I was pretty limited on time and money through college, which made it difficult for me to pursue hunting and fishing opportunities as much as I would have liked to. Growing up, I had only focused on hunting deer with my dad during rifle season. During college, I would only get a few mornings of hunting in on Thanksgiving break each year. Living in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, I knew I was surrounded by public land. I had no idea downstate Michigan also has a lot of public land to offer.
The New Year has already started off great for me and my ever-growing passion for being outdoors. It was a never a thought in my mind that I would live in downstate Michigan; I always saw myself at the 45th parallel or even farther north. However, I moved to Lansing this week last year. Since moving away from home for college in 2009, I haven’t resided in one place for more than 6 months at a time. I lived in a new dorm/apartment/house each semester of college and then would work a seasonal job in a different part of the U.S. for the summer months.
Through the year residing in Lansing and traveling to various state game areas for MUCC’s wildlife habitat projects, I’ve discovered how much is available to me for hunting and fishing opportunities. I took many chances to get out and hunt the archery season for the first time last year just because I knew several areas where I could hunt. With some areas within 25 minutes away, I was able to get out opening morning and hunt a few hours before going into work. I was not successful in harvesting any venison, but I was proud to have gained some knew knowledge by getting out there and putting in the time.
Having your own hunting or fishing equipment is half the experience. For MUCC’s Sporting Clays Charity Shoot last year, I borrowed a coworker’s shotgun and wasn’t familiar with the fit. This year I will be ecstatic to bring my own and maybe even shoot well with it! I started out the year with my very own Remington model 870 shotgun. I couldn’t wait to get a feel for it; so my Dad threw some clay pigeons for me on a cold, snowy morning. Upon returning to my home in Lansing, I didn’t wait to get out in the field with it either. I took a new hunter small game hunting with me at Dansville state game area. Although we didn’t get any shots, it was a fun new experience.
I’ve also been able to utilize different sportsmans clubs and shooting ranges. I’ve put in some time at the range with a volunteer at the Chief Okemos Sportsman’s Club shooting range; learning a few tactical shooting tips with my Smith and Wesson M&P .357 mag revolver. I’ve visited the Sharonville State Game Area’s archery range and got to introduce a new hunter to archery. I am lucky to have all of this public land available with opportunities to expand my hunting experience. I’m looking forward to another year of new opportunities and more wildlife habitat projects to give back to my public lands, as well as learn of more places to hunt of course! Join me on a wildlife habitat project at the state game area you here.