Wandering woods, wading streams

Trappers Equipment: Steve Ware of Luther works on his traps in his shed at his area residence (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)
Trappers Equipment: Steve Ware of Luther works on his traps in his shed at his area residence (Herald Review photo/John Raffel)

LUTHER -- Steve Ware is an active hunter and trapper. In other words, the area resident keeps mighty busy when it comes to the outdoors.

Ware lives in rural Luther in Lake County and in the Pine River school district. He was born in Standish and his dad was a gas station manager and came to Reed City as a gas station manager and settled in the area.

He went on the youth hunt with his son. Ware exercises deer management in the area to help the potential growth of big bucks.

Ware spent money on food for deer and turkeys.

“That’s all out of my own pocket,” he said. “You can say you spend as much money as you want. But I’m trying to increase the herd.

When I was a little kid, it seemed like the average you would shoot a deer was 175 to 200 pounds. Now when you shoot a deer, the average is 153 to 160 pounds, They’re not very big. They’re not getting as much nutrition.

“From the mid 80s or 90s to around 2000, we lost those things. Now, people are starting to come back to conservation (measures).”

Quality Deer Management seems to be the prevailing thought, at least that’s what Ware was hoping.

“I had like seven different bucks on my camera this year,” Ware said. “I never fired a shot this year. My son never fired a shot. We went to muzzleloading season and didn’t see anything.”

His biggest buck was an eight-pointer in 1993.

Ware contended for state archery titles at one time but because of shoulder problems, isn’t able to do that any longer.

“I want to say the herd was pretty good size but everybody else putting bait out. The deer had lot of  bait location, they didn’t know where they’re going,” he said.

Ware likes to fish from the banks and favorite spots include Pine River and the Little Manistee. He especially enjoys fishing for trout.

Trapping is a sport Ware especially enjoys.

“I do a lot of it,” he said. “It starts on Sept. 15. I do a lot of nuance trapping for people. I get more business doing nuance trapping than I do trying to set for places that I get permission to hunt from. I’ll get a coon or possum or skunk, Two or three here, maybe a coyote or two. Right now, the season is down. The weather has been up and down and up and down. Today you’ve got snow tomorrow you’ve got rain.

Animals like to travel a lot early in the morning or late at night where there’s less interference with them going where they’re going.”

Ware got involved in trapping through a neighbor about 28 years ago.

“I’m not an expert by no means,” he said. “There’s stuff out there for everybody. You have to keep at it.”

One experience Ware won’t soon forget is when he almost drowned.

“I had a pair of chest waders on and I was trapping a bank beaver,” he said. “I was resetting the trap to leave it. I didn’t put the safeties on. I’m in the water because it’s so far down. Somehow, my thumb moved the trigger and it had both of my hands. And my face was only a couple of inches from the water.

I tried to holler for help, My buddy was on the other end of the lake, 300 to 400 yards. He couldn’t see me, all he could see that I was bent over.

“I was trapped for 20 minutes until he got back to me. My knuckles were all purple.”

He figures on trapping and hunting for the rest of his life.

“I’m enjoying nature and seeing what’s out there,” he said. “I’ve seen a bear and I have one on my bait camera. I showed a picture to the DNR and they estimated it to be 600 to 700 pounds. We’re in pretty good bear area here.”