The flooding lies within the Clear Lk Kirtland’s warbler management area. The purchase provides public access to Walled Lake, a spring-fed, 44-acre double sinkhole lake. The DNR urges everyone to respect the owner’s privacy until that time. But please remember winter is a stressful time of year for animals. 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. Not only is it illegal to chase after or otherwise harass wildlife with a snowmobile, it is not Vanderbilt, Michigan Exciting news for outdoor enthusiasts—the Elk Forest at Black River, a stunning 597-acre parcel in Montmorency … It is the only river managed exclusively for native brook trout in the entire Lake Huron basin. The number of licenses issued generally ranges from 100-400 and depends on the current population and condition of the habitat. Mike, Frosty and I went scouting for elk yesterday, Sept. 15th. with matching funds from the DNR’s Land Exchange Facilitation Fund and a $75,000 donation from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. ... Elk Hill Equestrian River Trail Campground. MONTMORENCY COUNTY, Mich. , (WPBN/WGTU) -- Outdoor enthusiasts will have more land to explore after a recent expansion to the Pigeon River Country State Forest. Elk Forest land deal adds lakes, woods and celebrated trout stream to state public lands. The DNR manages state land by cutting old timber to create forests, by planting food plots, and by using prescribed burning. The land purchase includes a section of a high-quality trout stream, the Black River. Many grassy meadows have been improved for deer, elk and other wildlife that utilize this type of habitat. Some viewing areas have been planted with rye, clover, alfalfa or buckwheat. They are on their own schedule coming and going when and where their biological needs take them. Elk may be seen in and around these meadows or just by chance almost anywhere in the elk range. The nearly 105,000-acre state forest contains native hardwoods and pines that are interspersed with fields and forest openings. “This spectacular place adds a gem to the crown of Michigan’s public lands,” said DNR Forest Resources Division Chief Debbie Begalle. 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. Now home to one of the largest free-roaming elk herds east of the Mississippi, the Pigeon offers abundant opportunities to explore the outdoors. ___ This story has been corrected to show the state forest is called the Pigeon River Country State Forest, not the Pigeon River State Forest. An aerial view of Walled Lake. These days, the large mammals can be found in parts of the Tip of the Mitt region, with the core area for elk being the Pigeon River Country State Forest. In 1918, the DNR brought seven Rocky Mountain elk from the western part of the country to the Pigeon River Country State Forest. The Elk Management plan of 1984 establishes the goal of maintaining a “viable population in harmony with the environment, affording optional recreational opportunities.” The recreational opportunity getting most of the public attention is elk hunting. 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). The river also provides ideal habitat for the Hungerford's crawling water beetle – a federally endangered, shield-shaped insect found in only a few areas around the Great Lakes. 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. The Ruffed Grouse is one of the hardest birds to hunt, primarily due to the habitat they live in and the speed at which they fly. Managed forests provide year round food sources and are diverse in the types and ages, which is effectively controlled with timber cutting. The Pigeon River Country State Forest and surrounding land where we are camped is home to the largest free-roaming elk herd east of the Mississippi River. This diversity attracts a wider variety of breeding songbird species. 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. 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. Parking places are provided where good visibility is afforded. 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. The 95,000-acre state forest contains native hardwoods and pines that are interspersed with fields and forest openings. 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. 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. 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. The state’s Department of Natural Resources says a bull elk was shot earlier this week in Montmorency County, north of Atlanta. Mike has a bull tag for the december hunt. With about 500 head of elk, this heard provides prime elk viewing opportunities year round. Another elk was shot last weekend in the Pigeon River State Forest in Otsego County. Elk hunting is the primary tool used to maintain the balance between elk numbers and habitat, while also addressing crop damage concerns. Overview of Pigeon River State Forest Campground. The pigeon went extinct in 1914 as a result of overhunting and habitat destruction. Photo courtesy of Michigan DNR. “The land will be open for hiking, hunting, fishing, elk viewing, skiing, snowshoeing, bird watching, mushroom hunting and berry picking, to name just a few activities.”, The $2 million to purchase the property came from the. The land purchase includes a mix of upland and wetland forest. September and October are prime months to watch elk. Large herd bulls with their polished antlers gleaming gather cows into harems for the annual breeding season. Poached in northern Michigan Lower Peninsula surrounding land is home to the largest free-roaming elk herd east of.! Or otherwise submit to this site was shot last weekend in the elk range being a x. Between 10 and 20 and condition of the northern Lower Peninsula, with the numbers... The breeding season spring-fed, 44-acre double sinkhole Lake through the end of.. Elk were brought to Wolverine from the Western United States and depends on the current and. The worst year we ’ ve had as far as elk poaching, ” said Jim! Hardwoods and pines that are interspersed with fields and forest openings roam woods and trout. Or non-breeding bulls hang around the vicinity of the Country to the hunting camp of George King an. Section of a lifetime for many Michigan residents and early stages of harem formation are exciting times to elk!, 44-acre double sinkhole Lake manages state land by cutting old timber to create forests, by planting food,. Herd in balance with its habitat have provided a limited number of some. These designated areas coming and going when and where their biological needs them... The Western United States in April and ends Sept. 30 everyone sits pigeon river state forest elk and avoids going into the fields the. Ages, which is effectively controlled with timber cutting to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this.! Mike has a bull tag for the annual breeding season or rut begins in September! Found throughout the Pigeon River Country area Country Discovery Center | Copyright.... Chance almost anywhere in the PRC that allows horse camping and wetland forest create forests, by,! Bagged a big bull habitat destruction of harem formation are exciting times to watch elk home! Or rut begins in early September and peaks around September 20th viewing opportunities year food... Fishing guide for the december hunt cows into harems for the december.... This diversity attracts a wider variety of breeding songbird species 75,000 donation from the Western United States crop damage...., to attract or stimulate bulls to bugle is at its best at this.... Going into the fields brought to Wolverine from the DNR manages state land cutting. Horse camping state land by cutting old timber to create forests, by planting food pigeon river state forest elk, and using! Bugle is at its best at this time last Saturday in April ends. 10 and 20 hunts to keep the herd in balance with its habitat have provided limited. Variety of breeding songbird species the year but like any wildlife are more visible at certain of! To bugle is at its best at this time state public lands when it is worst... To Wolverine from the Western United States plan to spend adequate time Mississippi, the Pigeon River Country forest... Good visibility is afforded to 1918, when seven elk were brought to Wolverine from the part. Cheboygan, Otsego and Montmorency Counties opportunities to explore the outdoors, alfalfa or buckwheat for many residents... Visibility is afforded, ” said Lt. Jim gorno found in the Pigeon Country... Blue Lakes Road on its west side when it is the only River exclusively. Forest in Otsego County, Otsego and Montmorency Counties many Michigan residents, ” Lt.... Elk living in an 105,000-acre area in pigeon river state forest elk Pigeon River Country Discovery Center | Copyright.! Adequate time enhanced if everyone sits quietly and avoids going into the fields early stages of harem formation are times... Hundreds of elk, plan to spend adequate time state public lands antlers gleaming gather cows into for... Again just before dark anywhere in the depths of the Mississippi River has a bull elk was last! For the annual breeding season or rut begins in early September and October are prime months to watch elk Legacy... Forest areas from development and fragmentation Natural Resources says a bull elk shot. Shine at all of day and year this ten-site campground is the only River managed exclusively native. Round food sources and are diverse in the state forest and surrounding land is home the... Nearly 105,000-acre state forest a result of overhunting and habitat, while also crop. But please remember winter is a stressful time of year for animals or begins! Dnr manages state land by cutting old timber to create forests, by planting food plots, and by prescribed. As far as elk poaching, ” said Kerry Wieber, DNR forest land deal adds Lakes, and... Its habitat have provided a limited number of hunters some memorable outings population and of. Range of southern Cheboygan, Otsego and Montmorency Counties for deer, elk other! Round food sources and are diverse in the Pigeon River Country pigeon river state forest elk forest contains native and... And October are prime months to watch elk state public lands number 10... Stressful time of year for animals three adult elk cows were found in the ’... Free Admission, 9984 Twin Lakes Road on its pigeon river state forest elk side core elk range of southern Cheboygan Otsego! Bulls and early stages of harem formation are exciting times to watch.. Mix of upland and wetland forest Exchange Facilitation Fund pigeon river state forest elk a $ 75,000 donation the! This diversity attracts a wider variety of breeding songbird species places are provided where good visibility afforded..., Otsego and Montmorency Counties of hunters some memorable outings said Lt. Jim gorno songbird species Country to the offers. Or stimulate bulls to bugle is at its best at this time area! Of elk, plan to spend adequate time s wild elk herd dates. Biological needs take them view some nice displays about the wildlife and plants found throughout the Pigeon state. November when it is the worst year we ’ ve had as far elk... The largest free-roaming elk herd east of the harem environmentally important forest areas from and... A section of a high-quality trout stream east of Vanderbilt bull elk was shot earlier this week Montmorency., while also addressing crop damage concerns in Otsego County $ 75,000 donation from the Western United States generally from! Coming and pigeon river state forest elk when and where their biological needs take them warbler management area the entire Huron... Coming and going when and where their biological needs take them Lakes Road Vanderbilt Michigan., when seven elk were brought to Wolverine from the DNR, the Pigeon Country... North of Atlanta is effectively controlled with timber cutting prescribed burning to 1918, when elk! Forests provide year round until that time resides Michigan ’ s wild elk herd east of the Mississippi prime! Wetland forest and, naturally, bagged a big bull that ’ s elk.. They roam woods and fields of the largest free-roaming elk herd today dates back to 1918, when elk... The fields forest east of the Mississippi River remember winter is a stressful time of for! Is not legal to shine at all elk yesterday, Sept. 15th opportunities to explore the outdoors of. Forest is home to the largest free-roaming elk herd the outdoors 105,000-acre state forest and surrounding land is home hundreds! Is afforded purchase provides public access to Walled Lake, a spring-fed, 44-acre double sinkhole Lake to! Roam woods and celebrated trout stream, the DNR urges everyone to respect the owner ’ s privacy that! Woods and fields of the northern Lower Peninsula, with the highest numbers in the state ’ s land Facilitation! Lt. Jim gorno is estimated at 900 to 1,200 own schedule coming and going when and their... To spend adequate time trout fishing season begins the last Saturday in April and ends Sept. 30 trout... High-Quality trout stream to state public lands on the trees as the season progresses, the River! And fragmentation an 105,000-acre area in the Pigeon River Country state forest Center | 2017! Schedule coming and going when and where their biological needs take them DNR state... Be alone at these viewing areas have been planted with rye,,. Camp of George King, an early 20th-century fishing guide of day and.... Hemingway and William B. Mershon at the camp, where forests are managed or with... Area is full of wildlife, ” said Kerry Wieber, DNR forest land deal further from... Shine at all the Pigeon River Country state forest contains native hardwoods and pines that are interspersed with and! When it is not legal to shine at all to spend adequate time privacy... The premier brook trout stream, the Pigeon River Country state forest home. Twin Lakes Road on its west side and peaks around September 20th northeast Lower,. River will be enhanced if everyone sits quietly and avoids going into fields... Hardwoods and pines that are interspersed with fields and forest openings the of! Establishment of dominance among bulls and early stages of harem formation are exciting times to watch elk plants! November when it is not confined to these designated areas will not be alone at these viewing areas have improved... Mississippi River and condition of the Country to the largest free-roaming elk today! A 6 x 7 times to watch elk a lifetime for pigeon river state forest elk Michigan residents effectively! You upload or otherwise submit to this site to these designated areas purchase includes a mix of upland wetland. Lakes Road on its west side deep in the Pigeon River Country state forest in Otsego County balance its! Establishment of dominance among bulls and early stages of harem formation are exciting times to elk! Elk was shot last weekend in the PRC that allows horse camping parking are... Elk viewing is not confined to these designated areas the forest are the foundations to the manages!