Hunting seasons are in full swing, but some good fishing reports out there, too, with some of the best fishing of the year going on right now.
Michigan’s agriculture community is at or near the top of the list among those concerned with the state’s growing deer population. Yet modern-day farming practices of plowing under crops as soon as they are harvested works against the desire of many farmers that hunters kill more deer.
I remember hunting farm country in the 1980s and ’90s when cut corn fields and bean stubble fields were magnets for whitetails. Once fields were harvested, the remains were left until spring and hunters had ample opportunities to harvest deer, which continued to feed on the leftovers. Sometime in the early 2000s farming practices changed.
For the first time in more than a century, Arctic grayling soon will be swimming in Michigan public waters as part of the ongoing Michigan Arctic Grayling Initiative.
That program seeks to establish a self-sustaining, naturally reproducing grayling population in several Michigan rivers. For the past four years the DNR has been collecting eggs and rearing fish in the state fish hatchery system in an effort to move that program forward. The rearing efforts have resulted in a relatively small number of leftover brood stock grayling. They average about 15 inches in length. The DNR plans to release a few hundred of them later this fall into two Upper Peninsula lakes.
I never thought I’d say this, but Michigan, particularly southern Michigan where I do most of my deer hunting, has too many deer.
Crop damage is up. Car/vehicle accidents are up. Deer sightings are up. This year on the bow opener I saw no fewer than 35 whitetails. I saw 12 during the morning hunt and lost count at 25 in the evening. That wasn’t an anomaly. Such sightings occur rather routinely.
“With a little help from my friends,” is a popular Lennon-McCartney hit sung by fellow bandmate Ringo Starr of The Beatles back in 1967. It’s also a suitable phrase to explain management taking place in North Manistique Lake in the Upper Peninsula’s Luce County.
North Manistique is basically a giant sand bowl with gravel and rocks mixed in along the bottom. Aquatic vegetation is light compared to most other lakes in the region and spawning habitat for species like walleyes is sparse.
Unseasonably warm conditions didn’t deter hunters from participating in Michigan’s early elk hunt. A total of 100 tags (70 antlerless-only and 30 any elk) were issued for the hunt and 70 of those hunters were successful in tagging an elk. Three hunters were no-shows, but one of the three Pure Michigan Hunt winners killed a bull, in addition to the 70 successful hunters.
“That gives up about a 73% success rate, which is pretty much in line with how our early season success has tracked over the years,” Shelby Adams, a DNR wildlife biologist at the Pigeon River Country State Game Area told Michigan Outdoor News.
With the Oct. 1 opening of Michigan’s archery deer season, hunters are reminded that they must register their deer with the DNR.
Last year was the first year of mandatory registration in Michigan, and wildlife biologists estimate that about 75% of successful hunters followed through with the registration process. COs were patient with hunters who didn’t register in 2022 during the learning curve period, but may be less flexible this fall.