The wood duck: September’s Migratory Bird Treaty Centennial featured bird

male and female wood ducksWith their exquisite, bright coloration, male wood ducks are considered one of the most beautiful birds in the world. In fact, their scientific name, Aix sponsa, is Latin for “promised bride,” alluding to the fact that the drakes look dressed to attend a wedding.

Wood ducks are medium-sized ducks that frequent wooded ponds, streams and marshes. Both hens and drakes have colorful wings accented with blue, maroon and silver. The hens are much more plainly colored, with grey-brown upperparts, mottled brown and white breasts, white bellies, and a white teardrop-shaped eye patch.

Wood duck pairs nest in tree cavities that are 15 to 30 feet above the ground or in man-made wood duck nest boxes. The hens lay nine to14 eggs at a time. Wood duck hens sometimes lay their eggs in the nests of other wood duck hens – this leaves one hen with more than her share of ducklings to raise. Nests have been documented with up to 40 eggs in them! Read more

Federal Premium Vital-Shok Trophy Bonded Tip 223 Rem

ANOKA, Minn. –– Federal Premium offers hunters of its Vital-Shok Trophy Bonded Tip offering in 223 Rem, which has proven itself as one of the most effective cartridges available in this caliber. This ammunition is available at dealers world-wide.The .223 Rem Trophy Bonded Tip bullet retains more than 90 percent of its weight, penetrates deep, and shoots flat and accurately thanks to its high ballistic coefficient. The solid copper shank crushes bone, and exterior skiving on the nickel-plated bullet ensures optimum expansion at any range. The tough, bonded construction makes the new 223 Rem. load a perfect choice for medium-size game like antelope and deer. Read more

NSSF Praises Bipartisan Introduction of Export Control Reform Act in House

NEWTOWN, Conn. – The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, praised the bipartisan introduction of the Export Control Reform Act of 2016 in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 6176, as well as the companion Senate bill, S. 3405, and called on Congress to pass this sensible pro-business and trade-enhancing legislation.”The Export Control Reform Act of 2016 seeks to complete what the Obama administration itself began by transferring the export licensing and enforcement oversight of sporting and commercial firearms to the Commerce Department from the State Department,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “We would especially like to thank the sponsors: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.); Congressmen Henry Cuellar (D-Texas); Tom Marino (R-Penn.); Gene Green (D-Texas); and Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) for their timely bipartisan leadership as well as Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) for sponsoring a companion bill in the Senate.” Read more

Ruger American Pistol Compact

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE-RGR) is proud to announce the addition of the Ruger American Pistol® Compact model. This new model is chambered in 9mm Luger and is available in both Manual Safety and Pro model configurations. Originally introduced in December 2015, the feature-rich Ruger American Pistol was designed with the latest U.S. Military standards in mind and was tested in the harshest environments to ensure the rugged reliability consumers have come to expect from Ruger. Read more

Gander Mountain Opens New Lansing Store with Grand Opening

Leading specialty outdoor retailer celebrates bigger, better location with celebrity appearances, giveaways and more for Lansing outdoor enthusiasts

Lansing, Michigan – Gander Mountain, the nation’s largest and fastest-growing outdoor specialty retailer, is celebrating the opening of its new store in Lansing with a three-day grand opening celebration starting on October 7, featuring celebrity appearances, giveaways and family activities for the community. Read more

MI DNR releases 2016 Michigan Deer Hunting Prospects report

The leading reason many individuals participate in deer hunting is simply the opportunity to spend time outdoors with friends and family, but harvesting a deer is important to many deer hunters as well. No amount of hunting guarantees a harvest; however, preparation and hard work are keys to producing the best opportunity to see and take deer, or to mentor a new hunter through a safe and enjoyable season. The 2016 deer season is expected to be a successful year for many hunters.

Persistence can pay off for deer hunters. Nationwide, successful deer hunters hunt an average of 18 days – slightly more than the average of about 14 days that Michigan deer hunters spent afield last year. Chances for success are greatest for those who are prepared. Part of hunting preparations each year includes becoming familiar with the most recent regulations. The DNR deer website provides highlights of regulation changes, information about deer management and links to additional resources, such as deer check station locations. Please refer to the 2016 Hunting and Trapping Digest and Antlerless Digest, which are available online and at DNR Customer Service Centers and license agents, for a map of all Deer Management Units (DMUs) and other regulation details.

Some successful hunting trips are just a result of being in the right place at the right time. Overall, deer activity tends to be highest a few weeks prior to breeding. The peak of breeding activity for Michigan deer generally occurs just prior to the opening of the firearm deer season. These peak breeding dates are earliest in the southern Lower Peninsula (LP), except that many does in the region that were born just this spring will already conceive their first fawns this year. Those breeding events for young does often occur a month or more later than they do for older deer, often not until mid-December. Hunters often seek to take advantage of these times of high deer movements, so archery hunting activity is often highest in late October and early November, followed by the busiest deer hunting day of the year – the opening of the firearm season. In southern Michigan, another late period of deer activity can occur several weeks prior to the late breeding events among young does, which can coincide with the end of the firearm season.

What to Expect Across the State

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Regenerating state forests takes planning, patience

You’re driving on your favorite stretch of Michigan road. The sun is shining, the windows are rolled down, and you’re singing along to that catchy song drifting out of the speakers. As you round a familiar curve in the road, you know you’re approaching a special place, near the campground your family used to frequent when you were a kid.

You turn your gaze to the left to take in the sight of that beloved stand of trees you’ve admired for years. When you see it, your eyes go wide and your foot jerks away from the gas pedal to the brakes.

The space where your cherished gentle giants once stood is now bare. Branches, logs and other debris are strewn around an opening where aspen once grew tall. A few individual trees remain, looking small and sad amid the ruin.

Your treasured forest land has been clear-cut.

OK, maybe this is a slightly dramatic example, but if you ask Bill O’Neill – Michigan’s state forester – about clear-cuts, the first thing he’ll tell you is this: “They’re ugly.”

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Juvenile lake sturgeon removed from Big Manistee River before sea lamprey treatments

Juvenile sturgeon in a colander

Juvenile sturgeon in a colander The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, together with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and dedicated volunteers took on a unique project this past August to protect juvenile lake sturgeon from sea lamprey treatments conducted on the Big Manistee River.

Across Michigan, rivers are treated every few years with a chemical that aims to kill sea lamprey larvae – an invasive species that preys on salmon, trout and whitefish. The Big Manistee River is treated every three to four years in an effort to reduce sea lamprey populations. Read more

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