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michigan hunting

kbkid

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hey ive found salamanders in wisconsin and other states before but never in my home state of michigan anyone know any good spots here???
 

rust

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Have you checked a field guide? Usually that and a Gazeteer map will put you on the spot.
 

Kaysie

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That, and good aerial maps.

The common species can be found in practically any woodlot that has vernal ponds (and some that don't).
 

onetwentysix

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Actually, now might be a pretty good time of year to look for them (mudpuppies), though the recent rain will make things more difficult. I've had the best luck in semi-shallow areas of rivers (roughly 2-3 feet in all but the deepest parts) with lots of large rocks. Bring a swimsuit, a net and/or camera, and plenty of time. Swimming goggles may or may not be useful, to look into the water while the dirt from the rocks clears. Just lift any rocks over a foot in diameter carefully, look carefully, and then move on to the next rock. Five in three-four hours is generally a pretty good day, though not all rivers are creted equal. Anything connecting to the great lakes will probably be a good bet, depending on the level of lampricide and siltation.
 

ssmithusp

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I live on a river in southern Michigan and have had a very hard time finding any salamanders or mudpuppies. I own 50 acres of wooded wetland - right now with the rains the river is high and about 20 acres are under water. My only guess is that the periodic flooding is why I never find any salamanders. Do they get washed away and avoid such areas? When I go about 20 miles south to my family's farm, I find tigers, redbacks and spotted salamander egg sacks (haven't found the actual spotted salamanders yet). I have flipped logs on my property and searched the shallow water in the spring, and I have not found anything in the 18 years I have lived here. The river in this area is not rocky, pretty much a sandy bottom. Any ideas of other searching techiques - or should I just keep looking everywhere else except my own wooded property?
 

onetwentysix

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I'd guess that the flooding has a major part in the lack of salamanders, as does the close proximity to the river. I've never had much luck near rivers (for Ambystomids). I don't know if the river is a sink for adults/juvies, if it's the flooding you mentioned, or if the water level is too high for their burrows, but these habitats haven't been very rewarding for me, though you might find newts in similar areas.

If you want to go look for salamander locations, a good way to find them is roadcruising. In the spring, wait for the first good rain of the year at night (wood frogs will be calling if the timing is right), and drive slow on country roads near wetland. The salamanders will look like little sticks with heads sticking up. Still, it doesn't really help you now though.

The sandy bottom doesn't matter for mudpuppies, but you're not going to find them if there aren't any rocks to overturn. If you really want to find them, you might want to get a good map and drive out to a bunch of bridges, looking for a shallow area with lots of rocks. I've had the best luck in 2-3 feet of water, with rocks over 12 inches in diameter.
 

i_love_necturus

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Another thing about the mudpuppies is to check around in the spring in the areas that Peter was talking about for necturus nests. It would be neat to find a nest loaded with eggs. And if you did find a nest it would give you a good idea of were they are in that particular river.
 

onetwentysix

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You're actually more likely to find the nests in late May, June, or early July, depending on where you live, with June probably being the best. I haven't been fortunate enough to find any nests, but some of my friends have. The nests are usually guarded by a female, though they found lone nests as well. But typically, it's a lot harder to find a nest than it is to find an adult.
 

ssmithusp

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Thanks for the ideas. Speaking of maybe finding newts, the river turns around my property and there is a shallow river back water area that is only about 12 - 20 inches deep (you can't step out though, you would sink in muck to your knees). Lots of water lilies, submerged plants, algae and tons of turtles live in this area. Lots of birds feed in this here (herons, kingfishers). I have netted and only come up with plants and turtles. Does this sound like an area I would find newts - or should I stop looking?
 

onetwentysix

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Thanks for the ideas. Speaking of maybe finding newts, the river turns around my property and there is a shallow river back water area that is only about 12 - 20 inches deep (you can't step out though, you would sink in muck to your knees). Lots of water lilies, submerged plants, algae and tons of turtles live in this area. Lots of birds feed in this here (herons, kingfishers). I have netted and only come up with plants and turtles. Does this sound like an area I would find newts - or should I stop looking?

It's definately possible, though you should keep in mind that they may have a patchy distribution and not occur in your area at all. I know that in Wisconsin, I've only found them in two places in the entire state, though I'm most frequently near the edge of their range.

In the northern states, I've found them mostly in beaver pond type areas, though they do occur in lakes and areas like you described.
 
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