It seems like summer just began in the Upper Peninsula, and now we're set to launch into September. Undoubtedly, this weird feeling is due to the cool, wet weather the region experienced during June and July, but at least August has offered us a little taste of summer - before it all slips away.
The first indication of the waning summer for me was the fact that the sun is setting noticeably earlier each day.
Then it really struck home the other night as I watched the heavy fog that rolled in off Lake Superior. It wasn't the fog that triggered fears of summer slipping away so much, but rather the sound of Canada geese floating overhead through the fog.
Geese hang around the U.P. just about all year if there is open water, but the gradually growing flocks in the area have been honking up a storm, as they do while staging prior to heading south.
Another strong indicator of the season about to change is the arrival of outdoor magazines and equipment supply catalogs. Instead of stories and advertisements about fishing and camping gear, everything is about hunting.
In fact, the first hunters to go afield will be able to pursue those aforementioned Canada geese beginning Sunday. The early season runs through Sept. 10, when hunters can take five Canadas a day, with the regular goose season getting under way Sept. 11 and running into December.
During the regular goose season, hunters can harvest two Canada geese daily and up to 20 in combination of snow, blue and Ross geese.
Then the season that many shotgunners look forward to kicks off in a little more than two weeks, when the small game season opens on Sept. 15.
While there is a variety of small game available to hunters, it's ruffed grouse hunting that really draws my attention, as well as many other residents of the region.
There's something about hitting the woods during bird season in anticipation of putting up a few partridge, as many older natives of the U.P. refer to the majestic ruffed grouse.
I've certainly gotten in the mood to chase a few birds following arrival of the Ruffed Grouse Society magazine the other day, which is jam-packed with bird hunting stories.
If that wasn't enough to get me thinking about bird hunting the brochure for the annual banquet of the Mid U.P. Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society arrived in the mail recently.
This will be the chapter's 21st annual banquet and promises once again to offer a lively evening of good food and drink, raffles and a whole lot of talk about bird hunting.
The banquet is set for Sept. 12 at the Little Lake American Legion Hall. A social hour and raffles begin at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $50 for an individual, which includes a one-year RGS membership and one dinner ticket; $80 for an individual and spouse, which includes one RGS membership and two dinner tickets; and $30 for junior membership and one dinner ticket.
There are several sponsorship levels available, as well, from a non-attending sponsor for $250 to gold sponsor for $2,500, which includes eight RGS memberships and eight dinner tickets, four sponsor gun raffle tickets, one chance at a Webley & Scott shotgun and choice of a RGS print of the year or two tickets for the RGS national drawing.
There are also three other sponsor packages ranging from $275 to $1,000 that offer varying numbers of RGS memberships, dinner tickets and chances at gun and other raffle items. Sponsors need to sign up by Sept. 10 to be listed in the banquet program.
There is also an early bird registration deadline of next Thursday for all banquet-goers that offers a chance at a drawing for the $100 raffle package. In addition, early bird registrants can purchase the package, which includes $200 worth of raffle tickets at a cost of $100.
Those who want to buy their raffle tickets at the banquet can purchase the $200 worth of tickets for $150.
RGS banquets are held across the country and serve as major fundraisers for the society, which was formed in 1961 and is "dedicated to preserving our sporting traditions by creating healthy forest habitat for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and other wildlife," according to the mission statement on the organization's website at www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.
Much more about the organization, as well as ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting forecasts for this fall, can be found on the website.
To learn more about the local RGS chapter or to order tickets for the banquet, call Erik Strazzinski at 869-4029.
Editor's note: City Editor Dave Schneider can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 270.