Deer hunting’s appeal seen in old magazine

Digging through a basement storage room in search of a misplaced item in the house that I’ve lived in for nearly 27 years can be an interesting endeavor.

I had misplaced my favorite deer hunting pack following the 2012 hunting season and, with the firearm season drawing near, I needed to find it.

Calling me a hoarder might be stretching it a little, but I have been referred to as Fred Sanford a time or two.

Honestly, though, there is a lot of stuff piled in the storage room, so I waded in looking for that little camouflaged pack that still had a lot of valuable equipment in it.

There were tubs of this and bags full of that, as well as several boxes of old books and magazines. Being a person who likes reading books and magazines and has a nostalgic side to him, I got sidetracked from my pack search and started looking through the boxes.

There was a great variety of material in the collection that was enjoyable to look over, but one particular large box drew my attention – it was full of a few dozen old Michigan-Out-Of-Doors magazines.

Somehow this box had survived in great shape over the years, with not a bit of moisture, dirt or other damage.

After going upstairs and telling my wife that I now know why I save all this old stuff, I started looking through the magazines and one particularly cover caught my eye. It was the special deer hunting issue that came out in November 1978 – an amazing 35 years ago this month.

The issue is jammed-packed with good stories, as well as editorials, letters to the editor and little tidbits of interesting facts about the outdoors in Michigan. Included are several items by editor Ken Lowe, who many of the more seasoned readers of The Mining Journal may remember his days here as editor before he headed to Lansing as editor of the magazine published by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.

There’s also a special section entitled “What the candidates think about conservation issues” which included a Detroit City Council member running for his first federal office.

This would be none other than Carl Levin, who at 44 years old was about to win his first term as a U.S. Senator in the November 1978 election. Next year, Levin is retiring after six terms accounting for 36 years – the longest run ever for a U.S. senator representing Michigan.

Another thing about the magazine that I found interesting were the advertisements, especially those for cabins and real estate.

For example, Munising Lumber & Contracting Co. in Alger County was offering a nice little 24-foot by 28-foot cabin for the outrages price of $3,395. If that was a little rich for your blood at the time, the company offered a snug little 20-foot by 24-foot model – with a covered 8-foot porch – for $2,345.

In regard to real estate, the Carter Agency in Marquette was selling 10-acre parcels with frontage on the East Branch of the Escanaba River in Sands Township for $8,900, as well as lots on Beaufort Lake in Three Lakes for $6,500 each.

Times have certainly changed over the past 35 years in the building and real estate markets, but not so much in the main area of focus in the issue – deer hunting.

Sure some of the things are out-dated, such as the information on how the new-fangled compound bow was changing deer hunting, but much of the hunting stories and tips are still valid today.

Including is a nice article by Marquette’s Richard P. Smith on Whitetail facts, offering some interesting tidbits of information that he gleaned from his several years in the woods prior to the magazine’s run date.

Other articles were entitled “With whitetails, you make your own luck,” “Sitting puts venison on the pole,” “Handgunning for whitetails,” “Michigan’s most challenging deer hunting” and “Deer Hunting on the AuSable.”

The AuSable piece was particularly interesting because it was a reprint of an article that appeared in Scribner’s Monthly in 1878, complete with reproduction of original pencil drawings.

This little trip back in time put my pack search on hold (I found it a few days later hanging in the gun cabinet where I put it last year) but I took a whole lot more away from reading the magazine.

I realized way this wonderful sport that so many of us cherish – regardless of what era you’re hunting in – has survived roughly unchanged since the first inhabitants of the U.P. headed into the woods in pursuit of venison.

Editor’s note: City Editor Dave Schneider can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 270.