Rain, snow and extremely cold temperatures have kept most anglers at home the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported. Those braving the elements have caught some walleye on the inland lakes. Pier anglers are getting steelhead, whitefish and the occasional walleye. Check out the waters that hold muskie and northern pike as this is the time of year to catch both species. There were still a few steelheads moving through the ladders on the St. Joseph River; however, steelhead movement declined with the recent drop in water temperatures which were in the middle 40s last week. Once that temperature drops below 40 there will be even fewer fish in the ladders. High water levels in the Kalamazoo River affected steelhead fishing as the fish were harder to land. A decent number of northern pike were being caught in the lower river. Try the shallow bayous and marsh areas. There were no boat anglers at Grand Haven. Pier anglers were still getting a fair number of steelhead when using spawn. Some caught the occasional whitefish on a single egg or wax worms. Steelheads were caught up near the 6th Street Dam on the Grand River at Grand Rapids. Most were floating or drifting salmon eggs. Chartreuse was the hot color. Some anglers caught the occasional coho. With the colder months quickly approaching, many anglers may be getting ready to store their gear for the season. The following are a few maintenance tips to follow so gear is cared for and ready to be used next season. Make sure gear is clean and completely dry before storing it. Start by cleaning everything (rods, reels and line) in fresh water with soap or with the manufacturer’s recommended solution to remove any materials that may have become attached or embedded. Inspect gear for any damage and make any repairs or prepare for replacements. Don’t store any gear in direct sunlight and don’t store any gear where heat and/or moisture might build up. Lastly, air waders out completely and don’t forget to hang them upside down for the months they are out of use. Brook trout daily possession limit still at 10 fish for select Upper Peninsula streams. An experimental regulation that allows for 33 streams in the Upper Peninsula to have a 10-fish daily possession limit for brook trout has been extended. This regulation expired October 1 of this year, but was reauthorized by the Michigan Natural Resources Commission at its recent meeting in Lansing. The regulation was put into effect by the NRC to create additional fishing opportunities. The 2019 season on Type 1 Trout streams closed after September 30. The 2020 season will open on April 25. For more information on Michigan’s fishing regulations, check out the 2019 Michigan Fishing Guide at Michigan.gov/DNRDigests.
The 2019 firearm deer season opens Friday, November 15. Take some time to prepare for the season and head outdoors to locate a lucky hunting spot. Scouting probably has the biggest impact on hunting success. Keen observation and understanding of how and why deer move on the landscape is important. Watch for signs like deer trails, bedding and feeding areas (places with ample acorns, beech nuts, or food plots), and rubs and scrapes. Review digital maps: Some of the best-known navigation tools, like Google maps, can give hunters a bird’s-eye view of places they plan to hunt. There are also tools that show where private/ public land boundaries are. For anyone hunting public land in Michigan, a great free tool is MI-HUNT. This is a digital tool that has a ton of information stored in “layers,” MI-Hunt provides everything from public/ private land boundaries, satellite imagery and cover types (upland, lowland, oaks etc.) to trails, topography and more. Review current regulations: In an effort to combat chronic wasting disease (CWD), there are some evolving regulatory changes that may be in effect. Hunters should be sure to check the latest hunting regulations in their area. In the Lower Peninsula, a deer baiting and feeding ban went into effect January 31 of this year in an effort to reduce the risk of spread of CWD. This ban applies to both public and private land. In the Upper Peninsula, deer baiting and feeding is banned in the Core CWD Surveillance Area. The rest of the peninsula remains open to deer baiting and feeding. Successful hunters should not forget to bring their deer head to a DNR deer check station or drop box to be tested for CWD, especially from deer taken in Jackson, Isabella or Gratiot counties. For those that hunt in Alcona, Alpena, Cheboygan, Crawford, Losco, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Otsego, Oscoda, Presque Isle or Roscommon counties, please take deer heads to a check station or drop box for bovine tuberculosis testing. The DNR Outdoor Skills Academy will offer a snowshoe building workshop at Tahquamenon Falls State Park on Saturday, December 7 and Saturday, December 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Cost is $200 per person, and includes one pair of wood frames, tubular nylon lacing, boot bindings and personalized instruction. Two styles of snowshoe kits will be offered. Refreshments and snacks will be provided and registration deadline is November 16. For more information, contact Theresa Neal at 906-492-3415.
Study finds hunting deer with rifles does not increase gun violence
It’s deer-hunting season in the Midwest, but there is no evidence that the increased use of rifles causes more violent crimes, says Ball State University researcher, Paul Niekamp. Niekamp has analyzed daily crime data with statistics from deer hunting seasons spanning 20 years and 21 states for his study, “Good Bang for the Buck: Effects of Rural Gun Use on Crime.” “The results of this paper provide strong evidence that enormous increases in recreational long gun prevalence are not associated with any increase in violent crime,” he said. “In the least populous areas, where long gun prevalence increased 530%, estimates suggest that male violent crime actually decreased.” Niekamp’s study provides the first estimates of the effect of rural recreational gun use on crime. Each year, more than 10 million Americans, comprising 18% of all American gun owners, use firearms to hunt deer during restricted dates. Niekamp cites several reasons deer hunting does not lead to an increase in violent crimes, including: Hunting is a time-consuming activity that is inherently incapacitating, which may decrease crime and hunters may face more regulation than other gun owners. These regulations may improve firearm etiquette and discourage high-risk individuals from hunting. The study also found that alcohol-related arrests of juvenile males fall by 22% and narcotic offenses fall by 15% at the start of hunting season, suggesting that firearm hunting may have positive effects on behavior.