05-28-2020 Outdoors

Fishing Beautiful sunshine and clear weather is encouraging people out doors for recreation and a break from staying at home. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages water safety after they made three Monroe County water rescues last Saturday. Two men are in good condition after their kayaks overturned Saturday afternoon, stranding them along a stretch of the Huron River in Monroe County. The DNR reminds people to use caution when on or near the water and to always keep safety in mind. “This was one of three water rescues that occurred in Monroe County”, DNR Conservation Officer Nick Ingersoll said. “Please be careful if you are going out on the water. High water levels are creating strong river currents throughout the state.” The DNR stated that it is a sobering statistic that the U.S. Coast Guard’s most recent boating safety data indicates that approximately 84 percent of people who drowned were not wearing life jackets. The DNR reminds everyone to brush up on boating safety before leaving shore. Michigan’s high-water levels make the use of life jackets even more critical, because they can help someone stay afloat if suddenly stuck in a strong current or riptide or navigating through debris beneath the water’s surface, including rocks, downed trees or submerged piers. Check on Great Lakes swimming and beach conditions, learn about the flag warning system and get tips on escaping currents at Michigan.gov/BeachSafety. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Big Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports the fantastic weather and very good fishing bite has a lot of anglers on the waters of the local lakes. The bite is good on all of the inland lakes in the area and nice catches of crappie are being taken on minnows. Bluegill are also biting good, as well as some walleye and some bass (Catch-and-Release yet). A lot of families are using the stay home time for family fishing. One man said jokingly, “Cheapest dinner I’ve taken the family out on; all it cost was some minnows.”

Hunting Bear points and elk chances of nearly 12,000 Michigan hunters are at risk of expiring this year. The DNR reminds hunters to apply now to avoid losing them. Hunters must apply at least once every five years to retain any points and chances accumulated in years prior. Accrued totals of those who have not purchased an application in the last five years will be reset to zero after June 1, 2020. Buying a $5.00 application will save your points and enter you in the running for a prized Michigan elk or black bear. Not planning to hunt this year? You still can accumulate points and chances for future drawings by purchasing a bear point-only or elk chance-only during the application period, which remains open through June 1. Hunters still have time to enjoy the outdoors and experience the thrill of harvesting a wild turkey this spring. This is the final week of Hunt 0234, and licenses for this statewide hunt are still available. The Hunt 0234 will close May 31. New this year, select hunt units in southern Michigan have an additional week to hunt in June. To find season dates, see the Spring Turkey Digest. Check for leftover licenses at Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses. The 2020 Wild Turkey Cooperator Patch is available to interested hunters and collectors for $5.00. The DNR would like to get hunter input on a new package of deer hunting regulations designed to simplify rules and remove barriers to participation that was introduced to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission at their regular May meeting. The regulations, proposed for the 2020 deer hunting season are scheduled for a vote in June. Read the full NRC proposal memo or the justifications behind the 2020 proposed regulation changes at Michigan.gov/Deer. Hunters are encouraged to review the proposed regulations and share their feedback either through an anonymous survey or by email to NRC@Michigan.gov. All comments must be received by June 5 and will be shared with members of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission. The DNR reminds ORV riders to stay on trails or other approved routes. In past seasons, ORV riders operating in undesignated areas have been an issue that conservation officers are working to curtail. Last May a group trail ride involving about 45 ORVs resulted in irreparable damage to state wetlands in Otsego County. The group leaders guided the participating ORVs off Geronimo’s Trail and through portions of Frenchman Creek and into surrounding wetlands. “We know most ORV enthusiasts respect the rules and value Michigan’s natural resources,” Conservation Officer Hagler said. “However, we cannot tolerate negligent behavior that puts

Five woodchuck pups emerged from their den under my porch this week after weeks of staying underground and growing with Mom. She has used this den for the last few years but this week I observed a new behavior I hadn’t seen before. One of the young groundhogs climbed up a piece of wood on the side of a shed and chowed down on poison ivy leaves. While poison ivy is harmful to humans when touching it, there are many animals that use poison ivy, a native plant, as a food source. Countless birds eat the berries, and mammals such as deer, black bear, rabbits, and mice will munch on the leaves or twigs. The noxious oil in poison ivy called urushiol can cause rashes on humans but doesn’t affect these animals. Woodchucks are members of the squirrel family and with their strong forelimbs and heavy claws are quite adept at climbing trees (or wooden sheds) to reach their food. They have been spotted at heights of 30 feet. From here they can feed on the leaves of their favorites: sassafras, red mulberry and hackberry trees. They are mostly herbivores and eat grasses, dandelions, other herbaceous plants, but will eat the occasional insect or snail. Sarett’s building is still closed at this time, but the hiking trails remain open. Check out website at Sarett.org for more information.

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