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Archive for the ‘Hunting’ Category

Should We Slaughter Wild Animals to Protect Captive Animals?

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on February 8, 2011

You can read the article that got me wondering this here.

The article talks about the potential slaughter of a large number of Bison that have migrated out of Yellowstone National Park and are moving out into areas where cattle and ranchers exist. There is a supposed concern about a disease known as brucellosis. You can read up on brucellosis here.

The summary is that brucellosis isn’t a very significant disease and is not likely to be transferred to cattle. It can be transferred to cattle, humans, and many other species. Transmission seems to follow an almost AIDS-like pattern. Meaning that you must have a wound make contact, have intercourse, or eat or drink something from an infected animal. Unlike AIDS, brucellosis is not an overly serious disease to humans and appears to be treatable. As with any bacterial infection serious complications can occur but the likelihood doesn’t seem to be greater than a normal cold or flu for example.

I’m not a doctor but from what I have read, I don’t see why the major uproar. This isn’t CWD.

The only problems I see are that Bison take up grazing areas and can be a risk to humans because of the sheer size of the animals. Again, the risk of being hurt is very small. The risk to crops and grazing areas could be significant to ranchers in the immediate vicinity.

It’s a tougher decision than it appears to be on the surface. What should be valued more, the protection of wildlife or the businesses of humans? Generally speaking any rational person would value a human life over that of any wildlife. But there is no immediate threat or danger here. Brucellosis is being spun into a threat but it’s a relative non-issue. So the impact becomes financial.

So now it’s whether or not we value someone’s financial well-being over the well-being of local wildlife. The government goes to great lengths to protect waterways and salamanders or turtles. They regulate and spend like crazy to protect migratory birds and endangered species. Where does the Bison slaughter fit in with this agenda?

Should we be spending all this money and time on any species or environment? We are all entitled to our opinions I suppose.

My take on it is pretty simple. Migration and the search for food is natural. I don’t see why there is a true need to eliminate these animals. I think it makes more sense to attempt to improve habitat within the park to minimize the migrations out of the park. If you provide what the animals need than they will likely stay. That is easier said than done but if you insist on keeping them within boundaries then I view them as pets, not wild animals. Feed them, supplement in the winter, do what it takes to take care of your pets. If they are wild then let them be wild. If the issue is population control than regulate hunting seasons and use the funds to enhance habitat and supplement in the winter.

These are just suggestions and I haven’t looked into the extensive management plan that is in place and I’m not saying that people are doing a terrible job or are idiots or anything like that. I think it’s very obvious that what they are doing isn’t working and it’s not working because the management of the Bison herd does not have a stated purpose that is being followed. That is poor planning.

So I am curious, what is the management goal? Is it to maintain a herd within Yellowstone National Park of a certain size or that can live off the natural resources of the park? Is it to re-establish a wild free ranging herd? Is it simply to make park visitors happy in a glorified petting zoo? What’s the goal?

I would hope the goal is to re-establish a free ranging herd of an American icon that can travel the landscapes and offer hunting opportunities and viewing opportunities across all suitable habitat.

I would hope that there would be honesty from officials and ranchers alike. If you simply want a herd to view in the park, try an ounce of prevention instead of a pound of the cure. Senseless slaughter of animals that don’t represent a real threat to anyone is not a very good solution. Just the easy way out.

That’s my two cents. What’s yours?

Posted in Hunting, Outdoor Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Identifying Cougar Tracks in Michigan

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 31, 2011

The stories have been around for longer than I’ve been around about Michigan’s cougar population. It seems like a myth until you find some concrete evidence. Tracks in the mud and snow are the most common sign that people find. Unfortunately, they are also the least reliable forms of identification. Well outside of sounds they are the least reliable.

The DNR posted a link to this chart on their Facebook page showing the differences between dogs, bobcats, coyotes, and cougars.

The chart is very useful if you think you’ve found something. Look at the differences, they should be obvious if you have a good track sample.That way, if you think you may have something, try setting up a trail cam if the tracks are common to an area or trail.

I used to question the existence myself until I saw trail cam photos of a cougar. The only reason the camera caught it was because it was slowed by the deer it was dragging off to hide and eat. It was incredible to see real photo evidence. Other reports of deer being spotted in the branches of a tree also make you think twice. Usually the rope gives it away but when they are that high up and the only evidence is claw marks and a bloody neck, my money is on it being a cougar.

The other dead give away is when it’s a young buck that is being picked up. Definite sign of a cougar.

Posted in Hunting, Michigan, Outdoor Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Michigan Turkey Hunting Application Reminder

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 13, 2011

Just a reminder to all the Michigan hunters. If you want to get in on the spring turkey hunt now is the time to get your application. The application deadline is February 1, 2011.

You can go to the Michigan DNR site to see a listing of all limited access hunting seasons, juts click the link.

Posted in Hunting, Michigan, Outdoor Sports, Turkey Hunting | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

What does the Michigan DNR and DEQ split mean?

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 5, 2011

Michigan’s new Governor, Rick Snyder, has split the DEQ and DNR back into two separate divisions. Simply put, the DNR focuses primarily on resource issues, land, water, wildlife, and recreation regarding them. The DEQ is geared towards the environment as it relates to pollution and chiefly is there to protect the environment.

The DEQ is an important part of the business climate in Michigan. The DEQ is a regulatory division of government so the decisions it makes as far as laws and regulations and their enforcement can have significant effects on the community and business. I see the separation as an important step because they serve very different purposes. I am hopeful that the separation allows the DEQ to focus on keeping our air, soil, and waterways clean and pristine while allowing for businesses to develop or expand. It’s a difficult balance and is a small and important piece to the Michigan economy puzzle.

For the outdoor enthusiasts this simply narrows the focus of the DNR back to where it was. I don’t think we’ll see any immediate impacts from the DNR’s end.  Michigan’s DNR has made some curious decisions in recent history but I believe we have, if not the best, one of the top  Natural Resource agencies right here in Michigan and this helps to keep the DNR focused and effective. I think it’s a win-win.

I’ve seen concern over paying additional department heads but I think that the effective management of these two divisions is far more important than the extra salary. From a percentages stand pint, the extra salary is a rather small part of the equation. How much they are paid may be a different issue to look at.

Hopefully this small and simple explanation gives you the basics you need.

Happy new Year everyone.



Posted in Economy, Fishing, government, Hunting, Michigan, Outdoor Sports | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What happened to Responsible Hunting?

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on May 8, 2009

All around the United States people hunt for deer. It is as American as Credit Cards. Through remarkable management efforts the opportunity to harvest a deer has never been better. The problem is the quality of deer has dropped to next to nothing in many areas.

There are places where a six point with a 13″ spread is a nice deer. What about a six point 13″ deer is nice. I understand that getting a deer in some areas is difficult enough and is still an accomplishment, but you may as well shoot a doe. The average buck with a 14″ or less spread is a year and a half old. It’s a kid in deer years, not a baby, but about a 7 year old.

” But there aren’t any big bucks where I hunt!” You know how many times I’ve heard that? Well, just maybe, if you let them live another year, that’s right, just one, they’d be much bigger. You see a two and a half year old deer is going to be 15″-18″ wide typically and have seven or more points. Not a giant, but much bigger. A teen if you will.

If you can be patient for two years, that buck, at three and a half years, will be 17″ or better and sport seven or more much larger points. These are general numbers and can vary but no matter how you add them up, the deer are much bigger.

Can we not hold off for two years and eat a doe? Is it that hard. Seriously, if I told you that you could have a doe this year and next and a wall hanger buck the year after if you didn’t shoot a buck the next two years would you take it? I know that you may not get those deer but letting them live certainly increases the odds.

Most hunters sacrifice time hanging stands, putting in food plots, and sitting in the cold for countless hours yet we can’t pass up shooting a small buck? Come on everyone. Let them live, create something special for yourself and your future generations. Practice responsible harvest.

Let them go another year.

Let them go another year.

Posted in Hunting, Michigan | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Get Your Food Plots Started Now

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on May 5, 2009

Here the author is clearing diseased Ash trees to make room for a food plot.

Here the author is clearing diseased Ash trees to make room for a food plot.

It’s that time of years, forsythia is blooming, apple trees are blooming, and the grass and trees are beginning to green. The warm temperatures are finally here to stay, well for a few months at least.

With the knee jerk reaction to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) shut down baiting last year. A few guys were still found munching on an apple or two on stand, some had a hard time explaining the Sugar Beet they were nawing at, but for the most part baiting shut down. Deer patterns were altered significantly and many hunters had to adjust if they wanted to fill a tag.

With the new regulations food plots have become even more popular. A certain TV Show, with a certain comedian, displaying big southern bucks taken on ranches that survive thanks to land management using food plots haven’t hurt either. The truth is that these days most of us do not have the time or resources to spend weeks in the woods. Many of us are lucky to be able to hunt on the weekend at a friends, instead having to find the nearest pumpkin patch to try our luck at a swiss cheese deer.

If you have a spot of land where you can hunt and make some minor adjustments, then you need to take a close look at food plot hunting. It is truly superior to baiting at drawing in deer. Food plots have several advantages over traditional baiting tactics.

First, plots are always there and the deer know it. Deer will establish a regular feeding pattern often times. They become a natural part of the environment and a place where deer can feed with little pressure. This gives you a few key advantages; first, you can establish a pattern for many deer. Noting when they visit and which routes they use. Second, deer are far less wary on a plot, causing them to act more freely. There’s nothing more irritating than drawing on a deer only to see it get spooked by the wind before you shoot.

Second, plots provide year round nutrition. This impacts the overall health of the herd and can result in bigger bodies, increased antler growth, healthier fawns, and less “die-off” in winter.

Third, plots are easier to work with. Food plots can take a lot of effort to establish depending on the size and quality to want to achieve. They can also be as simple as throwing seed onto the ground a few times. The quality is up to you. More importantly though is that once established, they are there. You don’t have to throw a wet bag over your shoulder or carry a pail by your side. There is nothing to worry about in the fall, unless you want to do some fall plantings to enhance the plot. Instead, the work is all done in the spring, under ideal weather conditions, and at your leisure.

Basic food plot set-up requires mainly a few hand tools but power equipment and even a tractor or ATV with the right implements can be used. For small, simple food plots you can get away with a few items from your garage.

First step, pick a spot. This requires only a shovel and maybe some pruning shears. Food plots should be placed in a place that receives over 4 hours of direct sunlight. The vast majority of the plants used for plots prefer sun. You can put them right out in the open for full sun or in a wooded spot with partial sun. Shade is not recommended. There are some specialty seeds that allow for minimal light but the general rule should be more than 4 hours of direct light.

Once you have found some areas that fit the light requirements, it’s time to check the soil. Take your shovel and turn the dirt over in a few spots where the food plot would be. You looking for dark, moist earth if possible. Trying to plant on hard packed clay or bare, dry sand takes a lot of effort and offers poor results in most cases.

If the spot has ground that you can work with and gets adequate sunlight, then it’s time for the final test. Can you hunt nearby. Plots will draw deer, plain and simple. You have to be able to take advantage of that fact. Being able to hang a tree stand or setup a hunting blind nearby is imperative.

If you have all three requirements met than you have found your spot and can begin preparation. This is the most labor intensive part of the process. You’ll want to clear vegetation. Pruning shears, a gas powered weed trimmer, a leaf rake, a steel rake, a chainsaw, a tractor, and round-up are all items that can get the job done. It all depends on the size of the plot and how much clearing is needed. I think it’s important to remember that clear cutting an area for a food plot is not the most responsible thing to do. Leaving a few small trees or pieces of brush will provide security for the deer.

Clear the land and till up the soil if needed. You want bare dirt or close to it for larger plots. For small woodland plots, having grass or other small, natural plants mixed in is a good idea.

Check back for more information regarding plot seed choices and final ground preparations.

Posted in Hunting | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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