2016-09-15 / Outdoors

Only specialized grouse unit in area found in Benzie County

Small private parcels and a lack of aspen cuttings on larger, state-owned land in Leelanau County send many grouse hunters elsewhere.

Kalkaska and Benzie counties are common destinations for one-day hunts.

Hunters headed to Benzie may want to try one of the state’s new Grouse Enhanced Management (GEM) units. The nearest GEM — and the only one located in the northwestern Lower Peninsula — is along the Little Betsie River about one mile east of Thompsonville.

The site includes 2.5 miles of hunter walking trails and 4,100 acres of huntable land, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources website. It’s draw for grouse are cut aspen thickets.

While perhaps not on the GEM, county bird hunter Mark Stevens will be hunting in the area.

“On opening day, I’ll be hunting state land in Benzie County,” said Sevens, an electrician for Alpine Electric. “I took the day off, of course.”

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