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TThat Time of Year Has Finally ArrivedTom Lounsbury

Tom Lounsbury

Mon, 06 Jan 2014 11:09:54 EST

 


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That Time of Year Has Finally Arrived
By Tom Lounsbury

Sunday will finally kick off the fall related hunting times with the Early Goose season running September 1-10 in Saginaw, Tuscola and Huron counties. The season is designed to reduce the numbers of resident Canada geese that have proven to become a problem in certain areas. I dearly enjoy this unique hunting pastime here in the Thumb because it can offer plenty of action and you canít beat the weather which often features strikingly beautiful sunrises and usually balmy temperatures. It is an atmosphere entailing the typical camaraderie with fellow hunters (you can talk and joke around, unlike many other hunting enterprises that require utter silence), decoys and calling noisy flocks of Canada geese into shotgun range, and it is certainly a great outdoor experience for kids as well. (Refer to the Michigan Waterfowl Hunting Digest for more information).
September 15th is truly a blessed day for me because a variety of hunting options open up for squirrel, ruffed grouse, rabbit, and wild turkey, all passionate pursuits of mine. A priority for me of course is squirrel hunting, but I wonít hesitate harvesting any of the other species when I encounter them in the squirrel woods, and I happen to have the right hunting armament. For instance wild turkeys can only be taken using a shotgun with number 4 or smaller birdshot, or a bow and arrow or crossbow. So if I am squirrel hunting with my favorite .22 rifle and encounter wild turkeys, Iíll have to pass. That is why if Iím squirrel hunting in a woods where I know I might encounter a turkey, I use a shotgun (I dearly want to bag a wild turkey with a .410).
Intentionally hunting fall wild turkeys I have found, is a challenging enterprise that is a bit different atmosphere than that of spring turkey hunting. The mating period is over and they are usually moving around in flocks. Either sex can be taken during the fall season as well, and leftover licenses are presently available, and you can purchase one a day as long as they are available. This fact alone lets you know the wild turkey is doing quite well here in the Thumb. And yes, Iím none too particular as to whether I have a gobbler or hen in my sights during the fall season. They all eat real good, trust me. (Refer to the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunting Digest - 2013 Fall Season - for more information).
September 21 kicks off the woodcock season, and admittedly, this is the timeframe when I begin my focus on ruffed grouse as well because they can usually be found in similar haunts. It is a time of dog bells and busting through often amazingly thick cover and dealing with briars and brambles. I love every minute of it and so do my hunting dogs.
September 21 and 22 is the weekend for the early antlerless season as well as the Youth Deer Hunt. Personally I donít support those two activities being run side by side during the same timeframe. The original idea of the youth hunt was to have an adult place full focus on mentoring, guiding and assisting the kid while deer hunting, with the adult not allowed to carry a hunting arm, much less even hunt. I believe something has been genuinely corrupted and lost in the present equation, and I truly do support the concept of the special youth deer hunt (and could care less whether they shoot bucks or does).
Needless to say I have a kid lined up to take hunting that weekend, and the only thing I will be carrying when in the field with the kid will be a binocular. My primary focus will be on the kid getting a deer before I even consider doe hunting myself, but that is me and I stand firm on this topic.
Leftover antlerless licenses become available beginning September 10th (after 10:00 am) and the Thumb (Tuscola, Huron and Sanilac counties) now has the new Unit number of 332. You can purchase two antlerless licenses a day (first come, first serve as long as they are available) with a limit of five total.
When it comes to hunting in warmer weather, to avoid spoilage I process the small game as soon as possible and when it comes to deer I make arrangements with a meat processer that has a cooler available, before I hunt.
Before we know it, the October archery deer season will be here, followed by a rich mix of annual fall hunting seasons. I love it all, and you canít beat the Thumb area for providing plenty of wonderful hunting opportunities for a variety of species.
I wish you all safe and happy hunting!

The Upper Thumb Friends of the NRA will be holding its annual NRA Dinner and Auction Fundraiser on Wednesday, September 11th at the Franklin Inn in Bad Axe. Social hour begins at 5:00 pm and dinner is at 7:00 pm. Besides a live auction, there will be a silent auction, special drawings and door prizes. There are special packages available as well and the deadline for the ďEarly Bird SpecialĒ is September 5th. For more information contact Randy Brown at 989-550-4570 or stop in at Randyís Hunting Center in Bad Axe.
Funding created from this wonderful annual activity that offers great food and entertainment, is used to assist many local shooting and conservation related programs.


When Tom Lounsbury bags a deer during warm weather such as this doe during
an early antlerless season, he takes it right away to a meat processer that
has a cooler to avoid flies and spoilage.


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Bob Walker of Kingston gathering up Canada geese downed on the opening
morning of an early goose season in the Thumb.


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Isaiah Battel of Cass City with an early season goose in the Thumb.


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