09-01-2016 Outdoors

While pulling weeds I disturbed a colony of pavement ants. Instantly, a large number appeared in response to the “call to arms” smell released by the guard workers. They raced about looking for the intruder. A number of them found it…my sandaled foot. The more aggressive defenders used their mandibles to grip my skin then inserted the stinger on their gaster (the ant equivalent of an abdomen). The insignificant wound was then sprayed with formic acid. The chemical is sprayed or injected by most ants as a hunting or defensive weapon. It definitely moved this intruder away.

Upcoming events

Meet Val, Sarett’s turkey vulture, and celebrate Vulture Awareness Day on September 4 at 3:00 p.m. Sarett’s Preschool begins its monthly sessions on September 8 at 10:00 a.m. Kids who are 4 and 5 years old (no siblings, please) will learn about nature through hands-on activities and walks. Fee is $25 and requires a Sarett family membership. The Junior Naturalist Club (for kids 7-12 who are really interested in nature) resumes its monthly meetings on September 10 at 10:00 a.m. Fee is $45. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required for these classes. The annual Barn Party, Sarett’s major fundraiser, takes place on September 22 at 4:00 p.m. A catered dinner, homemade appetizers and desserts, as well as a silent auction are included in the $50 price. Pre-registration is required. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register for programs.

Fishing

If you are confused about selecting bait when going fishing, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) latest “How-To” video can help.  You can find it on YouTube.  The DNR fishing tip this week is for Bass fishing.  If you jig fish for Bass you have probably experienced a snag or two.  The typical snag-release technique (shaking your rod vigorously) can actually attract Bass and sometimes Walleye as well.  Rod shakes – and the subsequent lure shaking – often alert nearby fish.  This technique works well when sunny conditions are present and Bass are sticking close to cover.  Be sure to check out rocks, boulders and other hard cover locations, as well as logs, brush piles and weeds.  As your jig starts to get hung up shake accordingly and you just might catch that smallmouth Bass you are after.  Water levels are up in the rivers and streams that saw significant rainfall over the week.  Anglers will want to be cautious and watch for floating debris in the rivers and the Great Lakes where those rivers flow into.  Pyle’s Porthole reported that fishing was quiet with a few Salmon and Steelhead being taken in 80 to 120 feet of water, straight out and to the south.  Perch fishing was slow but they could be found in 35 to 50 feet of water in front of the State Park.  Pier and river fishing was quiet.  A few Steelhead and Salmon were taken by the Allegan Dam on the Kalamazoo River.  Pyle’s closing sale is almost finished, with 40% off by Monday.  Ellinee Bait & Tackle reported that panfishing is about the only action in Paw Paw Lake and the surrounding inland lakes.  The wind and rain have hampered fishing for anglers going out of St. Joseph.  The few boats that have made it out found slower fishing with only a few Chinook caught in 70 to 120 feet of water.  Perch fishing was on the slow side as the fish moved deeper and were caught in 50 to 60 feet of water.  The DNR announced the final totals from its spring and summer fish-stocking efforts.  The Fisheries Division stocked a total of 33,308,068 fish that weighed more than 343 tons and consisted of nine different species and one hybrid.  Fish are reared in Michigan’s six state fish hatcheries and two cooperative hatcheries for anywhere from one month to one and a half years before they are stocked.  The DNR welcomes visitors to its hatcheries and interpretative centers.  For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/hatcheries.  The DNR maintains a public database of fish stocking records which can be reviewed at michigandnr.com/fishstock.  The DNR states Michigan’s waters are not a good home for pet fish.  In July the DNR received three Pacu reports.  Reeling in a Pacu would be a surprise to anyone fishing in Michigan.  It looks somewhat like a native Shad, but the Pacu’s squarish, blunt teeth clearly set it apart.  The red-bellied Pacu is a popular aquarium fish imported from South America.  They are known to grow significantly, often beyond the capacity of their tanks.  Pet release is almost never humane.  If you catch an unusual fish, keep it and preserve it on ice.  If that is not possible, take photos of the fish.  Do not return it to the water.  Contact Seth Herbst, DNR aquatic invasive species biologist at 517-284-5841 for assistance in identification.

Hunting

The final experimental early Teal hunting season begins September 1.  2016 marks the third and final year of Michigan’s experimental early teal hunting season which runs September 1-7.  Hunters may take up to six teal per day and hunt from sunrise to sunset.  To review teal identification and get tips on where they are likely to be found, visit www.michigan.gov/waterfowl and click on “Early Teal Season.”  Canada goose hunting season has had big changes including a liberalized season with increased bag limits.  The daily bag limit is now five geese per day during the entire September season and three geese per day October through February.  Canada goose season runs September 1-30 and October 1-December 16 in the northern zone.  Middle zone dates are September 1-30 and October 1-December 14 with a December 17-18 split weekend.  In the south zone, dates run September 1-25, October 8-December 4, December 31-January 1 and January 21-February 11.  Saginaw and Tuscola County goose management units (GMU) have the same dates as the south zone.  Designated goose management units in Allegan and Muskegon counties have alternate dates.  Information on goose seasons in GMUs can be found in the Waterfowl Hunting Digest.  September 8 at 10 a.m. EDT any leftover Antlerless Deer Licenses that were not issued in the drawing will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning until license quotas are met.  Antlerless Deer License quotas for each DMU can be found at www.michigan.gov/deer.  Please note that DMU 333 has unlimited antlerless licenses.  Drawing results and leftover license availability may also be viewed at the mi.gov/deer address.

Coloma Rod & Gun Club

The Coloma Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on September 10.  Class registration is held on Sunday, September 4 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 $100.00.  For more information or to be put on the list, call 269-621-3370.

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