Spotlighting is legal during all months except November when it is not legal to shine at all. Michigan’s wild elk herd is flourishing, with over 1,000 elk living in an 105,000-acre area in the northeast Lower Peninsula. The land deal valued at more than $2 million was finalized in January and adds the Elk Forest at Black River, a stunning, 597-acre parcel in Montmorency County, to Michigan’s public lands. Upland from the lake and river, a forest of mixed pine, aspen and oak is a thriving wildlife haven, and near the water, wetland plants such as wild cranberry and carnivorous pitcher plants grow beneath a canopy of cedar. Michigan’s elk herd is estimated at 900 to 1,200. Whenever attempting to view elk, plan to spend adequate time. As the breeding season approaches, elk are more active and can be seen in forest openings, the males bugling for attention from females and working to … One hundred years ago, a unique, rustic area – the “Pine Barrens Country” that a young Ernest Hemingway called “wild as the devil” and “the greatest I’ve ever been in” – became the Pigeon River Country State Forest. If you can’t see the dog on point, that’s just about right. They roam woods and fields of the northern Lower Peninsula, with the highest numbers in the Pigeon River Country area. Recent hunts to keep the herd in balance with its habitat have provided a limited number of hunters some memorable outings. Large herd bulls with their polished antlers gleaming gather cows into harems for the annual breeding season. Pigeon River State Forest was a favorite destination for Ernest Hemingway, who fished and hunted in the “Great Barrens” as a young man after being seriously wounded during the 1st World War in 1918. About one thousand elk live in the elk range of southern Cheboygan, Otsego and Montmorency Counties. It looks like the color up here peaked last week. Smaller satellite or non-breeding bulls hang around the vicinity of the harem. Elk hunting is the primary tool used to maintain the balance between elk numbers and habitat, while also addressing crop damage concerns. Pigeon Bridge State Forest Campground. They are on their own schedule coming and going when and where their biological needs take them. This diversity attracts a wider variety of breeding songbird species. In 1918, the DNR brought seven Rocky Mountain elk from the western part of the country to the Pigeon River Country State Forest. Adventurers also will enjoy the addition of more than a mile of the Black River, a top-quality trout stream, and a half-mile of Hardwood Creek. One of Michigan's most sought after viewing species is the elk, and Michigan's Pigeon River Country State Forest is home to one of the largest free-roaming elk herds east of the Mississippi. The 95,000-acre state forest contains native hardwoods and pines that are interspersed with fields and forest openings. Recreational bugling, by people, to attract or stimulate bulls to bugle is at its best at this time. Grassy meadows are focal points. A smaller lake and pond are nearby. Michigan Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry into state parks and recreation areas, state boat launches, state forest campgrounds and state trail parking lots. Now home to one of the largest free-roaming elk herds east of the Mississippi, the Pigeon offers abundant opportunities to explore the outdoors. Recently, the DNR announced elk habitat has been further protected with the addition of the Elk Forest at Black River, a 597-acre parcel in Montmorency County, to Pigeon River Country State Forest. Vanderbilt, Michigan Between 30,000 and 40,000 people apply for a chance to hunt elk every year. An elk photographed in the Pigeon River Country State Forest. Don’t forget your binoculars. Elk Hill Equestrian State Forest Campground Campsite, 2300 feet east Pigeon River State Forest Campground Campsite, 3300 feet south Pigeon Bridge State Forest Campground Campsite, 2½ … You likely will not be alone at these viewing areas. ... Elk Hill Equestrian River Trail Campground. “This spectacular place adds a gem to the crown of Michigan’s public lands,” said DNR Forest Resources Division Chief Debbie Begalle. DNR acquires 2,000-acre elk herd range in Northern Michigan for $3.8M, How to see the magnificent elk of Michigan's 'Big Wild' forest, Michigan elk-viewing carriage ride with gourmet dinner named top U.S. attraction, Michigan’s sturgeon season on Black Lake draws record crowd, but lasts nearly 6 hours. 49795, Pigeon River Country Discovery Center | Copyright 2017. It is the only river managed exclusively for native brook trout in the entire Lake Huron basin. The opportunity to see elk will be enhanced If everyone sits quietly and avoids going into the fields. Connected to the High Country Pathway are Pine Grove (6 sites) Pigeon Bridge (10 sites), Round Lake (10 sites) and Town Corner Lake (12 sites). King hosted authors Ernest Hemingway and William B. Mershon at the camp, where they fished for trout and hunted wild game. An elk photographed in the Pigeon River Country State Forest (DNR) “This area is full of wildlife,” said Kerry Wieber, DNR forest land administrator. The Pigeon River Country State Forest, in the south eastern corner of the Indian River Area, is the home to Michigan’s only free-roaming elk herd. Michigan’s 108,000-acre acre Pigeon River Country State Forest, known to many as “the Big Wild” and the core of that state’s elk range, is now 597 acres larger. Through an important partnership effort with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the DNR is working to improve elk viewing areas and elk viewing education as well as materials and programs. Still, if you cruise some of the best areas (explained later) at the crack of dawn or just before dark, you may see a large bull with antlers in velvet or a group of elk cows with their calves. Forest Legacy funds are used to protect environmentally important forest areas from development and fragmentation. Pigeon River Country. They roam woods and fields of the northern Lower Peninsula, with the highest numbers in the Pigeon River Country area. You are most likely to see elk early in the day and again just before dark. Mike, Frosty and I went scouting for elk yesterday, Sept. 15th. The $2 million Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) transaction happened, in part, thanks to a $75,000 donation from the Rocky Mountain Elk … During the winter, when snow covers the ground, elk can be found near logging operations or in recently logged areas that have an abundance of young woody sprouts. A second elk has been poached in northern Michigan. The DNR manages state land by cutting old timber to create forests, by planting food plots, and by using prescribed burning. The elk herd has had its ups and downs since its reintroduction into Michigan in 1918, but currently about one thousand elk live in the elk range of southern Cheboygan, Otsego and Montmorency Counties. The elk herd today dates back to 1918, when seven elk were brought to Wolverine from the Western United States. Deep in the forest are the foundations to the hunting camp of George King, an early 20th-century fishing guide. It can be found in Otsego County deep within the Pigeon River Country State Forest, just 13.5 miles east of Vanderbilt via Sturgeon Valley Road and Twin Lakes. Another elk was shot last weekend in the Pigeon River State Forest in Otsego County. “Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is pleased to collaborate on the strategic protection of important elk habitat within the Pigeon River Country State Forest.” said Blake Henning, the foundation’s chief conservation officer. Area residents found the three elk about 50 yards north of Hardwood Lake Road near Bobcat Trail, in the Pigeon River State Forest, east of Vanderbilt. Read on to tour Michigan’s expanded “Big Wild.”, An aerial view of Walled Lake, courtesy of the Michigan DNR. They apparently were shot last weekend while bedded down near each other. The flooding lies within the Clear Lk Kirtland’s warbler management area. The rugged, 108,000-acre expanse of Michigan’s Pigeon River Country State Forest is already one of the state’s premier destinations to connect with nature, but a recent DNR purchase has made it even better. King is said to have sighted the last known wild passenger pigeon in the region (for which the Pigeon River Country is named) near the property. Overview of Pigeon River State Forest Campground. Elk viewing is not confined to these designated areas. The DNR manages state land by cutting old timber to create forests, by planting food plots, and by using prescribed burning. Parking places are provided where good visibility is afforded. Habitat management for elk and deer and other forest wildlife on state forest lands in the area has created different forest age classes and many grassy openings. Three world-class trout streams ramble through forests and wetlands at the heart of the state’s elk range. With about 500 head of elk, this heard provides prime elk viewing opportunities year round. Those changes include: CAMPING: Camping with horses, other riding animals, or pack animals within the Pigeon River Country (PRC) is only allowed in the following designated campgrounds: Elk Hill Equestrian State Forest Campground Elk Hill Trail Camp (groups - requires event permit) Johnson’s Crossing Trail Camp (groups – requires event permit) Dispersed camping (camping outside a designated … Some parts of the property are prime nesting areas for the tiny Kirtland’s warbler, a songbird that recently came off the federal Endangered Species List. The establishment of dominance among bulls and early stages of harem formation are exciting times to watch elk. This video is unavailable. Some viewing areas have been planted with rye, clover, alfalfa or buckwheat. “This is the worst year we’ve had as far as elk poaching,” said Lt. Jim Gorno. But please remember winter is a stressful time of year for animals. This stretch of the Black River is supported by DNR Type 1 trout regulations where the minimum brook trout size limit is 7 inches, all tackle types are allowed, and the daily bag limit is five fish. Recently, the DNR announced elk habitat has been further protected with the addition of the Elk Forest at Black River, a 597-acre parcel in Montmorency County, to Pigeon River Country State Forest. Free Admission, 9984 Twin Lakes Road King is said to have sighted the last known wild passenger pigeon in the region (for which the Pigeon River Country is named) near the property. The purchase provides public access to Walled Lake, a spring-fed, 44-acre double sinkhole lake. Watch Queue Queue Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/20). ___ This story has been corrected to show the state forest is called the Pigeon River Country State Forest, not the Pigeon River State Forest. The land purchase includes a section of a high-quality trout stream, the Black River. good for the health of the animals. Remember these are wild animals. Like deer, elk are most active early in the day and toward evening and during the night. It looks like the color up here peaked last week. For my out of state readers, Michigan's Pigeon River Country State Forest is home to the largest elk herd east of the Mississippi. “This area is full of wildlife,” said Kerry Wieber, DNR forest land administrator. Forest Legacy funds are used to protect environmentally important forest areas from development and fragmentation. 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