It’s getting chilly now so it must be time for the leaves to fall is one misconception about nature. Michigan trees are programmed to begin winter preparations as the amount of sunlight dwindles; temperature has no influence on the timetable. The preparations are most easily observed in our deciduous trees, the ones that lose their leaves each year. What the trees are preparing for is a drought… when groundwater will be unavailable for the roots to absorb because it is frozen. The trees drop leaves which waste the precious water by letting it escape with oxygen during photosynthesis. The dwindling amount of sunlight is also responsible for the color change in leaves. Chlorophyll, the green part of leaves, needs sunlight to be produced. Less light means less chlorophyll. Less chlorophyll means the other leaf colors, which have been there all along, are visible. Learn all about bat conservation, research, and humane ways to remove bats from your house in our outdoor program featuring WMU professor Maarten Vonhof on Saturday, October 24 at 2 p.m. Join us for a Halloween Trail event on October 30 and 31. Hike the trail and pick up tricks and treats to take home. Buy tickets online at www.sarett.org to schedule a time to start on the trail. Join us Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. for virtual Trivia Night! Please call us at (269) 927 – 4832 to sign up your team today.
Fishing Windy conditions continue to hamper fishing the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports, especially on the Great Lakes and the bigger inland lakes. River fishing improved after the rain and much cooler temperatures. Remember all anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license. Very few anglers have been able to get out on Lake Michigan this week from the South Haven area. No perch reports have come in and pier fishing was slow for all species. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported most anglers have been targeting walleye using night crawlers. Fishing has been slow on local inland lake, but some anglers are still getting panfish and crappie. One angler caught a nice 10-inch bluegill a week ago on Little Paw Paw Lake. The catch of king salmon in the Paw Paw River has slowed with the warmer weather. Anglers are using Oslo’s, and spawn. Boat anglers that were able to get out of St. Joseph targeting salmon caught a few Chinook and lake trout in 100 feet. No perch fishing was reported and pier fishing was slow for all species. On the St. Joseph River there were not a lot of fish going through the ladder at Berrien Springs, just a few coho and steelhead. The coho were a mix of fresh fish and those that have been in the river for a while. Kalamazoo River anglers have caught salmon and steelhead on spawn, yarn and wax worms. Wind and rain have prevented boat and pier anglers from getting out at Grand Haven. On Grand River near Grand Rapids anglers continue to catch coho and steelhead. Also a few Chinook were caught up at the 6th Street Dam. DNR fishing tip: For many anglers, muskellunge can be quite elusive, but having a few back pocket tips can make trips more successful. The first thing to consider is the type of lure to use. Many experts recommend using a jerk bait-style lure to trigger vertical follows. The next thing to consider is where to look for muskellunge. Always be looking for cover, including weed patches or downed trees – these are prime spots for them to linger. Lastly, focus fishing time to late afternoon/ early evening. These hours can produce some quality opportunities. Check the 2020 Fishing Guide for Muskellunge fishing regulation. For more information, visit the Muskie page on the DNR’s website.
Hunting Make safety a priority this hunting season. Whether a hunter is in their first season or they are a seasoned veteran, put safety first. Find hunting safety tips and resources at Michigan.gov/HuntingSafety. Fall turkey hunting season is open through Nov. 14. Check Michigan.gov/Turkey and the 2020 fall Turkey Digest for hunting information. Pheasant (male only) seasons are in Zone 1: Oct. 10-31; Zone 2 and 3: Oct. 20-Nov. 14; and Zone 3: Dec. 1-Jan. 1. The daily bag limit is two birds. In 2019, the Michigan Legislature passed Public Act 618, which appropriated $260,000 from the state’s General Fund to the DNR for a pheasant release program during fall of 2019 and 2020. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated budget reductions, no Pheasant Hunting Initiative pheasant releases will take place during the fall 2020 hunting season. Pheasant forecast: “Summer brood-rearing conditions were optimal throughout the summer,” said Al Stewart, upland game bird specialist. “Insect populations were abundant for young chicks to pursue, and there was sufficient rainfall and moderate temperatures to maintain good vegetation for cover. Hunters can expect pheasant numbers to be slightly up from last year and about average compared to the past ten years.” Michigan’s Independence Hunt, which offers firearm deer hunting for people with disabilities, is an excellent opportunity to get out and enjoy the sport. It’s open statewide on private lands Oct. 15-18. Some public lands, requiring an access permit, also are open to the hunt. This year, the Independence Hunt is open to hunters who are deaf, a qualification that was added at the request of the DNR Accessibility Advisory Council. A list of qualifying criteria for the hunt is available in the 2020 Hunting Digest or at Michigan.gov/DNRAccessibility. If you have questions, contact DNR-Wildlife@Michigan.gov. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing dates, times and procedures for youth waterfowl hunts at Michigan’s Wetland Wonders have changed at many managed waterfowl areas. Please visit Michigan.gov/Wet landWonders for more information. Youth hunt information on page 12 in the printed copy of the 2020 Waterfowl Digest is now outdated, but it has been updated in the online version of the Digest. The updated 2020 youth hunt dates and times are as follows: 10/24 – Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area (5:30 a.m. drawing) in Linwood; 10/31 – Muskegon Wastewater System (5:30 a.m. drawing) in Twin Lake; 11/6 – Harsens Island Managed Hunt Area (5:30 a.m. drawing) on Harsens Island; 11/7 – Shiawassee River State Game Area (5:30 a.m. drawing) in St. Charles; 11/7 – Fish Point State Wildlife Area (5:30 a.m. drawing) in Unionville; 11/ 7 and 12/5 – Fennville Farm Unit of the Allegan State Game Area (5:30 a.m. drawing Nov. 7 and 11 a.m. drawing Dec. 5) in Fennville; 11/8 – Pointe Mouillee State Game Area (5:30 a.m. drawing) in Rockwood. Permits for morning and afternoon hunts are valid until the close of shooting hours. The youth priority draw will be the only draw that day.