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The rise of high school

Grass carp
Roger Moore
Grand Marais
Ticks: A silent Danger
Refinishing a shotgun
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Official Publication of Michigan United Conservation Clubs

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When you plant the
seed of conservation,
you never know what
might grow.

Find a VOLUNTEER WILDLIFE HABITAT project near you and sign up at
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bAsecamp Nick Green, Editor

There isn’t a better place than Michigan to spend

summer. Our endless streams, rivers and bountiful
lakes give way to miles of white-sand beaches and
parks; there is something for everyone here. A trout
hiding under a log in the Pere Marquette River is
just as special as Belle Isle — although for different
As hunters, anglers and trappers, we know that
we have to be stewards of our environment and
the wildlife that needs that environment to thrive.
Another, and often overlooked, aspect of being a
conservation steward, though, is sharing our state’s
abundant resources with others around us.
I’m an avid fly angler. No matter how far I get from A gray drake perches itself atop the cork on Green's fly rod
as he waits for a hatch to start on the Pere Marquette River.
the cold, trout-rich streams of Michigan’s Northern
Lower Peninsula, I still dream of a brown trout sipping
dry flies into the night. It used to be that I grumbled gray drake hatch. Then, on Friday night, after seeing
when a canoer or kayaker paddled through my hole no one on the river for a week, a man was standing in
and yelled some off-the-wall remark after too many the middle of the run I had been doing so well in.
libations. Now, I don’t condone drinking and paddling As I approached to walk around the man,
— we have lost too many lives that way. grumbling under my breath, and get to another hole,
It’s important to remember, though, and it may he caught my stare and said, “Hello.” Hesitantly, I
be because I am maturing in age, that we share our made my way over to him to chat. We talked for several
resources with everyone. Campers have just as hours like old friends — and we even caught a few
much of a right to set up on a stream bank, where fish. He was from Chicago, was some kind of surgeon
it’s allowed, as an angler sitting and waiting for the and had been coming up on that same weekend every
evening hatch. Kayakers deserve the same respect as year for 20 years.
the trout we catch and release back into our streams. Long story short, we met on that same run the
Everything and everyone must work in harmony. next year, too, by accident. The year before he had
One example that always sticks in my mind is the given me the most beautiful and realistic flies that he
battle between bass anglers and recreational boaters had tied — I couldn’t even fish them because of their
— although, I suspect, some of those participants beauty. For the life of me, I can’t remember his name;
overlap. There are plenty of water bodies and forests but, I had made a friend despite my early hesitations.
in Michigan for everyone to have their fill of whatever This is only one of many stories that are made each
their leisure activity is. If you see someone where you day on our streams and lakes and in our forests. I urge
want to be, move on, give them a wave and come back you to try and befriend someone you see when you are
another day. out using our resources and ask them about their day.
In my case, this mantra holds even more true when It doesn’t matter if their hobbies are different than
trying to get to my favorite fishing holes. There aren’t yours; what matters is that we are all in this together.
many spots in Michigan that are secret. Sure, some
anglers have a better handle on when to fish certain Yours in conservation,
spots and how to fish them, but our streams and lakes
are world-renowned for smallmouth bass and trout,
which makes them popular.
I remember an early-June night on the Pere
Marquette River a few years back. For a week straight,
I had made the 45-minute drive down to the river from
Mesick and had been having some luck fishing the

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Just finished reading my fall edition

of Michigan Out-of-Doors, and
wanted to get with you on the new
design of the magazine.

Call me old school, but I enjoyed
the magazine better the old way.
When I normally read the mag-
azine its from cover to cover,
although my passion is mostly deer
hunting ,and fishing I enjoy reading
about some of the other passions
as well.

And I liked itThe bedrock

better of shorter
with the conservation is taking care of our natural resources so that they can be passed down to
stories that I could read in just aThe natural resources that we conserve today were conserved for us by generations of
future generations.
few minutes preceding
in the morning before us,
I and these generations are ever changing, ever flowing. Here we honor the passing
head off to work. of one generation of conservationists to the next.

I do like the larger print now that

the years have been added to my
birth date, and the eyes don't do
so well. But that could be obtained In memory of
by reducing the picture sizes. I have
been reading the magazine for
William Damian Phillips Jr.
probably over 40 years now, and Larry Phillips
hunting, and fishing the out doors
for probably 10 years more than
that, and still find them both to be In memory of
refreshing, and joyful. I also liked
Jack Marko for the MUCC Youth Conservation Education
the smaller paper size of the old
magazine, and soft covers for this from
allowed you to fold the pages and Marko Family
hold it in one had comfortably. I
know I'm only one person and like
your final story different from all
others, but I really like the old mag-
azine much better. And truly agree
to Hunt Your Own Hunt. If you have recently lost someone you would like to honor here,
please contact Sue Pride at
But do it ethically and honestly.

Sincerely, DeLoy C. Clark

Muckegon, MI


Having recently finished reading the

new format magazine, my first im-
pression in a word is "slick". Upon

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Thank you to the following conservationists who have made a lifetime
commitment to conserving, protecting and enhancing Michigan's
natural resources and outdoor heritage by becoming Life Members
of Michigan United Conservation Clubs:

James Boeder of Utica, 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 or visit and select "Life Membership."

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Nick Green

ADVERTISING Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) is a 501(c)(3)

Nick Green
nonprofit organization founded in 1937 by sportsmen clubs
from around Michigan to protect conservation from politics.
PRESIDENT Representing over 50,000 members and supporters and
THOMAS HERITIER approximately 250 affiliated conservation clubs, MUCC is the
largest state-based conservation organization in the nation.
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT MUCC members determine its conservation policies through
RON BURRIS a robust grassroots process, which MUCC staff works to
implement by working with elected officials, state and federal
VICE PRESIDENT agencies, its members and the public. MUCC has published
GEORGE LINDQUIST Michigan Out-of-Doors since 1947 and operates the Michigan
Out-of-Doors Youth Camp in Chelsea, MI. Learn more about the
full range of programs MUCC uses to advance conservation in
Fran Yeager
Michigan and become a member at
MUCC Staff
DAWN LEVEY Executive Director Deputy Director
BRUCE LEVEY Public Information Officer Digital Media Coordinator
Michigan Out-of-Doors (ISSN 0026-2382) is the official publication of
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), 2101 Wood St., Lansing
Wildlife Co-op Coordinator Education Director
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 AMBER ALBERT
to the public for $5.99 each. Periodicals postage paid at Lansing,
Michigan, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address
Wildlife Volunteer Coordinator Membership 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 SUE PRIDE
essarily express those of Michigan Out-of-Doors or Michigan United
Conservation Clubs. Copyright 2017 by Michigan United Conservation
Youth Camp Director Membership Relations &
Clubs (MUCC). The Copyright Act of 1976 prohibits the reproduction of Tracks Coordinator
Michigan Out-of-Doors without written permission from Michigan United
Conservation Clubs. MUCC members may reproduce one copy for ASHLEY BUR
personal use without permission. For permission to reprint a specific Policy Assistant and Gourmet Gone JESSICA HALLER
article, and for inquiries, contact the editor at editor@michiganoutof- Wild Director Executive Assistant and Event Coordinator

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Doing the Work Director's Desk
and I can freely prowl this fall and winter.
Dan Eichinger, Executive Director We have also partnered with the DNR, Quality
Deer Management Association and Pheasants Forever
While you happen to be reading this at the beginning to build one of the most active private land habitat
of summer here in Michigan, I sit at my computer on programs in the nation through our work with wildlife
this summer-like April day, the 23rd to be exact, and cooperatives all over the state. To date, we work with
find myself reflecting upon the greatest conservation more than 200 cooperatives that are improving wildlife
hero our nation has known, Theodore Roosevelt. As it habitat on more than 300,000 acres of land. Primarily
happens, he delivered a speech in France, exactly 108 focused in Southern Michigan, these cooperatives
years ago today, often known as the “Man in the Arena” provide essential habitat connectivity to public lands
speech. and increase the quality of habitat for both game and
As I reflect upon these words again, I am filled non-game species. This year, we have begun a new focus
with a sense of awe and energy at what we have through our cooperatives to provide habitat across the
accomplished together in this great organization of footprint of the program for pollinators, which are vital
ours: An organization made up of members who to fully functioning ecosystems that support wildlife.
are, individually and collectively, in the arena for Securing a future for our outdoor heritage is work
conservation. If you are new to MUCC as a member, we are also heavily invested in. In addition to our Youth
have picked up this magazine off the racks at one of our Camp, which is gearing up for its 72nd year, we have
numerous newsstand locations or have been around for begun to open pathways for others to become involved in
years, it should be known to all of us just how impactful the work of conservation and taking part in our outdoor
our organization is. traditions. Our Gourmet Gone Wild Program and Learn
Many recognize MUCC for its impact in the advocacy To Hunt programs are creating avenues for adults to
and policy field, where our volunteer leadership and reconnect with outdoor experiences from their youth,
staff are known quantities and have had great success or, in many cases, is creating an interest, excitement,
in driving vital conservation advocacy efforts on and support for hunting, fishing and the outdoors that
issues like Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Great never existed in the first place.
Lakes restoration, invasive species, and protecting Lastly, we maintain a variety of communications
our freshwater fishery resources. We have also won vehicles that allow you to stay connected to the work
important advances in easing the process of getting we are doing through our website and social media
young people involved in the outdoors by spearheading platforms. Here, on the pages of Michigan Out-of-Doors
the change in the law resulting in the mentored youth Magazine, we try to tell the story of Michigan’s outdoor
hunting program. experiences, by being a home for long-form writing
But beyond this recognizable work, we have evolved that celebrates this lifestyle and provides rich, in-depth
recently to become hugely impactful in direct, on-the- reporting on important issues.
ground habitat work. Through our wildlife habitat We win often, and occasionally we lose. We
program (called MUCC OTG, for on-the-ground), we have known great success and bitter defeat. Few
have planted thousands of trees, built hundreds of organizations, perhaps none, are able to do as much
brush piles and provided vital habitat improvements for as we do within the limits of our staff, volunteers and
big game and small game in hundreds of projects with budget. Nevertheless, we find ourselves exactly where
thousands of volunteers all across the state of Michigan. we want to be: in the arena. If you are in the arena with
And, we have done it all on public lands, lands that you us, thank you. If you are not, join us.

" Itwhere
is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or
the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who
is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives
valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without
error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great
enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best
knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least
fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat. - Theodore Roosevelt, Man in the Arena "
Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 7

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In each issue of Michigan Out-of-Doors we highlight some
of the recent cases our brave Michigan Deparartment of
Natural Resources conservation officers handle. You don't
want to find yourself on this list.
February 25, 2017 through March 10, CO Leadman observed another could measure it. After measuring
2018 snowmobile pass the entire group, the northern pike, it was found to be
ignoring the stop sign at the under the legal size limit of 24."
Good deeds and COs road intersection, and cross the The COs asked the two anglers
road at the same time as another about the fish and they stated it was
CO Jared Ferguson and PCO snowmobile. not theirs. They did say it was their
Micah Hintze conducted a joint CO Leadman was able to friend’s fish who was fishing in
snowmobile patrol with the Iron contact the snowmobiler about a another shanty.
County Sheriff’s Department. mile down the trail. The snowmo- The COs contacted the other
While patrolling, the COs came bile operator had ignored hand fisherman and questioned him about
upon a couple who were having gestures from several other snow- the fish he speared earlier that day
snowmobile problems. The indi- mobilers to stop or look behind that was undersized. He admitted
viduals didn’t know how to change him. to spearing it and said he thought it
the belt or remove the belt while CO Leadman explained the was 24” when he speared it but was
towing another snowmobile. careless operation he witnessed mistaken when he measured it.
The COs assisted them in and discussed the fatal snowmo- Enforcement action was taken.
removing the snowmobile from bile accident at the same intersec-
the trailway and getting it back to tion two years prior: An operator Half gallon, two cases, craft beer and
a local mechanic to fix the issue. also failed to stop at the intersec- PBR — all down the drain
The individuals were very tion and was killed. Enforcement
thankful and said they were afraid action was taken. CO Kevin Postma and PCO Nick
because it was getting dark and Ingersoll were leaving the Carp River
their cell phones didn’t work in when they observed a vehicle pass
the UP. Make sure it's 24" them at a high rate of speed.
The COs were able to conduct
Laws still apply to snowmobiles CO Kevin Postma and PCO Nick a traffic stop on the vehicle. After
Ingersoll were on ice fishing patrol asking the driver if there was
CO Mark Leadman was on Munuscong Bay. anything in the car they needed to
patrolling a snowmobile trail The COs approached one ice know about, the driver stated he had
intersection between Gwinn and fishing shack where two anglers his shotgun hanging in the back.
Marquette. were fishing. The anglers had success The COs were able to locate an
Soon after arriving at the inter- prior that day with a northern pike uncased shotgun in the backseat, an
section, CO Leadman observed sitting outside the shanty. open half gallon of Captain Morgan
a group of snowmobiles passing After the COs started talking in the front seat, along with two cases
through the intersection. Each with the anglers, they noticed a of Bud Light, two 12-packs of craft
snowmobile stopped at the road fish behind the door in the shanty beer, and a 30 pack of Pabst Blue
crossing and continued through that was hidden. The COs asked the Ribbon beer in the back seat.
the intersection. anglers to pull the fish out so they Both the driver and passenger

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were minors and were questioned reviewing the case for “possessing CO McAteer contacted the driver
about the alcohol. They admitted to fish (sturgeon) illegally taken.” and observed an open bottle of liquor
it being theirs. Penalties for a person who takes or sitting on the floor. As the COs talked
The COs made them dump all the possesses a sturgeon in violation of with the occupants, the odor of intox-
alcohol out. A warning was given for Michigan law and found guilty are icants appeared to be coming from
possessing an uncased firearm in a punishable by imprisonment for not the driver.
motor vehicle and open intoxicants less than 30 days or more than 180 Both occupants were permitted
in a motor vehicle. days. to carry concealed pistols. CO
Enforcement action was taken A fine of not less than $500.00 or McAteer asked where the firearms
for the minors being in possession of more than $2,000.00, or both, and the were located. The passenger advised
alcohol. costs of prosecution plus the loss of that his firearm was unloaded and
fishing privileges for the next three stored in the rear of the vehicle. The
"Emergency action?" years. driver stated his pistol was loaded
In addition to court fines and and being carried on his hip.
CO Duane Budreau was patrolling costs, reimbursement for a sturgeon The COs secured the firearms
southern Emmet County when he is $1,500.00 for each fish illegally and conducted field sobrieties on both
came across a vehicle parked down taken or possessed. occupants. The passenger was
an unplowed seasonal road. confirmed to be sober; however, the
Upon looking in the window of 90 mph in Mesick driver was almost twice the legal
the vehicle, CO Budreau observed an limit to operate a motor vehicle.
uncased firearm on the driver’s seat. CO Josiah Killingbeck was getting After securing evidence, the
Fresh footprints in the snow gas in Mesick when he observed a driver was placed under arrest
led into the nearby woods. After a truck drive by his location that was for operating a motor vehicle and
moment, a voice called out from operating at a high speed leaving a carrying a concealed pistol while
the wooded area. The owner of the school zone. intoxicated.
vehicle was using the cover of the CO Killingbeck finished getting CO Chuck McPherson was
trees for some privacy. gas and was heading towards a deer contacted to assist with transport. The
When the subject returned to his carcass complaint when he observed subject was lodged in the Crawford
vehicle, CO Budreau addressed the the same truck. County Jail on the violations.
firearm issue. CO Killingbeck determined the
The subject advised he was vehicle to be travelling in excess of Man's best friend?
coyote hunting when he had to take 90 mph, as he was able to conduct
emergency action in the woods. CO a traffic stop and contact with the CO Mark Siemen received
Budreau explained the dangers of driver. information that a coyote had been
leaving an uncased loaded firearm in He was told the vehicle was captured by a subject and was being
an unlocked vehicle. recently restored and had no plate held at his residence in Lexington
Enforcement action was taken. but was insured. CO Killingbeck ran Township.
the VIN of the vehicle through LEIN The subject called to report that
Poachers beware and determined that the truck was he put the coyote on a dog leash and
indeed not plated. that it is now out of control and upset.
Sgt. Mark DePew received infor- Numerous violations were CO Siemen responded to the location
mation that a subject had kept a addressed and enforcement action and spoke with the subject.
sturgeon after snagging it under the taken. He stated he found it on the road
ice on Otsego Lake in Otsego County. and that it had been injured. He
The information was limited; Boozing and shooting stated he picked it up and brought it
however, contact was made with an home with the intentions of giving it
angler who was in possession of a While patrolling on a side-by-side to a rehabber.
sturgeon that was over 55” in length. ORV in Crawford County, COs Ben He stated he contacted multiple
After conducting several McAteer and Matt Zultak observed rehabbers, but no one would take the
interviews, the angler ultimately two people target shooting at a local animal.
confessed to snagging the fish in the gravel pit. CO Siemen educated the subject
stomach area then pulling it through The COs traveled a safe distance on why he should not have brought
the ice after drilling several addi- away from the shooters to watch for the coyote home and why he should
tional holes around the original hole illegal ORV activity in the gravel pit. have not put it on a dog leash.
to get the large fish out. After approximately 15 minutes, the Enforcement action was
The sturgeon, along with the target shooters packed up their fire- taken.
fishing equipment used in the illegal arms and began driving up the gravel
take, was seized from the angler. The pit to an area closed to vehicular
Otsego County Prosecutor’s Office is traffic.

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Subscribe, become a member and get MUCC and
Michigan Out-of-Doors gear at

Get Michigan Out-of-Doors

by becoming a member of
Michigan United
Conservation Clubs
Call Sue Pride at 517.371.1041

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

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MUCC's OTG ("On the Ground") program is in its
sixth year, with multiple projects planned across
all ages and experience levels throughout the
state. Volunteers participate in "on the ground,"
public land, wildlife habitat projects and are
provided an opportunity to engage in hands-on
conservation while learning about wildlife habitat

On Saturday, June 9th from 9AM-2PM, vol-

unteers will be improving wildlife habitat in the
Pigeon River Country State Forest. Volunteers
will be cutting encroaching timber to open up
an area with an oak understory to allow better
regeneration of the mast-producing species. The
project location will be near Pickerel Lake. Then,
on Friday, June 22nd from 10AM-2PM, we
will be kicking off MUCC’s Annual Convention
by improving hunter walking trails in the Gladwin
GEMS Lame Duck Foot Access Area. Volunteers
will be building a boardwalk in the area.

In July, we will be completing two annual river

clean-ups on the Manistee and Clinton Rivers. On
Saturday, July 14th from 9am-2pm, volun-
teers will meet for the annual Clinton River clean-
up hosted by the Metro-West Steelheaders and
OTG. The Manistee River clean-up date is to be
determined. See more OTG events and RSVP to
volunteer at

You can sign up for these projects at www.mucc.


For more information, email Sarah Topp, Wildlife

Volunteer Coordinator, at

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Michigan DNR lauds one of America’s rarest birds, but Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275
today they represent the power of Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA
federal announcement on partnership to recover imperiled 22041–3803.
comeback of Kirtland’s wildlife,” said Tom Melius, Midwest
Regional Director for the U.S. Fish DNR plan details Michigan
warbler and Wildlife Service.
The Kirtland's warbler was conservation efforts
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
among the first animals to gain
federal protection in 1967 under the Sarah Lapshan, Michigan DNR
The Michigan Department of
Endangered Species Preservation
Natural Resources applauded the
Act, a precursor to the Endangered Ask Michigan residents what
decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Species Act. The species started to comes to mind when hearing the
Service to potentially remove the
rebound once agencies and their word "wild-life,” and – depending on
Kirtland’s warbler from the federal
partners began to implement long- which part of the state they live in –
list of threatened and endangered
term efforts to conserve young jack you likely would get quick answers
species. The proposed delisting
pine. Large areas of jack pine of a including deer, elk, turkey, and prob-
entered a 90-day public comment
certain age class are essential for ably a handful of popular fish species
period. A final decision is expected
Kirtland’s warbler nesting. Also like lake trout and muskellunge.
within a year.
essential to a thriving Kirtland’s Ask Amy Derosier, a wildlife biol-
“This is a great day for conser-
warbler population is control of ogist with the Michigan Department
vation and for Michigan,” said
brown-headed cowbirds. The brown- of Natural Resources in Lansing,
DNR Director Keith Creagh. “This
headed cowbird is a nest parasite and you’re going to need a lot more
decision recognizes over 50 years
that knocks eggs out of Kirtland's time, but it would be time well spent.
of dedication and commitment to
warbler nests and replaces them Derosier coordinates the
Kirtland’s warbler conservation
with its own. Michigan Wildlife Action Plan, a
by many agencies, organizations,
The Kirtland’s Warbler 10-year strategy that lays out how
industries, and individuals in our
Breeding Range Conservation the state and its partners and volun-
state and beyond. Together we have
Plan was developed in 2015 by teers can voluntarily and coopera-
been able to benefit local economies
the Michigan DNR, the U.S. Fish tively work together toward shared
while at the same time providing
and Wildlife Service and the U.S. wildlife conservation goals.
necessary nesting grounds for this
Forest Service. The plan is now the The plan approaches the
species. The decision by our federal
guiding management strategy for management of some of the state’s
partners marks a significant wild-
the species. Additionally, funding rarer species in ways that ensure
life success story.”
and other commitments to habitat those species will remain part of
Forty years ago, the Kirtland's
management and cowbird control Michigan’s landscape long-term.
warbler was on the brink of
are in place to ensure continua- “Michigan’s plan includes
tion of conservation actions in the species that are federally listed
Today, the yellow-breasted
absence of Endangered Species Act as ‘endangered’ and some that
songbird, which lives in northern
protections. are not,” Derosier said. “Our plan
Michigan's jack pine forests,
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife is Michigan’s rare species plan,
has made a comeback. The bird
Service will receive comments on and part of its purpose is to help
rebounded from a population low of
the proposed delisting through July animals come off the threatened and
about 350 in 1987 to more than 4,000
11, 2018. endangered species list, and part
today. The Kirtland’s warbler popu-
To submit comments electroni- of it is working to keep others from
lation continues to grow and has for
cally visit the U.S Fish and Wildlife becoming so rare that they have to be
the past 16 years exceeded popula-
service website and enter FWS–R3– added to the list.”
tion recovery goals. Once thought
ES–2018–0005 in the search box. To Michigan’s plan currently is in
confined to northern Michigan, the
submit a hard copy, submit by U.S. its second 10-year cycle. Its initial,
bird species has since been found in
mail or hand-delivery to: Public or baseline, plan came together in
Wisconsin and Canada.
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS– 2005, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
“Kirtland’s warblers were
R3–ES–2018–0005, U.S. Fish and Service required every state to create

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Summer 2018 Draft.indd 14 6/11/2018 8:38:22 AM

its own plan to be eligible for federal easy to explore just that mini- plan, management decisions.
wildlife grant funding. Michigan learn about the species that are Hanshue said that because the
administers roughly $1.2 million in dependent on that habitat, under- initial plan assessed the state’s
Fish and Wildlife Service funding stand threats, see who built the mini- rare and at- risk fish and wildlife
annually. plan, and understand how residents resources and available habitat
Derosier said that each state’s at the local level can volunteer their types, fisheries managers were able
plan is unique, based on that state’s time and energy to help. to use that information to develop
particular needs, but taken together Scott Hanshue is a senior fish- targeted surveys of certain key
they provide a national strategy ” eries management biologist with species.
unlike anything else in the world” the Michigan DNR in Plainwell. He “Our fisheries management
for keeping wildlife wild, and for described the creation and imple- units and research and fish produc-
protecting what’s unique and valu- mentation of Michigan’s Wildlife tion managers will continue to look
able to each state. Action Plan as ” important work” for opportunities to implement
“Our first plan (2005-2015) was that helps, at times, to fill a void. the plan within our division and
really a means of getting a true “The majority of DNR fisheries with our partners,” he said. “For
status update on species, and it management work is targeted example, there are several small
brought together a lot of people toward game fish species, which tributaries in the Lake Erie water-
and sectors who care a lot about makes sense because sportsmen shed that support focal species. We’ll
Michigan wildlife – hunting groups, and sportswomen pay for licenses be looking to partner with local
land conservancies, universities, to catch game fish,” Hanshue said. conservation districts and with the
wildlife watchers and many others,” “The Wildlife Action Plan helps U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
Derosier said. Likewise, a decade provide for the conservation of rare Natural Resources Conservation
later, several dozen partner organi- fish and other at-risk aquatic life.” Service to use Farm Bill programs to
zations were represented during the He cited some of the Wildlife protect at-risk fish and mussel popu-
effort to update Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan field survey work done lations. Those kinds of projects did
Action Plan, many of which consis- at historical collection sites (some not really happen with version one
tently came to the table and helped dating back to the 1930s) that led to of the Wildlife Action Plan.”
move the process forward. the unexpected documentation of Hanshue, like many others,
“This time around, we learned several fish species – silver shiner, believes that healthy fish and wildlife
a lot about a number of key species, redbelly dace, brindled madtom and resources play a big part in boosting
and we developed our priorities others – that had not been reported quality of life for Michigan residents
around them,” Derosier said. “We in decades. Hanshue said now that and visitors, and that proper stew-
explored how work in one area managers know the species exist, ardship will help to conserve those
would, in turn, help other species the department can work with local resources for future generations.
and habitats. For example, when we partners to protect remaining habi- From Derosier’s perspective,
do work to support the large grass- tats for those species. Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan
lands priority and the rare birds that “In many instances, conserva- exists to help people get to know and
rely on them, it also helps pheasants tion actions – dam removals, water better understand Michigan’s rare
and lots of other animals and plants. quality improvements, et cetera species, to appreciate their impor-
The state’s current 10-year plan – to protect at-risk fish species will tance as part of Michigan’s history
(2015-2025) is broken out by mini- benefit the entire fish community,” and natural places, and to recognize
plans, or chapters, for each priority. Hanshue said. and be energized by the fact that
Michigan’s plan includes nine Even after 28 years with the Michigan citizens can play an active
terrestrial (land) priorities and six DNR, Hanshue described his work role in managing these species and
aquatic (water) priorities. on the Wildlife Action Plan as a high habitats right where they live.
In addition to large grasslands, point in his career. “Basically, Michigan has cool
the mini-plans target areas like “We held one-day workshops to wildlife that we want to keep around
young forests, emerging diseases, develop each of the mini-plans that for future generations,” Derosier
warm-water streams and headwa- make up the plan,” he said. “I was said. “Conserving wildlife species
ters, big rivers and open dunes. amazed by how many partner agen- and wildlife habitat gives people
Each key habitat chapter identifies cies and different organizations were beautiful places to play, to relax and
targeted “species of greatest conser- willing to actively participate and to find peace, but some fish and wild-
vation need.” provide what they could ‘bring to the life need a little extra help. Proactive
Derosier said one of the things table’ to support the plan.” management can conserve wildlife
she likes most about Michigan’s plan Now in this second, more before they become rarer and more
is that it’s set up in a way that is easy action-oriented, 10-year phase, costly to protect, and that’s in every-
for the public to understand and get Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan one’s best interest.”
involved in. If someone has a passion is yielding more outcomes that
for grasslands or for wetlands, it’s are making a real difference in

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 13

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 15 6/11/2018 8:38:22 AM

Conservation Nation
Great Lakes conservation • Regional Conservation Partnership the law for the past 30 years and has
priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill Program been instrumental in reducing soil
– Fully fund and improve the Regional erosion and maintaining Great Lakes
Conservation Partnership Program wetlands, which contribute to fish and
Healing our Waters — Great Lakes
to increase flexibility in program wildlife habitat, water quality, and
Coalition administration and better facilitate land conservation.
partnerships with landowners and 4)Expand funding for and flexibility
The Conservation Title of the other non-federal partners. of conservation technical assistance
Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) – Provide incentives for innovative to promote adoption and implementa-
provides funds and technical assis- practices with the greatest potential tion of successful practices to increase
tance to conserve soil, water, air, and to address regional Great Lakes soil health, improve water quality,
wildlife. The partnership between the concerns. increase farm productivity, and
federal government and farmers is • Conservation Reserve Program conserve valuable wildlife habitat.
critical to protecting the Great Lakes, – Secure a robust increase in • Technical assistance programs
but this success is at risk unless Conservation Reserve Program empower agricultural producers
conservation programs are strength- funding that approximates historical and other landowners to undertake
ened and funded under the next Farm levels of enrollment to accommodate practices achieving the “triple bottom
Bill. demand and meet soil, water, and line” for our economy, environment,
The Conservation Title of the 2018 wildlife conservation goals. and society.
Farm Bill is the largest land, water – Expand the working lands options • Develop incentives, support inno-
and wildlife conservation program for (particularly grazing) within CRP in vation and clarify definitions of tech-
private landowners in the nation. The ways that decrease costs per acre and nical assistance to allow for creative
Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes increase benefits for soil, water, and public-private partnerships, including
Coalition, which MUCC is a member wildlife. technical services from agricultural
of, supports the following priorities for – Refine prioritization of CRP funding retailers, non-governmental organiza-
the Farm Bill to protect our region’s to align with regional water quality tions, and partners to enhance uptake
soil, drinking water, and wildlife while and conservation priorities. of conservation practices on farms.
promoting a strong farm economy: – Promote innovative conservation 5) Strengthen methods for demon-
1)Increase Farm Bill conservation practices through enrollment under strating conservation success and
title funding and acreage caps so they Conservation Reserve Enhancement improve research and evaluation of
more closely reflect farmer demand Program, Continuous Conservation conservation programs.
and meet the critical need for conser- Reserve Program, and State Acres for • Support uniform and transparent
vation practices. Wildlife Enhancement. methods for measuring success and
2))Improve voluntary working lands, • Environmental Quality Incentives demonstrating the value of Farm Bill
easement, habitat and river resto- Program programs.
ration, and invasive species control – Increase the minimum amount of • Provide authority and funding
programs so the U.S. Department of Environmental Quality Incentives for measurement and evaluation
Agriculture can meet farmer and Program funding invested in wildlife of conservation outcomes for all
partner demand to conserve farm- to 10 percent and sustain initiatives for Conservation Title investments.
land, wetlands, grasslands, rivers, soil health, landscape conservation, • Support and expand the Conservation
streams, and forests. and wildlife. Effect Assessment Program to assess
• Agricultural Conservation – Prioritize funds to protect drinking the impacts of conservation practices
Easement Program water sources and formally recog- on wildlife and water quality.
– Increase and restore baseline to at nize source water protection as a U.S. • Continue to support Agricultural
least $500 million. Department of Agriculture priority. Research Service work demon-
– Improve wildlife habitat, watershed 3)Maintain existing conservation strating efficacy and opportunities for
restoration, and water quality bene- program compliance requirements to improvement, including soil health
fits through prioritized placement of sustain the conservation of valuable practices that benefit land owners,
easements. wildlife habitat, water quality, and increase productivity, and protect the
– Improve program efficiency for land- land. environment.
owners and partners. • Conservation compliance has been

14 |

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MUCC, NWF, RGS, DNR Discuss Wildlife Recovery
with Congresswoman Dingell Drew YoungDyke (NWF)
by 90 percent in the past 20 years. and (the Dingell-Johnson Act), but
“Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan also through our hunting and fishing
is really about proactive conservation licenses,” Eichinger continued.
to keep species off the (endangered) “More hunters are aware, but
list, but it also allows for some reactive sometimes they’re not, about how
conservation,” said Amy DeRosier, much conservation is driven by the
Wildlife Action Plan coordinator for investments they make,” said Brent
the Michigan Department of Natural Rudolph, conservation policy director
Resources. “These plans are really for the Ruffed Grouse Society. “But
developed and ready to hit the road there’s still far more work that needs
On a rainy Friday in February, running.” to be done, which is testified by the
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell After a round of introductions fact that we have these Wildlife Action
(MI-12) met with leaders of conser- from each participant, much of Plans.”
vation and hunting organizations the discussion turned to how the Michigan has used the limited
and key staff with the Michigan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act funding it’s had for its Wildlife Action
Department of Natural Resources can leverage sportsmen’s dollars to Plan to work with partner agencies
at the Detroit Zoo. Members of the improve both game and nongame and organizations to recover species
zoo’s conservation staff also joined habitat. including ospreys and the Kirtland’s
the conversation to discuss the bipar- “The sporting community – at least warbler.
tisan Recovering America’s Wildlife so far as I can speak for them – is really The Recovering America’s
Act, which Dingell co-sponsored enthusiastic about the Recovering Wildlife Act received an introductory
with Republican Congressman Jeff America’s Wildlife Act. When we look hearing in the House Committee on
Fortenberry (NE-01) in December. at all the different interrelationships Natural Resources - Public Lands
The group toured the rehabil- between game and sportfish species Subcommittee on February 15. While
itated bald eagle exhibit, directly and nongame wildlife, we don’t manage no vote was held on the bill that day,
across from the bison exhibit — habitats in silos and they aren’t the round-table participants were opti-
perhaps America’s most iconic compartmentalized spaces. These are mistic about the opportunity provided
wildlife species — and saw two of the places that are being used and utilized by the legislation.
country's greatest successes in saving by both game and nongame species,” “This is a really nice way to extend
species from extinction. After the said Dan Eichinger, executive director the purchasing power of our sporting
short tour, the participants sat down of Michigan United Conservation license dollars and be able to bring in a
for a round-table discussion about the Clubs. new funding source to deal with what
legislation. “Historically, conservation we all acknowledge is a huge backlog
“More than a third of species are funding – at least in the state of of need,” Eichinger said.
at risk of extinction right now, so we Michigan and this is generally true “The state Wildlife Action Plans
have a crisis,” said Mike Shriberg, across the country – has been borne are exciting; they’re there, they’re
executive director of the National primarily by the hunting and fishing ready to go, and with the configura-
Wildlife Federation Great Lakes community through the excise taxes tion of resources this way, it’s going to
Regional Office. “This bill is the bold on our sporting arms and equipment have major impacts on species across
action we need to begin to reverse through (the Pittman-Robertson Act) the board,” said Shriberg.
this decline.”
“The legislation takes $1.3 billion,
annually, of existing revenue in oil
and gas royalties,” said Dingell. “It
gives it to the states so that they can
implement their state Wildlife Action
Each state has an existing
Wildlife Action Plan which lists its
species of greatest conservation need
and specific steps it plans to take to
conserve and recover those species. In
Michigan, this includes animals like
bald eagles, common loons, moose,
sturgeon and monarch butterflies
which, Dingell noted, have declined

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 15

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 17 6/11/2018 8:38:24 AM

A Sport for Everybody
By Chris Lamphere
Inclusiveness is key to the explosive growth of trapshooting
among Michigan youth

tanding in front of a trap box football, basketball and wrestling. situations.
with a shotgun in hand, ready The 13-year-old had trouble “I learned how to start a conver-
to turn a flying clay pigeon fitting in and was the victim of sation instead of just standing there,
into dust, Noah Garbrecht bullying at the hands of some listening,” Noah said. “I engage a lot
feels a sense of belonging. classmates. more.”
“When I was younger, I used About a year and a half ago, Noah’s story is similar to thou-
to watch Olympic trapshooting Noah was introduced to the Clay sands of others being told around
videos,” Noah said. “Even then, I Busters youth team based at the the country.
could see myself on the podium, Sparta Hunting and Fishing Club. They all are part of a ground-
winning a gold medal.” Since that time, Noah said the swell youth movement credited
Like many kids, Noah struggled sport has changed his life. for revitalizing a sport that many
with awkwardness and peer alien- “I like the feeling I get when I believe was in its dying throes just a
ation as he transitioned from grade get a really high score,” Noah said. few years ago.
school to junior high. “I’m proud of myself. The kids at
His father, Richard, said in my school think I can’t shoot worth The History and Rules of
the small community of Ravenna, a crap. I’m pretty confident they
where they live, there are cliques couldn’t shoot as well as I could.” Trapshooting
and ingrained social structures that Thanks in part to this newfound
were challenging for Noah to navi- confidence, Noah said he now is According to the Michigan
gate, even within the traditional far more outgoing and capable High School Clay Target League,
high school athletic programs like of handling himself in social trapshooting has been a sport

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 18 6/11/2018 8:38:25 AM

throughout the world since the late June (2015), there were 5,134, more school-sponsored trapshooting has
18th century, when real birds were than 20,000 spectators and sponsors risen dramatically from 340 students
used. including Benelli Armi SpA and in 2010 to 21,917 this year.
Birds were placed in traps which SKB Shotguns." High schools in Colorado, Utah,
were then released; clay targets What happened during the six South Carolina, Missouri, and
were later introduced to replace the years between 2009 and 2015? Washington joined the league this
live animals. Gun Digest and Bloomberg News spring, bringing the total number of
It became an Olympic sport at point to the efforts of Jim Sable, who league-affiliated state programs to
the beginning of the 19th century. founded the USA State High School 20.
Trapshooting is one of the three Clay Target League — an organiza- Amateur Trapshooting
major shotgun shooting sports, with tion that has made a concerted effort Association Vice President Darryl
the others being skeet shooting and to market the sport to high schools Hayes confirmed the explosive
sporting clays. across the country. growth of the sport over the last
Trapshooting is distinct from These efforts are paying several years.
skeet shooting and sporting clays in off: according to the USA State ATA serves as the governing
several ways: in trapshooting, the High School Clay Target League body for the sport of American-style
targets are launched from a single website, student participation in trapshooting. They host annual
“house” or machine, generally away
Noah Garbrecht, of Ravenna, takes aim at a clay pigeon during a trapshooting
from the shooter, whereas in skeet
event at his local club. Noah, who didn't always fit in amongst his peers, found his
shooting, targets are launched from
calling when he joined the Clay Busters. cont. pg.18
two houses in somewhat sideways
paths that intersect in front of the
shooter; sporting clays involve a
more complex course, with many
launch points.
A round of trap competition
consists of shooting 25 targets from
a 16-yard station. Up to five shooters
occupy the stations on a trap field.
A perfect round score is 25, which
means the shooter didn't miss a
single target.
Participants can use shotgun
calibers up to 12-gauge.
Toni Falk, trapshooting enthu-
siast and Michigan director of
Academy Integrity Marksmanship,
said over the years, interest in the
sport declined as life-long shooters
aged and became less involved due
to health reasons.
“We saw the beginning of the
end of our local clubs,” Falk said.

The Resurgence
A 2015 story published in Gun
Digest noted the sudden spike in
popularity of trapshooting from
2009 to 2015.
The article references a
Bloomberg News report that high-
lighted an increase in participants
during the annual Minnesota State
High School Clay Target League
According to the Bloomberg
News article: "In 2009, the contest's
first year, it drew 30 shooters. In

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 17

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 19 6/11/2018 8:38:26 AM

students began when he heard of all
the programs starting up south of
Osceola County.
“I think kids are curious about
it,” Adrianse said. “They want to
see what all the hype is about.”
The interest in trapshooting
isn’t restricted to high schools: it
extends to individual competition,
as well.
Michigan Trapshooting
Association President Larry Telfer
said two years ago, 88 shooters
participated in their annual high
school competition in Mason.
In 2017, they had 297 partici-
pants, and this year they are antic-
ipating around 500.

What’s the Appeal of

Trapshooting for Youth?
Telfer said the positive reaction
among youth to the sport could be
A Google Map shows the locations of current high school trap teams in Michigan. tied to the “instant gratification”
The amount of high school trapshooting teams has exponentially risen since 2016. one receives when breaking a clay
Resurgence of trapshooting at local shooting clubs has been attributed to high target.
school students starting to participate in the sport. Such gratification is a huge
confidence builder for some
competitions featuring competitors Districts that agree to endorse
students who might not have the
from the around world. trapshooting as a school sport
easiest time succeeding in other
“Within the last six years, the partner with local gun clubs, which
high school activities, Telfer said.
sport has grown exponentially,” generally provide the location for
Noah Garbrecht’s dad, Richard,
Hayes said. “This growth is directly kids to practice, along with the trap
said the gains his son has made as a
tied to youth involvement.” boxes that throw the targets.
result of his involvement with trap-
Participating kids pay an
shooting can’t be understated.
Trapshooting in Michigan up-front fee of a couple hundred
"I can't even begin to tell you
dollars, which covers the cost of
the improvements," Richard said.
Josh Kroells, state coordinator targets, shells and other equipment.
"In his self-esteem, confidence …
of the Michigan State High School They also must have a hunter
I think it gave him the realization
Clay Target League — an affiliate safety license or league-approved
that there's something he can do.
of the USA State High School Clay safety certificate.
He learned that to be good at some-
Target League — said three years Most of the schools in Michigan
thing, you have to work at it. Noah
ago, they began working with that have endorsed trapshooting are
is a typical 13-year-old off joking,
schools in the state to offer trap- located in the southern half of the
laughing and having fun, but when
shooting to students. Lower Peninsula, primarily due to
he takes up his Tri-Star TT-15 — a
In 2016, there were seven the fact there aren’t as many gun
shotgun nearly as big as he is — he
Michigan teams, totaling 97 clubs up north, Kroells said.
is all business."
students; in 2017, the number of It does appear, however, that
Richard said the social interac-
teams had risen to 23, with 478 trapshooting is steadily spreading
tions and positive outlook of Noah’s
kids participating; and this year, 45 throughout the rest of the state.
team members have been priceless
schools are part of the league, with A new program began last fall
for his son’s development.
975 participating students. in Reed City, making it the north-
In Reed City, Adrianse said kids
“I don’t see any reason why we ernmost high school trapshooting
from virtually every social circle
won’t be around 100 schools next association in the Lower Peninsula.
participate in trapshooting, from
year,” Kroells said. “That’s the Jack Adrianse, who helped
robotics club members to athletes.
trend we’re seeing. We’re basically start the program and also coaches
Kroells, with Michigan High
doubling each year.” its 25 students, said his interest
School Clay Target League, said
in offering the sport to Reed City

18 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 20 6/11/2018 8:38:26 AM

inclusiveness is a huge part of trap-
shooting’s appeal for kids.
“There are no bench warmers,”
Kroells said. “You got the star quar-
terback participating with video
gamers and kids in wheelchairs. No
other sport is like that. It’s some-
thing fun they can all go do with
their friends.”
It’s also a sport that appeals
to kids who aren’t interested in
other activities: Kroells said 35
percent of kids who participate in
trapshooting aren’t involved in any
other school-sponsored sports or
This is good news for schools, as
participation in activities has been
directly linked with better perfor-
mance in the classroom and less
trouble outside of it, Kroells said.
Another aspect of trapshooting
that sets it apart from traditional
high school sports is that it doesn’t
require a high level of physical
ability, which allows parents to
participate alongside their children.
“When you have a daughter Noah Garbrecht, of Ravenna, holds an award he received for his success during
shooting alongside her dad and a high school trapshooting event. Bottom: High school trapshooting has become a
grandfather, it’s a great thing,” competitive and inclusive sport where, both, traditional high school athletes and
Kroells said. those who don't excel at traditional high school sports can succeed.
Toni Falk, with Academy “I believe it’s growing in schools for each other.”
Integrity Marksmanship, and Darryl because it’s more for kids who aren’t “It’s a sport for everybody,”
Hayes with ATA, concur the most involved in traditional sports,” Falk Hayes agreed. “From short to
attractive aspect of trapshooting for said. “For the ones who have a hard tall, physically fit to not. There
kids is the fact that there aren’t any time developing a personal identity. is an opportunity for everyone to
barriers for participation. It gives them confidence and ability. participate.”
They’re a team, and they look out

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 19

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 21 6/11/2018 8:38:28 AM

By Jay Dowd

A Friend of the Grouse:

The Roger Moore Legacy
uring the 80s and 90s, upon returning from the local pet My grandpa and I were on our way
growing up in a small, store to buy dog food, he came back to another covert after hunting
country town in mid-Mich- telling of "just having met Roger the morning and grabbing a quick
igan usually meant ample Moore." The way he said his name lunch. It was dry and hot, as the
time to choose a life that somehow made me feel it likely that the man weather often is during the early
involved the outdoors. Though had his own star on the Hollywood portion of Michigan's grouse season,
computers and video games came of Walk of Fame. The two grouse and dust was all you could see in
age during this era, I was fortunate hunters and setter men made small the rearview mirror as we bounced
enough to be swayed by my grand- talk in the parking lot, and Roger along an old logging road. I slowed
father's sporting lifestyle and take apparently made quite an impres- down as I saw a dog cross the trail
up the rod and gun. Summers were sion on my Grandpa. After that, it ahead of us, and as I hit the brakes,
spent exploring local creeks and seemed like everyone in the hunting I could see a party of hunters gath-
helping my stepfather sell reloading community had a story to tell about ered along the side of the road in the
supplies at local gun clubs. In the Roger Moore. He was in the news- shade. I pulled up next to the group
fall, I spent my weekends either paper, on tv and I saw his truck with and immediately recognized one
chasing grouse and woodcock in the name of the kennel he trained at of the fellows as Roger, sitting on
the Northern Lower Peninsula or driving all around town. However, the high sandy bank, looking very
pheasants at a few different family despite living in the shadow of the hot and ornery. I asked how they
farms in the central portion of the big man, and having his presence were doing, and after taking a long
state. However, no matter where my strongly felt in the community, drag off his cigarette, he replied
pursuits took me, the name Roger it wouldn't be until somewhere that it was too hot but he assumed
Moore always found its way into around the age of 30 that I was able we had already figured that out for
the conversations that transpired to finally meet him. ourselves. He asked how we had
around the tailgates and clubhouses. I remember it was opening day fared, and I told him that I had one
The first time I heard of Roger of grouse season, though I can't grouse, but it had cost me the better
was from my Grandpa. One day, quite put my finger on the year. portion of a box of good 20-gauge
cont. pg.22
20 ||

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 22 6/11/2018 8:38:35 AM

Moore signed his
Ruffed Grouse
Society donations,
"a friend of the

2018| Michigan Out-of-Doors2121
| Michigan

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 23 6/11/2018 8:38:42 AM

Roy took to Roger and ended up
having him help handle the dogs
that were brought in by his clients.
This time spent with Roy undoubt-
edly helped shape Roger's love for
bird dogs and hone his desire and
ability to work with them. When
Roy passed, he left Roger his prized
training gun — a highly coveted
20-gauge, Belgian-made Browning
Superposed Lightning.
Roger went on to pursue a
career in law enforcement as a State
Police officer, operating at various
posts around Michigan. He then
took a job as a fire marshall in Clio.
It was at his home near this small
town where Roger started Pine
Run Setters, a breeding program
dedicated to preserving what Roger
called the "old fashioned" Ryman-
type setter. He would later go on
to become a full-time dog trainer at
Roger Moore poses with one of the many bird dogs he had a hand in developing Wayback Kennels, also located near
through the years. Moore was a humble "friend of the grouse" and a man who Clio.
cared more about the conservation legacy of woodcock and grouse than anything Roger was a dedicated grouse
else. and woodcock hunter who made his
game loads. Despite his outward who asked me to start volunteering, presence felt throughout the state
appearance, he had a very kind was a longtime friend of Roger. As I of Michigan, and for nearly four
demeanor and we wished each other got more involved with the chapter, decades, it was the vast expanse of
luck. I pulled away slowly, so as not I got to know a group of hunters wilderness known as the Pigeon
to kick up too much dust, and as I ranging from young guns just River Area that he had come to
looked in the mirror, the large man getting their feet wet to experienced love. During grouse season, you
stood up, stepped on his cigarette veterans who have spent countless could find Roger's trailer parked on
and crossed the trail. days hunting the aspen stands and a small hump on the Pigeon River
A few years later, I would start alder runs. I soon realized that each called "Woodcock Hill." Over the
attending my local Ruffed Grouse member had their own story to tell years, many hunters and bird dogs
Society banquets at which Roger about Roger and the way he touched came to join Roger at this camp, and
presided. I soon learned that grouse their lives. Through the committee, it eventually took on the monicker
and woodcock habitat was very I have also been fortunate enough to "Dog Shit City." It is said that in
important to him. He felt strongly become friends with Carol Moore, its hay-day, on a Saturday night in
that if you hunt these birds, you owe Roger's widow. Like Roger, she is a October, if you were looking for
it to them to give something back. conservationist and grouse hunter any of the "who's who" of grouse
Roger was also a well-known dog who still has her own bird dogs and hunting, you'd be sure to find
trainer and breeder of "old-fash- is a mainstay at local RGS events. It them sitting around Roger Moore's
ioned-type" English Setters. During is through the time spent with these campfire.
a few phone conversations with people and the stories they have Roger donated his time as a
him, I was able to gather that his shared that I am finally able to get a volunteer woodcock bander for the
immense love for grouse was only glimpse into the life that has become state of Michigan. To do so, you
overshadowed by his love of bird the legend of Roger Moore. have to go through a certification
dogs. One didn't have to look too It seems that Roger's love for process to ensure that you and,
far down the list to see he also had gun dogs was kindled at a very more specifically, your dogs are up
a fondness for good double guns and tender age. His father, passing when to the task. Roger looked forward
a stiff drink. Roger was only seven years old, left to time spent each spring afield in
Shortly after Roger's passing, a setter behind that Roger took care the Pigeon River country when the
I was asked to join the banquet of as if it were his own. He took his woodcock chicks would hatch and
committee for the aforementioned first job as a teenager cleaning out he could attach the small bands
Ruffed Grouse Society chapter. kennels for the famed grouse/wood- around their tiny legs. Banding
John Short, the committee member cock dog trainer Roy Strickland. allows information to be gathered

22 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 24 6/11/2018 8:38:47 AM

regarding the distances and routes "During a few phone conversations with him, I was able
woodcock travel throughout their
migration. to gather that his immense love for grouse was only over-
Roger's passion for grouse and
woodcock also manifested itself
shadowed by his love of bird dogs. One didn't have to
through his volunteer work with look too far down the list to see he also had a fondness
the Ruffed Grouse Society. He was
president of what was then the for good double guns and a stiff drink."
Keith Davis Chapter. During his and many other forest animals After the work is finished, the
tenure as chapter president, Roger prefer is regenerated. Many fruit- shovels are traded out for shotguns
devoted himself to raising money bearing trees that grouse feed on and eager bird dogs are let loose
and increasing public awareness of during certain times of the year are from their kennels to once again
the organization — whose goal is also planted in this area to ensure pursue game birds in Roger's old
to protect and create habitat for the a well-balanced habitat for these coverts. When the day is done, the
ruffed grouse and American wood- birds to thrive. This operation is a hunters return to camp to gather
cock. He donated countless hours joint effort between the Michigan around a roaring fire. Drinks are
of time over the years and helped to Department of Natural Resources poured and memories are shared
organize events, recruit members and the Ruffed Grouse Society — the as woodcock fly overhead and elk
and put on the annual banquet. endeavor has been aptly named The bugle far off in the distance. Being
Rather than being recognized by Roger Moore Project. there, one can't help but feel Roger's
name for anything he donated to the Each October, a group of presence, leaving you to wonder if
RGS, he humbly filled out the dona- hunters still holds a camp in a spot somehow, in some way, the big man
tion, "a friend of the grouse." near Woodcock Hill to pay homage is sitting right next to you, enjoying a
On the morning of February 17, to Roger and all he has done for stiff drink and sharing stories of the
2014, Roger suffered a heart attack grouse and woodcock conservation birds, dogs and guns from days gone
while shoveling snow from his in Michigan. However, before any by. One thing is for certain: through
driveway, just days before the Ruffed hunting is done, the group spends his work as a conservationist and
Grouse Society annual banquet. It a day planting trees and putting up the new grouse and woodcock
was a loss that was felt throughout fencing to protect the new growths habitat being created each year in
the quaint Michigan upland hunting from the local elk herd and doing the Pigeon River Country, the spirit
community. Later that fall, on the other allotted habitat improvements. of Roger Moore truly lives on.
opening day of grouse season, a
Moore works with one of his "old fashioned," Ryman-type English Setters. Moore
small group of friends and fellow
was known as a respected dog trainer and conservationist throughout the state.
grouse hunters gathered on a small
bridge overlooking the Pigeon River.
Stories were shared and a toast of
whiskey was made as Roger's ashes
were cast into the stream's cold, swift
current to flow eternally through
the aspen stands and alder runs that
held the grouse and woodcock he
loved, in the country he held so dear.
Though the big man has passed
on, he has left a legacy in his wake
that embodies good sportsmanship
and conservation. The Keith Davis
Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society
has since officially changed its name
to the Roger Moore Chapter. Here
there are a handful of dedicated
volunteers doing their best to follow
in Roger's footsteps. In 2015, the
year after his death, a large tract
of land was set aside in the Pigeon
River State Forest and utilized as
an area of enhanced grouse and
woodcock habitat. Here, mature
forest is harvested, and the healthy,
young forest that grouse, woodcock

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 23

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Livng life as a
Fishing Swinger
By Andy Duffy

"By fishing classic wet flies in the

traditional fashion, an angler may
exceed all his expectations."
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eff Junker is an exception- back downstream to the truck. Just tendency to give his articles a
ally talented outdoor writer. below the landing, though, the river humorous twist, though, he exag-
Among his gifts is a flair for widens. A sort of bay lies off the gerated all the wrong elements
picking out some little aspect river's south side. There, the water of the day. I had set him and
of an outdoor excursion and empha- was a lot quieter and was almost Hildebrand up for a terrible time
sizing it as if he is writing's version fishable. I knotted a wet fly on my while I took a nap. Then, when they
of a caricaturist. leader, made a few casts and caught arrived on the scene, I caught a fish
Junker and I have been friends a little, six-inch brown trout. That just to show off – that kind of thing.
ever since we grew up together in was it. Reading the story, I couldn't help
a small town here in Michigan. I I couldn't fish any farther down laughing myself.
was well aware of his talents with a the river because I would never be Well, it was Junker's story, so
pen, so I should have known better able to return to the truck. I had he got to choose the angle. I, though,
than to invite him along on a fishing already tried wading upstream, and knew the only reason I happened
excursion. Who wants to be fodder I knew that was impossible. So, I was to catch a couple of fish while they
for a Junker-style outdoor column? stuck there waiting for Junker and didn't was because I was forced to
He's great company, though, so Hildebrand. Suddenly overwhelmed fish the slack water – and because I
invite him I did. with weariness, I got in the bed of had chosen to tie on a wet fly.
The excursion wasn't going to the truck and took a nap. In recent years, angling writers
be all that much – just a pre-season The bed was uncomfortable, have written often on the topic of
trip to the Au Sable River with him and I had nothing to use for a pillow, wet flies. The old-fashioned flies
and my son-in-law Matt Hildebrand so I don't think I slept for long. I was deserve the attention. They are
to get some angling in before the just getting back in the river to fish just exceptional fish takers and are
season opened, hatches began and the quiet bay again when Junker simple for novice anglers to learn
the river became crowded. The Au and Hildebrand came around the how to use.
Sable is open all year, but it really upstream bend. They'd had a devil For years, trout anglers relied
sees little pressure until Michigan's of a time in the rushing water and heavily on wet flies. By the 1970s,
regular trout season opens on the had caught nothing. though, the things were out of style.
last Saturday of April each year. The two wondered why I hadn't As far back as the mid-1800s, anglers
Still, eager anglers can get into made it up the river. I confessed began using dry flies. They soon
some good fishing over early insect that I hadn't been able to make any began to really focus on matching
hatches. Our trip didn't work out the headway against the current and hatches to catch selective trout.
way we'd planned, though. that I'd taken a nap in the truck. I Just as they did with adult flies,
On the way to the river, I'd told them I'd decided the fish must anglers began tying realistic nymph
suggested that a couple of us could all be holding in the quiet water; I'd patterns that imitated real aquatic
get in the water at Burton's Landing caught a fish, and I figured I could invertebrate life. Dry fly and imita-
and fish down to Louie's Landing. catch another one. I made a couple tive nymph fishing took such a
The odd guy out could drive the of casts to the quiet edge and, sure stranglehold on the angling frater-
vehicle – in this case, Junker's truck enough, caught another little trout. nity that few remembered about
– down to Louie's landing and fish Of course, Junker later wrote or bothered fishing the traditional
up the river toward the two coming about the excursion. With his wet flies. And, of course, with the
down. A brook trout Duffy coaxed into striking his wet fly is brought to hand on a
The wade from Burton's to Northern Michigan stream. cont. pg.26
Louie's is very doable during the
times I've tried it – usually June,
July and August. When we arrived
at Burton's, though, the river was
much higher than I'd anticipated
it would be. Some recent spring
rains had really left their mark on
the water. Still, we decided to carry
out our plan. I dropped Junker and
Hildebrand off there, and I drove on
down the river.
I strung up my rod and ventured
into the water, dutifully working
upstream. The task was nearly
impossible, though, against the
heavy current. I abandoned the idea
of an upward advance and fished

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 25

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 27 6/11/2018 8:38:53 AM

"Maybe it was snobbery that
caused some anglers to reject
swinging flies."
Michigan's state fish — the brook trout — is a beautiful specimen and a testament to the world-class fisheries our state has.
Duffy caught this little fella swinging a wet fly. Bottom Right: Duffy's son-in-law, Matt Hildebrand, hooks into a trout.
increased level of sophistication, The feat of Nemes – turning fish wet flies here in Michigan – the
many anglers began to look down anglers' attention back to wet flies classic wet-fly swing.
on wet fly fishing. – was probably even more remark- Maybe it was snobbery that
Other factors came into play, able considering the time when caused some anglers to reject
too. When fly fishing arrived in his seminal book appeared. The swinging flies. It takes more skill, of
the Americas, the "trout" anglers watershed book Selective Trout had course, to maintain a drag-free drift.
sought was a char, the native brook just appeared a few years earlier Anglers who had grown up learning
trout. Brookies are often more – in 1971 – and that work by Doug to fish dry flies and nymphs without
opportunistic than brown trout are Swisher and Carl Fisher made the dragging them probably looked
and eagerly took wet flies. Over case for very exact imitations of down on the old method.
in Europe, where the brown trout emerging insects. Selective Trout And, of course, some of the
reigned supreme, imitative flies was a game changer. It offered fishing literature Nemes examined
were more effective, especially on anglers a real strategy for catching convinced him that the most effec-
the famed chalk streams of England. more trout, and it took the frater- tive way to fish wet flies was by
In America, as brook trout began to nity of fly anglers by storm. Against dead drifting them. Other anglers
give way to browns, anglers saw the such a backdrop, it's amazing concurred. Gary Borger would
advantages of casting realistic flies anyone read the book Nemes wrote. often suggest that anglers tie wet
for actively feeding trout, and they Anglers read it, though, and maybe flies on a light-wire hook and fish
began to follow the trends estab- en masse. Other angling writers, the them in the surface film instead of
lished in the old world. Dry flies and famous Dave Hughes, for one, leaped on it – and drag free. Wet-fly guru
nymphs ruled. Nobody fished wet aboard the wet-fly bandwagon and Dave Hughes recommends casting
flies anymore. published other works that gave the flies upstream on the small
Suddenly, things changed. further illumination to the topic of mountain brooks he loves to fish and
Sylvester Nemes published The Soft- wet flies. letting them drift back toward him.
Hackled Fly in 1975, and people once Interestingly, though, writers From the time I began tying and
again understood the fish-catching frequently gave short shrift to what fishing the soft-hackle wets, though,
power simple wet flies possess. I believe is the most effective way to I always had the most success using

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the wet-fly swing. and hard to fish. I rarely had room to or two, take another step down the
Soon after I began fly fishing, make a back cast. I came across an river and repeat the process. Using
I learned that caddis are strong inside bend on my side of the river. the method, I would do quite well.
swimmers that rise quickly to a I flipped my line out into the turbu- If a person is fishing dry flies or
stream's surface when they hatch. lent waters and let the current pull nymphs on a dead drift, he can fish
Additionally, they are sometimes my fly around. When the fly reached one current lane at a time and needs
buoyed upward by a bubble of gas. quieter waters near the stream's to make repeated casts to cover all
That phenomenon was mentioned bank, a trout grabbed it. I played in the water. By swinging wets, I would
at least as far back as the 1950s by the fish – a nice, colorful, eight- or cover half the river with every cast.
an old angling writer named Sid nine-inch brookie. I released the I also quickly learned to recog-
Gorden, and maybe by others, too. fish and in short order caught four nize water where the swing was
One early spring day, I was on more of them, all near twins of the most likely to work. I like riffly
one of my local streams during a first. Never in my life had I caught water but nothing too swift or deep.
heavy caddis hatch. The flies were that many legal trout from the same If the water I'm targeting is no
everywhere. They filled the air, were spot in such rapid succession. I was deeper than a couple of feet, I can
all over me and crawled in my ears suddenly hooked on wet-fly fishing. throw some mends and get my fly
and across my glasses. The action As I turned more and more deep enough to induce a trout to
in the stream, though, really caught often to wet flies, I began working strike.
my attention. Trout swirled and out a system for fishing them. I Once a person swings wet flies a
flashed in a little riffle as they chased would nearly always fish them on little, though, it becomes easy to pick
emerging caddis. They wouldn't the swing, though, because that was out tiny sections of water on which
touch a dry fly. I was certain I could the method that worked the best. the method will work. On streams
have cleaned up, though, if I'd had The delightful Au Sable, I with riffles interspersed with pools,
one of the soft-hackle flies I'd read learned, is tailor-made for swinging an angler will want to change flies
about to swing through that riffle. wets. Making my way down the to fish the pools or wade through
Unfortunately, I've never come center of the stream, I could roll cast them to get back to the riffles. He
across that situation again. to either bank. I would swing my will also avoid swinging his fly in
I finally acquired some wet flies fly, throw in a couple of upstream rapids or pocket water. The system
and began fishing them, though. I mends to keep my drift slow and just doesn't work in those types of
had some memorable occasions, too. to let my fly sink. Then, I would water.
One September day, for example, pick up enough line off the water It was my attempts to swing
I was sidling along a little brook so I could roll out another cast and flies on mountain streams, in fact,
trout stream not far from my home. repeat the process. If both sides of that made me realize why so many
The day was cold and rainy. The the river had likely looking water, anglers give the method short shrift.
stream was high. I thought it was I would fish to one bank and then Both Hughes and Nemes spent much
dangerous to wade. It was narrow to the other. I would swing a cast of their angling time on western
cont. pg.28

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 27

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 29 6/11/2018 8:38:56 AM

evening. I cut off my dry fly and tied
on a wet. Standing there in one spot,
I caught five chunky trout before the
crowd cleared out and I could get off
the water.
Another time, I went to the
Upper Peninsula on a fishing excur-
sion and pulled into an Escanaba
River access site 90 minutes or so
before dark. One other rig was there,
and I saw a guy stringing up his rod.
We started chatting about fishing.
He said he'd traveled from Wisconsin
hoping to tie into a big brown trout.
He invited me to fish near him and
suggested that he might learn some-
thing from me.
I thought that was odd. He'd never
waters. There, the rivers run larger wets. The method is easy to learn, seen me fish. I knew from our chat
and deeper and faster than many and the novice can begin catching that he was an experienced angler
of the best streams do here in the fish his first trip to the water. By roll and more widely-traveled than I was.
Midwest. Also, when fishing pocket casting, he will spend most of his He'd read the same angling authors
water, even by carefully choosing time with his fly in the water rather and books I had. I really doubted
where to swing flies, it is difficult to than in the streamside trees. And, he could learn anything from me.
catch a trout. Using the swing seems he will feel his hits. I politely declined, telling him I
to be a wet-fly method peculiarly As effective as dry flies and wanted to fish the riffle. He told me
useful here in the Midwest on our nymphs are, sometimes wets just he'd fished it earlier and had only
smaller streams. seem to work better. Perhaps it is caught little brook trout.
One advantage to fishing flies because trout are looking for an Well, brookies were what I was
on the swing is that a person can active fly. I think that's especially after. I slogged upstream, and he
get them to go places a dry fly or a true during caddis hatches. Perhaps waded into the deep pool below the
dead-drifted nymph won't go. I can it is because an angler can cover the riffle.
swing flies deep under log jams or water better by swinging a wet, so he The water in the riffle was
undercut banks. Trout often reward gets it in front of more fish. The wet actually quite heavy, and it took me
me by slamming them. fly angler has those times, however, a while to wade up far enough to
But one of the great things when he is catching fish and others suit me. When I finally decided to
about wet flies is those who use aren't. turn around and start fishing my
them can still match the hatches. I easily remember a couple of wet flies downstream, I was only a
Many of the old wet-fly patterns occasions when I was in that posi- hundred yards or so upstream from
were meant to be attractor patterns. tion. I'm not gloating; that's just the the other angler. I began casting
They were colorful things. Using way it was. and soon hooked a decent fish. It
them was more akin to using Once, I was on the Au Sable probably wasn't one of the big fish
hardware than imitating bugs. during the first week of May. During the guy was after, but it was a strong,
Contemporary anglers, though, the morning, a huge trout took my fly 14-inch brown trout. I couldn't help
have used a wet-fly style of tying and quickly broke off. The evening but notice the Wisconsin fisherman
with imitative materials to match was falling, and I wanted to get back watching me.
nearly any hatch. I often use wet upstream to that fish. I released the fish and soon
flies right through an insect hatch. The river had filled up, though, caught another brown trout about
The trout have been watching flies for the evening rise. My way up the the same size. One or two smaller
swim to the surface. When a wet river was blocked by anglers who brook trout followed. Just after I
fly that matches the emerging flies apparently planned to stay where caught and released my fourth fish,
comes by just under the surface, they were for the entire evening. the guy waded out of the water,
why wouldn't a trout take it? In fact, I decided to turn around and broke down his rod and left.
we know trout feed on flies under the fish back down the river to my car. I felt bad and hoped he didn't
water until so many are floating on I found I was blocked by another think I was keeping any kind of
the surface that it makes sense for angler. I was boxed in. fishing secret from him. I just was
fish to focus their activities there. Just downstream from me, experiencing the kind of luck an
Anyone wanting to learn to fly though, was a decent logjam. It was angler might find while swinging a
fish might want to start by swinging the only angling option I had for the wet fly.

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Fall 2017 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 27

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 31 6/11/2018 8:38:58 AM

Trolling's Noteworthy Two

By Mark Martin

y fulltime fishing career everytime out on the water, I promise pulled quickly; thus, if the fish were
started in the mid-1980s. you’ll catch more fish than ever be- only willing to eat something passing
Since those days guid- fore. by at a fast pace, then these were our
ing others for walleyes lure of choice.
well into midnight’s darkness near Second guessing? Not in my Nowadays most every sonar
my home in Muskegon, Michigan, Family… made has GPS built in, which calcu-
to nearly every professional walleye lates speed right down to one-tenth
tournament I still fish to this day, My father and grandfather were of a mile per hour. Back in my grand-
trolling has been and still is the tech- my teachers when it came to troll- father and father’s fishing heydays,
nique I practice most often. ing. They were both masters of the however, there was no way of telling
Pulling lures allows me to place method, and rarely was there a day one’s exact speed other than paying
them into the faces of a lot of fish in they would not catch fish. And the close attention to the vibration of the
a short period. I can also cover many equipment I remember them using rod tip as their offering wobbled in
depths of water and multiple types of when I was just a lad seems quite ar- the water. They also took note of the
structure, which allows me to deter- chaic compared to the gear I am ac- pace at which debris on the surface,
mine just where the fish are any given customed to using today. But they still such as leaves, pine needles and even
day. And with just a push of a button caught fish. And plenty, at that. the small bubbles created by the bow
on my GPS, I can add an icon and Paying attention to your speed at of the boat, would pass. And my men-
track back to the exact spot I found all times when trolling was the first tors were ever eyeing the surface and
active fish. This sometimes allows me lesson I learned. adjusting their pace.
to pick off even more with casting and There were two lures we used Even to this day, while setting
jigging techniques later on. most often during that era: Flatfish my Lowrance sonar/GPS so speed
But while trolling seems a and Rapala Original Floating Min- is always being displayed in large
no-brainer method for finding and nows. And when it came to trolling scale so I can see it at a glance, I still
catching fish overall, there are a lot the former from the small, alumi- pay close attention to the rod tips
of tiny details that many anglers over- num rowboat the three of us would of the rigs being trolled directly be-
look when pulling crankbaits and venture out in, there were only two hind the boat without in-line planer
crawler harnesses. And while some speeds: slow and slower. If a lure mov- boards attached. I make sure they are
of these specifics are the very basics ing along at a creep was what the fish telegraphing to me that the plugs are
that now come to me second nature, wanted, then that was the perfect lure wobbling at their prime. If the pul-
I’m here to tell you it wasn’t always for that time of day. That's because if sation suddenly stops, and my speed
that way. I’ve had a lot of mentors in you pull these ultra-wide-wobbling, hasn't wavered, I know there may be
my life that helped me over the years. banana-shaped plugs through the wa- a weed or the like wrapped up on my
And what I am about to tell you ter too quickly, they turn belly up and lure. If that's the case, I'll first swing
are the two most straightforward ski on the surface. the rod towards the bow of the boat to
tips for trolling I learned early in life; Rapala Original Floating Min- slash the bait through the water to rip
which, if you pay attention to both nows, on the other hand, could be the weed free. If that doesn't get the

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Summer 2018 Draft.indd 32 6/11/2018 8:38:58 AM

bait running right, it's time to reel in my GPS unit. The moment I started to make sure I'm over the water I need
and remove the vegetation by hand wavering, he'd holler, “What depth to be; because the moment I'm off
and reset. were we getting bites in?” And if I course, I've lessened my chances of
Because I’m not able to see the were off the mark by just one foot, landing fish immensely.
vibration of lures waggling through he’d bellow, "So why are we in this
the tips of my rods with Church Tack- depth and not that one!" The Main Two
le planer boards or Stern Planers Yes, Roach made it clear to me that
attached, I’ll, instead, pay close at- if we had gotten bites in, say, 13 feet of There's no doubting the two most
tention to the where the devices have water, we had better be staying in that essential things to pay attention to
been running on the surface in con- depth at all times. He was relentless in when trolling is speed and depth.
junction with each other. The moment making sure I knew how deep it was If you fish from something as sim-
one is trailing, even only slightly, it's under me at all times, drilling into me plistic as a rowboat, pay attention to
time to reel it in and check to make that the moment the depth started to your rod tips and any debris on the
sure it’s weed-free or that a small fish change, I needed to make adjustments surface. And when you figure out the
isn't hooked up. immediately. speed at which you're catching fish, do
Overall, when trolling for Today, I have Navionics mapping all you can to maintain that pace. The
warm-water species like walleye, bass in my Lowrance sonar/GPS units, same holds true if you have a GPS; pay
and pike, the recommended trolling which allows me to know, exactly, attention, and once bit, hold steady.
speeds are 1 to 2 miles per hour. When which direction I'll need to be turning And the same goes for depth; it's
using crankbaits and when pulling well before I need to adjust. But while amazing the difference one foot can
crawler harnesses, .8 to 1.5 MPH is hydrographic mapping takes the make.
preferred. If you have a sonar unit guesswork out of the trolling equa-
with GPS, pay attention to your speed tion, I still keep my eye on the screen
right down to the one-tenth of a MPH,
and when you start getting hits at
one particular speed, do your best to
maintain it. Even though their recom-
mended speeds do overlap a little, it's
best not to mix your spread with both
crankbaits and crawler harnesses,
but instead use only one or the other.
Largely, it’s always best to troll
with the wind as you’ll be able to
maintain your speed better, as well
have better boat and depth control.

Seeing is Believing
It was a real eye-opener for my
grandfather and father when they got
their first sonar unit – a Lowrance
Green Box, to be exact. That simple
flasher unit helped them understand
exactly how deep it was below. It also
helped them to mark fish. And when
they caught fish in a specific depth,
they could stay in that depth and try
other areas of the same depth. Their
catch increased even more, usually.
But it wasn’t until I started fish-
ing professionally and had buddied
up with Gray Roach (aka: Mr. Wall-
eye) that I realized the importance of
not just knowing how deep it was you
were getting bites, but making sure
you controlled your boat so that you
stayed in that depth at all times.
Even when I was driving the boat,
Roach’s eyes were always focused on

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 31

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By Darren Warner

of Grass Carp

cross the country, Asian to the Great Lakes as do bighead and meaning Michiganians are prohib-
carp threaten delicate silver carp.” ited from possessing or selling Asian
aquatic ecosystems, so The DNR has a response plan carp. This isn’t the case for some
much so that the U.S. for dealing with Lake Erie grass other states. Iowa, Missouri and
Army Corps of Engineers released carp, but the two-page document other states still permit the sale of
a report that recommended new is short on specifics detailing how diploid (fertile) grass carp, and many
measures be taken to prevent the the agency will combat the invasive Great Lakes states allow residents
invasive fish from getting into the species. That and the paltry number to own triploid (sterile) grass carp.
Great Lakes. Recommendations of grass carp that the DNR has Do a quick web search, and you’ll
include strengthening the current removed (more on this later) compel find a host of companies selling
defense at Brandon Road Lock in some to question the agency. We’ll grass carp, also called white amur,
Illinois, an underwater electric tackle that topic, detailing the state’s demonstrating just how pervasive
barrier, by adding water jets and efforts to get grass carp out of Lake the species is in the country.
underwater sound speaker systems Erie. “Ohio has a program where
to repel carp. But before we do, let’s look they allow triploid grass carp,” said
While these efforts are needed, briefly at the history of grass carp in Jim Francis, Lake Erie Basin coor-
many don’t realize that one carp the U.S., how they got into Michigan, dinator for the DNR. “They deter-
species has already invaded one of and the negative effects they can mined that compliance would be low
the Great Lakes. have on other fish and wildlife. if they banned all grass carp. While
“We have had grass carp in Lake most of the ones the Ohio DNR tests
Erie since the mid-1980s,” said Seth A Domestic History are sterile, the risk is still there that
Herbst, Ph.D., fisheries biologist some diploid ones could fall through
and aquatic species coordinator the There are four main species of the cracks and reproduce.”
Michigan Department of Natural Asian carp threatening Michigan’s Although native to eastern Asia,
Resources (DNR). “Their popu- Great Lakes: Bighead, black, silver grass carp were imported to the
lation doesn’t seem to be rapidly and grass carp. The DNR has classi- U.S. in the early 1960s. Today they
increasing, and we [the DNR] don’t fied all of them as invasive species, can be found in most states, with
believe they pose as big of a threat established populations found in

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tributaries of the Mississippi River. kind of like looking for a needle in deeper in the water to find eggs,”
Like other carp, they can tolerate a haystack,” Francis added. “From Herbst added. “Prior to 2017, we
high water temperatures and murky 2014 to the present, we’ve found 127 were searching more shallowly for
or even brackish water. adult grass carp, but we can’t say if grass carp eggs, so really our collec-
You might be wondering why the population is going up or down.” tion methods have changed, making
folks would want to own grass carp, Like all carp, white amur can it impossible to compare the number
a distasteful fish species that can thrive in a variety of environments. of eggs we found in 2015 to 2017.”
grow to more than 5 feet long and They readily consume many types While grass carp can act like
weigh more than 80 pounds. Unlike of aquatic vegetation, and they’re vacuum cleaners to clean up ponds
bighead and silver carp, which difficult for anglers to catch, as they and lakes, their voracious appetites
feed off plankton, a grass carp’s tend to be easily spooked. can quickly destroy all submerged
diet consists solely of submerged Given their hardy nature and vegetation and surrounding habitat.
aquatic vegetation. For decades, ability to quickly reproduce (one “Grass carp consume vegeta-
golf courses, condominium associ- fish can lay up to one million eggs tion from the time they’re an inch
ations, medical centers and others at a time), it’s hard to fathom that long to one carp we caught that was
have used them to control aquatic Michigan’s population of grass carp more than 4 feet long, and they can
weeds in lakes and ponds. Ironically, is declining. In fact, the number live into their teens,” said Patrick
the first grass carp were sent from of eggs researchers have found in Kocovsky, a USGS research fishery
Taiwan and Malaysia to aquaculture recent years suggests otherwise. biologist who works closely with the
facilities in Alabama and Arkansas In 2015, biologists found nine grass Michigan DNR to study and catch
to control unwanted aquatic carp eggs in the Sandusky grass carp. “When they’re smaller,
vegetation. they consume their body weight in
Grass carp brought to Michigan vegetation each day. As full-grown
were supposed to have been trip- adults, they take only about three
loid, or incapable of reproducing. days to consume their body weight
Unfortunately, many diploid, or in vegetation. We have found
fertile, grass carp somehow many large ponds and

made their way to

the Great Lakes State. lakes
“In 2012, we [the DNR] worked that hold grass carp
with commercial anglers to catch and are completely devoid of
grass carp and test them to see if River. vegetation.”
they were fertile,” explained Herbst. T h a t number quickly The ability of grass carp to oblit-
“From 2012-2016, we found that most skyrocketed. erate aquatic vegetation can have
of (the) grass carp caught in Lake “In 2017, the USGS [United States enormous effects on other fish and
Erie proper have been fertile.” Geological Survey] found over 7,000 waterfowl.
grass carp eggs in the Maumee and “If you think about how many
The Damage they do Sandusky rivers,” explained Marc different dabbling [surface-feeding]
Gadon, Ph.D., communications ducks and fish need semi-aquatic
Herbst added that grass carp director for the Great Lakes Fishery vegetation for food, cover and repro-
in small numbers don’t do much Commission ( duction, you can quickly see how
damage to native aquatic habitat. But hold on, says the DNR, grass carp can have a lot of negative
The problem is that Michigan doesn’t because this doesn’t necessarily effects on other species,” said Gildo
know just how many grass carp call mean we have a grass carp explosion Tori, director of public policy for
the Great Lakes State home. on our hands. the Great Lakes Region of Ducks
“We don’t really know how many “One of the things we recently Unlimited ( “Anytime
grass carp we have, because it’s learned is that you have to look you have an invasive species that
cont. pg.34

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 35 6/11/2018 8:39:03 AM

inhabits your state, you’ve got a big and movements. Ostensibly, the we had 26 fish that were detected,”
problem that must be dealt with goal is to better determine where Brenden added. “We’ve learned they
swiftly (and) aggressively.” they can be found at different times reside in the Sandusky River longer
Take a moment to consider Tori’s of the year to eliminate them. For than we would have thought. If we
statement. Devoid of vegetation, example, from 2014-2017, DNR and can tie specific conditions to when
mallards, teal and other dabbling MSU staffers have captured and the fish are spawning, we can disrupt
ducks won’t find food; bass won’t find placed radio telemetry transmitters those conditions and prevent their
food or spawning grounds; entire in the body cavities of 50 grass carp reproduction.”
wetlands could be destroyed; and to study their movements. Dozens Funding for the project comes
anglers and hunters won’t find the of radio telemetry receivers found from the Great Lakes Restoration
fish and birds they’re after. While throughout Lake Erie and major Initiative federal grant, with $110,000
the DNR is paying a great deal of tributaries pinpoint grass carp spent from 2014-2017 to better under-
attention on preventing bighead and travel patterns. stand grass carp movements. Not
silver carp from entering the Great “The transmitters emit a series everyone thinks the project was a
Lakes, grass carp are already here. of pings [sounds] that are unique good use of funding.
No one knows for sure the delete- to each fish,” explained Travis “It’s hard to understand how, if
rious effects they could have on the Brenden, Ph.D., associate professor the goal is to eliminate grass carp
survival and reproduction of other in the Department of Fisheries and from Lake Erie, that it makes sense
species, let alone the Great Lakes’ Wildlife at MSU. “The pings are to catch and then release an invasive
$7-billion fishing industry. detected, and data including date, species back into Lake Erie, many of
time and approximate location are which can reproduce,” said Tori.
recorded by the receivers.” Not surpriingly, Herbst
Michigan’s Response One major problem with the disagrees.
study is poor survival rate of carp “In the summer of 2017, prelim-
For years, the DNR has part- that were captured and had a trans- inary results from the study helped
nered with researchers at Michigan mitter placed inside them. us target grass carp in the Sandusky
State University, Central Michigan “Our last download of the data River, resulting in the capture of
University and others to study occurred in the fall of 2017, and eight carp over a two-day period,
grass carp breeding habits, diet

34 |

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States and Canadian provinces around the Great Lakes vary widely in terms of
policies on grass carp. While Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota have banned the
possession and sale of the species, other Great Lakes states allow them. Illinois,
Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York all permit triploid (sterile) grass carp,
although research has shown that some grass carp found in these states are capable
of reproducing.
which was a 400 percent increase in resources if the DNR had worked “Bighead and silver carp pose a
the number of grass carp captured with commercial anglers before greater risk for negative ecological
from a similar control effort taking on the enormous task of and social impacts,” Herbst said.
conducted in 2014.” collaborating with many other state “For example, unlike grass carp,
Michigan has spent an additional agencies and university researchers silver carp can leap out of the water,
$110,000 in GLRI funds partnering to locate elusive grass carp. which poses a direct threat to recre-
with CMU to conduct microchem- Recently, the DNR received ational boaters.”
istry analyses to determine grass $500,000 in funding from Michigan’s Francis agrees.
carp natal origins and to conduct Scientific Fish and Wildlife “We’ve conducted risk assess-
genetic testing to determine diet. In Conservation Act to respond to ments of the damage each Asian
addition, the DNR has collaborated invasive species like grass carp. The carp species can do, and based on the
with many other state agencies and MSU telemetry project continues, available research, if you put grass
universities to locate and capture and state and federal funding will carp next to bighead and silver carp,
grass carp, producing minimal be used to hire three grass carp the latter two are a much greater
results. After carrying out several response crew members. concern for us.”
multi-day projects to find the carp, When asked if enough is being Only time will tell if they’re
the DNR learned that the best way to done by the DNR to reduce grass right. The fate of Michigan’s waters,
do so was to pay commercial anglers carp, Herbst was adamant that delicate ecosystems and wetlands
$75 for each grass carp they inadver- the resources being dedicated to just may rest on these Asian carp
tently catch in Michigan waters. It’s reducing grass carp are commensu- management decisions.
not a stretch to say that it would have rate with the damage the fish can do
been a more prudent use of time and in Michigan.

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 35

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Af·ter Work
A tribute to those who work
9-5 everyday. Your outdoor
pursuits are precious — we
hope this helps you cherish

"After School"
Grand Marais

By Blake Sherburne

y mom started taking Hamilton.
my little sister and me Grandpa and I went to the pier
to Grand Marais in 1990. just before dark. Using steelhead
The last day of school eggs singly threaded on Aberdeen
was a half day, and she was waiting hooks, light leaders and flat, heavy
out by the buses to pick us up and sinkers, we waited for the whitefish
head north. I was eight and Morgan to come in for the evening. The
was six. My maternal grandparents fishing was not always great because
had been going there for years to it was fairly weather dependent.
camp and fish for whitefish off the But, I do not remember leaving the
pier. That first year, we stayed in pier without a few, and often our
their Avon camper with them. Mom limit — very often. He and I would
broke down the table and made the stay until two in the morning or
couches into beds for us every night. later, my mom’s heart in her throat
During the day, Morgan and I put the whole time because she is afraid
miles on our bikes riding around of the water. The adage, “Lake
that little campground. We spent Superior never gives up her dead”
hours trying to trap the omnipresent took new meaning when the thought
chipmunks with grandpa’s fishing of recovering my eight-year-old
pails and sunflower seeds. That first body crossed my mind. There are
year, I watched every game of the pictures from that first year that
NBA Finals, helping the “Bad Boys” show my mom's dread — me on the
beat the Trail Blazers for their pier with grandpa, dutifully wearing
second consecutive championship. the life jacket my mom dragged up
I spent every night on the pier with there from Mesick. Fortunately,
my beloved grandpa, Elbert “Bud” that phase did not last long, and I

36 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 38 6/11/2018 8:39:09 AM

never fell off the pier. would be. We took spinning gear at mosquito bites to entertain us for the
After that, we were hooked. first and tried to fish from the banks. night. The undersides of my fore-
My parents bought a pop-up so we The aforementioned alder made arms didn’t really have mosquito
had our own place to stay. We went that nearly impossible. Dad’s first bites; they were a mosquito bite.
every year. Mom always met us cast from the small access point we Knowing that little spot was
after our last half-day of school, found brought a flash from a decent there was enough to keep us
the van already packed and the brookie. He yelled out that he had dreaming of our next trips to Grand
pop-up ready to go, and we drove seen a fish already, and my expe- Marais. Dad and I acquired new
north. Those weeks spent with my rience from our other wild goose equipment, including mosquito
grandpa have turned out to be some chases had lent me a small air of net shirts and headgear. Chest
of the most important of my life. My incredulity. I didn’t believe him at waders were still a few years off,
dad could rarely make it because first, but subsequent casts brought however, and we spent many an
of the Christmas tree farm. Early more flashes and strikes from eager hour wading down that stream, up
June was always when our scotch brookies. We knew we had found a to our armpits sometimes, in jeans
pine were ready to prune. When special spot. I had brought only hip and sneakers. Several years we
he did make it, we spent our days boots, but in order to fish the water went back in July and sometimes
chasing Hemingway. Grand Marais effectively, we had to get in the river. August, chasing brookies. We took
is not far from the Driggs, Fox and I was soon over my hip boots. Since one of my lifelong friends, Kenny, a
Two-Hearted rivers. Dad was and is, then, I’ve found that that is what few times and I can still see clearly
and I am now, a Hemingway fan. We hip boots are especially good at — in my head his rod tip shivering so
explored all the places we thought tempting one to wade too deep. A violently that it was a wonder he
Hemingway might have fished. The quick jaunt back to the truck and could keep any of his casts out of
Two-Hearted produced rainbow I was soon fishing in jeans and old the trees. The fishing was nearly
and brook trout, the Driggs showed tennis shoes, not ideal for a cold U.P. always good, and those late summer
us how difficult wading could be in river in early June. Every hole and trips brought another treat. We
the U.P. and produced good numbers log jam brought more eager slashes would fish as long as we could and
of brookies, but the Fox has always from keeper-size brookies, though. then climb out of the river and up
been our favorite. We stood on the We went back to the campground in the bank to a two-track that would
railroad bridge in Seney where Nick Grand Marais with a contribution take us back to our truck. Hanging
Adams got off the train and looked to the annual fish fry and enough over the two-track were Juneberry
for the brookies that Hemingway cont. pg.38
described as finning quietly in the Wade Sherburne, the author's father, displays a respectable brook trout he caught
shadow of the bridge. We never with Blake on one of their favorite Upper Peninsula streams. Although many go
saw them there, but we found them to Grand Marais to chase whitefish, Blake and his dad find more pleasure bush-
elsewhere when we could get a cast whacking into trout streams.
through the clouds of mosquitoes.
My grandpa passed in 2006, and
Grand Marais has never been the
same. My family still goes every
year. In fact, now it seems like half
of Mesick packs up and heads north
to fill freezers with whitefish. Our
annual campground fish fries that
used to be hosted by my grandpar-
ents are now provided by my uncle
Del. Every year, he asks if I’m going
to bring gear to go out on the pier for
whitefish. It’s hard for me to even set
foot on that pier. In truth, I’d rather
be crawling through tag alder and
the swarms of mosquitoes, the UP
state bird, in search of the brookie
that once broke my dad’s six-pound
test like it was spider web.
The rivers around Grand Marais
are work to fish. When my dad and
I first found the spot that has since
become our favorite, we weren't
prepared for how difficult the fishing

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 37

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 39 6/11/2018 8:39:09 AM

little events that we did when I was a
kid — I think the highlight being the
lighthouse walk out at Hurricane
Point. I still spend my time swatting
mosquitoes and bushwacking the
banks on the Sucker, Two-Hearted,
Fox and Driggs rivers.
As I said, though, life is
changing for us. It will be a while
before my son and my daughter
will be able to tag along through the
tag alders. They both have several
inches to gain before they are able
to do the serious wading it takes to
fish some of those rivers well. That
may well mean I’ll have to brave
the pier again. A friend and I were
discussing that the other night, and
it got me excited to spend some time
learning how to cook steelhead eggs.
Top: Blake cleans whitefish with his grandfather, Bud Hamilton, while camping in It also helped me to remember how
Grand Marais. Bottom: Blake's mom made him wear a life preserver out on the grandpa used to rig us up so that my
pier his first year fishing whitefish with grandpa because she feared he might fall son and daughter can experience a
to the depths. little of what I got to have with my
bushes that had enough ripe fruit arrived, my step-daughter remarked grandfather. I can’t wait to introduce
on them that we could pick handfuls to my wife that I was able to make my children to Hemingway and take
of berries while hiking back. That that long drive without the aid of a them to the railroad bridge in Seney
trip was over 20 years ago now, and GPS or even a map. Little does she where Nick Adams stood. Maybe,
Kenny still talks about how much know that I could probably make this time, the Brookies will be there,
fun it was to have trout fishing that that drive with my eyes closed. My finning quietly in the current under
good and then have a snack hanging wife, my mother and sometimes the shade of the bridge.
over our heads for the hike out. my sister, still do all the traditional
Now, my own family dynamic
is changing. My son will be three
in August, and my daughter will
be eight months old. My wife and
I have been going to Grand Marais
together since we started dating.
That place and that pier are so
important to me that that is where I
proposed to my wife, out on the end
of the pier, just after the sunset we
missed by dilly-dallying. I’m not
sure if that memory is the reason
or if my wife just fell in love with
the campground and the little town
and spending a solid week with my
family, but we’ve now purchased
our first camper. My wife uses
a week of her precious vacation
time, and we still head off to Grand
Marais early every June. Last year,
I was not able to go up the same
day as the rest of my family — too
much work to do on the tree farm.
Luckily, though, school let out the
day I could leave. So, I picked up
my step-daughter from school and
headed north. Sometime after we

38 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 40 6/11/2018 8:39:10 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.

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 41 6/11/2018 8:39:11 AM

Artwork by Maggie Madsen

Matt McQueen writes a fiction column for

Michigan Out-of-Doors. We are excited to
feature a little different take on our outdoor
world and the heritage attached to it.

ey," I said to him as However, it only took one trip water making for good structure.
he rode shotgun. "You for Bruiser to learn that fishing rods It had been 30 minutes since
have to control your- equal fish and fish equal splashing, Martin went for firewood when I
self this time." flopping play toys. Bruiser turns heard him crashing his way back to
Bruiser looked at me with his into a lunatic at the sight of a bent camp. Using two ropes, he dragged
nose slightly lowered, mouth shut rod, and when a fish crosses the two large bundles of wood behind
and lower front teeth protruding gunwale, he attacks it like a savage him like a horse skidding logs. We
obnoxiously. This was his "poker beast, jumping around like a hyper- ate lunch and caught up on each
face," and I knew I was getting idiot in a mosh pit, crushing rods other's lives. Bruiser slept through
nowhere with him. and knocking people over. After the the afternoon in front of our
I had always wanted an English fish is put in the cooler, Bruiser will boat, resting up for future fishing
bulldog, and once our kids were lay down and fall asleep in less than insanity.
finally out of the house, my wife a minute, snoring like he suffers As the sun sank low in the sky,
agreed to get Bruiser, whom she from sleep apnea. It was funny the we made a dinner of hot dogs, chips
refers to as "Cousin Eddie." I thought first time; but as he got bigger, he and beans. I threw two uncooked
he would be a good boat dog to take started doing more damage, and I hotdogs to Bruiser who snorted
trolling along the Lake Michigan started leaving him at home. as he woofed them down. After
coastline. It turned out that Bruiser It was now our annual catfishing dinner we prepared the rods and cut
suffered from the same disorder as weekend. Martin and I had been forked branches to prop them on.
Dr. Henry Jekyll. Bruiser is the coming out here for close to two Crawlers, chicken livers, doe bait,
most docile canine I have ever had, decades. We've made some good hot dogs, cut shad and cisco — we've
and after having raised two black memories here where the river used it all over the years.
labs, a German shorthaired pointer slows and widens as it enters the Martin attached bells to the
and three male humans, I try not to reservoir. We camped on a point ends of his rods. I set my reels to
feel disdain when he loafs around that used to be the inside bend of free spool and turned on the clickers
sleeping through the most exciting the river before the dam was built. for their audible alarms. I looked
moments of life. The point continues out under the over at Bruiser and saw that he

40 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 42 6/11/2018 8:39:11 AM

was sleeping again. His drool had out and then I was dreaming about "Bruiser! Get back here you
glued pine needles to the side of his 30-pound cats and 30-point bucks. blockhead!" I screamed at the
face. Let sleeping dogs lie, I thought "Tlick," The sound was so quiet rippling water surface. "Bruiser!"
to myself, as I considered the way that the fish may have been chewing "I'll get him," Martin said as he
Bruiser would act if he knew we on the bait for a while without my jumped into the dark water.
were already fishing. knowing. Then I heard it again but Then, just as quickly as they
Ching-a-ling! Martin walked even more subtly, "tlick." I looked at disappeared, Martin emerged drag-
over to one of his rods and set the my phone. It was 3:07 A.M. ging Bruiser by his collar. Bruiser
hook. Suddenly, the reel erupted with slapped the water with his front
"Alright!" I said happily as the the sound of a fish stripping out legs, his huge head pulling him
first cat of the evening was caught. line. The fish swam 15 yards and downward while his rear remained
A few seconds later, Bruiser arrived stopped. The reel went silent. buoyant. Once on shore, Bruiser
swinging his body around like a I ripped and clawed at the zipper shook himself off and started going
wrecking ball. of my sleeping bag and emerged crazy on the bank as he watched me
"No," I said to him. To my whirling with a mix of sleep and fight the big fish.
amazement, he obeyed on the first adrenaline as I tried to prepare for Ten minutes later, the giant cat
command. He didn't leave, but he battle. Bruiser bolted over like a gave up, and Martin netted it. We
did settle down and intently watched lunatic. Sensing my excitement, stared at it for a few seconds in the
as Martin put the fish on a stringer. Bruiser interpreted this moment to lantern light, its dark gray skin
By 11:30 P.M., we had nine fish mean now was the time to act insane shining dully.
ranging from 14 to 22 inches. I because I was obviously acting "Nice fish!" Martin said, as his
prepared my cot and sleeping bag. I insane, too. Just before grabbing the clothes dripped with lake water.
shoved the stuff sack of my sleeping rod, I paused, staring at the silent "Biggest cat I've ever caught,"
bag full of moss, pine needles and reel. It felt like hours went by as I I said, as I grabbed the fish by the
leaves to make a pillow and posi- stooped over my rod, fingers inches base of its tail and supported it just
tioned myself within a few feet of from the handle. "Tlick." I grabbed below the pectoral fins for a picture.
my rods. Bruiser sat on the bank the rod and snapped over the lever "Let's get it back in the water."
staring into the darkness where the to engage the drag, reeled aggres- I gently slipped the big fish back
fish swam on the stringer. He had sat sively and set the hook as soon as I into the water while maintaining a
and stared at the water for the past felt resistance. The giant cat imme- good grip on its tail. I loosened my
three hours, unable to see the fish in diately took off like a bucking bull grip once it began to steady itself on
the darkness, but smart enough to as it tried to power its way deeper off its own and watched it swim into the
know the fish were there. I laid back the side of the underwater point. darkness where it came from.
and stared up at the stars. The last Splash! Fifty pounds of stupid "Thanks for nothing, Bruiser," I
thing I remembered hearing was launched itself into the black water said to my beloved fishing partner.
Martin getting his sleeping gear and immediately disappeared. "Good thing I like you."

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 41

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 43 6/11/2018 8:39:11 AM

Where to find Walleye, Bass and Pike

By Jim Bedford

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 44 6/11/2018 8:39:12 AM

alleyes, northern pike, turbines will often stun or cripple Au Sable River
and smallmouth bass baitfish, making for easy meals for
are considered cool the smallmouth and walleyes.
water species by fish- The Hattie Street Dam is the first Mention the Au Sable River and
eries biologists. Water tempera- one up from Green Bay, and the anglers automatically think trout
tures in the low to mid-70s are ideal reach between the dam and the bay and fly fishing. Well, that's appro-
for these fish. The summer water is a hot spot for both walleyes and priate for the upper Au Sable and
temperatures in Michigan's large smallies. A boat is handy here, but its tributaries, but you will find very
rivers frequently fall in this range, you can also catch fish from shore good mixed bag fishing for walleyes,
and the walleyes, pike, and bass are near the dam and from Stephenson pike and smallmouth bass in its
often more active in these rivers Island on the Wisconsin side of the lower end. The stretch to concen-
during the mid-summer months river (your Michigan license is good trate on is between Foote Dam and
than they are in our lakes. on this boundary river). Big fish are the mouth of the river in Oscoda.
Smallmouth bass and walleyes possible here, as both walleyes and You can wade near the dam and at
share many other habitat prefer- smallmouth bass will move out of the Whirlpool access site; however, a
ences besides water temperature. Green Bay to feed in the river. small boat lets you cover the whole
Rivers with moderate flows and Moving upstream, the areas below river more effectively. There are
rocky bottoms provide ideal habitat the Chalk Hills and Grand Rapids launch ramps at the river mouth, the
for both species. Firm sand will also dams contain excellent numbers of Whirlpool and Foote Dam.
hold these fish as long as there is both walleyes and smallmouth bass. DNR biologist Tim Cwalinski
cover in the form of boulders, logs The many other dams also offer good suggests concentrating your efforts
or overhanging vegetation. Reaches fishing in the first mile or so below in the lower few miles of the river. He
of river where gravel riffles alternate them. There are also stretches of recommends giving special attention
with deep runs or holes are the ones rapids in the river, and fishing can be to the reach near the mouth of Van
to concentrate on when fishing for very productive in the areas near the Etten Creek. The pier at the mouth
walleyes and smallies. The presence base of the rapids as the water slows of the river can also be hot for these
of large rocks in both the holes and down. Access is good at all the dams green spiny predators in August.
riffles is always a big plus. and rapids on the Menominee, and You can reach Tim and other DNR
Pike, on the other hand, prefer you can get additional information biologists at (989) 732-3541 for more
slower water and softer substrates. on fishing the river by contacting the information.
Lots of wood in the water and weeds DNR at (906) 786-2351. cont. pg.44
help hide them as they wait to
ambush. While they will eat almost
anything that moves, their primary
diet is smaller fish. The author snapped this picture of a carnivorous pike in his net before releasing
Here is a run-down of our prime the fish back into the water for another angler to catch.
Michigan rivers and their reaches
that hold good numbers of small-
mouth bass, walleyes and pike. By
keeping these habitat preferences
in mind, you can also find your own
river hotspots.

Menominee River
The Menominee River forms the
border between Wisconsin and the
Upper Peninsula and offers the best
river fishing for smallies and wall-
eyes north of the Mackinac Bridge.
There are a number of dams on the
Menominee, and the stretches below
them are top spots for smallies and
walleyes. Pike can also be found
there, but the upper ends of the
impounded water are prime spots.
Dams block the upstream movement
of fish and concentrate them. When
the dam is an active power dam, the

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 43

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 45 6/11/2018 8:39:13 AM

and you will find pike in upper ends area below Grand Rapids, where the
of the flowages. If you have ques- river transitions from fast, rocky
Muskegon River tions, you can reach Jim and other water into a more gentle flow, is a
DNR biologists at (989) 684-9141. prime reach for larger fish. You can
The Muskegon is another river wade all of the water in the rapids
that is better known for its trout below 6th Street Dam in Grand
and steelhead fishing, but it has Grand River
Rapids and the upper part of the
more miles of river offering prime transition water, and a boat ramp at
northern pike, walleye and small- Michigan's longest river also Johnson Park gives floating anglers
mouth bass fishing. This river offers the state's best combo fishing access to the slower, deeper water
starts as the outlet of Houghton for walleyes and smallmouth bass, downstream.
Lake and flows almost 200 miles to with good number of pike in the Moving upstream, you don't
Lake Michigan. The prime reach lower reaches. Walleyes and smallies encounter another dam until you get
for both walleyes and smallies lies teem in this river, with the middle to the Webber Dam below Portland.
in the lower river from a few miles two-thirds of the river between You can have good fishing in the long
upstream of Bridgeton down to Lansing and Jenison providing the reach between the dams, but it will
Muskegon Lake. The upper river is top fishing. As usual, dams tend to pay to float a fair distance in order to
better for pike. This is big water and concentrate the fish, but you will find good numbers of walleyes and
floating is the way to go when fishing also find good fishing in free-flowing smallies. There is public access on
it. reaches between the dams. The both sides of the river below Webber
Upstream on the Muskegon, the

Church Tackle Co.

smallmouth bass outnumber the
walleyes, but there are still areas
where ‘eyes will contribute to your
We Didn’t Invent The Side Planer. We Just Perfected It!
catch. Biologist Rich O'Neal suggests
Quality products, Made in the USA
trying below Hardy and Rogers
dams for good mixed-bag fishing. TX-007 Stern Planer & TX-005 Mini Stern Planer TX-22 Special Planer Board
You will also find good numbers of (10 1/4” long, weighs about 3 oz) (7” long, weighs about 1.5 oz) Part# 30580 9 3/8” X 3 1/2”
The TX-22 is reversible &
walleyes further upstream in the An all new type of planer! comes with a fluorescent
stretch of river near the town of Big rch Tackle Co. red flag making the board
Rapids. For more information on Chu easy to see and folds down for easy
the Muskegon River, you can call the storage! Double Action Flag
Easy to attach and remove.
System available to signal a strike.
DNR at (231) 788-6798. Great for trolling in congested areas and more effective contour trolling along
drop offs contour lines, reef edges and weed lines in rivers, lakes or the ocean.
Effective for all species. Run more lines out the back of the boat by staggering
Tittabawassee River the Stern Planers. Run any distance from the boat yet maintain desired depth.

Walleye numbers are higher in

TX-12 Mini Planer Board Stingray
Airfoil design helps lift it over waves.
the Tittabawassee in the spring and Diving Weight
late fall, but you will still find them Unique error-proof design allows anglers to put
mixed in with the smallmouth in the more fish in the boat! Water strikes top surface,
forcing the Stingray downward. A fish on will
summer. This river is the northern-
force the nose upward & Stingray to the surface.
most tributary to the Saginaw River Available in unpainted or painted. 2 snaps for
and the prime reach for mixed-bag Part# 30500 (port) #30510 (starbrd) each weight included
fishing is between Midland and its 7 12” x 3”
Size #1 - .7 oz
confluence in the Saginaw. It is a big TX-6 Magnum Mini Planer #40300
river and wading is limited, but you Little but Mighty! unpainted #40302 black
can do well in your boots when the
water is low. Size #2 - 1.4 oz
Biologist Jim Baker recom-
mends that shore-bound anglers
try West Michigan Park in Saginaw # 30501 (port) #30502 (starboard) #40303 unpainted #40304 orange
and Imerman Park about six miles 5 1/4” X 2 1/4”
upstream where there is also a TX-6 and TX-12 Mini Planers Size #3 - 2.7 oz
fishing pier. Anglers can also launch work great with light tackle but still
boats at Imerman Park and at the take your lure out where you want
it. Both boards have the patented
Center Road boat launch in Saginaw.
rear pin and adjustable clip that make
Some resident walleyes mix in with #40305 unpainted #40306 chartreuse
Church Tackle Boards the #1 choice.
the smallies upstream from Midland
below the Sanford and Wixom dams,
Check with your local tackle shop first, if they don’t carry our products visit us at to view all
of our great American made fishing gear, or call us at 269-934-8528 to request a catalog. Like us on facebook f
44 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 46 6/11/2018 8:39:13 AM

best combo fishing for smallies
and walleyes in this Southwestern
Michigan river, while northern pike
replace the walleyes in the upper
river. The upper river and its two
branches contain surprisingly large
pike. Watching a 30-plus-inch fish
glide out from under a bush in very
clear water to grab your lure will get
your heart pumping.
Downstream from the city of
Kalamazoo, there are four drawn
down dams that tend to concen-
trate the smallmouth and walleyes.
The first is located about halfway
between the towns of Plainwell and
Otsego, and the next is in Otsego.
The third is two miles downstream
from Otsego, and the last is called
Trowbridge Dam and is halfway
between Otsego and Allegan. You
can try below all of these in one
outing and concentrate your fishing
where you have the most success.
The next dam is Allegan Dam,
and the river is free-flowing below
this barrier all the way to Lake
Michigan. This dam is located about
four miles west of the city of Allegan,
and the reach below it offers good
mixed-bag fishing. You can fish from
shore at the dam, but a boat is better
for fishing further downstream, and
there is a launch ramp at the dam.

St. Joseph River

Michigan shares the St. Joseph

River with Indiana, and there is good
Bob Bryans poses with a dandy walleye he caught on a spinner while using the combination fishing for walleyes
tactics Bedford talks about in this article. and smallmouth, both before the
Dam, and a large island below the abundant downstream. There are river loops into Indiana and after it
dam gives you a chance to "make two dams in Lansing, and there is returns. In the upper river, the best
the circle" for bass, walleyes and the good mixed-bag fishing and access mixed-bag fishing for walleyes, pike
occasional pike. below both. The river is usually and smallies occurs from the town
If you don't catch them at Webber, wadeable in mid-summer, and there of Colon down to the state line. The
you are just a few miles from the are river walks at both the North other hotspots in the upper river
Portland Dam. There is access on Lansing and Moores Park dams. are below the Sturgis Dam, which is
the west side of the river, and the Some walleyes move up into the Red about five miles downstream from
river is split by a wall between the Cedar River in town and join the Mendon and below the dams in
power channel and the spillway. I've plentiful smallies and pike in this Three Rivers and Constantine.
experienced better fishing below tributary. When the St. Joe returns to
the spillway. Continuing upstream, Michigan, the best fishing is found
walleyes and smallies are numerous below three dams in the towns
below the Grand Ledge Dam. There
Kalamazoo River of Niles, Buchanan and Berrien
are two parks on the south side of the Springs. There is good access at each
river with walleyes more numerous It is the lower half of the dam, and limited wading is possible
near the dam and smallies more Kalamazoo River that provides the below each barrier. A small boat will
cont. pg.46

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 47 6/11/2018 8:39:14 AM

and tips on fishing it can be obtained
from the DNR at (248) 359-9040.

Like all river fish, walleyes, pike
and smallmouth bass orient to the
current. Most of the time they will
lie behind an obstacle or in the slot
between a side eddy and the main
flow and wait for the current to
deliver food items. Of course, these
fish will also actively chase minnows
and crayfish. Since they usually face
upstream, the best plan is to fish
in an upstream direction, casting
above the fish and retrieving with
the current or allowing the current
to drift your offering to the bass and
Keeping these fish unaware of
your presence is the big advantage
of fishing upstream, especially
when wading. Smallmouth bass,
especially large ones, are wary
fish and walleyes and pike are not
dummies either. You stand a better
chance of catching all three species
by not signaling that you are in their
domain through sight, a cloud of silt
or a wake.
Crank baits, weighted spinners
and jigs are all good lure choices for
all three species. It is a good idea to
try and match the lure type with the
river habitat and the mood of the
fish. For shallow, rocky stretches,
the shallow diving balsa minnows
are deadly. For somewhat deeper
water, you can switch to deep diving
The author displays a smallmouth bass he caught using a weighted spinner
plugs but keep choosing models that
before releasing the fish back into the river.
imitate the shiners, chub and other
help you reach more water and will your tackle in any slow pool. The minnows in the river you are fishing.
be especially helpful when targeting lower river between the Belleville Weighted spinners are especially
walleyes. For more information Impoundment and Flat Rock runs effective in moving water and are a
on the St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, and through several metro parks and great choice for river smallmouth
Grand rivers, contact the Fisheries offers good fishing. bass, pike and walleyes. They really
Division of the DNR at (269) 685-6851. Upstream, Kent Lake is an get the attention of the fish and have
impoundment of the river and some action at very slow retrieve speeds,
of the walleyes from this lake are which is quite helpful when the wall-
Huron River eyes and smallies are not especially
showing up in the river downstream.
The same is true in the Ann Arbor active or the water is quite turbid.
The best chance for good combo
area, where again there are several These lures don't represent any
fishing in Southeastern Michigan
impoundments. Look for good natural food but they appear alive
is found in the Huron River. This
fishing below the Barton Dam right and attract game fish through both
river starts in Oakland County and
through town. Between Ann Arbor sight and sound.
flows south and east to Lake Erie.
and Kent Lake, there are also several Jigs, fished with plastic swim
It is an excellent smallmouth river
metro parks offering very good access tails or live minnows, may be the
and walleye numbers are steadily
to the river. Information on the river best lures of all for river walleyes
increasing. Pike are ready to test

46 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 48 6/11/2018 8:39:15 AM

and smallmouth bass. They are
especially effective when the water
is slow and quite deep. They are
usually more effective than other
lures for relatively inactive fish since
they are worked much slower. This
enables you to give the fish time to
decide that your offering is some-
thing good to eat.
Drifting the real thing is also
highly effective for river pike, small-
mouth and walleyes. While gath-
ering or buying live bait and keeping
it alive can be a hassle, there are
many times when bait will produce
more fish. Live bait is particularly
effective when the river is muddy
and the fish can't see your lures very
well. You can drift the bait slower
than the current and allow its scent
to precede it and attract fish.
Using a float is a handy and effec-
tive way to present live bait to these
predators. The bobber can almost
eliminate hanging up on the bottom,
which is especially problematic
with crayfish and hellgrammites.
These critters like to seek out rocks Tony Pagliei shows off a smallmouth bass he caught while floating a river in his
and sunken logs and burrow under personal watercraft.
them. Minnows may seek out the sure to attract hungry pike, walleyes polarized sunglasses and billed cap
bottom or try to swim to the surface. and smallies. so you can read the water and find
A float combined with a small split To find active walleyes and the submerged logs, boulders and
shot or two will keep the bait at the smallmouth during the dog other covers that harbor these fish.
right depth. If the bait is struggling days of summer, give the above
for the surface or the bottom, it is rivers a try. Don't forget your

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 47

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 49 6/11/2018 8:39:16 AM

A Forgotten Gem:
The rediscovery of an old bamboo rod

By John Heider

ppreciation of a gift where he’d make fine Tonkin Cane it ran, thanked me for covering his
without actual utilization rods. And he also made cedar strip hobby, I thanked him for his time
never fully realizes the kayaks and canoes from scratch. He and then I moved on to the other
reward’s true value. An had some pretty cool “hobbies." dozens of photo assignments I’d
offering of a bottle of 1976 Grand On the hunt for something have week after week — soon forget-
Cru burgundy seems darn good to do other than photograph the ting about Mr. Long and his exacting
nestled in your cellar amongst your garden club meetings and the hobby.
lesser wines. It seems even better in elementary school’s Student of About six months later, in the
your belly. the Week, I approached John and spring of 1998, I was lazing about
In the fall of 1997, I was a photo- asked if I could get some photos of Bueter’s one afternoon, looking at the
journalist for a small, weekly news- his fly rod-making process. Sure, newest graphite rod for an excuse to
paper in Southeast Michigan called no problem, he offered, and within avoid work, when Long approached
the Northville Record. One of my a week, I’d met him in his shop to me. He asked if I had a moment, as
duties there was to immerse myself recreate rod production moments of there was something he wanted to
in the locale and seek out publica- him planing some bamboo sections, show me. Long led me out behind the
tion-worthy stories, and literally wrapping and then varnishing fly shop to his pickup truck, opened
less than a block from the paper’s them. We even retired to a nearby up its camper shell and withdrew a
office was a humble fly fishing shop park and I got photos of John casting six-foot PVC tube. He then uncapped
called Beuter’s Outdoors. Local fly a two-section cane rod he’d created. the tube and took out a skinny,
bums like myself hung out there (a A week later, the newspaper olive-colored sock with something
sign near the pot of joe said “world’s published a photo-page of images in it. That something was a six-foot,
worst coffee - help yourselves”) to I’d taken of Long along with a little one-piece, four-weight bamboo rod
exchange ideas, techniques and, bit of copy I wrote. Nothing that that he’d made.
generally, avoid our real jobs. would amaze any of our readers, “I really appreciated the time you
It was there that I met a guy but the kind of everyday story the took to showcase my fly rod making.
named John Long. Long was a small town newspaper survives on. Here,” he said as he placed the bamboo
Detroit Telephone and Electric “Here’s what one of your own local, rod in my hands. I was stunned then
engineer with a penchant for taking fellow citizens does in their spare and still am to this day. He’d spent
his exacting love of numbers and time.” That sort of thing. John more than 40 hours making me this
angles and turning that into a hobby tracked me down at Bueter’s once delicate four-weight rod simply for …

48 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 50 6/11/2018 8:39:19 AM

doing my job. I thanked him profusely
that day and every day I saw him for
the next year or two.
I got the rod out on the water
quickly that spring. I tried it on
bluegill — which were great fun. A
few months later, I even took it up to
Michigan’s Au Sable River, kayaking
up its South Branch until I found a
willing foot-long brown to formally
christen my cane rod.
But after that, for the most part,
that beautiful, hand-crafted work
of art sat in its PVC tube, in the
back of my closet, as I fished other
rods for most of the next 20 years. I
almost felt schmuck-y as I cast fiber-
glass and graphite rods of a lesser
God. Those functional, but soulless,
mass-manufactured, two-piece rods
that I caught hundreds of brookies,
browns, smallies, carp, and salmon
with were no match for Long's piece
of art. I thought of the bamboo rod on
occasion but worried that its tooth-
pick-thin tip wouldn’t hold a 15-inch
bass and, oddly, that it was too regal
for those lowly, but delicious, bluegill
I loved to catch.
I might’ve taken the John Long-
made cane rod out literally once
every three years for a single outing,
and that was it. That changed last
summer, though. The summer of ’17
was its rebirth, and I finally gave that
cane rod its due. And then some.
At least two nights a week, from
early June until early September, I
took the rod, its reel and a double
taper line, a box of flies and a hemo-
stat and padded down to the Huron
River that flows right below my

Fish for Stocking

home in Ann Arbor for some fishing.
I almost always caught something:
bluegill, rock bass, small large-
mouth and large smallmouth — and
if I didn’t, I had fun casting and
turning that rod about in my hands
and gazing at that little one-piece • Most varieties for ponds or lakes
bamboo rod with its caramel brown
nodes and smooth varnish. • Laggis' Fish Farm
That rediscovered bestowal that
sat too long won’t be ignored in the • Days: (269) 628 2056
future. Long's memory comes alive
with each load, unload and hook
set of the rod. It is now warmly
• Nights: (269) 624 6215
embraced by its grateful recipient.

2018 | Michigan 49
Out-of-Doors 47

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 51 6/11/2018 8:39:20 AM

Have waders
Will travel
By Calvin McShane

50 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 52 6/11/2018 8:39:22 AM

friend and I were walking achievements and missteps, deter- the next "hot bite" only creates a
back to the truck, bodies mined to improve with each visit. fisherman dependent on others for
drenched, two satisfied We've fished all types of water — their successes and consequent joy.
fishermen stepping over from tiny, nameless creeks to the It seems that exploration and hard
logs and rocks along the shoreline shores of nearly every Great Lake. work can be forgotten all too quickly
of a large Michigan inland lake. We've found unmatched success and in the modern era of the sport.
It was early July, and we had been just as much failure, as anyone does However, even though it goes unno-
on a mission for a fish fry. As we with any type of fishing. However, ticed, wader fishing is the epitome
approached the parking lot, there no matter how old I get or how many of simplistic fishing: adventurous,
was a crowd of boats coming and fishless days I endure, when I want adaptive and versatile.
going, happy fisherman chatting to go fishing, I grab my waders first. When we hit the water, the
under the beaming Upper Peninsula I've found that all water is accessible natural intuition is to think about
sun. Back to the truck, we draped by foot, and much of my mission in everything below the water's surface:
our waders over the tailgate and life is to leave no brush unbeaten structure, depth and currents. These
quietly chuckled at the gallons of and no body of water unexplored. thoughts are undoubtedly crucial
water spilling out from our boots. From bar top conversations to understanding and locating fish.
We looked over to the crowd and and social media scouring, it's not Although, what we fail to do many
noticed more laughter thrown in hard to see that wader and shore- times is use what we can see above
our direction. We made out a few line fishing is often overlooked. the water's surface to offer insight
jokes that were obviously in refer- Occasionally, I will come across into fish location and behavior.
ence to our unusual choice to fish a magazine piece that highlights On the shoreline, we as fisherman
from shore on such a large body a niche where waders provide an must ask what do I see and how do I
of water. They saw two greenhorn advantage. As informative as these approach the circumstances in front
teenagers without a clue, and I pieces are, the truth is waders are of me. The advantages of being on
wasn't going to argue with them. more practical than just the rare the shoreline are numerous, but
To survey our catch, we began usage. Too often people want fishing most prominent is stealth. Whether
emptying our oversized minnow to be an easy thing, hopping from it be stream or lake, one can change
buckets, counting quietly to be sure hotspot to hotspot, creating a fishing tactics and locations in seconds,
to keep our success discrete. One by life of continuous prosperity. Too without the hassle of moving boats
one, 10-inch bluegill after 10-inch many times, I hear fisherman jock- and messing with loads of gear.
bluegill spilled out onto the grass eying for information, assuming a Fishing in this way also allows
until we lost count. Before we could fisherman is made in an exchange us to understand the lake in a
hide the evidence, those same guys of knowledge. The fact of the matter unique way much different than
were peeking over our shoulders is soliciting secrets and running to those who choose to take to a boat
and whispering, their embarrass- cont. pg.52
ment equally matched with my McShane and his fishing buddy caught a mess of bluegill on a large lake filled with
joy. Two teenage boys, stupid with boaters while wade fishing.
enthusiasm, put it together that day
— location, timing and, most impor-
tantly, technique.
As far as I was concerned as a
kid, fishing was synonymous with
waders. For most of my fishing
life I pretty much thought of the
ideas as mutually dependent — if
you wanted to go fishing, you did
so in waders. Long before I was
remotely adept at rod and reel,
I rifled through maps and books
alongside my father, looking for
new lakes and rivers to explore.
Once a new spot was settled on, we
loaded the waders and gear into the
truck and took off. Our strategy
has stayed the same over the years.
We work the shorelines in opposite
directions, fishing an assortment
of baits and tactics, reporting back
at the end of the day to discuss our

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 51

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and rely primarily on electronics. on your next trip, whether it be from small scattered everywhere across
Adaptability is key, and even bank or boat. the state. Knowing how to fish
though it seems counterintuitive at The obvious benefit to wader mid-lake points and humps allows
first, wader fishing offers enough fishing is gaining access to the shoreline fishermen to target pike
flexibility from moment to moment water that is otherwise inaccessible. and walleye in lakes where boats
that it can be wildly successful in a Shorelines spotted with pencil reeds cannot be launched. Endless miles
multitude of circumstances. yield bounties of bluegill — water of gorgeous streams that hold some
There is important knowledge that is just too shallow for boats to of the state's biggest and most beau-
to be gained by actually getting into navigate. Michigan is a lake fisher- tiful trout are off the beaten path and
the water. Touching, feeling and man's paradise with lakes big and often too small for anything besides
moving in the water, as if to gain
a first-hand introspection into the Above: McShane and some friends gear up before hitting an Upper Peninsula
environment, you, whether you stream. Below: McShane makes careful casts into a UP river for trout.
realize it or not, are invading and
interacting with it on an intimate
level. The opportunity to observe
fish at a close distance also becomes
a factor. Quickly, you learn what
movements cause a disturbance
and how fish will react. In this way,
shore fishing is humbling. Size and
distance matter more than ever
before, and even though it appears
you could be at a disadvantage, the
more you come to know the water,
the better equipped you are to fish
it and change with it as need be. No
water is overlooked when wader
fishing because it can't be. You can't
afford to bypass "ordinary" water.
You need to fish whatever is in front
you, and doing so on a regular basis
allows you to be a better fisherman

52 |

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the persistent and opportunistic fish-
erman adorned in chest-high waders.
Diversity is king, and without the
expenses of a large boat and lots of
gear, I am able to hop from walleye to
panfish to trout and back to walleye
with ease within days. Into my adult-
hood, I am still flipping through maps,
looking for something that everyone
else has missed. The mystery drives
my desire, and the variety keeps me
coming back for more.
I am fortunate my fishing life
has been one of continuous learning.
I take as much joy thinking of old
memories as I do getting prepared to
make new ones. For me, wader fishing
is a tradition steeped in meaning. The
lessons I have learned are evident in
countless pairs of waders that hang
in my fishing room — testimonies
to countless days of adventure. The
leaks, holes, scratches and dings are
memories upon memories of big fish
and an abundance of water. The
touch of neoprene brings about a flood
of impressions — huge successes,
grand adventures and crucial fishing
lessons. In waders, I honed my tech-
niques, with both gear and strategy,
allowing me to fish across the state in
a variety of circumstances.
I'll be asked plenty of times this
summer what I've been fishing for.
The answer is difficult to find as
my mind is overwhelmed with the
thoughts of panfish, pike, walleye
and trout. I fish for whatever I want
— I am a fisherman not limited by
gear or location. My father and I will
visit hundreds of lakes and streams
McShane displays a respectable brook trout he caught while wading in Michigan's
over our years, hopeful that we will
Upper Peninsula.
turn over every stone on our way
to mastering our craft. I'm proud to
call myself a wader fisherman, and I
am thrilled when I get the opportu-
nity to talk fishing — all the while
explaining that I do most of my
damage from the shoreline. In a
world overflowing with complexity,
it is nice to turn to something I love
so much for simplicity. Summer
after summer I will wade to the brim
of my waders and cast as far as my
pole allows. I'll probe the depths and
poke around the shallows looking
for my next fish story — just me, the
fish and a leaky pair of waders.

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 53

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Angling for our Future
By Henry Stancato
Stancato, left, poses with his friend and a walleye they caught on the Detroit River. Stancato passes on the importance of
buying a fishing license to his grandchildren.

pring is finally here in some anglers will turn their atten- with the neighbors, even with the
Southeast Michigan, and the tion to fishing for smallmouth bass snooty ones who insisted that we
fish are in the Detroit River. and muskie from Lake Huron to clean the fish first. Pro tip: Large
As I write this, the water Lake Erie. And starting in mid-July kitchen shears work best and fastest
temps are still unseasonably cool, some will head out for Lake St. Clair when cleaning a bushel basket full
but the annual walleye migration is and the St. Clair River to seek out of mackerel. Now, as a grandparent,
already going full blast. Each year the mighty sturgeon. The variety I enjoy the privilege of passing
this rite of spring fills the river with of game fish and the health of our these traditions on to our grand-
millions of walleye and thousands world-class fishery are astounding. sons. After a good day, the 8-year-old
of fishermen to kick off another We all understand that the pristine helps me distribute the catch among
season of the best urban fishing in beauty and solitude of less crowded family, neighbors and friends as he
the country. As the warm weather Michigan fishing spots hold a proudly tallies the number of fami-
approaches, the silver bass will special allure. But the Detroit River, lies who will be eating "his" fish that
follow; yellow perch too if you know together with its connecting water- night.
where to look for them. At night, ways, has its own kind of magic Part of the satisfaction in
bowhunters will prowl the shallows right here in most heavily populated angling comes from knowing that
for rough fish and walleye anglers corner of our state. we sportsmen and sportswomen
will switch over to handlining Like most passionate anglers, help to ensure that our woods,
where the water traffic dies down I started young. I spent much of waterways and fields will be here
and the bigger fish feed. During childhood in New England, where for generations to come. Sound
the day, countless shore fisherman my father would take my brothers fishing practices contribute to a
will set up all around Belle Isle and and me fishing for mackerel, healthy ecosystem; in this way,
along the riverbanks on both the stripers, tautog and flounder. When ethical recreational fishing means
Canadian and American sides. As we got home, we would go from good environmental stewardship.
the weather warms up even more, house to house to share the catch No one appreciates the majesty of

54 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 56 6/11/2018 8:39:30 AM

gamefish more than those of us who that are then able to attract anglers I don't know anyone who
study and pursue them obsessively. from around the world. depends exclusively on hunting
No one pays more attention to the In practice, these fees enable and fishing for sustenance. There's
constant threat of invasive species fish and wildlife agencies to admin- nothing wrong with grocery stores
than those of us who are out on the ister practical, science-based and restaurants. But being out on
water and experience the conse- conservation techniques. What's the water helps to keep us in touch
quences firsthand. left of our natural world could not with a distant, perhaps mythic
State taxes do not provide withstand the strain exerted by our memory of earlier epochs. Even
a major source of revenue for modern lifestyle without modern with modern gear in the middle of
conserving Michigan's natural wildlife management. The animal a pack of boats working the same
aquatic wildlife resources; that population simply cannot adapt drift during the spring walleye run,
comes from fishing license fees and fast enough by itself anymore to each strike triggers a faint ancestral
excise taxes on fishing equipment. the habitat changes that come with memory: My family and my neigh-
It's us folks out there jigging past housing subdivisions, industry, bor's family will eat well tonight.
the Renaissance Center and casting commerce, highways, etc. Without This is a part of our heritage we
our lines out from Belle Isle who wildlife management, the balance should honor and preserve in the
are helping to sustain Michigan's between many prey and predator best, most respectful way we know.
conservation efforts. combinations would collapse, Henry "Hank" Stancato is a
These funds are integral to resulting in too few animals in some member of Stancato Tragge Wells
clean water projects for fish habitat places to consume native plants PLLC in Detroit, where he has prac-
and long-term conservation plans and insects and too many in others. ticed commercial litigation law for
for our rivers and streams, efforts to Hunting and fishing regulations nearly 40 years. For the Michigan
monitor water levels and quality, and function to moderate this interac- Wildlife Council, he is a repre-
maintaining the natural balances tion and help animals all along the sentative of regular purchasers
of aquatic ecosystems. Our fishing food chain to thrive as they share of Michigan hunting or fishing
dollars support businesses and even Michigan's waterways, forests and licenses.
the economy of entire communities public lands with humans.

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 55

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18-MWC-0370_MUCCMagazineStripAd-PP-OL.indd 1 4/19/18 10:31 AM
Fishing the
Rifle River
Recreation Area
By Darin Potter

56 |

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ith each stroke of my thought of all the other fishing loca- Brook and brown trout, along
paddle, the kayak glided tions that awaited me another day with steelhead, inhabit the smaller
smoothly through the inside of the Rifle River Recreation tributary streams and the Rifle
water thrusting me Area. After all, this 4,449-acre tract River within the recreation area.
forward to a patch of lily pads that of public land is a paradise for Access to these streams can be
I had set course for. Once I reached anglers. found along Ranch Road; however,
the edge, I fastened on a red and Situated in northeast Ogemaw the Rifle River can be accessed
white hula popper — which had County, this wilderness setting along River Road, inside Ranch
proven irresistible to many bass contains numerous bodies of water and Spruce rustic campgrounds,
during past outings. Maybe this within a short distance of each and also at the canoe launch off of
time it would continue to perform; other. The close proximity makes Sage Lake Road which is located
but, then again, this is fishing we're this area extremely unique and at the southern end of the area. I
talking about. popular among fishing enthusiasts. have spoken with several local trout
After numerous, unsuccessful You can arrive at this fishing desti- fishermen who have said that this
casts, I decided it was time to pull nation from the south by taking stretch of river has given up more
anchor and set out on a course exit 202 (Alger/Rose City) off of I-75 trout than other areas downstream
towards the east side of the lake. and driving north 20 miles on M-33 of the recreation area.
It was at this particular location to Rose City. Turn right onto Rose The Rifle River begins at
that another camper had caught a City Road (F-28) and travel 4.5 miles Grousehaven Lake and empties
10-inch-long bluegill not too long to the recreation entrance on the into the Saginaw Bay near the town
ago. Closing in on the area, which south side of the road. of Omer. The opening weekend
was situated just beyond a narrow The many lakes and streams, of trout season, which begins the
island, I spotted two fawns near the along with the recreation area, last Saturday in April and ends
shoreline pouncing at each other in provide anglers with a tremendous September 30, lures many anglers
the shallow water. Their tails flick- amount of opportunities to fish free from around the state to the area in
ered as I reached a spot that looked from the disturbances of motorized hopes of catching the elusive trout.
promising, and they soon vanished boats. Because no motorized boats Baby night crawlers, wax worms
into cover. I began lowering a five- or trolling motors are allowed and spawn have given anglers the
pound anchor into about fifteen within the area, anglers must fish by best success on the Rifle River.
feet of water which kept my kayak means of a canoe, kayak, rowboat, Live bait can be purchased across
motionless even though the wind float tube or paddle boat. Five boat from the park entrance at Parkview
was extremely calm and there was launches situated on Grousehaven, Acres. They can be reached at (989)
only a small chance of drifting away. Lodge, Grebe, Jewett, and Devoe 473-3555. Rainbow trout must be 10
As I cast my line into the water, lakes allow fishing enthusiasts the inches long and brook and brown
serious thoughts had passed and ability to access the lakes with little trout must each be 8 inches in order
the fishing had begun. Within a effort. If you don't own a personal to keep.
half hour, I had reeled in two small watercraft, then try your luck Three rustic campgrounds, one
largemouth bass, but no bluegill. fishing off the fishing dock located modern campground and five rustic
Once again, I decided to pull up on Grebe Lake. Jutting out about 25 cabins are located within the area,
the anchor and paddle to another feet, this dock is a great way to get should you decide to turn a day of
area that had a deep drop off. Upon away from the hazards of fishing fishing into an extended outing.
reaching the new water, a nearby from shore and increase your Contact park headquarters for more
loon slowly swam past glancing fishing opportunities. information at (989) 473-2258 or visit
curiously and disappearing beyond Lake trout, yellow perch, blue- the Michigan DNR website at www.
my field of vision. As the sun began gills, sunfish, crappie, largemouth For camping
to disappear, I frantically took a bass, walleye and northern pike can reservations, call (800) 44-PARKS
few more casts with the same hula be found throughout the different With all of these fishing oppor-
popper. I figured this would be the lakes in the area. The panfishing tunities available within such a
perfect ingredient in luring a large has been most successful on Grebe close distance of each other, it is
bass from another patch of lily pads, and Devoe lakes in recent years. A no wonder that anglers from across
but my attempts proved unsuc- few summers ago, a camper staying the state return annually in hopes
cessful once again. With darkness inside of the recreation area reeled of catching fish in this wilderness
approaching fast, I propelled the in a 10-inch bluegill towards the east setting.
kayak to the boat launch and my end of Devoe Lake. Besides panfish,
evening of fishing had concluded. rainbow and brown trout also
Although unsuccessful in inhabit Devoe and Grousehaven
catching any keepers on this trip, I lakes.

Winter 2018
Summer 2018||Michigan Out-of-Doors 57
MichiganOut-of-Doors 57

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 59 6/11/2018 8:39:31 AM

By Isaac Gregory

In memory of
Evan Ross Willman
April 14, 1993 to
December 29, 2016
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ou know that buddy you recipe for fly cement. The most family heirloom — everything was
have that you do every- impressive, I think, were the two perfect.
thing with? That buddy arctic mink tails from the early The night before I was supposed
that can tell hundreds of 1960s...unopened. to meet up with him for my intro-
stories that never seem to get old I poured over this drawer of ductory tying lesson, my best friend
because you were there and lived historical eight-weight goodness passed away.
them together? and realized that I had absolutely You know, whether it's a father,
Lots of folks are lucky enough no clue how to tie flies, not even a grandfather, buddy or another
to find that friend. It can be a spouse simple one such as an egg-sucking outdoors-loving companion that
or a relative, but often the bond is leech or a top-water skim fly. I comes to mind when you read this
found with someone who was once placed a call to the aforementioned story, most of us can relate in one
a total stranger to you. Eventually, friend, who had mastered fly-tying way or another. You catch that fish,
they turned into a lifelong sidekick years ago, and was successful to the you kill that monster buck, you go
— you know the kind of buddy I am point of considering opening his on the safari hunt of a lifetime — if
talking about. own tying business. that person you spent so much time
I had that buddy, but not for We set up a day for a tutorial, outdoors with isn't with you physi-
nearly long enough. At the end of a starter, a way for me to dip my cally, they cross your mind.
2016, he was suddenly lost and is hand into the waters of tying. I was When they're gone, you see
now fishing the big river high above excited. I was ecstatic, really. All of things differently. You hear them
us. this time watching him tie and now in the rolling stream water, you
There's a story to be told about I got to join him using my wife's notice when you think about them
how we lost him and who still hurts
each day because of it, but that can
be told another time. The events
that have unfolded since, however,
form one of the strangest scripts
that could ever be written.
My buddy and I were insepa-
rable. At the time of losing him, we
were each engaged to be married to
wonderful women, both far out of
our respective leagues, and we were
each to be the co-best man in the
other's ceremony.
We were close. We hunted,
fished, played football, worked in
the woods, ate and swapped stories
together. We were brothers in every
way except blood.
Now, only months before
tragedy struck, I was given a gift. It
was my wife's (at the time, she was
my fiancé) grandfather's drawer of
fly-tying supplies. This was a gift
of dreams for me. I'd made lures for
a while, but I had always wanted
to get into tying, and this was my
opportunity to do just that.
I sorted through the drawer
that I had been given, and some
of the treasures it contained were
amazing. An early 1950s E. Hille
catalog, one advertising 500 egg
hooks for 10 cents and the included
postage to send for such. That was
just the surface, though.
There were handwritten notes
from my wife's grandfather, along
with some stranger's earmarked

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 59

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The author, left, poses with Willman's fiance's brothers, Gabe and Noah and his best friend, Evan Willman, who passed
away too early in life.
that a cardinal seems to drift in out beliefs as strong as any man, seeing of the wonderful friend that I lost
of nowhere, you feel their hand on things of that nature have to be but makes me proud to be carrying
your shoulder before you release fairly concrete for me. On that night, on what he did so very well.
the arrow. though, for the first time since he Like many people, I too see things
I have felt all of these things had passed on, things felt different. in the wild that make me scratch my
since, but where I've found my best I flipped open the book on tying head like a shooting star on a cloudy
man is not in nature at all. It's at his that had come from my wife's grand- night or the feeling that someone is
fly tying desk in the library room at father. It showed how to secure the sitting in the passenger seat of my
my home. hook and what to use the bobbins for. Silverado when I'm on a long drive
About a week after his funeral, Once I made it that far, for a reason by myself.
his father got ahold of me and said that I may never know, I closed the Perhaps the most famous musing
that he knew of our plans and that book. of this concept is by Ted Nugent
he wanted me to have the desk and I suddenly saw the entire desk, when he sings about Fred Bear. "I'm
everything in it. I was honored to and everything on it, as more than glad to have you by my side, my
have it, but I was still at a tough spot stuff. They were pieces to parts, friend," he says. "I'll join you in the
in the progression of tying. parts that could make a whole, a big hunt before too long."
How the hell do you tie a fly? whole product that was whatever I Tying flies is something that
One night, later that January, I wanted it to be. really, by the way the chips fell,
sat down at the desk. I poured myself I tied and tied, nearly until my should leave me somber and sulking.
a good bourbon, and I pulled up an fingers bled. I tied like a madman Just holding the flies that my buddy
extra chair to just sit there empty until at one point I stopped for a sip tied before he passed away should be
beside me. I took a sip and spoke to of bourbon. I saw the snow again. enough to bring me to tears.
the cold, empty house around me. And, once again, I talked to the Sometimes, they are. Other
"Teach me, will ya? You're late." empty room, one that seemed a bit times, though, it's the thing that gets
I happened to glance out the more full now: me through the day; it's the thing I
window, and snow was falling. It "How am I doing?" can do where I can still feel him
wasn't those typical Michigan The answer was nothing para- sitting beside me.
January flakes with the icy, pellet- normal, nothing that blew me away. Hackle and pins are fine feathers
like flakes. No, instead, these flakes No doors opened, no drafts floated to tie with, but it's that touch of
were massive. The ones you'd see in past me. I was met with quiet and a angel wing, the one feather that I'll
a snow globe. I smiled and knew that desire to keep tying. never run out of, that will catch the
I wasn't alone. I have since tied hundreds of late-August sun and entice that big
I should add, I'm not one to jump flies, and I can say quite surely that brook trout to come out and play.
to conclusions. While I have a set of I'm addicted. Each one reminds me

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"My buddy and I were inseparable. At the time
of losing him, we were each engaged to be
married to wonderful women, both far out of
our respective leagues, and we were each to be
the co-best man in the other's ceremony."

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 61

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 63 6/11/2018 8:39:32 AM

Bites By David Rose

he mainstream of my caught. Sometimes you have to do as Nowadays, when I see the first
friends are dyed-in-the- my fly fishing buds and match the signs of insect sheds on the surface,
wool anglers. They attempt hatch — not necessarily with flies, conversely, I realize spectacular
to catch fish year-round however — while other times fishing bites could very well be taking place
through the best of bites as well as with something the total opposite of throughout the day.
the bad. About half of them like a winged insect or nymph will get Taking a cue from my saltwater
flinging flies for their fish, while you strikes. angling buddies — who are always
others cast hardware and employ Overall, paying attention to your on the lookout for birds diving into
live bait tactics. Some, like myself, surroundings at all times while the water and feeding on baitfish — I
love to do it all. you're on the water, watching for the now start scanning the waterway for
My fly fishing buddies anticipate telltale signs of a hatch in progress birds flocked up feeding on mayflies
the arrival of bugs molting into adults and then getting right into the thick well above the surface.
in rivers with delight — tying feather of things will get you into fish when Basically, if there's a feeding
and fur to a hook to match what- everyone else is heading back to the frenzy happening over the lake,
ever it is that's about to hatch. The dock emptyhanded. there's another taking place below it.
giant Michigan mayfly (Hexagenia And just like my salty buds, this
limbata) being the epicenter of their On the Lookout is when I fire up my main outboard
bug-imitating bliss. My buds who and head right into the middle of the
like to fish lakes, on the other hand, Early on in my career as a chaos.
curse nearly every hatch of the many fishing guide on the inland lakes in
species of mayflies that reside in this the northwest corner of Michigan's Within the Thick of it All
state. They claim that from the very Lower Peninsula, realizing a major
moment the first nymph wiggles its bug hatch had taken place overnight It was over two decades ago
way to the surface and sheds into its was a letdown for me as well my when Cal Stier of No-fish No-Fee
adult stage, that fish can no longer clients. There was nothing worse Fishing Guide Service was fishing a
be caught until many weeks, if not than when a customer asked me if bass tournament on an inland lake
months, after the last one is done the big brown form they could see in Michigan's Northwest Lower
hatching. in the middle of a lake was sandbar Peninsula. It was a late-June derby; a
But while the tail-end of several protruding from the surface; when, time when the brown drakes (a type
massive hatches in a row can even- in reality, it was a huge mass of of mayfly) had already ended their
tually wreak havoc on the number millions of exoskeletons from mayfly nymph-to-adulthood exodus, and the
of bites you may get, fish can still be nymphs they were seeing. larger Hex were just starting to show

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up. quickly so that the lure stays just mammoth mass of exoskeletons
Stier plied the water with an under the surface is another tactic on the surface of a lake make me
array of different baits and was that will trip the trigger of so many distraught. In fact, I welcome the
having mediocre results. He then different species, even if the fish sight.
tied on a 1/8-ounce round jig head have been gorging on insects. These The key, however, is to sit down,
and threaded on a brown curly-tailed lures give off lots of flash and vibra- start up the motor and buzz right
4-inch rubber worm and preceded tion, and fish lash out at them just over to any birds or actual bugs
to land a limit of smallmouth bass, out of instinct. I suggest attaching hatching. Cast right into the middle
as well several perch, walleye and a trailer hook to both a spinnerbait of it with baits that emulate the long,
northern pike. The fish were in the and chatterbait when the bug bite' narrow body shape of the nymphs
shallows feasting on wigglers (nick- is on, as fish often get lethargic after wiggling their way up to the surface
name for the nymph of a mayfly weeks' worth of gobbling up insects. or use a lure that imitates another
as it's continuously wiggling while The fish have a tendency to strike fish feeding on the bugs. After all,
washing water over its gills). short. You'll double your catch on if there's a feeding frenzy going
Stier's theory is that even though these lures when they are coupled on above the water, the same is
a rubber worm doesn't look like with a trailer hook. happening below.
a nymph to us, that long, slender Follow the bugs and you'll be
shape of the bait is very similar Shut up, Sit down, Hang on heading back to the dock with fish
to the aquatic insects fish feed on in the livewell versus the others who
throughout the year. The action of No longer does seeing a return empty-handed.
the jig when he casts and works it
back with a lift and let-it-fall motion
emulates the wiggling of a nymph as
it works itself from out of the silty
Since Stier told me about this
simple-to-use bait decades ago, it has
become a staple for my clients to use
year-round. But it definitely shines
through during a hatch.

There's Always a Bigger


Another tactic that works

wonders during major insect
hatches is to imitate the small fish
that are feasting on the nymphs as
they wiggle their way to the surface,
which in turn, are targeted by the
larger predators.
Shallow-diving, suspending
bodybaits are a great choice, as they
can be worked just under the surface
with a stop-and-go retrieve. And the
retrieve doesn't have to be a radical
rip through the water column, but
more a quick spin of the reel's handle
and a full stop for several seconds.
This imitates a small fish darting to
a nymph and stopping to feed on it,
and then scurrying over to another.
While you may not get as many
hits with this method when fish are
zoning in on insects, some of the
largest fish of the day will come on
it. Casting large spinnerbaits and
chatterbaits and retrieving them

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 63

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 65 6/11/2018 8:39:34 AM

Anglers Choose to
Wallow in Defeat Rather
than Exult in Victory
By Andy Duffy

64 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 66 6/11/2018 8:39:35 AM

ot a trout rose anywhere. "Probably every great trout stream has them — the big
Only diamonds sparkled old boys who eventually die of old age."
and glittered upon the
river's wrinkled brow as no idea what stage of the insect It wasn't the first time I saw a
the riffled water flowed along under the trout was feeding on, though, large, impossible fish rising in the
the bright, late-spring sunshine. although egg-laying adults seemed Au Sable. Probably every great
The diamonds might as well have to be as good a guess as any. trout stream has them — the big old
been daggers, though. I winced as I I rummaged through my fly box boys who eventually die of old age. I
wondered what the ultraviolet rays but could only find a nymph pattern. once watched another grizzled, old
were doing to my skin. That didn't matter, of course. With monster rise right next to a bank
I was fishing Michigan's Au the willow's branches hanging down where roots blocked access to him
Sable River. I'd traveled there with almost to the water, Roy Steenrod from every side. No dragon-filled
a couple of friends hoping for over- himself couldn't get a fly in front of moat around a medieval castle ever
cast skies that might encourage a that fish, I told myself. gave greater protection than that
few Isonychias to hatch throughout Still, I had to try. trout's surroundings offered him.
the day. Instead, not a mayfly was to And try I did. I tried every tactic People say hitting a major-
be seen. in my bag of tricks. league curveball is the hardest
It was no wonder. The unseason- I tried to make a sidearm cast thing in all of sports to do. I offer up
ably hot, muggy weather would give under the willow's branches. They catching a big trout in a tough lie.
anything pause about being out. Not were too low. We know our efforts are doomed to
even anglers were on the river. The I tried drifting my nymph from failure.
Au Sable's sophisticated regulars upstream. The current curled away So why do we keep trying?
know when the water will be dead. from the trout's lie and wouldn't Maybe it's because of the rare
I wanted off the water, too. Even carry my fly anywhere near the fish. times we succeed. Hooking a trophy
though I was wearing hip boots I even thought about sneaking trout offers a greater thrill than any
instead of waders, I was a sweaty in close and putting the nymph in Sir Lancelot ever found in the arms
mess. The heat and humidity had front of the fish with a bow-and- of Guinevere.
drained the strength from me, and I arrow cast. Reason told me that It's more likely, though, that
was ready to quit. would be a fool's errand. The tactic something besides the thrill of
Damselflies, though, seemed wouldn't work, and I saw no reason success keeps driving anglers to
impervious to the heat. They were to needlessly scare the fish off. the water. Anglers, by nature,
everywhere; their chartreuse bodies Oh, the delicacy of so many are gluttons for punishment. Our
and dark dun wings darted here and things that block us from our self-flagellation fetish keeps driving
hovered there. dreams. A barrier no more formi- us to rivers to suffer more humilia-
It was nearing lunchtime, and dable than a few slender willow tion. It is the same force that keeps
I weighed the effort of making the twigs was keeping me from that fish. golfers going back to the golf links.
long wade back to the car versus I could brush them away as easily But that's all speculative. If philos-
the chance to sit on a shaded log as I could brush aside a mosquito. I ophers want a question to ponder,
and rest for a spell. My weariness needed neither buckler nor sword to wondering why people fish rates
made my decision for me. I found a do the job. up there with questions about the
sheltered bank and planted my butt I also knew that as soon as I meaning of life.
while leaving my feet in the water. mounted some metaphorical steed So, I sat and waited for addi-
Sometimes a damp behind is the and rode out to do battle with the tional rises. And the Au Sable is a
price we pay for being anglers. willow, I would lose the war. The fun river to sit beside and watch.
Then, in shallow water right at trout would disappear. Charles The spring-fed stream contains
the edge of the bank where cattails Cotton had a reason for telling us eight miles of water restricted to
grew and a huge weeping willow to fish fine and far off. And putting fly fishing. Those waters, the Holy
tree shaded the river, I saw a splash. the fish down would be a worse Waters, flow over beautiful gravel
Surely, it wasn't a rising fish. defeat than admitting I couldn't get and contain deep holes and virtu-
I figured a muskrat was working a fly in the right spot. If I'm going to ally every type of trout lie an angler
along the bank and, seeing me, lose anyway, I would rather do it on could long for. Besides the main
submerged there. my terms. Besides, I was enjoying stream, the North Branch and the
I kept watching, though, and watching the fish. South Branch are also fine trout
saw the splash again. It was a rise. Losers try to gain victories streams. The system is home to
A huge trout was inches from in easier battles. I decided to get many miles of superb fishing.
shore in shallow water picking off a picture of the big-bodied fish The damselflies kept doing
damselflies. coming up for a fly. His rises were whatever they were doing, and the
I knew it was taking damselflies. on too sporadic a schedule, though. trout kept rising. It was still rising
That was the only answer. I had I even failed at that. on some erratic schedule when I

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 65

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 67 6/11/2018 8:39:35 AM

figured the shade had alleviated
all my immediate concerns about
heatstroke. I slogged back to the
access site and managed to get repa-
triated with my companions. Their
morning had been as unsuccessful
as mine. We retreated to the air-con-
ditioned interior of a Grayling
restaurant and spent the afternoon
licking our wounds and laying plans
for later.
That evening, we went down-
river to some heavier water. The
few bugs that came off didn't inspire
any surface activity. The day had
grown so hot that the mayflies were
perhaps waiting for darkness to fall
before emerging. I found a likely
looking bend where the rushing
current had carved out a deep hole.
There I fished a nymph and caught
a strong, 18-inch brown trout. So,
a person would think, I recouped a
tiny shred of my dignity.
Oddly, though, catching that
fish didn't satisfy me. Even now, I
think of the damselflies and that
mammoth trout feeding in the shal-
lows more than I think of the fish I
caught. Anglers, I guess, are born to
wallow in defeat rather than exult
in their occasional victories. Some
mad potter made us that way, and
it's a fate we have to live with.

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Model XPS2™


Summer 2018 Draft.indd 69 6/11/2018 8:39:37 AM


Why Experience makes

the Difference
By John Ozoga
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ased on my research, I'm From a recruitment standpoint, conclusions, based on aerial surveil-
convinced that older, mater- older does far out-classed the younger lance of radio-tagged does subjected
nally experienced female ones, raising an average of 1.8 fawns to wolf predation in Northern
whitetails make much better per doe, as compared to 1.1 and 1.3 Minnesota. During a 13-year period,
mothers than younger individuals. fawns per doe, respectively, for 2- and they found a significant positive
An article in the January 2006 issue 3-year-old mothers. relationship between maternal age
of Scientific American examines this I concluded that learning expe- and mean number of fawns per doe
phenomenon in-depth and provides rience and outright defense of their during December and April, indi-
evidence supporting my views. young largely accounted for the older cating that fawns born to older does
does' success. Older does exhibited survive longer.
The Maternal Brain superior predator avoidance skills by Because fawns comprise most
maintaining smaller, more discrete of the diet of wolves, and because
According to researchers Craig fawn-rearing home ranges, spacing wolf predation is the single greatest
Kinsley and Kelly Lambert, who young siblings further cont. pg. 70
specialize in behavioral neuroscience apart, and moving
and psychology at the University them greater
of Richmond, dramatic hormonal distances from
changes associated with pregnancy, one bed site to the
birth and lactation "… remodel the next, as compared
female brain, increasing the size to younger does.
of neurons in some regions and
producing structural changes in Coyote Threat
Some of these changes, which When I placed coyote urine
occur in all female mammals, func- in the vicinity of their bedded
tion to regulate maternal behavior, radio-transmitter-equipped fawns,
such as protecting their young from older does moved their young
predators. However, other changes about twice as far as normal from
influence memory, learning, and one bed to the next. In contrast, such
responses to fear and stress, which treatment had no obvious effect on
can have long-lasting effects. the behavior of younger does and
For example, long-term learning their fawns.
was found to be enhanced in older
mother rats, as shown in a food-
finding experiment. Rats who had Bear Threat
experienced two or more pregnancies
were the first to find food 60 percent Even when threatened by black
of the time. Rats who had given bears, these older does rarely lost
birth just once found the food first 33 an entire litter. While bears killed
percent of the time. Virgin rats found about 22 percent of the annual fawn
the food first only 7 percent of the crop, the mortality was dispropor-
time. tionally heavy among fawns dropped
by younger does. When bears
were present, first-time mothers
In Whitetails lost 32 percent of their fawns, and
second-time mothers lost 58 percent,
In my studies, conducted in compared to only 17 percent fawn
Michigan's square-mile Cusino mortality among older does. This
deer enclosure, older, maternally also suggests that first-time mothers
experienced does not only conceived benefit from raising fawns close
more fawns, they successfully reared to their mother's fawn-rearing
a higher percentage of them, as territory.
compared to younger does. During
a 13-year period, 1.5-year-old and
2.5-year-old does lost 27 and 26 Wolf Threat
percent, respectively, of the fawns
they conceived. By comparison,
does older than 3.5 years only lost 10 Dave Mech and Ronald
percent. McRoberts came to similar

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 71 6/11/2018 8:39:49 AM

"Behavioral changes
accompany motherhood
in virtually all female
mammals." - Kinsley and Lambert

natural mortality factor in their study disrupted maternal behavior and influencing newborn fawn survival.
area, Mech and McRoberts concluded contributed to excessive fawn deaths. But such behavior is more commonly
the following: "We believe our find- We concluded heavy newborn displayed by healthy, maternally-ex-
ings support the work of Ozoga and fawn mortality experienced by young perienced does. Given a serious pred-
Verme that older, female white-tailed does resulted from imprinting failure ator threat, a malnourished or young
deer are better able to protect and or outright abandonment of other- mother is likely to flee from the scene.
defend their fawns from predation. In wise healthy offspring by subordinate I'm particularly concerned
any event, it is clear that, under the and socially stressed mothers. that many researchers studying
conditions of our study, older deer predator-prey relationships do not
contribute more fawns per individual Conclusions adequately address the importance
to the population than younger of newborn fawn abandonment
females." resulting from malnutrition and/
Kinsley and Lambert concluded or differences in behavior relative
the following: "Behavioral changes to the mother's maternal experi-
Density Stress accompany motherhood in virtually ence. Likewise, about 10 percent of
all female mammals. New research fawns die at birth or soon after and
Despite supplemental feeding, suggests that hormone-induced alter-
when herd density surpassed 100 are seldom accounted for in final
ations of the female brain may make mortality figures.
deer per square mile in our Cusino mothers more vigilant, nurturing and
enclosure, first-time mothers In any case, I suspect alert preda-
attuned to the needs of their young, as tors kill many fawns that are already
suffered unusually high newborn well as improve their spatial memory
fawn mortality (63 percent). Indirect predisposed to other factors, greatly
and learning." inflating newborn fawn predation
evidence suggested that most fawns Among the maternal care strat-
die shortly after birth, and losses rates in some studies.
egies employed by whitetail does,
were density-dependent. Apparently, outright defense of their young
crowding at peak density limited fawns against predators may be
fawn-rearing space for young does, as important as any single factor

70 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 72 6/11/2018 8:39:53 AM

Michigan United
Conservation Clubs
81st Annual Convention
June 22-24, 2018
Doherty Hotel
Clare, Michigan

1937 to 2018
For more details, call Jessica Haller at (517) 346-6488 or email
her at The Annual Convention book and details
can also be found at

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 73 6/11/2018 8:39:54 AM

Porkies have
Redeeming Qualities
By Richard P. Smith

ost people view porcu- having sat on one in a darkened deer that had accumulated on the blind
pines as pests, but blind one morning before daylight fell to the ground, creating enough
they have at least one during the muzzleloader season in noise to cover any sound I might
redeeming quality. First, the UP. make.
the negatives. If you own a hunting The date was December 13, and Once the door was open, I
dog like I have, you've most likely I was intent on filling an antlerless slipped in the blind, leaning my .45
had the pleasure of removing quills permit in Menominee County. As caliber Knight Super Disc in the
from the mouths of your compan- many as nine antlerless deer had front right-hand corner. I sat in a
ions. In severe cases, you may have been seen from the baited blind on chair in the left corner. I felt good
even had to take your pet to the vet private property that I planned on when I sat down, confident I had
to have quills removed. hunting. I was hoping to score in the gotten in position without alerting
Some hound hunters who I know morning so I would have plenty of any deer that might be nearby. I left
hate porkies because of the frequent time to skin and quarter the carcass. the door unzipped, figuring I would
encounters their dogs have with the It had rained heavily overnight, wait until it was light enough to see
quills that are the primary defense but the precipitation let up before if any whitetails were in view before
of the slow-moving animals. Some daylight. The bait had been spread closing it.
camp owners are no less pleased with out in front of the blind the previous My sense of satisfaction was
porkies for the damage they do to day. There was a possibility that short-lived, and I would soon find
camp exteriors and outhouses. And the downpour had prevented local out it was a good thing I left the door
foresters are not fond of the damage whitetails from feeding at night — I open. Seconds after I was seated, I
that porcupines cause to some trees. was hoping deer would be in the heard the sound of chattering teeth
They've been known to eat the bark vicinity at first light. like I've heard porcupines make
all the way around the trunks of With the wet ground, it was easy when I've encountered them at close
some valuable trees, killing them. to reach the Senco Blind quietly, range and they've climbed trees in
Porkies also pose a risk to which eliminated the potential response to my presence. The teeth
hunters. Among the potential of spooking any deer that might gnashing is a warning.
dangers that deer hunters might already be in front of the structure. The sound I heard in the blind
face when they go in the woods, I had to unzip the door on the back was muffled, so I thought the porky
porcupines are not usually consid- of the blind to get inside, and I did so that was making it might be next to
ered among them, but they should ever so slowly to reduce the resulting the blind outside. Then I remembered
be. I can say that with authority after noise. Water droplets from the rain that Doug Tasson from Marquette

72 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 74 6/11/2018 8:39:54 AM

As it turned out, my antlerless
permit went unfilled that morning.
The only deer I saw was a button
buck. I passed on that deer to wait
for a doe. A doe made an appearance
that evening, but it was gone before I
could shoot.
Now for the redeeming quality
of porcupines: porkies help some
whitetails make it through winter
by providing food for hungry deer.
Porkies don’t intentionally feed deer,
but it happens as a result of the
quill pigs’ dining habits. Hemlock
and white cedar are on the list of
preferred winter foods for porkies,
and browse from those same trees
are also on the top of the chart of the
whitetail’s winter diet.
Porkies are sloppy eaters. While
had encountered a porky in this the porcupine ended up somewhat in the process of feeding in the tops
blind one afternoon toward the end humorous, the incident would have of hemlock and cedar trees, some
of firearms season. It was daylight become serious if any part of my of the twigs and branches that they
and he saw the intruder as soon as anatomy had been impaled with the chew off fall to the ground. Once
he entered the blind. He said it didn't porky's tiny spears. It goes to show on the ground, hemlock and cedar
take much effort to encourage the that hunters who enter blinds in browse that porkies drop are eaten
small animal to leave. the dark should check them for any by deer.
The Senco doesn't have a floor, visitors before getting comfortable. Porcupines and whitetails have
so it was easy for the porky to crawl I certainly plan on doing so in the what is called a symbiotic relation-
under one of the sides. When the future. ship. They live together in the same
thought occurred to me that the
porky might have returned during
the rainy night, I leaped out of the
chair and turned my flashlight on!
Sure enough, the porcupine was
under the chair I sat in, with quills
bristled, ready for action if I made
the wrong move.
The reason the porky's warning
teeth chatter sounded muffled is its
head was buried in the corner of the
blind facing away from me. I moved
the chair and then used the muzzle-
loader's barrel to get the porky
turned around and headed out the
door. It evacuated the blind as soon
as it saw the open door. If any deer
in the area didn't know I was there
when I arrived, they sure did by the
time the porky was gone.
It's a good thing the porky I
shared the blind with that morning
wasn’t aggressive. The animal could
have slapped my feet and lower legs
with its tail when I sat down. If I had
extended my feet back under the
chair, I might have gotten quilled
Although the encounter with

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 73

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 75 6/11/2018 8:39:56 AM

branches that had been dropped by
the porky that were caught on the
lower branches of the hemlock tree.
There were also numerous young
balsam fir trees that were under the
hemlock's crown.
I happened to have a walking
stick with me that was about five
feet long, and I used that to knock
down much of the cut browse within
reach that was suspended above the
ground on tree branches. Some of
the browse I knocked off of the tree
branches probably would have fallen
to the ground on the next windy day,
but I figured I might as well make as
much of the browse available to deer
as possible at the time when they
could use it. It was mid-March and
there was still plenty of snow on the
By the time I was done knocking
hemlock browse out of the trees,
there was enough on the ground to
feed several deer. I checked the area
the following day and saw where
deer ate some of the browse, but
plenty remained. Several days later,
all of the hemlock browse cut by the
porky had been eaten by deer, and I
knocked down more that was hung

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Summer 2018 Draft.indd 77 6/11/2018 8:40:01 AM

Full Draw:
Broadhead Flight
By Tom Nelson

t always amazes me how many achieve the accuracy your bow is Generally, after the above steps, I
bowhunters blame errand shots capable of. This holds especially have a true-spinning arrow. If you
at whitetails on their choice of true when shooting broadheads. are shooting a fixed-blade head,
broadheads. This is not recent Once your bow is tuned and shooting adjust the head so the blades are
news; it has been going on since practice heads proficiently, I have a aligned to your preferred angles
I first started bowhunting in the few tips to improve your broadhead before you install the head and
early 1970s. Bowhunters shoot their flight. insert.
bows all spring and summer with In my opinion, poor broadhead Perhaps the most overlooked
practice tips, and then when fall flight often starts not with the head item when it comes to broadhead
arrives, screw on their broadheads itself but rather with the arrow. accuracy is the nock end of the shaft.
and hit the woods. Most bowhunters Loose fitting inserts are oftentimes I am surprised how many times I
assume that the two heads will fly the culprits. Factory-installed have found uneven nock ends on
the same, as they are the same grain inserts may need an inspection arrow shafts. Always take the time
weight. Sadly, many archers are to assure that they are properly to check this end of your arrow to be
disappointed when they finally get seated and balanced. This can be sure your nocks are seated flush to
a shot and watch dumbfoundedly as accomplished by simply spinning the shaft. Poorly aligned nocks can
their arrow flies astray. your arrow shaft with the head and will cause arrow flight prob-
When mechanical broad- attached and watching for any tell- lems. Burt Coyote makes a nock
heads arrived on the scene, many tale wobble. You can do this by hand end squaring tool that is designed to
bowhunters wrongly assumed that or use an arrow-spin tester. There square up the nock and insert ends
they did not have to practice with are several arrow spinning devices of the arrow. It’s simple to utilize
them. They thought the broad- available for archers and they are and a valuable archery tool.
heads naturally flew the same, thus pretty affordable. Lastly, be sure you have enough
grouping right along with their Personally, I prefer to install steering power. By this, I mean
practice arrows. Albeit, mechani- my inserts rather than have them check your arrow's fletching. High
cals have excellent flight character- preinstalled. This is quite simple, profile 4-inch plastic vanes are ideal.
istics, they are still not a practice and you only need some slow curing I use Bohning Archery's Blazer
head and should be shot and tested glue and a little time. I install vanes — these stiff, two-inch vanes
before utilizing them in the field. my selected broadhead into the are aerodynamically designed with
As a bowhunter, you need an arrow insert then tab a bit of glue onto broadhead stabilization in mind.
that shoots accurately and straight. the insert. Spinning the insert as I If you're shooting traditional gear,
As a starting point, you want a install it helps to distribute the glue I suggest a 5-inch feather with a
bow that is well-tuned and shooting evenly. Then I spin the arrow. If it helical fletch. Then, I number each
flawlessly. Paper tuning is a great wobbles, I spin the insert again — arrow so they can be individually
way to start. If your not sure how to this may distribute the glue a bit identified should there be any flight
do this, go to your local archery shop more, and often, the shaft will then issues later on. A felt marker works
and they will be glad to help you. spin perfectly. If I still have a bit well for this.
Without your bow being perfectly of a wobble, I may try a different
tuned, you will always struggle to broadhead from the same package.
76 ||

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 78 6/11/2018 8:40:05 AM

"Perhaps the most overlooked item when it
comes to broadhead accuracy is the nock end
of the shaft."

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 79 6/11/2018 8:40:09 AM

Perfectly Imperfect
An idea, a Hope and lots ofWonder

By Jason Herbert

wasn't really looking to pick up me know how it turns out. I'm glad crack and made it worse. Right then
a new gun, or a new project, for you're going to bring it back to life." and there I had a realization — it was
that matter. Blessed with four I'm a man of my word, so at that almost as if it were speaking to me:
children and several hobbies, very moment, because I had declared This gun is not perfect, and it will
I've always got plenty to do. But as aloud that I would like to refurbish never be new again. In fact, the old
I tried to explain to my wife, "...this the gun, I was committed. break-action 12-gauge is perfectly
gun found me." imperfect, I thought to myself. From
I was at my buddy Tim's house Cleaning that point on, I decided to do my
one night admiring the new collec- best to give this gun a facelift while
tion of firearms he acquired from The first thing I did was tear the still allowing its scars to show. I
a family friend who was recently gun apart and give it a good cleaning. was determined that I would help
widowed. "Wow," I said. "I wonder I saw a YouTube video of a guy using this gun shine again while proudly
what stories this thing could tell." a Rubbermaid tote as a holding displaying its history.
With spots of rust and scratches on container/rack, and I thought that I have never done this sort of
the barrel, character marks in the was a good idea. I got myself a clear a project before, and my gut told
wood and even some white paint on tote and a big white sheet (to keep me that because I could not get the
the forearm and stock, I could tell my table clean and my wife happy). stock off the action without doing
this gun had done a bit of living. "I'd Everything popped apart easily until further damage. I would just restain
refinish this if it were mine. I bet that I got to the stock. When I removed the stock and blue the metal while
would be a fun project. I've always the butt plate and tried to unscrew they were still attached, I thought. It
wanted one of these," I said. the stock, I felt a bit of resistance and seemed wise at that point to stop for
Rendering me speechless, Tim heard an audible, splintering "crack." the evening. The stock would have to
handed me the old single-shot Somehow, while trying to unscrew stay attached, and I would just use
Stevens 12-gauge. "Well, then, it's the stock, I widened an existing masking tape to avoid cross-contam-
yours," he said with a smile. "Let ination when bluing or re-finishing.

78 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 80 6/11/2018 8:40:13 AM

Bluing I found myself developing a varnish with a plastic putty knife. I
personal connection with this then dried it, flipped the stock over
So, with my adjusted plan of gun and often wondering about it and repeated the process. I did the
giving this gun a facelift, I needed throughout the day. I have a very same thing to the forearm and ended
to start stripping off the old rust, active mind, so random thoughts up applying two coats of stripper to
bluing and varnish. After a good do not intimidate me at all. This, all of the wood. Once the wood was
clean up, I was ready to get started. however, was different. Did some clean, I took a heavy-grit sandpaper,
My youngest son helped me clean young boy or girl shoot their first working with the grain, and sanded
the gun, but the chemical odors of duck or squirrel with it? Was this everything down until smooth. Then
the rust and blue remover were too gun the envy of all the guys at the I switched to fine-grained sandpaper
strong to be in the house and Mama trap and skeet club? Where did the and polished things up until the wood
Bear commented that we needed paint come from? How much did it was almost shiny. It was important
to go outside. At that point, my son cost? How many shots have been to me to get the crack out of the stock
bailed out to go play Legos, and I fired through it? I almost wish I that I created when I tried to remove
was alone again with the gun. As I would have just cleaned it and left it from the action. Other than that, I
quietly worked the remover into the it alone; however, I was in too deep was fine with any of the gun's scars
metal, I tried to notice every scratch now. I wanted to at least give the gun and blemishes. It came to me with
and scar. I couldn't help but wonder a facelift and make it look proud like them, and each had a story. I pretty
what tales this thing could tell. I it deserved. much left them alone. Once the wood
was all sanded down, it was time to
know this gun came from Northern Stripping the Wood call it quits for the evening.
Michigan. Was it used to fend off a
bear attack? Did someone depend When I got a chance to dedicate
on it for survival? Was it kept in the a few hours to tear the finish off the Re-oiling the Stock
corner of an old farmhouse, ready stock, I was thankful that the process
for whatever challenges of rural life went by fairly easily. I took every- Reapplying an oil finish was actu-
arose? Did the stock get cracked by thing outside again and sprayed ally pretty fun. The directions in the
giving some burglar a whack on the one side of the stock with the finish kit recommended sticking my finger
forehead? Or, was it simply neglected remover. The spray got quite bubbly, in the oil and rubbing it on the stock
— tossed around, and never really and I decided to let it sit for a bit while and forearm. I felt like a kid finger
given its chance to shine? I took the time to play fetch with my painting in preschool again. I hung
After the bluing was removed dogs. When I came back, I scraped both wooden pieces in the garage to
from the barrel and action, I dried off a coating of brown slime and air dry. Days later, I applied a few
everything off and went right to cont. pg. 80
work re-bluing everything. I quickly Herbert broke down the old, single-shot Stevens 12-gauge in order to start
learned that bluing metal is a deli- refinishing each piece separately. The process turned out to be more of a challenge
cate art. I used the cotton-ball-style than he anticipated; but, it was worth it in the end.
brush that had been included in the
prepackaged gun refinishing kit I got
to apply bluing over all of the metal.
Thankfully, I planned on a nice,
dark finish and was OK with the fact
that I had to apply several layers of
the treatment. I was amazed how
quickly the bluing worked. In fact,
I figured that if a minute of bluing
looks this good, I couldn't wait to see
what an overnight of bluing would
look like! Well, I made a rookie
mistake, ignored the instructions,
and left the bluing treatment on the
barrel all night. It ended up turning
an ugly brown in spots. I swear, the
next morning when I went to look
at the barrel, it looked worse than it
did before I started! That junk took
a while to rub off. Lesson learned.
All in all, the re-bluing worked out
pretty well, and I was ready to move
on to the wood.

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 81 6/11/2018 8:40:18 AM

layers of stock sheen and condi- it to my first grandchild, who knows. first started, I wanted this thing to
tioner. This process reminded me of look like new. But, as I got to know
waxing a car because the directions Lessons Learned the gun, I learned to appreciate the
said to rub the conditioner into the nicks and scars because they each
stock, let it sit a while, and then rub First and foremost, I'm not going told a story. To most, my refurbished
off the excess. After the stock and to quit my day job and go into gun version of this old Stevens 12-gauge
forearm were nice and shiny, I gave refurbishing full-time. Second, when looks like it needs a facelift now. But
the whole gun one more last cleaning taking on a project like this, I learned to me, it's perfect. Perfectly imper-
with a rust-preventing wipe and then to set reasonable goals. When I fect, as I like to say.
screwed the butt plate back on.

All of a sudden, I came to the
sad realization that I was done. I
have to admit, as busy as I am in life,
crossing something off my list is a
good thing. Oddly, this one seemed
different. I was going to miss my
evening rendezvous with the gun.
Now what? I thought to myself.
Shoot it? Hang it up? Lock it in a
case? I honestly don't know what the
future holds for the gun. I had fun
working on it, and I feel honored to
bring it back to life. I think I'd like to
find some way to proudly display it
in the house. Maybe someday I'll give

80 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 82 6/11/2018 8:40:21 AM

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 81

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 83 6/11/2018 8:40:28 AM

Courtesy images provided by
the Center for Disease Control
By Noah O'Reilly

s the warm(ish) spring attach itself to our skin — pull the my head when my eyes opened that
months ended, so did my tick by its head in a straight and morning was that I felt sick. We have
short fishing season. I was upward motion. Many people say all had that feeling in the morning
getting ready to start my it is best to burn them off or douse where you know for a fact that there
summer job as a camp counselor for them with peppermint oil, but it has is something wrong. The next step,
the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth been proven that these methods are of course, is to draw conclusions
Camp at the Cedar Lake Outdoor not effective. and self-diagnose. I did eat some
Center in Chelsea. Preparing for all After finding multiple ticks possibly expired dairy products the
the outdoor activities that my job on my clothing weekly, I still did day before, so that could be it. I ran
demanded for the next two months not change up my preventative my situation by some co-workers,
only took a few days as I collected measures: I still wore shorts and and one of them mentioned the bite
the essentials. Knowing the brutal ankle socks. In my fourth week from three days prior. I thought to
temperatures of June and July on the job, I was at the gun range myself that there was no way I had
would soon be upon me, I packed sighting in our .22 bolt-action rifles. a disease from that tick.
shorts, light hiking shoes and ankle I felt an itch on my thigh, but I If it was attached, it was only
socks; a mistake I would soon regret. ignored it as I was too focused on the for a little while. I wanted to go to
Hiking, kayaking, archery and task at hand. The feeling was getting my cabin and sleep it off, but after a
hammocking were all in the realm more intense, so I unloaded the gun co-worker pleaded with me, I ended
of possibilities during a typical day and placed it on the table in front of up going to urgent care. I felt sicker
on the job. One thing that I noticed me. I looked down and saw a tick on than I have ever been in my entire
very quickly were the amount of my skin. Before finding out if it was life. Every muscle ached as if I had
ticks I regularly found on me. I attached to me or not, I brushed it just run a marathon. I informed
would simply brush them off me off as I did with all the past ticks. the doctor of my symptoms, and he
and remind myself to reapply bug My day got busier, and the incident asked me a few simple questions:
spray more often. Our first week of quickly escaped my mind. The next "When did you get bit?" and "What
training included a briefing about couple of days went by as all the kind of tick bit you?" I told him I got
ticks that were in the area and what others had. My energy did not slow bit three days ago by an American
we could do to prevent them from down, and I felt healthy until I woke dog tick. His expression turned
attaching to us. We quickly ran up on day three after the bite. serious, and he explained to me that 5300
through what to do if a tick does The first thing that popped into the American dog tick carries two

82 |

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 84 6/11/2018 8:40:29 AM

diseases: Rocky Mountain spotted likely to come into contact with ticks outdoor activity. These measures
fever and tularemia. He told me that during many of our outdoor activi- can mean the difference between a
I am showing all the symptoms of ties. Taking preventative measures fun and healthy adventure, and a
Rocky Mountain spotted fever and against these vectors is essen- trip to the doctor, urgent care, the
wrote me a prescription to treat the tial. Ticks position themselves emergency room or worse.
disease. Fortunately, the doxycy- at the ends of long blades of
cline I was prescribed worked, and I grass and other vegetation
was back on my feet after a few days. and hold up their legs as they wait
According to the Centers for for an animal or human to walk by.
Disease Control and Prevention, They can easily hitch a ride if you
Rocky Mountain spotted fever is a have hair on your legs, so long
bacterial disease spread through socks and pants would
the bite of an infected tick. This be the best way to
disease can be deadly if not treated stop them from
early with the right antibiotic. contacting your
The five most common ticks found skin. Bug spray
in Michigan are American dog containing DEET
ticks, blacklegged ticks, lone star applied to clothing is
ticks, woodchuck ticks and brown also a great secondary
dog ticks. Blacklegged ticks are barrier. Checking your-
one of the most populous ticks self for ticks is also a
in Michigan; second only to the vital part in the preventa-
American dog tick. These ticks can tive process, and be sure
be extremely dangerous because to shower
they are a carrier of Lyme disease. after any
As outdoor enthusiasts, we are prolonged

Education is your best defense"

These guidelines should be followed during tick removal

1. Use fine point tweezers and protect bare hands with

a tissue or gloves to avoid contact with tick fluids.
2. Grab the tick close to the skin. DO NOT twist or jerk
the tick, as this may cause the mouthparts to break
off and remain in the skin.
3. Gently pull straight up until all parts
Ticks are becoming an increasing of the tick are removed. You may
problem in our woods and have to tug gently several times.
backyards. Be aware of the 4. After removing the tick wash your hands with soap
or waterless based hand rubs. Clean the tick bite
diseases they can spread and with an antiseptic such as an iodine scrub, rubbing
how to prevent them. alcohol, or water containing detergents.
5. Please save the tick for testing. Call 888-784-5963
for instructions.
53001 Baker Road, Chesterfield, MI 48047
1-888-784-LYME (5963)
Summer 2018 Draft.indd 85 6/11/2018 8:40:30 AM
take aim
By Dianne D. Salata and Karen Harris
Women participating in the Women's Sport Shooting Program at the Western Wayne County Conservation Association are
given the opportunity to learn firearm safety and handling with multiple firearms and through various shooting sports.

he Women’s Sport Shooting Program, a part (WWCCA) is located at 6700 Napier Road on 86 beautiful
of the Western Wayne County Conservation acres of wooded grounds in Plymouth, Michigan. The
Association (WWCCA) in Plymouth, Michigan, is club features many organized disciplines such as trap,
a highly successful program with more than 120 women skeet, five-stand, archery range, archery walk thru, air
participating each year. The program, currently in its rifle range, pistol events, black powder walk thru, black
sixth year, offers a safe, fun and relaxed environment powder rendezvous, cowboy action, belly shoots, rifle
for the beginner and the experienced shooter and matches and conservation programs. Shooting ranges
includes participants from all age groups. The NRA has include 25, 50, 100 and 200-yard facilities, along with
recently recognized this program for having five women three trap fields, three skeet fields and a five-stand field.
members certified as NRA Pistol Instructors, which is The club holds social events and dinners throughout
a noteworthy accomplishment. The five women NRA the year and promotes family values, as evidenced
Certified Pistol Instructors provide both private and by their support of boy and girl scout programs.
group training in the classroom and on the range. For more information about Western Wayne County
The primary goal of the Women’s Sport Shooting Conservation Association, its facilities, activities,
program is to teach women about firearm safety and and shooting programs, including the Women's Sport
handling. The program assists women with no experi- Shooting group, please visit
ence handling firearms and includes activities for the
experienced shooter. The women are introduced to
various types of firearms, learn how to operate them
and receive in-depth, hands-on experience on the range.
The instructors and coaches work one-on-one with new
shooters to refine their skills and build confidence. Part
of this work involves learning each woman’s shooting
goal and working with them to achieve that goal. Check
out their Facebook page at Women’s Sport Shooting@
westernwaynecounty for general information and a
schedule of events. All participants must register for
the classes, as space is limited. Contact Dianne Salata,
Chairwoman of the Women's Sport Shooting program
Western Wayne County Conservation Association

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*Ladies Only Shoot-
ing Clinic at Western
Wayne County Conservation Association, 6700 Napier Rd, Plymouth, MI 48170.
*This yearly event is open to all ladies who would like to learn or improve their shooting skills,
on Saturday, September 29, 2018.
*All participants must pre-register by 9/01/18 and class is limited to 60 students.
*Cost is $40.00, includes loaner bows, firearms, ammo eye/ear protection, continental break-
fast and lunch.
*Registration will begin at 8:30, classroom instruction 9:30, shooting 10:00, Lunch 12:00,
shooting 1:00 and ending our day 2:30.
*Pick 2 only; Shotgun, Pistol, Rifle and Archery.
*We offer a safe and friendly environment with one on one instruction.
*Additional information at or

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 87 6/11/2018 8:40:33 AM

Green Broke
My first foray into bird dogs and upland hunting

By Nick Green

ummit made a 90-degree turn put his nose to the ground. that only my training will create a
and froze solid with his head Until that point, Summit and bird dog, because that’s what many,
high and tail flat. The rooster I hadn’t had any experience with but not all, bird dog books say, I work
was about 25 yards from him tracking. That rooster took us on a tirelessly to perfect techniques that
– it was an impressive point for the 250-yard trek through the woods, a will make the idealistic, finished bird
10-month-old German shorthaired field and some brush. Summit kept dog.
pointer. his nose to the ground and eventu- When I say finished, I mean
My friend, Joe Swanky, made his ally pinned the rooster where cover steady to wing, shot and fall, and a
way out to try and kick the rooster ran out. He stood statue-still on flawless retrieve to hand, too.
up. We quickly noticed the weeds point 10 yards from the bird. A quick But, we didn’t train for that
parting as the rooster bolted away flush by Swanky, coupled with my 250-yard track. It was at that moment
from oncoming footsteps. handling of Summit to steady him to when a line from my trainer in the
I released Summit, and he fall, ended with a rooster in the bag. north woods reappeared in my head.
moved another 15 yards before again This wasn’t written in a book. “These dogs, for the most part, will
pointing where the rooster had been. Most of what I learned about bird teach themselves everything they
I didn’t say anything this time. "Let dogs initially came from reading. I need to know; your guidance is just
him figure it out,” Swanky said. am a self-proclaimed bibliophile to help expedite the process,” he said.
Within five seconds, Summit moved when books relate to something I He was spot on. I didn’t teach
to where the rooster had been and want to learn. Under the impression Summit to point – it was one of the

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many inherited characteristics that the natural development of a gun dog and, oftentimes, get through it just
have been carried on through this is that dogs learn better when they fine.
line for hundreds of years. I didn’t figure things out themselves. I’m I don’t mean to take anything
teach him to track, I didn’t teach him sure, if you own a bird dog, you’ve away from these young, finished
to quarter a field and I didn’t teach noticed this. Joan Bailey has two of dogs or their handlers, though. It is
him to remain steady to wing. the best books on dog training that I evident that a lot of hard work and
All of these things can be have read, and she is a big proponent sweat went into getting a dog on
refined and practiced; but, I didn’t of letting your dog learn from its that level. In fact, it takes an almost
teach them to him. Our bird dogs own mistakes. perfect trainer to reach that level.
are smart – I would argue they are Problems start to arise in these Bringing bird dogs into my life
smarter than a large percentage of “robot” dogs that are finished has changed me for the better. Both
the human population. They know under two years of age when they of my dogs have taught me things
when they can push your buttons, encounter a situation that is unusual about myself that I’m sure I wouldn’t
they understand our emotions and or they haven’t trained for. Because have learned any other way. That
they give us their affection no matter of their training, they often expect line from my trainer comes back to
the situation. to be reprimanded for a decision me, and I have to tell myself to take
That day helped me take and and will shut down. A dog that has it slow, enjoy it and let the dog learn
realize a great step as a dog trainer: learned to make mistakes will hit on its time.
There are things our dogs will do that the situation head-on, problem solve
we can’t control, and what makes
them an extension of our being is Left: Green steadies Summit for a chukar flush. Swanky stands ready to drop the
that they aren’t robots. bird and give Summit a chance at a retrieve. Below: Green throws marks for his
In the previous situation, I could dogs, Summit and Calvin, near his home in Fowler.
have called Summit off from the
track and repositioned him — I didn’t
know where the bird was. Instead, I
let him learn to use his nose, and it
came with a great reward.
Any accomplished bird dog
trainer knows that training is first
about understanding and being
able to read your dog. The pressure
needed to train one dog could be
completely different from the pres-
sure needed for a littermate.
My tendency is to push Summit;
he can handle it. He is strong-willed,
eager to learn and accepts any pres-
sure that I have thrown at him —
often with a wag of his tail. My small
Munsterlander, Calvin, is a different
story. Calvin is a soft dog, doesn’t
take well to any kind of pressure
and is much more stubborn than
Summit. I have to adjust my training
Back to my original point,
though: It isn’t in our best interest
to make these dogs robots. So many
people, myself included, want a
finished gun dog within two years
of getting a puppy. Sure, that may be
possible for someone who is a profes-
sional dog trainer. But for those of
us that are weekend warriors and
spend 10 minutes a night training
our dogs, we have to let nature take
its course.
A great argument advocating for

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 87

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Snowshoe Hare makes
Comeback thanks to MUCC's
On the Ground By Sarah Topp MUCC's Wildlife Volunteer Coordinator

oon after MUCC’s volun- that changes the color of their fur trained volunteers to utilize habitat
teer-based wildlife habitat to better match their surroundings. hooks 8 to 10 feet long to slowly
improvement program, This means that their brownish-cin- guide the tree over after the sawyer
On the Ground (OTG), was namon colored fur in the summer has cut one-half to two-thirds of
established in 2013, projects began will molt and grow new, white fur the way through the tree trunk at
in all regions of the state. One of in the winter. With a lack of snow, chest height. This technique allows
the valued ongoing projects has their white fur stands out to pred- enough of the cambium layer of
included coordinating with DNR ators, making them an easy target. the tree to remain attached to keep
Wildlife Biologist Brian Piccolo One way we can help the declining the nutrient flow to the branches to
and DNR Wildlife Technician Tim snowshoe hare population is to help maintain its needles.
Riley to restore snowshoe hare provide better cover to help camou- The horizontal cover being
habitat in the Grayling State Forest. flage them in their habitat. restored along the outer edges of
Three consecutive years of habitat To ensure that optimal cover is the stand and in any gap areas will
improvement events in the area being restored for the hares, volun- benefit the hares the most since that
have resulted in more than 600 trees teers first meet at the Grayling State is where they are likely traveling to
cut to provide horizontal cover for Forest Field Office, where Piccolo adjacent aspen stands to browse on
the hares. OTG has impacted about and Riley give an overview of the any buds or foliage. "The trees that
200 acres of habitat in the area. The project site. Using forestry maps are still attached to the stump 3 to 4
DNR has identified snowshoe hare covering various forest types in the feet off the ground provide an area
as a featured species, an animal that project area, the group can better where the snow depth isn't so deep
is highly valued but is limited by determine which trees to look for to and the hares will use this space
habitat. Although other factors can distinguish a lowland conifer stand to loaf around under as they move
and do affect the species' survival, from an adjacent cedar or aspen to and from food sources," Piccolo
habitat plays a major role in the stand. The ideal types of trees to said. The interior of the stand is
decline of the hares. target for this habitat project have already providing fairly dense cover
"Unfortunately, snowshoe been black spruce, white spruce, with the canopy.
hare populations have steadily balsam fir and an occasional cedar The January 2015 event was
declined over the past few decades, or jack pine. These types of conifers my first On the Ground habitat
and research suggests that this are tall trees with dense needle project serving as a Huron Pines
decline is due partially to shorter cover on ample branches, which AmeriCorps member with MUCC at
winters and less snow cover due provides a large area of horizontal the time. Outdoor writer Bob Gwizdz
to climate change," Piccolo said. cover when cut using a special and cameraman Dave Kenyon of the
Snowshoe hare have an adaptation technique. This technique allows Michigan DNR also joined us in the

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MUCC's OTG ("On the Ground") program is in its sixth year, with multiple projects planned
across all ages and experience levels throughout the state. Volunteers participate in "on the
ground," public land, wildlife habitat projects and are provided an opportunity to engage
in hands-on conservation while learning about wildlife habitat needs.
You can sign up for these projects at For more information, email Sarah Topp, Wildlife
Volunteer Coordinator, at
field to capture the habitat project. hare population study. This was Wildcat who has volunteered at
In an interview with Gwizdz during a great opportunity for the volun- several other OTG events as well,
the event, Piccolo said, "When we teers, including local hunters, to and Jim Blough who has hunted
think of doing habitat work in an interact with the DNR Wildlife the area and would like to see better
area, we make sure we are covering staff, as well as Dr. Roloff, to hear results from this habitat work.
multiple needs for that species — the science behind the hare decline. This habitat restoration work
specifically making sure food and Volunteers were also able to share and the many of the other OTG
cover are available. These mixed-co- their personal experiences hunting events would not be successful
nifer swamps with nearby aspen or scouting for hares in the area. without the volunteers that dedicate
are where most snowshoe hares Volunteers from throughout one or several Saturdays throughout
concentrate and where we can have the state have traveled 15 to 150 the year to improve wildlife habitat
the biggest positive impact on the miles to help complete these habitat for Michigan's game species.
species." restoration projects. Some of the Although this year's snowshoe hare
It appears that volunteers have volunteers included students from habitat event was postponed until
indeed had a positive impact, as Pine River High School’s Natural further forest stands are approved
Piccolo has reported the use of the Resources class looking to gain for habitat work, I expect there will
restored habitat by snowshoe hares experience in the field with habitat be more in the future.
within just a couple of weeks after work. Other dedicated volunteers Check out the updated list of
the events. included Saginaw Field & Stream On the Ground wildlife habitat
At the January 2016 event, Club officer Wayne Hanson, who improvement events at www.mucc.
we were joined by Dr. Gary Roloff traveled about two hours to attend org/on-the-ground and volunteer
of Michigan State University’s this project, volunteer Sam Hudnutt, for a project on your public lands!
Department of Fisheries & Wildlife, who has attended each year, volun-
who is in charge of the snowshoe teer Walter Gumtow, a fellow NMU

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 89

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Conservation Through Education

Springing into Summer

Shaun McKeon, MUCC Education Director new to hunting and one person who had hunted previ-
ously on an apprentice license. The course was run
It's been a busy spring for the MUCC Education using the Michigan DNR blended course format. This
Department. With summer weather finally here, there allowed the participants to complete the coursework
isn't going to be any letting up in the number of activi- portion of the class online at their own pace. Once they
ties you will find camp director Tyler Butler and I facil- have completed the coursework, they must sign up for
itating or participating in. a field day.
The 2018 camp season is just a few weeks away, and The field day hosted by MUCC and Learn to Hunt
Cedar Lake is ready to host 400 boys and girls. Their is where the students take their final exam, listen to
one-week camp experience will provide them the chance a Conservation Officer speak about ethics and stew-
to learn about hunting, fishing, wilderness survival and ardship, as well as spend several hours on the range
natural resources science. becoming familiar with archery and firearms. All three
Over the last few months, the theme in our depart- students in this class passed the test with a score of 94
ment has been a collaboration with other conservation percent or higher and gained confidence in safe and
organizations. MUCC has taken lead roles and assisted responsible firearm handling. The three students were
with several programs for the first time in 2018. excited to receive their certificates at the end of the
In March, we absorbed the Michigan Learn to Hunt day and are looking forward to purchasing their first
Program. MUCC staff collaborated with the departing hunting licenses.
Learn to Hunt staff to conduct an adult hunter educa- Along the lines of recruiting new hunters, I had the
tion course as well as lay the groundwork for a beginner opportunity to work a youth pheasant hunt at the end
turkey hunting course in the spring. The adult hunter of March. I helped to serve as a hunter safety instructor
education course had two participants who were brand for the event. My involvement came about when I got a

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call from Dane Cramer. Dane is a full-time employee for On top of these events, we hit or usual spring events
Ducks Unlimited. He is also a member of the Southeast consisting of outreach booths at several Earth Day
Michigan Retriever Club, who was sponsoring their and Arbor Day events. We visited Cranbrook Science
second annual youth hunt. The hunt was funded by Institute in West Bloomfield, Constitution Hall in
a generous donation from Whitetails Unlimited and Lansing, The Lake St. Clair Water Festival, The Rouge
also had some backing from a local chapter of Delta River Water Festival, the Clinton River Water Festival
Waterfowl. So, if you are following that, a duck guy, and a several elementary school science fairs around
who belongs to a retriever club, had an event funded by the state. I even let myself be convinced to push my
a deer group so that kids could hunt pheasants. How comfort level and visited a classroom of five year olds in
awesome is that? developmental kindergarten. I presented a Mammals
The hunt lasted just over an hour for two groups of of Michigan program with these kids and brought
12 hunters. They had the opportunity to shoot from 12 several pelts for them to learn about and touch. After
different positions, and overall, the kids shot well. The being mauled by these tiny tots, I was reminded of how
good shooting of the youth also helped out the retriever special early elementary school teachers are and why
club members. Members of the club all brought their I try to do most of my programming for the nine and
retrieving dogs so they could get some offseason older age groups.
work marking and retrieving birds. At the end of the It's been a good spring, and you should be counting
morning, there were several happy, tired dogs from all down the days until you are dropping off your camper
of the birds they got to bring back at Cedar Lake. But if you won't be joining us down at
It was a great event with lots of support from camp this year, be sure to get outside anyway. Don't go
different groups. This kind of event highlights what by yourself — be sure to get your friends, family and
is best about the outdoor community. There isn’t kids outside. Remember, no one frames pictures of their
anything better than happy kids and happy dogs after family playing video games.
a successful hunt.

Left: An annual youth hunt sponsored by the Southeast Michigan Retriever Club, Whitetails Unlimited and Delta Waterfowl
left kids with big smiles. Below: Learn to Hunt participants pose for the camera before hitting the woods.

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 91

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Imagine you wake up one
morning, and to your surprise, you
exciting nights spent away from the
mundane: Living with 15 new and
By Tyler Butler
likelihood that your child will have
a successful week at camp.
find some of your belongings neatly interesting peers your age that want Here are some tips to help
packed into a duffel bag sitting next to share their story and learn yours; prepare your child for camp:
to your back door. Seems strange, begging to be woken up at 6:30 a.m. Be sure to ask your child how
but you take a seat to enjoy a great so that you do not miss sunrise-swim they are feeling about the upcoming
Sunday morning breakfast only with your new friends; Practicing camp and allow them to ask ques-
to have your parents rushing you your best howls so the rest of camp tions in return. A great way to
through the meal. Then you are knows Wolf Cabin, your cabin, is answer tough questions from your
seemingly herded into the family present during breakfast roll call; child is by reminding them of their
vehicle so you can "get on the road Building shelters in the forest, fire strengths and how they will be able
and beat the traffic!" Still unaware, starting at the beach, and catching to use those attributes in a camp
you go along for the ride, which crayfish in Cedar Lake all before setting.
feels like you are traveling across lunch and not being able to contain It can also be helpful to discuss
the entire state. The vehicle finally your excitement, because you know another time where your child over-
slows to a stop and is put in park. that you will be on the .22 range in came a tough situation and identi-
You peek out of the window in the afternoon. Imagine the feeling of fying the positive coping skills and
confusion. Your parents have parked being awarded your Hunter Safety behaviors they displayed during
their car in the middle of a forest. Education Certificate that you have that time. Remember, positive rein-
"There must be some mistake," you been studying for all week. It's just forcement and encouraging words
think as your door opens and your another week at camp. are key.
dad hands you the duffel bag from At the Michigan Out-of-Doors Be sure to review the camp
earlier. As you exit the vehicle, you Youth Camp, we understand that website and brochure with your
notice more kids your age with the a week away from home can be child before camp starts. Give your
same baffled look on their faces. It daunting. Each summer we hire 24 camper as much information on
is only when your mom asks you staff based on their experience in camp as you can to settle any uneas-
to hand over your phone that you child-care and education. We spend iness about the week.
suddenly put it all together. a full week before any campers Have your camper assist you
The giant white pines, the dark- enter our gates studying extensive while you pack their items for camp.
brown buildings scattered about the policy and procedural training as Explain how to care for the items in
property, all of these odd adults in well as the proper way approach their bag. For example, hanging up
matching t-shirts and khaki shorts and de-stress nervous campers. wet clothes to dry, uses for toiletries,
— you are at summer camp. That being said, the right prepa- dressing appropriately, the impor-
Now, imagine five days and six ration at home can increase the tance of changing their socks, etc.
Make sure your camper realizes
that they will be in open living quar-
ters and will need to communicate
with the rest of the campers in their
cabin. When trying to please 15 indi-
viduals, counselors often encourage
compromise to settle disagree-
ments. It is important that your
child is familiar will this mentality.
Most important, make sure you
are realistic with your child about
their camp experience. Each week,
regardless of the setting, will come
with its ups and its downs. Setting
impossible expectations for the
week by only bringing up the fun
they will be having might do more
harm than good. It is okay to discuss
the fact that they may experience
disappointment at some moment.

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Prepare them by providing exam-
ples of positive coping mechanisms.
Lastly, let your child know that
if they are uncomfortable at camp,
it is ok to reach out to an adult.
Summer camps are an
important milestone for children
as they grow and become more
independent. Being away from
home allows campers to learn the
important lesson of adapting to
new and unfamiliar people, places,
things and ideas. It is said that the
most successful are not always the
strongest or the smartest, but the
ones that are the most resilient in
the face of change.
Campers also learn to assert
themselves in social situations.
Leaving the familiar allows some
campers a “restart” away from
those that expect them to act a
certain way and may try out new
personality traits. I could not tell
Campers at the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp enjoy some free time before
you how many times I have been
they head to their next activity.
warned about a “shy” camper by
their parents only to have that child
leading camp songs in front of one
Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp has
hundred people just a few days later.
Discovery is vital to the devel-
introduced more than 50,000 Michigan
opment of children. Camp offers
a place where youth can gain new
youth to our state's natural resources by
experiences and passions. We do
our best to introduce our campers to
teaching them outdoor technical skills.
equal parts outdoor recreation and Editor Nick Green gets his hands dirty tearing shingles off of one of the latrines at
the sciences behind it all. With this, Cedar Lake Outdoor Center in preparation for a new camp season.
our campers will leave on Friday
with a better understanding of the
living world and how to participate
in it.
Finally, to wrap up this
Campfire, I would like to thank the
generous volunteers that offered
their time and efforts to our annual
camp clean-up. After a seemingly
unending winter, the weather finally
broke and we had the pleasure
of the sun shining down on us at
Cedar Lake! We accomplished more
than I could have imagined. With
a full day's work with tasks such
as panting the Lodge, gathering
brush, installing our fishing dock,
cleaning out our cabins and camp
office, installing exterior lights on
multiple buildings and much more,
I hope you took a moment to enjoy
the splendor of Cedar Lake! You
have my fullest gratitude, and I hope
to see you next year!
Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 93

Summer 2018 Draft.indd 95 6/11/2018 8:40:44 AM

Throwback: August 1997
If there is any truly tranquil in preparation for the energetically and live apart during the
time in the life of a prey species expensive breeding season. summer season.
such as the white-tailed deer, it The whitetail's social habits and Early summer is
must be during the warm months activity patterns are dynamic- the when whitetails are
of summer. During June, July, and change markedly with the season. most widely
August, over most of the whitetail's Although whitetails may frequent a n d
geographical range, the weather is open areas, they are not plains
pleasant and the landscape is domi- animals; they spent most of their
nated by lush green vegetation. time in dense forest cover. They
Dense plant growth provides effec- are also considered to be the
tive hiding covers from predators, least gregarious member
especially for vulnerable young of the deer family,
fawns, protection from the elements Cervidae.
during brief periods of inclement,
weather, and, most importantly,
an abundant supply of nutritious
forage close at hand.
For most whitetails,
summer is a season of
plenty- a season
of fruition, of
and devel-
opment. It
is a season
of frolicking
spotted fawns,
sleek red-coated
does, and
bucks with bulging
velvet antlers. It
is a time when deer
are preoccupied with
finding large quantities
of nutritious forage —
when eating governs their
daily routine and is a top evenly
priority. distributed
In summer, the does nursing across their
fawns must consume copious ranges. It is a time when
amounts of food high in energy, the dense screening effects
protein, and essential minerals and of green foliage make it seem as
vitamins, so that she can produce if deer were absent in areas where
plenty of milk, which is necessary they live at low densities. But that
if her fawns are to achieve rapid will change, gradually, as summer
growth and maximum size prior to Nonetheless, progresses.
winter. And, even at a fairly young they exhibit During the course of summer,
age, fawns need nourishing vegeta- highly complex social newborn fawns develop rapidly,
tion to supplement their predomi- habits, which are largely governed from weak vulnerable infants,
nantly milk diet. Meanwhile, adult by their stage of reproduction and dependent upon their mother's milk
bucks are growing new antlers, change rather dramatically with the for sustenance, into self-sufficient
replacing spent body tissues, and seasons. The adult sexes form sepa- ruminants. By late summer, fawns
building fat stores of reserve energy rate, highly structured, societies no longer spend most of their time

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lying in hiding. They become more too many deer, and human destruc- living in crowded conditions. And
active and develop daily activity tion of natural habitats periodically without dense low-level hiding
patterns and social habits more like creates hardship. In contrast, to cover, young fawns become more
those of their mothers and older other times of the year, however, vulnerable to roving predators.
relatives. when the whitetail's life is typically Natural predators, such as the
As their fawns become stronger more precarious on northern range, gray wolf, mountain lion, black
and more capable of fleeing from those living in warm environments bear, bobcat, and coyote always
predators, nursing does become may be at greater risk during this pose a potential threat to whitetails,
more amiable and abandon otherwise fruitful season. wherever predator and prey coexist.
their antagonistic, territorial Shortages in the quantity or Given the opportunity, predators
behavior associated with quality of summer deer foods may are always alert to removing the
raising young fawns. With produce only subtle deleterious vulnerable young, sick, weak,
their young close at heel, effects, and go completely unnoticed and dumb whitetails. But during
adult does begin to asso- to the untrained eye. Or, on the other summer, these selective forces are
ciate in groups with hand, food shortage during summer far less operative than at other
female kin and their may be so severe as to impact the times of the year- unless, of course,
fawns that normally health and well-being of whitetails environmental circumstances,
occupy closely over vast areas. In either case, human interference, or deer over-
aligned ranges. however, given unfavorable circum- abundance contribute to habitat
Soon the young stances. Lack of proper nutrition degradation and a shortage of food
fawns will during summer may set the stages cover.
interact with for widespread consequences and, Regardless of the stresses they
other deer ultimately, govern the health and may face, whitetails in each section
and learn abundance of whitetails in some of the country have evolved to cope
what the areas. with whatever adversities prevail in
white- The combination of heat stress the locale where they live. The supe-
tail's and drought, as sometimes occurs rior, most adapted, stock always
social in the Southwest, in areas like the somehow manages to survive.
life is Llano Basin of Texas, for example, White-tailed deer are opportu-
a l l may be just as devastating to white- nistic and highly adaptable crea-
tails, in the long run, as the intense tures, quick to take advantage of
about. cold and deep snow that character- favorable habitat and protective.
Adult izes fierce withers in the northern Given adequate water, food, and
bucks will Great Lakes Region. Just as harsh protection, they tend to flourish,
become more active winter weather may contribute to even in close proximity to human
during the summer, too, food shortage, malnutrition, and development.
as they leave their favored death of deer in the northern range, Today, whitetails are no longer
early-summer haunts to mingle so might inadequate rainfall and strictly inhabitants of remote,
with family groups of does and lack of soil moisture limit growth heavily forested regions. As never
fawns and to cavort with strange of nutritious forage and impact before in recent history, this symbol
bucks. By then the bucks' velvet the well-being of whitetails in the of wilderness has spread to popu-
antlers start to harden; it won't be southern range. late every conceivable niche of
long before the growth process will In the Southwest, wet and dry favorable habitat; there is no other
be completed and the mature antlers periods may last for several years, big game animal on this continent
shed their velvety outer covering, in and govern range carrying capaci- that touches the lives of more
anticipation of the pending breeding ties for deer (and livestock) accord- people. In doing so, whitetails now
season. Indeed, with few exceptions, ingly. Lack of soil moisture greatly make nuisances of themselves in
summer is normally a good time for reduces the abundance and nutrient some areas of fertile farmland and
whitetails. But there are exceptions, value of plant growth. Resultant in sprawling suburban landscapes.
of course. The summer season is food shortage and malnutrition Indeed, to the delight of some,
not completely without peril, and it cause slow body growth among but trepidation of others, white-
is not always kind to whitetails in all young deer, delay the onset of sexual tailed deer are the nation's ultimate
regions of the country. maturity, result in low conception wildlife success story.
Some habitat types are far better rates among does the next autumn,
than others, and areas of inher-
ently poor soils produce forage of
and can contribute to high mortality
during the winter season. By John Ozoga
low nutritive value. Also, drought, Hot summer weather also opens
floods, wildfires, lack of nutritious doors to parasites and disease, espe-
forage as the result of foraging by cially among malnourished animals

Summer 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 95

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Nick Green, Editor

Habitat work was what I thought the Michigan

Department of Natural Resources did before taking a
job at Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
To my surprise, I learned that volunteer habitat
work is often, in many areas, the main muscle behind
getting things done.
Watching Sarah Topp run our On the Ground
program kind of inspired me to do some of my own
habitat work near my home — in a place that would
directly affect the wildlife I choose to interact with.
I enlisted MUCC Education Director Shaun McKeon
and another buddy, John Krohn, and told them we
would be putting up wood duck boxes on the Maple
River, which happens to only be a couple hundred yards
to be sure and not disturb the area around the boxes
from my front door.
too much. However, I have spotted several pairs of wood
Luckily, for me, MUCC had just sold our building
ducks around, and I have even seen a drake on top of
and there were a couple dozen wood duck boxes sitting
one of the boxes and a hen fly from one.
in our barn that were already built. My boss told me
I am hopeful that our boxes have been used and that
they had to go — I obliged.
when we check them, we will find cracked egg shells.
So, the three of us coordinated who would get poles,
My fascination with ducks grew quickly when
who would bring the post-pounder, who would buy
McKeon finally let me tag along on some of his duck
screws and who would bring wood chips. Somehow, and
hunting trips last season. I became addicted quickly.
this never happens with this trio, we actually wound up
It's interesting to think, at least to me, that hunters
having everything we needed. Krohn even brought a Jet
can actually manage for the species we enjoy chasing
Sled along to help get the materials to the river.
in the woods or fields. Sure, some DNR final approval
It took us about two hours to get four wood duck
might be needed, but I haven't yet heard of anyone being
boxes up. Two mallards flew by us and the hen quacked
turned down to put up wood duck boxes, plant native
as we were making the last pound on the post. It was
trees, place mallard tubes or pick up trash.
With the nice weather, I would encourage you to
I have been careful this spring and early summer
get out and improve some habitat in your neck of the
woods. It doesn't matter how big the project is, all that
matters is that you are having a positive impact on the
species and environment around you.

96 |

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Summer 2018 Draft.indd 99 6/11/2018 8:40:47 AM

3.5 -18 x 50 SFP


Summer 2018 Draft.indd 100 6/11/2018 8:40:48 AM