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8 reasons why Northern Michigan has better hunting than Iowa....

Posted on August 13, 2014 by Jacob Rebh | 6 comments

8 Reasons why hunting Northern Michigan is still Awesome

 

  1. Family Tradition: For many families in Michigan, such as my own, hunting northern Michigan is a family tradition. The trek north is taken by less and less hunters every year for that magical 24 hours we call “opening day. “ As for the generations before us though, almost every hunter in the mitten traveled north when that second week of November came around. Starting in the 1950’s, my Grandpa Crawford would travel 8 hours north to Iron Mountain in the Upper Peninsula for deer camp, accompanied by many fellow hunters. That tradition was passed over to my father, and even though we no longer go all the way up to Iron Mountain, an opening day not spent in Northern Michigan doesn’t feel right. These days, my dad and I, accompanied by a few hunting buddies, travel  4 hours north to Presque Isle County for deer camp to hunt the elusive whitetail. It’s still a family tradition to me and many other of my fellow Michigan hunters, and you can bet as long as I walk on God’s Great Earth I’ll be traveling north for deer camp.

 

  1. “Deer Camp” Experience: There are deer camps all over the great state of Michigan, but there’s something about a Northern Michigan deer camp that sets it apart from the rest. As a Northern Michigan hunter, you feel more connected to the roots of Michigan whitetail hunting; knowing that the generations before us took that drive up 131 and highway 75 to hunt their favorite blind. Many northern Michigan hunting camps still do it the old fashion way; no electricity, no running water, cooking their dinners over a fire, telling stories about their day in the woods, and if they’re lucky a buck on the buck pole; now that’s a deer camp.

 

  1. Colder Weather: Here’s a fact; it’s colder in Northern Michigan. Cold weather = better deer movement. We don’t use our deer camp up north for just gun season; we like to head up every weekend we can during October as well. I live in Southern Michigan; Barry County to be exact, so I am well aware of the weather we have had the past few years in Southern Michigan during the first few weeks of bow season. Highs in the upper 60’s and low 70’s, with lows in the mid 50’s; not your best weather for deer movement. By simply taking the 4 hour drive north for the weekend; we have spent the first few weekends of October hunting in temperatures in the mid to high 40s; which is much more comfortable, and the deer activity during daylight hours is much higher. In addition, when gun season does come along, we have spent the last two opening days hunting with a little bit of snow on the ground. What’s better than a white background on opening day?? In my opinion, the answer is nothing.

 

  1. Different Landscape: Now so far, it probably sounds like I don’t enjoy hunting southern Michigan, and I must say that is far from the truth. I spend many days in a tree stand in Kent and Barry County every year, and have had some of my best encounters and shot some of my best bucks in southern Michigan. I must admit though, the southern Michigan landscape can get quite boring; cornfield after cornfield, bean field after bean field. Now those cornfields and bean fields produce some of the best bucks in the state, but at the same time it can be very refreshing to hunt a different landscape once in a while. I go from hunting over cornfields and bean fields around here, to hunting tall grass fields covered in cedar trees, and swamps so thick with white pine and cedar that you spend all day just creating one 75 yard shooting lane.  There’s nothing better than watching the sunrise with your cold breath and smell of cedar in the air.

 

  1. Different Species: Even though the goal is the same, to hunt and harvest a whitetail deer; nothing keeps you on the edge of your seat more than getting the chance to see a different kind of game that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to see while hunting southern Michigan. At any moment, look to your left and you could see a 400 pound black bear come walking out of the swamp, look in the air and you could see a bald eagle flying overhead watching over the landscape, look in the stream next to your blind and you could see a family of beavers making a home, or if you see a tree without bark I can almost guarantee you that there is a porcupine hovering overhead. The different amount of game that roam the swamps and fields of northern Michigan is simply breathtaking and can make your sit in the blind much more enjoyable.

 

  1. Regardless of the myth(s), the deer population still thrives in Northern Michigan: I’ve heard it all; “Most of the deer have headed south because of the better food source,” or “ The harsh winters have severely decreased the population,” or “Northern Michigan has been over-hunted by the past generations leading to a decreased population.” There are multiple other “myths” out there that have led to many hunters in the mitten to stay south, but I have physical proof that they are just that: myths. On a typical hunt I see anywhere from 10-30 deer. Yes, we are lucky and stumbled upon some great property, but just driving for an evening stroll around the surround area and surrounding counties, we see hundreds of deer in the fields. I remember one evening specifically; it was late august and we had just got done with a day’s work at the property preparing for bow season. We decided to spend the last couple of hours of daylight just driving around to do some deer watching; we saw thousands, let me repeat that, THOUSANDS of deer. We figured we saw about 3,000 deer that night. Yes the winter kills a small portion of the population up there just as it does down here, but trust me, the population thrives.
  2. Small Town Atmosphere: Northern Michigan is cluttered with small towns that see opening day as a holiday; schools are closed, businesses are closed, and the rest of the town is a ghost town because everybody is in their blind. Then the sun goes down, and you know where to find everybody; the town buck pole. We hunt just outside a small town called Onaway, MI, and there is a small sporting goods shop in town called Parrots; it seems every small town in Northern Michigan has an old sporting goods shop where locals can get their essentials for the upcoming hunting season. Along with those sporting good shops comes a buck pole, where everybody is proud to show off what they have harvested. Personally, this is one of my favorite parts of opening day; wrapping it up by stopping at Parrots to see everyone’s success. Nobody is stubborn, jealous, or rude; everyone there is high-fiving each other and congratulating one another on their harvest. It’s an event that makes you appreciate the joys of being an outdoorsman and proud to be part of that small community. I must say, it makes it so much sweeter when you’re lucky enough to see your own buck on that community buck pole; the sense of pride and accomplishment is unmatched for an avid outdoorsman.

 

  1. The Drive Home:  Personally, the northern Michigan hunting experience isn’t complete until I pull into my own driveway. The 4 hour trek home is actually a very exciting time for the 5 of us that regularly make the trip to deer camp. Especially, after the first few days of rifle season. It seems like every other truck heading south has a few deer lying in the truck bed. Whether it’s a giant buck or just a doe, you always give a wave to the other drivers acknowledging and congratulating them on their successful hunt. The drive is even more exciting when you have a couple bucks of your own in the truck bed. As a group, we always have at least 2 or 3 bucks in the truck bed, and with that we receive many fist pumps and thumbs up on our way down highway 75 and 131. Little things like that just add to the great experience of hunting northern Michigan.

 

 

Even if you’re an avid southern Michigan hunter, I encourage you to join a family member or friend to experience the northern Michigan hunting experience at least once. Whether you come back with a deer or not, I’m sure it will be one of the coolest hunting experiences that you’ll embark upon. Enjoy the cold, the community buck pole, and the stories around the bonfire while cooking your hot dog; let it all sink in because as a Michigan hunter this will be an experience to remember.

-Steve Crawford, MWP prostaffer

Posted in bowhunting, deerhunting, education, hunting, michigan, michigan whitetail pursuit

10 things you MUST remember when filming your Michigan hunt!

Posted on August 11, 2014 by Calvin Beeke | 0 comments

Filming hunts is growing all over the world. There is no problem with filming the hunt and calling it a day, but there’s no better way to tell a story, than to SHOW it!! So if you’re one that wants to take your filming to a whole new level… Here are 10 of the most important aspects to filming your hunts.

#1 Steady, smooth video.

Steady and smooth is key to having a great film. So many people just bring out a camera and free hand it, which ends up making the video very shaky, and a headache to watch. A good camera arm and fluid head are KEY!! Yes, you can go to your local hunting store and buy a cheap 30-40 dollar camera arm, and it will do the job. But that arm will only last a couple hunts before the squeaking and stiffness starts and it just becomes a hassle. I prefer Muddy Outdoors camera arms. They are by far the smoothest arms hands down, and with a good fluid head, your hunts will be steady, smooth, and enjoyable to watch!

#2 Learn to be the cameraman before the hunter.

If you want to be able to produce the best video you can, you have to find that balance between cameraman and hunter. It's true with both solo hunting, and being a cameraman. When solo hunting, you have to learn to make certain movements at certain times. Like when that animal is coming in, video first, but once you see the animal is committing, grab the bow, and keep filming. Some people get so caught up in the moment that their brain shuts off from being a cameraman and their hunter senses kick in. That's when it usually creates bad video or no video of the kill at all.

#3 Let it go

Solo hunters really don't have to worry about this since at the time of the shot, their hands are on the weapon and not the camera. But this is crucial for being a cameraman. When the shot is about to happen... Let go of the camera arm or camera. What this prevents is the cameraman shakes at the point of the shot, which can make the impact not clear or even visible. So when the shot is about to happen, think of the movie Frozen, and LET IT GO!!! And once the shot is fired, grab the camera and follow the animal.

#4 Never enough

You can never get enough film. All it can do is make your video better. Which brings us to #5

#5 Be Creative

When taking different shots, think outside the box, and think of different ways you can make a unique shot. Wide view cameras like go pros are really good for different angled shots. DSLR cameras are really good for focus shots with incredible clarity, but for the average guy with the average camera, just find the little things that not a lot of people film and make it your own.

#6 Forget the camera is rolling when you talk. (for both hunter and cameraman)

It takes a while to feel comfortable talking around a camera. But everyone loves to see true personality, especially when adrenaline is flowing and all the emotions come out. Act like there is no camera there and just celebrate. Let whatever you feel come out!

#7 Always be prepared.

Filming can take a lot of equipment, make sure you have extra batteries, extra memory cards, something to cover your camera up if it rain/snows. Maybe even bring an extra camera if your camera malfunctions. You never know when the hunt of a lifetime is going to happen, and there would be nothing worse than missing it, so ALWAYS be prepped.

#8 IGNORE the industry

The hunting industry has commercialized hunting. DON’T do that to yourself. Forget obvious product placement and telling others what type of broadhead is best. At MWP we have relationships with products we use and love, preferably local Michigan relationships. Ignore the slogans and overdone reactions that the pros often show. Your reaction is different – and remember when you kill a whitetail in Michigan on film…celebrate any way you want. Your viewers will enjoy it!

#9 Recovery

Everyone wants to see your animal! Film all the emotions of following the blood trail, finding the animal, field dressing, and bringing the animal home. It will add a lot of emotion, personality, and sometimes comedy to your video.

#10 (MOST IMPORTANT) Tell a Story.

Just like I said earlier, film everything. Nobody likes a "there's a deer. Boom. Look at him. The end " hunt. We want to see everything that goes on, from deer camp to driving there, everything that happens in the stand, to driving home with a Mack daddy buck in the back of the pick up truck. Talk like there's no camera, just you and your buddy having an awesome time in Gods creation. 

 

- Blake Ledger, MWP Prostaffer 

Posted in archery, bowhunting, deerhunting, education, filming, hunting, michigan, michigan whitetail pursuit, tutorial, videography

8 Important ways to prepare for hunting season in Michigan

Posted on July 30, 2014 by Calvin Beeke | 0 comments

  1. Set your trail cameras

Summer is quickly rolling to an end. One of the most important things you can do is get your trail cameras set and doing your scouting for you. When October 1st hits, you will have one of your best chances to kill that buck you’ve been watching all summer before he changes his summer patterns. Having your trail cameras capturing his movements and allowing you to pattern these bachelor groups will give you a much higher chance of punching your tag during the first week of October.

  1. Get those stands hung

As we creep into the month of August and the temps are in the 80’s, it’s time to get out of your air-conditioned house and into your hunting spot. You need to have your stands set and shooting lanes trimmed far before season opens. There is nothing worse than disturbing your property two days before you want to hunt it.

  1. Check your gear. Then check it again.

Every piece in your whitetail arsenal works together. Get your camouflage washed and in order, your binoculars cleaned, your stands greased (so they don’t squeak whenever you move), and get your broadheads and arrows tuned in. Every detail matters when that moment of truth rolls around.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice.

Confidence is key in the whitetail woods. Especially here in Michigan, one of the most pressured states in America, you need to know that you can make the shot when it presents itself. You may only get one chance at a good deer during the season. The best thing you can do is be confident that you can make your one shot count.

  1. Scout public land

Even though you might have a good chunk of private land to hunt, it can never hurt to have a backup. There are many different pieces of land in Michigan that are open for hunting to the public. Getting into these areas and scouting them can become a huge advantage later in the year when you are looking for a good backup option to hunt.

  1. Go on LOTS of dates

We all know that when October rolls around, we get tunnel vision. Only one thing matters: Being in the woods. That being said, make sure you spend a lot of time with your significant other during the months leading up to season so you can “purchase” time away in your stand during the season. We all know the saying “a happy wife is a happy life.” Well, in reality, a happy wife is a happy hunting season.

  1. Make more friends

Sometimes the most helpful information can come from fellow hunters. In Michigan, us hunters are in this together. A little tidbit of helpful information and advice from another hunter is more than a good enough reason to get out there and network a bit among the other hunters in your area.

  1. Check out good property for sale

If you’re anything like us at MWP, great hunting property is worth more than anything. Our friends over at Stoney Creek Outdoor Properties have listings of numerous great hunting properties throughout the state of Michigan. If you’re in the market for a new piece of land, you’ll definitely want to check them out. You won’t regret it. 

Posted in bowhunting, deerhunting, hunting, michigan, michigan whitetail pursuit, preseason