Friday, August 31, 2012

First moon landing-Where were you?

   Astronaut Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon is one of those historic events that many of us remember where we were and what we were doing. I was t work.
   My wife Pat was at the home of good friends Tom and Denise Ferguson on Middle Straits Lake in West Bloomfield.
   Our first born, Michael, was about six months old. "I remember holding him on my lap with the TV on and telling him that later, when he was older I was going to tell him he had watched the first landing and moon walk," she said following the announcement of Neil Armstrong's passing.
   How about you? Where were you and what were you doing? It's fun to remember those historical events, especially if you were able to witness them, even if it was through TV.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pheasants and loss of habitat starts new initative

   The methods farmers use these days and those that fertilize lawns and home gardens aren't the only contributors to loss of pheasant habitat and a decline in populations of birds.
   "We have to take a look at growth. Pheasant habitat doesn't do well on asphalt," DNR's upland game specialist Al Stewart said from his Lansing office.
   Called the Michigan Pheasant Restorative Initiative, Stewart thinks this may be the way to get people involved working together to enhance and promote pheasant populations and hunting.
   "This is a grass roots operation consisting of various partners. They don't need own land or a farm to be involved," Stewart said. "The days of the DNR going it alone are over. We just don't have the resources or manpower,"he said.
   Tune in to this Sunday's column for more information from Stewart as well as a look back to the old days.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mosquitos-large, alive, and biting

   A couple weeks back I opined that, in my opinion, the mosquito population was down or at least inactive this year because of the lack of rain.
   Boy was I drone. Soon after came all the reports about an outbreak of West Nile disease brought about by mosquitoes when they bite. They get the disease from infected birds then pass it to humans. Lucky us!
   Late yesterday afternoon and early evening I went outside to do some chores before dark. I wasn't there very long when Michigan's Airforce; those pesky mosquito's, made their presence known.
   Without putting up a fight, I was back in the house in no time. Bottom line: Mosquito's are definitely out and active.
   Get the spray, long sleeve, light colored shirts, cap and long pants on if you intend to go outside in the evening. Take precautions so you don't wind up being stung.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Anglers of the AuSable-Annual River Clean Up

   The 18th annual Anglers of The AuSable River Clean Up will be held Saturday, Sept. 8, beginning at 9:45a.m.  at Gates AuSable Lodge.
   A brief meeting will be held poor to teams heading for parts of the river, called beats, they've agreed to clean.
   The day promises to be a good time. You'll meet other like-minded folks, enjoy the George Alexander Memorial Lunch, and contribute to a great cause.
   Pre-registration is required. Contact Josh Greenberg, (989)348-8462 or email The AuSable's mainstream, south branch and north branch will be concentrated on. Family sections-Burton's to Louie's, Thendara to Guides Rest, Icebox to Baldwins, Truettner's to Oxbow Club, and Island Road to Flashlight Bend-are some of the beats. A complete list is available from Greenberg.
   I participated a few years back with river guide Sam Sure. We had fun at the same time picking up assorted debris left over from the sinner's seasons. A couple of tires tossed in the middle of the river presented a challenge.
   After considerable time and nearly tipping our boat over, we finally fished them out. We considered it   a successful day out. Besides, we did some fishing once the work was done.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Few apples make for few deer

   Those that monitor deer herds and have begun scouting know that things have changed. For instance, that herd you may have been seeing for a couple of years may have disappeared.
   Blame it on a finicky spring that got warm too soon then became cold just when it didn't need to. The affects were blossoming fruit trees that got caught with no protection when the cold set in.
   The result for the grocery shopping public as well as the deer hunters is little or no apples. Prices are higher because of the shortage.
   And deer herds have had to change locales to find food. One herd I have watched for years isn't there as I have previously mentioned.
   I've seen fawns recently that were born probably too late to make it through the winter. They are very small and like their elders, have that look that seems to say, "which way to food."
   I don't know how the acorns have done, and whether the oaks that would normally produce them will have a marked decrease in mast production this year.
   All in all it looks like slim picking definitely for the deer and maybe for hunters too.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fly Fishing authority John Long Passes

   Word was received earlier today of the passing of Birmingham, Michigan resident John J.P. Long. Fly fishers around Michigan will be familiar with Long largely through his work as author of several stream guides for Michigan Rivers.
   Although a couple of the guides have been reproduced in color with some updating, they largely depended on the hours of work and on-stream research Long provided.
   Beginning fly anglers need only to look at one of his stream guides to get good, solid information for access points, wading conditions, and an emergence schedule that would greatly help in fly selection.
   Those of us who knew him personally miss his stories about the years he spent as an officer during WWII in the Coast Guard, escorting ships near and around Alaska, his valued advice and council on all things related to fly fishing, and the many trout openers we shared at his cabin on the Holy Waters of the AuSable River.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Salmon-A Michigan Fall Favorite

   Salmon have been gathering for their annual migrations up streams to spawn, according to reports. Catches on the west side of Michigan have been have been good.
   Charters are receiving a good business from the fishing community which is due in large part to the good catches charter captains have been getting.
   I hope the fish are still there in a couple of weeks. That's when a group of us plan on fishing them from kayaks.
   It's a yearly event that attracts a newcomer or two every year. I've missed the last couple due to obligations, but have the green light for this year's event.
   I'll join others near Sleeping Bear stand dunes in hopes of hooking into one of these large fish that, caught on a line from a kayak take boat and angler for a nice ride on Lake Michigan.
   Slowly, gear is getting sorted and organized, ready for the northbound trip. Hopefully, the salmon will still be on the run.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Weather and days-They're a changin'

   No need to consult the calendar. You can almost feel the subtle changes in the weather and more directly, the temperatures.
   What's all this mean? Fall and it's companion hunting seasons are closer than you think. I hesitate to say it, but some of those maple trees that have been dressed in green leaves recently are beginning to show some of their distinctive fall colors.
   All we need now is to see signs along the road advertising deer feed for sale. That is if there are any veggies left to be harvested for deer feed.
   This Sunday's column has to do with the availability of the kinds of food hunters rely on for baiting deer. This year could be a big shortage due to the lousy weather we've experienced.
   Not only will hunters possible gave to learn to hunt all over again but farmers that depend on the income these crops provide will feel the financial pinch.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Belle Isle-A gem

   For as long as I can remember, Belle Isle has been considered one of those places you go to for fun, relaxation and a chance for a brief getaway from the everyday happenings of life.
   As a little boy I remember the island being lush and green. Even the small carts ponies pulled around were painted a deep, dark, rich forest green.
   Everything was so clean and well kept. When our two oldest boys were just beyond toddler stage we took them for a day's outing to Belle Isle.
   The first thing we noticed was all the trash lying about on those lawns that were once lush and green. Meat bones of every description were just tossed here and there.
   Sand that was once sugary and clean was now nearly black and instead of being a place to walk barefoot or build sand castles, was to be avoided due to all he broken glass in it.
   Trash barrels were overflowing, bathrooms were locked, and the building known as the Casino looked as though it may topple over at any moment.
   Whether the state enters into an agreement to start caring for the park or the City of Detroit gives it a shot there is a lot to be done before it can come back and be referred to as a "Gem."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Branch and Ionia Counties hit by EHD

   Currently, the EHD problem is in Branch and Ionia Counties. The DNR says where the disease is more common, deer build up anti bodies but Michigan deer haven't had the benefit of developing that form of protection.
   Because of a lack of protection, loses could be more severe with population recovering occurring over a longer period of time.
   Property owners who discover dead deer they suspect died of EHD in the vicinity of Branch County should call the Crane Pond field office at 269-244-5928, and in Ionia County contact the Flat River field office at 616-794-2658. In other areas of the state, reports of suspected EHD outbreaks should be made to the nearest DNR office.
   It is acceptable to allow natural deterioration processes to dispose of deer that die from EHD. Natural deterioration will not spread the disease or cause other disease outbreaks.
   For more information on EHD, visit

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

EHD-dry weather adds to this disease

  EHD outbreaks killing deer in Michigan have occurred in isolated areas almost every year since 2006. Prior to 2006, EHD outbreaks in Michigan occurred in 1955 and 1974. The estimated mortality has varied from 50 to 1,000 deer per year in the affected areas.
   “Due to the prolonged, dry, hot weather this year, we are not surprised to see EHD emerge again,” said Tom Cooley, DNR wildlife biologist and pathologist. “Mortality numbers will depend on how widespread the disease is -- die-offs usually occur within one watershed area. If multiple watersheds are involved, the total mortality is higher.”
   There is no known effective treatment for, or control of, EHD. The disease has been seen for decades in most areas of the United States, especially the southeast states and Texas. It has been less commonly observed in Great Lakes and New England states, although it has now been detected in Michigan in six of the last seven years.
   Any sign of EHD would be cause for alarm but especially now that it's been detected in past years.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Seen all exotics? Better hold the thought

   Just when you think you may have seen or heard of most of the exotics and that another will come along to affect outdoor pursuits; hunting in this case, along comes another.
   EHD or epizootic hemorrhagic disease, has been confirmed as the cause of death in deer found in

 in eastern Ionia and northern Branch counties, the Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Disease Lab and the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health announced today.
   The often-fatal viral disease, found in wild ruminants, causes extensive internal bleeding within deer and is transmitted by a midge, or type of biting fly. A constant characteristic of the disease is its sudden onset.
   Deer lose their appetite and fear of humans, grow progressively weaker, salivate excessively, and finally become unconscious. Due to a high fever, infected deer often are found sick or dead along or in bodies of water. There is no evidence that humans can contract the EHD virus.
   Stay tuned to thus blog for more about EHD Wednesday.

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Product-Super Shears

   If you have trouble cutting braided line with those standard nippers, Berkley has just the tool for you. It's called the Superline Shears and can be used on all types of line.
   That's key. Instead of carrying several tools for cutting, now all you need is a pair of Superline Shears.
   They are light in weight, compact, have serrated blades for easier cutting, and are made from stainless steel to prevent corrosion. Handles are made for the comfort of thumb and finger.
   I've had plenty of experience on the water trying to cut through fluorocarbon, monofilament and braid with the same nippers I use for fly fishing.
   Instead of making a clean, single cut, I struggled, usually winding up cutting the line with a pocket knife or trying to pull it apart where the nippers had partial y cut it.
   Superline Shears are available at tackle and other retail outlets. Better add them to your tool zinger and leave the nippers for fly fishing.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bear patch now available

   The Michigan Bear Hunters Association reminds hunters that the 2012 bear management cooperator patches are available from the Michigan Bear Hunters Association (MBHA).
   Cooperator patches were once given to successful hunters at bear registration stations, where DNR staff collect teeth and other research data from harvested bears. In 2008, faced with limited resources, the DNR partnered with the MBHA in order to continue to provide the bear patch.
   MBHA now designs and produces the patches and administers the patch program, making the patch available to all interested parties. The partnership continues with MBHA donating patch sale profits to the DNR for use in bear education and management efforts.
   In 2011, MBHA began a contest for youth to design the bear patch. The winner of the 2012 patch design contest is Trevor Simmonds from Davison. Information on how to participate in the patch design contest can be found on the DNR’s bear website ( or the MBHA website (
   Youth hunters (17 and under) can receive a free patch by sending in a copy of their current bear hunting license. Other hunters, collectors and enthusiasts can purchase patches for $5 each. It is not necessary to harvest a bear to purchase a patch.

Patches are available by sending a check (made out to “MBHA”), with a return address, to:

MBHA Patch Program
10510 Fairgrieve Rd.
Johannesburg, MI 49751