Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Graying still caught on the Annan River in Scotland

The Annan River in southern Scotland runs through the Dormont Estate, all 500 hectares of it. That amounts to a little over 1200 acres of land that has been in the same family for 600 years.
"My official title would be Land Master," Jamie Carruthers, the current member of the family managing the estate, said.
The slice of Scotland is six miles south of Locherbie known for the PanAm flight 103 crash 27 years ago killing 270 people,  including 11 on the ground.
We were here visiting relatives that live on the Dormont Estate. "We keep the land as a farming feature," Carruthers said.
He "lets" land out to farmers for dairy and beef cattle grazing and raising some feed crops. "You can see from how green the grass is from all the rain we get, that this is excellent for dairy cattle," he said.
But this part of the river is known for fishing, namely Atlantic salmon, brown trout, sea trout and grayling.
"We have generations of people coming here to fly fish for trout, mostly brown trout. Many people that stay here have been coming with their dads and granddads. They always book the same week every year," Carruthers said.
No other fishing is allowed while people have rented or let the cottage near the river. During their period of rental, they have exclusive rights to fish the river.
For more information on Dormont Estate and fishing the Annan River visit www.fishannan.co.uk.
Read more about River Annan in this Sunday's Oakland Press.
 View of the River Annan, Dormont Estate, Locherbie, Scotland. Photo by Donald Heermans II.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

So far, no news is good news on the chronic wasting disease front!

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer is about like having a life-threatening disease in humans. In the case of deer, veterinarians are constantly looking over their collective shoulders to be sure all the bases have been covered lest the disease becomes more prevalent.
On the other hand, human beings with cancer, in remission or supposedly cured, always have the thought or fear in the back of their mind. Will this come back?
Speaking from experience on the cancer level, every new ache or pain, small bump pr bruise, gets the mind to shifting gears thinking, ah, yes, the cancer has returned just in a different form. No matter what the medical people tell us, its difficult to relax once you have gone through this crappy disease.
Nothing new has been heard from Lansing. And so far, no new cases of cwd have been discovered. But as we move closer to the fall hunting seasons the mind wanders and wonders if more deer will be found to have been contaminated.
Because more people will be in the fields and woods, if there are sick deer about, this should be the time they will be found out just due to more observers.
Wildlife Biologist Tim Payne who covers southeast Michigan and now days probably even more has said more deer will be closely examined for cwd this fall.
"Look for road killed deer and those brought to check stations to be thoroughly examined for cwd," he said.
In the past, DNR officials have encouraged hunters to have their deer checked at one of the many deer check stations around the state to help manage the deer herd.
This year and on it becomes even more important to make a quick stop and have your deer checked. The one you have strapped to the roof may be disease-free but on the other hand, it could be a new case in a different area.
By you stopping for an inspection, heading off a larger field of contamination for cwd or other diseases may have saved the day.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) found in Ingham County whitetail

A six-year-old female whitetail was observed acting strangely around a residence in Ingahm County. The deer appeared to be severely underweight and unafraid of human contact.
Further investigation by DNR wildlife pathologists confirmed the animal suffered from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD, a condition that affects the brain and nervous system.
School is still out as to why one animal in a particular area contracts the disease. So far, CWD isn't indicated in livestock.
Hunters are asked to be on the look out for deer acting strangely. Road kill deer could also be carrying the disease. In either case, the DNR should be contacted at the DNR Wildlife Disease Hotline, (517) 614-9602.
Presently, a core area that includes Clinton, Shiawassee and Ingham Counties ban deer and elk feeding and baiting and a prohibition the salvage of deer killed by collision with a motor vehicle within the core area.
Additionally, mandatory deer checking will be required during deer seasons to test for CWD of harvested deer.
Anterless quotas during hunting season will be increased to help reduce the population to help prevent deer-to-deer spread of the disease.
Licenses and combos may be returned for a refund and new licenses may be purchased prior to the start of deer seasons. After Sept., 19, licenses are considered used and cannot be returned.
For more information visit www.michigan.gov/cwd.
Whitetail deer with CWD. Photo courtesy Wisconsin DNR

Friday, June 12, 2015

MVM-Michigdan, Virginia mafia rocks the smallmouth world

For the past 12 or so years, six friends have gotten together the week before Memorial Day to hang out, enjoy each others company and fish for smallmouth that are immediately released.
This gang of characters include John "Mini" Mainiaci, Bill "Mac" McElroy, Carlos Hathcock, Scott "Toxic" Hammer, Marke Cicero, and until this year, Ken Neeley.
Neeley, who owned and operated KD Outdoors passed away suddenly last year. This year's outing was full of Neeley stories. "It's time to get the fishes," was one favorite.
Prominent in the cottage on Harsen's Island the group rents annually was a small table, a memorial to Neeley of sorts.
The table held several pictures of Neeley enjoying life and friends, a cap dedicated to him and always a 1/2 glass full of an adult beverage.  Most of us had to walk by it to get to our beds or gather for meals. No one needed to point it out. The tribute spoke volumes just by being there.
This was not so much of a learning to fish weekend as it was enjoying the company of those we don't see until the following year.
However, fishing was on everyone's minds. Questions and comments about different types of fishing, baits and where to go were all topics when we gathered for the evening meal.
I've always enjoyed these kinds of outings. Whether it be trout or blue gill camp, deer camp or small time, one thing is for sure. They all are fun.
If you get a chance to attend a camp with friends or family, do it. Time flies. Before you know it, you'll have lost some members or perhaps become incapacitated yourself to the point that you can't enjoy these outings anymore.
Whether they are hunting or fishing, they are bound to be fun.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Don't miss Free Fishing Weekend

It happens twice a year. No, It's not your birthday or Christmas. It's the DNR's Free Fishing Weekend, this summer June 13-14.
Licenses are free for non-residents and residents but all other fishing rules and regulations apply. So, as I've said for many years, if you have wanted to get out and try fishing but didn't want to make a huge investment, Free Fishing Weekend provides that opportunity with a license fee.
Borrow equipment from a friend, neighbor or relative. Ask someone to take you along if only for a few hours.
Can't find anyone? No worries. Head for a state or Metropark that provides fishing and ask someone who has a line in the water for some help.
Anglers-ladies and men-usually are very generous with helpful tips, how to information and will even give you the right bait to use if you don't have any.
Get your line in the water, use the chair you brought from home to sit in and relax, keeping an eye on your line or bobber, depending on how you are fishing.
Time really does fly when you are having fun. Enjoy yourself.

Photo courtesy of Oakland Press Tim Thompson

Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer brings a variety of birds

Just because it's summer is no reason to stop watching birds. We keep our sunflower feeders full along with syrup for both hummingbirds and orioles.
Actually, it was the orioles that got us interested in trying to attract them to the backyard. Several years ago we had a male come into the yard. He hung around for a couple of days then left. By then, it was the beginning of fall and no doubt time for head for warmer temperatures.
The following year, we were ready with two oriole feeders and some commercial mix to make syrup. We attracted a few birds.
In the meantime, we saw a single hummingbird and decided to try getting it to feed and possibly attract others.
So far, we've attracted two hummers that continually fight around the feeders and orioles, both male and females.
This year, sightings have been down. I don't know whether we were late getting feeders up or there are less birds.
Both orioles and a hummer or two have hung around the past few years making them a joy to watch. "Oh look, there's an oriole," either my wife or I will say.
It doesn't take much to entertain us these days. Give it a try. You might surprise yourself as to what new birds you may see.
Male oriole at the feeder. By Beukema

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Gaylord Offers Plenty of Activities to Choose From

   Gaylord is the home to several resorts, motels, golf courses, and the only free-ranging elk herd in the Midwest.
   If fishing is your primary interest take your pick of 100 lakes or six cold-water rivers to try your luck.
   Bring your bike or a good pair of hiking shoes and enjoy one of the many scenic trails in the area. Bike trips can be as short or as long as you feel in the mood for.
   Some destinations are under 20 miles terminating near Gaylord. A different ride involves more mileage and goes all the way to Mackinac City.
   Big Bear Adventures in Indian River not only provides river trips and other activities, it has a shuttle service that will pick you and your bike up at the destination you choose. Call them at (231) 238-8181 or visit bigbearadventures.com.
   Treetops resort is the spot for all things golfing. Home to the number one rated par 3 golf course in North America, it's the best place to try your short game.
   If you are looking for something more challenging choose one of the five courses on the property designed by such golf course architects as Robert Trent Jones, Sr., Tom and Rick Smith.

Fazio
   A drive through the Pigeon River State Forest is as peaceful as it gets behind the steering wheel. Automobile turnouts are as plentiful as the picnic tables waiting for you to spread your on.
   Keep your eyes open to see some of the only free-ranging elk in the Midwest. With trees just beginning to leaf out, this is a good time to observe wildlife.
   Morel mushroom hunters will find good areas and, if observant, find the tasty fungi. Move slow and  pay attention. There's a good chance to find them.
   If you need a bike-mountain or fat tire-call Treetops at (989) 732-6711 or visit treetops.com.






Photo courtesy of Bill Semion