Tag Archives: National Wildlife Federation

Autopsy of a Self-Guided, Public Land Elk Hunt…a first-timer’s perspective.


The author with his father, center, and their friend and elk-hunting mentor, Dan.

My first foray into elk hunting has come to an end, having arrived home at 5:30am Saturday morning.  Given only a week to explore the Medicine Bow National Forest in south-central Wyoming, I feel I was able to get the most I could out of the opportunity and I’m left with one simple reflection.  I’m hooked.

I’m hooked on the adventure of chasing an animal the size of a horse through the most rugged terrain I’ve ever experienced while hunting.  Hooked on the adrenaline felt at hearing the screaming bugle of a bull elk shake the forest from less than 20 yards away.  Hooked at how quickly the mountains can turn the highest of highs to the deepest low.  In a word…hooked.

I’ve been planning, on some level, this hunt for years.  Ever since my grandfather first mentioned an interest in heading west to chase elk (he never made it), my father and I have talked about a trip of our own.  Determined not to let “someday” end the same way it did for my grandfather, I undertook the responsibility of planning our first elk adventure.

Site selection, applications, equipment (including a few purchases), personal training and practice, packing, hunting techniques, lessons learned, and everything it took to make the trip a success will be discussed in the next few posts.  Stay tuned.


The author’s father glasses for elk along the Sandstone Creek basin.


Wilderness designation coming for Sleeping Bear Dunes

Photo Courtesy of National Park Service

Photo Courtesy of National Park Service

I imagine everyone who’s spent time in Michigan as a youngster has a lasting memory from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  Sand, amazing topography, water, forested islands, history (lighthouses and shipwrecks), and memories await all who venture there.

Whether it was traversing the dunes and running (mostly falling, rolling, and laughing) crazily down what seems to be hundreds of feet in elevation to the bottom of the “dune climb” or backpacking the Manitous and enjoying the serenity of the forested Lake Michigan islands, Sleeping Bear Dunes seems to have something for everyone.  And now, Lawmakers are looking to make sure it remains a pristine wilderness for our children and successive generations to enjoy.

Sponsored by Senators Levin (D, MI) and Stabenow (D, MI) in the Senate and Representatives Benisheck (R, Crystal Falls) , and Huizenga (R, Zeeland) in the House, the measure would bring wilderness designation to Sleeping Bear Dunes, placing extra protections on the fragile dune ecosystem and safeguarding the park for future generations to enjoy.

Officially designated S.23, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Conservation and Recreation Act will ensure that the beaches, dunes, and forests along the shore of Lake Michigan will be protected in perpetuity.  The legislation’s protections also extend to sportsmen, specifically adding that recreational pursuits such as hunting and fishing will also be preserved for future generations seeking to visit the park.  Along with being an important recreational destination for Michigan hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts, the designation will also protect the habitat of several threatened and endangered wildlife species.

Passage of the legislation will be an important step in ensuring that Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will continue to be a destination for recreation and wildlife enthusiasts for generations to come.  National Wildlife Federation, along with bipartisan support of Michigan’s congressional delegation, is pushing for passage of the bill.

The bill has already passed the Senate and is set to be brought to the floor in house this week.

For more information on S. 23, click here.

For more information on what National Wildlife Federation is doing for sportsmen, click here.

For more information on Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, click here.