Contributors to this thread:
I retired back in 2012, but was almost immediately offered another job, so I didn't quit working.
But that's about to change at the end of the year because I'm ready to start doing more hobby stuff - namely more fishing and bowhunting.
Question: if you could move to Grayling, would you? Why or why not, and what would be your choice for a retirement location. My wife and I are looking at somewhere in the northern lower and also buying a cabin/seasonal place in the central UP. Thoughts?
Here is what I think about the UP,,,, now understand, deer hunting is what it is, however, being retired and hunting all the time, there are big bucks to be had, it takes some work, if you hunt public land, and I love ML season.... I am a trout and grouse nut..
UP = Center of the Universe
Grayling: My in laws are from Gaylord just miles north of Grayling. So I have spent a lot of time in the area plus our annual shoot is in Grayling. It is a small military town but has some great waters in the area, standing and moving waters. I know a guy that moved his family from the Traverse City area to Grayling and he loves it there.
The U.P.: My dad was about a good a bow hunter as anybody and could catch a trout out of a mud puddle. When visiting with him one time he said that if anyone moves to the U.P. to hunt and fish they moved there for the wrong reason. He lived there for 28 years. Now he caught fish and shot deer in the U.P. but nothing compared to the woods and waters in the lower. I know A.A. just moved up to the U.P.and sounds like he likes it up there and hopefully he will chime in. I think if you move for peace and quiet both places with suit your needs.
If you want to kill deer, the UP is probably not the best place. However, if you want a great hunting experience with 1000's of acres of unbroken woods and little or no pressure, come UP.
I must be one of the few lucky ones with deer hunting in the UP. We are in Delta County and this will be our 3rd year owning the land. We've had no shortage of deer at all. Too many in fact as they don't let the new food plots grow. No really big bucks like what WI sees, but enough decent ones. I don't trophy hunt, so rack size does not matter to me. Seeing deer is great for me and has given my son lots of success in our 1st 2 years there.
When I hunted Menominee County prior to buying in Delta, we had the same results - no shortage of deer at all.
Thanks for the inputs fellas.
Razorhead, your comment regarding trout and grouse really struck a chord because those are both my passions as well. As a kid in Pennsylvania back in the "good grouse days", I depleted many a shell vest of ammo in my quest to kill my first ruffed grouse. But once I got the knack of it, (well, kind of the knack of it) I was hooked. In my waning years, I envision myself and a Clumber Spaniel bitch slowly working some good UP grouse cover. And the rest of the time catching brookies out of little unnamed flows that are seemingly endless up there.
Jon Stewart, funny you mentioned Gaylord...I've also looked at some homes in that area as well. The thing that's attractive to me about Grayling is there are a few places for sale on the Au Sable that sure look interesting. The downside to what little research I've done on-line, Grayling gets a bad rap regarding it's high crime rate, which is why I've asked here of people who may know differently.
Keith, your comment regarding hunting experiences in the UP hit the mark. I've killed enough deer so that isn't the ultimate goal anymore for me - it's more the experience and memories. But don't get me wrong, if there isn't any venison in the freezer, I start to get pretty twitchy. :^)
Thanks again for the comments, and if there are any others with info, please post. As far as Imm concerned there's no wrong answer or opinion for this thread. :^)
One new thing about Grayling. The water has been contaminated by the military. That was just in the news so you may want to check into that. Not sure where or how far out from the base the contamination exists. I know I was stationed at Camp LeJuene , N.C. when in the Marines in 1968. I got a letter from the VA LAST year telling me about the 6 different cancers I may come down with because of the contaminated water on the base. Be careful.
Crime rate: There isn't a city in Michigan large or small that isn't having problems. Just remember this, "never stop where there is graffiti on the phone booth". Retired judge told me that one day and never forgot it.
One day my dad and I was checking for spots to place bear baits out side of Crystal Falls in the U.P. He found a bunch of garbage bags with "stuff" in them. He took me over to them and it was the makings of a KAT still. I kept him out of it as I was active LEO at the time and I turned the stuff in. It happens.
U.P. Pluses...... I bought property in the UP because I like to bear hunt as much as deer hunt. I can regularly get a tag for me or my buddy or a family member for my property. If I owned land in the northern lower, it might take me 8 or 10 years to get a tag. I'm getting too old to wait that long. For me a minus would be the deer hunting. My deer hunting in Newberry hasn't been anything to write home about since I bought the land in 2009.... if you're looking for good deer hunting in the UP I would start in the southern part of the UP where doe permits are still available..... or to the western part close to Wisconsin. In most of the UP for the last 2 years we can't even shoot does in archery season. This has been a major bummer for me. I don't give a danged about antlers and just like to put some venison in my freezer. That's pretty tough in my area when you have to wait for a buck
Grayling ?? The home of Bear Archery. What more needs to be said ?? Fred Bear chose the area for a reason and lived on the banks of the Au Sable for a reason........ Because it's beautiful !! I need to get back up to Hartwick Pines and do some cross country skiing.... they have a candlelight ski every year at nighttime.... GREAT STUFF !! Canoeing !! Higgins Lake !! Love that area !!!
Big Bear, I toured Fred Bear's museum in Grayling back in the early 70's, before they moved it to Florida.
Spent a whole afternoon in the theater watching his hunts, many of which I had seen before on ABC's "American Sportsman" television show, but thoroughly enjoyed watching again. I wish I had that collection on DVD.
BTW, thanks for the UP info.
Happy: Yes, there is world of difference between the Lake Superior watershed and the southern counties as it relates to deer populations.
I concur Keith. Just like northern WI right now versus the rest of the state. My land is really crappy cedar swamp for the most part, but I'm very fortunate we have lots of deer. The price on this crappy dirt was right and now money and labor are improving it for my son to have when I am gone.
Yeah, we affectionately call that area the banana belt.
Dave you will find no better grouse and woodcock hunting in the world, than the UP, and I have hunted everywhere,,,,,, N Wis use to be that way, not as good, as one time, but getting better,,,,, MI a lot better, and believe me, I hunt just about every day, except weekends, than I drive around, to see who is hunting where,,,,,,
Bugs are bad now, but I can brook trout fish when I want, and take lake trout most of the summer, and you do not need a major boat, to fish lake trout, if you pick your days,,,,,
I like the Lake Superior water shed, but again, I can hunt daily if I choose..... do not bait, and hunt a lot of country,,,, travel as much as I can, will sit on a bait when I am 80, ha ha..... shot a nice big buck 2015, with ml, missed a beauty with the bow,,,, saw only 20 deer in a 2 week period,,,,,,,, I know a guy who dumped a 140 and another 163 shot north of me,,,,,,, what turns me on about deer, is not rack size, but body size, and the western UP has some big animals.....
Be prepared for winter, because it starts in November and ends in May for the most part
If you would send me a PM, be happy to tell about grouse hunting in the UP,,,,,, There is a reason that a major guide service from NC, comes up here to set up expensive hunts,,,, there is plenty of room, and you will find other hunters, friendly and helpful
Shhhhh, be quiet about the grouse hunting! Just kidding, the more the better.
Grayling isn't bad and I wouldn't worry about the "mean streets of Grayling".That's laughable. Unemployed rednecks beating up their live in, blowing them self up making meth or driving drunk isn't a crime wave. It's dumb hillbillies being dumb hillbillies most likely at their own house. Cabins and summer homes might still get broke into now and again but that's been going on everywhere there have ever been cabins and summer homes in this world. If someone tried to mug you in down Grayling and you yelled for help, 10 people with guns would come to your rescue. 75 being right there makes it easy to get out of town, TC has a great airport an hour away and there are excellent hospitals not far either in Petosky and TC (retired=old=sick. It happen, just how life rolls). The bird hunting is actually really good in that area. I bird hunt a lot with a Brit and an English Pointer and all week we hit local spots within 30 miles of TC but weekends we drive east and north looking for new cover and those first time in hunts are usually the best hunting of the week. I lay off the woodcock cause I feel sorry for them and might kill a brace but I won't pass on a grouse. The worst part about Grayling is trying to find a decent place to eat. With all that said, If I stay in MI I'd be a little farther north than Grayling, around Indian River and I'll only be here from May to December. Better fishing and bird hunting, 75 is right there so getting out is easy, Petoskey isn't far away for a good night out, Pellston has an airport. I think I will stay flexible and never buy a house again as well. Why spend my money buying a house when you can rent and pick up and move if you don't like the place you landed?
Just an FYI, Ontario has way better grouse hunting than the UP but the UP isn't bad. I hunt the UP around Ralph a fair amount. Find the cover and you find birds. And guys would be surprised by the bird hunting south of the Soo. The woodcock stack up there coming south, lots of grouse and some sharptails it you put in the time. Plus the most deer in the UP are south of the Soo from what I have seen.
Killinstuff is correct on Ontario, hunted there a lot, but when you move here, you are just that closer, easy ride,,,,,,,, I hunt grouse there and fish,,,,,, in March we all go there to ice fish,,,,,,,
I was in Grayling last month. My wife is from Michigan and has some friends there, who have lived there their entire life. I really like the town and area, seems to be a lot going on for a small town. My wife's friends were telling me there is a new lumber factory being built, 800 new jobs (that sounds really high, maybe it was 80). Houses are going on the market and selling within hours at inflated prices. It does not sound like a good time to try and get there. We are currently looking at getting out of Colorado and going to northern Michigan (north of Claire and west of 127) or the U.P. We love water and Colorado has a lack of.
Love the western end of the Yoop.
Good thing about Grayling is the easy access to I-75. TC probably has the best medical resources, good variety of fishing, good variety of shopping and eating places for the wife, "major" airport, the NMC college, depending on your past hunting experiences and expectations....deer hunting is ok, not great but ok....way, way too many people in early gun season - you own the woods in the late season when the snow hits, squirrel hunting is fantastic, there are some birds to be had, however bear hunting and birds are more plentiful in Ontario and you can go anytime without a draw.
All that said....something else to consider if you're open to places other than Michigan. If I can negotiate with the wife....we'll go west. Montana and Wyoming is talking to me. Alot more open country, much greater variety of animals and game birds to hunt than Michigan, alot of streams and high mt lakes, fewer people, neighborly folks, beautiful scenery, less taxes. There's no sales tax in MT, both good on retirees, no state income tax for retired military folks in WY, retired brother pays around 4% in MT and if you're of the conservative leanings and more freedom...you might attracted to that. You can still get acreage at decent prices. The brother says you do not need to buy more than 10-20 acres because there is a ton of public land out there...BLM, USFS, NF, state, etc. The only caveat is how close is power to your property if you want to be on or off the grid.
Anyway....my biased 2 cents.
PECO when I retired I could have moved to Colorado,,,,,no thanks,,,, too busy and people not the same,,,,,, live in Cortez in the 70's it was great, no thanks today
Montana is a good state, but not cheap,,,,
I believe there is no state income tax for anyone in Wyoming.
Ground Hunter, I came to Colorado in 2004 and can not believe the changes. I spent last summer in Philipsburg, Montana and it was amazing. Problem is, anywhere I want to be in Montana or Wyoming it is expensive! JL, where is the reasonable, and what is reasonable land in Montana? I would move to Montana for the fishing alone, and lack of people.
I sound like PECO. I'm also planning to move to Michigan soon.. I was in the Houghton Lake area last month. Wife is from Northern Detroit, but spend summers there. I've been in Colorado since 1997, and the place has gone down hill. I've hunted every year, and got elk, deer, plenty of fish. Inflation is out of control, and the people, well that's another subject. I agree lack of water is an issue, especially for elk and good deer. But, the country is awesome. I consider my self lucky to have lived here, but my time is done. I look forward to the green and water, real snow. I come from Maine, so snow is not an issue.
I certainly appreciate all of the inputs and advice - they've been a great help.
I took killinstuff's advice and expanded my search to include areas north of Grayling in the LP, and my wife absolutely fell in love with a home just a mile or two north of Indian River. We like the appeal of being only about 30 minutes south of the bridge, but still relatively close to conveniences or a sort.
While fairly comfortable with the asking price of the home, I'd like to get an idea of the real estate taxes I'd wind up paying, which as you can imagine, will have some serious budget impacts on a couple with fixed income. Searching the web for real estate taxes for that area didn't provide me with a lot, and I'm a bit confused regarding "SEV" and how it's calculated. Can anyone clear that up for me and give me some sort of idea of what Michigan real estate taxes are like?
The beaches of Empire, are rated by Travel Leisure and Good Morning America, as the 3rd best in the country...... lot of people do not know that..................
Dave G. 's Link
DaveG, Indian river is a very nice area. Sister in law lives on Mullet Lake which is just up the road. Mother in law lives in the Gaylord area so we have spent a lot of time up there in the 46 years that we have been married. That whole area is nice . I use to trout fish the Sturgeon River in Wolverine a lot and we have done real well over the years.
Taxes: Remember they will be on what you pay for the property and not what they are when you buy the property. So that is one question I would ask so you don't see sticker shock. Is this going to be your home or a recreational use cabin. If it is not your primary home you will pay non homestead taxes which I think are 18 mills. I would check with the county to get an idea.
Jon, This would be our primary residence, so I assume I could apply for the PRE. I used the link as a starting point in trying to figure the taxes, but I'll definitely be talking with a real estate agent to get a better idea of what I should be expecting as far as taxes, etc.
I'll say one thing, Michigan's real proud of their property...granted, they should be, but daaaang! :^)
BTW, the property we're looking at is about 3 miles north of downtown Indian River, off of Burt Lake.
Indian River is a nice town, went to a car show there a few years ago when we spent the summer in Cheboygan. There was a sporting goods store there, old lures hanging from the ceiling and some old Bear archery stuff for looking. There is also the inland water way that goes through the area, Burt lake is on it.
Dave, don't let the realtor point to the taxes on the house info sheet because they are going to be higher. I am sure you are paying much more than the owner you are buying it from did.
Years ago we bought 7 acres on a creek for around $20,000. The realtor pointed out that the taxes were only $69.00 a year. Well when we got our tax bill they were $469.00. I called the tax assessor on it and he told me that I thought the property was worth what I paid and was taxed accordingly. The $69.00 amount is what the original owner paid. We opened up the value when we bought it.
Just trying to give you guys a heads up.
Thanks Jon...your advice is greatly appreciated. As well as everyone else who's contributed.