12-14-2017 Outdoors

Has the number of house-visiting insects finally dropped? Look outside and it will be nearly impossible to find any moving insects. Where have they gone?

They are spending the winter in diapause.  All life activities and development stop during this period.  When the temperature and, more importantly, the light-to-dark ratios of sunlight are just right they will resume their development.  In order to minimize the effects of winter, the insects will first migrate vertically.  They will move from higher places to lower, more protected places such as under leaf litter. Or, they migrate to warmer spots such as inside houses. Then they settle in for a long winter’s nap.

Outdoors many species will enter a different life stage before starting diapause (i.e. adults lay eggs, larvae form pupae).  A keen-eyed observer may spy the hardened egg case of a mantid on a bush or the messy clump of cattail fluff in which the larva of the cattail moth is resting.  Looking for these signs of life can turn a winter walk into a treasure hunt.

With the arrival of snow, Sarett has cross country skis and snowshoes available for rent. The ski trails are groomed and, if there is enough snow, track set to enable easier skiing. Snowshoe/hiking trails are separate from the ski trails; they are marked with signs.

Call the Nature Center (269-927-4832) to check snow conditions.

Very few anglers have made any attempt at fishing this past week the Department of Natural Resources said. Wind, cold, rain and snow discouraged most from trying across the state.

Captain Kenny Bard of Rampage Fishing Charters out of South Haven reported that inland lakes in the surrounding area have a few fish biting, but the bite has slowed down for bluegills. Most anglers are fishing the rivers where there are plenty of fish.

The Kalamazoo River, the Black River by South Haven and the St. Joseph River has been producing steelhead when using body baits, spawn and hot-n-tots. The anglers at the Allegan Dam have been getting a few walleye too. Pier fishing up and down the big lake has been good when you can go out on them, but waves and ice have been limiting that.

Ellinee Bait & Tackle on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reports few anglers going out in the weather for fishing. Most are waiting for the ice to form on local inland lakes for ice fishing. River anglers seem to be the only ones getting any action right now.

Hunting

The DNR reminds deer hunters that the muzzle loading season in Zone 3 ends Sunday, December 17. The late antlerless firearm season opens December 18 through January 1, 2018. The late archery season also ends on January 1, 2018.

Goose hunters have a few more days to try for that Christmas or New Year goose. In the middle zone you have until December 22. In the south zone, a two-day season, December 30-31 and then January 27 – February 12, 2018. A two-day duck season in the south zone is December 30-31.

The Michigan DNR Becoming an Outdoors-woman (BOW) Program is offering a BOW Winter Sports Workshop at Porcupine Wilderness State Park on January 26-28, 2018. The program is for women who have some previous experience and would like to enhance their skills and abilities.

Participants will have opportunities to ice fish, cross-country ski and snowshoe. Enrollment is limited to 19 and enrollees must be 18 or older. The deadline for registration is January 8, 2018. Class information and registration materials are available online at www.michigan.gov/bow. This will be a rain, shine or snow event. For further information, contact Michelle Zellar at 906-293-5131.

Grab your sled, gather your friends and ride Michigan’s over 6,000 miles of designated snowmobile trails and authorized public roads. The program is 100% funded by your trail permit dollars. Snowmobiles must be registered with the Michigan Secretary of State (unless sleds are used solely on private property). Registration is good for three years.

Connect to online resources, such as trail/ route maps, trail reports, safety tips and much more. While you are at it, check out the Michigan Snowmobile Association.

Nearly a half-century ago, a group of public and private partners saw the potential of an abandoned railroad corridor in the central Upper Peninsula to become a multiuse recreational trail. Today supporters are enhancing the trail by installing innovative mile markers along the Haywire Grade’s 32-mile route as a kick-off for plans for a grand 50th anniversary celebration in 2020 of Michigan’s pioneer rail trail.

The supporters are working on 12 interpretive stations to be placed along the trail to tell of the history of the area. The stations are to be put in place before the first of four commemorative rides in 2020 – snowmobile (winter), equestrian (late spring), bicycle (late summer) and ORV/ATV (autumn).

Now rail trails are the backbone of Michigan’s ever-expanding trail network, the largest in the nation. They are seen as more than just places to enjoy the outdoors – they also are catalysts for economic growth and valuable transportation corridors.

If you are looking for a different vacation this coming year, you might want to look into the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program. The program offers the opportunity for a free two-week stay in the historic lighthouse keepers’ quarters, while helping to promote the history and preservation of the site. The application period to participate in the program in 2018 is now open.

The application and additional information about the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program is available at www.michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse. The application period is open through February 2, 2018.

The DNR is seeking volunteer campground hosts in Michigan state parks, recreation areas and rustic state forest campgrounds for the 2018 camping season. In exchange for 30 hours of service per week, campground hosts enjoy waived camping fees. Services include helping campers find their campsites, answering questions, planning campground activities and performing light park maintenance duties.

Hosts are screened and interviewed by park managers and must attend a two-day host training session within the first two years of being selected as a host. For information, contact Miguel Rodriguez at 517-284-6127.

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