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Deer Hunting for the Young at Heart

By BOB GWIZDZ-Michigan Department of Natural Resources

John Trottier of Iron County killed a deer this fall during the Independence Hunt. He’s 100 years old.16NOV17-There are some pastimes that folks age out of. When was the last time you saw someone much past grammar school shooting marbles or playing jacks?
And there are other pastimes that are lifelong activities, like deer hunting.
Need an example?
John Trottier of Iron County has already shot a deer this season. He’s 100 years old.
According to Michigan Department of Natural Resources statistics, more than 7,500 people 80 years old or older bought a deer hunting license in 2016 and sales this year point toward that trend continuing.

Check out this sidebar feature: DNR Director Keith Creagh and Phillip Knight, executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan, talk about Michigan’s Sportsmen Against Hunger program.

Some of Michigan’s most senior deer hunters say they’ve been hunting deer for most of their lifetimes and have no intention of stopping any time soon.
Bob Wygant, a retired mason who lives in Williamston, said he started hunting when he was 14 and missed just two seasons in the following 71 years – both when he was in the military.
“It was nine years before I got the first buck – they didn’t have doe seasons back then,” said Wygant, who now hunts not far from his Ingham County home. “We used to tent camp up near Honor, but now we’ve got 10 times the deer around here than they do 'Up North.' It didn’t used to be that way.”
Wygant, who hunts with a crossbow before firearms season, says he gets a deer most years. He either climbs into his tree stand or hunkers down in a tent blind that his kids have set up for him.
“I like getting out in the fresh air, and I enjoy being with the kids,” he said. “Both my boys and all my grandkids hunt. And they’ve all out-hunted me as far as big bucks go.”
Wygant said he doesn’t hunt by himself anymore because “the boss (his wife Carol) frowns on it,” ever since he had heart bypass surgery 20 years ago.
Although he hasn’t killed a deer in the last two seasons, he’s reasonably sure he’ll get one this year.

Bob Wygant, a retired mason who lives in Williamston, said he started hunting when he was 14 and missed just two seasons in the following 71 years.“I’ve already missed one this year with my bow,” he said. “I hit a twig about as big around as my little finger.”
Joe Ehlinger, who lives near Addison, said he hasn’t missed a season since he started hunting as a 14-year-old in 1946.
“The first deer I killed on my own was the night before John Kennedy was killed. I killed a monster, and I remember it to this day because I went to work and was bragging in the office when it came over the radio.
“That’s about when deer started showing up in Lenawee County. Before that, in the ‘40s, we went to the U.P. They used to let you out of school in those days and we went up for two weeks.”
Ehlinger said that first deer was the only one he ever shot with a cartridge, a shot shell loaded with buck shot.
“I went into muzzleloading after that and I’ve killed a pile of them – within a mile of our home,” he said.
Ehlinger said his wife, Marty, who is 83, is his hunting partner.
“We started hunting together when she was 14 and I was 16,” he said. “We’ve been married 67 years.”

Both say the other is the better deer hunter.
“I’m lucky to have that woman,” Joe said. “She can track better than a hound. And she’s killed a pile of deer, too.”
For her part, Marty says she’s never missed a season either, but she did have to miss opening day one year when her boss called a mandatory meeting out of town on November 15th.
“Can you imagine?” she asked. “He was not very popular.”
Joe said the biggest change he’s seen in deer hunting is proliferation of posted signs on private property. When he was younger, it was common to go anywhere he wanted to hunt, and if he ever did get a deer, the landowner was happy for him.

Joe Ehlinger, who lives near Addison, hunts with his wife, Marty, who is 83.“Back in the early 60s, we never got anything, but everybody had a good time, and if someone did get a buck, we’d all share the meat,” he said. “Now it’s, 'don’t get near my property – don’t put your stand near my property.' They don’t even want you to look at their property.”
The other thing that’s changed over his lifetime is the emphasis on killing big bucks.
“I’m a meat hunter,” he said. “I hunt for a deer. I’ve killed some big bucks, but any more.
I let the big bucks walk. Give me a doe fawn if you want good eating.”
Both Ehlingers will be in the woods opening day.
“I’m just an old goat who’s looking forward to hunting season,” he said. “I’ve just had a lot of fun.”
Raymond Andres, 90, said he hunted small game as a youngster with a slingshot growing up – occasionally getting a rabbit or pheasant – but he took up deer hunting after he got out of the military and has been at it ever since.
“I was out there this morning,” he said, about a week before the firearms opener. “Nothing came by for me to shoot.”
Andres said he had to go north to hunt deer when he was young as there weren’t any around his boyhood home in the Downriver Detroit area, so he started hunting northeast of Gaylord.

“A friend of mine had a car and he let me go up with him. So, I went up with him. All I had was a .22 rifle. I hunted with that,” he said.
Andres, who hunts with a crossbow from a ladder stand on property near Hastings, said he’s “killed my share of deer,” over the years, but admits his drive to do so is softening a bit.
“I haven’t got one yet this year,” he said. “I let a spike go by – I just watched him, that’s all. I don’t worry about it anymore.”
Andres said he’s only missed two seasons of deer hunting. He didn’t go the fall when his wife took ill – she passed away – but the first year he missed was the year he got married.
“We got married in November, so I missed that year,” he said, “And I said I’d never do that again.
“I hunt as much as I can, but I think this might be my last year of deer hunting. My legs are acting up. But if I can’t hunt I’ll probably be around camp anyway.”

Get more information on hunting in Michigan at

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming articles at


DNR Extends Black Friday Invitation to #OptOutside; Michigan State Parks Offer Free Entry Statewide November 24th

photo of couple walking on trail15NOV17-Residents and visitors are encouraged to put away leftovers and #OptOutside as part of their day-after-Thanksgiving traditions. To encourage folks to tap into Michigan's great outdoors and gather with friends and family, on Friday, Nov. 24, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will waive the regular Recreation Passport entry fee that enables vehicle access to Michigan state parks, trails and boating access sites.
Exploring some of Michigan's best outdoor destinations is a great way to recover from holiday shopping excursions, burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories and enjoy the many benefits of nature.
"In Michigan, you’re never more than a half-hour away from a state park, recreation area, state forest campground or state trail," said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. "#OptOutside is an invitation to residents and those traveling to spend time outside during the holiday weekend and help continue or build new Thanksgiving traditions. The DNR hopes the free entry opportunity will encourage residents and visitors to explore new places and experience the outdoors' many physical, mental and social benefits."

There are plenty of ideas to incorporate into popular day-after-Thanksgiving traditions, including opportunities to:

bulletFind a new mile to hike or run on one of more than 12,500 miles of state-designated trails.
bulletCast a line in a state park and put fishing on your Friday festivities menu.
bulletTry mountain biking.
bulletJump on the Iron Belle Trail - the longest designated state trail in the nation - and crisscross more than half of Michigan’s counties along both hiking and biking routes.
bulletFind a new hunting spot by exploring one of Michigan's vast recreation areas.
bulletEnjoy the peace and quiet of camping in the off-season.
bulletDownload a geocaching app and take part in an outdoor treasure hunting game that utilizes GPS-enabled devices.
bulletSeek out historical markers and learn a little bit more about Michigan’s backstory.
bulletMake a bird-watching scavenger hunt for kids and start a list of the birds you spot.

"The holidays can get hectic with added obligations, no matter how happy or anticipated they may be," said Olson. "Our #OptOutside promotion is an opportunity for folks to take a deep breath of fresh air, share an experience with your favorite people and make some great holiday memories."
Although the Recreation Passport vehicle entry fee into 103 Michigan state parks, 138 state forest campgrounds and parking for hundreds of miles of trails and fee-based boat launches is waived Nov. 24, camping and other permit and license fees still apply.
Interested in learning more about things to do and places to visit? Visit the DNR website at to learn more about fishing, hunting, forest land, state parks and much more. To search for a list of Michigan state parks, rustic state forest campgrounds, state-designated trails and associated activities and amenities, visit Interested in the Recreation Passport and how it helps Michigan state parks, trails and waterways? Visit
The #OptOutside movement was started by outdoor recreation cooperative REI Inc. in 2015 to encourage people to spend time outdoors on Black Friday. For the third year in a row, the Michigan DNR has encouraged people to utilize the outdoors as part of their Thanksgiving weekend celebrations.


Ahead of Golden Anniversary, Michigan’s First Rail Trail Boasts Innovative Mile Markers

workers installing Haywire Grade mile marker15NOV17-Nearly a half-century ago, a group of public and private partners saw the potential of an abandoned railroad corridor in the central Upper Peninsula to become a multiuse recreational trail. Today, supporters are enhancing the value of Michigan's first rail trail by installing innovative mile markers along the Haywire Grade's 32-mile route.
A new partnership between the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Hiawatha National Forest, the city of Manistique, the Hiawathaland Trail Association and the Schoolcraft County Motorized Trail Association has kicked off plans for a grand 50th-anniversary celebration of the Haywire Grade in 2020 with the installation of mile markers that combine function and historical references along Michigan’s pioneer rail trail.
“Centuries of natural and cultural history are embedded within the landscape that trails pass through," said Dan Spegel, heritage trail coordinator with the DNR's Michigan History Center. “Uncovering and interpreting this heritage provides context for the surroundings and a greater sense of place, which, in turn, creates a more enriching trail experience."
Beginning at Intake Park in Manistique, markers have been installed every mile to Shingleton on the east side of the trail. The tall markers each feature the mile number and the historic Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad logo.

“Standing several feet above the trail, the markers are located safely above average snow depth so they don’t get buried in winter," said Gerry Reese, a longtime volunteer for the Schoolcraft County Motorized Trail Association and Hiawathaland Trail Association.
Few motorized trails in the Upper Peninsula have mile markers. Representatives of other area rail trails have taken note that the Haywire Grade markers – which meet Michigan Department of Transportation standards for nighttime visibility – have improved the trail's safety by offering important location information for maintenance operations, first responders and others.
Spegel said that work to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Haywire Grade now turns to the development of 12 interpretive stations that will be placed along the rail trail.
"We want Haywire Grade's 50th anniversary to acknowledge and celebrate the important milestone for Michigan’s trail network and, at the same time, help trail users interact for years to come with the heritage of this beautiful area,” he said.
Plans are for the interpretive stations to be installed before the first of four commemorative rides in 2020 – snowmobile (winter), equestrian (late spring), bicycle (late summer) and ORV/ATV (autumn).
“The U.S. Forest Service is excited to partner with such an enthusiastic team to encourage enjoyment of the national forest and the natural environment,” said Cid Morgan, forest supervisor for Hiawatha National Forest. “This is a great way to promote the historical significance of the area.”
The Haywire Grade rail trail began as the Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad, which operated for almost 60 years between Manistique and the Shingleton-Doty area, until the line was abandoned in 1968. Although converting railroad corridors into trails was a novel concept at the time, Schoolcraft and Alger counties, the Hannah Mining Company, the U.S. Forest Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources partnered to make the necessary land acquisitions and Michigan's first rail trail, the Haywire Grade, debuted in 1970.
Now rail trails are the backbone of Michigan’s ever-expanding trail network, the largest in the nation. They are seen as more than just places to enjoy the outdoors – they also are catalysts for economic growth and valuable transportation corridors.
As a unit of the U.S. Forest Service, Hiawatha National Forest is dedicated to sustaining our Nation’s forests while delivering a wide array of benefits to the public. For more information about the Hiawatha National Forest and its recreation program, visit
The Michigan Heritage Trail Program works with communities and organizations to ignite pride, inspire learning and promote preservation by combining local heritage and trails. The MHTP is administered by the Michigan History Center; more information about the program can be found at  
The Michigan History Center is part of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Its museum and archival programs foster curiosity, enjoyment, and inspiration rooted in Michigan’s stories. It includes the Michigan History Museum, 10 regional museums, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve, and the Archives of Michigan.  Learn more at


There’s Still Time to Enter the Wetland Wonders Challenge

14NOV17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that there’s still time to enter the Consumers Energy-sponsored Wetland Wonders Challenge this waterfowl season. The contest began October 14th and runs until February 15th, 2018. 
Michigan's Wetland Wonders include the seven premier managed waterfowl hunt areas in the state: Fennville Farm Unit at the Allegan State Game Area (Allegan County), Fish Point State Wildlife Area (Tuscola County), St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island (St. Clair County), Muskegon County Wastewater Facility (Muskegon County), Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area (Bay County), Pointe Mouillee State Game Area (Monroe and Wayne counties) and Shiawassee River State Game Area (Saginaw County).
These areas provide exceptional waterfowl hunting opportunities throughout the hunting season. Managed duck hunting runs through Dec. 10 at most of the managed waterfowl hunt areas; however, the Fennville Farm Unit and Muskegon County Wastewater Facility have managed goose hunting opportunities even later. Canada goose hunting at the Fennville Farm Unit runs through February 15th, 2018, and Muskegon County Wastewater Facility’s season runs until November 14th and opens again December 2nd - 19th of 2018.

Seven lucky winners will be chosen. One grand prize winner will win a War Eagle boat, motor and trailer. Six additional winners will win a duck hunting prize package, with Avian X duck and goose decoys, Zink custom duck and goose calls, a shotgun and additional waterfowl hunting gear. All seven winners will take home a “golden ticket,” good for one first-choice pick at a managed waterfowl area drawing (nonreserved) for the 2018-19 waterfowl hunting season. Contest partner Michigan United Conservation Clubs will select winners March 1, 2018. 
“With Consumers Energy’s generous support, we’ve been able to put together an exceptional prize package, so get out there and get your punches,” said Barb Avers, DNR waterfowl specialist. “There’s still plenty of opportunity to enjoy Michigan’s waterfowl hunting.”
When hunters register at any of the managed waterfowl hunt areas, they will receive a validation on their Wetland Wonders Challenge punch card (available at all of the areas). To be entered, participants must hunt at three of the seven southern Michigan Wetland Wonders and submit a punch-card entry form.
Hunters who hunt at more than three managed waterfowl hunt areas will receive an additional contest entry for each additional punch. Those who hunt at all seven areas will automatically win a prize.

For more information on the managed waterfowl hunt areas (including location, drawing times, dates, and rules and regulations) and the Wetland Wonders Challenge contest (including terms and conditions), visit


Rotary Charities of Traverse City Provides Grant to Support Fund Development for Michigan's Arctic Grayling Initiative

Arctic Grayling in fisherman's hand14NOV-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently was  awarded a $10,000 grant from Rotary Charities of Traverse City to facilitate a fund development strategy in support of Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative.
This initiative, a statewide partnership effort focused on restoring self-sustaining populations of this native fish, was founded by the DNR and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in June 2016. The partnership includes more than 40 organizations.
The $10,000 grant will support grant research and writing by NorthSky Nonprofit Network, a management support organization administered through Rotary Charities. The project will include a fund development strategy matching public and private funding sources with project phases and the development of the initial grant applications to secure funding for initial phases of the Arctic Grayling reintroduction.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our organizations to be a catalyst for what we hope will be the historic return of the grayling to northern Michigan streams,” said Marsha Smith, executive director of Rotary Charities. “We are impressed by the scale of this partnership. This kind of collaboration is exactly what will generate important solutions for our region and all of Michigan.”

The first stage of Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative is expected to take five years of research project development, acquisition of fertilized eggs from Montana and/or Alaska, raising fry (small fish) in a controlled environment, and research to assess acclimation, mortality and other factors.
“Securing this grant will lay the foundation for developing funds from the public and private sources this project requires to move forward,” said DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “This is an effort that needs to be owned by many organizations if it is to achieve its intended historic results.”
This is the second of two grants awarded to support the reintroduction of Arctic grayling. The first came from the Consumers Energy Foundation in the amount of $117,000 to support identifying prime northern Michigan streams for this work.

For more information on Michigan’s Arctic Grayling Initiative, visit


Enbridge Told to Make Full Accounting of Line 5’s Condition to Pipeline Safety Advisory Board in December

Action comes due to increased number of coating gaps on pipeline that runs through Straits of Mackinac

13NOV17-The State of Michigan today called on Enbridge Energy Partners, L.P. to give the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board (PSAB) a full accounting of the status of the Line 5 pipeline in light of new information released today by Enbridge that additional coating gaps were discovered during the company’s most recent inspection of the dual pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge must give the presentation at the PSAB’s meeting Dec. 11 in Lansing about all the findings it has made about the pipeline’s condition, that of its protective coating and anchors, and the results of its video inspections, automated in-line tests, and recent hydrostat and biota testing.

The new information comes after the State requested inspections of each of the anchor locations following initial reports of coating gaps. Those inspections have been completed at 48 of 128 locations, and a majority of those 48 areas have gaps, Enbridge told the state today.
“This is very troubling and points out exactly why the state has been vigilant about getting information from Enbridge,” said Heidi Grether, Director of the Department of Environmental Quality and co-chair of the PSAB. "It is essential that we get adequate and accurate information from Enbridge to allow the State to continue our pursuit of protecting the Great Lakes."
Besides ordering the presentation, the State said it will bring on additional technical expertise to evaluate the information Enbridge is to provide about the condition of the pipeline that was built in 1953. A 4.5-mile section of the line from Superior, Wisconsin, to Sarnia, Ontario, runs beneath the Straits of Mackinac within an easement issued in 1953 by the State of Michigan. 
“A year ago, Enbridge said there were no coating gaps in the Straits pipeline. Now, there are dozens. When will we know the full accounting of what Enbridge knows about Line 5?” said Valerie Brader, executive director of the Michigan Agency for Energy and co-chair of the PSAB. “I sincerely hope there are no more surprises when Enbridge gives their presentation to the Pipeline Safety Advisory Board in December. We and the people of Michigan deserve nothing less, and the State will be bringing on additional experts to examine Enbridge’s information and challenge it where necessary.”
The latest Enbridge information comes just a week before the State is to release on Nov. 20 the final version of the Line 5 Alternatives Analysis report. Developed by independent contractor Dynamic Risk, the report studies what options are available for transporting the 540,000 barrels a day of light crude oil and natural gas liquids that run through Line 5.

Public feedback sessions in December

Three public feedback sessions have been scheduled after the Alternatives Analysis release:

bulletWednesday, December 6th, in Taylor, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Heinz C. Prechter Educational and Performing Arts Center, Wayne County Community College District, Downriver Campus, 21000 Northline Road.
bulletTuesday, December 12th, in St. Ignace, beginning at 6 p.m., at the Little Bear Arena & Community Center, 275 Marquette St.
bulletWednesday, December 13th, in Traverse City, beginning at 6 p.m., West Bay Beach Holiday Inn Resort, Leelanau Banquet Rooms, 615 E. Front St.

The report will be posted on the PSAB website and the public will have 30 days to make comments online about what the State should do regarding the future of Line 5. The Dec. 22 deadline for comments includes two additional days to account for the Thanksgiving state holidays during the comment period. Comments can also be mailed to: Department of Environmental Quality, Attn: Line 5 Alternatives Analysis, P.O. Box 30473, Lansing, MI 48909-7973.
Dr. Guy Meadows, a professor at Michigan Technological University who is in talks with the state to perform a risk analysis of the pipeline, will also be asked to include information contained in today’s revelations in his report, which is expected to be completed next summer.
The PSAB’s next quarterly meeting is from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. December 11th at the Causeway Bay Lansing Hotel and Convention Center, Ballrooms F-J, 6820 S. Cedar St., Lansing.
The State will use the information from the Enbridge presentation, the Alternatives and Risk studies, and the outside expert review to ensure the informational basis for any decision about the future of Line 5 is robust and complete.

Keep up on PSAB activities by signing up for its listserv.


Michigan’s Trapping Tradition, a Challenging, Time-Honored Pursuit

By BOB GWIZDZ-Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Trapping is a cherished tradition in Michigan.10NOV17-Anyone who has spent much time in Michigan knows that hunting and fishing have always played major roles in the state’s heritage. Michigan is, and has long been, known nationally for the quality of its outdoor recreation.
But one natural resources-based recreation coterie, which garners very little attention, is quick to point out that its members’ pastime is at least equally as important – if not more so – as anyone else’s in Michigan history: trappers.
Trappers are the invisible men and women of outdoor recreation. You don’t see them in blaze orange or towing metal flake-finished boats to the lake. But they are out there, often daily, participating in a pastime that brought a lot of folks to this part of the country in the first place.
“The city of Sault Ste. Marie was founded as a fur-trading post, the first in Michigan,” said Dale Hendershot, a 67-year-old retired diesel mechanic and past president of the Michigan Trappers and Predator Callers Association. “Michigan trappers settled our state – they were the first ones in here, paving the way for others to come.
“Trappers have certainly played a big role in Michigan history.”
Indeed, some say trapping was so important in pre-settlement times that Michigan became known as the Wolverine State, even though it’s not certain that the ferocious creatures ever lived here. But wolverine pelts certainly showed up in Michigan, which was the gateway to western U.S. and Canadian trapping expeditions.

Late trapping legend Johnny Thorpe works to set a trap in a stream.Roughly 30,000 people buy fur harvester licenses in Michigan every year, about half of whom are trappers. (The other half are those who hunt furbearing species, though some do both). Of those, however, only about half participate in any given year. In the most recent survey (2015) conducted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, only about 14,000 of the 28,000 license buyers hunted or trapped furbearers.
The DNR has been tracking the numbers of fur takers since the late 1950s, and the number of participants has remained relatively constant. The DNR lacks historical data, but it is assumed there were more trappers in Michigan years ago, especially during the Depression and before the widespread use of synthetic fabrics for clothing.
Participation grows modestly when fur prices are high and falls when they are not, but the bulk of trappers will tell you they’re not in it for the money anyway.
“When prices are good, you can make a little money trapping, but it’s nothing like it used to be,” said George Cullers, 78, a life-long trapper and a past trappers’ association president. “Most people do it for a hobby and the love it. I just love doing it – when I’m out there trapping I don’t feel any aches or pains.

A young girl smiles with her trapped muskrat catch at Holly State Recreation Area.“I’m hoping I can do it another 10 years. It’s excellent exercise. And after deer season, I have the whole outside world to myself. I hardly ever see another hunter or trapper out there.”
Because it was somewhat lucrative in the past, trappers were often secretive about their pastime, preferring to keep their secrets to themselves.
“Historically, trappers wanted privacy,” said Adam Bump, the DNR Wildlife Division’s furbearer specialist. “It attracted people who were more solitary. Trappers wanted to fly under the radar.”
But trapping is not well understood by the general public, Bump said, and that’s led to a new willingness on the part of trappers to discuss their sport, something that even some of the old-timers welcome.
“We have a lot of trapper education instructors, and a lot of our members will go into schools and put programs on, to introduce students to furbearers,” Hendershot said. “There are a lot of people who misunderstand trapping. There are a lot of people who believe all the things the antis (anti-hunters) have to say that simply are not true.”

Cullers agrees.

Beaver Trapping on an April day with Richard and Cole Stowe in Presque Isle County.“Trappers should be willing teach the young ones,” he said. “That’s our heritage. And a lot of them are willing now; it’s not as bad as it used to be. It should be your responsibility to pass it along to the younger people. I think it’s your duty as a trapper to do that.
“We do have a few young ones coming on, but all of the outdoor sports are hurting in that area – it’s that little thing (cellphone) they hold in their hand – that’s their whole world. I’d like to see more kids getting into it, but we’ve got our work cut out for us. “
Cullers, who still runs about 70 traps, said his father was a trapper but was tight-lipped about it, even with his own son. He pretty much had to learn it on his own and has done his best to pass his knowledge along to his nephew and grandson.
Trapping, like other pastimes, has evolved over the years. At one time, trappers used only foot-hold traps. But over the years other styles, such as body-gripping traps and dog-proof paw traps, have come into use. Cable restraints, which were legalized in Michigan a number of years ago, have become popular with some trappers for coyotes and foxes.
The DNR regulates the use of various types and styles of traps to minimize conflicts with other recreationists and prevent problems.

“There are a lot of options, and the traps are a lot more selective,” Bump said. “Back in the day, trappers would catch whatever they could. Now there’s a lot more focus on catching what you want and avoiding what you don’t want. The regulations allow trapping to occur while minimizing the catch of non-target species and avoiding conflicts with other users.”
Because of the increased complexity of trapping – with participants needing familiarity with a variety of regulations, equipment and techniques – teaching tools like Michigan’s trapper education program are important.
“There’s a vast misconception on trapping in Michigan,” Hendershot said. “We pushed for a trapper education program because so many people didn’t understand it. We wanted people to know how to do it properly, to teach them how to do it right and give them the resources that if they don’t know what to do, where they can go to learn.”
Hendershot is convinced that trappers are among the state’s most knowledgeable sportsmen.
“I enjoy matching wits with the animals,” he said. “You have to figure out where that animal is going to put its foot, and you’ve got to put that pan (which trips the traps) that’s about an inch in diameter right there to make it work. That’s the challenge. It forces you to learn the habits of the animal.
“I teach hunter education, and bow hunter education, but I tell my students that if they really want to get to be good, they should learn how to trap. It’s a whole different ballgame."

For more information on trapping visit

Check out previous Showcasing the DNR stories and subscribe to upcoming articles at


DNR to Offer New Deer Check Stations in Gogebic County

Wakefield and Watersmeet check stations help aid efforts to ‘Keep the U.P. CWD free’

DNR wildlife biologist Brian Roell gets ready to weigh a buck at the DNR office in Marquette.10NOV17-As part of its stepped-up chronic wasting disease monitoring efforts along the Michigan-Wisconsin border, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources will be operating new deer check stations in Wakefield and Watersmeet during the upcoming firearm deer hunting season.
“As our education and disease-testing efforts continue, we want to increase our deer checks in this important part of the Upper Peninsula,” Bill Scullon, field operations manager for the DNR’s wildlife division at Norway. “We are lining up check stations along the Michigan-Wisconsin border.”
The DNR’s Wakefield deer check station is located at 1405 East US-2, while the Watersmeet check station will be a temporary station set up at the Ottawa National Forest Visitors Center, located east of the Intersection of US-45 and US-2 on US-2.

Each of the stations will be open during some days during firearm deer hunting season which runs from November 15th - 30th.

The Wakefield and Watersmeet DNR check stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST Nov. 15-17, November 20th, November 27th and December 1st. The stations will be closed November 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 28th, 29th and 30th.
Additional DNR deer check stations are located along the border at the DNR’s Crystal Falls (Iron County) and Norway (Dickinson County) field offices and Kuber’s Feed Mill, located 912 41st Avenue in Menominee (Menominee County).
For a complete listing and map of Michigan’s DNR deer check stations visit
Chronic wasting disease, a neurological disease fatal to deer, elk and moose, has been found in several central Michigan counties in the Lower Peninsula. This deadly disease has also been found in Wisconsin, 30 miles from the Michigan border.

Sherry McKinnon, DNR wildlife ecologist from the Newberry office, checks in a buck at Bridge View Park in St. Ignace.In addition to new regulations enacted recently to restrict the parts of deer, elk or moose that can be brought into Michigan from any other state or Canadian province, the penalties for doing so have also been increased.
The DNR encourages hunters to help "Keep the U.P. CWD Free" by minimizing carcass movement across Michigan, and practice proper carcass handling and disposal.
Since May 2015, 1,360 deer have been tested for CWD in Gogebic, Iron, Dickinson and Menominee counties. So far, there has been no finding of the disease in the U.P.
The DNR encourages hunters in CWD-free areas of the state, including the U.P., to have their deer voluntarily tested by bringing them to DNR check stations. Eleven check stations are available throughout the U.P.
The DNR is also working with taxidermists and meat processors in continued CWD surveillance efforts. Wildlife biologists continue to check roadkill deer and those harvested under crop damage permits for CWD.

Educational campaigning will continue with billboards, fliers, public service announcements, press releases, social media messages and a 30-minute television program broadcast on public television. Messaging at the Mackinac Bridge will also be included in the effort to educate hunters and the public on CWD.

Hunting groups in the U.P. have worked hard to help the DNR’s efforts.

Find out more at


DNR Honored for Forest Certification Efforts

10NOV17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has achieved honors for its work to sustainably manage nearly 4 million acres of state forests.
The DNR is among 16 organizations and individuals to earn Leadership Awards from the Forest Stewardship Council, the world’s leading forest certification system. The awards were presented Wednesday at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Boston.

“We were blown away by the accomplishments of our award winners this year,” said Corey Brinkema, president of the Forest Stewardship Council US. “By building the market for FSC products, the award winners show we can conserve forests, even as we use forest products in our daily lives.”
The DNR was honored for being one of the longest-standing FSC-certified forest managers in the Lake States region. FSC certification involves a rigorous, independent review to ensure forest management practices meet the highest standards for environmental and social benefits.
“Michigan forests have been certified for more than a decade and we’re proud of that,” said Deb Begalle, chief of the DNR’s Forest Resources Division. “It’s important to the people of Michigan that we manage forests to ensure they are here for our children and grandchildren. We can do that in a way that provides the wood products people use every day, offers quality wildlife habitat, and protects the environment.” 
Michigan is certified by both the FSC and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Learn more about the DNR’s efforts at

Other winners of FSC leadership awards from across North America are:

bullet ARAUCO North America, for investing approximately $400 million in a new FSC-certified particleboard mill in Grayling, Michigan – along with nine other certified mills in North America – to meet demand from its customers, notably IKEA.
bullet Patagonia, for developing the world’s first FSC-certified Yulex natural rubber wetsuits, and for communicating the importance of responsible forest management to its customers.
bullet Staples, for marketing more than 1,000 individual FSC-certified paper and furniture products online and in stores, and for working to help family woodland owners earn FSC certification.
bullet Procter & Gamble, for making Charmin and Puffs tissue products FSC-certified and for working with partners to add 500,000 acres of FSC-certified forest in the southeastern U.S.
bullet Wilsonart Engineered Surfaces, for being the first North American laminate manufacturer to earn FSC certification.
bullet Monadnock Paper Mills, for being the first paper mill in the United States to earn FSC certification, and for offering the first 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper bearing the FSC Recycled label.
bullet Dixie Plywood and Lumber Company, for more than 10 years of commitment to marketing FSC-certified building materials in the southeastern U.S.
bullet Forest Products Laboratory, Center for Wood Anatomy Research, for applying state-of-the-art forensic wood science to verify the accuracy of claims about FSC certification on more than 1,000 products annually.
bullet Center for Forest and Wood Certification at the University of Kentucky, for providing technical expertise to forest managers and supply chain businesses to grow FSC certification.
bullet Seven Islands Land Company and Pingree Associates, for its continuous FSC certification of more than 800,000 acres of timberland in Maine since 1993, and working to help build the FSC system over the past 20 years.
bullet Heron Hall, McLennan Design, and Smallwood Design and Construction, for using 100 percent FSC-certified or reclaimed wood in a residential project, including shou-sugi-ban (charred wood) exterior walls – in pursuit of the Living Building Challenge.
bullet Bill Fisch Forest Stewardship and Education Centre, Regional Municipality of York, and DIALOG, for using 100 percent FSC-certified wood in construction and for sharing information about sustainability to thousands of visitors annually.
bullet Cowhorn Vineyard and Garden Tasting Room, and Green Hammer, for using more than 95 percent FSC-certified wood products – along with a small amount of Eastern Oregon Grassland Restoration Juniper – in its highly visible wine tasting room.
bullet Michael Conroy, for helping to launch FSC and for decades of commitment to the organization, as a grant maker at the Ford Foundation, chair of the Board of FSC US, chair of the Board of FSC International, and active member in the Social Chamber.
bullet Christopher McDonell, for 20 years of work shaping responsible forest management in Canada as manager of Aboriginal and Environmental Relations for Tembec.

 Learn more about the Forest Stewardship Council at


Volunteer Campground Host Applications Being Accepted for 2018

Campground host at the Porkies09NOV17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is seeking volunteer campground hosts in Michigan state parks, recreation areas and rustic state forest campgrounds for the 2018 camping season.
In exchange for 30 hours of service per week, including duties such as helping campers find their campsites, answering camper questions, planning campground activities and performing light park maintenance duties, campground hosts enjoy waived camping fees. 
Both individuals and couples may apply for volunteer positions that begin as early as April and last through October. Volunteer hosts must be 18 years of age and provide their own camping equipment, food and other personal items.
"For many visitors, the camping experience wouldn't be the same without campground hosts," said Miguel Rodriguez, promotional agent for the DNR. "These dedicated volunteers engage with park visitors by helping out around the campground, answering camping and park questions and even hosting kids' crafts and fireside activities. All of this is accomplished while they are enjoying some of Michigan's most beautiful outdoor destinations."
Interested volunteers can click on "campground host" at to learn more about the volunteer host campground program, download an application and waiver and view a vacancy host campground report, which is updated regularly and indicates when and where hosts are needed in specific parks.

Hosts are screened and interviewed by park managers and selected based on familiarity with the state park system, camping experience, special skills, availability and knowledge of the area. Hosts must participate in a two-day host training session within the first two years of being selected as a host. The 2018 training will take place June 6-7 at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center in Roscommon.

For information, contact Miguel Rodriguez at 517-284-6127 or

The DNR is accepting applications for volunteers to work as campground hosts in Michigan state parks and rustic state forest campgrounds during the 2018 season. It's a great way to camp for free and get a behind-the-scenes park experience.


DNR Conservation Officers Provide Tips for a Safe Hunting Season

DEER 3 COPY09NOV17-As the November 15th firearm deer season opener nears, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers encourage hunters to brush up on safety tips and hunting regulations to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience.
“Firearm deer season is a special time of year in Michigan,” Cpl. Dave Painter said. “It brings family and friends together in celebration of our state’s great outdoor heritage. Staying safe, knowing the laws and being good stewards of our resources will help hunters have a memorable outing.”
Painter reminds hunters that a mandatory deer check is in place within certain areas of the state due to the confirmation of chronic wasting disease, a fatal neurological disease found in deer, elk and moose. Hunters harvesting a deer in these CWD areas must bring it to a DNR check station within 72 hours. Visit for a map and list of check stations.
Regardless of where deer are harvested in Michigan, the DNR encourages all hunters to voluntarily take them to the nearest check station to help with disease surveillance. In addition, big-game hunters who travel outside of Michigan should be aware of new regulations restricting the importation of harvested cervids

Painter also offered the following general safety tips:

bulletTreat every firearm as if it is loaded.
bulletKeep your finger away from the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to fire.
bulletKeep the safety on until you are ready to fire.
bulletAlways point the muzzle in a safe direction.
bulletBe certain of your target, and what’s beyond it, before firing.
bulletKnow the identifying features of the game you hunt.
bulletMake sure you have an adequate backstop. Don’t shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.
bulletUnload the firearm before running, climbing a fence or tree, or jumping a ditch.
bulletWear a safety harness when hunting from an elevated platform.  Use a haul line to bring the unloaded firearm up and down the raised platform.
bulletAvoid alcoholic beverages or behavior-altering medicines or drugs before or during a hunt.
bulletAlways wear a hat, cap, vest or jacket of hunter orange, visible from all sides, during daylight hunting hours, even if hunting on private land. The law also applies to archery hunters during firearm season.
bulletMake sure at least 50 percent of any camouflage pattern being worn is in hunter orange.
bulletAlways let someone know where you are hunting and when you plan to return. This information helps conservation officers and others locate you if you become injured or lost.
bulletCarry a cell phone into the woods. Not only does it let you call for help if necessary, but newer phones emit a signal that can help rescuers locate you. Also consider downloading a compass or flashlight app.
bulletProgram the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) line (800-292-7800) in your phone contacts so you can alert conservation officers to any natural resources violations you may witness.

“These are simple, common-sense tips that can help prevent accidents and save lives,” Painter said. “The DNR encourages all hunters to review the Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest for other essential information before taking to the field.”

Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully commissioned peace offers with authority to enforce the state’s criminal laws. Learn more at


DNR Seeks Public Input on Lake Michigan Management Plan

09NOV17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will host three public meetings this month along the Lake Michigan coast – November 28th in Manistique, November 29th in Traverse City and November 30th in Grand Haven – to hear from the public on two issues that will affect the lake: a draft management plan and future stocking activities.

Draft Lake Michigan management plan

This draft plan sets long-term vision and goals for the Lake Michigan fishery. It also outlines the process for ensuring the public is involved and is aligned with shorter-term strategies and tactics. The draft plan was developed through engagement with focus groups, advisory committees and DNR staff.

A copy of the draft plan is available for public feedback and can be found online at This website is hosted through a partnership with Michigan Sea Grant.

Stocking options

The DNR, together with other state natural resource agencies and tribal fishery managers, is working to balance predators in Lake Michigan with available prey. Last year, Chinook salmon stocking in Michigan waters was reduced by 41 percent as part of that effort. Throughout 2017, stakeholders provided the DNR with considerable feedback to consider reducing other predators (rather than just Chinook salmon) to seek a predator and prey balance.
Future stocking options now are available on the DNR’s salmon website for public feedback. These options propose reductions and movement of brown trout, movement of some coho salmon to southern Lake Michigan, and reductions in second-priority lake trout stocking sites in northern Lake Michigan. These options follow a new concept that emerged from focus group discussions while developing the draft Lake Michigan management plan.
“Collecting public input is a critical part in effectively managing Michigan’s world-class fisheries,” said Jay Wesley, the DNR’s Lake Michigan Basin coordinator. “The conversations we hope to have at this month’s meetings will help us all re-think how we do some new things on Lake Michigan, yet still meet the needs of anglers and the resource.”

Public meeting dates, locations

bulletTuesday, Nov. 28 – Manistique
6:30 to 8 p.m.
Comfort Inn Conference Room, 617 E. Lake Shore Drive
bulletWednesday, Nov. 29 – Traverse City
6:30 to 8 p.m.
Boardman River Nature Center, 1450 Cass Road
bulletThursday, Nov. 30 – Grand Haven
6:30 to 8 p.m.
Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave. 

For more information, contact Jay Wesley at 269-685-6851, ext. 117 or


Crew Boss Academy Develops Wild Land Firefighters Into Leaders

Firefighters in the Crew Boss Academy head out for an exercise. 08NOV17-Three dozen wild land firefighters from around the country knew for sure they were going to find a lot of class work during the 10-day Crew Boss Academy at Fort Custer. The intensive workshop crams four separate firefighting management classes into busy mornings.
It was during afternoon exercises on this military base near Battle Creek, Michigan, when they got some surprises.
On the scene of a grass fire, they might encounter a person recruited to play a disgruntled landowner. Dispatched to a fire site, they might come across a simulated car accident and stop to help while calling for another engine to proceed to the fire.
“They did live fire scenarios with DNR engines on site,” said Paul Rogers, forest fire officer supervisor with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “They were dispatched like they were going to a real fire.”
The classes and exercises conducted in October were part of a nationwide workshop to help wildland firefighters learn to manage crews of four to 21 people. Like real-life firefighting, days were long, work was hard and team-building was vital.

“Essentially what they’re doing is emphasizing how to be a better leader,” said Maria Albright, a longtime firefighter who works as a wildlife technician at the Allegan State Game Area. “They want to help you get better at taking charge of firefighters with less experience than you.”
Meeting other leadership candidates from across the country was critically important, she said, as participants were able to share experiences.
“We were talking about similar things that we all do, but we kind of come at it differently,” she said of participants, which included eight Michigan DNR firefighters from the wildlife and forest resources divisions and visitors from 20 agencies in 12 other states: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia. 
The training was hosted by the DNR, the Michigan Prescribed Fire Council and The Nature Conservancy, with support from other agencies as well. It rolls four separate certification classes into just over a week. Individual courses focus on leadership, the urban interface, crew boss issues such as handling personnel and engine boss, which deals with equipment handling. The urban interface refers to times when wildland fires run into homes, subdivisions and towns or cities.
“It’s just an intense, consolidated series of training,” said Dan Laux, fire specialist with the DNR and training coordinator. “It’s important because we always like to keep folks moving into leadership roles.”
The work is not done when the Crew Boss Academy workshop is complete. Participants now are working though “task books,” which document their real-life experience as leaders. They’ll have to get others to sign that they have completed 75 to 122 crew boss-related jobs and responsibilities within the next three years to become officially certified. The tasks include a variety of skills ranging from getting complete information from dispatch, to safely traveling to the assignment. Respect and integrity are covered right along with tactics.
Albright said she understands the need for qualified leaders in the field, and is looking forward to finishing her task book.
After thinking about it for some time, she said she is glad she finally went through the Crew Boss Academy.
“I think the strength of this thing is, you sit in a class for a little bit and you go outside and do what you were just talking about, or do it on sand tables or in simulation exercises,” Albright said. “You’re applying what you just talked about.”


DNR Dredging Buys Time, $3.1 Million Effort Begins to Protect Buffalo Reef in Keweenaw County

EPA forms task force to develop long-term stamp sands management plan

A map shows the stamp sands project area on the Keweenaw Peninsula.08NOV17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently completed an emergency dredging project in Keweenaw County to restore the Grand Traverse Harbor channel for commercial and recreational boating.
The $246,230 dredging project, undertaken by Marine Tech, LLC of Duluth, Minnesota, through the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division, pumped 9,000 cubic yards of sand to a beach area north of the harbor.
Previous dredging at the harbor was done by the DNR in 2015 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2009 and 2003.
Meanwhile, more extensive sand removal and containment efforts are needed to protect important lake trout and whitefish spawning habitat on Buffalo Reef and a juvenile whitefish area south of the Grand Traverse Harbor, which is situated on the east side of the Keweenaw Peninsula, northeast of Lake Linden.
“Buffalo Reef is a 2,200-acre spawning reef located down drift of stamp sands that have eroded into Lake Superior since the early 1900s,” said Phil Schneeberger, DNR Lake Superior Basin coordinator. “It is currently estimated that this reef, critical to both lake trout and lake whitefish populations in the area, is currently 35 percent unusable by spawning fish due to sand that has filled spaces between rocks, which are necessary for successful fish egg deposit and incubation. Furthermore, migrating sands along the shore have made nursery areas unusable by newly-hatched fish.”

Lake trout rely on the spawning habitat of Buffalo Reef, which is threatened with stamp sands, which are covering the reef.Nearly a quarter of the annual lake trout yield from Lake Superior’s Michigan waters comes from within 50 miles of Buffalo Reef. The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission estimates the annual economic benefit of the reef at $1.7 million.
“The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, as well as other tribes located around Lake Superior, are and have always been, fishing tribes,” said KBIC President Chris Swartz. “Since time immemorial, these tribes have used the resources provided by gitchi-gami (or Lake Superior) to sustain their communities. This sustenance is not only physical; it is also spiritual, cultural, medicinal and economic.”
Swartz said modeling predicts that by 2025, 60 percent of the reef will no longer be viable for lake trout and whitefish spawning.
In this part of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the coarse, black stamp sands threatening the reef were created as a by-product of century-old copper mining at the Mohawk and Wolverine mines.

A sign posted next to the smokestack and ruins of the stamp sands mill at Gay.The mines hauled copper ore from near Calumet 13 miles to a four-stamp mill in the community of Gay, where ore was crushed by the stamps and the copper separated through a flotation process.
Stamp sands are the waste material resulting from the milling work. They were dumped into Lake Superior and on the shoreline.
Over the past roughly 80 years, the stamp sands have shifted south – moved by winds, waves and nearshore lake currents – about 5 miles to the Grand Traverse Harbor, covering 1,426 acres of shoreline and lake bottom.
“Without taking measures to slow the movement and down-drift accumulation of the stamp sands, they will eventually move past the harbor and deposit on the natural white sand beach south of the jetty, at the mouth of the Traverse River,” said Steven Check, a project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit.

A close-up view of weathered and smoothed stamp sands deposited on the beach at the Grand Traverse Harbor.The DNR has applied for a permit from the DEQ, under the Great Lakes Submerged Lands Act (Part 325 of Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act), to allow the Army Corps to remove more of the stamp sands from Lake Superior.

The EPA has provided $3.1 million to the Army Corps to design and carry out the dredging work, scheduled for May 2018. A public comment period on this permit closed Nov. 1. No public hearing for this permit application is planned, with a permitting decision deadline set for December 14th.

A view looking south shows the stamp sands deposited in the foreground, the Grand Traverse Harbor, center, and natural sand beaches and homes beyond.Under the permit, a total of 172,500 cubic yards of stamp sands are expected to be removed from an underwater bedrock trough, moving the sand to a 37-acre placement site that has the capacity to store 380,000 cubic yards. This 2,350-foot-long by 700-foot placement area, located about 1.5 miles from the dredge location, would be north of Buffalo Reef, behind a temporary berm.

Another 20,000 cubic yards of sand would be removed from Grand Traverse Harbor, while 10,000 cubic yards of material would be dredged from an upland area next to the harbor, on the beach.

“This dredging project would buy 5 to 7 years of protection for the reef and the whitefish juvenile recruitment area south of the harbor,” said Steve Casey, Upper Peninsula district supervisor for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Water Resources Division. “In the meantime, we need to develop a long-term, adaptive management plan, a solution, for the Gay stamp sands problem.”

The EPA has formed a cooperative multi-entity task force to develop that plan over the next couple of years, which will solicit input from many stakeholders, including the public.

A tall stamp sand embankment and remains of a stamp mill dock on Lake Superior at Gay.A public meeting of the task force to kick off the effort has been scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Lake Linden-Hubbell High School Auditorium, located at 601 Calumet Street in Lake Linden.

“We will be soliciting public input on what issues the plan needs to address and looking for volunteers to help us understand and resolve those issues,” Casey said.

One critical component of the plan will be to develop a beneficial use for the stamp sands, which is currently being explored by the MTECH SmartZone in Houghton. A primary goal of the plan would be that long-term maintenance would be assumed by a non-federal entity.

A task force steering committee has been named which includes Lori Ann Sherman, natural resources director for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Tony Friona, Great Lakes liaison for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer, Research and Development Center and Steve Casey, U.P. district supervisor of the DEQ’s Water Resources Division.

Looking west across the stamp sands and remnants of the stamp mill at Gay. The mill’s smokestack is seen at the right.“We’re hoping construction can start on some type of control mechanism for the original pile of stamp sands by 2021, with completion two years after that,” Casey said. “We would then hope to put long-term maintenance dredging in place by 2026. The annual costs for that dredging would depend on which type of long-term remedy is selected.”

The stamp sands source pile at Gay was originally estimated to contain 22 million cubic yards of material, with 2.3 million cubic yards of material remaining today.

The community of Gay is named for Joseph E. Gay, who conducted early explorations of the ore body that would be mined by the Mohawk Mining Co.

Meanwhile, a separate dredging project has been proposed by private parties for a stamp sands deposit on the southwest side of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The project would extend roughly 13 miles, from the Village of Freda to the North Portage Entry.

This proposal is currently under permit application review by the DEQ Water Resources Division, and is in no way associated with EPA Task Force, DNR and Army Corps of Engineers efforts at the Gay stamp sand deposit. A public hearing is planned for spring 2018. No date for that session has been determined.


Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge Nets More Than 350 Entries

First-round awards to be announced in February

06NOV17-The State of Michigan announced today that the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge, which sought innovative solutions to stop the movement of invasive carp, received 353 entries from 27 countries. The challenge, hosted by global crowd-sourcing company InnoCentive, netted new ideas and raised the global profile of this important issue.
“Invasive carp pose a serious and growing threat to the economy and ecology of our Great Lakes,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “The Invasive Carp Challenge has unleashed the creativity and power of the entrepreneurial community to find the best ways to protect one of Michigan’s most prized natural resources. I’m looking forward to the results of this challenge and how to put some of these ideas into action.”
Solutions will be reviewed by a panel of expert judges, with up to eight solutions selected for awards of $25,000. Stage 1 awardees will be announced in February 2018. 
For final awards, a select number of Stage 1 awardees will be invited to present their ideas before a live audience of judges, industry experts, nonprofit organizations and venture capital representatives for additional cash awards totaling up to $500,000. 

This live event is planned to take place in late March 2018 in Detroit and will provide an in-person platform for ideas to be pitched to judges for final awards. All awardees will have an opportunity to make connections with audience members as well, including university researchers, entrepreneurs and venture capital firms, in hopes of furthering their ideas.   
Gov. Snyder announced the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge during his State of the State address in January 2017. The State of Michigan pledged $1 million to seek innovative methods to prevent the movement of invasive carp species into Lake Michigan from the Illinois River through the Chicago Area Waterway System.   
Invasive carp pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem, the $7 billion fishery, and other economic interests dependent on the Great Lakes and its tributaries.
In June 2017, a 28-inch-long silver carp was caught approximately 9 miles from Lake Michigan, beyond the electric barrier system meant to keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. An autopsy and analysis by Southern Illinois University indicated the fish spent from a few weeks to a few months in the section of river where it was caught. There was no indication of how the fish ended up beyond the electric barriers.
This discovery of a second invasive carp found beyond the barrier – a bighead carp was captured in 2010 – underscores the need for action and innovation to prevent these fish from doing potentially irreparable ecological and economic damage to Michigan’s signature and defining natural resource.


Two Michigan Businesses Connect With DNR for One ‘Great Outdoors’ Cause

Merchandise program to raise funds for state parks, trails and waterways

DNR, Yooper Shirts and Peninsulas shake hands on the Mackinac Bridge.06NOV17-The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is hoping a new business partnership will encourage the millions of people who love Michigan’s state parks, trails and boating opportunities to – quite literally – wear their feelings on their sleeves.
Starting this month, two private Michigan businesses, Peninsulas LLC and YooperShirts, Inc., will work with the DNR to make state park, trail and boating merchandise and apparel available anywhere, anytime.
After a yearlong evaluation process, the DNR awarded two contracts to implement the retail program; Peninsulas was awarded the contract for destinations in the Lower Peninsula, while Yooper Shirts will work with Upper Peninsula destinations.
"The DNR provides safe, clean, quality recreational destinations and experiences for our millions of visitors," said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "This partnership allows us to offer memorabilia and apparel for visitors who want to show off their love of Michigan’s great recreational places and outdoor spaces."
"Working with the DNR allows us to expand our product line, developing unique designs that showcase the beauty of the parks in the U.P., all the while giving back to the Michigan state parks that we love,” said Jeremy Symons, president of Yooper Shirts, Inc. “This opportunity enables our business to invest in additional equipment so that we can be more efficient, as well as hire additional employees to help with our continued growth.”

DNR Merchandise partners logos and examplesBoth companies will be responsible for designing, imprinting and selling the merchandise and apparel they create and will then share the proceeds with the DNR. Merchandise and apparel will be available through both partners’ brick-and-mortar stores, on-site at select state park stores and retail outlets and online at and
Funds generated by the program will be used for park, trail and boating improvements and maintenance. Each year the DNR, Peninsulas and Yooper Shirts will publish a list of projects supported by the proceeds generated through this retail partnership. 
"The Peninsulas brand is all about celebrating the beauty and heritage of the Great Lakes State. As we get a great deal of our inspiration from our trips to Michigan’s state parks, this DNR partnership is a natural fit,” said Robert Jameson, co-owner of Peninsulas. "It is our hope that through creating unique designs on high-quality products, Michiganders will be able to show their love of their home state and support our precious natural resources at the same time."
For more information, contact Maia Turek, DNR resource development specialist, at or 989-225-8573. For information on the merchandise, contact Robert Jameson (Peninsulas), 248-268-4828 or Jeremy Symons (Yooper Shirts), 906-204-2255.

About Peninsulas LLC
Peninsulas was started by two lifelong Michiganders who combined a love of their state with a passion for vintage design. This devotion grew into a brand that celebrates all that is old and new in Michigan through high-quality apparel, housewares and gifts. Robert and Sherri Jameson get inspiration traveling the state in a little Airstream camper. Their favorite spot is Orchard Beach State Park, site #42. Visit

About Yooper Shirts, Inc.
Yooper Shirts is passionate about creating modern designs inspired by Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the entire state. This Michigan-based company dresses Yoopers and Michiganders around the world in unique, quality products by embracing all that is the Upper Peninsula, from the depths of Lake Superior to the hundreds of miles of biking and hiking trails. Visit


Michigan Bear Forum Set for December 16th – Management, Regulations and Harvest Information to be Discussed

06NOV17-A group of individuals representing various sportsmen’s clubs, the U.S. Forest Service, the agricultural community and nonaffiliated bait and hound hunters throughout the state will meet Saturday, Dec. 16, to discuss the future of bear management in Michigan.  

“This group represents our Michigan Bear Forum,” said Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife management specialist Kevin Swanson. “We have a very wide range of members who make up this group, each representing a slightly different view with regard to bear management in Michigan.”

The Michigan Bear Forum will meet from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Little Bear East Arena, located at 275 Marquette St. in St. Ignace.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss bear management and regulations, while assessing 2017 harvest statistics. The meeting is open to the public, and DNR staff will be available after the meeting to answer additional questions. 

Swanson said the DNR also would use the Dec. 16 meeting as an opportunity to kick off its effort to update the Michigan Bear Management Plan, which was last updated in 2008. 

DNR Wildlife Division staff members will provide an overview of long-term harvest statistics, population estimates, research and season updates, and trend indicators for each bear management unit. 


Hunter Safety Education Helps Keep Hunting a Cherished Tradition

By BOB GWIZDZ-Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Todd Switala, 2016 Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year displays a plaque recognizing his service.06NOV17-Todd Switala has always been a volunteer. He’s coached Little League baseball, swim and soccer teams, led Cub Scout and Boy Scout groups, and he puts on an annual youth sucker-fishing tournament near his home in Sterling, where he serves as president of the Sterling Sportsmen Association.
He’s well-known for his efforts in Arenac County, but his reputation spread statewide when the Michigan Department of Natural Resources named him Hunter Safety Education Instructor of the Year.
It’s an honor he accepts with a casual shrug.
“Anything we can do for the youth, I’m all for it,” said Switala, a 50-year-old retired union brick layer and full-time community activist. “I’ve always thought that.”
Switala was barely an adult, 30 years ago, when he thought it was time to recreate the local sportsmen’s club, which had closed its doors in 1963.
He and a handful of locals came up with a plan to purchase the decrepit building and in 1993, even before the facility was fit to be used, he started a hunter safety program, holding classes at a nearby 4-H building.

In Michigan, a traditional classroom hunter safety course involves a minimum of 10 hours spread over at least two days.Except for a couple of years when he was out of the loop, recuperating from a fall from a scaffolding, he’s been at it ever since.
DNR Conservation Officer Philip Hudson, who patrols Arenac County and nominated Switala for the award, said Switala is responsible for teaching nearly 2,000 future hunters.
“He’s very dedicated,” Hudson said. “He’s never late, always early, ready and prepared. The amount of time he puts into (this) is way beyond what would be expected from any volunteer. He’s an amazing guy.”
Switala says even he’s not sure “what it is that got a hold of me,” causing him to hurl himself headlong into hunter education, except that he loves hunting himself and “you get enjoyment out of passing the sport along.”
Four times as year – in February, March, August and September – he spends a weekend teaching hunter safety to an increasingly diverse crew.
“The last class I had had 42 students, 23 of them girls and seven of them adult females,” Switala said. “Back in the day, it was all 13-year-old boys.”
He also provides the hands-on field sessions that support the on-line and home study programs.
Switala calls his approach to hunter safety EDGE training – educate, demonstrate, guide and enable – something he picked up in other programs.

Volunteers drive Michigan’s hunter education program, with about 20,000 students instructed each year.“I never thought of myself as an educator,” said Switala, who has been lauded by the school district for the outdoor education programs he puts on for fourth- and fifth-graders at the local school. “I like the word ‘mentor.’ In life there are ways you do things and ways you don’t do things. I think we all think it should be that way.”
A strong believer in hands-on learning, Switala says he has his students handling firearms properly within the first hour of class. He runs them through 14 hours of training – more than the minimum requirement – saying he wishes he had 24 hours. He then offers all the students the opportunity to return at a later date and shoot clay targets at the sportsmen’s club.
Switala holds his classroom shooting sessions with air rifles at the club’s inside range, demonstrating proper procedures to the first student, then requiring that student to instruct the next one, so he knows it’s sunk in.
“I drill them pretty hard,” he said. “Then we hold mock hunts – a bird hunt, a rabbit hunt, a deer hunt – so they can demonstrate what they learned. It’s everything but live ammo.”
When administering the written test, he reads each question aloud – “not every kid is the best reader,” he said – and after the tests are corrected, he goes over every incorrect answer with each student, making sure any mistake is corrected.
“To me one wrong answer is failing,” he said. “You want them to get it right.”

And over the years, he’s never had a student he couldn’t certify, though he admits he had one student that took two years to successfully complete the training.
Hunter safety education in Michigan has evolved over the decades.
“It’s been around since the mid-1940s,” explained Lt. Tom Wanless, who oversees the program for the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “When the National Rifle Association conducted the program nationwide.
“When the states assumed control, we were one of the first states to do so.”
Hunting was a lot more dangerous back then compared to what it is today, and every step the state has taken has improved safety, Wanless said.
In 1971, hunter safety training became mandatory for first-time hunters ages 12 to 16. In 1988, hunter safety became mandatory for all first-time hunters born after Jan. 1, 1960.
“That’s when the numbers of hunting casualty incidences really started to nosedive,” Wanless said.
In 1971, Michigan witnessed a total of 15 deaths and 180 injuries involving hunting. In 1988 there were 10 deaths and 91 injuries.
“That was the last year that we had double-digit deaths, and since then we’ve only had one year on record where we had more than five related deaths – seven,” Wanless said. “And we had two years when we had no deaths.”
Today, to purchase a hunting license in Michigan, hunters must show proof of a previous hunting experience – such as a license from another state – or have completed hunter safety training.
There is one exception – beginning hunters may purchase an apprentice license, which allows them to hunt under the tutelage of an experienced hunter for up to two years, then they must complete the training to continue hunting.

Three options exist for taking hunter safety courses in Michigan. Hunters may take:

bulletA traditional classroom course, which involves a minimum of 10 hours spread over at least two days.
bulletAn online course, offered by state-approved private vendors, and then attend a hands-on field day (typically 4 hours, with a certified instructor).
bulletA home-study course, with the hunter safety manual for at least a week, before attending the hands-on field day.

Hunter safety education students learn how to safely and properly use firearms.“We have about 3,000 volunteers teaching it out there,” Wanless said.
Some conservation officers teach hunter safety, and some teachers teach it at schools.
“Volunteer instructors are the backbone of this program,” Wanless said. “We’re teaching approximately 20,000 students a year. That would take up a lot of our conservation officers’ time that they would not be able to be out in the field. Because of our volunteers, we’re making safer and more responsible hunters.”
However, Michigan needs more volunteer instructors, Wanless said.
“The average age of our instructors is getting up there. Some of them have volunteered for over 40 years. We’d love to see more younger adults get involved,” he said. “Anyone who is interested in instructing, who is willing to share their knowledge and talent to help out our future hunters, should check us out.”

For more information, visit

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DNR Asks Hunters to Report Bear Dens in Northern Lower Peninsula

31OCT17-While out in the field, hunters and trappers could come upon a denned black bear. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking for locations of denned bears in the northern Lower Peninsula, in order to fit the bears with radio collars for an ongoing bear management program.
“Information gathered from bears assists in managing the black bear population,” said Mark Boersen, wildlife biologist at the DNR Roscommon Customer Service Center. “Currently, we have six female bears being monitored from both air and ground using radio tracking equipment.”
After locating a denned bear, DNR biologists will determine if the animal is a good candidate for a radio collar. Bears that are selected will be sedated by a wildlife biologist and fitted with collars and ear tags. A small nonfunctional tooth will be collected to determine each bear’s age and to provide a DNA sample. Upon completion of the short procedure, biologists will carefully return the bear to its den, where it will sleep through the remainder of the winter months.

Those who encounter bear dens in the northern Lower Peninsula are asked to record the location, with a GPS unit if possible, and contact Mark Boersen at 989-275-5151 or with specific location information.

As a reminder, it is illegal to disturb a bear den or disturb, harm or molest a bear in its den.


New Reservation Policy Gives Campers Better Sites in MI State Parks

Campers at Baraga State Park30OCT17-In an effort to make it easier for more people to have a chance at securing campsites at many of the state’s most-visited parks, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has put in place a new policy that encourages people to firm up their reservations further in advance of their planned camping dates. The new sliding modification and cancellation structure takes effect November 1st.
Campers still can make reservations up to six months in advance. Under the current policy, the cost to cancel or modify a camping reservation is $10. The new structure still will include the $10 modification and cancellation fee, but also will include an additional incremental fee based on the length of time between the date the initial reservation was made and the planned arrival date. That incremental fee will be determined by the length of time a reservation is held:

bulletReservations held for up to two months:
10 percent of the nightly rate for each modified/canceled camp night.
bulletReservations held for between two to three months:
15 percent of the nightly rate for each modified/canceled camp night.
bulletReservations held for between three and four months:
20 percent of the nightly rate for each modified/canceled camp night.
bulletReservations held for between four and five months:
30 percent of the nightly rate for each modified/canceled camp night.
bulletReservations held longer than five months:
40 percent of the nightly rate for each modified/canceled camp night.

Note: There will not be a fee to modify a reservation that adds camp nights.

Rec 101 camping programRather than holding onto several blocks of campsites at a campground – or in some cases, multiple campgrounds – the new policy incentivizes campers to finalize their plans as soon as possible.

"We are updating the current policy to encourage campers with reservations to make any necessary changes to their travel plans much earlier in the process, which opens up more sites for others who currently may experience difficulty finding space at our more popular campgrounds," said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief. "Rather than waiting for cancellations that may or may not happen close to their own desired travel dates, more campers will find that the new reservation policy will give them access to a variety of sites much earlier."

For more information on camping opportunities and pricing, visit Camping reservations can be booked up to six months in advance at Michigan state parks. Campers are encouraged to visit or call 1-800-44PARKS (1-800-447-2757) to check on availability. Remaining camping spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information, contact Jason Fleming, chief of the Resource Management Section in the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, at 517-284-6098 or


DNR Hunting Access Program Celebrates 40 Years

By MONIQUE FERRIS-Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Hunting Access Program provides incentives to landowners who open private lands to hunters.30OCT17-Michigan is home to one of the nation’s oldest private-public partnership programs, offering financial incentives to private landowners who allow public access to their properties for hunting.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Hunting Access Program has developed over the past 40 years, initially in the southern part of the state, recently expanding northward.
“This program grants access to quality private hunting lands close to urban centers and in agricultural areas,” said Mike Parker, conservation partners program specialist with the DNR’s Wildlife Division. “The availability of hunting lands close to home is critical for attracting new hunters, retaining those already involved in the sport and supporting Michigan’s strong hunting tradition.”
According to a 2013 study by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, outdoor recreation supports 6.1 million direct jobs across the country and $646 billion in spending each year.
In Michigan, hunters contribute $2.3 billion to Michigan’s economy and support the professional management of the state’s natural resources.
The DNR places a high priority on providing hunting access through public lands and leased private lands for public access. Michigan is blessed with over 4.5 million acres of public hunting lands, most of which are in the Upper Peninsula.

Twenty-one percent of Michigan is comprised of public land, but in southern lower Michigan – where 90 percent of the state’s 9.9 million citizens live and 72 percent of the 790,000 hunters reside – only 3 percent of the land is public.

Historical legacy

Hunting Access Program logoMichigan’s Hunting Access Program was created in 1977 as the Public Access Stamp Program by Public Act 373 of 1976, with the purpose of leasing private lands to provide public access for hunting.
The original program was based on findings from a 1974 pilot study in five southern Michigan counties, initiated by the U.S. Agriculture and Soil Conservation Service, as well as an earlier access project called the Williamston Plan, which was in place during the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Within five years of its initiation, the Hunting Access Program had grown to over 790 properties leased, covering 188,000 acres. After 1982, those numbers declined to fewer than 50 farms and less than 8,000 acres by 2010.
“Program decline was a result of decreased funding availability and rental payments not keeping up with market conditions,” said Monique Ferris, a DNR wildlife biologist and coordinator of the Hunting Access Program. 
Since that significant enrollment decline, recent efforts have emphasized the importance of providing public access on private lands, reinvigorating the program.
In 2005, the DNR established the Hunter Recruitment and Retention Work Group charged with developing an action plan that identified three to five approaches to increase the number and proportion of Michigan residents hunting and to retain new, as well as current, hunters.

Wildlife Restoration logo“The work group’s number one recommendation called for the reinvigoration of the public access program through increasing landowner payments, providing options meeting landowner needs for land management and security, multi-year leases and quality maps,” Parker said.
In 2010, the DNR and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development received a Voluntary Public Access – Hunting Incentive Program grant, through the federal Farm Bill, to expand the Hunting Access Program.
Funding from the grant was used to increase lease rates, market the program, hire a program coordinator and contract with soil conservation districts to service the program locally. The overall goal was to use the grant money to double the number of acres and properties enrolled in the program.   

The Michigan DNR Hunting Access Program is available in parts of Chippewa and Mackinac counties in the eastern U.P. for hunting sharp-tailed grouse.In 2014, a new federal grant was approved for $1.2 million. The program was expanded into the eastern Upper Peninsula for the first time, opening over 5,200 acres for small game and sharp-tailed grouse hunting.
The following year, the DNR was awarded another federal grant to expand the program to the northern Lower Peninsula and hire a full-time program coordinator.
The DNR, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and local conservation districts, has worked to lease a total of 200 properties with a combined 25,000 acres of private hunting lands for public access.
“Our commitment to providing access and working with new partners has more than tripled the number of properties enrolled in the Hunting Access Program over the past three years,” Ferris said.
To improve the program, the DNR has also increased its conservation officer patrols on program lands, cultivated local conservation district support at the county level, created a Hunting Access Program webpage, and conducted surveys of hunters and landowners.
“The DNR has also developed an interactive mapping program, Mi-HUNT, making it easier than ever for hunters to locate HAP properties and to find a great deal of useful information at the click of a mouse,” Ferris said.

Local efforts

there are additional incentives for landowner Hunting Access Program enrollment for those who live in deer management units affected by bovine TB.Dawn Hergott, administrator of the Arenac Conservation District, has been a big proponent of the Hunting Access Program, helping to administer the program locally. She manages the highest number of HAP properties of any partner district in a single county in Michigan.
“Dawn’s promotion of the program is incredible,” Ferris said. “She has become a role model for other partners.”
Hergott said the district has enjoyed having local community success with the program.
“In 2010, we were asked to participate in the Hunting Access Program, we had no properties enrolled in HAP and we took the opportunity to just start reaching out to our local landowners,” Hergott said. “We started going to meetings like the county commissioners, townships and local sportsman’s clubs. Soon, we started to be invited to local chapters of pheasant clubs, the Michigan Township Association and school boards to do presentations on HAP.”
Hergott said the program was promoted with the help of the local weekly newspaper and was discussed in the conservation district’s annual report and its annual meetings.
“Phone calls began to come in, and properties were enrolled,” Hergott said.

Currently, the Arenac Conservation District has 25 properties enrolled in Arenac County and another five in Bay County, with a waiting list of four to five land parcels to be added as the acres of enrollment become available.
The DNR received $951,400 in that 2015 federal grant allocation to expand the Hunting Access Program into the northern Lower Peninsula, including Arenac County.
Next spring, the DNR will be accepting applications from landowners in the northern Lower Peninsula in Emmet, Charlevoix, Antrim, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Cheboygan, Otsego, Presque Isle, Montmorency, Alpena, Oscoda, Alcona, Ogemaw, Iosco and Arenac counties.
Properties must be at least 40 acres and contain a minimum of 5 percent wildlife habitat.
Beginning this year, there are additional enrollment incentives for those who live in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency or Oscoda counties, within the deer management units affected by bovine tuberculosis. Landowners should contact the local conservation district in those counties to learn more about the earning potential for their land.
Hergott said she’s honestly “a bit competitive” and wants programs to be successful in Arenac County.
“I won’t say that our main goal was to have the most HAP properties enrolled in our county, but it certainly has been a success that we are very proud of,” Hergott said. “HAP is a really wonderful program. Landowners get to share the love of their land with others, and hunters get to enjoy the beautiful lands for hunting.”


Enrollment options are flexible for landowners. They can choose which types of hunting are allowed on their lands. Hunting options vary in certain areas but include:

bulletAll hunting
bulletYouth and apprentice hunting only
bulletSmall game only
bulletDeer only
bulletTurkey only (southern Lower Peninsula only)
bulletElk only

Landowners may choose more than one option, such as deer and turkey hunting only.
“We found that the customizing the HAP program really appealed to landowners. They felt like it really fit their needs and they had more of a say as to how their land was to be utilized,” Hergott said. “That is what really seals the deal when landowners are sharing their land with others. Our landowners love their land, and they are truly giving of themselves when they are willing to share it so openly.”A map shows the eligible counties and areas in Michigan under the Hunting Access Program.
The Hunting Access Program can pay up to $25 per acre for high-quality habitat enrolled into a Farm Bill program, such as the Conservation Reserve Program, or for land devoted to a wildlife food plot. Maximum rates are paid for high-quality habitat allowing all hunting. DNR staff or a designee can evaluate your land to determine the lease rate. Leases are negotiated for a two- to three-year period with payments made at the end of each hunting season.

Additional benefits for landowners include:

bulletAn annual payment based on acres of land enrolled, type of land cover and type of hunting the landowner chooses to allow.
bulletThe chance to help promote and support Michigan’s rich hunting heritage.
bulletBetter management of wildlife on the landowner’s property.
bulletLiability protection for the landowner through Public Act 451.
bulletThe ability to control types of hunting allowed on the property and negotiate maximum number of hunters on the property at a time, as well as the option to allow youth and apprentice hunting exclusively.

“Property owners can help promote wildlife population management, support the local economy, reduce wildlife conflicts, improve their land and get paid to do it,” Ferris said.
To control the number of hunters using Hunting Access Program lands at any one time, hunters are required to register to hunt each time they visit the property. The landowner can select either a mandatory registration at their home or a hunter self-registration box, which the DNR will provide and install.
The maximum number of hunters allowed on the property is determined by the total acreage, as well as the habitat type.

Finding a place to hunt

Hunting Access Program properties are available each day to hunters on a first-come, first-served basis during the hunting season. Hunters must register at the property headquarters before hunting. Self-service HAP properties have a mailbox designated as the headquarters, with registration forms and property information inside. At mandatory check-in properties, hunters must register directly with the landowner.

Self-service Hunting Access Program properties have a mailbox designated as the headquarters, with registration forms and property information inside.“Whether hunting or scouting, it is important to register upon arrival, because each property has a maximum number of hunters allowed at any one time,” Parker said. “Failure to register is considered trespassing.”
HAP properties are no longer printed in the Public Hunting on Private Lands Digest.
Visit to learn more about the program and to see a current list of private lands available for hunting in Michigan. The HAP webpage includes details about enrolled properties, including types of hunting allowed and aerial photos of the properties. 
There are no extra costs for hunters to use HAP lands, but they are responsible for reviewing information for the land they plan to hunt, checking in before each day of hunting and respecting the landowners’ private property.
Also, check out the Hunting Access Program (HAP) Property Summary, especially from August through October, when new properties are added. HAP lands available are listed by county with detailed information about each enrolled property. Click on the landowner’s name to generate a descriptive, aerial map of the property. Boundary lines, designated parking areas and the headquarters location all can be found in the HAP Property Summary.
To find public hunting land in Michigan, including HAP properties, check out Mi-HUNT – a cutting-edge, web-based mapping application at Mi-HUNT allows users to navigate through a variety of map layers to create their own custom aerial imagery or download pre-made maps to meet their specific hunt-planning needs.

Check out a sidebar story on Mi-HUNT.

This year marks a significant milestone in Michigan, a time to celebrate 40 years of providing leased private lands for hunting through the DNR’s Hunting Access Program, a tradition that is on target to continue for many decades into the future.

This material is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 69-3A75-16-508. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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DNR's Bill O'Neill Honored by Forest Products Council

25OCT17-In honor of the 57th annual National Forest Products Week, the Michigan Forest Products Council (MFPC) awarded Michigan Department of Natural Resources Deputy Director, Bill O'Neill, with its annual Tuebor Award on October 19th. 
"Deputy Director Bill O'Neill has been and continues to be a leader for Michigan," said MFPC Chairman Todd Johnson. "Over the past 31 years, he has an accomplished record as a public servant, particularly his successful effort to help continue the progress the forest products industry has made since the Governor's first Forest Products Summit in 2013."

The MFPC cited his efforts to:

bulletPromote an increase in DNR timber sale outputs.
bulletAdvocate working relationships with DNR field staff in the forest industry.
bulletAdvise a portion of the Governor's Forest Products summits.
bulletLead the Timber Advisory Committee.
bulletRecognize forest industry opportunities.
bulletTake a boots-on-the-ground approach when it comes to solving industry issues.

The annual Tuebor Award recognizes significant accomplishments in business and natural resource policy and recognition focuses on leadership in support of well-managed forests that are vital to Michigan's quality of life, environment and economy.
"This award recognizes not only his forestry advocacy, but also an uncommon passion to improve the industry for all landowners and forestry-related businesses. He recognizes the tremendous job-creation potential of this renewable, natural-resource-based economy," said Louisiana Pacific Corporation Regional Resource Manager, Dan Toivonen.
National Forest Products Week, designated by Congress through Public Law 86-753, started in 1960 and occurs during the week beginning on the third Sunday in October. It recognizes the importance of products from our forests. 
The total economic benefit of Michigan's forest products industry grew from $17.8 billion in 2013 to $20.3 billion in 2014 thanks to help from Bill and his staff. The state has 20.3 million acres of forestland, including 2.5 million acres of federal National Forests and 312,500 private landowners. Additionally, Michigan's value-added international exports reached $505 million in 2014.

The Michigan Forest Products Council works to promote, protect and sustain a globally competitive forest products industry in Michigan. The Michigan Forest Products Council is a statewide organization representing the forest products industry, which owns millions of acres of timberland and employs over 96,600 men and women in Michigan. 


Two DNR Conservation Officers Awarded for Lifesaving Actions in Northeast Michigan

COs Paul Fox, William Webster honored for heroic efforts in separate incidents

Paul_Fox_reduced25OCT17-Two Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers recently were honored for their lifesaving actions in northeast Michigan earlier this year. Conservation Officers Paul Fox and William Webster received the DNR’s Lifesaving Award during the regular meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting in Alpena October 12th.
"Two people are alive today because of the skill, dedication and professionalism of Conservation Officers Paul Fox and Bill Webster,” said Gary Hagler, chief of DNR’s Law Enforcement Division, who presented the awards. “Michigan conservation officers often serve as first responders, sometimes braving treacherous conditions to provide assistance. Their thorough knowledge of the areas they serve makes them well prepared to respond to an emergency scene when every minute counts. We’re proud of Conservation Officers Fox and Webster and are pleased to recognize their heroic actions.”
In March, Fox was at home in Presque Isle County on his day off when something unusual caught his eye as he looked through the window of his residence. Grabbing his binoculars, he took a closer look and saw that a person covered in snow had fallen through the ice and crawled to the riverbank.

Through recently fallen deep snow, Fox quickly set out in his patrol vehicle to the other side of the river, alerting dispatchers of the situation by radio. With about 2 feet of snow on the ground, Fox advised dispatchers to send a snowplow, so other responders could access the area.
When his vehicle became bogged down in the snow, Fox continued on foot for about 300 yards, following the victim’s tracks and cries for help. Upon reaching the victim, Fox rendered first aid for her injuries. She told Fox she had fallen through the ice during the night and her feet were so frozen she was unable to walk. In fact, her feet were encased in several inches of ice from being submerged in the water.
A Presque Isle County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrived as Fox pulled the victim off the riverbank to an open area. Fox and the deputy then carried the victim toward Fox’s patrol truck and an EMS team arrived with a snowmobile and gurney soon after. Fox helped to place the woman on the gurney and then kept the snowmobile from getting stuck in the deep snow.
The victim passed out in the ambulance and was taken to the hospital where she was treated for extreme hypothermia and frostbite. She recovered from her injuries with only minor lingering effects.
Fox has been with the DNR for three years, serving Presque Isle County and the surrounding area the entire time. He is a native of Deckerville in Sanilac County. 
Webster’s lifesaving incident occurred in August, when he heard a central dispatch call for assistance in finding a suicidal man who was in a vehicle somewhere in the Alpena area. In an attempt to locate the person, Michigan State Police asked the cell phone company to “ping” the man’s phone, which can pinpoint the cell tower that received the phone’s last signal.

William_Webster_reducedHowever, the company could only identify a general location in the tower’s vicinity and could not acquire latitude and longitude coordinates. Various law enforcement agencies then dispatched officers to the general location provided.
Due to his knowledge of the area, Webster determined the only place a vehicle could be was on a remote portion of state-managed land. Webster jumped on his all-terrain vehicle and traveled to the area, following fresh tire impressions on the roadway until he came upon a parked, running vehicle with a subject inside.
Webster discovered that piping had been run from the vehicle’s exhaust system into the driver’s side window, and was held in place with duct tape. Webster immediately ripped the piping from the window, opened the door and shut the vehicle off. The internal temperature of the vehicle was extremely hot. The man was unconscious but still had a pulse.
Webster continually performed lifesaving measures and monitored the victim’s condition while he notified Central Dispatch and explained how to get additional responders to the scene. When EMS arrived, Webster helped to load the man for transport to the hospital, where he eventually recovered.
Webster has been with DNR for 11 years, serving Alpena County and the surrounding area the entire time. He is a native of Atlanta in Montmorency County.

Michigan conservation officers are elite, highly trained professionals who serve in every corner of the state. They are fully commissioned peace offers with authority to enforce the state’s criminal laws. Learn more at

Twenty-three young men and women currently are going through training with the goal of becoming Michigan conservation officers. To get a close-up look at their challenges and accomplishments, subscribe to the weekly conservation officer academy blog, which also will be posted on the Michigan DNR Facebook page. View previous blogs from Recruit School #8.


All Three Pure Michigan Hunt Winners Bag Elk and Bear

Pure Michigan Hunt winner Michelle Ketchum with harvested elk24OCT17-Every year, Pure Michigan Hunt winners get to spend their hunting seasons living out their dreams – pursuing elk, bear, deer, turkey and ducks in Michigan’s outdoors.
This year, all three winners bagged a beautiful Michigan bull elk and a black bear.
Michele Ketchum of Sparta harvested a 6x6 bull elk in Montmorency County on the morning of August 29th with the help of her guide, Tim at Elk View Cabins and Guide Service.
“The hunt didn't last long, but it was the most exciting thing I've ever done,” said Ketchum. “Just to be that close to these impressive animals was exhilarating, and I am so thankful that I had this opportunity. If I hadn't won the Pure Michigan Hunt, I may have never had a chance to hunt elk in Michigan.”
Ketchum also harvested a nice black bear in Mackinac County with the help of her guide, Gary Morgan of Wild Game Dynasty.
On Sept. 15, Richard Farris of Almont harvested an impressive 5x5 bull elk in Otsego County with the help of his guide, Preston Cassleman. He also harvested a black bear in Mackinac County Sept. 20.

Pure Michigan Hunt winner Richard Farris with harvested bear“It was an incredible experience to harvest a beautiful Michigan bull elk and five days later, harvest a black bear,” said Farris. “This fall is one that I will never forget.”
Jerry Peak of Crystal had a unique opportunity this hunting season. Along with winning the Pure Michigan Hunt, Peak also drew a Michigan bull elk tag, so he graciously transferred his Pure Michigan Hunt elk tag to his son, Jim.
“I was totally shocked when I found out about drawing a bull elk tag in addition to my Pure Michigan Hunt tag,” said Peak. “I knew right away that I would be transferring my Pure Michigan Hunt tag to my son so we could hunt together.”
On the evening of Sept. 18, Jerry Peak harvested a massive 6x6 bull elk in Cheboygan County. Earlier that morning, Peak’s son Jim also harvested a 6x6 bull elk in Cheboygan County using the transferred tag.
Pure Michigan Hunt winner Jerry Peak with son Jim and harvested elk and bear“The conservation officers and DNR staff were extremely helpful when we got our elk,” said Peak. “We want to thank everyone in the DNR for giving us this once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
In addition to the bull elk, Peak also harvested a 350-pound black bear in Lake County.

“All three Pure Michigan Hunt winners have the flexibility to hunt many different places,” said Jordyn Richardson, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife outreach technician. “Life gets very busy, but because of this ‘golden ticket,’ all three winners have the ability to pick and choose hunt areas and times so they are able to work these hunts into their everyday lives. They also have the option to transfer a license to someone else.”
For hunters who have dreams of experiences like these, there's still plenty of time to make 2018 the hunt of a lifetime, by applying now and applying often. Along with all of the hunting licenses, each winner will receive a hunting prize package valued at more than $4,000. Visit for more information and to purchase Pure Michigan Hunt applications.


Michigan’s Top Environmental and Outdoor Educators Honored

group photo of 2017 MAEOE award winners23OCT17-The Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education earlier this month honored several Michigan educators at its annual conference at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
“We are very proud of the contributions these individuals have made to improve Michigan’s environment by reaching thousands of citizens with positive messages and education,” said Ashlie Smith, the alliance’s outgoing president and head naturalist at the Farmington Hills Nature Center.

The alliance’s highest recognition in 2017 went to:

Jody Harrington, an employee at the E.L. Johnson Nature Center in Bloomfield Hills, has spent most of the past 30 years connecting people to nature. As a classroom teacher in Southfield, Harrington once integrated environmental education throughout her lessons. Today, her love of gardening has been integrated into lessons at the E.L Johnson Nature Center. Her past volunteer work includes time spent as treasurer for the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education. 

Gwen Botting, executive director of Opportunities Unlimited for the Blind in Ionia, whose energy and dedication have enabled that group to do amazing things for visually impaired children. Botting has incorporated nature-related outdoor education into lessons that make a trip to camp the adventure of a lifetime. Campers learn to make campfires, cook, hike, camp, canoe and more, building self-reliance and confidence along the way.

Other Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education awards included three appreciation awards to:

Kathleen Klein, community relations representative at Waste Management in Wixom. Klein steadily exhibits the traits of an environmental educator by bringing real-world issues to the public and making them relevant to daily life. She manages wildlife habitat certification programs for two landfills in southeastern Michigan and conducts dozens of outreach programs each year.
Jereme Vanden Heuvel, camp director at Camp Tuhsmeheta in Greenville. Operated by the Michigan Department of Education, Camp Tuhsmeheta provides the ultimate outdoor experience for those with visual impairments. Vanden Heuvel creates at atmosphere of learning, safety and confidence for all campers, whether leading children on hikes or the climbing wall.

Barbara Kinnunen-Skidmore, early childhood specialist at CLK Elementary in Calumet. Regardless of the season, Kinnunen-Skidmore believes students, especially kindergarteners, should be outside never too early, or too cold, to snowshoe or play on the nature playscape with boulders and logs. These and other outdoor accessories are due to her persistent grant writing and community relationships.

The alliance also gave volunteer awards to:

Francis Majszak, Carl T. Hunting and Fishing Center in Cadillac. Majszak loves to teach others how to enjoy the outdoors and assists by volunteering at ice-fishing clinics, shooting clinics and anything else needed at the center.
Winnie Chrzanowski, Oakland County Parks. Chrzanowski is a grasslands bird monitor, Project FeederWatch observer and frog survey participant. In her spare time, she also volunteers for Clinton County Watershed Council, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Oakland Audubon.  
Ed Becker, Bay City Recreation Area. A retired high school teacher from Saginaw, Becker has been a continual presence at the park where he brings urban, disabled teens to learn how to fish and assist in park stewardship projects. Whether building bird houses or self-esteem among children, Becker works to be a positive influence on children and the park.
Brooksie Pollack, Oakland County. Putting her Michigan Conservation Stewards Program training to work, Brooksie volunteers as a nest-box monitor and frog survey participant. She also assists in the inventory of vernal ponds and mentors other Conservation Stewards Program students.

In addition, the alliance recognized two graduates of the Michigan Environmental Education Certification Program who presented their capstone projects at the conference. They are:

Claudette Wizniuk of Shelby Township and Dorothy McLeer of Dearborn. Wizniuk’s final project was "Clinton River Watershed - Recovery of Michigan’s Rivers." McLeer’s was titled "Combatting the Extinction of Experience – Introducing Youth to the Real World Outdoors."

The Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education is a professional association supporting and advancing environmental and outdoor education statewide. Learn more at


The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to



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Streaming Technical: The audio stream is broadcast in monophonically direct from our AM modulation monitor, you are hearing the same signal that is broadcast over the air (audio processing included). If you have an exceptionally good AM receiver with full 10kHz IF bandwidth, you will experience a hi-fidelity frequency response closely approximating that of the streaming service. WIOS's music is digitally "cleaned" and equalized to provide removal of most analog noise, clicks and pops along with crisper highs and deeper lows on older recordings where that range had been previously restricted.

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