2013-07-25 / Outdoors

Fish Report

Well, we sure have had some days of way to hot weather. Then as life always seems to go, it changes with a snap of interesting weather coming along behind it. Wind, heavy rain, and anything else Mother Nature feels like throwing at you. I guess one of the worst places to be when this crazy weather with high winds comes through is in a semi on the Mackinaw Bridge. You know what I mean if you saw pictures of the truck laying against the guard rails.

I talked earlier in one of my articles about the fishermen that were having trouble finding salmon this summer. It seems the action is still nothing to write home about but there are a few salmon showing up now. It seems funny, but in some other areas they are doing a lot better, and I was told in places up on Lake Superior there has been some great fishing.

Some information I still get asked about, NRC authorizes regulation, eligibility changes to assist hunters with disabilities.

The Natural Resources Commission has renamed two special deer hunts for hunters with disabilities and modified the rules for eligibility and the use of ground blinds. These actions were taken at the NRC’s regular monthly meeting recently in Lansing.

The Youth and 100 Percent Disabled Veteran Firearm Deer Hunting Days, scheduled for Sept. 21- 22, has been renamed the Liberty Hunt. The Special Firearm Disabled Hunter Deer Hunting Days, scheduled for Oct. 17-20, is now called the Independence Hunt.

Participants in the Liberty Hunt were previously limited to veterans with 100-percent disability and youth younger than 17 years of age. The NRC has expanded the eligibility to include hunters who are legally blind or have been issued a permit to use a laser-sighting device or to hunt from a standing vehicle. The Department of Natural Resources estimates that fewer than 1,000 hunters have been issued these permits.

The NRC also simplified the application process for permits to hunt from a standing vehicle. Previously, a conservation officer met with the applicant to determine eligibility. Now, the DNR will accept forms that have been completed by a licensed physician, physical therapist or occupational therapist. Permits will have no expiration date.

Hunters participating in the Liberty Hunt with a firearm or combination license have been allowed to take a deer of either sex, while those in the Independence Hunt were limited to antlered bucks only. The NRC amended the rules so the either-sex provision applies to the Independence Hunt as well. Antler point restrictions for bucks continue to apply to both hunts, except youth participating in the Mentored Youth Hunting program.

Hunters with disabilities are allowed to place ground blinds 10 days previous to the season they are to hunt. In the past, hunters must have possessed a standing vehicle permit or a disabled-parking permit issued by the Secretary of State, or have met the disability standards in the Michigan Off- Road Vehicle Law, to place the blind. The NRC expanded eligibility to include hunters who have crossbow disability permits.

Additionally, the NRC waived the requirement that ground blinds be removed daily, as was previously required prior to Nov. 6. Hunters with appropriate permits will now be allowed to leave the blinds up overnight until the season has concluded.

The changes are designed to allow hunters with disabilities to have a better chance of successfully harvesting a deer.

This has always been an interesting part of law enforcement because at times there is so much involved that is not black and white in the way the law and rules were written. Hopefully these changes will clear some things up and make things easier for everybody.

I thought some of you that know where some Osprey’s nests are located and have been watching them for years would enjoy this information.

Once nearly absent from much of Michigan due to the effects of DDT and other pesticide use, Michigan’s osprey population continues to rebound. In southern Michigan, monitoring efforts track the revitalization of this species.

Historically, osprey chicks had been simply banded with aluminum leg bands as part of a national effort to monitor the species. Banding continues this year as a cooperative venture of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Huron Clinton Metroparks, Detroit Zoological Society and Osprey Watch of Southeast Michigan. This year, in addition to banding, three osprey chicks from area nests will be outfitted with “backpack” satellite telemetry units. Funded by grants from DTE Energy and American Tower Corporation, these units will help scientists track the young birds’ daily movements and seasonal migration patterns.

Because osprey often nest on cell phone towers, staff from American Tower Corporation, Verizon Wireless, McFarlin Tower, Skyline Services LLC, Earthcom, Hydaker- Wheatlake Inc., Clearlink Wireless Solutions and Crown Castle International are invaluable partners in osprey monitoring. The cell phone companies alert the DNR to osprey nests, assist with the retrieval of chicks during the banding process and delay tower repair projects until after the nesting season.

The most exciting part of the new GPS tracking project is that anyone can follow along and find out where the birds are at any time just by looking on a website. The DNR is preparing information on the project so that schools can use this website for educating youth and bringing wildlife into the classroom.

In 1998, DNR began to relocate hatchling osprey to southern Michigan from nests in the northern part of the state. The program, supported by donations to Michigan’s Nongame Wildlife Fund, involved rearing the birds on manmade towers in southern Michigan, a process called “hacking.” Relocation efforts occurred over a span of 10 years. In 2013, the DNR identified at least 56 active nests in southern Michigan - a substantial increase from the single active nest reported in 2002. Anyone who observes a nesting pair of osprey is asked to contact Osprey Watch of Southeast Michigan (OWSEM) on the Web atwww.owsem.org or by email at osprey@owsem.org.

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