2012 Michigan Deer Hunting Season Starts Tomorrow

Posted by Kevin Eason September 21, 2012

Well it is finally here the first start of Michigan's 2012 deer hunting season. Tomorrow September 22, 2012 kicks of the season with the start of early doe hunt along with the youth and 100 % disabled veterans hunt. This is a two day hunt in which hunters can choice between their choice of weapons a firearm, bow or crossbow. The early doe hunt is only in certain DMU'S while the youth and 100 % disabled veterans hunt are statewide. Please make sure you refer to the 2012 Michigan Antlerless Deer Hunting Digest for complete regulations, license information and maps.
Will you and your friends be going out this weekend to try and fill the freezer? I hope so, most of the Sanctuary team will be out there with you trying to fill those tags. Remeber that this is an excellent time to donate some venison to the hungry by use of the Michigan Sportsman Against Hunger program.

What do you think of the early Antlerless firearm season? Do you love it or hate it?

We would love to hear from you!!! Please comment and or share this link with your friends.

Be safe out there and good luck to all.


What is the Future Image of Outdoor TV

Posted by Kevin Eason September 1, 2012

Over the last couple, of months while working on our new website I have been thinking of the direction of the hunting world as we know it. It has changed so much over the last 10 years. It has had me thinking of all the reason that I started hunting and what it meant to me. It reminded me of my first hunts, were the sight of a couple of does and a few squirrels were enough to pump me up. It was the thrill of being in nature up close with all of God’s creation. When the excitement of watching a young buck chase doe’s by your favorite stand was enough to make a great hunt.  Is it that simple? “The hunter’s first thrill of a close encounter” that gets us hooked on the sport.


I read a Blog today by Dave Hurteau of Whitetale 365 a hunting blog found on Field and Stream. It was titled Todays Challenge: Say Something Nice About Outdoor TV In the article Dave Hurteau says “I don’t think it’s that much of a mystery. Watching a giant buck come trotting through the hedge apples or weaving through the bluestem or thumping over the oak flat with the morning light on him is a rare, rare sight for most of us. To see it, many of us are willing to put up with a circus of grade-school antics and a cascade of moronic clichés. Like it or not, outdoor TV is more and more the (or at least a) public face of our sport. And while we absolutely should piss and moan when we don’t like the way we are being represented, we should also stand up and point and shout when it’s done right.”


 Watching hunting videos and Outdoor TV made me a much better hunter than I was ten years ago. But lately it seams to me that there is something lost in the translation of the outdoor television shows. The average hunter has more information available to him than ever before and has the potential to kill big bucks just like on TV, Sure it takes a ton of hard work and dedication to making it happen, but when it happens!!! The level of enthusiasm and true heart that goes into a hunt that you have worked so hard toward, surely can not be miss translated.


In this fast paced world, we live in today is the demand for more buck kills on film, and the search for the biggest bucks caused us to lose focus on what the future of our sport is? Where do we go form here? For as many hunters today that focus on trophy hunting, there are 3 times as many hunters that are happy to put meat on the table.


How do we properly portrait the correct image our sport?


Drought 2012

Posted by Kevin Eason August 28, 2012

Unless you live in a box or climate controlled underground fortress you have more than likely heard all the talk about the 2012 drought. It is being labeled as one of the worst droughts that the US as seen in the last 100 years. It is extremely broad covering 57% of the contiguous 48 states and affecting 1700 counties.


I know that the farmers that we lease land from are on the edge every week praying that we get enough rain to allow the crops to grow and not be lost. I joke about rain dances but am sure that there are plenty of people dancing right now. With 48 % of  corn crops rated poor to very poor and 38%

f soybean crops rated poor to very poor it will be difficult times for our farmers and there families.


So what does this mean for all the crazy whitetail freaks like us?  I know that we have been extraordinarily lucky getting just enough rain when we need it to allow our fall food plots to sprout, will that luck continue? Will there be enough rain to allow the food plots to grow into thick deer attracting magnets? I sure hope so, what I do know is that with the lack of rain fall and also the possibility of the crops being harvested earlier than usual, that deer will have to look harder and longer for a nutritious food source come fall. They will also lose bedding and cover if the crops are taken earlier forcing them into the woods with fewer places to hide. This is actually exciting news if you are lucky enough to have food and cover plots that survive into the late fall and winter months. If your property has  better food and cover than you neighbors, Bam you know were all the big bucks will be.


I am no deer biologist, but I have read various

articles stating that deer antler growth is stunted by the lack of rain, but so far my trail camera photos have not led me to that conclusion, but really how do you gage what a deer’s antlers may have looked like with more rain fall? There is also a lot of concern for disease and infection within the deer herd with them having to drink out of the same stagnate water holes instead of multiple flowing streams and ponds.


Has all this talk about the drought made you change your hunting strategies for the up coming sea

son? I know that it has been bouncing around in my head at night when I try to sleep. Here, is some food for thought, find natural watering holes on your property, look for dropped or cut tree tops for cover, if you have not planted a food plot already there is still time, get out there and plant them  now, scout for acorns, dig an extraordinarily deep pond (lol). If you plan now this could be your best season ever.


Don’t Forget – Get out there and let me see your best rain dance.



Category: Hunting News | Kevin Eason

Cougars Verified In Michigan

Posted by Kevin Eason August 27, 2012

Are there cougars found in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula? Well according to the Michigan DNR that answers is yes. In the last two months alone, the Michigan DNR has verified three photos of cougars in Baraga County and southern and northern Marquette County. As of July 27, 2012 the DNR has confirmed eight sets of tracks, one trail camera video and eight photos from nine different Upper Peninsula Counties including Delta, Marquette, Schoolcraft, Mackinac, Chippewa, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw and Baraga counties. According to a press release by the DNR this is the 17th time the DNR has verified the existence of cougars in the UP since 2008. The last know cougar found in Michigan prior to 2008 was killed in Newberry in 1906.


So why has there been such a dramatic increase in cougar sightings over the last 5 years? Your opinion is as good as mine but according to Adam Bump a specially trained DNR Biologist to investigate cougar sightings “The growing body of evidence continues to indicate the presence of an unknown number of adult cougars in the Upper Peninsula,”. “In the five years since we confirmed our first cougar report we have yet to receive any evidence of breeding activity, as all images and other physical evidence have been from adult cats.” Bump also states “The increase in verified cougar sightings in recent years could be attributed to several factors, although the two most significant are probably the presence of more transient individual cougars moving east from established Western populations, and the growing number of trail cameras being used in the woods, making it easier to capture clear images of elusive cougars,” Bump said. “We appreciate how cooperative the public has been in sending their reports and photos to the DNR for review. This cooperation allows us to effectively monitor cougars in the state.”


The fact is that cougar sightings have been on the rise for the last couple of years. But according to a Michigan DNR press release they are extremely difficult to verify due to lack of physical evidence. Sightings reported to the special DNR cougar team will be investigated. They may come out and visit the site for verification. After they have collected all the evidence, then they decided if the presence of the cougar sighted can be verified.


Please remember that in Michigan cougars are currently classified as endangered species and it is illegal to kill or injure unless in the case of self defense. If you would like to learn more about cougars in Michigan, feel free to visit www.michigan.gov/cougars


If you would like to report evidence or sightings of a cougar you can submit it on the web site www.michigan.gov/cougars. Or for an emergency call the poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.


We would like to hear your thoughts on cougars in Michigan. If you would like to keep this conversation going please comment on this post below.



Photo caption: This trail camera photo of a cougar was taken at 2 a.m. on July 18 in northern Marquette County. The photo represents the 17th time the DNR has been able to verify the presence of cougars in the Upper Peninsula since 2008.

















Photo Caption:

This photo of a cougar was taken by Baraga County resident Fred Nault near Skanee on Saturday, May 5. The photo represents the 15th time the DNR has been able to verify the presence of a cougar in the Upper Peninsula since 2008.
















Reference List : DNR verifies trail camera photo of cougar in northern ... (n.d.). Retrieved from http://content.govdelivery.com/bulletins/gd/MIDNR-4b8104

Tree Walker Tree Stands Review

Posted by Kevin Eason August 22, 2012

Climbing trees stands have come a long way in the past 8 years. There are many choices on the market today to choose between from stands that are very light weight and portable to stands that are bulkier and more comfortable than your favorite reclining chair.


When it became time, to start shopping around for a new climber I looked at all the retail stores and also searched online for the newest hottest stands out. I became very confused with all the stands to choose from on the market today. I knew that I wanted a climber that was light weight, safe and extremely comfortable but did not know were to find just that. As luck would have it while out on an annual visit to the Woods “N” Water Show in Imlay City, Michigan my brother and I came across a vender selling climbing tree stands. Very impressed by the sales pitch we both purchased a Tree Walker Tree Stand that day.


The Tree Walker Climbing tree stand is lightweight weighing in at only 18lbs and is also extremely comfortable to hunt in. This stand is both easy to use and extremely safe to hunt in. It has a large platform size of 20” X 35” Comfortable mesh seat measuring 22” X 34” and a weight limit of 350 lbs for all you big guys. You can climb trees from 6’ up to 26” in diameter. With all those great features how does it get better here is how get this it’s 100% made and manufactured in the USA, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. “Wow” that should be the end of this gear review, but wait it gets even better.


It is very quit to carry and easy to set up, the two piece stand snaps together with its interlocking system so no need for bungees or straps to hold it together. It is easy as pie to attaché to the tree, even in the dark. It has a memory cable that wraps around the tree with a bright yellow end to make it the fastest climber to set up that I have ever seen. It has a patented Possi Grip engagement system that guarantees no slip (these are 1’ spikes that go into the tree so it is probably not the best choose for public land hunting). I have never once in the 5 years I have owned the stand ever had it slip from its spot on the tree.


You can hunt out of the Tree Walker Tree Stand by facing it toward or away from the tree. This feature is nice to have on a tree stand it gives you the ability to change your hunting style to fit your needs and adapts to all different types of trees you may come across in the woods. It has a foot rest and a shooting rest. It comes with a set of backpack straps that make it very sweet to carry to your tree. It has a very balanced weight when back packing and climbing. I have carried this stand over two miles to my tree with little effort or strain.


As stated earlier, I have owned this stand for 5 years plus and use it on a daily basis through out the Michigan & Ohio hunting seasons. I have yet to have anything break or fail. This stand gives me the versatility to change tree stand locations in search for that monster buck of a lifetime. It is comfortable enough to hunt in all day during the rut when the big boys are on there feet. It is light enough, easy to carrier, super simple to set up, safe and quite so you won’t mind hauling it out into the woods on a daily basis. So the bottom line is “go get you one son” and you will not be disappointed. I have not seen them at any outdoor/hunting shows in a couple of years so the only place I know to purchase this bad boy is on there website at www.treewalker.com  starting price is  $ 329.00 with lots of option cool accessories to buy with it.


Want To See It In Action
Click Here To Watch Watch This Hunt as I Shoot This Great Deer out of My Tree Walker Tree stand.

Primos Truth 46 Trail Camera Review

Posted by Kevin Eason August 21, 2012

I have been using the Primos Truth 46 Trail Camera for a little over a year now. This Camera in my opinion is one of the best trail cameras you can buy for the money. I purchased my trail cameras last year for $89.00 each which I found to be a great value. The Cameras are a little larger than most trail cameras on the market today measuring 7” x 9” x 3”deep. This does not seem to bother me, yes it makes them difficult to carry, but I can carry 4 to 5 cameras in a medium backpack with batteries, SD cards, rubber gloves, and water.


The camera comes packaged with a heavy duty hook strap to secure it to the tree. If security is a concern, there are two ways to protect you camera and SD card. You can install a small pad lock to protect your sd card, and there is a molded security cable hole through case for theft prevention. We typically use a Master Lock Python Cable Lock thru the molded security hole along with the supplied strap to attache to the tree. The camera operates on 4 D batteries which seem to last a long time. On average, we get about three months or 3000 pictures on a single set of batteries. I have had some trouble with the unit operating properly when the batteries level drops below 30%, but over all I am impressed with the battery life of the camera. Supports up to 8 gigabyte SD card but I typically use a 2 gigabyte SD Card which holds about 1600 pictures. I typically check my trail cameras once a month so 2 gigabytes is more than enough memory.


The Primos Truth 46 Trail Camera has a 1.4 second trigger speed with a recovery time of around 5 seconds. Its detection range is around 40 to 50 feet depending on temperature and lighting. It stamps photos or video with date, time, temperature, and moon phase information. Has an image resolution of 3 megapixels, which provides a good picture quality. There is some noise when the camera takes day time pictures due to the filter but I have never noticed a problem with the noise spooking animals.


My favorite part about this camera is its ease of use. It is by far one of the easiest trail camera’s I have ever used. It has a very easy to read back lit led digital display. With the push of a button you can format your SD card, change sensitivity level, set # of pictures

taken at a time and change the time and date. Once you are strapped to the tree and ready to go you just hit the run/wake button and a timer with 30 seconds starts counting down and you are ready to go. When you come back to pull your SD card on your trail camera all you have to do is push the run/wake button, and the digital display shows you the number of pictures taken.




The Primos Truth 46 Trail Camera has everything I need out of a trail camera. It is not the fastest, quietest, or it does not take the best pictures I have ever seen, but it does capture the deer so I can create my hit lists and management plans for the season. I have used a couple different trail cameras that were faster and took better pictures but also cost me a lot more money. If you are considering purchasing a good quality trail camera, that gets the job done but does not break the bank I highly recommend the Primos Truth 46 trail camera. After all, you can never have enough trail cameras.


Deer Hunting Video- 2011 Pre- Season Scouting Trip

Posted by Kevin Eason June 11, 2012

Deer Hunting Video- Kevin Ohio 2011 November Bow Hunt

Posted by Kevin Eason June 11, 2012


Kevin’s 2011 bow kill.  The secondary farm pays off AGAIN!!! In an effort to keep pressure off our main farm we often take our efforts to some backup hunting properties.

This particular piece had only been hunted a couple times a few days earlier when we caught a glimpse of this deer buttin heads with another big shooter. 

At first glance Chuck tried to call little brother off this deer but the second Kevy saw it coming in he was committed and this buck was going down.

Watch this great story unfold. 

Meet The Vice President

Posted by Kevin Eason May 27, 2012


Category: Kevin Eason | Photos


Posted by Kevin Eason March 8, 2012

Weekly Fishing Report - March 8, 2012



Weekly Fishing Report

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

March 8, 2012



Safety Tips for Spring Ice Fishing
It’s almost officially spring and although this season has been fairly inconsistent for great ice fishing, there still may be numerous opportunities in different locations throughout the state to get out on the water. But just remember, there are a few important safety precautions to take if you plan to do so:

1. Towards the end of the season, ice becomes rotten and soft. Although ice may still be more than a foot thick, it might not be strong enough to hold someone safely.
2. Don’t forget to still carry the appropriate safety items, such as ice picks and a throw rope. And remember to wear a personal flotation device when heading out.

3. Continue to utilize the buddy system and know you’ll have someone with you to help if you fall through the ice.

4. Carry a fully charged cell phone in a waterproof plastic bag. Make sure it is easily accessible on your person in case of an emergency. 

5.Pay attention to the weather. If it hasn’t been consistently cold or if there has been a lot of wind you can’t guarantee there will be solid ice to head out on.

For more information on ice fishing, check out our Ice Fishing – The Coolest Sport Around article.

Weekly Fishing Report map



Great Lakes Temperature Map

Click on the links below to jump to the report section that interests you most:
Southeast Lower Peninsula
Southwest Lower Peninsula
Northeast Lower Peninsula
Northwest Lower Peninsula
Upper Peninsula

 While the northern sections of the state are digging out from the snow storm, the Lower Peninsula is dealing with high water levels in rivers and streams. Water conditions were not only muddy but also had floating debris making its way downstream. River fishing will depend on rain later this week and run-off from snow melt as temperatures push into the 50’s.



Lake Erie: Boats launching from Bolles Harbor are fishing the “Hot Hole” off Plum Creek. Shore anglers are targeting bluegill and perch at the Metro Park.

Huron River: Is producing walleye and pike. Try Hot-n-Tots, jig and minnow or a worm under a bobber.   

Detroit River: A couple walleye were caught up near the Edison Plant. Shore anglers are still catching the occasional perch in the canals around Gibraltar.

Lake St. Clair: A few boats were launching at the ramps but no word on catch rates.

Clinton River: Has shore fishing along the river and on the Spillway however catch rates were unpredictable.

Harbor Beach: Ice in the harbors is either unsafe or just plain gone. Brown trout were caught in the Edison discharge channel when the plant is running however nothing was caught when it was off.

Saginaw Bay: Has open water fishing. The Pine River mouth is open with high water levels and muddy water. Fishing was slow at Palmer Road due to muddy water. There was no ice from Pinconning south. Those wading in the Hot Ponds caught a few pike but catch rates were slow. On the east side of the bay, fishing is limited to marina basins, and those connected to rivers are very muddy. Rivers and creeks at Sebewaing, Caseville and Port Austin were high, muddy, and full of debris.

Saginaw River: Had high water levels. Those out fishing were not able to control their drift because of the strong currents. Conditions might improve toward the end of this week if the area does not get heavy rain. Best bet for the weekend boat anglers would be to head out into the bay and look for clean water.  

Tittabawassee River: Has high water levels so the current is fast. Anglers need to watch for floating debris. The boat ramps were partially flooded.  

Flint River: Walleye were starting to move in. Anglers had limited success at M-15, Atwood Stadium and the Holloway Reservoir Dam. With the projected warm weather this week the walleye should be moving in prior to the closure on March 15.  

Quanicassee River: Boat anglers took a few small perch.


Dowagiac River: Is producing steelhead. Water levels were fine.

St. Joseph River:
 Steelhead fishing at the Berrien Springs Dam was good. A few walleye were also caught.

Paw Paw River: Is producing steelhead and walleye.

Kalamazoo River:
 Steelhead are running even though water levels were a bit high. Walleye anglers are doing well. Try rapalas or bucktail jigs.  

Grand River at Grand Rapids:
 Water levels are up with flood advisories in some areas. Steelhead are there however catch rates may slow due to muddy water.    

Grand River at Lansing:
 A couple steelhead were caught at or near the Moore’s Park Dam. A few limit catches were taken in Sycamore Creek.

Maple River: Has higher water levels.  

Muskegon River: Is producing steelhead and walleye downstream from Croton Dam. Some were perch fishing upstream of Hardy Pond but the ice was not safe.


Inland lakes should still have ice however deep snow and slush will not only make travel difficult, but will also cover areas that may be dangerous. Fishing continues to be fair at best, with a few perch, walleye, pike and trout caught. With the heavy snow and warm weather, anglers might want to consider removing their ice shanties prior to the March 15 deadline.

Alpena: Strong winds should blow the ice out of Thunder Bay by the weekend.

Thunder Bay
River: The City of Alpena has removed all the snow piled up at the access site so the ramp should be open now. The river is ice-free and there are some steelhead and a few brown trout for those open water fishing.  

Hubbard Lake: Had fair to good perch fishing.

Au Sable River: Had very good steelhead fishing. The access sites and ramps are now open.

Higgins Lake: Has foot travel only because of the deep snow and slush. Those taking machines out were getting stuck. Anglers are basically heading out for smelt and perch only. For smelt, try off the west launch in 20 to 30 feet of water. For perch and smelt, try near the Birch Lodge. Smelt were caught during the day however the better catches came at night.     

Houghton Lake: Travel on the ice is difficult due to deep snow and slush. Some have already pulled their shanties off the ice. Few anglers have been out.

Tawas Bay: Ice conditions will deteriorate quickly this week so anglers will need to use extreme caution. Off Jerry’s Marina, a few walleye were caught and a couple pike were speared.  

Au Gres River: Steelhead are running in Whitney Drain which is on the East Branch of the river. Most of the fish are upstream of the Singing Bridge, where good numbers were caught when drifting spawn. Fish were also caught at the Singing Bridge access site and in the surf when the ice packs move out of the way. Rain and subsequent high muddy water may affect the bite by the end of the week.


Deep snow and slush in this region will make travel on ice more difficult.

Traverse City: Both the East Bay and the West Bay have open water.

Green Lake: Was producing some smelt.      

Fife Lake: Had ice. Perch and pike anglers will want to head straight out and east of the launch site.  

Betsie River: Is producing steelhead.  

Lake Cadillac: Still had plenty of ice but travel through the deep snow and slush was difficult.  

Lake Mitchell: Fish are there for the taking if you can navigate the deep snow.

Lake Missaukee: Still had ice with fair to good pike action.  

Portage Lake: Was producing the occasional walleye or pike.

Manistee River: Should still have some steelhead for those looking for fly fishing opportunities. Warm temperatures and rain this week should bring in some fresh fish.

Pere Marquette River: Continues to produce steelhead and catch rates will only improve as the temperatures rise.


Keweenaw Bay: A couple coho were caught off Sand Point. A stretch of ice flowing past Sand Point towards the head of the Bay made it impossible to fish this popular site. Rainbow and brown trout were caught near the mouth of the Falls River.

Little Bay De Noc: Heavy snowfall limited angler access to most of the Bay. Poor ice conditions along the shore access areas and pressure cracks are creating some problems so those heading out need to use extreme caution at all times. Many have pulled their shanties or moved them to shore. Walleye were caught between Gladstone and the Escanaba River when jigging rapalas in 25 to 33 feet of water or along the Center Reef when jigging or using tip-ups in 18 to 30 feet of water.

Perch fishing remained about the same although few anglers were out. Most were jigging wigglers or minnows in five to 23 feet of water near Kipling. Much warmer temperatures could present more problems with the ice so those that still have ice shanties out should take notice and be ready to move them if necessary.

Munising: Heavy snowfall and the resulting slush have made travel on the ice difficult. Anglers need to use caution as some of the holes are now snow covered and extremely hard to see. The eastern shoreline between the pier and the hospital seems to be where anglers are heading. The ice at Sand Point has moved in and out a couple times so be sure to use caution. Catch rates for whitefish and splake were poor and most of the fish were very small. Those lucky enough to catch something big enough to keep were using Swedish Pimples, soft-body baits or tip-ups with minnows. Few coho were reported but those jigging for them did catch a couple herring. No smelt to report.

Munuscong: Anglers were not having any luck with perch or walleye. Many have removed their ice shanties since the 18 inches of snow fell.

Cedarville and Hessel: Musky Bay and Hessel Bay have a lot of nice perch to offer. It takes time and a lot of moving around. Try 10 to 14 feet of water with wigglers or wax worms. This area has approximately 14 inches of snow. Slush and deteriorating ice conditions will be a concern with the warmer temperatures.