Gov. Snyder helps celebrate opening of new multi-use trail in Menominee County (MI)


Gov. Rick Snyder took an off-road vehicle ride Wednesday along the new Escanaba to Hermansville multi-use trail, celebrating one more milestone in deepening Michigan’s brand as The Trails State.The trail was developed through a unique and innovative partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and American Transmission Co.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Thomas St. Onge Veterans Museum in Hermansville, Gov. Snyder rode the roughly 25-mile ORV route east into Delta County to the Great Lakes Sports and Recreation Club in Escanaba.

“This new outdoor recreation opportunity is a great example of government, businesses and the community working together,” Gov. Snyder said. “Because of the public-private collaboration, residents and visitors alike will enjoy this trail for decades to come and celebrate the best of Pure Michigan.” Read more

British Columbia Bans Grizzly Bear Hunting

WASHINGTON, DC – Government officials, bowing to the bluster of anti-hunters, have closed the hunting of grizzly bears in British Columbia, Canada. This move ignores all sound science that supports a continuation of grizzly bear hunting in that Province.
Safari Club International (SCI) is actively pursuing a number of different avenues to address this pressing issue, including a call to base all wildlife management decisions on sound science that supports sustained use of those renewable resources.

In a letter to the Minister and Deputy Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, SCI stated, “We at Safari Club International are deeply troubled by the recent announcement of the closure of grizzly bear hunting in British Columbia. We feel this decision has been based on emotion and not science. Decisions of this magnitude must be made, using sound science-based conservation. There should have been stakeholder consultations before such drastic action was taken.” Read more

Missouri Landowners Join MDC to Eliminate Feral Hogs

These feral hogs were trapped one night after a trap was set up on Ken Hobbs’ property.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — When Ken Hobbs bought his 362 acres in Reynolds County, it was pristine and he planned to farm cattle and goats on the land. Then feral hogs moved in. Feral hogs are an aggressive invasive species. Their violent nature, rooting habits, and known diseases pose a threat to wildlife, farm crops, and the balance of nature.

“I had planned until this problem got so big to have cattle and goats in here,” Hobbs said. “I’d be afraid to put cattle out there because there’s no way I’m going to have a herd of cattle out there without broken legs, it’s not going to happen.”

The feral hogs didn’t only dash Hobb’s hopes of farming his land, they’ve also significantly decreased the numbers of wildlife that once thrived on the property.
“My turkey population went from one that I could actually go out and see every day, 15 to 20 of them in a flock, and in three to four different places on my property. Now those no longer exist,” he said. Read more

Michigan: Educators Register for Wildlife Programs for Your Classroom

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources offers free educational opportunities to help educators looking for a fun way to integrate the state’s unique flora and fauna into their curriculum, while still meeting required educational standards.

To date, over 5,000 ninth- through 12th-grade students have been exposed to natural resources in the classroom with Elk University – Educating Tomorrow’s Wildlife Managers. Elk University is designed to fit into teachers’ busy semester while meeting educational standards and touching on Michigan history, forest management, elk biology, wildlife disease and social considerations for wildlife management. Through YouTube lessons and activities, students will learn how the DNR manages and maintains a healthy elk herd for current and future generations.

A Year in the Life of a Michigan Black Bear, beginning its fourth year, is available to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade educators. Throughout the school year students will learn about the life cycle of the Michigan black bear, general black bear biology and behavior, and how the DNR manages and maintains a healthy black bear population. Additionally, over the school year, classrooms will get to “follow” a bear through its seasonal movements by using actual data points from a radio-collared Michigan black bear.

New last year, the Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife program is open to kindergarten through fifth-grade educators. Through this program, teachers can share the wonders of Michigan’s wild inhabitants with young learners to build appreciation for these unique species and the places they call home. Materials include lesson plans, wildlife posters for the classroom and sets of “Go Wild for Michigan’s Wildlife” critter cards for students. Sets of the critter cards for students are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. An electronic copy of the critter cards will be provided to all registered educators.

Educators are asked to register for these classroom programs by Sept. 30.

To register, visit mi.gov/dnrteachers and click on “Wildlife Education and Outreach,” then select the program(s) you are interested in.

Explore additional DNR education and outreach opportunities and resources at mi.gov/dnreducation.

Duck numbers remain high


Memphis, Tenn. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Tuesday released its report on 2017 Trends in Duck Breeding Populations, based on surveys conducted in May and early June by FWS and the Canadian Wildlife Service. Overall duck numbers in the survey area remain high. Total populations were estimated at 47.3 million breeding ducks in the traditional survey area, which is similar to last year’s estimate of 48.4 million and is 34 percent above the 1955-2016 long-term average. The projected mallard fall flight index is 12.9 million birds, similar to the 2016 estimate of 13.5 million.The main determining factor for duck breeding success is wetland and upland habitat conditions in the key breeding landscapes of the prairies and the boreal forest. Conditions observed across the U.S. and Canadian survey areas during the 2017 breeding population survey were generally similar to last year with a few exceptions. The total pond estimate for the United States and Canada combined was 6.1 million, which is 22% above the 2016 estimate of 5.0 million and 17% above the long-term average of 5.2 million. Read more

Browning Trail Cameras: Perform Like A Pro

The 2017 Strike Force HD Pro camera is the most enhanced addition to the best-selling, small, high-performance trail camera line in the hunting industry. The 2017 Strike Force HD Pro cameras feature an incredible .3 second trigger speed and .5 second recovery time and users will enjoy the remarkable high-end performance and 18MP picture quality along with a new video processor that produces incredible quality 1280 x 720 HD video clips with sound.

The Strike Force HD Pro game camera also takes night pictures using Browning Trail Camera’s “Zero Blur” technology which eliminates motion blur from wildlife in your pictures up to a range of 120-feet at night.

Additional features include a Smart IR video detection system, which allows the camera to continue recording video footage for up to 5 minutes during the daytime and up to 20 seconds at night as long as the game continues to move in front of the camera, and an SD card “memory management” option that allows users to simply overwrite older images on the SD if the memory is full. And as if all of that were not enough, new for 2017 the Strike Force HD PRO 850 is able to work with 512 GB SDXC memory cards, has an impressive 1.5″ color viewing screen, offers innovative selectable IR settings and utilizes a handy adjustable tree mount. Read more

Weasel: One Mean Killer

By Glen Wunderlich

Standing in the doorway of my garage, I couldn’t help but notice movement at my feet.  The conspicuous black-tipped tail gave its identity away:  weasel.  It appeared to have something in its mouth, as it scurried along the foundation of the garage and later reappeared – this time inside.  It seemed oblivious to the presence of us two humans present, as it went about its business of survival, yet vanished before a photo opportunity.

Pound for pound, they may be the toughest and most prolific killers in Michigan.  Able to kill animals 10 times their size, the weasel is listed along with other nuisance animals in the hunting digest such as opossum, porcupine, red squirrel, skunk, ground squirrel, woodchuck, feral pigeons and others.  There is no closed season and no limit on take.

Michigan is home to three distinct types of weasels:  the least weasel, short-tailed weasel, and the long-tailed weaselAnd, anyone with chickens or rabbits knows how vulnerable they are to the weasels’ penchant for killing – many times much more than they can consume, at least immediately.  However, this seemingly wasteful behavior is crucial for their survival, as they stockpile food for winter.

The ermine and the long-tailed weasel exhibit delayed implantation – mating in summer or autumn.  Interestingly, the fertilized eggs span a short development period and then lie dormant within the female until spring, when they implant themselves in the uterine wall; approximately 25 days later, young are born. This delayed implantation assures that litters arrive at a time when prey is abundant and competition for food is lessened.  Female weasels give birth to 4 to 12 young, usually in underground nests.

Their senses of sight, smell and hearing are keenly acute, and they are aggressive, quick, and relentless in their pursuits, while finding prey mainly by scent.   Weasels pounce on their prey and bite at the base of the back of its skull, as they hang on with all four legs.

Weasels become white in the wintertime as an adaptation to camouflage themselves from other predators, but that black tip on the tail remains.  The white fur has been used to produce luxurious linings in coronation cloaks and crowns and the small, tanned ermine pelts go for as much as $30 to $40 on today’s retail market.

It may be my imagination, but the ground squirrels do not seem as numerous in and around the bird feeders this year and I may now have a clue relative to their welcomed and lowered population.

August is Tree Check Month

Check trees for signs of the invasive Asian longhorned beetle

The U.S Department of Agriculture has declared August as national Tree Check Month – time to be on the lookout for invasive, destructive pests threatening Michigan’s urban and forest landscapes.

The Michigan departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, Environmental Quality and Natural Resources are asking people to take just 10 minutes this month to check trees around homes for Asian longhorned beetle or any signs of the damage it causes.

What do they look like? Read more

MI DNR launches ‘Eyes in the Field’ app for reporting fish and wildlife observations

The Department of Natural Resources invites Michigan residents to contribute to conservation efforts by reporting their fish and wildlife observations with the new Eyes in the Field application. Available at michigan.gov/eyesinthefield, the application replaces 15 separate observation forms the DNR had been using to gather important information about the state’s fish and wildlife populations.

“Observation is a key part of managing Michigan’s diverse natural resources, and we rely on the public as additional eyes in the field to help in our monitoring efforts,” said Tom Weston, the DNR’s chief technology officer. “This new application is a one-stop shop where citizen scientists can report what they observe while spending time outdoors.”

Eyes in the Field includes forms for reporting observations of diseased wildlife, tagged fish, mammals such as cougars and feral swine, fish such as sturgeon, birds such as wild turkeys, and reptiles and amphibians such as eastern massasauga rattlesnakes. Additional observation forms will be added in the future. Read more

Wildgame Innovations’ improved Terra Series digital scouting cameras

Wildgame Innovations’ improved Terra Series digital scouting cameras offer enhanced features and compact reliability at astonishingly low, hunter-friendly prices

Grand Prairie, TX – Wildgame Innovations has released the remarkably reliable and easy-to-use Terra 5 camera last year, which featured a surprisingly low retail price below $50. Lauded as a premier example of a camera providing the functionality hunters want at a price that makes developing a complete network of scouting cameras affordable, the Terra 5 ‘s strong battery life, compact size and capable features made this dutiful and economical performer a huge success. Read more

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