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Tag Archive | "DNR"

Anglers no longer required to keep baitfish receipts


The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would like to inform anglers about new viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) regulations that went into effect Thursday, Jan. 9. The changes result in simpler regulations for anglers who purchase and use minnows as bait by removing the retail sales receipt provision.

Anglers will now no longer be required to possess their bait receipts while fishing and retail minnow sellers will no longer be required to provide anglers with detailed receipts for minnows.

VHS is a serious viral disease that has spread into the Great Lakes region and caused large-scale fish kills. VHS was first identified in the Great Lakes in 2005 and has caused mortalities in a number of fish species in the Michigan waters of Lake Huron, Lake St. Clair, St. Clair and Detroit rivers, Lake Erie, and inland in Budd Lake near Harrison and Base Line Lake near Pinckney. It has also been found in Lake Michigan waters of Wisconsin.

The DNR actively monitors for VHS throughout the year and as other areas are identified positive for VHS, they will be listed online at www.michigan.gov/vhs.

Receipts were previously used for educational and enforcement purposes to direct anglers to places where their bait could be used based on purchase location and whether or not it was certified as disease-free.

VHS regulations have been in effect for several years and, after careful review, the DNR determined the retail receipt provision could be removed because anglers are more knowledgeable about the risks associated with baitfish use.

There is no known treatment for VHS, so preventing the spread of disease is the best way to protect Michigan’s fish. Anglers can help prevent the spread of VHS by keeping the following tips in mind when using baitfish:

Learn to identify the species of baitfish you are using. Species known to be susceptible to VHS and typically used as live bait include emerald shiners, spottail shiners and white suckers. Other species occasionally used as bait that are susceptible to VHS include bluntnose minnows, trout perch, gizzard shad, shorthead redhorse and silver redhorse.

Request that your local bait store sell certified disease-free baitfish.

Purchase and use only certified disease-free baitfish.

Never move live fish between bodies of water.

Disinfect your bait bucket, livewells and bilges between uses with a bleach solution (half-cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water) or allow equipment to dry thoroughly before using in a different body of water.

Properly dispose of all bait containers including worms and soil, crayfish and minnows in a trash receptacle.

Protecting Michigan’s world-class water resources is everyone’s responsibility for now and future generations. All boaters need to drain their livewell(s) and bilge of their boat upon leaving the waterbody because it’s the law.

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The sound science of clear-cuts


Clear-cuts are used to help regenerate species that can’t compete in mature forests. Two of the most notable species that are clear-cut are aspen and jack pine. In order to maximize regeneration, aspen (pictured) must be clear-cut.



Clear-cuts are used to help regenerate species that can’t compete in mature forests. Two of the most notable species that are clear-cut are aspen and jack pine. In order to maximize regeneration, aspen (pictured) must be clear-cut.

The Department of Natural Resources’ Forest Resources Division is in charge of managing the timber on state forest land. The DNR’s Wildlife Division is in charge of managing the critters. But because forestry practices have a big impact on wildlife habitat, the two divisions co-manage state forests to benefit both timber and wildlife. And although the divisions sometimes have different ideas, both agree on one, often misunderstood, technique: clear-cutting.

“Clear-cutting is a sound scientific management technique for harvesting and regenerating certain forest types,” explained Deb Begalle, forest planning and operations section manager with the Forest Resources Division. “Usually it’s for shorter-lived species—such as aspen and jack pine—which are also sun-loving species. They need a lot of sunlight to establish and grow.”

Clear-cutting involves removing virtually all the timber from a stand, which encourages regrowth of the preferred species. But it doesn’t involve stripping the landscape as it did during the timbering era.

“Clear-cutting isn’t what it was 100 years ago,” Begalle said. “We leave some trees in place for a variety of reasons—for wildlife, for aesthetics, sometimes in clumps, sometimes individual trees.

“People are averse to the look of clear-cuts. They see a lot of slash (branches, logs and other debris from natural occurrences or logging operations) on the ground and find it unsightly. But the slash puts nutrients back into the ground as the branches decompose. It also provides micro-habitat for wildlife species, such as salamanders, and brush piles for rabbits.”

DNR wildlife biologist Mark Sargent says young aspen is important to a host of species – grouse, woodcock, deer, rabbits, hare, moose, elk and numerous songbirds.

“In the case of grouse, young aspen stands provide brood-rearing and nesting habitat and, as they grow older, they produce winter food via buds,” he explained. “But young aspen also provides browse for deer, elk and moose—leaves, stems, tops and bark. As the trees grow larger, they grow out of the reach of the animals.”

But along with aspen, Sargent said, come other shade-intolerant plants—raspberries, forbs, dogwood and hawthorns—that provide food or cover for wildlife, too.

“A clear-cut can create outstanding browse and still provide habitat for grouse and woodcock,” he added. “It’s a win-win situation.”

The most critical characteristic of clear-cuts is that they really don’t last long. “We always assure trees are going to grow back quickly,” Begalle said. “In the case of aspen, it will come back so quickly that within a year we have seedlings all over the place.”

Aspen is typically managed on 40- to 60-year rotations for several reasons. That’s not only when the trees have good timber value, but when they’re prime for regenerating.

“The older it gets, the less well aspen regenerates,” Begalle said. “Aspen sort of uses up its vitality. It regenerates through its root system and if it’s losing vitality, it won’t produce as many sprouts.”

While the cuts are well-planned, one of the things the DNR is sometimes criticized for is not leaving buffer areas around clear-cuts.

“We usually do not leave buffers along private property lines, because people then think that’s the property line,” Begalle explained. “A lot people utilize or build on that uncut area because they believe the cut is the property line. And if we left buffers along all the property lines, that would leave thousands of acres unmanaged.

“We try to keep aesthetics in mind,” she continued. “If we have long-lived tree species, such as white pine and oak, we will try to leave those along roadways and private property.”

Clear-cuts do not work for all trees, such as hardwoods or saw-log conifers, but where short-lived, shade-intolerant species are concerned, both Wildlife and Forest Resources division staff agree: Clear-cuts are clearly the way to go.

For more information about how the DNR manages Michigan’s state forest land, visit www.michigan.gov/forestplan.

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DNR seeks Lower Peninsula bear den sites for ongoing research


 

While out in the field in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, hunters and trappers might come upon a denned black bear. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is looking for locations of denned bear in order to fit them with a radio collar for ongoing bear research.

“Information gathered from female bears helps us to manage the black bear population,” said wildlife biologist Mark Boersen. Currently, only three female bears are being monitored in the northern Lower Peninsula through the use of radio-tracking equipment.

“We would like to have a few more female bear collared throughout the area,” said Boersen. “Hunters are all over northern Michigan right now, and they provide a great set of eyes for information on denning locations.”

After locating a denned bear, biologists will determine if the animal is a good candidate for radio-collaring. Only female bears are selected. They will be sedated by a biologist and fitted with a radio-tracking collar and ear tags. Hair samples will be taken for DNA analysis, and a small tooth will be collected to determine the bear’s age. Upon completion of the short procedure, biologists will carefully return the bear to the den where it will sleep through the remainder of the winter months.

People who encounter bear dens are asked to record the location, with a GPS unit if possible, and contact Mark Boersen at the DNR Roscommon Operations Service Center at 989-275-5151. The public is reminded that they should not disturb a bear den or disturb, harm or molest a bear in its den.

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Ladies’ guided pheasant hunt Oct. 27 in Belding


Ladies, grab your shotgun, ammo, boots and hunter orange and join a guided pheasant hunt this fall.

On Sunday, Oct. 27, the DNR and Gourmet Gone Wild—along with Pine Hills Kennels and Sportsman’s Club and the Barry County, Grand Valley and Montcalm County chapters of Pheasants Forever—will, host a ladies’ pheasant hunt at 3329 Johnson Road in Belding.

Registration and coffee begins at 9 a.m. The day’s events will include warming up with shooting at sporting clays, hunting with a guide for two pheasants, learning to clean your birds, enjoying a gourmet lunch and taking home a gift.

Beginners are welcome, and guns can be made available if needed. Registration is limited to 12 ladies 18 years of age or older. The cost for the day is $35 per person.
Pre-registration is required. Please call Scott Brosier at 616-874-8459 to sign up.

Established in 1975, Pine Hill Sportsman’s Club offers its members some of the finest in upland bird hunting anywhere on four farms totaling over 600 acres. Pine Hill’s intensive land management program not only benefits the population of free-ranging upland birds, but also enhances the habitat for deer, turkey and waterfowl.
Gourmet Gone Wild (GGW), a partnership between the DNR, Michigan State University and the Michigan United Conservation Clubs, introduces Michigan’s urban and suburban young professionals (between the ages of 21-39) to conservation, stewardship, hunting and fishing through the locavore movement. Gourmet wild fish and game tastings bring young professionals together and help connect them to hands-on experience and mentorship. To learn more about Gourmet Gone Wild and Gourmet Gone Wilder programs, visit www.gourmetgonewild.org.

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 135,000 members and 740 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, making it the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.

 

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Newaygo County toddler found safe


Amber Rose Smith was reported missing from her home in Paris, Michigan on Tuesday, October 8.

Amber Rose Smith was reported missing from her home in Paris, Michigan on Tuesday, October 8.

An Amber Alert that was issued Tuesday for a 2-1/2 year-old Newaygo County girl resulted in over 100 police and volunteers combing woods, swamps and fields for 24 hours to find the toddler, who was finally found safe on Wednesday, about 1-3/4 miles southeast of her home.

According to the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, Amber Rose Smith was reported missing from her home at 8227 E. 13 Mile Road, in Paris, about 2 p.m. October 8.

Her father, Dale Smith, reported that he had gone into a different room in the residence and when he returned, Amber was gone. He and his wife, Diane Smith, searched the residence and immediate area for about a half hour and could not locate her, so they called 911. Officers arrived on scene and immediately began searching the area with police canines and an MSP helicopter. Search parties were formed with dozens of volunteers.

Reportedly close to 100 people searched overnight for the girl, but did not find her until Wednesday afternoon. DNR Conservation Officer Mike Wells, who was assisting with the search for Amber, located her on the edge of a two-track near 12 Mile Road and Cedar Avenue, approximately 1-3/4 miles south east of the residence she left from.  Amber was standing and alert. She was transported to Spectrum Health Hospital in Big Rapids.

The Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, FBI, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Forestry Service jointly investigated her disappearance.

 

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Men arrested for baiting waterfowl


 

Four men from Allegan and VanBuren Counties and another from Ontonagon County were all arrested last week for hunting waterfowl with the aid of bait.

According Lt. Timothy Robson, a DNR Law Enforcement officer, Conservation Officers from four counties investigated an anonymous tip that corn was being placed to hunt geese prior to the September 1 early goose season opener at a golf course located in Cheshire Township in Allegan County.  Conservation Officers verified the corn was at the location and then observed five men take eight geese over the baited area on the morning of September 1. The five subjects were issued appearance citations for hunting with the aid of bait. One subject was additionally cited for using toxic shot while waterfowl hunting and a second subject was additionally cited for using a shotgun capable of firing more than three shotgun shells.

The men ranged in age from 44 to 73.

If convicted, the state statute provides for fines of $100 to $500 (plus court costs), and restitution of $100 to $500 to the State of Michigan for each illegally taken goose, with the restitution being paid to the Fish and Game Protection Fund. Forfeiture of the firearms involved will be determined by the district court judge after the criminal proceedings are completed.

The DNR reminds you that you can call the Report All Poaching Hotline at 800-292-7800 to report any natural resources violations, including hunting and fishing violations.

 

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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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