Please Leave The Fawns In The Woods Where They Belong!

May 3rd, 2016

Expect to start seeing fawns in May and June, but enjoy from a distance

fawn video thumbnailA thicket, a patch of tall grass and a quiet spot in your back yard – all places that fawns have been found. For the first few weeks of a white-tailed deer fawn’s life, its mother will cache or hide it in secluded locations. This behavior helps reduce the potential of predators finding the fawn.

A fawn’s spots are excellent camouflage and will help it stay hidden from predators. In addition to being hidden by their mothers and having spotted camouflage, fawns have another adaptation to help them survive. Fawns are virtually odorless when they are young.

The Department of Natural Resources reminds Michigan residents who do find fawns not to touch them. There is a good chance they’re supposed to be there. It is not uncommon for deer to leave their fawns unattended in order to avoid drawing attention to where the fawn is hidden. The mother will return periodically to nurse her fawns when she feels it is safe. The best thing to do is to leave the fawn alone and enjoy the experience from a distance.

For your safety, as well as the animal’s, it is critical that wildlife retain their natural fear of humans. Never handle or attempt to tame wild animals. Habituated deer, especially bucks, can become aggressive as they mature. Even if the deer seems tame and approachable, it is still a wild animal. Wild animals act unpredictably and can seriously injure a person.

Leaving baby animals in the wild ensures they have the best chance for survival. Every day that an animal spends with humans makes it less likely to be able to survive in the wild.

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless a person is licensed, it is illegal to possess a live wild animal, including deer, in Michigan.

The only time a baby animal may be removed from the wild is when it is obvious the parent is dead or the animal is injured. A licensed rehabilitator must be contacted before removing an animal from the wild. Rehabilitators must adhere to the law, must have gone through training on proper handling of injured or abandoned wild animals, and will work to return the animal to the wild, where it will have the best chance for survival.

A list of licensed rehabilitators can be found by visiting mi.gov/wildlife or by calling a local DNR office.

Michigan Morel Mushroom Season 2016

May 2nd, 2016

IMG_4113 (1)Remember May is the season for Morel Mushroom hunting.  The weather has not really been cooperation for these “sponges” to start sprouting but recently a few have burst on the scene!  A little rain along with some warmer temperatures will get them showing up in their usual places.

The Northern Counties are usually a few days behind the Southern Counties but some sunshine could change all that.

Last year it was dusty and dry which led to a lousy year for finding mushrooms around my cabin up north.  I’m expecting to have a better year this spring.  Pictured are a few that were harvested around here (Monroe.)  Look in sandy soil and especially around dead or decaying trees.  Both black and white morels are delicious and it makes my mouth water just to think of piling them up on a big juicy steak!

You can fry them up in just butter (my favorite) or dip them in milk and egg, then roll in flour, salt, and pepper!  If you try them you will become a die-hard fan of Michigan Morels!

Mike

A Friendly Reminder About Wildlife!

April 30th, 2016

Remember to leave Michigan’s wildlife in the wild

baby rabbit in the grassWith spring in full swing, Michigan residents may be noticing an increase in sightings of nestlings and baby animals. For example, baby cottontail rabbits and raccoons are a common find this time of year. The Department of Natural Resources reminds those who stumble across a nest of baby bunnies or see other baby wildlife to please leave them be. Leaving wildlife in the wild is best for humans as well as animals.

“Animals are better left alone than removed from the wild,” explained DNR wildlife technician Hannah Schauer. “A nest full of young rabbits may look helpless, but staying in the nest is their best chance for survival. However, we appreciate the good intentions of those who want to help.”

If a rabbit’s or other animal’s nest is found, it’s important to also keep children and pets away. If the nest is left alone, the mother will likely return when she feels it is safe.

Every day an animal spends with humans makes it less likely to be able to survive in the wild. Animals that are habituated to humans generally do not do well when released back into the wild.

raccoon in treeFor your safety – do not take a wild animal from the wild. For example, raccoons may seem cute, especially when they are young, but they are well-known for becoming aggressive as they get older. Wild animals can act unpredictably, even if they seem tame. It is important to remember they are still wild animals and can seriously injure a person or pet.

Additionally, raccoons and other wild animals can carry diseases and parasites that can infect humans and pets. Whether an animal may be a carrier of a disease or parasite cannot be determined simply by observing it’s physical appearance.

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless a person is licensed, it is illegal in Michigan to possess a live wild animal, including raccoons and rabbits.

Polaris 575, 500, 4×4’s and 330 Sportsmen Flinging Mud!

April 28th, 2016

IMG_4031One of the benefits of spending time at the cabin with family and friends is being able to do some 4-wheeling.  A.T.V. trail number 9 is right out my back door.  It’s actually about 200 yards down the road, and it runs for untold miles through the Northern woods!

This past weekend my grand-daughter Ava and good friend Dave Younger joined me on a Spring Turkey hunt that eventually led us to the cabin.  I had brought up two Polaris batteries fully charged, and Dave had his son Michael’s brand new electronically fuel injected 575 Polaris in tow.  I have an older Polaris 330 two wheel drive and a Polaris Sportsman 500 4×4.

First thing we had to do after the batteries were installed is give Ave some driving lessons and safety tips.  She took to 4-wheeling like (pea’s and carrot’s – Forrest Gump quote) and had us convinced she could handle the trails in about 20 minutes of instruction. We donned our safety helmet and set off for trail number nine!  What we didn’t fully know is that the recent snow melt and rain had caused some significant flooding on the trails!  Was that going to be a problem for us?  I don’t think so!

I had my trusty camera/video on my I-phone and got some great shots of Ava and Dave having the time of their lives “blasting” through the water!  In several spots the water was 3 foot deep, and only caused a problem if you slowed down of stalled out. That never happened with these two.  I was a little concerned with Ava and her 330 two wheel drive, but she “stayed” on the throttle and kept up a “head of steam!”  I had no such worry with Dave as he throttled up and came roaring through the obstacle course with mud and water flying everywhere.  He actually fully disappeared on several of his “mud runs!”

We had a blast, but also had some very wet and muddy cloths to take care of.  Small price to pay for having so much fun on the trails.  All three Polaris machines handled with worry free confidence, and the little 330 really surprised me at it’s ability to “hang” with the “big boys!”  As Roy Rogers and Dale Evans used to sing “Happy trails to you, until we met again.”  On the A.T.V. trails that is!

Click on the Image 4031 and get a glimpse of some of the fun we had!

Mike

Making Fond Memories In The “Turkey Woods!”

April 25th, 2016

Michigan turkey season is under our belts and did it ever turn out to be an awesome time in the forest!  I had my 12 year old grand-daughter with me hunting under her last “apprentice” license and my almost son-in-law Dave Younger along IMG_4053IMG_4082for his first turkey hunt.  It was in my heart to try and get these two a bird, and I was willing to do my darndest to pull it off.

Our hunt actually started Friday as Ava and I sat on our first stand on the evening hunt.  Four and a half hours in the blind without a “peep” from Mr. Tom turkey!  Dave joined us later that night and we split up Saturday morning.  The sun was shining brightly and the turkeys should of been gobbling their heads off, but again the woods were silent!  I was disappointed to say the least, and was scuffling to come up with a plan “B.”  This was the “first hunt” and things should of been “happening” in the turkey woods!  I txt Dave and asked what he thought about moving are hunt to another area, as the birds seem to of vanished from this “hot spot!”

We confirmed that we should pull up stakes and move to another set-up. We only had Saturday evening and Sunday morning to pull this off and it didn’t seem like there was much of a chance of that happening.  After arriving at our “back up” area we decided to do some four wheeling as we had our 4×4’s along.  We had a blast and got about as muddy as a person can get when riding through 3 foot deep “snow melted” water! On the way back to “camp” we saw three Jakes meandering through the trees and came up with a plan to head them off at the pass.  Dave grabbed his new Remington 870 which shoots a 3-1/2 inch “bazooka shell!” As fate would have it we caught the three amigo’s by surprise and Dave pulled off an incredible shot on his first turkey ever.  The time was 2 P.M. so we had plenty of time to take Ava on the evening hunt.  Again nothing was stirring and Ava was wondering (out loud) if she would ever see a bird?

Sunday morning saw us say goodbye to Dave before sunlight, as we prepared for our last few hours in the stand.  Our departure time was set for 12 noon, and the morning was passing by uneventfully!  Both of us dozed off from time to time as we tried to stay positive about all that “wasn’t” happening around us.  At 9:45 I glanced out the blind window and a huge red head popped into view.  I didn’t even look to see how big the bird was!  I just knew it was a Tom, and Ava had her name written all over it.  I helped her get the barrel of her little Remington 870 – 20 gage out the blind window, and coached her into making a good shot. She was shaking somewhat, but held steady enough to put the “smack down” on this long beard!

I still did not know what size the bird was until we approached it and saw the 9 inch beard and the mature tail fan!  We laughed, danced, and thanked the Creator for allowing us to have such an experience, and provide a “natural” turkey dinner this coming Thanksgiving!  Just two more hours and we would of went home empty handed, but instead were going to drive home with our hearts and spirits overflowing with “Memories of the turkey woods!”

Mike

Michigan Turkey Opener 2016

April 20th, 2016

IMG_3096IMG_3987Last week while at the cabin I did some scouting/calling to see what was in the area.  One afternoon I spotted three young Jakes heading toward the neighbors property.  I got out my turkey call and went to the front porch to let out some “cackles’ and “yelps!” Those three “amigoes” almost ran to my front yard.  I had to duck back in the cabin, but I left the door open.  Everytime I hit the call or let out with a “gobble” they strutted, danced, and gobbled back.  I was able to get several pictures and even some video of their lovesick antics.  At one point they were 8 feet from my porch and stayed there until I stepped out and chased them away.

Twice I had 6-8 Toms come through my yard as they followed a couple hens.  Three of these “gobblers” were mature and one had a “paintbrush” beard (long and thick.)  I could not hunt until this upcoming weekend, but the report is that my teenage neighbor “smoked” the big boy opening morning!  All I can hope is that one of the other Toms is still in the area looking for a girlfriend!

My brother Darryl has a couple of his grandkids in Gaylord and Tanner shot a huge Tom opening morning.  Have not heard whether Tristan connected yet? I’m taking my grand-daughter Ava when I get a chance to go.  Several doctor appointments are holding me up from being there.  For her first bird a Jake will do just fine.  Once roasted you can’t tell the difference in the taste anyway!

Pictured is Tanner McElvany with his opening day “Tom” along with the three strutting amigoes in my front yard!

Mike

Michigan’s Ever Changing Weather!

April 18th, 2016

IMG_3963IMG_4010This past Thursday my wife and I left for the cabin.  I was going to scout for my upcoming turkey hunt, and also wanted to get in a few rounds of golf with my buddy Ed and brother Randy.  The forecast called for temperatures in the 60’s and even mid 70’s by weeks end. Now that is some nice Spring golfing weather.  We forgot though that we live in Michigan and nothing weather wise is as it should be!

The closer we got to our cabin the more snow was showing up in the woods and along the roadway.  By the time we arrived there was a good 5 inches of heavy wet melting snow on the ground, trees, and roof tops.  Not a golf course in the area was open as the last vestiges of winter held on to mess up our golfing plans.

Even though temperatures were in the 60-high 70’s for the next few days the melting snow created small rivers and lakes where there not supposed to be.  I had to put my suv in 4-wheel drive to make it down my road, and even then didn’t know if I was going to make it!  Oh well hopefully we can get a round of golf in now that were back home.

I did see some turkey activity while up there.  I’ll write about that in my next post. The above two picture were taken exactly 2 days apart!  Kind of hard to believe, but it is Michigan!

 

Mike

Cabin Fever Is About To Be History!

April 14th, 2016

turkey & coyote 004Just like these turkeys need to be very cautious as to what direction they take, so do outdoor recreationists in taking to the woods this Spring.  I mean it is spring isn’t it?  At least the calendar says it is, but Winter doesn’t want to release its relentless grip on Michigan!  According to the most recent forecast we have a string of warmer days coming up, right through the turkey opener!

I know most of us are chomping at the bits to get outside and enjoy a long walk, or a hike in the woods, and just take in the sights and sounds of Spring.  There are some common sense safety tips for anyone to keep in mind before heading into the woods.

In Michigan spring means mushroom hunting, hiking, trail riding, fishing, turkey hunting, and exploring the trails all our public lands have to offer.  Because we all have a touch of “cabin fever” right now we need to make certain we don’t tempt the coyote,  (See picture)

Before heading off always let someone know where you are going, and what time you expect to be back.  Cellphones work in almost all areas of the outdoors, so take one with you just in case.  A GPS system is not a bad idea either.  A compass and a small flashlight can be invaluable.  I have gotten turned around (not lost) on more than one occasion, and I want to tell you spending the night in a tree deep in a Quebec swamp is not “FUN!”  Someday I may write about that “dark night.”  Hopefully you will be somewhat familiar with the land your on.  Remember there may be turkey hunters in the woods, so wearing hunter orange could save you from being “Thanksgiving dinner.”  As we all know the weather can change in an instant in Michigan.  Good idea to take a little backpack and put some light rain gear, snacks, and some bottled water in it.  During hunting season a lost hunter can always fire his gun, but in the spring a whistle is a good way to make some loud noises to help locate you, if needed.  Make sure you have enough layered cloths with you.  You can always take some off, but can’t put it on if you didn’t bring it.

Now if we can just coax the sun to appear and warm things up a tad, we can hit the trails, and enjoy all the great state of Michigan has to offer.

Mike

Michigan Turkey and Walleye Fishing Clinic

April 11th, 2016

Get ready for spring turkey hunting, walleye fishing seasons with DNR clinics in Cadillac

father and son spring turkey huntingAs part of its Outdoor Skills Academy, the Department of Natural Resources will offer a turkey hunting clinic April 23 and a walleye fishing clinic May 7 at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center in Cadillac, Michigan.

“With spring turkey season just a couple weeks away and walleye season opening soon after that, these classes are a great way to get ready to hit the woods and water,” said DNR park interpreter and Outdoor Skills Academy Director Ed Shaw. “Whether you’re a beginner who wants to learn something new or an experienced hunter or angler who wants to brush up on your skills, the clinics are designed to help you have a successful and enjoyable outdoor experience.”

Turkey Hunting Clinic
Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m.

The Outdoor Skills Academy welcomes the National Wild Turkey Federation for the academy’s first wild turkey clinic. This A-Z class on how to hunt wild turkeys will cover everything you need to know to get started, including how to find a location, scouting, calling and gear. Running four to five hours, the clinic will be held both in the field and in the classroom. The cost for this class is $25, which includes lunch and a 2016 turkey patch. Preregistration is required.

Open Water Walleye Clinic
Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m.

This four-hour class will go through how Outdoor Skills Academy pro-staffers Steve Berry from Church Tackle and Matt Peterson from Fishbones Custom Lures spend their days chasing trophy walleye. The class will cover everything from which rod and reel to use, to how to use your electronics. DNR staff members also will be on hand to answer rules and regulations questions. This class costs $20.

The Outdoor Skills Academy is a new DNR program focused on developing and honing outdoor recreation skills, with classes offered at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center. To learn more about the Outdoor Skills Academy or register for a class, visit www.michigan.gov/outdoorskills.

The Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center is located in Mitchell State Park, at 6093 E. M-115 in Cadillac. ARecreation Passport is required for entry into the park.

/Editors’ note: An accompanying photo is available below for download. A suggested caption follows.

The DNR’s Outdoor Skills Academy will offer a spring turkey hunting clinic Saturday, April 23, at the Carl T. Johnson Hunt and Fish Center in Cadillac./


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.m

Japan’s Wild Boar Problem!

April 8th, 2016

The United States is not the only country in the world with a problem with wild boars.  At least the ones we have here don’t “glow” in the dark!

Radioactive boars living around the Fukushima nuclear site in Japan are wreaking havoc as they run rampant in the region unchecked. Following the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown in 2011, a quarantine zone was established to keep humans safe from leaked radioactive material. As a result, the boars, whose population had been controlled by human hunters, have flourished, eating nuclear-contaminated foods and destroying the local agriculture. The boars have reportedly caused around $873,000 in damage to local farms.

In an attempt to curb the exploding population, the boars are being killed faster than they can even be buried. Containing 600 boars per mass grave, the city of Nihonmatsu has actually run out of public land they can use to dispose of the pests. Authorities have resorted to trying to incinerate the boars instead, but that too has proven to be difficult; hunters have tried burying carcasses themselves, but the boars are often dug up by wild dogs. The boars can grow to be massive, too, regularly weighing around 220 pounds.

While the boars were a local delicacy before the nuclear meltdown, tests have shown them to now be too contaminated for human consumption. The area directly around Fukushima remains at levels of radiation 300 times what is safe for people.

While local plants and insects have shown mutations from the radioactive material, there is not yet evidence the boars are suffering from the radiation.