Friday, March 30, 2012

   With the warm spring weather, anglers should be aware that smelt dipping is open on all waters at this time and anglers can take 2 gallons daily. Smelt can be taken by hook/line, hand nets or dip nets. 
   “There is some confusion as there are two Fisheries Orders that appear to conflict with each other and this situation was just brought to our attention,” said Gary Whelan, regulatory affairs supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources' Fisheries Division.
    “We will ensure that our orders are consistent for next year’s fishing and anglers should take advantage of our smelt fishing opportunities at this time.”
For more information on fishing and where the smelt are running in Michigan, visit
   Good luck finding a good smelt run. I haven't heard or talked with anyone in ages that has been smelt dipping or had much success at it.
   Those days of hauling home huge catches of these tasty fish are over I fear. That may have led to their scarcity too. All those "full garbage cans" headed home, many being wasted and left to rot in the family garden.
   If you do happen to find a decent run, take what you can eat and leave the rest. The idea of having a freezer full of smelt has long since run it's course. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Close to home plenty to do

   If gas prices keep you in the neighborhood this vacation season, there is plenty to do. Don't forget all of the lakes in the area with public access, boat ramps and fishing piers to take advantage of.
   Maybe an old-fashioned picnic at a park or state recreation day is something you haven't done in awhile. Chances are if you are a camper, you'll have most of the gear to put together a nice day's outing.
   Cook a meal over a propane stove or charcoal fire, sit or lay out in the sun, read a book, take a hike or wet a line.
   Don't forget to get into the water at some point. It's both refreshing and fun. And being close to water makes for a great day of relaxation.
   We've got all sorts of parks to choose from with a great variety of activities to take part in. And none involve a huge expenditure at the gas pump.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bugs are ready to attack!

   The warm weather has been so welcome. It's brought out the tulips, daffodils and other spring flowers. Some fruit trees are bursting will buds ready to blossom.
   Also ready to go on the hunt is Michigan's number one pest, the pesky mosquito. This year, they are joined with a healthy tick population as well.
   Although they haven't been found in Michigan, a new strain of mosquito-the Asian mosquito- has been identified in many close by sates.
   Recognized by the striping on it's body and legs, these insects are smaller than the garden variety but more aggressive. They hang around after being swatted, waiting to drink their fill of blood before going off to lay their eggs in standing water.
   Hunting close to the ground, they are leg and ankle biters. And they don't wait until dusk to attack. Daytime is just fine. A good dose of DEET will help repel them.
   Ticks may be found in yards where lawns adjoin wooded areas. Don't sit directly on the ground or logs. Ticks don't fly but tend to crawl onto you from the ground. They also could be hanging about in trees, sometimes dropping on unsuspecting people out for a walk.
   Stay to the middle of trails, wear light colored clothing and do a periodic check for ticks on yourself, kids and pets.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New surgeon-second opinion

   Because my shoulder has been on my mind since last summer I thought I would post an update. All infection is gone but I was left with just fair range-of-motion.
   Deciding to counsel with another surgeon and see what a second opinion would be, I was amazed at this Doc's confidence.
   Last Thursday, he operated, forcibly moving the shoulder joint to break it loose. Out of surgery, I found I didn't have near the amount of pain I did when going into it and I had more range- of- motion.
   I see him Monday to have stitches taken out and discuss what the next step will be. There is talk about re-attaching the ligament or doing a replacement.
   I'll have to see if I am up for much more. In the meantime, fishing season seems like it is about ready to bust wide open.
   And here I sit with my business arm-the right one-hanging in a sling. Hope things improve soon!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dexter residents spared in latest storm

   Besides damage to many homes, Dexter residents must be counting themselves lucky to have escaped last weeks storms with no injuries or deaths.
   Having never been in a tornado, it's hard to understand how fast one of these storms can be right in your neighborhood.
   The closest I have come to such force was going through a typhoon in the western Pacific. My ship, the U.S.S. Topeka (CLG-8) was steaming east heading to home port in Long Beach, California when we encountered the storm.
   We rode through one edge, then the eye and out the other side. In the company of several destroyers, it kind go got to be every ship for themselves.
   The rocking and rolling were to the point that you never knew if the ship was going to recover or keep right on going over.
   One wave was so powerful that it ripped heavy armor plating, rolling it up as if opened by a can opener. I don't care to ride out another typhoon.
   And I don't care to experience any tornado. The force and power of these storms is too awful to imagine.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Some of us dodged a stormy bullet

   Dexter, Michigan looks a lot like Beirut, Lebanon. Utter devastation and a whole lot of destruction. The nice ending to the storms of Thursday night-if there is one-is no one was injured or killed during a storm that wiped out 100 homes.
   It seems that whenever  tornado touches down there are many injuries along with some deaths. This one destroyed property.
   The people down that way have to feel fortunate that they got away with their lives even though many lost their homes.
   Given the strong work ethic and will of people, in time, they'll put homes, schools and churches back together.
   In the meantime, if you are of the praying kind,  now is a good time to give thanks that so many people were spared.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Kayaks, paddles, and camping; all spring topics

   Don't believe spring has sprung? Just take a look at all the ads for summer flower to brighten the garden, seeds of every description, and solar lights to give your yard a softer look at night.
   Daily, I receive information from manufactures about new camping gear, paddles, pfd's, kayaks, and fishing tackle, all designed to hit the spring market.
   There are questionnaires describing the ten most important things to do when setting up camp, how to react when a bear comes into your campsite, first aid tips and so forth.
   The DNR is in the mix too, warning of dry weather making the risk of wildfires highly possible. Another caution is to leave wildlife alone and in the wild.
   Although most animals and birds haven't had their young quite yet, soon baby birds will be on the ground near nests, and those cute, irresistible fawns will be seen, hidden in a clump of weeds as if abandoned by their mothers.
   Once wildlife is handled or touched by humans it become difficult if not impossible for the young o return to the family fold.
   The best bet is to leave wildlife as you find it. There's a good chance mom or dad are close by watching. There's a reason wildlife is where you find it. Leave it be.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March winds cause dry conditions and high fire danger

   Those dry conditions translate into wildfires, especially up north. Areas like Grayling, with their large pine forests and many wooden dwellings are areas of concern.
   With dry conditions in areas where snow has melted, those March winds not only dry out the landscape, but in the event of fire, make it difficult to control.
  Just recently, Oakland County had it's own version of a fire gone wild with the grass fire in the area of Great Lakes Crossing. Smoke from the fire made driving on I-75 dangerous.
   A couple years back, fishing the trout opener near Grayling, a fire got out of hand just south of town and began working it's way north due to windy conditions. In no time, buildings and cabins in the area were threatened.
   We were staying several miles north and west of the fire but could see and smell the smoke as if we were closer. After several hours, the fire was brought under control.
   With dry, windy weather sure to be upon us it's important to be especially careful with fire both at home and around camps. With high wind conditions the best choice is to forego any outside burning. Stay safe and protect the environment!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ruffed Grouse Society to hold annual fund raising event

   The Keith Davis Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society (RGS) will host its 31st Annual Sportsmen’s Banquet on Friday, March 16, 2012 at Genesys Banquet Center, 805 Health Park Blvd., Grand Blanc, MI, beginning with a reception party at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m.
   As is the custom at this event, the evening will feature a live and silent auction, games, drawings and door prizes; highlighted with the finest selection of quality firearms, artwork and collectable’s.
   According to Brad DePottey, individual membership and dinner tickets are $65. There is also an optional family membership package for $95 which includes two dinners. Additional family dinners are available at $30 each. Banquet, Conservation and Sustaining sponsorship packages are also available at $275, $500 and $1,000 respectively
   As with all RGS fundraisers, proceeds from this event will be used to restore and protect grouse and woodcock habitat.
   For more information and/or tickets contact DePottey at 810-744-6508 or by e-mail at:<> .
   Information on the RGS, its mission, management projects and membership can be found on the web<>.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Leave raking, general clean up, other spring signs

   It's amazing how much junk is left behind after the winter months. You don't notice much until you go outside and start raking all the leaves that have spread across your lawn from last fall and winter.
   Roadsides aren't the only places revealing debris. So are many yards. I wonder where all that stuff comes from.
   Papers partially disintegrated, empty bottles and cans-not too many of those so far-and all of those leaves that have blown in from other yards and vacant lots.
   This time of the year everything looks so gray, so lifeless. But as the saying goes, March winds give way to April showers that bring May flowers.
   Some color outside can't come soon enough for me. Time to begin the annual spring clean-up.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Red Winged blackbirds and maple syrup-signs of spring

   More signs of spring. For the past week I've noticed several red-winged blackbirds at our feeders. For many, this sight of these birds is a better indication that spring is here than the annual sighting of robins.
   Auburn hills resident and avid bird watcher Larry Baum told me last fall that many robins hang around throughout the winter.
   Next time you get outside and are near swampy area with lots of reeds and cattails, listen for the calling of the red-winged blackbird.
   March is also the month that begins tapping of maple trees for sap that is turned into maple syrup. You can see maple syrup demonstrations at both Indian Springs Metropark (248) 625-7280 and Kensington Metropark, (800) 477-3178.
   If you happen to be up north around Grayling, Hartwick Pines will offer demonstrations and a history of maple sugaring March 24, 10a.m.-4p.m. For information call (989) 348-2537.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Mentored Hunting-chance for cheating?

   A mentor is hunting with a 10-year-old. The mentor is charged with teaching not only hunting skills, but ethics in the woods and field.
   It goes back to "what do you do in the woods when no one is around," that helps to account for the reputation you get as a conscientious outdoors person.
   Bend the rules by taking game out of season, having too many limits in possession, or using illegal methods to take game gives one the name of poacher.
   Friends, hunting and fishing companions and others who enjoy the outdoors and follow it's traditions in an ethical way wouldn't be caught hunting or sharing a boat with you.
   But back to the hunting scenario. Now a deer wanders into the shooting area. Will you take the shot to fill your tag, or use your companions tag to take a deer that should have been the youngsters shot?
   Charlie Mann from Hunters Creek Club hit the nail on the head when he said they hunt should be about the kids and not the mentor.
   "They have to leave their chance to hunt at home and be sure this is a day and time for the person they are mentoring," he said.
   Teaching a youngster how to hunt safely and intelligently are important. But so is being ethical and doing this right. Big lessons and huge responsibility for those that take it seriously.