Tip-ups offer anglers more options on the ice

GW:  A great way to ice fish on stakeout and stay warm in the distance…

Tom Goniea credits tip-ups with converting him into an ice fisherman.

A Michigan Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist, Goniea said he’d never been ice fishing when a buddy invited him to set tip-ups. He took an immediate liking to it.

“I felt like an 8-year-old on the ice,” Goniea said. “I was happy to just get flags and I was perfectly content to catch undersized pike. Tip-ups are relatively easy to set up, relatively easy to use, and pike are relatively easy to catch.

“But I went on to research where there were lakes with populations that had larger pike in them and started chasing them.”

Goniea eventually became a full-fledged ice fisherman – walleyes, pan fish, even smelt – but says it was his early success with tip-ups that opened his eyes to the joy of ice fishing.

Man and child setting up a tip-up while ice fishingTip-ups are devices designed to fish set lines through the ice. Tip-ups are equipped with spring-loaded flags that “tip up” when the bait is taken by a fish.

Traditionally, tip-ups were constructed of wood with three basic components – a pair of cross-members, which forms an X – and a third piece attached perpendicular to the cross-members. The cross-members straddle the hole in the ice, keeping the tip-up from falling into the water.

A simple spool is attached to the vertical member that is submerged (which keeps it from freezing) and a spring-loaded flag is attached to the portion of the vertical member above the ice. When a fish takes the bait Continue reading

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Mossy Oak Congratulates ProStaffers for Top Finishes at NWTF Grand National Calling Contest

GW:  Here’s why I’m putting this piece on my blog:  Mossy Oak is committed to the furtherance of traditional values, such as hunting, and they put their money where their mouth is.  To the entire hunting community, they are contributors through their devotion to the outdoors through generous giving.  America personified!

WEST POINT, MS – Mossy Oak congratulates ProStaffers Billy Yargus, Scott Ellis, Matt Van Cise and Shane Hendershot for their top finishes in the 2015 NWTF Grand National Turkey Calling Contest.

Winning the Senior Division Championship was Yargus, followed by Ellis, Van Cise and Hendershot rounding out the top four spots. All four contest-caliber callers are members of the Mossy Oak National ProStaff. The NWTF Calling Contest was part of the 39th annual NWTF Convention and Sports Show, sponsored by RAM, which was held February 12-15 in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. Continue reading

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TriStar Arms has expanded its flagship line of Viper G2 shotguns with the addition of the all-new Viper G2 Bronze. Available in both 12 gauge and 20 gauge, the new Viper G2 Bronze is a reliable semi-automatic shotgun that is ideal for target shooters and upland bird hunters.

The fit and finish of the Viper G2 Bronze have a classic feel, with a long-lasting Bronze Cerakote finished receiver and a stock and forearm made of high-grade Turkish walnut with cut checkering and semi-gloss finish.

The Viper G2 Bronze has a 3-inch chamber and a 5-round magazine tube. The barrel has a vent rib with matted sight plane. The Viper G2 Bronze also has a fiber optic front sight for fast and easy target acquisition. It comes with a removable choke system that uses Beretta®/Benelli® Mobile Threads. It includes three choke tubes (IC, M, F), choke box, and wrench. A shot plug is included with the firearm.

The 12 gauge version has a 28-inch barrel and weighs 6.8 pounds, while the 20 gauge version has a 26-inch barrel and weighs 6.2 pounds. Both models of the Viper G2 Bronze shotguns have an MSRP of $759.00 and are backed by a 5-year warranty.

Like all TriStar shotguns, the Viper G2 Bronze was put through a 5000-round endurance test to ensure that it is a firearm TriStar customers can depend on.

TriStar Viper G2 Bronze Features: Continue reading

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The Vanishing Snowshoe Hare

By Glen Wunderlich

As part of Michigan’s recent license restructuring, the need to expand small game hunting opportunities was identified, and the DNR has made an investment to increase habitat work specifically benefiting squirrel, rabbit and snowshoe hare.

Hats off to volunteers with Michigan United Conservation Clubs and local Department of Natural Resources staff members who recently gave “hare cuts” on public land in the Grayling Forest Management Unit, as part of an effort to improve wildlife habitat for our declining snowshoe hare population.

The DNR has identified snowshoe hares as a featured species, an animal that is highly valued but is limited by habitat.  Although habitat is just one of a number of different factors that affect survival, the lack of preferred habitat is the primary cause of wildlife declines worldwide.

The white fur gives snowshoe hares great camouflage when snow is on the ground. If there is little or no snow cover during the winter months, having white fur against a brown background can lead to increased detection by predators.

“Snowshoe hares are a type of rabbit here in the northern areas of Michigan, and a lot of folks have great memories hunting them,” said DNR wildlife biologist Brian Piccolo. “Unfortunately, snowshoe hare populations have steadily declined over the past few decades, and research suggests that this decline is due partially to shorter winters and less snow cover due to climate change.”

Glen with a Snowshoe Hare Back in the Day

Glen with a Snowshoe Hare Back in the Day

Climate change, huh?  After reviewing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration records over the past several decades, there is no hard evidence that suggests the number of days with snow on the ground has been declining anywhere in Michigan.  Checking back to the beginning of climate records in the 1800s and early 1900s, evidence indicates that the number of days with snow on the ground has increased substantially.

I decided to probe the root cause of the disappearing bunnies a bit more and contacted avid outdoorsman, Bob Dalley, longtime property owner in northern Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.  When asked about the once-thriving snowshoe hare population in his cedar habitat, he said he hadn’t seen one in over 15 years.  He went on to explain that even cottontail rabbits have vanished more recently.  Bob’s convinced that the primary reason is a burgeoning coyote population.

Before anyone begins to blame hunting pressure, it is interesting to note that the number of small game hunters in Michigan has declined about 75 percent since the mid-1950s and is currently at a record low.

However, the past few years show a remarkable increase in the number of coyotes being pursued by hunters and a commensurate amount being killed.  In the Upper Peninsula, coyote harvest numbers are up some 37 percent, while the northern Lower Peninsula shows a 49-percent increase.

With coyote season closing April 15th, there’s still time to make a dent in their numbers.  Michigan is the only state in the Midwest region of the nation that has a closed season on coyotes – and maybe, just maybe – that has a bearing on not only our small game populations, but our declining whitetail numbers, as well.

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signs revised gun bills to ‘streamline’ concealed pistol permit process

Senate Bills 34 and 35, now Public Acts 3 and 4 of 2015, shall eliminate county gun boards by December. Duties will be transferred to county clerks and the Michigan State Police.

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ZEISS Swings Into Spring With An Electrifying Deal

NORTH CHESTERFIELD, VA – Carl Zeiss Sports Optics, the world’s leading manufacturer of premium sports optics, is kicking off their Spring Promotion by offering a free Goal Zero Green Power Pack when you purchase VICTORY HT Binoculars or CONQUEST HD Binoculars between March 1, 2015, and April 30, 2015.

The Goal Zero Switch 8 solar recharging kit combines the Switch 8 battery pack with a Nomad 3.5 solar panel, allowing you to gather and store solar power, and recharge your devices almost anywhere. Continue reading

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Hunter’s Specialties Adds A New Decoy To The Snood Family Line With The Penny Snood Feeder Hen

The Penny Snood Feeder Hen Decoy adds incredible realism to any turkey hunters’ decoy spread. The decoy’s relaxed feeding position puts both gobblers and hens at ease as they come in to your calls.

The lightweight Penny Snood Decoy is incredibly lifelike with highly realistic head and feather detail. It is painted with specially formulated no-flake paint for lasting durability season after season. The built-in air valve allows the decoy to be quickly inflated and set up. The Penny Snood Decoy is constructed with a durable expanded rubber that resists creases and dents, while allowing the decoy to be folded for easy transport. It is engineered with a self-balancing stake tube for easy placement, even in the dark.

The new Penny Snood Feeder Hen Decoy sells for a suggested retail price of $79.99. Continue reading

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SCI Foundation’s Hunter Legacy 100 Fund Aid Anti-Poaching Efforts in Tanzania

March 4, 2015 Tucson, AZ – Joseph Hosmer, President, Safari Club International Foundation (SCI Foundation), announced that SCI Foundation’s Hunter Legacy 100 Fund (HLF) donated $100,000 to provide the Wildlife Conservation Foundation of Tanzania (WCFT) with vehicles to be used by anti-poaching patrols.

SCI Foundation has outfitted anti-poaching units with two fully equipped Toyota Land Cruisers to monitor the Selous Game Reserve. These new Cruisers will allow teams to locate and track areas most susceptible to poachers.

“I am very sure that the elephants and other wildlife are more secure today and we already see the difference in the bush,” WCFT Trustees and Executive Vice President Eric Pasanisi said. “On behalf of the Wildlife Conservation Foundation of Tanzania, I would like to sincerely thank you for your generous donation to our fight to preserve our wildlife in Tanzania.”

The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent decision to ban elephant imports from Tanzania has limited conservation funding considerably; but SCI Foundation’s grant has allowed the WCFT to mobilize additional scouts and maintain programs in place to protect Tanzania’s wildlife. Continue reading

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Early Spring Herbicide Tips & Food Plot Preparation

Pigweed (Palmer Amaranth) has been a frequent topic of conversation among farmers and food plot guys in the last several years. Pigweed has been causing severe problems because of its rapid growth and in many parts of the county, resistance to glyphosate which leads to problems in glyphosate resistant crops that are being grown. In warm season food plots, whether it is a spring planted perennial or annual blend, pigweed can very quickly become a problem and overtake the plot.

When left to mature and go to seed, pigweed grows a substantial amount of seeds that can continue to cause problems for years down the road. The key to killing and controlling pigweed is early identification and proper herbicide application. Imazamox is a great broadleaf control herbicide with chemistry that has excellent results and residual control on pigweed and other broadleaf weeds. Imazamox (brand names Weed Reaper or Raptor) can be sprayed over legumes including clover, alfalfa, beans, peas, and lablab. Ideally, broadleaf weeds should be less than 6 inches in height for the best kill.

My first experience in testing Imazamox was on a severe infestation of pigweed on over 10 acres of spring planted Lablab a few years ago. Continue reading

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Did Wolves Really Change Rivers?

This from the Boone and Crockett Club…

One year ago, the pro-wolf movement produced a video titled “How Wolves Change Rivers”. The video proclaimed that wolves interaction with elk and deer populations was responsible for a trophic cascade in Yellowstone Park which ultimately improved the ecosystem. The dramatically narrated video went viral, and to date has had nearly 15 million views, undoubtedly altering millions of non-hunters’ perceptions of wolves, while creating fanatical support for unmanaged wolf populations.

A recent study covered by Discover Magazine challenges that claim.

“Changes in the system were perceived as a consequence of wolves,” Middleton explains, but these reintroduced predators actually have a relatively small impact—one that is far outsized by the hoopla surrounding them. The elk population in Yellowstone is at the mercy of a much larger, human-altered ecosystem.”

Discover Magazine’s Article

Video: How Wolves Change Rivers

Boone and Crockett Club’s Stance

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