June 19 • 09:13 AM
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With high wolf populations; is dog hunting the U.P. a lost sport?

Dear Woods-N-Water News:

This story started four years ago, with a little female pup named Mya. She was trained to run bear and coyote. She not only was a hunting dog, but also a family pet, along with two others; Train and Reno. On Sept. 18 we started out on our bear hunting checking roads for tracks. We stayed away from an area with numerous wolf tracks to be safe. One of the dogs rigged a bear and we gathered our hunting party. I dropped Mya, Train and Reno on the track and they ran about two hours to the north, then circled back south to a location Bill was tracking the dogs on his GPS. He made the call to the group the dogs were treeing a bear and he could hear them barking. It took me and my hunting buddy 30 minutes to get around to the section where Bill was. He told us he thought the GPS was indicating one dog was treeing and one dog ran to the west 300 yards and also was treeing. We took out to find the dogs and first came across Mya – dead, clearly attacked and killed by wolves. I was stunned, removed her collar and picked up the track to Train. Shortly later we found him dead as well, assaulted by wolves. Lucky for Reno he lost out on the chase or he'd probably be gone too.

On Monday I went to the Newberry DNR Wolf Specialist to report the incident. A visit to the dogs' kill location and it was verified that wolves did cause their deaths. Graphic photographs of the remains show what's left of the dogs. The DNR informed us that in the Hiawatha area east of Hog Island Road north to the county line there are three wolf packs! A pair of beagles was killed in this area last winter. It was suggested to us we should move to a different area to hunt.

With the number of wolves increasing, this should be a warning to all types of dog hunting. Dog hunting may become a lost sport in the U.P. It would be understandable if the dogs were killed by bears.

Distressed Bear Hunter

Jesse Young

November 30, 2011

I agree with earn

Dear Woods-N-Water News

I am in total agreement with the "earn a buck system" I read about in John Ozoga's article in the Oct. issue. If deer managers seriously want to control deer numbers, you need to make sure the antlerless harvest is dispersed evenly across the area you are targeting. The only way to assure this gets done is with earn a buck.

Forcing hunters who normally would not harvest a doe to do so guarantees at least some antlerless deer would be taken. Especially in traditional club areas of Northeast Michigan where for years it was a sin to shoot does.

From my personal experience in Alpena, I shoot between two and five does a year. This depends on how many deer I am seeing and how hard my food plots are being hit. Not exact science, but it works for my camp. My neighbors rarely take does and it seems my efforts are helping the cause, just not nearly enough.

I can see firsthand how off kilter the buck to doe ratio varies between my camp and the surrounding mile. I drive back roads often and take notes so I have something to compare year to year.

I am no expert, but care very much to make our state herd more like Buffalo County in WI, where I have bowhunted for several years. They have an earn a buck system, not every year, but most years. I can tell you their deer herd is in great shape and hunting is fantastic. The system does so much for the herd. A few more bucks get another year to grow, adding age structure and lowering overall population and eveningout the buck to doe ratio.

Some may argue they don't have the time or the funds to make a special trip to shoot does, well a 'party permit system' could be used; one person could shoot the deer required. Heck it could even create temporary work for someone willing to take care of the doe requirements for someone else. I could go on and on but there's not enough space in this publication.


Jeff Kirchner

November 30, 2011

Why are we on Asian Carp Time?

Dear Woods-N-Water News

At the Sept. 23 Asian carp meeting in Saginaw, Carp Czar John Goss agreed: "We do have native predators for Asian Carp, restoring native fish populations do not in any way affect any other Asian Carp plans, and restoring native fish is part of the plan."

Both John Goss and Jim Bredin (Co-Carp Czar) promised me they would try to get the media to stop saying "no known predators" as it simply isn't true.

It seems however, plans will have to wait until 2015, which looks like more meetings to discuss said plans. Now, how much time do we think we have! It means nothing! We are on Asian Carp time!

Without predators or with a low predator population, they survive better and spread faster! We are all supposed to be doing everything we can to keep the Asian Carp from establishing a population. Check the Asian Carp spread map USGS. Too little too late? More studies? Barriers have everything under control? Politics will save us? We have predators for them, if we don't use them, it's our fault! How is increasing native fish a bad thing? We have invasives they can eat now as well! Trillions of them!

Thank You!

Tom Matych

Twin Lake

November 30, 2011

From the Asian Carp Summit:

Dear Woods-N-Water News:

I attended the Asian Carp Summit in Lansing September 13, 2011 and here's a couple points of interest.

Expert Bill Taylor of MSU was asked if Asian carp could spawn and survive here. He said, they can spawn anywhere, including still water, and they can eat anything that fits in their mouth. Plus they will take over the Great Lakes.

I hope this puts an end to the "they can't survive here" thoughts.

This talk just delays real action, and is totally irresponsible; we must assume they are the most effective freshwater filter feeder in the world.

Asian Carp have the potential to create a mono fishery, one fish, them! They control the food down to micro size. As far as the meeting, if these people want to talk the Asian carp to death, they have a good start!


Tom Matych

Twin Lake MI

October 31, 2011

Our buck to doe ratio is badly unbalanced

Dear Woods-N-Water News:

In response to Larry Walter I would say: The statistics show that 80 percent of yearling bucks are shot in Michigan every year.

This results in the fact that our buck to doe ratio is badly unbalanced. When bucks have 10 or 12 does to mate every year, they are extremely worn out after the breeding season and sometimes do not survive the following winter. They also do not sire the greatest offspring.

Michigan is surrounded on all sides by states and provinces which rank far higher in producing mature bucks. In national statistics, Michigan ranks near the bottom in growing decent size bucks. Our hunters spend thousands of dollars to travel to other states seeking a nice buck. It is estimated that Michigan deer hunters have a one in 8,000 chances to shoot a Boone and Crockett buck. There is a mentality among Michigan deer hunters, that to show how "macho" they are they must shoot bucks only. They brag about this to their family and friends, who do not know that a wise old doe is harder to get than a stupid spike.

Besides, a doe is much better eating than a buck.


Milos Cihelka

October 31, 2011

I want better deer

Dear Woods-N-Water News

I just thought I would forward you this letter I sent to the DNR.

Obviously I am just scratching the surface in my letter, a lot more needs to be addressed:

Dear Director Stokes:

As another deer season begins in Michigan I wish I was living in another state. For what it's worth, I felt it was about time to voice my opinion on some of the DNR regulations for deer managing.

First of all I would like to praise the fact that in some DMUs antler restrictions are starting to change, that's great! However, to make lasting effective changes more must take place!

If you ask anyone who knows anything about managing a deer herd, they will tell you it is so important to keep a handle on your buck to doe ratio. But because Michigan sells two buck tags; this will never happen. The state makes it too easy for hunters to adopt the attitude, "if it's brown it's down!" Two buck tags makes a hunter not care about the first deer he kills because he's got that second tag in his pocket. This results in numerous 1 1/2 year old bucks being killed every year. And with that being the case it makes it difficult for a mature buck to even develop!

If Michigan really cared about the deer hunting, they would take a hard look at what other states such as Ohio, Kansas, Illinois, etc. are doing in managing their deer herd. Ohio for instance is a one buck state, they also are smart in the fact that their gun season isn't till the end of the rut giving a buck a chance to breed, and their timing of their youth hunt is right before their gun season which makes complete sense!

It's unfortunate our MDNR gets bad press in publications and on TV programs because they don't care about the deer herd they just care about selling more tags! If this is true, someone should take a hard look at the future. I'm not a rich person, but if money is what you're after every hunter would pay $30 for their buck tag if they were only offered one. And perhaps you lower the price of doe tags to $9. This would accomplish many good things and the state could still get their money; you would be controlling the growing doe population, and by giving only one buck tag you would be making hunters think before squeezing that trigger, "is this the buck I want to end my season with?"

With these types of changes the result could be that in just a few short years Michigan could be pulling in non-residents willing to pay good money to hunt here! But as it sits now hunters like me who want a chance to even see a mature buck must travel out of state taking our money elsewhere!

Michigan has some of the best habitat to manage a tremendous deer herd! And for what it's worth I felt that as a resident of Michigan and a concerned deer hunter I was obligated to voice my opinion and the opinion of many who wish to have quality bucks in our future!

Concerned hunter,

Joshua Bailey

October 31, 2011

Hunters need to be 14 years old

Dear Woods-N-Water News:

Allowing 10 year-olds to hunt by themselves is a recipe for disaster! Personally I do not want to be hunting on state land with an unsupervised 10 year old with a high powered rifle in their hands!

I could support it if they are on private land they own, lease, or have permission to hunt.

What will happen when a 10 year old accidentally shoots Gramps, dad or even themselves? You can't hold a 10 year-old criminally liable for their actions. What is wrong with waiting until 14 years old? You have to wait until 16 to get a driver's license. A 10 year-old doesn't have the maturity to make rational decisions to survive when they get lost or disoriented in the dark woods and swamps if should something happen to their cell phone.

Thank you,

Gerald Janowicz

September 30, 2011

DNR should help businesses

Dear Woods-N-Water News:

I am writing as a concerned Michigan sportsman of over 40 years. I am losing faith in the MDNR and our legislators as to how they are appropriating OUR taxpayers' dollars.

I would like to know why the chief of the MDNR wildlife division is spending millions of taxpayer and licensing fees dollars to CLOSE business's in Michigan. I am an avid hunter on both my land as well as hunting preserves in Michigan. I have been hearing that the DNR is trying to close hunting preserves. I believe the chief of the wildlife division of the DNR should be concentrating on issues on STATE land. He is not in charge of private property. Maybe he should concentrate on the following areas:

• There is a huge coyote problem all over Michigan including the suburbs. In my area I have been told if I own a small dog to have them on a leash and do not leave them unattended.

•How about reintroducing pheasant hunting in Michigan? Why doesn't the DNR do something about that industry? They should be helping the economy, not hurting it.

•There has been a lack of grouse in Michigan. How about they concentrate on that population?

We need to encourage business in Michigan, NOT CLOSE businesses in Michigan. Michigan is known for its hunting and fishing industry. Why is the DNR taking actions with our taxpayer money to destroy it? Michigan's economy is struggling already. We need all the help we can get to promote revenue. I believe that Michigan will lose more dollars in revenue because the DNR is regulating the hell out of our resources.

I will close with the DNR mission statement: "…the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations."


Bill O'Flynn

September 30, 2011

I love Ron St. Germain’s writing!

Dear Woods-N-Water News:

Just a note to say how much I enjoy reading Ron St. Germain's articals in Woods-N-Water News. He has a way of blending humor with true life situations. I have a cottage in the U.P. between Paradise and Newberry that blended itself so well with the August, "Bugs in the U.P." and September's "Daughter won't use the outhouse." How true and how comical.

I hope Ron writes for your magazine for years to come!

Good Job Ron!

Robert Wilhe

September 30, 2011

A hunter’s waiting game

I find the NRC's/DNR's recent decision to allow ten-year-olds to hunt small game and youngsters twelve years old to hunt deer rather interesting. It reminds me of parents who haul their kids hither and yon to play what I call "junior-junior" football games with kids who are just past lacing up their own shoes. And it reminds me of kids who are sometimes "made" into gold medal swimmers or skaters, future tennis or golf pros, or (W)NBA legends before they reach the fifth grade. And now, too, complete with cell/smart/i phones at hand ready to face/tweet the kid's next monumental accomplishment. In a way, it seems as though no one has to wait for anything for these days.

I know our great state is cash-strapped. And I understand that those who made this decision truly believe, in their heart of hearts, this effort will tag these youngsters as our future adult-license buyers. And for now, it's one sure-fire way to get a few more precious dollars into the hunting & fishing coffers. Simply put, more people purchasing licenses-right now and hopefully in the future, as well.

These kinds of political maneuvers stir up heartfelt memories. I come from a generation of today's hunters who waited. These days, when sitting in my deer blind and reflecting on seasons past, I remember the many times I went "deer hunting" with my father. I did not have my own youth hunting jacket and pants, fully insulated and waterproof, in the latest camo pattern or blaze orange. I did not have warm, felt-pack boots, or a fanny pack loaded with all of today's necessary goodies. Nor did I have a 2-way radio to call for assistance or just to check in. And I certainly did not have a license or a gun.

But here we go: back in those days, I wore my uncle's old hunting coat, handed down to me, with pockets full of stories about when he shot that buck on the south property line. I wore two pairs of heavy socks inside my cousin's old boots. A bologna and cheese sandwich, wrapped in wax paper, was the standard energy snack. A small glass-lined thermos bottle kept hot chocolate lukewarm. I had my own plastic license holder which showed off the previous year's license-a real big deal to me. Because I was the next generation of hunters in my family, I got to use the Jon E handwarmer. And I sat either next to my dad, or alone under a huge spruce tree along the edge of the swamp. And I waited.

Just before first light dawned a white, horizontal line in the eastern sky, I waited to hear leaves rustle or a stick to snap and then to see a buck stick its neck out from thick cover. I waited for a bobcat to sneak by. I waited to see the grouse land in a poplar and "bud" along the branches, eating its fill.

And I waited for the sound of a distant shot. Then, when the shot reported, I froze rigid in place and did not move a muscle. I waited to see the buck run by me and drop because I knew my father would not miss.

My father always made sure I had a compass in my pocket. Before each trip to the woods, he made me pull it out, find north, take a bearing on a distant object, and explain how I would get back to camp. If I passed this little test, I was cleared to "go hunting" for yet another day. In fact, thanks to my father, that old compass gave me something to practice with while I sat in the deer woods long ago, and waited.

Now I must confess that I took my youngest son deer hunting for the very first September Youth Hunt. I video-taped that hunt, complete with a young hunter lifting the small buck's head and smiling proudly into the camera. The early fall colors were brilliant that day and the experience is a memory for which we are both very thankful.

Yes, the rules have bent a little bit and have changed. It stands to reason because this is what rules do, over time. I understand, accept, and will live with these changes in the new, great outdoors. Yet I can only wonder if this effort to capture and keep future hunters will pan out.

But I do know this: right now, there is a vibrant and unwavering core of outdoorsmen and women who waited. We waited for what was once a child's lifetime before we entered that special world of hunting. And ever since that first hunt, we made and continue to make the outdoor experience paramount in our lives. I can only hope this new generation of hunters will someday be able to say the same.

By Russ Fimbinger
September 30, 2011

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