The new state bird?

Upland and more
$5.99 US | FALL 2017

Official Publication of Michigan United Conservation Clubs

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 1 8/28/2017 10:51:11 AM

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Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 2 8/28/2017 10:51:15 AM
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Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 3 8/28/2017 10:51:16 AM
FALL 2017






2 |www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 4 8/28/2017 10:51:16 AM
bAsecamp Nick Green, Editor


The invitation came in April to sit down with

Executive Director Dan Eichinger about a job position

that was opening up at Michigan United Conservation

Clubs — I was shaking in my boots. “Why don’t you
stop over to my place on Wednesday night and we can
get to know one another over a beer,” he said. Nick Green displaying a fall hen picked up centerpinning
I had done my research about the organization on the Mansistee River last fall.
and, as a 28-year-old college senior, I thought I might
just be in over my head. Immediately, Dan made me feel
My hope is that our writing will set a standard
welcomed — we talked about fly fishing, the chumming
among outdoor publications across the United States.
debate, conservation and my background as a hunter
We are fortunate enough to have a stable of consistent
and angler.
contributors like TV personality Tom Nelson and
A month later, I received another call — this
award-winning outdoor writer Bob Gwizdz. We also
time, Dan wanted me to sit down with our Education
have rookies like Calvin McShane who show promise
Director Shaun McKeon and Ed Golder from the
with a style that seems to be lost on the major outdoor
Department of Natural Resources. I pitched them my
vision, and thankfully, someone, somewhere — namely
MOOD’s new facelift has hardly scratched the
Mr. Garner — was pulling for me. He was in my corner
surface of the possibilities that lie ahead, and I look
from day one and gave me the confidence to pursue a
forward to continually bettering our magazine.
dream job straight out of school.
In this issue, Gwizdz takes an in-depth look at
Another month passed and Dan told me that I
the timberdoodle — a bird so abundant in Michigan that
was the front-runner for the job. He asked if I would be
we lead the charge on harvests, banding and, in turn,
willing to come down and meet with staff, pitch them
supplied data for research. A new face to the magazine,
my vision and let them get to know me. By this time,
Andy Duffy, explains the undeniable relationship
the job that I thought was just a dream was slowly
between tag alders and woodcock.
becoming a reality.
What is a woodcock hunt without a dog, though?
Now, here I sit — editor of a magazine so rooted
A new MOOD writer, Tim Lintz, examines how one can
in the way I live my life that it all makes sense. I need to
raise a happy, healthy gundog in your suburban home.
first thank Bob and Dan for having faith and confidence
Bow hunting tactics, tracking a wounded deer and surf
in an overzealous college kid. Without them, and both
fishing for chrome are some of the other articles that
of their guidance, I’m not sure this plan would have
round out our fall issue.
ever made it to fruition.
I look forward to serving our readership,
Michigan Out-of-Doors will be making some
finding out what conservation issues excite you and
more changes as the months progress, and I hope that
what you are passionate about. Again, I welcome any
everyone will ride the roller coaster with us. We have a
feedback that you might have — good or bad, I want to
solid format (with our quarterly model) that is going to
know what you think
allow us to do some great things journalistically.
Check out One Last Cast as I close this fall’s
We will be getting back to the true mission
issue with a short introduction into who I am, where
of MOOD — exploring and explaining the issues and
I come from and what my plans are for the magazine.
topics that our readership cares about. As a journalist,
As always, if anyone has any comments, concerns or
I will expect our writers to produce content that is
topics they would like examined, please email me at
driven by those who read our magazine, not their own
personal agendas.
MOOD wants to know what issues matter to
you, what subjects you would like to learn about and Yours in conservation,
what information you need. After all, you are the Nick Green
reason we here at MUCC have a job.

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 3

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 5 8/28/2017 10:51:16 AM

Just finished reading my fall edition
of Michigan Out-of-Doors, and
wanted to get with you on the new
design ofThe bedrock of conservation is taking care of our natural resources so that they can be passed
the magazine.
down to future generations. The natural resources that we conserve today were conserved for us
Call meby oldgenerations of conservationists preceding us, and these generations are ever changing, ever
school, but I enjoyed
the magazine better the old way. flowing. Here we honor the passing of one generation of
When I normally read the mag- conservationists to the next.
azine its from cover to cover,
although my passion is mostly deer
hunting ,and fishing I enjoy reading In memory of
about some of the other passions
as well.
Robert Renner
John, Carl and Paul
And I liked it better with the shorter
stories that I could read in just a In memory of
few minutes in the morning before I
head off to work. Jeff Pelc
I do like the larger print now that Brian, Roger and John
the years have been added to my
birth date, and the eyes don't do
so well. But that could be obtained In memory of
by reducing the picture sizes. I have
been reading the magazine for Marco Rea
probably over 40 years now, and from
hunting, and fishing the out doors Phyllis, Jeff, Emily Wolanin
for probably 10 years more than of Oxford, Michigan
that, and still find them both to be
refreshing, and joyful. I also liked In memory of
the smaller paper size of the old Herb Burns
magazine, and soft covers for this from
allowed you to fold the pages and
hold it in one had comfortably. I Robert Garner Anka Burns
know I'm only one person and like & Stephanie Boothroyd
Jeremy Albert & Louise Massey
your final story different from all
Robert & Sally Heins Margaret Zakrzewski
others, but I really like the old mag-
Lawrence & Joanne Witte John & Ethelen Herbstreit
azine much better. And truly agree George & Constance Stojic Jerry & Kay Thiede
to Hunt Your Own Hunt. Leopold & Doris Teufner James & JIll Fedewa
Jim & Cheryl Farhat R.A. Meyers
But do it ethically and honestly.Gina Parks Russell & Phyllis Bleich
Teresa Gloden Jeffrey Andrews
Sincerely, DeLoy C. Clark Lois Server Dennis & Denise Brabant
Muckegon, MI Ronald & Helma Robinson Milton Scales
James Davis Carol Wright
George & Jennifer Firth Lee & Paula Gotcher
Frank Opolka

Having recently finished reading
If youthe
have recently lost someone you would like to honor here,
new format magazine, my first im- please contact Sue Pride at spride@mucc.org.
pression in a word is "slick". Upon

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 6 8/28/2017 10:51:17 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:

Bryce Shelton of Davison, Michigan

Troy Strieter of Sebewaing, 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."

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 7 8/28/2017 10:51:21 AM

Nick Green
editor@michiganoutofdoors.com 2101 Wood Street | PO Box 30235 | Lansing, MI 48909 | 517.371.1041 P | 517.371.1505 F | www.mucc.org
Uniting Citizens to Conserve, Protect and Enhance Michigan’s Natural Resources and Outdoor Heritage
SOLO 71 / DAVE BEHM Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) is a 501(c)
(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1937 by sportsmen's
clubs from around Michigan to protect conservation from
politics. Representing over 50,000 members and supporters
and approximately 250 affiliated conservation clubs, MUCC
PRESIDENT is the largest state-based conservation organization in the
THOMAS HERITIER nation. MUCC members determine its conservation policies
through a robust grassroots process, which MUCC staff works
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT to 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

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

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 8 8/28/2017 10:51:21 AM
Director's Desk
PrOTEcting your investment
Dan Eichinger, Executive Director managed waterfowl area having to contend with a
kayaker paddling through a flooded timber on the
When you buy a house with a mortgage the opening day of duck season-whose claim to be there
bank loaning you the money secures its investment is more valid if they have both paid into the system?
with the house you are buying. If you default on the Underlying much of this challenge is the foolhardy
loan, the bank takes your house. If you get a second idea that all parcels of public land can and should be
mortgage to finance repairs or remodeling that bank made to equally service all forms of outdoor recre-
also secures its investment with your house. ation. Many of us instinctively understand that this
The interest we license buyers have in public is not possible, let alone practical. Yet, the pressure
lands works much the same way. Monies derived from exists to shoehorn all users on to the same acreage.
our hunting and fishing licenses and the excise taxes Some have even gone so far as to suggest that our
levied on the sale of sporting arms and equipment historic and ongoing investment in our hunting lands
(Pittman-Robertson funds) and tackle and fishing should be “bought out” so that the wildlife dedication
gear (Dingell-Johnson funds), work much the same for a property can be lifted, opening the floodgates for
way. When those fund sources are used to acquire every hippie with a frisbee to stake a claim to your
public land wildlife and wildlife related recreation public hunting or fishing spot.
become the dedicated priority or use for that prop- The rules protecting these investments were
erty. Non-wildlife related recreation can still happen, set up generations ago by our forefathers who accu-
but the use must be secondary and insubstantial such rately predicted that future policy makers would be
that is does not overtake its primary wildlife related tempted to redirect hunting/angler license money
purpose. into unrelated projects or to convert hunting/angler
Similarly, when we use Pittman-Robertson, purchased and managed lands into something other
Dingell-Johnson or license fee dollars to manage than a fish or game area. Many of us in the hunting
or improve public land, that same wildlife related and fishing world freely season our conversations
interest in baked into the landscape. So, even if the with word like heritage, legacy and phrases like
land was not acquired with one of those fund sources, doing things “for the kids.” The public lands debates
rather improved with one of them, the wildlife dedi- here in Michigan and across the country demand
cation is there all the same. Like a bank loaning you from each of us that those words mean something.
money to renovate a kitchen-they secure their invest- The cost of relaxing on this issue is not some theoret-
ment with the property. ical loss. We lose real, tangible places that you can
This dedication, tied to your direct invest- see, touch and experience. We stand to lose the places
ment in our public lands is one of the last, best lines we have diligently invested in to acquire and manage
of defense against eroding our public footprint and and where we are free to democratically exercise the
losing critical acreage for hunting and fishing access. extraordinary privilege of hunting and fishing in
We regularly have to fend off both overt and covert Michigan.
attempts to dilute sportsman funded interest in our It is vital that each of us in our community
public lands, and that is not likely to change anytime understand that our investment in these places
soon. assures that they will be managed to benefit wildlife,
We also have to be wary about attempts to hunting and fishing for every generation that follows
co-opt other users into the funding model. Some us. It is our job to ensure that the hunting lineage
folks have proposed a “state land use pass that mush- connecting us to our grandparents and parents not
room pickers, birders, and other non-license-buying be broken on our watch and that we demand conser-
users could purchase" to get some skin in the game. vation action that is accountable to the future public
Bringing more folks into the user-pay network is not land hunter rather than the fortunes of present-day
an altogether bad idea. However, we must consider politics.
the use conflicts arising between duck hunters in a

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 7

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 9 8/28/2017 10:51:21 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.
May 21 - June 10, 2017 and in possession of marijuana. within the spawning closure.
Law enforcement action was taken CO Gast located a husband
You can't be fishing at a bar. for multiple violations. and wife fishing in the closed area.
The male suspect also failed to
CO Ethen Mapes was on What was it? Three or all day? immediately disclose that he had a
marine patrol on Lake Gogebic concealed pistol license (CPL).
when he spotted six unattended CO Ethen Mapes was Enforcement action was taken.
fishing lines in the water. checking boaters and anglers at
CO Mapes tied his patrol the Bergland boat launch when he Bear calls for trash
boat off to the dock where the poles smelled a strong aroma of intoxi-
were located and waited for the cating liquors coming from a boat On Saturday, CO Andrea
owners of the poles to come to the operator. Erratt received a nuisance
dock. When asked how much the bear complaint. She called the
After a while, it was clear operator had to drink, the subject complainant and received direc-
that the anglers were not coming stated he had three beers, later tions to their house on a dead end
to attend to their poles. CO Mapes changing his story to he had been road.
walked up to the house as the drinking all day. CO Erratt took a wrong turn
anglers pulled into the driveway. After failing field sobriety and ended up at a neighbor’s house
They stated they had gone to the tests, the subject was arrested for discovering burning building mate-
bar for a couple of drinks and had operating a boat with a blood alcohol rials but no one was home.
forgotten to pull their lines in. content greater than 0.08. CO Erratt went and talked
Law enforcement action to the nuisance bear complainants
was taken for not having immediate Car vs. moose who had their bird feeders torn
control of their fishing lines. down the previous night. She
CO David Miller responded advised them to bring in all of their
Riding dirty to a car vs. moose accident in Baraga bird feeders that were attracting the
County. bear.
CO Ethen Mapes was An immature bull moose CO Erratt returned to the
meeting with two Michigan State had been struck by a motor vehicle neighbor’s house and discovered
troopers in the Bruce Crossingarea along US-41 and Ohio Mine road. he had returned home and had put
when he noticed an ORV driver The vehicle sustained severe more building materials on the fire.
operating without a helmet. damage and the moose succumbed He was ticketed for illegal disposal
When CO Mapes tried to to its injuries. of solid waste and warned for the
stop the ORV, the driver fled and led unattended fire.
the CO on a pursuit for nearly a mile Don't carry AND fish illegally
down a multi-use trail. Stop looning around
The subject was appre- CO Gast worked fishing
hended and found to be intoxicated activity along the Sturgeon River CO Andrea Erratt of

8 |www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 10 8/28/2017 10:51:21 AM
Charlevoix County received a Lake Sand Dunes, CO Kyle Publiski Newaygo County lake several miles
complaint from CCE Central and CO Brian Brosky drove passed from the campground.
Dispatch about a fisherman in a a group of individuals who were Bruce didn’t appear too
kayak on Susan Lake swatting at a parked and walking around their aggressive and it is believed the inter-
loon with his paddle. vehicles. action with the campers allowed
A deputy called and volun- CO Publiski watched as one Bruce to become too comfortable.
teered to check on the kayakers of the subjects walked to the cab of This is a reminder to simply
while CO Erratt responded from the pickup truck and cracked the enjoy wildlife from a distance.
across the county. door slightly and began drinking a
CO Erratt arrived at Susan can of beer. 105 in a 55
Lake just as all four kayakers were Since all alcohol is prohib-
coming to shore. Three of the four ited in the park, the COs made CO Sam Schluckbier
kayakers, including the suspect, contact with the group. Two coolers observed a motorcycle operating at
did not have life preservers in their full of various alcoholic drinks were extremely high speeds in Kalkaska
kayaks. seized and the subjects were evicted County.
The suspect stated he was from the park and cited for posses- CO Schluckbier pursued the
being chased by the loon as he sion of alcohol. motorcycle, and with the help of
unknowingly fished by its nest and local law enforcement, was able to
he only splashed the loon. He wanted gas and got a free ride get it stopped several miles away.
CO Erratt warned him that When contacting the driver,
it is illegal to harass loons at any CO Josiah Killingbeck was he advised that he was operating
time. CO Erratt ticketed the three advised by Lake County Dispatch over 105 mph. The operator also
kayakers for no PFDs. that an intoxicated man was asking failed to register the bike and was
for gas at a staging area in Lake unable to provide insurance.
Sounds like a Friday night?!?! County. Enforcement action was
CO Killingbeck made contact taken for the multiple violations
Sgt. Mark DePew came into with the callers at the staging area,
contact with two individuals in and within minutes, he located the Really? With your infant?
Otsego County over the Memorial suspect operating in the parking lot
Day weekend - one operating an on an ORV without a helmet or eye Sergeants Ron Kimmerly
ORV and the other a large tractor protection. and Tony Soave were working a
on a public roadway. CO Killingbeck made marine patrol in 30 MPH winds on
Upon contact with the oper- contact with the operator who was the Shiawassee River in the Federal
ator of the ORV, it was determined not making sense when talking and Flats area.
he was not wearing a helmet and could hardly walk. It was determined The waves on the river were
was not displaying an ORV license. that the subject was intoxicated and close to 1 ½ feet. The sergeants then
As the investigation continued, a nearly three times the legal blood came across two kayaks with an
loaded rifle was located on the ORV alcohol limit. The subject was also adult in each.
and the operator was intoxicated. driving on a suspended license from When the sergeants got
A short time later, the previous drunk driving convictions closer, they noticed that there was
tractor operator arrived who was and was arrested and lodged in the an infant between the legs of the
also intoxicated and started a verbal Lake County Jail for operating while female kayaker.
confrontation that turned physical intoxicated. While neither of the adults
with the sergeant. were wearing a PFD or had one on
As the incident escalated, Bruce the Goose board, the infant was wearing one.
the operators of the ORV and the The male kayaker did not
tractor attempted to gain control CO Jeff Ginn responded to know where he was and advised the
of the loaded gun; however, were a Newaygo County Campground to sergeants that they were trying to
unsuccessful. address an aggressive Canada goose. get to the Center Road Bridge on the
At the conclusion of the Upon arrival, CO Ginn Tittabawassee River.
investigation, both subjects were observed the goose, affectionately Sgt. Kimmerly advised that
arrested for numerous violations, referred to as Bruce the Goose, it was at least 10 miles away and they
including three felonies, and five hanging around a couple of parked would capsize in the high winds.
misdemeanors. Both were lodged in vehicles in the campground. Due to the extremely
the Otsego County jail. It was alleged the goose had dangerous situation, the sergeants
been seen hissing and charging at put the kayaks and the three indi-
Not in here young children trying to feed him. viduals in their jet boat and took
Bruce was captured by CO them back to their vehicle.
While working at Silver Ginn and relocated to a remote

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 9

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 11 8/28/2017 10:51:21 AM

The adults were issued cita- After issuing the citation,
tions for no PFDs and the sergeants CO Siemen motored about a half CO Jeremy Sergey and CO Jeff
took some extra time discussing the mile away and was watching other Dell noticed a large pile of debris
possible ramifications of the situ- boaters. After a period of time, CO burning on an individual’s prop-
ation they put themselves and the Siemen saw the kayaker in the water erty. There was also a house cut in
infant into. waving his arms and struggling to half on the property.
swim. Upon investigation, it was
Hard to drive with a beer in your hand CO Siemen quickly motored revealed that the owner had cut his
over to the subject. As he arrived, house in half and burned it in his
While conducting ORV he saw the kayak upside down and backyard.
patrol in Sanilac County, CO Mark sinking. CO Siemen grabbed the The owner claimed there
Siemen stopped two ORVs with subject and assisted him into the was black mold growing in the
female operators, one of which had patrol boat. house and he
a small child riding on the back of Once in the boat, the subject didn’t want it becoming a health
the ORV. advised that the CO was right about hazard so he burned the house.
CO Siemen observed the trying to swim — that it was too cold Law enforcement action was
subjects riding on the road with no and rough. The subject stated his taken.
helmets and the minor child on the kayak took on water and tipped, and
back holding onto the operator. he could not get back to it because it 'I don't bruise like a peach'
As CO Siemen got closer and was sinking in the water.
prepared to stop the ORV, he saw After gathering the subject’s CO Mark Zitnik along
one of the females throw a beer can items, he was transported to the with Michigan State Police were
into the ditch. She stopped once the harbor and thanked CO Siemen dispatched to a domestic in progress.
overhead lights were activated on multiple times for helping him. Upon arrival, the boyfriend
the patrol truck. was complaining that his girlfriend
The second operator had That's one way to get lines in the water was beating on him.
trouble stopping her ORV because Further investigation
of the beer can in her hand. Once While on marine patrol revealed that the boyfriend had
both subjects were stopped, enforce- over the Memorial Day weekend been striking his girlfriend.
ment action was taken. Multiple COs Greg Patten, Chris Simpson When the CO and trooper
citations were issued and one of the and Sgt. Jeff Rabbers made contact put the individual under arrest he
female subjects will be appearing with numerous anglers trolling for stated, “Look at all the marks on my
in court for operating an ORV on salmon. body from her.” The trooper said
the road with a denied and revoked One subject had set up his to the boyfriend, “I do not see any
license. passenger seat to look like an angler, marks on you.” The boyfriend said,
outfitting it with a coat and hat to “I don’t bruise like a peach for God
Listen to your COs justify running too many lines. sake.”
A second boat check revealed
While conducting a marine that the subjects were operating an The jackpot of no-nos
safety patrol on Lake Huron, CO unlicensed charter boat where one
Mark Siemen had contact with a of the subjects did not have a valid After completing marine
subject in a kayak about a half mile fishing license. patrol on Torch Lake in Antrim
out from the Lexington break wall A marine safety inspection County, Sgt. DePew observed a
that did not have a PFD with him. also revealed a supply of marijuana vehicle approaching him traveling
During a conversa- aboard the vessel. Enforcement southbound in the northbound lane.
tion, and while issuing him a action was taken for the fishing Within seconds, Sgt. DePew
citation, the kayaker stated he violations and a warrant is being had to make an evasive maneuver
knew how to swim. CO Siemen sought for the drug violations. to avoid a head-on collision. He then
advised that due to the cold and made a U-turn and began pursuing
rough waters, making it to shore June 18 - July 1, 2017 the vehicle into the Village of Alden.
would be pretty difficult and that He briefly lost sight of
even if he can swim he still needs a It sounds logical the vehicle due to the operator
life jacket while in a kayak. attempting to elude the officer.

10 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 12 8/28/2017 10:51:21 AM
As he entered the village with his directly involved with a young child
emergency lights and siren on, citi- who had a near-drowning experi- Fixing the wing
zens began pointing and yelling in ence on the Pere Marquette River.
the direction the vehicle had gone. CO Killingbeck responded After coming off shift, CO
Thanks to the citizens, the to a 911 call of two subjects Joseph Deppen received a phone
vehicle and operator were located a clinging to an overturned canoe. call from dispatch involving an
short distance away. CO Killingbeck’s knowledge of the injured juvenile bald eagle that fell
Upon contact, the driver river allowed him to quickly find the out of its nest after a storm knocked
attempted to flee on foot, but Sgt. victims. a large tree to the ground.
DePew was able to apprehend With the help of the Lake The caller reported the juve-
the subject after a brief physical County Sheriff’s Department, CO nile bald eagle may have a broken
encounter. Killingbeck was able to crawl out wing and the mother eagle may
The driver was arrested for on a log in a very high and fast also be trapped beneath the fallen
operating under the influence of a moving current and grab onto the debris.
motor vehicle, fleeing and eluding young child who was reported to CO Deppen contacted CO
a police officer, resisting arrest, have been trapped under water Brad Silorey and both COs launched
possession of marijuana and having and under a canoe for four to five their patrol boat on Lake St. Clair
a loaded handgun. minutes. and proceeded to the callers loca-
Kalkaska and Antrim CO Killingbeck also assisted tion on a nearby island.
County Sheriff’s Departments along an adult out of the river. The child With the male bald eagle-
with the Michigan State Police was taken to a local hospital and circling and watching, the juvenile
assisted. Charges are pending at the later transferred to a down state bald eagle was located and rescued
Antrim County Prosecutor’s Office. hospital, but is expected to survive. from the fallen tree.
Using chainsaws, the COs
How fast is a woodchuck? cut their way through the rest of the
Some like dogs, others like deer tree but were not able to locate the
While conducting an ORV mother eagle.
CO William Kinney received patrol in Sanilac County, CO Mark The juvenile eagle was taken
an anonymous complaint of an Siemen made contact with a large to a local rehabilitation facility. The
individual who was rehabilitating a number of subjects and gave following day, the juvenile eagle was
whitetail fawn without a permit. multiple warnings for a number of sent to Michigan State University
CO Kinney went to the home ORV violations. for surgery on its wing.
to question the homeowner about During the patrol, CO Veterinarians hope to use
the complaint. The homeowner Siemen observed a side-by-side ORV pins, screws, and plates to stabilize
initially denied having a fawn in pull to the side of the road and the the wing for the juvenile eagle and
her possession. She did, however, operator leave the ORV and walk nurse it back to health.
lead the CO to believe the deer was into a field.
currently in the home. As CO Siemen
She stated several times, she drove closer to the Please stop and thank our brave
knew how to raise a deer and if she side-by-side he observed an uncased
did have one it would be well taken rifle in the front area of the COs if you happen to see them
care of. Eventually, after several side-by-side. in the field. More often than not,
minutes of questioning, the home- The operator then walked
owner admitted to CO Kinney she back to the side-by-side and advised
they are only trying to inform the
did in fact have a fawn and allowed CO Siemen that he was hunting public of regulations or safety
the CO to come inside. woodchucks in the field. standards, not issue tickets.
The homeowner stated she CO Siemen asked the subject
had rescued the fawn after finding if the uncased rifle was loaded,
the adult doe hit along the road. She to which the subject stated it was
knew she wasn’t supposed to have it loaded with a round in the chamber.
and apologized for lying to the CO. The subject stated he keeps it loaded
The fawn was seized from because the woodchucks are very
the homeowner and taken to a fast and he does not have time to
wildlife shoot them if he has to uncase and
rehabilitator. load the rifle.
CO Siemen educated
CO hero saves young child the subject on the laws of trans-
porting a loaded/uncased firearm.
CO Josiah Killingbeck was Enforcement action was taken.

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 11

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 13 8/28/2017 10:51:22 AM
DNR meeting discussed Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act,
dredging work to allow the Army Corps to remove
some of the stamp sands from the
The Michigan Department lake. Doing this will reestablish the
of Natural Resources hosted a Grand Traverse Harbor channel
meeting to tell the public about a and provide 5-7 years of protection
proposed dredging project designed for Buffalo Reef.
to restore the Grand Traverse
Harbor channel and help protect Michigan Arctic Grayling
Buffalo Reef. Initiative announces action plan
A U.S. Army Corps of mapping out future efforts
Engineers map shows the stamp
sands area in Houghton County. The Michigan Arctic
Public input from this meeting will Grayling Initiative – a statewide
be considered before the project partnership effort focused on
application is finalized. restoring self-sustaining popula-
Representatives of several tions of this native fish – unveiled its
agencies cooperating with the DNR official action plan at July's Natural
on the proposed project will attend Resources Commission meeting in
the session, including the U.S. Lansing. The plan details the initia-
Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. tive’s goals and various activities it
Environmental Protection Agency plans to accomplish over the next
and the Michigan Department of several years. it possible for residents and visitors
Environmental Quality. This initiative, founded to once again find this slate-blue
Tailings, or waste rock from by the Michigan Department of beauty with the distinctive dorsal
mining, known locally as “stamp Natural Resources and the Little fin in Michigan waters.”
sands,” were dumped into Lake River Band of Ottawa Indians, was This initiative is looking
Superior near the community of announced in June 2016 and consists for resources from a variety of
Gay more than 100 years ago. These of 32 organizations. sources to help reach its goals, like
sands have moved, with the action The action plan is the result the Consumers Energy Foundation
of the lake, about 5 miles south of multiple meetings of the part- grant the DNR, the Little River Band
along the coast and in nearshore ners where ideas, questions and of Ottawa Indians and Michigan
areas. information gaps were identified Technological University received
The stamps sands are now and then condensed into four main in February 2017. These funds are
filling in Grand Traverse Harbor focus areas: research, management, being used to collect habitat and
and threaten Buffalo Reef, an fish production and outreach and fish community data in the upper
important spawning area for lake education. Big Manistee River and create an
trout and whitefish. “Large populations of outreach plan.
The DNR is applying for a Arctic grayling were once found “Contributions by organi-
permit from the DEQ, under the throughout Michigan’s Lower zations like the Consumers Energy
Peninsula and even in an Upper Foundation are invaluable as this
Peninsula stream. In fact, this initiative works toward making a
iconic, cold-water fish species dream a reality,” said Frank Beaver,
was native only to Michigan and director of the Little River Band of
Montana in the lower 48 states,” said Ottawa Indians' Natural Resources
DNR Fisheries Chief Jim Dexter. Department. “It’s so exciting to see
“With the launch of the Arctic so many partners working to try and
grayling action plan, we’re moving bring back this significant species.”
an important step closer to making

12 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 14 8/28/2017 10:51:22 AM
DNR seeks public's help with Annual report highlights efficiencies and much more.
Canada geese case in Muskegon DNR Fisheries Division's 2016 “We’re always pleased to
present our annual report to provide
County accomplishments and activities a regular snapshot of the critical
work Fisheries Division is doing
The Michigan Department The Michigan Department to manage Michigan’s world-class
of Natural Resources is asking of Natural Resources anounced aquatic resources,” said Fisheries
for the public’s assistance as it in July that the DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “These
investigates a July 10 incident on Division’s report highlighting reports help us track our progress
Muskegon County’s Mona Lake in various management efforts as we work toward completing our
which personal watercraft riders accomplished during Fiscal Year strategic plan and we are proud to
killed and injured several Canada 2016 is available online at michigan. share them with the public.”
geese on Mona Lake. gov/fishing. The Fisheries Division
Witnesses report seeing Again this year there are welcomes input from readers of the
two personal watercraft operators two components to the report: a 2016 annual report. Comments may
running over the geese shortly 13-page document with full details be shared via email to DNR-Fish-
before 2 p.m. The riders drove in of DNR fisheries management work Accomplishments@michigan.gov.
circles around the flock before completed in the past year and a
plowing through it, injuring about 9-inch-by-12-inch printed trifold
DNR Conservation Officers
three geese. A citizen’s video brochure (available as a PDF) that
provided to conservation officers visually summarizes the content. Mike Evink, Ben Shively cited
shows injured geese swimming The 2016 Fisheries Division for lifesaving actions
away. Witnesses later found one of Annual Report focuses on the
the geese that died. programs and work completed in Two Michigan Department
The riders are described as the past fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2015, of Natural Resources conservation
Caucasian, one of whom has long through Sept. 30, 2016) by division officers were recognized for saving
hair. One watercraft is purple and staff in an effort to maintain and the lives of accident victims in
the other is white and yellow. improve Michigan’s fisheries. The the Upper Peninsula and Oceana
“The DNR takes any abuse report categorizes work within County earlier this year.
of Michigan’s natural resources the goals developed as part of the Conservation Officers Mike
seriously,” said Lt. Gerald Thayer, division's five-year strategic plan, Evink and Ben Shively received
District 7 supervisor for the DNR’s published in March 2013. the DNR’s Lifesaving Award for
Law Enforcement Division. “It’s Highlights of the report their respective actions in two
important we identify the suspects include dam removal efforts, separate incidents. The awards
involved in this incident so justice habitat restoration work, preven- were presented during the regular
is served. We appreciate any infor- tion of aquatic invasive species, meeting of the Michigan Natural
mation citizens can provide that state-record fish, fisheries popu- Resources Commission in Lansing.
helps us resolve this case.” lation changes, education and “Conservation Officers
Illegally taking waterfowl is outreach efforts, partnerships, Evink and Shively are perfect exam-
a misdemeanor punishable by up to research, fish stocking, energy ples of the type of law enforcement
90 days in jail and fines. professionals we train our officers
An individual offering infor- to be,” said Gary Hagler, DNR Law
mation that leads to a successful Enforcement Division Chief, who
conviction may be eligible for a presented the awards. “Because of
reward through the Report All their rigorous training and profes-
Poaching (RAP) program. sional demeanors, both officers
Anyone with information is immediately responded to their
encouraged to call or text the RAP respective situations and were able
line at 800-292-7800. While citizens to save lives. The DNR is proud to
can remain anonymous, they must have Mike Evink and Ben Shively
provide their names if they wish to in its ranks.”
be eligible for a reward. The RAP
line is a convenient, effective way If you see topics in the media that are of
for citizens to report the illegal interest to you and that you think might be of
taking of fish or game, or damage interest to our readers, please send an email
to our natural resources. The line to Nick Green at editor@michiganoutof-
is open 24 hours a day, seven days a doors.com so they can be included in the
week. next issue of Michigan Out-of-Doors.

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 13

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 15 8/28/2017 10:51:22 AM
Conservation Nation
Ducks Unlimited testifies in is a non-regulatory approach, License fee increase requested
Senate on behalf of sportsmen working with the landowners to get by Ohio sportsmen
the job done, which we believe is the
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July most effective way to conserve these
According to the Columbus-
19, 2017 – Ducks Unlimited CEO wetlands. The HELP for Wildlife
based Sportsmen’s Alliance, Ohio’s
Dale Hall testified in front of the Act is a good bill, it is a bipartisan
hunters, anglers and trappers are
Environment and Public Works bill and it is a bill that is very much
doing something most citizens never
(EPW) Committee in the Senate needed."
do: asking Ohio’s governor, state
on behalf of S. 1514; The Hunting The HELP for Wildlife Act
representatives and state senators
Heritage and Environmental will:
to raise the license fees for these
Legacy Preservation (HELP) for • reauthorize NAWCA until 2023.
activities in Ohio. Concerned about
Wildlife Act. • reauthorize the National Fish
counties with no law enforcement
The HELP Act includes and Wildlife Foundation Act until
presence, decreased fish stocking,
reauthorization of the North 2023.
decreases in wildlife habitat
American Wetlands Conservation • reauthorize the Neotropical
management and a growing list of
Act (NAWCA) — one of Ducks Migratory Bird Conservation Act
projects that need to be done, some
Unlimited’s top priorities, along untill 2023 .
of Ohio’s top conservation groups
with several other important • reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay
are uniting to ask the legislature to
provisions designed to improve the Program until 2023.
allow sportsmen to continue to pay
management of fish and wildlife • clarify what constitutes baiting
their own way as they have done for
habitat as well as outdoor recreation migratory birds to protect agricul-
including hunting and fishing. Hall ture produces and hunters alike.
The Ohio Department of
was one of five panelists to testify Since its inception in 1989, grants
Natural Resources Division of
before the EPW committee led by from NAWCA have totaled more
Wildlife (ODOW) is funded almost
Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) than $1.4 billion and leveraged $2.9
entirely (96%) by sportsmen’s
and Ranking Member Tom Carper billion in non-federal contributions
dollars. These funds pay for law
(D-DE). from partners, impacting more than
enforcement, wildlife habitat
"NAWCA has conserved 33.4 million acres. Contributions
enhancements, endangered species
valuable wetlands across the have far exceeded match require-
programs, fish stocking, boating
continent, but we are still in need ments, allowing for the implementa-
access, shooting ranges and much
of additional work," said DU CEO tion of wetland habitat conservation
more. However, many of these
Dale Hall. "Wetlands are still under projects across North America.
programs have increasingly fallen
threat across the continent. NAWCA on hard times because the fees paid
by hunters, anglers and trappers
have not been updated for 14 years.
“In 2003, Ohio sportsmen
and women promised then-Gov-
ernor Bob Taft that if he raised
license fees that the funds would
last for at least ten years,” said Luke
Houghton, associate director of
state services for the Sportsmen’s
Alliance. “We’ve gone well past
that mark now, and it’s time to take
action. Rising healthcare costs and
other increases over the past 14
years have taken their toll on the
services sportsmen and women, and
all Ohioans, have come to rely upon.

14 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 16 8/28/2017 10:51:22 AM
We’re asking Governor Kasich and Woodcock Society (RGS/AWS) maintaining public hunting access
the legislature to address this need recently provided public comment on more than half of the approx-
by raising license fees.” urging the Secretary of the Interior imately 87,500 total acres within
Unlike many government to commit to providing young the monument. No provision was
agencies that use general taxpayer forest habitat when setting expec- made to engage in commercial
dollars, Ohio sportsmen and women tations for national monument forest management. The comments
gladly pay their own way to ensure management. The input empha- submitted by RGS/AWS conveyed
quality habitat, great fisheries, and sized the need for even-age forest appreciation and support for the
diligent law enforcement. These management to sustain abundant original commitment to allow
things have made hunting a $1.4 game and non-game wildlife, hunting on much of Katahdin
billion per year economic driver in provide high quality hunting, and Woods, but noted “protecting
Ohio, and fishing more than double benefit local timber and outdoor hunting access to these areas and
that at $2.9 billion per year. recreation economies. to public lands in general will
“Without an increase “Our comments provide prove a hollow gesture without
however, customer satisfaction will advice for specific steps Secretary ensuring they provide high quality
continue to drop, and the hunting Zinke could take and offer our habitat.”
and fishing economies with it,” support to help establish the Within the eastern United
Houghton said. “Fortunately, this Katahdin Woods and Waters States and Canada, Dr. Rudolph
is all preventable because Ohio’s National Monument as a prece- indicated 53 percent of the bird
outdoor community is willing to pay dent-setting model of sustainable species that breed in shrub-dom-
for the needed improvements.” forest and wildlife management,” inated or young forest habitats
The Sportsmen’s Alliance, said RGS/AWS President and CEO have declined since 1980, compared
along with 22 other conservation John Eichinger. to decline among just 34 percent
organizations are asking the legisla- National monuments may of the bird species that breed in
ture to address the issue by taking be designated or expanded by the mature forests.
two steps. First, according to the President of the United States “Beyond simply the oppor-
Alliance, by addressing the cost of under authority of the Antiquities tunity for benefitting local popu-
non-resident deer hunting in Ohio, Act of 1906. The Katahdin Woods lations of young forest species,”
which is the lowest of any quality and Waters National Monument said Dr. Rudolph, “appropriate
white-tailed deer hunting state in (Katahdin Woods) in Maine was management of Katahdin Woods
the country at $149 for a license designated by President Barack could serve as a precedent-setting
and tag. The average for other high- Obama on August 24, 2016. model to demonstrate that active
quality deer states is $393, with the An Executive Order issued by forest management is compat-
lowest cost states around $250. By President Donald Trump in April ible with multiple local values
raising the cost of non-resident deer directed the Department of the and necessary to sustain healthy
hunting to $250, Ohio will remain Interior to review the designa- forest habitat, abundant wildlife,
attractive to the current 40,000 tions of 27 national monuments and future opportunities to enjoy
non-residents who hun there, while established since 1996. Other our public lands in pursuit of our
decreasing the burden faced by resi- than Katahdin Woods, all monu- national sporting heritage.”
dent hunters and anglers. ments to be reviewed are located Dr. Brent Rudolph is the new director
Second, the Sportsmen’s in western states or are marine of conservation policy for RGS and
Alliance said that by addressing national monuments. The review AWS.
the inequity on non-resident costs, has triggered considerable public
the increase on resident hunting response, with more than 1.4
and fishing fees could be a modest million comments submitted.
$3. The two user fee increases are “We are among the
fair to non-residents and modest most passionate organizations
on Ohioans. More importantly, the defending the overall benefits of
group contends, they will provide public lands,” noted Dr. Brent
the funds to solve the issues that Rudolph, director of conservation
concern Ohio’s sportsmen. For policy for RGS/AWS, “but we are
more information, visit sportsmen- one of the few voices working to
salliance.com. raise awareness and prompt action
regarding the poor conservation
Ruffed Grouse Society: National performance on federal properties
Monument Review with respect to providing young
forest habitat.”
The original Katahdin
Coraopolis, PA – The Ruffed Woods designation did commit to
Grouse Society and American

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 15

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 17 8/28/2017 10:51:22 AM
by Mark Romanack

S Central
ummertime is walleye time all across the Great Lakes region. The dog days of summer have a rep-
utation for delivering poor fishing, but in Great Lakes waters some of the best walleye fishing of the
year heats up as spring rolls into summer. Places like Saginaw Bay, Lake Erie, Little Bay de Noc and
Munuscong Bay produce limit catches of eating sized walleyes on a daily basis.

Fishermen have lots of options when it comes to catching summer walleye, but the tried and true
nightcrawler harness, aka “spinner rig”, is hands down the go to choice of walleye anglers in the know. Spin-
ner rigs flat out catch walleye and these rigs can be fished in a multitude of ways. The versatility of the spinner

by BobGwizdz
rig makes them not only deadly, but a lure and live bait combination that can be depended upon to consistently
catch fish.


Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 18 8/28/2017 10:51:23 AM
W hen it comes to naming favorite game animals in
Michigan, you will go through a bunch of species
before you ever get to woodcock.
appearance, though, they are of a different genus —
woodcock are rounder than snipe with shorter legs.
They have large eyes set in the middle of their heads
Deer, ducks, grouse, geese — heck, I that give them near 360-degree vision. Uniquely, the
suspect rabbits and squirrels are more likely upper mandible of the bird’s long, straight bill is flex-
to be named before woodcock, which seem to ible, allowing them to probe the ground for inverte-
be added as an afterthought to ruffed grouse. brates. Earthworms make up the vast bulk of their diet.
That’s not right. Personally, I’d just as Unlike snipe, which are associated with
soon we ditch the robins — which we share marshes and wet meadows, woodcock are forest birds,
with two other states as official birds — and living in areas of early succession. They are often
replace it with the American woodcock. associated with ruffed grouse, as they prefer similar
The woodcock is an unusual critter — a member habitats, and it isn’t unusual to find them in the same
of the shorebird family that has adapted to live in the proximity, though woodcock appear to be significantly
uplands. It is an important game bird in the Eastern more widespread. Grouse are generally associated with
United States and though it is a migratory species, aspen stands, as aspen is an important part of their diet.
wintering largely along the Gulf Coast, no state has more Woodcock are often found in aspens because of their
of claim to woodcock than Michigan. Michigan produces preference for high stem density, but they don’t require
more woodcock than any other state. Hunters kill more it. In fact, in places where aspen grow in sandy soil,
woodcock in Michigan than any other state. More woodcock may be absent; there are not a lot of earth-
woodcock are banded in Michigan than any other state. worms in the sand. Soft, moist, rich soils are the key.
Most closely resembling Wilson’s snipe in

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 19 8/28/2017 10:51:24 AM
Chuck Riley takes a woodcock from his German shorthaired pointer, Gena. Riley's woodcock hunting success has come
all over the state, with a fair amount of it in Southern Michigan.

Because of their linkage to grouse among Still, it is not unusual to find woodcock – presumably
hunters, woodcock are generally thought of as migrants – along the woody edges of pheasant hunting
Northern Michigan birds, where the bulk of Michigan’s fields right up until the opening of rifle season.
aspen stands occur. But there are plenty of woodcock “I started out hunting in Southern Michigan
in Southern Michigan, where they prosper in any with Andy Amman back in the mid-1970s,” said Riley,
thick, young woodlots. Any multi-stemmed shrubs or a retiree who owns German shorthaired pointers
brush – autumn olive, honeysuckle, even young maple and is determined to exercise them nearly every day.
stands – give them the cover they need to escape avian “Actually, we found quite a few grouse down here back
predators. then, too, and I’ve talked to a lot of guys who said there
In recent years, I’ve taken to hunting wood- were a lot more in the ‘60s and early ‘70s.”
cock significantly more in southern Michigan, often in These days, grouse in Southern Michigan are
young woodlots on state game areas. One of my hunting more rare than Detroit Lions championships. But not
partners, Chuck Riley, does the bulk of his woodcock woodcock, which can be found all-season long.
hunting (and woodcock banding in the spring) within “I shoot very few woodcock in aspen,” said Riley,
easy driving distance of his Lansing home. who is increasingly chasing the needle-nosed birds
“Why would I drive 150 miles to hunt woodcock south of M-57. “I find them in young oaks, willows, and
when I can find a limit of birds within 50 miles of my alders down around the edge of swamps. You find them
home?” Riley asked. in autumn olives and those doggone raspberries that
I hunt with Riley a day or two each fall, and it’s the dogs don’t want to go in after them. And I find them
rare that we don’t kill our six woodcock. Sometimes in that low stuff in that mud – how would I describe it?
we’re done in short order. And often when we aren’t, it’s Swamp brush.”
because one of us (and that would be me) isn’t shooting Riley, who participates with the federal wood-
as well as he should. It isn’t often for a lack of birds. cock survey by sending in wings, says 75 percent of the
Most importantly, we usually hunt in late birds he kills come from south of Clare, despite making
September/early October, well before the birds have occasional forays into the North county. Riley also
begun migrating south. Usually, woodcock numbers in bands woodcock, and though he usually makes a week-
Southern Michigan seem to only increase as the season long pilgrimage to the Houghton Lake area to band, the
stretches into mid- to late October/early November. bulk of the chicks he finds are in Southern Michigan.

18 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 20 8/28/2017 10:51:25 AM
Riley’s chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society is like just as often I hear guys tell me that they can’t seem
active in funding woodcock habitat management proj- to hit woodcock. They do have an unusual flight pattern
ects in Southern game areas — most notably Rose Lake – unlike grouse which tend to fly straight away – but
and Gratiot-Saginaw. He’s banded birds at Rose Lake I think I do better on woodcock simply because they
(though he doesn’t hunt there) and says he’s seeing the often flush much closer than grouse. Woodcock depend
habitat manipulation pay off. on their natural camouflage as part of their survival
“There are a lot of birds in Southern Michigan, strategy, and it isn’t unusual to see them on the ground
but they’re doing a lot more management now,” he said. mere feet ahead of your dog’s nose. Woodcock hold well
“Very few people who you tell about hunting grouse for a point — they are excellent quarry when training a
and woodcock will believe you if you tell them you hunt young dog.
down here. If you’re really serious about grouse, you I prefer to hunt them with a 20-gauge light
have to go to Gladwin or Roscommon County, but there shotgun that I can shoulder and point quickly with an
are a lot more birds around here than people think.” open choke. I like size seven and a half or eight shot,
“One year, I really got into them around the 10th though I have some buddies who prefer size nine. But
of October,” he continued. “They were thick. I’ve seen I like to have a little more oomph behind my load in
places where you put them up three at a time — 30 birds case I have to reach out to get them. That’s not often
in a half hour on 10 acres — and they weren’t there two the case, though, generally you have a narrow window
days earlier. But I’ve seen when you go out and shoot when shooting woodcock as you are often in stuff so
your limit, then flush 20 more birds on the way back to thick you have to fight your way through it — though as
the truck, then go back the next day and not find a bird. the season progresses and the leaves fall, longer shots
They’re gone.” are possible.
“In 2014, I moved 18 to 20 birds on the last day of Woodcock will never replace grouse as table
the season,” Riley said. fare, though they are, depending on your palate, quite
Ah, the season. It used to run concurrent with flavorful. They are dark-breasted (oddly enough, their
the early grouse season — Sept. 15 to Nov. 14. But legs are light meat) and if you don’t like waterfowl for
woodcock had been in a long-term decline since the the table, you would probably hate woodcock. There
mid-1960s and about a dozen years ago, the feds decided are certainly those who hunt grouse and ignore wood-
to shorten the system and delay the opener. Under the cock. I’m not one of them. I figure if the dog does its
current federal framework, woodcock season can open job and points a woodcock, it deserves an opportunity
the Saturday closest to Sept. 20 and run for 45 days. to retrieve it, too.
Michigan has opted for the earliest possible opener
(anywhere from Sept. 17 to Sept. 23, depending on the
Chuck Riley exam-
calendar) and runs a continuous 45-day season. Captain Jake Ro- manack of Fish-
ines a woodcock
The woodcock population decline seems to have ing 411 TV holds a typical "eater"
he harvested at a
tapered off somewhat, but Al Stewart, the Department of Great Lakes wall- eye taken troll-
Southern Michigan
Natural Resources upland game bird specialist, ing spinner rigs in the Mich-
state game
warns hunters from assuming there’s a cause- igan waters of Lake Erie near
and-effect relationship between the more Bolles Harbor
restricted season and the change in popula-
tion trends. For one thing, there are far fewer
woodcock hunters now – it’s all deer, all the
time, right? – and the DNR has made early
succession forest management a priority.
“In Michigan, we continue to work
hard to create early successional forest
habitat,” Stewart said. “We’re aggressively
harvesting aspen and providing habitat for
woodcock. Other states have helped priori-
tize young forests, too.”
An example is Michigan’s GEMS –
Grouse Enhanced Management System – areas
that are harvested in a manner to continuously
provide young habitat on any given area. Woodcock
hunting at most of the GEMS is top-notch.
Although I would characterize myself as a
“grouse and woodcock” hunter when I go afield with
my dog, I’ve got to confess that I shoot many
more woodcock than I do grouse. Some other
hunters will admit as much, too, but it seems

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 21 8/28/2017 10:51:27 AM
Gundogs should be part of the family

by Tim Lintz

Shotgun Kennel owners Tim and Debbie Lintz sometimes have to get creative when they approach training their German short-
haired pointers. The couple uses an elementary school near their home to work their GSP, Eva , during some "woah" work.
Urban sprawl has had in suburbia. However, these chal- that determines whether or not
its effect not only on wildlife but lenges can often have great benefits your pooch with make a successful
keeping, raising and training a to both you and your hunting buddy. hunting/family dog.
hunting dog has become increas- I often bristle at the notion When you or the kids get
ingly more challenging. hunting dogs, and especially my home from work or school, the first
It seems that everyone from German shorthaired pointers, are thing that needs to be done is the
local units of government to home- hyper. I will admit, the hunting dog should be let out to take care of
owner associations are making breeds can be high-energy, prey- business and get a bit of exercise.
rules which make it more difficult to driven, intelligent dogs which How is this a benefit of having an
own dogs. The rules range from how require exercise for both their inside dog versus an outside dog?
many dogs you can have and how mental and physical wellbeing — It requires interaction between
big they can be to whether or not but hyper they are not. They are the dog and its human family. An
you are allowed to have an outdoor intense in the field and are able to outside dog can be ignored while
kennel or even a fenced-in yard. switch it off in the home when given you unwind from the daily grind
In addition to the regula- the proper amount of attention and or until you get around to feeding
tions which present challenges exercise. Keeping a high-energy dog it. Immediately taking care of the
for keeping a gundog in suburbia, inside during the day while you are dog’s needs will help you and the
are the myths or perceptions at work and keeping the dog happy dog unwind together. It is great
which persist about hunting dogs can be done and is done by many. therapy for you both.
in general. Some of these include Crate training is the key. A After letting the dog take
hunting dogs being too hyper to roomy crate will become the dog’s a much needed potty break, take a
have in the house, not making great nest where it will learn to feel safe few minutes to give it some affection
pets and that they are not good with and secure and you will have the or play a little game of fetch to help
kids. peace of mind your buddy is not it burn off a bit of energy. No matter
One of my favorite myths, home eating the couch or chewing the day I have had, a mutual loving
though, is you shouldn’t let your the drywall down to the studs. enthusiastic greeting between me
hunting dog live in the house Our dogs are always crated when and my dogs makes all things good
because it will make them soft. As they are home alone for extended with the world. That does not always
I mentioned, there are challenges periods of time. It is what you do happen if the dog is kenneled and
raising a high-energy hunting breed with your dog when you are home you get to it when you feel like it.

20 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 22 8/28/2017 10:51:27 AM
I am fortunate to live on kennel, rarely being around people
enough acreage where I can have enough to interact, understanding
several dogs — I currently have what is permissible and what is not
four GSPs, all of which have lots isn’t clear — they haven’t gained
of energy, and although I do have a that knowledge.
separate kennel building, our dogs It is called socialization

live in our home the vast majority of and training. Dogs want to be part
the time. They are all able to spend of your family pack. They want to
as much time out-of-doors as they know where they rank in that pack
want when we are home. and understand the limits of what is
Although I do not have a acceptable. You must establish the
physical fenced yard, I have an rules, or the dog will. Although my
underground electric fence. The dogs don’t make the rules, I admit, I
dogs wear a collar and as they get have had to come to a compromise
close to the boundary they get a with a couple of my more persistent
warning “beep.” If they get too dogs. I hunt my dogs as much or
close to the boundary they will get more than most because I guide at
a mild electric shock. The shock is a pheasant hunting preserve and
uncomfortable, but it will not injure hunting for them is what they love
the dogs. Where physical fences are and are bred to do. However, an
not allowed, underground electric overwhelming amount of their lives Tim Lintz's GSPs live by the motto, "if I
fences are worth their weight in is spent as members of our family. fits, I sits." Lintz said it is important for
gold. My GSPs will not pursue birds Their bad habits or what others gun dogs' health and hunting ability
or other animals beyond our under- perceive as bad habits in the house, to make them part of the family.
ground fence line. A good-quality are habits I have allowed to creep be easily controlled and should be.
fence is a must. Not having the dog into our daily lives. I no longer Today, there is little reason
kenneled outside 24/7 allows the dog even consider my dogs as pets, I am why our four-legged hunting part-
to roam the yard and explore a bit, sharing my life with them. ners can’t live in the house with us.
which is good for its mental state. A dog being soft has nothing In addition, most of the best high-en-
It will not be prone to idle barking, to do with it living in the house any ergy dogs I have had the pleasure of
raising the ire of the neighbors. more than it does with people either hunting behind are also much-loved
I still hear comments, espe- being in shape for outdoor activi- family companions, which share
cially when guiding for clients, inti- ties or not. It has everything to do their lives indoors with families. I
mating that hunting dogs are not with diet and exercise. A dog living believe one of the biggest reasons
really pets, and they are not good outdoors or in a kennel building will some of these great dogs perform
with kids. If a dog spends its life in a be in no better condition or be any so well in the field is because of the
tougher than a hunting dog raised bonding they get from living in the
in the home if the effort is not made home. It takes a great deal of dedi-
to keep it in condition. cation to the dog but they might just
Mankind domesticated dogs repay you with a grouse or pheasant
thousands of years ago, and it is meal and by giving unconditional
perhaps the single most successful love if you share your home with
relationship between man and your K-9 hunting buddy.
beast. Perhaps, in the past, keeping
a hunting dog
outside was more
of a necessary
situation because
of the limited Your e-collar Specialist Since 1988
ability we had Shop Local!
to control pests
All the Best Brands in Stock!
which dogs may
have brought into
the house such
as fleas and ticks.
However, with the 800-430-2010
advances in veter-
The Lintzs' female, Eva, displays her
inary science, pest
intensity in the field despite being a 1517 Northern Star Dr.
lap dog at home. management can Traverse City MI 49696 Buy-Sell-Trade & Repair

MOOD.indd 1
Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors
6/28/2017 11:58:06 AM

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 23 8/28/2017 10:51:28 AM
in the hand

in the
by Andy Duffy
Those aware of the tag alder-woodcock relationship find more birds
he woodcock took off on one of our lives. Hunting time is in short green. The two of us, followed by my
the species' patented, twisting supply. The two of us were trying English springer, Lily, hopped from
flights through the brush. to seize the time and slip at least a the pickup and began uncasing and
Matt, my son-in-law, shot, but the little hunting into the evening. loading our shotguns.
bird escaped unscathed. We'd seen We had already exhausted I didn't pay any attention to
evidence enough to know we were one covert. Shadows were length- Lily's actions. She'd worn her edge
in timberdoodle country, though. ening rapidly, and we had to get off a little in the last covert we'd
Neither of us had ever somewhere else fast. We stood at the hunted, and I figured she wouldn't
hunted birds there before. We were truck talking things over. wander too far before we were
on the grounds of a summer camp. "We can hunt at camp," Matt loaded up and ready to go. Besides,
The campers and staff had been gone said. she went the wrong direction along
for weeks, however, and the organi- I didn't want to go. He'd taken the edge of the pond where we'd
zation's wintertime weekend retreat me rabbit hunting there before, and parked. Instead of heading into the
season was still on the horizon. I'd never seen any habitat I liked – thick stand of tag alders to our west,
Only a handful of permanent staff for rabbits or for birds. When he said she'd gone east where just a thin line
members remained at work there, he knew of some tag alders there, of the raggedy trees stood alongside
and the two of us were far from any though, he piqued my interest. I still cattails and lily pads.
buildings. My son-in-law is one of wanted to go somewhere else, but Then, the woodcock went
the camp's permanent employees, the camp was right down the road, whistling across the pond. Lily must
and he had permission to hunt and those shadows kept getting have caught a faint whiff of bird
there. longer as we talked. scent as soon as she exited the truck
Once October arrives, Matt drove onto the camp and gone searching for whatever
daylight hours are much fewer than grounds and steered his truck made it.
during those halcyon days of June, toward a brace of ponds. Before us, I wasn't yet ready to shoot.
and work takes up far too much of the tags rose up in a tangled mass of Reacting quickly, Matt snapped off

22 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 24 8/28/2017 10:51:29 AM
a shot. The bird escaped his hail from. Cluster upon cluster of trees the tangled tag alder limbs, it has
of shotgun pellets. Still, the bird's follow the serpentine windings of gotten away scot free.
unexpected appearance was a good creeks across the countryside. And, Airborne predators must
omen even if it was bad luck. of course, as they do at the camp have a similarly difficult time
The tag alders stretched out where Matt works, they also grow trying to catch a woodcock. It would
in a broad expanse far larger than in and around wetlands. take an amazingly talented hawk or
I'd anticipated. Matt and I went Even under ideal conditions, owl to swoop through the tangled
deeper and deeper into it while my the trees never grow tall. They branches of tags to catch a timber-
springer, Lily, flushed one woodcock reach a height of 30 feet, perhaps. doodle sitting on the ground. So tag
after another. Some birds we only In the shade of the tall tags, though, alder groves offer the two things a
heard. Some we saw after a fashion. many forms of vegetation appar- woodcock needs – a food-rich buffet
They were the sightings a hunter ently lack the sunlight to thrive. and protection from predators. Find
lists on his grouse and woodcock Perhaps that is why woodcock can the tags, and a person will almost
cooperator log but birds he never find bare patches of soil to probe certainly find birds. If he doesn't
has a chance to fire a shot at. And with their bills. now, he will when the flights come
then, of course, were the through.
birds we did try to shoot. I don't know how
We didn't finish with "The truth is that grouse and woodcock, long it took me to get wise
many birds. I think we got a to the woodcock-tag alder
couple, though. I know we although they both are primarily ground- connection. Once I did,
both got some shooting in. though, I've always been
But darkness was falling dwelling birds, are entirely different crea- able to find birds. That
quickly, and after 20 minutes wasn't always the case.
or so, we returned to the tures with entirely different habitat niches." Bird hunters hear
truck. The hunt just proved all the time that woodcock
once again, though, that tag and grouse have overlap-
alders are woodcock magnets. The tags also offer protec- ping habitat. Hunt grouse thickets,
Probably every serious bird tion for woodcock. As I mentioned, we're told, and we'll stumble across
hunter found in the Midwestern the tags grow in clusters. All woodcock. Find woodcock and a
and Eastern tiers of states – and the trees in a group seem to lean person will find grouse.
even some who aren't so serious – outward as if a group of school As all generalizations do,
knows a little about woodcock and kids held hands to form a circle that one has some truth to it. Just
their preferred habitat. The long- and all leaned backwards. The tags, often enough to tantalize a hunter,
billed meat eaters probe around though, have crooked branches grouse and woodcock cover seem
in soft ground for worms, grubs, reaching back behind them. They indistinguishable from each other.
insects and other fare consisting form a dense canopy, but they also All too often, though, the general-
of God knows what. Naturally, the reach out with enough branches to ization will lead a person astray.
birds need damp soil. Many of their make walking difficult. A person This is especially true during the
preferred food items disappear as can find woodcock in the tags. When early bird season, a hunter can
soils dry out. The low-lying areas a hunter flushes one, though, he pound classic grouse coverts and
in creek bottoms and around some often will not get a shot off. seldom see a woodcock. During the
ponds, lakes and swamps, though, I've often pondered the diffi- best years of the grouse cycle, that
remain moist much of the year. culty an earthbound predator would may not be a problem. When grouse
Those areas harbor both tag alders have trying to catch a woodcock. numbers are low, though, a hunter
and the soil types preferred by Woodcock are notorious will find far fewer birds by focusing
woodcock. for sitting tight and only taking just on grouse.
Time after time, I've proven off when a hunter
to myself that tags and woodcock nearly steps on
go together like, well, shotguns and them. Among
shotgun shells. the low-lying
A lot of hunters may have branches of the
no idea what tag alders are. They're tags a bird can
found all over, though. They grow rise quickly
across a broad swath of the conti- into a tangle of
nent from the Pacific Northwest branches nearly
clear into Virginia. They typically impenetrable to
grow in clusters of trees, maybe anything of size.
five or six to a group. Perhaps And once a wood- Mesick, MI
that is where the name "tag" came cock reaches

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 23

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 25 8/28/2017 10:51:29 AM
Roger Sellnow
A hunter may find woodcock in the uplands, especially once the autumnal flights begin. For day in, day out success, though,
a person should look for them in the lowlands. When a hunter finds tag alders, he's found prime woodcock habitat.

The truth is that grouse and found in the uplands; woodcock are part of hunting is learning. And
woodcock, although they both are almost always found in the lowlands. an experienced woodcock hunter
primarily ground-dwelling birds, To find birds regularly, a person will have learned this: Late in bird
are entirely different creatures with darned well better know the differ- season, after autumnal rains have
entirely different habitat niches. ence between grouse and woodcock fallen and and the flights are on and
Sure, put them in a Venn diagram habitat, and he should hunt them the ground is typically moist every-
and there's some overlap. Grouse, both. If a person isn't willing to get where, woodcock can be anywhere.
though, eat a lot of berries, greenery his feet damp, he should just hunt And, of course, grouse can
and buds. They like their salad just grouse. But woodcock hunting has be anywhere, too. I'm never really
fine, thank you. And because they're often saved the day for me when I surprised to flush one when I'm
usually content with their salads, couldn't find grouse. I'd have been a clawing my way through a dense
they will thrive in a lot of places sad hunter if I wouldn't have found growth of tag alders. The tags offer
woodcock can't. woodcock. grouse the same protection from
Woodcock are meat eaters. Still, I'm never entirely predators that they offer woodcock.
They order off of a different menu surprised when I flush a woodcock Where a person finds tags, he will
than grouse do. If grouse like eating from grouse cover. Birds are always find water, too. Everyone knows
at the Candle Cafe, woodcock much going to be where we find them, and grouse seek the lowlands when
prefer the Mongolian Grill. One bird those locations may not be where things are dry in the uplands.
has Neanderthal tendencies; the we expect them. That's one of the Grouse and tag alders just
other is more genteel. So the wood- things that makes hunting so fasci- don't go hand-in-hand the way
cock need to live in the damp, dark nating. A weed may be a plant out woodcock and tags do, though. If a
places — the places where people of place, but a game bird is a game person is searching for a sure thing,
feel comfortable wearing boots and bird wherever we find it. When we one of the surest things I know is
ball caps. They need to muck around find one where we don't expect it to that woodcock will be found in the
in soft, worm-infested dirt. be, it's a bonus. Plus, we get to try tags.
Simply put, grouse are often to understand why it's there. A large Tags are pretty common in

24 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 26 8/28/2017 10:51:30 AM
the Lower Peninsula. Almost any the flights are coming through, I birds he shoots.
creek is likely to have some some- might even flush five or six wood- That can and should be a
where along its course. They're a cock during an evening's hunt. The serious consideration.
forest species with no commercial place is never a consistent producer If a bird falls with any shrub-
value, so loggers leave them alone. of birds, though. Among the tags bery between itself and the shooter,
One of their major habitat niches is is the place to look. A person can't it can be devilishly hard to find.
along creeks, so farmers leave them hunt in them if he doesn't know Woodcock wear better camouflage
alone. Farmers can hardly drain the what he's looking for. than anything ever made by Realtree.
land tags are on to make an arable I suppose no article about I never would have found the
field: The creek is already draining woodcock hunting is entirely first woodcock I ever shot if it hadn't
the area. complete without a word about been for the German shorthair I had
I hunt one farm that has a dogs. along with me.
pretty brook trout stream flowing Nobody needs a bird dog to I thought I knew exactly
across it. Most years, corn grows hunt woodcock. Find the habitat where the bird fell. It was in a
on either side of the creek. Steep and the birds will be there. Hunters little knot of brush, though, and I
slopes slant down toward the creek, who bust the brush will will flush couldn't keep my eye right on the
though, and the creek bottom is them. spot. I searched and searched before
too boggy to till. Tags grow in The bottom line is this: I noticing my dog was on point several
the bottom in wild profusion. A hunt with a dog because I like dogs yards away. I wasn't sure if it was a
person can occasionally flush a and enjoy their companionship. second bird or the one I shot. I walked
grouse there. If he spends enough Their presence adds an additional up prepared to shoot. There on the
time busting through the thickest, enjoyable dimension to a hunt. ground, though, was an already-
nastiest tangles of tags, he can Does the presence of a dog dead woodcock. The dog would
almost always flush some woodcock increase my number of flushes? I retrieve grouse and pheasants, but
there, too. And on those magical don't know. she never did care about bringing me
days, whether because a flock of I'm also not much for my timberdoodles. Because I nearly
migrants moved in overnight or claiming a pointing dog is better always have a dog along, though, I
because a person's biorhythms are than a flushing dog for hunting seldom fail to recover one.
right, a person can flush woodcock woodcock. I hunted with a superb A hunter doesn't need to
after woodcock along the entire German shorthair for years, and I worry about finding a dead bird,
reach of the creek as it flows across currently have my springer. Both though, until he has found a live
the farm. Such places are common. types are fun to hunt with. one. If he finds and hunts the tag
In the Upper Peninsula, A hunter who plans to hunt alders, he's almost certain to find
though, a person can really woodcock without a dog, though, woodcock. It's about the surest bet I
encounter the tags. There, tags should consider how he will find the know.
lead the way in terms of the total
amount of biomass produced by an
understory shrub. Anyone who has
ever fished the Fox River and other
Upper Peninsula trout streams can
attest to the acres of tag alders that
line their banks.
But a hunter looking for
woodcock should do more than look
for creeks and assume tag alders
– and woodcock – are there. He
should make certain he can identify
the things.
My hunting property has a
stream flowing across it. A profu-
sion of willows and other plants
and shrubs that demand moist soil
grows there. There's not a tag alder
anywhere on the place, though.
I can occasionally find wood-
cock in the willows along the creek.
Every spring, at least one pair of
woodcock will take up residence Dan Kleeves and Hal Hutchinson, both of Evart, know where to find birds.
there and try to raise a brood. When Understanding the habitat needs of a quarry is important to finding success

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 27 8/28/2017 10:51:31 AM
December pheasants by Bob Gwizdz

The author holds a December pheasant that he shot out of one of his favorite grass fields in Central Michigan. To him, the
opening of pheasant season was just as important as deer or turkey opener growning up.

T he ground was covered with about eight inches had. Pheasant season was a big time thing in
of dry, recently fallen snow and the weatherman Southern Michigan. Back when there weren’t many
was predicting a whole bunch more in short order, (if any) deer around. There was plenty of bird habitat
so, I figured, it was now or never. I loaded up my scattered around the countryside, and just about
English setter, grabbed the Remington and headed everybody I knew who hunted, hunted pheasants.
out to one of my favorite Mid-Michigan grass fields. But if I were forced to make a choice –
About 10 minutes into it I had one of those and I try mightily to be in the field every Oct.
what-was-I-thinking moments. I was gasping, like 20 – I would give up October pheasant hunting
a fish out of water, as I fought my way across the as long as I could keep the December season.
plain. But about the time I was beginning to think Those of you who grew up in Southern
better of it, I noticed Rub locked on point, nearly Michigan and are a bit gray about the muzzle
50 yards ahead, near a stand of sumac. Had he remember that pheasant season was short and over too
found the last ruffed grouse in Southern Michigan? quickly running a mere 22 days, from Oct. 20 through
It took me longer than I would have liked to Nov. 10 for almost ever, then lengthened by one day in
catch up to my dog, but he stood frozen on point. I 1981, at which time I was living in South America (i.e.
surveyed the landscape to decide which was the best Mississippi). I returned to Michigan in 1989 (after a
approach to the thicket and two steps into it, a long- stint in Texas) anxious to return to pheasant hunting
tailed bird towered out the sumacs. About the time on a regular basis. Though I did get some pheasant
he was leveling off to get out of Dodge, I slapped the hunting in while in Texas – the Texas Panhandle is
trigger and dropped a gorgeous rooster into the snow. more like Nebraska than Dallas or Houston – it was
It was one of six pheasants I shot in Michigan a whole day’s drive from where I lived and there was
last season. Five of them were in December. virtually no public land. Pheasant hunting was a chore.
As a youngster, I thought Oct. 20 – opening day But I was perplexed that Michigan still ended
of pheasant season in Southern Michigan –was about the season before the firearms deer opener. Pheasant
as close to a holy day of obligation as a sportsman season in Texas didn’t even open until December, and

26 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 28 8/28/2017 10:51:39 AM
pheasant country was the High Plains where winter best pheasant country, remained closed in December.
was cold and snowy. Why couldn’t we hunt pheasants in There appeared to be no down-
Michigan in December? They did in the Dakotas, where side to the December season that I could tell.
winter is no picnic. Was Michigan really that different? “On private lands, people don’t have to open
If you remember the times, pheasant popula- their lands to pheasant hunting if they don’t want
tions were strong (not ‘50s and ‘60s strong) enough in to and the majority of the birds are taken on private
the late '80s and '90s to allow a longer season, and the lands,” Stewart said. “The December season helps
Department of Natural Resources was banging the reward people who have good habitat for pheasants.”
drum about maximizing recreational opportunity. In 2004, the NRC approved pheasant hunting
Expanding pheasant hunting opportunity seemed until Jan. 1 and moved the Northern boundary to
like a no brainer and, as a newspaper columnist, I M-20. In 2005 – after much, sometimes heated, debate
picked up the megaphone and shouted: Let’s do it. among sportsmen – the NRC opened the Thumb, too.
I was armed with some simple facts; Minnesota Tom Lounsbury, a Thumb landowner
had run experimental extended seasons in select and frequent pheasant hunting compadre of
parts of the state and surveys the following year mine, campaigned vigorously for the change for
showed that there was no difference in subsequent years. He was tickled when the NRC acquiesced.
pheasant populations in areas with late closings as in “I love the late season with a passion,” Lounsbury
those areas with short seasons. There was, simply, no said. “It has taught me more about pheasants than I’ve
biological reason not to have ever known and I’ve been
a longer season and, in fact,
one of the biologists I talked
"I slapped the trigger and dropped a hunting them since I was
three years old. I just love
gorgeous rooster into the snow. It was

to in Minnesota suggested following their tracks in the
that reducing the number of snow. Not that it leads me to
roosters might even HELP
pheasant populations as food
one of six pheasants I shot in Michigan birds — it doesn’t — but it’s
showed me how they were
is limited in the winter and
roosters are able to out-com-
last season. Five of them were in making a fool out of me."
“You don’t kill many,”
pete the hens for rations.
Meanwhile, I found
December." he continued. “There are no
dumb ones. They’re smart.
it increasingly difficult to The only birds you ever
gain access to private pheasant-hunting ground shoot are the ones you corner. But I’ve got a kennel
because bow hunting was all the rage and a lot of full of dogs, so I get to utilize my dogs for a longer
guys didn’t want you frogging around the property season. December is my favorite season. I don’t kill
they deer hunted. A December season just made sense. as many pheasants as I do during probably the first
My campaign picked up steam quickly. Al Stewart, two days of the early season, but I love the spice of it.
the current upland gamebird specialist, was on my side. We’re certainly not hurting the population any.”
“We’re only hosting males,” he noted. “And for DNR hunter surveys bear that out. In the
breeding purposes, a male mates with multiple females.” immediate research after the December season ,
How many? No one knows for certain, surveys showed that December pheasant hunting
but private game breeders typically main- accounted for roughly 10 percent of the annual
tain 10 to 12 hens per rooster in their flocks. effort and about 10 percent of the annual harvest
Stewart had also heard the theory about despite the fact that there are more open days in
roosters outcompeting hens and agreed with me December than in October and November combined.
that many of America’s best pheasant hunting “A lot of people were concerned we’d shoot
states held season that ran much longer than ours all the pheasants and there are some people who
— well into, and sometimes beyond, December. maintain we shouldn’t have a December season,
“Most states with pheasant popu- but there’s really no science behind it that says a
lations have December seasons,” Stewart December season causes an impact,” Stewart said.
said. “It’s the norm, not the exception.” December pheasant season is certainly different.
In 1992, the Natural Resources Commission By then, almost all of the crops have been harvested,
extended pheasant season to Nov. 14. The next year, so the birds are limited to areas with the best habitat.
it added Dec. 1-5 in a small southcentral area of the Stewart will tell you the biggest factor to having better
state – between US-23 and US-131, south of M-57. pheasant populations in Michigan is limited winter
In 1994, the NRC, in response to hunters’ cover. Much of the marginal habitat that will support
requests, extended the season to Dec. 11 and moved the birds earlier in the season is no longer suitable.
the Northern boundary to M-46. In 1995 – again in Lounsbury, who manages his prop-
response to hunters’ requests — the NRC lengthened the erty for wildlife – especially pheasants – agrees.
season to Dec. 15 and opened up much of Southeastern “They really like the switch grass,” he said.
Michigan, though the Thumb, some of Michigan’s “It’s nasty stuff, but it’s the number one cover from

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 27

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 29 8/28/2017 10:51:40 AM
stand up to anything the weatherman delivers, though
it takes particular weather to make hunting them prac-
tical. If it isn’t cold enough, you’ll run into open water
or ice so thin that you’ll break through as you trudge
through it and, in either case, the birds will hear you
coming a mile away. It’s the same in grass country;
once the weather has warmed enough to melt the
snow some and it refreezes, it’s as crunchy as potato
chips. The birds know the game and are on high alert.
There are some years when the weather is so
tough you don’t even want to go pheasant hunting.
A couple of winters ago, when the snow arrived at
Thanksgiving and it just kept coming and coming, I
barely got out at all. But there are other Decembers
when the weather is so mild that you can enjoy many
days afield. Last December it was mild enough often
that I got out about a handful of times. Twice over the
years I shot a bird on Jan. 1. That’s icing on the cake.

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grass will spring back up and the birds will return.
If you want birds, you go into the switch grass.”
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Personally, I like cattail marshes. Cattails will
Top: Jeff Wysocki and Sugar examine a New Year's Day rooster. The author harvested five of his six pheasants in 2016
in December. Bottom: Al Stewart stuffs a pheasant into Bill Parker's game vest during a December pheasant hunt.

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 30 8/28/2017 10:51:43 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.

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 31 8/28/2017 10:51:46 AM

by Darin Potter

T he rustling of leaves high
above us quickly caught our
attention as my buddy and I sat on
patience and safe and respon-
sible gun handling. Today, these
important skills can continue
on to another setup.
During one particular
hunt, I shot a gray squirrel in less
an old log inside of the Pinckney to be taught by taking someone than one minute after finding a
Recreation Area. young or old into the squirrel log to sit on. If you deer hunt then
As we waited patiently woods for the first time. The you’ve probably seen numerous
for a squirrel to make an appear- simplicity of squirrel hunting is squirrels running around your
ance, my thoughts drifted back to a great introduction for those who treestand or blind. It doesn’t take
my teenage years when my dad, are new to hunting. long for them to come out from
brother and I would hunt squir- their hiding places after getting
rels on my grandparents' prop- Methods settled in
erty in Northern Michigan. There to hunt.
was a particular area nestled in Most squirrel hunters When still hunting and
the heart of the property where either find a location in the woods stalking, be on the lookout for
fox squirrels could be found, and and sit and wait for squirrels to moving branches and leaves — as
that’s usually where we spent appear (stand hunting) or still squirrels hop from limb to limb.
most of our time hunting them. hunt and then stalk squirrels that Eventually, the squirrel will stop,
Like many other young- are spotted. All of these methods giving you a shot opportunity
sters, squirrel hunting was my have proven to be successful. I’ve if you haven’t yet been spotted.
first taste of hunting after I had the most success with sitting Instead of looking for the entire
completed a hunter safety course. in one spot and body of a squirrel, try picking out
It taught me the foundation of allowing the woods to settle for just their bushy tail. Sometimes,
hunting —sit still, stay quiet, about 20 minutes before moving the tail is the only thing that is

30 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 32 8/28/2017 10:51:48 AM
visible, especially when they are If you have a hunting to begin a stalk in the direction of
hiding in the crotch of a tree. buddy join you on a squirrel the squirrel.
Oftentimes, the tail will be hunt, then the best way to hunt A simple way to call in
wrapped around their back side is to have one person slowly walk squirrels is by rubbing two quar-
as they feed. After spotting a tail, ahead of the other scanning the ters together. This produces a
you should quietly get into a posi- trees and branches for squirrels sound that imitates a scolding
tion where you have a clear shot. and then coming to a stop once squirrel. Simply place one quarter
A good place to find a squirrel is they are around fifty yards or so. beneath the other and then rapidly
close to a tree trunk where they The hunter that stayed behind rub them back and forth.
feel safer while they are feeding. then moves forward while the
Also, listen for the sound of squir- hunter in front stands in one spot Guns
rels as they are feeding. When they watching for any squirrels.
are chewing small debris from Squirrels like to conceal Both shotguns and a .22
nut hulls will fall to the ground themselves by moving to the rifle are what most hunters use to
forming piles called cuttings. This opposite side of the tree from the hunt squirrels. A 12- or 20-gauge
will allow you to pinpoint their approaching hunter. The hunter shotgun shooting number six- or
location. in front will be in a better position seven-shot works best for longer
If you’re hunting solo, try to pull a shot off on a squirrel ranges. These will allow you to
tossing a large stick or a rock to trying to elude the moving hunter. shoot squirrels in the twenty-
the opposite of a tree where you to twenty-five-yard range with
saw a squirrel escape. The motion Calls accuracy. I mostly use a 20-gauge
will likely cause them to move to with a modified choke shooting
your side for a shot. There are a variety of number six shot.
The best places to hunt squirrel calls on the market A .22 rifle mounted with
squirrels are woods that are filled today that will help you locate a a 2X to 4X scope is also a great
with hickory, walnut, beech, and squirrel in the woods. These come gun to use for squirrel hunting.
oak trees. Squirrels will begin in the form of a bellow call that The .22 rifle is not nearly as loud
feeding heavily throughout the you rapidly tap with your hand as the shotgun and won’t scare
fall as they prepare for the winter to create a bark and a blow style off nearby squirrels as much.
months. Throughout the woods call that produces a distress call. A .22 will accurately shoot up to
that I squirrel hunt, white and red Using a squirrel call will entice a fifty yards, allowing you to shoot

er oak are the major food source for
the squirrels — so these are the
nearby squirrel to respond thus
giving up its location. Hearing the
squirrels that are higher in a tree.

areas that I concentrate my efforts squirrels response will allow you
on. Some pre-season scouting will
allow you to find where the best Most hunters use a .22 rifle to hunt squirrels; however, .410, 12 and 20 gauge
locations are to hunt squirrels. shotguns are also popular guns in the squirrel woods. How good is your aim?
Squirrels are also drawn
to cornfields throughout agricul-
tural areas. You can often find
bare corncobs several hundred
yards away from the fields that
they came from. Once during
firearm deer season, I witnessed
a determined fox squirrel drag-
ging an entire ear of corn across
the opening that I was hunting.
Therefore, setting up near a
fencerow by a picked cornfield
could prove to be very productive.
I’ve found that the best
time to hunt squirrels is during
the early morning hours just after
the sun starts to appear and a few
hours before dusk. This causes
squirrels to become more active
as they scurry about looking to
fill their bellies and stock up for
the winter.

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 31

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 33 8/28/2017 10:51:49 AM
Feral swine: Out of sight
Are feral swine still an issue the US Department of Agriculture “Judas Pigs.” The Judas pig is typi-
in Michigan? I’ve never seen one. Wildlife Services (USDA-WS) have cally a young sow because they’re
These are common phrases only had 22 feral pigs reported and the most social of the group, and it
heard around the state these days, only three have been removed. makes it easier to find other feral
but nonetheless they still persist, Though it’s nearly impossible to get swine that join her sounder. Despite
continuing to be the elusive crea- an accurate estimate of wild pigs the declining reports of feral swine
ture that disappears into the depths residing in Michigan, this number from the public and decreasing
of Michigan forests, seemingly could currently range anywhere evidence of swine activity from
impossible to find. from 1,000 to 3,000 pigs. Even though agency personnel, high numbers of
More than 500 years ago, numbers have drastically decreased, feral swine still remain in several
there wasn’t a wild pig or Russian feral hogs continue to thrive in the areas.
boar to be seen in the United States. deep swamps of Michigan. Areas around the state that
It wasn't until Spanish explorer are still suffering from the most
Hernando DeSoto brought hogs Where’d they go? recent feral pig activity include
to Southwest Florida in 1539. Fast counties in the Lower Peninsula
forward some 470 years and there In 2010, the Michigan (LP): Arenac, Bay, Gladwin,
still isn't any signs or evidence of Department of Natural Resources Midland and Iosco. As well as
feral pigs in Michigan. But that (MDNR) declared Sus scrofa Marquette and Delta counties in
didn’t stop the successful reproduc- Linnaeus (Russian boar) and their the Upper Peninsula (UP). In these
tion of these creatures, and their hybrids an invasive species, and areas, the USDA WS has continued
spread to a number of other states. prohibited their possession. This to monitor bait sites, even though
Feral swine have the capability of resulted in elimination of a primary the LP counties haven’t had any
having two litters a year of four to six source of feral swine — escapees recent evidence of activity, other
piglets. It’s now estimated that there from privately owned facilities than Iosco County in the Alabaster
are roughly 4-6 million feral swine where they were maintained for Swamp. Currently in the UP,
nationwide, causing hundreds of breeding and/or shooting purposes. USDA-WS has continued to monitor
millions of dollars in damage each Reports and harvests of feral swine bait sites, and is tracking three
year to farms, residential areas, by the pubic have declined state- small groups of feral swine.
forests and the environment. wide since the Invasive Species Since October 1, 2014, six feral pigs
In 2014, more than 473 Order was finalized; however, have been removed from Marquette
feral pigs had been spotted in 76 removal of feral pigs by USDA-WS County alone. In a greater attempt
of Michigan’s 83 counties, and 449 increased from 2014-2016 in rela- to track movements of feral swine,
had been reported killed. In 2017, tion to using GPS-collared swine as the USDA-WS, on February 2, 2017,

32 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 34 8/28/2017 10:51:53 AM
by Ashley Bur
Policy Assistant, Feral
Swine Working Group

ght but still top of mind
collared a sow, better known as the resources and foods. Wild pig the fine tune of $1.5 billion. Yep,
“Judas Pig,” in Delta County and behaviors such as eating, rooting, you read that right, $1.5 billion
have continued to track her move- soil compactions and wallowing all annually. That kind of damage is
ment since. damage native plants and resources. devastating to the different indus-
Feral hogs will eat almost anything tries affected.
Threats to Michigan including dead animals and many
forms of vegetation and tree Know the signs: Detecting wild hogs
These remaining feral seedlings. Their preference for
swine still pose threats to Michigan wet environments can also cause Feral pigs routinely engage
for two main reasons: they can competition with native species for in two types of behavior that are
host many parasites and diseases water during dry seasons. damaging to soils, crops and water
that threaten humans, domestic When there is a shortage of — rooting and wallowing. Their
livestock and wildlife; and they can natural foods for them to consume, rooting behavior, during which
cause extensive damage to forests, feral swine will forage on most they dig for food below the soil
agricultural lands and Michigan’s agricultural crops and livestock surface, causes erosion, damages
water resources. feed. Feral pigs can damage crops lawns, golf courses and farmlands
Feral swine have been through rooting, trampling and and weakens plants and native
known to carry at least 30 diseases wallowing behaviors and can vegetation.
and nearly 40 parasites including, transmit diseases to local livestock Wallowing behavior, during
hog cholera (classic swine fever), and pets — they have been known to which feral swine seek out areas
pseudorabies, brucellosis, tubercu- kill livestock, primarily calves and of shallow water to roll in mud,
losis, salmonellosis, anthrax, ticks, lambs. They’ve also been known to destroys small ponds and stream
fleas, lice and various worms — eat small ground-nesting mammals banks, which impacts water
some of which can infect humans. and birds. quality.
However, it doesn’t stop Feral swine have been Rubbing on trees often
there Swine compete for natural reported for destroying land- occurs after wallowing, leaving
foods with wildlife such as turkeys, scaping, damaging fences and other behind mud, hair and scent. Other
deer and small game. Acorns are a structures — therefore reducing signs of feral swine can include
preferred food for feral swine, just the aesthetic value of private tunnels and trails leading through
as they are for Michigan’s native properties, public parks and recre- thick vegetation, and tracks can
white-tailed deer population. With ational areas. easily be found in the mud near
their diets overlapping with native The damage caused each springs, ponds and streams.
wildlife, this creates competition year by swine nationwide rings to

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 33

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 35 8/28/2017 10:51:59 AM
and beds.
Despite declining reports of
feral swine, the current population
status of feral pigs in Michigan pres-
ents an opportunity to control, if
not eradicate, this invasive species.
One of the first steps in controlling
wild hogs is early detection. Usually
active only at night, few are spotted
during the day, even where deer
hunting pressure is heavy and hogs
are fairly abundant. So, most land-
owners have wild pigs around long
before they ever see one. Two cost
effective ways to detect feral swine
are using trail cameras over bait and
searching for the signs mentioned
above. Some of the most effective
baits are corn, various mashes and
gobs of used cooking grease. But
let’s be honest, a pig eats just about
anything, so coming up with a bait
pile shouldn’t be difficult.

What can you do?

The best thing that we as citi-
zens, hunters, anglers and trappers
can do is to be vigilant in reporting
any sightings, signs or damage of
feral swine. Reporting is as easy as
calling USDA-WS at 517-336- 1928 or
online at www.michigan.gov/
feralswine. Under Michigan law,
any hunter with any valid Michigan
hunting license can shoot feral
swine on sight while hunting.
Private property owners may also
shoot feral swine on their property
and do not need to be in possession
of a hunting license. If a hunter
harvests swine, he or she is encour-
aged to provide samples for disease
testing by contacting the above
USDA-WS number.
The rapid expansion of feral
swine across the country, along with
Feral swine wallow in small creeks and ponds, which can destroy habitat. After the varied types of damage they
wallowing, swine rub on trees and leave the mud and their scent behind. cause, continue to create problems.
Feral swine within the State fairly easy to spot near wallows Help manage the damage today by
are a combination of Russian boars in the mud. Hog tracks tend to be reporting, and imagine Michigan,
and escaped or neglected domestic rounder and a hog’s dew claws are completely free of this invasive
pigs. set wider than the hooves. However, species. This can only be achieved if
Feral hogs vary in appear- on many surfaces, deer and hog we all put the effort into this
ance,depending upon ancestral tracks look very similar. It’s easiest control/eradication program.
lineage and cross-breeding between to identify wild pig activity if one If you would like more infor-
different breeds. With practice, it’s focuses on more distinguishable mation about feral swine, contact
evenJonpossible to distinguish
Bondy with a nice muskiewild signs such as rooting, wallows, tree Ashley Bur at abur@mucc.org.
hog from deer tracks, which are rubs

34 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 36 8/28/2017 10:52:00 AM
Get your KIDS tuned into nature Mi
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Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 35

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 37 8/28/2017 10:54:44 AM
Full Draw:
Deer recovery 101 by Tom Nelson

T he buck kept prodding the doe
forward, urging her to leave the
thick protective cover and enter the
turn out like this. Recovering deer takes
patience and tracking skill. When you
are fortunate to get an arrow into a
grassy field that bordered the bean white-tailed deer, here is what you need
stubble field. to know:
It was early November and
the buck was more interested in the 1. First and foremost, don’t panic.
doe than my wife Beth perched in a Visibly mark the spot where you last
tree some 20 yards away. As the doe saw the deer before it disappeared from
entered the waist-high grass field, the your sight. Burn that spot into your
buck hesitated with just his head and memory banks. Next, look to the place
front shoulders exposed. Then, as the the deer was standing when you took
doe broke into a trot, anxious to reach your shot. Again, memorize it. Look to
the bean field, the buck began to move see if you can spot your arrow — very
forward. In ultra-slow motion, Beth often your tipped arrow will be laying
drew her bow and upon reaching full or sticking in the ground near or where
draw, mimicked her best bleat with her your deer was standing when you shot.
voice stopping the buck in his tracks. Pass through shots are often the norm
Taking careful aim, Beth shot with today’s modern arrows and razor-
and watched the arrow hit the exact sharp broadheads. Lighted nocks make
spot she was aiming for. The hard-hit locating your arrows after the shot a
buck blindly crashed ahead running much easier task, and I highly suggest
in a half circle before she watched him using them. Once you get out of your
go down about 50 yards away. The only blind or stand, mark the two spots with
visible sign of him was the tall grass some sort of marker. I always carry
violently moving as the buck made his toilet paper with me for such a task.
last powerful kicks.
Just a short distance away, Beth 2. Second, if I can find my arrow, I care-
stood in her treestand thinking about fully examine it for blood, tallow or gut
just how lethal a correctly placed arrow material — anything to give me an indi-
can be. The buck was quartering away cation of exactly where I hit the deer
and Beth’s broadhead-tipped arrow and what organs I may have damaged.
entered at the back of the buck’s rib This tells me how long to wait before
cage angling forward. Both lungs were taking up the blood trail. In my opinion,
penetrated causing massive hemor- time is an ally and unless I witnessed
rhaging and a quick, clean kill. the deer falling to the forest floor, I wait
There was no tracking involved, at least a half hour. If the arrow tells
just a short recovery and photo session. me I may have a liver hit, I wait two to
That evening’s bowhunt was the perfect three hours.
hunt — deer seen, shot taken and quick A greenish arrow tells me it
recovery. However, things do not always was a gut shot, and I suggest leaving


Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 38 8/28/2017 10:54:49 AM
the tracking until the following morning
or at least 8 hours. If available, I seek
out some extra help. The more eyes the
better, and when you recover the deer,
the extra muscle comes in handy for the

3. Take it slow. Do not rush ahead. Check
every leaf, rock and blade of grass.
Oftentimes, arrow-shot deer do not bleed
for some distance, so do not be disap-
pointed if it takes a bit to locate the first
sign of blood. Look ahead and imagine
you are the deer and where would you
go. Hard-hit deer often run through
deadfalls, brush piles, etc.

4. If you lose the blood trail, try gridding
the area — make small circles and slowly
increase them. Wounded deer generally
take the path of least resistance, prefer-
ring to run downhill if possible. I would
guess that 90 percent of my bow-killed
deer have died within the first 100 to 200
yards. After that, your recovery chances
start to diminish. However, never give
up until you have exhausted every
possibility. Search any water sources.
Wounded deer tend to go to water if it
is available. I have pulled more than
my share of recovered deer from ponds,
rivers and even a lake.
After 45 years of bowhunting
and hundreds of tracking jobs, I can
honestly state that most of the unrecov-
ered deer that I have helped track were
not shot while broadside or quartering
away. Any shot that is not going to place
your arrow into the chest cavity should
never be taken. A double-lung hit will
kill a deer every single time. Lastly, stay
within your effective range and forego
shots that are too far. Pay heed to these
last two comments and your blood trails
will be short and successful.


Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 39 8/28/2017 10:54:52 AM
Meet HIM
on HIS terms

by Jason Herbert

“Y ou're doing what,” she
responded in a tone that was
a mix of irritation and anger.
“Go ahead… Good luck.
I love you. The kids and I will be
unpacking at the house,” she said.
this planet is here to do one thing
— propagate their species. That
means that every animal, including
I guess if I looked at things Gambling my entire season a mature white-tailed buck, is trying
from her point of view I could see and the next few months of my to survive and breed. Locating a
why she wasn't impressed. We had happiness on this one hunt, I went mature buck is, in and of itself,
literally just spent the first night in for it. Later that evening, the pride a whole other topic — so here's a
our brand new house — a house that in my heart and the satisfaction CliffsNotes version. Be sure to post-
my family and I had worked tire- I felt was incredible. My wife was season scout, shed hunt and run
lessly to build for ourselves during the first one to wander down to the trail cameras.
the last five months. barn with a cold beer in her hand to Mature bucks are really
She didn't understand that it congratulate me, I was smiling ear pretty lazy and reclusive. They
was November 11th, the last chance to ear. live a lot like stereotypical college
to bow hunt before rifle season, and Regardless of your situ- fraternity guys. They don't want to
I could only think about one thing — ation, whether you're building a hang out with the ladies. They don't
killing this buck. new house for a family of six like want to help raise the kids. They
“Yeah, I really think I can me or just super busy, we all need just want to hang out with their
kill him tonight” I said. After all, it to hunt with a specific intent and buddies and be left alone until it's
was the rut, with a northwest wind, purpose. Most people hunt selfishly time to breed. For the most part, the
dropping temperature and rising — thinking about what wind and feeling is mutual — does are pretty
barometer — the conditions were weather conditions work well for mean to bucks until they come
perfect for this buck to make his one them. It's time to start hunting with into heat. Before the early stages
final move. the buck's needs in mind, exploit his of the rut, let’s say the first two
My wife and I have been natural survival instincts and meet weeks in October, most bucks will
together for most of our lives, and him on his terms. live somewhere well away from the
she knows me well enough to know The first order of business high-traffic doe feeding and bedding
that I will be miserable to be around when trying to kill a mature buck is areas. Then, once the earliest doe
if I have my eyes set on a buck and to find one. Next, understand their has come into heat, the bucks will
don't get a chance at him. basic behaviors. Every animal on start to show up more and more

38 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 40 8/28/2017 10:54:56 AM
around the doe hangouts. Last fall, located, it's time to start learning buck is the fact that you could also
the first doe went into heat about how he likes to behave. Like people, alert him that he is being hunted.
October 18th in the area I hunt. deer have individual personalities, The key to any hunt is remaining
The bucks will also start to and the only way to learn about invisible. A good rule of thumb is
bed in different places, often between buck behavior is to physically watch to gauge your invisibility by your
the preferred food source and doe him or analyze trail camera data. hunts. If your hunting is improving
bedding areas. By bedding in stra- If a buck is showing up on a trail throughout the season, good. If it
tegic locations, bucks can simply lay camera during shooting light, the isn’t, the deer are on to you. I person-
in wait, scent checking every doe as chances are good that he's bedding ally like to set up safe, easy to access
she walks back from the food to her nearby. If he shows up at all hours and exit, observation stands on food
bed in the morning. This is why a lot of the day, you're probably really sources. This way, I can see where
of hardcore big buck hunters don't close to his bed. If he is occasionally a buck is entering and exiting the
bother with morning hunts until showing up in the middle of the field, what time he shows up, and
late-October. Often the bucks worth night, he's probably not bedding also look for other habits of his that
shooting are already in their beds, close. If he is always coming by your may help me harvest him.
waiting for oblivious does to walk by camera heading in the same direc- When you do get a good trail
well before sunrise. tion at a certain time, that's a clue as camera picture or a visual on a big
I observed this behavior to his behavior habits. Maybe your buck, take notes of every possible
firsthand last fall. I was in one of camera is located along a preferred data point. What I mean by this
my stands very early in the morning travel route that he likes to use each is pay attention to the details like
when a deer came in and bedded on day. preferred food source, predominant
a ridge nearby. As light continued to As far as physically wind direction, the moon phase,
gather, I could see he was a decent observing the deer, that is a little the humidity, the temperature,
buck. All morning, every time a doe bit easier said than done. The only barometric pressure, etc. From my
walked through the valley, he would way to really watch a big buck is by observations, and several others
raise his head from his bed and sitting out and either glassing fields that I've spoken to and interviewed,
grunt at her. He would also stick his or actually hunting. One major a mature buck prefers to travel while
nose up in the air, hoping to catch problem with physically scouting a quartering into the wind.
the rising thermals of her scent. He When hanging a treestand, make sure it is intended for a specific hunt in certain
must not have smelled anything that conditions. Always try to get into a buck's head before getting out of the truck.
he liked because he literally laid
there all morning long until I snuck
out of my stand at about 11 a.m.
Then, of course during the
rut, which is really the phase of the
year when the majority of the does
are in heat, all bets are off. Bucks
can be seen anywhere, but really
spend most of their time cruising
doe bedding areas and food sources.
During the rut, hunting these doe
hangouts is probably your best bet.
Taking an inventory of
mature bucks can really be done at
any time, but most big buck slayers
don't get serious about it until the
deer shed their antler velvet in
September. Once the bucks shed
their velvet, they tend to also find
a territory and establish a domi-
nance-ranking order. When you are
seeing hard-horned bucks on your
trail cameras in mid-September and
watching them feed in the evening
hayfields, the chances are good
these are the bucks that you're going
to have a chance to kill during the
Once a buck has been

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 39

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 41 8/28/2017 10:54:56 AM
I've personally noticed pond along a cornfield. He would bed scent check the doe bedding areas
increased activity when the baro- further back than any of the other on the way to the field. However,
metric pressure is rising. Many deer, almost to the point where he once he came to the edge of the
hunters swear by the moon phase. was wet. Near dark, I could hear the field, he would stop and visually
It also makes sense that when the buck get out of his bed, slog through scan everything before entering. If
temperatures are warm and the the cattail marsh and make his way there were does feeding in the field,
humidity is high, the deer are not toward the cornfield. he would approach them, hoping to
as apt to move during the warmer Quartering into the NW scent check them for estrus.
shooting hours. Moving a lot wind, he would scent check the doe The majority of the time,
during daylight on a warm, humid bedding areas closer to the cornfield the does felt harassed by him, and
day would be a lot like us humans as he made his way out to feed each they would run away. Knowing this
running a marathon while wearing night. When the buck approached behavior, I set out decoys one night
our Carhartts. the cornfield while the corn was and thought for sure he was a dead
Specific to the buck I killed still standing, he would continue deer walking. As luck would have
at the beginning of this article, here quartering into that NW wind going it, the decoys got his attention, but
are the details that I noted which led deep into the standing corn. he stopped about 40 yards shy of
me to believe I could kill him on that I noticed the colder the them, behind some brush. The buck
fateful night: temperature the earlier the buck gave them a good look over and then
During late-October and would show up to the cornfield. turned and walked back to investi-
early-November, when we had a I also noticed that adversely, on gate another live doe grazing in the
steady NW wind, I saw this buck warmer or more humid days, he field.
five different times. I was hunting wouldn't show up very early, if at I believe there is something
from a very safe observation stand, all. learned from every encounter. Next
and actually almost killed him on As the outer rows of the time I use decoys I will put them
two separate occasions before I did corn began to get picked, the buck's passed me so the deer have to walk
finally connect with him. I learned behavior would change slightly. He by me to investigate closer. This
that he was bedding in a swamp would still bed in the same area and decoy setup should theoretically

If the buck you’re after likes to check each individual doe, try using a decoy near your stand. Herbert recommends
placing decoys passed a stand so when the deer approaches to investigate a quartering-away shot is offered.

"Most people hunt
selfishly, thinking about
what wind and weather
conditions work well for
them. It's time to start
hunting with the buck's
needs in mind — exploit
his natural survival
instincts and meet him
on his terms."


Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 42 8/28/2017 10:54:59 AM
give me a quartering-away shot.
When the corn was
completely picked and a Northwest
wind still prevailing, the buck's
behavior didn't change much. He
would still bed in the same area,
walk through the doe bedding area
just like he always would, approach
the cornfield once again and then
freeze. At this point, he would
continue to scan the entire field
selecting doe groups to harass.
I knew that my time was
limited, and I better kill him before
he started cruising around looking
for other does that were not in his
regular social network.
So, during my lunch break
on November 11th, when I prob-
ably should have been catching up
on some sleep or helping my wife
unpack, I was checking all of the
possible weather information on the
internet, and I made a plan.
The conditions were perfect.
I had the NW wind I needed for the
buck to move into the cornfield. The
temperature was dropping off the
table. Ther was low humidity, while
the barometer was shooting up —
all good indicators that the buck
will be on his feet moving early.
t One problem I neglected to mention
is that where the buck entered the

out field there were no suitable trees for
a safely-hung tree stand. If there
The author and his wife posing for a picture of Jason’s buck in the barn.
were, I would have tried to kill him
her much earlier.
Taking a huge gamble, I put
Thankfully, this hunt worked out — or Mrs. Herbert may have felt differently.
textbook hunt. I had time and plenty behaviors, hunters' success rates

for on my ghillie suit and grabbed my
crossbow, my last chance “Ace in
of encounters to gather a lot of
research on this particular animal.
would increase. There should be
no random hunts where we just
the Hole” set up. I snuck in and sat Ironically enough, I don't have a hope to get lucky. Every time you
art on the ground at the edge of the field
near where the buck liked to make
single trail camera picture of this
buck. During the season, I generally
hunt you should have a good logical
reason to sit in a specific stand. This

ck's his entrance. I'm confident in my
scent control, but took no chances
run my cameras on travel corridors
near bedding areas. Since this buck
is nowhere near my biggest buck,
but I'm probably more proud of him
and made sure that my wind would was so apt to show up in this corn- than any other. The fact that with
loit not be drifting back toward where
he was bedded. As luck would have
field, and I only have a handful of
cameras, I never felt the need to put
limited hunting time I was able to
keep detailed data on his behavior

al it, near dark, I killed him on the
ground at 7 yards.
up one to observe his behavior.
I also have no clue what the
and formulate a plan to kill him
makes me proud. Thankfully, I
On a side note: I am an abso- moon phase was on the evening of put my tag on that buck that night
him lute huge fan of ghillie suits. I didn't
really have good cover, and the buck
that hunt. Moon phase data is some-
thing I haven't paid a ton of atten-
and lived to tell the tale. I'd hate to
think what would have happened
looked right at me before turning tion to, but I'm hoping to start this if I hadn't killed him and wasn’t
and quartering away from me at a year. home helping my wife unpack. I
slow walking pace. I could not have I think if everyone were to can venture to guess that I would
asked him to give me a better shot. start to pay more attention to the have probably spent several nights
In my opinion, this was a animal's needs and their habitual sleeping in the dog house.

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 41

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Fool him once...
it takes by Darin Potter

admit, at first I was skeptical on using a deer decoy them, but if I had a decoy staked out in front of me I am
until I heard first-hand from a friend how a fake doe positive they would have come in to investigate.
had caused an eight-point buck to waltz into shooting
range offering him with a shot opportunity. Decoy Options
For years I had seen them work for hunting
celebrities on television, but I never had the opportunity With the popularity of decoys increasing, deer
to speak with someone in person about their experience hunters can choose from a wide variety of both buck and
with using one of these "deer dekes." Soon it became doe dekes from various hunting manufacturers. Poses
official — the deer decoy had found a permanent place include: alert, feeding and breeding positions for a doe,
in my deer hunting arsenal. and for a buck an alert stance. Some decoys even have
the ability to move their heads and tails in a natural
Why Use a Decoy? motion when there is a slight breeze.
The cost of a deer decoy can range anywhere
If you have ever used decoys to hunt turkeys from $50 to $200. It is always good to have several different
or waterfowl, then you have probably already experi- types in your deer hunting arsenal, especially during the
enced how magical they can be when it comes to being rut when pairing a buck and doe together can cause a
successful. Oftentimes, they can mean the difference passing buck to charge in.
between going home empty-handed or filling your freezer Decoys are no longer as cumbersome as they once
with game. Deer hunting using a decoy is no different. were. The majority of 3-D dekes include removable parts
Like other animals, deer are especially curious that can be stored inside of its body cavity for easy trans-
creatures. A decoy helps put this response into motion portation. This type usually includes a blaze orange bag
and also causes them to feel more relaxed. Keep in mind for carrying it to and from your stand. However, if you
that this can all change depending on the personality of plan on being more mobile or hunting in remote areas a
each deer and the timing of their use. By using a deer silhouette 3-D decoy could be a better fit.
decoy, you increase your chances of drawing in a distant Last fall, I had several stand locations on public
deer to within shooting range. This could offer you a shot land where I had to carry my hang-on stand in one hand
opportunity that would otherwise walk on by. and my bow in the other. This afforded me no extra room
There were times when I kicked myself for for a bulkier 3-D decoy, so I opted to purchase a silhou-
not using a decoy while I was on stand, especially ette style instead, which I could easily fold up and tuck in
while hunting along large fields or natural openings. my backpack.
Obviously, the sound of my grunt call couldn’t reach Timing

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Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 44 8/28/2017 10:55:02 AM
scent-free regimen. So why ruin it? Therefore, it is crit-
The best time to start setting up a decoy is during ical that you don a pair of rubber gloves before handling
the pre-rut when bucks begin chasing does and when the your decoy and spray it down with a scent eliminating
rut is in full swing. These timeframes can vary from year spray to remove human odor. If you fail to do these two
to year depending upon various factors such as weather, things, the alternative could be a white flag waiving in
hunting pressure and the moon phase, so pay attention the distance and a bowl of tag soup when you arrive back
to deer behavior while on stand. Typically, throughout home. Lastly, when the hunt is over, store the decoy in
most of the country, this period occurs around mid-Oc- a scent-free bag or container. This will help keep your
tober to the end of November. Decoys can also be used decoy as uncontaminated as possible and ready for use.
during the entire season — however, setting out decoys
too early could be detrimental if you only have a few Final Ingredients
places to hunt. The last thing you want to do is risk
educating deer before primetime hunting. If you have Careful thought has gone into the location and
the ability to hunt on several different pieces of property positioning of your decoy, now what? After you have

and numerous options for stands or ground blinds are staked your fake deer into the ground, consider adding
available, then using a decoy early on won’t be as much some doe and estrus scent to make it appear more real-
of a problem. istic. Some decoys have a specific spot where you can
attach scent-pads, which you can dip into doe-in estrus
Positioning scent, thus enhancing your decoy's attractiveness to
mature bucks in the area. If your decoy does not include
Before you drive the decoy stakes into some prime this feature, use wire to attach scent pads or a ball of
real estate near your stand location, it is essential that cotton.
great care is taken to set it up in the best possible location Your decoy alone does not ensure that your
for a shot opportunity. There are several different factors hunt is a slam dunk. Other bowhunting tools in your
to keep in mind — wind direction, type of decoy (doe or arsenal should be utilized such as antlers and deer calls.
buck), available shooting lanes or openings and distance. Although the decoy acts as a visual coupling, this along
First off, choose an area where your decoy is going to get with a doe bleat, rattling or a grunt call can perk up a
some attention such as a field or food plot. If you decide buck’s ears and can be the final ingredient that puts a
to use one inside timber, select a higher spot where it will shooter in front of you.
get noticed. Second, always set your deer decoys upwind
from your stand location no matter which sex your decoy
is. Oftentimes, a buck will circle downwind and approach
the decoy from downwind. Therefore, it is extremely
important to place it in an opening which will provide
you with a clear shot opportunity.
When it comes to distance, place your doe decoy
15 to 30 yards away from your stand. This will help lure
a buck to within shooting range. While using a doe
decoy, place it at a slight angle quartering away from
you — bucks will typically work their way from behind
checking to see if the doe is in estrus. If your choice of
decoy is a buck in the alert position, then it should be
slightly angling toward your stand — chances are he will
meet head to head with the deke much like a boxer in a
ring. If you find that bucks are approaching the decoy
from behind, then consider quartering it slightly away
from your stand.

Scent Elimination

Before putting your new decoy into action, it is
crucial that you wash it with either an unscented deter-
gent or baking soda to remove the new smell from it.
After it air dries outside, place it in a scent-proof bag
and it is ready for the hunt.
Scent elimination should not take a back seat
when it comes to deer decoys. After all, if you are like
me, you have taken great lengths to be as totally scent
free as possible up to this point by implementing a

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 43

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On the trail:
Dogs can be
on cold tracks
by Jacob VanHouten

Retired university history professor,
John Jeanneney, is a hunter, tracker,
dog trainer/breeder of wirehaired
dachshunds and author.


Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 46 8/28/2017 10:55:04 AM
can’t believe I lost that buck during my 2016 deer season. should be required reading by all
buck. With a good shot Thus my journey began to acquire state and provincial commissions
and strong blood trail… I my own tracking hound. and administrators who are also
just don’t get it,” was the responsible for setting regulations
depressing thought swirling around Background regarding the recovery of white-
my mind. tails with dogs."
If you are a deer hunter, the The aforementioned book A retired university history
loss of a deer may either happen to was written by the man that professor, John Jeanneney, is
you or someone you know during may be considered the father of a hunter, tracker, dog trainer/
your hunting life. An underutilized on-leash tracking dogs in the U.S., breeder of wirehaired dachshunds
method to increase your odds of John Jeanneney of Berne, New and author. John began tracking
recovery may include the use of a York. First of its kind and in its deer in 1976 after being granted a
tracking dog. 2nd edition, his book provides research license from New York
The first time I observed everything needed to start using State’s Dept. of Environmental
a blood-tracking dog was while tracking dogs to recover wounded Conservation.
volunteering as a wounded deer deer. Richard P. Smith considers He was investigating the
tracker for limited-mobility this book a “ground breaking idea of using leashed tracking dogs
hunters participating in a NWTF volume…” and also said, “this book to recover wounded deer.
Wheelin’ Sportsmen Shiawassee
Handler John Jeanneney and Tommy, sire of the author's puppy, work a track.
National Wildlife Refuge deer hunt.
Held during the first three days of
the rifle season, the hunt allowed
hunters to have a chance at bagging
a buck or doe with the assistance
of staff and volunteers. One of
the volunteers brought along his
dog, Gus. Several volunteers and
hunters were watching Gus, the
“different looking” dog, wander
around the meeting site greeting
people as they arrived.
“What kind of dog is that,”
people would ask. Gus was a
standard wirehaired dachshund.
To the untrained eye, this hand-
some hound did not appear to be
a “wiener dog,” which is what
most people think of when they
hear dachshund (and don’t say
“dash hound”), in either size or
After a group of master
tracker volunteers could not locate
a participant’s wounded deer, Gus
came in and found the deer, with
absolutely no visible blood, in less
than 30 minutes. This was a serious
"wow" moment for me. The owner
told me he bought the dog in New
York. I kept the memory of that
experience tucked away. Fast
forward 10 years, after sharing the
experience with my brother-in-law
and loaning him the book Tracking
Dogs for finding Wounded Deer by
John Jeanneney, he purchased a
dachshund. He had great success
with his dog, which convinced me,
especially after I lost a wounded

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 45

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"With their innate
hunting sense, training
of a newly-purchased
dachshund puppy can
lead to an excellent
chance of developing
a usable tracking

The author's puppy, Jager, becomes accustomed to the world around him while getting to chew on a deer antler in the
yard of his breeder's home. Exposing the puppy to many different things is an important part of development.
Since that time, he has then, 24 other states have allowed purchase was made, the appli-
personally recorded over 1,000 deer the regulated use of tracking dogs cation and other paperwork was
calls for deer tracking/recovery. to find wounded big game. It is completed and accepted (yes, this
Being an American hunter, currently legal in Michigan as well. is serious business), my wife and I
he researched and read European If you're interested in made the trip to New York to meet
literature on blood tracking since finding out more, the group John and his wife Jolanta, to pick
this is where it all began. His United Blood Trackers provides a up our new puppy. Jolanta and
book was the first in English that good starting point. They are “… John are an incredible couple that
explained how a trained dog can be dedicated to promoting resource truly care about who will purchase
used to locate wounded deer which conservation through the use of one of their puppies and will spend
could not be recovered by other trained tracking dogs in the ethical at least half a day with the new
means. His second book, Dead on! recovery of big game.” The term owners demonstrating training
(2010), covers deer anatomy, shot “blood tracking” is most often used, techniques and other priceless
placement and wounded white- even though it can be misleading, information. The Jeanneneys only
tailed deer tracking techniques. in that usually when called into offer one or two litters of puppies
The use of tracking dogs action, the dog will be on a track per year so it is not cheap and not
has been legal in many Southern where there is little or no blood easy to acquire so we were very
states and parts of Texas but present. With experience and happy to get one on June 3rd of this
has been illegal for more than a training, dogs can track individual year.
century in most Northern states wounded animals by other scents Seeing our pup for the first
(for any activity connected to (such as interdigital gland). Also, time in his pen with five other
deer hunting). This although primarily used to recover puppies, we fell in love with Jager
has resulted in each state having white-tailed deer, tracking dogs are — pronounced “Yager” (the “a” has
to specifically legalize it. Thanks used for many big game animals an umlaut in German) which trans-
to efforts from John Jeanneney such as bear, moose, elk and hogs. lates to "hunter." It was chosen due
starting in the 1970s, New York to his lineage being direct from
legalized the regulated use of The puppy Germany. The breed was developed
tracking dogs in 1986, and since there to hunt badgers and foxes.
After the decision to Dachshund translates into English

46 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 48 8/28/2017 10:55:05 AM
as "badger hound."
Tommy, the sire Dachshund
for Jager, is a proven deer tracker
and came directly from Germany.
John and Jolanta spent time
showing us how to use a liver and a
blood drag line to train our young
puppy on tracking a scent line. At
only nine weeks old, Jager readily
followed a one-hour-old line, which
included three 90 degree turns.
My wife and I were simply
wowed by the demonstration. Jager
is a born tracker and is now a very
happy member of our family. He
has made several drag-line tracks
since and is currently 14 weeks old
and will be ready for his first real
test this fall. My family jokes that I
got this dog only for “poor shooting
relatives." Not true, but if needed,
I am confident that six-month-old
(by November) Jager will be ready
to try his first recovery.

Training and use of tracking dogs

There are many breeds of dogs that
can be used for tracking deer. These
include the scent hounds such as
dachshunds, beagles, bloodhounds, At nine-weeks-old, the author's puppy, Jager, chews on his reward, a piece of
coonhound; pointers/retrievers liver, at the end of a long drag.
like labs, golden retrievers,
the hunter is important to deter- other, behaviors that will result in
Chesapeake’s; curs/border collies
mine perceived shot location or the positive outcome of a wounded
(“Cow dogs" and "Cur dogs”); Old
wound. That will help towards the game animal tracking event which
breeds like terriers, Jack Russell,
successful conclusion of any track. is of course what the hunter is
and German shepherds. All have
Young dogs can be started on a drag hoping for — either in the location
their own advantages and disad-
line of liver and blood and even the of the wounded game, or the deter-
vantages, of course.
preferred German technique of mination that the shot/wound was
The dachshund has shown
using “Fahrtenshuhe” (Tracking not lethal.
to be a formidable and versatile
Shoes) which uses an actual deer leg
breed for tracking wounded deer
attached to a boot or shoe. The leg Learning more
and other big game. With their
from an individual deer must always
innate hunting sense, training of a
be used as dogs recognize individual A few good books include: Tom
newly purchased dachshund puppy
deer through the interdigital gland Brown’s The Science and Art of
can lead to an excellent chance
found between the hooves of the Tracking (Berkley, 1999); Richard
of developing a usable tracking
deer. A 30-foot lead that does not P. Smith’s Tracking Wounded Deer,
hound. By reinforcing natural
easily catch on brush can be used. How to Find and Tag Deer Shot with
instincts, basic obedience training
Typical rewards at the end of a drag Bow and Gun (Stackpole Books
and motivating and encouraging
line include nibbles on the liver or a 1988); and Niels Sonergaard’s Scent
a young pup, a hunter can have a
deer hide/skin or leg. and the Scenting Dog (Denmark,
fine tracking dog in no time. Keep
Tracking equipment may 2006).
in mind, though, that deer tracking
include collars, harnesses and As previously mentioned,
in Michigan must be done on-lead,
leashes, GPS tracking collars, the group United Blood Trackers
meaning that the dog can not run
marking tape, lights and other is also a good place to inquire and
off and track on its own.
essentials for working a track. Like gain further information, including
The owner/handler must
any other dog/handler team, it is “Find-a-Tracker” listing and regu-
work in tandem as a team with the
essential that they work together lations for each state that allows
tracking dog. Communication with
closely. Each can recognize in the the use of tracking dogs.

2017 | Michigan 47
Out-of-Doors 47

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 49 8/28/2017 10:55:05 AM
tactics by Tom Nelson

uster together a group testosterone levels are beginning to is a narrow window that you can
of whitetail fanatics and slowly increase. Core living areas take advantage of this food source.
ask them when is their for both bucks and does are still Normally, acorns and beechnuts
preferred time to bow hunt white- relatively small, perhaps no more begin to fall in late September. White
tailed deer is — chances are the than 2-300 acres. oaks tend to drop their fruit first,
November rut will be their first Whitetails are creatures of followed by red oaks. When acorns
choice. habit, and it is never more apparent are abundant they may drop their
More articles, Outdoor T.V, than in the late-summer and early- nuts right up until November. Other
shows, videos, etc. are aimed at fall. Find an appealing food source years when acorns are lean, the
hunting elusive whitetails during such as a bean or cornfield and most acorns may be completely dropped
this period of time. Rut-crazed likely you will find deer feeding in and eaten by mid-October. Keep
bucks are running about in a frenzy, them at dusk and dawn. However, in mind that besides whitetails,
almost asking to be shot at by do not overlook mast crops such as turkeys, squirrels and other critters
archers savvy enough to exploit this beechnuts, oaks and fruit-bearing seek out and consume acorns, other
weakness in the whitetails' armor. trees. I specifically target these food nuts and fruits.
But in this author's opinion, there sources above any crop fields or food Last year, I was perched
is another period of bow season that plots planted by humans. Natural some 20 feet up a giant white oak
draws far less attention but can and food sources are a whitetails favorite on a sunny, too-warm early-October
is just as deadly a time to tag your early season food source. Mature day. I was clad in a camo t-shirt and
whitetail. The time period I am whitetails, both bucks and does, that lightweight camo pants. I had taken
referring to is the first week to 10 normally only enter a crop field just my time walking to my stand that
days of bow season. at or before dark, commonly show afternoon as to not get overheated.
As September wanes, up under acorn laden red and white This particular oak was the only
whitetails are still in their summer oaks just about any time of the day. tree dropping any amount of acorns
patterns. It is a lazy and good time Falling acorns are a dinner bell for that I had been able to find. The
of year to be a deer. Food is abun- hungry whitetails seeking to put a acorns that were falling were but a
dant, winter is still months away layer of fat on before winter. meager amount. However, the deer
and for the most part, the fields and Take the time before season sign littering the ground below me
forests of Michigan are relatively to seek out the trees that contain was encouraging to say the least.
undisturbed by humans. A white- these mast crops. Locate the trees It appeared as if a family of hogs
tail's day is basically comprised of that have mast crops growing from had been under me rooting about.
eating and sleeping. White-tailed their branches and stow that knowl- Within the first half hour, whitetails
bucks have shed their velvet and edge away until bow season. There began to show up under my stand

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crunching on the fallen acorns. weather is warm, which it is much of their patterns and core living areas.
For a better part of an hour, the time in early October. Secluded Bucks begin to expand their core
a button buck and his sister enter- watering holes are a great place area, sometimes doubling the size
tained me with their squabbling as to hang your stand or place your of their living areas. Bucks will also
they kicked and head butted each ground blind. Creeks, rivers, ponds venture out two or three miles on
other as both vied for the best acorn and even lakes can be good spots excursions well beyond their normal
area. It was still some time before to wait out a thirsty whitetail. Deer core area. Mature does take notice
sunset when the sound of footfalls tend to water shortly after they rise of the influx of small and big game
on leaves grabbed my attention. from the daytime bed; normally hunters that are now intruding into
Turning my head slowly in the before beginning to feed, then again their living spaces. Daytime move-
direction of the approaching sound, in the morning before the retire to ment ceases and summer patterns
I was delighted to spot a nice buck their daytime bedding area. Look are disrupted and abandoned. Some
approaching. As he walked under my for runways and tracks around call this approaching period the
stand, I came to full draw and sent water sources. The more secluded October lull.
a carbon arrow through his boiler the watering hole the better chance Take advantage of the first
room. I watched as he crashed to the of having daytime activity. Hang or couple weeks of the season. Spend as
forest floor after a mere 50-yard run. place your stand or blind downwind much time as you can locating mast
I had the deer dressed and in the bed of a trail leading to and from the crops and water sources and hunting
of my pickup before dark. As I sat in water source and you have an excel- near them. This is the best part of
my pickup with the air conditioner lent spot to bag your early-season October to fill your tag. Bow hunt
running, I was once again reminded whitetail. mostly undisturbed and uneducated
of the drawing power of acorns. I have always stated that deer while you can.
Hunting over a water source Michigan has the most hunter-savvy Be proactive and do not let
is another often overlooked but very whitetails of any state I have bow the warm weather and mosquitoes
productive bowhunting method hunted. With this said, it is no small deter you from filling your deer tag
to utilize during the early season. wonder that after the first week or and freezer early. Pay heed to the
White-tailed deer must drink every two of the season, most mature deer above mentioned techniques and
day. Oftentimes, twice when the are beginning to change as far as enjoy some early season success.
Tom Nelson is the host of Cabela's American Archer. He has traveled all over the world in pursuit of big game but
always finds his way back to Michigan to hunt early season white-tailed deer.

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 51 8/28/2017 10:55:10 AM
To SHOOT or not to SHOOT
may not be the question...

eer season is almost upon us. habitat for a whole slew of animals, enter into the spring behind on their
We have waited for months — including white-tailed deer. energy reserves, resulting in less
planting food plots, checking While a lot of good is being antler development.
trail camera cards, perfecting arrow done for deer, I am concerned about Some other factors related
groupings, setting up tree stands our deer. I understand there are to deer density include additional
and clearing shooting lanes. We do areas where deer numbers are low. ruts. This can lead to fawns dropping
all of this work, wishing, praying, Epizootic hemorrhagic disease swept over a longer period of time, which
dreaming of the big buck we hope through and hit some areas incred- increases fawn vulnerability to
to put on the wall. But what if I told ibly hard in 2012. There are areas predation and bucks going into the
you that big buck is found in the where deer numbers are lower due winter more worn out. Combining
harvest of does? That the high deer to targeted chronic wasting disease these two issues with high compe-
densities we have become accus- surveillance. In much of the Lower tition for food creates a very poor
tomed to decrease the likelihood of Peninsula however, there is room for scenario.
harvesting a booner? What if our a significant increase in doe harvest. Over time, high deer densi-
deer are eating themselves to a state Decreased deer density has ties lead to bad outcomes, but how
of declining antler potential and several benefits to deer. A primary do we know if our deer densities
increased predation? value is that it decreases the browse are too high? By evaluating deer
I work with deer hunters all pressure on the native vegetation numbers and the impacts they have
over Michigan, and I know that they and allows for continued regrowth. on local habitats, we can gather the
care about our deer. They spend When forest areas are over-browsed, information we need to determine
hours upon hours planting food it prevents the forest from regen- a target harvest range for our doe
and managing habitat. They spend erating. The regeneration is what populations. The four tools I recom-
thousands of dollars on equipment provides food to deer and other wild- mend using to become informed
— both for hunting and the afore- life, along with cover that provides about target doe harvest ranges
mentioned habitat and food plot security during the hunting season include trail camera surveys, hunter
projects. While hard work is being and protection from predators. When observation data, harvest data, and
done to provide deer with food, I also does are not able to get the food they browse-impact surveys. The combi-
see drastic treelines on field edges, need over the winter and into spring nation of this data will equip you and
indicating deer are over-browsing (where woody browse is the primary your local deer hunters with a good
their habitat. This degradation food source) they start losing their idea of how many does you should
impacts forest regeneration and ability to care for their fawns. Bucks target in a given season. Tracking

50 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 52 8/28/2017 10:55:11 AM
let's ask how many we should SHOOT
by Anna Mitterling
MUCC Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator

this information over time will show images to sort through. Once the before using this method.
you the impact you are having on the seven- to 10-day period has passed
deer herd in your neighborhood and and the deer are using the pile, start Hunter Observation Data
help you modify your harvest plans your 14-day survey. Once the 14-day
over time. survey begins, you should disrupt If you hunt any number of
the site as little as possible. Only days in a given deer season, this data
Trail Camera Surveys replace the memory card, place new is the easiest to collect. You simply
batteries or refresh the bait pile if need to tally up the number of bucks,
One trail camera can be a needed. does and fawns you see, along with
very effective way to estimate deer Once you have collected 14 the number of hours you hunted.
numbers over a 100-acre area, but days worth of images, you should This “deer per hour” data is great to
can also accurately measure the buck look through all of them and tally up compare deer populations over the
to doe ratio. To set up for a camera the number of unique bucks, total years and can help you determine if
survey, you will need to establish a number of does and the total number you are seeing more, less or similar
bait pile for seven to 10 days. August of fawns. There is a data collection numbers of deer.
works well for the survey because form at www.qdma.org that helps Now, it is important to note
bucks have antlers developing and translate the number of deer into that other factors play a role in how
fawns still have obvious spots. You buck to doe ratios and estimates the many deer you see — so you want
will want to run a camera on your total population of deer per square to make sure you are comparing
bait pile to make sure it is attracting mile. You will want to repeat this apples to apples. If you only track
deer to the location. survey each year to compare these your observations in early-October
Make sure your camera is numbers over time to identfy trends one year and early-November the
pointing to the north to avoid the in population estimates. For more next year, you can’t really compare
sun backlighting your images and details on how to conduct a trail those numbers. However, if you
that it is about 15 feet away from camera survey, check out the QDMA compare several days throughout
the bait pile. You want to have the book “Deer Cameras: The Science of multiple October hunts or opening
bait pile in the middle of your image Scouting.” gun weekend each year with data
so you can capture as many deer as Please note that the survey from previous years, your numbers
possible. You also want to make sure is based on cameras set up at a bait will have more significance.
the camera is only taking pictures pile. Please be sure to check the
every five minutes to avoid too many regulations on baiting in your area

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 51

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 53 8/28/2017 10:55:11 AM
Harvest Data checked. the area. As with other data collec-
tion methods discussed in this article,
Harvest data is quite easy to Browse-Impact Surveys the deer population estimates are
collect. Working with your neigh- best used as comparisons over time.
bors, local QDMA branches and Evaluating browse does not More information about deer browse
your local DNR biologist can really have to be a complicated process. impact surveys can be found at www.
add value to your data, as the more Simply going into the woods before mucc.org/cooperatives.
data you collect the better. The the leaves come out and assessing Another quick and easy way
basic information to collect is the deer browse for severity will provide to evaluate the impacts deer have on
number of deer (bucks, does, fawns) valuable information. However, plant growth, whether it be food plots
harvested around you, deer bones so there is a standardized approach or forests, is to install deer exclosure
you can determine age distribution that has been created to evaluate pens. These are used to keep deer
and dressed weights, which provide browse impacts by deer that may be out of particular areas so the browse
some insight on the health of the a little more complicated but can be impact can be compared to the
deer. Noting if the does harvested conducted with little training. surrounding non-fenced areas.
were lactating or not will provide To conduct a browse survey,
an indication of recruitment levels. you should esablish walking lines A Cooperative Approach
If they were lactating, you know and set distances along those lines
they had at least one fawn. Finally, to stop and evaluate browse impacts. Remember, each of these
measuring antlers for beam diame- Typically, within a mile line, there methods is just one part of the data
ters, antler points and score can tell will be fifty stops to collect data. At puzzle and should not be used as
you information about their trends each stop, the severity of browse a stand-alone indicators of deer
by age group (if getting jaw aged as should be evaluated, canopy cover numbers. In addition, it may prove
well) over time. Most of this infor- estimated and regeneration rates helpful to talk to your local DNR biol-
mation is collected at a DNR check assessed. While walking the lines, ogist to find out what deer densities
station. At the very least, consider deer scat can be tallied and converted they think are in your area and to talk
taking your deer in to the DNR to get into an estimate of deer numbers in to your neighbors as well. For more
QDMA members survey the landscape for deer sign during a cooperative event details on these evaluation methods,
facilitated by MUCC and QDMA. Population data was gathered for future visit www.mucc.org/cooperatives.
managment efforts. Good deer management goes
far beyond passing on shooting young
bucks. If you hope to see mature
bucks on your landscape, you must
invest time and energy into under-
standing the population of deer in
your woods and the impacts they
are making on the habitat. Simply
planting food plots is not enough.
Doing habitat work while evalu-
ating deer densities and impacts on
your property isn’t enough either
since deer use many square miles
of habitat. To truly have an impact
on the deer in your woods, you must
work with local hunters to evaluate
deer numbers and impacts.
Once you have some data in
front of you, you will be equipped
to develop an action plan. For assis-
tance starting a deer cooperative,
please contact the author at amitter-
ling@mucc.org. I would love to help
you put together a plan to create
a cooperative, and then evaluate
the condition of your deer and the
impact they are making on your
local landscape. Together we can
make Michigan deer hunting great,
but we must work together.

52 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 54 8/28/2017 10:55:11 AM
MUCC's OTG ("On the Ground") program is in
its fifth year, with multiple projects planned across
the state this summer. Projects allow volunteers
of all ages and experience levels to participate
in "on the ground" public land wildlife habitat
projects and provide an opportunity to engage
in hands-on conservation while learning about
wildlife habitat needs.

In early June 2017, OTG partnered with the Rocky
Mountain Elk Foundation for a project in the Pi-
geon River Country State Forest, the fourth year
of the partnership.

On June 16, OTG hosted a "rabbitat" project at
the Gratiot-Saginaw State Game Area to kick
off the 2017 MUCC Annual Convention. Gra-
tiot-Saginaw SGA was the location of the very
first OTG project in 2013, which is appropriate
since this year's Annual Convention was held in
Owosso, with activities at the Shiawassee Con-
servation Association, where Michigan United
Conservation Clubs was founded in 1937!

You can sign up for projects like these at www.

MUCC's On the Ground program is a partner-
ship with the Michgian Department of Natural
Resources Wildlife Division funded in part by
conservation revenue generated from the sale of
hunting and fishing license fees.

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

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 55 8/28/2017 10:55:14 AM
The fall
plug bite
by Mark Romanack

bout the time ice starts to The other common theory
form around the edges of among avid anglers suggests that
lakes, ponds, rivers and steelhead that run the streams Understanding Plugs
creeks, one group of Michigan in fall are experiencing a natural
anglers winterizes their boats and pre-spawn urge. It’s true that some For those who believe that
a different collection of anglers steelhead will spend months in the steelhead do not feed in the rivers,
respond by taking their boats out of river before spawning early in the fishing with artificial lures that
storage. spring. It’s also true that not all the generate a lot of action is the logical
The phenomenon of the steelhead enter the river in the fall plan of attack. Diving fishing lures,
fall steelhead run lures count- or spawn at the same time. We do or what most steelhead enthusi-
less anglers to Michigan’s top know that bursts of rain and the asts simply call “plugs,” are one of
streams, but few of these fish- resulting runoff tend to trigger the the best choices for trigger-savage
ermen completely understand the movement of steelhead into rivers. strikes from territorial steelhead.
dynamics of fall fishing. Some years, more fish enter rivers Most of the plugs designed
Why do steelhead that live in the fall, and other years, the big for steelhead fishing are short,
in the Great Lakes all year long push of fish doesn’t happen until compact models that feature a wide
head to flowing water in the fall? winter or even well into spring. wobble and lots of fish-attracting
The most popular theory suggests All of this suggests that rattles. A few of the classic plugs
these fish are capitalizing on a it’s unlikely steelhead running in used by steelhead fishermen in the
seasonal food source in the form rivers in fall are motivated by an fall include the Heddon Tadpoly,
of eggs produced by fall-spawning early urge to spawn. Steelhead are the Luhr Jensen Hot Shot, Storm’s
salmon, brown trout and lake trout. an interesting species and there is Wiggle Wart and the Worden’s Flat
Unfortunately, the seasonal food much we don’t understand about Fish. All of these lures feature that
source theory doesn’t hold much their seasonal movements and wide wobble that works wonders
water. wander-lust attitude. on triggering strikes from stream
Biologists remind us that In the fall of 2016 and the steelhead.
when steelhead are in the spawning winter of 2017, anglers across In recent years, some manu-
streams food is not their motiva- Michigan experienced one of the facturers have added a second gener-
tion. Most certainly steelhead will most exceptional runs of steel- ation of high-performance steelhead
“strike” a variety of lures and head in recent history — and plug plugs. Baits such as the Yakima Bait
baits, but this strike response is pullers took advantage. Mag Lip series up the ante consider-
more stimulated by their territo- ably by functioning in a wider range
rial attitude than desire to feed. of current speeds than traditional

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Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 56 8/28/2017 10:55:14 AM
plugs. They are also popular with Listerine, tobacco smells, insect Because steelhead do not die after
steelhead anglers because these baits repellant, sunscreen, fish blood or spawning, they are a valuable
can be rigged with a wide variety of fuel odors. The best way to remove resource that can spawn and help
hook options without damaging the these odors is to wash baits with a perpetuate the species many times
trademark “skip beat” action these non-bleach dishwashing detergent during their six- to 10-year-long life
plugs deliver. like lemon-scented Joy. Pro Cure, the cycle.
In slow moving current or industry-leading scent producing The best way to release a
what steelhead anglers refer to as manufacturer, recently introduced a steelhead is to unhook the fish while
“frog water,” the Mag Lip has excel- new cleaning agent that can be used it is still in the water. First, immobi-
lent action and are versatile enough without adding water and is designed lize the fish using a Bogo Grip, and
that they won’t blow out even in to remove foreign odors while leaving then release the fish with a pair of
fast water. To make the Mag Lip an no residual scent behind. Once a needle nose pliers.
even better fish trap, many anglers lure is cleaned, the next step is to If the fish is to be netted,
customize their baits with after- add a favorite fish scent to create an rubber landing nets are easier on the
market hook selections. enticing scent stream in the water. fish than mesh versions that tangle
Josh Crabtree is one of Paste or jelly-style scents are among hooks and make it more diffi-
Michigan’s most enthusiastic plug favored by most anglers because they cult to unhook and release the fish.
fishing specialists. stick to lures nicely and last longer If steelhead are to be handled
“I remove the belly hook from than water-soluble liquid scents. for a picture, grasp the fish firmly
my 3.0 and 3.5 size Mag Lip baits,” “I like Pro Cure Predator just above the tail or caudal fin with
Crabtree said. “Next, I remove the formula,” said Bob Ison, owner of one hand and cradle the fish under
tail hook and add a second split ring Another Limit Charter Service. the jaw with the other. This grip
to the back of the lure. To finish the “Pro Cure Super Gel is made by secures the fish nicely but doesn’t
job, I replace the factory-supplied grinding up natural bait fish species harm it.
tail treble hook with a larger wide and mixing it with a sticky paste Make your fishing pictures
bend hook such as the Eagle Claw that applies easily to fishing plugs. brief and get the fish back into
Trokar or the Mustad Triple Grip.” The shelf life on these products is the water as quickly as possible.
Rigged in this manner, plugs five years and they don’t need to be Remember, a fish can only live out of
become more snag resistant and refrigerated.” water for about the same time period
when a fish is hooked, they rarely a human can hold his or her breath.
escape. Steelhead are one of the Catch and Release Steelhead are amazing fish
most difficult species to hook and and one of the most unique fishing
land because they are exceptionally Steelhead anglers are among resources found in the Great Lakes
powerful, roll violently when hooked the most conservation-minded Basin. Anyone who has hooked and
and also are known for displaying people in the Great Lakes State. landed one will testify to the power,
aerial acrobatics. agility and pure beauty
of this
Establishing a Scent

Anyone who
has studied trout
and salmon
biology knows
that salmonids,
like steelhead, have
a highly acute sense of
smell. Science has proven that
these fish use scent to not only find
natal spawning waters, but also to
identify and capture forage. Because
steelhead can smell odors diluted as
much as a few parts per billion, it’s
vitally important to remove foreign
odors from lures when fishing and
to also add natural scent products to
entice these fish to strike.
Unnatural odors might
include, but are not limited to,

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 57 8/28/2017 10:55:16 AM

101 by Nick Green

Thane Herbert hooks into an eight-pound female on the Manistee River while
centerpinning. Herbert spends about 200 days each year fishing Northern
Michigan rivers with a centerpin reel and bobbers.

Bobber fishing with a centerpin has anglers hooked
t happens quicker than you can The biggest, and most 12-foot-6-inch rod has served me well
blink – one minute your bobber important, difference of a centerpin on every river I have encountered in
is floating serenely across the reel is its free-spool capability. The Michigan. I have used it wading on
water, the next minute it’s gone. line will pull from the reel only as the Betsie, the Pere Marquette and
There is something that fast as the current pulls the bobber out of a boat on the Manistee. Many
bites you, feeds the itch and awakens downstream. of my fishing buddies prefer longer
your inner angler when you fish These reels can range in rods, as they say it gives them more
for steelhead with bobbers. Maybe price from $100 to $2,000 — some of line control. It is personal prefer-
it's the dream-provoking sight of that gouge relates to the smooth- ence, but I recommend starting with
watching that piece of balsa disap- ness at which the reel turns to let something around that 12- to 13-foot
pear into the blackness or the bend line out, but most of it has to do with mark.
a rod makes as it pulsates from the brand recognition. A centerpinning rod should
head shakes, who knows? An angler can pick up a be soft, as with any other bobber
One thing is for certain, good centerpin reel for $150 from rod. The rod should soak up some
though, bobber fishing for steelhead eBay. Look for used reels or buy of the energy of the hookset. If we
has come a long way in Michigan discontinued models. I picked up used fast, responsive rods, the fish
over the last 10 years, and I’m a discontinued Raven, which is a would spit the hook before we ever
willing to bet the most productive major player in the centerpin world, got a hookset or we would jerk the
bobber anglers use a centerpin. for less than $200. bait right from the fish’s mouth.
Anglers use 12- to 15-foot Rods can be purchased
Gear rods with centerpin reels to keep at a variety of prices, much like
their line off the water, helping to centerpin reels. I would recommend
Centerpin reels have been create a drag-free presentation. a mid-prized rod from Okuma or
around for decades. They resemble However, the length that is optimal Shimano to get started. I use a
a fly reel in looks, with the line for every river could be different Shimano Convergence that was less
spooling off the bottom of the reel depending on its size. than $100.
parallel to the rod. I have found that a Any monofilament line will

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Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 58 8/28/2017 10:55:23 AM
work for mainline. I prefer Siglon F of equipment an angler will need explain much more eloquently than
line in 12-pound test because it lasts to start centerpin fishing, and shot me the proper method.
a long time, floats well and doesn’t will range in sizes depending on the For me, it has worked best to
seem to have as much of a problem river. I use mostly No. 7 shot every- just stop the line from spooling with
with line memory as other types where I fish. my reel hand, bring the rod back,
of monofilament. Fluorocarbon move it all forward in one motion
or monofilament can be used for Technique and let it fly. When the bobber
leaders depending on water condi- hits the water, I stop the reel from
tions and preference — fluoro tends Split shot should be evenly spinning with my reel hand. This
to be a little less visible to fish and distributed from the bobber down method has not caused me many
requires a special knot to use it to about 18 inches above the hook. problems with line twist.
properly. I use the Palomar knot. How many split shot are placed on It will take a day or two of
Any kind of tackle can be the leader and main line will depend frustration on the water to figure out
fixed to the end of your line, with on how deep an angler is fishing. I how to cast a centerpin rig — that
hooks and jigs being the most try to space my split shot about 12 to is normal. Once an angler figures it
common. Anglers tip these hooks 16 inches apart. out, though, they won’t forget.
or jigs with spawn, wax worms or Spacing shot like this allows Once my tackle hits the
minnows for steelhead, usually. I the bait to be presented first to water, I then pull the bobber off the
prefer a wide-gap circle hook in size the fish. This is the most natural water and move it upstream while
eight for steelhead fishing because presentation. leaving the hook and split shot
they don’t bend out and almost Advanced centerpinners submerged. This ensures that my
never get spit by a fish. will all have their own opinion on bait is being presented to the steel-
I prefer an 8-gram float from how to cast. Several methods have head first and not being dragged
Raven Tackle Co. However, anglers been proven to eliminate line twist down the river by the bobber.
can use any number of bobbers and can take some practice to learn. From there, it is all about
meant for river fishing. For these methods, a quick view of depth. Reading a bobber is a some-
Split shot is the last piece a YouTube video or blog online will thing every float angler learns.
Herbert displays an eight-pound hen caught on a centerpin rig on the Manistee River. The author uses a centerpin and
bobbers almost exclusively for steelhead. The biggest benefit of centerpinning is the drag-free, natural presentation.


Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 59 8/28/2017 10:55:26 AM
Evenly spacing split shot about 12 to 16 inches apart from the bobber down to
18 inches above the hook allows for the bait to be presented to a steelhead first.
Oftentimes, traditional bobber fishing presents a bait that is being drug down
river by the bobber. This is why shot placement and mending is so important.

The best presentation is on the fish. Fall fishing usually gets
about 6 to 8 inches above the bottom started as the salmon run is closing.
for steelhead. To find this, move Where to fish These fish move up and gorge them-
your bobber up your line until you selves on steelhead spawn, often-
are ticking bottom — by carefully Steelhead lies will vary times sitting in holes right behind
watching your bobber you will be throughout the year. In fall, when where salmon can be seen spawning.
able to tell when this happens. fish are starting to move into the Spawn tends to work best this time of
If a bobber is tipping down- system and are amped up, they tend year under a bobber for that reason.
stream, it is likely dragging on the to sit in the intermediate holes or As the leaves make their
bottom. If it is tipping upstream, the what spring anglers call the transi- annual concession to gravity and
current is pulling your gear down- tion holes. These will vary river to fall fades to winter, fish start to move
stream too fast and more split shot river but tend to be holes that are to the slow, deep holes. Again, this
is needed. Experimenting with a in between the river’s deepest point is dependent on what size river you
bobber through each hole if strikes and the spawning gravel. fish. If you fish below Tippy Dam on
aren’t occurring is key — steelhead Fall is one of the best times the Manistee, some of these holes
won’t move much in the winter to to get out on the river. Anglers don’t can be 12- to 15-feet deep. On the
take a bait and hitting them in the have to sharpen their elbows, as most Betsie River, 5- to 8-feet is a pretty
face is crucial. of the other like-minded people are deep hole.
Another technique that chasing white-tailed deer or grouse. Winter fishing is thankless.
guides and beginners like to use, It is easy to get into holes, and if you Anglers spend more time removing
though never one I have favored, see other anglers, they are usually ice from their eyelets than they do
is parking above a hole and letting willing to chat about the day’s with their rod in the water. Hundreds
bobbers drift back from the boat. happenings — unlike spring when of eventless casts can almost put an
This method is the easiest center- the pyramid-sinker-totting warriors angler to sleep. But, be ready — that
pinning method if a boat is available. come out from hibernation. bobber will eventually drop and on
If your bobber drops, stop Fish hooked in the fall the other end will be a fish worth the
the spool with your reel hand and tend to be more aggressive than hours spent.
hang on. Centerpin reels don’t have those hooked in the spring. They December through February
drag, so having some knowledge of will display awesome shows of is my favorite time to float fish for
how to fight a strong steelhead will acrobatics as they leap out of the steelhead. Usually, I still have a bow
help an angler understand when to water, snap your line and throw up tag left in my pocket, the dogs are
give the fish some line, when to turn a certain fin symbol that resembles tired from an eventful fall chasing
its head and when to put pressure our middle finger. birds and I am ready for the quiet

58 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 60 8/28/2017 10:55:30 AM
Look for seams in the river — this will likely be where fish hold. An old, but
true, saying is, "foam is home." Anywhere that the current breaks will provide
fish an area of less resistance to feed and rest.

that only a river can afford me. are fishing and how they are doing about that entail that bobber disap-
Once spring rolls around, I it, ask questions and, most impor- pearing? You’ll have them soon
get away from the river and switch to tantly, keep casting. enough if you stick with it.
fly gear for big trout. Remember those dreams I talked
However, spring can provide
good bobber fishing opportunities
if anglers can stand the crowds or
know a spot they have kept close to
their vest through the years.
So often we focus on those
spawning fish we can see. I get it, we
can see them — our brain tells us
they are there and we make those
casts. The fish just dodge the tackle,
I’ve done it too. Instead, focus efforts
on the holes behind these fish — the
staging areas.
They usually can’t see you
and are much more willing to eat
than the fish that are on gravel —
after all, those fish have one thing on
their mind, and it’s usually the same
thing as a 16-year-old boy.

Trial and error

No good steelhead angler,
let alone a float angler, became
good at catching fish the minute
they stepped into the water — years
of practice and gained knowledge
help them to be successful. Don’t
get discouraged, watch others who

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 59

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 61 8/28/2017 10:55:33 AM
Surf chrome and stoicism
"The frost-laden mornings
of an Upper Peninsula
autumn are for few men and
even fewer pursuits..."

by Calvin McShane

inter typically arrives and silver steelhead. I am their The streams that flow west
unannounced, usually overly enthused admirer. The leaves into Lake Michigan in Michigan’s
before all of the firewood change unbeknownst to me because Lower Peninsula are much larger
can be cut and just in time for the on the beach my eyes remain fixated than their Lake Superior counter-
most important day of the year on moving water and the cleansing parts. Besides the obvious differ-
— opening day of firearm season. that only it and its counterparts can ences, one rarely noted by those in
As most hunters are heading to provide. the Lower Peninsula is that with a
tree stands and deer blinds tucked My first run-ins with fall smaller watershed comes a smaller,
deep in cedar swamps and alder steelhead were in college, when I nearly nonexistent, run of fall
bogs, I am hitting the beaches of was sporting a Dick Swan-esque steelhead.
Lake Superior. My backdrop is the noodle rod and float fished the deep Many streams lack the
sound of rolling waves and distant pools that lay behind the rapids of water level to sustain large migra-
gunshots harmonizing over the the Sixth Street Dam. Since then, tions of the fall steelhead that will
whistle of an incessant northern I have traded the concrete jungle eventually hold in the system over
wind. for the rocky shoals of Gitchee winter. There are a few rivers that
The reasons for my sleep- Gumee — a cathartic absolution of host noteworthy and productive fall
ness nights and subsequent 6:30 all that is metropolitan. Now, my runs but I will leave them for other
a.m. alarm find themselves swim- techniques are unconventional in fisherman to popularize. The creeks
ming the shorelines this time of the comparison to my friends who still that happen to be plentiful and
year, concentrated near the swelling hang around the Grand River, as devoid of hordes of people are the
streams given by rare fall down- I have had to adapt to an entirely places I frequent.
pours — they are hungry, chrome different fishery. The majority of Lake

60 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 62 8/28/2017 10:55:34 AM
Superior steelhead cruise the sinker attached via a swivel above deer blind for a beach day spent in
shallow shorelines, chasing smelt, the leader. November snow.
shiners and spawning salmon. Wading waist deep, or chest The November weather
About 400 miles from where I first deep for the valiant and stupid, on Lake Superior lives in infamy.
encountered them they seem to anglers take short breaths in Shipwrecks bleed through the sands
remain the same — difficult to hook between gulps of water long enough along the coast, reminders of the

and even more difficult to land. to cast their offering far enough harshness a November storm can
To catch Lake Superior they pretend to worry about hitting bring.
steelhead in the fall means taking to the passing ore boats. Once their Unfortunately for the surf
the beach. It requires patience and bait is presented, they sit and wait, fisherman, with inclement weather
persistence, and like all fall steel- anxious for the next steelhead that comes exceptional fishing. A riled
head fishing around the state, it has may unexpectedly scoop up their shoreline can be a steelhead's
its fantastic days surrounded but spawn bag as they cruise east and paradise and a fisherman’s too, as
mostly uneventful ones. west along Lake Superior’s south long as they can find an effective
The strategies are best shore. way to keep their bait from being
understood in two categories: the I fall somewhere between swept away by the waves and their
slingers and the sitters. Each group both groups of anglers. There are bodies warm enough to stave off the
can be found alongside each other, mornings I like to hop from river impending hypothermia.
wrestling for the prime spots in the mouth to river mouth donned in a These days are some of
stained waters entering the big lake plethora of overly expensive rain my favorite days. Most anglers
after a warming autumn rain. gear and a single St. Croix casting are either home or at deer camp
The slingers are a more rod with a collection of Acme KO keeping their coffee and woodstoves
active breed. They employ long, Wobblers. Then there are other hot. I am usually standing stiff in
stiff poles from 8 to 10 feet that are mornings where I stand shoulder to the wind with a lofty idea that the
paired with large spinning reels and shoulder with Yoopers and visiting worst weather brings not only the
heavy 10-pound test line. They are down-staters alike, debating on best fishing, but acts as a testament
slinging spoons and wobblers as far whether or not the east or west side to my virtue.
as the northern swells allow them. of the stream is a better spot to fish. Those who brave this
Their goal is to imitate the frantic Both tactics have their days weather are unmoved by worldly
shiner or panicked smelt unhappily where multiple hook-ups are not discomfort. They have an innate
intercepted by a darting steelhead just a fantasy, but a
making its way in and out of scum
fantastic reality.
The fish
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Great for trolling in congested areas and more effective contour trolling along
the comfort of their five-gallon I had become drop offs contour lines, reef edges and weed lines in rivers, lakes or the ocean.
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patched pair of neoprene waders my college years. the Stern Planers. Run any distance from the boat yet maintain desired depth.
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Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 61

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 63 8/28/2017 10:55:34 AM
It is arduous suffering for few
incidents of reward, a true
testament to all that is stoic and all
that is steelhead.

knowledge that in the pull of fresh to the woodsmen, finding true soli- Surf fishing can act as a
steelhead comes a knowledge tude in the desolation of unending synonym for insanity. It is arduous
understood only by powers outside shorelines. The beaches that begin suffering for few incidents of
of ourselves — its existence is as just west of the Porkies and end at reward, a true testament to all that
impermanent as the waves nipping the headwaters of the St. Mary’s is stoic and all that is steelhead.
at the boot of our waders. River are crowded only with sand
Surf fishing steelhead is and ice. They are broken up by
nothing new. It is a tactic steeped in hundreds of streams, small to big,
tradition that draws roots from all each with a flow begging the atten-
over the state. However, its popu- tion of steelhead.
larity is minimal when compared Accessibility is beyond
to the time of year when grouse and bountiful and the technique is
deer hunters dominate the woods. fishing in its simplest form. Fishing
I guess this is why people like me the surf requires only hardiness
would rather trade the rifle for a few and the madness of obsession.
Fenwick glass surf rods and keep In the analects of sports-
their hands warm only by the stern manship regarding the U.P., hung
wrapping of neoprene waders and on the wall along with rifles, red
the occasional battle over rod and plaid, dog whistles, and double
reel. barrel shotguns, there must be surf
We prefer to leave the woods rods and scale-encrusted stringers.

62 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 64 8/28/2017 10:55:34 AM
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Michigan Out-of-Doors gear at www.mucc.org
and www.michiganoutofdoors.com



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Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 63

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 65 8/28/2017 10:55:35 AM
Fall's not last call f

by David A. Rose

64 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 66 8/28/2017 10:55:36 AM
l for browns:
How to up your chances of
landing a lunker

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 65

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 67 8/28/2017 10:55:37 AM
Bodybaits like this Rapala Original Minnow casted slightly
upstream and reeled in so the lure wobbles wildly are too much
for a brown to let pass by.

f there was a time of year I could be adding.
take a month-long stretch off of Location, location, location Overall, you’ll catch more
work to enjoy fishing in Michigan fish if you cast into the pools and
it would unquestionably be during Brown trout spawn mid- to runs adjacent to shallow gravel runs,
the fall season. Like the majority of late-fall, which is another unique especially those with deep, undercut
us, however, being able to take that aspect about fishing for them this banks. These areas are where the
much time off would require the time of year. The very fish that highest concentrations of big fish will
windfall of a winning lottery ticket rarely leave the comforts of deep, be during this time of year as they
for it to come to fruition. log-infested pools in the mid to lower wait for the perfect spawning condi-
One sure thing I have going sections of a river for nine months tions. Look for them. Cast. You’ll be
for me that doesn’t require the luck of the year start making their move pleasantly pleased with the results.
of matching numbers, however, is upstream to head for water perfect
the odds of landing a brute-sized for procreation. Offering plate
brown trout from one of the many They migrate here because
rivers where these marauders reside it’s in-between the tiny rocks where The methods of fishing
year-round. water is shallow and flows fast over madness this time of year are endless,
And as blessing may have beds of gravel that is the perfect place and the trick to hooking huge browns
it, I live within many short drives of for newly-hatched trout to start out its during the fall months isn’t really
some of the most paramount rivers life. Here, too, the water temperature a trick at all. You just need to forgo
in the United States for catching these is more consistent throughout the what many anglers consider stan-
brute fish — in the heart of Northern winter period, thus these youngest dard trout fare — that is to use tiny
Lower Michigan. And fortunately for of young-of-the-year fish stand the flies and small lures — and instead,
all trout anglers in the state, there greatest chance of survival. be bold and use stout streamers and
are several river systems throughout Although browns are working big baits.
both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas their way upstream to spawn, don’t Casting large flies and lures
that are open for catching Salmo expect to see huge pods of fish on top will require a little heavier equip-
trutta (for you Latin buffs) well after the gravel runs like you would where ment than what most anglers are
the regular season comes to a close; Great Lakes salmon and trout spawn. accustomed to. Some of it may even
many even open year-round for You may see a freshly-fanned redd be considered more bass-fishing-like
fishing. here and there, created sometime than trout fishing. But whatever you
The best part about fishing between the low-light periods of dusk do, be prepared for an attack with
the state’s pristine rivers well above and dawn, but rarely browns in the every cast or you could miss that fish
any dam that keeps migratory Great mood for love. And if you do happen of a lifetime.
Lakes trout and salmon at bay? upon a hen fanning and males in “I love the bite of a big brown;
There’s a good chance you may not fighting motion behind her, it may it’s like a shark attack,” said Russ
see another angler for miles. And if be in your best interest to let them Maddin, river guide and guru of
you do, you at least know they are do their thing without harassment. creating audacious streamers from
there for the same reason you are: Natural reproduction occurs in many feathers and fur. “They just seem
to up the ante of landing the largest rivers and stocks the waterways well to come up out of nowhere, and it
brown of your life. beyond what the Michigan DNR may happens so fast it feels as if your

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Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 68 8/28/2017 10:55:37 AM
heart skips a beat. It’s an adrenaline bodybait wobbles wildly and spinner for a surprise swim. Take a wading
rush, for sure.” barely starts spinning is perfect in the staff with you, and use it. If wearing
The Traverse City, Michigan cooling water. boot-foot waders, wear a set of cleats
resident has been chasing big browns As with fishing with or install spikes into the lugs of your
all his life, and guiding has been his streamers, you’ll need to beef up your boots. A quick search on the internet
only job. Ever. spinning or casting gear when using and you’ll find an overwhelming
Maddin has his clients casting this hefty hardware as the hooks amount of videos on how to do it
large streamers — up to seven inches are robust, as well, and even a razor- yourself.
in length — this time of year as they sharp point will need a swift set into Another thing many forget
imitate large minnows and young fish. a brown’s hard mouth. A 7- to 7.5-foot this time of year is to have an extra
“Big trout don’t eat often, but when medium-power rod with a reel filled set of clothes in your vehicle, just
they do they target huge prey,” he with 10-pound test monofilament or in case you do slip and take a dip.
said. fluorocarbon is often just the right Also overlooked this time of year is
Besides casting bigger flies rig. A rod any longer and you reduce making sure you’re drinking plenty
than the average angler, another the accuracy of your cast. Precise of water. A couple bottles worth or a
secret to Maddin’s trout-catching placement of a lure is not only crucial jug from home will suffice.
success is covering as much water as for getting a bite, but aiding in you
possible. When guiding, he employs not landing your lure in a snag. Any Paging Mr. Brown
a drift boat, floating several miles of shorter and you lose casting distance.
river in a single trip. Although using Looking to up your odds of
a boat will definitely have an angler Slip sliding away landing the largest brown trout of
jacketing the most water, it’s not a your life? Forgo playing the lottery
necessity this time of year. “Just be Fall weather can be a mix of and use the cash to buy gas for a
willing to walk… a lot; giving a hole a little of everything Mother Nature drive to one of the many rivers open
just a few casts and then moving on,” has to offer. Air temperatures can be for fishing after the regular season’s
he says. anywhere from 7 degrees to 70, and over.
As for flinging these giant it can turn from sunny to rainy and Grab a state fishing regula-
flies, the big streamer ploy has snowing in mere minutes. And all that tion booklet and find a river open
become popular enough that rod change makes avoiding slips and falls to extended fishing near you. Head
manufacturers are now producing fly into the water more vital than ever. higher in the system and cast stout
rods in 8.5- to 9.5-foot, 7- to 8-weight While I mentioned it’s streamers, large spinners or big body-
models designed just for casting these important to cover as much water baits into the holes, runs and cuts
heavyweights on serious tippets. And as possible when wading, it’s just as near spawning gravel. And hang onto
fluorocarbon tippets — fluoro being imperative to take your time with that rod tight. The strike from these
denser than monofilament — helps a every step you make so as not to go brute fish is vicious and quick.
streamer stay in the strike zone better.
Size 2X (approximately 11.5-pound
test) are the lightest Maddin uses.
After all, these flies are tied on heavy-
gauge hooks, and it takes some oomph
to set the point and pull a fish from a
log jam. Don’t be afraid to give it your
all on the strike.
Streamers should be fished
slightly upstream and worked down-
stream at a 45-degree angle back to the
angler. Give your fishy fly imitation a
stop-and-flee retrieve, and be prepared
to do battle at a moment’s notice.
Lures, too, should be on the
larger side of life. Bodybaits 4 to 7
inches in length and in-line spinners
with bulky blades in the number 5 to 6
range are not only easy for big browns
to bull’s-eye, but emulate the size of
the forage to a tee. Because freshwater
fish are cold-blooded and their bodies
the same temperature as the water,
a retrieve just fast enough so the

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 67

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 69 8/28/2017 10:55:37 AM
Stream bass by Bob Gwizdz

ichigan is blessed with waders or, if the water’s warm an occasional largemouth thrown
abundant rivers. The enough, just jump in in your tennis in and there’s always a variety of
fisheries folks at the shoes. You can take a canoe or kayak non-target species (crappie, pike,
Department of Natural Resources or johnboat and just meander down- rock bass) to keep things interesting.
like to boast that of Michigan’s stream. Or you can go by motor boat A lot of the bass that we catch are
36,000 miles of streams, 12,000 of – provided the river is large enough small (in that 10- to 12-inch range)
them are trout water. And the other and you can find adequate access – but we never fail to catch a handful
2/3rds? They are full of fish, too. and fish it the same way you would of keeper-sized bass, which we
And many of those fish are bass. on Lake St. Clair. always return to the water. We also
Bass fishing has evolved One of my favorite trips catch plenty of good ones, including
into a largely big-lake sport, where — one that I take annually and a fair number of four-pounders and
guys in $50,000-plus metal flake-fin- always look forward to — is on the some fives. The best I remember
ished boats blast across the surface Kalamazoo River just outside the was a 5-pound, 9-ounce smallmouth,
as they race from hot spot to honey city limits, where I fish with Scott which we weighed on a hand-held
hole seeking ol’ Micropterus. But Markham, an electrician/fishing scale, though Markham tells me
there is plenty of opportunity to guide. We put in Markham’s boat, a he’s beaten that mark a number of
find bass — mostly smallmouths, large johnboat with a jet-drive and a times.
but some largemouths, too – in trolling motor, at a small park that Typically, Markham runs
Michigan’s inland waterways. gives us access to many more miles upstream as far as he wants to fish.
It’s a different kind of of river than we could possibly Then he gets on the trolling motor
fishing — usually slower and more fish in a day. In recent years, we’ve and we gradually drift downstream,
intimate. But it’s every bit as fun – taken to fishing evenings, getting dropping an anchor if needed, in
maybe even more – and can be just started around 5 p.m. and fishing areas where the current is strong
as exciting and productive. until darkness encroaches. And the and the fish are active. We’ve caught
Stream fishing certainly fishing is always good and some- them on all manner of lures; a basic
offers variety in how you can times very good. We usually catch 20 tube is probably the go-to bait,
approach it. You can put on your to 40 smallmouths between us with but there are days when the fish

68 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 70 8/28/2017 10:55:39 AM
seem to be all over crankbaits. Jigs pounds a piece, and I missed that well before sunset – I went back to
with trailers, Texas-rigged plastic many more. the fly rod and put on a popper and
worms, drop-shot rigs – everything However, the heavy rod, caught a handful of bass over the
produces at one time or another. sink-tip line combination was giving course of the last hour. Fath, who
For many years I fished my problematic shoulder some had been alternating fishing and
the Grand River, downstream issues. So I picked up the spinning rowing with Lessway, kept at it with
of Lansing, out of a canoe with rod and started tossing the floating the streamer. He caught fish, too.
now-retired DNR fisheries biologist Rapala. The bigger bait drew larger I’d caught 23 and I imagine
Ned Fogle. We always caught plenty average-sized fish and I put 10 of Fath and Lessway did that many, if
of smallmouths, many keeper-sized them in the boat in short order. not more. Not bad for a lazy after-
fish and often had a handful of other “I’ve had guys down here noon, eh?
species including pike or an occa- with soft plastics do very well, I’ve had similar results on
sional walleye, the most notable of but usually we fish streamers or other streams — often on rivers that
which was a rainbow I caught one popping bugs,” said Lessway, with you wouldn’t immediately associate
year that must have been confused whom I’d fished a half dozen times with bass fishing. I spent a half day
about where it was living. previously, always for trout. “We on the Au Sable below Alcona Dam
One of the more interesting have a lot of 50- to 60-fish days. Some with retired DNR fisheries biologist
river trips I’ve taken in recent years days more. There are days when it’s Steve Sendek one late summer day
was with Chris Lessway, a noted slow, too, of course, but I’ve never when we caught about 30 bass and
trout fishing guide on the Au Sable had a day when I’ve been skunked. one trout. Sendek did most of his
River, who puts up the trout gear And I’ve had clients out there who damage with a curly tail grub on a
in late summer and switches over could barely cast a steamer and jig head, while I caught most of mine
to bass below Foote Dam once the they caught fish.” (including the trout) on a crankbait
water gets too warm to make catch- As the sun sunk below the and a Tiny Torpedo surface lure.
and-release trout fishing advisable. trees – there are large pines and Similarly, I used to fish the
It was an afternoon trip, out of a cedars lining both banks for much Manistee below Tippy Dam, down-
drift boat, and we were largely fly of this stretch, shading the river stream from High Bridge, with
fishing, though when I was getting
my gear out of the truck, Lessway Scott Markham shows off a Kalamazoo River smallmouth. Markham spends
noticed I had a spinning rod with much of his time fly fishing rivers like the Kalamazoo in search of bass.
a No. 11 Rapala tied on and he
suggested I bring it.
Lessway had invited Chad
Fath, a wooden net maker and
sometimes fishing guide himself,
and we headed downstream
throwing streamers on sink-tip
lines. Fath, who was fishing with
an olive-colored fly, scored almost
immediately with a small smallie
and put a handful more into the
boat in short order. I was using a
large, flashy, white streamer, which
Lessway described as his “go-to”
fly. The bass were chasing it – I saw
fish on almost every cast come take
a look – but I wasn’t connecting.
Lessway likes the white streamer
because “it’s easy to see and a lot of
the baitfish kind of have that shine
to them,” he said.
After about 45 minutes of
seeing, but not catching, fish, I
switched to a dark-colored fly and
I immediately started hooking fish.
(Were the bass keying in on craw-
fish, not minnows? Who knows?)
Over the next 90 minutes, I put six
in the boat, sizing up to about two

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 69

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 71 8/28/2017 10:55:41 AM
Chris Lessway with a smallmouth from the Au Sable River below Foote Dam. Popping bugs across the water's surface
can be a great way to draw out the carnivourous tendencies in bass. It is also an exciting way to fish.
Doug Samsel, who now spends the too fragile to take the pounding of Fischbach fishes a number
warmer weather months on Lake the big lake, I’d put in my boat at the of other rivers, too. “The Grand,
St. Clair. We would fish in the same park off Huron Parkway and we'd Raisin, Shiawassee, Tittabawassee,
places we’d steelhead fish in the catch lots of both species of bass, Chippewa – they’re all good and
winter. We had 30- and 40-fish days, some of which were in the five- they’re sort of different environ-
mostly swimming curly tails on jig pound class. ments, which I like because is sort
heads, though a floating/diving In recent years, I’ve taken of makes you dig into your bag of
Rapala produced well, too. to fishing with Dirk Fischbach tricks.”
I’ve had good bass fishing who runs a fly shop in Dexter. A Fischbach says he likes to
on the Flat, Flint, Shiawassee hard-core fly fisherman, Fischbach fish from immediately post-spawn
and Thornapple. rivers. And did I thinks plenty of bass anglers are until it’s too cold to fish.
mention the Huron? That’s where missing the boat by ignoring the “Fall fishing is fantastic,”
I first discovered the joys of stream rivers. he said. “The streamer bite is pretty
bass fishing back when I was a “Lakes are easier to access darn strong.”
college kid and the sum total of for a lot of people,” he said. “And And though he’s married to
my fishing gear was a cheap rod, the perception is that fish in lakes fly fishing, he readily admits that
an old Mitchell 300 reel and a pair are going to be bigger, but we know hardware fishermen can often do
of (leaky) waders. I usually fished that big fish live in rivers, too.” better.
the water below Dexter (before it Fischbach, who wrote “The “I think soft plastics and jigs
becomes impounded by Barton Fly Fisher’s Huron: A Practical are best,” he said. “I wouldn’t want
Dam) where it was easily wade-able. Guide to Michigan’s Blue Ribbon to go head-to-head with a good spin
I caught mostly smallmouths, but Smallmouth River” – wades half the fisherman on an average day. But
a fair number of largemouths as time and floats the rest. We’ve done then, all of a sudden, there’s a big
I approached Ann Arbor. In later both together and have had success hatch of mayflies and the fly guy’s
years, when my father was getting with both approaches. going to have his way.”

70 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

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The Fish
by Nick Green
Blake Sherburne hopper-dropper fishes a section of the Pere Marquette River near
Baldwin in late-July. The trip yielded a fair amount of small trout, but the day was a
perfect one to be on the river.

here are certain things in the Nymphs? You bet. Throwing him off. I thought I had hooked
outdoor world that I am medi- streamers for big browns is still into another one of the 12- to
ocre at — while most others I something I am learning — to 14-inch browns that bless the Pere
am just plain poor at. Nymphing for me, it is just about as thankless as Marquette. About 30 seconds into
trout is one of my mediocrities. steelhead fishing in February. I still the fight, I caught a glimpse of what
Throwing nymphs for trout prefer to tie on size-14 nymphs if I’m would be known as The Fish to me
doesn’t involve the picturesque not dry-fly fishing. for the next few years.
casting Brad Pitt displays in A River It was decided, despite my
Runs Through It. In fact, casting The Fish — May 25, 2014 stubborn ways, that Blake would net
nymphs is quite the opposite — there The Fish. It hardly fit into his net —
isn’t much finesse involved when I had just lit a cigarette, and the tail and cape hung out over the
you are roll casting an indicator and the late-spring sun was starting to ends. It was 24 inches long, or 22, as
two weighted nymphs across a river. get hot. My fishing buddy Blake was Blake saw it. We never did put a tape
I was still pretty green, leading the way through a nice run on The Fish, but my friend’s 25-plus
forgive the pun, when I ventured on the Pere Marquette that we could years of fly fishing experience prob-
into the world of nymphing. Despite usually count on for a trout. ably helped him guess its size better
reading a multitude of John Gierach I was busy watching Blake’s than I could.
books, Hatch magazines and Jim indicator at the bottom of the run Nonetheless, I was excited
Bedford articles, I couldn’t find when I felt the tug. I hadn’t seen about nymphing.
much on the sport. Those who did my indicator go under, I just felt I lit another cigarette, a
write about it had an uncanny way the weight of something at the end. celebratory one, as I rubbed it in
of leaving the reader knowing that I could see my indicator under- that Blake had just fished through
there was more to it than what they water as it darted towards a pretty that run in front of me. Three casts
were telling. substantial log that paralleled the later, I hooked another fish. It ended
We know that trout spend run. up being another brown about 18
all of their lives underwater. Immediately, I put pressure inches long.
Presumably, they spend most of on the fish. It didn’t feel that big — We both closed that day
their time eating underwater as knowing what I knew then. Now, I having caught fish. None were as
well. In Michigan, the Big Five have fought these fish, I know what nice as the first two fish, but they
hatches last from mid-April through they do, I know how they react. He were still respectable. Since then, I
the beginning of July, depending on went right to the bottom of the river have learned a thing or two about
what stream you call home. and sat, as most big browns do. nymphing, and although I haven’t
What do trout eat the rest Blake yelled upstream caught a brown as big as The Fish
of the year? Minnows? Of course. asking if I needed the net. I waved again on a nymph, I have caught a

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 71

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 73 8/28/2017 10:55:47 AM
plethora of upper-teens and 20-inch July through September, I current breaks (seams), foam and
browns on nymphs during the like to use grasshopper patterns for deep holes with some sort of struc-
middle of the day. my indicator. This tends to be the ture nearby — these will likely hold
most relaxing kind of fly fishing for fish.
Strategy me — I have usually caught a nice Roll casting is a necessity
trout or two during the hatches, I when nymphing. Remember the
Nymphing can be done am rested after countless fishless Brad Pitt reference? I have yet to see
several different ways — with an nights staying up until 1 a.m. waiting someone perform casts like that and
indicator, such as a Thingamabobber for mayflies to hatch and the bikini not wind up with a rat’s nest at the
or grasshopper pattern, Czech-style hatch provides some OK scenery. end of their line. In fact, roll casting
or even tight-lining holes with spin- We usually get on the river is by far the most useful cast for a
ning gear. about mid-morning and fish out the fly angler in Michigan — it keeps
I prefer to use an indicator. section we had planned for the day. everything in front of you and out
Early in the year, when it is too An angler could probably get there of the bushes. I use the cast in every
cold for mayfly hatches or they are at daybreak or just before dark but kind of fly fishing I do — chucking
just getting started, I usually use a most die-hard fly guys have had streamers, mousing and dry-fly
Thingamabobber. They are the fly enough of that in May and June. fishing.
fishing version of a bobber. When Focusing on runs or holes I prefer to cast directly across
I use this method, I usually tie two that have held fish for an angler before the river, perform a mend that gets
nymphs on — the second being tied is a good way to start nymphing. If my indicator above my nymph and
on at the bend of the first’s hook. a river is new to an angler, look for then walk the dog with my line to get
The author with The Fish. Nymphing has come to be one of the author's favorite ways to fly fish and The Fish helped to
solidify that. This picture was taken on the bank of Pere Marquette River in May 2014.

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Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 74 8/28/2017 10:55:47 AM
as long of a drift as possible. Walking
the dog is when you wiggle the tip of
your rod up and down to let excess
line out without affecting your drift
or presentation.

The nymph

I tie my own nymphs. I don’t
do it for fun, either — I do it because
I can’t buy the kind of nymphs I
want. I am not sure pattern matters
as much as size. Of course there
are tried and true patterns like the
Pheasant Tail, Hare’s Ear and Prince
nymphs, though.
More importantly, and the
reason I tie all of my own nymphs,
is how much weight is tied into each
fly. In order to effectively nymph, the
fly has to get down to fish that are
sitting on or near the bottom. Sure, a
fish will move a little, but it has to see
your nymph first.
When I tie my nymphs, I use at
least two wraps of whatever diameter
lead matches the hook size I am tying
it on and put a tungsten head on them.
Above: Jeff Harnish displays a beautifully-colored brown trout he caught his
This will ensure that my nymph will
first day nymphing. Harnish ended his first day with three browns and a lost
get to the bottom.
skamania. Below: The author displays a brown caught on the Pere Marquette.
Because of the weight I
include in my nymphs, I tend to get When I am fishing rivers I know, I try changing the depth of your fly is easy.
snagged up. This is just part of the to keep my leader length 1.5 times
trade-off. When I fish new rivers, I the depth I am fishing. The benefit Fish it out
might keep my leader a little shorter. of using a Thingamabobber is that
Aside from learning how to
roll cast, not fishing out the drift is
one of the biggest mistakes people
learning to nymph commit.
Oftentimes, even with
weighted nymphs, a fly won’t get to
the bottom until it is at your 10 o’clock.
Keep the fly in the water until it is
almost directly downstream from you
if possible. Most trout will hit it when
you are more than three-quarters of
the way through your drift. I have
even hooked quite a few trout directly
below me when I am pulling my
nymph out of the water for another
I am not sure if I will ever
catch a brown like The Fish during
the day on a nymph again, but I
am hopeful. Lots of anglers scoff at
throwing nymphs during the day for
trout. They say that big trout can’t be
caught doing it. I beg to differ — The
Fish reminds me.

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 73

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 75 8/28/2017 10:55:47 AM
Give yourself a pat on the back
Michigan hunters and anglers have helped Michigan wildlife thrive in three ways

A sponsored report by the
Michigan Wildlife Council

Michigan’s dramatic strides Michigan sportsmen are helping protecting rapidly disappearing
in wildlife conservation are due preserve our outdoor heritage for wildlife.
in large part to the contributions future generations: The movement gave rise to
of sportsmen and sportswomen. the system that is widely supported
However, many folks – including 1. Building on a long history of safe- and serves us so well today: regulated
even hunters and anglers them- guarding wildlife populations hunting and fishing and public lands
selves – are unaware of their that government agencies manage
important role. We can thank forward- using scientifically based practices.
The Michigan Wildlife thinking early conservationists – led And hunters and fishermen
Council was created three years by hunters and fishermen – that the do far more than support conser-
ago to raise awareness about the goal of preserving wild animals and vation philosophically – they also
importance of wildlife conservation their habitats through sound science back it financially. It is a widely held
and to educate the public about how and active management is encoded misnomer (even among 66 percent
Michigan’s wildlife and natural into Michigan law. of sportsmen, data compiled by the
resources are managed and funded. Today’s sportsmen and Michigan Wildlife Council show) that
“We owe a debt of gratitude to sportswomen are stewards of everyone in Michigan pays to protect
sportsmen and sportswomen for that heritage, based on the North our natural resources through taxes.
all they do – whether they realize American Wildlife Conservation In fact, sportsmen, through
it or not – to help make Michigan Model, developed in the mid-1800s the purchase of hunting and fishing
the great state it is today,” said when sportsmen realized they licenses, fund the bulk of the state’s
Matt Pedigo, chair of the Michigan needed to assume responsibility conservation and wildlife manage-
Wildlife Council. for managing wild habitats and ment activities. So every time a
Here are three ways hunter or angler purchases a license,

74 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 76 8/28/2017 10:55:47 AM
tag or permit, that money is funneled been set to maintain game popula- of hunting, 34 percent moderately
to the Michigan Department of tions at an appropriate ecological approve and 12 percent are neutral.
Natural Resources for activities level, which in turn promotes The research further discovered
such as habitat improvements and healthy wildlife populations but that support is even higherwhen
invasive species control. The sale of also minimizes resulting conflicts. people personally know a hunter.
hunting and fishing licenses gener- Therefore, hunting and fishing It was also found that there
ated an estimated $63.2 million in continue to be valuable wildlife is a widespread appreciation for
fiscal year 2015-16, according to DNR management tools. Michigan’s hunting heritage. It
records. In Michigan, fish and is also evident that Michiganders
In addition, sportsmen contribute to wildlife management programs value our vast natural resources.
our economy through the purchase have conserved millions of acres (We haven’t dubbed ourselves the
of sporting arms, ammunition, of habitat and restored many Great Lakes State for nothing.)
archery equipment and handguns. In species, including wild turkey, elk, But what’s not always clear
2016, Michigan received a combined the Kirtland’s warbler and lake – even to many hunters and fish-
total of nearly $34 million from the sturgeon. ermen – is the role that sportsmen
U.S. Fish and Wildlife service for and sportswomen have tradition-
wildlife conservation through the 3. Building strong communities ally played and continue to play
Pittman-Robertson and the Dingell- in enhancing our quality of life by
Johnson Acts. Hunting and fishing posi- protecting public lands, promoting
In 1937, a national coalition tively impact everyday life in policies that safeguard the outdoors,
of conservationists – virtually all of Michigan in myriad ways. Set and helping to reconnect people
them hunters – persuaded Congress aside the $2.3 billion that hunting with the land.
to direct the revenue from an excise contributes annually to the state’s “Michigan has a strong
tax on hunting arms and ammu- economy. The activity also helps foundation for accepting hunting
nition into a special fund to be stimulate growth in communities and fishing," Pedigo said. "But we
distributed to the states for wildlife and appreciation for the outdoors need to do a better job explaining to
restoration. The legislation became in other, less tangible but equally non-hunters our love of nature and
known as the Pittman-Robertson important ways. the importance of preserving our
Act. A similar piece of legislation, For example, hunting and outdoor heritage."
the Dingell-Johnson Act, was passed fishing put food on the table not only
in 1950. This act placed a excise tax for residents who
on fishing-related equipment such participate in the
as fishing rods and tackle boxes. activities but also –
So the next time your neigh- through programs
bors bend your ear about their bird- such as Michigan
watching hobby, feel free to let them S p o r t s m e n
know that hunters – the original Against Hunger –
conservationists – helped make it for needy families.
possible. In fact, Michigan
Wildlife Council
2. Helping maintain healthy research shows
ecosystems that of those that
support hunting,
It’s impossible for conser- many do so
vation to exist without wildlife because it puts
management, which is why federal food on the table.
and state fish and wildlife agencies, While a
in partnership with nongovern- vocal anti-hunting
mental organizations such as the faction exists,
Michigan United Conservation acceptance of
Clubs and the hunters and fish- hunting among
ermen who belong to them, play the general public
such key roles in preserving our is actually high
state’s species and habitat. in Michigan. The
By carefully establishing same research
hunting and fishing regulations, we indicated that
can ensure that wildlife populations 47 percent of
are in proper balance with their state residents
ecosystems. These regulations have strongly approve

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 77 8/28/2017 10:55:48 AM
"Two paths exist
for finding the
perfect upland bird
gun: The logical
way and the path
less traveled"

by Andy Duffy

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 78 8/28/2017 10:55:49 AM
s epiphanies go, mine wasn't much. It was just And while on the topic of history, I should
the realization that someone must be smiling mention this: a little wear and tear on a shotgun just
down on me. And besides that higher power, I'm makes it look more distinguished.
guessing, I had the heirs of one F.J.L. to thank. It was The Ithaca I bought is a little gray around the
probably they, perfidious souls who didn't recognize a temples. It has a few wrinkles. The dings on its stock are
treasure when they had one, who let the gun get out of nothing more than age spots. Certainly the gun was less
the family. Ah, well – it was their loss and my gain. I beautiful when it was new than it is now. It's a pity we
can't make myself believe F.J.L. sold off the gun.. can't say that about everything.
The fowling piece in question is an Ithaca Model Notice I haven't written a thing about buying a
37 Featherlight Upland Shotgun in 16 gauge. I found shotgun that fits or going to a gun fitter and using a try
it several years ago now while I was strolling past the gun.
used gun rack at my local sporting goods store. From Of course fit is important. But people's dimen-
the engravings on the receiver to its distinguished sions change over time. They also wear different styles
graying to the way it swung to my shoulder, I knew I of clothing during different seasons. We can have a gun
had the gun of my dreams. Giving a clue that might that fits us perfectly today, but a week or a couple of
answer why the gun was even there, the initials F.J.L. years from now, it might not. Plus, the human mind
1979 were scratched into the tubular magazine where compensates for a lot of less-than-ideal situations. We've
they would only be visible when the slide was retracted. all heard the expression "beware the man with one gun."
Of course I took The mind of the one-gun
the shotgun home with man has learned to work
me. The only problem was "I'm not dogmatic about buying used guns. with what it has. So a gun
that the gun of my dreams that fits is good, but if we
was already sitting in my Several of the weapons inhabiting my gun find one that fits nominally
gun cabinet. Such are the well, we are probably OK.
conundrums that befall the safe were brand spanking new when they I'm just saying there's more
seeker of the ultimate bird- than one thing to consider
taking machine. We see too came home with me. But the older I get, the when buying a gun. Some
many lovely guns, have too people worry about fit, and
little money in our wallets more reasons I find for buying, as they say, nothing is wrong with that.
and have wives who watch Some people are concerned
expenses with an eagle's eye. gently used items. That includes guns." about price and aesthetics.
Still, some things go home I'm in that camp. I like old
with a person even if they're things.
bound to draw the ire of the amazing person who shares A person can get burned, of course, when
our sheets with us. buying a used gun. I have once.
That find, though, put me further along the I may have been too eager to buy.
path in my search for the holy grail of firearms. It also I'd seen a beautiful Model 12 Winchester on the
affirmed my growing fondness for used guns. rack at the store. I didn't have the cash to buy it, but
I'm not dogmatic about buying used guns. the store has a great layaway plan. I could have put 10
Several of the weapons inhabiting my gun safe were percent down on the gun and picked it up later. I resisted
brand spanking new when they came home with me. buying on impulse, though.
But the older I get, the more reasons I find for buying, It was nearly closing time when I left the store.
as they say, gently used items. That includes guns. All the way home, I fretted about not buying the gun.
I like used guns because when a person buys a The next morning, I figured the gun would no
pre-owned firearm, he's not paying for depreciation. A longer be an impulse purchase. I called the store to ask
well-cared-for gun should last forever, and a person will someone to save it for me. The thing had already been
always be able to get his money back out of one. (But, of sold.
course, a person should never sell a gun, not unless his That set the stage for the only bad used gun
gun safe is overflowing and he wants to do a swap.) purchase I've made. I was in a different store and saw
I like used guns because many of the best are another Model 12. I bought it without looking it over
not made anymore – or if they are, they're not the real carefully enough.
McCoy. Try buying a real Parker Brothers shotgun or I got the gun home and discovered the gun took
a Fox or a L.C. Smith. The only real way you can is by only two-and-a-half inch shells. I got the gun appraised
finding a used one. and was told it was nearly worthless. The appraiser
I like used guns because of their history. Show wouldn't even make me an offer for it. So a person needs
me a gun without a history, and I'll show you one that to be careful.
was never taken out of the closet it probably resided in. Still, used guns are near to my heart. I tend to have a
And even that might be a story. The only other way for mystical attraction to them.
a gun to have no history is if it is new. I look at things like this: Two ways for choosing

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 77

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 79 8/28/2017 10:55:49 AM
a shotgun exist. One way I call the Consumer Reports involved in the process. And the smiles of the fates can
way. Using that system, a person learns all the minutiae manifest themselves in unusual ways.
regarding a number of guns. He studies their locking I know a guy who had a shotgun literally drop in
mechanisms, the advantages and disadvantages of his lap.
stacked barrels and those fitted side-by-side. He reads He knew a gal who had an abusive husband.
reviews. Once he's done, he discovers he knows a lot During one of his sporadic bouts of being nice, the
of facts about the guns he's studied, but he has no husband bought his long-suffering wife a fine side-by-
emotional connection. Hell, he might as well buy a side shotgun. One day the jerk left. The wind hardly had
mail-order bride. time to erase the guy's bootprints from the sand outside
I'm a sucker for physical attractiveness. If a the front door when the gal brought the shotgun to
shotgun isn't pretty, why would I want to hunt with it? my friend and offered it to him at a price too good to
So I peruse the gun racks and look for some- turn down. Karma bites, and karma kisses. If it tosses
thing that meets my concept of beauty. It has the right a person a kiss, the person should be wise enough to
lines, the right physique, the right sparkle. After I like respond.
a gun, then I can look closer to discover if I love it or So we have two ways of shopping for shotguns:
not. On the surface, that may seem like a shallow way The Consumer Reports way and the way guided by
to pick a gun. Admit it, though: Isn't that how guys (and forces we don't understand. Robert Frost had an under-
gals, too), pick a spouse? standing of the two methods and wrote about them in a
Once a person chooses a shotgun, he can always poem.
have a little plastic surgery performed on it, too. He can "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood," Frost
get the stock altered. He can have choke tubes added. wrote. One road bore evidence of having a greater
Modifications may hurt the resale value of a shotgun, number of travelers traverse its route. That would the
but if the match is good, who cares? Let somebody else the Consumer Reports way of buying guns. The other
worry about resale value later. road saw less wear. That is the mystical way of shop-
The bottom line is, I favor a Zen-like approach ping. Frost took the road less traveled, and so should
to buying shotguns. Something mystical needs to be you.
Evart's Matt Hildebrand found this made-in-Belgium on a used gun rack for a reasonable price. It has become a gun he
grabs frequently when he's heading for the bird thickets.

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 80 8/28/2017 10:55:50 AM
is giving back

Michigan State Federal Credit Union's Financial Educator Ian Oberg talks to Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp partici-
pants about the importance of financial planning. The MSUFCU and MUCC partnership is in its fifth year.
For five years, Michigan works well because MSUFCU has The ‘Price is Right’ game was a big
State University Federal Credit done a good job incorporating their hit in the past and the ‘Bean Game’
Union has partnered with Michigan financial education program with seems to hold their attention well
United Conservation Clubs to help the program focus of our camp. over all,” he said. “After [Paul and
prepare our youth for what lies It helps to connect the kids to tips Ian] leave, the conversation has
ahead of them financially. and ideas that they can use to save been started about the kids planning
Each summer, during the money to buy equipment for things for their future. Many of them have
Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp they are learning about at camp. their eyes opened a bit more to what
that takes place from the end of Like saving money to buy a new their parents have to pay for. There
June through July, MSUFCU has fishing pole or tent.” is also usually a bit of talk about
helped educate campers about the Financial Educator Ian saving some money from their camp
financial hurdles they could face Oberg incorporated financial store account to take home and put
and how they can overcome those literacy games such as a price in the bank from time to time.”
by being prepared. guessing game (much like “The Michigan Out-of-Doors and
Financial educators from Price is Right”) that has campers Michigan United Conservation
MSUFCU make the hour drive down competing in teams to guess the Clubs would like to thank MSUFCU
to the Cedar Lake Outdoor Center correct price of camping, hunting, for all that it does to help our
in Chelsea every week to meet with and fishing equipment. Other games campers enjoy their time during the
new campers. include budgeting simulations, with summer.
“Our camp focuses on many campers playing the “Bean Without the credit union's
getting kids engaged in the world Game” this year. overwhelming support, certain
around them and financial literacy McKeon said the activities events would not be able to take place
is a key component in navigating that MSUFCU has brought to camp at the camp and, again, we would
the modern world,” said MUCC are not only fun for the campers, like to extend our deepest thanks to
Education Coordinator Shaun they are impactful. those at MSUFCU who have made
McKeon, who formerly served as the “Our campers have enjoyed this partnership a possibility.
camp director. “This partnership the games you guys play with them.

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 79

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How to accomodate disabled hunters and anglers
by Jeff Lichon

ou could probably ask any of trip, how do you know if they are who uses a wheelchair, if things
my friends or family members able to accommodate said person so really go sideways, how can I really
and they would all tell you that they have a meaningful experi- take care of that person and keep
that I’m not one to allow much to ence? The answer is to call and talk them safe?”
get in my way of going hunting or to the prospective guide, or better Godi, a former employee
fishing – I will get to where I want yet even talk to multiple guides. of Amigo Mobility Center in
to go regardless of what I have to While it may sound all too elemen- Bridgeport, MI, already has the
overcome to get there. tary, speaking from experience, it mindset for accommodation. He
However, I’m also one who makes all the difference to open up says the second thing he thinks
can appreciate the things that can a two-way dialogue so that you can about is not only how they can get
make my life easier, and save a little see if a) they understand the needs in and out of the boat while on a
bit of energy and a lot of physical of a person with a disability (PWD), hunting or fishing trip, but also
wear and tear which, over the and b) if they willing and able to how to ensure that the individual
course of a lifetime of someone who accommodate the needs of a person can shoot from his boat. Godi has
uses their arms as their legs to push with a disability. In my experience, gone the extra mile for his clients,
a manual wheelchair, can cause not many guides will turn you as experienced by this writer, by
severe problems later in life. In the down, but you can easily eliminate building a wheelchair platform as a
end, it is all about balancing the an outfitter if they simply do not shooting platform and ensuring the
drive to get where you want to go have the equipment necessary to doors on his open-water pontoon
with the use and availability of the safely and comfortably accommo- blind are wide enough to accommo-
various adaptive equipment on the date a PWD. date a wheelchair.
market (and its continuous advance- Captain Jeff Godi, owner of “I’m not shy – I ask ques-
ment to make it even better). It's also The Michigan Experience (www. tions,” Godi said. “Does the person
all of the folks you meet along the t h e m i c h i g a n e x p e r i e n c e. c o m ) need the chair on the boat? I’m on a
way who graciously provide their hunting and fishing guide service floating dock with a ramp, and the
ingenuity, problem-solving skills on Saginaw Bay, said, “The first beauty of a floating dock is that it’s
and just plain ol’ muscle to help thing that pops in my mind is safety. always at the same level as the boat.
make every adventure happen. I need to be able to keep that person Is there a transfer board for sliding
So begs the question: When safe with whatever might happen. onto the boat? Can the person walk
you or someone you know has a Depending on the limitations, such short distances? What about sun
disability and you wish to employ as someone who had a stroke and protection? If someone wants to go
an outfitter for a hunting or fishing uses a cane or walker, to someone fishing or hunting, I’m going to do

80 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 82 8/28/2017 10:55:58 AM
everything in my power to get the enthusiastic they are and/or how necessary accommodations. Which
person out to have a good time, as much experience the guide has with leads us to the next item.
long as it’s safe.” PWDs. The reason these two factors
There are many hunting are in the same category is that you Asking questions
and fishing guides who, like Godi, should not rule out a guide who is
are doing the right things. The enthusiastic about accommodating Here is a list of questions that, if
following are a few key items to a PWD with limited experience. If your prospective guide does not ask,
listen and watch for when booking a you choose to book with them, you you should:
hunting or fishing trip with a guide: will help further educate another
person in more ways than you What type of disability does the individual
Willingness might realize, thus opening them up have and in what ways does it limit them?
to accommodating other sportsmen
Willingness is the first, but and women down the road, and you Different disabilities require
certainly not the last, thing you may miss out on a tremendous expe- different accommodations. Is the
should look for. Put simply, if a rience if you pass them up. person blind, either partially or
guide is – or sounds – unwilling You may think that the first completely? Are they deaf/hard
to accommodate a PWD, are they point about being the one to educate of hearing? Do they have mobility
worth it? With the costs that can a willing guide makes you the considerations such as use of a
be associated with a trip, especially ‘guinea pig’, which may be true, but walker or wheelchair? Or do they
one that requires long travel and some of the best hunting and fishing have an invisible disability such as
lodging accommodations, would trips I have experienced were those epilepsy or sensitivity to the sun?
you want to book with them if you where I had been the first PWD that
were unsure they would help make the guide had ever accommodated. What accommodation(s) does the PWD
it a good experience? You should always incorporate your absolutely need to make them comfortable?
comfort level with doing this and
Enthusiasm/prior experience err on the side of caution if you feel A few examples of accommo-
less than confident in the guide's dations include elevated shooting
Also listen for how ability to do their best to make any platforms, use of a popup blind vs.

"You may think that the first point about being the one to
educate a willing guide makes you the ‘guinea pig’, which
may be true, but some of the best hunting and fishing
trips I have experienced were ones where I had been the
first PWD that the guide had ever accommodated. "


Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 83 8/28/2017 10:55:59 AM
elevated stand, ramping of build- Are there any other considerations I should It is not the case in all instances.
ings or the appropriate number of be aware of about the PWD? The outdoors is not natu-
people to help lift a person up and rally accessible. It is unforgiving,
down any steps, wider doors for This should be a prompt for which is part of its beauty. But
access through a lodge and appro- you or the person for whom you accomodations can be made so that
priate transportation at a ranch. On are booking a trip to let the guide it can be enjoyed and experienced
a 2016 trip to South Africa, Ken and know anything else that they, or by anyone. I have been in areas by
Elma Whiley of Gamka Safaris built you, might not have thought to ask. myself where I was comfortable
a shooting platform in the back of I cannot stress enough the impor- going alone. I have also been places
their vehicle we used for the hunt. tance of it being a two-way street where I would not have been able
They used simple ratchet tie-down for both the PWD and the guide. A to get to without the help of one
straps to secure my wheelchair to it guide is unable to help you without or sometimes many, people. I am
— I was not going anywhere unless knowing how to help make your equally thankful for both opportuni-
the vehicle was taking me there! On experience a good one. ties. In the end, in many situations it
other trips, I have also been lifted This list of questions is is better to overdo asking questions
into the bed of a utility-terrain not exhaustive, but rather it is a to make sure you are completely
vehicle (UTV) such as a Polaris starting point from which to begin comfortable with your guide, and
RANGER or Honda Pioneer. Many a dialogue, as well as the process for that they are comfortable with you.
of the side-by-sides (SxS) can be finding the right guide to choose. I I said it before and I will say it one
boarded by transferring to the seat would go as far to say that, in my more time: It is a two-way street – or
in the case of a wheelchair user. case, if a guide is willing and able to in this case, marsh, ridge, field or
try, then that is good enough for me. two-track.
The author and his dad embarked on a South African Plains game hunt in June 2016, which was the trip of a lifetime,
the author said. Over nearly two weeks, Lichon successfully hunted six game animals including: a Kudu, Gemsbuck,
Springbuck, Impala, Blue wildebeest and an African porcupine. The outfitters, Ken and Elma Whiley, of Gamka Safaris,
made Lichon feel right at home with their accommodations. Ken Whiley constructed an elevated platform that Lichon
used to shoot from out of the back of a small pickup truck. Whiley and Lichon worked closely together in advance of the
trip to ensure everything would work seamlessly upon his arrival.

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 84 8/28/2017 10:56:02 AM
SUMMER 2017Fall
2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 83

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 85 8/28/2017 10:56:04 AM
A photostory of the 2017 camp season
photos by Tyler Butler and Nick Green

A camper tries her hand at fishing. Campers were successful this
year in catching bass and bluegill on Cedar Lake.

The boys from Elk Cabin pose for a picture during their first day of

84 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 86 8/28/2017 10:56:11 AM
Campers in the Wetland Wonders
program examine macroinverterbrates
that they gathered from Cedar Lake.
Campers spent the week studying
acquatic ecology.

Orienteering teaches campers land navigation and compass work.
They particpated in a scavenger hunt to help hone their skills.


Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 87 8/28/2017 10:56:18 AM
In one of the more difficult camp activities, campers try to start a
fire using only flint and steel.

Day campers pose for picture before a trail hike to the bog.
Day camp runs week one every year and is availble for five- to
eight-year-old campers.


Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 88 8/28/2017 10:56:23 AM
Returning camper Joey Elliott partic-
ipates in the new Invasive Species
camp curriculum. This year, campers
removed autumn olive from the camp

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 87

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 89 8/28/2017 10:56:28 AM
Campers search for macroinverterbrates on the shore of Cedar
Lake during the Wetland Wonders program.

Assistant Director Cameron Kniffen and camper pla
habitat match up game while waiting for dinner.

Campers learn how to
properly handle a bow on
the archery range. Every
camp spends at least one
full day on the range.

88 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 90 8/28/2017 10:56:36 AM
Two campers look for crayfish and minnows to use as
bait during fishing camp.

nd camper play a
for dinner.
A camper earns her hunter
safety certificate after taking
the exam. All campers have
the opportunity to become
hunter safety certified.

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 89

Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 91 8/28/2017 10:56:43 AM
Conservation Through Education
Shaun McKeon, Education Director awards in recognition of their tireless dedication and
their decade of service in maintaining and improving
My first summer away from camp was an inter- the camp facilities. As I've said before, we would not
esting and exciting transition. The pace at Headquarters have our great camp facilities without this group of
during the summer is much different from chasing 400 volunteers, and it was nice to be able to recognize them
campers around Cedar Lake. That is not to say I was in front of our members. A bronze plaque will be hung
sitting in a nice air-conditioned desk with my feet up, in The Lodge in their honor.
though. At the end of June, MUCC held its annual
I kept busy by taking our conservation educa- Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp Charity Shoot at
tion mission on the road and building my personal Multi-Lakes Conservation Association. This sporting
toolbox of skills to be ready for major programming clays event had 90 shooters from across the state attend.
when school starts. The winning team of shooters was from Oakland County
In June, MUCC held its annual Convention Sportsman’s Club, and everyone had a good time. This
which I attended for the first time despite being on event raises money to support the camp and we really
staff or four years. This is where our grassroots policy appreciate everyone who came out and all of the spon-
is created by our members and sets the course for our sors of the event.
organization each year. This was also a special conven- On the outreach side of things, summertime
tion because 2017 is the 80th anniversary of our organi- is for fishing. I have been traveling around the mid-
zation. To celebrate this milestone, we returned to the Michigan and metro-Detroit areas teaching kids about
Shiawassee Conservation Association where we were the importance of Michigan’s fisheries and getting them
founded 80 years prior. out on the water chasing bluegills. I worked with the
The Conservation Awards Dinner was also Waterford Township Parks and Recreation Day Camp to
a chance for us to recognize some of the volunteers teach their campers about the fisheries near them and
and leaders in the conservation community. I had the took them fishing on the Clinton River.
opportunity to present our Camp Facility Committee Many of the kids who attended had never fished
with the 2017 Special Conservation Award — individual before. When I arrived, we took them right to the water.
Shaun McKeon talks a group of students about the importance of Michigan fisheries and, in particluar, the Clinton River
fishery that is near them. The kids then got to get a line wet and try their hand at bluegill fishing.

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Top: McKeon poses with the recipients of the 2017 Special Conservation Award. These men were recognized because of
their volunteer efforts at the camp facility over the last decade. Bottom: McKeon talks with a camper who is collecting
acquatic insects.
First, the kids learned about macroinvertebrates and
the health of the stream. Next, we got them dunking
worms and fishing. For several of the campers, it was
their first time fishing. We only managed to catch a few
fish during the day, but all of the kids went home with
smiles on their faces.
Taking a bit of a break from fishing in late-July,
I spent a week at the RAM Center with other volunteer
hunter safety instructors for a training session hosted
by the DNR Law Division. This annual event is an oppor-
tunity for instructors from all over the state to come
together and learn about the best practices to help them
teach hunter safety. As an all-volunteer program, it is
great to see so many people willing to share their knowl-
edge to get more people into hunting and trapping.
I have also been laying the groundwork for a
busy fall. I have been working with new stakeholder
groups to get more classrooms outside and involved in
habitat improvement through the OTG Jr. Program.
After successfully running three programs last spring,
we are hoping to reach double-digit projects during the
2017-2018 school year.
My first summer at Headquarters was a
successful one and with the fall upon us, there will be
many youth events to attend around the state. Every
weekend in September has something going on along
with most weekends in October. In addition, small game
season kicks off and early goose season runs the entire
month of September in most places of the state.
If you are going to spend some time in the woods
or on the water, invite a child or someone to mentor
along with you. It is a great time to pass on your passion.
Remember, no one takes pictures of their kids
playing video games!

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The Camo Thumb: Grindstone - Port Hope Sportsmen’s Club Youth Day
by Shaun McKeon Hunters Ball, steak dinners and nearly 110 kids attending the event.
sponsorship of the local FFA where Adding parents and other visitors to
On the last Saturday in July, they help kids raise pheasants. the mix, the count was much closer
I spent my day in the Northeast tip Thanks to a generous sponsorship to 200 total participants.
of Michigan’s thumb. When you tell from Whitetails Unlimited, the Once the kids arrived and
people you are heading to the thumb club decided to add the new Youth dropped their tickets in the prize
they immediately think of all of the Outdoors event to their calender in bucket of choice (bikes, fishing gear,
agriculture in the region. Many of 2017. water sports equipment, a drone
the sugar beet, soybean and corn The club could not have and even an air rifle), they were free
growers would be happy to agree asked for a better day weatherwise to check out the different booths
and tell you about how their green — 80 degrees and sunny with a and educational tents provided by
thumbs keep people fed. However, slight breeze. When I pulled into a small, but very engaged, group of
on this Saturday, the residents were the parking lot, there was already exhibitors. The kids had the oppor-
bragging about their "camo" thumbs. an army of roughly 30 volun- tunity to shoot archery and BB guns
This is because the Grindstone-Port teers putting the final touches on at a booth sponsored by Pheasants
Hope Sportsmen’s Club was hosting preparation for the day’s events. Forever. The local chapter of QDMA
its first Youth Outdoors Day. The Led by President Roy Morley and was there talking about food plots
day was designed to get local kids event coordinator Bob Hurren, the and a representative from Hotshot
and their families outside during volunteers were quick, efficient Outfitters was giving kids free hats
the summer and to introduce them and excited for the kids to show up and shirts. The fire department
to hunting and conservation. around 10AM. brought their smoke house, the
The Grindstone Sportsmen’s The event was held from Sheriff's Department brought its
Club was formed in 1948, and they 10AM-4PM with bucket drawings airboat, and the Coastguard came
later merged with the Port Hope and door prizes for all of the kids. with one of their big rescue boats
Sportsmen’s Group. The club was The coordinators were expecting — letting the kids climb inside and
fully incorporated in 1959 and has about 80 kids who had pre-reg- learn about safety out on Lake
been going strong for the last 50-plus istered to attend, but they were Huron.
years. The club boasts roughly hoping to get 100. By the end of the The Department of Natural
360 members and is known for its day they had reached their goal with Resources Wildlife Division from

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discussed mammal pelts and tracks, great time at the event and many did! They represented their organi-
and I was there representing MUCC of the families who arrived at the zation and the people of the Thumb
by handing out TRACKS Magazine beginning stayed the whole day well! Getting over 100 kids involved
and teaching the kids about through the prize drawing at 3 p.m. on a Saturday in the middle of
Michigan waterfowl. In addition, a Many kids went home with impres- summer is no small feat. I wish them
wildlife rehabilitator gave a great sive prizes, and even the ones who the best of luck with year two and as
presentation on birds of prey. The did not win a bucket, still had door they continue to grow the program.
kids loved seeing owls up close and prizes and other giveaways from the
they even had a chance to see a booths. Shaun McKeon travels
turkey vulture. From my perspective as an
The kids seemed to have a exhibitor, I am always a bit leery throughout the state helping to
when clubs ask me to come out to plant the seed of conservation
an event that is a first time opera-
tion. — especially if I am going to be in our youth. He uses educa-
driving over 300 miles in a day. The tional, hands-on methods to
first year is always the hardest and get students involved with
sometimes turnout does not meet
expectations. However, this event the outdoors and help them
was a great first year operation, understand why it is important
and I would like to commend the
club members and volunteers from they carry on the legacy of
Grindstone-Port Hope Sportsmen's conservation. If your group
Club on a successful event. I am or organization is interested
looking forward to watching them
grow in the years to come. in having Shaun visit, email
Overall, it was a great event smckeon@mucc.org.
with good community turnout and
educational programming. The
club should be proud of the job they

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Update: on The ground

by Sarah Topp, Wildlife Volunteer

The 2017 Manistee River Clean-Up was a success again this year. More than 30 volunteers showed up on Saturday,
July 8 to help remove trash from the river. Items removed included fishing line, a tire, traffic cones and shoes.
MUCC's On the Ground waders to clean up the rivers they floating the steady current to enjoy
program (OTG) focuses on proj- enjoy or fish. On July 8th, a total the scenery. This year, staff members
ects that improve habitat for game of 63 volunteers participated in the from the district's US Forest Service
species and sport fish on lands Manistee River Clean-Up to improve participated in the event including
and waterways open to the public fish habitat and spawning areas by District Ranger Matt McQueen
for hunting and fishing. Through removing more than 400l pounds and his family. MUCC’s Project
this program, hunters, anglers, of trash and debris between Tippy Manager, Stephanie Rustem, volun-
and trappers have the opportu- Dam to Rainbow Bend. On July 15th, teered to help clean up the river and
nity to donate their time for the a total of 20 volunteers partnered attended her first OTG event. Each
benefit of the species they pursue, with the Metro-West Steelheaders of the dedicated volunteers earned
showing the general public that to clean up a popular stretch of the some very generous prizes as dona-
we’re true conservationists while Clinton River. More than 200 pounds tions from local companies like
seeing firsthand how their license of trash and debris was removed Lamigals Rods, Smith Optics, Hank
dollars are put to use. At the same from the river and its banks along & Son's Tackle, D-Loop Outfitters,
time, non-hunters and new hunters Yates Park and the surrounding Auto Value, Voodoo, Raven Tackle,
learn about wildlife habitat and the area! Collectively, volunteers have Lick'em Lures, and much more!
contributions made by hunters, removed over 2,200lbs of trash and MUCC partnered with
anglers and trappers to conserva- debris from both the Manistee and Adam Trenz of the Metro-West
tion. Several volunteers dedicated the Clinton Rivers through these Steelheaders and Matt Einheuser
a day in July to clean up two of clean-up events. with the Clinton River Watershed
Michigans prime rivers for angling MUCC partnered with Roger Council for the fourth consecutive
brown trout, steelhead, and coho Hinchcliff of Steelhead Manifesto year to clean up a section of the
salmon; the Manistee and Clinton and the Metro-West Steelheaders Clinton River at Yates Park. Many
Rivers. for the 3rd Annual Manistee River of the volunteers were local to the
Over two Saturdays in July, Clean-Up event. Many of the volun- region and members of the MWS
OTG volunteers traded out chain- teers were local to the area and enjoy including Phil and Karen Bustos,
saws and shovels for trash bags and fishing the Manistee River or just Jeffrey Bustos, Jordan Pontoni,

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Henry and Nancy Nabors and others
looking to clean up the river they If you or an organiza-
enjoy. The group was also joined tion you belong to is
by Johann and Marianne Krenzer,
members of the MUCC affiliate
interested in part-
German-American Marksmanship cipating in an
Club. Don Scher and his family On the Ground
made the most of their Saturday by
volunteering together at the event event,
as well. Next year, the event may contact
be hosted at a different access point
within the Clinton River Watershed.
Sarah Topp at
Items pulled from the rivers stopp@mucc.org
include the expected wads of fishing
line, lures, cans and bottles, styro- Karen Bustos proudly displays a bag
foam coolers, shoes, plastic bags of trash and her picker that she was
and wrappers. However, several using during the Clinton River Clean-up day
unexpected items were removed on July 15. More than 200 pounds of trash and
as well including toilet seats, tires, debris were pulled from the river.
planting pots, a basketball, chairs,
cable and traffic cones. Many of
the volunteers that participated in
the clean ups frequently visit these
rivers for fishing or other recre-
ational purposes with their family
and friends. Thanks to their efforts,
others will enjoy paddling a stretch
of the river with the solace of the
long fin of a steelhead grazing the
surface to catch their eye rather
than the glare of a grocery bag or
chunk of styrofoam floating by.
Perhaps, a few less fish or turtles
will have the unfortunate experi-
ence of encountering carelessly
placed fishing line. These events
have proven to be essential as it
appears that a comparable amount
of trash is removed from these
popular stretches of river each year.
These two river clean up
events are small parts of a much
larger effort to improve our public
lands and water. Although OTG
focuses primarily on wildlife
habitat events in State Game Areas,
it is important to assist with these
events as well. There are many ways
to get involved and look for oppor-
tunities with your local conserva-
tion club or watershed council to
volunteer. You can get involved and
volunteer with OTG at any of the 25
events hosted throughout the state
each year by keeping up to date with
current events at www.mucc.org/
ontheground. Thank you for your
contribution to conservation!

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Convention 2017

More than 100 Michigan in a silent auction before the night’s • Tom Heritier, Saginaw Field
United Conservation Clubs main event started — the presen- & Stream Conservation Club,
members showed up on June 16-18 tation of the 2017 Conservation President
in Owosso for the organization’s Awards. • George Lindquist, U.P. Whitetails
most important annual event We recognized conserva- of Marquette County, Vice President
— Convention. tionists from around the state for • Jim De Clerck, Saginaw Field
Friday night kicked off their contributions to our natural & Stream Conservation Club,
with a dinner and gathering at resources and outdoor heritage Treasurer
the Shiawassee Conservation during the past year. • Ron Burris, Individual Member,
Association — fitting because 80 Immediate Past President
years ago MUCC was founded at the This year's awards included: • Trevor Hodges, Calumet-Keweenaw
club and has maintained a healthy Sportsmen’s Club, Region 1 Director
relationship with it ever since. • Metro West Steelheaders, Affiliate • Bill Malloch, Individual Member,
Members threw horseshoes, of the Year Award Region 2 Director
shot trap, talked shop and caught up • Kris and Jody Matthew, Past • Jane Finnerty, Cadillac
on a year’s worth of their lives with Presidents’ Award Sportsmen’s Club, Region 3 Director
fellow members. Pulled pork sand- • Matt Lefler, Conservation Educator • Carol Rose, Montmorency County
wiches and potato salad rounded out of the Year Award Conservation Club, Region 4
the simple evening. • Ervin Industries, Corporate Director
Saturday morning was Conservationist of the Year Award • Dawn Levey, Past President, Region
all business. After breakfast, the • Representative Andrea LaFontaine, 5 Director
resolution process started, and Legislator of the Year Award • Chuck Hoover, Saginaw Field &
despite some minor disagreements, • John Kriewall, President’s Award Stream Conservation Club, Region 6
everyone kept a level head and • Robert Borchak, Gary Moore, Director
stayed true to MUCC’s mission — William Furtaw, Gerald Chie, Paul • Fran Yeager, Past President, Region
representing our members as a Sand, and Paul Farrell, Special 7 Director
whole. Conservation Awards • Kris Matthew, Huron Valley
Saturday closed with a Conservation Association, Region 8
formal dinner at the SCA. Unlike the Convention wrapped up on Director
night before, members donned ties Sunday morning with the announce- • Bruce Levey, Michigan Bow
and suits in the lodge and enjoyed ment of election results. The 2017-18 Hunters, Region 9 Director
a scrumptious prime rib dinner. Executive Board: • Greg Peter, Chelsea Rod & Gun
Members mingled as they partook Club, Region 8 At-Large Director

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This process assures that
The 2017-2018 Conservation The MUCC Annual when we take a position on an issue,
Policy Board: Convention is a true grassroots it isn't the spur-of-the-moment
• Region 1: Joe Hudson, Keith Lynch, process. Any member of MUCC or opinion of one person — it is the
Bryan Reynolds affiliated club can propose a policy result of a deliberate democratic,
• Region 2: Gary Gorniak, Don resolution. Every full affiliate club grassroots process that carries the
Canfield, Jay Maki can send a delegate to vote on its weight of Michigan's conservation
• Region 3: Bruce Finnerty, Jim behalf or send its votes by proxy clubs, the largest group of hunters,
Maturen, Greg Nicolaou with another club. Individual anglers and trappers in the state,
• Region 4: Pete Demos, Jim Chaskey, members are polled electronically and the will of Michigan's hunter,
David Markle on the proposed resolutions and angler and trapper conservationists.
• Region 5: Kevin Eldred, Jack the answers of those who respond MUCC isn't just an organization,
VanRhee, Kayla McKern are provided to regional individual it's a process by which an indi-
• Region 6: Ted Schulz, Dan member representatives to advise vidual can take and idea and turn
McMaster their votes. Policy resolutions are it into reality only by vetting it with
• Region 7: Roberta Reed, Dave Van debated extensively before votes are and convincing his or her peers
Lopik, Furmer Reed taken, and only when adopted by the in Michigan's out-of-doors. This
• Region 8: Eric Braden, Roger member delegation do these resolu- process is the reason why MUCC
Calhoun, Jim Pryce tions become the official policy of has been successfully conserving
• Region 9: Rob Miller, Sam Morello, MUCC, which requires a super-ma- Michigan's natural resources and
Gary Summers jority to change a law or regulation. outdoor heritage for 80 years.

2017 Adopted Conservation Policies
• Support for the use of bait Archers) finished taxidermy, and/or
barrels on public land for • Support reintroduction of Lake other parts not anticipated to
bear hunting (Mike Thorman, Herring (Cisco) in Saginaw carry CWD prions, and work
Michigan Hunting Dog Bay (Saginaw Field and Stream to increase fines and penalties
Federation) Club) for violations of this whole
• Support to allow hunters to • Oppose the use of resistance carcass prohibition, and work to
possess and use both a crossbow board weirs in terms of research make this a federal regulation
and legal firearm, simultane- impacting fisheries and angler (U.P. Whitetails of Marquette
ously, while hunting deer during experience (Cedar Rod and Gun County)
the December muzzleloader and Club) • Support captive cervid regu-
late antlerless seasons (except • Oppose the sale or exchange lation reform (Michigan State
the Upper Peninsula December of State of Michigan-owned or Chapter of the Quality Deer
deer seasons) (Millard Holton, managed lands greater than Management Association)
Individual Member) 80 acres, or parcels which • Support the removal of regu-
• Support creation of a sandhill would restrict public riparian lations for suppressors from
crane hunting season in the access without having been the National Firearms Act of
state of Michigan (Saginaw previously designated “excess” 1934 and work with the legisla-
Field and Stream) or “surplus” through a trans- ture to allow the purchase of a
• Support to designate mourning parent process (Paul Rose, Past suppressor to follow the same
doves as a gamebird (Jim Pryce, President) guidelines currently in place
Region 8 Policy Board) • Oppose or seek to amend any to purchase firearms through
• Support the development of a legislation which requires the the NICS (National Instant
short term (7 day) non-resident expenditure of the DNR funds Criminal Background Check
waterfowl license system (Ducks for tasks or functions which may System) program (South Kent
Unlimited, Inc.) result in a diversion of hunting Sportsman’s Club)
• Support for Michigan pheasant and fishing license revenue or • Support the acquisition of
release for hunter recruit- funding whose use may other- severed minerals where the
ment (Ken Dalton, Individual wise be restricted (Paul Rose, State owns the surface only to
Member) Past President) protect and control the commer-
• Support educating hunters • Support Michigan adopting a cial use of public land, and
about the risks of hunting from stance that any cervid carcass highest priority should be given
a treestand without a full body brought into Michigan (whether to minerals in State Parks and
harness/fall arrest system (Tim taken from a wild or captive lands purchased with PR and
Kobasic and Fred Truschke, population) be in the form of Game and Fish Funds (Michigan
Policy Board and the Tomahawk deboned meat, clean skullcap, Resource Stewards)

Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 97

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Throwback: october 1988
In each issue of Michigan Out-of-Doors we will be hand-
picking an article from our archives that we think is a good fit
for the season. We hope you enjoy reading these throwbacks
as much as we do.

by Richard Sapp

On a night as crisp as wait until it chip bayed under the a full-time coon hunter — or would
a Washington State apple, we stood tree. It is mostly white with large be if the law allowed it. At least, he
in the harvested corn field waiting, irregular patches of brown, and is thinking coon hunting all the time.
quiet, stamping our feet to keep we were waiting for it, four grown When I met him and his brothers
the frost out of our toes. We were men standing around outside and before the hunt, they fed me raccoon
waiting, for the sound of the dog, freezing under a cold moon. stroganoff. (Whenever anyone asks
hunting, waiting under half a moon It was coon hunting straight you, in the middle of taking a second
as hard as a heavenly strob, the night out of Faulkner, but a thousand helping, just what it is you think
as clear as spring water. miles north. Drinking black tea from you’re eating, you know you’re in for
We were waiting, the four a thermos and waiting, just hanging a surprise.)
of us on that frosty November around in the dark. These men hunt coons for
night, for Tom’s hound to bay treed. Night hunting. profits, they say — skinning the
Old Gauntlet is a silent tracker, Tom, a part-time carpenter, carcasses, stretching the pelts over
leggy, muscular. We would have to trapper, and building contractor, is heavy wire frames, drying them,

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Fall 2017 MOOD DRAFT.indd 100 8/28/2017 10:56:55 AM
and selling them at auctions. Coon
hunting is an important part of their "It was silent in the country, beautiful, I would say,
annual incomes, they say.
“They say…” They say they
do it for profit, but it is more matter
except that it is cliche. Then we heard it again. The
of the heart, I think. I imagine if they
balanced their costs against their
hoarse, coughing chop of Gauntlet on a treed coon."
income, they’d give it up, but they or a thermos cup of coffee while they at a trot more sure than before, as if
wouldn’t want to do that. wait for a strike bark to tell them a again he sensed something, uncon-
Because successful coon hound’s on a hot trail. sciously, something he couldn’t have
hunting is important to them, I was Tom knew his hound was explained perhaps except to another
a bit surprised when they urged me striking a hot trail, one over which coon hunter. Something called him
to bring my bow. Tom, who carries a raccoon had recently waddled. and his brothers in the hound’s chop-
the .22 rifle, normally dispatches How he knew or understood this I ping bay. They had bought this hound
treed raccoons quickly, efficiently, couldn’t discern, because his treeing when most of the rest of the civilized
humanely. Walker only bayed treed, barked world was peacefully snug in a bed.
Still, as the moon climbed with a strong, hoarse coughing that This time a ringtail locked
higher in the sky, we waited patiently, would make your grand-mother send down on us through his masked face
moving from field to field, allowing you to bed and turn the vaporizer on high up in a basswood. “Okay,” Tom
Gauntlet to work the edges, the you after she greased your chest and nodded, watching the coon climb
treelines, the creek bottoms, the back. higher and higher.
patches of standing corn the farmers Working one dog only, there “Let’s see what that bow can
had missed or left intentionally for was none of the sociable competition do.”
raccoons and deer. We waited and or ribbing that usually occurs when I unlimbered at his invita-
there was nothing but cold and a sky raccoon hunters run their dogs in tion, glad for the chance to pull and
full ofintense moonlight. packs. Now that all the states regulate stretch after hours of cold stiffened
Suddenly, a hoarse baying raccoon hunting, many dog lovers my back, arms and hands. It was
rang out far down the field. It was as only run the “little bear” for the a difficult shot, at least 20 yards
if the brothers had been turned to sport. Once they tree a raccoon and straight up at a spot no larger than a
pillars of salt. They froze, analyzing compare notes on their dog’s perfor- silver dollar, but that was what I was
Gauntlet’s baying, only their fingers mance, the fun is over. An excited there for.
moving, groping for the switches to bluetick leaping three feet in the air Raccoons are tough. They
their torches. “Treed!” And just as at the bae of a tree, resting its front are survivors. Like white-tailed deer,
suddenly we were off through the feet as high up as it can reach, and their numbers seem to be increasing
corn slapping crisp against our arms. then reaching down to the bottom as they adapt to man and his alter-
Climbing the fence, leaping the brook, of its chest to haul up a hoarse and ation of the environment. Raccoons
through the briars, half running, half mournful howl is a pleasure to hear tend to mate midwinter and bear
tripping to keep up with the light. and behold. their young a couple months later.
Many people wonder that On our first strike, Tom By the fall, the kittens are on their
raccoon hunting is a popular and prof- sensed the result in advance: “Den own and in less than a year are
itable activity in space-age America. tree,” he muttered. “ Bet this is a bearing their own litters.
They wonder because unless they den tree.” We scanned the trunk and There are raccoon hunters
were country dwellers (and most of its neighbors in the woodlot while in every state of the nation. You
us are not), they never Gauntlet continued to to bay beside may locate them through your local
encounter the nocturnal coon hunter. us. Nothing. Some hollow branch chapter of the American Kennel
Unless they know breeds of hunting served this coon as home, and Tom Club, the United Kennel Club, the
dogs (and most of us do not), they do pulled the dog off. Den trees are 'never American Coon Hunters Association,
not recognize or know the difference molested. It’s a rule of the chase and, or the Professional Coon Hunters
between a redbone or a Walker or a besides, coon hunters hope these Association. Another way to learn
Plott. trees will host raccoons year after about modern raccoon hunting is
It isn’t necessary to use dogs year. through special-interest magazines
to hunt raccoon, but it is rare when In the next field we waited which cater to participants. Full Cry
you don’t. Raccoons can be stalked again, hoping no game warden and the American Cooner’s Magazine
and called, but people who love coon mistook us for deer poachers. It was are the two principal publications in
hunting invariably love the “sound silent in the country, beautiful, I the field. Should these possibilities
of hounds”—night music, they call would say, except that it is cliche. fail you, a local conservation officer,
it. They love the shuffling from one Then we heard it again. The sporting goods store manager, or
foot to another, maybe smoking hoarse, coughing chop of Gauntlet on animal shelter should be excellent
quietly or savoring a chew of tobacco a treed coon. This time, Tom took off sources for contacts.

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One Last Cast
In future issues this will be a place where I
will provide some closing thoughts on the magazine's
content and/or what is happening in the outdoor world.
For this issue, I thought this might be a good space to
introduce myself to those who haven't met me.
I am originally from Mesick, Michigan — the
mushroom capital of the world and home of the
Bulldogs. Mesick is blessed with a plethora of natural
resources surrounding it — my love for the outdoors
came easy.
From an early age, I was in hunting blinds with
my grandpa, dad and stepdad. About six years ago,
my friend Blake helped me get into fly fishing, and I
haven't looked back. In fact, my fiance might say that it
consumes me.
I immersed myself into the sport instantly. I
asked questions, watched others, read everything I could
about trout and fly fishing and consumed any piece of
information I could about fooling a wary trout on a fly.
Tying flies was the next logical step and that took
over my life during the winter months when not much
else was happening on stream banks. Before I went back
to college at 24, I worked in the Christmas trees — I had
a lot of spare time in the winter.
Naturally, fly fishing led me to bowhunting and
then to bird hunting. Once I surrounded myself with from all of our journalists. We will not publish any
like-minded people, the hobbies started to pile up. stories in our magazine that don't carry some weight,
I met my fiance, Emily, a little over two years ago meaning or significance to the outdoor world.
during our junior year of college at Central Michigan Great care has gone into editing this season's
University. She is the perfect balance to me. I tend to be magazine. I hope it shows. Despite only having about
impulsive and emotional, she isn't. I knew early on that a month to put this together, I feel like we at Michigan
she was going to be the one. Out-of-Doors have put together a solid product that will
We currently live in Mason with our two dogs, provide enjoyment to thousands of anglers, hunters and
Calvin and Summit. trappers statewide.
My journalism degree made me feel right Page design may differ some more as we move
at home at Cadillac News during my senior year of forward — I would like to start utilizing infographics
college. I reported on natural resources, court cases and in an attempt to convey less-than-exciting information
anything outdoor-related. better.
At Cadillac News I had the opportunity to learn Our newly-designed website went online in
from some great writers under the tutelage of editor August. We will be continually updating and working
Matt Seward. I have gained a deep respect for him, as I on it in order to bring you timely news about the state's
now share the same chair at Michigan Out-of-Doors. natural resources.
The paper allowed me to gain design experience My goal is to update the website periodically with
as well. I hope some of that is evident in this first issue content that isn't a good fit for our magazine or that has a
and as we move forward with trying to continually timely nature to it — because of being a quarterly maga-
better the magazine. zine, some things would be better served by posting them
You have likely noticed that we switched to one online. I will also be working to create and implement
consistent body font throughout the entire magazine. video into the website and our social media platforms.
This gives the reader some continuity, as well as being Lastly, if you or someone you know would like
an easy-to-read font. to buy a copy of the magazine, feel free to contact me
I have tried to do some different things with or look for it at your local Barnes and Noble. We are
artwork and typography. If you have any questions or also hoping to come to a Meijer store near you in the
comments about the magazine's layout or content, I future.
encourage you to reach out to me at editor@michiga- Tight lines,
noutofdoors.com. Nick Green
I will expect great artwork and stories

100 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

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



| Rule the rut
| be a better Michigan’s own Ray Bickel
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