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Winter 2018/19


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Official Publication of Michigan United Conservation Clubs

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

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

Fall seemed to depart as quickly as it arrived. I

presume that happens to most of us who are passionate
about our outdoor pursuits.
With winter upon us, we look back on our past
season, look ahead at the few opportunities we have
left and remember that there is so much to be thankful
for in our outdoor world.
This past season found me in aspen coverts,
November marshes, tree stands and on the river
chasing fall steel.
The experiences this fall were bolstered by the
friends I shared them with: I witnessed a friend harvest
his first teal, another take his first woodcock and yet Calvin, Green's small Münsterländer, stands proud after
another hook into her first steelhead. dethroning "The King." This was Calvin's second grouse
season and he proved that he will be a top-notch hunter.
Solitude also found me, though, during those frigid
tree stand sits, treks behind my dogs in aspen covers making sausage. This piece made my mouth water and
and next to my home looking for wood ducks on the got me thinking about branching out from the normal
Maple River. burger, loin and steak regimen I have been on the past
It's important, to me at least, to find a balance in few years.
my pursuits; a balance that caters to the calling of my Andy Duffy examines his childhood through deer
inner soul. blind sits and the table fare that accompanied them.
Without my friends, some of those moments And yes, according to Duffy, there is proper cuisine
wouldn't have been as special. But by myself, some of fitting for a deer blind.
those moments provided the time to reflect and think The always philosophical and always well-spoken
about where I have been and where I am. Calvin McShane takes us beneath the ice on Munising
Without sounding too philosophical, I truly believe Bay in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. His fishing
that one has to have an unseen reason to hunt, fish endeavors, whether lucrative or not, always turn into a
or trap. It isn't the tangible meat we eat or antlers we great read and a great story.
chase. While those are certainly some of the reasons Finally, Blake Sherburne makes us again yearn for
we partake, they are only on the surface. There is canoes and brook trout. A frustrating float and camp
something in us all that gets us out at 4 a.m. in a duck in the Upper Peninsula turned into a great learning
blind or keeps us out to 3 a.m. predator hunting, and it experience for him and one of his closest friends.
isn't the act of the kill or the meat yielded. I hope you enjoy this season's magazine. Email me,
Whatever your inner reason to hunt, fish or trap is, call me or come visit if you have comments. It's hard to
I encourage you to embrace it. If you haven't found it, serve the readers when I don't hear what the readers
I encourage you to look for it. For me, it's to keep my like or don't like about the magazine.
sanity. For you, it might be connect to an old piece of Good luck on the ice, in the blind, on the river or
yourself or someone. With winter upon us, I urge you wherever else your outdoor pursuits will take you. I'll
to reflect and think about what makes your outdoor spend my winter with ice in the eyelets chasing winter
pursuits a part of who you are. steelhead.
This season's cover piece is an expertly-written
feature examining all sides of the highly-contentious Yours in conservation,
antler point restriction debate. Chris Lamphere talks
with opponents and proponents, as well as the DNR,
about APRs and their fate in Michigan.
For many of us, we often wonder what we will do
with our venison. Jason Herbert helps to share some
of his tips, tricks and recipes for smoking meats and

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Just finished reading my fall edition

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

Call me old school, but I enjoyed

the magazine better the old way.
When I normally read the mag-

azine its from cover to cover,
although my passion is mostly deer
hunting ,and fishing I enjoy reading
about some of the other passions
as well.

And I liked 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
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
Art Dittmar
for probably 10 years more than
The Michigan Fly Fishing Club through a $500 donation to TRACKS magazine
that, and still find them both to be
refreshing, and joyful. I also liked
In memory of
the smaller paper size of the old
magazine, and soft covers for this David Shear
allowed you to fold the pages and from
hold it in one had comfortably. I His wife, Mary Shear
know I'm only one person and like
your final story different from all
others, but I really like the old mag-
azine much better. And truly agree If you have recently lost someone you would like to honor here,
to Hunt Your Own Hunt. please contact Sue Pride at

But do it ethically and honestly.

Sincerely, DeLoy C. Clark

Muckegon, MI


Having recently finished reading the

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

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

Bob Taylor of Clarkston, Michigan

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

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

Contact Sue Pride at or visit and select "Life Membership."

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

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

MUCC Staff
CAROL ROSE Executive Director Deputy Director
Public Information Officer Digital Media Coordinator


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

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The Real Reward of Fall Director's Desk
Dan Eichinger, Executive Director

I’ve had lots of seasons where I didn’t fill a freezer or

add another grouse tail fan to my wall; seasons where
the ducks didn’t decoy and the turkeys were always on to
me. But I’ve never had a bad hunting season. Truth be
told, this has always been part cliche for me, a somewhat
philosophical way to explain a lean year for grouse, deer
and ducks. But not this year. The output of the season
was more or less par for the course, but the outcomes
have been far more lasting.
This year, my 8-year-old has been game to join me for
some of his first serious forays into the woods for grouse
and woodcock. We packed the car and loaded the dog
together, stopped for breakfast and ate pancakes with
whipped cream, and we walked through tight stands of
aspen, briars and sucking-mud-places only a woodcock
hunter would love. We would seek out thickets of
high-bush cranberry and talk about picking them to
turn into sauce we would spoon over the grouse that
am experiencing my own rite. Juxtaposed between
seemed ever-elusive to my gun. We would find a good
introducing my child to the joyous experience of
tree to lean against for a break and draw pictures in the
hunting and facilitating satisfying and productive hunts
dirt with sticks. We would talk excitedly about Legos,
for my dad. In both cases, my personal bag limit and
trees and dogs. We became comfortable with silence,
desire to try one more spot are secondary to the quality
stillness and slowness. We would retreat into our own
of the experience I can provide them.
heads for a while, alone with our thoughts. He would set
I have always enjoyed hunting for the sake of the
the pace and decide when we were done. When we got
hunt — where the outcome of the hunt is incidental
home and his younger sister would ask, “Did you catch
to how I measure its quality. But this year’s hunting
any grouse!?” He would be the one to report that dad
season brought that into stark relief. Those words are
missed, again.
not a cliche but a real reorientation of focus, priority
This fall, I also spent a few days hunting with my
and value. Where in the middle of a dense forest I hear
dad. Recently retired to the southwest, he and my
not the thundering flush of a grouse, but a non-verbal
mom embarked on an epic road trip to visit all of their
communication between father and son that there is no
grandchildren from Texas to Michigan and Wisconsin.
place I would rather be than right here, right now, with
Their trip brought them through in early October, and
you. To me, this is the real reward of fall.
he and I set off to find woodcock for my young dog. We
covered a lot of ground: nearly 20 miles in two days
through pristine cover where there were no birds to Yours in conservation,
flushing multiples where no self-respecting grouse
should have been. We would chat about work and
kids and parenting. We would spend long stretches
in comfortable silence. He would set the pace and
decide when we were done. When we got home, his
granddaughter would ask “Did you catch any grouse!?”
And I would be the one to report that papa missed, again.
As my son is experiencing his rite of passage
into the community of hunters, I realize that I too

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 7

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

August 26 through September 8, 2018 restitution to fix the path of nearly

$3,000, and charges of operating a Obviously Illegal
Whoops wheeled motor vehicle in a way not
intended for such use, and creating CO Andrea Erratt checked
CO Stephen Butzin received a erosive conditions with an ORV. several fishermen on the pier
complaint of a vehicle stuck in the fishing in the Pine River channel.
mud on the Days River Walking There isn't a Sandhill Season, yet While checking fishermen on
Path in the Brampton area. The the south pier, CO Erratt observed
Days River Walking Path is a COs Colton Gelinas and acting a group of five fishermen look in
non-motorized area. Sgt. Michael Evink were on her direction, talk to each other,
CO Butzin, as well as friends waterfowl patrol for the opening reel in and set down their fishing
of the trail association and other day of goose and teal season in rods.
DNR personnel, searched the area Schoolcraft County. CO Erratt checked the group
for the vehicles. After a short The night before season, CO and only one angler had a license.
search, two vehicles were located Gelinas received information from CO Erratt ticketed the other
on the trail. The vehicles were CO Mark Zitnik of possible illegal four individuals for fishing without
stuck on the narrow trail and had waterfowl activity in Schoolcraft a license.
been abandoned. County.
A wrecker company was called. CO Gelinas and CO Evink Asleep at the Wheel, Literally
It took over six hours to remove patrolled the area in question.
the vehicles from the trail via skid The COs were observing water- CO Tim Rosochacki responded
steer. fowl hunting activity on a small to a medical call involving a male
The walking path and a bridge field. subject passed out in the driver’s seat
sustained severe damage caused During the morning the COs of a vehicle at the intersection of a
by the vehicles. observed two sandhill cranes fly rural county road.
CO Butzin conducted several over their location followed by gun Upon arrival, the subject was
interviews and obtained multiple shots coming from the field. being checked by EMS personnel.
confessions from the owners of The COs contacted the group of The subject refused further EMS
the vehicles and passengers inside hunters. During the interview with assistance.
the vehicles at the time they were the hunters, it was determined However, CO Rosochacki
operating on the walking path. that one individual in the group contacted the driver and observed
Further investigation found shot both sandhill cranes, which several signs of intoxication.
that there was a total of three vehi- were subsequently recovered. Field sobriety evaluations
cles stuck on the path at one point. Law enforcement action were performed, and the driver
Several drivers were found to was taken, and a report is being was arrested for operating a motor
have suspended driver’s licenses. filed with Schoolcraft County vehicle with a blood-alcohol content
The two drivers of the vehicles Prosecutor’s Office. of greater than 0.17%.
now face tow bills of over $900,

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purposely losing his gear in the river Department.
Good Dog also got him a litter ticket on top of Roscommon County made
his fishing violations. Enforcement arraignments for transporting the
CO Sidney Collins assisted the action was taken. group to their vehicles. Aside from
Montmorency County Sheriff’s a minor ankle injury and several
Deputies, and the Michigan State Is this not a Reasonable Place to Pass leaches, the group made it out of the
Police with a B&E suspect. Out? woods without incident.
The suspect broke into a cabin
where a local homeowner found COs Brian Brosky and Kyle Illegal on Muskrat
him. The suspect then ran off. MSP Publiski were working a group patrol
brought a canine unit to the scene. on the Betsie River in Benzie County CO Larn R. Strawn conducted
CO Collins and the canine unit when they were advised that a a foot patrol of the Muskrat Lake
tracked the suspect through the subject was lying on the ground near State Game Area for the morning
thick woods. a parking lot and might need help. opener of the early teal season.
The canine found a backpack Upon locating the subject, who While observing the area, CO
full of items, including a laptop. The was passed out on a gravel foot path, Strawn watched a group of three
backpack had a name in it which led it was determined that the subject duck hunters arrive and get set-up
deputies to an address nearby. was highly intoxicated. for the morning hunt.
CO Collins and the canine unit The COs tried for several minutes As the sun rose, CO Strawn
continued to track the suspect to determine what was wrong with observed all three hunters take a
through the woods. The canine was the subject, but they were only met shot at pair of passing ducks well
able to find the suspect’s clothes by incoherent speech, foul language, before the legal shooting hours. One
which was stripped off to lose the and he was unable to tell the COs who of the ducks fell and the hunters
scent. The investigation is ongoing. he was or retrieve his identification. retrieved it.
Several subjects said the subject CO Strawn contacted the
It's that time of Year was there for some time and when hunters and discussed the hunting
asked if he needed help he would hours violation.
CO Patrick McManus, as well as simply use foul language at them. During the contact CO Strawn
other area COs, patrolled the Betsie It was believed that the subject also discovered lead shot as well
River throughout the Labor Day drank at least one entire bottle of as multiple license violations
holiday weekend. whiskey before being contacted by including no state waterfowl license
Numerous violations were the COs. and no federal waterfowl stamp.
handled, including snagging fish, The subject was arrested for Enforcement action was taken
illegal gear, fishing to close to the disorderly conduct and lodged in jail.
dam, retaining foul hooked fish, drug Undersized Bass
usage, littering, and various other A Close Call
state land violations. CO Nick Ingersoll and Sgt.
CO Ben McAteer was contacted Damon Owens checked several
What Gear? at his residence and advised of a waterfowl hunters at Point Mouillee
15-year-old girl and a 10-month-old State Game Area.
Working the Pere Marquette baby missing on the Au Sable River. During the waterfowl checks
River near Indian Bridge, CO A severe thunderstorm had rolled the COs also contacted two anglers.
Kyle Publiski located two subjects into the area and darkness had set in. One of the anglers quickly
attempting to snag salmon with CO McAteer arrived in the area placed his bucket in his vehicle and
illegal gear. and received additional information stated they were unsuccessful while
CO Publiski watched as the that a total of 11 people were lost on fishing.
subject put a salmon on a stringer the river. Further investigation revealed
that was hooked in a fin instead of CO McAteer, along with Crawford that the angler was in possession of
the mouth. County and Roscommon County two under sized largemouth bass.
As CO Publiski contacted the Sheriff’s deputies, began searching Enforcement action was taken.
subjects and advised them to not cast both sides of the river. After an hour
their rods again, one of the subjects and a half search, CO McAteer located
casted and purposely hooked his 7 members of the party, including the
gear into a log and broke it off. 10-month-old baby.
These reports are randomly
CO Publiski explained he had Emergency blankets were pulled from the Law
been watching them for quite a while provided to the group and they were Enforcement Division's
and already knew they were using checked for injuries. The remaining
illegal gear. members of the party were located bi-weekly reports.
CO Publiski also explained that by the Roscommon County Sheriff’s

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 9

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

Get Michigan Out-of-Doors

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

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

10 |

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C C E G -gro
M U T H o n -the
N u Oc c . org/
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


On Saturday, January 19, 2019, volunteers

will be working at St. Clair State Game Area to
soften the edges of the area by felling boxelder
trees. The trees will then be used to create rabbi-
tat there for local populations and better hunting
opportunities. Then in late January, OTG will be
working with the Michigan State University Ducks
Unlimited Chapter on a wood duck box resto-
ration project at Sleepy Hollow State Park. More
details, including the exact date, will be available

on MUCC's website as soon as they become

On February 2, 2019, OTG will be hosting a

wood duck box project with Shiawassee Flats
Citizens and Hunter's Association at Shiawassee
River State Game Area. We will be building and
placing boxes around the area. In addition, we
hope to have a project in late February at Gra-
tiot-Saginaw State Game Area, and more infor-
mation will be available as the project progresses.

To wrap the winter season up for OTG, we will

be working with the Sharp-Tailed Grouse Associ-
ation near Cheboygan to prune and restore ap-
ple trees at Dingman Marsh. For more information
on event dates, details and to register, please visit or email hsalis-

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UCC wants to remind deer carcass transport work in rela- Hunters may not transport
hunters that there are tion to the CWD Management Zone whole deer carcasses from high-risk
still many more days and Core Area. Hunters should areas to low-risk areas in order to
in the deer woods this make a plan before you head out as reduce the risk of unintentionally
December to use any unfilled tags. to where and how you plan to check spreading CWD, unless:
If you live in or hunt in the CWD your deer or where you might take 1) The deer is properly checked
Management Zone, please read this it to properly dispose of the carcass. within 24 hours of harvest at any
closely and when in doubt, always This graphic attempts to assist. DNR check station or head drop
refer to the 2018 Michigan Hunting Hunters may bring carcasses from box, OR
Digest and a lower risk area to a higher risk 2) Only these portions of the
area, i.e. from outside of the CWD deer may be transported: hides,
Carcass Transport Management Zone into the Zone deboned meat, quarters or other
(brown to blue) or from the CWD parts of the cervid that do not have
One of the most misunderstood Management Zone into the Core any part of the spinal column or
new regulations is how the rules for Area (light blue to dark blue). head attached, finished taxidermy

The CWD Management Zone was updated in August to include 16 counties (light blue): Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot,
Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa, and Shiawassee.
Within the CWD Management Zone, there is a five-county CWD Core Area (dark blue): Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm,
and Newaygo.

CWD Core Area

(highest risk)
CWD Managment Zone
(moderate risk)
Rest of State
(low risk) Transport from:
The remainder Requires a carcass to be checked
of the L.P. is within 24 hours
considered low

Does not require a carcass to

be checked

12 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 14 11/12/2018 9:08:46 AM

products, cleaned teeth, antlers, or
antlers attached to a skullcap which
have been cleaned of brain and
muscle tissue.

Check Your Head

We encourage all hunters to get
your deer head checked, where crit-
ical biological data can be collected
as well as samples taken for disease
testing. MUCC has advocated for
the last two years for $3.6 million in
total general fund appropriations to
make sure that any hunter desiring
to have the deer tested would be able
to do so, free of charge. Find a deer
check station, a head dropbox and
participating taxidermists near you

More Deer Season Left —

Don’t Eat Tag Soup
December 7 through December
16 (Zone 1 and 2) or December 23
(Zone 3): Muzzleloader season in the
16-county CWD Management Zone
only has been expanded to allow all
firearms legal during regular firearm
deer season for your hunting zone
(limited firearm deer zone rules still
apply) .
December 17-January 1: The
existing late-December private-land
antlerless season has been expanded
to several Lower Peninsula counties. within deer management unit 015. than it should be, especially in
This encompasses zone 3, the Hunters on private land in the the face of CWD. While the DNR
CWD Management Zone as well as CWD Management Zone, Core CWD has been reluctant to disseminate
some perimeter counties, including Area and DMU 452 and 487 can use numerical antlerless harvest goals,
private lands within Alcona, Allegan, their unfilled antlered deer license they have endorsed an interim
Antrim, Alpena, Arenac, Barry, Bay, or a private land antlerless tag for goal of achieving more balance in
Benzie, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, the DMU they are hunting in for an the harvest where needed, moving
Cass, Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, antlerless deer during this late antler- towards a 1:1 ratio of bucks to does in
Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Gratiot, less season. the harvest as a mid-term step in the
Hillsdale, Huron, Ingham, Ionia, A possible January disease CWD Management Zone until more is
Iosco, Isabella, Jackson, Kalamazoo, management hunt may be authorized known about prevalence rates.
Kent, Lapeer, Leelanau, Lenawee, by the Director if needed. The date Hunters in the CWD Management
Livingston, Macomb, Manistee, and location were not available as of Zone, in particular, are encouraged to
Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Monroe, our print deadline; visit harvest does. Plenty of antlerless tags
Montcalm, Montmorency, Muskegon, to learn more. are still available over the counter. Is
Newaygo, Oakland, Oceana, Osceola, your freezer full? Consider donating
Oscoda, Ottawa, Presque Isle, St. a doe to Michigan Sportsmen Against
Clair, St. Joseph, Saginaw, Sanilac, Hunters in the Know Shoot
Hunger or a family in your commu-
Shiawassee, Tuscola, Van Buren, a Doe nity in need.
Washtenaw, and Wayne counties, and Visit https://www.sportsme-
upon privately-owned lands within In many areas of Southern to find a partic-
that portion of Charlevoix county Michigan, our deer density is higher ipating processor near you.

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 13

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High Levels of PFAS in a Deer
Discovered in Oscoda Twp.
The Michigan departments of Health and Human
Services (MDHHS) and Natural Resources (DNR) on
Oct. 19 issued a ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory for deer taken
within approximately five miles of Clark’s Marsh in
Oscoda Township. The advisory is due to high levels of
PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) found in a single
deer taken about two miles from Clark’s Marsh, which
borders the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. PFOS is
one type of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)
One deer out of twenty tested around the former
Wurtsmith Air Force Base was found to have high levels
of PFOS. The level of PFOS in the muscle of the deer
was 547 parts per billion, exceeding the level of 300 ppb
at which action is recommended. PFAS was either not
found or was at low levels in muscle samples from the
other 19 deer. Although only one deer of this group
tested at such high levels, the advisory was issued
to protect the health of anyone eating venison taken
within approximately five miles of Clark’s Marsh. The
state has plans to test more deer from this area.
The five-mile radius encircles the Wurtsmith base
property and covers what the DNR has estimated to be
the expected travel range of deer living in or near the
marsh. to learn about PFAS consumption in wildlife.
DNR also collected an additional 60 deer for PFAS MDHHS and MDNR advise hunters to dispose of
testing this year as part of the Michigan PFAS Action any deer in their freezer that may have come from this
Response Team’s work on this emerging contaminant. area and do not eat it.
In addition to the testing around Wurtsmith, 20 deer If you have health related questions please contact
were taken from near each of the PFAS investigation MDHHS at 1-800-648-6942. Hunters can contact the
sites in Alpena, Rockford and Grayling with known MDNR at 517-284-6057 or DNR-CustomerService@
contamination in lakes and rivers. The deer meat tested for information about deer tags that were
from these areas was found to have no PFAS or very used in this region.
low levels of the chemical. An additional 48 samples of In Michigan, to date, only fish and deer have been
deer muscle from the 2017 hunting season were tested sampled for PFAS. For more information about PFAS
from other areas across the state. Preliminary data for in wild game and fish, visit
these deer also show no PFAS contamination or very and go to the Fish and Wildlife button. For more infor-
low levels of the chemical. mation about wild game consumption, visit Michigan.
PFAS are chemicals that are in Class B fire-fighting gov/eatsafegame and go to the Eat Safe Wild Game
foam that was used at the air force base near Wurtsmith button.

MUCC Dec. 8 Policy Meeting

and other sites in Michigan. These chemicals are also
found in stain and water repellants, personal care prod-

ucts, and many other consumer goods. Some health
studies have linked PFAS to health issues such as
thyroid disease, increased cholesterol levels, impaired
immune system function, reproductive issues, high
blood pressure in pregnant women, and increased
chance of kidney and testicular cancers.
Chelsea Rod and Gun Club
It is unknown how PFAS could accumulate to this 7103 Lingane Rd.
level in deer. The State of Michigan is investigating the Chelsea, MI 48118
circumstances of the one deer with elevated levels and
doing further analysis on these test results to learn
more about PFAS in deer and wildlife. In addition, the
state will be doing additional testing on deer from the RSVP online at
Clark’s Marsh region and performing modeling studies

Winter 2018-19.indd 16 11/12/2018 9:08:48 AM

Sportsmen and Women Urge Congress to Renew
Expired Land and Water Conservation Fund
Drew YoungeDyke (NWF)

The Land and Water Conservation

Fund has provided Michigan with
more than $320 million for public
outdoor recreation and access
projects in its 53-year history, but
Congress let it expire this year despite
bipartisan support. Congress can still
renew it, though, and the natural
resources committees of both cham-
bers of Congress have passed legisla- and boat launches at the state, county contain dedicated funding, which
tion to permanently reauthorize it. and municipal level. means that while Congress would
Like the Michigan Natural “For sportsmen and women, the be authorized to appropriate LWCF
Resources Trust Fund, the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund funds, none were guaranteed.
Land and Water Conservation Fund is especially meaningful since it On October 2, the Senate Energy
(LWCF) invests royalties from gas addresses a range of critical concerns and Natural Resources Committee
and oil development into public for anyone who loves to hunt or fish on passed its version (Senate Bill 569) of
outdoor recreation projects at no cost public lands: access, wildlife habitat, permanent LWCF reauthorization,
to taxpayers. It has granted more and opportunities to restore natural including dedicated funding of $900
than $4.1 billion in matching grants systems,” the National Wildlife million. Michigan’s lone senator
to states since 1965. The LWCF has Federation wrote in its recent report, on the committee – Sen. Debbie
funded projects in every Michigan The Land and Water Conservation Stabenow (D-Mich.) – voted in favor
county, from public land acquisition Fund: Protecting America’s Hunting and it passed 16-7.
and shooting ranges for Southern and Fishing Heritage. These actions provide hope that,
Michigan state recreation areas to Congress created the LWCF in as it did in 2015, Congress may still
Northern Michigan beach facilities 1964. It is funded from oil and gas renew the LWCF this year.
royalties from Outer Continental “Congress still has to perma-
Shelf development. Congress let the nently reauthorize and fully fund the
LWCF expire once before, in October Land and Water Conservation Fund
2015, before renewing it for three this year,” Andrew Black, public
years. The LWCF expired again on lands field director for the National
October 1 of this year. Wildlife Federation, said. “This crit-
The House Committee on ical program has promoted sports-
Natural Resources passed its version men’s access to public lands and
of reauthorization (House Bill 502) waters central to our wildlife heri-
on September 13, coinciding with a tage. Americans should remind their
$300,000 National Wildlife Federation senators and representatives of this
online ad campaign and a fly-in lobby and urge them to bring this essential
day for NWF affiliates and staff, program back from the brink.”
which included Dawn Levey, MUCC The Land and Water Conservation
past president, and Logan Schultz, Fund provided Michigan with $2.6
MUCC digital media coordinator. million in matching funds for public
Both Michigan representatives on outdoor recreation projects in 2018.
the committee – Rep. Debbie Dingell Whether Michigan ever sees another
(D-Mich.) and Rep. Jack Bergman dime of LWCF funding depends on
(R-Mich.) – voted for reauthorization. Congress – and you.
However, the House version did not

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 15

Winter 2018-19.indd 17 11/12/2018 9:08:48 AM

Trapping, Tagging and Tracking

By John Ozoga
From a physiological/behav- We have here an animal that is an proximity.
ioral perspective (the two are expert in opportunism.”
inseparable, of course), northern The key to winter survival The Migratory Problem
white-tailed deer are unbelievably of whitetails on northern ranges
hardy and clever. If not for their hinges upon favorable winter Unfortunately, because their
seasonal metabolic adjustments, habitat – areas commonly referred summer and winter ranges are
shelter-seeking tendencies (often to as “deeryards” or “deer wintering often widely separated, many
requiring long-distance migration) complexes” – where proper shelter northern deer must migrate twice
and energy conservative nature in and quality browse occur in close
response to harsh winter weather,
there would be no whitetails on
northern fringes of their geographic
I’ve said this before, but it
deserves repeating: “There are
many trade-offs – involving nutri-
tion, shelter and predator risk
– in the whitetail’s tactical bid for
winter survival. But it’s as though
the stressed whitetail possessed its
own sophisticated computer system
necessary to calculate energy
cost-benefited ratios, predict poten-
tial predator risks and make the
best judgments possible to survive…

16 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 18 11/12/2018 9:08:50 AM

Pictures for this piece were provided courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

annually, traveling considerable be focused on a relatively large The Study

distances from one seasonal range geographic area encompassing both
to the other. summer and winter ranges used by Years ago, the late Dick Aartilla
Keep in mind, throughout the the herd. (former Michigan DNR district
upper Great Lakes region, 10 to 15 Likewise, many deer wintering wildlife supervisor) called me with
percent of the habitat will naturally complexes in Upper Michigan are a rather unique problem. It seems
support deer during the winter under private ownership. This a group of sportsmen in the Upper
season. Herein lies the problem: means any forestry/land-use-man- Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan wanted
While deer may be sparsely scat- agement practice that does not to become more directly involved in
tered on summer ranges, often consider the long-term welfare of deer management. “Did I have any
well below the biological carrying wintering whitetails, even on small ideas,” he quizzed.
capacity of the habitat, concentra- areas of critical winter deer habitat, I suggested he have them trap
tions of several hundred deer per can negatively impact the deer herd and tag deer. Hopefully, return
square mile are not uncommon in over a large area. sightings and recoveries of marked
many deer wintering complexes. Hence, it’s important for wildlife deer would help to more accurately
During the autumn hunting managers to know the migratory determine the migratory behavior
season, many deer are still on the patterns of deer using any given of deer associated with critical
summer ranges, often miles from deeryard, to know the distance and northern white cedar and hemlock
their traditional wintering grounds. direction deer travel and be able to wintering complexes in the U.P.
So, in order to reduce deer browsing delineate the total geographic area Sportsmen across the U.P. took
pressure within a given deeryard, that any given deeryard serves. to this project with unbelievable
antlerless deer harvests must enthusiasm and zeal. They built

Fall 2018
Winter 2018/19
| Michigan Out-of-Doors
| Michigan 17 17

Winter 2018-19.indd 19 11/12/2018 9:08:50 AM

procedure often resulting in a few
bumps and bruises for the handlers
but minimal wear and tear on the
The public then notified the DNR
of subsequent marked deer observa-
tions, which included live sightings,
hunter-harvested animals and deer
killed on highways. Michigan DNR
biologists mapped these locations to
determine migration distances and
annual range for deer that occupied
each deeryard.
During an 18-year period, 2,694
deer were captured, tagged and
released in 28 deeryards throughout
the U.P. An average of 96 deer were
tagged per winter concentration
site, but trapping success varied
from a low of six deer (at Carmody)
to a high of 249 deer (at Choate).

Observation Rate
About 38 percent (1030 deer) of the
tagged deer were subsequently
observed at least once. Most (64
percent) were seen only once,
generally during the year they were
In other words, 62 percent of the
tagged deer literally disappeared.
Although a few were reported
12 years following tagging, only
10 percent of the observations
were recorded two or more years
after being tagged. Nearly half (48
percent) of all deer observations
were made during October and
November when deer hunters are
Observation rates of tagged deer
also varied among tagging sites.
For example, only 26 of 174 deer
(15 percent) tagged in the Hiawatha
deeryard located in the Eastern U.P.
portable deer traps, hauled them and pre-baited with corn for about
were ever observed. In contrast,
from one trapping location to a week prior to trapping in order to
28 of 39 deer (72 percent) tagged in
another and ultimately trapped, pre-condition deer to the traps.
the Western U.P.’s Sturgeon River
wrestled down and tagged more All deer were handled manu-
yard were observed at least once.
than 2,600 deer in deeryards scat- ally — that is, without the use of
Apparently, observation rates of
tered across the U.P. drugs. This involved grabbing the
deer hinged heavily upon the prox-
Deer trapping was carried out deer by the hind legs and literally
imity of the tagging site to human
primarily at known deer winter wrestling it to the ground. Within a
population centers, with greater
concentration sites, especially few minutes, the sex and age (adult
human density and highest obser-
where timber harvesting operations or fawn) were recorded, a numbered
vation rates in the West U.P.
were in progress, January through plastic livestock ear tag (color-coded
March 1989 to 2006. Generally, six to to a given deeryard) was attached
12 traps were deployed at each site and the animal was released — a

18 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 20 11/12/2018 9:08:51 AM

Sex-age Differences adult bucks. range, only during the most severe
Obviously, fawns are trapped weather, and spend less time in
About 50 percent of the male deer more easily than adult deer, hence winter cover.
tagged as adults were observed, at contributing to an inflated fawn per The greatest distance between
least once, compared to 36 percent doe ration of 1.5 fawns per doe among tagging site and observation for
of the adult females, 38 percent of tagged animals. To the contrary, deer in this study was 53 miles.
the male fawns and 37 percent of the U.P. deer hunters on average report Fifteen deer were sighted 40 or more
female fawns. seeing only 0.5 fawns per doe during miles from their tagging site, and
This adult sex difference is the November firearms season — all 15 were observed in Marquette
not unexpected, of course, since suggesting that about 50 percent of County. These deer were tagged
hunters are more apt to kill and the fawns die soon after birth. in the Echo Lake, Mead and North
report antlered bucks, rather than Assuming adult males and adult Perkins deeryards.
antlerless deer which comprise a females were equally able to be The average distance from
smaller percentage of the annual trapped (which may not be the case), tagging sites and summer obser-
harvest. the post-hunt, doe-to-buck ratio was vations was 11.6 miles for females
Also, the observation rates 4.2 to one. This compares to about and 10.6 miles for males. These
reported for adult bucks (49 percent) three does per buck reported by distances are somewhat greater
versus male fawns (38 percent) in hunters during the first day of the than the average (8.6 miles) previ-
this study were comparable to those annual firearms season. In other ously reported for U.P. deer and for
recorded for hunter-harvested deer words, adult deer sex ratios are not deer in Northern Lower Michigan
tagged in the Petrel Grade deeryard nearly as skewed to females as most (9.4 miles).
located in Alger County (46 percent hunters believe. The fact that U.P. female deer
and 32 percent, respectively). were observed at greater distances
Since a high proportion of the Migration Distance from tagging sites is somewhat
tagged deer were never observed, surprising, given that males tend
it seems reasonable to assume that Many deer that reside on to disperse two to 20 miles from
most of them succumbed to natural summer ranges in areas of high their mother’s home range. If male
causes, especially during harsh snowfall in the Northern U.P. dispersal movements were random,
winters typical of this northern migrate southward to areas of lesser we would expect some tagged
region. snowfall during winter. These deer male deer to move further away to
This data might also suggest tend to travel long distances and can establish new home ranges. So it
that male fawns were more likely be classified as “obligate” migrators appears that dispersing males are
to die due to malnutrition during because they tend to migrate every more likely to move toward familiar
winter, since male and female fawns year, some spending as much as five winter concentration sites, as Mike
were observed at about the same months annually on winter range. Nelson and Dave Mech reported for
rate the next autumn. That is, since In contrast, many deer in the deer in Northern Minnesota.
hunters are more likely to shoot Southern U.P. are “conditional” We expect deer to return to their
yearling males rather than yearling migrators. They move shorter traditional yarding areas, winter
females, fawn sex differences in distances from summer to winter after winter. But this may not be
observation rate should have been
similar to that noted for adults in
subsequent years.
Given the light antlerless deer
harvest throughout much of the
U.P., it’s more difficult to explain
the low observation rate for adult
females. Since deer are normally
reluctant to enter traps, females in
the poorest physical condition (the
hungriest) were probably the first
ones captured – many of which did
not survive the winter.
In this northern region, adult
deer typically make up about 70
percent of the wintering herd, while
fawns comprise about 30 percent.
However, in the study, 54 percent
of the deer captured were fawns,
37 percent adult does and 9 percent

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 19

Winter 2018-19.indd 21 11/12/2018 9:08:52 AM

the case for U.P. deer, as revealed by
the relatively large average distance
between consecutive winter obser-
vations of individual deer – 4.9 miles
for females, 4.2 miles for males.
These long distances between
consecutive winter observations of
the same deer could be due to mild,
early-winter weather and delayed or
incomplete migration movements.
On the other hand, wintering
whitetails in the U.P. might be much
more mobile than previously thought
and eagerly seen (or are literally
trained to seek) active timber cutting
operations for food — a finding that
could be critically important when
managing winter deer habitat.
If wintering whitetails in the U.P.
are highly dependent upon winter
logging operations for sustenance gross under-estimate. critical information, makes it
(i.e., survival), as some biologists At the time, this deer wintering possible to establish meaningful
suggest, then natural selection area supported about 43,000 deer deer management unit boundaries
would logically result in the perpet- through winter. However, corporate and more accurately set antlerless
uation of such behavior. forest-management practices empha- deer harvest quotas to control deer
sizing production of wood products, numbers using a specific wintering
as advocated by the primary land- complex.
Annual Range owner, have since then fragmented Also, if deer in the U.P. contract
and degraded the hemlock and diseases such a bovine tuberculosis
This study demonstrated that
northern white cedar stands in the or chronic wasting disease, biologists
distinct populations of deer are
area. As a result, the Mead deer now have basic data to calculate how
associated with individual wintering
wintering complex has lost much of these diseases might spread across
complexes. However, the total annual
its former deer wintering value and the peninsula and more effectively
range occupied by deer populations
now likely harbors fewer than 25,000 formulate containment and eradica-
using any given winter complex were
whitetails — a good example of how tion programs.
highly variable, in some cases due to
unfavorable forestry practices on Unfortunately, the majority of
small tagged deer sample sizes. But
a relatively small area of critical deer tagging in this study simply
the majority of wintering complexes
deer winter habitat can impact deer disappeared — likely due to rigors of
had annual deer population home
numbers over a vast area. the tough winter climate and resul-
ranges ranging from about 300 to
tant malnutrition-related mortality.
500 square miles in size. The Mead
Conclusion Clearly, winter weather and the
deer wintering complex had by far
quality of the winter habitat still
the largest annual range, covering
This hands-on, deer-tagging determine relative deer abundance
about 2,388 square miles — yes, 2,388
project required more cooperation, in this northern region.
square miles.
The large size and importance and did more for improving rela-
of the Mead deer wintering complex tions, between sportsmen and the As a researcher, Ozoga
has been known for a long time. Michigan DNR than any other such authored or co-authored more than
However, this new data indicates venture I know of. Even today, those 90 technical publications. Although
the annual range for this particular involved still talk fondly of their his scientific work includes papers
deer population covers far more “deer wrestling” days. on elk, bears, foxes, coyotes,
geographic area — and therefore In order to effectively manage
songbirds and small mammals,
is much more important to the deer wintering habitat on northern
range, it is essential to control deer his research focused primarily on
region — than biologists originally
estimated. numbers via controlled antlerless white-tailed deer ecology, phys-
Based upon limited data, biol- harvest. Likewise, in order to harvest iology, reproduction, nutrition,
ogists estimated the annual home surplus deer, managers must know behavior and population dynamics.
range for the Mead deer wintering where those deer are during the
population in 1987 covered about annual firearms deer season.
1,400 square miles — obviously a Data like this provides such
20 ||

Winter 2018-19.indd 22 11/12/2018 9:08:53 AM

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Winter 2018-19.indd 23 11/12/2018 9:08:53 AM

The pros, cons and
By Chris Lamphere

ew wildlife conservation-related topics elicit the degree of passionate
disagreement and debate as the merits of mandatory antler point
Some supporters extol the virtues of antler point restrictions as if they
were a magic bullet curing many longstanding problems in the management
of Michigan’s whitetail deer population.
Some detractors say they are a pie-in-the-sky idea imposed on hunters to
increase rack sizes at all costs, including the overall health of the herd.
The reality? Antler point restrictions have been around for several years
and there is dependable data regarding how they affect the population — at
least in the short term.
There is also a lot of research that has yet to be done to determine the
impact they could have on other issues critical to the health of Michigan’s
Michigan Out-of-Doors magazine talked with advocates on both sides of
the issue, as well as the DNR, to find out the current status of this controver-
sial topic.

22 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 24 11/12/2018 9:08:54 AM

APR history They think there will be a dumb,
big-rack buck behind every bush.
Antler point restrictions exist It’s just a pipe dream. They’re doing
in many Michigan counties in a this for themselves at the expense
variety of forms — from hybrid of everyone else. I think it is very
programs that limit harvestable wrong to impose what you want on
deer depending on the type of tag other people.”
one purchases, to totally manda- Critics of antler point restric-
tory programs that do not allow the tions also say they have led to deer
majority of hunters to take deer overpopulation, increases in deer/
with less than three or four points vehicle collisions and destruction
on one side. of crops.
Such is the setup in the aptly-
named “Northwest 12,” where What supporters say about
mandatory antler point restrictions
were implemented in 2013, and then
made permanent in 2017.
A group that is spearheading
The counties that comprise
the implementation of antler point
the Northwest 12 are Mason,
although Levey said if he sees a restrictions throughout the country
Lake, Osceola, Manistee, Wexford,
year-and-a-half old buck with a doe, is the Quality Deer Management
Missaukee, Benzie, Grand Traverse,
he will voluntarily shoot the doe Association.
Kalkaska, Antrim, Charlevoix and
and leave the male for another hunt. QDMA Director of Conservation
Emmet. Leelanau County, which is
“I don’t mind neighbors getting Kip Adams said the goal of antler
in the same area as the Northwest
together and voluntarily deciding point restrictions is to protect at
12, had implemented a similar
not to (shoot younger bucks),” least 50 percent of 1.5-year-old
antler point restriction program
Levey said. “But I’m not in favor of bucks.
some time previously.
it being mandatory for everyone.” He said protecting this age
In order for antler point restric-
Levey added that some areas group leads to larger numbers of
tions to be implemented on a trial
of the state don’t have the type of older bucks and a more “natural age
basis, more than 66 percent of
soil that is high enough quality to structure” for the entire herd.
hunters surveyed in the Northwest
support the growth of big racks. “This makes for a healthier
12 counties had to support them,
“APR by itself is not a good way herd,” Adams said.
and in 2013, 68 percent said they did.
to establish quality, big bucks,” Adams said in the Northwest
Four years later, that support
Levey said. 12, the percentage of yearling bucks
grew from 68 to 76 percent, and the
Tuscola County resident Jerry harvested dropped significantly
Natural Resources Commission
Keck, 84, also added that he believes since antler point restrictions were
approved making antler point
antler point restrictions primarily implemented, while the overall
restrictions permanent.
benefit those with food plots, while harvest numbers have remained
the majority of hunters don’t have steady, as well as hunter success
What critics say about the luxury to pass up on the oppor- rates.
APRs tunity to take a buck if they see one. During the first few years of
“Most people just don’t hunt mandatory antler point restrictions,
Bruce Levey, 64, has fond memo- that way,” Keck said. “APR people Adams said the antlerless harvest
ries of his father — a dedicated say they’re all about herd health to also spiked considerably as a result
hunter who only shot a handful of camouflage their antler obsession. of hunters having to pass up on
bucks in his entire life.
In his final years, Levey said
it would have been heartbreaking
for his father to have to pass up
on a nice, six-point buck because
some law dictated it wasn’t mature
enough to be harvested.
“It should be up to the individual
what’s a trophy, not somebody else,”
Levey said. “We need to keep the fun
in hunting.”
At his home in Clinton County,
no antler point restrictions exist,

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 23

Winter 2018-19.indd 25 11/12/2018 9:08:55 AM

In his final years, Levey said it would have been
heartbreaking for his father to have to pass up on
a nice, six-point buck because some law dictated it
wasn’t mature enough to be harvested.
“It should be up to the individual what’s a
trophy, not somebody else,” Levey said. “We need
to keep the fun in hunting.”
younger bucks and instead taking While debate about the merits of While it’s too early to say if antler
does (more on this later). the policy are ongoing, Stewart said point restrictions have improved
Adams said antler point restric- there is no doubt that antler point hunter participation numbers
tions might also be helping to retain restrictions have been very effective compared to other areas where it is
hunter numbers, as participation in increasing the average age struc- rapidly declining, Stewart said it’s
has remained relatively stable in the ture of male deer. safe to say they haven’t exasperated
Northwest 12; in other parts of the Previous to 2013, around 60 the problem.
state, it has dropped over the last percent of all bucks taken in the In the Northern Lower Peninsula,
several years (more on this later, as Northwest 12 were yearlings. hunter participation has dropped
well). Every year since 2013, the year- between 6 and 8 percent, while in
While voluntary antler point ling harvest has remained under the Northwest 12, it has dropped by
restriction programs are very effec- 30 percent, while most of Northern around 4 percent.
tive in certain areas where hunter Lower Michigan has had a yearling As for claims that antler point
density isn’t very high, Adams said harvest between 44 and 57 percent. restrictions have led to less antlerless
in areas such as the Northwest 12, the Stewart said the yearling buck deer being harvested, Stewart said the
sheer volume of hunters would make harvest has been declining for several Northwest 12 actually has a slightly
compliance much more difficult. years even in areas where there aren’t more balanced doe to buck harvest
antler point restrictions in effect. ratio than other parts of Northern
What the DNR says about “There is a cultural shift Lower Michigan.
happening,” Stewart said. “It’s just The problem with less does being
APRs not as dramatic as in the (Northwest taken than bucks is that it can lead to
12).” overpopulation, which can cause a
Officially, the DNR’s stance on Antler point restrictions notwith- host of other problems, Stewart said.
antler point restrictions is that they standing, overall hunter participation While there may be some parts
support voluntary compliance but has been on the decline for some time of Michigan where the management
also recognize there is a process to throughout Michigan as a result of strategy is to grow the herd, Stewart
make it mandatory, said Deer, Elk younger people not being as active as said in most of Northern Lower
and Moose Program Specialist Chad the generations that preceded them, Michigan, their goal is to lower
Stewart. Stewart said. the population by increasing doe

24 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 26 11/12/2018 9:08:56 AM

In the Northwest 12, the ratio of
does to bucks harvested is 0.92 to 1.
This is higher than the rest of Northwest 12 Rest of State
Northern Lower Peninsula, which has since 2013
a ratio of 0.73 to 1, excluding the coun-
ties of Presque Isle, Montmorency, Hunter participation has Hunter participation has
Oscoda, Iosco, Alpena and Alcona,
where the ratio is 0.87 to 1 as a result
dropped 4 percent dropped 6 to 8 percent
of those areas having a hybrid antler
point restriction program in effect up .73 to 1
until recently. .92 to 1 Ratio of does to bucks
“We’re still seeing more bucks
Ratio of does to bucks
killed than does, but (the Northwest harvested
12) is the closest to where we want to harvested *This excludes Presque Isle, Montmorency, Oscoda,
be,” Stewart said. Iosco, Alpena and Alcona counties where the
ratio is .87 to 1.
The argument regarding soil
quality and rack size is interesting, "Stewart said the yearling buck harvest has been declining
Stewart said, because it’s true that for several years even in areas where there aren’t antler point
without surplus nutrients, a buck
isn’t able to devote adequate resources restrictions in effect.
to grow big antlers.
In the areas where antler point
"There is a cultural shift happening,” Stewart said.
restrictions are in effect, however, “It’s just not as dramatic as in the (Northwest 12)."
Stewart said they have taken histor-
ical rack size averages into consider-
isn’t definitive data available yet on but comparing this information to
ation to ensure the habitat is able to
the impact that antler point restric- Michigan would be like comparing
support them.
tions could have on the spread of apples to oranges, Trotter said.
Other claims that antler point
CWD. Since there are questions that
restrictions contribute to crop
“There is concern associated haven’t been answered quite yet,
damage and greater numbers of
with aging of bucks and the spread Trotter said MUCC is reluctant to
deer/vehicle collisions haven’t been
of (CWD),” Stewart said. “But we take a position on antler point restric-
quantified by statistical research,
don’t have that info yet so we don’t tions one way or the other.
Stewart said.
know what potential outcomes we are If MUCC stakeholders would like
dealing with.” the organization to take a policy posi-
APR impact on chronic Stewart said there are plans tion on the issue, however, Trotter
wasting disease in the works to research possible said they are always willing to have
correlations between CWD and that conversation.
The big question that still lingers antler point restrictions in areas If any members have questions
regarding antler point restrictions is where the disease has been detected about how to develop a resolution on
how they could potentially affect the in Michigan. antler point restrictions for discus-
spread of chronic wasting disease. sion, contact Trotter at atrotter@
Some antler point restriction The future of antler point
critics have pointed out that by A group in the Thumb area of
increasing the average age of bucks
restrictions Michigan has proposed implementing
in the herd, this could increase the mandatory antler point restrictions
Amy Trotter, deputy director in Tuscola, Huron, Sanilac, Lapeer
likelihood of spreading CWD, which
of Michigan United Conservation and St. Clair counties.
has been found to be more prevalent
Clubs, said the interplay between In December, the DNR will mail
in older deer.
antler point restrictions and CWD out formal surveys to hunters in the
Kip Adams, with QDMA, said
has been a primary concern of her region to gauge their support of the
antler point restrictions only protect
organization. idea.
the youngest bucks, not the ones that
“We just don’t know enough yet,” Results should be back by
have a higher potential for getting
Trotter said. “The question really springtime, at which time antler
isn’t settled.” point restrictions could be imple-
“There are some that will make
There is some data available mented on a trial basis, similar to
it to that age but certainly not the
from counties in other states that what occurred in the Northwest 12,
majority,” Adams said.
kept antler point restrictions in or the idea could be dismissed.
Stewart, with the DNR, said there
areas where CWD was detected

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 25

Winter 2018-19.indd 27 11/12/2018 9:08:57 AM

More than just
Steaks and
Burger By Jason Herbert

“D Jerky
ad, guess what I traded deer. From the venison I shoot we
my jerky for today at not only make steaks and burgers,
lunch?” but we also create all sorts of other Jerky is the king of meat snacks,
Most dads would cringe at the wonderful treats that not only will the oldest portable snack known to
thought of their kids trading away my kids eat, but they look forward man, and by far my family's favorite.
jerky at the lunch table. But I know to. Many butcher shops and deer In fact, last season, almost two entire
my kids get so much of the lean, processors also make these deli- deer went to just jerky. Most of that
healthy venison at home, that I love cious snacks, but I like doing things jerky went to snacks and school
it when they bless their friends and on my own — and it's a lot more lunches, but a lot went to my older
share with them. cost-effective as well. two son's winter sports teams. My
“What did you get, dude? Oreos? Between my dad, kids and oldest is a wrestler and those boys
Goldfish crackers?” myself, we butcher between six who are watching their weight need
“Nope, a dollar!” My 8-year-old and eight deer every year. Because high-energy, lightweight snacks —
answered excitedly. of the high volume of deer we take jerky fits the bill. My second son
Now we got a problem, I thought in, we have invested in everything is a swimmer, and the amount of
to myself. “Buddy, it's actually we need to make our own butcher calories those boys and girls burn in
illegal to sell deer jerky. Tomorrow, shop. We have a meat grinder, a a day is insane. They look forward
give your friend his dollar back.” meat slicer and a vacuum sealer. We to having their jerky snack to refuel
“Ok, Dad.” also utilize a smoker, a dehydrator at the end of every long, grueling
Feeding a family of six without and a pressure cooker. We have a practice. I'm proud of the fact that I
going to the grocery store is nice hanging gambrel and high-end could share God's blessings with not
certainly a challenge. I've yet to cutlery that stays sharp. All of these only my children, but other kids in
accomplish this task, but every year things are a big investment up front, the community as well. If anything,
I give it my best shot. Lean, red meat but certainly pay for themselves in the snacks we provide are healthy.
is a huge part of my family's diet, the long run. If I have my way, I have just inspired
and I harvest all we need by hunting two whole sports teams worth of

26 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 28 11/12/2018 9:08:58 AM

I move on to sausage. Sausage
is a mystery to a lot of people,
but I have found it to be really
quite easy to make. Basically, it is
seasoned ground meat in a casing.
Some people heat it and dry it, like
in a salami, and others leave it
uncooked, like in a brat. I also buy
seasoning kits to make the sausage
process as simple as possible. I'll
take 20 pounds of ground venison
and mix it with 5 pounds of pork fat.
I simply grind the fat in my meat
grinders, as well. I then mix the two
together, and it becomes very thick
and pasty. I know the mixture is
right when the color changes from
a bright red meat to a lightish pink.
At this point, I decide what sort of
sausages I want to make. My family
really likes the big, fat summer
sausages, brats, snack sticks and
smoked dried brats that I call
Similar to a master craftsman caulking a window, laying down the jerky on the “slicing sausage.” I personally do
dehydrator is a learned art. Squeeze the jerky squirter too hard and you'll have a not own a sausage stuffer yet, but I
pile that will not dry well; too soft and you'll have small pieces with a lot of wasted do have an attachment on my meat
space in between. grinder. The problem I've had with
young men and women to take up method is simply cutting the meat stuffing sausages through my meat
our sport of hunting. when it's half frozen with a regular grinder is that it generally tends to
We make jerky two ways. Most knife. By cutting the meat while it get bogged down with the mixture
of the time, we take ground meat is still half-frozen, it slices much being sort of pasty and the auger
and mix it with a seasoning kit. more evenly and easily than if it can't push out any meat. So, I tend
When using ground meat, be sure were completely thawed. We then to improvise now, and I just use my
to mix in the appropriate amount marinate these strips of meat in jerky squirter gun with a round
of cold water and let it sit in the whatever mixture we feel like using tube nozzle and I fill my sausage
refrigerator overnight. I then take at the time and also let it sit for 24 casings that way. When filling a big,
the jerky gun or “jerky shooter,” hours in the refrigerator. The same 3-pound summer sausage casing, I
pack the meat in the tube with a method is used to dry the sliced squirt in as much meat as I can and
spoon and lay it down on my dehy- meat. I like my dehydrator, but once then squeeze it down to the end.
drating sheets like I'm caulking again, other people use smokers, Then I start the process over again
a newly-installed window. If you grills or their oven. Heck, when
don't have a dehydrator, you can use I was in Africa, those guys made
a smoker, grill or simply put meat their Biltong by simply hanging it
on a cookie cooling rack in an oven on a rack on the roof of their houses
to dry out your jerky. The key is a during the hot, windy season. That
low, dry heat. When using an oven, authentic Biltong was some of the
be sure to leave the door cracked best jerky I've ever had in my life! I
so moisture can escape. Regardless wouldn't recommend hanging meat
of what I'm using, I try to run my to dry on your roof in Michigan, but
jerky temps at between 200 and 225 my point is that people have been
degrees. Depending on how thick making jerky since the dawn of time
it is, it's usually done in about four — it's not that hard to get the stuff to
hours. dry out.
The other way my kids enjoy
jerky is the traditional, whole
muscle method. By taking roast Sausages
or steaks and slicing them thin, I
create nice, chewy strips of jerky. Once the jerky is made and
I use our meat slicer, but another I'm ready to try some more things,

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 27

Winter 2018-19.indd 29 11/12/2018 9:09:01 AM

more than a few hours. By simply
adding water, the venison cooks down
and creates its own natural gravy. I
also like adding an onion slice, some
jalapenos or even a peppery broth
to continue to enhance the flavors.
On a busy school night with several
sports activities, a quart jar of
venison dumped over some potatoes
is a wonderful, home-cooked meal
and takes only minutes to prepare.

Gourmet grilling
Not only do I enjoy smoking
meats, but I also love grilling. One
of my favorite things to do on the
grill is to take a venison loin, wrap it
with bacon and grill it slow and low
for quite a while. When the bacon is
crispy, I can almost always be sure
the venison on the inside is done.
It is crucial that when smoking meats you reach the proper internal Thinly slicing these wrapped loins
temperatures. Here is a closeup of Herbert's probe thermometer that came makes medallions of amazing flavor.
with his pellet grill. If you don't have such a fancy setup, just simply use an I also like to take a big roast or
old-fashioned meat thermometer. a thick steak and cut it in the shape
and again until the casing is full. stick casings are made from a vege- of a “Z” from the side where I can
Lastly, I'll tie the open end off with a table collagen. Both are totally safe to unfold it into three separate joined
string and it's good to go. eat. In fact, with these edible casings, pieces. I then pound that out with a
Brat and snack stick casings I don't even notice that they're there. meat tenderizing hammer and make
are much narrower than summer a big, thin, venison patty, similar to
sausage and a bit trickier to work a pizza crust or flatbread. Next, I'll
Corned Roasts spread cream cheese, peppers, mush-
with. When crafting brats or snack
sticks, I take the casings and slide rooms, onions or whatever I feel like
My dad is famous for his corned and roll it back up into a round log.
them up over the nozzle of my jerky venison. There are all sorts of
gun and fill them that way. When Sometimes, I'll grill that straight,
recipes online for how to do this, but other times I'll wrap it, too, in bacon.
filling narrow sausages with a stuffer he takes a good, hind-end roast and
or jerky gun, it's important to grease I really like serving gourmet venison
trims it liberally. He then brines it off the grill to guests or people who
the nozzle with a little bit of cooking for a while before rinsing it off and
oil to get the casing to slide on easily. aren't accustomed to wild game
boiling it. The whole process may meat.
Once the sausages are stuffed, take a week or so, but it is absolutely
you can throw them right on the As I mentioned earlier, it's
worth the time. There's not a lot always a goal of mine to not go to the
smoker, pinch them into bun links better than a homemade, venison
and twist them for brats or let them grocery store. I take a lot of pride in
Reuben sandwich. feeding my family naturally but also
sit in the refrigerator to cure a bit
more overnight. I throw them on the know the benefit of having a variety
smoker. When smoking the meats, Canning of foods. Kids are picky eaters, and
I try to reach an internal tempera- even though something is healthy, it
ture of 156 degrees for any of my Another thing that not many doesn't mean they're going to want to
sausages. When making summer people do is can their venison in eat a lot of it. In fact, when something
sausage, I immediately pull them a pressure cooker. We've experi- is considered healthy, it generally
off the smoker and give them a cold mented with a variety of ways, and doesn't taste all that great. The cool
water bath. This tends to draw the I have found the simplest is literally thing about venison is that it doesn't
fats to the surface, lubricating the just filling a jar to within an inch take much to make it taste great! So,
casing, which makes it easier to peel of headspace with clean cubes of if you're lucky enough to get a deer
off. The summer sausage is the only venison, filling the jar with water or two this fall, experiment with
casing that I don't eat. Brat casings and canning it. Always reference a meat snacks. Both your family and
are natural intestines and snack professional guide to see how long to wallet will thank you!
can meat, but I know it doesn't take

28 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 30 11/12/2018 9:09:02 AM

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Winter 2018-19.indd 31 11/12/2018 9:09:03 AM

Full Draw:

Hunting the Rut

By Tom Nelson

f I were given the option of because of poor weather. The pre-rut
only bowhunting the 31 days is now in full swing, and to many
of October or the first 14 days bow benders, this is their favorite
of November, it would not be time to match wits with whitetails.
a difficult decision for me. Give Bucks are now putting down scrapes
me the first 14 days of November with a vengeance and are beginning
every time. Now, I am by no means to badger the local doe population.
stating that Michigan’s October bow Rest and food are becoming less
season is not a great time to be out important each day, and although
chasing whitetail deer. The largest these Romeos are ready to breed,
buck taken on our property was the local does are not. Out of frus-
arrowed October first by my wife, tration, bucks spar frequently and
Beth. I have bow-killed multiple lay down an increasing number of
good bucks during the month of scrapes. They also begin to venture
October. Whitetails are still in their further and further from their
summer routine and relatively home range. Studies have shown
easy to pattern until the influx of that bucks will triple their range
hunters, both small game and big as the rut approaches. While many
game, force savvy whitetails into a bowhunters believe that bucks they
more nocturnal and inconsistent have observed all fall have disap-
routine. What I am simply stating is peared or been shot by a neigh-
that I personally prefer bowhunting boring hunter, it is more likely the
the November pre-rut and rut. buck has ventured off for a few days
Halloween has always been the or even weeks seeking a receptive
date on the calendar that reminds doe.
me that its time to get serious. No From my personal observa-
more sleeping in or forgoing hunts tions and more than 40 years of

30 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 32 11/12/2018 9:09:03 AM

bowhunting whitetails in Michigan, November. I do a lot of doe grunting
I believe that the rut starts here and fawn bleating during this time
in Michigan around November period. I oftentimes randomly call
4 — increasing in intensity until with loud and short series of doe or
peaking around the start of the fawn bleats. These non-aggressive
firearm season. Weather often plays calls seem to bring in more bucks for
a big part in just how extreme our me than aggressive grunt calling.
rut will be. A warm spell will slow Not all bucks are looking to
the daytime rutting activity down engage in a physical confrontation
considerably. Conversely, a cold or they may just skirt the area
snap will increase rutting behavior. around you in an attempt to get the
This is a time for a bowhunter to wind in their favor. I have found that
spend as many hours in a stand as bucks approach my position much
he or she can afford. more calmly when hearing a doe or
While I favor afternoon and fawn bleat that, again, is not a threat
evening hunts during October, I to them. Also, with bucks in search
switch to morning hunts as my of does, what better way to draw
favorite in November. Bucks tend them in close than advertise there is
to stay on their feet far longer a vocal doe in the area?
during this time period. They have During the pre-rut and rut,
been out all night chasing does remember to spend as much time
and they are often far from home in your stand or blind as you can.
and their bedding area. This is the Hunt all day if possible. Hunt where
perfect time to catch them as they the does are. Areas where you were
try to sneak back home late in the seeing a lot of does but few bucks in
morning. Often, they take the time October can now become hot spots.
to check any scrapes close to these Leave a few stand locations undis-
bedding areas before retiring to turbed until November, then silently
their beds for the day. The last two slip in and hunt them. Utilize calling
years I have arrowed a good buck and scents to lure rut-crazed bucks
late in the morning as they traveled into bow range. Lastly, do not forget
unconcerned towards their resting to practice when you have a spare
spot. Both of these bucks were taken moment. This is the one time of year
after 10 in the morning. that many of us forget to fling a few
November is also the time to take arrows to be sure everything is still
advantage of everything in your in working order. Heed this advice
bowhunting bag of tricks. Utilizing and you will increase your odds
grunt calls, rattling antlers and of placing your tag on a Michigan
scents are all a means to success in whitetail this fall.

Winter 2018-19.indd 33 11/12/2018 9:09:04 AM

Buck of a Lifetime
15-year-old Brooke Shippey
tells her story of harvesting an
18-point buck

eldom do we get the chance to shoot a buck of a
lifetime, especially in Michigan. If we are lucky,
we may get a chance to make that dream a reality.
Whether I am in school, in front of the soccer net
or looking through the scope of a firearm, I always try to
prepare myself to seize the opportunity if a chance for
success presents itself. I do everything in my power to set
myself up for success to make my goals a reality. When it
comes to hunting white-tailed deer, I have been raised to
appreciate the hunting experience, and I know that success
does not necessarily mean killing an animal; but, rather, it
is appreciating the experience, the hunt and the memories
that come with each time I step into the great outdoors.
From generation to generation, hunting has always
been a huge part of my family. My father's passion quickly
became mine as he taught my sister and me the ways of
the sport. At 8 years old, I had taken the hunter's safety
course and quickly began to develop my own passion
for the sport. After numerous hunting trips with my
older sister and being able to witness my sister’s first
deer, I could hardly wait for my turn. At 10, in our back
acreage, I shot my first buck — a seven-point. The moment
By Brooke Shippey
that my father and I were able to experience together
was to this day, and will always be, fresh in my mind.

32 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 34 11/12/2018 9:09:05 AM

Ever since then, the game
has never been the same for me.
I quickly learned how rare and
special it is to harvest a deer. I
learned hunting wasn't easy, but
rather quite complex; especially
when you bring nerves into the
game. I distinctly remember my
father uncontrollably shaking when
I shot my first deer and thinking
he was going to scare the deer off.
Now, I can completely relate, as
every time I see a deer it is almost
impossible to control my nerves
because I know these chances come
for a split second and sometimes
that's all you get. Of course, this
made the pursuit more worth the
effort. So, after my first deer, I was
out in the field every chance I had.
Every hunting experience I’ve had I
can proudly say has been successful
as I have seen at least one deer, one
rising sun, one setting sun or just
watched the forest come to life. Up
until this September, all the deer
I’ve seen I have passed.
I was waiting for a bigger buck,
as I have always believed in letting
smaller bucks grow. I patiently
waited because I knew my time
would come. When I was 13 years
old, and it had been three years of
not getting a deer, I became incred-
ibly impatient. I was blinded by
what the meaning of hunting was.
I was so caught up in the game of
comparison with my friends that
it became about who was going the scope on the body, I faced a diffi- Yes, I wanted a nice buck, but every
to get the biggest buck. That was cult decision. It was too dark for my hunt was about the experience
the motivation behind going out comfort as I barely could make out for me now. I liked embracing my
almost every night. I started to put the figure, and it was a tough angle surroundings, having long talks
hunting before anything else and to shoot at the eight point. I would with God, bonding with my dad and
cut corners on the key parts that have been taking a risk, and the absorbing the world around me. The
my father always taught me needed last thing I wanted to do was injure take was just a bonus.
to be perfect before going out on a a deer. I passed on what was the When 2018 arrived, I felt it
hunt. My father had a talk with me biggest buck I’d ever seen, and I was was going to be a great year. I was
and reminded me of the real reason devastated. My father was proud excited when I saw the signs of fall
we hunt: We hunt because we love that I passed on the buck as it was approaching. I knew the season was
the sport and the time spent in the the responsible thing to do and not right around the corner. I couldn’t
woods. It is easy to forget the real many people could have shown that wait to get out there, and the youth
reason behind why we harvest an self-control. I was greatly disap- hunt offered me an awesome oppor-
animal. pointed. Despite my disappoint- tunity to have an early chance to
This lesson I learned when ment, I never let it discourage me. get out there. When the youth hunt
I was 13 was needed, too, when I When I was 15 years old, it had came around, I was eager to hunt on
saw the biggest buck of my life — a been five years since I shot my last my uncle’s new property that he was
nice eight-point. My nerves started buck — the only deer of my hunting going to build on. We had no idea
racing and my mind filled with a career. I grew a lot in those five what it had to offer and no previous
million thoughts. As I began to put years. It wasn’t for the kill anymore. knowledge, as no one had hunted

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 33

Winter 2018-19.indd 35 11/12/2018 9:09:06 AM

on it before. We set out for my first
hunt of the season with open minds,
but we had no clue what to expect.
My dad and Uncle had scouted
the land and determined a good
spot we could sit to hunt. I had
always hunted from a tree stand or
a pop-up, so when my dad asked me
to bring blue and green lawn chairs,
I was quite uneasy. I continued to
trust my dad as we walked up to
where we were going to set up. It
was on a hill surrounded by thorn
bushes and tall grass. Not the ideal
hunting spot as we barely could get
the chairs to stand upright on the
hill, but I continued to do as I was
told. I always liked to have every odd
in my favor and have all angles to
get a decent shot at a deer.
Where we were sitting, there
was a pond in the back that funneled
to my left and my right. Since there
were bushes surrounding us, the
only shot I could get was right in
front, and the odds of that happening
were slim. My father insisted he
knew what he was talking about so
I put my faith in years wiser than
myself and tried to enjoy the hunt
as it was a beautiful day. After about
an hour of sitting, we saw nothing.
It was hard to enjoy the hunt when
mosquitoes were swarming us. It
was hard to stay still when they
were biting my neck and face. up, my dad was looking through the in the chest. I knew this chance was
Since we could only see one angle, binoculars. All my nerves swarmed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and
I stood up to get a better look at my in. As I sighted the scope on the I wasn't about to give that up. I didn’t
surroundings. In all the calmness 10-point, my father quickly stopped have time to think or to let my nerves
when the wind had died down, I me, and I redirected the scope to get the best of me. In all the chaos,
saw one cornstalk shake in the air. what was the biggest buck me or my I breathed out slowly aimed right on
I slowly sat down and nodded to my father had ever seen. It was 75 yards his chest and squeezed the trigger.
dad in the direction the deer was out, and we couldn’t see what the The sound of the explosion was
coming from. antlers looked like, but we knew it a relief to all my nerves. My father
It was 100 yards away, and it was huge. gave me the biggest bear hug, but
was a doe. The doe made its way Like my previous story, I passed I was not convinced I had aimed
towards the pond, and we soon real- on a buck because the stars did not correctly. It was a hard shot for
ized it wasn't a doe — it was a nice align and I did not feel comfortable me. Since I was shooting with my
six-point. I told myself I would let taking the shot. This time, there muzzleloader, smoke filled the air.
a seven or smaller grow, but it was was plenty of daylight, but it was I couldn’t see where my deer went
tough passing on a nice buck. I saw not standing broadside. Since it was with all the smoke, and when we
the six-point turn around a couple walking towards us, I couldn’t get could make out where the deer was,
of times, and I figured a bigger buck it to turn for a good shot. I almost there was no sign of the buck. My
could follow. So, in anticipation, I thought of taking the 10-point as dad reloaded the muzzleloader, and
waited, and a 10-point walked right it was broadside, but we heard the I was prepared to shoot again if the
out in front of us, exactly where my six-point blowing at us, and my dad deer stood up.
father anticipated. told me I had to make a decision When approaching the spot
As my father passed me the quickly. It was now or never. My dad where I shot the deer, it was still
shooting stick and I started to set whispered to me that I must take it nowhere to be seen. Quite frankly,

34 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 36 11/12/2018 9:09:07 AM Mic

seeing a wounded deer was some-
thing I never wanted to experience.
As we walked up the hill, I laid eyes
on a white belly and saw the monster
buck lying dead. The deer hadn’t
even moved a foot, and I had killed the
deer exactly as I wanted to. No words
can describe the feeling between my
father and I as we rejoiced in each
other’s arms. My dad counted the
rack and our jaws dropped as we
counted 18 points. I jumped in my
father's arms again as I couldn’t
control my emotions. I knelt beside
my deer and laid a hand on it to say a
quick prayer to thank the Lord for an
amazing deer, memory and hunt that
I would never forget.
As we got to work gutting the
deer, the realization of what just
happened barely started to sink
in. All my hard work, patience and
the most accomplished feelings, but a trophy buck off his land, but I’m
determination finally paid off. To to be able to experience it with my humbled by the fact that he is
this day, it has been one of my dad was truly unforgettable. more excited that I harvested this
greatest experiences. This hunt I must thank my uncle, Jeff, for majestic animal than if he’d shot it
surpassed all my dreams and expec- allowing me to hunt his land! I am himself. Thank you, uncle Jeff, for
tations. To be able to see all my hard amazed by the flack he has taken a memory I will cherish the rest of
work and dedication pay off is one of for allowing a 15-year-old to harvest my life.

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Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 35

Winter Outdoors
2018-19.indd 37 ad.indd 1 10/29/18
11/12/2018 9:09:082:19
2018 Michigan
Military Youth Hunt
by Morgan Warda Yeomans holds this program close to the importance of placing the most
MUCC Cooperatives Coordinator his heart as he served in the National ethical shot on a deer possible. Kids
Guard 119th Field Artillery Regiment were then set on a blood trail course

ichigan’s Liberty Hunt was for six years after joining at 18. When to learn how to track a deer patiently.
the weekend of September asked what values hunting can bring The final educational station was
22 and 23. Veterans with to a person’s life, especially a child’s, deer biology where they watched a
disabilities, individuals with his answer was that it “builds char- short presentation on what deer eat,
disabilities and youth ages 16 and acter, respect for our habitat and wild different parts of their bodies, antler
under were able to hit the woods game, fellowship with other hunters growth and how to age a buck on the
for a firearm deer hunt on either and self-pride.” hoof.
private or public lands. In many The kids arrived on Thursday Youth hunters were also able to
ways, this weekend serves as a way evening. In typical camp fashion, the meet two local conservation officers.
to introduce new hunters to the field. biggest decision of the night was who The officers talked to the campers
David Yeomans of Eaton County was staying in which cabin and who about their job, why it is important
saw this as an opportunity to serve got the top bunk. After settling down to follow the rules and why the rules
military families and mentor the next and unpacking, the kids enjoyed exist. This talk helped kids under-
generation of hunters simultane- dinner, fishing in the pond and stand more about their state and
ously after witnessing a similar event s’mores around the bonfire. wildlife management. It also allowed
in Kentucky. Friday included activities that them to see that the officers were
The Michigan Military Youth were meant to build confidence in the just doing their part in conservation
Hunt was designed as a camp to field. For some, this would be their and are not someone to fear in the
take youth from a military family first time shooting and the first time field. After a discussion on proper
hunting that wouldn’t get the chance in a deer blind. Stations were set up tag placement, the officers wished
to go otherwise. The kids spent three for shooting sports that included the camp good luck and would stop in
whole days learning about gun safety, archery, BB guns and targets. later that weekend to see some of the
hunting practices, whitetail biology Another station focused on shot successes.
and the fun of hunting camp tradition. placement which is easily one of the To make all of this happen
There were hits and misses, bonfire most valued lessons to learn. Camp safely and efficiently, the camp had
stories and lots of high fives when attendees were held to a standard adult mentors that were paired with
the deer started rolling in on trucks. that they would learn and understand each camper for hunting and were

36 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 38 11/12/2018 9:09:10 AM

available throughout daily activities that lost a parent serving our country. On a personal note, I had the
to answer questions. Mentors are the These kids are less likely to experi- privilege of spending the entire
backbone of what makes this camp ence what we can offer with a single weekend with the kids and mentors.
enjoyable for the youth. Yeomans parent home. Seeing these young Seeing the joy on successful faces and
said, “Excitement and passion is key men and women interact with adults hearing the words of encouragement
for a mentor. If you want your new and others is rewarding for me.” for those that came back empty-
hunter to enjoy it, he or she has to see Seehase also said that from his handed was a humble reminder on
you doing the same. We must keep the experience with camp kids arrive why we recruit and support new
fun in hunting.” shy and apprehensive but leave as hunters. Seeing children engage with
One of the camp’s mentors, friends. The outdoors has a unique seasoned hunters and step outside
Patrick Fitzsimons, said “This way of bringing people together. their comfort zone was motivating.
program is a must to ensure the heri- About 20 kids participated in the The heartfelt work that goes into
tage of hunting. As a mentor, it was two camps this year, and 26 deer were making this camp happen was almost
a special time and an honor to be part harvested. The kids made the deci- tangible to anyone that got to experi-
of this program. The kids were a lot sion to keep the meat for their fami- ence it. My hat is off to Yeomans and
of fun and being there to see a first- lies or donate it to charity. Venison Seehase for leading this mission, the
time hunter get his or her first deer went to both uses, and some kids that many mentors that dedicated their
was something I will remember the harvested more than one deer were time to military youth in Michigan
rest of my life. I can't wait until next able to keep meat and offer a donation. and to the other staff that made sure
year!” Funding for this program comes from the kids had nice meals waiting for
The camp’s reach doesn’t just stop generous sponsors and the QDMA them when they returned from the
there. Richard Seehase of the Capital Branches that support each kid and deer blind. You are all making a
Area QDMA Branch had participated equips them with all the necessities difference.
in Yeoman's camp and made it his for going out into the woods. Both If you are interested in following
goal to duplicate it and engage his camps would like to grow and support along with this life-enriching expe-
fellow branch members. When people even more hunters, so they will be rience in the upcoming years or
ask Seehase why he is doing this, his looking to expand their sponsor list checking out more picture from the
simple answer was, “it's our way of for 2019. Growing in camper numbers camps, you can follow the Eaton
giving back to those that have given also means there will be a need for County QDMA Branch on Facebook.
us so much in serving our country. qualified adult mentors for the next
The last two years we have had kids season.

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 37

Winter 2018-19.indd 39 11/12/2018 9:09:10 AM

Youth Hunt Winners

Two Michigan youth were chosen to have their picture

featured in the magazine, receive a subscription and
also receive TRACKS magazine for their successful
harvests during Michigan's Liberty Hunt.

Mack Peterson, 8 years old,

Sophia Weaver, 7 years old, Montcalm County
Grand Traverse County Mack and his father, John, got to their stand at about
4:30 p.m. on September 22. They were there for an hour
Sophia and her dad, Ryan, went out around 4 p.m.
before they saw a four-point that came out about 30 yards
on Sunday, September 23.
away. John said, "Do you want to shoot that buck?" and
They weren’t there very long when a spike came in.
Mack said "No!..... I want to wait for something bigger!"
Sophia did not want to shoot the spike; she wanted it to
So they waited for another hour and a half. They
get bigger.
had deer around them for the rest of the night; it was an
Sophia and her dad had several more does come
awesome hunt!
through, and she passed on all of them. About a half
The weather was beautiful, and the deer were
hour before dark, a spike came in with a drop tine on
moving. They were enjoying sitting there together
one side, and she said that was her deer.
watching deer when all of the sudden John looked over
The deer was moving a lot so they couldn’t get a
and this buck had walked out in the field — he was about
real good shot. Sophia waited and took a favorable angle
200 yards away and not in a good place to shoot, so they
shot which hit the buck right behind the shoulder and
watched him for a good 40 minutes before Mack got a
dropped the deer right were she shot it.
shot at him.
Then the buck jumped up and ran into the brush.
The buck ended up about 30 yards away from them
Sophia and her dad gave it a few minutes. Sophia was
broadside but Mack couldn't get his gun lined up with
jumping with excitement and decided to go track it after
him and the buck went into the corn. Extremely disap-
enough time had passed. Ryan found good blood and
pointed, John reminded Mack that this was the first day
brought Sophia into the area so she could find it. After
of hunting and they had all year to shoot another deer.
about a 20-yard track, Sophia came up on her deer with
About 10 minutes went by and there was the buck
the biggest smile Ryan had ever seen. Bouncing with
again broadside at 30 yards. This time, Mack lined up
excitement, Sophia walked over and claimed her buck.
with him and squeezed the trigger of his .243. The deer
Sophia grew up in the deer blind her with her dad.
turned and ran about 40 yards and piled up. The only
Ryan was excited to see the joy he gets from hunting
problem was they couldn't see him pile up.
passed on to another generation. The day after their
They waited about 30 minutes before going to recover
hunt, Sophia was asking what other kinds of game she
the deer. Upon recovery, Mack was just silent and had a
could harvest. She now has her heart set on bird hunting.
huge grin on his face that lasted the whole rest of the

38 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 40 11/12/2018 9:09:11 AM

Fall 2018
2018 | Michigan
| Michigan 57 57

Winter 2018-19.indd 41 11/12/2018 9:09:11 AM

You can’t eat the antlers
(but you can eat the holes)
By Andy Duffy

Despite wars, the

Great Depression
and infidelity, or
perhaps because
of them, doughnuts
became an important
part of deer season for
one family of hunters.

studied the deer through the a b o u t I’m just mentioning the dates to
scope of my rifle. The buck was my maternal emphasize that my grandma learned
big; I had no doubt. As he slowly grandmother, Dessa Elnora Kinney to do things in traditional ways. She
meandered toward the brush, I Markham. She was born in 1896, a was one generation removed from
centered my crosshairs on his vitals. mere 20 years after the Battle of living in the most exciting time in
I would have time to either squeeze the Little Bighorn. Her father was U.S. history.
off a shot or take another bite of my born in 1869, a scant 10 years after Grandma was 33 and the
doughnut. I put down my rifle and Billy the Kid was born, maybe. mother of two when the stock
reached for the doughnut. Her mother was born in 1877. That market crashed. There’s a lot I don’t
Well, that never happened. But was the year Sitting Bull led his know about Grandma’s adult life.
fried cakes, aka doughnuts, are an band of Lakota into Canada to get I learned early that some memo-
important part of deer season, at away from Colonel Nelson Miles. It ries were still too painful to talk
least for those in my family. was also the year that Chief Crazy about. I know that Grandma and
When I was a kid, deer season Horse surrendered to U.S. troops in Grandpa lost their home, though.
always began in the kitchen with Nebraska. For all I know, Grandma Later, Grandma lost her husband.
my grandmother. Her fried cakes knew people who went west on the As I understand it, he left her for
were the best deer stand food known Oregon Trail. Had she been born in another woman. Husbandless and
to man. the northwest, she almost certainly homeless, she spent all her adult
It may be worthwhile to tell a little would have. years I knew anything about living

40 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 42 11/12/2018 9:09:12 AM

with various relatives. She seemed cut out five or six doughnuts with are more in tune with the seasons
to have a sequence. She would the doughnut cutter, lay them on than their urban counterparts are.
visit her sisters. She would visit a her arm, and limp from the table to In the country, we trace the seasons
couple of cousins. She would visit the kettle of hot lard on the stove. with a series of little gradations.
her son. Come the first part of There, she would carefully put In the spring, we work up our
November, though, she was always the doughnuts in the hot grease – gardens and plant radishes and
at our home to help my mother with getting splattered by the stuff was peas. Then the first of the morels
Thanksgiving preparations – and, no fun – and tend them till they come, and we plant the root crops.
of course, to make doughnuts for were done. When the cakes were When the morels are about done,
deer season. done on the bottom side, she would we begin fishing for trout. We bring
Historians tell us that they can turn them with a fork. When they in the rhubarb. We plant corn and
trace the origins of our modern were cooked all the way through, beans. We look for bedding blue-
doughnuts back to the oil cakes she would remove them from the gills. We begin fishing for bass. A
Dutch settlers cooked in New grease, sit them on their sides to little later, the tomato, pepper and
Amsterdam. The doughnuts were cool in an old-style oven pan we had, squash plants go in. Then, in quick
like ours today, but they lacked the cut out some more doughnuts and succession, the berries come: straw-
hole in the middle. repeat the process. berries, cherries, raspberries, and
Even the words doughnut and Grandma would put most of blackberries. Peas are swollen in
fried cake are old. Way back in 1809, the material cut from the middle of their pods, and gardeners cream
Washington Irving described the the cakes back with the rest of the them with tiny potatoes taken
“dough-nuts,” often called fried dough to make more doughnuts. prematurely from the ground. The
cakes, that were fried in hog’s fat Some of the hole material, she combination is delicious. Apples
and were seldom found at that time would cook. Today, people call them swell on the limbs of the trees. We
except in homes of the Dutch. (As doughnut holes. We always called begin taking corn from our gardens.
far as anyone knows, the first time them “middles.” Little in life tastes September comes, and we start
the alternative spelling “donut” better than a hot doughnut middle making applesauce. We also begin
appeared in print was in 1900. Use and a glass of cold milk. hunting grouse, squirrels and then
that spelling, though, and old news- This sentiment may have its woodcock. Nights begin getting
papermen will look askance at you. skeptics, but I think country folk cold. Raccoon season opens.
The Associated Press Stylebook
makes it clear that the preferred
spelling is “doughnut.”)
The hole may have appeared in
1847. The Mexican-American war
was raging then. Hanson Gregory
didn’t see any war action, though.
He was a 16-year-old kid on a lime-
hauling ship somewhere. According
to him, he was the person who first
decided that doughnuts would be
better with a hole in the middle.
He said that when he got back from
his voyage, he showed his mother
his technique for getting the dough
cooked all the way through. She
began cooking them that way, and
doughnuts with holes in the middle
soon became popular.
Whatever the history behind
them, my grandmother’s doughnuts
had holes. Each fall, I would sit and
watch her as she worked. She would
mix all the ingredients together –
the sugar, eggs, flour, nutmeg and
ginger – and then roll out the dough.
She was still in her 60s then,
but she was already crippled up
some from arthritis and hobbled
rather than walked. So, she would

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 41

Winter 2018-19.indd 43 11/12/2018 9:09:13 AM

from my mother. He was restless,
though. After he nearly lost a finger
to a punch press, he re-enlisted in
the Navy. That is how he became a
veteran of both World War II and
the Korean conflict. He and Mom
didn’t get married until 1950, and he
finally took his second discharge in
Most of the deer dad shot
he must have taken between his
enlistments. He always had lots
of deer hunting stories to tell. He
had a few racks hanging in the old
shed out beyond the house. He had
a Band-Aid box filled with the old,
metal deer tags and bullets he’d
recovered from deer he’d shot. I
don’t remember him bringing home
any deer, though, until the mid ’60s.
There may have been a good
reason, however, for his deerless
seasons. He was still in the Navy
during the 1952 deer season. That
was the year Michigan let hunters
take a deer of either sex during
the last three days of the season.
The herd was devastated. For years
after that, a lot of hunters had
trouble finding deer. The dough-
nuts, though, were a constant. Dad
would take them to the woods with
When I was a kid, I didn’t tried to enlist in the Navy. Because him, and he would grab a couple
understand all the minor nuances he needed dental work and had a more when he arrived home. When
of the changing seasons. I knew, bad knee from a football injury, the I was old enough to begin hunting,
though, that people wore brown Navy wouldn’t take him. Then came Grandma’s fried cakes always
to hunt small game. They wore Dec. 7, and the government had a accompanied me to the woods.
red plaid wool to hunt deer. I also use for him after all. During the war, I have my grandma’s old recipe.
understood that when Grandma Dad worked on a net tender main- Before we got married, my wife went
made an appearance at our house, taining nets at the mouth of Frisco through my mom’s files and copied
deer season was about to begin, and Bay and on a destroyer out in the down all my favorite recipes. The
Thanksgiving Day would closely South Pacific. What he didn’t learn recipe box she presented to me later
follow. in his youth, he learned in the Navy. was the greatest gift a bride-to-be
My dad, unlike me, knew every- Dad fell in love with mom the could ever give a guy. Of course, she
thing. He was born in Flint. The first time he laid eyes on her. It was included the doughnut recipe.
depression chased his family from her first day of high school. With I don’t know if today’s genera-
the city. My grandpa found employ- her long, red hair in braids, she tion would love Grandma’s dough-
ment on a series of farms. So, must have cut quite the figure as nuts as much as I do. For one thing,
while Dad was growing up, he dug she climbed aboard Dad’s school the recipe calls for two tablespoons
potatoes, drove teams of horses and bus. “There,” dad told himself, “is of melted lard. A person can substi-
learned about farm life. I remember the girl I’m going to marry.” I know tute shortening. Still, I wonder
how amazed I was when as a five- now that Mom wouldn’t have been how many people would wrinkle
year-old kid my dad and my great there that morning if it hadn’t been their noses just from the thought
uncle harnessed a team of horses for her dad’s infidelity. of using genuine animal fat in their
and plowed up a garden spot. Things certainly didn’t go as my doughnuts.
Dad served in the Navy through dad had planned. He only saw Mom The recipe also calls for the
almost all of World War II. He grad- once or twice during the war. After doughnuts to be cooked in hot
uated from high school in 1941. At the war, he found employment at an grease. The hot grease, of course, is
some point before the war started, he automobile factory an hour away lard. Although Grandma sometimes

42 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 44 11/12/2018 9:09:13 AM

used shortening, she and mom
agreed that lard made the best
doughnuts and pie crusts.
Plus, the doughnuts’ texture is
slightly different from the texture
of the cake doughnuts we find in
bakeries today. Made from grand-
ma’s recipe, doughnuts are a little
denser. They may be a little
tougher, too, like the tough old
woodsmen and plainsmen
who carved farms out of the
wilderness and the soldiers
and sailors who were on
the seas and the battle-
fields during this coun-
try’s wars. Nothing,
though, tastes better to me
than a mid-morning doughnut when
I’m out in the woods waiting for a today’s
deer to come by. And nothing tastes generation.
better when, back in the house, I sit This might help:
down in a warm kitchen at a table Don’t obsess over
covered with a red-checked table- mixing sequences. I just try to get
cloth to eat a hot doughnut fresh everything mixed together well. sweet
from the kettle. The lard business? milk, it
Here is my grandma’s Cooks who can’t find lard or works just as
doughnut recipe: don’t want to mix it in the doughnut well as sour milk does.
dough can substitute their favorite If a person wants to, though, he
Fried Cakes brand of shortening. can always sour milk with a little
When I was a kid, an old-fash- vinegar.
ioned slaughterhouse stood on the Once the doughnut dough is all
2 c. sugar
outskirts of town. Mom would go mixed up, dump it out on a floured
2 eggs } mix good there to buy her freshly-rendered pastry sheet. My grandma would
1 t. nutmeg lard. The slaughterhouse closed dump hers right out on our old
¼ t. ginger years ago, so that source of cooking “oilcloth”–covered dining room
1 t. vanilla grease is gone. I recently checked table. Then sift a liberal amount of
with two slaughterhouses that flour on top of the dough to keep
2 T. melted lard
remain in the area, and neither it from sticking to the rolling pin.
business renders lard. I can’t find When I made up the batch of dough-
Dissolve 1 t. soda in 2 c. anything now like the substance I nuts pictured here, I didn’t have
buttermilk or sour milk. remember. Nowadays, the product enough flour left to sprinkle on top
2 t. baking powder sifted labeled lard has been hydrogenated of the dough. Before rolling it out,
to extend shelf life. If a person I went to town and got more flour.
with 7 or 8 c. flour.
knows of a source for real, old-fash- The step is that important.
ioned lard, he should get some to Roll out the dough until it is
Hot grease – 7 or 8 use at least once. about the thickness of a doughnut
There is no need to use sour cutter. Then cut out the doughnuts.
If the recipe seems a little milk or buttermilk to make dough- If you don’t have a doughnut cutter,
cryptic, it probably didn’t to those nuts. My dad used to tell me that buy one. I just found one online that
of my grandmother’s generation. I it’s never necessary to use sour sells for $1.99. Cook the doughnut
suppose people then, used to making milk in recipes. He said it was often holes or knead them back in with
things at home, understood how to called for just because using it for the rest of the dough.
do things the recipe maker didn’t baking beat throwing it out. I have The doughnuts are deep fried
bother explaining – things such wondered if the acid in the milk was just as a person would fry shrimp.
as mixing ingredients together. responsible for some helpful chem- When the grease is hot, carefully
The creator of this recipe assumes ical reaction. I’ve looked for infor- put in a few doughnuts. Cook them
people will know how to do tasks mation supporting that, though, and until they look done. It’s not compli-
that may be foreign to members of can’t find anything. And when I use cated. They should be turned once

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 43

Winter 2018-19.indd 45 11/12/2018 9:09:14 AM

during the cooking operation. I
think Grandma always turned hers
with a fork, but I prefer using tongs.
The “7 or 8” at the end of the
recipe is an electric stove setting,
not a cooking time. Because I’m
certain Grandma’s fried cake recipe
was around before the advent of
electric stoves, I’m equally certain
the “7 or 8” was an edit added to the
original recipe.
After the doughnuts are cooked,
put them on a paper towel to cool.
The towel will absorb any traces of
hot oil on the doughnuts. Then, if
you want to, while the doughnuts
are still warm, roll some of them
in granulated sugar. Roll some
doughnut holes in cinnamon sugar.
If you must, roll some doughnuts
in powdered sugar. I don’t advise it,
Make a batch of doughnuts after
the weather cools in the fall and
have one with a glass of cider. Don’t
make them too early, though, or
they’ll be gone by the beginning of
the firearms deer season. A person
really needs a few to take to the
woods on opening day.

44 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 46 11/12/2018 9:09:16 AM




This project was funded by the Michigan Invasive Species

Grant Program (

Winter 2018-19.indd 47 11/12/2018 9:09:17 AM


Hunting benefits Michigan in many ways, but fewer sportsmen are hitting the woods

epictions of deer hunters from deer hunting. The important fishing and hunting dollars to stimu- MIC
in popular culture mostly role that deer hunters play can’t be late the economy,” said Marc Miller,
fall into one of two stereo- overstated.” regional initiatives deputy at the Crea
types: slapstick or blood- The Michigan Wildlife Council Michigan Department of Natural
thirsty. But you know better than is dedicated to increasing public Resources. “Hunting is a preserva- Legi
that, even if your friends, neighbors understanding of the important tion of our natural heritage, and the Cou
and coworkers don’t. You know that role wildlife management plays in economic benefits of the enjoyment
deer hunting is an immensely chal- conservation of the state’s natural of those resources – the wages paid,
lenging, deeply satisfying pastime resources. It also works to increase the jobs created, the businesses of h
that requires years of practice and appreciation for hunters and sustained – is just a byproduct of to th
experience, as well as a benefit to all hunting among the general public. that. But in terms of what it means
Michigan wildlife and a vital part of That work includes sharing the to the communities that it helps, you wild
the state’s conservation efforts. benefits of hunting, such as how the can’t put a price on that.”
Wait, you did know that, right? state’s strict hunting guidelines keep According to the DNR, about Fund
“Fees built into hunting and species like deer in equilibrium with 700,000 hunters are expected to buy
fishing licenses are key to Michigan’s their habitats – the deer culled by licenses this year, about 60 percent
wildlife management funding, but in hunters keeps deer from becoming of whom will exclusively hunt deer. seek
conversations, we’ve found that not overpopulated, presenting a threat Additionally: amo
all hunters know how much they’re to motorists and farmers. And Hunting contributes $2.3 billion
helping,” said Matt Pedigo, chair because natural resource manage- to the Michigan economy every year. and
of the Michigan Wildlife Council. ment in Michigan is primarily Hunting supports more than vide
“Most people – including hunters – funded through hunting and fishing 34,400 jobs in Michigan.
assume that habitat restoration and license dollars, it ensures the state’s Hunting and fishing license
endangered species management is wildlife will be here for future sales bring in over $62 million
paid for by tax dollars, but it isn’t. generations. But hunting is good for every year for wildlife and natural Her
In fact, about half of all wildlife more than just the wildlife. resource conservation efforts;
conservation dollars come directly “Many Michigan cities rely on hunting licenses alone account for

46 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 48 11/12/2018 9:09:18 AM

two-thirds of that amount. even though we live in an age of Although the recent survey
However, every year there are wireless hotspots that let you access showed a decrease in hunters,
fewer hunters heading out to their the web from just about anywhere there also was an upward trend.
blinds, and therefore fewer people in the woods and apps that can do Statewide, there was an increase
supporting the state’s rural restau- anything from providing GPS to in deer harvested by 10 percent last
rants, surplus stores, gas stations giving accurate, up-to-the-minute year, with an estimated harvest
and sporting goods emporiums. weather models – must-haves for in 2016 of 341,288. In 2017, the esti-
For all deer seasons statewide last any avid hunter – for some reason, mated harvest was 376,365. And even
year, there were 574,127 hunters, we as a society are carving out less though the public may eat up those
down from 585,994 hunters in 2016, a and less free time for ourselves. aforementioned hunting stereo-
decrease of about 2 percent. But hunting, of course, is more types, the biggest differentiator of
“That may not sound like much, than just a hobby. For thousands of public perception of deer hunting is
but it’s statistically significant,” hunters in Michigan, it’s a way of the hunters themselves.
said Ashley Autenrieth, DNR deer life. It’s the foundation upon which
program biologist. “And this isn't family traditions are built, and a “People who don’t hunt draw
just an issue in Michigan, but respect for – and closeness with – the their opinions from those hunters,”
nationwide. As a result, a lot of outdoors becomes ingrained from Autenrieth said. “Deer hunters
work is being done to determine an early age. Lifelong friendships shouldn’t rely on the media to tell
why fewer people are going hunting and marriages are strengthened their story. Being a good example
every year, but it seems like the (and maybe tested) in weeklong and sharing positive, respectful
main culprit is lack of time. Over forays into Michigan woods in stories of hunting trips can go a long
the last 15 years, we’ve seen a steady search of those elusive whitetails. way toward showing deer hunting
decrease in hunters, and I don't see The venison provided from deer in a positive light. And that could
that stopping.” hunts also helps get many Michigan potentially get more people back
As you know, deer hunting is families through the winter, into the sport.”
an exceedingly equipment-depen- providing a good source of lean,
dent, time-intensive activity. And organic protein.


Created in 2013 by the Michigan

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

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

Funded via $1 from every base

license sold in Michigan, the council HUNTERS AND ANGLERS
seeks to build understanding for your 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 $62 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.

Winter 2018-19.indd 49 11/12/2018 9:09:19 AM

A Bear
of a
by Chris Lamphere

ight years of prepara-
tion led Ken Koch to this
moment: standing in the
middle of a swamp with
only a 30-06 separating him from
a nearly 500-pound black bear 10
yards away.
A team of Plott and English bear
hounds had cornered the bear in an
overgrowth of tree roots and brush
north of Lake City in Missaukee
Koch, a resident of Wexford
County, had been monitoring the
bear’s movements for a month using
a trail camera over a bait pile.
During the previous eight years,
Koch had been collecting points to
eventually win a bear license in the
state lottery.
This year was his lucky year.
Koch knew the bear was big
from the trail camera footage and recalled an occasion when he was it previously had been able to shake
was excited for the opening of the transporting his dogs in the back of the dogs’ pursuit during training
season. his truck near Kalkaska. season.
The day before the season The dogs were enclosed in the Keith used his horn to turn the
started, however, Koch said the bear truck bed and couldn’t see anything bear back around in the swamp,
uncharacteristically changed its outside. and Kelly and Koch were able to
travel pattern and showed up on a Kelly said a bear crossed in front get within 177 yards of the animal,
different trail camera. of them on the road and the scent at which point they had to trek the
Koch, along with friends Kelly alone triggered barking fits in the remaining distance on foot.
and Keith Whitehead, began a dogs that lasted for several miles. Kelly said he could hear the
search of the area for evidence of After Kelly and Koch found the dogs had cornered the bear, but he
the bear's whereabouts. paw print on the two-track, the dogs couldn’t see anything due to the
Kelly said during the search quickly picked up the bear’s scent thick overgrowth in the swamp.
they found a nice paw print on a and chased the animal about a mile “I told Ken to be prepared,
sandy two-track road. into the swamp. they are probably fighting on the
From there, Kelly and Keith As they tracked the dog's move- ground,” Kelly said. “I knew this
released their hounds — a moment ment through the use of GPS, Keith was going to be a big bear.”
Kelly said they “live for.” positioned his truck between the In order to approach the
To give you an idea of how crazy bear and the Manistee River, where bear without alarming it to their
these dogs are about bear, Kelly

48 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 50 11/12/2018 9:09:20 AM

putting a slug directly through the
animal’s massive skull and killing it
The killing shot was fired around
9 a.m., but it took seven men until 3
p.m. to drag it out of the swamp.
The bear weighed in at 482
DNR seasonal wildlife assistants
Greta Simpson and Abby Schafer
took tooth and rib samples to deter-
mine the bear’s age and diet but
Koch said he hasn’t yet seen results
of these tests.
Koch said he hopes to make the
bear into a half-mount with the rear
hide stretched over an engraving in
the shape of Michigan.
It’s not big enough to break any
Michigan records, but Koch said the
bear might be eligible to be entered
into the Pope and Young record

presence, Koch and Kelly got low

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“It either heard us or smelled
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dogs).” 30 Years!
The bear clawed and snapped
at the dogs, and even made a few
puncture marks in one of the dog’s
necks, although none suffered
serious injuries in the melee.
Knowing they didn’t have long
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2018/19 OUT-OF-DOORS
| Michigan 47
Out-of-Doors 49

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11/12/20183:45:58 PM
9:09:20 AM
Plugging AlonG

By Steve Griffin

he kind of winter steelhead yards downstream – before I ever pram), 25 to maybe 50 feet below
fishing on which I cut my feel it. the boat and all the lines the same
teeth was a stationary, deli- I almost never ‘bottom-bounce’ length. Level-wind reels make
cate pursuit. for steelhead anymore. If I’m distance matching easiest, counting
We’d pull on waders, step into a fishing a bait such as a spawn bag passes back and forth across the
spot whose reputation was endorsed or wiggler, or even a jig, it’s almost arbor; reels with counters, of
by the muddy footpaths leading to it certainly bobber-suspended and course, make it easier yet.
and begin the metronomic motion: tended by a center-pin rod and reel. Rods are set in holders or held
casting, adjusting line, watching If I’m out for the maximum by anglers. An oarsman holds the
and feeling for the slightest pause, relaxation shattered by the drifter nearly stationary atop the
the daintiest tug, the skimpiest maximum excitement, I’m pulling flowing waters, and then the boat
clue that a lake-grown rainbow had plugs. slowly works down through holding
intercepted our spawn bag, single The method, more formally water while the oarsman guides
egg, wiggler or fly. called back-trolling, was, like the it back and forth to scour all the
Not struck. Not even bit. Just fish itself, imported from the Pacific likely holds and haunts, sketching a
intercepted it. Only then would Northwest. Anglers there long ago slow-motion zigzag across the river.
we lift the rod to issue the fish a found that steelhead, like their close When strikes come, they arrive
wake-up call. cousins, Chinook salmon, are more savagely, and a fire drill sometimes
I often laugh now at that mental than willing to assault a wobbling, evolves as the crew works to hold
image while I’m wrestling to remove diving, crankbait of a plug. They steady, move or anchor the boat,
from its holder a graphite rod so called it Hot-Shotting, after the clear other lines out of the way and
loaded with energy, so bowed from brand of plugs that seemed tailor- bring together the fish-busy, steel-
the savage attack of a steelhead, made for it — although other lures head-battler, a netter and a net.
that the arced stick seems stuck in proved just as lethal. The fish finally aboard, it seems
the tube. Meanwhile, a thoroughly Lures would be let out a rather natural then (and still does) to
ticked-off, purple-cheeked beast short distance from the up-swept, ponder while recovering from the
thrashes its flanks on the surface flat-bottomed driftboat (mine’s a action: Did the steelhead see the
of a winter river a couple of dozen squared-bow version called a river plug as a meal or a menace? You’d

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have to ask a fish to be sure, but it
seems to me the answer might be "I often laugh now at that mental image while I’m wrestling
different at different times.
Some strikes do come as you to remove from its holder a graphite rod so loaded with
work your boat and its offerings
down through shallow spots, where energy, so bowed from the savage attack of a steelhead, that
smaller creatures might offer
dinner to a fish that’s otherwise the arced stick seems stuck in the tube."
pretty much ceased feeding. But boats include Hot’n’Tots, Wee Warts, upstream to try (usually futilely) to
more often, the assault comes at the Wiggle Warts, Brad’s Wigglers, wrestle free a stuck plug. Beware
bottom of a deep hole, especially as River Rockers, and MagLips. (I’ve the skin-cutting ability of tight
winter deepens and fish settle in had takers on less likely — or at least monofilament or, especially, super
where they find slackened currents less known for pulling — offerings, lines. I like 12-pound test mono.
and the security of being relatively too, such as Bombers, Reef Runners Some go heavier.
unseen. and Shad Raps.) 6) Experiment with hooks; some
The best depths are between 2) Take the time to tune baits report the same number of hook-ups
your shortest and tallest fishing to make sure they track correctly. with a lower incidence of loss by
companions’ heights (don’t dip them If not, you’re not only wasting that removing both hooks on a standard
to test!), four to perhaps seven feet lure’s time, you’re inviting tangles plug and replacing only the bottom
deep, and slow-walk-speed currents with the others. one, sometimes with a larger treble
are ideal. 3) There are individual stars or even a single hook.
Into such winter haunts you let among clusters of lures of the same 7) Check lines more often than
your boat and baits slip down slowly make, brand, color and size. Cherish you think you should. It only takes
and carefully, letting the diving, them. But use them. (If you feel like a short strand of grass or a piece
sometimes rattling, plugs — a wall retiring one, put it on the wall – of leaf to kill your lure’s action and
of them, thanks to the matched line don’t take it in the boat. Otherwise, waste your efforts.
lengths — push the fish downstream it’s likely the first lost.) 8) Swap jobs. Rowing fights off
until, the bottom rising again, 4) Don’t be afraid to lose lures. the chills, while sitting in a drift
they’ve just had enough and smash The bottom’s a hungry beast — but, boat’s bow — unless warmed by a
the pesky, little intruder. that’s where most of the fish are. heater — does not. But here’s the
That’s when you’re as far as 5) Spool up with a line tough real reason: a drift boat’s sharp
possible from the delicate, bottom- enough to win a fight, but remember chines dig in and make the boat
bounding brand of steelhead I that greedy river bottom. You either difficult to maneuver if it’s not level.
described at the outset. want to be able to break the line A shift on the oars will make your
As in all fishing methods, there on a fouled plug or have a knife boat mate much
are variations. One can lower the handy to free it; it’s absolutely no
anchor and then raise it briefly to fun to row back
lower the lures a few feet at a time.
I’ve watched anglers split the differ-
ence, anchoring a conventional
boat and letting the lures
descend by releasing a few
feet of line at a time.
But in the main, we’re
talking about a specialized
kind of boat slowly moving down-
stream trailing a wall of wobbling
plugs. And here are some tips:
1) Pack a variety of
lures so you can match
your offering to
the location, water
conditions and fish
preferences. Each
style of plug dives and
wobbles differently,
and you want one that
works near the bottom.
Standards on Michigan drift

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 51

Winter 2018-19.indd 53 11/12/2018 9:09:24 AM

more conscious of staying centered with a steelhead — let alone bring to get full value from your river
up front when you’re rowing. that fish aboard with a short-han- miles, but it hasn’t yet got us to
9) Work out your own landing dled net. Bravo to the move letting put away those Hot Shots or their
strategy. In my boat, we gener- us use boat-size nets for boat-sized colleagues.
ally drop anchor, clear lines and fish and reduce the risk of falling This is the time of year, after
battle it out — but, it gets dicey at overboard. all, for plug-pulling, when the
the end when the fish tends to lay Just because you’re fishing from maddest of river salmon/steelhead
inert and the river current tries to a drift boat, car-topper or jet sled mayhem has passed, a big chunk
keep it downstream and just out of set up for plug-pulling, that doesn’t of fall hunting is in the rear-view
net range. A friend guides his boat mean your game is limited to that mirror or soon will be and big,
into shallow, still water, sometimes approach. snow-lined rivers — the Kalamazoo,
getting out in waders to close the When we fished with charter Grand, Muskegon, Manistee, Pere
deal. Develop your own specialty, captain Tony Wolte in his 20-foot Marquette, AuSable and a dozen
but keep options open. jet sled on the Kalamazoo River more — beckon. It's the perfect
Speaking of nets, a year or so ago one fall, he coached several of time to grab a buddy or two, share
the DNR changed the rules. There us to tend spawn-bag-baited, a boat and cultivate company while
once was a restriction on how long center-pin rods on one side of the wobbling plugs stir cold-water trout
the handles could be on landing nets boat, while he placed a couple of into hot action.
carried and used on trout streams, plug rods in holders on the other A few seasons ago, I noticed how
which included many of our best side. Sometimes, we’d lift a rod and a box of plugs resembled a package
steelhead waters. That was to avoid launch a bobber-delivered fight, but of Christmas tree lights and other
the illegal netting of salmon and just as often one of the plug lines holiday ornaments — a reminder
other fish. But that activity (like drew a strike, untended. to treat myself to a gift, a river
salmon numbers themselves) has Now, we’ve taken to packing outing on which solitude might well
fallen. It’s all two or three anglers center pin or spinning float rods, be shattered by a fish's strike so
can do, to be honest, to achieve and pausing to do some drift fishing powerful it can seem impossible to
maintain boat position, clear the when depth or current flow isn’t remove the rod from its holder.
other rods, and wage a winter battle conducive for plugs. It’s a good way

"This is the time of year, after all,

for plug-pulling, when the maddest
of river salmon/steelhead mayhem
has passed, a big chunk of fall
hunting is in the rear-view mirror
or soon will be and big, snow-lined
rivers beckon."

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Winter 2018-19.indd 54 11/12/2018 9:09:25 AM

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Winter 2018-19.indd 55 11/12/2018 9:09:25 AM

Goose Chase
By Blake Sherburne

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

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enny and I launched In recent years, we have the channel that was big enough to
our rented canoe at the started to stare downstream from float a canoe and two big guys with
M-28 bridge over the Fox Hemingway’s railroad bridge in enough gear and beer to last for
River in Seney at about 10 Seney, wondering what monster our planned two to three days was
o’clock Saturday morning, the first brookies that stretch might hold. completely bridged by a big white
of September. The float from there The river parallels M-77 pretty pine log that looked to have been
to Germfask on M-77 after the Fox consistently, but access in that there since Nick Adams jumped off
joins the Manistique River was a stretch proved to be very difficult. the train. There was a well-worn
float fishing trip that we had talked That is how we settled on the float path around the log on river right,
about for several years, originally idea. It took us a year to find a and Kenny and I did not even have
planning on taking our raft to make weekend to go, and then that Labor to unload the canoe to drag around
life more comfortable and make Day weekend proved rainy so we it through the head-high grass. In
fishing easier and more effective. We canceled our trip, finally finding the just a few minutes, we were back in
were dissuaded from this idea by the timing and the correct weather this the river, our confidence bolstered
kind folks at Northland Outfitters in year. I knew this couple year delay by successfully navigating our first
Germfask. The river was too tight in only gave the already giant Brook obstacle.
the “spreads,” they said, and too full Trout of my dreams a couple more This was also the beginning,
of blow-downs everywhere else. We years to grow to wall-hanger status. apparently, of what the owner of
chose Labor Day weekend because If there is one thing I am good at, it the canoe livery had called “the
of the three-day weekend. Ken had is getting my hopes up. spreads.” The Fox channelized
Monday off, and I am self-employed The friendly canoe-van jockey repeatedly and we often had to grab
and was able to skip a day, should who dropped us off was a recent UP onto some bank-side brush while
the fishing prove to be so good that transplant. He had not been living we decided which channel to take.
the short, sixteen-mile float turn in the Upper Peninsula for very The decisions were usually pretty
into a full two-day or two-and-a-half long and so he did not have a lot of obvious, and even though we had to
day affair. information about the condition of fight over several just submerged
I have fished the Fox since I was the river or the quality of the trout logs in water that were too deep to
in my early teens. I have written fishing. He did tell us, however, that make it easy to leave the canoe, we
about it before on these pages. Dad we would have to portage at least were soon out of the spreads and
was and is a lover of Hemingway, six times. We were prepared for ready to start throwing gear for the
and so I knew of the Fox even this through what little information giant brookies of my daydreams.
though Hemingway kind of tried to our pre-trip, internet scouting had The canoeing proved to be too
hide that he fished there and that gained us. The river below Seney tough for Kenny, in the front seat,
it fished so well by titling his story proved to be quite tight, and it was to get many casts out when we were
about it “The Big Two Hearted.” He not long before we arrived at our moving. We had expected this for
mentions getting off the train at the first portage. The river split and the first part of the float, as we knew
railroad bridge in Seney and hiking
up the river from there, so it does
not take much sleuthing to figure
out which river he was actually
writing about and fishing.
Dad and I had always fished
the Fox upstream from Seney, just
as Nick Adams does in the story.
It proved to be our best wild goose
chase, and we went on more than
a few. Some years, the river fished
well, exceptionally well, and some
years, we swore there was not a fish
in the stream. My fishing buddy,
Kenny, fished it with us a few times
back then, too, and he and I have
fished it together several times in
recent years. To call him a fishing
buddy is to sell our relationship a
little short. We are 37 now and have
been friends since preschool. I don’t
really remember not being friends
with Kenny.

Fall 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 55

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 55
Winter 2018-19.indd 57 11/12/2018 9:09:28 AM
"When we got in the truck at Germfask on Sunday, we estimated
that we had spent nearly half of the 16-mile float walking the
canoe over and around obstacles."

it was tight, so the plan was to stop widened. Snags were navigated by a quick hop
occasionally and make a few casts in We stopped again, at lunchtime, out of the canoe and fancy foot- and
likely looking spots. This decision to make some sandwiches and drag-work. We found a great place
was made easier by a sweeper tree empty some more water out of our to camp at about five o’clock, plenty
on the outside of one of the tight canoe. We were still dry but had of time left to gather firewood and
curves that we had been navigating. shipped a little more water. A few pair some wonderful brats bought
We did not flip the canoe, thankfully, casts brought another strike from in Kingsley, Michigan with a bottle
but we did ship enough water that another small brookie. I lost this of gin and some tonic water Kenny
it was necessary to stop, dig out all one, and it would prove to be the last had smuggled along on the trip.
our gear and empty the water out of strike we would get on this float trip. More gin followed the brats,
the bottom of our conveyance. The six portages promised by Kenny and I pawing ice out of a bag
At this first stop, after our gear our new UP resident turned into reserved for just such an occasion
had been piled on the bank and our more than a dozen. The outside of with dirty hands, telling ourselves
canoe emptied out, I caught the first every corner was full of blow-downs that the gin would take care of
Brookie of our trip. A giant it was and driftwood. Anyone who knows anything that the ice transferred
not, but it came quickly and struck anything about canoeing knows from our hands to our drinks. We
eagerly, promising of great things to how difficult this can be. We had to were dry at a wonderful campsite
come. hug the inside of every corner, drag with good libations. Even though we
We got back on the river, hoping our canoe over dead-falls, beach were virtually fishless, it was tough
it would open up some and get easier and walk consistently. We were to complain. Even the Giant Water
so Kenny could make some casts bruised and scratched, but still Bug that dropped out of the sky and
from the front of the canoe. This dry. Our gear was packed away in landed on Kenny’s chest, looking as
did not happen. In fact, it would waterproof bags so it was also dry, if it was ready to start eating, could
not happen until the Fox merged and the river stayed fairly wadeable not dampen our spirits that night.
with the Manistique and slowed and so at no point did it feel dangerous. We knew that the canoeing would

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patterns to eager Brook Trout had
been so thwarted that our fly rods
had never even made it out of the
rod tube.
Getting off the river on Sunday
proved beneficial in a couple ways:
First, Kenny’s parents were still at
their cabin in Epoufette so we could
stop in after just a short drive to
wash off the stink. Also, by leaving
the Upper Peninsula Sunday, we
avoided the bridge shut down and
resulting traffic snarl caused by the
annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge
Walk. We hit the cruise and were
improve along with the fishing in alders. When we finished and were home in Mesick by dark — sore and
the morning. settled in my truck, we smelled more tired and bruised with our curiosity
That would prove to be wishful like we had been hauling Christmas completely sated. Now, we are
thinking. When we got in the trees for two days than canoeing a already dreaming about next Labor
truck at Germfask on Sunday, we scenic Upper Peninsula river. The Day. We have chosen the upper
estimated that we had spent nearly guy who had delivered us to Seney Escanaba for our next excursion.
half of the 16-mile float walking the met us at the ramp at the canoe We have sworn off canoes, maybe
canoe over and around obstacles. I livery. He had told Kenny that we forever, hoping for a stretch that will
had navigated the canoe through were the first guys he had deliv- float our raft with visions of browns
more than one hole that proved to ered to that put-in all year. It was and oversized brookies dancing in
be too deep for Kenny to wade while no surprise, as it turned out, that our heads. My hopes are already
he spent several hundred yards his information was a bit lacking. climbing.
bushwhacking the ever-present tag Dreams of throwing terrestrial

2018/192018 | Michigan
| Michigan Out-of-Doors5757

Winter 2018-19.indd 59 11/12/2018 9:09:30 AM

Drilling Holes
into Winter
By Calvin McShane

Winter 2018-19.indd 60 11/12/2018 9:09:30 AM

e sat on 5-gallon buckets, and contour are easy to find — so patience and old war stories told on
endlessly lifting our rods much so it continuously begs the 5-gallon buckets.
up and down, jigging question “where to now?” I don’t Where do I fish on Lake
for whitefish we hoped liked the like to sit still, at least when I am Superior? Wherever there is safe
rhythmic movement of boiled fishing. I am always sure to get my ice. What kind of water are we
salmon eggs in 60 feet of water. My fair share of winter lounging in, fishing? Sometimes deep, other
fishing partner, who was in his 60s whether with a good book in front of times shallow. Sometimes we move
and had fished our current location the wood stove or covered in potato frantically to find active fish, and
for more years than I was alive, chip crumbs snoring on the couch, other times we bunker up in one
was chatting about his fondness so when I’m out on the ice I’m antsy. spot, shoveling piles of snow around
for arctic regions and his desire to It is always when I am stacking up the ice house for added insulation,
see Lake Baikal before he died. As half-cocked, nonsensical fishing dead set on making the best of
he said, “You know the whitefish theories when, overwhelmed with what we can right where we are.
fishing must be excellent, it’s not anxiousness, I step outside the ice The program is usually to target
like they’ve ever seen a damn jig in house to stretch my legs. There I am whitefish and splake during the
their life.” I was thinking about how reminded again of Lake Superior’s day with jigging spoons tipped with
badly my fingers and toes hurt, as dominance, thinking “where did we boiled steelhead eggs. Once dark
well as that I had zero affection for park? Where the hell is the shore- sets in, we switch over to eelpout.
anything cold at the moment. His line? Which way is north?” Back to Never heard of eelpout? What about
disposition proved to be the ticket
that day. The evidence was his
assorted harvest of splake, white-
fish and yellow perch compared to
my meager haul of a few splake that
my friend deemed easy to catch.
Our conversations that day took
place about 1000 yards off the shores
of Lake Superior on one of the few
windswept, exposed patches of ice in
the area. The air temperature was a
bit above 0 degrees and the wind was
blowing so hard its direction was
meaningless. Midwinter ice fishing
is definitely something I want to
be doing; but at the same time, it is
the last thing I want to be doing. I
ice fish for a couple valid reasons:
fresh whitefish, good company and
the fact that there is nothing else
better to do. The fishing can be good
— well I should say good enough,
with an emphasis on patience and
a penchant for sitting in one spot
for long periods of time. When the
action dies down for over an hour I
am usually on the brink of a mental
breakdown. But the death-defying
act of getting set up is enough deter-
rent to stick out the lulls in hopes
for a good nighttime burbot bite.
The scene is quite grim on
the bays and river mouths of the
Big Lake. Daylight is short, and
whether you watch the sunrise or
sunset, you’re going to spend some
time in darkness, with only the
faded orange industrial lights of far
off towns glimmering in the back-
ground. The water is vast. Depth

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 59

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burbot? Lingcod? Lawyers? If not, thought of as a beer drinking Vexilars, depth finders and enough
that's okay, I didn’t want you to venture — just another excuse for hi-tech gear that their final setup
know about them anyway. a bunch of people to get together rivals the tech room at Google.
In the cover of darkness, we and goof around. I won’t say that The sophistication is beyond me,
wait for the burbot to move to this isn’t some portion of what’s and it doesn’t take long for them
shallower water to feed, inter- involved, but ice fishing is hardly an to tell me to stop asking questions
cepting them with big intrusive activity meant for those looking to and that I really do not need to
glow spoons tipped with cut bait. blow off some steam, especially here know everything. To escape feeling
Aggressively pounding bottom and in God’s country. Ice fishing is for totally stupid, I prefer to wiggle my
making as much noise and racket the grizzled. It draws in unshaven way into the shanties of the older
along the bottom is your best bet. men dressed in hand-me-down wool gentleman whose techniques are
For appearing to be a generally laid that have been carved out of blocks less refined. Their tactics, much
back fish, they sure don’t like a lot of of ice. For every 10 fishermen sitting more simple, lean on tradition and
ruckus interrupting their nighttime on a boat, under warm sunlight, endurance over technology — plus,
swim about. And if you’ve never beer in hand, half-assedly watching their setups are usually way more
eaten a burbot, don’t bother. They their bobber, there is one fisherman comfortable, with years of trial and
taste like all the other fish keen pulling a sled full of gear into a error behind their woodstove and
anglers horde to themselves. And headwind through knee deep snow. shanty rigs.
lastly, under the guidance of fish- I am lucky enough to have met some Part of the allure of Lake
ermen better than I, I have caught a great people who make ice fishing Superior ice fishing is doing some-
few cohos under the ice from time to their expertise and their time-tested thing most deem as crazy and
time. When I did, I was set up near a lessons on location, technique dangerous. Onlookers will say, “You
river mouth and focused on the top and persistence are sadly glossed do all of that for those little fish?”
half of the water column with an over in an age where numbers and Meanwhile, those who take to
assortment of jigs and spoons. You popularity have more to say in the the hard water eagerly admit we
have my word, as a fisherman who outdoor community. have done a lot more for far less.
prides himself on a shallow under- Even though ice fishing is far We are the guys whose hands are
standing of honesty and keeps a from my expertise, it is among the empty more often than our pails
secret like his life depends on it, that many outdoor activities wherein are full. We seek the arduous task
this is really all I know. my interest exceeds my execution. of conquering ice and snow and it
I think ice fishing is too often My younger cohorts usually have inches toward cause for concern for

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Winter 2018-19.indd 62 11/12/2018 9:09:31 AM

loved ones. It is not fun heading out few holes and jigging up whitefish is auger blades, provides a rooftop to
and getting set up. During the trip, just an excuse to test our toughness the unknown black abyss, a riveting
it can be boring and unfruitful. And as humans and escape the doldrums dichotomy to the air above. Probing
finally, packing off the lake is more of winter for a little while. All we the depths in 8-inch cylinders, we
of a mad dash against frostbite than ask is that our loved ones look past pimple snow drifts and ice sheets,
anything else. But oddly enough the reddened, frostbitten cheeks patterning an otherwise patternless
hours later, sitting in a truck with and have the deep fryer heating up world. I’ve never been to Siberia,
the heat cranked all the way up and when we come home. but I imagine it can look a lot like
the feeling in your toes just starting I wouldn’t say I love to ice fish, the south shore mid-winter. The
to come back, you look around at but at certain times of the year, it’s reasons for braving such horrid
your buds and say, “Man, that was really the only fishing to be had so conditions are reasons anchored in
a lot of fun.” I make due. Many times, I am just relativity: Relative to the warmth
Ice and snow offer no reprieve the guy tagging along annoyingly and comfort of the woodstove. But
for survival, their unending vicious suggesting changes in tacts without ultimately, relative to the boredom
north winds make the simple task any forethinking or knowledge and anxiousness of cabin fever, ice
of breathing a calculated measure. on the subject matter. My excite- fishing the big lake is a damn good
Think braving the jungle is tough? ment for ice fishing comes from excuse to get together with friends,
Come try Lake Superior’s south my obsession for the magnitude of catch a few fish for the pan, tell old
shore come February and you’ll Lake Superior and the contrast of stories and run back home to the
see an unforgiving landscape that perpetual openness to the heavily warmth of the woodstove.
doesn’t care if you make it or not. forested landscape of the inner UP.
Once conquered, shanties set up and Endless expanses of white
heater blaring, its the satisfaction stretch for what seems to be the ends
of conquering something bigger of the earth. The ice beneath my feet,
than you that sets in. Punching a fed by a steady diet of unsharpened

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 61

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The Real
Lessons of

Ice-Fishing School By David Rose

nglish? No. Math? Not quite. Thus, I can see why the schools Michigan — where he still resides
History? Forget it. Life have become so popular. today.
science and biology, on the Recently, I was chatting with After winning In-Fisherman’s
other hand — where I could Martin and asked how the idea of Professional Walleye Trail’s (PWT)
get touchy-feely with beakers, open getting himself surrounded by a first-ever Championship in 1990,
flame and dissecting critters, as well staff of other like-minded profes- he knew if he was going to make a
spend time in the field looking for sional anglers came to be. Why teach career out of fishing he’d have to
life in peculiar places — were classes a handful of students the basics and jump headfirst into the scene. He did
I conquered. In short, school never beyond when it comes to catching so by quitting the steel mill, slowed
came easy for me unless there were fish while ice fishing, as well why he up on guiding and started fishing
a lot of hands-on lessons during the goes through so much work for very three different tournament trails.
classes I was taking. little compensation? The answers Soon, however, he started focusing
Perhaps it’s the similar were deeper in meaning than I solely on the PWT’s East and West
pro-activeness of Mark Martin’s expected. divisions exclusively. And it was
Ice-Fishing Vacation/Schools why I during that time he also started
have attended so many of the events In the beginning teaching others to fish.
over the past two decades. Oh, sure,
I’m there as media to capture photos First, understand who Mark “But the idea of creating a fishing
and create stories, but the bonus is Martin is. school was not my doing,” Martin
the knowledge I’ve gained when it In the late 1980s, he was working said. “Not too long before my perma-
comes to catching a multitude of fish three full-time gigs: an employee at nent move into professional fishing,
species through a hole in the ice, as a steel manufacturing plant, fishing I had teamed up with my mentor,
well understanding the nuances of as a walleye tournament pro (using walleye-fishing legend Gary Roach
sonar and GPS better, all the while all his vacation time to travel and (aka: Mr. Walleye), helping him out
staying safe and warm while on a fish the derbies), as well guiding for with events that he would put on for
frozen facade. And it’s been worth walleye on Muskegon Lake at night outdoor TV and radio folks, as well
every trip. all near his hometown of Muskegon, writers and photographers. And we

62 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 64 11/12/2018 9:09:32 AM

were working with Al Lindner and those ‘ah-ha!’ moments, which they’ll it’s not just increased overnights in
other folks at In-Fisherman at the remember forever, and which the hotels and cabins and more people
same time. The first year was 1988, odds will then be in their favor when sitting down in a restaurant, but the
I do believe, and by 1991, I started it comes to catching fish on their community working together, real-
working alongside Gary full-time, home waters,” Bentley continued. izing it’s the healthy environment
not just helping out.” The same holds true for Martin, of the waterways they’re located by
Skip a few years into the future too. But it’s not just giving back the that are creating a good economy.
and it was the information that was knowledge he and his pro staffers It’s a win-win situation all the way
being passed on by the outdoor media have to others, however; it’s the around.”
that had folks contacting them, as addition of knowing he’s creating “Both fishing and hunting are
well Martin, asking how they could better fisheries by exposing some of becoming less popular sports, and
join in on the events. That’s when the larger bodies of water that can schools like the Ice-Fishing Vacation/
he knew it was time to involve the handle the fishing pressure. School help spark interest, whether
public. And over time, what is now “When lakes become fishing it’s the students coming to fish the
known as the “Ice-Fishing Vacation/ destinations, the fishery may not school or others who heard the event
School” was underway. Since, up to only improve because of increased was coming to town,” Martin said.
three events per ice-fishing season stocking and the like, but the commu- “Fishing is enriching to me, I want to
have taken place all over the frozen nities surrounding them become help the sport continue to be what it
waterways throughout Michigan. stronger, to boot,” Martin said. “And can be. I want to know that this Mark
But it’s not just Martin who does all
the teaching; he’s assembled more
than a dozen pro staffers who work
with students one-on-one during
each school.
Pat Bentley, of Bear Lake,
Michigan, is one such Ice-Fishing
Vacation/School pro staffer. He actu-
ally started out as a student when the
school was being held on the Lower
Peninsula’s Lake Cadillac and Lake
“I wanted to learn to catch more
fish on the lakes near my home; so
I signed up to absorb all I could,”
Bentley said. “And that’s exactly
what happened… I learned a ton,
which put the odds in my favor, and
wouldn’t you know it, I understood
what I needed to do and started
catching more fish from those days
But Martin realized Bentley
knew more about fishing than the
average Joe and was a perfect candi-
date for becoming pro staff because
of his personality and ability to work
with and teach others. The following
year, Bentley started officially
mentoring others during the schools.
“I do it for a few different
reasons. First, it’s fun! I’ve become
close friends with the other pro staff
and media people, even some of the
students, and we even fish together
when we’re not teaching at the
schools,” Bentley said.
“But the real reason is helping
out others who might have been like
me; someone who just needs to find

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 63

Winter 2018-19.indd 65 11/12/2018 9:09:32 AM

the ice.
As I write this, three ice-fishing
schools are scheduled for 2019,
with the state’s largest inland lake,
Houghton Lake, starting the streak
January 6 through 9 with a multi-spe-
cies event. The second school will be
held on Lake Huron’s ever-popular
Saginaw Bay for walleyes and perch,
with the occasional whitefish, lake
trout and northern pike; the official
date is yet to be determined. The
last school is leaning towards a new
location, in which the many species
of Mullet Lake may be the target.
Information on cost, equipment
needed and the exact dates and
locations can be found at fishingva- and Martin’s
personal website at markmartins.

made his mark in fishing by creating

a passion for it.”
One other thing Martin said
is it’s the knowledge of everyone,
students included, at each and every
school that creates a great learning
experience. He acquires something
new at every one. His staff picks up
something new at every one. And, of
course, the students, as well.
“Because fishing is becoming less
popular, it gets harder and harder
for people to find other like-minded
people to fish with,” Martin adds.
“So many students have become
good friends after attending and fish
together for years after their on-ice
experience. The school is also a great
place to make new friends that last a

No need for a No. 2 pencil

Mark Martin’s Ice-Fishing
Vacation/Schools consists of four
days, with the first being a seminar
day put on by all the instructors for
students and the public alike. Days
two and three are full days on the ice,
with Martin and pro staffers circu-
lating around to the students. The
day ends with everyone sharing the
happenings of their day after a full,
hot meal. Day four is a half day on

64 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 66 11/12/2018 9:09:34 AM

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

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Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 65

Winter 2018-19.indd 67 11/12/2018 9:09:36 AM

River to Table:
An Act of

By Calvin McShane

like to think of myself as a in fishing there happens to be the changed. In my youth, I under-
pretty good woodsman — the opportunity to release fish — a fact stood fishing to mean not only the
type of person whose relation- that makes ethics in angling a pecu- catching of fish but the killing and
ship with the out of doors moves liar idea. eventual eating of them. I grew up
beyond just fishing and hunting. I have fished all around the state valuing certain species over others.
A woodsman is someone with not for nearly every species Michigan Walleye and perch were prized fish,
only knowledge of the forest, but has to offer, and over the span of while sheepshead were a nuisance.
the wisdom to respect it. Caring for my life, my fishing ethics have Obviously, these ideas came from
all things beyond fish and game, a understanding fish solely in terms
woodsman is someone who knows of food. I grew older and my fishing
nothing exists independently. I have adventures led me to trout, salmon
been adamant in my idea the term and steelhead. I was eventually
‘nature’ only serves as a linguistic persuaded to put these species on a
distinction, and all things human pedestal and proceeded to become
beings do can be understood as one of those elitist, know-it-alls, who
natural. On the other hand, I do criticized anyone who didn’t prac-
recognize there are places that are tice the holiest of customs — catch
relatively unaffected by the human and release. I can remember often
form. I also recognize these wild taking an unreasonable amount of
places need to be protected, which time to handle and revive a steel-
means they not only be set aside but, head, when not moments later I
when interacting with them, our would aggressively and carelessly
behavior managed. When it comes unhook a redhorse sucker, surely
to hunting, the primary behavior endangering an otherwise innocent
managed is the taking of game — fish. Ultimately buying only the
when, how and how much. Fishing highest-end craft beer and flash-
is managed similarly; however, iest of fishing wear began to take a

66 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 68 11/12/2018 9:09:38 AM

serious toll on my wallet, and I was
forced to again reimagine how it "I am inclined to think the act of killing and consuming game
was I thought about fish — thinking
deeply about the value of all fish, leads to a respect unknown by those who choose not to partake
not just some fish.
As a hunter, I find it a grave in such actions, and I am certain when it comes to wildlife, we as
sin to waste meat. My hunting life
is partly meaningless if not for the people hold some creatures more valuable than others."
wild game it provides seeing I regu-
claim righteousness and act like we and fishing; however, this does not
larly choose my rod and reel over
have completely ridden ourselves of mean our work as outdoorsmen and
my rifle. I am inclined to think the
any culpability when it comes to the women ends when we take off our
act of killing and consuming game
health of a fishery. boots. An outdoors person who does
leads to a respect unknown by those
I don’t believe you can appre- not continuously contemplate their
who choose not to partake in such
ciate the warmth of a fire fully if ethics is an person without any
actions, and I am certain when it
you’ve never struggled to build one. I ethics at all. As anglers, when we’ve
comes to wildlife, we as people hold
then assume there is serious knowl- wrangled a fish to shore, there is
some creatures more valuable than
edge to be gained in getting your a choice to be made: to kill or not
others. We hunt grouse, but the idea
hands dirty and communicating to kill. Both choices must be done
of hunting a bluejay just doesn’t
with landscapes through hunting with the utmost reverence informed
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Winter 2018-19.indd 69 11/12/2018 9:09:39 AM

by serious reflection. In my own desires, being hooked in the mouth should be a decision done so with
experience, I have come to realize and dragged out of the water would not only the individual fish or meal
the significance in having a hand in not be amongst them. The releasing in mind, but the fishery as a whole.
the food I consume; an idea I think of a fish and the almighty self-righ- For centuries, humans ate
lends itself to anglers in a way that teous feeling it gives an angler is as exclusively what they hunted, fished
being a strictly catch-and-release egotistical as it is ethical. and grew. Over time, we eventually
angler cannot. I am not advocating for the became severely divorced from the
As I say a lot in my writing, I abandonment of catch and release violence and seriousness of food
don’t like the act of fishing to be fishing; however, I am advocating acquisition. Hunters and anglers, in
solely about me. The consumption for the understanding that killing an attempt to bridge that gap, have
of fish, albeit can be an ego booster, and consuming fish is a part of discovered the communal tradition
is a communal action meant to the sport. We as anglers should of eating fish and game. I have this
deconstruct selfishness. Talking, neither abuse the resource nor theory the nostalgia brought upon
eating, gathering — it is what we do aimlessly designate the value of by traditions such as these don’t
as humans. And the value we place certain species. We should neither elicit new emotions, but rather bring
on species, locations and ethics kill fish for the macho sensibility us to sentiments held deep inside all
hardly has to do with what the fish nor should we let fish go for reasons human beings. The camaraderie
wants and deals mostly with what entirely caught up with our egos. It shared within the ritual of eating
we want. Fish don’t have desires. is about the responsibility to involve foods our hands had a part in brings
They don’t make decisions to be ourselves with a resource mindfully us together with those around as
invasive, native, stocked or wild. and holistically. The health of a well as those who became before us
They don’t have preferences on fishery should inform anglers on in a sacred collapsing of time.
what sorts of things fool them into their harvesting practices. Whether Those who abuse the resource
eating. I am sure if they did have an angler releases or keeps a fish through over-harvest or blindly

Winter 2018-19.indd 70 11/12/2018 9:09:41 AM

"I suppose this is why hunters place such an importance on eating what they kill. Yet, many of
these same hunters, my past selfincluded, don’t bat an eye on catching and releasing countless
trout — quickly forgetting the respect gained in the acts of killing and consuming."
practice catch and release both When I do kill a fish, I handle a sportsman or woman. The sights
operate under the idea that we are it properly. I am sure to use it to its and sounds of cooking fish live
rulers of our domain. I do not think full extent and share its bounty with with me as much as the fish itself.
we sit above our landscapes, but those around me. I think fondly to Like all existence, a fish’s life can be
rather stand at eye level with them, my next beer-battered whitefish, meaningful in life and death. As I
and I think now is the time to recon- bluegill tacos and broiled, ruby-red take from the earth, I must have the
nect with our world in an entirely rainbow trout — I look forward foreknowledge to give back. I give
different manner — as anglers, to the collapsing of time of both back in time, money, reflection and,
in its simplest form. Sometimes, I man and resource. Even when I am ultimately, respect — respect for the
keep fish; other times, I let fish go. alone, fresh off a tiny brook trout memories, lessons and life spent out
In either instance, I do so in respect stream with a few keepers in my of doors.
because regardless of what I do, my creel, I feel totally fulfilled. Onions
actions have an unavoidable effect from the garden, blueberries from
on the resource. In both harvest the fields and brook trout from the
and release, I do so with the foun- stream on my plate remind me that
dation that the fish are there for I am enjoying a meal that soothes
more than my entertainment and my palate and puts me in the inti-
consumption. mate arena of what it means to be

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 69

Winter 2018-19.indd 71 11/12/2018 9:09:42 AM


By Missi Martineau

magine standing in the return is usually the same, either wildlife populations helps to lessen
outdoors, as it is hot and sticky meat in the freezer or a bragging the chances of a disease outbreak
during early September, when right. The hunters and anglers are and unwanted human interactions.
all of a sudden a northern gust not giving up their passion because Look at the raccoon, for instance.
of cool, autumn air sweeps through they are not capitalizing financially. A sow can have up to eight kits per
and gives your spirit a much-needed, They still do what they choose to do, year. That is a huge population
fresh breath. Trapping seasons are within their means, because they increase, and rabies and distemper
quickly approaching and fishing love it. could potentially run rampant.
season is winding down. For it What is missing when it comes While some would argue that is
might be said that you have a passion to trapping? The answer that you just nature taking its course, it’s
for only one outdoor sport; but for are more often to hear than not important to realize that all of
many of us, the Michigan outdoors is that the fur prices are not what those animals would go completely
is our way of life, and without it, they used to be. It takes a little more to waste due to a disease that
we would lose who we are at heart. effort to gain a larger profit, but could have been minimalized with
Michigan outdoorsmen and women there is a return if you know where adequate population control.
should never stop seeking their to find it. Unfortunately, it must be While it’s possible to wipe
driving force for obstacles that may said that the trapping tradition is out a small area with over-hunting
arise — for it is what we choose to do failing to be passed down. Traps can or trapping, there will always be
with them that truly defines us. be retired, left hanging, unused and transients that repopulate that same
For the next generation, tech- untouched, on barn walls for years, area over a period of time. That is
nology is outweighing nature. If even generations and still be better why it is important for hunters and
things don’t come easy or with quick than new. They will still catch fur trappers to stay educated and keep
money, the next generation is less with little to no effort. Some furs working together. Even skunks and
likely to seek the outdoor way of require a little bit more care, but it’s opossums have their place in the fur
life. Generations back, teens would time to take down those old traps market, they just have a reputation
go trapping to earn some gas money: and set your line. that follows them that they cannot
a job of sorts. The teens today don’t There is a greater service shake. So, if we work together,
want to trap because it requires that trappers and hunters provide, maintaining healthy furbearer
work and “there isn’t money in it.” though. It’s in the realm of populations and frequenting the
Let’s play devil’s advocate conservation. When animals are local fur sales, we will have done
and think about how Michigan not harvested for the use of fur what we can do to make sure that
outdoorsmen and women pay to fish or because the fur values are low, the trapping tradition gains ground
and pay to hunt without complaint. populations are allowed to multiply and stays healthy for the genera-
No matter the costs involved, the without hindrance. Maintaining tions that follow.
70 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 72 11/12/2018 9:09:42 AM

There will be professional Demos,
Vendors, Supplies and Raffles

Interested In BeIng A MeMBer?

Sign up Online at: • Missi Martineau - Email:
**Yearly memberships run from January 1 through December 31**

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 71

Winter 2018-19.indd 73 11/12/2018 9:09:43 AM

For their Service
13th Annual Tails-A-Waggin' Veterans Hunt

ven before the first drop of coffee falls to the pot, the
low rumble of the side-by-sides begin to break the
still of the chilly, dark morning. It's Friday morning,
and in just a couple short hours, veterans from all over
the state and from all walks of life will be ready to hit
the fields at Tails-A-Waggin' Acres in Marion for the 13th
annual veterans pheasant hunt. By Dave Veldman

Much of the work, though, started long before this early, wake-up call. The team of volunteers
that put the boots on the ground have been hard at work for months preparing for the big
dance. Leading up to the opening ceremonies, details ranging from taking registrations down
to making sure the yard is meticulously manicured have been taken care of by people who are
personally invested in this annual tribute to our nation's heroes. We are proud to boast that there
were more than 200 men and women giving their time in and out of the field to pull this event
together. When the first hunter steps into the field, they are shown honor by the prideful work of
many hands.

Winter 2018-19.indd 74 11/12/2018 9:09:45 AM

Over the course of four days, more than 300 military, fire, police and first responders were
treated to not only a free pheasant hunt, but the camaraderie and support that can only be
found in a community of fellow veterans. One of the key goals is to ensure that every hunter
feels welcome and a part of something bigger than just their time in the field hunting pheasant.
The team of people that work behind the scenes are integral to making it all come together.

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 73

Winter 2018-19.indd 75 11/12/2018 9:09:47 AM

As the sun is still contemplating its illumination of the horizon, the flight pen is a flutter with birds
being arranged for six fields of hunters. A single work light guides the setting up of tables,
chairs and the registration station. Work commences with little orchestration as everyone
understands their roll. This year, in particular, the pressure is on as the anticipation of the CH-47
Chinook helicopter’s arrival for the opening ceremonies fuels the frenzy.

Figures draped in orange begin to populate the dimly lit barnyard. As the fields are being set,
and final preparations are being made for the flag raising ceremony, a welcoming atmosphere
begins to take shape. Field guides begin to filter in with their four-legged friends in expectancy
of a rewarding day in the field. This isn’t a customer-client type situation, though. These men
and women, some of whom served our country themselves, are here to serve. They are here
because they understand the need for a simple, escaping time like this: time to connect, yet time
away from the normal. It's a mental interruption among unknown friends.

Winter 2018-19.indd 76 11/12/2018 9:09:49 AM

The distant 'thwaps' of the impending chinook are
greeted by a crowd of joyful eagerness…and a few
phones trained on the sky. As the chopper approaches,
an honor guard of four marches forth with solidarity.
The stars and stripes are held high and in the center. The
symbol for which every hero here has stood in defense
of now slowly raises into the morning sky. A single
voice initiates the singing of the National Anthem. Men
and women join chorus, some in salute, others hand
over heart as Ol’ Glory unfurls in the gentile morning
breeze. It is the moments like this that make the efforts
of each volunteer pause in reverence to the real reason
they are here — service. Service to one other. Service to
those who have served our nation.

The first hunters of the weekend begin their approaches to the fields. Some charge forth,
while others still plagued by injuries of wars past, find themselves assisted by caddies and
aided by track-driven chairs. All head to the field to be treated to a day of honor and, most
importantly, fun. It’s the simple smile on the face of a vet after harvesting his first pheasant in
decades that affirms every ounce of energy put into this great event.

Winter 2018-19.indd 77 11/12/2018 9:09:50 AM

Finding a
bit of Heaven
in a Michigan
Winter By Andy Duffy
E veryone should have such a
It didn’t look like much.
Never, in fact, has a Shangri-La
looked more prosaic.
It was a regenerating clear-cut
that probably covered a mere 20
acres or so. Its edges were scraggly
and uneven. Through Michigan’s
gray winters, the place had a mono-
chromatic aura. The thick stuff
springing up where the old-growth
forest had been logged off was a mix
of aspen and red maple. There, gray
skies morphed into gray tree trunks
and nearly gray snow. The place was
an incubator for seasonal affective
Even apart from its aesthetics,
the place had a sketchy pedi-
gree. Hares and aspen seem to go
together just as grouse and aspen
do. However, I’ve never found many
hares in young stands of red maple.
In my Shangri-La, though, maples Whether on public land or private (but usually on the little piece of paradise in
outnumbered the aspen. A freshman the state forest), hare hunting offered the author a time of pleasant diversion that
forestry student at a second-rate helped him through dreary Michigan winters.
academy could have drawn up better
hare habitat using cheap artists’ more hares. But I didn’t need larger. cruel when people keep dogs who
charcoal, a water-stained sketch pad The pint-sized piece of paradise long to hunt and deny them the
and a rickety easel. served me just fine. opportunity. I know how much I
The little plot of scrubby saplings The clear cut stood on state would like to be locked up in a cell
sat among mature timber, woods property not far from my home. I with no opportunity to hunt. So, I got
worthless for hares. Featuring the could drive to it in 20 minutes. The my beagle to the woods when I had
same pastel shades as the nearby trip included probably 10 minutes the chance. Emulating John Denver
young forest, even the older forest of slow driving on the forest roads. and his fiddle-playing proclivities,
was depressing. Somehow, though, I spent two magical winters hunting I hunted when I could and worked
a handful of hares had discovered the tract. when I should. Oftentimes, though,
the little bit of paradise sitting in I had a wife and young children I my hunting was confined to a couple
the large timber and decided to call dearly loved spending time with and of Sunday afternoon hours whose
it home. a job that kept me busy too many shredded edges were torn from the
Other nearby regenerating cuts hours. I also had a beagle. I wanted fabric of a busy life. Church would
were larger and perhaps held many to be fair to her. I find it pathetically be over, Sunday dinner behind us

76 |

Winter 2018-19.indd 78 11/12/2018 9:09:51 AM

and the dishes done.
By January, Christmas would
be but a memory. The Lions’ season
would be, too, but winter, long
and cold, would be just beginning.
The kids and I would watch a few
minutes of whatever playoff game
was on, though, before I decided I’d
had enough of domesticity. Then
I would grab the dog and a .22 and
head for the woods. I had an old,
beat-up Nissan that got me to my
grove. There, I would turn my dog
loose and wait.
Rosie was my beagle. I never
should have had her. I was as
poor as a church mouse. At least I
thought I was, and even Rosie’s dog
food seemed like an extravagance at
times. But I was crazy for beagles.
So was a friend of mine. Both of Even with young children in their home, the author's wife, Mandy, occasionally
us, as I recall, were between dogs accompanied him on his wintertime jaunts. Although Mandy preferred a shotgun,
when Rosie entered my life. My Duffy used his .22 with the understanding that many hares would live to be run
friend wanted to get a pup out of another day.
a line of Kentucky beagles he was
familiar with. He talked several any name would be as sweet. I had found me in the woods. My pal who
friends into anteing up $60 each a hunting dog; someone else in collected the funds to purchase her
for him to go buy a female pup. He the family had the satisfaction of mama told me that hunts just went
would later get the girl bred and choosing a name. better when Rosie was along.
repay with a pup those who contrib- And just as her mama was, Rosie She didn’t have a better nose
uted to his purchase. turned out to be a pretty good dog. than some of the other dogs in our
I wasn’t ready to cough up the Oh, not at first. collective pack. One of the dogs
$60 yet when a pup was ready for my I would hunt her solo, of course. I was the greatest beagle I’ve ever
friend in Kentucky. Christmas was was satisfied with her performance. seen. But Rosie seemed to have a
coming, and I had other things in I knew she wasn’t a great dog, but I sixth sense where rabbits were
mind for the cash. As Robert Service thought she was pretty good. concerned. She could often unravel
wrote, though, a promise made is a When I would hunt her with a trail when the other dogs were
debt unpaid. I wrote out the check. other dogs, her deficiencies glared. stymied. She helped hold our pack
My friend’s dog was a good one, She was slow. She puttered on a together.
too. He got her bred, and a litter track. Perhaps my friends’ dogs My friends didn’t hunt hares
of pups arrived. Details elude me, intimidated her, but she wouldn’t often. We had access to a pine plan-
but I wasn’t ready for a pup from pack up. Long after a rabbit and the tation with lots of cottontails. So
that litter, either. I kept assuring other dogs had gone by a hunter, on Saturday’s, I hunted cottontails
my friend that I would wait for the Rosie would come along pecking with them. They didn’t hunt
next litter for my reimbursement. away at the cold track. on Sundays. Less pure than they,
He wouldn’t hear of that, though. I was slow to witness any great I would. That was one difference
A little beagle soon resided at my improvement in her performance. between my Baptist background
house. After a few years, though, I couldn’t and their strict Methodism. So, on
We called her Rosie. It wasn’t a beg off Saturday hunts with my Sunday afternoons, I would head to
name I would have picked. What’s friends. The day of the week I tried my scanty plot of ground where the
in a name, though? A beagle by to set aside for family activities often hares ran.
Ah, yes, that scanty plot of
"By January, Christmas would be but a memory. The Lions’ season ground.
I’m not a William Wordsworth
would be, too, but winter, long and cold, would be just beginning. fanatic or anything. Some of the
words he wrote, though, just reso-
The kids and I would watch a few minutes of whatever playoff game nate with me. “The world is too
much with us,” wrote Wordsworth.
was on, though, before I decided I’d had enough of domesticity." I agreed.

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often seemed as bleak and dark as
the wintertime woods.
The scanty plot of ground that
was my hare woods, though, was my
refuge. Other hunters apparently
hadn’t stumbled across it. Or, if
they had, they must have bypassed
it for the larger tracts of hare-
holding cover in the vast wildness
that comprises that particular state
forest. I seldom saw another person
there. Neither did I see any evidence
that others had visited while I was
absent from it. And, of course, hares
were always there.
I knew that on such a small
parcel, hunters could easily take all
the hares. I was much more inter-
ested in having hares to run than
hares for food. That was one reason
why I chose a .22 for my weapon. I
was sure to limit my kill.
So, Sunday afternoons through
January, February and into March
found me at my Shangri-La. I would
drive Rosie into the forest and turn
her loose. She would find a trail
and begin to bay. I would stand and
wait for a hare to come by. A rough,
stress-filled work week would be
coming up, but there in the woods, I
would find brief solace.
It is difficult to explain to anyone
who has never hunted rabbits with
a beagle exactly how hunts go. That
is partly because, no doubt, no two
hunts are alike. It is also because
of a person’s preconceived notions.
Most non-hunters probably envi-
sion a beagle sight-chasing a rabbit
around in circles. Or, at a minimum,
they probably think a dog gets on
a rabbit trail and is constantly not
far behind the rabbit while driving
The author didn’t take many hares from his Shangri-La. Each one a person takes it along.
is one fewer for his dog to run, and the place couldn’t take a lot of pressure. Each Instead, a hunt is often full
hare, though, was a treasure. of checks and pauses. A check is
rabbit-hunting lingo for those times
The poet, of course, when he I thought I was living in at the time. when the dog or dogs have lost a
wrote those words, was tormented I wasn’t content with such a cell. track and they’re casting around
by the direction the French Neither my job nor my life allowed trying to find it. Dogs often lose
Revolution had taken. Because of me any time for being pensive in the tracks for any number of reasons.
the way the industrial revolution manner of Wordsworth’s hypothet- Sometimes a rabbit might run
had distanced people from nature, ical students. Besides, I was bored across a surface that has poor scent-
he mourned it, too. Trapped in a job with pensiveness. What I needed in holding qualities. A rabbit might
I felt ill suited for and unhappy with my life was some time away from double back on its trail. They some-
so many aspects of my life, I felt an the constant pressure of my job. times travel through tiny culverts
affinity for Wordsworth’s words. I’m pretty certain I wasn’t suffering or swim across ponds.
And I fretted at the narrow room from clinical depression, but life Hare hunting adds an additional

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twist that cottontail hunting doesn’t
have. Hares are nearly invisible
with snow on the ground. In fact, I
well remember the time one worked
its way by me and I was unable to
get off a shot.
I had a scoped .22 along that
afternoon. I saw the rabbit coming
when it was still 50 yards off. I shoul-
dered my rifle and tried to find it in
my reticle. The rabbit had stopped,
and I couldn’t see it. The creatures
blend in with their surroundings
that well. I lowered my gun. As if on
cue, the rabbit hopped toward me.
Every time it stopped, it just disap-
peared. When it moved, I didn’t have
my rifle up. Eventually, it was gone.
But that’s the way hunting with
dogs often goes. Non-hunters who
have this conception of rabbits (or
hares) running along with a dog
right behind them really have no
idea of how things normally work.
Those who think hunting is
about getting meat to eat are as
wrong as those who think fishing
is. We can live easily on vegetarian
diets. There are more efficient ways
to get wild game and fish than
by using the methods we use for
sport hunting or angling. Instead,
hunting and fishing are ways to get
us back to nature – and, of course,
a way to soothe away the cares that
infest our souls. So, I would listen
to Rosie’s baying. I would take aim
if a hare came by. But mostly, I was
just bathing my body in the healing
balms of solitude and nature to
prepare me for the week ahead.
As the weeks passed, the days
grew longer. The snow would
recede. Sometimes a March expedi-
tion would turn sunny. With winter
drawing to a close, my depression A scanty plot of ground was enough to help the author make it through a couple of
would lessen. I would look forward dreary winters. Everyone should have such a place of refuge.
to spring and more outdoor activi-
ties. My mood would brighten with nights are long and the weather is with my old .22 waiting for a hare to
the weather. My little bit of paradise cold, my mind travels back to my come hopping by. Once again, I’m
got me through a dreary time. little piece of heaven. Then I hop in finding solace in that scanty plot
After a couple of seasons, an old truck and head for the forest of ground. And with each passing
though, my Shangri-La was gone. with a tri-colored beagle named reverie brings us that much closer
The saplings became young trees. Rosie in tow. We leap from the to spring.
Surviving hares moved to greener vehicle together, she with a glossy
pastures. Then, Rosie passed away. coat free of gray and I with a lighter
Time was the serpent that slithered step than I’ve had for many a year
into my garden and destroyed it all. now. Before long, Rosie is hot on a
Each winter, though, when the trail. I stand at the edge of the cover

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Adopt-A-Game Area:
By Ben Beaman Pheasants Forever MI Coordinating
Wildlife Biologist

Winter 2018-19.indd 82 11/12/2018 9:09:54 AM

t’s no secret that grasslands are the region. But the small family Increasing domestic and interna-
one of the fastest disappearing farms that replaced these major tional demand for grain spurred
ecosystems on the planet, grassland complexes, along with changes to agriculture that would
and Michigan has been no the still-abundant remnant grass- dramatically change the landscape
exception to this rule. Historically, lands, provided an opportunity for in a relatively short period of time.
Southern Michigan was dominated a different community of species Crop rotations grew less and less
by a patchwork of tallgrass prairie, to thrive. Many species found this diverse, agricultural technology
oak savanna and woodlands. Called new, more varied landscape to be improved at an astounding rate and
the “Prairie/Hardwood Transition”, ideal habitat, including Bobwhite idled fields became a thing of the
this habitat mosaic was maintained Quail, Cottontail Rabbits and, later, past. The treeless nature of grass-
by periodic wildfires and deliberate Ring-necked Pheasants. lands that made them easy targets
burns set by Native Americans. It Pheasants first arrived in for conversion during Michigan’s
may be hard to believe now, but Michigan in 1895, following settlement once again spelled doom
this landscape once supported such successful establishment of the for most of Michigan’s remaining
iconic grassland species as Plains species in other parts of the U.S. prairies. Together with suppres-
Bison, Greater Prairie Chickens, Originally from China, pheasants sion of wildfires on the landscape,
and others that are exclusively thrived in the diverse landscape of this quick conversion to intensive
associated with the American Great early 1900s Michigan. They fared so agriculture led to the mostly dichot-
Plains today. well that Michigan hosted its first omous landscape of row crops and
After settlement of this region pheasant season in 1925, and by mature woodlands that covers most
by Europeans, the productive soils the middle part of the 20th century, of Southern Michigan today.
and relative lack of trees made Michigan pheasant hunters were Despite this extensive habitat
grasslands prime candidates for routinely harvesting over 1 million loss, pheasants have hung on in
conversion to agriculture. As pheasants a year. Michigan, albeit in much lower
more and more native prairie But things began to change for numbers, where pockets of suit-
fell to the plow, the bison and pheasants, and their grassland/ able habitat still exist. Isolated
other species dependent on large farmland wildlife compatriots, in grasslands provided through
expanses of grass disappeared from the last quarter of the 20th century. Federal Farm Bill Programs, like

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the Conservation Reserve Program 40,000 acres!! That’s a lot of new recognized on Michigan Pheasants
(CRP), still support healthy and habitat, and all of it will be specifi- Forever’s website and Facebook
huntable populations of pheas- cally designed to address the habitat page, the MI DNR website, in the
ants for those who have access needs of pheasants and monarch Pheasants Forever Magazine and in
to them. And many state-owned butterflies. an annual press release.
properties (State Game Areas, State Another new opportunity in Grasslands established through
Wildlife Areas, and State Parks) Michigan – the Adopt-A-Game this program will improve water
that prioritize establishment and Area Program – is intended to help and air quality in Michigan, and
maintenance of native grasslands accelerate establishment of grass- will support a vast array of wildlife
support healthy populations as well. lands on public land. A partnership species, including pheasants, white-
However, because the abundance between Pheasants Forever, the MI tailed deer, wild turkey, cottontail
and quality of these grasslands is DNR, and the Hal and Jean Glassen rabbit, grassland nesting songbirds,
determined largely by funding (CRP Memorial Foundation, this program monarch butterflies, and other
acreage caps, DNR budgets, etc.) is an opportunity for the public – native pollinators. Additionally,
they are far from protected. In fact, individuals, clubs, corporations, because all habitat work will take
grasslands and grassland wildlife foundations, etc. – to help re-estab- place on lands open to public
probably face more threats today lish native grasslands on select State recreation, Michigan residents will
than they ever have. Habitat loss is Game Areas throughout Southern benefit from improved opportuni-
still occurring, and indirect threats Michigan. Pheasants Forever will ties for wildlife viewing, hunting,
like deer diseases require time and use funds generated through the and other wildlife-based outdoor
money to address; time and money program to restore, improve, and recreation.
that may have otherwise been spent maintain productive grasslands on For more information on the
on habitat. these public properties for species Adopt-A-Game Area Program,
But it’s not all doom and like pheasants. and a complete list of properties
gloom. New opportunities exist to Adopt-A-Game Area Program eligible for sponsorship, visit www.
combat these trends in the state of Sponsors can earn Gold (over, or
Michigan. This past summer, the $25,000), Silver (over $5,000) or contact Ben Beaman at bbeaman@
U.S. Department of Agriculture Bronze (over $500) sponsorship
accepted Michigan’s proposal to levels with their tax-deductible
enroll 40,000 new acres of CRP donations and will receive their
SAFE (State Acres for Wildlife name or logo on a kiosk sign at
Enhancement) on private land in the property they sponsored.
the Southern Lower Peninsula. Additionally, sponsors will be

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Winter 2018-19.indd 84 11/12/2018 9:09:55 AM




This project was funded by the Michigan Invasive Species

Grant Program (

Winter 2018-19.indd 85 11/12/2018 9:09:56 AM


By Greg Marten

wintery outing with new #10 Low cost of entry turned up decent aluminum frame
snowshoes at Otsego Lake used snowshoes for as little as $40
State Park just south of Unlike some outdoor ventures, for an adult pair and only $10 for
Gaylordled my son, Max, snowshoeing is relatively inexpen- child size. The size you will need
and I to begin a top 10 list of reasons sive. Getting started in the sport generally depends upon the total
why we like snowshoeing during our does not require a huge investment weight you will carry. The style or
ride home. For whatever reason, the because the necessary unique gear shape depends upon your purpose.
list was not completed and was set is minimal and secondary equip- I tried snowshoeing the first time
aside with the arrival of spring and ment comes from what you probably at a gear demo day near Traverse
melting snow. already own — good winter boots, a City many years back, before online
Recently, while chatting with parka, thermals, and head and hand auction sites even existed; I knew
my cousin, Eric, about our favorite protection. that buying snowshoes was in my
outdoor activities, I mentioned that When it comes to snowshoes future. I soon purchased new alumi-
I really enjoy snowshoeing but don’t themselves, like starting other num-framed, recreational ‘shoes
get out to do so nearly enough — pursuits, you have some options: with some type of plastic decking
mainly due to the perennial lack borrow/rent, buy used or buy new. and buckle bindings. The options
of snow in Southeastern Michigan. If you are not sure you’ll stay available today for snowshoes and
Eric had never snowshoed, so I with the sport, consider renting buying are much more extensive.
mentioned a few of the reasons snowshoes from a nature center,
from our unfinished list. After the state park or outfitter; or, better yet, #9 Traditional meets
conversation, I resolved to modify borrow some from a friend. Rentals
our list of reasons why we like the usually run in the range of $5 to 20
sport into a top 10 list of reasons to per day.
give snowshoeing a try. Snowshoeing has ancient
If buying used gear is your
beginnings and is practiced in some
preference, a recent online search

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form by most cold climate cultures. models of snowshoes in different the state, and a state recreation pass-
You get to choose from traditional sizes, and all are available laced with port gets you into all of Michigan’s
wooden ‘shoes laced with rawhide to traditional rawhide or neoprene.” state parks and state recreation
high tech models made of space-age Customers can choose from four areas. State and national forests are
materials. Both work! binding options. all over the northern two-thirds of
Worth noting is Michigan’s our state. Every county has its own
own Iverson Snowshoe Company parks, nature centers, trails and
in Wetmore just southeast of #8 Locations abound public byways. For many, finding
Munising. The company has had a new places and planning outings is
number of owners over the years, It would be beyond the scope of part of the fun. The main factors
but has been in the business of this article to list even a fraction of are to know your own abilities and
handcrafting traditional wooden the possible places to snowshoe in interests, make a plan and get out
snowshoes for over 60 years. You can Michigan, and the spectrum ranges there on some snowshoes.
find current owners Bob and Linda from rolling farm fields or woodlots
Graves’ shop on M-28 about 7 miles drifted over with snow to true back-
country wilderness areas requiring #7 Get back to your roots
west of the original Shingleton
location that was founded in 1954 by orienteering and survival skills.
An Internet search will quickly Lots of Michiganders, myself
Clarence Iverson. According to the included, were introduced to
Iverson website, they “handcraft 17 yield many leads for every region of
hunting by pursuing cottontail
rabbits and snowshoe hares. As
a BB gun-toting youngster, my
dad took me into the cedar forests
of Presque Isle County with our
blue tick beagle Daisy. One of my
sharpest memories is of freezing
toes in thin, green, rubber boots.
Many boots leaked, and kids wore
empty bread bags as liners over our
socks! Our hunts ended when the
snow got too deep to traverse easily,
but if we had snowshoes and I had
better boots, our seasons would
have been longer.
Try a new twist - strap on some
snowshoes and return to your
rabbit hunting roots. Last winter,
outdoorsman Tom Lounsbury
noted in the Midland Daily News
that smaller snowshoes are, “handy
for real brushy areas while rabbit

#6 Expand your range

Snowshoes can help you find
places that are difficult, if not
impossible, to reach during other
seasons due to water, wetlands or
mud. Use this strategy employed
for generations by trappers and take
yourself to habitats that are rarely
seen by others.
Don Johnson, Wisconsin
author of Grouse & Woodcock: A
Gunner’s Guide, wrote about using
snowshoes after freeze up to hunt
hardwood islands surrounded by
swamps, therefore reaching birds

Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 85

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that had were not exposed to early and use that information when and I couldn’t hear anything but the
season hunting pressure. setting their lines. Stalking prey softness. It took me years to under-
by following rabbit, deer or coyote stand what he heard in the sounds
#5 Expand your number of tracks is an option for those hunting of snow and rain...”
on snowshoes. When visiting Grand Marais on
hunting days the south shore of Lake Superior,
#3 Retrace I snowshoe back into the forest,
There is still lots of good over a frozen swamp and to a place
hunting to be done after the regular I named the Cathedral of Trees.
firearm deer season concludes, and Making your own tracks is a
fact and benefit of snowshoeing; it's It feels like an outdoor great room
snowshoeing allows you to float over with evergreen walls cloaked in
thick snow, accessing prime habi- hard to get lost because unless you
are out in blizzard conditions, you white, opening up to steel sky often
tats and increasing your number of dropping snow, yet shielding me
days afield. can always turn around and follow
your tracks back to your starting from wind. A log becomes a bench
The later ruffed grouse season for private contemplation.
ends January 1, and although spot. Most snowshoeing newbies
probably won’t begin the sport by Hushed snow-covered forests
Southern Michigan is often and icy streams cast the environ-
snow-challenged, partridge hunters heading into the deep wilderness,
but when in the backcountry, carry ment in a unique and special aura.
in the northern lower peninsula
and U.P. can keep hunting on snow- a compass and map (as well as other
shoes. Not many hunters forget the emergency equipment) and know Snowshoeing attracts
startled thrill of a ruff rocketing out how to use them. many
of its snowbank roost. More dead-
of-winter snowshoe hunting options #2 Exercise Young and old, the wide spec-
include pursuing game such as trum of physical abilities, leisure
squirrel, coyote and late, antlerless Depending upon how you move, walkers to racers to hunters and
deer. snowshoeing can really get your trappers, those seeking solitude and
heart pounding. It is great exercise, those wanting companionship —
#4 Track from cardio work to legs, that can indeed, snowshoeing attracts them
seem to burn in sub-zero tempera- all.
Finding animal tracks in the tures. Some snowshoers also like to No matter the level or type of
snow is one of the rewards of use trekking poles which can assist snowshoeing, or the reasons for
‘shoeing, but identifying tracks with balance and steep climbs. doing so, there are some things that
takes additional knowledge and most all snowshoers share: We love
skill. For those new to the game, #1 Serenity now of getting outdoors, and we enjoy
a book like Animal Tracks of the the natural world in winter. This
Great Lakes by Chris Stall is inex- As venerable author Gene season, take your own listening
pensive and small enough to take Hill told us many years ago in his walk across the cold and whitened
along on outings. essay, A Listening Walk, “My father landscape on a pair of snowshoes.
Trappers use tracks to learn the especially liked the sound of snow
habits of some fur-bearing animals falling. He used to say, ‘listen…,’

Winter 2018-19.indd 88 11/12/2018 9:09:58 AM

inchester Ammunition offers multiple shotshells loaded with high-grade
steel shot in both the AA® and Super X® lines. No matter your game, steel
shot shotshells by Winchester produce
clean breaks and clean kills.

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Winter 2018-19.indd 89 11/12/2018 9:09:58 AM

Green Broke
My first foray into bird dogs and upland hunting

By Nick Green

ur hunting dogs start as Like any smart investor, we constant beating that hunting dogs
an investment — much must protect that investment to and owners place on our equipment.
like a mutual fund in its reap the return. I remember reading Each kennel has larger-than-
infancy. We spend some- a news article in the Cedar Springs normal vent holes, small drain holes
times thousands of dollars on them, Post in 2013 about a dog that had in the corners, a molded carrying
spend exponentially more on food, went through a car’s windshield on handle that is part of the one-piece
care and vet bills, and we never impact. The owner allowed the pet construction and a door that is able
even blink an eye because we are to roam freely throughout the car. to be locked. These are some of the
optimistic the juice will be worth I was heartbroken, and that shaped luxury amenities that make this
the squeeze. how I transport and care for my kennel a joy to use.
In return, for most of us, our dogs today. However, the most important
dogs become an integral part of Recently, I was provided a factor is the construction of Dakota
our outdoor pursuits. Whether Dakota 283 G3 Framed Door Kennel 283 kennels. I swear they are bullet-
they help us find birds, retrieve our to put through the ringer. Before proof, well pellet proof — literally. I
ducks, run bear or harvest rabbits, using a Dakota 283 kennel, I was have thrown mine around, tossed it
any serious hunting dog owner has using the cheapest crates I could in the truck bed, dropped it from my
an investment in their dog upon find, often breaking the nuts that tailgate on cement and I am unable
which they expect a return. held them together or cracking the to find a flaw in the kennel. I can
That return stretches far beyond plastic when I moved them from my rest assured that no matter what
the field and woods, though. They house to my truck bed. happens when I am transporting
become an emotional investment, a The Dakota 283 is rock solid my dogs, they have the best possible
part of our family, part of our kids’ and made in the United States. Its probability of survival because of
lives and without them, we aren’t rotomolded, one-piece construc- Dakota 283 kennels.
quite sure what life would be like. tion makes it able to withstand the Being able to lock the kennel

88 |

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is another important factor that I
never had on my cheap kennels.

Enter and
Hunters are generally good people;
but, I can feel more comfortable
when I am two miles from my truck
knowing that whatever dog isn’t
running at the time is locked away
receive a 10 percent discount
and safe.
Back to your investment, on your Dakota 283 products
though. Some might balk at the
$350-500 price tag on the kennel. To
me, that is ludicrous. Think about
how much that puppy cost, how
much its first year of vet bills were
and how much you spend on food.
The price of the kennel is a drop in
the bucket compared to the amount
of money you’ve invested into your
four-legged, best friend.
What would you do if your
hunting buddy came up injured
after an accident or, worse, died?
The kennel’s cost doesn’t seem like
that much in comparison.
You simply aren’t going to find a
kennel like a Dakota 283. They are
made in the U.S.A., ship for free, can
be used as modular system and are
the protection of your investment.
Mine will be with me in the coverts
and at the marshes from now on,
and I will be at ease knowing my
dogs are safe, contained and able to
hunt another day.

*Courtesy of Dakota 283

Dakota 283
Kennels has
recently released
their Dine and
Dash — "Designed
with hunters in
mind, this unit
holds up to 2.5
gallons of water
and half a gallon
(~8 cups) of dry
food, all at once."
Winter 2018/19 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 89

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Growing a Pumpkin Army
By Shaun McKeon opportunity for our youth to take the Michigan Hunter
MUCC Education Director Education course. If the campers join us already in
possession of their orange certification card, they are
The gate at Cedar Lake closed around Halloween. excused from taking the class and focus on lessons of
At camp, snow quietly blankets the white pine forest Leave No Trace and Invasive Species. However, if they
and the echo of kids’ laughter has not been heard since do not have their card, we feel it is our responsibility to
August. The 2018 season was my sixth year in charge get them in the course and lay the groundwork for them
of what’s happening down at camp, and I am happy to to be safe and ethical hunters in the future.
inform you we had a very successful season. We had Over the last six camp seasons, we have successfully
more than 370 campers join us for a week this summer. graduated nearly 1200 students. That is a small army of
Our 22 staff members were dedicated to providing a safe 9- to 16-year-old kids. By completing the course, these
and exciting camp experience. The campers were eager campers have earned the opportunity to head into the
to learn about conservation and build their outdoor woods during the fall and winter. This season, we had
skills. 215 campers take part in the course and 200 of them
One of the things we are most proud of and makes successfully passed the course to become certified. To
the Michigan Out-of-doors Youth Camp so special is the become hunter safety certified, the student must show
proficiency in the classroom as well as take part in field

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a great chance not only to learn new things but also to
pick up tips and pointers that will help them become
successful out in the field.
Along with the in-class and field instruction, the
campers are given time during their busy camp sched-
ules to study and review for the test as well. The final
and most nerve-wracking section of the program is
the final day. Thursday, after lunch, is test day for the
campers. There are usually many nervous kids as they
enter the lodge to take the test. They know there are
50 multiple-choice questions waiting for them, and
they have to pass by getting at least 40 of the questions
correct. The state recognizes a score of 80 percent as
passing for the test.
This year, under the instruction of Range Officers
Noah O’ Reilly and Taylor Rifenbark, we had a fantastic
success rate. As I mentioned, only 15 of 215 campers did
not pass the course, giving the 2018 campers a pass rate
of 93 percent. Something important to note about the
results is that our kids did not just squeak by passing
the test narrowly. They rocked the test with an average
score for the summer of 94 percent. If this was school,
our average was an “A.”
I would like to thank the range officers and the
summer staff for their dedication to the campers and
their passion for sharing their outdoor knowledge.
With their new Hunter Safety cards and an unmatched
enthusiasm for the outdoors, I am looking forward to
hearing stories as the camper’s return next year about
all of the adventures they had this fall in the pursuit of
their first game animals.

activities. We also spend a week with the camper so

we are able to get to know them, and their behavior at
camp and on the range is a determining factor of pass/
fail for the course.
The class portion of the course takes place in the
lodge and includes basic firearm safety, being an ethical
and responsible hunter and wildlife identification.
Mixed in with the classroom sessions are hands-on
learning opportunities for the campers to gain expe-
rience. Campers spend time learning about first aid
and wilderness survival, tree stand safety and proper
techniques for transporting firearms.
By far the most anticipated portion of the class is
the range time the campers receive. Each participant
gets to spend roughly six hours on the range allowing
them to become familiar with archery, small-bore rifles
and, in some cases, shotgunning. We teach hands-on
live fire instruction designed to teach the core princi-
ples of safe and responsible firearms use. Many people
outside the conservation community are not sure about
kids with guns; but at camp, we are proud of the way
we teach youth to respect the tools they are given. Our
trained and state-certified range officers/hunter safety
instructors provide individual instruction to campers.
The camp counselors also have many years of target
shooting experience between them giving the campers

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Conservation Through Education

Year in Review
By Shaun McKeon

s this hits your mailbox, winter is beginning to
settle in and things are slowing down a bit here at
headquarters. With the upcoming new year and
a calendar already filling up for 2019, it seems like a good
time to reflect on the year that is winding down.
As many of you know, this year the MUCC Education
Department has been more active than it has in nearly
a decade. With several programs operating under my
direction, you can imagine it was a busy 2018 for me.
With a direct role in all of these programs, I put in more
hours and participated in more projects then I have at
any other time during my tenure. If I can brag a little bit,
I would like to say the staff who work with me and that
are responsible for these programs got some awesome
stuff accomplished this year.
TRACKS magazine successfully underwent its
40th anniversary transition, and we have three issues
already published for the 41st year. Nick Green and I
are the TRACKS team and Nick has had an immediate
impact on the editing side of the magazines. With a keen
eye for my typos and a strong grasp of magazine layout,

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he has been extremely organized and helpful. TRACKS
continues to be 16 pages of science-based content
focusing on Great Lakes region animals. With a high
circulation of more than 21,000 and the expansion of
specific Minnesota-focused issues, TRACKS is poised to
have a great 2019.
The largest and most familiar piece of the Education
Department is the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp.
We had 370 kids attend camp this year. Two Hundred
of them became newly-certified having passed hunter
safety, and we had a fantastic group of campers and
staff at Cedar Lake this year. Our campers spent their
summer learning about the role conservation plays in
our state — while also building skills in archery, target
shooting, kayaking and even wilderness survival.
A third program area within the Education
Department and an exciting project to be working
on is our On the Ground and On the Ground Junior
programs. Hunter Salisbury, who is the face of this
program, has been doing volunteer habitat improve-
ment projects around the state since she came on board
in May. During 2018, we completed more than 20 volun-
teer habitat restoration projects. Eight of these projects
were through OTG Jr., which is in its second year.
Adding the field-trip-based side to the program has
helped us increase the number of volunteer hours by
50 percent, and that results in more habitat improved.
After completing the two-year grant cycle for the OTG
Jr. Program, we conducted 14 field trip events and
covered areas across the state from the Thumb region
also bring a new MUCC Camp Director to Cedar Lake,
to Traverse City, with several stops in between. We
and I am excited to see where the new year will take our
have plans to conduct as many as 25 volunteer projects
during the 2018/2019 fiscal year. So, please keep an eye
Please contact me if you are an educator or teacher
out for a project in a state game area near you.
and you think you have a class that would be interested
Early in 2018, MUCC combined its Gourmet Gone
in participating in an OTG Jr. program or if you would
Wild Program and absorbed the Michigan Learn to
like to learn more about subscribing to TRACKS or the
Hunt Program to complete a two-year grant cycle. Both
Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp. I can be reached at
of these programs are designed to introduce nontradi-
tional audiences to the idea of hunting and to help shape
Big things are already on the calendar for 2019 at
a positive perception of hunting and fishing. Gourmet
MUCC as we continue to grow and expand. With educa-
Gone Wild does this by hosting wild game meals. We
tion being at the core of our mission, we will continue
collaborate with organizations around the state and
to educate youth and adults about the importance of
serve fresh, healthy, wild game to people who have
Michigan’s forests, waters and wildlife.
never experienced it before. Typical dishes may include
elk sliders, blueberry-crusted perch, pheasant wontons
and even teriyaki bear. We conducted 12 events around
the state this year.
Learn to Hunt is exactly what it sounds like.
Collaborating with the National Wild Turkey
Federation, the DNR and Pheasants Forever, we have
been creating opportunities to introduce new hunters
to the field. The program is mentor-based and designed
to help people begin to feel comfortable in the hunting
world. We have hosted and helped with learn to hunt
deer, turkey and pheasant programs. We have also
collaborated with our partners to conduct learn to wing
shoot events and hosted adult hunter safety programs.
It has been a wild year at MUCC with several new
faces joining the staff throughout the year. 2019 will

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Throwback: Light House Lakers By Richard P. Smith
There aren’t many times that we were using. Our lines didn’t according to Frank Nelson of
I have gone fishing with the indis- touch the water until we were more Marquette, a former Coast Guard
putable confidence I would catch than 40 miles out in Lake Superior, Auxiliary member. Prior to expan-
trout – big ones. But that is the way beyond sight of the main land. We sion of the rock, constant breakage
I felt last August when Francis and were fishing at Stannard Rock, an of the light was a problem.
Glenn Beauchamp, Don Ombrello unmanned lighthouse marking a The waters around Stannard
and I pulled out of the marina on shoal in Lake Superior. Rock are a lake trout fisherman’s
Marquette. The place doesn’t look very dream come true. Stories of limit
I knew all of us were going to impressive. The only rock that is catches from boats that make it out
catch lake trout and mine were visible barely breaks the lake’s there are numerous. Some bragging
going to be caught on a medium surface. It wouldn’t take very large size fish are taken, too.
action spinning rod with a 15-pound waves to hide it. The tales I heard about the fabu-
test line and a spoon, without using The lighthouse has an inter- lous lake trout fishing at Stannard
a downrigger or weight on the line. esting history. Five years (1877 to Rock all had a common element
It sounds far out, I’ll admit, but that 1882) were required to build the – success. Typical comments were,
is exactly what happened. isolated structure that rises 102 feet “My arms got tired from cranking
Mu lure had been in the water out of Lake Superior. The subsur- in fish.” “Almost as soon as
for perhaps 15 minutes when a fish face rock around the lighthouse you get you line in
latched onto it and I hauled back was expanded with concrete to give the water,
on my first laker, a six-pounder. I the light some protection from the a
landed one other laker, lost another violent seas that often rage
at the boat and missed a couple of in that part of the
others; so it was no accident. big lake,
Success that day probably was
more a function of where we
were rather than
w h a t

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fish strikes.” “They’ll take We had a total of 100 gallons of fuel. Seconds later, Glenn got a strike on
anything.” The sky was clear, the lake was calm his rod and pulled in a six-pounder
Or, “Those fish must be in the and temperatures were in the 70s. laker.
shallows all summer long. In July Ideally, a trip to Stannard should Nothing to it. The fishing was
and August, fish can be seen near be made with two boats in case one just like everybody said it was.
the surface. You can even watch has problems. The Beauchamps had Or was it? We trolled back and
them fight over your lure.” “It checked their boat over thoroughly, forth through the same area several
doesn’t make any difference if you however, to make sure everything times without another strike.
miss a strike; another laker will was in running order. Their boat A few more fish were marked
grab the lure.” was equipped with a radio, in the on the recorder, but not as many
Needless to say, when I get an event something went wrong. The as expected. Puzzled, we started
invitation to join the Beauchamps local Coast Guard was also notified trolling in a circular pattern around
on their bout for a trip to Stannards, about our plans. the lighthouse. About that time, I
I jumped at the chance. They were Ombrello had been out to was wondering if maybe my part-
as anxious to make the trip as I was Stannard Rock earlier in the week ners’ lines were running to deep. To
because they had never been there, with another group of fisherman. find out, Ombrello raised his lure
either. Glenn ant his father, Francis, They limited out in a couple of hours. 10 feet below the surface, and I cast
are part owners of a combination That trip had been made in the early out a red and white Dardevle on my
camera and book store in Marquette. morning hours. Our fishing would spinning rod.
Because of the time and distance be done in the evening. Just after I got my line out,
involved in a trip to Stannard, Ombrello said being at Stannard Ombrello picked up a fish, a five-
plus the changeable nature of was like being in a fisherman’s pound coho landed, a laker grabbed
Lake Superior, we waited for fantasyland. my spoon.
a favorable weather forecast “You hear about guys traveling From then on, we had fish on
before attempting to run. The long distances to catch lake trout, almost constantly. Obviously, we
Beauchamp’ 31-foot, Ma’s Mink like to Great Bear Lake, and we had been fishing too deep for them.
is very seaworthy but we didn’t have the same type of fishing just Because the trout were so close to
want to take any chances of over 40 miles from Marquette,” he the surface, they were not showing
running into rough seas. High remarked. up on the fish finder.
waves would detract from the Lack of landmarks make a reli- At one point, Glenn and I
enjoyment of the cruise. able compass a must for traveling hooked fish seconds apart. I played
Early on an August to and from Stannard. It took about mine slow and easy so Glenn could
afternoon, Glenn called me. two hours to reach the rock on a be netted first. When is laker was
“Can you be ready to leave 10 to 15-degree heading. One other brought aboard, however, his hook
in an hour, if we go,?” he boat was there when we reached it, got tangled in the net. You might
asked, a touch of excite- but the fisherman left shortly after know something like that would
ment in is voice. we started fishing. happen on a doubleheader. My fish
“You bet,” I As we approached the reef, was floundering on the surface by
answered. Glenn switched the graph recorder the time the hook was freed. Just
“Okay, I’ll call you on. It read 400 feet of water, but as as Ombrello swung the landing net
back.” we moved closer to the light, depth down to scoop up the tired laker, the
A short time later, gradually decreased until we had hook pulled out.
the phone rang again a reading of 20 feet. Oddly enough, By the time we had quit, 12
and Glenn said, once we got close to the rock, lakers and the one salmon had been
“We’ll meet you at swarms of tiny insects landed all boated. Just over three apiece. No
the marina in 45 over the boat. more than three lines were in the
minutes.” I had the only spinning equip- water at a time, and we had our
Ombrello, ment on board. The others had hands full.
who also is a forgotten theirs in the rush to The trout averages about five
Marquette get going. They were stuck using pounds. The biggest went 11. No fin
resident, made conventional deep water rods with clips, indicating hatchery fish, and
our group a reels that carried wire line. no lamprey scars were noted on our
foursome. I figured there was no rush to catch.
Conditions get my line in the water and so I
were perfect sat back to watch the action. The This original article has
as we loaded recorder marked the first fish in 25
gear and feet of water shortly after a couple been shortened to fit space
extra gas lines with Herring Dodgers and requirements.
on the boat. flies had been lowered over the side.

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One Last Cast
Nick Green, Editor

Spreading my limited knowledge on certain outdoor

pursuits is a goal that I set for myself this past year.
And I succeeded.
In 2018, I was able to get several people their first
ducks, someone their first fish and teach numerous
people about some of my favorite hunting and angling
Quickly, these hunts or trips with amateurs became
less about the guns and rods and more about the expe-
rience. I really didn't care if I took a duck, grouse or
woodcock or if I landed a steelhead; it was about making
sure that these people felt at least a small piece of what
drives me to hunt and fish.
Some of these students had countless more wing-
shooting experiences than me but had never taken a
duck. Others had never tied a hook onto a line. Being
able to take someone from square one to the endgame
or from square ten to improvement of their craft was an
experience I am thankful for.
Andy Duffy was one such "student." The man has
shot more grouse and woodcock and worked over more
dogs than I will in 10 years. But, he had never duck
hunted. I was set to change that in 2018. Left: The view from a duck blind on the second day of the
Duffy showed up at my home at 3 a.m. on the duck south zone duck season. Above: Duffy displays his first
opener for the south zone — a feat that had him leaving duck — a beautiful, drake mallard — that he took hunting
his house at 1 a.m. I'm betting he didn't sleep that night. with Green and McKeon on a private pond in Northwest
Unfortunately, we were unable to get Duffy a duck Michigan.
despite ample opportunities. The next weekend, Shaun duck hunted again, I had shown him an experience that
McKeon and I took Duffy to a private pond I have he likely wouldn't have otherwise known.
permission to hunt in Northwest Michigan. I do suspect, though, that I will be seeing more of
After a frustrating morning of missed opportu- Duffy sitting in the blind next to me. Talks of what
nities, the three of us were able to connect a volley to shotgun he could find suitable for duck hunting came
three decoying mallards — one of which was Duffy's up on several occasions and he was very inquisitive
first duck; a beautiful, full-plumage, drake mallard. about calling, what to do in certain scenarios and how
Seeing Duffy's face light up was more important to things in the waterfowling world work.
me than any duck I have harvested. Even if Duffy never It isn't always the point of creating a new hunter
or angler, though. More of the point is sharing the
experience, helping someone understand why we hunt
and sharing with them the table fare that our outdoor
pursuits produce.
As hunters and anglers, we have a responsibility
to be ambassadors of our craft. We don't always need
to change people's minds on hunting or fishing, but we
need to present ourselves in the best possible light.
In order to share our love of the outdoors with the
next generation, we need to be creative with how we
engage them, bring them into our world and ask them
to align with us on certain issues. I hope you will take it
upon yourself to get someone outside in 2019 to partake
in an outdoor activity that you love. Teach them to love
something you love, and our outdoor community will
thank you for it later.

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Winter 2018-19.indd 99 11/12/2018 9:10:14 AM

Model XPS2™


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