Hunting with horses and hounds rides on in Michigan

Capital News Service

AUGUSTA — From the far side of a plowed field comes the sound of a brassy bleat. A red-coated figure astride a small chestnut horse crests a small slope. The man is Bob Carr, the joint master of foxhounds and huntsman at Battle Creek Hunt. As a joint master of foxhounds, Carr is responsible for hunting operations. As a huntsman, he is in charge of the hounds.

DNR steps up chronic wasting monitoring

Capital News Service
LANSING – In an effort to protect Michigan’s deer, the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to double the number of core areas monitored for deadly chronic wasting disease. This expansion would include six new townships in Eaton County and two in Clinton County. The fatal disease interferes with the digestive abilities of deer, literally causing them to waste away in its later stages, said Drew YoungeDyke, chief information officer for Michigan United Conservation Clubs, the state’s largest hunting organization. The disease can cause deer to become delirious, walking in circles for hours and being unable to even properly drink water, he said. “They become kind of robotic.”

The full extent of the spread of the disease is not yet known, said Chad Stewart, the DNR’s deer management specialist.

Debate continues on how to get the lead out – of ammo

Capital News Service
LANSING – Hunting is killing Michigan wildlife – and not just in the way you think. It’s because a toxic metal – lead – has been a hunting staple for centuries. Despite being removed from products like paint, gasoline and pesticides, lead remains popular for shot and bullets due to its malleability and tendency to fracture, making for bigger wound tracks and faster kills. That fracturing has its downsides, however. Lead fragments in gut piles – left behind when hunters lighten the load to carry their kill out of the woods – can put wildlife at risk of ingesting remnants of the toxin, according to the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin.

U.P. study shows long-term impact of beaver “engineering”

Capital News Service
LANSING — The North American beaver has been called “the quintessential ecosystem engineer,” and any doubters can look at the animal’s long-term environmental impact in the Upper Peninsula. Many of its engineering feats are still evident on the landscape after more than 150 years — longer than such other engineering marvels as the Eiffel Tower, the Mackinac Bridge, the Trans-Siberian Railroad and Toronto’s CN Tower have stood. The proof is visible in the continued existence of dozens of Ishpeming-area beaver ponds first mapped in 1868, according to newly published research. “This study shows remarkable consistency in beaver pond placement over the last 150 years, despite some land use changes that altered beaver habitats,” ecologist Carol Johnston wrote in the study. “This constancy is evidence of the beaver’s resilience and a reminder that beaver works have been altering the North American landscape for centuries.”
And in an interview, Johnston said a major lesson from the study is that beavers come back to the same spots on the landscape and reuse them time and time again.

Grants boost hunter access in northern Lower Peninsula

Capital News Service
LANSING — In portions of the northern Lower Peninsula next year, farmers in need of relief from hungry deer and hunters in search of turf might mutually benefit from an expanded state land-access initiative. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) initiative, called the Hunting Access Program, would open more private land to hunters in the northern Lower Peninsula with a new federal grant of nearly $1 million. Among the counties included are Alcona, Montmorency, Emmet, Cheboygan, Antrim, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Manistee, Mason, Lake and Wexford. Currently, only landowners in Southern Michigan, mid-Michigan and the eastern Upper Peninsula who want to be paid to open their property for hunting are eligible, said Mike Parker, the DNR biologist spearheading the program. Landowners set restrictions on the type of hunting and can earn up to $25 per acre, depending on the type of hunting allowed and habitat quality, according to DNR.