2017-11-09 / Life in Leelanau

Gone Huntin'

Sportsmen set sights on big bucks — or at least blind time
By Jay Bushen
Sport Editor


THIS PHOTO of Nick Poineau, who is pictured with an 11-point shot near Maple City, was submitted to the Enterprise Monday. THIS PHOTO of Nick Poineau, who is pictured with an 11-point shot near Maple City, was submitted to the Enterprise Monday. It’s the time away from work.

It’s the solace of a deer blind.

It’s the camaraderie of deer camp.

To Ed Hallett and others in Leelanau County, firearm deer season is all of the above — and it’s six days away.

“I like to go sit in my blind,” Hallett said. “It’s relaxing. You can think. Two years ago, I sat for 52 hours and never saw a deer. At least I saw a deer last year.”

The deer, a 7-point buck, didn’t meet Hallett’s 8-point requirement and walked away unscathed.

Hallett isn’t convinced he’ll see anything better in Omena this year.

“I haven’t seen a thing,” he said. “That’s a bad deal. We went up to deer camp to do a bunch of work Saturday and saw nothing. I went back to my blind and saw nothing.


JOHN NUTT of Empire tagged an 11-point in Kasson Township Nov. 1. JOHN NUTT of Empire tagged an 11-point in Kasson Township Nov. 1. “That’s one of the problems where we’re at. One day there’s no deer; the next day you might see something.”

As always, anecdotal descriptions of the Leelanau County deer herd vary from sportsmen to sportsmen, motorist to motorist and farmer to farmer.

Northport apiarist and cherry grower Julius Kolarik’s account of the deer herd differs from that of Hallett.

“Oh yeah — they’re around,” Kolarik said on Monday. “I don’t know about a lot of them, but there’s too many deer for us farmers.”

A decision to “fence the yard for the first time in 50 years” last spring came after significant damage to his trees.

Kolarik isn’t just seeing deer in Leelanau Township, either.


CALVIN KORSON tagged an 8-point chasing a doe in Leelanau Township on Monday from about 25 yards. Also pictured is “Miss Lou Ann,” who helped track and recover the deer. CALVIN KORSON tagged an 8-point chasing a doe in Leelanau Township on Monday from about 25 yards. Also pictured is “Miss Lou Ann,” who helped track and recover the deer. “We used to see a deer or two years ago,” he said. “Now almost every trip out we’ll see deer moving.”

At least one hunter found success in Leelanau Township on Monday as Calvin Korson connected with an 8-point from about 25 yards.

In the southern portion of the peninsula, meanwhile, sportsmen continue to see and shoot sizable bucks.

Last week, John Nutt of Empire shot an 11-point in Kasson Towsnhip and Nick Poineau took an 11-point near Maple City.

“It’s kind of hit or miss,” said Steve Griffith, a wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources. “One of the guys in the office hunts up in Leelanau County. He’s been seeing deer pretty much every time he’s out, which isn’t a ton, but he’s seeing them.

“We’re anticipating numbers are up. The past couple winters have been pretty mild, so it should be interesting to see what this season brings. With it being so warm in October, we really don’t have a good feel for what people have been seeing.”

Griffith said DNR staff have talked to a few hunters in Benzie in Leelanau counties who are seeing multiple bucks, including some who are working on their second tag.

Griffith was asked what else Leelanau County hunters should be aware of as Wednesday draws near.

“Can’t harp on safety enough,” he said. “Wear orange and know what you’re shooting at. We want another safe and successful season.”

According to the DNR’s “2017 Hunting & Trapping Digest,” hunters in Leelanau County can legally take their first shot at 7:06 a.m.

Katie Keen, DNR wildlife communications coordinator, made note of a new Report All Poaching line. Hunters may text the hotline at (800) 292-7800.

Additionally, hunters concerned with chronic wasting disease — a growing concern downstate — can ask the DNR to disease test their deer.

With arrival next week of firearm deer season in Leelanau County, we’ve stepped up our coverage:

 Best island hunt in decades. p. 8
 Piebald deer taken in Elmwood. p. 9
 Car-deer accidents take a jump. p. 9

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