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Summer 2019

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MICHIGAN’S PREMIUM OUTDOOR JOURNAL SINCE 1947

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Official Publication of Michigan United Conservation Clubs


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

Find a VOLUNTEER WILDLIFE HABITAT project near you and sign up at


www.mucc.org/ontheground
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VOLUME 73, ISSUE 2
Each Michigan Out-of-Doors magazine features
one or two cartoons drawn by Michigan's-own
Jonny Hawkins. I hope they make you laugh as
much as they did us.

contents

7 DIRECTOR'S DESK
8 ON PATROL
12 CONSERVATIONIST REP. TRISTON COLE
16 COVER STORY: MICHIGAN PHEASANT HUNTING INITIATIVE CHRIS LAMPHERE
22 STREAMER JUNKIES BLAKE SHERBURNE
26 LUDINGTON: MICHIGAN'S SALMON CAPITAL MIKE GNATKOWSKI
30 NO SUCH THING AS KAYAK FISHING STEVE GRIFFIN
34 IN THE DARK, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN ANDY DUFFY
38 GO, GO, GO ISAAC RITCHEY
42 THE GREAT BAIT DEBATE DAVID ROSE
46 HOW NATURAL RESOURCES POLICIES ARE CREATED CHARLIE BOOHER
48 THE LONGTAIL KING NICK GREEN
50 MUCC & PARTNERS HOST SECOND ANNUAL HABITAT SERIES MORGAN WARDA
52 GREENWING CUSTOMS: BUILT FROM THE GROUND UP NICK GREEN
56 LADIES, GUNS AND ROOSTERS HEATHER SHAW
60 UP PREDATOR-PREY STUDY JACOB VANHOUTEN
62 MUCC SET TO KICK OFF ON THE WATER IN 2019 NICK GREEN
64 ON FINDING THE PERFECT OUTDOORSMAN'S VEHICLE ANDY DUFFY
68 FULL DRAW: POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE TOM NELSON
70 WHITETAIL SEX SEGREGATION JOHN OZOGA
74 LIFE AFTER BAIT, PART 2: STEER THEM TONY HANSEN
78 HUNTING MICHIGAN'S WILD WEATHER JASON HERBERT
88 GREEN BROKE NICK GREEN

STAFF REPORTS & MISC.
90 CAMP SEASON IS HERE! MAX BASS
92 HABITAT MATTERS SHAUN MCKEON
94 THROWBACK: HUNT TESTING ED ZEBROWSKI, JR.
96 ONE LAST CAST NICK GREEN

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

Albert Einstein wasn't a conservationist — at least


in the modern sense of the word. However, Einstein did
say, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing
over and over again but expecting different results."
While this may not be the Merriam-Webster
definition, I think Einstein was on to something.
Too many of our faults as hunters, anglers and
conservationists fall into Einstein's definition of
insanity.
We are losing white, middle-aged men as hunters.
So, we should keep grasping after a demographic
that is shrinking and hasn't proven effective? Women
are the fasting growing demographic in the outdoor Emily Green caught her first hex fish, a sizable smallmouth
industry. Yet, we should keep pushing our messaging bass, during a hex fly fishing adventure. Green had fly
and marketing dollars toward the old guard? Spanish fished once before she caught this bass.
and Arabic are the two fastest growing languages
in Michigan. So, the logical next step is to continue many cultures all over the world. We need to seek
printing our hunting and fishing digests exclusively in out opportunities to showcase Michigan's natural
English? resources to different cultures and people different
It's insanity. I don't have the answer to fixing a than us, and we need to do it in baby steps. Don't expect
crumbling conservation model in the U.S. But, I do someone to harvest their first deer and gut it with no
know that being exclusive instead of inclusive is introduction to properly carrying a firearm or bow.
the quickest way to ensure that there won't be deer, In the end, we just need to get more people outdoors
grouse, ducks or fish for my children or grandchildren and buying licenses — conservation in Michigan
to pursue. depends on it.
Change is scary. Talking and interacting with I challenge you this summer to get ONE new
someone who shares different values, speaks a
person outside with you on your endeavors. Take them
different language or doesn't look like you makes even
the surest-spoken of us feel uncomfortable at times. bluegill fishing, help them learn to shoot a bow, teach
The bottom line is that without hunting license them about the habitat species need to thrive and/or
buyers in Michigan, Michigan will no longer be able to anything else that helps them to dip their feet into our
fund conservation as we currently know it. world.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources This can be a person you have known forever or
Wildlife Chief Russ Mason has said on numerous
someone you just met at your local convenient store.
occasions that, because of hunter decline, small game
hunting will cease to exist in 20 years. Think about Send a note to editor@michiganoutofdoors.com about
that. your mentee, their accomplishments this summer and
Small game hunting was how I was introduced to what they hope to achieve in the outdoor world. They
hunting — much like a large percent of our readers, could be featured in the next magazine. Let's work
I presume. I learned how to properly carry a loaded together to make our outdoor pursuits inclusive and
firearm, the respect that should be paid to a harvested
spread the message of conservation to newcomers —
animal and how to properly clean game. On a deeper
level, small game hunting sparked a passion for the young and old. Our lifestyle depends on it.
outdoors and Michigan's natural resources that will
burn in me long after I am able to trek through aspen Yours in Conservation,
stands or climb into a treestand.
What then are we to do? To start, we need to
remember that hunting and angling are enjoyed by

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DEAR EDITOR,

MOMENTS of MEMORY
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 ,andThe bedrock
fishing of conservation
I enjoy reading is taking care of our natural resources so that they can be passed down to
future generations.
about some of the other passions The natural resources that we conserve today were conserved for us by generations of
conservationists
as well. preceding us, and these generations are ever changing, ever flowing. Here we honor the passing
of one generation of conservationists to the next.
And I liked it better with the shorter
stories that I could read in just a
few minutes in the morning before I
head off to work. In memory of

I do like the larger print now that


Lawrence Baker
from
the years have been added to my Marjorie, Kevin, Steve, Kris and Dena Baker
birth date, and the eyes don't do
so well. But that could be obtained In memory of
by reducing the picture sizes. I have
been reading the magazine for Robert York
probably over 40 years now, and from
hunting, and fishing the out doors Gary, Ruth, Rachel and Joshua Kuipers
for probably 10 years more than
that, and still find them both to be In memory of
refreshing, and joyful. I also liked
the smaller paper size of the old Dennis Knickerbocker
magazine, and soft covers for this from
Bill & Deb Woodworth;
allowed you to fold the pages and Thomas & Winifred Motherwell; James & Kathel Bedford; Bob & Beth
hold it in one had comfortably. I Garner; Dr. Tarak Mody & Family; and Peggy Parke
know I'm only one person and like
your final story different from all
others, but I really like the old mag-
azine much better. And truly agree
to Hunt Your Own Hunt. If you have recently lost someone you would like to honor here,
please contact Sue Pride at spride@mucc.org.
But do it ethically and honestly.

Sincerely, DeLoy C. Clark


Muckegon, MI

DEAR SIR,

Having recently finished reading the


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

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

Ryan LaRose of Lowell, Michigan

Ralph Kaiser Jr. of Utica, Michigan

David Keller. of Dundee, Michigan

John Carlson of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

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

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

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

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PUBLISHER
AMY TROTTER

EDITOR
NICK GREEN
editor@michiganoutofdoors.com

ADVERTISING
Nick Green Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC) is a 501(c)(3)
edtior@michiganoutofdoors.com nonprofit organization founded in 1937 by sportsmen clubs
from around Michigan to protect conservation from politics.
PRESIDENT Representing over 50,000 members and supporters and
GEORGE LINDQUIST
approximately 250 affiliated conservation clubs, MUCC is the
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT
largest state-based conservation organization in the nation.
THOMAS HERITIER MUCC members determine its conservation policies through
a robust grassroots process, which MUCC staff works to
VICE PRESIDENT implement by working with elected officials, state and federal
GREG PETER agencies, its members and the public. MUCC has published
Michigan Out-of-Doors since 1947 and operates the Michigan
TREASURER Out-of-Doors Youth Camp in Chelsea, MI. Learn more about the
FRAN YEAGER full range of programs MUCC uses to advance conservation in
Michigan and become a member at www.mucc.org.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MIKE TAYLOR
PATRICK HOGAN
JAY MAKI
JANE FINNERTY
CAROL ROSE
KAYLA MCKERN
MUCC Staff
CHUCK HOOVER AMY TROTTER NICK GREEN
RON BURRIS Executive Director Public Information Officer
BRUCE LEVEY atrotter@mucc.org ngreen@mucc.org
DOUG KRIZANIC
DAN MACUT MORGAN WARDA LOGAN SCHULTZ
TERRY VUKSANOVIC Wildlife Co-op Coordinator Digital Media Coordinator
mwarda@mucc.org lschultz@mucc.org

Michigan Out-of-Doors (ISSN 0026-2382) is the official publication of


MAKHAYLA LABUTTE SHAUN MCKEON
Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), 2101 Wood St., Lansing Habitat Volunteer Coordinator Education Director
MI 48912, and is published quarterly. Telephone: 517.371.1041. mlabutte@mucc.org smckeon@mucc.org
Receipt of this publication is through membership in MUCC. For
membership information, call 1.800.777.6720. Single copies available
to the public for $5.99 each. Periodicals postage paid at Lansing,
SUE PRIDE AMBER ALBERT
Michigan, and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address Membership Relations Membership Coordinator
changes to Michigan Out-of-Doors, PO Box 30235, Lansing MI 48909. spride@mucc.org aalbert@mucc.org
All advertising communications should be sent to PO Box 30235.
Views expressed by freelance writers are their own and do not nec-
essarily express those of Michigan Out-of-Doors or Michigan United
AUTUMN CHRISTENSEN MAX BASS
Conservation Clubs. Copyright 2017 by Michigan United Conservation AmeriCorps Volunteer Camp Director, Educator
Clubs (MUCC). The Copyright Act of 1976 prohibits the reproduction of americorps@mucc.org mbass@mucc.org
Michigan Out-of-Doors without written permission from Michigan United
Conservation Clubs. MUCC members may reproduce one copy for IAN FITZGERALD
personal use without permission. For permission to reprint a specific
article, and for inquiries, contact the editor at editor@michiganoutof- Policy and Special Events Assistant
doors.com. ifitzgerald@mucc.org

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You Have a Voice, Use it! Director's Desk
Amy Trotter, MUCC Exectuive Director

“No one asked me!” “Have you ever done a survey


of your members on this?” You don’t represent me!”
Chalk these statements up as things I most
commonly hear from members and non-members alike
who don’t participate in our grassroots, policy-devel-
opment process or our Annual Convention. It is unfor-
tunate because we are not excluding any one from our
member-driven process, and if someone participates,
they will directly have a say on the policy positions we
take in Lansing, at the Capitol or within the Natural
Resources Commission. It is not our staff who make
these positions up — we implement them to the best of
our abilities as we work with partners and members to
advocate for them.
MUCC’s policy process is much more like the a delegate. The IM delegates have the benefit of the
Michigan Legislature — a representative democracy. results of an online survey, where we actually ask every
And depending on if you are a member of MUCC through active IM member of MUCC with an email address their
one of our affiliated clubs or an individual member opinion on each of the proposed resolutions.
paying dues directly to MUCC, there is a different Now, not everyone “wins” the debates — but MUCC
process by which your representative is chosen and requires a two-thirds majority to get something passed
carries your voice in the process. But, EVERY member that requires our staff to go advocate for changes in
of MUCC has the ability to offer a resolution on what law or regulations. This is so we can say that a super-
they would like to put forward for consideration as a majority of our voting delegates have supported any
new policy position of the organization. They need to position we take. This is powerful when advocating
be supported with good, factual data and reasonable on behalf of our members — every new Michigan
arguments. Legislator and NRC commissioner learns about our
All members of MUCC are invited to attend any policy development process from the start of their term
meeting of MUCC and can share their opinion on the and understands the steps we take to ensure we are
decisions before the organization. There is an opportu- being reflective of our members.
nity to do so when the proposed resolutions are vetted Is it a perfect process? Probably not. And if you are
at our quarterly Conservation Policy Board meetings in not currently a member of MUCC (hello to you folks
September, December or March and then taken up for buying Michigan Out-of-Doors on the newsstands),
a final decision at our Annual Convention in June (this you are definitely missing out. I want to ensure every
year’s is June 21-23 in Houghton Lake, so there is still MUCC member has a voice in the process, and I hope
time to register if you would like to attend). that you will use it as we attempt to make Michigan
Members of our affiliate clubs discuss these a better place in support of our mission: to conserve,
proposed resolutions within their clubs and then club protect and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and
board members approve delegates to attend the Annual our outdoor heritage.
Convention and represent and vote on their behalf. The
club delegate carries votes based on their membership Yours in Conservation,
in MUCC, so clubs with larger membership rosters
have more votes.
For individual members (IM) in MUCC, there are
individual member representatives appointed to repre-
sent the region where they live. These representatives
from each of the eight MUCC regions serve on the
MUCC Policy Board and then carry votes at the Annual
Convention based on the number of individual members
in their given region. We often need more individual
member delegates in our more populated regions so we
are always looking for new individual members who
are interested in participating in the process of being

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 7

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

March 10 through March 23, 2019 was found in the driveway of a lodged on numerous felony
residence located five miles away charges.
How would you like to walk into on the Lake Superior shoreline of
that den? Whitefish Bay.
The COs assisted deputies That's one way to do it
CO Cody Smith and from the Chippewa County
Probationary Conservation Officer Sheriff’s Office and MSP troopers COs Steve Butzin, Chris Lynch,
(PCO) Cole Vanoosten went with with setting up a perimeter on the PCO Mike Oleson and Detective
local biologists to check a bear den house. Trey Luce investigated a complaint
site. Eventually, contact was made of several campers burning on
Three bears were pulled from with the homeowner, and it was Little Bay de Noc.
the den, including a sow and her determined that the suspects and When the COs arrived at the
two yearlings. The biologists child were not there. location, they located two campers
changed tracking collars, tagged Two fresh sets of foot tracks, that had been completely burnt.
the yearlings, took blood samples, along with impressions of what The COs contacted the owner
and several measurements appeared to be that of a sled, were of the trailer at the scene, and he
including overall length, tempera- observed traveling east out onto admitted to setting the campers on
ture, and weight. Whitefish Bay. fire.
At the conclusion of the collec- The COs quickly off-loaded The campers had frozen into
tion of information, the bears were their patrol snowmobiles and the ice over the winter and he felt
returned to their den to continue began to follow the tracks out onto it would be easier to burn them
their hibernation. Whitefish Bay. rather than attempt to get them
Cpl. Postma picked up Deputy out of the ice.
Mitchell who had already started The incident is under inves-
An abduction in the Yoop out on foot in pursuit of the tigation and could result in the
suspects. subject facing several charges,
Corporal (Cpl.) Kevin Postma The officers followed the along with having to remove all
and CO Calvin Smith, responded tracks for three to four miles the debris that was left behind.
to the scene of an abduction before locating the suspects and
involving a five-year old boy. taking them into custody without After all, it's legal now in Michigan
The child was taken from his incident.
residence where several occupants The child, who the suspects While checking for fishing
of the residence were bound with were pulling in a sled, was found activity at a local state boating access
duct tape. to be in good health and was trans- site, CO Andrea Albert noticed a
Shortly after the COs arrived ported to the staging area on shore. suspicious subject sitting in a vehicle
on scene, the suspects' vehicle The suspects were ultimately in the parking lot.

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CO Albert ran the vehicle's plate deputy in the head with his elbow. getting hit by buckshot at close range.
when he left the lot and conducted The deputy and CO Publiski got Statements given at the hospital
a traffic stop due to the plate being the subject under control and placed indicated that the subject slipped and
expired six months ago. him under arrest. when he fell the firearm went off.
The driver was on probation and After securing the subject in CO Robinson and Lieutenant
was in possession of and admitted to thepatrol car, CO Publiski went into (Lt.) Jeremy Payne investigated the
using marijuana. the house to check on the victim. scene where evidence and photos
Citations were issued for the As CO Publiski entered the contradicted statements given.
expired plate and for not having a house, he noticed blood all over the A second round of interviews was
valid driver’s license. A report for the floor, kitchen cabinets and furniture. conducted, and the subject admitted
probation violation was forwarded to The victim had been stabbed to transporting a loaded shotgun that
the probation office for review.. in the bicep and leg and was being fired as he was removing it from the
treated by EMS. case.
Triple whammy! The subject was lodged by the The subject showed CO Robinson
sheriff’s office on multiple violations. the actual vehicle involved and the
COs Josh Reed and Josiah case the gun was in at the time of the
Killingbeck observed two subjects Homicide? incident.
ice fishing on Canadian Lakes in The shot went through the case,
Mecosta County. CO Mark Papineau assisted through the driver’s seat of the
Both anglers were found to be the Arenac County Sheriff’s Office vehicle and hit the passenger who
fishing with too many lines. investigate a suspicious situation was exiting the truck.
One subject had 10 lines, and the involving a possible homicide. This incident could have been
other had five. The subject with 10 Arenac County deputies stopped prevented had the individuals
lines was also found to be thirty blue- a vehicle near I-75 for numerous followed basic firearm safety rules
gills over his legal limit of 25, along traffic violations. and laws related to the handling and
with an undersized, out-of-season Upon contact, the driver was transportation of firearms.
largemouth bass. acting very strange. The report was given to the
While being questioned about According to deputies, the man Isabella Prosecutors Office, and
the over-limit of fish, the subject indicated he was camping on state the individual responsible has
attempted to hide the bass in his hand land in Gladwin County and prac- been charged with careless use of
and place it into a bucket holding ticing survival skills. a firearm, knowingly giving false
several other fish. The contact led to a vehicle information to a peace officer, reck-
In addition to these violations, search and the discovery of an less use of a firearm causing injury,
he also failed to have his name and uncased, loaded handgun along with and transporting a loaded/uncased
address attached to his tip-ups. a pillow and tarp that was covered in firearm in a vehicle.
Both subjects were educated on blood.
the proper fishing requirements and The driver was arrested, and CO
issued citations for fishing with more Papineau was contacted to assist in
than three lines and possession of an the search for the camp. These reports are
overlimit of bluegill. After a brief search, CO Papineau randomly pulled from the
located the camp and a very detailed
Brotherly love search of the surrounding area was
DNR Law Enforcement
conducted. Division's bi-weekly
While on another complaint, CO No evidence of foul play was reports.
Kyle Publiski overheard the Mason located. The incident remains under
County deputies being dispatched to investigation by the Arenac County
a domestic violence call where the Sheriff’s Office.
subject may have thrown a knife at
his brother and was now breaking Kidnapping Dogs
the windows out of the house with a
shovel. CO Dan Robinson was called
CO Publiski arrived on scene and to an Isabella County hunting acci-
witnessed the suspect trying to break dent in January where a victim was
into the back door of the house. reportedly shot and injured.
The subject was ordered away The CO conducted interviews
from the house. When officers with everyone involved in the
attempted to walk him back to a incident.
patrol car, he refused and became The victim had serious but
aggressively aggravated, striking a non-life-threatening injuries after

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

Get Michigan Out-of-Doors


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

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

10 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

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MUCC's OTG ("On the Ground") program is
Improving Michigan's Public Lands Since 2013 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.
On Friday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.,
volunteers will be kicking off summer with an OTG
project at MUCC’s Annual Convention. MUCC
staff and members, along with local volunteers,
will be working together to plant fruit shrubs and
place protective fencing up at Backus Creek State
Game Area in Roscommon, Michigan. The fruit
shrubs are a good food source for the animals
that occupy the game area. The protective fencing
will be placed around the shrubs to ensure that
they reach maturity and produce fruit. Then,
on Saturday, July 6, the OTG program will
be helping Metro West Steelheaders with their
annual Clinton River Clean Up. July 20, OTG
will also be assisting with the annual Manistee
River Clean Up.
On August 3, we will be in the Lansing area
at the Rose Lake State Game Area removing
honeysuckle to build rabbit habitat.
It's a busy season, which means there are plenty
of opportunities to get outside and volunteer for
wildlife. For more information on event dates,
details and to register, please visit www.mucc.
org/on-the-ground or email americorps@mucc.
org.

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'Conservationist' Around MICHIGAN
CONSERVATION NEWS FROM TWO PENINSULAS AND FOUR GREAT LAKES

By Rep. Triston Cole (R-Mancelona)

Hunters and anglers are extremely valuable to


Michigan. Last year, hunting and fishing license sales
paid for $83.5 million of game and fish protection
activity carried out by the Michigan Department of
Natural Resources (DNR). A recent study published
by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs showed
Michigan’s 700,000 hunters and 1.1 million anglers
brought more than $11 billion in economic activity to
Michigan and supported more than 170,000 Michigan
jobs. These contributions by hunters and anglers across
the state are essential to the conservation of the state’s
natural resources.
As a proud conservationist, hunter, and angler living
in and around Michigan’s pristine natural resources, I
often receive blank stares from people when I begin to talk
about the significant roles that sportsmen and women
play when it comes to our public lands. As cochair of State Representative Triston Cole is the State Representative
the Michigan Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus, I take the of the 105th House District (Antrim, Charlevoix,
responsibility of educating and sharing the significance Montmorency, Oscoda, and Otsego Counties), Majority
of sportsmen and women very seriously. First of all, it Floor Leader of the Michigan House of Representatives
is time that we sportsmen and women start introducing and is serving his second term as a cochair of the Michigan
ourselves as conservationists instead of just hunters Legislative Sportsman’s Caucus.
and anglers. While hunting and fishing is something we
beautiful wife — all of whom participate in conservation
do, conserving our natural resources is who we are. We
efforts. It is a family affair that has been passed down
should not be labeling ourselves strictly by something
through many generations. I want to make sure that
we do a fraction of the time while we are in the woods,
our natural resources are protected so my daughters
on the water or on our leased or owned land. We are the
can continue the traditions that were passed down to me
people that stop along the river and pick up trash. We
from my father. I hope they will also pass these traditions
are the people that monitor invasive species. We are the
down to their children as well. Time spent in a blind or
people who invest in thermal cover, food plots, nesting
on the river is some of the proudest and most memo-
habitat, forest management and land preservation. We
rable moments that I have had as a father and husband.
stop erosion and improve our environment. We are the
Outdoor pursuits have created a bond and connection
people that fund the Michigan Department of Natural
that is helping me continue to have a close relationship
Resources through the purchase of hunting and fish
with my daughters through their teen years. There is
licenses. We are the people that donate to programs that
something about early morning turkey hunts and after-
work to conserve and protect our great state.
noon deer-blind time that promotes conversation, even
I am a proud father of three daughters and have a
between teenage girls and their dads. I have also greatly
enjoyed teaching about bird identification, tree species,
and the reason why we leave a buffer strip around our
wetlands.
In my role as a member of the Michigan House of
Representatives, I work to encourage my fellow represen-
tatives and everyone throughout our state to take the lead,
tell the truth and be honest when describing ourselves,
our passions and who we truly are. The true definition
is conservationist — all inclusive and all-encompassing.
The misconception that hunters take from the land and
only regard their own personal desires is unfortunate and
very far from the truth. It is our responsibility to correct
this false image for future generations of sportsmen
and women — the conservationists of the future.

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Bipartisan Public Lands Act
Permanently Reauthorizes LWCF,
Expands Habitat and Access
By Drew YoungeDyke, National it as conservation organizations
Wildlife Federation including the National Wildlife
Federation and Michigan United
In 1964, Congress created the Conservation Clubs advocated, it
Land and Water Conservation Fund was only renewed for three years.
to invest royalties from offshore When it expired again in 2018, it
energy development into outdoor deprived conservation projects of
recreation opportunities for $350 million before it was reautho-
Americans. After letting it expire rized in the Dingell Act.
last fall, Congress recently passed While the Dingell Act perma-
and President Trump signed into nently reauthorized the Land and
law in March a bipartisan public Water Conservation Fund, it did
lands package to permanently not include dedicated funding, and
reauthorize it. The John D. Dingell, Congress must still appropriate
Jr. Conservation, Management the money for it each year. Despite
and Recreation Act (Dingell Act) being authorized to $900 million
permanently reauthorized the each year, Congress typically only
Land and Water Conservation Fund appropriates less than half of that
(LWCF) and included parts of over amount. And President Trump’s
100 different bills to expand outdoor proposed budget wouldn’t fund it at
recreation opportunities and fish all — despite signing the bipartisan
and wildlife habitat protections, legislation Congress sent him — he
including a few which have long proposed eliminating LWCF funding
been priorities for hunters and altogether. for Fish and Wildlife program
anglers. All that could change under which helps private landowners
separate bipartisan legislation provide wildlife habitat and estab-
proposed by Sens. Joe Manchin lishes Theodore Roosevelt Genius
Land and Water Conservation
(D-W.Va.) and Cory Udall (R-Colo.), Grants for solutions to pressing
Fund wildlife threats such as poaching
which would ensure full, perma-
nent, dedicated funding for LWCF. and trafficking. The WILD Act also
The cornerstone of this bipar- improves invasive species control
tisan compromise was permanent That could be critical to Michigan,
which could use additional outdoor through amendments to the Fish
reauthorization of the Land and and Wildlife Coordination Act.
Water Conservation Fund. Since recreational funding to chip away at
1964, the LWCF has invested more a $275-million backlog in state park
than $329 million in Michigan, infrastructure needs. Expanding Hunting & Fishing
operating similar to Michigan’s Access on Federal Lands
Natural Resources Trust Fund. The WILD Act
It takes royalties from offshore Parts of previous versions of a
energy development and invests The Dingell Act included parts “Sportsmen’s Act” were included
them through grants in communi- of more than 100 different bills. One in the Dingell Act, too. These either
ties around the country for outdoor of the most important for wildlife expanded or protected public
recreation opportunities. LWCF was the Wildlife Innovation and access for hunters and anglers of
expired once before in 2015, but Longevity Driver (WILD) Act. It federal lands. For instance, it allows
instead of permanently renewing reauthorizes the Marine Turtle hunters to transport bows in a
Conservation Fund, the Partners vehicle through national parks on

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 13

Summer 2019.indd 15 5/8/2019 9:10:00 AM


the way to lands open to hunting. It Management Area. Mining was for mule deer, pronghorn, elk, black
also clarifies that federal lands are restricted in 30,000 acres along bear and cougar moving between
open to hunting, fishing and recre- the Yellowstone River in Montana New Mexico and Colorado.
ational shooting unless designated to protect habitat for Yellowstone The Dingell Act is a rare
otherwise. This doesn’t mean that Cutthroat trout thanks to an amend- example of bipartisan unity in
all federal lands that were closed ment by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). Washington and the most significant
to hunting are suddenly open, it Migration corridors for mule conservation bill passed in decades.
just changes the presumption from deer were also protected from It received 85 percent of votes in
closed to open if it is not specified mining in 340,000 acres in the the House of Representatives, 92
in rule or law. However, the law also Methow Valley in Washington. percent in the Senate and support
directs a study and identification In California, more than 300,000 from sportsmen’s, conservation and
of federal public lands currently acres of wilderness designation environmental organizations from
closed to hunting, fishing and recre- was added, and the Department of across the spectrum, including the
ational shooting for a recommenda- Interior was directed to study the National Wildlife Federation and
tion of lands that could be opened. impacts of habitat fragmentation on Michigan United Conservation
migrating wildlife in the state. Clubs. And it’s appropriately named
Wildlife Habitat Protections In Utah, some management for the late Michigan congressman
conflicts were resolved after a multi- and Michigan Conservation Hall
More than 1 million acres of year stakeholder process through of Fame member who voted for
public land wildlife habitat across wilderness designation for 600,000 the original Land and Water
the country was protected through acres of desert big game habitat Conservation Fund and led the
special designations in the Dingell for mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk, passage of the Clean Water Act, the
Act, especially out west to protect bears, and mountain lions. Clean Air Act, and the Endangered
steelhead and trout waters and big And in New Mexico, over 200,000 Species Act. While there is still much
game wildlife migration corridors. acres of wilderness was designated work to do to ensure full and dedi-
These included protecting to protect quail, javelina and mule cated funding for LWCF, the public
salmon and steelhead habitat in deer habitat near Rio Grande Del access opened and fish and wildlife
Oregon through 200 miles of Wild Norte National Monument and conserved through the Dingell Act
and Scenic River designation and over 20,000 acres was designated as will be enjoyed by generations of
designating 100,000 acres of the wilderness in the Organ Mountains- Americans to come.
Umpqua National Forest as the Desert Peaks National Monument to
Frank Church Wild Steelhead protect wildlife migration corridors

14 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 16 5/8/2019 9:10:02 AM


Spring 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 15

Summer 2019.indd 17 5/8/2019 9:10:02 AM


MPHI
Trying to 'return hunters to Michigan's fields'
By Chris Lamphere

H
ow do we get more people involved in hunting, "The true grassroots process of MUCC allowed me
especially small game? to run an idea through the organization, bring it in front
Ultimately, that’s the question that a new state of the membership and make my case," Dalton said. "I
pheasant-stocking program aims to answer … saw a need to return hunters to Michigan's fields, and
or at the very least, shed some light on. this idea is one I hope will help alleviate license decline
During the 2018 lame duck session of the Michigan and further recruitment, retention and reactivation of
Legislature, lawmakers passed a bill package that new and old hunters."
contained a one-time fund allocation of $260,000 to Green said the goal of the program is to collect
implement the Michigan Pheasant Hunting Initiative. information over two years that could be used to
Nick Green, public information officer with the achieve improvements in three areas: recruitment of
Michigan United Conservation Clubs, said this alloca- new hunters, retention of existing hunters and reacti-
tion was unique in the sense that the Legislature decided vation of hunters who are no longer active.
to use public resources to fund a hunting program — At the end of two years, they hope to apply this
something that is virtually unheard of. insight not only to pheasant hunting, but all hunting
Ken Dalton, also known as Mr. Pheasident and a activities in Michigan.
Michigan United Conservation Clubs member, was one "Small game hunting is one of the easiest ways to
of the primary advocates of this program and worked get someone new into hunting — it's fairly easy, doesn't
with MUCC and legislators to obtain funding. require lots of specialized equipment and often yields

16 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 18 5/8/2019 9:10:03 AM


"... it doesn’t hold a candle to what has
happened to small game participation,
which has decreased by about 50 percent
in the last 10 years." Russ Mason, DNR wildlife chief
Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 17

Summer 2019.indd 19 5/8/2019 9:10:04 AM


Photo by Tyler Butler

success," Green said. "MPHI and County; Minden City in Sanilac “Having a long-term impact
the Legislature's funding are proof County; and Leidy Lake in St. is not the intent,” said Stewart,
that we are missing, at least in part, Joseph County. who added that pen-raised pheas-
something in southern Michigan They will also release pheas- ants aren’t as hardy as wild birds,
that has long been a tradition: an ants in Shiawassee and Allegan for so they likely won’t last long
active, vibrant pheasant population special youth/apprentice events. enough to add to the population.
to hunt." Al Stewart, upland game bird Following both years of the program,
specialist for the DNR, said the the DNR will mail out surveys to a
How the program will releases will be divided into two group of randomly-chosen hunters
periods: the October-November that participated asking them about
work release period and December their experience.
release period, coinciding with the The first year of the program,
The Michigan Association pheasant season throughout most those who plan to hunt in the
of Game Breeders — working in of southern Michigan. release areas will be asked to sign
collaboration with the Michigan In Pinconning, Crane Pond up for a free sharp-tail grouse/
Department of Natural Resources and Cornish, there will be no pheasant endorsement on their
— will release pen-raised pheasants December releases because of license, which would enable the
at State Game Area sites throughout pheasant hunting closures in those DNR to contact them afterward
southern Michigan. regions of the state, Stewart said. with the survey if they are selected.
Pheasants will be released at the There will be four releases per A bill currently is in the works that
following areas: St. Johns Marsh in period, and they will be done would create a specialized pheasant
St. Clair County; Pointe Mouillee outside legal shooting hours and stamp to simplify the process of
in Monroe County; Crow Island in on random days to avoid interfering sending out the surveys, but at this
Saginaw County; Erie in Monroe with hunters. time, it is still being considered by
County; Lapeer in Lapeer County; Stewart said the program isn’t the Legislature.
Pinconning in Bay County; Crane intended to increase pheasant popu- While they haven’t yet ironed
Pond in Cass County; Rose Lake in lations in the release areas, which is out all the details of the youth/
Clinton County; Cornish in Cass why they will only be using roosters. apprentice hunts at Shiawassee and

Summer 2019.indd 20 5/8/2019 9:10:06 AM


Allegan, Stewart said the basic idea of at least seeing a few birds could more complicated, but this could
is to pair youngsters or new hunters light the same fire and passion in certainly be an added value for
with experienced mentors in the other people as it did in him. pheasant hunters.”
field. Pheasants Forever — a nation-
These events will be opportuni- ally-recognized group that focuses
ties to collect more focused informa- on improving wildlife habitats for What’s at stake?
tion about the hunters' experience the growth of pheasant populations
hunting in a controlled setting. — does not have a stance one way or DNR Wildlife Chief Russ Mason
Stewart said it’s uncertain at the other on the MPHI program. said within the next 17 to 30 years,
this time what sort of results would State Pheasants Forever we will see the extinction of small
be an indication the program is Representative Bill Vander Zouwen game hunting in Michigan.
succeeding or failing; they first need said while their goal remains more It’s a sobering thought that
to establish a baseline of relevant on the side of restoring the natural seems a bit exaggerated, but if
information. abundance of pheasants, he doesn’t statistics on hunting trends are
see any reason why their efforts any indication, Mason’s prediction
can’t complement those of the MPHI might not be far off.
Reception to the program While deer hunting remains the
program.
“Time will tell whether (the most popular form of hunting in
The idea of having a pheasant- Michigan, it is declining at a pace
stocking operation in Michigan isn’t program is successful in its goals
or not),” Vander Zouwen said. “I of about 2 to 3 percent a year due
a new one. mostly to demographic changes,
In the 1970s, the DNR ran think hunter trends are a little
a pheasant-stocking program
but eventually discontinued
it as a result of the prohibi- Photo by David Bowers
tive cost of raising the birds.
Bracco Italiano breeder and the
Hunting Dog Podcast host Ron
Boehme said the segment he
produced on the MPHI program —
which included an interview of Ken
Dalton — was one of the few he’s
done that elicited criticism from his
audience.
He said the critics asked why
the state would fund a program to
stock pen-raised pheasants when
they really should be focusing
on improving habitat to increase
pheasant populations, which have
been on the decline for many years.
“I think that’s the thing people
get confused about,” Boehme said.
“This program isn’t trying to bring
back pheasants; it’s trying to bring
back hunters.”
Boehme grew up near Chicago
and was exposed to hunting through
the state’s pheasant-stocking
program.
When Boehme learned more
about the connection between
pheasant hunting and the use of
hunting dogs, he was hooked for life.
“It lit a fire in me that didn’t
stop,” Boehme said. “I don’t know if
I would have ever gotten involved if
it wasn’t for that program.”
Boehme said having a place to
hunt where there is a good chance

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 19

Summer 2019.indd 21 5/8/2019 9:10:06 AM


Mason said.
This decline has set off alarm
"Stewart agreed that the 'locavore movement' is growing in popu-
bells throughout the hunting
community for a number of years,
larity, especially among young professionals, and could potentially
yet it doesn’t hold a candle to what be a wellspring of new conservationists."
has happened to small game partici-
pation, which has decreased by (in areas close to where they live, “locavore movement” is growing
about 50 percent in the last 10 years, rather than several hours away).” in popularity, especially among
Mason said. The MPHI program also has the young professionals, and could
“If we are concerned about the potential to provide information potentially be a wellspring of new
loss of deer hunters, we should they can use to appeal small game conservationists.
be much more concerned about hunting to deer hunters, many of In general, Stewart said the
the loss in small game (hunters),” whom don’t participate in any other MPHI program could help them
Mason said. forms of hunting. market hunting in ways that are
The decrease in small-game “The question will be whether more accessible.
participation is a complicated or not we can diversify the interests An example of this is
issue involving multiple variables, of existing hunters,” Mason said. Thanksgiving.
including changes in license costs “That’s one of the derivative bene- Stewart said he enjoys watching
over time and decline of species fits of this. I think there are a lot of the “light go on” in the heads of
such as pheasants, Mason said. possibilities there.” school kids when the source of the
Although Mason isn’t yet Another demographic where food they are eating comes into
convinced all the MPHI program more small game hunters could crystal clear relief.
goals are achievable, he’s excited be activated is among people with “It’s a positive exposure to the
about the possibility of exploring a deep interest to knowing where source of the turkey,” Stewart said.
one factor shown to correlate with their food comes from, Mason said. “To see the guy wearing a funny hat
increased hunter retention and “The general public won’t and carrying a blunderbuss.”
license-buying behaviors: success support blood sports,” Mason said. Stewart said they should have
harvesting an animal. “But when we talk about the value initial data on the first year of
“We want to get people out there small game hunting has on the the program available for public
trying,” Mason said. “To experience habitat, it connects with the non- dissemination a few months after
success in the appropriate places game hunting public.” the pheasant season ends.
Stewart agreed that the

Photo by Tyler Butler

Summer 2019.indd 22 5/8/2019 9:10:08 AM


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Winter 2018 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 21

Summer 2019.indd 23 5/8/2019 9:10:09 AM


Streamer
Junkies
By Blake Sherburne

22 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 24 5/8/2019 9:10:09 AM


A
year ago, some fishy friends and I took a trip to the
White River in Arkansas to try our hands at one
of the best streamer rivers in the United States.
Streamer fishing on the White is at its best when
Bull Shoals Dam is running extra water to generate power
or the floodgates are open so the river is up and moving and
so are the big browns. Unfortunately, we chose the weekend
of the annual Sowbug Roundup, a fly-tying and fly-fishing
show that is held the last weekend of March in Mountain
Home, Arkansas. This festival brings a lot of fly fishers into
town, so the Little Rock Corp of Engineers tries their best to
limit flows so that visiting fly fishers can wade and fish the
river. Minimum flows on the White are about 600 cubic feet
per second, which makes the river easily wadeable. The
flow can range up from there depending on power genera-
tion and flood gates to over 26,000 cfs. As a result, the dam
was only generating power the first few hours of our first
day, so we only had one morning of good streamer fishing
conditions out of our three days of fishing. We caught a
few on streamers before the water started to recede and
then we spent the rest of the trip staring at bobbers (indi-
cators, if you’re a stickler about the fly-fishing lingo) and
catching lots of planter rainbows and a few decent browns.
The water dropped so far that first morning that
the high water marks on the bank were above
head height when I was standing up in our
guide’s boat.
The highlight of the trip
was meeting, and getting to pick
the brain of, one of northern
Michigan’s streamer gurus, Alex
Lafkas. The relatively recent big
streamer revolution began in northern
Michigan, mostly through the genius
of Kelly Galloup, who used to own a fly shop in
Traverse City called The Troutsman. Lafkas is one
of the streamer junkies who took the big streamer game to
the White in Arkansas. You can watch videos on the Fly
Fishing the Ozarks Youtube channel of the White River
and Michigan guides talking about the streamer game
in Arkansas and how the Michigan guys showed up with
these giant streamers and started moving browns that local
guides had never really seen move to fly gear before. In the
course of our long conversation with Lafkas, I mentioned
that my fishing buddy Kenny and I had been spitballing
hiring him to show us some streamer techniques back in
Michigan for the past couple of years. He said he would call
me to set up a date when he got back to Michigan.

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 23

Summer 2019.indd 25 5/8/2019 9:10:10 AM


A few weeks later, Lafkas called
to tell me that he was home and
booking trips for Michigan. He was
excited after I told him that this was
really just a learning trip for Kenny
and me. We did not really care
about production. We just wanted
to learn about how to streamer
fish Michigan. A couple long tele-
phone conversations ensued where
we discussed timing for the trip
and what gear we should bring.
Usually, he told me, he provides all
the gear that would be needed for
the day, but since we were already
streamer junkies, he wanted to see
our gear to know what we were
using and whether or not he could
help us on that end. He told us to
bring everything. “Let’s load my
boat down,” he said. Lafkas told
me that the ‘trophy water’ on the
Au Sable River was running a little
high and was colored up without
being too muddy for browns to
see well — great streamer condi-
tions. In addition, the DNR had just
planted that section of the river, so
the big Browns would be out in the
high, colored-up water looking for
the easy protein that newly-planted
trout provided. Considering river
condition before a streamer trip
was something I did; however,
I had never considered taking
advantage of the DNR’s planting
schedule. We were learning about
streamer fishing before we even checked our rigs first. Kenny and I the hook on a fish by continuing to
had a chance to get in the boat. were both running three hundred strip in line aggressively once we felt
The trip was set for a Saturday grain, sink-tip streamer lines on a strike. A strip-set, as opposed to a
in early May. It is a long trip from eight-weight rods. Lafkas said that “trout set,” where one lifts the rod
Mesick, in northwest Michigan, set-up was perfect for the water we as one would to hook a fish that had
to the Au Sable on the east side would be seeing that day, but our taken a dry fly, keeps the streamer
of the state. Kenny and I wanted leaders left a little to be desired. He in the strike zone should the fish
to make sure we were not late, so cut both our leaders back to a thick- miss or lose its grip on the streamer
we left about 45 minutes before ness that would allow us to pull and come back around for another
we would have had to make the stumps out of the river and then tied try. This is something we had been
two-hour drive across the state. on a short section of 12-pound fluo- practicing but had not yet perfected
We arrived early, as planned, and rocarbon. A loop knot to an articu- (still haven’t), both through years
watched the river flow by for about lated streamer finished our set-ups, and years of being dry fly, nymph
a half hour before Lafkas arrived. and we were ready to get in the boat. and gear fishermen, and lack of
The river was up, as he had said, and The instant our flies were in the enough real-world opportuni-
foamy and perfectly colored-up. He water, Lafkas began extolling the ties to get comfortable setting the
virtues of the strip-set, that is setting hook on streamer-attacking trout.
Lafkas had set me up with a yellow
"...Michigan guys showed up with these giant streamers and started double deceiver. You can see how to
tie his version on Youtube. He had
moving browns that local guides had never really seen move to fly set Kenny up with something similar
gear before." in olive. I was the first one to move

24 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 26 5/8/2019 9:10:11 AM


Above: Ken Mlcek poses for a hero shot with a 23-inch brown trout he caught while floating the AuSable River with Michigan
guide Alex Lafkas. Left: Sherburne poses behind guide Larry Babin on the White River in Arkansas after Sherburne landed
this 20-plus-inch brown on the first day of a three-day trip.
a fish, not far from the ramp. I trout and one eye on the next piece of and a hero shot. The big female
set like a rookie and Lafkas was not water or structure we wanted to stretched the tape to 23 inches and
shy about letting me know what I hit. This also helped to keep the was our best fish for the day — also
did wrong. “Ooooh,” I heard, “the fishing and casting entertaining. Kenny’s personal best on a streamer.
big guy sets the hook like a newbie.” Often we had to hurry a retrieve to The education was worth the price
I laughed at myself because I knew hit the next target or pause just long of admission. Lafkas had taught us
what I had done wrong, joining enough to fish an eddy correctly. what kind of structure to look for
Kenny and Lafkas. I hoped the This soon paid off for me with an in our sandy, northern Michigan
embarrassment would set my mind actual, landed brown trout. I was rivers. We spent the day fishing the
right for future opportunities. able to strip-set semi-competently, insides of the corners where the
Now, in my experience, landing a and the fish was quickly in the net. current was slower and the browns
fish in the first hole, or in this case, It was not a giant, measuring about could catch a bit of respite. We
almost within sight of the ramp, is 18 inches, but my day was made. I concentrated on submerged woody
rarely a good sign for the rest of had a fish to hand and had learned debris and the edges of eddies where
the day. Luckily, I did not land, or a lot from a guy who has a lot to trout could sit in a seam, ambushing
even hook, this first fish. It would teach. Alex’s techniques helped unsuspecting prey. It’s not rocket
prove to be a good omen for the day. me land another fish that day, also science. It’s the stuff that most fish-
Lafkas kept us moving just slower just in the upper teens. I was able ermen target. Our suspicions were
than the current. He spent the time to strip-set again, and it paid off. confirmed in that the real challenge
in between fish teaching us to pick Kenny had to work a little harder is the grind. Steamer fishing is an
our targets and be accurate with our for his payoff. Lafkas decided to all-day sucker. Big streamers target
casts. We were looking for structure switch him over to yellow, too, as the most aggressive of the bigger
in the river and the way the current olive had not produced for him. The fish in the given water, and those can
moved off the bank. He encour- brown came off a piece of woody be few and far between. We bombed
aged us to keep our streamers up structure just off the bank. Kenny long casts with three hundred grain
in the water column where we set hard and the fish dogged for the lines on eight-weight rods all day
could see them in case we had a fish bottom. Lafkas kept instructing while trying keep focused on the
following that we could then entice through the fight and soon scooped task at hand and ready to be in posi-
by throwing a little extra movement the big brown into the net. Kenny’s tion physically and mentally. And
in our streamers. As soon as our specimen was big enough that Alex strip-set. Always strip-set.
streamers hit the water, he directed rowed for the bank to give us good
us to keep one eye on our streamers footing for a quick measurement

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 25

Summer 2019.indd 27 5/8/2019 9:10:12 AM


Ludington:
Michigan's Salmon
Capital

By Mike Gnatkowski

F
ew anglers would disagree Although Ludington’s main in Michigan. There are thousands
salmon fishing on Lake appeal is to anglers, it has so much of acres of state and federal lands
Michigan isn’t what it use to more to offer. Besides the depend- in the area where vacationers can
be. If you were fortunate to able fishing, Ludington is popular hike, bike, bird watch and explore.
experience Lake Michigan salmon with anglers and their families Hamlin Lake is an excellent
fishing’s heyday during the late '80s because of all the things there are base of operations for a fishing
and early '90s, you know how spec- to do when you’re not on the water. vacation. The Lake Michigan
tacular the fishing can be. Many of The sugar sand beaches are not launch at Loomis Street is only
us are spoiled and see the fishery only considered some of the best in a short distance away or you can
now as a pale facsimile of what it the state, but the best in the country. reserve a slip at the Ludington
use to be. Even so, catching a few You can enjoy beach time at Stearns Municipal Marina for your big-lake
hard-fighting Chinook salmon, a City Park or head north along M-116 boat. On blow days, you can fish
lake trout or two with a steelhead and pull off at numerous locations Hamlin Lake. Hamlin is famous for
thrown in for good measure can along the beach. M-116 terminates its panfish, walleye and bass fishing
make for an exciting day on the at Ludington State Park. More and its smorgasbord potential. Drag
water. And Ludington remains one beach access is afforded at the state a crawler or fish a leech under a slip
of the best places to do it. park, and visitors can stroll the bobber and you never know what
Growing up in Saginaw, it beach all the way to Big Point Sable you might catch. It’s a sure way to
seemed like Ludington was on the Lighthouse and beyond. Dogs are keep kids busy and a smile on their
other side of the world not just the not allowed on those beaches, but faces.
other side of the state. It took forever lovers of man’s best friends can go Hamlin’s Lower Lake reaches
to make the journey across US-10, south of Pere Marquette Lake and depths of up to 70 feet with plenty of
and driving slowly down Ludington let their pets frolic in the surf at weed edges and contours to attract
Avenue seemed like an eternity Buttersville Park. game fish. There are numerous
until you saw the lake. I remember Ludington State Park is resorts and cottages for rent on the
how immense and foreboding it extremely popular during the lake. Two favorites are Waterside
seemed then. I had no inkling that I summer months with visitors to the Resort (www.watersideresort.com)
would one day spend more summer area who come to enjoy the hiking and Country Haven Resort and
days on the back of a boat on Lake trails, Nordhouse Dunes and access Motel (www.countryhavenresort.
Michigan out of Ludington than I to Hamlin Lake. Ludington State com). There are several motels in
would in my own home. Park is one of the busiest state parks Ludington that cater to anglers

26|| www.michiganoutofdoors.com
26 www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 28 5/8/2019 9:10:12 AM


that offer late-checkout, reason-
able rates, ice and plenty of secure
parking for boats and trailers.
Anglers will like Nova Motel (www.
novamotel.com) and Villa Vista
Motel (www.vistavillamotel.com).
Whether it's art fairs, fishing
tournaments, parades, shopping,
water sports, concerts, canoeing,
restaurants and Friday Night Live,
there’s plenty to do during a summer
week in Ludington. Ludington
has some great eateries including
Chuck Wagon pizza (chuckwagon-
pizza.net), treat yourself to a waffle
cone at House of Flavors (www.
houseofflavors.com) and an outra-
geous stack of homemade French
toast at Old Hamlin Restaurant
(www.oldhamlin.com).
When it comes right down to it,
Above: Flashers and flies are one of the most productive combos for salmon when
fishing is the main reason to come
fishing out of Ludington. Left: Visitors come to Ludington to enjoy the spectacular
to Ludington. Ludington is close to
sunsets, and sometimes they catch a fish or two. Bottom: Steelhead can be found
some of the state’s most productive
over many lake depths out of Ludington.
streams and rivers. Some of the best
structure for attracting and holding plant more brown trout at ports like Fortunately, other species can
bait and game fish can be found off Ludington and Frankfort, brown make up for the dismal brown
Ludington, and the port is situated trout have all but disappeared. trout fishing. More and more lake
between two prominent points — Big “I want to catch a brown trout trout have been showing up in the
and Little Point Sable. The port also this spring," I told my friend, shallows in the spring, and a lake
provides quick access to deep water. Captain Doug Strzynski, after being trout in cold water on light line can
Salmonids don’t know boundary away from Michigan for the last 10 give a pretty good account of itself.
lines, so a lot of fish planted in years. According to many anglers, lake
Wisconsin end up off Ludington and “Me too!” he joked. Last year, in trout that have been eating gobies
vice versa. Naturally-reproduced 12 trips targeting brown trout out and smelt are much more palatable.
fish come back to where they were of Ludington, he caught seven fish.
spawned, so salmon and steel-
head raised in the Pentwater, Pere
Marquete and Big and Little
Manistee rivers amass
off Ludington in late
summer, early fall and
again the following
spring. Those naturally
reproduced fish have
become even more important
in recent years because of reduc-
tions in plants by the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources.
Most years,
there is enough
reproduction to
produce a good
salmon and steel-
head fishery.
Brown trout fishing
use to be a big draw for small-
boat anglers and pier anglers at
Ludington. In spite of efforts to

Spring 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 27

Summer 2019.indd 29 5/8/2019 9:10:14 AM


Now that anglers can keep lake trout will be in Ludington a week to 10 and Big Point Sable and beyond the
year-round, they are a welcomed days later. Anglers run south first shoreline, dips and undulates out
addition to the spring catch. to Pentwater and Little Point Sable to 70 feet from where the Lincoln
Spring salmon are an enigma then to intercept the kings. and Sable rivers enter the big lake
at Ludington. Some years, they King salmon zero in on and then quickly plunges to 100, 150
show up in May and provide excel- Ludington in late summer like a and then 200 feet. Structure-loving
lent sport. Other years, they don’t bull’s eye on a dartboard. A substan- kings, as well as lake trout and
make an appearance until June or tial portion of the salmon these days steelhead, stack up on The Ledge
even July — usually just before the have been spawned in local rivers to heard baitfish on one last feeding
Ludington Sport Fishing Classic. and are returning to procreate. binge. The schools of salmon attract
The key to having spring Chinooks Some are stays from other plants a mass of boats during August week-
is water temperature: Water and other rivers and possibly ends. Savvy skippers slide into the
temperature attracts baitfish, and Wisconsin. With natural reproduc- shallows before daylight as August
Chinooks follow the baitfish. It’s tion now producing the lion’s share wanes and mature salmon hone in
a never-ending cycle. Consistent of salmon, anglers focus on the on their natal streams. Battling a
south and southwest winds push waters from Ludington north where feisty king in the shallows in the
tepid surface water warmed by the most significant contributions gathering dawn is one of freshwater
strong spring sunshine into the to the fishery originated. fishing’s greatest thrills.
giant bay created by Big and Little The area known as The Ledge is It’s about this time the
Point Sable. North and east winds do a massive draw for maturing salmon migrating Coho salmon show up,
the opposite. Reports of good fishing and salmon anglers. Between the too. In the past, Coho salmon were
in Grand Haven means Chinooks outlet of the Pere Marquette River only planted in Platte Bay, but the
Ludington is home to the largest charter boat fleet in the state. It is also a great city to launch your big-lake boat or to get a slip
at the marina to keep your salmon-fishing boat at the ready.

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Ludington offers the opportunity for mixed-bag catches of trout, salmon, steelhead, perch and other warmwater species on
days that lake conditions aren't conducive to taking a boat out.
MDNR is now making plants in Although there are fewer Lake. The steelhead are available to
other rivers, which may provide salmon in the lake, the salmon boat and pier anglers. Spring finds
for a more prolonged Coho fishery. that remain seem to be bigger. Last another surge of chrome steelhead
Planted as yearlings, Michigan season, kings topping 30 pounds headed up area rivers.
silvers spend the majority of their were reasonably common. That is a Perch fishing at Ludington can
life in southern Lake Michigan trophy in anyone’s book. be hit or miss. When it’s good, it
and along the Wisconsin shoreline Steelhead are readily avail- can be excellent off the break wall
before making a beeline across the able near Ludington from June and near the Consumer’s Energy
lake to Ludington in August. through the summer until it gets Project. A strong year class of perch
The Ledge isn’t the only place to too cold to fish and again in the from 2015 should provide some
catch summer salmon at Ludington, spring. Steelhead sustained the decent perch fishing for the next
though. Taking the path of least charter boat industry when salmon couple of years on Lake Michigan.
resistance can result in big catches numbers plunged in the early '80s, Whether it’s the opportunity
and less hassle. “When in doubt, and adventurous anglers discov- to take in a spectacular sunset
go straight out” is a motto that ered the mother load of steelhead in on the beach or off the back of a
can pay big dividends. Anglers will the middle of Lake Michigan. The boat, Ludington has a lot to offer
find structure in 100 feet of water steelhead there are a hodgepodge summer visitors. For more infor-
straight out of the harbor. Though of rainbows from all over the lake. mation, contact the Ludington
not as abrupt as the structure to the They accumulate there during the Convention and Visitors Bureau at
north, the contour from 100 to 150 summer months. It’s not a long run www.pureludington.com or call
feet holds salmon and attracts fewer out of Ludington to reach 500 feet of 800-542-4600.
boats. Similar fishing can be found water where the summer rainbows
taking a southwest heading out of reside. Fall steelhead converge on
the port to the 100-foot depths found area river mouths and drowned river
off the Consumer’s Energy Project. mouth lakes like Pere Marquette

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 29

Summer 2019.indd 31 5/8/2019 9:10:17 AM


No Such Thing
Kayak
as
Fishing

By Steve Griffin

30 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 32 5/8/2019 9:10:18 AM


T
here’s no such thing as kayak
fishing.
At least no such single
thing. In Michigan, a variety of
species and settings are perfect
matches for the kayak.
We talk about kayak fishing
— sometimes even contract the
two words into kayakfishing —
as if it were a singular pastime,
easily defined. But in Michigan,
it’s a cluster of pursuits: Great
Lakes salmon and trout trolling;
inland lake angling for bass, pike
and panfish; river fishing adrift,
anchored or in waders, for trout,
salmon, smallmouths or others.
What they share is fishing inti-
macy, excitement and, sometimes,
economy. Kayaks offer a closeness
to the water that perhaps only
the wader-clad can understand.
A feeling of self-reliance perhaps
shared with the backpacker, who Kayak fishing doesn't always mean that you are restricted to chasing warm water
makes the most of the least. Self- or smaller species in lakes and ponds. The author's favorite type of kayak fishing
direction is valued by anyone who is for Chinook salmon on Lake Michigan.
has had to do — or not do — what- within a hollow cockpit, and sit-on, Muskallonge Lake, coho salmon
ever the captain says. which not surprisingly puts one from Lake Michigan off New Buffalo
I was just getting my feet (and, atop a sealed hull. You can fish from and other species elsewhere — and
yes, my seat) wet in plain-vanilla, either — but it’s far easier from a sit- yet, I’ve only scratched the surface
recreational kayaking nearly two on-top, with more rigging options of Michigan’s potential.
decades ago when, on a Lake Huron and freer movement. You get a little The last major consideration
beach, my wife and I watched a more wet, but you’ll likely catch is power: paddle, pedal or even
pair of young guys pull up, toss more fish. electric motor. I love a traditional
two plastic kayaks off their pick-up What about length and width? paddle and have learned to cover
and load them with gear. They told The longer and narrower the boat, distances, fine-tune fishing presen-
us they’d hammered lake trout the the quicker it moves and straighter tations, and battle and boat fish with
day before, and then they vanished it tracks. The shorter and wider, the a safety-leashed paddle in my hands
across the water. faster it turns and more stability it or across my lap. Others love pedal
Maybe my mouth hung open. offers. drives: like a drummer on a kit,
Perhaps my eyes glassed over. But Were I a specialist, I might pick one’s feet can do one task (power
my wife said softly, “I can tell what a longer boat for bigger water and the boat) while the arms do another
you’re thinking.” a shorter one for little places. But, (fish!). Electric kayak motors are
Within a month, I’d made some I’m a generalist; my boat is 15 feet very pricey and to me, transform a
truly fumbling forays onto small long, 28 inches wide, and in it, I am kayak into a powerboat.
ponds near home in a short, sit- comfortable pursuing Platte Bay’s Weight matters, too. My car’s
inside kayak and read a pioneering salmon on Lake Michigan, blue- luggage rack is rated for up to 100
book on kayak fishing and, a few gills on a no-name borrow pit and pounds, but my kayak’s roughly
weeks later, carried a sit-on-top smallmouth bass and walleyes in 60 pounds is all I want to hoist up
fishing kayak on my Subaru almost my hometown Tittabawassee River. there. A trailer is a popular option,
full-time, sliding it into an inland I’ve caught pike from the U.P.’s but I like the spontaneity that comes
lake, a river, or a Great Lake at
every opportunity. "But, I’m a generalist; my boat is 15 feet long, 28 inches wide, and in
And boy-oh-boy, do we have
opportunities. it, I am comfortable pursuing Platte Bay’s salmon on Lake Michigan,
But first, let’s leave some kayak
basics in our wake. bluegills on a no-name borrow pit and smallmouth bass and walleyes
Kayaks come in two configura-
tions — sit-in, the kayaker seated in my hometown Tittabawassee River."
Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 31

Summer 2019.indd 33 5/8/2019 9:10:20 AM


with a car-topped boat at the ready. lap. But a fish brought boatside to or pedal boat festooned with rods
Where to fish from a kayak? a kayak is typically exhausted, and in holders, armed with electronics,
Truly, just about anywhere there’s this fish was well-hooked. secured by trolley anchor systems
water. And in Michigan, that’s I was grinning at the big fish in or shallow-water poles, all over-
almost everywhere. the little boat. seen by a Go Pro or other camera
The little boats — secure, Troll crankbaits on a pair of systems. Besides budget-straining,
subtle and even sneaky, may shine rods, one out each side of the boat; this all adds serious weight, espe-
brightest on inland lakes. I love slip- the pull of a diving plug will twist cially when batteries are added.
ping along a shoreline so quietly a your boat to one side unless coun- What do you really need?
homeowner working on his lawn tered by another. I love crankbaits Start safe: invest in clothing —
jumps when he hears the splash fished clean, but planers, trolling dry suit, wet suit, rain gear, what-
of the spawning crappie I’ve just weights and even down-sized down- ever — that matches the conditions
hooked. riggers are options. under which you’ll fish — water,
I once snuck through a Wixom Kayak fishing follows a predict- not air temp. Get a life jacket made
Lake culvert, through which a boat able progression: one purchases a for kayaking, and wear it. I carry a
couldn’t have passed, to work a pod kayak for its simplicity and light- throw rope, lights and emergency
of bedding bluegills no one but a ness — and then begins gathering signals, whether required by law on
few property owners could cast to. gear that compromises both. today’s fishing waters or not.
Never mind the spiders…. the ‘gills You’ve seen the images: a paddle For fishing gear, start with rod
were epic!
Spinning, spin casting and bait-
casting are little changed in a kayak,
while fly fishing is a bit tougher
Church Tackle Co. ®

because of the low-to-the-water We Didn’t Invent The Side Planer. We Just Perfected It!
seated pose. Pivot the backcast a bit Quality products, Made in the USA
higher or — and I don’t practice or TX-007 Stern Planer & TX-005 Mini Stern Planer TX-22 Special Planer Board
even recommend it — learn to stand (10 1/4” long, weighs about 3 oz) (7” long, weighs about 1.5 oz) Part# 30580 9 3/8” X 3 1/2”
and fish. The TX-22 is reversible &
An all new type of planer! comes with a fluorescent
On rivers, kayaks make great
rch Tackle Co. red flag making the board
transport and fishing platforms, Chu easy to see and folds down for easy
easily moving up, down or across storage! Double Action Flag
Easy to attach and remove.
the current. Some favor a trolley- System available to signal a strike.
Great for trolling in congested areas and more effective contour trolling along
rigged anchor, to stay in position drop offs contour lines, reef edges and weed lines in rivers, lakes or the ocean.
and fish a hole thoroughly; I prefer Effective for all species. Run more lines out the back of the boat by staggering
free-drifting and then paddling back the Stern Planers. Run any distance from the boat yet maintain desired depth.
upstream for another pass. Using a
Stingray
kayak to hop-scotch from one wade- TX-12 Mini Planer Board
able fishing spot to another works Airfoil design helps lift it over waves.
Part# 30500 (port) #30510 (starbrd) Unique error-proof design allows anglers to put
Diving Weight
well, too.
But when it comes to my kayak 7 12” x 3” more fish in the boat! Water strikes top surface,
forcing the Stingray downward. A fish on will
fishing first love, it’s trolling, espe-
force the nose upward & Stingray to the surface.
cially with Great Lakes trout or Available in unpainted or painted. 2 snaps for
salmon in the crosshairs. each weight included
A friend was fishing the pre-
Size #1 - .7 oz
dawn, Platte Bay surf in waders the
#40300
day I boated my first kayak Chinook. unpainted #40302 black
He knew it happened without actu-
ally seeing the strike and the fight: I FISH FILLET&GAME KNIFE
Size #2 - 1.4 oz
was running full navigation lights, New Style Fillet Knife
and from a half-mile he saw their The only knife of it’s type, makes
movement speed double when the filleting a breeze even for beginners.
#40303 unpainted #40304 orange
king took off for Manitou Island, Once you use this knife you won’t
pulling me behind on a freshwater go fishing without it!! Size #3 - 2.7 oz
‘Nantucket Sleighride.’ When the
lights no longer moved, he figured
I’d either broken off or boated the
(Blade made of high quality 440C
fish — a challenging task of its own,
sliding a hook-dangling Chinook stainless & carbon steel heat treated) #40305 unpainted #40306 chartreuse

onto one’s Check with your local tackle shop first, if they don’t carry our products visit us at www.churchtackle.com to view all
of our great American made fishing gear, or call us at 269-934-8528 to request a catalog. Like us on facebook f
32 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 34 5/8/2019 9:10:20 AM


sure you can reach their controls
while they remain out of the way for
line rigging, paddling or pedaling
and fish fighting. Transducers can
be glued (and occasionally reglued)
inside the hull, mounted to shoot
down through specially-designed
scupper holes or suspended from
an arm reaching out from the side
of the boat. Influencing your rigging
choices is whether you want to be
able to strip the gear at trip’s end
for safe storage or use on another
watercraft.
And electrical power? Most
kayakers still use lead-acid
batteries, a minimum of seven amp
hours for short-day use, 10 to 20
amp hours for longer outings and
multiple days. Lithium batteries
are winning converts for their light
weight and steady charge — but
they do cost more. I’ve switched over
to a 15 aHr lithium battery that’s
small, light and powerful. I love
everything but its $125 price tag.
There are rods, life jackets and even
electronics designed specifically for
kayak fishing, and many sporting
goods stores have sections dedicated
Kayak fishing combines simplicity with efficiency, creating the perfect storm for an to the sport. Regarding kayaks them-
intimate fishing experience. selves, beware. For some makers the
holders: you need a safe, trouble- (or lack) of fish. The GPS and chart- addition of a molded-in rod holder
free way to carry and fish with plotting features keep me in the or two makes their discount kayak
expensive rods. know about where I am, where I’m an angling boat; higher-end boats,
Navigational gear is a good going and what’s along the way. often designed by veteran anglers,
idea. If you're new to kayak fishing, But the biggest job of my GPS are rigging-ready, plus often have
you’ll marvel at how much less of is speed monitoring. Each lure has additional stability designed-in.
the world you see from the water’s a speed at which it runs best. My Where to kayak fish, you might
level. It's kind of like ground-blind favorite Hot’n’Tots, for example, ask? Nearly any place that fish
deer hunting after hunting from work best for me at about 2 mph. swim.
an elevated blind. Even though my But my kayak loves to cover the lake My battles with Chinook
fishfinder/GPS combo rides along at nearly double that, paddling so salmon, a three-hour drive from
on most trips, I still also carry a easily it takes real effort to go slow. my home, were nearly duplicated in
hand-held, waterproof GPS, so The GPS keeps me honest, and it’s time and feistiness by a big catfish
that fog, darkness or confusion easier than watching rod tips pulse. in the Tittabawassee River three
can easily be overcome, even if the In shallow water, your trans- miles from my driveway. In between
sonar’s battery runs out. ducer cone is too small to be of are a ton of bluegills and some great
What about fish finders? They much help marking fish. Still, reli- river runs.
add cost and, with their batteries, able depth information can help you Each brand of kayak fishing is
weight, too. Then, there’s the hassle trace drop-offs and other features its own special pursuit, and each
of mounting transducers and that likely hold fish. of them has its place in Michigan.
running cable. But if you know your lake, and Your place? In the seat of one of
I’ve got a Humminbird combo don’t need to see fish to believe those fishing boats.
unit on my sit-on-top kayak, and I’d they’re there, you can maintain a Call it all, or any part of it, kayak
often be lost (truly and metaphori- free-spirit approach with an elec- fishing. Just don’t be surprised if
cally) without it on big waters. The tronics-free kayak. you wind up calling it your favorite
sonar keeps me apprised of water When mounting electronics kind of angling.
depth, structure and the presence straight ahead or on gunnels, make

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 33

Summer 2019.indd 35 5/8/2019 9:10:20 AM


In the dark, anything
can happen;

Either Cupid or a monster might


The Hexagenia
Limbata starts
appear
hatching in mid-
June, and it can be
a favorite mayfly to
imitate in the dark
for Michigan fly
anglers.
By Andy Duffy

“Y
ou and me going fishing. He was always busy with his job, cutting grass,
fishing in the gardening and doing a million other things. Dad was
dark,” wrote song- nothing if he wasn’t responsible. He didn’t have a lot of
writers Jim Photoglo and Wendy time to fish. He seemed more interested in hunting than
Waldman. The Nitty Gritty Dirt fishing. Still, he took time to teach his boys a little about
Band crooned the tune, and the world fishing. He took us out creek fishing for trout a time or
began singing along. two, he took us lake fishing a handful of times and once
And why not? The song had all the neces- we floated the river that ran near our home. Plus, he
sary elements for a hit – spring, love and fishing. bought us fishing rods and was always happy to share
What more could anyone ask for? his knowledge with us. And, always in the background,
The song is almost a miniature version of was the understanding that our father had once been
Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It an avid angler. The fishing rods he had and his battered
contains people outdoors at night who are bewitched by old tackle box attested to that.
love. The only major ingredient missing is the super- Dad was born in Flint in 1922. His dad worked in the
natural elements Shakespeare included in his play. It automobile industry. When a kid, I didn’t even under-
seems to me that Photoglo and Waldman implied super- stand the historicity of that. Only 14 years had passed
natural elements are at work at night, though. And since Henry Ford introduced his Model T. The auto
although the song isn’t necessarily set in Michigan, it industry was still in its infancy. The way things were
could be. The Wolverine state really is a magical place going, though, Dad may have been raised a city kid.
where the song could have taken place. In fact, during Then the Great Depression struck. My granddad lost
every summer, I daresay, such events do take place his job, and the family moved up north to the rural area
here. where granddad grew up. There, the family eked out a
I don’t know if my dad ever heard the tune. He living. My dad worked with my granddad on farms and
wasn’t listening to the radio much by the time the song in the woods. Dad learned how to drive a team of horses.
was released. He was a big fan of fishing in the dark, He learned to use a peavey and a cant hook. He also devel-
though. I know that. oped an interest in hunting (and fishing, too, apparently).
Anyway, I don’t remember my dad doing a lot of Dad graduated from high school in the spring of 1945.

34 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 36 5/8/2019 9:10:21 AM


left in our driveway. They were fair
"I fished for several seasons without ever catching a bass. My game. Often after a shower, I would
dad, though, started telling me that I should use a black Arbogast tie an open safety pin to one end of
a piece of string and tie the other
Jitterbug and go fishing in the dark." end of the string to a stick. Then I
would stand for hours fishing in a
That was a remarkable achieve- could follow the tracks I found. puddle. I imagined subterranean
ment. He had missed a year of school Occasionally, I walked up on a rabbit. passageways that would bring
at some point because of a family It would sprint off, leaving me in the fish to me. Even today, I have
move, and he had planned to end awe of its speed and agility. Rabbits the same faith that if I’m patient
his schooling without a high school just reinforced my belief that rural enough, I might catch something.
education as so many did in those countrysides were special places. As I grew older, of course, the
days. When the opportunity to attend And somehow, I was bred to fish. rules governing the river loosened.
high school presented itself, though, Until I was in fifth grade or My brothers and I got fishing rods
Dad made up the year he missed and so, I knew better than to go near and, during our summer vacations,
graduated right when he should the river that ran behind our we would fish the river for hours on
have. Then, the following December, house. My parents warned me end. We didn’t catch much. A sucker
Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. often of the danger it posed. was a prize. A little pike might occa-
Dad enlisted in the Navy and spent A different set of rules governed sionally strike one of our Dardevles,
the war years on a net tender in San my access to the puddles rainstorms but we were more apt to lose our
Francisco and on a destroyer in
the South Pacific. After the war, he
found employment in the automo-
tive industry, nearly lost a finger to
a punch press and decided he liked
life in the Navy better than life as a
civilian. He rejoined the Navy and
was in during the Korean War. He
was in Cuba and bought a fly rod
and a shotgun there. He got married
in 1950 and finally left the Navy for
good in 1952. Dad and Mom bought
27 acres of sandy land that lay
along a river, Dad went to work in
a factory, and I entered the picture.
Somehow, even when a kid, I
sensed the magic found in rural
living. My great uncle, who lived
on the old family place a few miles
away, was still driving a team of
horses. He worked for a nurs-
eryman in town, and he and his
team were perfect for working the
plot of land there. I didn’t know
the word, but I realized he was
living the life of a rustic. I was, too.
When I arose in the morning, sun
glistened on a vast expanse of dew
in front of our house. I didn’t think
a city kid could enjoy life nearly as
much as a country kid could. In the
winter, rabbit tracks lay across our
yard. Each morning that followed
a snowfall, I could see where the
rabbits had been the night before.
Rabbit tracks lay across the yards
of the city kids, too. But unconfined
by tiny plots of land that kept city
kids from tracking the rabbits, I

Summer 2019.indd 37 5/8/2019 9:10:21 AM


the sun was down and every-
thing was dark, I wound my
way along the snake grass and
poison ivy-lined path to the river.
Even though the river rules had
loosened considerably since my
preschool years, I was still confined
to a 30-foot strip of sand bar at the
river’s edge. Upstream and down-
stream from the sandy edge, the
river sloped sharply into murky
depths, and the current was strong.
I knew the fishing rules were
there for my safety, and I obeyed
them. So, restricted to my narrow
strip of sand, I began casting.
The mosquitoes were eating
me alive, and I couldn’t ignore
them. I would swat, cast, reel and
swat some more. I made two or
three casts and was about to quit.
Before giving up, though, I made
one last desperation cast. In the
dark, I could hear my lure gurgling
my direction, but I couldn’t see it.
With my ears, I followed its progress.
The lure was right at my feet,
and I was about to lift it from the
water. Suddenly, though, an unholy
commotion rocked my world. Water
splashed. A turbulent maelstrom
opened at my feet, and I thought
it would suck me in. I was panic-
stricken. My heart leaped into my
throat. I knew I couldn’t escape
whatever monster was there.
My rod bent. Line zipped
through my line guides. I finally
realized I had a fish on. I played
it in. It was a smallmouth bass,
lures to the old pilings left in the direction. My money mainly came the first one I ever caught.
river from early bridges or to the from Christmas and birthday cards And right then, I knew the world
rocks that littered the river’s bottom and from the occasional odd job was a magical place, a place where
than to hook a fish with them. someone paid me to do. And my anything can happen. We talk
I fished for several seasons money always quickly disappeared about pure Michigan. Well, that
without ever catching a bass. My in the dark river winding by my was the essence of it right there.
dad, though, started telling me home. My tackle box was marked That was years ago, but Michigan
that I should use a black Arbogast more by its empty compartments remains a magical place. The magic
Jitterbug and go fishing in the dark. than by its full ones. Still, I often had might come from falling in love
It’s not really news that people a Jitterbug. Topwater baits, they in the middle of the night just as
fish even after the sun goes down; didn’t get hung up on the bottom like the songwriters wrote. Or, it might
anglers commonly fish for trout so many of my other lures did. And, come as a raging monster surging
and steelhead, crappies and catfish despite the tricks of the currents, I from the water to devour a young
in the dark. They spear suckers in could often steer them around the angler. No matter what happens,
the dark. And, of course, people fish old bridge pilings remaining from though, Michigan is an enchanted
for bass late. I’d never thought of it, pioneer days. Plus, because of dad’s peninsula. Anyone who doesn’t see
though. But I decided to give it a try. recommendation, when I did have the enchantments in the daytime
In those days, it was a rare occa- cash, I used it to buy a Jitterbug. should just try fishing in the dark.
sion when any cash flowed my So, one summer evening after

36 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 38 5/8/2019 9:10:21 AM


Above: Nick Green, editor of Michigan Out-of-Doors, nets a trout during a nighttime fishing excursion. Below: Matt
Hildebrand understands the charms of bass fishing in the dark. He took this smallie from a central Michigan river.
Left: Vernon Duffy, the author’s father, served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War. He returned to
Michigan, raised a family and recommended fishing in the dark.

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 37

Summer 2019.indd 39 5/8/2019 9:10:22 AM


'Go, Go, Go:'

By Isaac Ritchey

Summer 2019.indd 40 5/8/2019 9:10:23 AM


High school senior finds time to groom young anglers for
tournaments, invest in Michigan bass fishing

D
an Brown, 18, sits on a brown leather couch in of the fish.”
his living room and is taken back to summer During pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn, Brown
weekends spent swaying on a 22-foot Starcraft has found bass act and eat differently. Bass are also
Islander in Grand Traverse Bay. influenced by water temperature and are not in the
It is there, with his father Jeff, mother Kristen and same location year around, he said.
sister Erika, the Mount Pleasant native came to enjoy “You may go out in May, mark a big brush pile on
the adrenaline rush he associates with hooking a fish. your fish-finder and catch a few fish, and then go back
“We used to have a pond in our yard with 5-foot in August and there is nothing there,” Brown said. “If
perch in it,” said Jeff, who fished professionally for six you know why, that is skill.”
years. “As soon as Dan could walk, he was out there on Skilled fishermen do not only improve upon their
the dock fishing.” fishing technique, Brown said. They must learn water-
Over the last couple of summers, Brown has ways, baits, tackle and how to drive a boat at 70 mph.
competed in almost 30 local, state and national bass Brown, who has participated in varsity sports through
fishing tournaments. He finished fifth in the Michigan high school, compared this to baseball players who are
High School State Championship. In 2018, the high always improving their skill sets and must learn how to
school senior toured in Fishing League Worldwide as a bat, field, catch and throw to be a great player.
co-angler with professionals Clayton Reitz and Daniel “It’s not the most fit guy out on the lake, but the
Houser. He was the youngest member of the tour. smartest guy who is catching all the fish,” he said.
Brown is also the founder of two bass fishing youth
clubs in Mid-Michigan — one at Mount Pleasant High Tending to fellow fishermen
School and the other was started in his basement.
Brown said the clubs have allowed him to assist other When Brown is not fishing in tournaments or
young anglers and answer questions as they begin editing video from his fishing trips — a hobby he enjoys
making their own bass fishing stories. — the fishing enthusiast is mentoring fellow anglers at
“When I was a kid, (bass fishing) was the coolest Mount Pleasant High School and in Mid-Michigan.
thing — the pros wearing their jerseys and the cool bait- Brown wanted others his age to develop the same
casting reels,” Brown said. “That fascinated me more passion he has for bass fishing and looked into creating
than the older men in camouflage trolling through the a high school bass fishing team. He soon realized a
swamps on their walleye boats.” bigger difference could be made at a club open to many
Growing up, Brown and his father trolled cowbell schools and age groups.
and spoon lures for big-water fish like salmon, whose As a sophomore, the young fisherman started
Michigan population is down 75 percent since 2012, Mid-Michigan Youth Anglers (MMYA). The club is now
according to an article written by Randy Claramunt, a the fastest growing bass fishing group in Michigan
DNR Great Lakes fishery biologist. with 35 members. The club holds monthly meetings for
Brown’s fascination with bass fishing came about sophomores, juniors and
as Salmon populations seniors.
dwindled and said he was “I want to make (bass fishing) grow,” Brown said. “I want to make (bass
introduced to competitive fishing) grow,” Brown said.
bass fishing on YouTube. “Bass fishing is like the new NASCAR — it's huge in the “Bass fishing is like the new
It was on the online video south and is moving its way up to Michigan." NASCAR — it's huge in the
site Brown began watching south and is moving its way
professional bass fishermen up to Michigan."
like Kevin VanDam. Through the club, the young anglers have spoken
“(The decline in salmon population) made fishing with individuals and gotten to know the fishing industry.
hard, and I just wanted a different species to fish,” More importantly, Brown said the club has allowed for
Brown said. members to make connections with each other.
Since being introduced to the sport, Brown has real- Brown has also benefitted from these connections
ized there is a lot that goes into becoming a skilled bass since he never had a friend whose passion for fishing
fisherman. equaled his own. Brown said, through his club, he has
“There is a difference between skilled (bass) fish- gotten to know people like Sawyer Woods, who is now
ermen and your ‘weekend danglers,’” he said. “For bass his best friend.
fishing, there is a lot of science because of the biology Woods, 18, said MMYA has opened a lot of doors for

Winter2019
Summer 2018| |Michigan
MichiganOut-of-Doors 57
Out-of-Doors 39

Summer 2019.indd 41 5/8/2019 9:10:23 AM


Above: Dan Brown competes as a co-angler at Fishing League Worldwide's T-H Marine Bass Fishing League Tournament
June 9 at Mullett Lake. Brown and professional angler Clayton Reitz placed 33 out of 110 pairings at the tournament. Right:
Members of Mount Pleasant High School Bass Fishing Team receive their Favorite rods and baits from Googan Baits.
him and allowed him to fish in tournaments he would Cadillac and Mitchell. Through his tournament fishing,
not have otherwise. The high school junior finds his Brown also qualified the team for the Michigan state
relationship with Brown to be mutually beneficial. championship on Lake St. Clair in August.
“Dan, my god, he knows everything about the “I’ve fished (Lake Cadillac and Lake Mitchell)
fishing industry,” Woods said. “(Dan and I) have been before, but some of the guys on the team have no tour-
able to bounce ideas off each other, but I have learned a nament experience,” Brown said. “That’s why I created
lot from Dan." the team. I wanted to provide that experience to them.”
Both Brown and Woods have stepped down from With Michigan’s clean fisheries and abundance
their respective positions as president and vice presi- of waterways, Brown believes Michigan could be the
dent of the club to focus on their careers and upcoming first northern state to make bass fishing a recognized
summer tournaments. varsity sport. Brown said he is helping lay the founda-
Following the success of MMYA, Brown went to tion necessary to do so.
Mount Pleasant school administrators in hopes they “Bass fishing is not sitting in a lawn chair
would support the establishment of an official bass with a rod,” Brown said. “It is go, go, go 70 mph
fishing team. Due to Michigan High School Athletic and will take off once MHSAA recognizes it.”
Association (MHSAA) rules and suspected liabilities,
the Mount Pleasant High School could not ordain the Still a Student
establishment of an official club.
However, the school did allow Brown to form an Over the past couple of years, Brown said his career
unofficial team, which shares the school’s name — as a fisherman has “exploded,” making it harder to
Mount Pleasant High School Bass Team. The team of balance school. In class while others do their home-
six competitors compete in state tournaments in groups work, Brown prepares for his future as a fisherman,
of two anglers on three separate boats. which sometimes gets him in trouble, he said.
Tournaments begin by shotgun fire, Brown said, Brown often completes assignments ahead of time
and boats are launched in order into the lake. Each to fish and compete in tournaments. Other times, Brown
competitor is allowed five fish which can be substituted said his busy schedule makes it hard to get classwork
by culling, a process of releasing a smaller fish for a done at all.
superior one. “There are times where I have to be like, ‘OK, let’s
The team’s first tournament is June 15 on lakes do some homework real quick,’” Brown said.

40 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 42 5/8/2019 9:10:23 AM Mic


Despite a busy schedule, Brown said he is still a
typical high school senior suffering from senioritis.
Brown works at a local deli and enjoys interacting
with customers. When he is not working, Brown takes
his “dinky” car to the ponds outside Theunissen
Stadium — a baseball stadium on Central Michigan
University’s campus.
In the fall, Brown will begin studying marketing at
Michigan State. He feels comfortable with marketing
since all he has been doing for the past two years
is marketing himself to professional anglers and
companies.
Through his career as an angler, Brown has made
connections with individuals and brands like Favorite
Rods and Lure Lock. He said these relationships bring
his aspirations of working in the fishing industry closer
to reality.
While in the industry, Brown plans to work toward
becoming a professional angler.
“If I can go to school, run two youth clubs and fish
in tournaments, I think I can work a full-time job while
chasing my dream of becoming a professional fish-
erman,” Brown said.
While fishing in the Southern United States and
the Great Lakes Region, Brown has begun making a
name for himself. Still, he correlates his successes and
achievements to weekends spent fishing for panfish on
a 22-foot Starcraft Islander in Grand Traverse Bay.

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over 60 degree programs including
Biology, Conservation Officer, Parks
& Recreation, and Fisheries &
Wildlife Management.

Surrounded by millions of acres


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our backyard creates the perfect
outdoor laboratory.

Enjoy hiking, skiing, kayaking,


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Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 41

Michigan
Summer Outdoors
2019.indd 43 ad.indd 1 10/29/18
5/8/2019 9:10:232:19
AM PM
By David Rose

The Great
Bait Debate
W
hat you’ll find in my Joe and have concluded that are located, on the other hand, he’ll
boat is never exactly the there’s a place for both artificial slow down and fish tubes or crea-
same each and every baits and the real deal. The key is ture baits; but he’s not still-fishing
trip out, especially when using the right one for the tech- those soft-bodied baits.
it comes to lures and live bait. While niques your employing at the time. “Because of its buoyancy and
I have just about every conceivable flexibility, however, I can fish baits
contraption for catching fish on made from ElaZtech super slow and
board at all times, I usually have a
Trending know they’re looking nearly as alive
mindset before climbing aboard on as the real thing,” Neilson adds.
“I don’t remember the last time
the tactics I’ll be using for the day ElaZtech is exclusive to Z-Man prod-
I’ve had live bait in my boat,” said
and will grab a little extra of what- ucts and is remarkably pliable and
Ben Neilson, who fishes bass tour-
ever it is I think will catch fish. Some soft. “Baits made from this mate-
naments throughout his home state
days it’s a tackle tote full of specific rial have about as-close-to-realistic
of Michigan, as well nearby states,
lures, other days it’s a cooler with movement as anything phony
including the BASS Open series.
containers of crawlers and leaches can, even when fished slowly.”
“Then again, I cover immense
inside or a bucket of minnows.
amounts of water during pre-fishing
Today’s tackle has many anglers
questioning if live bait is even neces-
and tournaments and need to use The real deal
lures that I can cover a lot of water
sary, however. Lures donning life-
with, and that’s not the perfect Overall, live bait comes into play
like looks and realistic movements,
scenario for using live bait. And live when still-fishing, vertical jigging,
as well the latest super-pliable soft
bait is not allowed to be used in the drifting and the like: methods where
baits, fool fish more now than they
majority of bass tournaments.” fish have time to study your offering
ever did. Heck, even innovating fly-
Overall, the general rule when it versus striking out of reaction. And
tiers are creating bugs, streamers
comes to using live bait versus lures the scent of the real deal also plays
and the like that look more real than
or flies is how fast your fishing. a huge part in using it.
the creatures they’re emulating with
When Neilson is in the bow of his “Walleyes are some of the
today’s modern tying materials.
boat and fan-casting fast, it’s lures pickiest fish that swim, and the
With that said, as an outdoor
like spinnerbaits, crankbaits and scent of live bait is sometimes what
writer and fishing guide, I’m on
jerkbaits that are what you’ll most it takes to get them to hit,” said
the water more than the average
likely find tied to his lines. Once fish fishing pro Mark Martin. Martin,

42 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 44 5/8/2019 9:10:25 AM


a Michigan resident, has fished are continuously tearing up night
these fickle fish in just about every crawlers on his rigs, for example,
waterway they swim in throughout Martin will often have to switch Garden hackle
the United States and Canada, as live night crawlers over to Berkley
well placed high in the ranks in PowerBait or GULP! Crawlers. This There’s been a great bait debate
several different walleye tourna- wards off having to endlessly reel amongst trout anglers since the
ment tours. “You’ll find live bait in in and check to make sure there’s beginning of time: Is it more chal-
my boat nearly all the time, just in still bait left on his hooks or to make lenging to catch fish on a fly than
case the fish want something fished sure he’s not been dragging around is with garden hackle (a worm)?
very slowly. Is it a must? No, but a small fish for a while. Perhaps the other way around?
there are times when, say, a cold “The good thing about the imita- Years ago, good friend and fly-
front has passed through and the tions nowadays is they are scented, fishing expert Kelly Galloup told
fish become lethargic. Sometimes and even the pickiest fish will strike me that it takes just as much skill to
tantalizing a fish in a negative mood because of the added scent trailing catch a trout with a live worm as it
with a crawler, leach or minnow behind,” he adds. does to fool one with a fly. And I’ll
is the only thing that will work.” And speaking of scent trails, say that I have to agree. Again, it’s
walleye pro Mark Brumbaugh, a knowing what to use for the condi-
touring tournament pro from Ohio, tions at hand.
Cross-over gave me a tip years ago that he uses Years ago, for example, a buddy
to increase his catch on crankbaits. told me he was struggling to catch
There are times when using Brumbaugh pinches off a 1/2 fish with live bait in a local river.
either real or fake baits for the same to 1/3 piece of night crawler and However, while he was fishing a
tactic comes into play. then fixes one end of that onto the run, another angler waded by who
“Pulling crawler harnesses front hook of the crankbait. The was fly fishing and was picking off
(whether near bottom behind crawler chunk is forgiving so it fish out of the very waters he had
bottom-bouncers or high in the won’t hinder the action of the lure, just fished. The water was low, and
water column behind in-line planer yet, that little piece is all that’s stable weather had a few tiny bugs
boards) is one of those techniques needed to create a scent trail. This hatching. In this case, the trout were
where I’ll start with one and often really works well when trolling — it looking up, targeting small insects
end up using the other,” said Martin. gets fish that are following to strike. on the surface instead of paying
In waterways where pesky panfish attention to the forage wafting near

Summer 2019.indd 45 5/8/2019 9:10:26 AM


Left: Walleye Pro Mark Brumbaugh
holds a walleye that bit his crankbait
with a chunk of night crawler nipped to
its front hook.

The author, David A. Rose, is


a writer, photographer and
fishing guide who lives in the
Traverse City, MI area. You
can check out his website at
www.wildfishing.com.

the bottom. Had the weather been


different and the water roiled and
flowing faster, my bud’s worm tech-
nique may have out-fished anything
buggy. You just never know…

Examination
Is there really a great bait
debate? Seems the answer is no.
Whether you choose to fish with
lures, live bait or flies should depend
on the conditions at hand, as well as
the technique to employ. There’s a
place for both fake baits and the real
deal. I know nothing will change in
my boat; some days it’ll be a tackle
tote full of specific lures, other days
a cooler with containers of crawlers
and leaches inside or a bucket of
minnows.

44 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 46 5/8/2019 9:10:28 AM


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Summer 2019.indd 47 5/8/2019 9:10:28 AM


How natural resources
policies are created
Part 1: The Natural Resources Commission
By Charlie Booher, MUCC Intern

Making policy is a complicated,


sticky process. There are lots of
people and institutions involved,
and all of them have a long history.
Thankfully, we can break these
procedures down into manageable,
bite-sized pieces. In the next three
issues of Michigan Out-of-Doors,
I will be examining the bodies that
govern our natural resources here
in the State of Michigan and how
they interact with each other. These
will include the Natural Resources
Commission (NRC), the Michigan
State Legislature and the Michigan
Department of Natural Resources
(MDNR). This edition will highlight
the Michigan NRC — an institution
that is often misunderstood.
To start, an understanding The Natural Resources Commission presents Tony Demboski with the Thomas
of natural resource management L. Washington Lifetime Commitment to Conservation Award at the December
history might help: In the United meeting.
States, wildlife and sportfish are
held in a “public trust” that is state legislatures, as these bodies appointed, they are not required to
under the jurisdiction of each state are responsible for the creation of have backgrounds in wildlife or fish-
— that’s why you need a separate laws — more on how this institu- eries biology, ecology, agriculture
license to hunt in Wisconsin or Ohio tion is involved next quarter. Many or natural resource management.
if you drive across the border. Much of these legislatures, like ours here However, many of them do, and they
like a financial trust, the beneficia- in Michigan, decided at some point are appointed with recommenda-
ries or owners of the public trust that it would be more efficient to tions from the state Senate and the
do not manage the resources held delegate natural resource manage- MDNR. Each commissioner serves
within it; this responsibility is left to ment to an appointed body than for a term of four years. The first
a given “trustee.” With wildlife, the to make all decisions through the Michigan NRC was established in
beneficiaries are the citizens of the lengthy legislative processes neces- 1922 to oversee the state Department
state where that wildlife lives and sary for other laws. Thus, the NRC of Conservation, a precursor to the
the trustee is the government of that was born. current MDNR.
state. This means that, under most The Michigan NRC is a public As a whole, this autonomous
circumstances, the three branches body consisting of seven citizens body oversees the actions of the
of government that oversee the of the state. All seven members of MDNR at the discretion of the state
rest of the state (legislative, execu- the NRC are governor-appointed, legislature. In theory, this removes
tive and judicial) also oversee with the Senate holding advice and natural resource policy from the
these natural resources. Naturally, consent power over the appoint- politicking of the legislature and
most of this rulemaking fell to the ments. As commissioners are allows scientific research to guide

46 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 48 5/8/2019 9:10:30 AM


NRC
decision-making. However, this public meetings throughout the
decision was not made wholly by state of Michigan, and locations
the state legislature. In 1996, the will range from East Lansing to
citizens of Michigan voted to adopt Marquette in 2019. All of these
the Michigan Wildlife Management
Referendum, also known
Proposal G. This ballot initiative
as
meetings are open to the public to
attend and make comments on the
business of the NRC. If you are
Commissioners
granted the Commission the exclu- unable to attend in person, each
sive authority to regulate the taking meeting is also streamed live online Keith Creagh
of game and sportfish. “Taking,” in by MUCC via Facebook Live. Williamston, MI
this case, includes the creation of The commission, like all other 517-290-7776
license quotas, season lengths and bodies of government, is subject to Appointed: 10/24/18
bag limits. These are made with a variety of checks and balances by
recommendations from wildlife and the other branches. Commissioners Term Expires: 12/31/22
fisheries researchers within the are appointed by the governor (exec-
MDNR, outside research institu- utive) with the advice and consider- Louise Klarr
tions, including some of Michigan’s ation of the state Senate (legislative) Jackson, MI
15 public universities, and stake- in a process similar to the nomina- 248-417-5782
holders. As of 2016 (Public Act 382), tion of judges. Likewise, the actions
the NRC is authorized to designate of the NRC itself can be checked by Appointed: 12/28/12
species as “game animals” and actions of the state legislature or Reappointed: 12/16/16
establish the first open hunting by ballot initiatives. The MDNR is Term Expires: 12/31/20
season for these animals. This checked by the commission, as the
allows the commission to further orders of the NRC are directives for David Nyberg
incorporate scientific research into the department, but the MDNR can
the responsible management of provide information and advice to Skandia, MI
these species. the NRC for these orders. 906-250-6339
All regulations are first All of this is to say, at the very Appointed: 10/08/18
proposed to the NRC through least, that policy-making is compli- Term Expires: 12/31/22
an order. Each order is an offi- cated. Wildlife policy-making is
cial addition to the state Wildlife especially complicated because it
Conservation Order, which requires a combination of ecolog- Vicki J. Pontz, Chair
contains a complete listing of all ical science, complex economic Ionia, MI
regulations and legal descriptions systems, administrative experience 517-643-2295
pertaining to sportfish and wildlife and knowledge of state politicking. Appointed: 12/31/13
in Michigan. All orders are offered However, this cannot and should Term Expires: 12/31/19
before a public forum at each NRC not discourage us as citizens who
meeting. These are listed online on care about the natural resources of
the commission’s monthly agenda this great state. Conservationists Rex Schlaybaugh, Jr.
as either “for information” or “for have engaged themselves in this Harbor Springs, MI
action.” It often takes two or three process because it is fundamental 313-377-0152
NRC meetings for an order to move to the places, species and heritage Appointed: 1/05/12
through the information process, that we love.
which includes an opportunity for I hope that this article has given Term Expires: 12/31/19
members of the public to weigh in. you a better understanding of the
During this time, many experts and NRC and that you will continue Chris Tracy
scientists will also testify to provide reading this series in the next issues Richland, MI
the NRC with the best available to learn more about the role of the 269-806-7380
knowledge on the outcome of their MDNR and the state legislature in
vote. Orders can be passed by a this process. MUCC works closely Appointed: 12/16/16
simple majority of the commission with all three of these institutions Term Expires: 12/31/20
after being posted “for action.” All to conserve, protect and enhance
regulations, including the length Michigan's natural resources and John W. Walters
of many of our hunting seasons, outdoor heritage. Will you join us? Vanderbilt, MI
fishing license quotas and the fine
print of hunting and fishing digests, 231-313-0057
are decided by the NRC through Appointed: 12/21/17
this process. Term Expires: 12/31/21
The NRC conducts monthly

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 47

Summer 2019.indd 49 5/8/2019 9:10:30 AM


The 'Longtail King'

By Nick Green

T
here’s two kinds of duck hunters in Michigan; shotgun pointed up and moving back and forth meant
well, maybe three: Those who hunt puddle ducks, crippled bird on the water and two hands up meant
those who hunt divers and the third group who come to me.
partakes in any duck hunt available. I fancy myself a Schnautz set McKeon and I up about 40 yards apart
member of the third group. in our layout boats. Trying to gather my sea legs, I
Last November, MUCC Education Director Shaun moved around, squirmed and did all I could do to see
McKeon and I had the opportunity to hunt on Saginaw Captain Stephen Schnautz, owner of R & D Guide Service,
Bay out of layout boats with Captain Stephen Schnautz, displays a drake longtail after retrieving the bird in the
“the Longtail King” and owner of R & D Guide Service. tender boat.
Schnautz is a gruff fellow whose enthusiasm for all
things ducks is contagious and inspiring.
Despite some early morning hiccups because of
frozen throttle cables and a trip to the car wash to
get things thawed, we made our way out in 25-degree
weather with moderate winds. Schnautz motored us
about four or five miles out of the Au Gres launch and
began to set up.
If you are a waterfowl hunter and haven’t had the
opportunity to hunt out of layout boats, I suggest you
try to arrange a trip with someone to do it. Essentially,
layouts are small, floating saucers with a low profile
that the hunter lays in. Decoy strings are then attached
to the front of the layout and strung off the front with a
heavy anchor weighing the end of the master line down
about 20 yards or so in front of the layout.
After some safety recommendations, Schnautz went
through gun motions after a bird is taken. A shotgun
straight up in the air meant dead bird on the water,

48 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 50 5/8/2019 9:10:32 AM


what the boat was capable of. It was not tipping over.
The key to layout hunting is knowing when to sit up
and take the 50-mile-per-hour-flying birds as they race
down your decoy lines. Before we knew it, we had both
emptied a box of shells with only a bird or two to show
for it.
We quickly learned to not let the birds decoy
because once they land, the bobbing waves make it
extremely difficult to find them. We had several birds
that decoyed perfectly, but we lost them in the waves
after they had landed. “Take them when their feet come
down,” Schnautz said.
After a quick move by Schnautz to get McKeon’s
layout a little closer to mine, we were in the action.
Birds came from head-on, behind us and the sides —
pretty much everywhere but above us.
Another unique trait about most divers is they fly
low, 10 feet or so, to the water. As a more experienced
puddle duck hunter, I had to train my eyes to look out in
front of me, not out and up like we do in marshes when
mallards and other dabblers are circling.
After becoming more comfortable in the layouts,
both McKeon and I started to actually make quality
shots. We picked our birds and the angles that we
thought would yield success. Waves of birds started
to run up our decoy strings and getting the bead out
in front of them became the next challenge. A two- or
three-foot lead was needed in some cases.
Despite our awful shotgunning, Captain Schnautz
didn’t lose his patience. He worked with us, helped us
with friendly tips and provided humor to help us not
feel so bad for the missed shots. Above: MUCC Education Director Shaun McKeon displays a
If you are in the market for a longtail hunt this fall drake longtail that is currently at the taxidermist. This was
or if you haven’t ever had the chance to hunt out of a McKeon and Green's first hunt out of layout boats. Below:
layout boat, look up Captain Stephen Schnautz with R Green hunkers down in the layout boat as Schnautz gets
& D Guide Service. Stephen guides year-round through ready to set up the other layout for McKeon. Layouts are
the ice, on the Detroit River and Saginaw Bay for perfect for diver duck hunting because of their low profile
Walleye and in the marshes and on the Bay for ducks. and stability.

Summer
SUMMER |2019||Michigan
2017 2019
Summer Michigan
MICHIGAN OUT-OF-DOORS
Out-of-Doors 4947
Out-of-Doors 49

Summer 2019.indd 51 5/8/2019 9:10:34 AM


MUCC & Partners Host Second
Annual Habitat Series
By Morgan Warda, MUCC Wildlife
Cooperatives Coordinator

Michigan United Conservation


Clubs once again partnered with the
Michigan Department of Natural
Resources (MDNR), Farm Bill biolo-
gists and other stakeholders to host
five wildlife habitat and conser-
vation-related workshops. These
workshops took place in Farm Bill
biologist coverage counties, specifi-
cally Lenawee, Branch, Lapeer,
Gratiot and Tuscola. There was
interest expressed from multiple
parts of the state, and we hope to
expand the series in the future.
The workshops were created to
have a cohesive feel by the partners
mentioned above – each one followed
the same agenda. Our goal was to
have the same message presented
to each audience. We created the
agenda together and worked on Michigan can help you determine recreational areas and other public
topic presentations in groups. Each what conservation practices would lands.
workshop included a discussion on have the most significant impact on As a group, the MPRI’s focus
why grasslands are important, the your land. on habitat has helped restore more
benefit of wildlife cooperatives, how To ensure that all partici- than 7,500 acres of grassland acres
to implement and manage grass- pants received the most relatable in 2018, planted 11,500 acres of food
land habitat and what programs are information to their situation, plots and enhanced 2,700 acres
available to assist landowners. workshops included staff from of wetland habitat, among other
The intent of this series was to Natural Resources Conservation accomplishments. One of the note-
highlight grassland habitat and its Service, Michigan Association worthy moments late in 2018 was
value to Michigan’s wildlife and of Conservation Districts and the MPRI Coalition applying for and
water, along with how private land- Pheasants Forever. The partner- receiving approval for 40,000 acres
owners can produce high-quality ships present are a perfect example of CRP State Acres for Wildlife
habitat on their properties and of the work put forth by the Enhancement (SAFE). SAFE is
who they can work with to do so. Michigan Pheasant Restoration an enhanced version of the CRP
Workshops had representation from Initiative (MPRI). program that focuses on habitat for
each partner to offer diverse knowl- MPRI is a conservation initia- wildlife. Just over 10,000 acres were
edge to participants that ranged tive put in place to restore and contracted through the program
from small scale acreage to large enhance pheasant habitat, increase for 2019 and will benefit pheasants,
agricultural producers. One of the wild pheasant populations and monarchs, mallards and other
most important things to remember increase hunting opportunity on grassland wildlife. This program,
is that you may be influencing public and private lands. Together, along with many others, was a topic
habitat differently than others, but these partners acquire state and discussed at this year’s Habitat
your contribution is still significant federal resources to assist land- Series. The Farm Bill biologists
— the more quality habitat on the owners in their pursuit to improve work directly with participants and
ground, the better. The network of wildlife habitat on their properties support them through the entire
professionals that is available in and by improving state game areas, program process.

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Another facet of MPRI that and expressed interest in wildlife
was discussed at the Habitat Series habitat. The professionals engaged MPRI by the numbers
Workshops was the Michigan in this series are motivated and
Wildlife Cooperatives Program. passionate individuals, but it takes
This program is supported by landowners such as yourselves to
MUCC, MDNR, Pheasants Forever
and the Quality Deer Management
make a large, private land impact on
conservation.
7,500
Association to promote the creation Partnerships in conservation is acres of grasslands restored
and expansion of wildlife coop- not a new concept. As individuals
eratives in the state. With a focus and separate entities, we can make
on private lands, the cooperatives strides, but together we are able
program unites like-minded people
in a geographic range and helps
to meet the expectations of our
personal missions while sharing 11,500
them work together to improve a vision. That shared vision is the
habitat to benefit a variety of wild- definition of conservation.
acres of food plots planted
life and pollinators. This program Grasslands are a sensitive
falls under the umbrella of MPRI part of our ecosystem that is both
and works directly with those
partners to further success of the
aesthetically pleasing and critical
to wildlife and water quality. If you 2,700
initiative. are interested in working on habitat
More than 150 individuals within your community or need acres of wetland habitat
attended the Habitat Series guidance on where to get started,
Workshops this year – with an contact Morgan Warda, MUCC improved
average of 33 people per workshop. wildlife cooperatives coordinator, at
Thank you to those that participated mwarda@mucc.org or 517-346-6454.

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 51

Summer 2019.indd 53 5/8/2019 9:10:35 AM


Greenwing Customs:
By Nick Green

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Summer 2019.indd 54 5/8/2019 9:10:36 AM


T
he lathe whirled as he
pressed his wooden-
“There’s an intimacy and a story behind each of the calls I turn by hand.
handled shapers into the People will always want that — they want that story and heritage that
block of acrylic. The dull
hum of the lathe and rhythmic ‘tap,’ has built who they are as waterfowlers on their lanyard.”
‘tap,’ ‘tap’ from the acrylic pieces
in the marsh ended for the season and it keeps me thinking about that
hitting the window above him
and the last Canada goose made its next cupped up mallard decoying or
sounded like a metronome keeping
pilgrimage south. longtail buzzing the diver spread.”
time.
He bought a bargain lathe There aren’t many 24 year
Dimly lit, the shop hadn’t quite
and started turning. More than olds that have the work ethic and
woken up with the songbirds and
100 faulty calls litter his shop, old drive of Chedister. From founding
pheasant cackles that morning. A
lanyards and his shelves — they are Greenwing Customs to investing
small lamp sat on the worn work-
a reminder of the time, effort and in better equipment to further his
bench beside him — shining its light
failures that it took to achieve his craft, one can’t help but view him
on what would soon be artwork or
own unique sound. as an old soul with an unparalleled
a utilitarian tool in the right hands.
It took Chedister two years — work ethic; he’s the kind of person
‘Quack,’ ‘quack,’ ‘quack’
and lots of equipment upgrades you want to watch the marsh wake
sharply broke the shop’s silence.
— to develop the perfect rasp and up with and have next to you when
“Just right,” he said, as he set
responsiveness he wanted in his the mallards start circling.
the turned piece of acrylic aside.
calls. Greenwing Customs was born. Turning calls has taught
“There’s a science to this and a little
After his day jobs at General Chedister patience, too. Patience
bit of knowing what you want,” he
RV as a lot transportation specialist that has translated into all aspects
said as he grabbed a reed and cork
and as a furniture-delivery man at of his life — relationships, family
out of a drawer.
night, Chedister makes his way to and duck hunting.

Built from the ground up


his grandparent’s garage where his “It used to be that I couldn’t sleep
“Competition or easy-
shop is portioned off. at night thinking about the hunt
blowing,” he asked. “Whatever I
“I spend lots of nights out here the next morning, what our spread
can make sound good,” I replied.
until one or two,” Chedister said. “I would look like and how many
“Easy-blowing it is,” he said.
never have a bad time when I’m here, ducks we would take,” Chedister

Starting with a block


Brandon Chedister, 24, has been
turning duck calls since he was 20.
Through trial and error, he has
crafted a sound that was proofed by
friends and family — all of whom
are serious waterfowl hunters.
Chedister started duck hunting
at 18. Accompanying his stepfather,
Dean Noble, on Saginaw Bay and the
surrounding marshes soon became
his penance. He placed decoys, sat
quietly and listened. And then he
listened more — trying to absorb
everything he could from the old
guard.
At 20, Chedister decided he
wanted to try and turn duck calls
— if nothing else, at least for some-
thing to do once the last sunrise

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 53

Summer 2019.indd 55 5/8/2019 9:10:37 AM


said. “And, after turning (calls) for — they want that story and heritage man, there isn’t much Chedister
a while, something changed in me: that has built who they are as water- isn’t willing to tackle in the world
it was about the experience and fowlers on their lanyard.” of waterfowling. It wouldn’t be
journey, not the kill-strap’s weight.” Plans to start a website and sell a surprise to see him in 20 years
In just over four years, Chedister more branded gear are also in the with his own, well-known retriever
has started to build a cult following works. And Chedister’s savvy busi- program, kennel and duck call
and has turned several hundred ness sense will pay dividends for business.
calls — each marred by the imper- him in the future. Last fall, I was fortunate enough
fections only hand-turning can to accompany Chedister on several
bring. The fine-tuning hunts. To learn the proper way to
Plans are in the works to start call from someone rooted in the
offering acrylic, precision-turned, Through all of Chedister’s trials tradition of call making is an oppor-
machined calls in the next year. and tribulations, though, his friends tunity that has shaped who I am as
Chedister has found a shop to take and family have been his worst a hunter and caller.
his favorite calls’ specs and repro- critics. Hand placement, cadence and
duce them into something auto- “I remember an old guy I hunted air flow all were covered by 7 a.m.
mated machines can build. with telling me a call I turned was on our first hunt.
“I don’t think I will ever get junk and it better served its purpose “Keep blowing,” he said. “You’ll
completely away from hand- at the bottom of Saginaw Bay,” get it.” And I soon did.
turning, though,” Chedister said. Chedister said. “That’s the stuff that And just like that, the flip was
“There’s an intimacy and a story drives me.” switched on the lathe. It came to
behind each of the calls I turn by In his free time, Chedister also a slow halt. He unscrewed the
hand. People will always want that trains retrievers. An industrious mandrel and pulled the unpolished

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Summer 2019.indd 56 5/8/2019 9:10:39 AM


block off, examining it under the
lamp next to him. “Not perfect, but
it will quack,” he said. “Then again,
none of them are perfect. And that’s
why they are all unique.”
Handing me the call, he asked
me to blow a greeting call and
several quick quacks. Quickly, he
pulled out the barrel, took off the
reed and cork and started to sand
on the tone board all in one motion
— almost like he knew exactly what
it needed.
“There,” he said, “that’s tuned
to you.”
The smell of polisher stung my
nostrils as Chedister wiped a small
coat on the call. After one final
inspection, he declared it finished
and fit for a lanyard.
To find out more about
Greenwing Customs or to order
one of these Michigan-made, hand-
turned calls, visit the company’s
Facebook page.

Summer
Summer 202019
19 | |Michigan Out-of-Doors 5555
MichiganOut-of-Doors

Summer 2019.indd 57 5/8/2019 9:10:41 AM


Ladies, Guns and Roosters
By Heather Shaw

M
arch is a trying time for lovers of the Capone, Crooked Foot club assistant, and Sandra Meyer,
outdoors in Michigan: winter is on its way Mid Michigan Safari Club International representative,
out the door and spring tugs away at our had invited me to join them on a ladies European hunt
need for sunshine and greenery. This year, followed by lunch and a walk-up hunt in the afternoon
I had a chance to welcome March with a new opportu- — I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation.
nity, as my Llewellin setter pup Chip and I were on our As we arrived, I let Chip out to stretch his legs,
way to our first ladies hunt. Anxiously packing gear for and a diverse group of bird dogs that participants had
the dog and I the night before, I realized that I had not brought greeted him. I immediately knew that I was
had many opportunities to hunt with women who share going to fit in with this group of girls and gundogs.
similar passions in hunting and wingshooting. After introductions, a safety discussion and an oppor-
Chip and I braved a fierce snowstorm as we left home tunity to brush the dust off of our shooting skills for
in the northwoods. Although I questioned whether the winter, we headed out for the European hunt. I had
the bad road conditions were worth it, I had a feeling never participated in a tower shoot and was not sure
that this would be a unique experience that I did not what to expect; however, I was pleasantly surprised with
want to miss. We were headed to Crooked Foot Upland the number of shooting opportunities followed by hoots
Game & Bird Hunting Club in Owosso to meet a group and hollers from the ladies. I laughed the entire time
of 14 ladies of varying hunting experience levels. Kim while harvesting several pheasants and missing even

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56

Summer 2019.indd 58 5/8/2019 9:10:45 AM


more, thrilled to smell gunpowder again. The retriever pheasants and branched off with a new acquaintance
work by the Crooked Foot team was nothing short of Teresa Arnett who wanted to do the same with her
fantastic by both dogs and handlers — the majority of English setter, Prim. I was very impressed with the
the retrievers were labs of varying ages and experience way that Prim worked, as she had only been hunted a
levels, and each of them was eager to get the next bird handful of times since Teresa brought her home as an
in their mouth. adult dog — she was a natural. Walking through the
Over lunch, our sponsors for this event were recog- switchgrass, we talked about training successes and
nized and the list included Crooked Foot, Safari Club failures while watching the dogs work independently
International, J&B Boots, the Ruffed Grouse Society from one cover to the next. It was obvious that the dogs
and the Wealth Advisory Group. Sponsors provided were thrilled to be back in their element; there was a
prizes to be raffled, as well as scholarships which bounce in their stride and their senses were exploding
covered hunt costs for our new hunters. This was a with the scent of birds. It is important to note that Chip
great way to encourage participation! and I finished the grouse season last year hunting up to
Following a wonderful lunch, we split up and the last day in December, where to my dismay he had
headed to the field for a walk-up hunt to pursue the busted a few birds. We still have a lot of ground to cover
birds which eluded us in the morning. I wanted to with training, but I am confident in my adolescent bird
take this opportunity to train Chip on a few brazen dog's drive and ability. That being said, I was hopeful

Summer
Winter2019
2018| |Michigan Out-of-Doors 57
MichiganOut-of-Doors 57

Summer 2019.indd 59 5/8/2019 9:10:48 AM


a passion and bonded over our love for the outdoors.
The hunting community needs more of that; we need to
be better, and we can be better.
I walked into this event not knowing anyone and left
with 14 new friends that I cannot wait to join in the field
again. Cheers, ladies — until next time.
Heather Shaw is the Regional Wildlife Biologist
for the Ruffed Grouse Society in Michigan. When not
working, she spends her time in the forests of northern
Michigan with her Llewellin setter, Chip, exploring
new covers and enjoying all that the northwoods have
to offer.

Women are the fasting growing


demographic among hunters. In a world
where we are rapidly losing the old
guard, it is more important than ever to
include everyone, from all walks of life,
into our sport.

that he would provide a solid point and an opportunity


at a rooster following three long months of hiberna-
tion. Luckily, things clicked as we worked the edge of
a swale. Chip slammed on point and Prim immediately
honored! In the moment, all I could do was ask Teresa
to take a picture while I "whoaed" Chip. Teresa and I
walked away grinning ear to ear, knowing that we had
harvested the best bird of the day for ourselves and our
beloved gun dogs.
Following the hunt, the parking lot was full of
ladies with birds in hand, laughing at my horrible jokes
and telling stories while the dogs played around us. My
heart was full; I had found my tribe.
When Kim Capone and Sandra Meyer envisioned
this event, they aimed to provide a fun and comfort-
able environment for hunters of all experience levels,
and it did just that. Kim Capone said it best when
mentioning that 14 women, most whom had never met
before, bonded immediately over their shared passion
and interest for hunting. Six women, including Capone,
had never hunted before, and I can guarantee that this
will not be their first and only experience. Still, why
was this hunt so different, why was I still glowing on
the long drive home? Normally, I hunt alone, a soloist
through and through. I have started to hunt with other
friends when I can, and I am realizing that nothing
compares to time in the field with good friends and bird
dogs. At this event, we lifted each other up rather than
cast judgment, we encouraged each other to be the best
that we could be and earned our salt as female hunters.
We welcomed those new to hunting with open arms and
a day full of non-stop, wingshooting action. We shared

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

Get Michigan Out-of-Doors


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

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

Summer 2019.indd 61 5/8/2019 9:10:52 AM


U.P Predator-Prey Study
By Jacob VanHouten

A
s if holding a semi-conscious Association (MOWA) summer coyote is only the beginning. The
coyote that had been meeting in Marquette (June 2010), captured victim must feel quite
trapped (leg-hold), sedated I was lucky enough to observe and confused after being sedated. At that
and repeatedly sampled, poked take part in some of the sampling time, the coyote has blood drawn, a
and prodded by scientists from activities being conducted at that tooth extracted for aging, a telem-
Mississippi State University wasn’t time by the university researchers. etry collar attached, a numbered
thrilling enough, I had to endure Other than being surprised to see ear tag inserted, an anal thermom-
watching two large ticks crawl from “MSU” not being of the Spartan eter reading is taken, as well as
the coyote to my arm. The coyote variety, I was however familiar with weighing and other data collection.
was covered with them. the techniques and methods being No wonder the coyote I helped
Being a biologist as well as an used in the study. These included sample looked somewhat dazed
outdoor writer, I was doubly inter- trapping with leg-hold traps (I and confused, wondering what the
ested in the study that had just am a life-long trapper), collaring heck happened and proceeded to
started the year before. As part of and telemetry, and predator-prey kick back for quite a while before
a group of outdoor media attending relationships. slinking off into the brush… with a
a Michigan Outdoor Writers The process of trapping the little extra “bling” around his neck.

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Research into deer fawn predation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
has been on-going since 2009 and continues as of this date. This important
study has included a phased approach, with Phase I (2009-2011) taking place
in the low-snowfall zone; Phase II (2013-2015) in the mid-snowfall zone; and
Phase III, which started in 2017, in the high-snowfall zone. The last phase
has been undertaken by SUNY (State University of New York). All of this is
being conducted in cooperation with the MDNR, as well as Phase III being
sponsored by the Campfire Program in Wildlife Conservation (NY State
Dept. Environmental Conservation).
The primary focus of the study involves tracking (radio collar/telemetry)
to determine fawn predation from predator species that include coyotes,
bobcats, wolves and bears. With the first two phases of the study completed,
data indicates that for the low-snowfall zone, coyotes were responsible for
32 percent of the killed fawns that were collared , while bobcats killed 18
percent and wolves 7 percent; with bears taking only approximately 5
percent (12 percent were from “unknown” predation). In the mid-snowfall
zone, bear predation was about even with coyotes (between 4 and 17 percent).
Researchers are still collecting data for the high-snowfall zone near Baraga.
It was noted that coyote-fawn predation numbers dropped by half
between the low- and mid-snowfall zones while wolf numbers doubled. It
will be interesting to determine the impacts of predator species at the conclu-
sion of the study. Stay tuned as this important work continues to further
assess predator impacts to Michigan’s deer population. For further informa-
tion, including zone descriptions and other details, check out the Campfire
Program in Wildlife Conservation (part of the State of NY Department of
Environmental Conservation) at: www.campfirewildlife.com/projects/
predator-prey/the-study.

Left: Biologists and researches work efficiently and fast because as sedation wears
off, the animal can become stressed. Below: Researches and biologists extract a
tooth in order to age the coyote during the U.P. predator-prey study.

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 61

Summer 2019.indd 63 5/8/2019 9:10:54 AM


MUCC set to kickoff
On the
Water
in 2019

By Nick Green, MUCC Public Information Officer better habitat for wildlife, fish and recreationists,"
Trotter said. "If we can connect volunteers to their
Michiganders will soon be filling recycling bins and waterways as anglers, hunters, canoers or kayakers, we
dumpsters and improving aquatic habitat through a are creating a true appreciation of Michigan's greatest
new program called On the Water (OTW). natural resource: freshwater."
Through a Consumers Energy Foundation Planet The OTW program will span 10 to 12 projects
Awards grant, Michigan United Conservation Clubs throughout the next 18 months and cover all corners
(MUCC) received $100,000 to kick-start this OTW initia- of the state. Currently, MUCC has been completing
tive — a spin-off of the organization’s wildly-popular two river clean-ups a year on the Manistee and Clinton
On the Ground (OTG) program. rivers. Both of those programs will be rolled into the
Since 2013, MUCC has been improving public lands new OTW program. The program will operate almost
through volunteer stewardship at OTG events. In 2018, exclusively on volunteer hours, and MUCC looks
the program logged more than 3,000 volunteer hours forward to engaging and diving in with volunteers.
and positively impacted more than 600 acres of habitat. OTW is much deeper than just river clean-ups,
But, because OTG is funded through a memorandum though. Our Great Lakes, inland lakes and streams will
of understanding with the Michigan Department of also be impacted by the program. An educational piece
Natural Resources Wildlife Division, project scopes are will accompany the program, helping volunteers under-
limited to game species, their habitat and hunter access stand the best ways to recycle and why it’s important.
— leaving a whole world of opportunity on the water. MUCC Education Director Shaun McKeon also
Freshwater is Michigan’s No. 1 natural resource, applauded Consumers Energy and their five-year envi-
and connecting people to our resources is at the core of ronmental goals of:
who MUCC is as an organization, said MUCC Executive 1) Saving 1 billion gallons of water
Director Amy Trotter. 2) Reducing waste to landfills by 35 percent
"Creating a stewardship between Michiganders 3) Enhancing, restoring or protecting 5,000 acres of
and their lakes, rivers or streams will help promote land in Michigan

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MUCC is seeking organizations or businesses to
partner on the OTW program though sponsorships,
volunteerism and promotions. For more information,
contact Trotter at atrotter@mucc.org.
Check back with www.mucc.org in the coming
months to see what OTW projects will be happening
near you.

“For a corporation as big as Consumers Energy


to understand the need for, and take the initiative in,
healthy, vibrant natural resources speaks volumes to its
character,” McKeon said. “Each small impact made by
these grant recipients will, in the end, create a cleaner
and improved resource.”
Currently, MUCC is seeking applications for the
On the Water coordinator position. Please email your
Pictures are from an OTG project cleaning up the Clinton
resume, cover letter and references to McKeon at
River in July 2017. MUCC is excited to expand its public-land
smckeon@mucc.org. The job description can be found
improvement footprint through On the Water.
at mucc.org/staff/careers/.

"Education is your best defense"


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

Summer 2019.indd 65 5/8/2019 9:10:55 AM


Form Follows Function:
On Finding the
Perfect Outdoorsman's Vehicle

By Andy Duffy

“A
horse, a horse! reflection of ourselves. Show me a cash for them and avoid the dreaded
My kingdom for a fastidiously maintained Prius that car payments. I would bomb around
horse!” bellowed sports a coexist bumper sticker, and in them until they fell apart and
King Richard III I’ll know everything I need to know would then pay cash for another
in what may be the world’s most about the car’s owner. The same one.
chronicled bartering attempt ever. is true of a battered pickup with My trucks reflected me perfectly.
He may even have had a particular a Bass Freak bumper sticker on They’d been ridden hard and put
horse, or at least a particular type of one side, a Duck Dynasty bumper away wet. But they seemed comfort-
horse, in mind. He no doubt wanted sticker on the other and a dog box able around all the scruffy, bearded
a well-hung steed that maybe wasn’t in the back end. I know the driver societal rejects I hung around with,
much to look at but walked with of that truck even if I’ve never met and they obeyed the same rules I had
a swagger and hung out with all him. We’re pals. for the people I associated with. The
the loosest, prettiest little syrupy- I re-learned that lesson during trucks chattered a lot, were often off
tongued mares around. the last three years of driving the on hunting and fishing trips, were at
King Richard had nothing on totally wrong type of vehicle for me. home on back roads and they never
modern man. Over time, we develop Having never been affluent, I’d interrupted my stories.
decided preferences in our rides. fallen into the habit of buying old My system worked out great.
And, of course, our vehicles are a $2,500 pickup trucks. I would pay Most of the trucks were two-wheel

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dropped open with a thud. That was lawyers, another U.S. senator and a
something new. My latch hadn’t governor. I hobnobbed with county
failed before. commissioners, city councilmen
Then my friend wrote a story and business leaders. My wheels
about our excursion. In his article, never made me feel self-conscious.
he called my truck Mrs. Belcher and But I grew to loathe the car. It
wrote something about her having a was as pretentious and elitist as
loose rear end. After that, it seemed the people who drove them. I hated
that anyone I bumped into around its slow-moving power seats. How
town would call my truck Mrs. I missed the spring-loaded seats of
Belcher. my old trucks.
Then my system took a hit. I hated the car’s power windows,
After a period during which I had those dratted things that would go
no gainful employment, I took a down all the way even if I wanted
real job, an out-of-state one with a them to go down just a bit. I never
newspaper. It was my brush with trusted them. I was certain they
respectability. I drove my wife’s car would fail me if I accidentally drove
out to my new job and left her home the car in a lake or a river some-
with my old, beat-up truck. I dressed where and needed to roll a window
up, kept the car washed and played down to escape.
well with senators, congressmen, I hated the car’s power locks.
mayors, judges and councilmen. At They had minds of their own. They
home, my truck was out of sorts, would lock when I didn’t want them
too. Perhaps missing me, it puked to and would refuse to unlock no
out on my wife, and she replaced it matter how much I yelled at them.
with an attractive SUV. Plus, somewhere between the car’s
I didn’t keep my out-of-state trip home from the dealer and the
job for long, though. Soon after an time I bought it years later, the key
awful butt chewing I took from my fob disappeared. That was OK; an
boss, a gal who looked like Kendall old-fashioned key is fine with me.
Jenner but could rant like Cruella The passenger door had no key hole,
de Vil, I was back home again. though. If I carried a bag of bait
Continuing my brush with respect- out of the sporting goods store and
ability, I took another reporting job. tried to set it on the passenger seat
I hit a deer with my wife’s old car, instead of hauling it in through the
the one I’d taken out of state with driver-side door with me, I couldn’t
me. The insurance company totaled unlock the door.
out the car leaving me with the cash I hated the car’s headlights.
I needed for my next truck. That’s Instead of waiting for me to turn
when disaster struck. If I was going them on, they would come on as I
around doing all the things people was starting the car. Someone told
drive vehicles, which worked out do when they have real jobs, I needed me the car had a switch so I could
just fine. Four-wheel drive would something besides a rusted-out stop the headlights’ bad behavior,
have been better during the winter. pickup. That is what I told myself. I but I never did find it. The lights
During the summer, though, the took my settlement check from the would stay on after I turned the car
two-wheel drive trucks would take insurance company and – it kills me off. I suffered through cold winters
me almost anywhere I wanted to to admit this – bought a used-but- wondering if the pretentious thing
go. Into the bed of each truck would still-looking-good luxury sedan. would fail to start because the
go my tents, fishing rods and camp The car fit the bill. When lights were drawing juice from a
stove. During the fall and winter, driving it, I could look the part of shivering battery. Plus, of course, I
dogs and guns would go either in the a journalist. It didn’t matter who I couldn’t slip into a field in the pre-
back of the truck in my dog box or, went to see. I interviewed doctors, dawn darkness without warning
often, would ride in the cab with me.
I liked my trucks. And one of
them even gained a degree of noto- "My trucks reflected me perfectly. They’d been ridden hard and put away wet.
riety. I was out hunting or fishing But they seemed comfortable around all the scruffy, bearded societal rejects
with an outdoor-writer friend of
mine – I forget now which it was – I hung around with, and they obeyed the same rules I had for the people I
and on the trip, my truck’s tailgate
associated with."
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everything and everyone that I fixing. For a mechanic to turn down tried to crawl in. Someone had left
was in the neighborhood. I suppose work, I figured the car must really the seat ahead. I grabbed a handle at
some people laud the engineers who be a mess. I began shopping for the the bottom of the seat, and a heavy
load cars up with such gosh-awful proper kind of horse to be my ride. spring made the seat zing back in a
features. I wanted to slap them. When I saw the four-wheel-drive jiff.
Then, I fell back into my old SUV sitting quietly at the edge of The windows had no buttons.
ways. I gave up steady employment a dealership parking lot, I didn’t
and began free-lancing articles for fall for it right away. I eyed it the
the outdoor market. I never saw any way King Richard might have eyed
members of polite society except at a gentle mare. Carrying the brand
church, and they had to accept me. name of a leading manufacturer
That’s a biblical dictate. of utility vehicles, it didn’t have
My respectability continued to the look I wanted. I’m old enough
degenerate. I figured I would never to remember the two-letters-and-a-
again meet a U.S. senator unless we number designations of that brand.
were in a hunting camp together The old body styles are what I like.
somewhere, so gradually all my The vehicle didn’t have many miles
“good” clothes made their way to on it, though. The price was the
the back of my closet. I didn’t need same as the asking price of trucks
them. Brush pants and fishing vests I was looking at, but it had a third
moved to the front. My hair grew of the mileage. It would get much
shaggy. Mud and dust from two- better mileage than the trucks
track roads accumulated on my would give me. The vehicle was
classy car. Fishing rods and dog hair plenty big enough to haul camping
took up permanent residence in it. gear, fishing gear, shotguns and
Soon, a stroke of good fortune rifles. And, of course, it’s always
fell. The car got in such bad shape nice to have four-wheel drive.
my mechanic told me it wasn’t worth I knew I would buy it when I

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Instead, old-style cranks let me yam what I yam.” I interpret the two out with the wrong crowd.
adjust the windows to suit myself. together to mean we should know And I once again have the
The headlights mostly let me ourselves and accept ourselves the wheels that befit my lifestyle. It may
control them. About the only thing way we are. I’m OK with that. I’ll not be a vehicle a lawyer could drive
that would have made the vehicle be the guy who drives the redneck to the office, but it’s a great as an old
better would have been a bright/ wheels and spends too much time pickup truck for the ne’er-do-wells
dim switch on the floor where one hunting and fishing and hanging of the world.
belongs.
My new vehicle sits outside
now caked with mud from yester-
day’s trip to a river. It carried me
to the wilds last fall for grouse and
squirrel hunts. It took me down two-
track roads last winter on quests for
hares. I can’t say what others think
of my ride, but it is a reflection of me.
King Richard’s quest for a new
horse didn’t turn out that well as
well as mine did. He didn’t find
the steed he wanted, and he died
in battle. Had he accepted one of
the available horses, perhaps he
would have grown to love it. Maybe
he would have had a horse and his
kingdom to boot.
And I?
Well, Socrates told us we should
know ourselves and Popeye said, “I

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PMA

ositive
ental
ttitude
By Tom Nelson

T
he sun was quickly disappearing behind the
mountains to my west. It was almost welcoming
as my tired body was about done-in anyhow. It
was day four of my elk hunt, and my Montana buddy
Mike Parsons and I had been humping it pretty darn
hard since my arrival. That day, like the previous 3,
had started at 4 a.m. and ended well after dark with our
return to camp. We were seeing a lot of elk and hearing
a fair amount of bugling. However, even with it being
mid-September, the bulls were not exactly running us
over in response to our calling. We had only a few posi-
tive reactions to our efforts to lure in a bull within bow
range, but these were foiled by fickle winds or just a
reluctance on the bull's part.
It was well after dark when we returned to camp,
and my thoughts turned to a warm meal and hitting
the sack. As most elk bowhunters can attest, sleep is
at a premium on these hunts, and after a hard day of
tromping about the mountains, it is much needed. As
I ate my evening meal a bit more hastily than normal,
I listened to the other hunters in camp recount their
day chasing elk. Their stories were about the same as
mine, albeit they were getting a bit disgruntled with the
uncooperative elk. As I took care of my empty plate, I
mentioned to them that this was only day four and we
still had two days left — plenty of time to arrow I bull, I
stated. As I headed for my sleeping bag, I could still hear
the grumbling.
One essential item I take with me to every hunting
camp is a positive mental attitude (PMA). To me, this is
every bit as important as my bow and arrows. Staying
positive and believing that you will be successful is, in
my opinion, a vital key to success. If you start feeling

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down and discouraged, you will attract similar results. and were answered with a deep bugle. Without a word to
Staying positive even into the last hour of your hunt each other, we struck out in the direction of the bugle to
is a must if you want to be successful. I crawl into my close the distance. When we felt we were in the vicinity of
sleeping bag at night believing that the following day the bull, Mike cow-called from his position some 40 yards
will be a great day of bowhunting and get up the next behind me. The bull's response was instant and close.
morning feeling the same. I stay upbeat even when Within a minute or two, I could hear limbs snapping as
others give up. One bowhunter complaining and feeling the bull approached. He was close, I thought to myself as I
defeated can bring down an entire camp. Me, I do not let tightened my grip on the bow. Then I felt the wind switch
it affect me, I stay upbeat and make sure I let the others on the back of my neck. Within a sparse few seconds, I
know it. I do not care if it's raining, windy or the like, I heard the tell-tale snapping of branches. Walking back to
remember that I am bowhunting and not stuck on some Mike, I recounted my encounter. With the sun setting, we
highway in traffic. I am where most other bowhunters elected to work our way down the mountain hunting as
would love to be, and I appreciate it. we hiked.
The following morning while eating Honestly, we were not overly
a quick breakfast, I told the others that,
"today is the day." I recounted a few
"Staying positive and stealthy. In fact, we were talking about
previous hunts both successful and not.
past elk hunts in which I had arrowed
bulls at the end of some tough hunts believing that you It had been a great week, and I enjoyed
every minute of it. As we reached a cattle
and explained that we were going to do trail halfway down the mountain, we
the same. My words seemed to affect the
others, and they gathered their gear with
will be successful is, elected to use it because it was an easy
travel route. We had only walked a short
a bit more enthusiasm than previous
mornings. in my opinion, a vital distance when Mike grabbed my sleeve
and sure enough, some 100 yards above
Mike and I hunted hard that day. us, a lone bull was making his way down
We messed with a dandy six-by-six bull
until late morning, giving up when he
key to success." the mountain heading right for us. How
he did not hear or see us I am not sure,
followed his cows into a deep canyon. nor did I care. We eased forward another
That morning's hunt had seen more activity than those 20 yards careful to stay undetected. Then the bull reap-
previous — the bugling lasted until late morning as did peared 50 yards away and was walking with a purpose.
the elk movement. Things were starting to pick up. That With Mike looking over my shoulder, I drew my bow as
afternoon, we again worked a bull, but he hung up at 70 the bull went behind some blowdowns. As he reemerged
yards raking a small fir tree with his antlers. With no at 30 yards, I cow called stopping him broadside. My shot
cover to close the distance, all we could do was watch the was perfect, and at the shot, the bull charged downhill.
show which was well worth the price of admission. Mike immediately bugled stopping the bull some 60 yards
When we returned to camp, it was abuzz with below us. Then, as we watched, he went down. It was the
excitement. The two other hunters had both shot bulls last hour of the last day. More interesting is the fact we
that evening. After five days with no opportunities, were just below where I had tagged my bull the previous
they both arrowed good bulls less than 10 minutes year.
apart. Was it luck or was it their improved attitude? Staying focused and positive was a real key to our
I exited the warmth of my sleeping bag and was greeted success — never giving up even as time was running out.
by a star-filled and frosty morning on my last day of elk There was never a point that I felt dejected or like giving
hunting in Montana. I had elected to take the morning off up. Keeping a PMA and letting it rub off on others makes
as far as chasing elk, and instead, helped the successful for a successful camp and hunt.
elk hunters get their elk off the mountain. It was the right
thing to do, although I was wishing
I was bowhunting that last morning; but, packing out
one elk is tough, and two is exceptionally demanding.
Thankfully, we had the manpower, and by noon, we had
both elk back at camp. At this point, it would have been
easy to call the hunt a success and enjoy the last afternoon
in camp before departing the following morning. Instead,
I grabbed my gear telling the other hunters I was going
out to kill a bull. With Mike smiling at our last ditch effort,
we took off for the timber.
As we hiked, I mentioned to Mike that I wanted to hunt
this last afternoon in the same area that I killed a nice
five-by-six bull the previous year. Mike nodded approv-
ingly and eased slowly through the dark timber towards
our intended hunting area. Reaching the area, we bugled

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Whitetail Sex

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Segregation
By John Ozoga

I
n white-tailed deer, the adult sexes live separately during
much of the year just as do mule deer, red deer, elk, moose,
bighorn sheep and other ungulates. Scientists refer to this
social and spatial separation — most pronounced during the
non-breeding months — as “sexual segregation” or “niche
separation” of the sexes.
As with any behavioral trait, the whitetail’s social orga-
nization — sex aggregation included — is an adaptation. It
evolved in response to numerous environmental stresses,
including predation, disease, climate, habitat conditions and
so forth. As with any adaptation, it is genetically linked and
inherited. It promotes social order, genetic selection and
physical fitness, and it is essential for the species existence.
Females and their young live in a matriarchal society of
related individuals, while bucks — generally unrelated — live
in all-male groups in a fraternal (or bachelor) society. Hence,
each sex lives by the rules of its own society, but each must be
able to interact and communicate effectively with the other.
While the typical (non-migratory) female whitetail might
spend her entire life on a relatively small ancestral range, the
male is inclined to disperse to new range. Therefore, at some
point, the young male must leave on societal unit and join the
other if he is to someday become a successful breeder. Related
females typically share an ancestral range, the size of which
will depend upon habitat conditions and female survival. A
key factor in the whitetail’s social behavior is the tendency
for adult does to be extremely aggressive, defend fawn-
rearing territory and socially isolate their newborn for about
one month. Such behavior results in sharp seasonal changes
in female sociability, limits the number of does within a given
area during the fawning season and determines how deer will
be distributed at that time of the year.

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2019
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Whitetails do not interact at European researcher Anthony intensively that mature-buck groups
random. Each has an identity. They Bubenik, most ungulates demon- are virtually non-existent. From the
communicate (visually, vocally and strate five maturity classes. Male standpoint of the whitetail’s social
via scent), recognize each other and female whitetails can generally evolution, groups of yearling bucks,
and function cooperatively. Their be assigned one of these classes in the absence of older bucks, do
relationships are highly ordered, within their respective society not represent true fraternal groups.
giving way to social classes — or based upon their level of maturity. Groups of yearling deer tend to
social infrastructure — wherein In a smoothly-operating and well- represent transitory, summertime
individuals advance according to structured society, a long-lived indi- social groups that often include
levels of physical, physiological and vidual advances from a young (pre- yearling females.
behavioral maturity. pubertal) state to peak productivity On the other hand, female
In whitetails, social class struc- at prime age and on to senility at an whitetails are often grossly under
ture tends to be hierarchical in advanced age. harvested by hunters in many areas,
nature, with more immature indi- It’s important to note, however, leading to very complex social
viduals occupying the lower classes, that an animal’s age alone does arrangements that can result in
and the most mature occupying the not determine its social standing. serious food and cover deficiencies
upper classes. As a result, competi- Nutrition, social relationships, and sometimes catastrophic natural
tion and dominance-submissive reproductive success, herd compo- mortality.
relationships tend to have a sition and density as well as a host There are a number of theories
suppressor effect within the female of other factors might interact to put forth by researchers to explain
and male societies. This means determine an individual’s status. sex segregation in whitetails.
the reproductive performance of Also the sexes differ greatly with Personally, I’m not convinced any
animals in lower social classes is regard to factors that determine fully explain this phenomenon.
restricted to some degree by pres- their social growth and status One hypothesis, probably the
sure from individuals of a high within their respective societies. best, suggests sexual segrega-
social rank. In many parts of North America, tion among ungulates occurs as a
According to renowned antlered bucks are harvested so result of differing energetic and

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reproductive strategies. That is, in many aspects of physiology, when they criticize traditional deer
females presumably select habitat behavior and anatomy, they must management practices that expand
that is best suited for rearing have evolved differently. For female groups — especially in
offspring. Normally, that means example, bucks and does differ limited antlerless deer harvesting,
diversified food and cover arrange- in size, shape, growth rate, meta- predator-control and bucks-
ments with ample hiding cover for bolic rate, life span, food and cover only harvesting — because they
mother and young. This serves as requirements and in many other contribute to a high deer density
predator defense during the critical ways. It also takes a buck a year or and range carrying capacity reduc-
state of early fawn-rearing. two longer than a doe to achieve tion. As a result, they suggest white-
By comparison, males tend maximum physical size. tail bucks often occupy certain poor
to select areas where nutrition is Based on behavioral investi- habitat strictly by default — areas
superb, which allows for maximum gations conducted in Southern where few or no does live.
body growth to attain high-domi- Michigan’s George Reserve, Dale Interestingly, I found that
nance range and improved breeding McCullough concluded that bucks northern migratory bucks judi-
success. and does do not complete equally ciously scent-mark their traditional
Oregon State University for the necessities of life on a summer range as soon as they
researchers Martin Main and Bruce year-round basis. In his words: return to it in the spring — a behav-
Coblenz emphasize that the male’s “Resource partitioning between the iorism often overlooked by most
mating success is influenced by sexes in white-tailed deer adds a investigators.
body size, physical strength and new dimension to the role of social Needless to say, white-tailed
general body condition, as is winter behavior as it relates the animal to deer are extremely adaptive crea-
survival. Therefore, “replenishment its environment.” tures, making their social life
of energy reserves should coincide This means that habitat and equally flexible and often myste-
with major growing seasons, and deer population management prac- rious — a subject worthy of much
optimal forage resources by males tices favoring one sex might be more investigation.
should be most evident during these detrimental to the other.
periods as they prepare for the rut.” Main and Coblentz probably
Since the whitetail sexes differ hit the proverbial nail on the head

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Life After Bait
Part 2: Steer Them
By Tony Hansen

O
ver the years, I’ve probably possible to eliminate enough human
hunted deer just about scent to make it seem as if you were
every way you can think never there), the odds are high that
of, save for a southern- deer will know you’ve been around.
style hound hunt. I’ve hunted with This means that the bait station will
bait, without bait, with food plots probably attract plenty of deer, but
Tony Hansen is a lifelong
and without food plots. I’ve hunted it’s often going to be after dark. Michigan resident who has
big timber, wide-open prairie, boot- Some of my most successful hunted whitetails all over the
sucking swamps, high desert, low outings when bait was involved
desert, mountains, foothills and didn’t take place when the bait was country. He's even managed
pancake-flat lands. actually visible from my stand loca- to kill one or two of them while
Throughout all of that, there tion. Instead, I was hunting a funnel
has been one constant: Deer walk or terrain feature that steered deer
doing so. Hansen's four-part
where they walk. in a specific direction as they trav- series will detail tactics for
I understand the allure of using eled to the bait. harvesting mature whitetails
bait. It’s fun to see deer, and bait, Now, here’s the thing: The bait
when used correctly, can help with might have been the destination, but on private and public lands
that. It also makes it much easier it was those travel routes that led without bait
to predict where deer will end up. them there. The bait wasn’t critical
The problem, of course, is that deer to the success; the travel route was. second part of a four-part series,
wise up pretty quick to bait stations. With Michigan’s new regula- we’ll look at one of the best ways to
Unless you are obsessive about scent tions ending the use of bait, it’s time do — hunting deer where they walk.
control (and I’m not sure it’s even to find new ways to fill tags. In this

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Left: With today's technology, using your smartphone to view and dissect topographical maps makes determining likely
deer funnels an easy endeavor. Top: Hinge-cutting trees is an easy way to direct and guide whitetail movement in a certain
direction. Photos courtesy of www.huntstand.com.

Funnels well-worn game trail. Why? Because don’t. Instead, they tend to stick
deer don’t like hoofing up and down tight to the woods and walk along
If you’ve read much about deer steep banks any more than we do. the edge between the woods and the
hunting over the past, say, 30 years, In most of Michigan, you likely corn.
then you’ll have likely read plenty won’t find such stark examples of They do this where alder
about the importance of funnels. funneling terrain. But, you’ll find swamps meet hardwood stands in
You won’t read anything that funnels all the same. the Upper Peninsula. They do it
contradicts that here. Any area that forces deer to where aspen stands meet conifer
Deer aren’t terribly unlike move in a certain way is a key loca- forest in the Northern Lower.
humans when it comes to travel. tion to focus on. Anywhere two types of habitat
While we will occasionally take a come together, deer will walk.
“scenic” route, we tend to get to and Edges
fro by choosing the most direct and Least Resistance
logical path between two points. Much more prominent in our
Deer do precisely the same thing. state are edge features. These aren’t So far, we’ve talked about
Spend much time hunting in exactly funnels because deer could features that force deer to move in
hill country and you’ll see this in easily walk in other areas; but, a certain direction. Whether it’s a
a hurry. In hilly areas, ravines are they choose not to. For whatever funnel or an edge, deer walk those
common. Every ravine features a reason, deer love to travel along routes because they are, generally
head and a foot. The head is located edges where two habitat types come speaking, the paths of least resis-
up high and is where the ravine together. Think about hunting near tance in the areas they want to be.
begins. The foot is down low where the edge of a cornfield. Deer could Yes, it would be easy walking to
the ravine empties out. In each loca- easily walk 15 to 20 yards into the traverse down the center of a paved
tion, you will almost certainly find a field from the wood’s edge. But they road, and while the number of deer

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"For whatever reason, deer love to travel along edges where two
habitat types come together."
hit by vehicles each year may indi- you as a hunter. not. Terrain features that dictate
cate otherwise, deer know that’s not I’ve dropped trees, created deer movement aren’t something
exactly safe. The same can be said fences and other sneaky blockades that changes from year to year in
for traipsing around in an open field. along deer routes in an effort to most cases. I’d wager a hefty sum
The walking is easy, but the level of make them use a path I prefer rather that those areas where you used to
security is low. So when looking for than one they choose. It works bait and saw plenty of deer are still
an area where deer travel, you want like a charm in some instances. good areas to hunt, and the deer
to look for both security cover and Obviously, nothing is fool-proof, but that live there will continue to use
ease of travel. Funnels and other some careful planning and creative the same travel routes they’ve used
terrain features located very near thinking can help steer deer in the before. Now, instead of using them
security cover are ideal. But deer direction you want them to travel. to visit bait stations, they’ll use
will not exert more energy than them to frequent areas of natural
necessary. This can be used to your Summary forage or ag crops or whatever else
advantage by creating paths of least they choose to eat. Learn to deci-
resistance where none exist. Or, Deer will continue to travel pher those travel routes, and you’ll
conversely, by blocking a path deer whether you are using bait or not. do just fine in this post-bait era.
are using and forcing them to use Their end destinations may change,
one that is more advantageous to but the way they get there likely will

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Summer 2019.indd 79 5/8/2019 9:11:09 AM


Hunting
Michigan's
Wild Weather
By Jason Herbert

C
limate change? Cyclical dark and cooler temps are present. out stinky sweat. Consider using
weather patterns? Global As if low daytime deer movement an insect control device such as a
warming? The natural isn't enough, we hunters who try to Thermacell. It's no fun trying to sit
progression of things? Call it hunt during these warm temps risk still and swat biting mosquitoes. Pay
what you want, but the reality is that excess sweat stinking up the joint, close attention to the weather. After
any deer hunter knows the weather more bugs and the possibility of a few warm days, the animals will
we've been gifted these last few meat spoilage. go nuts as soon as the temperatures
seasons has presented some unique In extreme, warm hunting situ- drop 10 degrees or so. I love hunting
hunting situations. So, no matter ations, keep these basic concepts in that first October cold front.
what you blame it on, here are some mind: The animals will be thirsty!
tips for hunting our “new normal.” Hunt evening water sources. Also, Wind
anything green like alfalfa fields
Heat or green soybeans will have a The wind is a deer’s best friend,
high moisture content, feeding the but too much of a good thing can
Last time I checked, the 10 animals while also satisfying their be a problem. When the woods are
hottest years on record have water intake needs. On a warm, fall too windy, the deer have a hard
happened in the last 20 years. Keep hunt, one of my favorite places for a time hearing anything, and there-
in mind that thousands of years of sit is on the west side of a standing fore, they do not feel very comfort-
deer physiology have yet to catch up bean or hay field. Along with the able moving. Also, erratic winds
to the new weather trends. At some moist greens, the cooling shade that coming from who knows where just
point in the fall, a deer's winter coat forms along the west side of the field stress the animals out and tend to
has grown in. I'm an avid runner, as the sun sets will be the first place persuade them to stay bedded down.
and I equate this phenomenon a hungry deer will want to feed. Not only will the animals be reluc-
to me running a marathon in my In warmer temperatures, be tant to move, but erratic winds will
Carhartts. When it is hot and or sure to wear light, breathable spread your scent to all corners of
humid, the deer are going to move clothing to minimize your body heat the county. In heavy winds, deer
as little as possible while the sun is and sweat. Also, be a scent-control will often elect to bed down in an
up. Instead, they will wait until it is disciple because, as I mentioned open field where they can depend
earlier, your body will be cranking

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Herbert hunted the first
real cold snap of the 2015
season. As predicted,
while most hunters were
watching MSU vs. U of M
football, Jason shot these
two deer who got up on
their feet early to feed.

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on their sense of vision and see any are archery hunting in high winds, hard for the animals to hear in the
threat that they can't smell. When beware of the arrow getting carried woods so look for them to possibly
the conditions are overly windy, I away a bit by the gusts. In a game of be in an open field if they are
like to hunt low, in secluded river inches, the wind can wreak havoc moving. One of my favorite things
bottoms and wooded potholes where on an otherwise well-placed shot. to do is hunt a green bean field after
the winds aren't too strong. I'll also a rain. The rain has a sort of salad
possibly stalk through a standing Wet dressing like effect on the leaves of
cornfield, hoping to catch a bedded the soybeans, and every deer in the
animal. Believe it or not, rainy condi- county will be hammering those
The wind also has benefits. In a tions are some of the best to hunt beans that evening if you get rain
high-wind situation, a hunter can because the deer don't like to lay during the day. Another benefit to
get away with a lot more movement down when it's wet. In heavy rains, long-term levels of extra rain is the
in a treestand. That being said, make look for the animals to be bedded in fact that it limits where the deer can
sure the tree you're in can hold up shelter like heavy, thick woods or walk in the woods. Deer don't like to
to the wind, and be sure to look for pine thickets. They will probably walk through muck and water any
any “widowmakers” (dead trees or be extra hungry as well, burning more than we do, and if your woods
limbs nearby). Falling trees are cool additional precious calories staying are starting to flood, look for them
at a distance, but no fun when you're as warm as possible. to be in the high areas that are dry.
in the woods with them. Also, if you In rainy conditions, it is also Obviously, when hunting wet

The evening of November 5th, 2018 was perfect for hunting, but the weeks leading up to it were not. Instead of hunting in
warm, windy conditions, Herbert elected to play it safe and scout this buck. When Herbert did get the wind, temperatures
and barometric pressure he was looking for to hunt this buck, the evening ended well. As the buck scent checked a popular
doe bedding area, Herbert was waiting.

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conditions wear rain gear. The
problem with most rain gear is that
it is hot and it makes a lot of noise
when it gets rained on. When it is
wet out or there is more moisture
in the air, the deers' noses are even
more effective; so, don't think for
a minute that because it's raining
they can't smell. Once again, keep
your scent control in mind. Also,
as much as deer do like to move
in the rain, it's tough to follow
a blood trail in the rain. I don't
mind gun hunting in the rain, but
I try not to ever bow hunt in it.

The cold
When hunting in the cold,
bundle up because you're going
to be there awhile. Deer also move
well in cold temperatures because,
once again, they are burning so
many calories trying to stay warm.
I simply focus on evening food
sources in the cold and try to arrive
as early as possible, knowing that
the animals more than likely are
going to try to beat me to the punch.
When it is really cold, be careful
as you are approaching your stand
because the deer will not be bedded
any further away than they have to
be from the food. I have noticed that
when it snows a lot, the deer like to
go for the easy-picking foods such as
standing corn or twigs and leaves. I
believe they don't like to stick their
nose in the cold, wet snow looking
for food, so they probably start to
look above ground for their meal.
Regardless of how hungry they
are, deer are still survival machines
and if you scare them off a food plot
or field when you're walking out for
an evening hunt in the cold weather, many different things you can be to hunt.
it's going to take them a while to doing to be productive while it is To be quite honest, I only hunt
come back. Also, watch your scent not ideal to hunt. One thing I do is a dozen or so days a year. I try to
control because they will smell you tackle that “honey-do” list. Another go into the woods with a purpose
and still have no patience for human thing you could do is wash all your and a plan of killing a mature buck
odors. hunting clothes. Shoot your bow or every time I leave the truck. If the
gun and make sure it's still on target conditions aren't perfect for me,
The bottom line and that you still have that muscle I don't even bother to hunt. Most
memory for shooting. I also like to overzealous hunters who simply
Generally speaking, I try to drive around in poor conditions think they have to be in the woods
sit the bench during all of these and simply check my trail cameras. every possible opportunity end
hunting situations and not waste Glassing the fields from the climate- up boogering up their spots and
my time in the woods. There are so controlled comfort of my truck is a blowing their chances at otherwise
great thing to do when it's too warm killable deer.

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CALL THE
HOTLINE

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

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

This project was funded by the Michigan Invasive Species


Grant Program (www.michigan.gov/invasives).
Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 83

Summer 2019.indd 85 5/8/2019 9:11:17 AM


Michigan United
Conservation Clubs
82nd Annual Convention
June 21-23, 2019
Lakeside Resort & Conference Center
Houghton Lake, Michigan

1937 to 2019
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Convention Announcement
When... June 21-23, 2019
Where... Lakeside Resort & Conference Center
100 Clearview Drive
Houghton Lake, MI 48629
989-422-4000

Convention registration will be held on Saturday, June 22 from 7:00 a.m.


until 9:00 a.m. at at Lakeside Resort & Conference Center

Friday night picnic June 21 at:


South Higgins Lake State Park
106 State Park Drive
Roscommon, MI 48653

Lodging Information
Lakeside Resort & Conference Center
TTo make a reservation, please call 989-422-4000 and mention that you will be
attending the Michigan United Conservation Clubs event. If rooms are unavailable
at the time of your call, please see our Annual Convention website for details about
other hotel accomadations.

South Higgins Lake State Park


TThis Michigan State Park is located ten minutes from the Lakeside Resort
& Conference Center. For reservations, call 989-821-6374 or visit www.
midnrreservations.com for more information.

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 85

Summer 2019.indd 87 5/8/2019 9:11:18 AM


Michigan out-of-doors youth camp
Cooler Pledge
Our affiliated clubs are the backbone of our organi- cooler were to break down in the middle of the summer,
zation. Without each and every one of our clubs and its it would be a major disaster for the camp staff and kids.
members, we would not be able to do what we do for the The estimated cost of repairs to get the walk-in
sportsmen and women of this great state. We greatly cooler running like new is $10,000, and that is what we
appreciate all of the support that our clubs give to us. are looking to raise with your help! With this $10,000,
However, sometimes circumstances arise that require we will be replacing the compressor and evaporating
us to ask for a little extra help from our core supporters. coil. We will also be moving the compressor to a more
As many of you know, MUCC does so much to fight suitable location and upgrading the electrical work to
for conservation here in Michigan, but we also help keep the system functioning efficiently. Any extra funds
create future conservationists through our Michigan committed this year will help defray other needed main-
Out-of-Doors Youth Camp. Since 1946, our camp tenance and operations expenses for camp and MUCC’s
program has helped create over 58,000 conservation- other education programs.
ists. In order to continue creating future generations of To make a pledge, simply email Amber Albert, busi-
hunters, anglers and conservationists, we need to make ness and membership affairs coordinator, at aalbert@
sure our camp facility is well-maintained. We have a mucc.org and she will send you an invoice to pay at any
small but dedicated group of volunteers who help us time, on or before September 1, 2019 or visit http://bit.
keep our camp up and running. Sometimes, we run into ly/CoolerPledge.
problems that are even a little too big for our skilled The good news is we are already more than half
volunteers. way there since announcing this drive in early April.
Our walk-in cooler in the kitchen is extremely old To date, we have raised $4,650 in club and individual
and has probably been in operation since the 1950s. donations/pledges and Rob Miller Electric Inc. will be
After working on the cooler and making several emer- donating their time to complete the needed electrical
gency repairs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, we do work and matching other cash donations. We are so
not think it will make it through another summer. If the grateful for the donations to start this work!

Current Donors:
Alpena Longbeards ($50) Paul and Carol Rose ($250)
Cadillac Sportsmens Club ($500) Amy Trotter ($40)
Cedar Rod & Gun Club ($250) Fran Yeager ($200)
DeLodder's Conservation Association ($50) Livingston County Wildlife & Conservation Club ($450)
Fruitport Conservation Club ($50) Montmorency County Conservation Club ($250)
Maple River Wildlife Association ($500) Perch Point Conservation Club ($50)
Hammond Bay Area Anglers ($50) St Clair Hunt & Fish Club ($500)
Huron River Fishing Association ($100) St Joseph County Conservation & Sportsman Club ($100)
Huron Valley Conservation Association ($100) Lake St. Clair Walleye Association ($1,000)
Jane Finnerty ($60) Rob Miller Electric Inc. (Electrical work)
Greg Peter ($200)

86 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

Summer 2019.indd 88 5/8/2019 9:11:19 AM


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Summer 2019.indd 89 5/8/2019 9:11:19 AM


Green Broke
An exploration of a novice trainer, working dogs and the journey

By Nick Green

A
dding to the pack is never dogs with an insatiable attitude remain home with her during some
an easy decision: One to please their handlers. Warren’s of the long weeks of fall when I am
must weigh other dogs dogs exhibit inherent bird-finding in the marshes or aspen stands.
in the equation, person- and hunting ability. From a young I made the call to Warren and
alities, purpose and handler ability. age, sometimes just a few weeks let him know our situation. As with
Such a conundrum faced my wife old, these dogs are pointing and any breeder who is worth their salt,
and I in January. honing their skills with one purpose Warren was empathetic to the situ-
We knew we, while I, wanted in mind — finding, pointing and ation. And despite a PRL setter not
a third dog — if nothing else to at hunting grouse. coming home with us this year, our
least stave off her ambitious hope As my wife and I weighed our next upland dog, whenever that may
for kids within the coming years. decision, we decided that adding a be, will come from Warren.
Both of our hearts were set on a third, dedicated upland dog to the My wife and I took the next
Llewellin Setter from Kyle Warren’s pack might not be the best fit for our logical step — we decided to buy
Paint River Llewellins in New York. family. I bird hunted, in some form a Labrador retriever. Although,
If you haven’t heard of Kyle or another, more than 60 days last some might not call that logical. My
or haven’t seen his dogs work, I year. Oftentimes, that means I take current dogs, Summit, a German
encourage you to look him up. my four-legged best friends with shorthaired pointer, and Calvin, a
He breeds foot-hunting, grouse me. My wife wanted a dog that could small Munsterlander, are versatile
dogs. Both have retrieved ducks.
However, they aren’t built for
breaking ice or the long hours in a
marsh with the air temperatures
hovering just above freezing.
Every serious waterfowler
dreams of a hardy companion to
climb out of bed at 2 a.m., wag its
tail, sit in the blind patiently and
wait for that one moment of pure
joy when it can leap from the stand
and retrieve fowl. I wanted that
retriever.
Quickly, I contacted some of my
friends in the retriever world and
found Jean Stephens and Newfound
Retrievers in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Jean was new to breeding, with
my pup’s litter being Jean’s first.
It was clear that Jean had done
her due diligence when choosing
her breeding pair: Both dogs have
hunting titles, come from a long
pedigree of proven and titled dogs,
are health tested and are excellent
hunters in the field.
It didn’t take long for me to
settle on Stephens as our breeder.
And with a litter of pups born on
January 3, the prospect of having a

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young, but capable, duck dog in the
marsh with me this fall looks good.
We brought Newfound Little
Miss Sure Shot, “Annie,” home on
February 23 at seven weeks old. I
told Stephens I wanted the highest-
drive female in the litter — and she
picked us out pink girl, now named
Annie.
The early weeks consisted of
potty training, running around
the house after a young pup and
exposing her to every scenario, envi-
ronment and dog that I deemed safe
for her. At nine weeks, Annie was
running a field behind her brothers,
diving into puddles and growing her
curiosity for the world around her.
Luckily, I knew some people,
Stephens included, that were part of
the Great Lakes Hunting Retriever
Club in west Michigan. I joined
the group, attended their monthly
meeting and was welcomed with
open arms.
As a serial researcher, and
someone who mostly trained my
two previous pointing dogs on my
own with assistance from a profes-
sional trainer, I wasn’t sure what to Annie and I will surely grow an with my previous dogs is that they
expect with a retriever. The drills unbreakable bond these next few have this uncanny want to always
and expectations are different for months as we move from puppy, please their owners. Even though
a retriever; however, the need for positive training to a little more our hunting dogs work for us, they
obedience remained the same. formal obedience and training. also work with us — and that is the
Currently, at 13 weeks, Annie And, like I said, I expect there to be important thing to remember.
has learned sit, down, kennel, come, failures. But, one thing I learned
mark and her retrieve command.
By the time this publishes, I expect
Annie to be force broke, maintaining
some kind of blind steadiness and
running some adult drills with ease.
Getting Annie has been a
journey for us as a family. Whenever
you bring a dog into your home,
especially a dog with a purpose,
there is this unspoken bond between
you, your family and that dog. There
will be expectations for Annie, and
there will surely be failures — that
is a part of training dogs that will
actually accompany you in the field.
This new journey should be a
fun one. I suspect Annie will also get
to run through an aspen stand or
two this fall, too. For as much flak as
I have caught from my pointing dog
cronies, I think it will be fun to try
and train a flushing dog and hunt
behind one.

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The CAMPFIRe
Camp Season is here!
By Max Bass hopefully be going home happy, exhausted, a little dirty
MUCC Lead Educator and with a freshly-signed Hunter Safety Certificate.
The idea of being away from friends and family for
As I sit here looking out over Cedar Lake, white the entire week can be scary and unnerving to some
pines surround me. The sounds of birds chirping campers and parents. For others, it may be the moment
and frogs croaking fill the air. The squirrels and they have been waiting for all year. Summer camp is a
chipmunks scurrying through the forest let me know fantastic opportunity for many to make new friends.
spring is here and summer is right around the corner. It is a time for kids to step out of their comfort zone
The peace and serenity of this beautiful place will and into their challenge zone. It is a time for campers
soon be filled with the screams and laughter of 80 to take that first step into independence, to grow as
campers, and I cannot wait! In mid-June, our Michigan leaders, to find what interests them, to adapt to a new
Out-of-Doors Youth Camp staff of 24 will arrive at environment, to create lifelong memories and, most
camp, and we will jump right into our week of staff importantly, it is a time to have fun.
training to prepare for all of the excited campers. No matter how excited or nervous your camper
By the end of June, camp will be in full swing. might be for their week of fun, it is always a good idea
Campers will be waking up every morning for a chance to sit down with them and discuss some things to help
to take on the day starting with a morning swim. But prepare them for camp. It’s important to remind your
after that swim, each day will hold a new adventure. camper that for this week they will be sharing a living
Maybe they will be out on the rifle range, maybe they space with at least 13 different people, and sometimes,
will be exploring the bog, maybe they will be collecting just like in life, we are not always going to agree with
macro invertebrates at the lake or maybe they will be everybody.
heading into the forest to discover what trees and crit- Be sure to discuss any fears or worries that
ters live there. By the end of the week, each camper will your camper may have. If you are worried about

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homesickness, discuss how much fun camp will be and of our affiliate clubs that made a generous donation
that home will be waiting for them at the end of the to our cooler repair as well as the team from Miller
week. Also be sure to take a minute to discuss hygiene Electric. We truly could not have repaired the cooler
with your camper — they should be sure to shower if it were not for all the support that we received, so I
while at camp, remind them to change their socks and would like to thank you on behalf of our kitchen staff,
underwear throughout the week and that they need to all the campers and staff with full bellies and myself. I
dress appropriately for the weather. would also like to thank all of our amazing volunteers
Take the time to go over the Parent Camper that came out for our camp clean-up day on May 3rd. I
Handbook with your camper. Make sure that your cannot wait to see what this summer has in store for us!
camper understands all the rules of the camp. Take
the time to pack with your camper and not for them.
Campers should know what they brought with them and
why they brought it. If you have any questions before
camp starts, be sure to reach out to me at mbass@mucc.
org.
Before the season starts, I would like to take a
moment to thank so many different people. Without
them, we would not be able to run our camp program.
Our dedicated volunteers on our facilities committee
work so hard to make improvements each year. This
year they were able to completely renovate our craft
building and connect water to it and our health office.
They stained several cabins, they did some significant
upgrades to the rifle range and archery range, they
replaced and fixed the sink and drain in the dish room,
some roofing on the cabins and helped with some elec-
trical issues. They even helped undertake our massive
walk-in cooler repairs. I would also like to thank all

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 91

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Conservation Through Education

Habitat Matters
By Shaun McKeon
MUCC Education Director

As the MUCC education director, I am in charge


of our education programming including Michigan
Out-of-Doors Youth Camp and TRACKS magazine.
The field programs here at MUCC fall underneath my
purview as well. Over the winter, we went through some
staff transition, which meant I was spending more of
my time focusing on our field program On the Ground
(OTG). For those of you who may not be familiar with
OTG, this is a habitat improvement program that
provides opportunities for volunteers to have a direct
impact on public land habitat improvement throughout
the state.
In partnership with the Michigan DNR, This
program began back in 2013 with six projects, and
we averaged nine volunteers at each event. Over the
years, this program has grown tremendously. We are
currently averaging 24 volunteers per project and have
been completing 25 or more projects for the last couple
of years. During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, we engaged
659 volunteers and improved 680 acres of habitat
throughout Michigan. These volunteers accounted for
3,450 hours of giving back to their public lands to make
habitat better for wildlife.
Building on the success of OTG in 2016, we created
and launched a program called OTG Jr. This program
is a fully-funded-field-trip program for schools. The
aim is to get kids out of the classroom and engaged in
habitat work at state game areas near their schools and throughout the spring, we were planting trees all
homes. The students perform a habitat improvement around the state. We are creating new partnerships
project in the morning, take a break for lunch and then and are engaging with new and diverse school districts
learn a recreation activity in the afternoon. Popular across Michigan. In February, we were also pleased
projects have been stream clearing, invasive species to receive the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action
removal and rabittat building. Council’s Regional Land Use Pillar Award. This distinc-
Typical recreation activities include archery, tion highlighted the benefits of the OTG Jr. Program to
fishing and wildlife identification. This program helps the Ingham, Eaton and Clinton county areas. We have
connect kids to their resources and shows them the completed 16 projects so far, including seven OTG Jr.
outdoors does not have to be some faraway place. Since Projects.
the beginning of this program, we have conducted 22 One of the best parts about OTG is the platform
projects with students, chaperones and their teachers. the habitat work provides. A volunteer opportunity on
OTG has started 2019 off strong. We began with a public land typically brings out the best kind of people
rabittat project in January during a blizzard, quickly — those that are willing to get up early and sometimes
moved to wood-duck-box-building projects and, drive for hours to help make habitat better for wildlife

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are the kinds of people I enjoy spending time with. OTG
brings together hunters, birders, anglers, berry pickers,
hikers and even dog walkers. All are happy to give back
to the areas and resources they enjoy. It creates an even
playing field for birders to talk to waterfowl hunters
and for turkey hunters to talk to berry pickers.
Not surprisingly, once these people are in small
groups and working on projects to benefit the resource,
the chatter begins and the common interests start
flowing. Birders and waterfowlers start talking about
their favorite ducks and the beauty of the migration
seasons, deer hunters and hikers talk about the impor-
tance of access and why removing invasive species is
important, and people everywhere start bragging about
what their dogs have been up to lately.
These projects are important because they help
shrink the divide that can sometimes form between
different user groups on state land. When you are in
meetings or town halls, it is easy to see someone with
an opposing viewpoint as the enemy, and it is easy
to forget about the resource and only want to have a
concern for your piece of the pie. However, with OTG
we are bringing people together on the landscape to
show them that their differences are not so big. Habitat
is what matters for the wildlife: it matters for the
game and non-game species; it matters to the hunter;
it matters to the angler; and it matters to the birder,
the mushroom picker and the outdoor enthusiast.
Without quality, accessible habitat, none of us would
be able to do what we love. With several events coming
up around the state, I encourage you to come and join
us in the field. Come on out and make a difference for
wildlife. We will even feed you lunch.

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 93

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This article was originally published in April 2000

Throwback: Hunt Testing


By Ed Zebrowski, Jr. with on a regular basis. For most, different standards, the AKC, UKC
this is only a dream. (United Kennel Club), and NAHRA
Over the years, many owners of Registries such as the American (North American Hunting Retriever
companion hunting dogs have been Kennel Club many years ago Association) all conduct hunt tests
faced with countless training obsta- designed the field trial, an opportu- for sporting breeds.
cles. Many of these problems center nity for some of the sporting breeds The AKC version, which I
on having quality training time, a to compete and thereby establish happen to be most familiar with,
suitable place to train or others to standards for judging different runs tests for retrievers, pointers,
train with. breeds based upon their ability. setters and lure coursers. The
Realistically, most of us do not Like any other sport, the field trial primary reason for the evolution
get a chance to get out every day of evolved to a point of developing the from a field trial to a hunt test was
the hunting season, which shortens super athlete and leaving the rest simple. The field trial had become
the season and the dog’s hunting behind. very competitive, placing
opportunities even more. Living in A little over a dozen years ago, dogs first, second,
a state like Michigan, we also face in response to a growing demand for third and
Mother Nature’s obstacles like cold a fairer system of measurement, the
and snow, and our water tends to get hunt test was created. Today,
hard! with distinctly
If you’re a professional trainer,
chances are your dog gets out a lot
more often and probably
has real birds to
work

Summer 2019.indd 96 5/8/2019 9:11:26 AM


so on. The game also became domi- The hunt test has more cama- who train their own dogs; most
nated by the professional trainer/ raderie with everyone pulling for having titled a dog in the level they
handler, thus giving the average dog everyone’s dog. We eliminate the are judging, and many will be found
owner an unfair disadvantage. “my dog is better than your dog” in the marshes hunting those dogs
I am not criticizing the profes- syndrome. The three hunt test during the waterfowl season.
sional. I happen to earn part of divisions are Junior Hunter, Senior Dog clubs holding a hunt test
my living from being paid to train Hunter and Master Hunter. Each are required to use birds for all
hunting dogs. I do, however, appre- requires the dog to qualify to stan- participants. Each dog is entitled
ciate the absolute necessity of dard tests appropriate for the dog’s to one live flier for each series run.
keeping the average hunter and his level of training. Most clubs use game-farm-raised
or her dog involved in the sport. The Junior level consists of four mallards with some opting for
Hunt tests by design have one single marks, two on land and two in pheasants and chukars. The bottom
basic difference from field trials. water. A dog that attains four qual- line is that your dog gets to practice
Hunt tests are designed to a stan- ifying scores from separate tests on the real thing.
dard and dogs that meet that stan- receives Junior Hunter designation More and more women are
dard pass the test. For example, from AKC. The Junior competition involved in the sport – and I think
the Rules and Regulations for AKC tests a dog’s basic skills in marking, that’s great. Judging at these events,
Hunting Tests for Retrievers states, style, perseverance and trainability. I have also noticed more and more
“The purpose of a Hunting Test for Its design is to encourage the young people getting involved,
Retrievers is to test the merits of and handler and dog to hone their skills which reassures me that this fine
evaluate the abilities of Retrievers and advance to the senior level. tradition will be preserved and
in the field in order to determine The Senior level tests the dog in passed on to our young hunters,
their suitability and ability as a minimum of four hunting situa- boys and girls alike.
hunting companions. Hunting tions which shall include one land In Michigan, we hold AKC
Tests must, therefore, simulate as blind, one water blind, one double Hunting Tests at two primary
nearly as possible the conditions landmark, and one double land locations, Lapeer and Belding (Flat
met in a true hunting situation.” water. Dogs must also do a “walk River area). Several clubs are orga-
Test distances are expected up” off leash to demonstrate their nized for the retriever enthusiast.
never to exceed 100 yards. This steadiness and also honor another The east side of the state has the
basic rule sets the standard for working dog. The dogs are tested Wolverine Retriever Club, Huron
the whole game. The hunt test in their ability to take casts (or River Labrador Retriever Club and
committee and the judges handling) from their owners to aid the Fort Detroit Golden Retriever
assigned to each division them on blind retrieves. The Senior Club. On the west side is the Flat
(there are three) set up level dog will develop a handling River Retriever Club. Just to the
hunting conditions, using bond and confidence with its owner south of Michigan in Indiana is
live birds and realistic and have the necessary training and the Backwater Retriever Club. All
terrain. Instead of being skill to develop to the most difficult those clubs have one common goal:
placed according to a Master Hunter level. retrieving dogs. They all put on very
process of elimination, Master Hunter, the highest level good hunt tests, which usually begin
dogs are judged on their in hunt testing, requires testing in a in April and go to September. The
ability to complete the minimum of five hunting situations clubs operate with members who
test that has been set as follows: multiple landmarks, volunteer their time and, as usual,
up. multiple watermarks, multiple more help is always welcome.
Instead of marks on water and land, a land Other dog clubs are the HRC
placing, we have blind and a water blind (at least (Hunting Retriever Clubs) and
qualifying scores. one of which will be a double-blind NAVHDA, which is the North
If all dogs complete in any combination). There will American Versatile Hunting Dog
the requirements also be at least three series of tests. Association. They too have events
of each test, they Diversion birds and/or shots must in Michigan.
all qualify. The be used at least once. The hunting test and belonging
result is owners Hunt test committees from the to a dog club will benefit both you
who can partic- various dog clubs select judges for and your canine partner. Training
ipate and learn each test level. Judges are required opportunities increase sharply
from the tests to be approved by the AKC in advance and the knowledge shared among
while their of the test. Each judge must attend members, who most often become
dogs get an AKC judge’s seminar at least friends, is priceless. You will also
some much- once every three years and serve as see your dog reach a potential you
needed practical an apprentice judge. These men and never dreamed possible.
experience. women are the same individuals

Summer 2019 | Michigan Out-of-Doors 95

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Parting Shot
Nick Green replicated by others in the science community. This is
what we deem sound science.
It isn't easy being the one to watch over Michigan's Again, it doesn't matter what side of the debate you
natural resources and the bodies that govern them. are on. However, I would encourage you to dive deep
However, that's what we do here at Michigan United into the information, inform yourself and then come to
Conservation Clubs. the table with your well-informed opinion.
The last six months, and particularly the bait Too often what I see as editor of this magazine and
debate, have proven to me that Michigan has a hunting public information officer for MUCC is emotion driving
population who cares about our resources — particu- an argument. And while emotion does have its place
larly white-tailed deer. in some arguments, the management of our natural
It doesn't matter what side of the coin you fall on — resources is not one of them. Sound science should
to bait or not to bait — we can all agree that whitetail dictate the course and management of our natural
hunting in Michigan is a tradition steeped within all of resources.
us passionate about our outdoor pursuits.
Sometimes, the qualifier to the bait debate is where

"One of the penalties of an


you live. Other times, it is the news you consume or the
people you spend your time with. And in some cases,
your decisions are formed with the help of organiza-
tions like ours.
While the science and science community have
ecological education is that one
clearly proven that baiting is a man-made factor that
contributes to the spread of disease, that is not the point lives alone in a world of wounds.
of this piece; the point is to form your own, educated
opinion on the matter. Much of the damage inflicted on
Most of us on the anti-baiting side, at least in the
face of disease, will agree that the science could be
bolstered and strengthened regarding the subject. And
land is quite invisible to laymen.
that goes without saying that more science is needed
on the disease as a whole because we still don't have a
An ecologist must either harden
"cure."
A simple Google search will yield more scientific his shell and make believe that the
information, and some misinformation, than a person
can read in a lifetime. Now, the internet is not the holder
of all things holy; one must be cautioned when under-
consequences of science are none
taking research on the internet — it is, essentially, fair
game to whoever wants to post on it.
of his business, or he must be the
However, the internet is a great tool at your
fingertips to do your own research and form your own doctor who sees the marks of death
in a community that believes itself
educated opinion on the baiting debate.
Most important, though, is to be critical of the
information you are receiving. Look for articles that
have been peer-reviewed and published in scientific
journals — these are what biologists, scientists and
well and does not want to be told
policy makers should be considering when seeking the
true science behind our natural resources decisions. otherwise."
These articles tend to be dry and sometimes tough
to understand. However, look for a synopsis or a jour-
nalist's break-down of a piece; these are ways to help
make the scientifically-written piece digestible. Aldo Leopold - A Sand County Almanac
I would like to point out, though, that many of the
claims advocating for baiting, such as baiting doesn't
spread disease, have not been proven by peer-reviewed
science. Although a scientist may have come up with
the theory, it is not science until it is proven, tested and

96 | www.michiganoutofdoors.com

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