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Feathers flew for Pure Michigan Hunt winners


Jim Bosscher’s hunting party, from left to right: Greg Bosscher, Brian Drabik, Jim Bosscher and Jim Naber with dog “Tank.”


Jim Bosscher’s hunting party, from left to right: Greg Bosscher, Brian Drabik, Jim Bosscher and Jim Naber with dog “Tank.”

Waterfowl season is well under way, and the Fish Point Managed Waterfowl Hunt Area recently hosted two of the Pure Michigan Hunt (PMH) winners on opening weekend.

Jim Bosscher from McBain chose Fish Point for his Pure Michigan waterfowl hunt. The opening morning of waterfowl season, Bosscher and three of his lucky friends got to pick first among the 35 total parties, or approximately 140 people. PMH winners not only get to hunt at any of Michigan’s first-class managed waterfowl hunt areas, they also get first pick at selecting their hunting area. Normally hunters are entered into a drawing to find out their order for choosing their hunting location. As an added bonus, PMH winners get to bring three friends with them to enjoy their prime hunting location.

“We saw hundreds of ducks and geese,” said Bosscher. “We had plenty of shooting and even got some!”

Dave Gittins from Kawkawlin hadn’t duck hunted in many years, although that didn’t slow him down. He grabbed some of his close friends to fill up his four-person party limit, and also hunted Fish Point on the second day of the season.

“I had not duck hunted in over 20 years. It brought back some memories,” stated Gittins. “I think that’s a great part of every hunt—to listen and talk about past hunting trips.”

Both Bosscher and Gittins have already harvested their PMH elk, bear and spring turkeys. All that remains for them is their antlerless deer license, valid for anywhere in the state that is open to antlerless hunting. A full freezer of meat, new friendships and all the hunting gear they won will remind them of the memorable 2013 hunting season.

For your chance to win a $4,000 package of hunting licenses and gear donated by Michigan businesses and organizations, visit www.michigan.gov/puremichiganhunt to purchase unlimited $4 Pure Michigan Hunt applications and to view the extensive prize package.

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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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Pure Michigan Hunt winner relishes waterfowl outing


Michigan DNR

Standing in chest waders, hiding in standing corn at Shiawassee River State Game Area, Randy Willis said he found waterfowl hunting to be an eye-opening experience.
“I’ve never imagined I’d be able to do this,” said Willis, a 56-year-old registered nurse from Augusta and one of three winners of the Pure Michigan Hunt drawing for 2011. “This is very cool.”
Having never waterfowl hunted before, he didn’t have the experience or the buddies with the equipment to show him the ropes, he said. Willis acknowledged that he didn’t have any idea what he was in for. “This is a blast,” he said. “I can’t say enough about it.”
Like many of the folks who apply for the Pure Michigan Hunt, which allows winners to participate in every limited-license hunting opportunity in the state, Willis said the chance to be chosen first in a drawing at a managed waterfowl area was well down his list of motivations for applying.
“Elk was the big draw,” said Willis. “I’ve been applying for elk since 1984. I’ve hunted bear before and spring turkey for years, but by purchasing the Pure Michigan Hunt application, and I purchased five, that was five extra chances to hunt elk in your home state. That’s special.”
Turned out it was very special. Willis hunted elk the first four days of the season in August and saw one small bull, but decided to pass on it. “One of the advantages of the Pure Michigan Hunt is you get a chance to come back later,” he said.
When the early season resumed in September, he came back. The elk were bugling and responding to the call and on the second evening, he had a 5-by-7 bull come within 45 yards of him. “He was bugling, just screaming at us,” Willis said. “It was storybook.”
Willis said he wanted to try to take it with his bow, but the elk was outside of his comfortable shooting range.
Later that evening, he saw a nice 6-by-6 moving through an opening at 250 yards. Willis put down his bow, picked up his .300 Mag., and when the elk stopped, he shot him.
And that was after he’d taken a bear, his first success in the Pure Michigan Hunt adventure. Willis hunted for 12 days over bait in the western Upper Peninsula. He said he saw a lot of bears, but was holding out for a record-book quality animal. But on the last day of his hunt, he took what he called “an average bear,” and was happy with that.
Then came the waterfowl hunt.
“I didn’t know what I was going to do about it,” he was. “Then Barb Avers (the Department of Natural Resources’ waterfowl specialist) called and asked me if I had plans. When I told her I didn’t, she said, ‘Let me see what I can do.’”
Avers put Willis in touch with Brian Siess, the president of the Shiawassee Flats Citizens and Hunters Association. Siess offered to guide Willis and his partners. So at 5 a.m. on opening morning of waterfowl season, at the drawing for hunting areas, Willis had the first choice.
And when Barry Pratt, who works at Shiawassee, announced to the waiting hunters that a Pure Michigan Hunt winner had the first choice that morning, Willis was greeted with a round of applause. Two hours later, with decoys in front of him and a couple of experienced waterfowl hunters calling for him, Willis was into it.
Willis invited his 80 year-old father, Gordon, with whom he’s been hunting since he was a lad, and his buddy Chris Ostrander to accompany him. Siess enlisted fellow Shiawassee veteran Butch Boivin to assist.
It started quickly with geese pouring into the flooded corn and buckwheat field Siess had chosen. In no time, the guys were banging away at Canada geese as Siess coached them on how and when to shoot. Two hours into the hunt, the party had a limit of geese in the bag.
The rest of the morning was dedicated to ducks. There were fewer ducks than geese flying and they were less impressed with the decoys and calling than the geese had been. By 10 a.m. the three of them had managed three mallards and a wood duck.
“I have to give a special thanks to Butch and Brian,” Willis said. “We’re feeling pretty special. To be able to come out here and hunt with experienced guys who are involved in the management here is special. The whole experience has been extraordinary, Willis said.
Willis said he primarily bought his Pure Michigan Hunt applications to give something to the DNR for wildlife management.
“The money goes to the Game and Fish Fund, so I figured I was making my donation,” he said. “You’re not only supporting the game and fish management, but you’re putting your name in the hat for something special. When (DNR Wildlife Division Chief) Russ Mason called and told me I’d won the Pure Michigan Hunt drawing, I said ‘Who’s pranking me?’”
Willis’ father, who is a lifelong hunter, but had never been waterfowling before, said he had an outstanding time, too. “It’s a blast,” he said. “It was so neat that those guys at the DNR were willing to step up and help us out. We didn’t have the equipment or the knowledge. Otherwise, we might have had to let this opportunity go by.”
Willis was most effusive in his praise for numerous DNR staffers, who put him in contact with guides and helped him understand all the rules, as well the sponsors who donated prizes (such as rifles and crossbows) to the Pure Michigan Hunt winners.
Willis admits he hasn’t bought any Pure Michigan Hunt applications for 2012 – yet. “I’ve been spending all of my money hunting,” he said. “But before the end of the year, I promise I will. There are folks that buy a Lotto ticket every week. I think it’s a better investment to buy Pure Michigan Hunt applications.”
To learn more about the Pure Michigan Hunt, visit www.michigan.gov/puremichiganhunt.

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Waterfowl season dates for 2011-12


Michigan duck hunters will again enjoy a 60-day season this year as the Natural Resources Commission approved upcoming waterfowl seasons at its August meeting last week.
Duck season will begin Sept. 24 in the North Zone (Upper Peninsula) and run through Nov. 18, then re-open Nov. 24-27. In the Middle Zone, duck season is set for Oct. 1–Nov. 27 and Dec. 3-4. In the South Zone, the season is Oct. 8–Dec. 4 and Dec. 10-11.
Bag limits are unchanged from last year. Hunters may take up to six ducks daily with no more than four mallards (no more than one of which may be a hen), three wood ducks, two redheads, two scaup, two pintails, one canvasback and one black duck.
The early Canada goose hunting season begins statewide Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 10 in the North Zone and in Saginaw, Tuscola and Huron counties; and through Sept. 15 in the rest of the state. The daily bag limit is five.
The regular Canada goose seasons, with the exception of designated goose management units (GMU), are Sept. 17-Oct. 31 in the North Zone; Oct. 1-Nov. 8, Nov. 24-27 and Dec. 3-4 in the Middle Zone; and Oct. 8-Nov. 10 and Nov. 24–Dec. 4 in the south zone. The daily bag limit is two.
At Muskegon Waste Water GMU, the seasons are Oct. 11–Nov. 13 and Dec. 1-11. The daily bag limit is two.
Hunters may take 20 snow, blue or Ross’ geese daily and one white-fronted goose and one brant during the regular and late seasons in respective zones or GMUs.
About 75 percent of Michigan’s mallard harvest is from ducks produced in the Great Lakes region. Michigan’s mallard population was down 34 percent this year from 2010 and 40 percent below the long-term average. Therefore despite very good predictions for continental fall duck flights, Michigan duck hunters will likely encounter fewer ducks, especially mallards, this season.
In general, goose hunters are likely to see smaller numbers of Canada geese throughout Michigan’s goose hunting seasons; however some local areas have good giant Canada goose numbers and will provide excellent opportunity.
For more information on waterfowl hunting in Michigan, go to http://www.michigan.gov/hunting and click on Waterfowl.

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