Several years ago, when my father retired, he moved up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan near Escanaba, where he has a house on the lake. He quickly came to understand that hunting is very important to the area. As my interest in hunting was budding at the time, he suggested that I should visit him some deer season, and we would hunt together. At the time, I had never hunted, and he still has not. Various circumstances have prevented me from taking up his offer.
Until this year.
I had already done some research on seasons, permits, and regulations for Michigan. However, this is the first year I looked into public lands. It turns out there is a massive amount of land open to the public for hunting. My father lives right at the edge of a state forest, and that’s where we will be hunting. There is quite a bit of state and national forest in the UP, but there is also something else, a concept that is new to me: commercial forest. There is a large amount of land in the UP that is commercially owned by the timber and paper industry, which is otherwise used for nothing but growing trees. Much of this land is registered with the state and open to the public for the purpose of hunting (someone has suggested to me that there is a financial incentive for doing so). Between national forest, state forest, and commercial forest, it seems like a third of the land in the UP is open to the public for hunting.
I also did some research on deer densities. It seems that there are quite a few deer living in the area where we will be hunting. It seems difficult to imagine that we will be unsuccessful.
Since my father doesn’t hunt, I suspect he will rely on me to acquire a lot of the gear. I plan to hunt with my .358 WSSM, and I will also bring a rifle in .338 Federal (about which I will write more later) for him to carry. We will want a ground blind. And I will need to bring lots of cold weather gear.
Speaking of which, it is going to be a lot colder there. I need to consult my father, who lives there and who is an amateur meteorologist, just what kind of weather to expect. With the colder weather, the deer are bigger up north.
I am excited and really looking forward to the trip. There is plenty to do between now and then to prepare.