DNR invites public review of draft 2013-2018 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan

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The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) today announced the availability of its draft 2013-2018 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) for public review on the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr-grants.

The DNR will accept comments and feedback on the draft plan through Wednesday,
Nov. 7, 2012. Comments can be submitted via survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SCORPreview or by mail to:

Michigan Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan – Comments
c/o Public Sector Consultants
600 W. St. Joseph, Suite 10
Lansing, MI 48933

“Our main goal with this new plan is to better leverage Michigan’s diverse and abundant natural assets to meet the fun, relaxation and health needs of Michigan’s residents and visitors, as well as the economic development needs of the state and local communities,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “To ensure we’re on the right track, we hope to get public feedback from a broad cross-section of our natural resources and recreation stakeholders.”

The draft 2013-2018 SCORP includes six key objectives and more than two dozen targeted action items designed to help the state and its public and private outdoor-recreation partners achieve this goal. The six objectives include:
  • Improving the collaboration and cooperation among all outdoor recreation providers to ensure that Michigan’s recreation system meets the needs and desires of its residents and visitors, and that users are made aware of opportunities statewide;
  • Ensuring the maintenance and continuous improvement of outdoor recreation facilities;
  • Improving access to and connectivity among recreational opportunities;
  • Integrating the provision of outdoor recreation with economic development plans and activities to advance the state’s economic prosperity;
  • Marketing outdoor recreation opportunities (and their associated amenities) to ensure that residents and visitors are aware of all opportunities and that communities are realizing the economic benefits associated with those opportunities; and
  • Contributing to the protection of Michigan’s high-quality natural resources and aiding residents and visitors in gaining appreciation of those resources through interpretation and programming.
In developing the draft plan, the DNR solicited substantial input from Michigan’s parks and outdoor recreation stakeholders in a variety of ways, including surveys; five community conversations held in different regions of the state; discussions with relevant state advisory groups (such as the Michigan State Parks Advisory Committee); and webinars conducted in partnership with the Michigan Recreation and Park Association.

The DNR creates these five-year plans to meet a requirement of the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a funding source for both federal acquisition of park and recreation lands and matching grants to states, and through states to local units of government for outdoor recreation projects.

The LWCF requires each participating state to have a comprehensive outdoor recreation plan to ensure wise use of grant funds. The LWCF was created in 1964 and, since that time, the DNR has received more than $129 million to further statewide outdoor recreation opportunities.

Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show attendance supports industry’s upward trend

Show visitors and RV sales up over 20%

The Fall Detroit Camper & RV Show, sponsored by the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles & Campgrounds (MARVAC), recorded over 11,000 in attendance, a 20 percent increase over 2011. The show ran October 3-7 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

200 new recreation vehicles were on display, representing 50 brands, along with 30 booths featuring campgrounds, parts and accessories and lending institutions. The show included folding campers, motorhomes, travel trailers, toy haulers and fifth wheel travel trailers, ranging in price from $4,999 to more than $400,000.

“We were pleased to see that the record RV show attendance we’re seeing in other shows across the country this fall, carried over to our show here in southeast Michigan,” MARVAC Director Bill Sheffer stated. “We’re anticipating a very strong 2013 in Michigan, with continued success in the RV industry overall.”

In Michigan, RV sales continue the upward trend. So far this year (through July 2012), there has been an increase in new RV sales of 21.3 percent. This represents sales of 8,869 units, compared to 7,309 units at this time last year. The 8,869 unit figure is split into two categories—towables (8,361) and motorized (508), showing increases over 2011 of 21.9 percent and 13.4 percent respectively.

MARVAC also sponsors the Detroit Camper & RV Show in February, as well as shows in Battle Creek, Flint and Traverse City. For information on these shows, visit www.marvac.org.

The Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVAC) is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging growth in the recreation vehicle and private campground industries while contributing to Michigan tourism. For more information, visit www.marvac.org. MARVAC, 2222 Association Drive, Okemos, Mich. 48864; 517.349.8881.

Volunteers needed for autumn stewardship at state parks and recreation areas in Southeast, Southwest Michigan

State recreation officials recently announced the November schedule of volunteer stewardship workdays at Southeast and Southwest Michigan state parks and recreation areas. 

The Department of Natural Resources is seeking volunteers to cut and pile invasive shrubs and collect seed from native prairie plants - activities that will help protect and restore unique natural areas in the state parks. Volunteering for these workdays is a great way for residents to Go Get Outdoors, enjoy the cool, crisp fall air and learn something new.

Volunteers should wear appropriate clothing for outdoor work (including long pants and sturdy closed-toed shoes) and bring gloves and drinking water. For information about the activities at each workday, directions or park information, or to check the Volunteer Steward calendar of events, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers, and select the Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays.
Southeast Michigan Workdays
Dates, times and locations of the workdays are as follows:
  • Saturday, Nov. 3 - Waterloo Recreation Area (Washtenaw County), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 3 - Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County), 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 4 - Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 10 - Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland County) 9 a.m. to noon.
  • Sunday, Nov. 11 - Highland Recreation Area (Oakland County), 1 to 4 p.m.
 Any questions should be directed to Laurel Malvitz-Draper at 248-359-9057 or email malvitzl@michigan.gov.

Southwest Michigan Workdays
Dates, times and locations of group workdays are as follows: 
  • Saturday, Nov. 3 - Fort Custer Recreation Area (Kalamazoo County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 4 - Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 10 - Saugatuck Dunes State Park (Allegan County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 11 - Yankee Springs Recreation Area (Barry County), 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 17 - Muskegon State Park (Muskegon County), 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Contact Heidi Frei at 269-685-6851 ext. 147, or email freih@michigan.gov for registration or questions about the Volunteer Steward workdays.

ODNR release more than 15,000 pheasants statewide

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife will release thousands of pheasants at 28 public hunting areas this fall. More than 15,000 ring-necked pheasants are being released to encourage pheasant hunting within the state of Ohio.

Youth-only hunts were to be held Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28 prior to the statewide season, which begins Friday, Nov. 2.

Ring-necked pheasants will be released on Friday, Oct. 19 and Friday, Oct. 26 in anticipation of the small-game weekends for youth hunters. Hunters age 17 and younger can hunt statewide for rabbit, pheasant and all other legal game in season during two designated weekends, Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28.

Ohio’s small game hunting season begins on Nov. 2, with pheasant releases to take place on Friday, Nov. 1 and the evening of Friday, Nov. 9. The final release of the fall is scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 21 to increase pheasant hunting opportunities during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Youth and regular pheasant hunting within the Ringneck Ridge Area in Sandusky County requires a free permit from the Sandusky County Park District. For more information regarding the issuance of these free hunting permits, contact the Sandusky County Park District Ranger Office at 419-334-4495 or 419-355-706.

Pheasant hunting season opens Nov. 2 and remains open through Jan. 6, 2013, with a daily bag limit of two rooster (male) birds. Statewide hunting hours are sunrise to sunset.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Newsbits for October 2012

Illinois Waterfowl Digest:  Review this season’s Illinois waterfowl regulations with the Illinois Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulations now available online on the IDNR website at this link:

Follow the IDNR:  Keep up to date with events and information on outdoor recreation and natural resources in Illinois through IDNR postings on Facebook and Twitter.  Find us at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/about/Pages/SocialNetworking.aspx

Remaining Firearm Deer Permits:  Those Illinois firearm and muzzleloader deer permits remaining available following the close of random daily drawings will be available over-the-counter (OTC) from DNR Direct license and permit vendors from Oct. 16-Dec. 9 (or until quotas are exhausted).  Find a vendor near you at this link:  http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/LPR/Pages/LicensePermitVendors.aspx

Resident Archery Deer and Fall Turkey Permits:  Resident combination archery deer permits, resident antlerless-only archery deer permits, and resident archery fall turkey hunting permits are available over-the-counter from DNR Direct license and permit vendors.  Find a vendor near you at this link: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/LPR/Pages/LicensePermitVendors.aspx

Non-Resident Deer and Turkey Permits:  The remaining non-resident 2012 Illinois combination archery deer permits, as well as non-resident antlerless-only archery deer permits and non-resident archery fall turkey permits are available over-the-counter (OTC) from DNR Direct license and permit vendors.  Find a vendor near you at this link:
Late Winter and CWD Deer Special Hunt Area Applications:  Hunters may apply online from Oct. 30-Nov. 26 for site-specific permits for designated IDNR Special Hunt Areas for the Late Winter and CWD Deer Hunts.  The online application system will be available through the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov. A list of Special Hunt Areas open only to hunters with site-specific Late-Winter and CWD season permits is available at this link:  http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/deer/Pages/ResidentLateWinterAntlerlessDeerHunting.aspx

Permits for these sites are limited and will only be available through the online application from Oct. 30-Nov. 26 (paper applications will not be available).  Hunters may submit only one online Special Hunt Area application.  Unfilled 2012 site-specific firearm, muzzleloader or youth permits for these sites are not valid during the Late-Winter Firearm and CWD Deer season (except at sites where standby hunting is available).  Late-Winter and CWD Deer season dates are Dec. 27-30, 2012 and Jan. 18-20, 2013.  County permits for these seasons will be available over-the-counter beginning Dec. 11.

Upland Prospects: For information on prospects for the 2012-13 pheasant, quail and rabbit seasons in Illinois, check the IDNR web site for the annual hunting prospects reports prepared by the IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources.  The links to the reports are available through the IDNR web site at:  http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/uplandgame/Pages/PheasantQuailAndRabbitAnnualStatusReports.aspx

ICF Quail Hunt:  The Illinois Conservation Foundation’s annual Kim Presbrey Memorial Quail Hunt is scheduled for the Rend Lake Resort on Nov. 11-13.  For more information, phone the ICF at 217-785-2003 or register online at www.ilcf.org/events.

Online Free Site Hunting Permits:  Hunters are reminded that Free Site Hunting Permits (windshield cards) to hunt upland, forest game and waterfowl at IDNR sites are available online from the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov.  Click on ‘Hunting/Trapping’ and then ‘Public Hunting Areas’ to print these permits.  Hunters are encouraged to view the link to hunter fact sheets also available at the site. For information or assistance, hunters should contact the site where they intend to hunt.

Sportsman’s Raffle:  Buy your ticket today for the 2012 Illinois Conservation Foundation Sportsman’s Raffle and help expand youth conservation education and outdoor recreation programs in Illinois.  Sportsman’s Raffle tickets are $100 each and prizes – including a grand prize of up to $100,000 – will be presented at a drawing in Sangamon County on December 6, 2012.   The next “early bird” prize will be awarded for a ticket drawn in Sangamon County on October 4, 2012. Proceeds from the raffle will support programs at the ICF Torstenson Family Youth Conservation Education Center in Pecatonica, IL.  The raffle is being conducted in accordance with the Raffles Act.  All business operations of the raffle take place exclusively in Sangamon County. Raffle tickets are available online at www.ilcf.org and by mail at:  Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271. 

Beaver Dam, Horseshoe Lake Trapping Drawings:  Drawings are scheduled for Oct. 29 for trapping permits at Beaver Dam State Park in Macoupin Co. and Horseshoe Lake State Park in Madison Co.
  • Two trapping permits will be awarded at a public drawing on Oct. 29 to be held at the site headquarters of Beaver Dam State Park, 14548 Beaver Dam Lane, Plainview, IL 62685.    Registration for the drawing will begin at 10 a.m. at the park office and the drawing will be held at 11 a.m. 
  • Trapping will be permitted in the designated areas from the statewide opening until January 25, 2013, except beaver and otter trapping which are allowed through March 31, 2013.   A 2011 or 2012 trapping license or trapper education card will be required to register for the drawing.  For more information about trapping opportunities at Beaver Dam State Park, phone 217-854-8020.
  • Six trapping permits will be awarded at a public drawing to be held on Oct. 29 at the site headquarters of Horseshoe Lake State Park, 3321 Highway 111, Granite City, IL 62040.    Registration for the drawing will begin at 10 a.m. at the park office and the drawing will be held at 11 a.m.  Four permits will be allocated for Horseshoe Lake State Park.  Trapping will be permitted at Horseshoe Lake State Park from statewide opening, with the exception that during waterfowl season, live traps and land sets only will be permitted.   At the close of waterfowl season, all trapping will be permitted following statewide regulations.  The remaining two permits will be allocated to the satellite site Gabaret, Mosenthein and Chouteau Island Area.   Statewide regulations will be in effect for this area.    Beaver and otter trapping will be allowed for all areas through March 31, 2013.   A 2011 or 2012 trapping license or trapper education card will be required to register for the drawing.  For more information about trapping opportunities, contact Horseshoe Lake State Park 618-931-0270.

Eldon Hazlet Trapping Drawing:  Four trapping permits will be awarded at a public drawing to be held Saturday, Oct. 27 at the site headquarters of Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area, 20100 Hazlet Park Rd, Carlyle, IL 62231.  The site is located on Carlyle Lake in Clinton Co.  Three permits will be awarded for Eldon Hazlet SRA and one permit for South Shore State Park.  Registration for the drawing will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the park office and the drawing will be held at 9 a.m. Trapping will be permitted in designated areas from the statewide opening until Jan. 25, 2013, and land sets only are permitted.  A 2011 or 2012 trapping license or trapper education card will be required to register for the drawing.  For more information, contact Eldon Hazlet SRA at 618/594-3015. 

Schoolyard Habitat Grants:  The IDNR, Illinois Conservation Foundation, U.S. EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program are partners in offering funds to teachers and youth group leaders in Illinois for wildlife habitat development or enhancement on school grounds or other public property. Up to $1,000 per applicant is available. The application deadline is Nov. 30, 2012.  Projects such as butterfly gardens, prairie plots, schoolyard arboretums, and bluebird nesting trails have been developed by grant recipients. Visit http://dnr.state.il.us/education/CLASSRM/grants.htm to access the instructions and application form.

Owl Night Hikes:  Join the Friday Night Hikes to listen for owls at Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton.  Meet at the Pere Marquette Visitor’s Center at 8 p.m. on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. for the programs, followed by two-mile hikes (bring one flashlight per family).  Roast marshmallows and hotdogs after the hikes.  For more information, phone 618-786-3323.

CWD Sampling During the Firearm Deer Season in Northern Illinois Counties with Mandatory Check Stations:  Firearm deer hunters in the 10 counties listed below are required to register all deer harvested during firearm season (Nov . 16 – 18; and Nov 29 – Dec. 2) at the check stations shown between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.  Biologists will be present to take CWD samples for testing at the time of registration.  Testing is voluntary, but all hunters with adult deer are encouraged to participate.  Note:  Successful Kendall County firearm deer hunters are also encouraged to bring their adult deer to a check station in one of the adjacent counties for testing, as IDNR needs additional samples from this county to properly evaluate the status of CWD.

Target Hunger Now:  Hunters are encouraged to donate whole deer to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program – part of the IDNR ‘Target Hunger Now!’ initiative.  Participating meat processors turn the donated deer into ground venison for delivery to food banks and charities in Illinois.  For more information on ‘Target Hunger Now!’ and the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program, check the IDNR website at
http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Documents/MeatProcessorList.pdf, email tracy.shafer@Illinois.gov, or write to Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.

ESPB 40th:  The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act was established in 1972 and 2012 marks its 40th anniversary.  It is upon this anniversary that the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board presents a new publication on efforts to protect those species of plants and animals native to Illinois which are in danger of being lost from the wild in the state.  The new publication The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Act at Forty: A Review of the Act’s Provisions and the Illinois List of Endangered and Threatened Species is now posted to the ESPB website at http://www.dnr.state.il.us/espb/index.htm under “Publications.”

Michigan DNR celebrates future of Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center – an urban hub for outdoor recreation, education

An artist's rendering (by Hobbs + Black Architects) of the
DNR's Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center,
housed in downtown Detroit's historic Globe Building.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently marked the launch of its long-awaited Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center in downtown Detroit. The new facility – an innovative destination providing residents and visitors of all ages with hands-on, interactive experiences in outdoor recreation – will be housed in the historic Globe Building, located along the Detroit Riverfront at the site of the former Globe Trading Company, 1900 Atwater St.
The ceremonies, which were earlier this month, featured presentations by city and state dignitaries, followed by a bike ride along the Dequindre Cut Greenway to Detroit’s Eastern Market.

“The Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center project is an exciting next step in fulfilling a vision for Detroit’s Riverfront and serves as a shining example of what city and state, public and private partnerships and collaboration can achieve,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “This is what place making is all about. And the project will help generate additional economic development and neighborhood revitalization that are core to Detroit’s and Michigan’s comeback.”

The roughly 42,000-square-foot Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center is a collaboration among the city of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC) and the DNR. Key partners in the project include the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Roxbury Group, a local developer.

“The goal of everyone involved in this venture is to create a downtown destination where people living in or visiting an urban area can experience the adventure and excitement of Michigan’s great outdoors, gain confidence in participating in outdoor recreation activities, and understand more about protecting our state’s unique natural resources,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “We feel the Globe Building project provides the right hub for outdoor experiences and fits that niche perfectly.”

"The renovation and reuse of a historic warehouse as the Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center represents an important transition as we move from an era of Riverfront factories to a new time of homes, shops and parks,” said George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. “This Riverfront was once an important asset that helped Detroit become a great manufacturing center and hub for international trade. For us, it is still an important asset that is helping Detroit re-establish itself as a great place to live, work and play."

The $12.8 million facility will house a ropes challenge course; an archery range; simulated experiences for kayaking, fishing and skeet shooting; and instructional and hands-on areas where visitors can learn lifelong outdoor skills such as pitching a tent or building a campfire.

Other center activities will focus on natural resources management, with sections on tree planting, erosion control, fish hatcheries, biology of a healthy stream, and simulated logging experiences. The intent here is to reach out to Michigan educators with “extended classroom” opportunities, offering integrated natural resources, biology and environmental lessons that will complement teachers’ learning plans.

“The DNR hopes to see the Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center take hold as an outdoor recreation ‘base camp’ that will inspire people to get out and explore Michigan’s woods and waters on their own,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR’s Parks and Recreation Division.

“This center will be designed to expose people of all ages to new opportunities in outdoor recreation,” Olson explained. “It could be as simple as someone experiencing for the first time what it feels like to maneuver a kayak or as life-changing as considering a career in conservation or wildlife biology.

“It’s all about providing access and opportunity.”

The Outdoor Adventure and Discovery Center is one step in a multiphase project involving harbor renovation, park improvements, installation of play equipment and trail development geared toward creating a downtown Detroit destination where more people can learn about Michigan’s diverse natural resources and recreation options.

Trophy-buck stories from the field

What does it take to harvest a trophy-quality whitetail? Persistence? Patience? Luck?

In some cases, all three.

Commemorative Bucks of Michigan, which partners with the Department of Natural Resources by maintaining official trophy records for game animals in Michigan, held its annual convention/awards dinner this past August, at which hunters were recognized for their trophies (for the 2011 season) in a number of categories.

There’s a story that goes with every deer taken by a hunter, and sometimes the stories are every bit as impressive as the animals. Here are what four Michigan hunters who received awards at the recent banquet had to say about their successful hunts.

Nicole Fenwick, of Linwood, shows off her record-setting buck,
alongside John Knevel of Commemorative Bucks of Michigan at the
August 2012 awards banquet. Fenwick bagged the buck with her bow.
Father knows best 
Nicole Fenwick, a 25-year-old hairstylist from Linwood, wasn’t very happy when her father told her they’d be hunting behind the house.

“We have two places we hunt and when my dad said we’d be hunting behind the house, I was kind of upset,” she said. “We’d seen 11 deer at the other place.”

Nonetheless, Fenwick took her stand and when the huge 8-point buck drew near, she was shaking.

“I had to pull my bow back twice because I had buck fever so bad,” she said.

The result? Fenwick arrowed the 126 ¾-inch whitetail. It was the largest deer taken by a woman bow hunter in 2011.

At the banquet, Fenwick admitted that father does indeed know best.

Ann Orel, of Westphalia, posing proudly with her
trophy, “a 10-point with a near perfect rack” taken
during the 2011 season. Orel was among the hunters
presented with awards at the August 2012
Commemorative Bucks of Michigan banquet.
Patience pays off
Ann Orel, of Westphalia, usually hunts with her husband, but because he’d taken a buck on opening day of the firearms season, she was hunting alone on the third day of the season. At 11:45 a.m., after an uneventful hunt, Orel decided to leave. But instead of taking her usual path out of the woods, she decided to take a different route.

She hadn’t gone more than few yards when she “saw this big rack going through the deep grass.”

Orel hit the ground and called her husband and asked for advice. He told her she’d have to wait it out.

Orel slowly worked her way toward a tree 15 yards away where she could keep an eye on the buck, now some 35 yards away. She could see the bedded buck’s head, looking away from her, but couldn’t make a shot.

After about 90 minutes, a doe walked right by her, stopped and looked at her, then walked away. A short while later, an 8-point buck walked right past her trailing the doe. Fifteen minutes later, a fork-horn walked between her and the big guy.

Then the big guy got up, Orel stepped away from the tree and as the buck looked at her, she fired. She called her husband again – two and a half hours after her first call – and he told her to stay put, he’d come help.

The pair tracked the blood trail and eventually tagged the animal. “A 10-point with a near perfect rack,” Orel said. It scored 146 ⅜ – the best buck taken by a woman with a firearm in 2011.

“I’ve been hunting for 11 years and every year I learn something,” Orel said. “The biggest lesson I learned this season? Patience pays off.”

Tyler Wagner, of White Pigeon, poses with his trophy buck,
taken during the 2011 season. John Knevel (right), of Commemorative
Bucks of Michigan, presents Wagner with his award at CBM’s
August 2012 banquet.
Maybe it’s persistence 
Tyler Wagner, a 21-year-old community college student from White Pigeon, said he was so cold during his hunt that he was thinking about going home.

He’d been on the stand all morning, rattling, when he saw the buck approach. He watched it make a scrape in the distance until the deer switched directions and started coming right at him. Wagner drew.

“I had trouble drawing my bow – I was freezing,” he said. “I was at full draw for about a full minute, but I had a bad angle. Then he turned broadside.”

The 13-point had a 5x5 mainframe with split G-2s – “they looked like crab claws,” Wagner said – and a kicker off one of his brow tines. It scored 185 6/8 and was the best whitetail taken by an archer in 2011.

Constantine’s Robert Evenhouse (left) is all smiles, and for good reason.
Here he is at Commemorative Bucks of Michigan’s August 2012 banquet,
receiving his award for his record buck (taken with a muzzleloader)
from CBM’s John Knevel.
You can’t kill a big buck in bed 
Robert Evenhouse, of Constantine, had come home early from his morning hunt, feeling ill, and went to bed. After noon he got up and, despite protestations from his wife, decided he couldn’t let the rest of the day go by without trying again. Although he couldn’t get anyone to go with him, Evenhouse went out anyway.

Good thing.

He saw the buck approach, leveled his muzzleloader, squeezed the trigger, and … nothing. The firearm did not discharge and the buck disappeared into the brush.

Evenhouse found that he hadn’t properly tightened the mechanism on his muzzleloader. He adjusted it and watched, incredulously, as the big buck exited the brush and stepped out into an opening. This time, the firearm worked properly and Evenhouse collected the 6x8 whitetail with split G-2s on each side. The rack netted 198 ½ inches and scored 189 after deductions – the largest trophy whitetail of the season.

The moral of the story? According to Evenhouse – who already had another whitetail and an elk in the Commemorative Bucks record book – “You can’t kill a big buck in bed.”

To learn more about Michigan records for deer, bear, elk and turkeys, visit the Commemorative Bucks of Michigan website at www.buckfax.com. To learn more about deer hunting, types of licenses available and other helpful information to make it a safe and successful season, visit www.michigan.gov/deer.

Plan your Michigan hunting or outdoor adventure with Michigan DNR’s Mi-HUNT

As firearm deer hunting season approaches in Michigan – and with many other seasons already under way – the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to begin their outdoor adventures with Mi-HUNT at www.michigan.gov/mihunt.

Mi-HUNT, originally released in 2010, is a cutting-edge application that displays multiple layers of information, which can be customized to fit specific outdoor interests and trip-planning needs. This sophisticated application allows hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to view, print, measure and create custom routing to their desired destinations.

In addition to the original Mi-HUNT features, the enhancements completed this year have made the program more user-friendly.

“Anyone with access to a computer and the Internet now has the opportunity to easily learn how to use Mi-HUNT in a way that caters to their specific outdoor sport,” said Russ Mason, chief of the DNR’s Wildlife Division. “This program makes it possible to target lands for different types of hunting and outdoor recreation.”

The Mi-HUNT updates now make it possible to:
  • View 7 million acres of DNR and United States Forest Service (USFS) lands and printable hunting maps highlighting the vegetation of most interest to hunters; 
  • View detailed information on Hunting Access Program (HAP) lands and view or print downloadable maps for all HAP lands; 
  • View detailed information on state game and wildlife areas, including information on wildlife species and Wildlife Division management activities, and view or print detailed maps; 
  • Target specific types of habitat, create waypoints and load this information directly into the user’s personal GPS; and 
  • Use simplified and enhanced legends as well as complete instructional videos where users can watch and learn how to use all of the Mi-HUNT application features.

Mi-HUNT development and enhancements were made possible with financial support from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

This fall marks the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act (PR) – the program that directs funds acquired through a federal excise tax on archery equipment, firearms and ammunition back to state wildlife agencies for wildlife conservation, restoration and hunter education.

The vast majority of all wildlife conservation efforts have been funded by hunters through the equipment and licenses that they buy. The DNR thanks hunters for helping Michigan wildlife. For more information on PR, what the DNR has done, who it affects and how hunters play a role, visit www.michigan.gov/itsyournature.

Porcupine Mountains Artist-in-Residence Program seeks entries for 2013-2014

Ron Strong was a participant in the Artist-in-Residence Program
Applications are currently being accepted for the Porcupine Mountains Artist-in-Residence Program for the 2013 spring, summer and fall and 2014 winter residencies. The Artist-in-Residence Program is open to artists and artisans whose work can be influenced by the unique northern wilderness setting of Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – also known as "the Porkies."

The Porkies encompass 25 miles of wave-washed shores, four inland lakes, entire river systems, countless waterfalls, enchanting wooded peaks, and an escarpment, which rises slowly from the edge of Lake Superior until it plummets abruptly into the Carp River valley. Still, the park's most impressive feature – and the reason for its creation – is the virgin forest of eastern hemlock and northern hardwoods and the variety of flora and fauna that it supports. Because of these attributes, the park is an ideal location to inspire creativity.

The Artist-in-Residence Program offers writers, composers and all visual and performing artists an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Porkies and to express it through their art form. Each year a number of artists will be selected for residencies lasting a minimum of two weeks.

Artists will be given the use of a rustic cabin located on the Little Union River and, if requested, a three-night backcountry permit so that they may live in and explore the park’s 60,000 acres of natural beauty ranging from stunning vistas to 90 miles of rugged backcountry trails.

During their residency, artists will be asked to share their experiences with the public through demonstrations or talks. The artists are required to contribute an art piece representative of their stay.

Selection will be based on artistic integrity, ability to reside in a wilderness environment, a willingness to donate a finished piece of art inspired by their stay in the Porkies, and the artist’s ability to relate and interpret the park through their art medium. The program is open to all art forms except those that may be inconsistent with the mission of the park.

Applications for the 2013 spring, summer and fall and 2014 winter residencies must be received by April 1, 2013. Artists will be notified on or before April 26, 2013.

Application materials for the Porcupine Mountains Artist-in-Residence Program can be found at the Friends of the Porkies Web page at www.porkies.org/artist-in-residence.

VIDEO: Extended Stay RV Maintenance Checks

From one of my favorite RV experts, Mark Polk of RV Education 101, and KOA, here's a great 4:57 video offering advice on Maintenance Checks for RVers on Extended Stays. 

Here's their information on the video:
In this informative RV how to video Mark Polk with RV Education 101 demonstrates some RV extended stay maintenance checks for snowbirds to help keep your RV in tip-top shape during extended camping trips.

Top 7 Apps for Road Trips

Screenshots from Motion GPS Drive
According to media reports, Apple sold something like 5 million iPhone 5 units in the first weekend it was available for purchase. And that doesn't even include the people who pre-ordered one.

I don't have an iPhone (yet) but I do own an Android — although I mostly use it to play a Euchre app when I'm bored.

But for those iPhone owners who use their devices for more sophisticated purposes, a post  from www.officespaceforrent.org is worth a look. Titled "7 Killer iPhone Apps for Road Trips," the post is a nice little rundown of what apps would be good to have on your iPhone when on long drives.

Ahem. Long drives? We RVers thrive on long drives.

And who knows? I betcha many of these apps are also available for Android owners.

Here's a quick list of their top 7 apps. For more detailed analysis, please go to the original post.

1. Motion GPS Drive ($0.99)

2. Pandora (Free)

3. Gas Buddy (Free)

4. Waze (Free)

5. iExit ($0.99)

6. Roadside America ($2.99)

7. Priceline Negotiator (Free)

VIDEO: Illinois for Foodies

Enjoy this 6:23 video from Enjoy Illinois, the state's official tourism agency, that showcases the state's delicious food and restaurant choices.

Here's their info on the video:
The state of food in Illinois? Delicious! And so much more than deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. In this video, you'll discover down-home comfort food from Southern Illinois, a locally sourced dinner in Galena, and some delicious fine-dining options around Chicago! And let's not forget Springfield's claim to fame, the Horseshoe Sandwich with homemade cheese sauce. From the state capitol to the Windy City and beyond, discover the specialties that put Illinois on the culinary map.

VIDEO: Newmar Parts Department

Two days ago the video was on Newmar's Factory Tour and yesterday it was on Newmar's Customer Service. Today's video, less than a minute long, from Newmar talks about the company's Parts Department.

VIDEO: Newmar Customer Service

Yesterday was the Newmar Factory Tour video. Today is the 1:46 Newmar Customer Service video. Enjoy!

VIDEO: Newmar Factory Tour

Enjoy this 27:30 video from Newmar motor coach company. Great background on the company and its employees, insight on its sales and dealership policies, plus outstanding footage of the Newmar factory.

Guest Post: 5 Great RV Spots to Visit on I-75

Author's note: Enjoy this guest post from Brandon Esparza of Florida Outdoors RV.

5 Great RV Spots to Visit on I-75
It's that time again. The snow birds are making their way down to Florida to enjoy the nice warm weather and get away from the cold North! If you're a serious RVer you probably know the best and fastest route down to Florida. That route is I-75, the seventh longest highway in America passing through six states from Michigan down to Florida. I-75 was started in the 1950s and completed in 1986 and measures 1,786.47 miles.

People say, “It's not the destination, it's the journey!” As an RVer, you take this motto seriously. In order to make your trip down I-75, you need a guide to help you along the way. Below, are 5 great spots to visit to make your jouney incredible.   

National Museum of the US Air Force
As you make your way down I-75, you will pass through Dayton, Ohio. Dayton is the home of the National Museum of the US Airforce. The best part about this stop is that admission is completely free, though the IMAX cost around $8.00. The Museum has more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles for your viewing pleasure. The museum has a number of RV parks nearby as well.
  • Bass Lake Campground
  • Cricket Holler Boy Scout Camp
  • Dayton Tail Timbers Resort KOA
Holston View Park
Traveling South we enter Knoxville, Tennessee. Holston River Park, located in South East Knoxville is perfect if you love nature and the outdoors. This park is a total of 44 acres and is built for the nature enthusiast with a canoe launch, fishing piers, trails, picnic tables and places for kids to play. The park is pet friendly, so your welcome to exercise your dog.

Stone Mountain Park
On your RV journey, you will pass through Atlanta, Georgia and come across Stone Mountain Park. The main feature in this park is the largest freestanding piece of exposed granite in the world. This place is a perfect to visit. It boasts two championship golf courses, a lasershow, two Marriott hotels, and Georgia's largest campground. The best part about this park are the benefits for RV owners.

There are over 200 RV hookups, complete with water, electric, and sewer! You can find camp pricing here: http://www.stonemountainpark.com/lodging-camping/pricing.aspx  

Butterfly Rainforest
You've made it! The long trip from Michigan to Florida is complete. You are now passing through Gainsville, FL and happen to see the Butterfly Rainforest. It features hundreds of free roaming colorful butterflies that are brought in from all around the world. Adult tickets cost $10.50, Florida residents and senior/college students only cost $9, making it for an affordable visit. This is a great idea after a long trip down I-75!

Though you've made it to Florida, you still haven't made it to the end of I-75. There is still a very awesome place you haven't been yet...The Everglades National Park. Though sewer and water are not available for RVers, there are electical hookups at 41 sites. You can set up your RV and go enjoy the many activies from canoing, boat riding, cycling, hiking, kayaking, guided tours, to fishing and other nearby activites. You will be sure to have fun at the 3rd biggest national park in the lower 48 with over 2,400 sq. miles!

As you RV through life, remember, it's about the journey! Take your time as you meander down I-75 and enjoy the ride. Whether you decide to visit the Everglades, the Butterfly Rainforest, Stone Mountain Park, Holston View Park, or the National Museum of the US Airforce your sure to have a good time at any of these attractions. I wish you the best in your RV journeys, and welcome to Florida!

Brandon is a blogger for a Florida RV dealer (http://www.floridaoutdoorsrv.com/) in Stuart, Florida. Florida Outdoors RV specializes in RV sales, service and parts. You can visit his blog at Florida Outdoors Blog.