Spring Steelhead

Spring Steelhead

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wrapping up the 2012 Hunting Season:

It seems like it was just yesterday we were grassing layout blinds and filling the trailer with goose decoys, but rather counting the days left of deer season and preparing to transition to predator hunting and winter steelhead fishing.

Early goose season was hit and miss. When the birds started showing up in early August, I knew it was a bad sign. Over the years we've noticed when the birds begin hitting the fields that early, typically by September 1st, their patterns change. We hunt the north end of the Mississippi in Michigan inland from the Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron). The birds transition from the water to the wheat fields, pickle fields, corn stubble, soybean fields, etc each morning and evening. The birds follow an aerial path that just so happens to be a short cut from the Crow Island Game Reserves, the Shiawassee Game Reserve, the Saginaw River, etc to the Saginaw Bay. Our farm happens to be right smack dab in the center of this aerial path which makes for some decent waterfowl hunting. With far less hunting pressure than the 2011 early goose season, we had a few good days in the field hunting over large decoy spreads in wheat stubble that was brush hogged.

Before archery season and regular duck and goose began, we made a trip to the northwest side of the state for the fall salmon run. The first day was phenomenal! We never saw another angler, not sure how many kings we hooked, but we only managed two fish to hand. To readers who have caught salmon or steelhead out on the big lakes while trolling, it's not the same as fighting one of these torpedoes in the streams and rivers of northern Michigan. Though the salmon do get a bad reputation for migrating up the streams, spawning, then dying, if you can manage a fresh fish they fight hard and taste great! As I said, the first day was phenomenal, then began the downward spiral of snaggers infesting the creek and heavy rains which left my drift boat with inches of water in it. Typically one would think rain equals more fish migrating up the river making for even better fishing. True, but when guys pushing fish and casting weighted hooks have them so frightened fishing isn't so hot... Here are a couple shots of the fish we landed.

Usually we have the first weekend of October to archery hunt whitetail deer, but with changes the Department of Natural Resources made opening waterfowl season in Zone 3 a week early this wasn't the case. We made it out several times during the week for whitetails, then spent opening weekend of waterfowl season with family, good food, and a new duck blind on our north pond. After Hurricane Sandy tore apart the east coast, the winds from the storm effected the flight patterns of waterfowl from the Atlantic fly way as well as some of the Mississippi. In some areas pushing the birds nearly 100 miles west of their usual flight path.We didn't have the best year on the farm by any means, but still managed a few good hunts.

Mark was probably more excited to make it out on opening day than all the rest of us. But 9:15pm the night before, his wife Danielle went into labor and early that morning they had a little baby girl. So obviously the picture below is of the following weekend.

As far as archery season for whitetail deer, I have no complaints...

Well maybe two... As much time as Josh spends chasing whitetails, I really wish his dedication would've paid off. By far he spends more time hunting whitetail deer than anyone I know. He pasted up so many smaller bucks waiting for a trophy he had caught on his trail cam, but has yet to fill a tag. RESPECT!!! Letting the year and a half old bucks live only promotes bigger bucks for the 2013 season. As for my father, a.k.a The Buck Slayer, a.k.a Fred Bear, due to faulty equipment his time in the field was cut short as a limb split in two on his Parker cross bow. Extremely poor customer service from the archery shop the bow was purchased left him without a bow for nearly two months. Firearm deer season came and went with the three of us consistently passing smaller bucks, and now into the final week of muzzle loading season and the tail end of archery season, our optimism has depleted to some extent, but there are still some good horns out there and with hope, it's still possible we might fill another tag (or two, or three).
I hope everyone enjoys a safe and joyous holiday season with family and friends! Thanks for the read! As the year is about to come to a close we'll be switching gears to predator hunting fox and coyotes as well as a whole lot of winter steelhead fishing! See you on the water!


1 comment:

  1. Did you know that more whitetail deer are killed in Rhode Island by Automobiles than Hunters! Deer Scents