11-26-2020 Outdoors

The food resources up north must be scarce this year. Local yards have become a winter home for red-breasted nuthatches which normally hang out in the north. Fortunately for me a pair has been hanging out with the chickadees in my yard.

Watching their feeding behavior has given me a serious case of whiplash. The bird grabs a seed, flies to a tree, returns to the feeder, flies to a different tree, returns to the feeder, etc. At each tree stop, it caches the seed in a crevice in the bark. If the stop lasts a bit longer, the bird is probably hammering or prying open the seed or feasting on a bug it found in the bark.

The nuthatch is able to climb up or down a tree, upping its chances of finding a tasty treat hiding in the bark. It has a large hind toe and long, sharp claws on all the toes to grip the bark. It maintains its stability by placing one foot higher than the other as it climbs. One foot acts as an anchor while the other pulls. Its stubby tail is also an asset because it stays out of the way.

If you’re looking to “cache” some birdseed to feed birds this winter, remember you can purchase birdseed, feeders, and houses to pick up curbside from Sarett’s online store. Visit www.sarett.org.


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reported that the state saw fewer anglers now that many are hunting during the firearm deer season. This is also the time of year when the whitefish action really picks up for pier anglers. It might be a good idea for those hunting to take along a fishing pole!

Pier anglers in South Haven and St. Joseph are targeting steelhead and whitefish. At Grand Haven pier anglers reported the action as hit or miss for steelhead. Lake whitefish was caught along the channel when using small jigging spoons.

Now is the perfect time to target steelhead. For more information, visit the Steelhead page on the DNR website.

If you decide to target steelhead on Michigan’s rivers while in a boat, there are two options you can turn to. Consider offering bait underneath a centerpin-style reel. The line will come off smoothly allowing float-suspended baits to work long distances downstream, plus it offers drag-free drifts.

If you are not confident on a centerpin style or if you’re a novice angler, try a level-wind reel. It allows you to drop the float behind the boat and wait for the strike. It will take care of the hard work while reeling in your catch by guiding the line properly.

Make sure the stream is open for steelhead by checking the regulations in the Fishing Guide.

The catch-and-keep largemouth and smallmouth bass season on all waters is open for another month, (closes December 31). The catch-and-immediate-release season on all waters for smallmouth and largemouth bass is open all year.


Michigan’s firearm deer season opened statewide on Sunday morning, Nov. 15. After experiencing technical issues Saturday, the DNR licensing system was by afternoon successfully processing transactions as expected. The DNR wanted to ensure the vendor’s system was selling licenses without issue for 48 hours before making this announcement.

Hunters who were unable to purchase licenses or deer tags due to the problem should do so as soon as possible to comply with state law. The DNR does not have the authority to waive a license as a requirement for hunting. Successful hunters who used a homemade deer kill tag as instructed must consider their purchased, official tag to be validated and not use it to take another deer. Firearm season is open from now through Nov. 30.

Deer archery season which closed Nov. 14 will reopen Dec. 1 – Jan. 1, 2021. Muzzleloading season in Zones 1, 2, and 3 will open Dec. 4 until Dec. 13. Then Late Antlerless Firearm season opens from Dec. 14 – January 1, 2021. Pheasant season and ruffed grouse season that closed Nov. 14 each have one more season in December. Pheasant (male only) in Zone 3 (partial) will open Dec. 1 to Jan. 1, 2021. The last ruffed grouse season is Dec. 1 – Jan. 1, 2021.

A reminder; due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DNR is offering a temporary safety certificate for eligible hunter education students who have completed the online course but have not yet competed the required field day. Those students can purchase a Michigan hunting license through June 1, 2021.