10-19-2017 Outdoors; Kevin Mann’s Tale of the Hunt includes 1400 lbs. bull moose and small boat ride

Exterminator companies probably experienced a recent increase of panicked calls as people noticed large swarms of winged insects that looked like termites. Although termites periodically form swarms such as these, most likely the insects were winged ants.

Winged ants are not a different species. They are males and virgin queens (sometimes called princesses) that are produced when a colony reaches a certain density. They pace around the nest like bored teenagers, waiting for a signal. When that signal, a species-specific combination of weather conditions, occurs they emerge en masse with those from other colonies of the same species.

The millions of individuals involved in the mating flight ensure a healthy mixing of genetic material and provides quite a spectacle for humans to observe. To the consternation of homeowners, occasionally wayward fliers make their way into houses.

The princesses release pheromones to attract drones but then play hard-to-get so that only the fastest and fittest males are able to mate. Each princess will mate with several males before ending her nuptial flight. These newly fertilized queens land, chew off their wings and start a new colony. The drones all die in one or two days.

Explore Sarett by golf cart on Sunday, October 22 at 1:00 p.m. Fee is $5. Space is limited; pre-registration is required. Please call (269) 927-4832 to register.

Fishing

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reports that boating activity continues to decline as most have winterized their vessels, or have transitioned to deer and waterfowl hunting. Those looking for salmon will still find a good number of fish in most of the main river systems. The Chinook are turning dark, but fresh Coho can still be found. Pike and bass action was good on the inland lakes across the state.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported the fishing is slow on Lake Michigan with only a few trout being caught off the bottom in 100 to 150 feet of water. No salmon or steelhead were caught. Perch fishing is done for the year it seems with none being taken. Pier fishing was slow for all species and river fishing at South Haven was also slow. Kalamazoo River has been really good for salmon and steelhead, especially at the Allegan Dam. Inland fishing in the lakes around the South Haven area has been decent, especially on Duck and Eagle lakes.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported slow but steady panfish being caught in Big Paw Paw Lake and surrounding inland lakes. Anglers on Little Paw Paw Lake have been doing really well catching Bluegills. Pike and a few bass have been taken in 60-foot-deep water at about 40 feet down. There has been some nice size pike, but just a few bass that were taken on Thunder Sticks. The river is quiet, no reported fish caught.

The DNR and several partners released nearly 6,000 juvenile Lake Sturgeon into various public waters across the state this summer and fall in an effort to rehabilitate the culturally significant fish species. Juvenile Lake Sturgeon were collected from the wild during April and May and reared in streamside facilities until they were large enough to tag. Most were tagged and released into their respective rivers to allow future evaluation of stocking fish. For more information about Lake Sturgeon, visit www.michigan.gov/sturgeon.

The DNR is seeking public comment on the new five-year strategic plan to guide the DNR Fisheries Division work. This draft plan expands on the division’s 2013-2017 effort, “Charting the Course: Fisheries Division’s Framework for Managing Aquatic Resources.” It can be found at www.michigan.gov/fishing.

Feedback can be sent via email to DNR-FISH-SP2017@michigan.gov through October 24, 2017.

Hunting

The DNR will host a free youth pheasant hunt on Saturday, October 21 at the Gordon Guyer Augusta Creek State Wildlife Area, located in Augusta. Youth hunters, age 10—16 with some hunting experience are welcome to join. Pre-registration is required; please contact Jordyn Richardson at 269-685-6851 or Chris Tracy at 269-337-7708.

The DNR invites you to bring your young hunter to one of Michigan’s Wetland Wonders in October and November for a memorable hunting experience. Hunters can choose from several dates and locations. Parties with at least one youth will be given priority in the draw at all seven Wetland Wonders. Dates below:

October 28 in Muskegon County Wastewater in Twin Lake

November 3 in Harsens Island Managed Hunt Area on Harsens Island

November 4 at Shiawassee River State Game Area in St. Charles

November 5 in Fish Point State Wildlife Area in Unionville

November 11 and December 30 at Fennville Farm Unit of the Allegan State Game Area (morning hunt only Nov. 11 and afternoon hunt only Dec. 30) in Fennville

This waterfowl season, hunt at three or more of southern Michigan’s Wetland Wonders, or managed waterfowl hunt areas, and be entered to win a War Eagle boat, motor and trailer. The Wetland Wonders Challenge began October 14, 2017 and runs through February 15, 2018. Seven lucky winners will be chosen on March 1, 2018. Visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders for full contest rules.

The DNR along with Pine Hill Kennel’s and Sportsman’s Club and the Grand Valley chapter of Pheasants Forever, will host a ladies’ pheasant hunt on Sunday, October 22 in Belding. Registration and coffee begins at 9:00 a.m. Pre-registration is required, so please call Scott Brosner at 616-874-8459 to sign up.

Stewardship volunteers are needed for Warren Dunes State Park (Berrien) on Saturday, October 27; Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo) on Sunday, October 22; and Fort Custer Recreation Area on Saturday, October 28. Volunteers should bring work gloves, drinking water and appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants and sturdy, closed-toe shoes. For more information, contact Heidi Frei at 517-202-1360.

Kevin Mann’s Tale of the Hunt includes 1400 lbs. bull moose and small boat ride in eight foot waves

By Angela Stair

Late in September Kevin Mann left on a hunter’s dream of hunting moose in Canada. The camp was set up in northern Manitoba at Sand Lake and his guide told him they would be hunting on the other side of the lake and would cross by boat.

The boat they used was a small aluminum boat and motor to cross over for his first day of the hunt. He said it wasn’t a bad trip across the lake and it didn’t bother him the second day either. Unfortunately, no bull moose were sighted. The third day they made the crossing with a little chop to the water, but on their return trip the chop turned into seven and eight-foot waves that had his heart racing. Even worse, his guide confided that he did not know if they would make it back or not.

Mann said he was never so happy before to reach solid ground and did not know whether he would make the trip across the lake again for the next day’s hunt. By morning the lake had quieted down to a small chop and he went for his fourth day’s hunt, October 3 and it was the lucky day.

The bull moose that he shot, the only one he saw, was a nice one with a 51-inch spread and by the guide’s estimate weighing in at between 1,300 and 1,400 pounds.

In order to get the moose back to camp, they had to remove the head and rack and quarter the rest, and then carry it to the boat to be transported. Although nervous with the chop of the lake and all the weight in the boat, they had a safe journey back.

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