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Tag Archive | "elk"

Be on the lookout for sandhill cranes, elk and more

Photo courtesy of US Fish and Wildlife Service 
The sandhill crane stops in lower Michigan
before heading to the southern states. 

Chilly October mornings are a great opportunity for wildlife viewing in Michigan. Walking through the dew-covered grasses toward a marsh edge, you might come across the prehistoric-looking sandhill crane. Or perhaps, just before dusk in the Pigeon River Country State Forest, you’ll hear the bellowing bugle of a bull elk.

Throughout the season, sandhill cranes migrate farther south for the winter but take respite in Michigan’s lower counties before the next leg of their journey to southern states. Standing 5 feet tall with 6-foot wingspans and unmistakable bright red heads, they are a stunning sight. Sandhill cranes can be found feeding on seeds and grains in agricultural fields or browsing on wetland plants, insects and amphibians in marshlands throughout Jackson and Washtenaw counties. For more on these birds and where to view them, visit this Michigan Audubon webpage at https://tinyurl.com/y5vw7jfr.

A wild elk herd resides in the Pigeon River Country State Forest near Gaylord, and they become more active as mating season nears. 
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

In the depths of the Pigeon River Country State Forest near Gaylord resides Michigan’s wild elk herd. As the breeding season approaches, elk are more active and can be seen in forest openings, the males bugling for attention from females and working to establish dominance over other suitors. There are 13 elk viewing areas throughout the Pigeon, providing optimal opportunities to watch the herd. To find viewing areas and plan your trip, check out the elk viewing guide at https://tinyurl.com/y2yg9dvx.

Fall is breeding and migration season for many wildlife species, so animals are on the move. Make the most of it by visiting Michigan.gov/Wildlife for information on trails, times and areas to improve your chances for a successful viewing experience.

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Reward offered in elk poaching incidents

in northern Lower Peninsula

Wild Michigan elk. Photo from michigan.gov

The Safari Club International-Michigan Involvement Committee is concerned by numerous recent reports of elk being poached in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.

As a result, the committee is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of an individual or individuals illegally killing elk in Michigan. In the past, the organization has offered a similar $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone illegally killing moose in Michigan, and this offer stands to date.

In mid-Decembear, area residents found three adult elk cows poached in Otsego County. The incident marked the third such case in northern Michigan in roughly a month. In mid-November, one bull elk was killed in Montmorency County and another, during the same week, was poached in the Pigeon River Country in Otsego County.

To report information on the illegal killing of elk or moose in Michigan, please call or text the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.

For more information about the conservation work of SCI-MIC visit http://scimic.org/index.html.

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New deer regulations related to chronic wasting disease

Included is a ban on baiting and feeding in CWD Management zone, including Kent County

Michigan’s Natural Resources Commission approved new hunting regulations last week aimed at slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease.

The action came after months of commission members and Department of Natural Resources staff hearing from hunters, residents and others interested in the long-term health of the state’s deer population, and a thorough review of the best available science on chronic wasting disease.

“We hope that by setting these specific CWD regulations we can limit the movement of this disease in Michigan,” said Vicki Pontz, NRC chairperson. “We appreciate all the comments we have received from across the state. Michigan hunters are very passionate about deer and deer hunting, and I look forward to working with them as we continue to confront this threat to wildlife and our valued hunting tradition.”

CWD is a fatal neurological (brain and nervous system) disease found in cervids—deer, elk and moose. The disease attacks the brains of infected animals and produces small lesions that result in death. There is no cure; once an animal is infected, it will die.

The disease first was discovered in Michigan in a free-ranging deer in May 2015. To date, more than 31,000 deer in Michigan have been tested for chronic wasting disease, and CWD has been confirmed in 60 free-ranging deer in six Michigan counties: Clinton, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kent and Montcalm.

The approved deer hunting regulations, which will be in effect for the 2018 deer seasons unless noted otherwise, include:

  • Reduced the 4-point on-a-side antler requirement on the restricted tag of the combination license in the 16-county CWD Management Zone. Under the new regulation, a hunter in the CWD Management Zone can use the restricted tag of the combination license to harvest a buck with antlers as long as it has at least one 3-inch antler. 
  • Created a discounted antlerless license opportunity in the CWD Management Zone on private land; if purchased, the license will expire Nov. 4, 2018.
  • Effective immediately, a statewide ban on the use of all natural cervid urine-based lures and attractants, except for lures that are approved by the Archery Trade Association.
  • An immediate ban on baiting and feeding in the 16-county area identified as the CWD Management Zone. This area includes Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa and Shiawassee counties.
  • A ban on baiting and feeding in the Lower Peninsula, effective Jan. 31, 2019, with an exception to this ban for hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements. The start date on this regulation is intended to allow bait producers and retailers time to adjust to the new rule.
  • Effective immediately in the CWD Management Zone and four-county bovine tuberculosis area (in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Oscoda counties), hunters with disabilities who meet specific requirements can now use 2 gallons of single-bite bait, such as shelled corn, during the Liberty and Independence hunts.
  • Allowance of all legal firearms to be used in muzzleloader season in the CWD Management Zone.
  • A purchase limit of 10 private-land antlerless licenses per hunter in the CWD Management Zone.
  • Restrictions on deer carcass movement in the five-county CWD Core Area (Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties) and the CWD Management Zone.
  • Antlerless options on deer licenses/combo licenses during firearms seasons in the five-county CWD Core Area.
  • Expansion of early and late antlerless seasons in select counties.
  • Changes to regulations regarding wildlife rehabilitators.

In addition, the commission asked the DNR to move forward with:

  • An experimental mandatory antler point restriction regulation in a five-county CWD Core Area, including Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm and Newaygo counties. The restriction would begin in 2019, provided a survey of hunters shows support for the requirement and specific department guidelines are met. This is intended as a tool to evaluate the effects of antler point restrictions on the spread and prevalence of CWD, along with deer population reduction.
  • A hunter-submitted proposal for mandatory antler point restrictions in Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, St. Clair and Lapeer counties. If hunter surveys support this regulation and specific department guidelines are met, it would be implemented in 2019.

These regulations come after much collaborative work to better understand the scope and pathways of CWD and best management actions. In October 2017, Michigan hosted a CWD symposium that brought together roughly 200 wildlife scientists and other experts from across the country.

Recommendations and public outreach

Shortly after the symposium, the DNR and the Natural Resources Commission announced the creation of a nine-member Chronic Wasting Disease Working Group. This group was charged with developing recommendations on additional steps and actions to substantially mitigate CWD in Michigan, and in January presented initial recommendations centered around messaging, partnership funding, regional management, and the importance of continuing a solid science-based approach.

Throughout April and May of this year, the DNR hosted a series of public engagement meetings in Bay City, Cadillac, Detroit, DeWitt, Gaylord, Houghton, Iron Mountain, Kalamazoo, Marquette, Newberry and Rockford. These meetings provided many opportunities for the DNR to share the latest information and recommendations about CWD, while encouraging the public to offer their best ideas on how to slow the disease.

During this outreach period, more than 650 peopled attend public engagement meetings, and the DNR received comments and suggestions via 361 hard-copy surveys and 135 online surveys.

More information on regulations

Details on all regulations will be added next week to the online hunting digests on the DNR website, and DNR staff will be available at deer-check stations during the hunting seasons, too.

More information about these regulations also will be posted next week to the michigan.gov/cwd website. For additional questions, contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

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Waterford man charged with elk poaching 


A 51-year-old man from Waterford, Michigan, has confessed to killing an elk on the opening day of firearm deer season, according to Department of Natural Resources conservation officers who investigated the incident.

A deer hunter hunting in Montmorency County, north of Atlanta, on Nov. 15, contacted the DNR’s Report All Poaching (RAP) Line to report he had found a dead elk. Conservation officers from the DNR’s Gaylord Customer Service Center responded and located the 4×4 bull elk and determined it had been killed by a single gunshot.

After a lengthy investigation by the officers, a suspect was identified and a confession was obtained. Charges currently are under review by the Montmorency County Prosecutor.

“Good old-fashioned police work by our officers brought this case to a successful end,” Lt. Jim Gorno said. “We continue to encourage the public to be diligent in watching out for our natural resources. Without the hunter calling the RAP Line to report this case, it could have gone unsolved.”

Conservation officers continue to investigate a number of poaching-related incidents involving elk in northern Michigan. Anyone with information regarding any incidents is asked to call the DNR Law Division at the Gaylord Customer Service Center at 989-732-3541 or the 24-hour RAP Line at 800-292-7800.

Any fish, game or natural resources violation can be reported to the DNR’s RAP Line or with the online reporting form, available at the DNR website www.michigan.gov/conservationofficers.

Information leading to an arrest and conviction is eligible for a cash reward funded by the Game and Fish Protection Fund. Information also may be left anonymously.

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Pure Michigan Hunt winners harvest bear and elk

Pure Michigan Hunt winners Dave Gittins of Kawkawlin (right) and Jim Bosscher of McBain celebrate the 450-pound bear Gittins took in the Cadillac area.

Pure Michigan Hunt winners Dave Gittins of Kawkawlin (right) and Jim Bosscher of McBain celebrate the 450-pound bear Gittins took in the Cadillac area.


Every year Pure Michigan Hunt (PMH) winners get to spend their fall hunting seasons living out their dreams—pursuing elk, bear, deer, turkey and ducks in Michigan’s outdoors.

All three 2013 Pure Michigan Hunt winners recently harvested bear. Dave Gittins of Kawkawlin and Jim Bosscher of McBain both successfully harvested bear in the Cadillac area, using Wayne and Rob Nixon as their hunting guides.

Gittins harvested a 450-pound bear on public land. “This is my first bear,” said Gittins. “I’m still amazed at his size!”

Bosscher harvested his bear accompanied by Jenny Olsen from Michigan Out-of-Doors TV. “Hunting is all about the experience and the friends that you are with that make the memories,” said Bosscher.

Jason Webb, the PMH winner from Westland, also harvested a bear on public land in the Lewiston area.

Webb hasn’t hunted for his elk yet; he’s waiting to hunt the December elk season, while both Bosscher and Gittins have already taken theirs. PMH winners can hunt any open unit, during any hunt period for that animal. They are not restricted to a unit or a hunt period.

Pure Michigan Hunt winner Jim Bosscher of McBain with his 6x6 elk, taken near Vanderbilt.

Pure Michigan Hunt winner Jim Bosscher of McBain with his 6×6 elk, taken near Vanderbilt.

Gittins shot his choice elk on the morning of Sept. 15, the second week of the early elk hunt.

“Hearing those bulls bugle that close was an experience I will never forget,” said Gittins. “It truly was a hunt of a lifetime … I had the best hunt ever.”

Bosscher started out his elk season passing over many bulls, and even harvested a 9-inch-bearded turkey in between his morning and evening elk hunts. His waiting finally paid off on Sept. 29,when he took a 6×6 beauty. Bosscher used Chad Sides and Brett McVannel as guides to help land his bull in the Vanderbilt area.

“I had a fantastic time and will remember it forever,” Bosscher said.

For hunters who have dreams of experiences like this, there’s still plenty of time to make 2014 the hunt of your lifetime, by applying now and applying often. Along with all of the hunting licenses, each winner will receive a hunting prize package valued at more than $4,000. Visit www.michigan.gov/puremichiganhunt for more information and to purchase Pure Michigan Hunt applications.

Waterfowl season is coming up next for the Pure Michigan Hunt winners; look for more of their adventures coming soon.




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