DNR News: Tell your fish tales, shape stake parks, leave wildlife wild

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News Digest - Week of May 7, 2018


Anglers, tell our creel clerks about your fishing trips this summer

A Michigan DNR creel clerk talks with an angler about his experience fishing Michigan waters.

As this year’s open-water fishing season gets under way, anglers trying their luck on Michigan lakes, rivers and Great Lakes ports can expect to see Department of Natural Resources fisheries staff out and about collecting key data about those experiences. 

DNR creel clerks are stationed at boat launches and piers around the state, asking anglers questions as they return from fishing trips. The clerks will ask about things like trip length, target species and the number and type of fish caught. In some cases, clerks may ask to measure or weigh fish and to take scales or other body parts for aging – these details provide key information that helps the DNR take care of the state’s fisheries. 

“We really appreciate angler cooperation with these interviews, and it only takes a couple of minutes to answer the questions,” said DNR fisheries biologist Tracy Claramunt. “This program helps us gather information that is critical in managing fish populations and health. It’s information that truly is used in every aspect of our management efforts.” 

These efforts are part of the DNR’s Statewide Angler Survey Program, a long-term monitoring program that tracks recreational fisheries and harvest across Michigan’s waters. It’s one of the most comprehensive angler survey programs in the country, with DNR creel clerks interviewing upwards of 50,000 anglers most years. 

Information about where creel clerks are stationed and the data they collect is available on the DNR website or by calling Tracy Claramunt, 517-282-2887 or Elyse Walter, 517-284-5839. 

Love your state parks, like Fayette? Help shape their future

An aerial view of Fayette Historic State Park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Fayette Historic State Park – nestled along the scenic Garden Peninsula in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – attracts visitors from all over the state. Currently, the DNR is asking the public’s help in reviewing and commenting on a new draft general management plan that will help guide the long-range goals and strategies to carry Fayette through the next 10 to 20 years.  

Fayette’s plan was developed after gathering a variety of input via online survey this past fall. Collecting feedback at each stage, from those who care about our state parks, is the most important step in the park planning process. 

A link to the current draft plan is available at michigan.gov/fayette. Suggestions also can be given at a May 22 meeting at the Garden Township Hall, 6316 State St., in Garden, or via email through May 29 to Matt Lincoln, DNR park management plan assistant, at lincolnm@michigan.gov.

Beyond Fayette, a number of other parks (including Belle Isle, North Higgins Lake and Saugatuck Dunes) are at different stages of the planning process. Visit michigan.gov/parkmanagmentplans to see all in-progress and completed plans. We'd love to hear from you!

For more information, contact Matt Lincoln at 517-284-6111.

Find a fawn? Enjoy the experience, but from a distance

Young fawns like this often are found alone in the wild this time of year; best to leave them alone.

A thicket, a patch of tall grass, a quiet spot in your backyard – what do these places have in common? All are locations where fawns have been found throughout Michigan.  For the first few weeks of a white-tailed deer’s life, the mother will hide it in secluded spots, a behavior that helps reduce the potential for predators to find the fawn. 

Hannah Schauer, a communications coordinator for the DNR’s Wildlife Division, said that while fawns may appear abandoned, they rarely are. “All wild white-tailed deer begin life this way,” she said. 

In fact, the mother’s placement of the fawn and the fawn’s own excellent camouflage are further strengthened by one more natural defense that will help the animal stay hidden from predators: Fawns are virtually odorless when they are young!

For all of these reasons, Schauer said that if you do come across a fawn on its own, the best thing to do is not touch it. Learn more in this DNR video. 

“There’s a very good chance the fawn is exactly where it is supposed to be,” she said. “It’s not uncommon for a deer to leave her fawn unattended, so no attention is drawn to the fawn’s hiding place. When she feels it is safe, the mother will return periodically to nurse her fawn.” 

Schauer advises leaving fawns alone and simply enjoying the experience from a distance. “Leaving baby animals in the wild ensures they have the best chance for survival,” she said. 

Only licensed wildlife rehabilitators may possess abandoned or injured wildlife. Unless someone is licensed, it is illegal to possess live wild animals, including deer, in Michigan.  

Help keep Michigan’s wildlife wild. Learn more at michigan.gov/wildlife or contact Hannah Schauer at 517-388-9678. 

PHOTOS AVAILABLE: News editors interested in photos to accompany these stories can get them in this photo folder. Images include:

  • An aerial view of Fayette.
  • A DNR creel clerk talking with an angler.
  • A fawn in the grass.
  • A thumbnail image from the video referenced in the fawn story.

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