(Provided by MDNR)

Michigan Leads the Nation in Woodcock HuntingSpring means many things to many people - morel mushrooms, trout fishing, turkey hunting or viewing migrating birds overhead. The American woodcock is one of those migrating, part-time Michigan residents that split time between the southeastern United States and Michigan.

For decades, Michigan has helped gather information on woodcock populations, which spend time in numerous states and provinces from Canada to the Gulf, said Michigan DNR upland game bird specialist Al Stewart. The state leads the nation in woodcock hunters and birds harvested.

By Bill Wiesner

The Infamous ‘Ground Shrinkage’ of Black Bears

When estimating size and weight, black bears are the most misjudged big game animal in the woods. Bears simply look much bigger than they are, especially to hunters who have not seen several of them under the self-imposed stress condition of viewing one at close range with the intention of putting a tag on that bear. Therefore, the huge bear before the shot frequently becomes a much smaller bear when the hunter walks up to it. Sometimes the difference is so great the pre-shot giant looks like a post-shot sack of potatoes.

That can put a damper on your spring, or fall, bear hunting success.

Contrary to popular belief, all bears are not 500 pounds. As a matter of fact, a 500-pound bear is exceptional. Hair up to four inches long, often standing erect when the bear approaches the bait, adds considerably to the visible circumference of the animal. That, plus a bit of fear and general unfamiliarity with the animal, create large weight and size misjudgments.

Over the years I have taken many first-time bear hunters to the north woods. Until that time, the only bear they had ever seen was at a zoo or in a picture. Not only did they tell me they wanted a 500-pound (or better) bear, when they shot a 200-pound bear they thought they had killed a 500-pounder.

In an Ontario camp one year, a father and his two sons were on their first bear hunt. I took a decent 200-pounder the first night out and after that contented myself fishing and visiting with the outfitter and his family. About six o’clock on the third evening an RCMP officer pulled into the lodge’s driveway. One of the sons was so excited he had started to walk back to camp. The officer had picked him up on the highway.

(Provided by Fair Oaks)

Fair Oaks, Ind. Fair Oaks Farms is offering hunters ñ both avid and novice - the opportunity to participate in an exciting two-day pheasant hunt and gaming dinner in November.

The event will take place Nov. 3-4 at the Fair Oaks Farms campus in Newton County, Ind., with the hunts occurring at Iroquois River Outfitters in Brook, Ind. and Crack of Dawn Hunt Club in Wheatfield, Ind.

Interested participants can register for the Thursday hunt plus the gaming dinner, the Friday hunt only or the gaming dinner only by visiting www.fairoakspheasanthunt.com. Thursdayís activities include a shooting demonstration by the Gould Brothers, America's top exhibition shooting team, as well as a gaming dinner expertly prepared by the chefs at The Farmhouse Restaurant, featuring guest speaker Max Armstrong.

All proceeds from the Pheasant Hunt Fundraiser will be used to maintain the Pork Education Center at Fair Oaks Farms, which educates consumers about safe and modern farming practices, as well as the health and nutrition benefits of pork products.

For more information, visit www.fairoakspheasanthunt.com or contact Nicki Gladstone at 219-322-7190 or nicki@choosehappyday.com.