MI DNR reminds anglers of ice shanty removal dates

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that mandatory ice shanty removal dates are approaching. Regardless of the date, shanties must be removed as soon as the ice is unable to safely support them, especially when Michigan experiences unseasonably warm weather as it has this season and the ice can quickly become unsafe for anglers to retrieve their property.

Ice shanties on Lake St. Clair must be removed by sunset Sunday, Feb. 26.

For counties in the southern Lower Peninsula, shanties must be removed from the ice by midnight Wednesday, March 1. Read more

Black Lake sturgeon spearing season tradition continues

The Lake sturgeon is an ancient fish species that inhabits large river and lake systems in the Great Lakes Basin and elsewhere.

These monstrous fish can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh 200 pounds, providing Michigan hook-and-line anglers trying to catch them an extraordinary thrill.

They are the largest fish native to the Great Lakes, and because of habitat loss – mostly the loss of spawning habitat by the creation of dams – and overfishing in the past, the lake sturgeon is a threatened species in Michigan. Specific regulations limit sport fishing, and no commercial harvest is allowed.

Only at Black Lake in Cheboygan County can sport anglers use spears to harvest a sturgeon. There is a strict quota limiting total angler take and, individually, anglers can harvest only one sturgeon per season. Read more

New Ditch Kit for Boating Emergencies

Have safety and survival equipment all in one easy-to-access place.
Inspired by his own survival story, Scott Smiles developed Life Cell, a revolutionary floating safety device. So confident in its ability to save lives, the very organization that rescued him endorses it.

Two hours into a fishing trip five miles east of Sydney, Australia, Smiles noticed smoke coming from the exhaust of his new 42′ cruiser Intrepid. Investigating, he lifted the engine hatch and saw water pouring into the compartment. He called to his friend to put PFDs on their two 11-year old boys. Grabbing his EPIRB and a cooler for flotation, Smiles jumped into the water and joined the others. Within 50 seconds of seeing the flooding, the boat sank.

In minutes, they saw an airplane and passing vessel. But their flares and other signaling devices were on the boat, 200′ below. Their only hope was that the EPIRB would do its job and the cooler would keep them afloat.

Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service (Westpac) received the distress beacon’s signal and scrambled two helicopters. Within an hour, they sighted the boys’ PFDs and dropped a life raft, due to conditions and safety concerns. Soon a police vessel brought them on board. A video of the dramatic rescue is at bit.ly/2kGzNGk. Read more

Winter #MiFreeFishingWeekend is this Saturday and Sunday

Everyone in Michigan is invited to fish for free Saturday, Feb. 18, and Sunday, Feb. 19, for the 2017 Winter Free Fishing Weekend. A license is not required to fish for those two days, but all other fishing regulations still apply.Ice shanties on frozen lake with language promoting 2017 Winter Free Fishing Weekend

These two days make up #MiFreeFishingWeekend – an annual effort to promote Michigan’s world-class fishing opportunities. While many individuals and families will bundle up and head out to fish for free on their own, the DNR points out that there are several organized events scheduled throughout the state to celebrate the weekend, too. Some of these events include: Read more

Sportsmen’s Alliance Seeks Clarification from Trump Administration

On Feb. 9, the Sportsmen’s Alliance submitted comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs seeking public clarification from the White House pertaining to President Trump’s executive actions issuing a freeze on new regulations, as well as mandating the repealing of two regulations for every new one passed.

The Sportsmen’s Alliance believes public lands should be presumed to be open to hunting, fishing, trapping and other recreational activities, unless closed for a specific and documentable reason, such as resource conservation, public safety, natural security or protection of private property rights.

Unfortunately, many federal statutes currently require that land managers take specific action to open public lands to recreational activities, and that requires agencies to adopt a regulation. The longstanding legal framework requiring that federal lands are closed until specifically opened poses challenges for public access to millions of acres of federal land.

“The Sportsmen’s Alliance is filing these comments to ensure that any efforts at regulatory reform ultimately helps hunters, anglers and other recreational users and does not inadvertently make these activities—or access to the public land on which they occur—more difficult,” said Evan Heusinkveld, Sportsmen’s Alliance president and CEO.  Read more

31st Annual Michigan Deer & Turkey Expo Returns

PEWAUKEE, Wis. — The annual Michigan Deer & Turkey Expo, the state’s premier consumer expo for hunting and outdoor enthusiasts presented by Field & Stream and Outdoor Life magazines, is returning for three days of all things deer and turkey hunting Feb. 17-19 at the Lansing Center.

Hundreds of hunting exhibitors and outfitter booths will be on-site to showcase the latest in hunting and archery equipment, accessories, clothing and more. Other show features include interactive activities, action-packed demonstrations and informative how-to seminars. Read more

BoatUS Members Asked to Petition on Ethanol Policy

ALEXANDRIA VA, – Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is asking its more than half-million members – and any recreational boat owner concerned with having a safe fuel supply – to petition the Trump administration and Congress to reform the ethanol mandate, also known as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In a communication to members, BoatUS urged boaters to go to Fix the Ethanol Mandate to easily send a communication to their legislator in Congress and President Trump.

“Boaters must act now to get a fix to ethanol policy rolling in the new year,” said Government Affairs Manager David Kennedy. “Our members have an important role in this process and we’re counting on them to make their voices heard.” Read more

Conservation Groups Support Resolution to Restore Alaska’s State Wildlife Management Authority

On February 6, twenty-seven sportsmen’s conservation groups sent a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy in support of House Joint Resolution 69, which would nullify the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule, “Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.”

This final FWS rule contradicts the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s constitutional mandate to manage the state’s wildlife resources for sustained yield, which is affirmed in the Alaska Statehood Act, the Alaska National Interests Land Conservation Act, and the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act.

H.J. Resolution 69, introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Congressman Don Young (AK), requests that Congress eliminate this rule to allow appropriate state-based management of natural resources in Alaska, as existed prior to finalization of the rule. This Resolution is anticipated to be voted on the House floor on Wednesday, February 15.

CALL TO ACTION: Contact your U.S. Representative and request that they vote “yes” to H.J. Resolution 69 on the House floor.

Sale of Public Lands Plan Abandoned

Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced decision to abandon H.R. 621, which would have seized millions of acres of public lands and waters

WASHINGTON – Following pressure from Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and numerous other sportsmen’s interests and businesses, Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced last night his decision to abandon H.R. 621, legislation that would have mandated the sale of more than 3 million acres of public lands in Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming.

BHA President and CEO Land Tawney offered the following response to the decision by the congressman from Utah:

“Representative Chaffetz should never have introduced this ill-conceived bill, but the instant and overwhelming response by sportsmen and women forced him to listen and ultimately abandon H.R. 621, which would have seized millions of acres of public lands. His fellow lawmakers should take note of the ire and rapid response by hunters and anglers. We aren’t going away. Read more

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