Fishing Mild temperatures took what ice was formed in southwest Michigan, and the open water with a bitter wind has kept anglers off the open waters of the inland lakes. If you brave the wind or find a bit of shelter from the wind along the shoreline, you can catch some nice panfish. Ellinee Bait & Tackle reported anglers fishing from shore and off docks have been catching some nice bluegills. Another angler was going to target some pike. The Big Fish Board has been cleared and as of January 1 a new contest will start. Be sure to bring your big fish in to be weighed and measured and if you hold the top spot for the whole year, you win a $10.00 gift certificate for the biggest fish in that category.
Hunting Spring turkey hunting applications went on sale January 1 until February 1. Applications are $5.00 and can be purchased online at www.michigan.gov/turkey or at a license agent. Don’t miss the chance to pick your early turkey hunt this spring.
There still is some deer hunting available. The urban deer management archery season is January 1-31 in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties. This hunt is open on both public and private lands; however, not all public lands are open to hunting. Many cities and townships in these counties have ordinances prohibiting hunting. Some cities and townships may have established special hunt opportunities in public parks and open spaces. Contact your city government to see if special hunting opportunities exist for the archery hunt. A deer license, deer combo license or antlerless deer license are valid during this extended season. All archery season rules apply. Deer hunting regulations and information are available at www.michigan.gov/deer.
The dark and light goose season in the south zone is open January 26-February 11. Allegan County Goose Management Unit (GMU) for dark and light goose season is open through February 14. The Fennville Farm Unit of the Allegan State Game Area is closed to goose hunting on Mondays and Wednesdays during the GMU season. Visit www.michigan.gov/waterfowl for details and regulations.
DNR’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman program offers a winter sports workshop in Ontonagon County. Participants must be 18 or older. Enrollment is limited to 10. The deadline for registration is January 7, 2019. Class information and registration materials are available online at www.michigan.gov/bow. This will be a rain, shine or snow event. For further information, contact Michelle Zellar at 906-293-5131.
A Volunteer Stewardship Workday will be held Saturday, January 5 at Warren Dunes State Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Help create better habitat! Volunteers will continue efforts to remove oriental bittersweet and other unwanted plants from the woods before they continue to spread into the dunes. Training will be provided; no experience is necessary. Please arrive on time to caravan to the work site.
The DNR is seeking volunteer campground hosts for the 2019 season. The DNR is looking for volunteers to fulfill roles as campground hosts at Michigan state parks and rustic forest campgrounds. In exchange, camping fees will be waived in some of Michigan’s favorite outdoor destinations. Volunteer campground hosts are responsible for 30 hours of service per week, including answering visitor questions, planning campground activities and performing light park maintenance duties. Visit www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers to learn more.
Looking for an uncommon travel experience this summer? Check out a two-week stay at the historic Tawas Point Lighthouse, located in Tawas Point State Park off Tawas Bay in Lake Huron. The Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program will accept applications for volunteer keepers for May 1 through October 29. Those selected will get to live in the restored keeper’s quarters. Each participant pays a $75 per-person fee and provides roughly 35 hours of service each week in and around the historic lighthouse that attracts visitors from all over the world. Applications will be accepted through February 1. For more information, contact Hillary Pine at 989-348-2537.
Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on Saturday, January 12, 2019. Class registration is held on Sunday, January 6, 2019 from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The class is taught by a certified NRA and RSO instructor and the cost of the class is $105. For more information or to be put on the list, please call (269) 621-3370.
Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on January 10 and 12, 2019. Registration is on January 8, 2019, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. and cost of the class is $100. They will have a lawyer explaining the law pertaining to concealed carry during class. Please call (269) 468-3837 or (269) 470-9191 for more information.
Rufus, one of our two eastern screech-owls at the nature center has been very talkative at the end of the workdays and can be heard close to five o’clock making a descending whiney call. We can’t decide if he is just communicating with his cage mate or if he is telling us he is ready for dinner. Eastern screech-owls can be seen in two different color morphs, gray or reddish brown. Rufus is a reddish brown morph while Otis, our other resident education eastern screech-owl is gray. Research shows that reddish brown morphs are found more in the southern parts of the range and gray are more common in northern parts but both readily interbreed. Both Otis and Rufus came from the Kalamazoo area. It is also believed that the rufous morph is more cryptic at night and humid, cloudy conditions and their feathers may be less insulative and require more energy to keep warm than the gray morph. Eastern screech-owls are found throughout the eastern U.S. from Michigan to Florida and the plains states to the east coast. Tired of sitting around the house? Come out to Sarett during January 3-6 and try our winter break family Scavenger Challenge on our hiking trails! There are two challenges; a short one for young children and a longer one for older kids and adults. Both include prizes for completion! The scavenger challenge is free with admission.