FIRST ONE… 8-year-old Drake Owen Goldner of Benton Harbor was super excited when he shot his first turkey on Sunday, May 12. Weighing about 25 pounds, beard at 9.5 inches and spurs at one inch was taken in Van Buren County.
Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports the whole state is experiencing high water levels and strong currents. This includes the inland lakes, rivers, streams and Great Lakes. Runoff from all the rain is staining the waters which impacts clarity and makes fishing difficult. Flood warnings and advisories have been issued in some areas. Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reports fishing on Lake Michigan has been slow for the salmon fishing, but they have caught a few kings and some lake trout. They have been fishing in 60 to 250 feet of water and the lake trout are on the bottom. The kings are scattered and can be found anywhere in the water column. Other boaters have reported a few chinook and coho, along with lake trout have been taken. South Haven Pier fishing has been slow for all species. Not many anglers out on the piers. The rivers have been quiet with a few walleye being taken out of the Kalamazoo River not near the Allegan Dam, but closer toward the Lake. Inland lake fishing seems to be picking up as the crappie bed and the bluegills are moving in closer to shore; not quite ready to bed around the South Haven area. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake near Coloma reports excellent inland fishing in and around the area for crappie and walleye. Bluegills seem to still be out a little way yet, but the bite has been good. Anglers doing the Catch-and Immediately Release (CIR) method for bass have been very successful with both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Catch-and-Keep for largemouth and smallmouth bass on all waters, including the Great Lakes opens Saturday, May 25 to December 31, 2019. Catch-and-Keep on Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair and Detroit rivers opens June 15. Michigan’s plan to reintroduce arctic grayling to state waters is taking a big leap forward, courtesy of some generous donors and partners. Plans are under way to install an ultraviolet water disinfection system at the DNR’s Oden State Fish Hatchery in Emmet County. The system is critical for both cultivating arctic grayling and other fish broodstock (mature fish used for breeding), and ensuring that waters receiving those fish are protected from potential pathogens, (things that can cause disease). The state of Alaska is providing Michigan with roughly 10,000 eggs to produce the state’s first year class of broodstock. These eggs initially will be reared in isolation at the Oden hatchery. Once cleared by fish health testing, they’ll be transferred to Marquette State Fish Hatchery. During broodstock development, scientific evaluations will continue on the Manistee River and begin on the Jordan, Maple and Boardman rivers to determine suitability for reintroduction. Learn more about the initiative at MiGrayling.org or contact Ed Eisch at 231-922-6055 or Archie Martell at 231-398-2193. Hunting The DNR has a few reminders for hunters. Don’t miss your chance to get in on elk and bear hunting. The application process is open for both until June 1. Results of the drawing will be posted online June 24. Though the spring turkey hunt is almost over, you do have until May 31 to get your gobbler. The DNR reports there are still some licenses available if you are interested. A 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 hide it in secluded locations. This behavior helps reduce the potential of predators finding the fawn. While fawns may seem abandoned, they rarely are. All wild white-tailed deer begin life this way. Their spots are excellent camouflage and will help it stay hidden from predators. In addition to being hidden, fawns are virtually odorless when they are young to help them hide. If you find a fawn alone, do not touch it. There is a good chance it is supposed to be there. The mother will return periodically to nurse her fawn when she feels it is safe. 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. Contact DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453, with questions or for more information. The DNR volunteer stewardship programs has several dates open for volunteer helpers to remove invasive weeds. On Sunday, May 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. volunteers will pull invasive wild mustard plants and others. They will meet in the Warren Dunes State Park. On May 25 a work day is again planned for Warren Dunes State Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There is also a work day planned for Holland State Park from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on May 25. Volunteers should meet at the campground office. A DNR volunteer calendar with event listings and workday details can be found on the DNR volunteer stewardship page online. May 18, the Interlochen State Park will hold an open house and scavenger hunt to celebrate Michigan’s 100 years of State Parks. The jam-packed event will be held on Saturday, May 18 from noon to 4 p.m. Everything takes place at the park, from the family scavenger hunt to the range where kids can try their hand at archery, to “Touch the Trucks” display of some of the biggest equipment used to maintain parks, stock fish, enforce laws and fight fires. A special treat, will be park birthday s’mores. If you have questions, contact Maia Turek at 989-225-8573 or Chris Stark at 231-276-9511.
Pugnacious and adorable… two words not normally used together to describe an animal. However, they perfectly sum up the red squirrel. A red squirrel is only five inches tall. What he lacks in stature he makes up for in attitude. He charges at larger squirrels or birds that encroach upon his territory, especially if they are too close to his food cache or den. However, he is not reckless enough to engage the interlopers in a physical skirmish, which he, undoubtedly, would lose. If one keeps that thought in mind, then the pervasive belief that red squirrels castrate gray squirrels becomes unbelievable. Grays are two to three times heavier and larger than reds. It would be impossible for the smaller squirrel to accomplish such a precise attack upon his larger cousin without suffering grave injuries. Pieces of mushrooms found on branches can be attributed to the red’s resourcefulness. The dried fungus will be available when his winter food stores run low. Look for red squirrels visiting the bird feeders for seeds at Sarett. The Butterfly House at Sarett Nature Center will be open all summer during regular business hours starting Sunday, May 19 from 1 to 5 pm. Remember Sarett’s netted facility is best in warm, sunny weather. The cost to visit is $6 per adult and $2 per child and includes admission to the Nature Center trails and building.