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Sportsmen’s glory days draw near

August 27, 2010
By DAVE SCHNEIDER Journal Outdoor Writer

We are about to enter the period of time in the Upper Peninsula that many sportsmen and women look forward to all year - the time when we can enter the northwoods with a fishing rod in one hand and shotgun in the other.

This phase of enjoyment begins Wednesday when the early Canada goose season dawns, and there are certainly loads of honkers out there for hunters to pursue.

The hunt is designed to reduce the number of resident giant Canada geese, although it's difficult to tell where the geese you're aiming at spend the summer.

Article Photos

Dave Schneider

I'm not sure if there are that many Canadas that call the U.P. home year-round or if they are gathering along the south shore of Lake Superior in preparation of their big flight south, but they can be seen and heard just about everywhere.

There's another sure sign of large numbers of Canada geese hanging around: lawns, golf courses, fields and every other open space are littered with goose droppings. This aspect of Canadas is connected to the reason there is an early hunting season for them - the population has mushroomed in the Midwest.

State wildlife officials estimate there are about 300,000 giant Canada geese in the state, which is the second highest population ever recorded. This high number of geese is why the daily bag limit is five honkers, which certainly is a good draw to get hunters to pursue them. That large bag limit also means a lot of shooting, which helps hunters sharpen their aim for the other hunting seasons that will soon follow.

The early season runs only through Sept. 10, but because of the five birds a day limit I know some avid goose hunters who've had to buy an extra freezer just to store their take of geese.

Close on the heels of the early goose season comes the small game season, which includes the real bird hunting season in my opinion - shotgunning for ruffed grouse, which opens Sept. 15. There simply is no other game bird that draws the attention of hunters as ruffed grouse, or partridge as most of us who grew up in the U.P. and a few other locations across its range refer to the speedy upland bird.

The season for partridge runs Sept. 15 through Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 through Jan. 1 and the daily limit is five birds.

There's a host of other game that be hunted beginning in mid-September, including rabbits and snowshoe hares, squirrels and wild turkeys. Speaking of turkey hunting, leftover licenses went on sale last Monday and even though most of them are for the southern portion of the state, some are available in the U.P.

The bear hunting season also opens this month - Sept. 10 - for those lucky enough to have drawn a kill tag in the license lottery, and some special deer hunts also are offered in September.

In addition, woodcock season opens on Sept. 25 and runs through Nov. 8, with a three-bird per day limit on the zany flyers.

And while all this hunting is going on we can still wet a line in our favorite fishing holes. September is a time of year when the fishing can really heat up, too, and the fishing pressure usually drops, which makes for great fishing.

There are a number of locations that I fish every year that I still haven't gotten to this season, as well as some that I've had a blast fishing and hope to get back to at least once.

Included in the spots that have provided great action this summer is Lake Michigan out of Fairport on the Garden Peninsula, where the chinook salmon have been running a little bigger than the past few years and just as feisty. I think there's still enough time left this year to haul in a few slabs of salmon for the grill and freezer.

After all, I can't believe there is an angler in the U.P. who wouldn't relish the opportunity to battle and land a king like the 15-pounder I'm holding in the accompanying photo.

Editor's note: City Editor Dave Schneider can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 270. His e-mail address is



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