Glen Arbor and Sleeping Bear Dunes

September 4th, 2015

image1[1]image3IMG9523251We recently spent 3 days at a rental property in Glen Arbor Michigan.  Our house was just about 100 yards off of Lake Michigan tucked away in a huge bay.  Actually you could see part of the sleeping bear Dunes from the deck around the house.  We had a bon-fire the first evening and made plans for the following days activities.

Everyone had decided that the nature walk at the Sleeping Bear Dunes should be our first great adventure.  There were several trails to choose from, but our crew (I call them “the no clue crew”) thought they were up for the 3.5 mile round trip hike that led to Lake Michigan.  After climbing the first two sand dunes four (4) of them Lorna, Tara, Addy, and McKenzie decided they had gone far enough.  That left Dave, Mindy, Glen, Matt, Nadia, Michael, Keegan, Ava, and Kyle to conquer their doubts and fears, and press on!  Dave was carrying a backpack with 10 water bottles and a few other odds and ends which made for a substantial load.  At the halfway point there was a sign that read “If you do not have enough water for the rest of the hike, please turn back!”

To make a long story somewhat shorter they all made it to Lake Michigan, but had forgotten their swimming suits.  No matter, the cool clear waters were calling them in for a refreshing swim.  It was 85 degrees that day and the lake was a welcome relief. The hike back was a brutal test of will power and endurance.  Two from the group actually crawled on their bellies for a time.  Three and a half miles up steep sand-dunes is not for the out-of-shape or faint-hearted  Those conquering hero’s were so happy when they finally reached the parking lot with their shaking legs and parched lips!  They all said they were glad they did it, but they would never do it again!

Now that makes them almost as smart as me, as I kept my 69 year old butt glued to a Lazy Boy and channel surfed next to a big fan.  I could see the dunes off in the distance, and that was good enough for me, as I sipped on a lemonade and enjoyed the cooling lake breeze!

Idaho Bowhunter Attacked By Female Grizzly

September 2nd, 2015

Grizzly 001An archery hunter pursuing elk is recovering after being attacked in Idaho by a grizzly bear with three cubs.

Wildlife officials say they could find no signs the bear had been wounded when the hunter fired at it with a .44-caliber handgun.

Gregg Losinski of Idaho Fish and Game on Tuesday said the hunter received no broken bones but had soft-tissue damage to his left hand and arm from the Monday morning encounter in eastern Idaho in the Island Park area below Sawtell Peak. That’s about 15 miles west of Yellowstone National Park.

Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries said the hunter, Mike Adams of Idaho Falls, used his cellphone to call for help and officials were able to use an advanced 911 system to pinpoint his location and direct him several miles out of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest using the easiest route to a waiting ambulance.

“He had an arm chewed up pretty good,” the sheriff said. “He was able to wrap it up and stop the bleeding and walk out.”

Adams was taken to Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, where a hospital spokeswoman said he was treated and released.

The estimated grizzly population in the 19,000-square-mile Yellowstone ecosystem is 757 bears, and they are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Losinski said a team of seven investigators went to the area on Monday that Adams marked with a GPS. Losinski said the team found Adam’s hat, evidence of a grizzly bear in the area, and a dead deer the bear was likely feeding on because it had been “cached,” or covered with dirt.

He said the team spent about six hours in the area but found no signs the bear had been wounded. If the bear had been shot, “with that caliber of handgun, you would expect to find something,” Losinski said.

Adams could not be reached by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Losinski said a creek in the area running full from recent storms likely prevented the bear from hearing Adams approaching.

“To be a good hunter you have to do everything we recommend people not do,” Losinski said. Officials advise people traveling in bear country to go in groups and make noise, the opposite of what successful hunters do.

He said the bear’s quick attack and then flight is typical of a surprised bear protecting cubs or food.

Losinski said Adams is left-handed and had bear pepper spray on his left side, but couldn’t get to it during the attack. Losinski said Adams with his right hand was able to reach his handgun on his right side and fire shots that Adams told officials he thought struck the bear.

“He was doing off-hand shooting while being attacked by a bear,” Losinski said. “How accurate he may have been no one knows.”

Losinski said he doesn’t anticipate the hunter will face any charges as he did nothing wrong.

“I wasn’t surprised when we had an encounter between a hunter and a bear,” said Humphries, the sheriff, noting his office has been fielding complaints about bears over the summer.

Officials euthanized a 25-year-old male grizzly bear in the Island Park area last week after it repeatedly broke into buildings. Officials said its advanced age and decreasing ability to forage naturally increased the potential for conflict.

Bear Roast-Some of Natures Finest Bounty

August 28th, 2015

IMG_1050 (1)With just a month to go my friend (Bob Baltrip) and I are getting excited about our upcoming bear hunt.  We’re getting our baiting supplies all lined up along with a few special concoctions that I came up last year on my bear hunt.  I didn’t draw a tag this year but my hunting partner Bob did.  He’ll be using his Barnett Crossbow for the first time and has it zeroed in.  I shot mine last year with a Barnett Predator.  We’ve settled on the Rage broadhead (I think) cause it did the job last year, and so far I’ve taken 5 deer with that set-up.

There will certainly be a different twist to this years hunt, as both our wives are going along.  It’s been 42 years since we first started hunting the Baldwin camp near Marquette, and our wives have never gone on a hunt.  So I don’t know how much hunting we are actually going to get in, because the ladies have plans up their sleeves I’m thinking!  I know they want to do the Pictured Rocks cruise, spend time with Nancy and Gary Baldwin, and of course do some shopping.

In the old days of bear hunting it would have been next to impossible to take the women (to primitive!)  Now that the new camp is up and running it’s women and family friendly.  Why there’s even a “big screen T.V. even though the camp is off grid!  Gary, Gregg, Dick, and their families and friends did an awesome job of doing this camp “right!”

One evening last week Bob and his wife Linda cooked up the last of my bear roast and had my wife and I over for dinner.  He cooked it in a slow cooker with potatoes and carrots.  It may have been the best bear roast I’ve ever eaten.  Bob’s daughter Kelly had tasted it before we got there, and she made Bob promise to save some for her and her daughter Hanna!  Now that’s my kind of women! We did our best to “limit” ourselves, and actually came away very satisfied and thankful.  There is nothing you can buy in the store that is better than “natures bounty!”

Mike

Do Second Amendment Rights Protect Illegals In America?

August 25th, 2015

What may seem like a stupid question at first sight evidently is not seen that way by the 7th. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court issued its ruling Thursday in a case involving Mariano Meza-Rodriguez. His family brought him to the United States from Mexico illegally when he was four or five years old, according to the 7th Circuit ruling. Now an adult, he was arrested in 2013 after a bar fight in Milwaukee. Police found a .22-caliber bullet in his shorts pocket.

Federal law prohibits people in the country illegally from possessing guns or ammunition. Meza-Rodriguez argued that the charges should be dismissed because the law infringes on his Second Amendment right to bear arms. U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa rejected that contention on the broad grounds that the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to people in the country illegally. Meza-Rodriguez was ultimately convicted of a felony and deported.

The 7th Circuit panel, however, ruled unanimously Thursday that the term “the people” in the Second Amendment’s guarantee that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed also applies to those in the country illegally. The ruling, which applies in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, conflicts with opinions from three other federal appellate courts in recent years that found the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to people in the country illegally.

“We see no principled way to carve out the Second Amendment and say that the unauthorized (or maybe all noncitizens) are excluded,” Chief Judge Diane Wood wrote.

But the panel upheld Meza-Rodriguez’s conviction, saying the federal ban on people in the country illegally possessing weapons remains valid. Wood wrote that the right to bear arms isn’t unlimited and the government has a strong interest in preventing people who have already broken the law by coming to the country illegally from carrying guns.

Meza-Rodriguez’s attorney, Joseph Bugni, said the decision contradicts itself. He plans to ask all nine active 7th Circuit judges to review the case together. If Meza-Rodriguez doesn’t prevail at that level he’ll go to the U.S. Supreme Court, Bugni said.  All I can say is it would almost seem funny, but these rulings continue to get more brazen and bizarre as courts continue to make laws contrary to their intent!

Bear Season 2015 Right Around the Corner

August 22nd, 2015

big bearBear season is just a month away here in Michigan.  Brother Randy is heading up to Marquette with his son Justin and Justin’s wife Jill along with their two kids.  They have two coveted first hunt permits, and from early reports bear hunting should be good.  One has been spotted wandering the perimeter of the Baldwin camp, and I’m sure he’s a candidate for someones freezer!

I’ll be arriving at camp a few weeks behind them, as my buddy Bob’s permit is for the third hunt period.  I did not draw a permit this year, but will try my darndest to get one in range for my old friend.  Were in the process of collecting bait and getting mentally prepared for taking our wives along!  Did I just really say that?  Yes we are combining our bear hunt with some “away” time with our wives, and will spend some special time with Gary and Nancy Baldwin.  Along with Gary’s father Dick they have been our host for these past 43 years, and what great host they have been.  Our families have become quite close.

Of the 45 bear we have harvested, over the years, the one in the above picture is the largest (heaviest.)  It topped the scales at just over 500 pounds, but did not rank as high in the record book, as one my brother Darryl shot a few years after I got mine.  Record books go by skull size, and Darryl shot a 5-1/2 year old bear with a huge skull.  At one time it was the second largest ever taken with a recurve in Michigan.  It also was a big bear (around 450 pounds,) but had the genetics for a “fat head!”  My bear (above) ranked 17th. by Commemorative Bucks was an older boar being 13-1/2 years old.  We have taken only three others that were of these proportions, with most bear being in the 150-250 pound range.  Just like with deer the smaller younger bear have a better flavor when put in the frying pan.

Just bought me a couple of Wildgame trail cams, and I plan on putting them to good use.  I’m hoping for some colder weather at the end of September when our hunt starts, but you never know what Mother Nature is going to throw at you.  I know it’s hard to believe, but one year our water froze during the Sept 10th. bear hunt.  I don’t expect that this year, but I’m hoping I’m not sweating to death either.  Counting the days.

Mike

Trail Camera Captures Big Bucks

August 20th, 2015

IMG_5001IMG_8917IMG_6185Trail cameras have come a long way since they first came on the market.  They are an indispensable tool in any serious hunters arsenal.  If you want to know how the deer move around your hunting area then a few trail camera’s are the ticket.

As you set them up in strategic places you can gain knowledge of the quarry you seek.  You can find out “who” is feeding at various food sources and the time of day.  What deer uses what runway, and the direction of travel.  You can see how many does you have and which ones have fawns.  As a bonus you may find turkeys, coyotes, bear, and foxes on your scouting camera.

The earlier they are placed the better for you to establish a particular deers movements.  Hunters who successfully bag big deer, year after year, have learned to use trail camera’s to their benefit.

I am posting three recent trail cam pictures of two bucks in Ohio and one in Michigan that have “trophy” written all over them. All three are record class bucks that probably would hardly be seen if it weren’t for trail cam scouting!  When you know you have Monster Bucks like these running around, you know where to concentrate your efforts.  The 8 point Ohio buck is “off the charts” for an eight pointer.  This is a “world-class” deer and will definitely score over the Boone and Crockett minimum of 170! The Ohio 10 pointer (I think) also is a high scoring deer that would score over 170 and the Michigan deer (by the closeline pole) is about as nice a buck you will find afield.  (Note:) The Michigan buck was located with a trail camera, but this photo is from a digital camera that shows off the bucks “attributes” better!

Yes trail camera’s can certainly help, but a whole lot of planning has to fall into place in order to bring home one of these “bruisers!

Bear Gets Stuck In Cat Door

August 17th, 2015

Doug Harder of Sandpoint, Idaho, snapped this photograph of the young bear, whose head got stuck in his cat door last Thursday.  (Note: Go to Harders Facebook site below to see picture of the bear.)

The bear had tried “again and again to get through,” Harder wrote on Facebook. It’s believed that the bear burglar had been trying to get to some food.

Harder said he had come home from vacation the day before to find his condo in total disarray. He says that a bear had ransacked the place, entering through his sliding door before swiping some brownie mix, a Toblerone bar and a can of Pepsi. The bear also left a large pile of poop in the living room.

According to Harder, the same bear returned the next day and attempted to squeeze through his cat door. He told ABC News, however, that he didn’t feel afraid as he knew the bear was too big to wiggle through.

A bear broke into his home Wednesday while Harder was out. The bear entered through the sliding door on Harder’s second-floor deck and ransacked his condo.

It took two hours to clean up the mess, but Harder is relieved that he wasn’t home — not that time, at least.

The first visit by the bear was in May, when a family of bears climbed up the side of Harder’s home and onto his deck. Harder watched from the living room, shooting video as a bear and two cubs polished off birdseed from his feeder.

“I knocked on the door and the cubs looked at me but they could care less that I was there,” Harder recalls.

They returned the next day and polished off four cans of Dr. Pepper on the deck. Hoping to deter future visits, Harder scrubbed the deck with chlorine bleach and got a smaller bird feeder.

 

The Bassinator!

August 12th, 2015

girls softball and big bass Mindy's 094Golf and fishing at Mindy's 008Quinn at Mindy and daves 111DSCN4780IMG_0486Hey it’s been one of those years that usually happen once in a life time!  Up to this point in my 68 years I have never caught the amount of nice sized largemouth bass like this year.  It all started when my daughter got a place on a little pond that used to be a quarry.  Her kids told me there were fish in the lake and shortly there after I was wetting some lines.

I caught 6 bass the first time I tried, and at this point I have caught (and released) 29 of these acrobatic show-offs.  Just yesterday I caught 2 more with one of them ranking right up top for the biggest this year.  My grand-daughter Addy also caught one and my other grand-daughter McKenzie had a big one shake her hook!

I started fishing with the usual plastic worms, spinners, and jigs.  Live night crawlers seemed to work best until I tried offering them a smallish sunfish on a big bobber.  That my fellow fishermen was the ticket to success.  A large hook just under the dorsal fin with a big bobber 3 foot up the line has been hard to beat.  I even tried chubs one evening and they also worked great.  When I haven’t had the live fish I have done alright with a dew worm.  Problem with that is the numerous sunfish and bluegill will strip that worm off the hook faster than you can re-bait it.

I have had so much fun helping my 12 grandkids land their first bass that I’m making a photo album for them.  Next time I go to my daughters; McKenzie will be right by my side.  Close doesn’t count, we want to land one, snap a picture, and release him to fight another day.  These lazy summer days with 4-6 pound bass straining my line, doing their circus leaps, and then posing for a snapshot, will certainly be a summer the “Bassinator” will remember.

Mike

Yellowstone Employee Killed and Eaten By Grizzly!

August 9th, 2015

bear 2014 004At least one grizzly bear is thought to have killed and partially eaten a hiker in America’s famed Yellowstone National Park, authorities said.

The National Park Service said the man’s body was found Friday and though the exact cause of death had not been determined, he had defensive wounds on his forearms.

“Based on partial tracks found at the scene, it appears that an adult female grizzly and at least one cub… were present and likely involved in the incident,” the park service said in a statement Saturday.

The man was from Montana and was a long-term seasonal employee of Medcor, a company that runs three health clinics in the Wyoming park.

He was reported missing Friday morning when he did not show up for work. The victim’s body had been partially devoured and “cached” — or covered — near Lake Village, officials said.

Wildlife biologists have set bear traps in the area and if any captured beasts are identified as having been involved in the attack, they will be killed.

“We may not be able to conclusively determine the circumstances of this bear attack, but we will not risk public safety,” said Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk.

My grandson works as a computer programmer at Yellowstone and is aware of the dangers lurking in and around the park. You won’t hear much about it but this is the third death in Yellowstone this year.  Tourist forget these are wild animals and it’s their turf.  Steep cliffs, raging waters, hidden hot springs, big powerful grizzly bears, and wild animals of all sorts await those that let their guard down for one second.  I will write more about this at a later date.

Mike

Elk In My Lap!

August 9th, 2015

Cabin Aug. 1st Tara kyle Jacob 012The “Elks Club” has state offices in Gaylord Mi.  They have about one hundred acres fenced in with elk roaming all over the place.  It’s quite a tourist attraction, located within the city limits.  We were within 10 yards of some of these 600 pound monarchs!  There size is impressive, but these elk had all but lost their “wildness”!

This encounter took me back to my one and only Colorado elk hunt.  These wild elk were just entering the first phase of the rut, and trust me, up close and personal took on a whole new meaning.

Nine years ago I hunted a 10,000 acre ranch in  the southwest corner of Colorado.  We had been seeing elk every day, as the three of us split up, and hunted the various “honey holes” on the huge spread.  About three days into the hunt I built a ground blind on the edge of a scrub oak thicket surrounded with thorn bushes.  I had placed a camo bucket on the ground and cut a shooting window through the front of the prickly needles.  It was open on the sides, but I still was well concealed by the surrounding scrub oaks.  The elk were using the ridges that surrounded the little flat valley I had set up in.

I arrived at my set up well before the elk were moving to the lower elevation fields.  I started cow calling around 4:00 p.m. and in no time received several responses.  The big 5×5 we had been seeing already had about 20 cows in his harem, but several satellite bulls were eager to try their luck with the “ladies!”  About a half hour had passed when a bull came down the ridge in front of me, and stared in my direction.  He was about 70 yards away, and I could tell he was excited.  I got my bow ready, and made another series of cow calls.  I wasn’t prepared for what happened next!  He ran full tilt and literally crashed into the front of my blind.  Had it not been for the thorns, I would of been trampled to death-or worse!  I crouched as low as I could on the bucket, as the bull circled the blind and stopped 8 feet to my right.  I literally could not move an eyelash.  The young spike bull (2-1/2 foot spikes) glared into the scrub oak behind me.  His eyes were glazed and bloodshot.  Almost as if he’d been on an all night binge!  Long rivers of drool flowed out of his mouth, as his nostrils flared, and he let out a bugle that actually moved leaves around me.  To say I was intimidated would be an understatement.  I wanted to mount an elk, not have one mount me!!  I couldn’t even shoot in self defense, as elk have to carry four point on one side to be legal in that area.  All I could do was stay “frozen” and try to control my breathing.  The bull finally headed back directly behind me, and when he was about 40 yards away caught my wind, and vacated the area.  Whew! that was to close for comfort.  I could of actually touched this fired up spike with the end of my bow.

Bill and Ken got quite a kick out of my retelling of the story around the fireplace that evening.  I took some good natured razing for the rest of the trip, but was thankful that I was still the hunter and not the hunted.

Mike