Michigan Free Fishing Weekend

May 20th, 2015

Fish for free in Michigan June 13 & 14
Summer Free Fishing Weekend graphicThe annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend is scheduled for Saturday, June 13 and Sunday, June 14. On that weekend, everyone – residents and non-residents alike – can fish without a license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.

Michigan has been celebrating the Summer Free Fishing Weekend annually since 1986 as a way to promote awareness of the state’s vast water resources. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline; 11,000 inland lakes; and tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, fishing and Michigan go hand in hand.

There are so many ways to participate in the annual Summer Free Fishing Weekend. Consider the following:

  • Attend an official 2015 Summer Free Fishing Weekend event!
    Organized activities are being scheduled in communities across the state. Find the event closest to you by visiting michigan.gov/freefishing.
  • Visit a Family Friendly Fishing Water!
    Grab your friends and/or family and head out to one of the various waterbodies in Michigan designated as a Family Friendly Fishing Water. These locations are easy to access, have a high likelihood of catching fish, and offer various amenities. Locations are available in every county of the state and offer great experiences for visitors.
  • Plan a trip to a state park!
    Many of Michigan’s state parks offer great fishing opportunities. With a Rec Passport you can experience them all for one low price.
  • My family and I are going to try our hands at a little bass, perch, sunfish, fishing, and anything else that will bite over the holidays.  The grandkids always get a kick out of reeling in a “monster bluegill” and having Papa take plenty of pictures of their trophy.  Most of you have a long weekend coming, so get out there and enjoy what Michigan Lakes and streams has to offer.

For all things Fishing in Michigan – visit michigan.gov/fishing.

Gary Brown’s Taxidermy One Of The Best

May 18th, 2015

bear rug 005bear rug 007bear rug 010Gary Brown has been doing my taxidermy work for many years.  In fact he has done work for most of my brothers, and especially brother Darryl.  He called me the other day to say my bear rug was done, and i went and picked it up this evening. Once again Gary did a great job, and I didn’t have to wait several years to get my trophy back.

Five years ago I made the mistake of taking my largest turkey to a taxidermist that has done quite a few mounts for the Ansel’s. I still have not received my longbeard, and I get the “run around” every time I call or stop by.  It is really important, for a sportsman, to find a reputable taxidermist who will stand behind his work.  Taxidermy is an art, and that should show in the work performed by the artist (taxidermist.)

So far this year Gary has done deer, turkey, bobcat, and a bear for the Ansel men.  He told me tonight that he likes getting into the pockets of the Ansel’s!  Little does he know I had to “float” a loan in order to pick my bear up.  Taxidermy is not cheap by any means.  You get what you pay for, and we are all quite happy with the artistry of Gary Brown

This is the bear I shot last fall when I almost took my thumb of with my crossbow.  The deer (European mount) was a split G-2 eleven pointer that I shot two years ago.  As you can see I’m running out of wall space in my “man cave!”

Yellowstone Park Hires My Grandson And The Journey Begins!

May 15th, 2015

IMG_0325IMG_0301.JPG  quinn riverIMG_0298.PNG  quinn sulfer springsFullSizeRender.jpg  quinn black bear #2When I was a young man I always dreamed about moving out West.  The states of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho always intrigued me.  Beautiful scenery, big game animals, and fishing ice-cold streams seemed like the kind of place any outdoorsmen would love to call home.

Right after high school graduation reality set in.  I had car payment, insurance payments, and a girlfriend to think of.  The Viet Nam war was going strong, and the draft wasn’t going to let me slip through a two-year commitment.  The Army, Ford Motor Company, a wife, and kids were not conducive to my “going out West plans.”

Well since adulthood I have been fortunate enough to hunt and fish Colorado on three separate occasions.  The mountain states are everything I had ever envisioned and then some.  What beauty, what grandeur, what a place to wake up all of ones senses.

The reason I say all of this is that my Grandson Quinn Anthony Russo is living my dream!  He was hired two months ago by Yellowstone National Park as one of their computer (IT) trouble shooters.  He’s taken to his job, and the country that goes with it, like a brown trout to the Yellowstone River!  He has a company car and travels the park working on computers from one end to the other.  Yellowstone is 150 miles north to south!  I had no idea it was so vast.  Bison, elk, deer, black and grizzly bears are just part of the visual delight during Quinn’s travels.  Not to mention geysers, mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and crystal clear streams.  Quinn told me a couple of days ago he may never come home.  To say he truly loves his new job would be an understatement.  To top it all off he says his boss is a great guy to work with.  What more could you ask for?

Quinn and I are trying to find some way for me to visit him this summer.  Problem is I probably won’t want to come home either.  I guess that’s a chance I’ll have to take.  I’m going to post some of the pictures he’s been sending me.  Strange how a black bear can have a brown cub.  Never heard of one in Michigan!  Enjoy.


Venison Topped With Fresh Morel’s! How Good Is That?

May 13th, 2015

mushrooms 001Birds, party, Dick B 014What a great year for those that love to eat morel mushrooms.  Usually I have to hunt high and low to find enough for a couple of meals.  Not this year, as they seem to be finding me.  Several nice big “sponges” have been found while I’ve been mowing my lawn.  Never had that happen before.

My son-in-law has a few secret spots that have been producing well. and he has been sharing his bounty with me.  There aren’t to many guys that will give away these delicate morsels!

I put some venison tenderloins on the grill smothered with green peppers and onions, just the other day.  Right alongside them There were some freshly picked mushrooms sprinkled with salt and pepper and a tablespoon of butter.  Man it doesn’t get much better than that!  Natures bounty, cooked by your own hands, while it’s still hot, and fresh off the grill-wow!  You can’t buy a meal like that.

We have found only the white morels, but last year I found about 70 of the black morels around my place up north.  I’ve been thinking about taking a run up there so we can do some “picking and grinning” before the mushroom season draws to a close.


Marquette Honor Flight and a Tribute to Richard (Dick) Baldwin

May 10th, 2015

bear hunt 2010 084Dick Baldwin #1Dick Baldwin #2Birds, party, Dick B 0212014 Birthday Bear 027It was way back in 1973 when the Ansel clan met the Baldwin clan.  My fathers boss (Herm Fowler) introduced us to a young Gary Baldwin, who was kind of local (Beaver Grove) celebrity!  A high school jock, seasoned woodsmen, and a big buck and big bear hunter supreme.  He invited us to come up and enjoy a bear hunt around the Baldwin camp.  It didn’t take any coaxing for us to make plans for an early September hunt.

That was forty-two (42) years ago when we first met Gary’s dad Dick.  He would have been forty-four years old that first September bear hunt, and little did we know that the Baldwin and Ansel families would become steadfast friends.

Dick is 86 years old now and just a week or so ago returned from Washington D.C. after signing up for the U.P. Honor Flight. The flight is made up of veterans and their guardians who do a one day trip to the nation’s capitol and visit various war memorials.  Dick had been reluctant to go, but his son Gary talked him into it, and Dick says he’s glad he did!  Dick Baldwin was one of 74 WWII and Korean veterans to travel from Escanaba to Washington and back home the same day.

The U.P. Honor Flight has brought 600 veterans to the nation’s capital, with no charge to them.  Each veteran has a guardian who pays $500.00 dollars and takes care of all the veterans needs.  Father and son had a great time, as they were greeted with cheers, handshakes, and applause from all corners as they toured many of the veterans memorials.

As long as we’ve known Dick Baldwin I had never heard him mention that he was a veteran, as was my dad Norm.  I always figured he was to young to be a WWII vet!  Little did I know that Dick was looking for adventure and had his dad sign release papers for this 17-year-old woodsmen to join the Navy.  But then that would be out of character for the patriarch of the Baldwin clan.  Dick has never had to “brag” about his past exploits, as he is one of those rare individuals that leads by example.

From my perspective Dick Baldwin is a mans man.  He’s tough as nails in the woods, and knows all about logging, trees, and timber.  He worked in the mines for over 30 years, built cabins, trapped beaver to pay the bills, and raised his family during some tough times.  He can hunt and track with the best of them, and thinks like the critters he pursues.  He taught himself to be a mechanic, and can tell a “whopper” so good that you believe him!  But the thing I think that makes Dick so special is that he has the uncanny ability to make “you” feel special!  Most people focus on themselves, but Dick is truly concerned for others. That is no doubt why his family loves this guy so much.  Dick and his wife Ruth are truly a treasure that we Ansel’s stumbled onto 4 decades ago, and we are so blessed that we did.  God bless you Dick and Ruth and your whole lovely family.  You are my Beaver Grove hero!

The Mining Journal did a front page article on Dick and Gary’s trip to Washington.  I added a few pictures from various years at the Baldwin camp.  They include Dick, Gary, brother Darryl holding one of Dicks big deer racks, and myself.

Morel’s are Rising

May 7th, 2015

Birthday mushrooms 009

The mushroom season has just kicked into high gear, and it’s not called “mushroom hunting” for nothing. You really do have to hunt for these delicious little fungus. Last weekeng I looked hi and low for some of those white morels while zig-zagging back and forth through the woods around my deer camp. I checked fench rows, downed trees, moist sandy areas, and every rotted tree stump in my woods. I found narry a one!  It must be to early for the north woods, as last year I found many blacks and a few whites around my cabin.

Every mushroom hunter I’ve talked to reported finding quite a few these past few days. Whats up with me? I must be a “bad” mushroom hunter!  I’ve been bummed out about it, as I was looking forward to frying up a batch of morels with maybe a little venison steak and onions.  Yesterday I was cutting the grass back home in Monroe and low and behold my wife found two nice mushroom in our yard!

Then last evening we visited my daughter and son-in-laws place south of here.  He said he had a surprise for me, and handed me a bag of morel mushrooms.  The best spring gift a guy could ask for.  He had found about 80 of them right on his 6 acres and was willing to share them with me.  He had already cooked up two batches for himself, and gave me the 20 he still had left.  What a guy!  I plan on frying them up tonight with a venison steak and baked potatoe.  My mouth is already watering for what awaits me in just a few short hours.  Bon-a-petite!


Bear and Elk Licenses now Available

May 4th, 2015

Apply for elk and bear licenses now through June 1

hunter with elk in truckThe Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that applications for Michigan elk and bear hunting licenses are available now through June 1. There will be 100 elk licenses and 6,951 bear licenses available for the 2015 hunting seasons.

Only Michigan residents are eligible to apply for an elk license. Bear licenses are available for both residents and nonresidents; however, no more than 2 percent of licenses in any bear management unit will be issued to nonresidents. Hunters can apply online at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings, at any authorized license agent or at a DNR Customer Service Center. A nonrefundable $5 fee is charged at the time of application. Hunters may purchase just one bear and one elk application.

Applicants may call 517-284-WILD (9453) by June 1 for assistance with their application and may check their drawing results online at www.michigan.gov/huntdrawings beginning June 29 for both species. Applicants are responsible for submitting a valid application with the correct customer ID and application type. Make sure to check the receipt for accuracy, and call the DNR Wildlife Division immediately if there are any mistakes. Also, see the 2015 Michigan Elk Hunting Digest and 2015 Michigan Bear Hunting Digest for more details about the application processes. All hunting digests can be found at www.michigan.gov/dnrdigests.

Hunters who want another chance at a bear or elk license can increase their odds by applying for the Pure Michigan Hunt. Applications are $5 and are available at any license agent or online atwww.mdnr-elicense.com. Hunters may buy as many applications as they want. Three lucky winners will get prize packages that include elk (Michigan residents only), bear, deer and turkey licenses; first pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area; plus firearms, crossbows and much more – a prize package worth over $4,000. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/puremichiganhunt.

The Turkey Woods 2015

May 2nd, 2015

????trail cam by cabin 009

After a week’s absence from writing this blog I’ll be kind of surprised if I have any “readers” left!  The 5 days I spent getting up at 5 every morning did not turn out as planned, but I still had some memorable times in the turkey woods.

For the first time in over 35 years of hunting turkeys I never heard a Tom gobble!  They were around, but totally unresponsive to “calling.”  The only bird I actually saw while hunting would not cross the fence between him and my position.  For 20 minutes I watched him walk back and forth along that barrier.  He wanted to come investigate my “yelps”, but the fence was his salvation, and my undoing!  I actually “low crawled” about 30 yards to try to get closer, but he was still 70 yards away.  At 68 years old I do not recommend a legitimate “Army” low crawl!  My joints (especially my hips) have been killing me, and my body begs me to never try that again.

Several days I hunted my own property and the surrounding Federal land.  Twice I had “Gobblers” show up on my trail camera at times when I was else where.  I actually filmed a hen on two separate occasions as she became the ultimate “live” decoy.  But there were no takers this time in the “turkey woods!”  I have a few more days on my permit, so just maybe I can still get one to “talk” to me.

The neighbor kid (Sean) shot a really nice bird opening day just a few hundred yards from my place, but he told me that his Tom didn’t “gobble” either.  For whatever reason they shut up and shut me out!  Maybe turkeys aren’t as dumb as some people say they are!  They sure got the best of me this year.


Chris Evenhouse Michigan Monster Deer

April 22nd, 2015

Chris Evenhouse Buck 003Knowledge, patients, and quality deer management pays off for Chris Evenhouse.  Cris is from Three Rivers Michigan and this past deer season shot one of the highest scoring deer ever taken with a bow and arrow.  His monster buck scored 205-2/8″ green and netted 196-2/8′ final net score.

Chris and his hunting partner Paul have practiced QDM for several years and it was paying dividends in the harvesting of big bucks.  Chris has tagged 20 good mature bucks with 10 of those going over 125 inches.  That my friend is not luck but knowledge of your game and being selective in what deer you try to harvest.  It also helps to have a nice 35 acre woods surrounded by farm fields and bedding areas.

Chris and Paul used several trail camera’s to locate the “monsters” movements so they could try to pattern him.  They never entered the woods unless it was raining, and when the wind was wrong they stayed home.  Chris only hunted when the conditions were right, but on his third stand he saw his quarry.  He actually missed (high) on his first shot, but as fate would have it he got another shot, and drilled the bruiser, with the big drop tine.

Cris called his dad to let him in on the celebrating.  Chris credits his dad for his passion for the hunt, and was so happy he could join them in dragging this Michigan Monster from where he lay.

Congratulations Chris on bagging the deer of a lifetime.  It would be hard for most hunters to keep it together with a buck of this caliber standing 20-30 yards away!  Very few bowhunters have a buck in the Boone and Crockett Record Book, so Chris is in very elite company.


Michigan Moose Encounter

April 21st, 2015

moose #1,2,3 001moose #1,2,3 002moose #1,2,3 004Just recently read this years DNR report concerning Michigans moose population.  Seems there has been quite a drop in numbers according to the moose population studies done each year to keep check on the health of the herd.  I know these studies have room for some error, as moose have been showing up in the Eastern outreaches of Marquette for quite some time.

The area around Skandia and Beaver Grove has become quite a hotbed for moose sightings.  This is only 6-7 miles from the downtown area of the city.

We have friends that have a business on 42 South in Beaver Grove (B and G Plumbing and Heating) that recently sent me a few pictures of moose in their backyard.  Trust me this is a semi rural area, and you would not be expecting to see moose walking through your horse pasture just 100 yards from a main highway.  It appears that it’s a cow and a yearling in the pictures, and from what I can tell they look to be in pretty good health.  The Marquette area got slammed again this year with cold and snow, but moose are a hearty northern animal and take it all in stride.

Thanks Jenny, and Paula, and Nancy for the pictures.  Hope to see you all come the Fall bear season.