05-31-2018 Outdoors

Hunting A region-wide effort to better understand West Nile Virus (WNV) in ruffed grouse is getting underway in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In the Great Lakes Region WNV has been found in a small number of grouse with no known population-level effects at this point. Charlotte Roy, grouse project leader with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said, “We want to let hunters know we’re in the first steps of monitoring the virus, and we’re planning to do some limited testing of birds this fall.” The virus has been present for about 17 years. Last year, Michigan had 12 positive cases of WNV in ruffed grouse. Prior to 2017, only one positive bird had been found in Michigan, and that was in 2002. Ruffed grouse are hunted annually by around 300,000 hunters across the three states. Like humans, wild animals can be exposed to WNV and survive the exposure. Currently, there is no evidence of humans becoming infected by consuming properly cooked birds or by handling birds. Research has shown dogs can be infected but are very resistant to developing clinical signs of the disease and are considered an end host. Wildlife professionals from more than a dozen states and Canadian provinces recently in Michigan for the DNR-hosted Eastern Elk Management Workshop got a treat. While on a planned viewing tour along the eastern edge of Michigan’s core elk range, the group came upon several elk in the fields just beyond one of the department’s elk information kiosks. The three kiosk/viewing locations were chosen for their high likelihood of spotting elk active in these areas. However, there are many more locations highlighted on the online elk viewing map where such sightings are possible. Learn more about elk viewing and hunting opportunities and the elk license plate at www.michigan.gov/elk or by calling Katie Keen at 989-385-0336.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on Saturday, June 9, 2018. Class registration is held on Sunday, June 3 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 $100. For more information or to be put on the list, please call (269) 621-3370.

Get sailing and kayaking!

The Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club continues to inspire great health. The club is offering youth and adult boating classes this summer. In conjunction with the Paw Paw Lake Community Sailing Foundation, the yacht club will be the site of learning to sail classes, boating STEM classes, or boater safety class. Kids will test their newfound sailing skills on Optimist or Club 420 boats. And, adults under 39 must have a cer-tificate to operate a jet ski on Paw Paw Lake – or any other open body of water. Sign up for the boater safety class, taught by the Berrien County Marine Division, which will be held Saturday, June 9 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. For more information call 269-468-6300.

Birds bring joy to the ears and eyes of homeowners. They also bring presents that gardeners would rather do without… weed seeds. The seeds are carried in the birds’ intestinal systems or stuck on feathers. If those seeds happen to originate from invasive plants, the birds may not be such welcome guests. One of my backyard feathered friends apparently gifted me with garlic mustard two years ago. The plant is a biennial so the blooms appeared this year after hiding out among the other vegetation during its first year’s growth. Fortunately, only two plants resulted… so far. The seeds are viable for ten years. I suppose I shouldn’t assume the culprit was a bird just because the plants are under the bird feeders. My squirrels and rabbits may also pass through areas infested with garlic mustard before dining in my yard. Explore Michigan with Sarett on Friday, June 1 at 1:00 p.m. with a visit to Portman Preserve. Be prepared for a two-mile hike. The $25 fee includes transportation. Kayak the Kalamazoo River on Saturday, June 2 at 10:00 a.m. Dress appropriately and bring a sack lunch. The $20 fee includes transportation and equipment rental. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. Enjoy Butterflies and a Violin on Sunday, June 3 at 2:00 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $2 for children. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register for programs.


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