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Tag Archive | "DNR"

DNR launches online ORV safety course


Operators of off-road vehicles (ORVs) in Michigan are now able to obtain their required Safety Training Certificate by taking a Michigan-endorsed and approved course at www.ATVcourse.com.

“The online ORV safety education course offered by ATVcourse.com is another option for students to obtain their ORV safety certificate,” said Cpl. John Morey of the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) Law Enforcement Division. “The online content is modeled after our existing program and specifically tailored to Michigan.”

In Michigan, operators of ORVs under the age of 16 are required to have a Safety Training Certificate and be under the supervision of an adult to legally operate an ORV. While the training is not required for those 16 years of age and older, the DNR recommends all riders get the safety training.

Students who are unable to attend a traditional ORV classroom course may take this course as an option. The Michigan online ORV course will allow students to obtain the required safety certification on their own time, which will mean more young riders obtaining safety education in time to enjoy riding with their families.

To register for the online course (which is free to sign up and study for, and costs $29.95 upon completion), go to www.atvcourse.com/usa/michigan/.
For more information on ORV riding in Michigan—including trail maps, laws and regulations—go to www.michigan.gov/orvtrails.

 

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Learn archery skills with the DNR


OUT-Learn-archery
Have you ever wanted to give archery a shot? Here’s your chance! We’re offering Arrows Away, an introductory archery programs where you can learn basic archery safety, terminology, and get lots of shooting time! We provide all of the equipment for most ages and abilities. And remember, you don’t have to be a hunter to enjoy shooting the target!
Arrows Away programs are free with a Recreation Passport.
Programs are being offered at the following parks:
• Bay City Recreation Area
• Hoffmaster State Park
• Ludington State Park
• Mitchell State Park
• Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
• Tahquamenon Falls State Park
• Waterloo Recreation Area
• Wolf Lake Hatchery Visitor Center
What is the Recreation Passport? 
The Recreation Passport replaces the state park sticker and is required for entry to all Michigan state parks and recreation areas. If you haven’t already purchased yours when renewing your license plate, you can still purchase a Recreation Passport at a state park or recreation area. Michigan residents pay $11 per vehicle. Nonresidents pay $8.40 per vehicle for a daily pass.
Did you know you can learn outdoor skills like archery, kayaking, disc golf, windsurfing and more at state parks all across Michigan? Learn more at www.michigan.gov/rec101.

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To prevent bear problems, remove all food sources


Hungry bears are often attracted to bird feeders. The Department of Natural Resources advises those who want to prevent bear problems to remove bird feeders and other attractants.

Hungry bears are often attracted to bird feeders. The Department of Natural Resources advises those who want to prevent bear problems to remove bird feeders and other attractants.

It might be hard to believe black bears see a bird feeder as food source, but they do. Bird feeders, garbage cans and barbeque grills are all bear attractants that humans can control.
Food, mating, and young bears establishing their own territories are all reasons bears are more noticeable right now. Bears typically mate in June or July, and the mother will kick out her yearlings in order to do so.
“Bears are looking for food and new territory,” said DNR bear and furbearer specialist Adam Bump. “While we might not think of bird feeders and trash cans as food sources, a hungry bear certainly may.
“The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears involve a food source. The easiest thing people can do to avoid creating a problem is to take in their bird feeders and store other attractants—like grills, trash cans and pet food—in a garage or storage shed.”
Bird seed is especially attractive to bears because of its high fat content and ease of access. Once bird feeders are discovered, bears will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeders have been removed. Bears are capable of remembering reliable food sources from year to year.
Bears that are rewarded with food each time they visit a yard can become habituated to man-made food sources. This can create an unsafe situation for the bear and become a nuisance for landowners if a bear continuously visits their yard during the day and repeatedly destroys private property in search of food.
Those who have taken appropriate actions to remove food sources for a period of two to three weeks, but are not seeing results, should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.
For more information about bears go to www.michigan.gov/bear.

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Paddle the Muskegon River with a DNR biologist July 27


Looking for a great way to spend a warm July Saturday? Join the DNR and Highland River Adventures on July 27 for a fun kayaking trip down the Muskegon River through the Muskegon State Game Area.
During this three-hour excursion, instructors from Highland River Adventures will provide basic kayaking lessons to get participants on the river and paddling. No prior kayaking experience is necessary.
Once attendees have mastered the art of paddling, a DNR biologist will lead a guided tour through the State Game Area, pointing out area wildlife and other natural features.
Two trips are scheduled on July 27: one from 9 a.m. to noon and another from 1 to 4 p.m. Both trips begin at Holton Duck Lake Road. Space is limited. Registration is $20 per person, which includes kayak rental. To register, visit http://trailspotters.net.
This event is part of the DNR’s Michigan’s Wetland Wonders Challenge II, a contest sponsored by Consumer’s Energy to spark interest in Michigan’s wetlands.
This summer, several Wetland Wonders Challenge II events will take place throughout the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan at seven Managed Waterfowl Areas. Those who attend challenge events will be entered into a drawing for seven ultimate Michigan exploration packages courtesy of Michigan United Conservation Clubs. To learn more about the Wetland Wonders Challenge II, visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders.

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Notes from the field: A lucky day


Wildlife biologists collar three bears in Newaygo

A female black bear crossing in front of wildlife biologist Pete Kailing’s truck.

A female black bear crossing in front of wildlife biologist Pete Kailing’s truck.

DNR wildlife biologist Pete Kailing recently had one of those days at work that he’ll never forget. “I couldn’t believe the luck we had that day,” Kailing said. “Sometimes it just feels like everything is working against you, but days like this are magic.”

Kailing is the wildlife biologist out of Big Rapids, who covers Oceana, Newaygo and Mecosta counties.

The Department of Natural Resources and Michigan State University are currently conducting a research project studying southern Michigan bear movements. Getting radio collars on bears is crucial to this study. This sounds much easier than it actually is. However, everything was in the right place recently, at the right time in northern Newaygo County.

Dwayne Etter, lead DNR research biologist out of Rose Lake, and his crew had just finished up trapping and radio-collaring a small bear nearby. Kailing had been on hand to assist in the effort, and everyone was wrapping up the successful collaring effort and headed in their own directions, when Kailing came around a curve and saw a female bear and her cub feeding in the open area.

“The two bears ran for the woods, and conveniently the cub ran up a tree,” Kailing said. “This was the perfect scenario. I quickly called Etter to tell him where I was and to get here fast.”

Trapping bears can be time-consuming—finding a good trap location, baiting the trap frequently, checking traps daily if not twice a day, and still you may not get the bear. Having a treed cub, with the sow nearby and DNR staff in the immediate area, is stroke of luck.

Kailing waited in his truck for Etter to arrive. Meanwhile, the female bear circled Kailing in his truck, and finally went up the tree with the cub.

When Etter arrived, the two were able to tranquilize the two bears, attach radio collars and gather other important information needed for the bear research project.

“In one day we had three bears collared—it was a great day,” said Kailing.

To learn more about Michigan’s bear populations, visit www.michigan.gov/bear.

 

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DNR advises leaving wildlife in the wild



Baby birds, like these geese, will usually continue to be fed by their parents, even if it appears they’ve been left alone. The DNR advises that if you find baby animals in the wild, it’s best to leave them there.



Baby birds, like these geese, will usually continue to be fed by their parents, even if it appears they’ve been left alone. The DNR advises that if you find baby animals in the wild, it’s best to leave them there.

It happens every spring. Someone finds an “abandoned” fawn and takes it upon themselves to “rescue” it. The Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division staff has a word of advice: Don’t.
“When young fawns are born, they’re not very mobile and don’t appear to have much scent to them so their best defense is to just stay still, on their own, apart from their mother,” explained Brent Rudolph, the deer and elk program leader for the DNR. “Predators can’t track them down by following mom around, so she stays away and the fawns stay alone–that’s their best defense during their first few days of life.”
For the most part, does know exactly where their fawns are. “Sometimes what mom sees as a safe place to stash a fawn is a flower bed at the edge of the house or maybe underneath a deck,” Rudolph said. “So people think ‘That’s a weird place for a fawn—it must be an orphan.’ Generally they’re not orphaned. Through those first few weeks, mom will feed them, clean them, check up on them, and then take off again so she’s not drawing attention to them. So we encourage people to let them be.”
There are times—say, you find a dead doe by the side of the road with a nearby fawn—when fawns have been orphaned. Remember it is illegal to take them into your home. Call a licensed rehabilitator if you feel the need. For a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, visit www.michigandnr.com/dlr/.
The same advice applies to other animals as well. Though many young animals are adorable as babies, raccoons, for instance, they grow up to be less adorable as adults.
According to DNR wildlife biologist Erin Victory, wild animals do not make good pets and once habituated to humans, they generally do not do well, when returned to the wild. They also pose the possibility of bringing disease or parasites that could affect you or your pets into your home. Raccoons, for example, are not only potentially rabid, but they can carry canine distemper, not to mention round worms, fleas and mange.
“Please resist the urge to try to help seemingly abandoned fawns or other animal babies this spring,” Victory said. “We appreciate the good intentions of those who want to help, but animals are better off left alone than if they are removed from the wild.”
Tari Howard, a licensed rehabilitator in Benton Harbor, said she always tells people who have picked up young animals to check and make sure mom’s not around, especially in the case of fawns. “People say, ‘Well, I’ve already touched it,’ but that generally doesn’t seem to matter. I think it’s a myth.”
Howard said she gets a fair number of baby rabbits and squirrels that come to her “eyes closed and hairless.” It’s a 50-50 proposition as to whether they live, she said.
As for birds, the advice is the same. Remember when you were a kid and someone told you that if you touched a baby bird, its mother would either abandon it or kill it? “Not true,” said Karen Cleveland, the DNR’s all bird biologist. “If it’s completely defenseless and can’t move on its own, the short version is: Stick it back into the nest, if you can. If it’s got little feathers on it and it looks like a bird rather than a ball of fluff, odds are it already tried to fledge from its nest before it was ready to fly. Generally, mom and dad will continue to feed it.” Young birds that appear grounded may be found a good distance from the nest, Cleveland said, because they walk and search for shelter from predators.
“It’s probably not ready to fly but it thinks it is, and then it ends up on the ground, because its feathers can’t get it airborne,” Cleveland said. “Little birds have been coming out of the nest too early since little birds have been around.”
Cleveland said the DNR regularly fields calls from homeowners who have found ducks—mostly mallards—nesting in their shrubs or garden. “The thing to do is enjoy it. Back off. Leave them alone. Keep the dogs and cats and kids away from it,” she said. “They’ll be a very quiet neighbor and if the nest fails on its own—something that happens regularly—just wish her luck on her next attempt. If a nest is unsuccessful she’ll try to find someplace else to nest. And if she’s successful there, she may come back.”
Cleveland reminded folks that it is illegal to take birds, just as it is mammals, into their homes without permits to do so. “There are licensed rehabilitators who can work with them if necessary,” she said. “But it’s better for the bird to be raised by their parents, to learn all they need to know to live in the wild rather than to be raised by a human.”
For more information about specific species or wildlife viewing opportunities, visit www.michigan.gov/wildlife.

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Spring weather has bears and other wildlife on the move


Hungry bears emerging from their winter hibernation are often attracted to bird feeders. To avoid problems with nuisance bears, the Department of Natural Resources advises Michigan residents to take bird feeders down temporarily until natural food sources become available.

Hungry bears emerging from their winter hibernation are often attracted to bird feeders. To avoid problems with nuisance bears, the Department of Natural Resources advises Michigan residents to take bird feeders down temporarily until natural food sources become available.

Although it is still quite cold outside, Michigan’s wildlife knows the spring season is here (based on the increase of daylight hours) and is beginning to wake up from its winter hibernation. Bears are one of the animals starting to emerge from their dens. Food and mating are the two drivers behind the increase of wildlife that Michigan residents may be seeing lately. Since bears typically mate in June or July, food is the primary cause for the increase in bear activity during the spring.

“At this time of year, bears are looking for food,” said DNR bear and furbearer specialist Adam Bump. “They are hungry after spending months in their dens, and while we might not think of bird feeders and trash cans as food sources, a hungry bear certainly may.”

Each spring, as bears leave their winter dens and resume daily activity, wildlife officials begin receiving calls about bear sightings and even the occasional bear damaging bird feeders, trash cans and grills. Birdseed is especially attractive to bears because of its high fat content and easy accessibility. Once bird feeders are discovered, bears will keep coming back until the seed is gone or the feeders have been removed.

“The majority of complaints we receive about nuisance bears in the spring involve a food source. The easiest thing people can do to avoid creating a problem is to temporarily take in their bird feeders and store other attractants, like grills, trash cans and pet food, in a garage or storage shed,” Bump said. “Once the woods green up, bears tend to move on to find more natural sources of food, as long as they haven’t become habituated to the birdseed or garbage cans.”

Bears that are rewarded with food each time they visit a yard can become habituated to these food sources unintentionally provided by people. This can create an unsafe situation for the bear and become a nuisance for landowners if a bear continuously visits their yard during the day and repeatedly destroys private property in search of food.

DNR Wildlife Division staff members are unable to respond directly to each nuisance bear complaint, and instead ask that landowners do their part to help reduce potential food sources in their yards first before calling for further assistance. The trapping of nuisance bears is only authorized by DNR wildlife officials in cases of significant property damage or threats to human safety when other techniques have failed. Anyone who is experiencing problems with nuisance bears and has taken the appropriate action to remove food sources for a period of two to three weeks, but has not seen results, should contact the nearest DNR office and speak with a wildlife biologist or technician for further assistance.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/bear.

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New fishing regulations adopted for 2013-2014 season take effect April 1


OUT-Fishing-license-father-To ensure Michigan’s fisheries resources are managed properly and provide the best benefits to anglers and the public, the Department of Natural Resources annually adjusts fishing regulations. For the coming 2013-2014 angling year, which starts Monday, April 1, the DNR would like anglers to be aware of the following new fishing regulations:

Muskellunge Possession Limit Change – Only one muskellunge (including tiger muskellunge) may be harvested per season per angler. A new non-transferrable muskellunge harvest tag is required to harvest muskellunge in Michigan waters. The muskellunge harvest tag is free and available at all fishing license vendors. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/muskie.

Northern Pike Fishing Regulation Changes – Northern pike regulations now include the establishment of a new 24-inch to 34-inch protected-slot-limit with a daily possession of two northern pike on six waters. A new provision has also been added to the no minimum size limit regulation waters where five northern pike may be harvested daily – only one northern pike greater than 24-inches is now allowed as part of the daily possession limit. The general statewide 24-inch minimum size limit with a daily possession of two northern pike is still in effect for all other waters not listed as an exception.

Bow and Spear Fishing Regulations – Crossbows are included as lawful gear on the waters where bow and arrow use is lawful. The spearing prohibition on Houghton Lake in Roscommon County was removed. Netting Regulations – Netting regulations have been modified and some season dates have changed.

Inland Trout and Salmon Regulations – There are five new research streams in the Upper Peninsula where an additional five brook trout may be retained for the daily possession limit.

Possession Limit Change – The Platte River daily possession limit is one rainbow trout from the Upper (Hatchery) Platte River Weir downstream to Lake Michigan. The Little Manistee River daily possession limit is one rainbow trout from 300 feet downstream of the Little Manistee River Weir down to Manistee  Lake.

Spawning Closure – the lower portion of the Betsie River from the Betsie Valley Trail Bridge (former railroad trestle bridge) west to a line in Betsie Bay between the westernmost dock of the Northstar Marina  and the westernmost dock of the Eastshore Marina is closed to fishing until further notice.

These regulation changes are detailed further in the 2013 Michigan Fishing Guide, now available at all  major retailers and at the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/fishingguide.

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Enjoy Michigan’s ‘Summer Free Fishing Weekend’ June 9-10


The Department of Natural Resources reminds everyone the annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10. On that weekend, everyone – residents and non-residents alike – can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.

Since 1986, Michigan has annually celebrated the Summer Free Fishing Weekend as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast aquatic resources and the sheer fun of fishing. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 36,000 miles of rivers and 11,000 inland lakes, Michigan and fishing go hand in hand.

“This summer’s Free Fishing Weekend is a great way to get outdoors and experience some of the finest freshwater fishing in the world,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. “Fishing is such an affordable activity – anyone can pursue it – so get out this June and try it yourself, for free!”

To encourage involvement in Free Fishing Weekends, organized activities are being scheduled in communities across the state. These activities are coordinated by a variety of organizations including constituent groups, schools, local and state parks, businesses and others.

There’s still plenty of time for communities to plan their own Free Fishing Weekend events, or to find an activity occurring nearby. Visit www.michigan.gov/freefishing for all things related to this unique weekend, including help on event planning and promotion, a registration form for official events, and a chart identifying activity locations.

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 www.michigan.gov/dnr.

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DNR advises earlier caution against oak wilt disease


Avoid unnecessary tree pruning, cutting 

Due to the unseasonably warmer temperatures this spring, the window for the transmission of oak wilt from diseased to healthy red oak trees has already started, the Department of Natural Resources announced today.

According to Dr. Robert Heyd, Forest Pest Management program manager for the DNR’s Forest Resources Division, oak wilt is a serious disease of oak trees – mainly red oaks, including northern red oak, black oak and pin oak – in Michigan and seven other neighboring Midwestern states. Red oaks will die within a few weeks after becoming infected, though white oaks are more resistant and the disease progresses more slowly. This year the disease risk for trees is especially high and ahead of schedule.

“The normal time-tested advice is to prevent oak wilt by not pruning or otherwise ‘injuring’ oaks from April 15 to July 15,” said Dr. Heyd. He said the spread of oak wilt occurs during this time of year as beetles move spores from fungal fruiting structures on last year’s oak wilt-killed trees to wounds on healthy oaks. Because of the warmer weather, the beetles that move oak wilt – and the oak wilt inoculum – are present in many areas.

 “Anyone who has lost trees to oak wilt knows not to cut trees from mid-April to mid-June,” Dr. Heyd explained. “But, with the warmer weather and the higher risk, the time frame has moved up much earlier. Prevention efforts – not cutting and pruning – really need to start now.”

Dr. Heyd said although oak wilt hasn’t been detected in every Michigan county, the need for vigilance is present statewide. “With the transport of firewood and other tree-related activities, you have to assume the risk is present, whether you live in metro Detroit or Menominee.”

Oak wilt has already been detected in the following counties: Alcona, Allegan, Alpena, Antrim, Barry, Benzie, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Cheboygan, Clinton, Crawford, Dickinson, Genesee, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Iron, Kalamazoo, Kalkaska, Kent, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Manistee, Menominee, Midland, Missaukee, Monroe, Montcalm, Montmorency, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oakland, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Ottawa, Roscommon, Saginaw, Shiawassee, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne and Wexford.

Springtime is a popular time for people to move firewood to vacation properties and other locations. During this April-to-June period, Dr. Heyd said it’s vital not to move wood from oak wilt-killed trees. These trees are often cut into firewood and moved, sometimes many miles from their original locations. Any wounding of oaks in this new area can result in new oak wilt infections as beetles move spores from the diseased firewood to fresh wounds on otherwise healthy trees.

The DNR recommends that anyone who suspects they have oak wilt-tainted firewood should cover it with a plastic tarp all the way to the ground, leaving no openings. This keeps the beetles away and generates heat inside the tarp, helping to destroy the fungus. Once the bark loosens on the firewood, the disease can no longer be spread.

New oak wilt sites have been traced to spring and early summer wounding from tree-climbing spikes, rights-of-way pruning, nailing signs on trees, and accidental tree-barking. If an oak is wounded during this critical time, the DNR advises residents to cover the wound immediately with either a tree-wound paint or a latex paint to help keep the beetles away.

Once an oak is infected, the fungus moves to neighboring red oaks through root grafts. Oaks within approximately 100 feet of each other – depending on the size of the trees – have connected or grafted root systems. Left untreated, oak wilt will continue to move from tree to tree, progressively killing more red oak over an increasingly larger area. These untreated pockets also serve as a source of inoculum for the overland spread of the disease.

Get more information on the background, symptoms and prevention of oak wilt at  http://michigansaf.org/forestinfo/Health/E2764-OakWilt.pdf.

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