Category Archives: wildlife

Nature CSI 2

In Mecosta County in a private woodlot there is a stone pile fence about 4′ high, 8′ wide and over 100 yds long. A lot of the land here was given to Civil War veterans after the war to homestead and tame the Michigan wilderness.

Some poor fool cleared this land and wrestled all these stone into this pile so he could farm. Now 150 years later the farm is long abandoned and the forest has reclaimed the field. You have to marvel at the optimism and fortitude of these farmers and wonder what they would say if they could see it now.

Nature CSI

On Mayday, while hiking on the North Country Trail north of the Timbercreek campground, we came across this,IMG_1626The NCT is marked with blue blazes about 5 feet high all along the trail. These blazes looked very fresh, likely done this spring. It appears a bear sampled this blaze, the tree was gouged only here, it didn’t appear to have been climbed, and it wasn’t scratched up like a territory claim tree. Further down the trail about 30 yards a second tree, also a red pine, was marked and gouged the same way.IMG_1627IMG_1630Just a wild guess, but perhaps a hungry, just awoken bear was attracted to either the smell of the paint or the color and had to check it out, These were the only scratched blaze marks we saw, and only on red pines. Probably a disappointing taste for someone.

DNR reports 2014 deer hunting harvest down across Michigan

From a DNR press release

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently issued a Michigan Deer Harvest Survey Report on the 2014 hunting seasons indicating that roughly 615,000 hunters statewide harvested a total of roughly 329,000 deer. The harvest represents a drop of 15 percent from 2013.

DNR Director Keith Creagh said that like Michigan’s deer population, the state’s deer harvest numbers have risen and fallen in an ebb-and-flow pattern since the early 1960s.

DNR deer check station“The number of deer harvested hit a low in the early 1970s at below 100,000 statewide,” Creagh said. “With mild winters and changing forest conditions, deer populations then rose and hunter harvest climbed to more than 400,000 by the late 1980s.”

After tough back-to-back winters in the mid-1990s, the harvest followed the population steeply downhill, but rebounded again to nearly 600,000 by the end of the decade. Since then, deer harvest has remained below 500,000 since the early 2000s.

Statewide, 41 percent of hunters harvested a deer in 2014, compared to 43 percent in 2013. Roughly 11 percent of deer hunters harvested two or more deer of any type. Less than 4 percent of hunters took two antlered bucks.

Although the overall number of license buyers was down from 10 years ago, an increased number of people younger than 14 years old and people older than 50 bought a hunting license last year. Overall, 12 percent of license buyers were younger than 17 years old.

Identify Your Rattler

massasauga rattlesnakeresHere’s a short video from the Michigan DNR on identifying the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake

They’re very rare and you probably won’t see one, that’s most likely a Eastern Hognose, or Puff Adder that just gave you a mild coronary.

They are also very beneficial in rodent control. Ironically the state is legally barred from spending money collected from hunting licenses to protect their habitat because they are not a game animal.

saugastatedistribution-credit-michigan-herps   more from the DNR