CADILLAC — When an upcoming class at the Carl T. Johnson Fish and Game Center is over, its students will be able to venture in and out of nature without fear of getting lost.
If they find themselves in a situation where they unexpectedly need to spend a night in nature, the upcoming course will have that covered as well. As part of the Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Skills Academy, the Carl T. will host a three-day bushcraft, survival and wild edibles clinic beginning July 15 and running through July 17 .
During the course, students will learn the basics of what is needed to survive if someone becomes stranded outdoors, including wilderness first aid; how to safely prepare drinking water; how to identify animal tracks and droppings; which plants you can collect as wild edibles and for medicinal purposes, and which plants to avoid; how to light a fire safely without matches; how to shoot a bow and arrow; and more.
Carl T. Johnson Fish and Game Center interpreter Ed Shaw said he doesn’t teach the class, but it’s well worth the $70 fee it costs to participate. He said that in addition to the knowledge acquired by one person, the price of the course includes two lunches and that students can take home new equipment, including a compass.
“When all is said and done, they should be able to navigate in and out of the woods without getting lost,” Shaw said. “The course will give you the confidence to venture out. Part of the reason some people don’t venture outdoors is because they lack the skills to get in and out of the woods.
He said the class contains a lot of information and in a perfect world it would be a four or five day class. Either way, students should learn a lot and also have a lot of fun.
As of July 6, Shaw said there were 15 spots left open. Although there are enough students registered to have the course, Shaw said it was by no means full.
On July 10, the Carl T. will host the Wild Mushroom Clinic and Shaw said the Survival Skills course is the perfect complement to that course. In the Wild Mushrooms class, students will learn how to identify a variety of wild edible Michigan mushrooms, where to start looking, and proper handling techniques for transportation, cleaning, consumption, and home storage. The cost is $40 and will include lunch. This course will be offered again on August 20.
At the end of the month, July 30 and 31, the Carl T. will host a bear hunting clinic.
Students will learn the ins and outs of bear hunting from experienced hunters and knowledgeable MNR educators. The course will cover habitat, equipment, stall placement, baiting, rules and regulations, carcass care and skin care.
To enroll in one of these courses, go to Michigan.gov/DNRLicenses and click the “Buy a License” button. Log in (using username and password or your username and date of birth) and find the course under the Outdoor Skills Academy tab. A Recreational Passport is required to enter Mitchell State Park and the Carl T. Johnson Game and Fish Center.