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Tag Archive | "outdoors"

Weekly Fishing Tip


Catching a catfish in Michigan

 

Rodney Akey with record catfish.

The new state record flathead catfish caught on May 22 on the St. Joseph River has brought a relatively unheralded species into the daylight. The record flathead, which weighed 49.81 pounds and measured 45.7 inches, was caught by Rodney Akey of Niles, who was fishing with an alewife for bait. That’s one of the main differences with fishing for the flathead than other catfish species. Anglers often use live baitfish when pursuing flatheads, unlike the earthworms, shrimp or various stink-bait concoctions many catfish anglers use.

Flatheads tend to live in slow-flowing rivers where they typically inhabit deep holes. Veteran flathead anglers often pursue them at night, fishing on the bottom in the leading edge of the hole or on the flats upstream. Large minnows, small sunfish or cut suckers are preferred baits. Summer is the most popular season to fish for flatheads; what better time to get out and try your luck!

For more information on fishing for catfish, check out the Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them section of the DNR’s website. Go to Michigan.gov/dnr and then click on fishing, then angler information, and then “Michigan Fish and How to Catch Them.”

 

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Reminders for snowmobile and ORV riders


Winter is a beautiful time to experience Michigan’s outdoors. Whether riding a portion of Michigan’s groomed snowmobile trails or riding an off-road vehicle (ORV) to a favorite remote ice fishing hole, the Department of Natural Resources reminds riders to always exercise safety.
“With Michigan’s riding opportunities also comes inherent risks associated with motorsports,” said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “It is each rider’s responsibility to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers and bystanders.”
There are several common factors with snowmobile and ORV accidents in Michigan.  The DNR urges snowmobilers and ORV operators to take simple precautions this winter season.  Excessive speed, alcohol use, inexperience, failure to wear helmets, operating on roadways and unfamiliarity with terrain are some of the most common factors involved in accidents. Many fatal accidents have one or more common factors as contributing causes.
“Operators should respect the speeds that snowmobiles and ORVs are capable of attaining, and the demands that operating over snow and ice pose,” Hagler said. “Safety education is a crucial factor in safe and responsible snowmobile and ORV operation. Safety education is required for youths and highly recommended for all others.”
Persons interested in finding a safety course, go online to www.michigan.gov/dnr and click on the “Education & Outreach” menu and then select Hunter Education & Recreational Safety Classes.  Safety training classes are offered in a classroom setting and some are available online.
The DNR does not recommend operating on the frozen surface of water; however, the DNR recognizes that it is a popular activity.  If an ice crossing is unavoidable there are several safety concerns operators need to be aware of in the event they fall into the freezing water.
Once a person is suddenly immersed in freezing water, their respiratory system will automatically and instantly have an uncontrollable inhaling gasp reflex because of the cold shock. If initially under the water, individuals will inhale water into their lungs. It is critical to get your head above the surface and first get your breathing under control which will take at least one minute. If you do not control your breathing the chances of drowning sooner are exponentially increased. Once you have your breathing under control, get to the edge of the solid ice you were at before you fell in because you know that ice held your weight at one point.  Secure your arms on top of the edge of good ice.  Use your arms to lift your body up and kick your feet hard in a swimming motion while leaning over the good ice.  Get your upper body up onto the solid ice and roll away from the open water. Using self-rescue ice spikes, which typically consist of two plastic cylinders with spikes on one end connected with a line, can greatly assist in pulling yourself out of the water onto safe ice.  Once you are out, do not stand up immediately or you will have an increased risk of falling through thin ice again. Once far enough away from the open water, begin to crawl away and eventually walk.
If you’re unable to get yourself out of the water, ensure your arms and as much of your upper body are out as far as possible. Reach out as far as you can onto the ice and do not move your arms. This will hopefully freeze your clothes to the ice and keep you from falling farther back in and increase the chances of being rescued. You will lose effective movement in roughly 10 minutes, but you can remain conscious for up to two hours. You should yell or signal for help.
Do not remove any protective gear such as a helmet or jacket. Your appropriate protective gear (riding clothes, suit and helmet) will offer some degree of floatation and provide insulating qualities. Helmets, while not marketed as a Personal Flotation Device (PFD), are partially constructed of foam liners and offer about the same amount of buoyancy as a PFD. Wearing a helmet will also help retain body heat around your brain which would otherwise be lost quicker, hastening unconsciousness, if not wearing a helmet.
There are free safety videos available online to illustrate what to expect and how to react in cold water immersion scenarios. These videos made be viewed at:  http://www.yukonman.com/cold_water.asp.

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Horse owners reminded to vaccinate for mosquito-borne diseases


Eastern Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus cases could be worse this year

Lansing – The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development’s State Veterinarian Dr. Steven Halstead today reminded horse owners to vaccinate against mosquito-borne illnesses and prevent mosquito exposure to themselves and horses during this year’s rainy season and warm weather months.  Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is suspected of being the cause of 129 out of 133 horse deaths in 2010, 56 of the deaths were laboratory confirmed; and West Nile Virus (WNV), another mosquito-borne illness has been found in Michigan in past years.  Both can affect humans, birds, deer and horses.

“The viruses circulate in mosquito and bird populations throughout the spring and early summer, and gradually spill over to horses, and potentially to humans,” said Halstead. “Owners should plan to vaccinate horses now to protect them against these diseases. Michigan typically sees an increase in the number of cases of EEE and WNV in late summer and early fall each year.”

EEE, commonly called sleeping sickness, and WNV are both caused by specific viruses found in wild birds. Mosquitoes that feed on birds carrying EEE or WNV can transmit the disease to horses and humans. Some birds are able to harbor the viruses without becoming acutely ill, thereby serving as reservoirs for the diseases.
Clinical signs of both viruses in horses include: depression, fever, muzzle weakness, the horse is often down and unable to get up, sweating, dehydration, seizing, grimacing, not feeding, head down, stumbling, blindness and circling.

“We encourage diagnostic testing because EEE and WNV can look like rabies and while rabies is not very common in horses, rabies is contagious from infected horses to people,” Halstead said.  “Horses do not develop high enough levels of EEE or WNV in their blood to be contagious to other animals or humans; however, vaccinations against EEE, WNV and rabies are always critical to protect horse health.”

Horse owners should follow these tips to prevent mosquito-borne illness:

  • Vaccinate your horses. Inexpensive vaccines for EEE and WNV are readily available and should be repeated at least annually. It is never too late to vaccinate horses. Talk to your veterinarian for details.

 

  • Use approved insect repellants to protect horses.

 

  • If possible, put horses in stables, stalls, or barns during the prime mosquito exposure hours of dusk and dawn.

 

  • Eliminate standing water, and drain troughs and buckets at least two times a week.

 

For more information about WNV or EEE in horses, contact MDARD’s Animal Industry Division at 517-373-1077 or visit www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

MDARD encourages horse owners to report suspect cases to the department at 517-373-1077 or, after hours, at 1-800-292-3939. When disease surveillance begins, weekly updates of affected animals will be posted on the Emerging Diseases website at www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

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