A Grouse Hunter’s Guide To Navigating Michigan’s Seven New GEMS

GEMS logo

Grouse hunting season in Michigan is open now through November 14th. Today, guest blogger Katie Keen from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources tells us about a new program that’s giving Michigan hunters access to some of the top grouse hunting areas in the country.

Daylight is starting to give us the squeeze, and if you’re like me, you’re starting to smell fall in the air.

Fall brings prime hunting season in Michigan, and with it a new program that the DNR and many other groups – like the Ruffed Grouse Society, U.S. Forest Service, National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited – are really excited about.

It’s called GEMS, or Grouse Enhanced Management Systems.

Michigan is among the leading states in the nation for grouse hunting, and the GEMS showcase seven great areas for those who want to give the sport a try or maybe existing hunters looking for new locations. The great thing about grouse hunting is, if you’re already a hunter you have – or will soon have, with deer season right around the corner – the hunting license you need.  The base license serves as a small game license, which is all you need for grouse hunting. The base license provides critical funding for wildlife and habitat management and conservation officers, and also to educate the public on the benefits of hunting, fishing and trapping.

Info kioskSeven GEMS are ready for this year’s grouse season, which starts Sept. 15.  Go online and pick out the first GEMS site you want to visit, whether it’s just below the bridge in Indian River, just north of the tri-cities near Standish, or north of the bridge where you could go from Drummond Island in the eastern U.P. to the Ottawa National Forest in the far western U.P.  The adventure is there and waiting!  You’ll also notice, when you’re on the GEMS website, the local support area businesses are giving GEMS. GEMS hunters will receive some great discounts by taking a selfie at a GEMS site and showing the picture to the participating business.

Once you’ve picked out your first GEMS location, and arrived there with your fashionable hunter orange vest, you’ll find some very useful information. Learn about ruffed grouse biology and how forests are managed for wildlife through cutting, hear examples of a ruffed grouse drumming on a log, and – most importantly – check out the map that will show you the miles and miles of hunter walking trails waiting for you.

Screen Shot 2014-09-15 at 5.10.49 PMGEMS areas feature non-motorized trails planted with clover weaving through pockets of grouse’s favorite habitat – stands of young aspen trees. You can choose to stay on the trail looking for grouse, or step off a bit and venture through the stands of young timber.  And don’t forget the other great upland game bird that can be found and hunted in these GEMS – the American woodcock.  Woodcock season starts on Sept. 20, and since it is a migratory bird, an additional free “woodcock stamp” is needed for hunting.  You can grab a woodcock stamp anywhere DNR licenses are sold or online.

Once you’ve completed your first GEMS hunt, make sure to take that selfie in front of a GEMS sign and visit one of the area businesses to get a great discount.  Hunters in Michigan bring millions of dollars into our economy … and have a whole lot of fun doing it!

Katie KeenKatie Keen is a wildlife outreach technician for the DNR in Cadillac, who spends her working hours with hunters, landowners, educators and media representatives to help with their DNR-related needs. In her off-time, she is a hunting-landowner who loves to educate folks about the DNR.

 

 

Pure Michigan October 2014 Events Roundup

With apple picking, pumpkin carving and hay rides, it’s easy to see why October is a favorite time of year for many. From Monroe all the way to Houghton, there are events for the whole family to enjoy as fall enters full swing.

Below is a roundup of some of the many events going on around the state in October. Visit michigan.org for a complete listing of Michigan events.

 Week of September 29-October 5

A2 Art & Brew
October 2, Ann Arbor
This year visit eight participating breweries that will offer a tasting of its featured craft beer along with a uniquely paired tasty bite that compliments the beer. Join in the fun as local artists design a unique piece of site-specific sidewalk chalk art inspired by the brewery and beer. 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 through Monday, September 29th, $60 thereafter. Purchase tickets early, space is limited to 300 guests. You must be 21 years of age.

Zeeland Pumpkinfest
October 2-4, Zeeland
Pumpkinfest in Zeeland, Michigan, celebrates community, family fun and fall activities! 2014 will mark the 30th year for Pumpkinfest and take place October 2, 3, & 4. The three-day event will feature a number of free and low-cost events that can be enjoyed by all ages. Each year, a theme is chosen and from that theme, downtown Zeeland is decorated in fall decor and parade floats join the fun in matching the theme as well. The 2014 theme is “Pumpkinfest Pride…Celebrating 30 Years”.

Skitoberfest
October 3-4, Boyne Falls
A fall extravaganza and homecoming taking place in the Boyne Mountain Village and surrounding area. Skitoberfest celebrates the best of fall’s family offerings in an Oktoberfest style setting and the coming winter season with a Snowsports Summit hosted by Olympian Cary Adgate. Highlights include gourmet foods from northern Michigan restaurants, markets and farms, Michigan beers, wines and spirits for tasting, plus music and endless family entertainment. Admission is free, and tickets for food, brews and some activities are available. Special event lodging rates are available at Boyne Mountain Resort.

Bangor Apple FestivalBangor apple fest
October 4, Bangor
Fall is a beautiful time in Michigan. From the color of the fall leaves to the taste of a crisp apple, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Head to Bangor for the 36th Annual Bangor Apple festival, for activities that include car shows, lawn mower races, kids’ activities, live entertainment and much more.

Rattlesnake Run 5k
October 5, Rochester
Enjoy the fall colors and run, jog, or walk along the Paint Creek Trail located in Rochester, Michigan, in north Oakland County! Participants will receive a commemorative Rattlesnake Run T-shirt. To add to the fall fun, enjoy cider and donuts from the Paint Creek Cider Mill! Race begins at the Paint Creek Cider Mill.

Week of October 6-12

Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival
October 9-12, Alpena
Tour 11 lighthouses a whole new way. The four day event provides activities for the young and old including lighthouse tours (aerial, boat or personal vehicle), entertainment, and vendors. Climb many of the lighthouses, enjoy live entertainment and lighthouse exhibits, and nautical vendors round out the weekend.

Frankfort Fall Festival
October 11, Frankfort
Fall Festival celebration in Frankfort’s open space. Featuring a parade with the Scottville Clown Band, kid’s games, GIANT pumpkins, squash and watermelons, Master Carver Ed Moody, pumpkin drop on a car and catapults! Make your way to Frankfort for pumpkin decorating, Farmer’s Market and more!

Color Cruise and Island FestivalColor cruise
October 10-12, Grand Ledge
This three day festival is always the second full weekend in October at the Island Park in downtown Grand Ledge. See the beautiful autumn colors by riverboat, canoe, horse & wagon, bicycle or air. This event is filled with fun for the whole family and includes cider pressing, blacksmithing, fur traders, pioneer crafts, candle dipping, pumpkin painting, music, food, and a petting zoo. Shuttle service available from JC Park and the parking area off River Street. Friday is “Seniors Day” with discounts available

Appleumpkin Festival
October 11-12, Tecumseh
Tecumseh’s Appleumpkin Festival features arts and crafts, an antiques street fair, carnival games, midway rides, inflatables, a make-it take-it scarecrow tent and yummy fair food as well as live entertainment. Free parking is available with free shuttle service to transport visitors downtown and to the nearby Kapnick Apple Festival. Local restaurants are ready to serve delicious meals and merchants open their doors and invite you to explore a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. This festival is one you won’t want to miss!

ArtPrize 2014
September 24-October 12, Grand Rapids
ArtPrize is the world’s largest international art competition open to any artist and decided by public vote. Take 11 days to explore over 4500 artists at 515 venues in Grand Rapids and vote for the entries you think should win.

Week of October 13-19

Michigan’s Big Country Fest 2014
October 17-18, Frankenmuth
Slip on your cowboy boots, tip your hat and swing on over to the third annual Michigan’s Big Country Fest. Enjoy live bands, beer & mixed drinks, mechanical bull, down-home BBQ dinners and snacks, line dancing and much more. Free parking, handicapped accessible

Fall Fling Festival
October 18-19, New Era
Autumn is a special time at the farm: beautiful orchards and forests in the peak of fall color change, ripe pumpkins, the most varieties of apples to choose from of any season. That’s the backdrop for the annual Fall Fling Festival! Musicians, mimes, magicians, rides, face painters, balloon tiers, stilt walkers and more will join you at the 70+ animal petting farm. You won’t want to miss Michigan’s only animated chicken show, jumping pillows, pedal carts, duck races, Farming Rocks Gem Mining, Bunker Hill Fruit Cannons, pumpkin moon walk, barrel train rides, Apple Express wagon rides, pumpkin chucker and an eight acre corn maze.

Saginaw Zoo Boo
October 18-19, Saginaw
Put on your costumes and trick-or-treat your way through the decorated zoo! Load your treat bag with goodies from various vendors and booths. Watch Dr. Slime, the mad scientist, put on a mysterious, scientific show! Ticket price includes zoo admission, train and carousel ride, Dr. Slime Show, and trick-or-treating. Zoo members and the general public: $7 discount tickets available through October 17th. October 18th and after tickets are $9. Event also runs October 25 & 26.

The Walk
October 18, Shelby Township
Come dressed in your best costume and head out to Stony Creek Metropark on Saturday, October 18. The Walk offers an accessible and scenic fall route to walkers of all ages, while providing a fun filled and memorable day. Participants age 5 & under are free, ages 6-12 are $15, and ages 13 & up are $30. Halloween costumes or attire are strongly recommended!

2014 Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank MarathonTalmer
October 19, Detroit
There are so many things that make running Detroit unique and exciting – crossing international borders twice, running an “underwater mile”, and the large crowds and entertainers posted every few miles. The sights on Belle Isle are scenic and views of the city from the riverfront will make you wish you had your camera. This race has something for everyone from start to finish. All participants of the Marathon, International Half -Marathon, or U.S.-Only Half-Marathon must be at least 16 years of age. There is no age limit on the 5K or the Marathon Relay. Ages 4-12 are welcome for the Kids Fun Run.

Weeks of October 20-26 & October 27-31

Scarecrow Glow
October 22, Troy
Troy Historic Village is hosting “Scarecrow Glow”, a costume-optional event on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, from 6pm to 9pm. See the magic of the Village at night, and experience an evening of fall fun. Attendees will enjoy food and drinks from Troy establishments, while listening to the sweet sounds of jazz and bluegrass music. Watch a nighttime blacksmithing demonstration and make s’mores. A special gift bag will be given to all attendees. Costumes, especially related to the “Alice in Wonderland” theme, are encouraged. Tickets $40 per person, $50 per person at the door. Adults (21 and older) only.

The Glo Run
October 24, Lansing
The Glo Run is the energy that sparked the night run revolution. This is a 5k course on funroids with stimulating areas along the course. Run a nighttime 5k through a dreamworld full of glowing wonders and music.

Zombie Dash
October 25, Grand Rapids
Get ready for the wildest 5-K you will ever experience. Run a five kilometer course within the quarantine area. Conquer the infamous Apocalypse Avenue and Kill Hill. Dodge over 300 zombies looking for “fast food.” Race against darkness and survive the Zombie apocalypse. You’ll be given three or four “life strips” (flag football flags) to tuck in your pants. For each one you keep, you’ll have one minute subtracted from your time. No worries if you lose both. Just keep running and enjoy the experience of one of the most unique night races ever held.

Halloween in Greenfield VillagePhotos for Pure Michigan
October 10-26, Dearborn
Stroll down streets and alleys haunted by over 1,000 carved jack-o’-lanterns and lavishly costumed characters during America’s most spooktacular Halloween event. This is a kid-friendly, nightmare-free Halloween gathering. October 10-12, 17-19, and 24-26. Tickets rain or shine.

All Things Detroit III
October 26, Detroit
It’s time again for all of Detroit to come together and celebrate an amazing city at All Things Detroit III. This event will feature 60 local business owners with products made in Detroit, Detroit theme art, local bands, entertainment, raffles every 30 minutes, and free All Things Detroit souvenirs for the first 200 guests. This is a Motor City event you won’t want to miss!

Fall Color Tours by Dog Team
September 15 – October 31, Mc Millan
Enjoy the beautiful seasonal changes of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by taking a ride with the sled dogs in our dog-powered trail vehicle. This is a fall color tour like you’ve never seen before! Our fall trips begin at 8 am and 10 am when you will meet your guides and receive an introduction to sled dog training. You’ll see how we hook up the dogs and even learn to harness a dog if you’d like. You’ll also get a tour of our kennel and the opportunity to hold adorable puppies. We’ll stop along the route for photos. We’ll have coffee or hot cocoa and a homemade treat when we return. Plan about two hours for your tour.

Eisenhower Dance: The Light ShowAlicia Light Show
October 31, East Lansing
Back by popular demand after the sensational Red, Hot and Blue, and fun-filled Motown in Motion, Eisenhower Dance returns with a visually stunning co-commission by Wharton Center and the Detroit Opera House. The Light Show matches choreographers with lighting designers for four cleverly electrifying pieces incorporating lasers, light, and innovative dance. One of the finest contemporary dance ensembles today, Michigan’s acclaimed Eisenhower Dance combines remarkable technique with inventive choreography. Ticketed event.

With so much to do around the state in October, what will you do?