons in medium.
animal anatomy, I catered to the adults with Michigan

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 92 11/10/2017 10:44:10 AM
MUCC Camp Director Tyler Butler helps the kids properly
identify skulls and pelts from animals during the 2017
Sportsmen for Youth's Youth Day. Bottom: MUCC member
Bill Krepps was one of the original founders of the Youth
Day. Since its inception, it has become the largest youth
day in the state with more than 3,500 kids going through
the gates in 2017.

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Quick thinking
saved an mUCC
member's life
by Jim Pryce

n May 23, 2017, Tri-County Sportsmen’s League Lee Ann Farrell (MUCC Individual Member), Cynthia
of Saline, Michigan was honored with 2 awards Kensinger ( Washtenaw Sportsman’s Club) and Debbie
in a recognition awards dinner hosted at Eastern Hamrick (Huron Valley Conservation Organization)
Michigan University by Emergent Health Partners. took turns administering CPR until first responders
Emergent Health Partners consist of Huron Valley arrived. Rocky Buehler (Carleton Sportsman Club
Ambulance, Monroe County Ambulance, Jackson & TCSL Firearms Instructor) and Mark Smokowicz
County Ambulance, Lenawee County Ambulance and (TCSL member) retrieved the buildings AED and deliv-
Albion Community Ambulance. ered it to the women performing CPR. Jim Pryce (TCSL
Tri-County Sportsmen’s League President & MUCC Policy Board Member) assisted in directing
Steve Reed was presented the Heart Safe Organization the responding paramedics to the correct location on
Award. This award is presented to organizations that the club grounds and helped with crowd control in
meet the following criteria (which create a heart-safe hopes of keeping everyone calm.
environment) : Automated external defibrillators A year later, Ron is back and assisting MUCC in
(AED’s) in all buildings, CPR/AED trained responders any way that he can. He is the organization’s immediate
on site and regularly-practiced cardiac emergency past president and continually attends board meetings.
response protocols. Michigan United Conservation Clubs urges every club
The second award received was for Cardiac to look into purchasing an automated external defibril-
Arrest Save. This happened on April 23, 2016 at the Club. lator for their club. If Tri-County Sportsmen’s League
TCSL was hosting a fundraising dinner for Michigan hadn’t had one Ron would likely no longer be with us.
United Conservation Clubs. As the event was begin- Staff would like to thank all of those brave members
ning to wind down for the evening MUCC President and first responders who quickly acted in the life-saving
Ron Burris went into Cardiac Arrest. Individuals at manner that saved one of our member’s life.
the Club took immediate action in saving Ron’s life.

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Ron Burris and his wife Margeret pose at the awards ceremony where the
men and women who helped to save his life were recognized.

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Throwback: December
1979 by Ben East

On a cold, sunny day toward this old woodsman could be trusted.
the end of winter in 1938, I parked That March day is 40 years
my car at the side of a snowplowed and more behind me now, but I still
road east of the village of Alanson, remember the pleasure of trudging
strapped on snowshoes and started over the unmarred snow on webs
a hike of three or four miles on (no one had been in or out to break
an unplowed wagon track on a trail for me), the beauty and silence
fire lane toward Burt Lake, which of the winter woods and my strong
lay to the north. At the end of the sense of anticipation. What sort
snowshoe trek, I had a date with of man would I meet, and would
one of Michigan’s most unusual the grouse keep their part of the
outdoorsmen. rendezvous or would they decide
He was known in state not to come for supper that partic-
conservation circles as Bill King, ular afternoon?
the Bird King. He had been written I had walked beside
about in newspapers and maga- open fields part of the way, but
zines, photographed and talked then second-growth timber
about in countless hunting camps closed in, and I surmised I
and fishing clubs, but for one reason was getting close to Bill’s
or another, I had never found time cabin. Next I came to a “No
to visit him at his isolated cabin. I Hunting” sign nailed high
had not even met him. That was on a tree, and I was sure
about to be remedied. of it. I knew that Bill
Bill King’s claim to fame objected to having his
rested on a single accomplishment. birds shot.
He had tamed a flock of a dozen to My hike ended
20 wild grouse living in the woods an hour or so after
around his place, so that they came it began, at a small
daily to his door to be fed, like so log cabin set in thick
many domesticated chickens. I had woods. A pair of snow-
been told that the tamest of the lot shoes stood upright in the snow
would take grain out of a basin held near the door and a plume of wood was
in his hands. smoke drifted a gentle-
B i l l "The side of his personality that lazily up from ness, an innate
courtesy and friendli-
impressed me most was a gentleness, the chimney, to
be carried away ness that I have encountered
birds for an innate courtesy and friendliness by the wind. a fair number of times in simple,
unpretentious men who lived
something I knocked
like 15 years. that I have encountered a fair number and the door their lives in the woods, often by
Of course, the opened. Bill and themselves.
flock had not of times in simple, unpretentious men I shook hands, The cabin was sparingly
been made up I stood my own furnished by spotlessly clean. A
of the same who lived their lives in the woods, snowshoes in small wood-burning combined
heating and cooking stove stood
grouse all that
often by themselves" the snow and
went in. near the door. As I remember, the
time. Some had died, but others had The man I met was a fine furniture, consisting of a table, a few
taken their place, probably young looking old woodsman, with shoul- stools or benches and a couple of
birds drawn in and encouraged by der-length hair. The side of his built-in bunks, was all homemade.
older ones who had learned that personality that impressed me most But it was also well made.

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We sat and talked away the with grain, opened the door and It had not flown in. It had walked,
remaining hours of the afternoon. hunkered down just outside clucking head high, keeping watch on all sides
The sun dropped out of sight and softly. after the fashion of its kind, and I
the light began to fade in the He had shoveled a path out had not seen it in the underbrush
timber. Bill got up, for some distance from the door, and until it stepped into the path.
filled a small all of a sudden there was a grouse It came on, and then a second
kettle in that path, walking slowly and bird materialized in the same careful
cautiously toward him, probably fashion behind it. King tossed a
made wary because it saw or handful of grain onto the snow at his
sensed a stranger in the feet, and the two birds came closer,
cabin behind the a step at a time and began to feed.
old man. Then there was a third approaching,
and another, and another, until the
little flock numbered six or eight.
The bolder ones (I
assumed they were
old-timers who
had known
Bill King and
accepted his
handouts for
more than one
winter) edged
in and the old
gentleman lowered
the kettle until it was
within their reach.
First one and then
another pecked a kernel
of feed from it, and as
dusk deepened, three or
four were eating their fill,
virtually from his hand.
The flare of flashbulbs on
my camera startled them but
not enough to drive them away
or cause any of the others to
Early darkness came on, the
grouse finished their meal and
one by one they walked back into
the woods as silently and craftily as
they had appeared.
It was full dark when I
adjusted my snowshoes, shook
hands once more with my host and
trudged away on my backtrack to
my car. It had been one of the most
fascinating outdoor experiences I
could remember, and I understood
how Bill King had come by his
In each issue of honorary title of the Bird King. He
had earned it, in a very unusual
Michigan Out-of-Doors fashion.
we will be handpicking an article He is long forgotten today,
from our archives that we think is a good fit but in his time he held a well-de-
served place among Michigan’s
for the season. We hope you enjoy reading these most interesting outdoorsmen.
throwbacks as much as we do.

Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 95

Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 97 11/10/2017 10:44:21 AM
One Last Cast
Where I am from, or at least in the circles I ran
Nick Green, Editor of Michigan Out-of-Doors

the birds you see. Still, no matter what, my new friends
in, deer are what you hunt. That isn't to say that some are there to enjoy the experience with me.
of my friends didn't have short stints as goose, duck or Waterfowl hunting won't be the end to my
small game hunters — we just focused on deer. Southern Michigan deer hunting, it just compliments
I quickly learned when I moved south for my it. There isn't much is this world more peaceful than
new job that deer hunting was going to be more diffi- sitting 20 feet up in a tree on a frost-laden morning.
cult; there isn't the same amount of public land, those However, when I need a break from the tree
who own private land aren't quite as inviting and there and a break from the monotony of silence, I have my
are more people who use the small amount of public new-found love, waterfowl hunting.
land that is available.
With two new bird dogs and a summer spent
learning the ins and outs of Lansing, not much time
was spent scouting for deer or shooting my bow.
I decided I needed a new hobby that I could
pursue around my new home on public land. Waterfowl
hunting was what I landed on.
MUCC's Education Director Shaun McKeon
is an avid waterfowl hunter. His shooting is almost as
bad as mine, though. We quickly became friends and he
invited me along on some of his hunts.
It didn't take long before I realized that there are
a lot of differences between waterfowl hunting and deer
hunting — the biggest being that you do it with other
people and you could talk.
Quickly, I fell in love with my new discovery.
Who knew that there was a type of hunting where
camaraderie reigned King? I made friends quick within
the group and learned some of the dos and don'ts of the
I almost enjoy the conversation in duck blinds
as much as I enjoy watching the quick-flying and diving
critters come into a set of decoys.
My first duck hunt was with McKeon at a little
lake not many other people hunt. It holds local birds,
and he had some success on the lake before.
Our first night, we set up in a marshy off-shoot
of the lake but didn't take a shot. The next morning, we Above: MUCC Education Director Shaun McKeon poses
were rewarded with several wood ducks and mallards with a wood duck he harvested on a small lake in Southern
landing in our decoys. Michigan. Below: The author poses with his new-found
McKeon was able to harvest one of the wood friends during a successful Saginaw Bay waterfowl hunt.
ducks, and I quickly realized that duck hunting was no
joke — it takes a lot of skill to drop a small duck flying
100 miles per hour out of the air.
Still, camaraderie reigned King. We laughed
about our poor shooting, work and other subjects not fit
for a magazine.
The point of this issue's One Last Cast is my
realization that hunting can be centered around friend-
ships. Sure, my friends from the northwoods and I spent
a lot of time reminiscing about hunting — but we didn't
actually hunt much together.
If you can find some camaraderie in your
hunts, you will enjoy the experience tenfold. Since I
have started duck and goose hunting, I am much more
at ease with having an unsuccessful hunt. Some nights
you just don't see any birds. Other nights you can't hit

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Winter 2017-18 MOOD DRAFT.indd 99 11/10/2017 10:44:22 AM
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