The Michigan Outdoor Hall of Fame
The Michigan Outdoor Hall of Fame honors all of those who have inspired us in the outdoors.
MICHIGAN OUTDOOR HALL OF FAME 2017 INDUCTEES
Inventer, Hunter, Promoter, Owner of MagNaPort International
Larry Kelly was a devoted shooter and hunter since his early teens. He was born on the outskirts of Detroit in April 1935. As a youngster, Larry Kelly developed a love of the outdoors and would do everything he could to spend time there. He developed an interest in hunting and firearms and by the time he was 15, was familiar with many of the firearms of the time, their velocities, trajectories and energies. At the age of 16, he began venturing further and further from home hitchhiking to different areas to hunt. His reputation as a hunter spread and soon other hunters were seeking his services. Larry would bring his dogs and guide hunters in exchange for gas, lunch or ammo. He caught his first break when Kelly guided an executive on a hunt. The executive was impressed with Larry Kelly and offered him a job at a plant he managed. Kelly began working at this job lapping out fuel guidance control valves for missiles and soon was promoted to an E.D.M. operator. Kelly soon decided to go into business with two friends and soon Apollo E.D.M. was one of the largest shops of its type in the country. It was during that time that Kelly developed the idea of using the same type of ports used in valves for the Apollo Space project to counteract muzzle jump and recoil in firearms.
The trapezoidal ports used in the E.D.M. process became an important part of this Mag-Na-Port process for gun muzzles and Larry would invite outdoor Writers to shoot ported guns. Soon stories began to appear in print and phone started to ring off the hook. He soon sold his interest in Apollo E.D.M. and opened up his first shop that specialized in porting rifles, shotguns and handguns.
Larry’s marketing campaign was based on animals Larry himself harvested and customers could realize the benefits of the Mag-Na-Port process on their own hunts. This marketing ideology also allowed Larry to mix business with his passion to hunt and he hunted all over the world. Larry Kelly became the first handgun hunter to harvest the Africa Big 5. He has over 100 record-class trophies with 59 in the top 10 in the SCI record book.
Larry Kelly was the founder of the Handgun Hunters Hall of Fame in 1983, he was inducted into Safari Clubs Hall of Fame in 1989. He was also recognized by the North American Hunting Club as a NAHC Living Legend.
Prolific Writer, Editor, Promoter
Born in Detroit in 1945, Tom Huggler grew up in the Flint area and has lived in Michigan his entire life. His outdoors articles began appearing in national magazines when he was only 12 years old. At age 17 he sold the first of many stories to Outdoor Life and grew to become the magazine’s Camping Editor. A former high school English teacher with B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Michigan, Huggler embarked on a fulltime writing career in 1982.
A prolific freelancer, he penned thousands of articles for more than 100 publications and earned a reputation as a consummate researcher and wordsmith. In 1978 he was named Conservation Communicator of the Year by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs for his first book, a children’s novel. He went on to author more than 20 other books of nonfiction and fiction as well as to write scripts for television, videotape and DVD productions. Appearing often on the screen as a host and guest on numerous TV outdoor shows, Tom traveled throughout the world, and he enjoyed parlaying his experiences into books, articles and public-speaking seminars.
No stranger to radio, Tom was also known for his marketing and public relations expertise and won many awards for his work as a writer and photographer. An active member of several writers’ organizations, he served as president of the Outdoor Writers Association of America in 1992-93. In 2010 he became president of the Hal & Jean Glassen Memorial Foundation, a not-for-profit private foundation dedicated to the protection of Second Amendment rights, the scientific management of natural resources, the growth of shooting sports competition, and the advancement of youth outdoors education and participation.
“The sheer magnitude of our state’s natural resources and the opportunities to enjoy them are reasons why I would live nowhere else but in Michigan,” Huggler said. “Ensuring that future generations have an equal chance to enjoy our heritage of hunting, fishing and all other pursuits outdoors is our most important responsibility.”
Outdoor Television Innovator
Mort Neff host of Michigan Outdoor Television. Neff was born in Pontiac in 1903. He was one of the first ever to bring the outdoors to television in 1951. His show ran for 24 years was informative as well as entertaining and served to inspire many Michigan hunters and anglers. It was reported that his outdoor reports caused certain areas of the state to be flooded by hunters or anglers when there was a good bite or good hunting conditions. His show inspired a long run of other Michigan Outdoor television shows as well following in the same tradition of reporting on Michigan’s great outdoors.
Founder of Bear Archery
The founding father of bow hunting, he touched every aspect of the sport. Design and production led Bear Archery to be one of the largest outdoor manufacturers on the planet. Fred Bear was an innovator but was also so much more. He still holds two Pope and Young records and at one time was the only hunter ever to hold 5 Pope and Young records at once. His Brown Bear and Stone sheep still are looked at as an unbelievable record for a man in his 60’s and were harvested with a long bow. Fred Bear was also instrumental in starting the first bow season in Michigan in 1937.
Before retiring in 2005 Buz instructed kids in the laurels of the outdoors for twenty nine of the thirty-eight years he was a teacher, as part of either an Outdoors Class or a Natural Resources Class affiliated with the science department at Boyne City High School. Hundreds of students have learned a multitude of information from the hands on approach this man took to the wonders of Mother Nature and the sanctity of how humans need to work with her. From constructing turkey barrels to hiking through swamps in winter, to identifying those species of trees that inhabit the NW section of Michigan, Buz led his charges with excitement, sensitivity and dedication in his role as an educator and steward of the land.
As a kid growing up in the rural setting of Boyne City, he could literally go out the back door to hunt and observe wildlife. “I was probably influenced a great deal by my grandfather who was crippled with MS. He grew up on a homestead in the Jordan Valley in the 20’s. However, I heard about the big fish he landed and the big bucks he shot. Also by my dad who would fish and hunt with me every spare minute he could.”
After three plus decades of teaching and even after his retirement the enthusiasm for the field he enjoyed remains. He revels in the fact that, “I could be outside everyday instead of reading out of a book, yet still reaching the goals set forth by the State and the local district. I also enjoyed working with the various conservation groups on projects and other areas of concern and still do.” Some of those areas included working with “Friends of the Boyne River” organization by erecting signs, mulching trail ways, and doing a yearly water quality analysis of organisms in conjunction with the DNR. In addition, his students built over 90 turkey feeders over the years for the Traverse Bay Chapter of the Michigan Wild Turkey Hunters Association, plus put on a program at a meeting for Friends of the Boyne. “The students were great with the program. They learned a lot, as did I,” Buz declared.
In the 2004-2005 school year, the Charlevoix Community Foundation (CCF) approached Lockman about the possibility of implementing a “Salmon in the Classroom” program with the goal of studying and observing the life cycle of the Chinook salmon. The CCF supplied a $2000 grant to offset the cost of 400 Chinook salmon eggs and the equipment needed for their care. In October of 2004, the Conservation Resource Alliance (CRA), based out of Traverse City, Michigan delivered the equipment to Lockman’s classroom. The students were then introduced, by individuals of the CRA, to the proper care of the fish who remained in the egg state until late November when the students noticed that many of them had hatched and in no time grew into the fry stage, the third of six stages that salmon go through. With the supplied ‘chiller’ keeping the water at a constant forty-nine degrees, an automatic feeder was attached to the tank ensuring a well-fed stock over twelve hour periods.
As the fish grew, the students understanding grew also. The gamut of topics that Lockman discussed as an offshoot of this remarkable venture ranged from conservation to fishing. Indeed, this hands-on learning method allowed his students to not just read about the subject with various pictures of the six stages. They were an actual part of the development of the approximately 150 remaining Chinook which were released into the Boyne River on May 10 2005. When freed they were roughly the size of a persons index finger but would continue to mature for the next four years at which point they would weigh anywhere from twenty to twenty five pounds. Lockman and his students envisioned that some of them would survive and return to the Boyne River to spawn. Buz believes, “this was a good program. The kids enjoyed it, and it was something we all worked together on.”
He wasn’t just solely a teacher though. He was also a State Park Officer for thirty four summers, and an EMT for eleven. In addition to these duties and responsibilities Don and his wife Jackie managed to bring up three boys in their home in Boyne City.
With hundreds of students over the thirty plus years there have been many interesting, momentous, and memorable outdoor teaching moments for him. Yet the ultimate culmination of a teacher’s career usually comes when they see one of their students years later. “I had a girl stop me in the hospital when my mother had been admitted and said that she had decided to go into nursing because of the day she saw me cut up a wild turkey…Go figure!” As Buz says, “there’s not a moment but when an older outdoor class student stops me and says that my class was his/her favorite and they learned a lot.” What a fitting tribute to an educator. What a fitting tribute to a sportsman. What a fitting tribute to a human being.
MOWA 2017 HOF COMPANY
The Eppinger tradition began in 1906. Lou Eppinger spent a month in the Ontario wilderness camping and fishing. He used a lure of his own design …a spoon weighing 2 ounces. The metal was hammered out so that it was thinner in the middle and thicker toward the edges. When he cast it into the shallows it would swing from side to side, nearly turning over, but always righting itself….kind of like a Dardevle.
By 1912 Lou turned his prototype into a finished lure, the Osprey. It caught fish: lots and lots of them. Especially pike, the favorite sport fish in the Midwest.
In 1918, Lou’s nephew Ed came to work in his uncle’s shop. They changed the name of the Osprey to Dardevle after the Teufelhunden or Devil Dogs, the name given by the Germans to the 4th Marine Brigade which successfully penetrated and captured the German Belleau Woods in 1918. The allies called these U.S. Marines “Dardevles”, the name now used for Eppinger’s most successful line of lures.
The company that sold around 500 lures a year is now an international success, and tens of millions of Eppinger lures have been sold to knowledgeable fisherman over the years. The original Dardevle has since spawned an entire family of lures. Now more than 17,000 different sizes, shapes, and colors of Eppinger lures are available to match every fishing need.
Since 1987 Ed’s Daughter Karen has been at the helm and is now successfully leading this company into the 21st century. In 1994 she was joined by her daughter Jennifer, keeping this remarkable family owned tradition alive.
Other companies have attempted to copy Eppinger’s designs and colors for many years. They’ve used inferior materials and farmed the work out to factories overseas in order to sell their lures for less money. But their finished product cannot compete with the genuine Dardevle and Eppinger quality.
More world record fish have been caught on Eppinger lures than any other lure on the market! None of those record fish are any more important, though, than the fish you or your children will reel in on Eppinger lures.
Eppinger takes pride in its history of American made quality and for giving fellow anglers what worked time after time. We build performance, value and tradition into each and every Eppinger lure. An Eppinger family member personally oversees the operation of their factory in Michigan every day to insure quality, and that the integrity of the Dardevle’s legacy lives on.