Deer hunting over the 2016 rifle season continue with Pops Woods getting a chance at a buck and another doe! Click here to watch the video as an itchy trigger finger and buck fever work on this 86 year old hunter! Then stay tuned for more deer hunting action as the GrowingDeer team executes the deer management objectives for the Proving Grounds. Visit www.GrowingDeer.tv to see the hunts! Read more
By Glen Wunderlich
With only three days remaining in the regular firearms deer season, the cold rain was irrelevant. The southeast wind, on the other hand, meant the majority of my hunting-stand options would be out of play. However, a turkey hunting blind intentionally left in place all year for just such conditions would be my destination for an afternoon whitetail rendezvous.
Over the past two weeks, several opportunities had arisen to refill the freezer, but being a practitioner of quality deer management principles, young bucks were granted renewed leases to grow; antlerless deer had also been ignored based on faith that other chances loomed.
Last weekend, my great grandson accompanied me on a half-mile walk in the early morning darkness to a roomy blind with swampland to the east and a food plot to the west. My six year-old companion has the eyes and ears for which an old-timer like me was once familiar, and this day, he’d be my assistant.
After hours on stand, the youngster spotted a deer, which turned out to be a button buck fawn that had a hankering for turnips. We were content to watch him devour the still-lusciously green brassica leaves and called it a morning shortly thereafter. Our last chance together in the afternoon proved just how fickle opportunities can be and we headed home empty handed without seeing another deer.
Two days later and now alone, with wind and rain in my face, I settled into a portable ground blind that would shelter me from the cruel, persistent elements. My Burris binocular, Bushnell rangefinder, and Leupold rifle scope could be counted on, if a situation needed clarification – or, so I thought.
Before 5pm, a pair of whitetail deer appeared from a neighbor’s woodlot at approximately 100 yards from me. I deliberately pulled the binocular to my eyes and saw nothing but fog, courtesy of the heavy air. I dabbed the moisture from the lenses with my undershirt, being careful not to smear the water and scratch the glass and discovered the duo to be a button buck and mature doe.
While the young buck threw caution to the wind and began chomping turnip leaves, the long-nosed antlerless bodyguard stayed put. Fifteen minutes passed and the doe had not moved anything but its head and eyes during its surveillance operation.
Patience would be the key, because I knew from past experience that the deer would eventually migrate into the field. And, that’s what I needed so that it couldn’t bolt onto another’s land, if it didn’t drop quickly from a shot.
Finally, the adult doe edged close enough for me to be comfortable with a shot. But, not just any kill shot would suffice. I would attempt to anchor the deer on the spot with a high-shoulder shot, so that any dispute with a neighbor would be avoided.
The NEF 12-gauge Ultra Slug single-shot boomed, as the Federal Premium load launched a 325-grain Barnes tipped bullet to the mark and the hunt was over with one perfectly placed shot. The Rose Lake deer check station
confirmed it to be 5 ½ years old, before sawing off its head and shipping it to Ames, Iowa for Chronic Wasting Disease testing.
With a month of various deer hunting seasons left, opportunities abound. Here are the muzzleloading seasons by zones:
o Zone 1: Dec. 2-11, 2016
o Zone 2: Dec. 2-11, 2016
o Zone 3: Dec. 2-18, 2016
Late antlerless season begins December 19 and runs through January 1, 2017 on private land in select Deer Management Units. Archery season is open now through January 1, 2017, as well.
The pro-staff at the Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Skills Academy will team up with the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and Tails-a-Waggin’ guide service for the academy’s first-ever upland game bird hunting clinic Saturday, Dec. 17.This class will take place at Tails-a-Waggin’ Acres game bird preserve in Marion, Michigan. DNR Outdoor Skills Academy instructors will offer an “A to Z” introduction on how to hunt upland birds such as pheasants. Following the instructional portion of the class, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever and Tails-a-Waggin’ will provide guided pheasant hunts. Read more
Danville, AL – Hanging a ladder stand sounds pretty simple. But doing it properly by keeping safety first and foremost isn’t always the way it is done. That’s why Hunter Safety System, the company dedicated to saving hunters’ lives, has launched a new instructional video specifically on this topic on the popular video-sharing website, YouTube.This new 7-minute, 30-second video addresses every detail of hanging a ladder stand and how to be safe the entire time. Staying connected 100-percent of the time is of paramount importance. You can’t fall but so far if you are connected at all times. In fact, during the course of the video, the HSS staff demonstrates various obstacles that could occur while setting up the stand that leads people to unconnect themselves. The video shows the safe and proper way to address these obstacles should you encounter them.
In an early holiday gift to the outdoor recreation community, the U.S. Senate unanimously and without amendment passed the Outdoor REC Act! The bill was led by Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) with a total of 15 cosponsors. The bill unanimously passed the House November 14, where it was sponsored by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and received bipartisan support, with 13 Republican and 12 Democrat cosponsors.
The bill will formally assess and analyze the outdoor recreation economy in the United States – which supports an estimated 6 million jobs and generates $646 billion in economic activity annually. Congress’ action is necessary to make sure the outdoor economy receives official government recognition for years to come. Federal agencies play an important role in outdoor recreation, managing lands and waters which host more than a billion recreation visits each year. The Outdoor REC Act will help shape good choices in allocating federal funds through the budget process and in investing private funds which enhance recreation on public lands and waters.
The bill now moves to the President’s desk, where it awaits his signature.
To read more, including text of the bill, click here.
16 Arrested in 3 States for Transport, Release or Possession of Live Feral PigsAlthough hunting feral pigs is legal, their live transport and release has been illegal in Alabama since 1997. An investigation by Conservation Officers in the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries (WFF) has led to arrest warrants issued for 16 people in seven Alabama counties and two other states for the illegal transport, release or live possession of feral pigs. Read more
This from Michigan United Conservation Clubs…
In some disappointing news, last week the Michigan Court of Appeals sided with the Humane Society of the United States and invalidated the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, which we all worked so hard to initiate and pass in 2014. HSUS, through their Keep Michigan Wolves Protected front group, challenged the law in the Court of Claims, which upheld it. They appealed that ruling to the Court of Appeals, which ruled that the provision including free licenses for active military members was not related closely enough to scientific wildlife management to be included in the law, and struck the whole thing down.
We think they were in error on two points: 1) It is absurd to say that hunting and fishing licenses have no necessary connection with scientific wildlife management decisions when they literally fund the Department of Natural Resources in both implementing the scientific wildlife decisions of the Natural Resources Commission and the DNR’s time and research that goes into making those decisions. 2) Even if it was unrelated, the Michigan Constitution says that provisions of legislation found unconstitutional should be severed from the rest of the legislation, meaning that the ability of the NRC to make fisheries decisions and name game species using sound science should have been preserved, either way.
It is now up to the the Michigan Attorney General’s office, which represents the State in this case, to pursue an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. The AG’s office has been on top of this issue from the beginning and we hope they will continue to defend the State of Michigan’s ability to manage its fish and wildlife with sound science.
Help Michigan United Conservation Clubs defend your hunting rights by joining us at www.mucc.org/join_mucc!
By Glen Wunderlich
With only a few days remaining in Michigan’s firearms deer season, the unwelcome news of another deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) appears to have been discovered. A 1.5-year-old buck taken Wednesday, Nov. 16, in Clinton County’s Eagle Township is likely the ninth free-ranging deer in Michigan to test positive for CWD. Preliminary tests by our DNR must still be confirmed pending tests by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, to make the results conclusive. The good news is that the suspect deer was taken within the core zone, although it expands the zone somewhat.
In speaking with wildlife biologist, Chad Fedewa, no expansion of the CWD management area will be considered until deer hunting seasons end. “This latest suspect deer reinforces how critical hunters are in battling this disease,” said Chad Fedewa, DNR wildlife biologist. “We are counting on hunters to bring their deer in for testing so we have a better understanding about disease distribution. If this hunter had not followed the law, we would have no idea that the disease has traveled farther west.”
It remains critical that hunters have deer checked near this area referred to as Deer Management Unit (DMU) 333.
The DNR has tested nearly 9,000 deer since the first free-ranging CWD-positive deer was found in May 2015; to date, eight cases of CWD have been confirmed.
With the discovery of this new suspect positive animal, hunters harvesting deer in three additional townships are strongly encouraged to have their deer checked. These townships are Portland and Danby townships in Ionia County and Roxand Township in Eaton County.
Since deer can be infected with the disease for many years without displaying symptoms, it’s best to have them checked. Typically, hunters will not see any abnormal behavior, nor will they see anything askew in the process of field dressing.
In related news, the Rose Lake deer check station reports as of Wednesday, November 23 that over 900 deer have been checked. Although the number is down from about 1,000 deer checked at this time last year, the addition of two check stations in the area may account for the lower amount. However, the promising trend of bigger bodied animals and bigger racks continues.
At the Traverse City check station, wildlife biologist, Steve Griffith, reports that the count of deer checked is down some 26 percent compared to last year at this time, but attributes the decline somewhat to unfavorable weather conditions during the early portion of the season. On a positive note, antler point restrictions in this 5-county zone, whereby bucks must have at least 3 antler points on a side (4 points on a side for second deer taken on restricted tags), are having the desired effect. Generally, he states that body sizes are especially good, including that of fawns.
In spite of some dreaded news, we have that silver lining for which to be thankful.
Harsens Island Managed Waterfowl Hunt Area, on the shores of the St. Clair Flats, is a short ferry ride from Algonac across the St. Clair River. Spanning 3,355 acres, this area has been a destination for waterfowl hunters for many years. Read more
GUILFORD, CT—The experts at Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants, LLC have written a book that brings readers to the scenes of 30 real life hunting accident investigations. Each chapter of Blood on The Leaves: Real Hunting Accident Investigations – And Lessons in Hunter Safety (Lyons Press, 336 pages, $16.95 paperback) ends with safety lessons to be learned from the incident covered. The book also covers a glossary of hunting terms, the history of hunter education and the role of hunting accident investigators.
With hunting season in full swing, the book is timely. Almost 50,000 volunteer instructors will teach hunting safety courses to more than 675,000 new hunters this year. These new hunters are learning the rules that make hunting as safe as it is. Unfortunately, every year a few will forget and someone will be injured or killed in a hunting related shooting incident. Read more