Baldwin resident has long history of hunting, fishing

BALDWIN — Bill Downey has lived in Baldwin for 13 years and it hasn't taken him long to enjoy the hunting and fishing opportunities provided in the area.

The Detroit area native attended the Pere Marquette Turkey Hunters' Rendezvous on March 31 at Baldwin High School. He's a board member of the newly formed Lake County Sportsman's Club.

“I'd like to see people come up and use our facilities which will bring more money to the Baldwin area,” Downey said. “I'm greatly looking forward to the youth. There's very few things that get kids interested. We'll set up a paintball (activity) which is big with the children, and range shooting. Hunting is safety and is a sport.”

Downey enjoys hunting bear, deer and turkeys. He has another hunting club in Alpena. He hunt turkeys in the Baldwin area.

The biggest turkey he shot is one with a four-inch beard.

“I can't say it's down,” Downey said of local hunting conditions. “Since the first of March, either my wife or I have seen 17 turkeys in our yard. Probably the last couple of weeks they've stopped coming. It's not been that bad, as far as I'm concerned. Of course, when the hunting season comes, it will be all together

different.”

Downey hunts for deer in the Alpena area at his hunting club. Locally, he does some grouse hunting.

“I have found in the last 13 years that it's an excellent place to hunt and fish,” Downey said. “I fly-fish for trout but I spin for bass.”

His fishing is focused in the area.

Locally, he recalls catching a 22-pound salmon, a career best.

Outside of Michigan, Downey has hunted caribou in Canada and dull ram in Alaska.

Downey has been a long-time hunter.

“I had to be 10 or 11 years old when I was hunting rabbits and pheasant by Caseville in the Thumb year,” he said. “I'm 77 now.”

The enjoyment factor is still there.

“The only thing I would see different is the thrill of going and the camaraderie...if I do shoot the deer, it leaves me a little less thrilled about it,” Downey said. “At my age, I enjoy watching them more than shooting them. When I was younger, I fed my son's family for a while year. He had five children and he needed the help. They lived off of deer meat.”