Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds the public that the season to take frogs, toads and salamanders closed on November 15. With the snow, colder temperatures, and the opening of the firearm deer season, very few anglers have been out. The weekly reports will continue to decline until there is safe ice for fishing. Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma confirms the lack of anglers on the local lakes. Most are hunting and the rest are waiting for safe ice. In anticipation of the ice fishing season, Ellinee has just put all their fishing items up on display. From now until the first ice, customers can get a 20% discount on any ice fishing equipment purchased so now is the time to take a look. The only action for Lake Michigan is surf fishing or fishing from the piers. Anglers in St. Joseph caught a couple lake trout off the pier heads. Shore anglers were getting some steelhead on the Black River, when drifting or using spawn on the bottom. A few lake trout were also caught.
Hunting The Michigan DNR conservation officers are investigating the shooting death of a hunter on opening day of the firearm deer hunting season in Antrim County. Austin Beutel, 38, of Sanford was pronounced dead at the scene. When a conservation officer and South Torch Lake EMS personal arrive, Beutel was unresponsive and they administered first aid, but he did not recover. The second hunter, who is not being identified, is a 45-year-old Gaylord man. Preliminary investigation reveals that Beutel was deer hunting on private property and was apparently shot by another subject hunting nearby. The Antrim County Sheriff’s Office and Michigan State Police are assisting the DNR with the investigation and processing of evidence. The DNR encourages Alcona County hunters to get deer checked for bovine TB. In October, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced that a large beef heard in Alcona County is infected with bovine tuberculosis, the 18th herd infected in this county since cattle testing began in the late 1990s. Last year there was an apparent prevalence of the disease in free-ranging. This increase occurred in both Deer Management Unit 452, the core area for the disease, and in the surrounding Deer Management Unit 487. It is important for successful hunters to bring their deer to a check station. Keep in mind that less than 50% of positive deer have actual lesions in the chest cavity or lungs that a hunter may see when field-dressing the animal. The only way to know if your deer is positive is to have it tested. For more information, call 231-340-1821. The DNR announced that registration is open for this winter’s “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” program, which is set for February 22-24 in Marquette. This annual winter BOW gathering is for women, 18 and older, who are seeking an opportunity to improve their outdoor skills in a relaxed noncompetitive atmosphere. Instructors provide basic and advanced teaching tailored to each participant’s individual ability. The program also includes special evening programs during the weekend. The $200.00 registration fee includes all food and lodging, as well as most equipment and supplies, except as noted in the registration materials. Scholarships are also available on a limited basis. For more information on the winter BOW program, contact Michelle Zellar at the DNR office in Newberry at 906-293-5131 or by e-mail at DNRBOW@michigan.gov. Fall is the perfect time to inventory the habitat where you hunt. You may want to enhance edge quality, increase woody browse or prepare areas for planting a food plot. Learn more about deer habitat needs and habitat management with Managing Michigan’s Wildlife: A Landowner’s Guide. The options for where to begin with property enhancement can seem nearly endless, but a great place to start is with your local conservation district, where someone who knows your area, and can connect you with information and resources. Don’t forget that the Pure Michigan Hunt drawing is only two months away. One lucky winner could receive a prize package valued at over $4,000.00, as well as licenses for elk, bear, spring and fall turkey and antlerless deer, plus first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area. Each $5.00 Pure Michigan Hunt application helps fund Michigan’s wildlife habitat restoration and management. Anyone can enter as often as they like until December 31 at any facility that sells licenses.
Coloma Rod & Gun Club The Coloma Rod & Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW Class on Saturday, December 8, 2018. Class registration is held on Sunday December 2, 2018 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 $105.00. For more information or to be put on the list, please call (269) 621-3370.
Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club will hold their monthly CCW classes on December 6 and 8, 2018. Registration is on December 4, 2018, between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. and cost of the class is $100.00. They will have a lawyer explaining the law pertaining to concealed carry during class. Please call (269) 468-3837 or (269) 470-9191 for more information.
Young pheasant hunters find success at Shiawassee River State Game Area Recently 25 young hunters gathered in Saginaw County for an exciting day of pheasant hunting. The day dawned cloudy and cool, but the dreary weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm. The children gathered early in the morning to learn about gun safety and to practice target shooting at the Saginaw Field and Stream Club. From there, the festivities moved to the nearby Shiawassee River State Game Area, where the youth took to the grasslands to pursue pheasants. Several mentors assisted the kids as they worked the fields searching for roosters. Pheasants Forever graciously provided two birds per youth hunter, which were planted on the game area for the hunt. Sixteen birds were harvested during the morning hunt. After a great morning of hunting and shooting, lunch was provided at the Department of Natural Resources St. Charles Wildlife Field Office. Among the prizes awarded during lunch, one lucky youth won a taxidermy package to mount her rooster as a long-lasting memento of this great event. The event was held in partnership with the Saginaw Conservation District, the state and Saginaw chapters of Pheasants Forever, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Saginaw Field and Stream Club.