2013-04-04 / Outdoors

Fish Report - by Ret. Sgt. John Walker

Well, my personal opinion is if spring has really sprung, it sure could do a lot more springing before it has sprung enough for me. I for one would sure like it to warm up and stay warm even if I would have to start doing all those “honey do” jobs. I guess I am just about ready for the warm weather to get here and stay.

Speaking of spring, “Wifee” and I saw a first for us the other day. Even with all the thousands of miles I have driven through the country both while working or just enjoying the outdoors I had never before observed flock after flock of robins.

Wifee and I were driving along the other day and we saw flock after flock of robins along the edge of the road. Some of these flocks had a dozen or more birds in them and I would guess we saw well over a couple of hundred robins. I had never saw this many robins in such a short distance before. I really am not an “exspurt” so I have no idea as to why all the robins were together but it sure was neat to see.

Speaking of birds the other day I found a dead “snowbird” that had a metal tag on its leg. This tag had ABRE and the numbers 2421 and below 82830. I went on the Internet to try and find something out about it but so far have not had much luck. If anyone would have any suggestions how to track down what this band means please let me know.

Also speaking of spring, you want to take that extra time as you drive a lot of the roads (including the main roads) because the deer are sure out along the edge of the roads. In some areas a number of the deer that managed to make it through the winter have been hit by vehicles already. So just keep your eyes open and watch for them.

What a change this time of year brings from the same time of year back in the “good old days”. Back then during this time of year it was the time the beaver trappers had to hit the woods for the beaver season. I would hate to have to guess what a spring like we are having would mean to the beaver trappers.

Whenever we had a spring like we are having this year, where it hung on and dragged out, where the ice and snow was keeping trappers from being able to trap, the old conservation department would soon be asking if they should extend the beaver season. Of course, back then, trapping beaver was a lot more important to some families than it is today, where it has become more of a sport for those that love the great outdoors.

I guess some of the roughest times I can recall about my job, is thinking back to the times we would get a call that some trapper trying to get out on the edge of the ice to trap went through the ice. Needless to say if the trapper had on waders, a backpack with traps and his other gear in it, a lot of times it was bad news when the ice gave way under him.

Needless to say, all the things you ran into doing your job as a conservation officer were not things you look forward too.

One of the conservation officers from our area was honored this past month.

Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Mike Hammill has been named the Shikar-Safari Club’s 2012 Wildlife Officer of the Year. The award is given annually by the international hunting group to a conservation officer in all 50 states, 10 Canadian provinces and the territories of both nations.

In earning this award, Hammill also captured the DNR Law Enforcement Division title as 2012 Conservation Officer of the Year. Both awards were presented to Hammill at last week’s regular meeting of the Natural Resources Commission in Saginaw.

“I feel real humbled just being nominated for the award,” said Hammill, who works in Luce County. “There are a lot of officers who are super hard-working and just as deserving as I am. I feel very fortunate to be selected this year. It’s pretty cool.”

A native of Crystal Falls, Mich., Hammill joined the DNR in 2002 and has worked on the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula most of his career.

Hammill is “a highly motivated, highly dedicated officer,” said Lt. Skip Hagy, his supervisor.

“Mike is well respected by his peers and the public in general,” Hagy said. “He does an excellent job of balancing the spirit and intent of the law. He is the poster child for law enforcement and very deserving of this award.”

The Shikar-Safari Club International was founded in 1952 by an international group of hunters interested in exchanging ideas about the sport. Safari Club International is devoted to protecting hunters’ rights and promoting wildlife conservation worldwide.

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