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Fall 2018

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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
www.mucc.org/ontheground
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VOLUME 72, ISSUE 3
contents
7 DIRECTOR'S DESK
8 ON PATROL
12 AROUND MICHIGAN
14 CONSERVATION NATION

WINGSHOOTING
16 COVER FEATURE: MICHIGAN'S WETLAND WONDERS NICK GREEN
20 THE DUALITY OF WOODCOCK TOM CARNEY
24 GREEN BROKE: MY FIRST, LAST GROUSE NICK GREEN
26 ACE IN THE HOLE ADAM WILSON The cover photo was
28 AFTER WORK provided at no cost by David
Bowers. Like Dave Bowers
DEER Photography on Facebook for
more waterfowl and wildlife
photography.
38 FULL DRAW: HUNTING ACCESS TOM NELSON
40 IS SILENT ESTRUS THE CHASE-PHASE TRIGGER? JOHN OZOGA
42 STRATEGIES FOR HARVESTING SWAMP BUCKS DARREN WARNER
46 TIPS FOR SOUNDPROOFING YOUR TREESTAND DARIN POTTER
50 THE GOLDEN LURE JASON HERBERT
54 THE 44-YEAR-OLD BUCK NEWBIE SCOTT BAIN

FISH
58 THE TWO FACES OF THE TWO HEARTED RIVER CALVIN MCSHANE
62 BRIGHT AND DARK 'EYES DAVID ROSE
64 AUTUMN MIGRANTS JIM BEDFORD

STAFF REPORTS & MISC.
70 THE IMPORTANCE OF HERITAGE SHAUN MCKEON
72 COOPERATIVES: SETTING OUR SIGHTS ON THE FUTURE MORGAN WARDA
74 GONE FISHIN': A DAY ON THE WATER IS WELL SPENT AMY TROTTER
76 COMMERCIAL GUIDING: MORE OVERSIGHT NEEDED CHRIS LAMPHERE
80 HOW TO PROPERLY AGE MEAT CHEF MILOS CIHELKA
82 ANNUAL CONVENTION 2018 NICK GREEN
86 CONSERVATION THROUGH EDUCATION SHAUN MCKEON
88 THE CAMPFIRE MIKAYLA CARTER AND NICK GREEN
94 THROWBACK: NEIGHBORHOOD MALLARDS JACK G. MELL

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bAsecamp Nick Green, Editor
WELCOME TO MICHIGAN OUT-OF-DOORS
MICHIGAN'S PREMIUM OUTDOOR JOURNAL

Wow! It has been one year at the helm of Michigan
Out-of-Doors. It seems like only yesterday I was working
the court and natural resources beats at Cadillac News.
This magazine marks my fifth as editor, and I think
we are headed in the right direction. Circulation is
up, advertising is gaining traction and content, in my
opinion, is engaging and varied.
The way I hunt has also evolved over the past year.
This evolution is nothing short of enlightening, and I
look forward to this fall, the pursuits that come with
it and the time I will share with my friends and family.
After my move south, I quickly learned that deer
hunting was going to be a little tougher for me: There
isn't the access to public land that I am accustomed to, Editor Nick Green displays his first mallard drake. He har-
vested the bird in one of Southern Michigan's many state
private land owners sometimes get a little crazy about
game areas.
deer, rightfully so, and I would have to learn all new
hunting areas. those of you in Central Michigan and the thumb.
Instead, last fall, I decided to pick up a shotgun. Green Broke allows me to reflect on my 17-year
With two young bird dogs, a new love for a different drought in grouse hunting and how special the
kind of hunting ensued. Grouse and woodcock quickly experience was to harvest "My First, Last Grouse."
became the elusive quarry of choice. Of course, it wouldn't be fall without deer
Maps of coverts never explored kept me awake at hunting, and John Ozoga helps us to understand the
night. Thinking about the dog work I would see the next relationship between silent estrus and the chase phase.
day kept me humbled, yet optimistic. My life changed Tom Nelson's Full Draw proves to hunters that all big
last fall. bucks aren't taken on huge tracts of private land.
Wingshooting is something everyone in the hunting Jim Bedford details his endeavors to catch
world should try. It doesn't matter if you are chasing salmonids throughout fall and why autumn is the best
ducks, geese, grouse, woodcock or pheasant — we are time of year to be at your favorite fishing hole. If you
fortunate enough to live in a state that offers ample haven't hooked into a fall-run steelhead, I invite you
hunting opportunities for all kinds of our feathered to try. There isn't a fish that, pound-for-pound, fights
friends. harder and is more unpredictable than a steelhead.
The camaraderie that attaches itself to all pursuits I'll leave you this fall with one important piece of
of wingshooting isn't something I have experienced advice — spread the wealth of hunting and our natural
elsewhere in the hunting world. Whether it is in a resources. Grab a buddy, grab a nephew or niece,
duck blind with mallards circling on a mid-November grab someone's son or daughter and get them outside.
morning or in an autumn aspen covert with the fog Mentoring a hunt or fishing trip doesn't always have to
lifting, there is something special about these places — be for kids, though. There are many adults who, once
something unforgettable. they taste the delicacy of wild game, want to get out
This issue of Michigan Out-of-Doors is a tribute to and experience the intimate relationship we share with
all aspects of Michigan wingshooting. The cover piece our table fare.
highlights the gems that are Michigan's wetlands and As the premier conservationists in Michigan,
the waterfowl hunting that is available at these areas. it is important for all of us to give back to this great
Our After Work column explores Blake Sherburne's resource and enlist someone who can also help us
journey back to bird hunting with a young dog and the carry the torch forward for conservation in Michigan.
realization that it will never be the same without his
dad next to him in the coverts of fall.
A new face to Michigan Out-of-Doors, Adam Wilson, Yours in conservation,
explores the pheasant fields a little closer to home for

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DEAR EDITOR,

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-

MOMENTS of MEMORY
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 it better with the shorter
stories that I could read in just a
few minutesThe bedrock
in the of conservation
morning before I is taking care of our natural resources so that they can be passed down to
future
head off to work. generations. The natural resources that we conserve today were conserved for us by generations of
conservationists preceding us, and these generations are ever changing, ever flowing. Here we honor the passing
I do like the larger print now that of one generation of conservationists to the next.
the years have been added to my
birth date, and the eyes don't do
so well. But that could be obtained
by reducing the picture sizes. I have
been reading the magazine for In memory of
probably over 40 years now, and
hunting, and fishing the out doors
Jim Saxman
from
for probably 10 years more than
Linda Saxman, Jimmy & Tammy Saxman, Dennis & Shaunna Saxman - Claire, Bellino, Liv & Mud
that, and still find them both to be
Butt
refreshing, and joyful. I also liked
the smaller paper size of the old
In memory of
magazine, and soft covers for this
allowed you to fold the pages and Timothy Kutchen
hold it in one had comfortably. I from
know I'm only one person and like Andrey & Valerie Pryjma
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 spride@mucc.org.
But do it ethically and honestly.

Sincerely, DeLoy C. Clark
Muckegon, MI

DEAR SIR,

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

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

James Shreve of, Elkhart, Indiana

Glenn Kimmel of Pentwater, Michigan

If you are willing and able to make a lifetime commitment to conservation, you can become a Life Member of
Michigan United Conservation Clubs with a $500 contribution to the organization.

Life members receive a lifetime subscription to Michigan Out-of-Doors, a Life Member MUCC ballcap,
a Life Member patch and a certificate commemorating your commitment to conservation.

Contact Sue Pride at spride@mucc.org or visit www.mucc.org/join_mucc and select "Life Membership."

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PUBLISHER
DAN EICHINGER

EDITOR
NICK GREEN
editor@michiganoutofdoors.com

ADVERTISING Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) is a 501(c)
Nick Green (3) nonprofit organization founded in 1937 by sportsmen
edtior@michiganoutofdoors.com clubs from around Michigan to protect conservation from
politics. Representing over 50,000 members and supporters
PRESIDENT
GEORGE LINDQUIST
and approximately 250 affiliated conservation clubs, MUCC
is the largest state-based conservation organization in
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT the nation. MUCC members determine its conservation
THOMAS HERITIER policies through a robust grassroots process, which MUCC
staff works to implement by working with elected officials,
VICE PRESIDENT state and federal agencies, its members and the public.
GREG PETER MUCC has published Michigan Out-of-Doors since 1947
and operates the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp in
TREASURER Chelsea, MI. Learn more about the full range of programs
FRAN YEAGER MUCC uses to advance conservation in Michigan and
become a member at www.mucc.org.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS

MUCC Staff
MIKE TAYLOR
JAY MAKI
JANE FINNERTY
CAROL ROSE DAN EICHINGER AMY TROTTER
KAYLA MCKERN Executive Director Deputy Director
CHUCK HOOVER deichinger@mucc.org atrotter@mucc.org
RON BURRIS
NICK GREEN LOGAN SCHULTZ
BRUCE LEVEY
Public Information Officer Digital Media Coordinator
ngreen@mucc.org lschultz@mucc.org

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

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Vote for Conservation Director's Desk
Dan Eichinger, Executive Director

It’s fall, which means it’s hunting season. And,
because it's an even-numbered year, also means that it
is an election season. MUCC is a policy organization,
not a political one, so we don’t get into the messy
business of endorsing candidates and getting involved
in partisan campaigns. Come January, we will have
a new governor, attorney general, secretary of state,
senate majority leader and speaker of the house. That’s
a lot of transition. And, right from the get-go, these
newly-elected leaders and other new office holders will
be tackling issues related to the outdoors, conservation,
hunting and fishing.
Hunting, fishing and conservation don’t rate nearly
as high as health care, taxes, infrastructure and some
of the other big ticket topics that form a campaign
business — like $11.5 billion big — way higher than
platform; but, they are not any less crucial to Michigan’s
anyone predicted and is just a whisker behind the total
cultural and economic well-being. Recently, MUCC
economic contribution of farms and commodities at $13
commissioned an economic study from Michigan State
billion.
University to better identify the value of hunting and
The coming political transitions present new
fishing in Michigan. Our outdoor heritage is a big
opportunities for us to articulate the value of hunting
and fishing to elected officials in a way we’ve never been
able to before. That has all kinds of potential benefits
for conservation. Every legislative session, dozens of
bills are introduced that directly or indirectly impact
hunting, fishing and conservation. Occasionally, bills
that are bad for our natural resources get traction
because they are ostensibly “good for the economy.”
Now, we will be able to specifically and precisely identify
that supporting hunting and fishing is commensurate
with economic development. It strengthens the case we
make for protecting our lakes against invasive species,
supporting public land that is open for hunting and
fishing, securing our wildlife resources from wildlife
disease and working to ever expand the community
of hunters and anglers in Michigan. Marrying a
conservation argument with an economic one is
powerful stuff.
Lastly, a note about civic engagement: The single
largest block of the electorate are not democrats or
republicans — they are people who don’t vote. As
someone who works in proximity to politics every
day, elections matter. Our right to vote is sacred, and
exercising that right is solemn and serious, please be
sure that you do so.
Yours in conservation,

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 7

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

May 20 through June 2, 2018 stop for expired tabs and excessive the Negaunee Regional Dispatch
speed. Center, and many local volunteers.
Rescued and in "Great Spirits" COs Boudreaux and Smith The search concluded when
quickly learned that not only were the missing subject was found
COs Mark Leadman and the tabs expired but the driver was trapped under his four-wheeler.
Josh Boudreaux responded to operating a motor vehicle on a The subject was transported
Ontonagon County to assist with suspended license and the vehicle to Ontonagon area hospital for
a search and rescue for an ORV was not registered or insured in precautionary purposes.
rider who did not return home the Michigan. The suspect’s vehicle
previous night. was towed from the scene. "Tagged Out"
Search efforts had been The operator was given a
underway for hours prior to COs court date and the case was CO Chris Lynch conducted a
Leadman and Boudreaux’s arrival. turned over to the Marquette taxidermy inspection and noticed
They assisted the search party County Prosecutor’s Office for a suspicious situation with an
with the aid of their ORV. prosecution. 8-point buck on site harvested by a
The individual was located by Wisconsin resident. Further inves-
members of the search party and Search and Rescue tigation and a check of the retail
COs Leadman and Boudreaux sales system confirmed CO Lynch’s
assisted with the extrication of the CO Ethen Mapes received a suspicions that the hunter shot the
patient. Despite spending the night complaint through dispatch on deer without his own license and put
in the woods during numerous an overdue subject with health someone else’s tag on the deer. CO
rain showers and being trapped issues. The subject had left his Lynch forwarded the information
under his ORV, the subject was in residence around 6:30 p.m. and to a Wisconsin game warden who
relatively good condition and in hadn't returned. interviewed the hunter. The hunter
great spirits. With the time approaching confessed to coming to Michigan and
10:30 p.m. and heavy rain storms shooting the 8-point without a license,
Breaking all the Laws passing by, CO Mapes organized a tagging the deer with someone else’s
search party. Civil Air Patrol and tag and coming back to Michigan a
COs Josh Boudreaux and Cody Michigan State Police troopers second time. This time purchasing
Smith were patrolling Van Riper both responded. A plane was used to his own single deer tag and going
State Park when they pulled up assist in the search. Also assisting back out hunting even though he was
behind a vehicle that was waiting was MI-Trails, Superior Search technically already tagged out.
to turn west onto US Highway 41. and Rescue, Ontonagon Sheriff's CO Lynch contacted the hunter
COs Boudreaux and Smith quickly Office, Michigan State Police, and ultimately enforcement action
realized that the vehicle in front DNR conservation officers from was taken for the following viola-
of them had license plate tabs that Ontonagon, Gogebic, Houghton, tions: taking a deer without a license,
expired in 2017. The COs followed Baraga and Marquette County, attempting to take an over limit
the vehicle and initiated a traffic SONCO South, dispatchers from of deer, and using a deer kill tag of

8 |www.michiganoutofdoors.com

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another. was found in the back of a Chevy from police.
Trailblazer. CO Shively photo- The man and woman had been
ORV Setback graphed and seized the turkey. on the run from police and were
Michigan State Police arrested suspects in numerous home inva-
COs Kyle Cherry and Nathan 15 subjects on felony charges, sions in the area. The male suspect
Sink were on patrol when they impounded 14 vehicles, seized 35 live ran into the woods and was thought
observed an ORV operating at a high roosters, and 10 dead roosters. The to be hiding in the swamp.
rate of speed. The COs activated investigation is ongoing. Michigan State Police deployed
their emergency lights and caught two K-9 units and a helicopter.
up with the ORV. They observed the Fido has got to Eat Eaton and Calhoun County deputies
operator run through a stop sign and several Michigan State Police
and operating without a helmet. The While on patrol in Crawford troopers set up a perimeter around
COs were able to catch the individual County, CO Ben McAteer observed the swamp. The MSP helicopter
once the individual ran off the road a pickup truck stopped in the middle eventually located the suspect
and crashed. of an intersection. As CO McAteer hiding in the water. He was appre-
Upon contact with the operator, got closer, the vehicle began to drive hended without further incident
it was determined the individual away, failing to stop at a stop sign. and lodged in the Eaton County
was intoxicated. Field sobriety A traffic stop was initiated, and CO Jail. The female suspect was located
evaluations were conducted and the McAteer was able to smell the odor of walking down the road a short time
individual was placed under arrest intoxicants coming from the driver. later and lodged in the Calhoun
and lodged in the Otsego County Jail. A file check of the individual County Jail.
revealed he had multiple warrants
Refusing to give ID for his arrest. Field sobriety tests as Resisting COs
well as PBT were given to the driver.
CO Kyle Publiski, while patrolling The results concluded that he COs Matthew Neterer and Todd
the Ford Lake area of Mason County, had more than twice the legal limit Thorn were on a bicycle patrol
observed two subjects fishing off of alcohol in his system. When CO in Lansing checking anglers at
a dock. Upon contact with the two McAteer questioned the driver about the Brenke Fish Ladder when CO
subjects, they stated they didn’t have sitting in the middle of the intersec- Neterer observed a male subject get
any fishing licenses. tion, he stated he was making a sand- into a purple Cadillac and leave the
CO Publiski sent the female wich for himself and his dog “Lucky.” area at a high rate of speed.
subject back to the cabin to get their The operator was placed under CO Neterer was able to get a
identification. The female returned arrest for operating a motor vehicle partial plate and notified central
with her ID but couldn’t find the while intoxicated. dispatch of the suspicious situation.
other subject’s ID. CO Publiski asked “Lucky” finished his sandwich While patrolling the area a few
the male subject what his name was, and was placed into the care of a hours later, CO Neterer observed
and the subject continued to refuse to nearby family member. the same vehicle traveling near the
provide identification and began to fish ladder and followed it a short
walk back to the cabin. CO Publiski Holding on by a Limb distance before it pulled into a
walked with the subject and asked residence.
him again for his name the subject While on patrol along the Au CO Thorn arrived on scene
refused, and at that time was arrested Sable River, COs James Garrett and and contact was made to inves-
for fishing with no fishing license Casey Pullum encountered a kayaker tigate possible OWI. The driver
and lodged in the Mason County Jail. that informed them her friend had resisted and obstructed the COs and
got caught in a tree and fell from her attempted to go inside the residence
35 Roosters? kayak. The COs continued around the stating that “DNR officers can’t pull
bend to find the individual clinging to people over.” The driver was found
CO Ben Shively assisted a tree branch in the river trying to not to be operating under the influence
Michigan State Police Hart Post with get swept downstream. and was placed under arrest.
a cock fighting ring that was illegally The COs approached her and The subject was lodged at the
operating and trespassing in the were able to assist her to shore where Lansing City Jail with a blood
woods along an orchard in Oceana they got her back in her kayak to alcohol content that was over twice
County. CO Shively assisted troopers continue with her trip. the legal limit.
with evidence recovery and inven-
tory searches of all the vehicles at the Running from the Law
scene which were being impounded.
While conducting an inventory CO Matthew Neterer responded
search on their second vehicle, to Eaton County to assist with the
a freshly killed bearded turkey search for a couple that had fled

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 9

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

Get Michigan Out-of-Doors
by becoming a member of
Michigan United
Conservation Clubs
Visit www.mucc.org/join_mucc
or
Call Sue Pride at 517.371.1041

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

10 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 12 8/30/2018 7:53:03 AM
TM

O T GR
U
Ound
N D
C C E G -gro
M U T H o n -the
N u Oc c . org/
m
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. 5/201
7 9
:42:02
AM

11/1

On Saturday, September 8, 2018, volunteers
will be planting trees and shrubs in Grayling State
Forest. These structures are intended to provide
cover and browse for turkeys in the area. Then,
on Saturday, September 22, we will be working
with Michigan DNR to build brush piles for rabbit
habitat at Keeler State Game Area.

In October, we will be picking up a project that
1
was postponed in June. Volunteers will be meet-
dd

heGro
und
(201
7).in
ing at Atlanta State Forest to remove Scotch Pine
OnT
in the area. As a non-native species to Michigan,
these trees encroach on valuable resources nec-
essary for growth of natives such as Jack Pine,
which is vital to Kirtland's Warbler habitat in the
region.

Additionally, OTG is working with biologists in
the St. Clair State Game Area, Harsen's Island
and Barry State Game Area to develop projects
for the fall months. For more information on event
dates, details and to register, please visit www.
mucc.org/on-the-ground or email hsalisbury@
mucc.org.

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Around MICHIGAN
CONSERVATION NEWS FROM TWO PENINSULAS AND FOUR GREAT LAKES
Michigan DNR seeking Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, agriculture is a sustainable busi-
environmentally sensitive lands Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Lenawee, ness,” said USDA Farm Production
Livingston, Mecosta, Midland, and Conservation Under Secretary
for habitat restoration Monroe, Montcalm, Muskegon, Bill Northey.
Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa, Saginaw, The additional 40,000 acres
Michigan Department of Natural Resources Sanilac, Shiawassee, St. Clair, St. allotted for Southern Michigan
Joseph, Tuscola, Van Buren and Pheasant and Monarch Recovery are
Starting Monday, June 4, 2018, Washtenaw. designed to increase diverse native
the United States Department “Working with our partners at grassland and wetland habitat for a
of Agriculture started accepting the Michigan Department of Natural variety of rare or declining species
offers from rural landowners in Resources ensures producers have and species of significant social
41 southern Michigan counties access to programs that continue to importance, including monarch
who want to voluntarily restore protect pollinators while ensuring butterfly, ring-necked pheasant,
pollinator and wildlife habitat on
their property. The solicitation is
through the USDA Conservation
Reserve Program (CRP) State Acres
for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE),
Southern Michigan Pheasant and
Monarch Recovery, in partnership
with the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources and Pheasants
Forever, Inc.
“Any landowner in an eligible
area is invited to visit their nearest
Michigan USDA Service Center
to learn about the Conservation
Reserve Program and the pheasant
and monarch recovery effort,” said
DNR Director Keith Creagh. “We
will accept up to 40,000 acres of envi-
ronmentally sensitive land for the
program, and work closely with the
USDA, partners and landowners to
improve wildlife habitat.”
SAFE is a federally funded volun-
tary program that assists agricul-
tural producers and landowners with
the cost of restoring, enhancing and
protecting certain grasses, shrubs
and trees to improve water quality,
prevent soil erosion and reduce loss
of wildlife habitat. In return, partic-
ipants are provided annual rental
payments, cost-share assistance and
other financial incentives.
Eligible Michigan counties
include Allegan, Arenac, Barry,
Bay, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun,
Cass, Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee,
Gladwin, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Huron,

12 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 14 8/30/2018 7:53:05 AM
grasshopper sparrow, Henslow’s
sparrow and mallard. The DNR
identified these species and habitats
as priorities in Michigan's Wildlife
Action Plan and the Michigan
Pheasant Restoration Initiative.
The Michigan CRP SAFE,
Southern Michigan Pheasant and
Monarch Recovery effort consists
of three practice focuses: buffers,
wetlands and grasses (practices
CP38A, CP38B and CP38E).
Interested producers can find
out more information from the
Michigan DNR or from any USDA
Farm Service Agency county office
at http://offices.usda.gov.
To learn more about the
Conservation Reserve Program, visit
www.fsa.usda.gov/conservation.
For information about how the Photo: Keith Colombo, Special to the Detroit Free Press
DNR takes care of the state’s wild- Zebra mussels are on the telegraph on top of the small pilot house of the Hydrus,
life and habitat for the people of a freighter that sank to the bottom of Lake Huron on November 9, 1913 during the
Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/ Great Storm of 1913. It is photographed in July 2015.
wildlife.
Invaders that are now ubiquitous in fuel-efficient fashion. We need to
The Michigan Department of
the Great Lakes, including quagga eliminate this over-regulation and
Natural Resources is committed
and zebra mussels, the round goby utilize our deep water ports to bring
to the conservation, protection,
and the fish-killing VHS virus, are back jobs and protect our roads.”
management, use and enjoyment
all believed to have arrived as hitch- But James Clift, policy director
of the state’s natural and cultural
hikers in foreign ships' ballast water. for the Lansing-based nonprofit
resources for current and future
House Bill 5095, passed by the Michigan Environmental Council,
generations. For more information,
state House last November and by told the Free Press earlier this month
go to www.michigan.gov/DNR.
the Senate earlier this month, states that the bill worked to weaken ballast
that its intent was "to help harmo- water standards that have been
Snyder vetoes bill weakening nize regulatory programs in Great strengthened in recent years. Clift on
ballast water standards Lakes states for preventing the Friday praised the governor's veto.
introduction and spread of aquatic "HB 5095 would have created a
Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press nuisance species in the Great Lakes, loophole around Michigan’s current
including ballast water management law, which requires vessels to add
programs, and allow regulatory ‘active treatment’ technologies
Gov. Rick Snyder has vetoed a agencies to cooperate in developing approved by Michigan or the federal
bill [June 29, 2018] passed by the legis- stronger programs." government that protect the Great
lature that critics say would have Michigan's strict ballast water Lakes from invasive species and was
weakened how the Great Lakes State rules were pushing the state's ocean- clearly a step backwards," he said.
manages ships' release of ballast going export business to other Great Snyder spokesman Ari Adler
water — a critical means by which Lakes states, the bill's sponsor, Rep. said the governor "could not support
aquatic invasive species can arrive. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway, said as something that could expose the
Ballast water is carried in special he introduced the bill last November. Great Lakes to invasive species, which
tanks to improve a ship's stability. Lauwers at the time said state poses a serious threat to Michigan’s
It is added or discharged by ship regulations often lead to goods being waterways and economy."
operators when cargo is loaded or transported by truck to ports outside "It allowed for the use of alter-
unloaded, or to improve stability of Michigan. nate management systems that
during bad weather. “Our current regulations were may not be as protective as those
Aquatic species taken up in seen as environmentally friendly, but currently approved by the U.S. Coast
ballast water in one part of the one ship can carry on average what it Guard and Michigan Department of
world and then released elsewhere would take about 60 trucks to carry,” Environmental Quality."
can become an ecology-disrupting Lauwers said. “While commodities
invasive species in their new home. are still moving, it’s certainly not
in an environmentally friendly or

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 13

Fall 2018.indd 15 8/30/2018 7:53:05 AM
Conservation Nation
CONSERVATION NEWS FROM THE REST OF THE COUNTRY
Michigan United Conservation cormorants or not,” Eichinger said. to working with our congressional
Clubs executive director “What we hope to accomplish is a delegation, Michigan Department
population of cormorants that is of Natural Resources, USDA
testifies on effects and balanced in a way that the valuable Wildlife Services and the U.S. Fish
mismanagement of cormorant ecological services they provide are and Wildlife Service to help create
situated in balance and harmony a balance between the bird that
Nick Green, MUCC Public Information with other vital resources, like our was once almost extinct and is now
Officer sport fishery.” so abundant that it is detrimental
Michigan United Conservation to the state’s vital sport fishing
On June 11, 2018, Michigan Clubs will continue to work on the industry.
United Conservation Clubs issue of cormorant management.
Executive Director Dan Eichinger Eichinger and staff look forward
testified in front of the House "So as to be perfectly clear about this point, no conservationist or sport angler
Committee on Natural Resources who aspires to those worthy titles would argue for the extirpation of cormorants
about the organization’s consistent in Michigan. Cormorants, in fact, represent a remarkable conservation success
and unwavering dedication to the story, from a species that was quite literally on the brink because of toxic pollution.
change of management techniques They have well exceeded any goal for population recovery. The question about
related to the Double-crested cormorants is not binary, we need not choose between either having cormorants
Cormorant in Michigan. or not. What we hope to accomplish is a population of cormorants that is balanced
Eichinger spoke in U.S. in a way that the valuable ecological services they provide are situated in balance
Congressman Jack Bergman’s, and harmony with other vital resources..."
(R-Watersmeet) First District to
the committee and expressed the
organization’s deep concern with
how cormorants have recently went
unmanaged in the state and the
devastation they are creating on our
$5-plus-billion sport fishery.
“The issues pertaining to the
management of the Double-crested
Cormorant (cormorants) have been
the subject of numerous policy
resolutions from our members,”
Eichinger said during testimony.
“All have focused on using a variety
of tools to better bring the recov-
ered population of cormorants in
the Great Lakes into balance with
other important and vital wildlife
and sportfish populations.”
While MUCC understands that
cormorants represent an important
conservation success story in
Michigan, we also understand that
cormorants have now far exceeded
the conservation goals that were set
when the birds were facing extirpa-
tion, Eichinger said.
“The question about cormo-
rants is not binary, we need not
choose between either having

14 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 16 8/30/2018 7:53:05 AM
NWF Launches ‘Conservation Country’ Podcast to
Spread Asian Carp Message Drew YoungeDyke (NWF)
“We have a lake that’s in dire peril, Youth Conservation Corps; and
and of course, they’re headed y’all’s the Nebraska Wildlife Federation’s
way, too,” Cooksey said. “We’re facing Mercy Dinwiddie describing their
several different issues, but the carp partnership with the Nebraska Game
are the most insidious.” and Parks Division to implement the
He also describes the loss of Vamos A Pescar program, which
Mississippi River Delta waterfowl expands fishing recruitment to all
habitat, which is part of the same communities.
Mississippi Flyway used by some of “The strength of the National
Michigan’s waterfowl. Wildlife Federation is its state affili-
The National Wildlife “We’re losing a football field every ates,” YoungeDyke said. “It’s amazing
Federation’s Great Lakes Regional 90 minutes of coastline,” Cooksey said. to hear the work they’re doing for fish
Center has launched a new podcast In Episode 2, Marcia Brownlee, and wildlife conservation around the
focusing on conservation issues from program manager for NWF’s Artemis country, and when you consider the
a hunting and fishing perspective. Sportswomen, discussed how the scope of all of it combined – together
"Conservation Country" also carries program aims to recruit and elevate with NWF programs and our partner
the message about the need to stop the voices of the growing demographic organizations – it’s staggering.
Asian carp to audiences around the of female hunters. Conservation Country aims to bring
country. “Conservation Country is a great more of that work to light for the
"Conservation Country explores look at the depth of the stories involved hunters and anglers who benefit
the biggest conservation issues in conservation and the people doing from it, as well as ways they can get
facing our country’s fish and wildlife the work. I’m proud that Artemis was involved.”
through interviews with the men, able to be a part of it,” Brownlee said. Another goal of Conservation
women and organizations working to Additional episodes feature Brian Country is to spread the word about
solve them,” said Drew YoungeDyke, Brooks, executive director of the the need to stop Asian carp to audi-
host of Conservation Country and Idaho Wildlife Federation, discussing ences outside the Great Lakes, where
communications coordinator for the how his organization made conser- additional Congressional votes will be
National Wildlife Federation’s Great vation a priority political issue in his needed to approve and fund the plan
Lakes Regional Center. state; Lindsey Lemmons, executive to rebuild the Brandon Road Lock and
The first seven episodes feature director of the Mississippi Wildlife Dam once it’s presented to Congress,
interviews with conservation profes- Federation, talking about their efforts which is expected in 2019.
sionals from across the country, to stop a proposed project that would “Each new episode carries
including leaders of NWF state damage Mississippi wetlands; Aaron that ‘Stop Asian Carp’ message to
affiliate organizations (similar to Kindle and Andrew Black of National audiences in Tennessee, Montana,
Michigan United Conservation Clubs) Wildlife Federation talking about Idaho, Mississippi, New Mexico and
and NWF program staff. National Monuments, sage grouse Nebraska, for example,” YoungeDyke
The first episode featured a vivid conservation, and how the New said.
description of what Asian carp have Mexico Wildlife Federation worked Hunters and anglers can help
done to the bass fishery of Kentucky to expand and open public access to spread that message, too. In collab-
Lake in Kentucky and Tennessee the Sabinosa Wilderness; new NWF oration with the National Wildlife
from Bill Cooksey, NWF sports- Board Member Cody Kamrowski Federation, fishing apparel maker
men’s outreach coordinator for the and Wisconsin Wildlife Federation’s Rep Your Water released a “Stop
Vanishing Paradise program. Marco Mascitti discussing their Asian Carp” sticker for sale at
RepYourWater.com and is donating
half the proceeds to NWF’s work
to keep Asian carp out of the Great
Lakes. Conservation Country is
supported in part by a conservation
partnership between NWF and Rep
Your Water, where a portion of the
sales of Rep Your Water’s Great
Lakes, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio-
themed gear is also donated to NWF’s
Asian carp work.

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 15

Fall 2018.indd 17 8/30/2018 7:53:05 AM
Michigan's
Exploring

Wetland
Wonders By Nick Green

‘Q
uack,' ‘quack,' ‘quack,' a thin sheet of ice and placing
‘quack,' ‘quack' – the decoys. The taste of coffee cake in
hail call turned the my mouth was subsiding as I loaded
ducks over the refuge, three No. 2-shotshells.
and as if they were on a string, they The smell of gunpowder mixed
b-lined straight for us. A patented with the late-fall, dense haze that
"mallard circle" ensued, and a soft surrounded us made me feel at
feed chuckle to my right drew them home; I wasn't in my normal home,
lower and lower. The iridescence though, of an alder thicket or aspen
from the drakes' heads was blinding stand – this was duck habitat.
as the sun peeked over the tree line It was my first managed area
to the east. hunt. The sight of 2,000-plus ducks
The corn strip we sat in was lifting up at once isn't something
well-maintained, even on that a literary device can describe: It
late-November day, thanks to must be witnessed. The care that
concious hunters and the coop- went into managing the Shiawassee
eration between share-croppers, River Managed Waterfowl Hunt
stakeholders and the Michigan Area (MWHA) was evident, and I
Department of Natural Resources. was hooked.
The sorghum strip in front of us
provided some excellent, secondary Michigan's Wetland
cover. The buckwheat opposite us
was also a crucial food source for Wonders
migrating ducks. We had set up in
the third row of corn at about 6 a.m. There are 15 MWHAs spread
My marsh stool was uncom- throughout Michigan's two penin-
fortable, and whatever engineer sulas. These are areas that undergo
designed it had only intended its intensive management for water-
use for two feet of water, not three. fowl, which sometimes includes
My hands still ached from breaking diking systems, water pumps and

www.michiganoutofdoors.com
16 | MICHIGAN OUT-OF-DOORS | SUMMER 2017

Fall 2018.indd 18 8/30/2018 7:53:06 AM
control sctructures, crop planting, "Renowned waterfowl areas As days shorten, leaves drop and
nesting infrastructures and blind like Saginaw Bay, St. Clair Flats autumn starts to close, Michigan is
placements. Areas like these include and the Detroit River have built hallowed ground for the migration.
the Maple River State Game Area and supported local economies and That first trip to the Shiawassee
(SGA) and Crow Island SGA, too. communities with industries such Flats was during the start of the
More known, however, are the as duck decoys, boats and hunting migration. We ended up harvesting
seven MWHAs that have morning clubs," Avers said. "I like to ask two birds that day; but, a resident
and afternoon draws – Shiawassee people where else in this country bald eagle got to one of them before
River SGA, the Harsen's Island can you field hunt for Canada geese, we could. The eagle was lying in
Unit of the St. Clair Flats State hunt puddle ducks in a marsh, wood wait, knowing full well that a shot
Wildlife Area, Muskegon County ducks in a forested wetland, and meant he might get breakfast. It
Wastewater, the Fennville Farm diving ducks and sea ducks on big only took a matter of seconds before
Unit in the Allegan SGA, Fish Point water all within a few hours' drive?" the giant bird swooped in and picked
State Wildlife Area, Nayanquing With early teal season now up the drake mallard.
Point State Wildlife Area and Point set-in-stone in Michigan, waterfowl Fish Point was my second trip
Mouillee SGA. hunters also have the opportunity to a MWHA. My brother-in-law,
Waterfowl has been placed a to chase the early-migrating birds Eric Gary, and co-worker, Shaun
top priority at these MWHAs, and during times when they are most McKeon, decided to make the trip
each offers its own brand of excel- abundant. It's important to identify with me.
lent duck and/or goose hunting what you are shooting at during We were in a corner unit that
throughout the year. early September, though, and to try faced the refuge — we were prob-
Michigan also bolsters its and avoid areas where wood ducks ably only 150 yards from the edge.
strong waterfowl hunting heri- might be. Teal prefer mud flats, are All morning we had watched ducks
tage with ample opportunities for small compared to other ducks, get up and sit down. A few made it to
puddle, diver and sea ducks because make a "peeping" noise and fly fast. the zone to the right of us, and those
of the state's placement within the Our neighborhood wood ducks, guys ended up with seven ducks
migratory flyway, said Barb Avers, mallards and geese typically offer harvested.
Waterfowl and Wetlands Specialist the most opportunity during the Eric harvested a drake pintail,
for the DNR. early, regular waterfowl season. which was his first pintail, and

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 17

Fall 2018.indd 19 8/30/2018 7:53:09 AM
Waterfowl Hunting Digest or online
at the Wetland Wonders Website
Some of these MWHAs are not
open every day — that information
can also be located in the digests
or online.
Some of these
areas have special
regulations like
not being able
to use spin-
ning-wing
decoys.
All of the
draw MWHAs also
have a 25-shell limit.
Conservation officers
strictly enforce these
regulations and all
the normal waterfowl
regulations.
The DNR, in partner-
ship with Michigan United
Conservation Clubs and
Consumers Energy, also
offers the Wetland Wonders
Challenge. Participants can
receive a punch card at one of the
Top: Jake Sawyer, from Hillsdale, poses with a hen pintail that he harvested
seven MWHAs that host draws,
while field hunting in Hillsdale County during the late-split. Bottom: A six-pack of
and when three or more punches
mallards cups in during a late-season field hunt.
from different MWHAs are received,
for Shaun and I, that was a pretty looking at others' decoy placements, hunters can enter that card in for
successful day when compared with being mindful of maintaining cover prizes. Hunting more than three
our other duck hunts. and being respectful to those around MWHAs will increase your entries.
Even in the morning darkness you. Seven winners will be selected
at Fish Point, an area that none While eavesdropping at some to win a waterfowl hunting prize
of us were familiar with, we were of the morning draws, I have heard package including a $500 gift card,
able to use the signs to navigate our stories of hunters with decades of a custom Zink duck call and the
way to our zone. This is one of the experience who frequent these areas. coveted Golden Ticket. The Golden
MWHA blessings. Maps are avail- And when I ask them why, I almost Ticket gives your party an automatic
able, signs are placed and DNR staff always receive the same answer, first choice pick of hunt zones at a
at the draws are more than happy to "Because there are ducks here." non-reserved drawing at any of the
help you navigate your way to your Information on what times the seven MWHAs hosting draws.
zone. Almost all of the areas, with draws are held for the seven MWHAs
the exception of some Shiawassee can be found in the Michigan
Flats zones, are easily navigated to
by foot. A boat can make your life a
little easier, but it isn't necessary.
As a new waterfowl hunter, the
benefits of the MWHAs were price-
less. Finding ducks can be daunting,
and learning how to call, properly
place decoys and worrying about
proper duck hunting etiquette adds
to the stress. However, a hunter
can learn a lot by asking, watching
and mimicking actions that you
see at these units: only calling
when necessary, not sky busting,

18 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 20 8/30/2018 7:53:09 AM
Trace Koble (left), of Ohio, and Jake Sawyer, of Hillsdale, watch a pair of black ducks get ready to cup in during a late-
season field hunt in Hillsdale County. Black ducks, a pintail, mallards and geese were all harvested during that hunt — a
testament to the diversity of waterfowl hunting Michigan has to offer.

Michigan's Waterfowl How to give back 2) Connect or reconnect a new or
former waterfowl hunter
Future 3) Join a conservation organization
2017 was my first year water-
fowl hunting, and it would have that protects and restores wetlands
Every spring, the DNR conducts and supports waterfowl hunting
a Breeding Waterfowl Survey. In been daunting without the help
of McKeon and other friends who 4) If you're part of an organization,
2018, it was estimated that Michigan consider hosting waterfowl hunting
had 34 percent less total ducks than are avid waterfowl hunters. Avers
offered these points to try and help workshops or mentoring programs
in 2017. And the 2018 estimate of 5) Continue to buy state and federal
geese remained consistent with the continue our waterfowl heritage and
pass on the sport we hold so dearly duck stamps to support wetlands
2017 numbers. Our wetland abun- conservation (to provide more
dance average was 9 percent over the in Michigan to the next generation:
hunting lands)
long-term average. 6) Be a conscientious hunter and
Avers said the numbers shouldn't 1) Take somebody new hunting; but,
more importantly, mentor a new give waterfowl hunters a good
make people fret, though. image
"Even though 2018 spring esti- hunter
mates were down, overall, there
are good numbers of ducks, and It starts with a comfortable seat.
mallard numbers in Michigan are If you’re tired of a SORE back while hunting, we have the ANSWER!

Just Duckin’ Hunting Chairs
pretty stable," Avers said. "I haven't
seen any preliminary results from
the continental Breeding Waterfowl
Survey yet, but last year's numbers, WE HAVE YOUR BACK! THE ONLY
which is what 2018 hunting seasons CHAIR WITH
are based on, were quite good for A BACK
most duck species. Hence, the REST
liberal (60-day, 6-duck) duck hunting
season."
Michigan will also continue
to have the most liberal goose
hunting season possible, Avers said.
Michigan continually ranks in the
top three for Canada goose harvest
and for hunters in the nation, she info@justduckin.com
continued. www.justduckin.com
810-588-9880

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 19
5/18/11,17 - MI
Fall 2018.indd 21 8/30/2018 7:53:12 AM
The
Duality of
Woodcock
By Tom Carney

B
ogsucker. Big eye. will use them for navigation during of the Lower, it’s possible to time
Timberdoodle. Mud bat. their autumn migration and pull and follow their travels during the
Peeperdoodle. Labrador into likely looking resting spots hunting season. That’s one of the
twister. along the way. While it hasn’t been things outdoor writer Tom Huggler
The American woodcock has proven, that notion provides a good loves about woodcock, calling it his
earned many sobriquets. None, starting strategy for a morning’s favorite game bird.
however, bestow royal status to the hunt. Alders, creek bottoms, knee- “You never know where it was
bird such as Autumn’s Jewel or high ferns and sometimes stands the day before,” he says. And if it
Monarch of the Uplands do for ring- of raspberry cane on edges are all escapes your shot, “You never know
necked pheasant and ruffed grouse, likely resting places for woodcock; where it will be tomorrow.”
respectively. Without a doubt, the spots where the aroma of “earth” You never know.
woodcock’s odd looks and habits sticks to your boots. Nearby south- Biologists have studied birds in
qualify him for most of those names. facing slopes are also good places to an attempt to learn just that.
But in our memories of woodcock, check out. Think of ground cover One technique to help answer
those looks become delightful; those high enough to soak the toes of boots that question is leg bands, the
habits, fluid. And the more we learn and dampen the legs of brush pants same as used on birds of all types
about the bird, the more remarkable and aspen saplings thin enough to and sizes throughout the country.
it becomes. see through but thick enough to In his book A Fall of Woodcock,
It’s possible to find woodcock in disrupt the otherwise smooth swing Huggler explains that in 1960,
settings that season an upland bird of a shotgun. Rusty, a Brittany belonging to
hunter’s dreams – crisp autumn air, Taking a look at its spindly legs Dr. Andy Ammann, a biologist
azure skies and hillsides lit in golds, and long bill, one might reckon the for the Michigan Department of
yellows and reds. A better place to woodcock belongs on the shores Conservation (forerunner to the
search, though, is the darker, dank rather than in the uplands. And DNR), pointed a woodcock brood
woods, not far from a watercourse one would be correct. At some point while afield in the spring. Ammann
– preferably one running parallel in its evolution, the bird migrated further developed this method of
to a nearby north-south running inland. using pointing dogs to find and
highway. During their annual north-south band woodcock chicks and wrote
One theory suggests that migration, woodcock filter down a booklet about it. Recognizing the
reflected moonlight makes such from beyond the tip of Michigan’s potential of an expanded use of
roads resemble rivers, so the birds Upper Peninsula through the base this technique for obtaining more

www.michiganoutofdoors.com
20 || www.michiganoutofdoors.com
20

Fall 2018.indd 22 8/30/2018 7:53:12 AM
"No one would rather hunt woodcock in
October than I, but since learning of the
sky dance, I find myself calling one or two
birds enough. I must be sure that, come
April, there be no dearth of dancers in the
sunset sky." Aldo Leopold, 1949

Left: Having experienced hundreds of moments like the one depicted here, the late artist Jim Foote painted with a knowing
eye and a razor-sharp attention to detail. Middle: Because of their tendency to sit so still when threatened, woodcock are
ideal training partners for young dogs. Right: Nothing whispers “the essence of autumn” more than a shooting box, a dog’s
bell, a glass of cider and a woodcock fresh in the bag. Photos Courtesy of Tailfeather Communications, LLC
data,the DNR developed a program The information is so new, So far, it’s never failed us.
for certifying nonscientists to use however, so raw, and so plentiful, For all of the woodcock’s
their own dogs to locate and band that biologists aren’t certain yet autumnal colors, the tips of its tail
woodcock in spring. Nevertheless, what it all means. feathers enthrall me. They look
the leg bands deliver only limited Scientifically speaking, the like thin brushes that have been
data; the mysteries linger. woodcock still exudes an aura of dipped into white oil paint. While
Al Stewart, upland game bird mystery, much as it does in person the feathers themselves are almost
specialist for the DNR, spoke when you try to find a downed one. transparent, the “paint” seems thick
at the 11th American Woodcock Is there any doubt that the wood- enough to smear. Such a dainty
Symposium held at the Ralph A. cock qualifies as “autumn on the feature on an animal that has just
MacMullen Conference Center near wing?" At times, its camouflage is so met its end in such an explosive
Roscommon in October 2017. perfect you can be staring at the dead manner.
He held his hand waist-high and bird without even realizing that’s The late Michigan wildlife artist
said, "Here's how much we knew what you are looking at. The camou- Jim Foote knew how to get those
about woodcock migration when our flage is so confounding that years feathers “right” in his artwork, one
only data came from bird bands." ago guys in our bird hunting camp of the four layers of fascination
That knowledge was often limited developed a strategy for finding which woodcock held for him. He
to "Point A" where the bird was down birds. also enjoyed hunting them. And boy,
banded, when and at what age class; The shooter stays in place and oh boy, did he like eating them. His
and "Point B" where the dead bird keeps his eye on the spot where wife, Joanne, had a secret recipe
was recovered, when and at what age he saw the bird fall. The hunting for preparing woodcock legs as an
class. partner enters the scene and the appetizer.
Then, with his arm fully extended shooter “directs” him to the specific Also, one of the first things Foote
above his head, Stewart added, "And spot. Then he walks up to the partner told me he appreciated about wood-
here's how much we know now," and the two of them start looking – cock was, “They were great to have
with GPS and satellite transmitters or tell the dog to look – in the area in years when the grouse were not
tracking woodcock migrations. and expand the search if necessary. abundant.”

Winter
Fall 2018
2018 | Michigan
| Michigan Out-of-Doors2121
Out-of-Doors

Fall 2018.indd 23 8/30/2018 7:53:13 AM
course, there’s the chance of the
“extra hunting season” a person
with a well-trained pointing dog can
qualify for if he wants to band birds.
But, there’s more.
In one tiny, tufted-feather
package, woodcock are not only shy,
quiet, solitary birds that can remain
undetected when we walk past but
also flashy, exuberant suitors in
the spring with their spirited court-
ship display. And it doesn’t take a
pointing dog or any special gear to
observe them.
Each evening in the spring, as
sundown settles into the horizon,
the male woodcock trot out to their
favorite fields and begin their song
and dance routine.
There. Now you know this ritual
exists.
To learn what it actually is,
though, check out Aldo Leopold’s
classic of nature essays, A Sand
County Almanac and Sketches from
Here and There. In “Sky Dance,”
Leopold gives the closest thing
to step-by-step instructions for
observing this performance that
one could expect.
Since Leopold wrote it in 1949,
the essay’s final paragraph has
transported hunters to a new layer
of understanding and respect for
and a type of kinship with the
American woodcock:
"No one would rather hunt
woodcock in October than I, but

Often, when allegedly cornered,
for some reason a woodcock will sit
still and let a hunter pass by within
the thickness of a feather without
flinching. Foote appreciated that
tendency. "They would hold well
for the young dogs that were just
learning to hunt," he said. Anything
to help out the pups.
Finally, woodcock provide a
duality of nature that both captures
our attention and summons us to the
woods during two different times of
the year. First, of course, is during
autumn and the regular hunting
season. The second is in spring. Of

22 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 24 8/30/2018 7:53:13 AM
since learning of the sky dance, I
find myself calling one or two birds
enough. I must be sure that, come
April, there be no dearth of dancers
in the sunset sky."
Bogsucker, indeed!

Left Top: Writer Tom Huggler and his favorite game bird, the American wood-
cock, at the edge of the raspberry patch from where Tom’s setter, Sherlock,
retrieved it. Right: A hunter and his setter search for woodcock in a dense aspen
stand.

"Education is your best defense"
Do a TICK CHECK
These guidelines should be followed during tick removal
Ticks are • Use fine point tweezers and protect bare hands with a
becoming an tissue or gloves to avoid contact with tick fluids.
increasing problem • Grab tick close to skin. DO NOT twist or jerk,
in our woods and as this may cause the mouthparts to break
backyards. Be off and remain in the skin.
aware of the • Gently pull straight up until all parts of tick are removed.
diseases they can You may have to tug gently several times.
spread and how to • After removing tick, wash hands with soap or waterless
prevent them. based hand rubs. Clean tick bite with antiseptic such as
an iodine scrub, rubbing alcohol, or water containing
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• Please save tick for testing. Call 888-784-5963 for
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1-888-784-LYME (5963) Red rash * Neck stiffness * Forgetfulness
www.mlda.org Brain Fog * Mood swings * Facial paralysis
CFC #17513 (SECC) TW22 4558

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 23

Fall 2018.indd 25 8/30/2018 7:53:13 AM
Green Broke:
My First, Last Grouse

By Nick Green
Photo by: Mikayla Carter

L
ike many, my grandfather’s
gun cabinet was host to an
array of single- and double-
barrel guns that had taken
down a grouse or two through the
years — most of which I assume
were worthless to a purveyor of fine
shotguns. I remember studying that
cabinet, wondering about the stories
each double gun could tell and,
more importantly, though, why they
remained untouched for decades.
I suspect, as time usually dictates,
my grandfather just couldn’t handle
the rigors of grouse hunting as he
aged. I never did go on what I would
call a true grouse hunt with my
grandfather. By the time I was old
enough to shoulder a shotgun, he
was donning a handicap sticker and
smoking two to three packs of ciga-
rettes a day.
Nonetheless, when my grandpa
stared me down under the brim of
his straight-billed cap, the youthful
exuberance radiated from him the
second he started talking grouse. He
talked about days when he flushed
them by the dozen and shot three with
two shots. The truthfulness in this
claim is hairy, to say the least; but, I
give him the benefit of the doubt.
By the time I was 14, I became
engulfed in high school sports,

Fall 2018.indd 26 8/30/2018 7:53:16 AM
women and the fast life. My thoughts I wasn’t sure what the experience as I Ioaded another shell. I didn’t
drifted away from that gun cabinet; would bring and had no way to weigh know at that moment how special
it only ever entered my mind when my expectations against reality. that grouse would come to be. That
I thought of a gun’s value and how Calvin turned me into a bird was my first, last grouse.
many libations that could afford me. hunter again, though. We worked As Calvin returned with our
My grandfather and I remained all summer of 2017 to get him over bird, I thought of my grandpa and
close through his last years. We the problem with guns, bring out his 12-year-old me retrieving that grouse
would play Rummy, smoke cigarettes hereditary “birdiness” and make him while grinning ear to ear. The pride
and talk about the good days of comfortable working covers. he would have felt knowing that his
hunting. I was an adult by then, and Where I am from, much of the passion was passed along to me again
I had almost forgotten everything I “traditional grouse habitat” expec- filled me with emotion. At 29, I had
knew about a shotgun, ruffed grouse tations can be thrown out. We don’t again harvested my “first grouse.”
and the excitement I felt when a bird have many huge tracts of early-suc- This time, it was behind, and thanks
flushed. cessional aspen with wintergreen to, Calvin.
Eugene Green passed away when littering the forest floor. Yet, we My journey back to grouse
I was 22. It hit me hard. I didn’t have always have grouse. Transitional hunting was a long one; one that I
a porch to sit on to vent my problems areas that border rivers and support think my grandfather knew I would
anymore, I didn’t have that old TV conifer growth are my go-to grouse embark on again sometime in my life.
with rabbit ears to watch Walker spots. I still shoot that .410, and despite my
Texas Ranger and I couldn’t, with any Calvin and I took a week off last awful shotgunning skills, it may get
dignity, stare at that gun case that October to try our hand at finding a the call on a few hunts this fall.
held so many memories. few grouse in these unconventional I don’t know now where my
As family matters sometimes go, habitats. I was humbled: Calvin, grandfather’s old doubles are. I prob-
I was left with nothing of my grand- although staunch in a field, still had ably never will. I do know that, as I
father’s except an old .410 single-shot a lot of learning to do when it came to start to fill my own gun case, I will
shotgun that he had bought for my the grouse woods. We bumped grouse be sure to instill in my children and
father, who passed away when I was by the dozens before, on the fourth grandchildren the story of my grand-
21, when he was a boy. It was okay; day of our week-long endeavor, he father, his grouse endeavors and the
I didn’t deserve the guns at the time. pointed a grouse in an open field and special moment when I harvested
I do wish, though, that I had opened I was able to connect with it. my “first, last grouse.” Hopefully,
that case one last time and wiped the As Calvin searched for the grouse, someday, long after I am able to trek
dust off of those guns before they I became emotional. It was the first through the grouse woods, they will
moved to their new homes. grouse I had harvested since I was 12. be able to wipe the dust off of my guns
About a year after my grand- A 17-year drought had ended. and think about their first or last
pa’s passing, I decided that I would I can remember, with clarity, that grouse.
take up college. I had turned my life grouse when I was 12, too. My grand-
around thanks to a strong mother, father and I were driving through a
fly fishing and a core group of like- tract of national forest, as we often
minded friends. During my senior did on Sundays, looking for squirrels,
year at Central Michigan University, rabbits or birds. We came across a
I started to become interested in grouse that was picking stones from
grouse again. the road, and when it noticed us, it
I don’t know why. I couldn’t even scurried into some tag alders.
remember the sound a grouse made My grandfather carefully
when it flushed or what one looked uncased the .410, knowing
like. I just knew that I needed to with 95 percent certainty
reconnect to that old part of my past that I wouldn’t hit the
and in some way or another, try to bird, and told me to
conjure up that feeling I got when my walk towards where
grandfather talked about grouse. I saw the grouse enter
After graduation, my wife, Emily, the alders and try to
and I rescued a small Münsterländer. flush it. Somehow,
Emily had grown up with short- and I think fate
hairs, and the rescue of Calvin, our may have it that
Münsterländer, was on a whim. He because it would
was gun-shy, and I knew it would take be the last bird
a lot of work to get him even comfort- I harvested with my
able around a gun. grandfather, I managed to tickle the
I had never hunted over a dog. My bird enough to bring it to the ground.
grandpa had never hunted over a dog. “Finish it,” my grandfather said

Fall 2018.indd 27 8/30/2018 7:53:22 AM
Ace
in the
Hole
By Adam Wilson

M
y dog, Ace, and I arrived a master of her craft — a veteran a clear lane about 25 yards in front
before my hunting of Michigan pheasants. It wasn't of us. A small flinch from him and
partner. The piece was long before conversations were a gentle, reassuring "whoa" from me
a little crossroad deep interrupted by Greta's staunch, made the hairs on my neck begin to
in Michigan's thumb. A small parcel beautiful point. I watched her with stand up. I managed to mumble to
of sun-soaked grassland swayed awe as a hen flushed from under Josh that Ace was on point. With
in the north wind. We had hit the her. My long-tempered excitement several years' experience, he said
weather lottery. Fall 2017 had been about the day exploded. We found something to me; however, it was
the warmest I could remember; a bird quickly. The day was already impossible to hear him over the
yet, that day, it struggled to hit 40 going better than expected, and I heartbeat pounding in my ears.
degrees. I took stock of the 400(ish) could only hope Ace would handle Later, I realized he was telling me to
acres before me. The high grasses his first contact half as well. Greta wait so he could try and film what
and strips of agriculture stood apart is Ace's older sister from the same would be the highlight of my 2017
from the ditch-to-ditch farmed fields sire, so I hoped that he would find upland season. I quickly continued
that we had seen throughout most the common pheasant gene I was to swing towards Ace, still solid with
of our drive. As I thought about quite sure they shared. the scent of bird in his nose. I made a
the day ahead, I noticed a small, The switchgrass was tall, but we wide approach to where Ace's sharp
unassuming white sign which read could catch the odd glimpse of our gaze was focused. Then it happened
"public hunting land" and was the German shorthaired pointers as — 10 feet off his nose, a flurry of
only marking for miles. they went about their hunt. As we grass moving, dog breaking and
When Josh arrived, we said rounded a small agriculture plot, wings beating greeted my march. I
our hellos with frosted air and cold Ace raised his nose and dropped don't remember having a conscious
handshakes. We quickly donned his shoulders. His casts tightened thought to shoulder my gun, and
collars onto anxious dogs. With with every step. Every move he I surely didn't yell, "rooster" as I
guns loaded and our GPS devices made had a purpose. Before I could watched the bird break the top of the
synced, we set the dogs to work. even note him being "birdy" to my neck-high grass. The cackle was all
Greta, Josh's most seasoned dog, is partner, Ace turned to stone down the reassuring I needed to squeeze

Fall 2018.indd 28 8/30/2018 7:53:23 AM
the trigger.
The vision
of my dog returning
with our first wild
rooster together as
feathers rained
down around
us will be one I
tell people about long
after Ace is gone. My
head still hadn't fully
returned from the clouds
after our kill. Suddenly,
Greta ran the most beautiful
track and pin on a running rooster
I imagine I'll ever see — statue-still
on point, much like her younger DNR
brother. Josh was still laser focused m a k e s
and able to knock the fast flushing it easier on us by
bird down. publishing their core
After a couple more passes areas, project maps and
resulted in more hens or far flushing project scale. Anyone
roosters, we returned to the trucks with a computer or
with our pair of birds. I looked smartphone, some gas
down at my flush counter: 21 birds money and a bit of boot
moved, two harvested — wild, state- leather can find a place
land, pheasants. I could hardly that might feel like
believe I was in Michigan, and I was years passed across
suddenly thankful I decided not to Central Michigan
skip the day for the sure bet found and the thumb. Just
in the grouse woods further north. don't forget to yell
Pen-released birds did not cheapen "ROOSTER" if you
the experience. These birds were the do.
wild survivors of the very worst we
could do to them and their habitat.
Yet, they are still here, hiding in
plain sight.
It would be easy to forgive most
Michigan bird hunters for choosing
to head north instead of spending a
day chasing roosters. The fall of the
Michigan pheasant is well-known.
Conversations on the subject seem
to pull both joy and pain when the
pheasants of yesteryear are looked
upon. However, what is less widely
known is that 22,000 of these birds are
still harvested yearly. That number
is expected to rise for the first time in
decades on the back of a very dedi-
cated group of hunters, the state's
Michigan Pheasant Restoration
Initiative and with some coopera-
tion from mother nature. A recently
announced 40,000 acres of addi-
tional CRP available in 2018 should
help speed the recovery efforts in
the core areas as well. The Michigan

Fall 2018.indd 29 8/30/2018 7:53:28 AM
Af·ter Work
/column/
A tribute to those who work 9-5
everyday. Your outdoor pursuits are
precious — we hope this helps you
cherish them.

By Blake Sherburne

W
hen I was a kid, my dad years ago. He sustained a serious hard in the morning, then stop for a
was my motivator. He lower back injury when he was burger at the Bucksnort in Mesick,
was the one who had about 13 that his current doctor told and then hunt hard until late after-
the motivation to take him would paralyze him if it had noon. I loved bird hunting with my
me fishing after we had worked in happened at his current age. He can dad and his dog. Even lunchtime
the trees all day. After dinner, he still walk, but the injury has robbed was a blast. The dog would rest
would say, “You want to go fishing him of his ability, not his desire, in the truck while we watched the
tonight?” Sometimes it was the to wade and navigate the severely Lions get beat and ate a burger that
furthest thing from my mind, but uneven ground that one finds in was big enough to seriously make
I always went. He is also the one the upland woods. As a result, my us question our ability to make it
who prompted me to get my bow out former curiosity has been tested through the afternoon hunt. We
and practice, and I am sure he is the earlier than I had hoped. My love still compare all cheeseburgers to
only reason I ever hunted upland for fishing, fly or otherwise, deer the ones we used to get during those
birds. Dad is the one who taught hunting and skiing never wavered fall hunts.
me how to cast, how to fly cast, how in my dad’s almost total absence Bird hunting is the past time that
to wade, how to shoot a bow, how to from these activities. These days, has lagged behind for me, however.
shoot a shotgun, how to sight in a unless he is with me in the boat, my My bird hunting days pretty much
rifle and how to ski, amongst many mom says he clutches his cell phone stopped when I went to college. We
other skills. Even when I was a kid, waiting for pictures, wondering still had a dog, but we did not have
I can remember wondering if these aloud to anyone who will listen the time. I was home from school
activities were ones I would pursue whether I am not sending pictures pretty much every weekend of
when my dad was no longer, not because the fishing is too fast and the fall semester, but it was not to
really pushing, but suggesting we furious or if the fishing is slow and traipse through bird cover. We were
get off our behinds and get out in the there are no pictures to send. harvesting more trees back then, so
woods or out on the water. From the time I was old enough those weekends were spent cutting,
My dad is still with us, thank to toddle along behind my dad and dragging, baling, hauling trees
goodness, but an old horseback his dog, he took me bird hunting and loading semis. Then, before I
riding injury caught up to him a few every weekend. We would hunt graduated from Central Michigan

28 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 30 8/30/2018 7:53:31 AM
"My dad was my motivator... even when I was a kid, I can
remember wondering if these activities were ones I would pursue
when my dad was no longer, not really pushing, but suggesting we
get off our behinds and get out in the woods or out on the water.
University, we lost our second cleaning up after two puppies, not I’ll never know).
German Shorthaired Pointer, and sure I would ever get them to potty Come spring, I found a local
my dad’s childhood injury started outside. upland and waterfowl hunting
affecting him not long after. Bird Frustration reared its ugly head dog trainer and started what I did
hunting without a dog and my dad and by the time my wife got home not know would become quite the
did not hold much interest for me. from work, I would have changed arduous journey. My trainer, who
About 15 years went by before uncounted diapers and spent far too wishes to remain unnamed, boards
my upland interests were piqued much time neglecting my poor son and trains dogs full time at his home
again. I was married with a brand to try to get the point across to my for a very reasonable price, but
new son when we lost my wife’s new charges that the living room what he prefers is that the owner
dog to cancer. She had never been rug was not the place for puppy of the dog come once a week and
without a dog, and so, once the grief piddles and piles (why they consis- do the training him- or herself. He
of the loss started to fade some, tently chose the only rug in a house lives and works not far from Mesick,
she started talking about getting a otherwise wholly hardwood floors, so I took the preferred, and cheaper,
puppy. The thought of a new dog, a
pointer, entered my head.
We started shopping puppies.
When my wife was young, she had
an Airedale Terrier that she loved
very much. She started shopping
for Airedales, and I started shop-
ping for pointers.
Erika found her Airedale right
away, and I found lots of pointers
that were out of my price range. My
wife said she would love to have two
dogs so they could keep each other Electronic Dog
company while we were gone all Training and Tracking Equipment
day at our respective day jobs, so my
search for a pointer continued. All the Best Brands in Stock!
Just a few weeks later, I found
a new breeder in Wisconsin. The A+ Customer Service!
price was more in line with what
a new dad with a new house and a
new puppy could afford. We picked
up the Airedale in December of 30 Years!
2016 and my brand new German
Wirehaired Pointer just four weeks
later. I had reserved the last pup in
the litter, so in January I picked up
a little female, the runt of the litter.
For a GWP, Jody is considered
soft. My vet said that, judging by Shop Local!
her demeanor, she would probably
train easily and have eyes only for
me. Christmas tree season was Trade-In
over, so I was a stay-at-home dad to Your
my son and designated potty trainer Old Collars!
for two new puppies. I spent that 1517 Northern Star Dr. 800-430-2010
first winter changing diapers and Traverse City MI 49696 collarclinic.com

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 29

Fall 2018.indd 31
MOODquarter.indd 1 7/10/2018 3:45:58 PM
8/30/2018 7:53:32 AM
option. Jody and I went to training years. Jody was on it instantly and the bird. It got away completely
once a week until harvest season picked it up, much to my surprise. unscathed, no reward for a budding
started when we took a few weeks She did not exactly agree that the pointer and her amateur trainer.
off due to long hours and business bird was mine, but I did not have to This summer we continued our
obligations. We started up again fight her too hard. We celebrated our training. Every Monday, after work,
after Christmas, and we worked sudden success. we would head over to our trainer’s
hard this past summer. Only minutes later, Jody went (he is training me more than he is
Training is not as easy as I hard on point. Excitement and training her). We did our force fetch
thought it was going to be, but the confidence got the best of me. I knew work on the table and then headed
bright spots are so encouraging that right away that I had done the right out to the field. He put out two
it makes it easy to go every week. thing, killing that woodcock. Jody pigeons for us, and Jody was starting
Even though Jody was not ready last now knew what we were after, and I to get beyond trying to bumrush
fall, I was encouraged to get her out got a point and I would reward that them. Most birds were flushed by
in the woods at every opportunity. point with another bird — we would me, instead of her, and her force
She is a wirehaired, and even though celebrate a job well done this time. fetch came along nicely. This fall
she was the runt and is still on the What happened next was almost promises to be a lot of fun. I can
slight side for the breed, she can predictable, knowing how we had see real bird hunting in my future
cover ground like I cannot believe. gotten to this point. I flushed the after all these years, and I have two
In training, we use pigeons when bird, another woodcock, and it went children who hopefully, should
we are in the field. I would dearly hard to the right. I am a righty and my determination and motivation
love to know if that was what was that bird flushed hard. There was no continue, will see value in tramping
on her mind when we were in the catching up to it. I still threw lead through the woods with their
grouse woods because she ran over after it, even trying to pull an imagi- dad and watching the Lions lose
everything that was not a pigeon, nary third barrel on my over/under. at lunchtime. Fortunately, some
and there are no pigeons in the Both wads were full yards behind things never change after work.
grouse woods. I learned a new type
of frustration every time I heard a Sheburne's GWP, Jody, holds a training bumper that trainers use during force
grouse thunder away unseen. Jody, fetch. Jody has made great progress in one year and the author hopes to harvest
however, was undeterred. She loved some birds over her this year.
it. She had no idea what we were
doing out there, but she loved it. I do
not know if she actually knew of the
existence of the birds she flushed or
if I just put her in birdy places and
she coincidentally ran over a few at
full speed. It did not really matter. I
was frustrated and worried, and she
was the happiest dog on earth.
I emailed the trainer I am
working with to ask and was encour-
aged and reminded not to reward bad
behavior. I almost instantly broke
that rule. I took her out the Sunday
following the advice, and she ran
over everything, most of them, I fear,
too far away for me to see or hear. I
finally had enough, and, through
my own backward thinking, decided
that she needed to know why we were
out there wandering around. She
finally flushed a woodcock while she
was headed back at me to see what
was taking me so long, I think. The
unfortunate bird flew directly at me
and over my head. My wingshooting
rustiness disappeared for a moment,
and I was able to connect, rewarding
her bad behavior while connecting
on my first wild bird in more than 15

30 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 32 8/30/2018 7:53:34 AM
Tails-A-Waggin’ Acres HP
&
Veterans Serving Veterans
13th Annual Disabled Veterans
Law Enforcement Officers
1st Responders
Free Pheasant Hunt
September 21st thru 24th, 2018
**Sponsors needed to help keep this annual hunt free for disabled
veterans & law enforcement officers, 1st responders and dispatch-
ers**

Sponsors mail to: TAWAHP

20434 60th Ave., Marion, MI 49665

For every $70 sponsorship a hunter will receive 5 birds, all day lunch
buffet and guides with some great dogs.
For Sponsorship Information and to Sign Up contact: Chuck Connell

www.veteranshunt.org
childrenscharters@gmail.com www.preservehunt.com

231-743-6483
Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 31

Fall 2018.indd 33 8/30/2018 7:53:34 AM
By Andy Duffy

A
Woodcock Hunting
Primer
A lifetime of pleasure awaits those who hunt birds

S
o, you’ve just reached hunting They’re continually challenging and should be able to find woodcock
age, love the outdoors and entertaining. So, hunters who want every day of the season. The Upper
think you might like to hunt to can call this a woodcock-hunting Peninsula has plenty of great wood-
birds. You’re tied down with primer. I prefer to think of it as a cock habitat and lots of resident
school, though, and you can’t take little chat about the bird. birds. A person can theoretically
the family sedan to go off on an expe- I’ve been hunting woodcock start the season there and work
dition somewhere. You need to hunt ever since my first small-game down with the flights.
the game that is nearby. Or you’ve season many years ago. Despite Even though most of the
just retired, have extra time on your grumblings about declining popu- woodcock have migrated through
hands and want to hunt more than lations, a diligent hunter seems Michigan by the close of the season,
deer. You’ve decided to take up bird always able to find some. Resident I flush birds every year after the
hunting. birds are strewn across the state. season closes. So, being able to find
Congratulations. You will never Those who can find suitable habitat birds every day of the season is
regret that decision. I can help, at can generally find birds. And, if the more than conjecture.
least with hunting for woodcock. birds aren’t around when the season Oh, to be fortunate enough
I’ve become something of begins, they will be when the flights to hunt every day. Michigan’s
a woodcock-hunting specialist come through. Department of Natural Resources
because, well, I can’t always find But, suppose a hunter who has had a great cadre of profes-
grouse. It pains me to admit that. lives in Southern Michigan knows sionals and volunteers, too, who
But, I usually have little trouble what type of habitat holds birds, offer tremendous information about
finding woodcock. has done plenty of pre-season woodcock migrations. Called coop-
Being able to find woodcock is scouting and still can’t find any erators, the volunteers give infor-
no small thing. woodcock. Well, hunters who can mation about bird flushes to the
Woodcock are a great game bird. afford to burn the time and the gas DNR professionals. The information

32 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 34 8/30/2018 7:53:35 AM
is found on DNR’s website. spot
The Ruffed Grouse Society is close
another great source of informa- to home
tion. After joining MUCC, joining and found
the Ruffed Grouse Society is the nothing.
best thing a bird hunter can do.
Besides timing the flights,
though, a person needs to find the
suitable habitat. This is where
things can get tricky. Areas that
look like good woodcock cover may
be marginal and, depending upon
the time of the season, marginal lenge
habitat may be full of birds. me on them.
According to an old wood- That is because,
cock-hunting adage, a hunter should when conditions are
get his feet wet. And, in fact, a lot of right, aspens can be full
semi-scholarly articles about wood- of woodcock. That normally
cock claim that they’re a shorebird. happens, though, when the
Remember the adage about getting ground is damp or when the
your feet wet, but don’t look for migration flights are on – or
them in sandpiper habitat. both. But don’t take my
Woodcock are most often found word on it. Burn up some
in damp places where a thick boot leather and look for
tapestry of brush is above them yourself. You might find
and black, mucky earth is beneath another type of ideal
their feet. A person finds this habitat. At the least,
habitat along creeks and around you’re bound to learn
swamps and ponds. If tag alders things about woodcock
are present in any number, the that I don’t know.
area is probably perfect woodcock Nobody knows
habitat. everything about the
Woodcock and tag alders marvelous bird.
co-exist wonderfully. It took me a As woodcock
while to realize that finding tags is hunters, we all
often the key to finding woodcock. get to play the part
In a little wetland not far of a woodcock biologist.
from my house are 15 acres or A person might rightly
so of willows. A little cluster of wonder how any woodcock
aspen grows among the willows. ever live to grow up. They must
Off to one side are about 10 acres have a lot of confidence in their
of white cedars. A tiny creek, camouflage. Or, more likely, their
that may actually be a drain – I’ve camouflage protects them from
never been sure about that – flows their inclination to hold tight. I
through the whole shebang. The doubt if they are even aware of how
cover is dense and thick, and the well they blend in. They are, after
dirt is black. Because it was close to all, birds.
home, I used to hunt the place often. Anyway, they often wait until a
The swamp looked like great person is right on top of them before
habitat to me. I knew it contained a they take off. Then, of course, the
few resident birds. The only time the Suddenly, I realized the startled hunter usually misses his
place was a consistent producer was only difference I could see was in shot.
when flights were coming through. the types of vegetation. I once had a liver-colored
Finally, the light dawned one day Look for birds in tags, not German shorthair. Her color is of
when I was doing some hit-and-run in willows. Of course, there are no importance, but she certainly
hunting. I had several small pockets exceptions, but that’s a pretty good was a beautiful dog. She was a good
of cover I could hunt all in the same principle. dog, too — amicable, affectionate
10-mile area. I hit a couple of spots And, even as I’m writing these and pretty good in the field. She had
and found birds. Then I went to the words, I know someone will chal- one lousy characteristic, though

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 33

Fall 2018.indd 35 8/30/2018 7:53:37 AM
a woodcock blends in so well with
its surroundings that it is benefi-
cial to have a dog along, even if the
dog does nothing other than help a
person find dead birds.
A person need have no special
gear or equipment to hunt wood-
cock, either. A pair of good boots
is handy, but a person can easily
hunt woodcock with a cheap pair of
rubber boots sold at the local farm
store. A person will need some blaze
orange clothing, of course, but blaze
orange caps cost little. Brush pants
are nice to have, but a person can
walk around the clusters of wild
blackberries. Brambles are not
great woodcock habitat, anyway.
Early in the season, a person
need not worry any more than that
about clothing. I’ve hunted wood-
cock in November when I needed
just a light jacket. A person can
Eventually, nearly every bird hunter wants a dog. I've owned pointers and
spend money later after he discovers
flushers and loved them all. My current dog, Lily, an English springer, does a great
how much he loves bird hunting.
job of finding birds and goading them into the air. She also does a great job of
And love it, he will.
finding downed birds. She is pictured here with a woodcock she retrieved.
One of the cool things about bird
– she tended to crowd grouse too they blend in so well. Annie clearly hunting is a person gets to shoot
much. When a grouse was around, was growing impatient with the at flying objects. It’s like playing
she was more often a flushing dog whole affair. She crept forward a a video game, except bird hunting
than a pointer. step, something she didn’t usually is real. Our ancestors once did the
Of course, anyone who has had do on woodcock. She took another hunting with old fowling pieces, and
more than a couple of bird dogs step and another. After she took the task was sometimes important.
has probably had one like that. We one more step, I realized she was Odds are you already have a
make accommodations. At least I no longer looking out beyond her. shotgun you can use – either your
do. When I have such a dog and it’s She was looking at the ground. I own or one in your father’s or grand-
getting birdy, I get ready to shoot. still couldn’t see any blamed bird. father’s closet or gun safe. Those
But Annie was rock solid on wood- I decided no bird was there. who’ve never spent much time with
cock. She would get a whiff of bird I lowered my shotgun. Just as I did, a shotgun in their hands should
and lock up tight. Annie lunged. The bird took off. It review the rules for gun safety and
One day, we were going through was a woodcock. It had been almost adhere to them with a passion. They
a little cluster of aspens. Annie’s between her front legs. That may also might want to join a rod and
bell quit dinging, and I walked over be an extreme example, but it illus- gun club and do some shooting with
to take a look. Sure enough, still as trates how tight woodcock will sit experienced shooters.
a statue, she stood on point. With sometimes. Just getting a simple hand
my shotgun ready, I began creeping It doesn’t take many similar thrower and some clay targets is
toward her. I never like to come up experiences before woodcock begin good. That is what I do for my prac-
directly behind a bird dog. So, off attracting a cultlike following. tice. Enlist someone to shoot with
to the right of her, I began drawing We’ve all heard of trout bums – you in the neighbor’s backwoods
closer and closer, envisioning a those dedicated anglers who travel or in some state forest somewhere.
point beyond her nose. I took a the countryside to fish this stream Take turns throwing.
route that I figured would bisect a or that hatch. Some bird hunters That gun you begin with may
line running the direction she was begin hunting woodcock in Canada very well be a full-choked, long-bar-
pointing about 30 feet ahead of her. and follow them all the way to the relled goose gun unfit for the tight
I drew abreast of her hindquarters. Gulf Coast. Oh, to have the time and confines of a woodcock covert.
Nothing flushed. I took another step. resources. It might be worthwhile Eventually, most of us will want
I carefully surveyed the ground in for me to mention that a person something specialized for wood-
front of her. Of course, I couldn’t doesn’t need a dog to hunt wood- cock. I don’t recommend rushing
see a bird. Woodcock are tiny, and cock. I didn’t have one for years. But out and buying an expensive new

34 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 36 8/30/2018 7:53:38 AM
gun, although nothing is wrong a hunter reacts, the woodcock is Eventually, you’re going to want
with that. usually disappearing among the a bird dog. Then you’ll have a choice
Bird hunting, though, is a branches well higher than a person’s to make. Should you get one that
throwback sport. Why not buy head. Just be careful. We can send points or one that flushes?
a used gun? Do a little research those pellets flying away, but we can I’ve owned both and loved them
on classic, U.S.-built shotguns, so never bring them back. The danger all. It comes down to personal
you’ll know what you’re looking inherent in hunting is one reason I preference. The photographs
at when you find something on a don’t mind hunting alone. and paintings of a dog locked
used gun rack somewhere. Keep Besides, my dog is better up on point and a dog or more
your eyes open for a Parker, A.H. company than many people are. backing the point are grand. And
Fox, Ithaca, L.C. Smith or Lefever. But a discussion of woodcock who doesn’t dream of walking up on
Not only will you be gun shopping flight patterns brings up another a bird he knows is there?
the old-fashioned way, you will be point: Usually, woodcock seem to A flushing dog’s body language,
buying something no longer made. pause slightly when they clear the though, tells me a bird is around just
And, unlike new guns, these used thickest of the brush. Once above as surely as one’s point does. And
guns are unlikely to depreciate. the brush, they change their flight if we buy a flushing dog, we aren’t
Instead, they can be investments, from an upward direction to an adding a lot of unnecessary details
purchases that will increase in outward-bound one. That is a good to its workload.
value. At least, that’s what I tell my time to shoot. Just hunt this fall. Then study
wife. And once you find a shotgun But back to your shotgun: Buy the breeds during the winter and
you really like, you’ll never sell it to something new and you can easily make a decision. Hunt without a
reap the profits. Classic guns should find something with choke tubes dog. Hunt with your buddy who has
never be sold. They should only be and a short barrel. If you buy a full- a dog. Hunt with the pet that sits
passed on to the next generation of choked vintage shotgun, you may idling on your couch. Its ability to
hunters. not want to alter the piece. You could find and flush birds might surprise
Hitting woodcock with what- easily affect its resale value. But, you. And if it helps you find a bird
ever gun you choose is tough. As I often those shotguns sell for between you dropped in thick cover, it just
mentioned, they come up in thick four and five hundred bucks. Choke paid for all the dog food you’ve fed it
tangles of vegetation and often close tubes do little to affect the value through the years.
to the hunter. A person has but a few of a gun in that price range. And You’ll find more bird hunting
moments to shoot and usually sticks, you’re buying one for its historical articles than this one in this maga-
vines and branches are between the and aesthetic appeal, not to make a zine. Read them, too. Read as much as
hunter and the bird. The birds I profit. you can. Watch videos. Bird hunters
flush outnumber the ones I shoot at I think a person should make can never stop learning. There is
by a wide margin. the modifications he wants. Take so much to know about shotguns,
So, while looking for that used the gun to a gunsmith and have him ballistics, dogs, cooking the birds we
shotgun, look for something with thread the barrel for choke tubes. shoot and many other things. Bird
a short barrel and an open choke. The child you pass the gun along to hunting will become a passion for
Then, when a woodcock takes off, will thank you for it. you. Welcome to the sport.
try to take a quick shot. Some of my
most startling shots happened when
a bird came up right in front of me
and my reflexes took over. I didn’t
worry about establishing a lead. I
just reacted.
Safety is of the utmost impor-
tance when bird hunting. A hunter
must at all times know where his
companions are. If he’s accompa-
nied by a dog, he needs to make sure
he never shoots at a bird below his
shoulders (the brim of his cap is
better). If he’s with another person,
he needs to be very careful about
shooting at a bird lower than a
basketball rim. Sometimes we just
lose track of our hunting compan-
ions, especially in thick brush.
By the time a bird takes off and

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 35

Fall 2018.indd 37 8/30/2018 7:53:39 AM
Sharing
Space in
Sharonville
Sponsored by the Michigan Wildlife Council
Photo Credit: Jeremy Joswick

R
ing-necked pheasants are on the ground under vegetation, resulted in a unique area that allows
leading a resurgence of bird has also started calling the space people of all ages and activity levels
populations at the Sharonville home. And while the pheasants to share the space with wildlife.
State Game Area, a 4,387-acre wild- bring hunters to Sharonville each “The Sharonville State Game
life area in Grass Lake. The prop- October, the other birds attract a Area is one of those cases of ‘If
erty, which straddles the border of whole other slice of society. you build it, they will come,’” said
Jackson and Washtenaw counties “We also get a strong birding Matt Pedigo, chair of the Michigan
in southeastern Michigan, has been community that comes through Wildlife Council. “If we return the
in a perpetual state of restoration here,” Tison said. “We actually check land to a state of balance, whether MIC
since its dedication 67 years ago. And their websites to keep up with all it’s through proactive management
thanks in part to the funds raised the birds they’re seeing. That helps of the wild plants growing there or
by hunting and fishing licenses, the us see what birds are using what simply overseeing the grounds as
Cre
plants and wildlife that reside there areas so we can better accommodate nature takes its course, it’s possible Leg
will continue to flourish for the fore- them.” for animals that have been long gone Cou
seeable future. In addition to providing a home to return. It’s incredible how fast that
“Pheasant is a target species, for birds, Sharonville State Game can happen. And the management of trem
but a lot of other wildlife is making Area offers recreational opportu- this location ultimately ensures that of h
full use of the space,” said Dennis nities for humans, including berry the wildlife will be here for future
to t
Tison, wildlife technician for the and mushroom picking, hiking and generations to enjoy.”
Michigan Department of Natural kayaking/canoeing, fishing and The Michigan Wildlife Council wild
Resources. “Right now, we’re in hunting for pheasants, deer, water- works to increase public under-
the third year of our most recent fowl, squirrels and rabbits. standing of the important role Fun
10-year grassland plan, and we’re The original parcels within the wildlife management plays in the
starting to get to see things really dedication boundary were purchased conservation of the state’s natural
lice
taking hold. It’s interesting to see in 1951 using the Game and Fish resources. The council uses $1 from see
who’s moving in.” Protection Fund, with subsequent every hunting and fishing license am
As ground-dwelling birds, parcels acquired over the years sale to educate the public on those
pheasants use Sharonville’s expan- through the Natural Resources Trust efforts, but that’s only a small part and
sive grasslands for nest building, Fund, the Pittman-Robertson Fund, of where those license dollars go. vide
as well as searching for the seeds tax reversion and land exchange Pedigo said the importance of
and insects that sustain them. The deals with local farmers. Since then, Sharonville to grassland bird popu- Lea
grasshopper sparrow, a small North a combination of strategic land lations is “undeniable.”
American bird that builds its nests use and a concerted focus on bird “State game areas are main- He
in well-concealed “open cups” and small mammal numbers has tained solely through hunting and

36 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 38 8/30/2018 7:53:40 AM
18-M
fishing license purchases, and opportunities and resources can be place there every fall – there are so
Pittman-Robertson funds, which are enjoyed by people with health chal- many unique things happening in
an excise tax on the sale of sporting lenges while maintaining the ecolog- Sharonville.”
arms, ammunition, and archery ical integrity of the area’s unique Tison said the hunting commu-
equipment.,” Tison said. “Plain and natural communities. nity has really connected with
simple, if you’re buying licenses “Something else that makes Sharonville, and that relationship
or hunting and fishing equipment, Sharonville so special is the work has opened the door to many future
you’re funding our work. Some enjoy that’s been done by the DNR and possibilities.
the shooting sports, some don’t even other conservation-related groups to “The support of hunters, both
hunt, but it all provides the funding make the area accessible to hunters through their funding and through
that allows these birds to thrive.” with disabilities, specifically those their use of our property, has shown
Tison said that beyond providing with mobility issues,” Pedigo said. how conservation in action can help
valuable wildlife-related recreation, “There are treaded chairs available wildlife thrive while also engaging
the ultimate goal of Sharonville for hunters who can’t negotiate the wildlife enthusiasts,” Tison said.
is to continue to contribute to the miles of trails and tall grasses to “And there’s still so much planned
health of both game and nongame reach their hunting blinds. There – I’m eager to see how this grows in
wildlife species. The master plan for are also guided hunts that take the coming years.”
Sharonville has goals that include
increasing and supporting sustain-
able populations of ring-necked
pheasants and providing habitat for
a wide variety of other wildlife popu-
lations, including wild turkey, wood-
cock, ruffed grouse, white-tailed
deer, cottontail rabbits and massa-
sauga rattlesnakes. Furthermore,
the property will continue to receive
accessibility upgrades so that these

MICHIGAN WILDLIFE COUNCIL

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

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

Funded via $1 from every base
license sold in Michigan, the council HUNTERS AND ANGLERS
seeks to build understanding for your vital role in protecting Michigan’s wild places for the
among the state’s non-hunting use and enjoyment of future generations. Your licenses provide
and non-fishing residents through nearly $40 million a year to conserve wildlife, public lands and
videos, news and much more. waters. Conservation and management of our diverse wildlife
populations and the habitats in which they thrive is possible
Learn more at
only because of you.
HereForMiOutdoors.org

Fall 2018.indd 39 8/30/2018 7:53:41 AM
18-MWC-0418-MUCCMagazineStripAd-Fall2018-PP-3.indd 1 7/17/18 9:17 AM
Full Draw:
Hunting Access
By Tom Nelson
I
n a recent survey conducted er-fletched cedar arrows. More than are on the fence as far as hunting is
by the National Deer Alliance, once I had a landowner or farm- concerned. They do not hunt, and
hunters were asked what they er help me gain access to another they do not know much, if anything,
perceived as the biggest ob- acreage without me even asking. about hunting. In my opinion, it is
stacles facing them today. Not sur- They just did it. Looking back, I was far easier to get permission to bow
prising, having access to property spoiled: I had access to more land hunt than to gun hunt. To the land-
in which to hunt was one of the than I could physically hunt. My life owner, it is perceived as far less in-
main issues facing hunters today. as a bowhunter couldn't get any bet- trusive having someone bow hunt
As populations increase, so does ter. on their property rather than gun
urban sprawl with its subdivisions Circa 1980, things began to hunt. I always try and keep a low
and shopping malls sprouting up in change. First, one of my favorite profile and be sure to not be any sort
areas that once grew soybeans and small farms sold out to a big corpo- of burden to the landowner.
corn. Small farmers are selling out rate farm that allowed no hunting, When seeking permission to
as the price of property skyrockets. period. Next, only a few short years hunt, I generally have my wife
Moving out into the country seems later, another great piece of my come along. I do not wear any camo
to be the rage these days, as more hunting access was sold to a devel- clothing or attire that marks me
and more humans want a piece of oper. That property soon became a as a hunter. I wear normal street
the country life. subdivision, as did most of the ad- clothes, thus presenting myself as
One of my favorite bowhunting joining farmland. I was slowly but a normal guy. Having my wife along
spots as a young, novice bowhunter surely being squeezed out of my has always helped, as I explain that
back in the mid-1970s is unrecogniz- hunting areas. Life as a bowhunter the two of us bow hunt together.
able today. Once rural farmland and was getting tougher. Honestly, I believe that its harder to
woods, now there are large homes Fast forward to the present. turn down a request to hunt when
with extensive yards that stretch as Now I am bowhunting small par- you have your wife with you. The
far as the eye can see. The woodlot cels, one as little as seven acres, but same can be said for children. Bring
I arrowed my first buck in is now I am still bowhunting and tagging along your kids when asking for
full of homes, blacktop roads and whitetails every fall. I just adapted permission. Let the landowner see
street lights. The field I used to hunt to the times, learned to hunt small- that you're a good family man.
pheasants in with my dog is now a er parcels and I am hunting smart- Gaining access is one thing,
grocery store. Times have changed er. The same can be said regarding and maintaining it is quite anoth-
for sure, and as a bowhunter, I have our local whitetail population. They er. Keep in mind that the land you
had to make some changes also. too had to adapt and change as their may have permission to hunt right
The most major change for my- habitat was altered, and adapt, they now is being sought after by others.
self has been the fact that 40 years did. With little effort, whitetails One landowner who has granted my
ago I had access to hundreds of quickly learned to live right along- wife and I permission to bow hunt
acres in which to hunt. Seldom was side humans in what had become, has told me that he is approached
I turned down when I knocked on a by far, a more confined area. at least two to three times a year for
door and requested permission to Gaining access to these small permission to hunt his small wood-
bow hunt. Perhaps it was the fact parcels of land that are often sur- lot. I make sure that every Christ-
I was bowhunting, and most land- rounded by homes and businesses mas I take him and his wife a gift of
owners likely thought I was cra- takes a bit of time and some differ- some sort. It's just a thank you to let
zy and would be of no real threat ent techniques when asking per- them know how appreciative we are
to the local deer population with mission to hunt. I have found that to hunt their property. Be sure and
my 45-pound recurve and feath- many of these small landowners take the time to do this every year.

38 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 40 8/30/2018 7:53:42 AM
Never take for granted that you will
have access next year.
Do not wait until the week before
deer season to seek permission. Start
pounding on doors during the sum-
mer. Shy away from calling the land-
owner. Personal face-to-face meetings
are best, as it is far harder to turn
someone down in person than over
the phone. Even the smallest parcels
of land can be gold mines for bow-
hunting if it is the right piece of land.
Many parcels are overlooked because
they appear small. Yet, they can be
productive when it comes to hunting.
Because these small parcels are often
overlooked, they can be perfect for
gaining access to.
Always be respectful of the land
you hunt and the landowner. Never
cut trees or limbs without first seek-
ing permission. If you are fortunate
to tag a whitetail, extract it without
the landowner having to witness the
gory details. As nonhunters, they
may understand what you are doing
but not want to see all that it entails.
Take some time from your schedule
and seek out some new hunting spots.
One just never knows how long per-
mission to hunt will last. Having mul-
tiple sites to hunt, albeit small ones,
guarantees hunting access in the fu-
ture.

Fall 2018.indd 41 8/30/2018 7:53:43 AM
Is Silent Estrus
the Chase-Phase
Trigger?
By John Ozoga

PC: Kirk Nartker, East Olive Cooperative

T
he whitetail’s pre-rut is each other as they wildly chase every by energetic bucks, but little or no
characterized by increased doe in sight. All resemblance of social breeding.
activity, intense socializa- order vanishes – or so it seems – as
tion, mixing of the sexes, belligerent bucks scurry about day Silent Estrus
sparring among bucks and the early and night, testing every doe they find.
stages of signposting. These interac- Why the sudden change? What What about the phenomenon
tions involve highly ritualistic and mysterious force causes such wild called the "quiet heat" or "silent
stereotyped behaviors. Tolerance, behavior, often referred to as the estrus?" In this case, the female
social order and even predictability “chase phase?” Is it the first breedable shows the histological and physiolog-
prevail. One senses the herd is doe? Or, is it another signal that alerts ical signs of estrus, including ovula-
following a strict social system bucks to breeding opportunities that tion, but not the mating response or
molded by centuries of adaptation to will soon develop? physiological heat. This condition
environmental pressures. On the Northern range, the chase is common in cows and mares, but
phase occurs after mid-October each it has also been reported in elk and
The Chase year. Therefore, given that timing, deer. Some researchers, including
it's tempting to think the first breed- myself, believe silent estrus might
Everything changes by late able doe causes bucks to suddenly mysteriously spur the whitetails'
October. Almost overnight, bucks become frenzied. To the contrary, I crazy behavior a couple of weeks
seem to go berserk. Scraping activity suspect the chase phase is just that: before breeding begins.
explodes, and bucks won’t tolerate Much chasing and testing of does In other words, a doe’s silent

40 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 42 8/30/2018 7:53:44 AM
ovulation might emit pheromones the release of eggs from the ovaries, high-density deer herd in Ohio also
that alert bucks to her status, but she while high levels occur during preg- concluded that most does silently
won’t be in the mood to mate and will nancy. Because the does would not ovulate in late-October or early-No-
flee the bucks’ advances. mate, however, we believe that some vember. That was following a true
Noted University of Georgia does had a silent ovulation before estrus and successful breeding in less
researcher Karl Miller says the term successfully breeding in November. than 15 days.
“estrus” denotes a period of heat Black-tailed deer have exhib- Several researchers suggest
and willingness to mate. Therefore, ited similar patterns. Researchers that silent ovulation in whitetails
technically speaking, there is no such concluded that does ovulated at inter- might play an important role when
thing as a silent estrus. vals of 8 to 9 days until they success- does reach puberty. Therefore, the
“More correctly, such a condition fully bred. Investigators also said the phenomenon might not be so critical
should be called a silent ovulation,” season’s first ovulation was silent or in adults as they shift from sexual
Miller said. did not produce a lasting pregnancy. dormancy to breeding condition in
In other words, a doe’s silent Given the physiological condi- autumn.
ovulation might emit pheromones tions involved, the researchers spec-
that alert bucks to her status, but she ulated that a black-tail’s first silent Conclusion
won’t tolerate their close contact. ovulation might stimulate one or
both sexes, thereby helping to bring Currently, no concrete evidence
Supporting Evidence both into breeding conditions about supports my contention that
the same time. important pheromones accompany
While monitoring autumn It's important to note that not silent ovulation in whitetails. But,
hormonal changes in the does' repro- all does exhibit a silent ovulation. circumstantial evidence points that
ductive systems at the Cusino Wildlife In fact, Georgia research suggests way. If some does consistently exhibit
Research Station, we found that some only young does nearing their first silent ovulation before the main
does had elevated progesterone in breeding season have a silent ovula- breeding season, and important odor
their blood 12 to 23 days before their tion. In most regions, these would be signals accompany this physiological
first behavioral estrus. Generally, a 1.5-year-old females, but could some- change, then it's my guess that this
slight increase in progesterone secre- times include doe fawns or older does. condition triggers the rut's chase
tion is associated with ovulation, Researchers studying a phase.
Ozoga's subjective and observed evidence through his years as a Michigan Department of Natural Resources biologist leads
him to believe that the chase phase in white-tailed deer is triggered by the silent estrus of some does.

Fall 2018.indd 43 8/30/2018 7:53:44 AM
Strategies for
hARVESTING
Swamp Bucks
By Darren Warner

Fall 2018.indd 44 8/30/2018 7:53:45 AM
S
lowly plucking my way Mature bucks love the solitude away. I don't want to hang a stand
through the pitch-black and security of swamps. Only at too close to their beds because doing
darkness of a multi-acre night, and some days during the so contaminates the area and will
wetland, the beginning of an rut, do some of them venture out of compel bucks to no longer bed in
old Scottish poem seeped into my their wet lairs in search of food and/ those spots.”
mind. or mates. Let's look at how to locate Regardless of when you’re
From ghoulies and ghosties, and swamp bucks and how to effectively scouting or hunting, you need to
long-legged beasties, and things that hunt them at different stages of the understand what makes swamp
go bump in the night, Lord help us! deer hunting seasons. We'll cover deer tick. They spend most of their
Lord, help the GPS I’m holding the ins and outs of hunting the time in marshes because they abhor
in my hand to guide me to my tree- ghosts of the swamps, making you a human intrusion. Unlike other
stand, I thought to myself. successful swamp ghost-buster. deer that aren’t spooked by farm
Twenty minutes later, the GPS equipment and all-terrain vehicles,
had done its job, and I was looking Swamp Scouting Strategies marsh deer will tolerate very little
at the old tamarack holding my human activity.
climbing sticks and stand. It was One of the best times to scout for "The key is to not hunt too close
show time. This would be my inau- swamp bucks is late winter/early to a resource deer use because you
gural hunt in the swamp, and I knew spring after the snow has melted, don't want them associating danger
it was my best chance to ambush focusing on both older and more with the resource that they use,"
a wide eight-pointer that made the recent deer sign. said Grant Woods, renowned deer
marsh its home, safely avoiding a "I like to revisit areas that I biologist and host of the popular
bevy of bowhunters all looking to saw last fall, but I didn't want to Growingdeer.tv online series. "The
put their tag on the buck. disrupt during hunting season," exception to this rule would be
An hour later, I heard the said Michigan swamp hunter hunting near acorns or mast that
unmistakable sound of something Kevin Vistisen, who also produces falls for only a couple weeks a year.
slopping through the water headed a helpful deer hunting podcast In that case, I will hunt closer to the
towards me. My stomach tightened available to listeners for free resource.”
as I waited for whatever was making (Deerhunterpodcast.com). "I'll walk Scouting for prime food sources
the noise to appear, hoping against for miles looking for large deer can be done throughout the year.
hope it was the eight-pointer. beds, then back out and find a good The trick is learning, from year
It wasn’t. A small spike appeared spot to hang a stand 100 to 200 yards to year, when mast is falling, then
out of the mist, coming out of the hunting those spots when deer are
water and walking a mere 10 yards
Left: Kevin Vistisen, who hosts the popular Deer Hunter Podcast, has taken plenty
from my stand. I sat motionless
of swamp bucks (PC: Kevin Vististen). Bottom: Deer don't hesitate to swim or wade
while some critter landed on my
through high water, so you shouldn't either. Use chest waders to access high pieces
neck and started crawling on me. I
of ground where deer often bed to avoid predators (PC: Larry Keller).
waited for the buck to move on so
I could brush it off. As soon as the
deer was out of earshot, I slapped at
the creepy-crawly on my neck.
That’s when the eight-pointer
that had been standing behind me
took off, narrowly escaping my
arrow with the buck’s name on it.
For sure, there’s a lot that
can go wrong when deer hunting
in swamps, but the advantages
far outweigh the challenges. The
biggest plus is that you get a crack
at bucks other hunters never see.
“For years I thought that a
swamp buck was just a deer that hid
out in mucky places when hunting
pressure got heavy, but spent the
rest of the year on dry ground,” said
famed whitetail hunter and author
Gary Clancy. “I was wrong. There
are deer that spend most of their
lives with their hooves in the mud.”

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 43

Fall 2018.indd 45 8/30/2018 7:53:47 AM
consuming it. the swamp you covered into your "I'm in my stand 60 to 90 minutes
Aside from food smartphone, notebook or GPS before daylight because deer will
sources, Woods tracking application. Doing this often move back to their beds 30 to
looks for micro-dif- ensures you won’t miss any spot in 45 minutes before daylight," Vistisen
ferences in habitat the swamp where a big buck may be said. "I stay in my stand at least an
such as waterways hiding out. hour after dark because I've seen
leading to bottlenecks You also can use game cameras mature bucks wait 30 to 45 minutes
that serve to funnel to scout for deer that meet your after most hunters go home to get up
deer movements. Using harvest criteria – just make sure and move out of their beds. Staying
an aerial photo can help not to set cameras over deer beds in my stand after most hunters have
identify funnels, break or other areas where deer spend a left also helps me gain valuable infor-
lines separating shallow lot of time. Instead, hang cameras mation about deer movements after
from deep water and along travel corridors to learn about dark, which I can then use when
other features where deer the deer that live in the swamp and devising future hunting strategies.”
activity can be pinpointed. when they’re using the travel routes. Notice that Vistisen and other
A portable GPS Again, effective scouting involves successful swamp hunters are
unit is an invaluable learning as much information always scouting – even when they’re
swamp-scouting tool as possible without altering deer hunting. It can be tempting to just
you’ll want to carry activity. sit back and relax when hunting, but
whenever looking "When I'm scouting, I bring a you’ll increase your odds of success
for potential stand climbing stick, safety harness and if you pay attention and record valu-
sites. Many lineman's belt with me so that I can able information about deer move-
smartphones hang my cameras 10 feet off the ments in a notebook or smartphone
have built-in ground, pointing them downward while in your stand. It can mean the
G P S to take photos and video of deer difference between tagging out or
movements," Vistisen said. “I also going home empty handed.
hunt a lot on public land, and this Carefully select your entry/exit
prevents people [from] seeing routes so the wind is always in your
my cameras and being favor. Savvy swamp hunters know
tempted to steal that how you get in and out of a
them." swamp is just as important as where
tech- you sit waiting for bucks.
n o l o g y,
enabling you to
record key informa-
tion into the phone.
The homogeneity of
a swamp makes it Swamp
nearly impossible to Hunting After wearing yourself out
find potential stand Strategies scouting, it’s very tempting to
locations later, so I choose the easiest route you can
also like to sketch find, especially if you have to wade
the area in a small through water to get to your stand.
notepad I carry when But, now is not the time to take the
scouting, marking trees path of least resistance. Again, do
where I may hang stands everything you can to keep the wind
with fluorescent paint or in your face and to use an entry/exit
orange tracking tape. Note route that deer tend to avoid, like
the direction(s) the wind Regardless of whether you’re deep water. You may have to put your
needs to be blowing to hunt scouting or hunting, always move gear in waterproof bags or even use
in each spot. with the wind in your favor. Swamp a canoe to get to your stand.
Scouting for deer in bucks live by their noses, so wear Besides occupying tree stands,
swamps is all about patience rubber boots and scent-control Woods like to spot and stalk in
and persistence. If the swamp is clothing and make liberal use of swamps, looking for the gleam of
large, get a map of it and grid the scent-killing spray to reduce the an antler or white of a tail to locate
area. Then, use your GPS tech- amount of human odor you leave in marsh bucks.
nology to methodically scout the the swamp. "I tend to hunt afternoons
entire swamp. After each scouting Plan for long sits when hunting because in the morning you're
trip, carefully record how much of in swamps. moving and the deer are moving as

44 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 46 8/30/2018 7:53:47 AM
well," Woods said. "Unless there is conditions. You're also more likely making transporting the animal
a nearby agriculture field, in which to fall and get injured, particularly much easier.
case you can slide into the swamp when climbing up or down a tree- Swamp hunting is all about
when deer are elsewhere. When I'm stand. Unless you know the swamp persistence, patience and taking
on a spot-and-stalk, I am constantly well and can put your finger on high the road less traveled. If you scout
changing my direction of travel so ground where deer yard up, stay out smart, record your intel and do all
that the wind is always in my favor." of iced-over wetlands. you can to prevent getting winded,
Another successful swamp- When you do bag a swamp the only thing that will go bump
hunting tactic is to strap a set of deer, immediately tag it, but wait to in the night will be you dragging
climbing sticks and a stand on your field dress it until you're out of the a monster swamp buck out of its
back in the mid-morning and still- swamp. Often, you can float a freshly wetland home.
hunt for a few hours, looking for fresh harvested deer out of the swamp,
deer sign, like rubs and scrapes, or
falling mast. Set your stand between
bedding areas and deer sign/deer
food, and wait for whitetails to come
by in the later afternoon.
The rut is an excellent time to
hunt for a swamp buck. During the
rut, a buck will push a doe onto high
ground then wait until she allows
him to breed her. We all know that
bucks disappear during the breeding
phase of the rut – deer head to areas
that provide good cover, like bogs,
marshes and swamps.
Avoid hunting in swamps when
the water is heavily frozen-over.
Ice makes deer nervous and more
susceptible to predation, so they
move less and are on high alert in icy

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 45

Fall 2018.indd 47 8/30/2018 7:53:50 AM
Tips for
Soundproofing
your Treestand

By Darin Potter

T
houghts of my first tree- opportunity on a four-point buck worse than having your entire hunt
stand quickly come to mind that came into shooting range. ruined because of a little noise that
each time I set foot in the A well-placed shot sent the deer came from somewhere in the trees.
woods and attach all of my crashing through saplings and In fact, the first measure I took
treestands prior to archery season. through the goldenrods in front of after that hunt was nailing a piece
In the fall of 1990, I remember me. Not understanding the impor- of carpet to the platform. Although
asking my dad if we could build a tance of giving the deer some time the days of permanent and home-
ladder stand out of wood a month before tracking, I decided after only made treestands have faded, new
before my first archery season in five minutes that it was time to get treestands can still make some type
Michigan. Not much notice, but at down and begin looking for blood. of noise out of the box.
age 12 I was so eager to head afield As I stood up, I accidentally bumped With that said, here are some
with bow in hand that thoughts of the five-gallon pail, I was using as a tips that will help prevent unwanted
building a stand totally slipped my seat. The noise startled the buck, noise from ruining your bow hunt:
mind. Within just a couple of hours, which to my surprise had bedded
my dad and I had finished the stand, down only 30 yards away, causing it Hearing
which stood about 10 feet high and to flee from the area. Unfortunately,
consisted of a ladder made of two by my dad and I never did recover the A lot of attention has been
fours and a small sheet of plywood buck even though we had good given to the extraordinary sense
for the platform. Back then, there blood. This particular hunt had of smell that whitetails have. We
weren't many treestand manufac- an impact on me, and to this day it hunt according to the wind, wear
tures to choose from like there are made me realize the importance scent-eliminating clothing and
now, so I had to make do with this of making sure that all of my tree- spray ourselves and our gear down
wooden one for a while. stands are inspected prior to the in order to prevent a whitetail from
A few archery seasons later season for the detection of any type scenting us. However, their hearing
when I was 15, I finally had a shot of noise. After all, there is nothing should not be a sense that goes

46 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 48 8/30/2018 7:53:51 AM
unnoticed. Although their hearing when standing up on their stand order to prevent them from sliding, I
is not much better than ours, it lives and coming to full draw. took some 8-inch zip ties and placed
and breathes in the areas that we them around the foam insulation
hunt. Any foreign noises such as Rubber Spray Paint on both ends. Duct tape can also be
our bow clanging against the tree- used in place of the zip ties. If you
stand or a creaking noise from our Tired of battling with a partic- have a few spare pool noodles laying
seat can cause a mature whitetail ularly noisy ladder stand this past around the house, they can also be
to run for cover. Unfortunately, I season that creaked every time I used in place of pipe insulation.
found this out the hard way. reached about the halfway point, I These multi-colored pool toys can be
Whitetails large, cupped ears decided to spray a liberal coat of Rust- spray painted to camouflage them if
allow it to amplify sound coming Oleum Rubberized Undercoating needed.
from long distances away. They to it. My only regret is not doing The unfortunate part about
also have the ability to rotate their this task when I first purchased the using both of these is the red squir-
ears independently, allowing them stand nine years ago. Had I taken rels like to chew on them, so make
to pinpoint the direction noise is the time to do this, I probably would sure to have spare ones just in case
coming from. However, rain, thick have filled more tags and seen less they become shredded or worse yet
cover and topography can nega- white flags. Applying some type of go missing.
tively affect the quality of their rubberized paint to your treestands
hearing. is one of the best steps that you can Felt and Weatherstrip
take to dampen noise during a hunt
Stand Inspection or while setting up or taking down a Besides using pipe insulation,
stand. This rubber application also you can also add felt or weatherstrip-
Removing all of my treestands acts as a protective barrier against ping to the rails or tubular supports
from the deer woods isn't one of my rust, which can form on the stand's of your treestand to help soundproof
favorite things to do in the world. It nuts, bolts or the mainframe. them and absorb vibration. Both
means that bowhunting season has of these materials are available in
come to an end. However, in order Pipe Insulation weatherproof material and have a
to maintain the integrity of the peel-n-stick design for easy applica-
treestand and prevent stand noise, tion. Another alternative to these
Foam pipe insulation can also be types of materials is rubberized,
an inspection must occur. Nuts and used to pad the shooting rests or the
bolts may loosen or rust, sunlight non-slip tape, which would be a great
armrests on your treestands. This addition on the steps of a ladder
may cause the straps securing the product already comes with a slit in
stand to deteriorate and wildlife may stand or portions of the platform.
it, which will allow you to place this These materials are considered
chew at them also. I've had several around the metal bars easily. I added
instances where squirrels have all-weather and will resist any of the
these to the armrests on my ladder elements which come with a season
chewed at and completely destroyed stand, and they were a great fit. In
my strap on seat cushions during in the deer woods.
the archery deer season. Another
danger that poses a threat to your
treestand is tree growth. This
natural occurrence will cause the
treestand to shift and may weaken
cables, nuts and bolts compromising
your safety. I've also seen trees
that had screw in steps placed in
them where the tree had grown and
started expanding around the steps.
Most treestand manufacturers
recommend not leaving your stands
up for extended periods of time due
to the stress placed on them from
these types of things. Another
problem with leaving treestands up
year-round is the potential creaking
noise they may produce due to rust
and the impact of the growing tree
on the stand. This is definitely
something that all bowhunters fear

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 47

Fall 2018.indd 49 8/30/2018 7:53:52 AM
Haul Line and cut it short enough so that the you would rather not have either of
gun or bow suspends freely without these dangling in the air, there is an
Maybe some of you already do touching the ground. As long as alternative. Simply remove leaves,
this, but here is an easy tip that either of these stop just shy of the sticks and other debris from where
will prevent your gun or bow from ground (could be one or two inches), your gun or bow will touch the
making noise when raising and that is fine. A carabiner can be ground.
lowering them from your stand. attached to the lower end to make Although, on occasion, I some-
Take a thin, UV/rot-resistant rope attaching or detaching easier. If times end up with unfilled tags
in my pocket this doesn’t neces-
sarily mean that the season was
a failure. Every time I set foot in
the deer woods, I come back with
invaluable knowledge that will
help me improve, whether it is my
woodsman skills or my equipment.
I have found that soundproofing
your stands is one more step we
can take as bowhunters to increase
our chances of harvesting a mature
whitetail. After all, paying atten-
tion to the details is the name of the
game when it comes to bowhunting.
I only wish that I had taken this
step 28 seasons ago when I was 10
feet high sitting on that wooden
platform.

48 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 50 8/30/2018 7:53:54 AM
Get in the game.
If you are looking to take your outdoor experience to the
next level, we can help you take the next step. We offer
a variety of loan options for recreational land of any size.
Contact your local GreenStone branch to learn more!

800-444-3276

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Fall 2018.indd 51 8/30/2018 7:53:55 AM
The
Golden
Lure
By Jason Herbert

I
couldn't hold it anymore. With With his face buried in my fresh convinced that deer are as attracted
the sun just starting to set on urine, he rubbed the ground back to, and curious about, human urine
this crisp, November evening, and forth with his antlers, stood for as anything else. Here's how I
my bladder's timing was a few moments and then carried on continue to develop and exploit my
perfect. Like a four-year-old boy quartering into the wind. golden lure.
enjoying his God-given freedom to I did not elect to shoot at this First, realize that the chem-
pee outdoors, I aimed high, trying buck because I already had my tag ical analysis of human urine and
to make as much noise as possible. on one 8-point from earlier that fall deer urine are pretty similar. Now
The sound of the urine landing on and was hoping for a crack at the things start to get a bit weird. I like
the dry forest floor from 20 feet up big 10-point that was still hanging to make sure that my diet during
must have been audible for miles. around. The hunt was still a success the hunting season is similar to a
Moments later, I heard the buck get in my mind because I left satisfied deer's diet. Come September, when
out of his bed and start to head in knowing my plan had worked. our garden is bursting and every-
my direction. Fatefully enough, I did get my thing is in harvest mode, I eat as
As I saw him show up out of my hands on that three-year-old 8-point many vegetables and leafy greens
peripheral, I watched the fat buck because my dad killed him the next as possible because chlorophyll,
make a scrape, hunch his back up week. the green chemical in plants, is a
and urinate on the freshly exposed I was taught as a kid, by my dad, natural, internal odor eater. I also
earth. Bucks like to travel with the to not pee in the woods because the supplement my diet with internal
wind quartering into their face, deer could smell it, so I never did. deodorant alfalfa pills. So with the
so he angled downwind a bit from But as an adult, with a much more increased vegetable intake and
the food plot I was sitting on before time-sensitive bladder, I've learned internal deodorant pills, my diet is
making his next move. Once the buck to let it rip in woods and also how as close to a deer's as it's ever going
got downwind and caught the scent to exploit the deer's curiosity about to be during the hunting season.
of my pee, he came in on a string. human urine. I have had great I also make sure that before I
The next thing I knew, I was looking encounters with the last two mature pee from my treestand in the woods,
at his 16-inch-wide, 8-point rack bucks I've killed because of my urine. the clarity of my urine is as clear as
through the mesh of my treestand. Under the right circumstances, I'm it's going to get throughout the day. I

50 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 52 8/30/2018 7:53:58 AM
"I had this buck well-conditioned — every time I
checked my trail camera, I would also pee on my
scrapes. He would be in later to investigate."

!

Carpet ~ Hardwood ~ Tile
Vinyl ~ Blinds ~ Cabinets
PERRONVILLE PUB In T
personally don't hunt mornings for simply from the sound of me peeing. Dinners
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deer until More!
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m or whiskey I had the night before, that I try to set up is where I am the buck I described in the situation the Credit Union
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plus the exorbitant amount of somehow near a bedded buck. A earlier, he came right in on a string.
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coffee that I've sucked down in the
On Vacation
IC morning, makes my urine look like I
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Fall 2018.indd 53 8/30/2018 7:54:00 Tues.,
AM Feb 2
Veggie, Fortu
"I aimed high, trying to make as much noise as possible. The sound of the
urine landing on the dry forest floor from 20 feet up must have been audible
for miles. Moments later, I heard the buck get out of his bed and start to head
in my direction."
Another buck I called "Garfield," that that was easy for me to access. I also dead by sunset. I will also urinate on
I killed two years ago, also gave me a hung a trail camera there and have natural scrapes that a real buck has
great encounter one night — leaving photographic proof of me peeing on made. That trick too will drive them
his bed and coming to smell my pee. these homemade scrapes, as well as nuts, especially if the buck making
The problem with the encounter with the buck peeing on them. Eventually, the scrapes is dominant and feels that
Garfield was that the wind was so I got him to take over these scrapes an intruder has entered his territory.
strong that when I was peeing from that I created, and that's how I killed So, next time you are out hunting
my treestand, the urine itself ended him on Oct. 30, 2017. I had this buck and nature calls, let it rip! I recom-
up landing behind my tree by quite a well-conditioned — every time I mend you eat as many vegetables as
few feet. Garfield also came right in to checked my trail camera, I would possible this fall and hydrate. I think
investigate but never presented me a also pee on my scrapes. He would be the chances are good that if you are
shot that night. I ended up killing him in later to investigate. On Oct. 30, I well-hydrated, your urine will be a
the next week, though. went out to check my trail camera, curiosity scent to mature bucks, and
Another trick I like to do is pee on my scrapes and drive away the sound of it falling to the forest
create a mock scrape and tend it like I always do. However, this time floor just might be enough motiva-
with my own pee. A giant buck I I then parked my truck a distance tion to get that buck out of his bed
killed this last fall fell victim to this away, hopped out, got dressed, turned during shooting light. As always, be
setup. In September, I made some on my Ozonics unit and snuck back safe, have fun, shoot straight and
mock scrapes in a high traffic area into my stand to hunt. The buck was good luck.

52 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 54 8/30/2018 7:54:01 AM
Where does the processed
Venison go? The processed venison
is collected from the processor by
a local, nonprofit community food
bank, pantry or shelter working in
coordination with the processor.
The Sportsmen Against Hunger
program depends on donated funds
either directly to the MSAH or
through a Public Act created in 2005
that enables sportsmen and sports-
women to voluntarily donate $1 (or
more) during a hunting/fishing
license purchase online at the MDNR
website or at any MDNR License
Vendor Kiosk.
Besides the voluntary donations
during a hunting/fishing license
purchase or fund donations directly
to the MSAH, over 29,000 pounds of
processed venison were produced in
At the time this issue went • Whole Deer Donations - 2017 through wild game processors
to print, there had been no final successful hunters who drop off their working with the MSAH program
decision on the Chronic Wasting whole deer at a participating MSAH going to 37 separate nonprofit
Disease Regulations before the processing facility will have the deer organizations. That equates to over
Natural Resources Commission. processed at NO COST to them. The 145,000 hot and high in protein meals
But, one thing is for sure, there is a processor turns the venison into for those throughout the state of
goal to harvest more antlerless deer ground burger and is reimbursed Michigan who are in dire need.
throughout the CWD Management through the MSAH fund for the work
Zone and to bring better balance to in the finished product.
the deer population, particularly in
Southern Michigan. Many hunters
fill their freezer and stop hunting, but
MUCC encourages you to help those
in need through Michigan Sportsmen
Against Hunter.
MUCC is a proud supporter and
board member of MSAH. We hope
that you will support them by giving
a donation when you buy your next
hunting or fishing license. Successful
hunters can do more to help feed
those in need in your community!
The Michigan Sportsmen
Against Hunger (MSAH) program, is
a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose
mission is coordinating game proces-
sors throughout the state as drop off
locations for whitetail deer harvested
by hunters during the hunting
season. There are two different ways
a hunter who wishes to participate in
the MSAH program can donate game:
• Give-A-Pound - successful
hunters who have their deer
processed at a participating MSAH
processing facility, have an option For a complete list of participating processors, visit
to donate a pound or more of their
processed deer, which they paid for, www.sportsmenagainsthunger.org
to go to local food pantries.

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 53

Fall 2018.indd 55 8/30/2018 7:54:02 AM
44-year-old
Buck Newbie
By Scott Bain

B
eing a writer, I’m always and wise in the ways of living. He
looking for some new gadget or said that he was going to teach me
experience to write about, and all I would need to know about deer
the fact that I’m an avid outdoorsman hunting. As the hunt drew closer, I
but had never been hunting was became more excited. Anything with
beginning to gnaw at me. I’ve gone the word “deer” on it was must-have
fishing, camping, hiking — I have gear that warranted a call or text to
even made fire from sparks for gosh Ray, and he would guide me to what I
sakes, but I have never done the one needed and what I didn't. Even when
thing that Michigan is famous for: I found this “plug” thingy to aid in
Deer hunting. Personally, I felt it tying off the buck's digestive tract,
was becoming a liability, a mark of Ray told me that wasn’t necessary. “I
shame, if you will. "Oh look, here just use my teeth,” he said.
comes Scott (in a whispered voice The day finally arrived. We
of secrecy). You know he’s never loaded our gear and hitched up the
hunted before,” I envisioned people camper to head north. We pulled
saying. Doors would slam shut, into Rustic Rafters of Moorestown
mothers would scurry away with by mid-afternoon and set up camp.
their children and I had adopted The buck pole on the road signaled
the self-imposed moniker of the a good harvest so far, and I was very
"44-year-old buck virgin." optimistic about our odds. Having
I sought to remedy this situation had an early Thanksgiving, our inau-
and remove this mark of shame that gural deer camp dinner was to be
I had brought upon myself and my Thanksgiving, Part 2 — stuffing with
family. I contacted my dear/deer potatoes, green beans and hotdogs.
friend Ray Booms. Telling him of Where's the turkey? Apparently
my plight, he offered to be my guide we forgot the turkey. Hotdogs will
and mentor. Ray is a patient man play the part of the juicy, succulent

54 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 56 8/30/2018 7:54:04 AM
turkey breast. If you sopped your in on the family’s food. Her behavior for debate.
hotdog in enough gravy and closed was always the same except for What I thought was a stealthy
your eyes, you could almost taste day five. She was visibly upset. So opening of the window and exten-
Thanksgiving. much so that when the trio crossed sion of Hank, has been described by
Sunrise came early, and Ray the hedgerow, even I, a greenhorn, some as something closer in resem-
had us setup predawn in a blind could tell something was amiss. blance to an overeager prom date
on a friend's property. Word had Following her lead, I began to scan whipping open his blind and waving
spread of my hunting innocence the tree line where she was looking, his gun around.
and offers of help abounded. Most and that’s when I saw him. What As my rifle extended from the
were genuine, but some, I feel, just started out as a haze of movement interior of the blind and my sights
wanted to catch a glimpse of the turned into a monster of a buck lined up on the thick, bristly pines
44-year-old buck virgin. with a massive neck, rippling shoul- blocking my shot, the doe was
Our blind overlooked a food ders and a rack like you only see on spooked by the buck. In a flurry of
plot with marsh on the southern the cover of magazines. This was excitement and flying feed corn,
end and a hard tree line 50 yards to it — the moment I had been waiting the doe and her fawns raced to the
the north. My dad climbed up first, for all week. It would take two more north with little regard for trees and
leaving me on the ground to pass up seconds for him to clear the trees brush, crashing their way to safety.
our gear — two pairs of binoculars, and this king of the forest was mine. The buck? Well, he was spooked by
a thermos of coffee and Hank, my What happened next is still up the doe and bounded back the way
brand new .30-30. The blind was
everything I had imagined one to be,
right down to the shag carpet and
propane heater. I could see why this
spot was chosen. Not only was it a
great place for deer, but the view out
the windows was breathtaking. A
hedgerow cut through the field and
terminated at an island of pine trees
that were intermingled with white
birch and maples. Blue jays landed
in the field picking at the corn we
put out, and their calls broke the
perfect silence.
Over the next five days, we
hunted. We hunted from blinds. We
hunted from brush piles. We even
did a couple woods walks where we
stalked the deer. Those were espe-
cially exciting and almost ended in
the harvest of two tree stumps. In
my defense, one stump appeared
to have a sizeable rack, and the
other a pine bough tail that swished
convincingly with the breeze. By
day four, everything began to look
like a deer.
But, we did see a lot of real deer,
too. We saw does, button bucks and
an overly amorous spike horn. We
were not at a loss for an audience
with these graceful creatures of the
forest. Over the course of the week,
though, there was a doe and her two
fawns that began to stick out. Every
evening, by 4 p.m. or so, they would
show up at the edges of the food plot.
She was always alert and watching
over her fawns, scaring away the
other deer that were trying to nose

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 55

Fall 2018.indd 57 8/30/2018 7:54:07 AM
"The buck? Well, he was spooked by the doe and bounded back the
way he came presenting me with a full view of where I would have
had to apply my teeth had I shot him."

he came presenting me with a full
view of where I would have had to
apply my teeth had I shot him.
It was over as fast as it started.
My dad and I sat there, mouths
agape, staring at each other. The
field was empty now, save for a thin
covering of snow and hoof prints
that told the story of what we had
just witnessed. The perfect silence
returned as darkness fell.
That night, eating our beans
and burger sandwiches around the
fire, we recalled all the fantastic
things we had seen and experi-
enced over the week — all the
deer and their behavior. The peace
of snowfall in the forest and the
one that got away left us excited
for another hunt, another year.

56 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 58 8/30/2018 7:54:10 AM
Winter
Fall 2018
2018 | Michigan
| Michigan 57 57
Out-of-Doors
Out-of-Doors

Fall 2018.indd 59 8/30/2018 7:54:11 AM
The
Two Faces of the
Two Hearted River
By Calvin McShane

I
spend a lot of time in the fall on the food chain. As these wild task. To the layperson, common
fishing for Lake Superior steel- places become fewer and further species are easily identified: walleye,
head and salmon. Strong north between, it has me wondering perch, salmon, bass. But when asked
winds blow off the big lake bringing what’s next for the fisheries of our what species are considered native,
with them spurts of rain, cool great state. The principles that fewer anglers know the answer.
temperatures and fresh pushes of dictate conservation are changing, Salmon, steelhead, smelt and carp
fish. The streams are usually aban- and with it, what it means to be an are a few of the species that most
doned come October and November, outdoorsman. Michigan is a place Michigan fisherman would not only
a delight to the few of us who choose of pristine wilderness that shelters consider to be the cornerstone of
rod over rifle this time of the year. a blend of ever-changing native, the fishery but also happen to be
I like to think that my feet hold non-native and invasive species, a non-native. Interesting to say the
together the stream just as much blessing that calls for some of the least, especially when you consider
as the red maple scattered along best management in the region. the recent importance put on the
the banks — myself and the trees, Michigan, the product of glacial native, non-native distinction and
pillars of consistency on an ever- receding, is home to so much water its role in our continued conserva-
changing fishery. Most of my time is that there is an overabundance tion of both fish and wildlife.
on the Two Hearted River, where an of cliche facts to demonstrate the What is the deal with this
occasional brook trout mixes its way point. These waters are inhabited by native and non-native distinction,
into spawning salmon and feeding thousands of species, from minute anyway? To put my hard-earned
steelhead — a dance of native and microorganisms to large predators, college philosophy degree to good
foreign fish, jockeying for position and making sense of it all is no easy use, I must say I find the distinction

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meaningless in many ways. First species that are otherwise wild? ecosystem of the Great Lakes, and
off, man has and always will, when That answer is yes, and as Bronte unfortunately, stocked fisheries
interacting with the environment, further pointed out, these efforts are all too commonly operate in a lack
affect it in some manner. We, as to support self-sustaining popula- of diversity in both predator and
people, manipulate the world tions through stocking with the end prey. So as complicated as fisheries
around us for our survival and goal being to produce a top-notch management can be, it boils down
subsequent comfort — this behavior fishery in the absence of stocking. to money and health, something
is simply what it means to be human. The benefit of fisheries absent of the fisheries agencies of our state
Some may say that concrete and stocking is obvious when you take aim to make cheap and resilient.
steel are “not natural,” but really into account two important factors: Providing a cheap and healthy
these are still examples of people money and health. Stocked fisheries fishery while still appealing to the
interacting with and changing the are expensive; it takes a lot of money desires of fisherman is no easy
environment. Although this may for hatcheries to raise and stock task. For example, how does the
seem like a stretch, when taken fish, especially when we consider DNR go about managing Lake
into account when thinking of our the finite amount of money these Michigan salmon populations when
fisheries, I think it is reasonable to agencies are working with. Bronte salmon are a non-native species
say that nothing we have done is not also noted that not all stocked with a long history that relies on
“natural.” Since people have been fisheries provide for healthy fish- heavy stocking? The good news is
fishing, we’ve changed fisheries; the eries. Diversity ensures strength that many of the desired non-na-
simple act of harvesting a fish is an when it comes to the massive tive species Michiganders cherish
example of such a change. Beyond
harvesting, we have transplanted,
removed and restored fisheries
across the globe, and even though
it's easier to think of these things
as “unnatural,” we can’t say there
is anything unnatural about human
beings rattling the environment
around them regardless of the
potential harm or benefit to the
ecosystem.
With that said, there is no
denying the recent emphasis on
restoring native fisheries, espe-
cially in the Great Lakes. When
discussing these ideas with Chuck
Bronte, a senior biologist at U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, it became
clear that the importance placed
on restoring native species was not
only because of their native quality,
but was also due to their persistence
as self-sustaining populations. Now,
sustainability is a recent buzzword
that is starting to gain momentum,
and unlike the natural, non-natural
debate, my philosophy background
plays little role in describing the
distinction between wild and stocked
fisheries. A wild or self-sustaining
fishery is one that reproduces,
survives and proliferates indepen-
dent of stocking. Meanwhile, a
stocked fishery is one that relies on
human intervention in the raising
and planting of fish to supply
its existence. Now, I know what
you’re thinking: Don’t the fisheries
management agencies stock certain

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 59

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aren’t going away any time soon
because of their self-sustainability.
I was assured many times over that
salmon and steelhead, for instance,
are in no threat of disappearing
even in the absence of stocking due
to their ability to reproduce in the
wild. These sorts of happenings
are good happenings, and with the
continued efforts of our Michigan
fishery agencies, these happenings
are becoming a more regular thing.
Like I said earlier, nothing that we
interact with as humans remains
unchanged. The same goes for our
fisheries here in Michigan. We are
blessed with thousands of miles
of rivers and shorelines that offer
some of the most diverse fishing
in the country, but we would be
kidding ourselves if we thought
that managing these populations is

"I like to think that my feet hold together the stream just as
much as the red maple scattered along the banks — myself
and the trees, pillars of consistency on an ever-changing
fishery."

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our lakes and rivers to flourish. of manipulation gone right. It was
For the benefit of the intertwined inevitable that its water would be
ecosystems of offshore, near shore affected by our constant desire to
and river watersheds, the cheapest manipulate; however, even in these
and healthiest plan is to invest circumstances, it offers some of
in judicious stocking that leads the best fishing for wild, self-repro-
to wild, self-sustaining fisheries. ducing species. It is not entirely free
I have an awful lot of time to from stocking, as over the years the
think about our fisheries and where DNR has done judicious stocking in
they’re headed throughout the fall order to promote a healthy stock of
months. Work is slow, and I pass both native and non-native species.
the time bottom-bouncing spawn These stocking efforts have given
sacs for fall-run steelhead on the way to healthy, resilient, wild
Two Hearted River. After a day populations that are unmatched
of fishing, I like to sit on my tail- in beauty and bounty. The Two
gate, enjoy the taste of blackberry Hearted River is an example of a
brandy in a coffee-stained mug and stream worth cherishing. It is a
think about how lucky I am to enjoy model of success for not only fish-
such a picturesque fishery. High eries close to home, but for fisheries
atop the sandy banks, I look over across the state. I will visit it often
as simple as stocking. Commerce pine and maple, thinking about the this fall, celebrating the final days
changes, and so must the expecta- fresh fish moving upstream and before winter, thankful that I get to
tions of fisherman. Lakes crashing the darkening fish making their fish in such a beautiful setting. I’ll
and species dying off are the types of unavoidable return to the earth. land a few fish, and lose many more.
things we want to avoid in our fish- The Two Hearted is far from wild I’ll harvest a few for the campfire, a
eries because in these instances both and virgin. It exists as an impec- perfect compliment to my tailgate
fish and fisherman suffer. Money cable river for native brook trout cordials. My days on the river are
is best spent on research, and ulti- but also a primary spawning site for the culmination of man and nature
mately, the move away from stocked non-native salmon and steelhead living harmoniously, each comple-
fisheries will free up not only money for a majority of the year. Even menting each other in the fragile
for research, but hatchery space though the Two Hearted is far from balance of sportsmanship.
for other projects that will allow its original state, it is an example

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 61

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Bright and Dark
'Eyes

By David Rose

stay in
one place during this time.
fish we fool Although they don’t swim far, there
throughout a day, overall, is are two distinct locations to look for
determined more by the time of

M
in natural lakes, as well as different
y main objective as a year we’re fishing. While plenty of baits to use as daylight turns to
fishing guide is simple: these fickle fish are landed by my dark.
Place my clients in the clients, from the inland lakes near
best position possible my home in the northwest corner
for getting lots of bites. If all of the Lower Peninsula during the Point me in the right
goes as planned, their chance of summer months, the best bite for direction
bringing more fish to the boat than walleyes is, by far, mid- to late-fall
ever increases, as does the possi- — when the weather is not always Largely, walleyes have left their
bility of them landing a personal angler-friendly. summer haunts in main-lake basins
best. While one, the other or even Despite the sometimes less- by mid-fall and migrated towards
both have happened during a trip, than-stellar weather conditions, shore. Most any point jutting out
these goals are never guaranteed. there are many good sides to into the lake, whether it’s in the
Unfortunately, the splendor of targeting walleyes in October and main lake itself or within a bay,
sport fishing might fizzle for some November: The fish are in areas created by the neck-down areas
folks with the expectation of having easily accessible by boat or while where bays meet the main basin is
worn-out arms from catching fish wading, can be caught without an where baitfish wander to. And the
after fish after fish; especially when absurd amount of gear and rarely predator fish follow suit.
we are targeting walleye. do you have to stay out past your Points that have deep water
But that’s mainly because my bedtime before landing a limit. adjacent to them are the ones you
clients were fishing when they The last few hours of daylight, as want to target first because it’s in
wanted to, rather than when the well the first couple hours after the this deeper water where the fish
bite was at its best. sun sets, is the prime four- to five- linger before moving up into the
The major factor in how many hour window. But the fish don’t skinny water once the sun sets. The

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exodus may only be a few yards for Under the cover of fall is often a last-minute decision
the ‘eyes, but if you’re not fishing in due to the weather. Windy conditions
the exact right spot at just the right darkness at night are not only no fun to fish in,
time, you may go fishless. but can be dangerous.
As the sun sets, you’ll notice a Bundle up in layers, and don’t
lull in bites — a little calm before the forget your fingerless gloves. The air
Bright future storm, I like to say. This is when the temperatures will more than likely
walleyes start to make their move dip below the freezing mark after
During the daylight hours, walleyes up the break lines and into shallow
loiter in the deep water nearest their the sun goes down, and guides may
water. They’re here to gobble up freeze up.
shallow, nighttime feeding ranges. minnows under the cover of dark-
What’s considered deep water will Also, be prepared for dockage to
ness. My favorite technique is to cast be pulled at the ramp. I’ve launched
depend on the makeup of the lake. suspending body baits and retrieve
Overall, water from the mid-teens in the daylight and stepped off
them with a slow, methodical, stop- the dock and into my boat in the
down to 45 feet will have walleyes and-go retrieve.
bellied up to bottom in it. And I don’t daylight, only to find the dock out of
During the night, walleyes will the water by the time we came in. I
usually start fishing an area until I move into water three to eight feet
see fish on my sonar. would have given almost anything
deep; on a calm night, you can hear for a pair of hip waders that night.
While I don’t use much live bait the predators slurping up minnows
anymore, this is one time I don’t right on the surface.
mind nipping a size-8, octopus-style The best action to give your lure Rip, twitch, and get the net!
hook through the snoot of a lively is basically no action at all. As soon
minnow and let it waggle its way as my lure hits the water, I’ll give it There’s no doubt in my mind that
at the lake’s floor. Generally, I have a quick retrieve of three or so feet late fall is the best time of year for
found shiners, suckers or creek just to get it to dive to depth, then catching big numbers of walleyes, as
chubs allowed to swim on long, light just let the bait suspend motionless, well as larger fish. And, it all comes
leaders, say, six feet of 6-pound-test making sure to keep my line taught in a short window of opportunity.
fluorocarbon, is what gets bit most. the entire time. Letting the lure sit Look for fish in deeper water
A small slip sinker will get the bait for up to a minute before giving it during the last daylight hours, and
down where it needs to be, yet, a one-foot twitch towards you will nip a live minnow to a hook or cast
allows a fish to swim off with the bait conjure up more strikes than a fast, a blade bait and let ‘er rip. Once
without it knowing it’s tethered to a wild retrieve. the sun goes down, head right up
rod and reel. As with the blade bait, 10-pound- to shore and put a suspending body
With the live-bait rod cradled in test superline is a good choice. No bait to work. Just remember to give
a rod holder, casting a blade bait out need for a leader; just attach the it little twitches with a long pause
along the drop-off and retrieving it lure via a small snap (not snap- rather than an erratic retrieve. And
with a rip-and-fall action is my other swivel). don’t forget the net.
favored daytime technique. The idea
here is to fish it near the bottom, not
on it. There she blows!
Ten-pound test superline for
mainline is a great choice when Deciding to hit the water in late
using blade baits, as its super-low
stretch properties allow you to feel
every throb of the lure, as well the
light strike from a walleye. Blade
baits, however, can be frustrating to
use because they tend to spin during
the cast and get hooked up on the
line. One way to nip this in the bud
is to connect a foot-long leader of
heavier-pound-test fluorocarbon
leader material (15-pound test or
heavier) to the end, which is stiffer
and keeps the lure from spinning.
Another tip is to put a tiny twister-
tail type grub on the rear hook,
which acts like a rudder and keeps
the lure flying straight.

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 63

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Autumn
Migrants

By Jim Bedford
Terri Bedford displays an autumn steelhead she caught out of one of Southern Michigan's numerous streams that hold
autumn migrants. Right: Jim Bedford poses with a lake-run brown trout he caught while steelhead fishing.

M
ichigan sportsmen to stock them in other Lake Huron majority make their only spawning
seem to be constantly tributaries. run at ages between two and four
yearning for autumn. Summer steelhead are primarily years. In recent years, the average
Obviously, fall is "the a Lake Michigan fish. The Skamania size and numbers of the returning
hunting season," but it is also a - strain has been the most successful kings have been decreasing with
very exciting time for Michigan with Indiana supplying Michigan last year being a bit of an exception.
river anglers. Chinook, coho, and with eggs in exchange for eggs from Fishing is often better in the rivers
pink salmon, brown, lake and brook our Little Manistee winter-strain. when fish are not crowded in the
trout, and Atlantic salmon all spawn These fish start running in June, holes.
in the fall and, to varying degrees, depending on the river temperatures In early September, it is best to
migrate up Great Lakes tributaries but the most dependable time to find look for kings in the deep holes of
to procreate. good numbers is in late summer and the lower reaches of the tributary
Steelhead are spring spawning early fall. While summer steelhead rivers. As the month progresses,
fish, but a portion of these great are only stocked in the St. Joseph more and more fish will move to the
game fish run the rivers in the River by Indiana and the Manistee spawning gravel. By early October,
summer and fall. Thus, the river River by Michigan, they frequently spawning activity will peak and
angler has a real variety of salmon stray to other rivers. the runs and holes near the gravel
and trout to tempt with his offerings Chinook salmon also begin their and the spawning beds themselves
in the fall. Often it is possible to spawning migration in late summer will be the place to concentrate
catch four or five species of these with runs peaking in September. In your efforts for our largest autumn
fish in the same river at the same some northern rivers, these fish will migrant.
time. run upstream in midsummer, but Pink salmon also reach their
While Atlantic salmon and most of these fish won't spawn until peak river numbers in September.
summer steelhead may begin their September or October. None of these fish are stocked,
runs in early summer, their river These salmon have been but because of their short river
numbers build to a peak in early extremely successful at reproducing residence, they have been very
fall. Currently, Atlantic salmon themselves, and you would be hard- successful at reproducing them-
are mostly limited to the St. Mary's pressed to find a sizable stream that selves. The largest runs occur in
River, however, the DNR has started doesn't host a run of these fish. The Lake Superior and northern Lake

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Huron tributaries in odd years. returning to the lake. Michigan's St. eggs" is not true, but these fish,
While many coho enter the Joseph, Grand and Manistee rivers along with the other trout species,
rivers in September, the main are the best bets for anadromous remain opportunistic. They will
run usually arrives in October. lake trout but in recent years their pick up food items that drift very
Migrations of this fish continue into numbers have been very low. close to them, but usually, they do
November and December. The coho Good numbers of our Great not swallow the food.
tends to remain in good shape in Lakes steelhead join their Spawn, wigglers, wax worms,
the river for a longer time than its summer-run cousins in October crawlers and other natural baits
Pacific cousins. Bright silver cohos and November. Ample fall rains smell and taste right, so even though
have arrived in Lansing after navi- will increase the proportion of these they may not be swallowed, the
gating over 100 miles of river and spring spawners, which add them- lake-run trout will hold on to them
finding their way up half a dozen selves to the autumn anadromous long enough for you to get the hook
fish ladders. bounty. set. Very fresh-run salmon will
These salmon spend their first Since fall steelhead are still also pick up bait, but to increase
year and a half in the river, so they many months from spawning, they your chances for all of the fall
have been much less successful than are in prime shape and usually anadromous fish, I suggest you use
the kings and pinks at natural repro- battle spectacularly. Many anglers brightly colored lures. Salmon will
duction. Like the pink salmon, they focus on catching these fish, and hit flashy lures right up till their
only spend a year and a half loading the other species taken are bonuses. last days. Fluorescent drift baits,
up on forage fish, but since they get Runs and holes in the lower parts silver and gold spoons and spinners,
a head start from a much larger of the rivers are the best places to and minnow and high action plugs
smolting size, the cohos average intercept autumn steelies. will attract the attention of all the
several pounds larger. As you would River-run trout rarely actively migrating salmonids.
expect, the best coho action will be feed, and the Pacific salmon are Autumn is a truly special time
in rivers that have large plants. actually physiologically incapable for the Great Lakes tributary angler.
Cohos are often aggressive on of ingesting food. The notion that The rivers are full of exciting
their spawning migration and are steelhead and lake-run browns battlers, and you never know which
eager strikers of a wide variety of follow the salmon to "gorge on their one will hammer your lure next.
lures. They are frequently found in
deep, slow holes near good spawning
gravel.
While many brown trout attempt
to spawn in the lakes themselves,
they do add to the river angler's bag.
They begin to run in mid-September
and most spawn in late-October
or early-November. They have a
curious trait of remaining in the
river after spawning, often staying
until the spring runoff begins.
Little is known about the success
or failure of the lake-run brown's
attempts at natural reproduction.
The best runs seem to occur where
there are large plants in river
harbors.
Runs of brookies or coasters are
quite sporadic. The best runs occur
in Lake Superior and northern Lake
Michigan and Huron tributaries.
Often these fish spawn in small trout
stream tributaries which are closed
to fishing by the time the brookies
get there.
The vast majority of lake
trout spawn on rocky reefs in the
Great Lakes. Many large tribu-
taries do host runs of these fish,
and the lakers seem to spawn before

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 65

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In Lieu of Requiems, Odes and Elegies:

Don Ingle is gone,
but his memory
lives on
By Andy Duffy

[W]hen Sicilian shepherds lost a mate,
Some good survivor with his flute would go,
Piping a ditty … – Matthew Arnold

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Fall 2018.indd 68 8/30/2018 7:54:22 AM
T
he guy deserves requiems, with Spike Jones’ group. The group ice broke off glaciers and became
odes and elegies, but did parodies, and the elder Ingle submerged in sediment. A student
this is the best I can do. played an important part. Because of natural history, Ingle filled me in.
For years, Don Ingle was one of of his dad’s associations, the junior Ingle knew of several of the lakes
the top guns among the cadre of Ingle knew many of Hollywood’s in the Manistee National Forest,
Michigan outdoor writers. His work elite – and many of the behind-the- and we visited three that day. He
appeared regularly in the outdoor scenes workers, too. A couple of didn’t get any good fish pictures. We
journals I read, including here in stagehands taught Ingle how to tie fished from shore at several access
Michigan Out-of-Doors. Whenever flies when he was just a boy. sites and only caught tiny things.
I picked up a magazine, stories The acting ability of some of We had a delightful day, though.
bearing his byline were among the those he got to meet must have Besides the lakes, Ingle showed
first I turned to. And, he did more rubbed off on the younger Ingle. At me some dogwood trees that still
than write. He also once did a weekly any rate, he was a ham. He would had blooms on them and gave me a
outdoor segment for a local televi- slip into a Scottish brogue and tell dissertation on microclimates. The
sion station. He was a well-regarded wildly funny stories. man was a walking encyclopedia.
member of at least three outdoor Soon after I finally met him, Later, we grabbed a hamburger
writer organizations — the Outdoor Ingle and I were getting together at the Bitely Tavern, and I hardly
Writers Association of America, the to hunt and fish regularly. He, I missed the trout fishing excursion
Association of Great Lakes Outdoor know, was trying to mentor me. I’d envisioned. I don’t know if Ingle
Writers and the Michigan Outdoor I remember once when we were got a story out of the trip or any
Writers Association. During his wandering around his Baldwin photos he could use, but I did.
career, he accumulated a boatload area stomping grounds. Ingle was Speaking of taverns, Ingle was
of writing awards, evidence of his driving. We came to a sign marking the consummate country person.
ability with a pen. the North Country Trail, and Ingle An inhabitant of a village and a
Ingle was no shrinking violet. pulled his car off to the side of the guy who spent lots of time driving
Gregarious and sociable, he was road and stopped. “Take a picture of the back roads, he knew of every
accessible to anyone who wanted that sign,” he ordered me. “I’ve sold watering hole and little hamburger
to meet him. I certainly wanted to lots of pictures of signs.” I took some joint around. I remember a time
meet him. I never did, though, even pictures and, sure enough, one later when Ingle was showing me some
though he lived but half an hour appeared with an article I wrote. of his favorite waters on the Little
from me and I had attended outdoor Another time, he ushered me to that Manistee River. I was driving, and I
shows that he was a part of. Even spot on the Baldwin River where, in guess I was just putzing along. Soon
though he was accessible, I was 1884, brown trout were first planted Ingle said to me, “Step on it. We’re
reluctant to approach a person of in U.S. waters. He ordered me to not going to the river this time. I’m
his stature. take a picture there, too. thirsty.” Just up the road, we came
Then, in 2007, I joined the I was trying to help him just as to another little backcountry bar.
Michigan Outdoor Writers much as he was trying to help me. Anyone who read much of
Association and attended my first Don was in his mid-70s when I met Ingle’s work knew of his annual
conference that summer. When I him, and he was showing his age. He Columbus Day weekend grouse
reached the convention site Friday suffered from adult-onset asthma camp. He called the grouse-hunting
evening, the room was packed. I and lacked the endurance he’d expedition Camp Soc. Soc was short
knew not a soul. The moment I once had. Yet, he was still faithfully for Socrates, a Labrador retriever
entered the room, though, Ingle churning out the work. I knew he Ingle had once owned. At some
recognized me from my thumbnail was always in need of fresh outdoor point before I met Don, his annual
photo that appeared with some of experiences. I tried to make sure I camp took the dog’s name.
my work, walked across the hall was available for his excursions. After I started hanging around
and greeted me by name. That’s the I suggested to Ingle one May with Ingle, I thought maybe I’d get
way he was: warm and gregarious. that we should get together and do invited to Camp Soc. Fall came,
He could make friends with anyone. some trout fishing. Ingle was a fine Camp Soc came, and I didn’t get the
I figured he could have a rattlesnake fly fisherman. He didn’t like the invitation I’d been craving. The next
eating out of his hand in minutes. idea, though. year, the same thing happened. The
Ingle was full of stories, too. He “We have all summer to catch third year, Ingle invited me. Seven
was proud of his Celtic heritage, and trout,” he told me. “I need some or eight of us, I guess, attended,
he was one of the greatest actors bluegill pictures. Let me take you to and we had a great time. I don’t
I’ve ever known. Perhaps he was some kettle lakes.” So, naturally, we think anyone got a bird, but we saw
such a good entertainer because of visited some lakes. some great dog work. (My German
his growing-up years in California. I had no idea what a kettle lake shorthair, Annie, was responsible
He was the son of famous musician was, but I learned that day. They’re for some of it. I missed the point
Red Ingle who gained fame working lakes that formed when chunks of that drew all the raves, but several

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 67

Fall 2018.indd 69 8/30/2018 7:54:22 AM
attendees had effusive praise for Ingle must have sent an e-mail off shotgun Jean had bought him for one
her.) to me about as soon as he picked up of his milestone birthdays. Gone was
Even before I attended my first the mail. Socrates, he reminded me, his fine fly rod he loved so much.
Camp Soc, I knew Socrates had a was not a black lab. He was a red lab. Gone were all the writing awards
grouse covert named for him. It was Furthermore, Ingle wrote, Socrates he’d accumulated through the years.
a spot deep in the national forest and was probably going to haunt me in Gone, too, were many of the records
was the place Socrates had made his the future and jinx my excursions to of the Michigan Outdoor Writers
last retrieve years earlier. the woods the rest of the season. That Association. Ingle was the group’s
Ingle took his guests to Soc’s was Ingle. He wouldn’t hesitate to set historian, and he had been ware-
Covert the first year I attended his a person straight, but he could do it housing many of the old documents.
camp. By that time, the covert was gently and with a sense of humor. John Milton wrote that
showing its age and it looked like Then Ingle was gone. Shakespeare’s works were all the
marginal habitat to me. Coverts do The winter had been long and monument he needed. I suppose a
that; they outgrow their ability to cold. It was the ninth of March, and person could claim the same senti-
hold birds. I was sitting in my truck letting my ment for Ingle. Even now, with a
The woodcock migration was on, windshield defrost after getting out of little perseverance, a person can find
though, so that helped. So did having work. My cell phone rang. It was my some of his articles online and in the
good dogs with us. One of the dogs wife calling to let me know that Ingle archives of the publications for which
along was a cocker spaniel that did and his wife, Jean, had perished in a he wrote. Perhaps as more and more
a heckuva job. The spaniel found a house fire the night before. Members writings are preserved electronically,
woodcock and flushed it. Two of the of the fire department suspected that a day will come when much of Ingle’s
hunters along managed to get a shot the inferno started in the vicinity work will be available for readers.
off at it, but the bird escaped. of a wood burning stove the couple What more does he need than for
Naturally, after Camp Soc was in had been using to heat their home. people to keep reading his work?
the history books, I wrote an article Obviously, everyone who knew the The romantic, though, will hope
about the experience. It would have couple was devastated. for more than that for the man. The
been great if I had been able to write Death makes people evaluate romantic will hope that on the other
about one of us getting a bird in Soc’s things, too. They realize that posses- side of that divide between life and
Covert, but that didn’t happen. Still, sions really have no importance death, Don and Jean remain together.
I mentioned something about the except as the yardsticks we use to The romantic will hope that Socrates
annual camp being named for the big, measure a man. The Ingles’ home is there, too.
burly black lab Ingle had once owned. was destroyed. Besides the tragic loss And each fall when I’m out in the
Following my custom, I clipped a copy of Don and Jean, all the measuring woods, especially when Columbus
of the article from the publication it sticks had also disappeared. Day is drawing nigh, I fancy that
appeared in and mailed it to Ingle. Gone was Ingle’s Ruger Red Label Ingle is hunting somewhere not far
away. And maybe he is.
Ingle was not only known for his outstanding outdoor writing, he was also an
As the aspen leaves grow gold
accomplished jazz musician.
and flutter in autumnal breezes, can’t
some of the rustling come from Ingle,
asthma-free, striding through Soc’s
covert?
And can’t the covert be young
again and verdant and full of birds?
And the distant thunder of
flushing grouse: How many of those
birds are ones Socrates, young and
burly again, goosed into flight in the
covert that bears his name?
Among all the distant shotgun
echoes I hear, might not some of
them come from a certain, recon-
stituted Red Label shotgun that was
burnished and blued on the twin
anvils of time and eternity.
Those are questions for the
theologians and philosophers. We’ll
learn the answers later. All I know
right now is that Ingle is beyond my
ken, and I miss him.

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Fall 2018.indd 71 8/30/2018 7:54:25 AM
The Importance
of Heritage
By Shaun McKeon

W
ith summer weddings, From grandfather to father and seem to be on the more experienced
trips to Cedar Point, father to son. However, as many side of life.
and days spent on the of you may be aware, there has Many of these camps are
lake behind us, the days been a downward trend in hunting lacking kids and young adults.
begin to get shorter and cooler, and licenses purchased over the last 20 Michigan is a state that is extremely
the smell of fall leaves can be found years. This not only means that friendly towards opportunities
in the air. Fall is a time many in the fewer licenses are being sold; it also for youth to be connected to the
hunting and fishing world cherish. means fewer hunters in the woods outdoors through hunting. With
It is when the anticipation of hitting to carry on the traditions of things a strong volunteer base of hunter
the fields, woods and waters is at like deer or grouse camp. When safety instructors willing to teach
its highest point. After spending asked about the reasons people the next generation, no minimum
all summer sharing stories about enjoy hunting, an answer that can age limit for hunting while under
years prior, fall is the time to snap be typically be found near the top the supervision of a mentor and
out of the daydreams and create is because of its heritage and the other legislative policies that have
the action. Hunting cabins are connectivity it brings its partici- advanced over the last few years, we
being spruced up, game cameras pants. Many current hunters have need to help get more kids into the
and blinds are being hung, decoys fond memories of deer camps, but woods. With a youth deer hunting
are getting their paint retouched those same deer camps seem to be weekend and a youth waterfowl
and rods and reels everywhere are lacking something. That something weekend in September, as well as
finding the action of the pre-winter is the next generation of hunters. small game opportunities, there are
bite. While there are still some multi-gen- many opportunities for youth-fo-
For generations of erational hunting and fishing cused time spent in the woods.
Michiganders, the camaraderie that camps around the state, many other According to the Kaiser Family
comes with hunting and fishing has camps/ family cabins are hosting Foundation, kids ages 8 to18 now
been passed on through the ages. smaller crowds, and those crowds spend, on average, 7.5 hours in front

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Fall 2018.indd 72 8/30/2018 7:54:27 AM
of a screen for entertainment each there to be significant knowledge heritage sports after being taught
day. Over a year, that adds up to 114 gained and retained over time in the basics of these activities.
full days watching a screen for fun. regards to conservation issues The fall, especially September,
That does not count screen time kids learned during the hunter educa- is a great time to get a youth in your
are required to spend in school or tion curriculum taught at camp. A life engaged in the outdoors. If
working on homework. The average significant number of our campers you are already a hunter or angler,
kid is spending the equivalent of a were able to correctly answer 10 bring a child along on some of your
full-time job watching television conservation-themed questions outings. If you are not already
and playing video games. after spending a week at camp. They someone plugged into the heri-
Although that statistic may were also able to show they retained tage sports community, events are
seem rather daunting to overcome, this knowledge in the months happening that MUCC is involved
there is still hope. Based on data after camp. We also have data that with and are family-friendly
collected at the Michigan Out-of- suggests an increase in interest of throughout the state. A few of them
Doors Youth Camp, we have found kids participating in hunting and are listed below:

Sportsmen for Youth Great Outdoors Jamboree

Date: September 8, 2018 Date: September 9, 2018
Time: 9AM-3PM Time: 10:00-4:00PM
Location: Muskegon County Fairgrounds Location: Lake Hudson Recreation Area,
5505 Morey Highway, Clayton, MI 49235
Description: This event is one of the largest
youth days in Michigan. It covers the entire Description: Pheasants Forever and the
Muskegon County Fairgrounds and is geared Michigan DNR sponsor this event. The highlight
around outdoor activities. There are also EMS, of this event is a youth chukar hunt. The event
Police and Fire departments there to talk about typically hosts 45-50 exhibitors and takes
safety and support the community. MUCC place at one of the premier recreation areas in
attends this event every year and we provide southeast Michigan.
a station teaching youth and adults about
Michigan mammals.
Barry County Outdoor Recreation
Youth Day

Date: September 8, 2018
Time: 10:00M-4:00PM
Location: Historic Charlton Park

Description: Over two dozen groups hosted
activities at last year’s event, including a
skeet shoot, BB-gun trailer, .22 target shoot,
longbow, hunter safety, mountain biking,
hiking, macroinvertebrate sampling, sport dog
demonstrations, fly fishing, fly tying, traditional
fishing, camping, team-building games, and
even a bounce house! MUCC will be in atten-
dance teaching waterfowl identification.
Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 71

Fall 2018.indd 73 8/30/2018 7:54:29 AM
Cooperatives:

Setting Our Sights on the Future
Morgan Warda, MUCC Wildlifes challenge given to me by Anna. The a potential opportunity. To under-
Cooperative Coordinator meeting had been casual and served stand your group, you might just
as an opportunity for members to have to look beyond everything they

T
he Michigan Wildlife express their concerns, excitement are saying. Our history, parents,
Cooperatives Program has and goals for the upcoming year — experiences and personal relation-
been around since 2015, but a common format for cooperative ship with the outdoors has shaped
it has recently gone through the meetings. It was upon this request the kind of hunters that we are today.
transition of a new coordinator. The that I realized just how much depth That hunter might be very different
program is a partnership between can come from a conversational tomorrow depending on the influ-
Michigan United Conservation setting. ences of today. With cooperatives,
Clubs (MUCC), Michigan For the first time, I hadn't just we have the opportunity to have an
Department of Natural Resources heard the people; I saw them. I saw impact on hunters around us — and
(MDNR), Quality Deer Management the way they responded to topics and be impacted ourselves. What we do
Association (QDMA) and Pheasants other cooperative members. People with that opportunity is up to us.
Forever (PF). speak with more than just words, That is why I'm here. There is no
That coordinator is me. My and if hunters can relate to anything, limit to sound outdoors stewardship.
name is Morgan Warda, and I have it's the power of silence. They also Cooperatives give life to the boots-on-
had the privilege of taking the reins react based on their sense of sight. the-ground conservation approach,
of the wildlife cooperative program One cannot make a mindful decision and I am proud to be a part of it.
just two months ago. Although new in the woods or field without seeing Over 300,000 acres of land is
to my role, I have a few-year rela-
tionship with wildlife cooperatives
in the state.
In 2016, I held an internship with
QDMA's Conservation Department.
Being from Michigan and given my
expressed interest in the human
dimensions side of hunting along
with the biology, I was told that I
needed to meet Anna Mitterling
(MUCC's former cooperative coor-
dinator). I spent the duration of my
internship attending cooperative
meetings, events and meeting their
leaders.
The first memory I have of a
cooperative was a post-meeting

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Fall 2018.indd 74 8/30/2018 7:54:29 AM
currently being managed under a Use aerial maps to familiarize support after a cooperative has
wildlife cooperative in Michigan. yourself with the landscape around been established. Benefits of being
Most cooperatives focus on deer, you and what kind of features are in a wildlife cooperative include
pheasants or pollinators, but some present. This helps you identify social engagement, landscape-level
function by purposefully imple- with hunters that may utilize those management, shared resources
menting habitat that would benefit hunting areas. and a greater access to support —
a breadth of wildlife species. Identify your own personal goals whether it be myself or other related
Cooperative sizes range from for hunting, habitat and other forms professionals.
smaller, combined parcels to over of wildlife management. Before Whatever your goals are as a
20,000 acres with many landowners being able to understand other wildlife cooperative, my goal is to
involved. Cooperative growth is hunter/landowner perspectives, you help you be as successful as you can
based on member outreach and must first understand your own. Go be. Your ascendancy on conservation
education to the public about what into this process with an open mind is a story worth sharing.
their goals are and how they plan and willingness to have discussions The QDMA has a 5-year goal
to accomplish them. A successful even when opinions differ. of placing 35 million acres into
cooperative has members that are Approach your neighbors. This cooperatives throughout the white-
willing to work together to formu- comes in many forms such as sending tail's range. Michigan currently
late achievable goals and carry those letters, knocking on doors, putting has over 100 deer cooperatives, and
goals forward with the implemen- together a neighborhood get-to- that number is climbing. There is
tation of a management plan. This gether, talking with landowners that still incredible room for growth to
process can be as formal or informal lease out hunting property, etc. continue understanding deer impact
as a cooperative wants, leaving room Gauge interest based on the at a local level and to make the best
for all landowners, hunters and the response you received from formally management decisions possible.
landscape to benefit from conserva- introducing yourself to the commu- Pheasants Forever has a focus
tion improvements on a local level. nity. If no one is interested, don't lose area under the Michigan Pheasant
There is no set recipe for starting hope. Sometimes it takes a few years Restoration Initiative (MPRI)
a cooperative, but there are a few of one person implementing conser- that includes several counties in
common steps that people begin vation practices and management Southern Michigan. 5-year goals for
with: efforts (and being vocal about them: the MPRI include providing 20,000
signs, social media…) for people to acres of habitat on cooperative lands
understand why that effort is being and conduct pheasant monitoring.
made. Cooperative leaders are Education and outreach are
just that – the people provided to help increase hunter
that paved the way and and landowner involvement within
envisioned what a little cooperatives. If you are interested
TLC for the land and its in forming or joining a cooperative
inhabitants could do. in your area, please contact me at
As the cooperative mwarda@mucc.org or 517-346-6454.
coordinator, I can help Your decision to join in this move-
interested parties in this ment makes a substantial, land-
process and continued scape-level impact.
Left Bottom: MUCC Wildlife Cooperative Coordinator Morgan
Warda poses with QDMA Wildlife Management Co-op
Specialists Alex Foster (left) and Brian Towe (right) at QDMA's
National Convention. Top Left: East Olive Co-Op members pose
with some memorable, mature whitetails they harvested on
their co-op lands. Bottom: Warda took this picture laying in a
ditch near Metamora, MI.

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 73

Fall 2018.indd 75 8/30/2018 7:54:30 AM
Gone Fishin’
A Day on the Water is
Well Spent

By Amy Trotter
MUCC Deputy Director
Senator Mike Green reels in a fish during the
annual Lake Michigan fishing trip with the Michigan
Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus.

N
ot everyone can claim to invasive species, habitat degrada- (R-Ludington) on the logistics and
their boss that being out of tion and wildlife disease. Michigan’s boat assignments. Our trip pushed
the office for a day of fishing Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus out of Ludington around 6:00 a.m.,
is “work,” but not everyone works Advisory Council, made up of with six boats and more than 20
for an organization whose mission members of statewide sportsmen participants — each boat enjoying
is to conserve, protect and enhance and women and habitat-focused coffee and donuts from the local
the natural resources and outdoor groups, helps to facilitate educa- Cops and Donuts, courtesy of
heritage we here in Michigan hold tional opportunities and outdoor MUCC. After concerning weather
dear. experiences to help state legislators predictions, we ended up having a
In July, I was fortunate enough connect with our organizations, our beautiful and calm day on the water.
to be able to join MUCC Executive natural resources and better under- It was “too late” in the morning
Director Dan Eichinger on the stand our passion for protecting and to catch many salmon, but most
annual Lake Michigan fishing trip enhancing them. This caucus and anglers got at least one turn at the
with members of the Michigan advisory council has existed in the reel to bring in a lake trout.
Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and past through donations and grant I was lucky to be on the
staff from the Michigan Department support from the Hal and Jean Dreamweaver III charter with
of Natural Resources. Glassen Foundation, but it has been the president of the Ludington
Michigan boasts one of the in place in its current form for the Charter Boat Association, Captain
most significant legislative sports- last three years. Shane Ruboyianes, his first mate,
men's caucuses in the nation with The Ludington Charter Boat DNR Fisheries Chief Jim Dexter
more than 80 members from both Association worked with Caucus and State Representatives Rob
parties and both chambers. This Advisory Council Vice Chair VerHeulen (R-Walker) and Jim
group of legislators meets almost and Executive Director of the Runestad (R-White Lake). Fishing
monthly while in session to learn Steelhead and Salmon Fishermen’s was on the slow side first thing in
about conservation organizations Association Dennis Eade and the morning, but we covered a range
and issues we are facing such as Representative Curt VanderWall of topics in conversation including

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Fall 2018.indd 76 8/30/2018 7:54:31 AM
to what we do here at MUCC — not submit my entry for a 2018 Master
only are we educating, but also, Angler award to the DNR. This lake

n’
hopefully, influencing these legis- trout measured 38 inches and 24.18
lators perspective on conservation pounds and put me on the lake trout
issues and reminding them what leaderboard for July for the local
kind of trusted resource MUCC and tournament. The process to submit
its members can be as they vote on a Master Angler entry is pretty
new laws. straightforward: get pictures of the

s But among all the talk, we did
manage to land seven fish! On my
second fish, we knew right away it
whole fish on the measuring board
and some close-ups. Then, submit it
by email (masterangler@michigan.
was a whopper. It took more than gov) with the completed entry form
20 minutes to land it, and my arms to the DNR.
were shaking as I was red-faced I arrived late at the luncheon
from the exertion. Finally, when we to a round of applause and lake
brought it in, I knew it was worth it. trout and salmon cooked three ways
It was the biggest fish of the day for (caught by Eade and several of the
our boat. When we got back to the captains two days prior). The legis-
marina and I saw not only our fishing lators, advisory council members,
Great Lakes stocking, the impact trip participants start checking out DNR staff and staff from other spon-
of invasive species, phosphorus in my fish in the cooler, but also other soring groups including Blue Cross
Lake Erie, the importance of Farm captains and families coming over Blue Shield and the Michigan Soft
Bill habitat programs and commer- too, I knew it was a really big fish. Drink Association enjoyed lunch
cial and tribal fishing regulations. As part of a fun wager for biggest and got to take some leftovers home,
We also discussed several wildlife fish, we decided to put mine on the along with a share of the day's catch.
issues such as pheasant restoration scale next to Representative Tim Any day on the water far
and Chronic Wasting Disease. The Kelly’s (R-Saginaw) — while his was exceeds a day in the office no matter
Dreamweaver crew also added to more than 18 pounds, mine weighed what. Beautiful weather, enjoyable
the conversation, demonstrating in at 24 pounds. Since we had the company and catching fish make it
the impact that sportfishing can chief and several fisheries biolo- that much better. But spreading a
have on Michigan’s economy gists on hand, they took a look and conservation message to those who
as they discussed their charter estimated it was a stocked fish from have the power to influence future
business and also their Team more than 30 years ago. laws and budgets can make that
Dreamweaver lures we used on the Captain Shane sent me right day’s worth of “work” ensure that
trip, which is how they keep busy away with Brad down to the local future generations also get to enjoy
in the offseason. Conversations like tackle shop, Captain Chuck’s II Michigan’s natural resources and
this with elected officials are critical to get it on the official scale and outdoor heritage.

Formed in 2015, the Michigan Legislative (c) Assisting Caucus leadership in the develop-
Sportsmen’s Caucus Advisory Council was formed ment of legislative strategy, including rallying grass-
to advance Michigan’s outdoor heritage through roots support, and;
science-based wildlife and fisheries management (d) Serving as the informational link to the
and the wise use of our state’s natural resources, and hunting, angling, recreational shooting and trap-
to protect and advance the rights and traditions of ping community on the activities of the Caucus.
Michigan citizens to hunt, fish, recreationally shoot We look forward to serving the members of the
and trap by engaging in an open dialogue with the Michigan Legislative
Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus (Caucus). Sportsmen’s Caucus
In this role, the Advisory Council interacts with to ensure that our
the Caucus by: time-honored sports-
(a) Assisting in the facilitation of meetings and men’s traditions
events between the sportsmen’s community and the are protected and
Caucus, including fundraising to cover event costs, advanced during
and administrative needs of the Council; the remainder of the
(b) Assisting Caucus leadership in the devel- 2017-2018 legislative
opment of Caucus priority policy issues as well as session and with future
providing briefing materials on pertinent legislation; legislative caucuses.

Fall 2018.indd 77 8/30/2018 7:54:32 AM
Commercial Guiding:
More Oversight Needed

By Chris Lamphere

www.michiganoutofdoors.com
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76

Fall 2018.indd 78 8/30/2018 7:54:36 AM
Y
ou might have heard this around several select game species, bear cubs; he’s also heard about
horror story before. After including bear, elk, fish and bobcat, an instance when someone ille-
years of trying, a bear among others. gally blocked off a public road so
or elk hunter finally gets Tim Dusterwinkle, pres- their clients could hunt without
lucky and scores a tag; they are ident of the Michigan Bear interruptions.
excited but also worried they will Hunters Association, said he Thorman said these types of
blow their one chance of bagging a hears stories about unscrupu- stories stick around for a long time
trophy animal, so they hire a guide. lous guides on a regular basis. and can have lingering negative
The guide they hire seems legit- “You hear about guys going out and effects on the image of hunters and
imate, but on the day of the hunt, dumping huge concentrations of legitimate guides.
they do little more than drop the feed in the woods so (their clients) “Anytime you hear about
hunter off in the woods with some can shoot high numbers of bear,” someone (violating game laws),
vague words of advice. Dusterwinkle said. “It’s definitely people seize on that and exaggerate
The guide comes back a problem. Whenever you get the it,” Thorman said. “We should know
several hours later … drunk, and dollar included in something, it can who’s a guide, how many there are
offering few explanations for the tempt a person’s ethics. We’re not and how much of the resource they
so-called “service” they provided. against hunting guides whatsoever, are taking. Guiding is a business,
You might have heard this story but I believe some oversight would so we should know who’s doing
because it’s an anecdote frequently be a good thing. These natural it and what’s going on out there.”
shared among hunters, anglers, resources are owned by all the Thorman said knowing about the
conservationists and responsible people … I think there should be number of guides doing business in
guides who would like the state of some accountability.” the state is important, considering
Michigan to practice more oversight Mike Thorman, a spokesman their success rate compared to soli-
into the commercial activity. for the Michigan Hunting Dog tary hunters and fisherman.
Currently, there are few regu- Federation, also has heard trou- According to data collected
lations in Michigan concerning bling tales about guides instructing by the Michigan Department
guiding — an industry that revolves their clients that it’s OK to shoot of Natural Resources, hunters
Nadeene DeLong of DeLong Bred Hounds took these photos after a successful bear hunt. Guides like DeLong, operate their
business using ethical and legal methods. There have been too many horror stories about guides who put their clients in
danger because of no oversight in the State of Michigan.

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 77

Fall 2018.indd 79 8/30/2018 7:54:38 AM
Ed McCoy, Hawkins Outfitters guide, and client Pat Kochanny fish on a Northern Michigan stream during a guided trip. Photo
courtesy of Jon Ray, Hawkins Guide and owner of Mangled Fly Media (www.hawkinsoutfitters.com).
tracking bear with a guide have a Captain Chuck Hawkins apples out there, and they don’t get
44 percent rate of success compared — a retired businessman from punished in Michigan. I think (more
to those without a guide, who were California — is the owner of oversight) would be a very positive
only successful 30 percent of the Hawkins Outfitters. step toward professionalism.”
time. Since forming, Hawkins said the Sarah Cummins, with the
DNR reports indicate that the business has been hugely successful. DNR Wildlife Division Policy
percentage of people hiring guides “Most people don’t realize Michigan and Management Section, said a
for bear and bobcat hunts still is has some of the best fly fishing number of states have implemented
pretty small, around 10 to13 percent. from the Catskill Mountains to comprehensive policies regarding
It’s an entirely different story the Rockies,” Hawkins said. “It’s commercial guiding activities.
for elk hunters, who report hiring a amazing … how much money comes In Michigan, legislation was
guide 78 percent of the time. from out-of-state.” introduced in 2016, but lawmakers
Fishing is another industry Like others in his line of work, did not act on the bills at that time.
served by a significant portion of Hawkins has heard plenty of stories Cummins said the DNR
professional guides. about ill-equipped and unprofes- supported a number of policies
Hawkins Outfitters is a Traverse sional guides. proposed in the past legislation,
City-based company comprised “These types of experiences can including provisions requiring
of six full-time guides who take make (legitimate guides) look like guides to have minimum training
clients on river excursions all over rock stars,” Hawkins said. “They in hunter’s safety, first aid, trapping
Northern Michigan for trout, steel- can also turn people off to fishing and CPR.
head and salmon. altogether. There are a few bad She said they also like the idea of

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Fall 2018.indd 80 8/30/2018 7:54:38 AM
guides having some type of liability
insurance in the event something
happens in the field.
Finally, Cummins said it’s
always good to have more data,
which is why they would support
guides being required to report their
activities in more detail, including
the number of clients they have and
amount of game they take.
What’s important, Cummins
added, is that any legislation that
eventually becomes law be consis-
tent among all game animals, and
not specific to certain ones.
Amy Trotter, deputy director
of Michigan United Conservation
Clubs, said creating legislation
related to guided hunting and
fishing activities has been a goal of
her organization for several years.
From the perspective of MUCC and
its member organizations,
Trotter said more oversight
would improve the safety and
welfare of hunters and anglers.
Trotter said the problem with the
current policy in Michigan is that
guides who violate the law only are
punished for those violations, and
not for being a law-breaking guide,
which should hinder their ability
to ever guide again in the State of
Michigan.
The goal, Trotter said, is to
create a system that requires a
very low registration fee — $50, for
instance — but very high penalties
for guides who aren’t operating
within the law.
The policy also would require
applicants to disclose felony
records and Natural Resources
and Environmental Protection Act
violations, which could preclude
them from obtaining a guiding
license.
“Right now, there’s nothing they
can take away if (guides) are doing
something bad,” Trotter said. “We
want to even the playing field for
good guides and get rid of the bad
actors.”

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 79

Fall 2018.indd 81 8/30/2018 7:54:39 AM
how to
properly
age
meat
By Chef Milos Cihelka

I
n the last several years, meat
aging has again become
popular. Even Walmart is
advertising aged beef. There
are butcher shops that specialize
in dry-aged beef. We know that in
Spain they age their famous hams
two years and longer. And yet,
among the general public, espe-
cially hunters, the reasons for and
the benefits of aging are still poorly
understood.
What does aging do to the meat?
During aging, enzymes, which are
present in all flesh, eventually break
down connective tissues making the
meat tender. Aging also mellows the
flavor, same as it does to wine and
cheese. It is especially important
in the preparation of wild game. In
domestic animals, we age mostly
beef and lamb, although any meat,
including poultry, will benefit when
lamb rack will lose approximately mortis. Brazilian ranchers at times
allowed to relax for at least several
one pound in three weeks. It is an invite guests to a barbecue. They
days before cooking. French chefs
expensive procedure, and not many slaughter a young bull and imme-
recommend keeping a freshly-killed
restaurants can afford dry-aging diately cut the still warm meat into
chicken for one week.
their own meat. steaks and grill them. These steaks
There are two types of aging —
In wet-aging, meat is packed in are very tender.
dry and wet. For dry-aging, whole
sealed Cryovac bags from which On one occasion at the
quarters or substantial cuts of
air is sucked out. The meat in this Mushroom, we had a late delivery
meat with bones are used. They are
protective cover will keep refriger- of chickens. Because the company
either hung from hooks or placed on
ated for several weeks. It will also had some transportation problems
perforated shelves and frequently
age and become more tender, but bringing in livestock from Amish
rotated. Walk-in refrigerators
it will not compare in quality to farmers in Ohio, the chickens were
which are dedicated to meat aging
dry-aged meat. Wet-aging does not killed, processed and packed in
only should have no other food kept
require any special handling, only ice just before we received them.
in them, and the temperature and
refrigeration. Meat is tender twice: We quickly boned-out the breasts
humidity are controlled. An ultra-
The first time right after killing, for service. The first order went
violet light keeps bacteria in check.
when it is still warm, and at least out, and the customer sent it back,
The meat loses weight by desic-
a week later because it becomes saying that it was tough. I have
cating and will need extra trimming
entirely relaxed and out of rigor never heard of a tough chicken
later. For example, an eight-pound

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"The average young buck or doe should be hung head down, with the skin
on, for two weeks. Older bucks should hang for three weeks or longer."
breast, so I tasted it. Indeed, it was hold mostly tender muscles, but also that difficult in states like Michigan.
tough, and we had to take them off some tough ones. When the deer We allow it to fluctuate between 28
the menu. The chickens were stiff in is aged, the tender muscles make degrees and 50 degrees. The garage
rigor mortis. excellent steaks and roasts which always modifies the temp. When the
The majority of our deer hunters can be as good as beef tenderloin. outside temps drop below 28 degrees,
do not want to be bothered with The tough muscles and the meat you can wrap the deer in a sort of a
butchering their own deer. They from the neck and shanks make teepee made of tarp and place a light
take them to a processor. While the great stews and pot roasts. Many bulb or a small heater underneath.
carcass is in rigor mortis, the deer hunters, disappointed with fresh In warm weather, we coat all the
is skinned, then cut up into sections venison, have the meat made into exposed flesh with “hot oil” made
and frozen. When frozen solid it salami, jerky or ground. with cooking oil and red pepper to
is cut up with a band saw, with Butchering your own deer is keep the flies off. We check the cavity
different muscles, bones, fat and not as difficult as many imagine. daily to make sure it remains dry.
gristle in each slice. At a deer butch- Years ago, we made, with Jerry If any wetness appears, we wipe it
ering demo, a young man confided Chiappetta from Michigan Outdoors off with a vinegar soaked rag. After
to me that during his college days TV, tapes showing how it is done. about a week, a few white specks of
he used to work for a deer processor. They were transformed into “Wild mold appear. The mold will even-
He said it took him eight minutes to Harvest Videos” and are sold by tually cover the whole cavity. That
cut up a deer. Great job! In case you Amazon. Doing a demo one time, a is nothing to be concerned about,
wondered, the processor will refuse man proudly introduced us to his as we trim the exposed surfaces off
to accept an aged deer. 9-year-old son. He told us the boy when butchering.
There are several problems with installed a TV in their garage, and Small game is aged whole with
having a deer handled this way: following my taped instruction, he the hide or feathers on. Gutting it
First, the deer is processed while butchered a whole deer by himself ! first would create an opening for
still in rigor mortis — absolutely The average young buck or doe bacteria to enter and start spoiling
guaranteeing it will be tough with a should be hung head down, with it. Knowledgeable cooks like to hang
definite “gamey” taste. Meat slices the skin on, for two weeks. Older small game until the skin turns
with bones will soon turn rancid in bucks should hang for three weeks green and blue and smells pretty
the freezer. Deer fat tastes bad and or longer. A stick placed inside the ripe. The lousy odor completely
will congeal on your teeth. Lastly, chest cavity spreads it open to air. dissipates during cooking, and the
the muscles have varying degrees Keep a window open. The optimum flavor and tenderness will amaze
of tenderness and for cooking need temperature for aging game is 40 you.
to be separated accordingly. Slices degrees Fahrenheit. Unless you For more information on skin-
of meat that hold several different have access to a walk-in cooler, ning and butchering, please refer to
muscles are unsuitable for any maintaining aging temperature my book “Cooking Wild Game and
cooking — fast or slow. Hind legs in your garage in November is not Fish with Chef Milos.”

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 81

Fall 2018.indd 83 8/30/2018 7:54:42 AM
Annual
Convention
2018

By Nick Green

Another Annual Convention were all in attendance of the habitat among us who have made significant
has come and passed, and with it, improvement project. contributions to Michigan’s conser-
we reflect back on the year behind Friday evening found us at the vation legacy — whether that was
us, the work we have done and the Clare Rod and Gun Club for an through generous donations to our
work that lies ahead. As a true evening picnic and trap shooting. youth camp, helping to further the
grassroots organization, staff at Banter was heavy as staffers and scientific knowledge of the conser-
MUCC would like to thank all of our members vied for the top score in vation community or fighting for
members who helped participate rounds of trap. The club provided our rights in the halls of the Capitol
in the process — whether that was MUCC members a home cooked in Lansing. Representative Gary
writing a resolution, partaking in meal of hamburgers, hotdogs, Howell (R-North Branch), chair
the discussion on resolutions or potato salad, coleslaw, potatoes and of the House Natural Resources
carrying votes for their respective other side dishes. Dessert followed Committee, joined us for the dinner
clubs and individual members at and left some of us loosening a few and was recognized as Legislator
our Annual Convention. buttons. of the Year for all of the hard work
In total, more than 150 MUCC Business followed on Saturday and thought he puts forth toward the
members joined us in Clare, with four bylaws amendments and issues we work so hard on in Lansing.
Michigan at the Doherty Hotel and 20 resolutions being read, debated Lake St. Clair Walleye Association,
Conference Center for the event. and voted on. Among the most awarded Affiliate Club of the Year
The process kicked off Friday debated resolutions were resolutions for their contributions to our youth
with an MUCC On the Ground that included mandatory antler camp, challenged attendees at our
project in the Lame Duck Foot point restrictions, the changing of winter Presidents’ Dinner and
Access Area GEMS. About 30 opening day of firearm deer season matched donations right at conven-
volunteers helped to build two to a Saturday and the introduc- tion totaling $8000.
boardwalks that will assist hunters tion of a separate bobcat license. Other award winners included
and recreational users of the site Keynote speakers during and after Robert Doepker for Wildlife
navigate lowland areas. Members lunch included Michigan’s Natural Conservationist of the Year; Frank
from MUCC, Ruffed Grouse Society, Resources Commission Chair Vicki Krist for the Unsung Hero; John
the National Wildlife Federation, Pontz and Michigan Department of Ozoga for the Ben East Award;
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Natural Resources Director Keith Rob Miller Electric for Corporate
the Quality Deer Management Creagh. Conservationist of the Year;
Association and Michigan Trapper During the evening dinner and Stuart Kenewell for the Special
and Predator Callers Association awards banquet, we recognized those Conservation Award; Jon Gray for

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Fall 2018.indd 84 8/30/2018 7:54:46 AM
n
the Educator of the Year; and Elden • President George Lindquist Next year’s Annual Convention
Montross Sr., Fred Tyszka, Jim • Vice President/President-elect will be June 21 to 23, 2019 at the
Shipley, Dennis Holoway, Charlie Greg Peter Lakeside Resort and Conference
Baker and John Dixson for Volunteer • Immediate Past President Tom Center in Houghton Lake,
of the Year. What each award entails Heritier Michigan. We look forward to
and why these individuals were • Treasurer Fran Yeager seeing you. We will be having some
recognized can be found here. • Region 2 Director Jay Maki sort of activity on Friday, and we
Members joined us again Sunday • Region 4 Director Carol Rose hope that those of you coming
morning for three more resolutions, • Region 6 Director Chuck can join us and help to build the
all of which passed unanimously, Hoover camaraderie that has made MUCC
and the announcement of final elec- what it is today. Again, thank you,
tion results. Election results for our Staff would like to thank all and we look forward to seeing you
2018-2019 Executive Board follow: of you who participated in this in 2019.
Terms extend through the most important occasion. We
2020 Annual Convention for the work on your behalf, these are our
following positions. The Vice marching orders and we are proud Turn to page 84 for passed
President ascends to the President to carry your voice in the halls of resolutions.
at that time: Lansing, Washington D.C. and in
all that we do.

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 83

Fall 2018.indd 85 8/30/2018 7:54:49 AM
2018 Adopted Conservation Policies
MUCC calls on Congress to state managed public hunting land ORV enforcement is in line with
amend the budget of the USFS to does close, there will be compensa- the expansion of ORV use on forest
help offset the costs of fire suppres- tion in the form of new hunting land roads.
sion and help them maintain their in the same region for fair opportu- MUCC urges the DNR to finalize
fundamental services. MUCC would nities to hunters in those regions. the draft “Michigan’s Policy on State
also ask Congress to pass legisla- MUCC encourages the DNR to Trails Designation” and implement
tion that will assure the USFS and create a moose management plan the designation program.
their sponsors adequate funds in understanding the need of addi- MUCC will work with Quality
the event of a lawsuit from those tional funds and personnel to ensure Deer Management Association
that use the National Forests for a sustainable moose population that (QDMA), Whitetails Unlimited
recreation. Lastly, ensure that supports hunting as a management (WTU), the DNR, the NRC, and
all National Forests, Parks, and tool. the legislature to create and adopt
National Monuments remain intact MUCC will work with the wanton waste legislation pertaining
and continue to allow public access. State Department of Education, to whitetail deer to ensure there are
MUCC will work with the legisla- Intermediate School Districts, and penalties if no reasonable attempt
ture, DNR, and NRC to create regula- local school districts to provide is made to retrieve the animal. This
tions restricting the use of boats that access to promoting, advertising and should also ensure the carcass of a
produce a wake large enough to surf providing information about firearm deer should be disposed of properly
or wakeboard to larger lakes and safety classes and hunter education and not left in the field. It is recom-
areas further from the shore than classes at local, regional and state mended that MUCC also consider
the current rules allow. facilities and other rangefacilities wanton waste laws for other game
MUCC will bring the issue of open to the public. species.
CWD and TB to the forefront and MUCC and its partners will work MUCC reaffirm its commitment
work with the DNR to enforce with the DNR to ensure the introduc- to expanding fishing opportunities
existing laws, find alternative tion of Arctic Grayling to Michigan in the Detroit River and Lake St.
funding other than what is provided rivers will only be done if: The Clair by supporting the DNR, Belle
by existing fish and wildlife funds management of existing fisheries Isle Conservancy, and Belle Isle
and continue education efforts and will not be affected by a change in Park Advisory Committee with
promote hunter involvement in legal status of Arctic Grayling such the construction of a tournament
combating these diseases. MUCC as “threatened” or “endangered” friendly, 24 hour/day boating access
also supports additional harvesting under the Endangered Species Act site on Belle Isle. Also, ask that the
of does in DMU’s through methods elsewhere in the United States; the DNR work with the fishing tourna-
of later seasons and reduced doe planting of Arctic Grayling will ments and local fishing conservation
tag prices and other means to help only occur in water bodies where clubs to review and consider the
promote the take of does to maintain support exists from stakeholders positive local economic benefits asso-
a balanced herd. MUCC continues to and anglers; and if the funding ciated with building a tournament
support baiting bans. MUCC should of an Arctic Grayling program is friendly boating access site that will
work with QDMA and other stake- confirmed to be sustainable and will help to host organized fishing events.
holders to help DNR and NRC with not undermine existing fisheries MUCC will work with the DNR
this disease. programs or staffing in Michigan. to establish work orders to require
MUCC will work with the MUCC will work with the the Parks and Recreation division to
National Wildlife Federation and Michigan Legislature to amend state cooperate with the other divisions
other decision makers to protect law to require an electric perimeter of the DNR to address the needs for
the Great Lakes from any oil spill, fence on privately-owned cervid managing wildlife habitat located
including serious considerations of operations to deter bears and other within the State Parks and State
alternatives to pipelines across or species such as coyote and wolf. Recreation Areas.
below the Great Lakes. MUCC will urge the DNR to MUCC will work with Michigan
MUCC will work with the DNR develop an annual public report Resource Stewards to urge our legis-
and the NRC to make the regulations that provides data on ORV damage, lature, advocacy groups, and policy
for yellow perch in Lake Gogebic, enforcement activity and accidents makers at all levels to support the
which includes a 25-perch bag limit in the state forest. Also, MUCC efforts of the DNR, MSU, and others
with no more than five fish 12" or should request that the DNR not to document the value and value
greater, a rule for state inland lakes allow expansion of forest roads open added to our economy by public land
and wherever else appropriate. to ORV unless the ORV report is and acknowledge the multiplicity of
MUCC will work with the posted for public review and evalu- health benefits, social benefits and
Michigan Legislature, the DNR, and ated for: compliance with the DNR’s other intangible benefits that accrue
the NRC to ensure that the amount of forest certification criteria; the to Michigan citizens because of our
public land available to hunters does ability of DNR to mitigate resource public lands.
not decrease in the future and that if damage; and adequate funding of

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Fall 2018.indd 86 8/30/2018 7:54:49 AM
CALL THE
HOTLINE

REPORT
FERAL
SWINE
TO REPORT FERAL SWINE OR
FOR
MORE INFORMATION PLEASE
CALL: USDA WILDLIFE
SERVICES AT
517.336.1928
OR
WWW.MICHIGAN.GOV/
FERALSWINE

FERAL SWINE
DAMAGE AGRICULTURE,
NATURAL RESOURCES,
PROPERTY, PEOPLE AND
CULTURAL SITES

This project was funded by the Michigan Invasive Species
Grant Program (www.michigan.gov/invasives).
Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 85

Fall 2018.indd 87 8/30/2018 7:54:50 AM
Conservation Through Education

Planting the Seed
Shaun McKeon, MUCC Education Director experience that sets them on a career path into fisheries
and wildlife management or parks and recreation. For
One of the unique things about being around the others, it is where they learn the skills they will use to
Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp is the ability to meet tag their first deer or teach a parent how to fish. To some
campers from all over the state and have them return kids, it is the place where they saw stars for the first
from one camp season to the next. The 2018 season time or caught fireflies in jars way past their normal
was my sixth year working down at Cedar Lake, and bedtimes. Camp is also a place where kids just have a
I have thoroughly enjoyed building relationships with fun week outside making new friends and having new
campers who come back year after year. Over the last experiences. It does not necessarily transform their
72 years, we have educated more than 57,000 campers. lives, but just having a week to be outside and enjoy
I have been lucky enough to be around for more than themselves seems to be just fine with them, and that is
2,100 of those campers. It is always great to see how the okay with us.
kids change from each year — their passion for learning For the last two years, my younger cousin, Logan
more about Michigan's natural resources seems to grow Boettcher, has been one of those campers. He has
each year. attended our Riley Wilderness Youth Camp Program. He
A few campers have been attending since before was a bit unsure about joining us for year number one,
I came on staff. Some campers who have grown from
day campers, who started at the age of five, are now
11-year-old campers participating in their last week
of camp before moving to the advanced camps for 12-
to15-year-old campers. There are also campers who
were at Cedar Lake from 2010 to 2012 who worked their
way through all of our camp programs including the
Counselors in Training program, and they are now on
our paid staff. This opportunity for them to have been
both a camper and a staff member is something special
that they have truly enjoyed. It also gives them a unique
perspective as a staff person in the traditions of Cedar
Lake and knowing they have played a part in its history,
as well as shaping the future.
When I took over the camp program back in 2013, our
rate for campers returning for the second year was below
15 percent. Now, our return rate for campers coming back
is more than 40 percent. We have created a program that
kids want to be a part of and look forward to each year.
With campers returning, it has also challenged us
to create new programs. Where we previously only
offered hunter safety for our campers, we now have two
other programs for campers who have already taken
the hunter education course. For second year returning
campers, they take part in our Leave No Trace program,
teaching ethical and responsible camping. For our third
year and beyond returning campers, we now offer an
invasive species awareness and prevention option. This
course focuses on prevention and removal of invasive
species to help stop their spread around the state.
An example of the impact camp can have can be seen
through the individual stories of campers. For some
campers, time spent at Cedar Lake is a life-changing

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Fall 2018.indd 88 8/30/2018 7:54:51 AM
Left: Camper Logan Boettcher holds a nice largemouth bass he caught after getting home from his first summer at camp. He
used the fishing skills he learned at the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp to hook and land the fish. Above: Campers Logan
Boettcher and Rhett Klopf take a break from a predator-prey game to pose for a photo.
but with some convincing, and bringing a friend from his hockey team, so most of his non-school time is spent on
hockey team along, he headed down to camp for a week the ice; his focus is scoring goals. However, after his time
outside. During year one, he spent time fishing, enjoyed at camp, he is now more interested in the outdoors and has
learning about the predator-prey relationships and did gone fishing on a few occasions with family and friends.
pretty well in some of the group games. He also passed For Logan, camp has been a fun week each summer
his hunter safety class and was awarded his certificate. where he gets to try new skills and learn why our
During year two, he joined us for our Hunting Heritage natural resources are essential. Although he is not a
Program. He spent lots of time on the archery ranges hunter or a dedicated angler today, he enjoys spending
and .22 range at Cedar Lake and headed over to the time outside.
Chelsea Rod and Gun Club to shoot some trap and use The seed of conservation has been planted, and
their larger rifle range. at the end of the day, that is what camp is all about —
When he is not attending camp, he plays on a travel planting and growing the seed of conservation.

Fall 2018.indd 89 8/30/2018 7:54:51 AM
TheA photostory
CAMPFIReof the 2018 camp season
photos by Mikayla Carter and Nick Green

Primitive Skills camper participates in shelter building after given a scenario that her teams
plane crashed in a storm and they needed to build a shelter that could accommodate four
people.

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Fall 2018.indd 90 8/30/2018 7:54:54 AM
Camp Director Tyler Butler helps campers understand the five C's of what you should
always carry with you in the wilderness: container, cutting tool, coverage, cordage and
combustion (fire-starter material).

A camper practices his riflery skills at the Cedar Lake Outdoor Center rifle range. All
campers will spend a couple hours each week at the rifle range.

Fall 2018
Fall 2018
| Michigan Out-of-Doors
| Michigan 89 89
Out-of-Doors

Fall 2018.indd 91 8/30/2018 7:54:58 AM
A Stewards in Training camper gets ready for a 15-mile hike and overnight trip to Green
Lake in the Waterloo Recreation area.

90 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Fall 2018.indd 92 8/30/2018 7:55:00 AM
Camper paddles her kayak into shore after experiencing the great views of Cedar Lake
and Baby Cedar Lake. All campers get the chance to canoe or kayak if they want to.

Camp Director Tyler Butler help campers understand what pheromones are and how lam-
prey use them to find mates and navigate river systems.

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 91

Fall 2018.indd 93 8/30/2018 7:55:00 AM
A camper checks her target after shooting at the .22 range.
She had five of her eight shots within the first ring on the
target.

Campers paddle in after kayaking to Baby Cedar Lake.

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Fall 2018.indd 94 8/30/2018 7:55:02 AM
Stewards in Training campers get ready for a 15-mile hike and overnight trip to Green Lake
in the Waterloo Recreation area.

A Primitive Skills camper carries a log to his teams shelter while participating in the
shelter building scenario.

Fall 2018
Fall 2018||Michigan
MichiganOut-of-Doors 93
Out-of-Doors 93

Fall 2018.indd 95 8/30/2018 7:55:06 AM
Throwback: September 1984
I’ve hunted the same lakes and resting ducks leave a calling card. motorists, providing they don’t
marshes for 30 years. During this This meant that every day, before blink their eyes. It takes a quick
time, I’ve seen the shorelines fill to I could safely walk barefoot on my scan in order to pick out any resting
capacity with houses and the lakes pier, I had to sweep away the duck mallards. The many lily pads also
themselves nearly overrun with droppings. work to the duck’s advantage. The
speedboats. The recreational use of As summer fades, the native vegetation makes it more difficult to
these waters seems to double every ducks begin to fly from the lake and spot any stationary ducks.
10 years. spend more and more time visiting The trapping season for
Even so, I’ve yet to experi- the shallow marshes and nearby southern Michigan opens on the
ence a poor duck-hunting season. grain fields. 10th of November. At this time, I
Obviously, the waterfowl were Watching them rest and feed frequently jump ducks off of the
not pushed out of the area. But, in any of the many pond. It is only a short flight, maybe
their habits have changed a bit – in area ponds stimu- 300 yards, from the lake to
some cases, quite a bit. One thing lated thoughts of the pond. The
is certain, as the ducks alter their a mallard dinner
behavior, so must the duck hunter, later on. Little
if mallards are to find a place on the did I realize that
dinner table. instead of being
I have a second home on the shore “sitting ducks,”
of a heavily populated, well-used they would soon
lake. The lake has about a thousand learn to spot a
acres of water surface, and there is duck hunter
a dwelling on all but a half-dozen and slip out of
lake lots. One side of the lake nearly shooting range.
touches the business district of a My expe-
small southern Michigan commu- rience with
nity. This arrangement hasn’t really l a ke - r e a r e d
made any noticeable decrease in the mallards on
number of locally-reared mallards. a half-acre
They just adjusted a little and pond taught
continued to prosper. me plenty
There is seldom a shortage of a b o u t
water in the vicinity of my lake the local
home. A good crop of waterfowl ducks. I’ve
either hatch at this lake or begin profited
their life on one of many ponds or from this
marshes within a couple of miles experi-
of my home. Within 25 miles of my ence many, many
dwelling, there must be a couple of times. Shortly before winter
hundred other lakes, and for every arrives, I trap this small pond for h e av y
lake there are several more ponds mink and muskrat. A heavily used boat traffic at the
and marshes. blacktop road curves around the lake makes this pond especially
Actually, if it weren’t for water- north and east sides of the pond. attractive to mallards who want to
fowl hunting, I would have little I count on a field of standing corn get away from the continual activi-
use for the lake mallards. At first, close to the pond on the side oppo- ties at the lake.
I viewed their presence around my site from the road. The waterfowl season had been
house with delight. I was already Except for a small, oval basin open a little over a week, and the
thinking of the coming season, and that was dug by a crane many years resident ducks had already become
these same ducks would be flying to ago, the marsh averages less than very wary. It seemed logical that the
nearby ponds. However, these ducks two feet deep. Cattails bordered this ducks must be resting or feeding
did more than swim around the lake. about 20 percent of the shoreline, someplace other than where the
They spend a lot of time resting including some of the area next to hunters were pursuing them. I
out of the water on piers, rafts and the road. About a third of the edge thought about all the times I had
other above-water structures. And of the pond is visible to passing checked my traps in the shallow

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Fall 2018.indd 96 8/30/2018 7:55:07 AM
ponds and about all the times I loudly near the center of the pond could slide out the side door with
flushed mallards in the process. – a distance of about 50 yards. And his encased 12-gauge. He didn’t even
Surely the small pond rated at least instead of four mallards, at least 20 latch the side door, only shutting it
a quick look-and-see. ducks took to the air. We didn’t even enough to keep the door from hitting
I slowed the car as Brian Floor, fire a shot. It was perfectly clear that a nearby mailbox. I continued for at
one of my frequent hunting compan- our reasoning about the habits of least a hundred yards past the pond
ions, and I drove past the small lake-raised mallards needed some before coming to a stop and parking
trapping pond. I told Brian to take revision. my car.
a good look in case there happened The following day I took my This time I exercised the same
to be a couple of ducks on the water. binoculars and drove back to the caution that I would while flushing
It seemed only natural that, if they pond. This time, I didn’t even slow mallards from any other pond. I
were there, we could more than down as I passed by. closed and latched my car door
likely pick up any easy mallard or I came to a halt on top of a ridge without a sound. After slipping
two for the evening dinner table. in the road, about 150 yards from the three magnum loads of No. 4 shot in
Brian spotted four mallards pond. The binoculars enabled me to my shotgun. I began my approach.
near the north shore of the pond. I make a thorough inspection. I had Before we parted, my partner
pulled the car to a spot behind the no problem in picking out several and I synchronized our wrist
cattail cover. My partner slipped out mallards. They didn’t even look up watches. The plan was for me to
the car’s side door and retrieved his as the car went by. Instead, they have 10 minutes to move within easy
shotgun from the back of my station continued to swim and tip-up to feed shooting range of the mallards.
wagon. I told him that I would drive in their normally relaxed, scattered My approach to the pond would
around to the other side of fashion. be slow, silent and deliberate. I
the pond and When any of the passing motor- was determined not to blow it this
move in ists would slow down to read the time. I did not hesitate to move on
on the road sign, the ducks immediately my hands and knees whenever it
ducks. took notice. If the car stopped for seemed necessary.
W e even a few seconds, without any At least I was in position. I
still felt hesitation, the mallards quickly could heat the mallards chattering.
certain grouped up and were prepared for a It sounded as though they were
that the hasty exit. feeding no more than 20 yards away.
b i r d s These mallards confidently According to our prearranged
w o u l d returned to their leisure activities schedule, Brian should now be
be easy shortly after the vehicle in question working through the cattails,
targets. moved away. about 60 yards to my right. We had
Little did we Previous to staking out the trap- planned for him to break out of the
know that ping pond, I had dropped Brian off at cattail cover before I showed myself
the mallards one end of another long and narrow or started shooting. By now my eyes
were aware duck marsh. It normally takes a were fixed on the spot where the
that some- little under an hour to completely mallard sounds were coming from.
thing was not flush the narrow marsh and I had My anticipation was reaching new
right for them. been observing the pond mallards heights.
A slow, for at least that long. It was time to Brian shout “Now!” as he
deliberate return for Brian and fill him in on stepped a fraction of a second and
approach to what I had seen. taking aim at the closest mallard.
the pond did As expected, Brian was ready When the shooting was over, we had
not seem neces- to jump the half-acre pond — not downed five mallards, four drakes
sary. After all, tomorrow, but right now. We were and a hen. A cautious approach had
I thought, the on our way. really paid off.
mallards had Cars frequently slowed to a We did bag a few more mallards
been experiencing a constant flow near-stop where the blacktop makes from this little pond. But it was
of traffic throughout the day and a sharp curve around the pond. getting harder and harder to
no harm had come to them. Why Since there was sufficient cattail approach the ducks. For one thing,
should another couple of people cover to hide a slow-moving car, they stayed more toward the middle
moving around be cause for alarm? the curve seemed like the ideal of the pond, and the ducks were
What happened was completely spot to slow down enough to drop spending more time eyeballing the
unexpected. off a hunter without spooking the edges. After a while, the mallards
Before we were even close to feeding mallards. abandoned the pond altogether.
where we thought the ducks were I eased my station wagon as Indeed, local mallards do learn –
swimming, a hen mallard quacked slow as I dared so my companion and quickly.
By Jack G. Mell
Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 95

Fall 2018.indd 97 8/30/2018 7:55:08 AM
ONE LAST CAST
Nick Green, Editor

Being a boss isn't something I am good at. I'm good at
deadlines, problem solving and talking — not managing
personnel.
This summer, Michigan United Conservation Clubs
and Michigan Out-of-Doors took on a communications
intern to help us with video and whatever else we could
concoct. I was to manage the intern, keep her busy and
try to help her build her portfolio.
Some may say I have a soft spot for my alma mater,
Central Michigan University, but realistically, the best
communications students in Michigan come from CMU.
It was inevitable that I would hire a student from there.
After careful deliberation and help from our
Education Director Shaun McKeon, I landed on
Mikayla Carter, a Blissfield junior, who was majoring
in photojournalism. Although she hadn't done much
video work, her tenacity with which she did everything
and glowing recommendations from professors and her
previous employer solidified her place at MUCC for the Left: MUCC Communications Intern Mikayla Carter shoots
summer. video for a Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp video.
It was the best decision I have made in my short Above: Carter (left) takes a break from the camera to pose
career here at MUCC. with Co-ops Coordinator Morgan McCarthy-Ward, Policy
Carter's relentless note taking, time management Intern Ian Fitzgerald and Deputy Director Amy Trotter (left
skills and organization kept me in check. It helped me to right) during an OTG project that kicked off our Annual
to focus more philosophically on what I wanted the Convention.
magazine to be, instead of worrying about how many for lots of photographers — after all, the extent of their
picas were between images on page 37. writing is usually cutlines.
She finished video after video, all can be viewed at Her contribution to this organization and this
our You Tube and Vimeo channels, while also helping particular magazine can't be overstated. The pictures
to layout a substantial portion of this magazine under she took of our Annual Convention, Charity Shoot and
my direct tutelage. She isn't just creative, though. at camp are light years ahead of my ability. Watching
Carter read countless amounts of copy, marked her work with a camera is like watching Fred Bear
up sheets of paper for days and even learned how to pull back his bow or Lefty Kreh cast a fly rod — it was
properly use a comma, something that might be tough natural and effortless.
Hunting and fishing weren't necessarily in Carter's
wheelhouse, but she did come from a family that had
roots in outdoor affairs. We even got her to shoulder a
shotgun and shoot trap at our Legislative Sportsmen's
Caucus event, and she liked it enough to bring her own
shotgun to our Charity Shoot.
MUCC, Michigan Out-of-Doors and myself are
thankful for an intern that is one-of-a-kind. Her shoes
will be hard to fill next summer, that is unless she
decides to join our ranks again. A boss can hope, right?
We wish Mikayla the best of luck in all her future
endeavors and a prosperous senior year at Central
Michigan University — fire up, Chips!

96 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

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Fall 2018.indd 100 8/30/2018 7:55:11 AM

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