Written by: Joe Hill. Westmont, Illinois
I am a member of the T. Armour Stanton Chapter (Illinois) of the RGS. I wanted to share a story about a group effort to help further small game habitat and promote small game hunting in the State of Michigan. I am 53 years old and have hunted, fished and enjoyed the outdoors my entire life, thanks, mostly, to my dad. My dad started hunting and fishing in the mid to late 1950’s and started coming up deer hunting to the UP of Michigan in ~1958. I hunted and fished with him since the mid-1970’s, as soon as I could walk.
My father passed away in November of 2021. It took a year or so, but through not so insignificant efforts of John Humm, treasurer of the T. Armour Stanton Chapter, the Michigan DNR and the generous donations of my family and friends, we were able to create additional small game, grouse and woodcock habitat in the Bill Rollo GEMS area (located in the upper peninsula, just west of Gwinn, Michigan).
While the local Marquette DNR office provided the actual manpower and equipment, the efforts of the RGS chapter and donations of my family and friends provided the buckwheat and clover to plant in an area over a mile long in this Bill Rollo GEMS site. I visited the trail, picture attached, with the two gentlemen from the Michigan DNR that made this happen. Luckily, this visit was off hours, in mid October, and I was able to have the same DNR person enjoy hunting over my Brittany.
We were able to bag a few birds, including the first woodcock downed by the DNR officer, a moment he will never forget, nor will I. I will continue to hunt this trail as long as I am able, whether or not I see any birds. Keep enjoying the outdoors.