Gear Reviews

Gear Reviews are Out for the New Year

Well another year is upon us here at DeerMichigan.com and that means another year of gear reviews and top 10 lists. We can always count on the members of the deer hunting community to share their opinions and experiences with deer hunting gear in order to help the rest of us find hot new products and old standbys that deserve our attention.

You will find everything from the best deer hunting knife to the best hunting socks, best binoculars for deer hunting and more.

Let’s face it, We live in the age of the internet where deer hunting information is seeping from every corner of the country, some good, some not so good.

The good news is that the search engines are getting better and better at weeding out the bad information and showing us the good.

A simple Google search will reveal the best deer hunting information available today and here at DeerMichigan.com, we strive to provide the best information and as a result, our goal is to appear at the top of the search engines so that our readership can grow and we can help as many deer hunters as possible.

Best Deer Hunting Knife Google Search

Remember the good old days when we used to head on down to the local sport shop and look at the deer hunting gear.

You could pick up each deer hunting knife and feel it in your hands. You could examine the blade for sturdiness and sharpness and you could do this for each deer hunting knife in the case.

I will say, that my local sport shop was owned by an older gentleman that always had an opinion as to what was the best deer hunting knife. I guess because I was younger, I respected and trusted his opinion and usually bought the deer hunting knife he recommended.

Well today, that shopkeeper exists on the internet and deer hunters everywhere seem to respect and trust their opinions and buy the best deer hunting knife that they recommend.

A lot has changed in my lifetime and with any luck I will see a lot more change, but one thing rings true. Deer hunters will always place a lot of trust and respect in other deer hunters opinions of the gear they use.

Hunting with Drones

Legislature Bans Drone Use for hunting or Hunter Harrassment

It’s not often that a bill package can protect fair chase hunting principles while at the same time preventing hunter harassment, but that’s exactly what Senate Bills 54 and 55 do by banning the use of drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) to assist or harass hunters. Yesterday, the bill package passed the state House unanimously after doing so earlier in the state Senate. Today, the state Senate unanimously concurred with some minor amendments, so it will now be sent to the Governor to be signed into law.
Drone

As drones drop in price, their use is becoming more common, including in some situations being used for real time scouting, essentially flying a drone over an area that may hold wildlife to view specific wildlife before the hunter goes in. The practice has already been banned in several western states at the behest of pro-hunting organizations. As hunters, it is our responsibility to stay on top of emerging technologies and ensure that those which violate fair chase principles of hunting are not used to give all hunters a black eye. At the same time, radical animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have announced plans to use drones to harass hunters in the field.

drone

This bill package originated out of concern about the practice raised at the Michigan United Conservation Clubs Region 1 meeting in Escanaba in February of 2014. That led to both an MUCC member-introduced policy resolution, passed at our Annual Convention last summer, and to a bill package in the state Senate sponsored by Senators Tom Casperson (Escanaba) and Phil Pavlov (St. Clair), who also introduced the current package. Due to a mixup on a concurrence vote on the last voting day of the legislative session in December 2014, though, the tie-barred bills did not both pass both chambers in the same form, so Governor Snyder was forced to veto them. The bills were reintroduced this term, and we anticipate that they will be signed after unanimous votes in both chambers.

Deer Ann Arbor Michigan

Don’t Let HSUS Artificially Alter Ann Arbor Deer

The Ann Arbor City Council heard a presentation last night from the Humane Society of the United States about how they want to artificially sterilize wild, free-ranging Ann Arbor deer. You see, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is an anti-hunting organization that tries to prevent, stop and ban hunting in whatever form they think they can get away with. And Ann Arbor residents have recognized that there are too many deer for the available habitat in some parts of the city, prompting the deer to congregate en masse in some residents’ flower gardens and degrading natural vegetation in the city’s natural areas. So HSUS thinks that by artificially sterilizing deer, they can prevent an expansion of hunting into an area where it’s not currently allowed, even though it’s needed.

Deer Ann Arbor Michigan

The city council will hear more public comments at their next meeting. Officials with the city have recommended a deer cull after a series of public meetings. As a resident of Ann Arbor, I attended one of those meetings in February and suggested that they use volunteer bowhunters, similar to the Meridian Township process. During the public comment section, I heard a lot of people talking about how “killing innocent animals” was not an Ann Arbor value, despite the fact that some of the people making those comments didn’t even live in Ann Arbor.

But the city’s deer cull plan – and the same would occur under a volunteer bowhunter program – calls for the meat from the culled deer to be donated to people who need it. An average deer can yield about 50 lbs of low-fat, high-protein venison. So that’s 200 servings of venison per deer that can be donated to people in our community who could really use it. The North American Model of Conservation relies on hunting to control excess wildlife populations, and this model for deer has been successful for the past century, allowing herds to recover and sustain themselves over a wide variety of habitats while providing the opportunity for citizens to harvest their own venison within limits established by professional biologists.

deer in snow

HSUS’s solution to artificially sterilize Ann Arbor deer is an unnatural alteration and a waste of free-ranging wildlife belonging to the people of the State of Michigan and managed in trust for us by the professional biologists at the Department of Natural Resources. For all the talk of “Ann Arbor values,” it’s shocking that this city, with a vibrant ecological and environmental community, surrounded by and containing numerous natural areas, would even consider a solution as unnatural as artificially altering the biology of free-ranging wildlife in our community. It points to a fundamental disconnect between people and nature that they don’t understand the interplay of predator-prey relationships in an ecological niche and that humans are a part of that system, not separate and distinct from it.

Despite HSUS’s unnatural proposal to waste and artificially alter our state’s natural resources, and regardless of the vote of the Ann Arbor City Council, the Department of Natural Resources is unlikely to authorize an artificial sterilization of free-ranging Michigan deer. The state’s Deer Management Plan, which is being updated this year, specifically calls for the DNR to pursue policies which encourage and allow the use of hunting, including archery hunting, to reduce urban and suburban deer conflicts. While the cost of artificial sterilization may by itself be a barrier to its adoption by the city, that’s really missing the point. The conservation community of Michigan will never allow a national anti-hunting group like HSUS to artificially alter the biology our free-ranging wildlife and waste the natural resources of the state.

It’s telling that HSUS hates hunting so much that they’re willing to deny 200 servings of healthy protein per deer to the area’s needy in order to artificially alter our wildlife through an expensive and impractical program. But who really expected anything else from them? Just remember that the next time they try to claim they’re not an anti-hunting group. But it’s not going to happen here. We won’t let it. Not in our state. Not with our wildlife. Not with Michigan’s deer.

If you live in Ann Arbor, email your city council representative here and tell them not to artificially alter Ann Arbor’s free-ranging wildlife! If you live elsewhere, be prepared: HSUS may be coming for your deer next.

deer found in michigan with cwd

Chronic Wasting Disease Found in Michigan Deer

LANSING—Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials announced today that they have found Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a Meridian Township deer. The fatal neurological disease is transmitted among cervids (like deer and elk) through saliva and other fluids in deer and causes them to become emaciated and display odd behavior before succumbing to it. This is the first time that CWD has been found in a wild deer in Michigan.

“Our response to this initial positive deer is consistent with our Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan,” said Chad Stewart, deer and elk specialist for the DNR. “We’ve identified a three-county zone within ten miles of the infected deer. Within this zone, we will have our entire array of deer hunting seasons available, including early antlerless. We will also make additional antlerless licenses available and initiate a prohibition on feeding and baiting within this zone.”

Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), Michigan’s largest statewide conservation organization representing over 40,000 hunters, anglers and trappers, urges hunters to cooperate with the DNR’s CWD Response Plan. Baiting congregates deer and can speed the transmission of the disease. Additionally, hunters who harvest a deer in the surveillance area will be required to check their deer.

“Today’s announcement that a CWD-positive deer has been detected in Michigan’s wild deer herd is nothing short of tragic and today is a day many of us hoped would never come, though it is not wholly unexpected.” said Dan Eichinger, executive director of MUCC. “Michigan’s DNR is a national leader in planning for wildlife disease response and MUCC members know they will move swiftly to implement their response plan.”

The news comes just three years after a deadly wave of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) took a heavy toll on deer in localized areas of southern Michigan in 2012, and the deer harvest has fallen statewide for two consecutive years, as has hunter participation. If CWD spreads within Michigan’s wild deer herd, those declines could be sharply exacerbated. Deer have tested positive for CWD in 23 other states and two Canadian provinces. Neighboring Wisconsin has been dealing with the impacts of CWD since 2002, and management efforts to contain the disease have caused conflict between hunters and Wisconsin’s DNR.

“MUCC stands ready to assist the DNR in controlling and eradicating this devastating disease in any way we can,” said Eichinger. “We encourage all hunters to do the same.”

“Michigan has a long tradition of hunter support and conservation ethics. Now, with the CWD finding, that support is needed more than ever,” said Steve Schmitt, veterinarian at the DNR Wildlife Disease Lab, in a statement. “Historically, areas where chronic wasting disease has been found have experienced a decline in hunter numbers. Because hunters are often familiar with the deer herd locally, one of the best things they can do to help manage this disease is to continue hunting and bring their deer to check stations this season.”

The infected six-year-old doe (pictured) weighed just 93 pounds, below the average for a mature doe. Genetic testing confirmed that the doe was a local, free-ranging Ingham County deer, not an escapee from a captive cervid facility. The deer had been reported by local residents concerned about its odd behavior. CWD was last found in a captive cervid facility in Kent County in 2008, triggering an earlier version of the CWD Response Plan at that time.

deer found in michigan with cwd

Founded in 1937, Michigan United Conservation Clubs is the largest statewide conservation organization in Michigan. Its mission is to unite citizens to conserve, protect and enhance Michigan’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.

 

deer with cwd

Researchers Say CWD Has the Potential to Infect Humans

Paul A. Smith of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinal analyzes the report from researchers at Case Western Reserve University suggesting that Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has the potential to infect humans.

The study, which used humanized transgenic mice, found signs of CWD infection in a small percentage of the test animals.

“These results indicate that the CWD prion has the potential to infect human (central nervous system) and peripheral lymphoid tissues and that there might be asymptomatic human carriers of CWD infection,” the researchers summarized.

A peer-reviewed paper of the findings is expected to be published later this year, perhaps as early as next month.

Until now, there has been no evidence that CWD can infect humans. State agencies, including the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, though, have urged caution and recommended that deer taken from CWD-positive areas be tested before consumption.

In Michigan’s core CWD Management Zone, a nine-township area surrounding and including Meridian Township near East Lansing, it will be mandatory for hunters to check their deer. Also, in the three-county area of Ingham, Clinton and Shiawassee, hunters cannot bait. But people are encouraged to keep hunting, because the DNR needs as many checked deer as they can get to test how far the disease has spread in the deer herd. Checking deer will provide hunters with assurance that their deer is CWD-free before consumption, though. As Smith, who hunts in Wisconsin, writes,

deer with cwd

I’ve had most deer I’ve shot in the last 10 years tested for CWD. The information (all were negative) put my mind at ease for eating the meat as well as provided landowners with a valuable data point on the health of the local herd.