Area hunter, fisherman taking on various challenges

REED CITY — Dale Miller gets in as much hunting and fishing as time allows him.

He’s an avid deer and rabbit hunter. When it comes to deer hunting, he’s active for bow and rifle seasons and muzzleloading Miller lives near Reed City and Hawkins. His family has lived in the area since the 1940s. He works in the oil fields.

His biggest trophy has been an 8-point buck.

“Usually I hunt around here,” he said. “Once in awhile with the population being down, we’ll go out in state land.”

The deer population has been down, Miller said, adding that the rabbit population has been fair.

“The coyotes have come up in population and have kept the rabbits down,” Miller said. “There’s been a few partridge.”

Miller was 14 when he first started hunting and said he got interested through his dad.

“Back in those days, that’s how they sustained a lot,” he said. “There was a little bit better population (of deer). They really took a nosedive the last 10 years. The DNR gives out too many doe tags. When they take out many does, it affects the population.”

When it comes to fishing, Miller likes going after trout, pike, bass, bluegills and panfish.

“On the Pere Marquette River we do a lot of trout fishing,” he said. “We might be able to get an early jump on it this year because the water level isn’t going to be high for a long time because we don’t have any snow cover. That might get us in the water sooner. I’d like to get a chance to go out and get a couple of steelhead.”

The warmer weather in March this year is likely to affect the fishing picture significantly, Miller suggested.

Taking out a 22- to 24-pound king salmon is among the top of Miller’s proudest fishing catches while salmon were running in the fall season.

Miller tries to get out ice fishing as much as possible. But for this season with an extremely mild winter, “the poles never got wet,” he smiled. “We like to go out there and get a running tip-ups for pike.”

Miller frequently goes out with family members and friends. On occasion, he’ll go out west for hunting ventures. He’d like to eventually get a Michigan elk hunting permit.

“We love the outdoors, the kids, they love the outdoors and they love going with me,” he said. “It really helps with keeping the family together.”