Monthly Archives: April 2010

Outdoor Magazine Radio (May 1-2)

Another busy show this weekend on Outdoor Magazine radio.

We start out describing my successful Michigan turkey hunt. You can read more about that crossbow hunt here.

Then, professional walleye angler Mark Gwizdala joins me to talk about the world of walleye tournaments today….especially the new AIM circuit coming to Bay City in a few weeks.

The hour wraps up with expert gunsmith Glenn Duncan of Duncan’s Outdoor shop in Bay City, Michigan. Duncan’s is celebrating their fiftieth anniversary at the end of the month and their having a big party. Glenn talks about details of that event, as well as a special edition Smith and Wesson 438 revolver being made especially for that anniversary.

The second hour kicks off with Ted Harpham of Darton Archery. Darton is getting lots of attention this spring with two new bows….the 3800 compound and Serpent crossbow. Ted and I also talk about the new after school archery program Darton is involved in, and the new MOR non penetrating archery targets.

Tony Hansen of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs helps me wrap up the hour. Tony describes a controversy over a DNR proposal to sell land in northeast Michigan to a developer who wants to build a golf course there.

The final hour of this first weekend in May starts out with veteran Michigan outdoor writer Steve Griffin. Steve is an expert on the topic fishing from a sea kayak and has some great advice on getting started in that rapidly growing sport.

This week’s show wraps up with another visit with wild game chef Dixie Dave Minar. Dave gives me some advice on how to cook my turkey, and even has a very nice turkey recipe.

Another good show this week on Outdoor Magazine radio. I hope you enjoy it.

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Evolution of a Turkey Hunter

I love to hunt turkeys. It’s a passion I got hooked on several years ago. There’s something about the idea of hunting a critter you can have a conversation with that’s very appealing to me.

Over the years my turkey hunting style has changed. Early on, I’d chase gobbles or randomly set up my decoys and try to call a bird in to shotgun range. Back then I was working with a videographer so it was fairly easy to do the “run and gun” method.

These days I videotape my own hunts, which means I’m not nearly as mobile. As a result, I usually set up an Ameristep Dominator blind and try to call the birds in, or I’ll put the blind along a travel route to ambush the birds…a lot like deer hunting.

I’ve also changed my weapon. After killing a few nice birds with a shotgun, I switched over to bowhunting. I’m a bowhunter at heart and I like the challenge of trying to take a bird with archery tackle. A compound was my choice for many years but last spring I picked up a recurve and managed to take a beautiful longbeard after two weeks of hunting hard.

This season I felt compelled to get a different perspective on turkey hunting, so I decided on a crossbow. My choice is the Darton Lightning. With that Lightning I can shoot accurately well beyond forty yards, but I was hoping to get a shot much closer.

After several unsuccessful hunts I set up my blind yesterday afternoon in the middle of a small apple orchard where I had seen toms strutting earlier. I figured if that’s where the birds wanted to be…that’s where I needed to be too.

In less than an hour a small flock of hens and longbeards were working toward my decoys. It looked like they were committed to coming in, so I didn’t call. It’s my experience you can call too much sometimes and scare the birds off.

This flock had big tom in full strut just beyond bow range but two other longbeards closed the gap. As they neared my decoys one bird saw something he didn’t like and both toms started to walk away.

At about 25 yards I put the crosshair of my scope on the lead bird and pulled the trigger. The Carbon Express Surge arrow and F-15 expandable head did the job. The turkey went just twenty five yards and piled up.

Crossbow Longbeard

He’s a nice bird, but not a monster. I’d say he’s probably three years old with a nine inch beard. Funny thing is that beard was pretty thin. You could see where he’d broken part of it off earlier.

Nine Inch Beard

The tom weighed 19 and a half pounds. He had some pretty good spurs on him too…about an inch long.

One Inch Spurs

This was my first time turkey hunting with a crossbow and I didn’t know what to expect. In looking back I can say it was a great experience. Some people say crossbows are like guns, but I definitely felt like I was bow hunting. I had just one shot with a broadhead at a close distance. In my mind, that’s bowhunting.

I plan to hunt with a crossbow again. I have the opportunity to use one on bear late this summer in Ontario and whitetails in Ohio after that. This time I might try to get my hands on one of the new Darton Serpent bows though.

You can hear more about my Michigan turkey hunt this weekend on the Outdoor Magazine radio show. It will also be featured on an upcoming Outdoor Magazine television program.

I hope you get a chance to check it out.

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Outdoor Magazine Radio ( 4/17-18)

We start out this weekend talking about the decision by a Michigan judge declaring the law against supplemental feeding of deer to be “too vague” to enforce. You can read more about that decision here.

Next, Tom Campbell of Woods-n-Waternews joins me. Tom and I talk further about that court decision, and the frustration we both feel with the lack of information coming out of the Michigan DNR. We also discuss reaction to their new online edition of their publication.

The second hour kicks off with veteran charter captain Paul Schlafley of Riverside Charters in Manistee. Paul talks about the sporadic steelhead fishing this spring in the Manistee River and his hopes for an excellent salmon fishery this summer.

Tony Hansen of Michigan United Conservation Clubs helps me wrap up the hour. Tony and I discuss the recent decisions on Michigan’s bear hunting program and we talk more about that Otsego County judge’s decision regarding feeding deer.

In the final hour of this week’s show Dale Voice of Bohning Archery joins me. Bohning has been in the archery business for more than sixty years and they still continue to produce great products today.

We wrap up with chef Dixie Dave Minar. This week the Chef talks about fiddle head ferns and how they can be used in tasty springtime dishes.

Another busy show. I hope you enjoy it.

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Michigan Judge Questions Deer Feeding Ban

An Otsego County District Court Judge says the DNR’s law prohibiting supplemental feeding of deer is “too vague”, and she’s dropped a case against a guy charged with violating that law.

It’s not known yet if this decision will be appealed or how it will affect enforcement of the law.

Here’s that decision….





vs. File No: 09-5978969-ST-3



Prosecuting Attorney

Attorney for Defendant

Opinion and Order Dismissing Case

At a session of the Court held in the Courthouse
in the City of Gaylord, County of Otsego, State
of Michigan this 7th day of April, 2010.


The State of Michigan (Plaintiff) has alleged that Kevin Borton (Defendant) illegally fed deer in Otsego County, a closed county.

Defendant Borton asks this Court to dismiss these charges for two reasons:

1. There are insufficient facts alleged to support the commission of a crime.
2. The statute is void for vagueness.

This Court denies Defendant’s motion for the first reason stated, that there are insufficient facts alleged. This is a misdemeanor case and the Court cannot review the sufficiency of facts prior to trial. Defendant has demanded a jury, and it is up to the jury to determine whether the Plaintiff proves the allegation beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Court may entertain a motion for a directed verdict after the Plaintiff presents his proofs. It is premature to bring a motion to dismiss before Plaintiff presents any evidence.

This Court grants Defendant’s motion to dismiss for the second reason stated, that the statute is void for vagueness. The statute prohibits feeding deer but has an exception for feeding birds. Defendant claims his activity falls under that exception. The following analysis does not determine whether Defendant is right or wrong.

This Court must decide whether the statute is clear enough so that a bird feeder of average intelligence will know whether he or she is violating Michigan law.

Void for Vagueness Doctrine

A statute may be challenged for vagueness on the grounds that it:
• Is overbroad, impinging on First Amendment freedoms, or
• Does not provide fair notice of the conduct proscribed, or
• Is so indefinite that it confers unstructured and unlimited discretion on the trier of fact to determine whether an offense has been committed.
Woll v Attorney General 409 Mich 500, 533, (1980) citing Grayned v Rockford, 408 US 104 (1972).

This Court does not identify any First Amendment issues in this matter, but finds that the statute does not give fair notice and confers unlimited discretion.

Fair Notice

In this case, the statute prohibits feeding deer in the Lower Peninsula by

…depositing, distributing, or tending of feed in an area frequented by wild, free-ranging white-tailed deer or elk. Deer or elk feeding does not include any of the following: (a) Feeding wild birds or other wildlife if done in such a manner as to exclude wild, free-ranging white-tailed deer and elk from gaining access to the feed. MCL 324.40101 (emphasis added).

The statute is ambiguous by using the words frequented and exclude. Would the average bird watcher know how many times a deer or elk must be observed near the bird feeder before he or she must exclude these animals from access? If the bird watcher decides that deer frequent the area near the feeder, how does he or she successfully exclude these animals from all access?

The statute clearly intends to allow bird feeding, but only in some places and by some methods. It is not clear where and how.


Not only bird watchers, but also Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) officers must interpret the meaning of the statute. They must respond to complaints about illegal deer feeding. They must rely on reports from hunters or neighbors who object to any congregation of deer or elk near bird feeders. This invites unlimited discretion in enforcement.

If a citation is issued, the fact finder must determine how often is frequent and does exclude mean incidental access or an absolute bar. If the legislature meant an absolute bar, it could have been prescriptive as to how that must be accomplished. Then bird watchers, DNRE officers, and fact finders would know what is required.

This statute as drafted gives no guidance as to where and how to exclude wild animals from foraging near bird feeders. It leaves too much room for selective enforcement. It allows fact finders to rely on subjective criteria to determine criminal liability.

For these reasons, this Court finds that MCL 324.40102 (9) (a) is unconstitutionally vague and declines to enforce it.

Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss is granted.

Date: _____________________________ _______________________________
Patricia A. Morse
87-A District Court Judge


This Week on Outdoor Magazine TV (4/11)

We’re heading north this week with pro staffer Gus Congemi as he chases big mule deer with his Darton bow.

Gus is in Northern Alberta hunting near the Peace River with the folks from Bear Paw Outfitters. This is an area with big, open agricultural fields and the deer are hard to get close to. The hunt is especially tough because warm weather has the animals spending much of their time bedded down in the tall agricultural crops.

Gus makes several unsuccessful stalks on beautiful animals before finally getting close enough to get a shot.

Another great hunt from a great bowhunter this week on Outdoor Magazine Television. I hope you enjoy it.


Outdoor Magazine Radio (4/10-11)

We kick off this week’s Outdoor Magazine radio talking about my recent early season walleye fishing adventure on Saginaw Bay. On that trip my grandson Trent caught a very nice master anglers white bass….and we got a few good walleye too.


Next, my friend and Outdoor Magazine Pro Staffer, Scott DeVuyst joins me to talk about a great program in memory of avid bowhunter Casey Bauer. The Casey Bauer Memorial will send an American hero on a wonderful big game hunt in Texas.

The second hour features Bruce DeShano of Offshore Tackle. Bruce is an innovator in trolling for big water salmon and trout. We talk about how the Great Lake’s fishery has evolved over the past two decades and also take a look at some new products from Offshore for 2010.

Next, Tony Hansen of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs joins me to talk about proposed changes in the bear permit system, and his plans to get ready for the upcoming turkey season.

In our third hour we talk with a man I call “Mr. Adventure”. His real name is Gus Congemi and he’s and Outdoor Magazine pro staffer with a quest for great bowhunting challenges. Gus just returned from his latest hunt in New Zealand where he took a record book red stag and tar.

We wrap up with chef Dixie Dave Minar. This time the chef has a very nice fish recipe.

Another very busy show…I hope you enjoy it.

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Casey Bauer Memorial

Here’s a great opportunity to send an American hero on a hunt in Texas…
Casey Bauer Memorial Hunt

You can hear Scott DeVuyst and me talk about the event this weekend on the Outdoor Magazine radio show.


Outdoor Magazine TV (week of 4/5/10)

I’m turkey hunting with traditional archery tackle this week on Outdoor Magazine Television.

This was my first season hunting with a Predator Recurve Bow, and while I expected a challenge, I didn’t realize how hard the hunt would be.

I hunted for twelve days during the early Michigan season. There were several close encounters and a few missed birds during that time. I didn’t give up though, and on the last night of the season, I got one more chance to get the job done.

This season I’ll be hunting at the opposite end of the archery spectrum with a Darton Lightning crossbow. I’ll let you know how that experience goes.

You can see Outdoor Magazine TV on broadcast stations across Michigan and nationally on Sportsman Channel. Air times on Sportsman include Sunday night at 9, Thursday evening at 7, Saturday morning at 7:30, Wednesday at 8:30AM and Friday at 1AM.


Radio for Easter Weekend…

We kick off this Easter weekend show talking with MSU researcher Matt Zwiernik. Matt and his partner have just completed a multi year study of the wildlife along Michigan’s Tittabawassee River. In short, Matt says his research has found no problems with the health of the wildlife living along the river. You can learn the details of that study here.

Next, Randy Jorgenson of Woods-n-Waternews joins me to talk about their new online edition. It’s an exact copy of the print edition, but it’s completely free for now. You can read that e-magazine here at Woods-n-Waternews.

Hour two features Greg Yarbrough. Greg is an accomplished walleye tournament pro, and key member of the Starcraft Boats marketing team. Greg and I discuss the product line up for this spring, and some early season big water trolling tips as well.

Next Tony Hansen of Michigan United Conservation Clubs talks about a recent steelheading adventure in northwest Michigan, and proposed legislation to consider a crossbow as standard archery tackle.

The final hour kicks off with Doug Deming of Fish Point Lodge. Doug gives me some advice for early season walleye. He also has a preview of the upcoming bowfishing season and even talks about flyfishing for carp.

The show wraps up with chef Dixie Dave Minar. This time Dave has a wrap up of his big wild game fundraiser. It was a big success and plans are already in the works for next year.

Another busy show….I hope you enjoy it.

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Another Master Angler for Trent

We took advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday and fished Saginaw Bay for walleye. Our plan was to troll stickbaits off inline planer boards in the shallow water near a warm water discharge. We thought that area would be loaded with post spawn fish chasing minnows attracted to the warmer water.

Surprisingly, the action was slow there…in part because of the crystal clear water in places. We were able to catch one very large white bass though. The fish is seventeen inches and more than two pounds…a solid master angler catch.

Master Angler White Bass

This is eight year old Trent’s second Master Angler fish in just nine months. Last summer he caught a beautiful walleye that was one of the largest entered in Michigan’s catch and release master angler program last year.

Trent's Walleye

After catching that big white bass we moved over to the mouth of the Saginaw River, anchored up and jigged for walleye dropping back into the Bay. We caught a few nice fish using that technique.

Couple nice walleye

Any time you can catch fish on open water in shirt sleeves on April 1st, it’s a good day….and this was one of the best.

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