03-15-2018 Outdoors

Fishing

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) weekly fishing report is intended to give anglers an idea of fishing conditions around the state. The updates come from a combination of creel clerks and other DNR staff around the state and reflect past fishing conditions over recent days. Due to the nature of the Great Lakes, fishing conditions on them can change daily if not hourly based on wind and precipitation events. According to this report, Coho salmon were starting to show up in the southern portion of Lake Michigan. New Buffalo and St. Joseph would be good places to start. Steelhead movement was good in the large river systems. The inland lakes were ice free for the most part. On the St. Joseph River, staff cleaning out the fish ladders reported good numbers of steelhead using the ladders at Berrien Springs and Niles. It is reported the Kalamazoo River had good steelhead movement as well. Grand River at Grand Rapids showed water levels are coming down and the river is fishable according to the DNR. Anglers were getting a good number of fish up near the Sixth Street Dam. Steelhead were hitting on spawn and a couple walleye were taken on a jig with a rubber tail, minnows, or flatfish. A reminder that walleye, pike and muskellunge season on all the Lower Peninsula inland waters will close at midnight today, March 15. Walleye and pike season is open all year on the Lower Peninsula’s Great Lakes. DNR’s weekly fishing tip, obtained from various angling resources throughout the state and country, is on how to store your ice fishing equipment for next season. It’s about that time when anglers need to get ready to store ice fishing equipment. The key is doing it properly to be ready to hit the ice next winter! Here is a checklist of things to do: Check augers for any damage and then dry all the blades before storing it and consult the power auger’s manual to know how to appropriately handle any leftover gas and how to protect the engine; remove the batteries from any electronics to prevent any potential damage if they leak; make sure portable shelters are completely clean and dry before storing. Putting some moth balls in them or hanging them should keep pests at bay. Take a full inventory of rods, reels and tackle to see what might be needed/wanted for next year. Also remove all bait or line from hooks and lures for storage and make sure everything is dry. By the time everything is properly taken care of everyone will be itching to get out on a favorite stream, river or lake for some spring fishing!

Hunting

Since 1991, Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger (MSAH) has been working to create linkages between donors, wild game processors and charities that feed families in Michigan.  ​ The Michigan Sportsmen Against Hungernprofit organization, who coordinates participating licensed game processors throughout the state as drop off locations for whitetail deer harvested by hunters during the hunting season.  MSAH was founded by: Safari Club International, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Ted Nugent United Sportsmen of America, Michigan Bow Hunters Association, the United Methodist Men’s Club, Food Bank Council of Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Other participating organizations are: Michigan Chapters of Quality Deer Management and the Michigan Agriculture Department. MSAH is an all volunteer organization, operated entirely by sportsmen and sportswomen concerned about making a positive difference in our Michigan communities. Together they have assembled a network of licensed wild game processors and charities to help channel wild game donations into the hands of the hungry of our state. ​ Through the Food Bank network in Michigan many families will have a hot meal on their table. Thanks to the generosity of hunters, their processors and volunteers, the Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger program facilitates thousands of pounds of venison donations, into thousands of pounds of processed venison that has given hot, nourishing meals to hundreds of thousands of the hungry of our state. The success of the MSAH processing program relies upon processors to join the fight against hunger and assist them in processing donated venison. The food banking network in Michigan has over 2,500 agencies such as church pantries, soup kitchens and shelters in every county. For any wild game processor in the state of Michigan wanting to work with the MSAH, visit www.sportsmenagainsthunger.org for the most recent set of MSAH Processor Guidelines. Pure Michigan Hunt applications are on sale from March 1 – December 31, 2018. Applicants could win a prize package valued at over $4,000, as well as licenses for Spring and Fall Turkey, Antlerless Deer, Bear, Elk, and first pick at a Managed Waterfowl Hunt Area! Each $5 Pure Michigan Hunt application helps fund Michigan’s wildlife habitat restoration and management. The Pure Michigan Hunt (PMH) is a unique multi-species hunting opportunity. Individuals apply as many times as they like, and the winner will obtain licenses for the following species: one any-elk, one bear, one spring turkey, one fall turkey and one antlerless deer and one base license. In addition, the winner may have first pick at a hunting location at a managed waterfowl area during the reserved hunt period. All licenses must be purchased in the award year. Driver’s License numbers are required when applying for the Pure Michigan Hunt because it is still considered a hunting license application and not a lottery. The Pure Michigan Hunt allows individuals to have a chance to purchase their hunting licenses. Individuals who are under a court-ordered license revocation cannot win the Pure Michigan Hunt. Individuals may purchase $5 PMH applications, license code 300, at all license agent locations or on the DNR’s E-license website. PMH application purchases are unlimited, so applicants can enter as many times as they wish to be entered into the drawing. Application fees are non-refundable. Who can apply? Applicants must be at least 10 years old, have completed hunter safety training, and cannot be under a court-ordered license revocation. Non-residents may apply, but only Michigan residents are eligible to obtain the elk license. Individuals who are ineligible for an elk license because of previous drawing success are still eligible for the PMH. Check out Michigan DNR’s website at www.michigan.gov/dnr for more information on MSAH and Pure Michigan Hunt as well as other programs of interest to hunters.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club

Volunteers are needed to help support the boy scouts by becoming a certified range officer. Certified Range Officer Course is being held Saturday, March 24, 2018, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.; to sign up, call 269-944-6464. Cost of the class is $20.

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The light snowfalls allowed us to view the tracks of an opossum that likes to cross the porch on his or her way to an easy meal at the bird feeders. The five spread out toes of the front feet and the distinctive “thumb” print of the back feet make the tracks easy to identify. Opossums have  increased their range to Canada but, they are not particularly well-suited to northern winters. However, they are very successful at exploiting urban and suburban areas for shelter and food. The hardy individuals that try to make a go of it in the wild use hollow trees, brush piles or repurpose old woodchuck burrows by insulating them with dry grass and leaves. During more comfortable weather, opossums are likely to rest in a tree anchored to a branch or small trunk with their prehensile tails. They will not, however, hang by those tails. Their bodies are much too heavy. Experience an up-close learning adventure with live raptors from the Lake Milton Raptor Education Center on Saturday, March 24. Presentations are at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Limited seating is on a first come, first served basis. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children. Join Sarett Nature Center naturalists for a spring trail clean-up and work day on Sunday, March 25 at 2:00 p.m. Wear work clothes, boots and gloves.

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