Golfing With The Champ!

August 26th, 2014

La-Z-Boy Open Champion Kyle 006La-Z-Boy Open Champion Kyle 011La-Z-Boy Open Champion Kyle 026Golf is big here in Michigan.  I have belonged to the Links of Lake Erie for 4 years now and was a member of Demme Acres for 4 years prior to that.  Up around camp we have Garland, Sidewinder, Cedar Valley, and Fairview.  Monroe has a ton more from nine to 36 holes of enjoyment for all skill levels.

Three years ago my 6 year old grandson Kyle took an interest in golfing, but like most 6 year old’s no one expected his interest to last!  His parents bought him a set of clubs suitable for a kid and he actually put enough time in it for me to take him out on a par three course.  He shot a 58 from the women’s tee’s beating the two elderly ladies playing in front of us.  They seemed quite impressed and so was I.

Well the next year he still wanted to hit that little white ball around and at the end of the year we played the same par three and he managed to shoot a 49!  Quite an improvement for the now 7 year old!

Upon turning 8 he was upgraded to a better and more suitable set of clubs, but didn’t get out to play hardly at all due to the fact that he’s the star player on his baseball team.  toward the end of the year his mother wanted him to compete in the La-Z-Boy Open golf outing at Green Meadows golf course.  She wanted Papa (his coach) to go along with him and see what a 8 year old could do in the 10 year old and younger group.  With only two rounds on the par three and never any playing time on Green Meadows I was reluctant to sign him up, but I did!  He would play two days at 9 holes a day.

First day I found out there were only 5 kids in his group, but one of them was on a golf league at the course that his grandparents owned.  Two other kids also played in a golf league.  Well I figured we were in for quite a golf lesson.  First day Kyle came in dead last with a round of 60!  We changed our game plan and I tweaked a few things on his swing and the 2nd. day started off with a bang!  Kyle played some great golf and took low score honors for the second nine holes which allowed him to take third place in the tournament.  He even beat the young man who’s grandparents own the golf course (at least on that 2nd. day.)

This brings us to 2014 as Kyle is now a nine year old.  I had him play Green Meadows 7 times before the tournament and his mother even took him out a few times.  I suggested he was ready for an upgrade to his clubs, so a nice set of youth Callaways was a birthday present for Kyle.  This year there were eight (8) kids in his group so they split them up by groups of four.  Kyle was in with a group which included a 10 year old that was a member of the Sylvania Country Club and played in a travel youth league.  The other group consisted of the twin brother of that kid plus another youth league player, and last years champ who’s grandparents own a golf course!   Talk about some stiff competition!

First day Kyle keeps up with Mr. Country Club and shoots a 48 on the front nine, while (Matt) shot a 47 to take the days honors for all eight players.  Last years champ shot a 49 so Kyle had him by one stroke which was pretty amazing if you ask me.  On the back nine two kids had dropped out so they played everyone together.  They had made me the official score keeper, but I had to make sure all the other parents were on the same page as I was.  This year you could not coach your kid, so they were on their own.  The Country Club twins fell apart and you could tell it was going to be a heads up duel between Kyle and last years champ!  What a great match these two kids put on and the very last hole would decide the winner.  The kids didn’t know the official score at any time!  Kyle hit one of his shorter drives and “the champ” drove one long.  Kyle bombed his second shot on the green about 30 feet from the hole.  “The Champ” put one within 10 foot of the cup and at the time I was the only one to know that they were tied for that round.  Kyle putted first and came up 10 foot short (his worst put of the day!)  The Champ missed his 10 footer, but had a tap in par.  Kyle had to sink the 10 footer for an outright win or 2 put for a tie.  The little guy carefully lined up his put (see picture) and dropped the ball in the hole to become the 10 and under La-Z-Boy Champ for 2014.  Wow what a feeling!  Way to go Kyle!  You must have an awesome coach!  Ha! Ha!

Mike

Michigan Car Deer Accidents!

August 24th, 2014

Tara's transfer pictures 005Within the last week I have seen two (2) dead fawns along side the road, and today I saw a young dead turkey that had been hit by motorist.  This is one of those times of the year to be aware of your surroundings as your driving in rural areas, and even urban areas.  The does are moving a little more in search for food and water, and of course the little ones follow.  Spring and Fall are the deadliest times of the year, but staying alert is required anytime you get behind the wheel.

It is estimated that there are 2,000,000 million deer roaming the state of Michigan which has over 60,000 car deer accidents a year.  Five of the highest deer accident counties are Kent, Oakland, Jackson, Calhoun, and Montcalm.  When driving and you see a “deer crossing” sign stay alert especially in those warning areas.  Deer usually cross the road in single file, so if you see one it’s a good bet others are behind!  Dawn and dusk are the most active times for deer movements, but they can dart across your path at any given hour.

If you see a deer in the road or by the shoulder honking your horn or flashing your headlights usually won’t deter them.  Don’t swerve, but brake firmly holding the steering wheel in a controlled stop!  If you hit the deer turn your flashers on and use caution when exiting your car.  If you can move your vehicle to the shoulder do so!  Call the police and (or) your insurance company.  If you have a camera or cell phone camera take a few pictures.  They may help for insurance purposes.

Mike

Huge Alabama Gator New State Record!

August 19th, 2014

Gator 003This past Saturday a family of five battled with an adversary that could of easily eaten them all for breakfast!  Mandy and John Stokes along with Mandy’s brother in law Kevin Jenkins and his children Savannah and Parker spotted the large gator Friday night, and the hunt was on.  They pursued the beast most of the evening and into early Saturday morning  in a 17 foot bass boat that was just two feet longer than the gator!

The massive behemoth was captured in a creek about 80 miles west of Montgomery in the early morning hours.  The Stoke’s has purchased some giant hooks, and Mandy had her trusty 20 gauge shotgun ready to use when needed.  They all had taken a required alligator hunting class and Mandy knew that shot placement was crucial in putting a gator to “sleep!”  The sweet spot is just behind the eyes where the half dollar sized brain is located.

Several hooks had a good hold on the gator, but he pulled the 17 foot boat around like a canoe.  Mandy missed her first opportunity as the beast head was to far under water when she fired.  Eventually, Mandy Stokes got another shot and made Alabama State History.  The Monster Gator weighed a whopping 1011 pounds and was 15 feet long.  It beat the old record by nearly 200 pounds. That record was held by Keith Fancher who took an 838 pound gator in 2011.

Mandy and John plan on sending the gator to the taxidermist and should enjoy several hundred pounds of fine eating gator meat.  I’ve eaten it on several occasions and it is truly a game meat to be enjoyed.  There are numerous ways to cook a gator, but I would say the best recipes come from the bayou people of Louisiana.  Bon-A-Petite and congratulations.

On a side note the anti hunters, and uneducated will attack this family and hunting in general, so be ready for the nasty onslaught Mandy and John.  A night you all will never forget!

Mike

Michigan Wolves Initiative!

August 14th, 2014

Mother, Bobbie D Kyle and Me 004Michigan’s senate, led by Republicans, approved  controversial legislation that could make clear the path for future wolf hunts without interference from anti hunters or environmental groups!  Presently there are two wolf protection propositions set to appear on the November ballot.

A hunting and conservation group called Citizens for Professional wildlife Management collected 297,000 thousand signatures in a statewide petition drive that basically stated that the Natural Resources Commission should have the authority to add new game species to hunt in our state.  Supporters say that this commission is best suited to consider scientific rational in how to balance our diverse ecosystem.  State Senator Howard Walker (R) Traverse City, whose district cover the Eastern end of the Upper Peninsula, said “It has nothing to do with trying to eliminate the wolves, but to provide scientific management to bring balance to the ecosystem!”

The Senate voted 23-1o along party lines to adopt  the legislation which now heads for the approval of the House.

During the late 1990s and the 2000s the Michigan wolf population grew dramatically.  There are an estimated 636 wolves now roaming Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  There has been a recent increase in wolves killing dogs and farm livestock.  In the past week 5 dogs and a cow have been taken down by wolves!  Twenty two wolves were legally killed in last years hunt, but the DNR was hoping for around forty five.

I personally have heard them, seen their tracks, and even got a glimpse of one around our Marquette bear camp.  I have talked to farmers, landowners, and hunters, and I have yet to find a person “thrilled” about the reintroduction of the wolf in the upper Peninsula!  Of course the anti hunting drives sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States are largely made up of urban dwellers who’s bottom line agenda is to stop all hunting everywhere!  I don’t want a bunch of pavement ponders making hunting and fishing decisions for me, even if they do outnumber Michigan Sportsmen and women.  Issues concerning sportsmen and their rights should be decided by sportsmen who are the biggest contributors to conservation and  the ecosystem than all other groups combined!

I’m truly looking forward to the House passing this pro-hunting bill this fall.

Mike

Michigan Wolves Killing Dogs and Livestock in U.P.

August 8th, 2014

001Michigan Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Debbie Munson-Badini reported that there were two separate attacks on dogs in Schoolcraft and Delta County.  Four hunting dogs were confirmed killed by wolves in those two counties where wolf sightings have been on the rise.  Also there was a cow killed by a wolf in Dickenson county where the landowner shot and killed the wolf.

There is a much heated debate going on right now in our state concerning wolf hunting in Michigan.  Last years hunt drew sharp rebuke from animal rights activist, who have two statewide referendums on the November ballot to do an “end around” on state sanctioned wolf hunts!  Twenty two wolves were shot by hunters last year in order to keep the various wolf packs within a sustainable limit in our forest!  When farmers and ranchers along with pet owners start having depredation due to a growing wolf population then steps need to be taken.

The Michigan legislature could move as early as next week to pass a pro-hunting law designed to head the two anti-hunting proposals off at the pass!   In the mean time if you live in the Upper Peninsula better keep a good eye on your pets and livestock.  They could end up on a wolves dinner menu!

Mike

A Lion Walks the Streets of Norwalk California?

August 5th, 2014

lion 001Is there really an African Lion roaming the streets of Norwalk California?  A grainy video from a security cam show a shadowy figure strolling through the suburban neighborhood and residents are rightfully alarmed.  The big cat in the video was first thought to be a large mountain lion, but upon further analysis from the California Department of Fish and Game it was determined it is “not” a mountain lion!  Well what is it then? Evidently your guess is as good as their’s, as they are also scratching their heads!

In looking at the video it appears that this cats head is much larger than a mountain lions.  Can you say African Lion?  I would say it is a female or possibly a young male, but where in the world did it come from?  No zoo’s have reported a missing lion, so the obvious deduction is it’s someones exotic pet taking a midnight stroll looking for a bite to eat!  Norwalk residents better keep their dogs and cats indoors until this mystery is solved. In fact residents better stay indoors as they are no match for a “kitty” this size.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Personally I think we have enough native critters roaming our country that we sure don’t need all the invasive species that keep showing up in our swamps, forest, fields, and suburbs!  Someone eventually is going to get hurt!

Mike

Is It Absolutely Necessary To Have A Well Camouflaged Deer Blind?

August 1st, 2014

pink  blind 002pink  blind 008A few years ago when I built my huge and comfortable ground blind I made sure it fit in with the surroundings.  I spray painted it in various shades of green, grey, and browns!  I even laid some ferns along side and then sprayed paint through them to make it look like ferns were growing on the wooden blind.  I thought I did a great job of camouflaging my little hot spot.  I also have several portable ground blinds that have a camo pattern to correspond with the trees and the terrain I’m hunting.  We all go to great links to conceal our hiding spots, and with mine you could hardly detect it among the small trees and ferns.

Camo patterns and camo design are big business!  Just walk into a Cabelas or Bass Pro Shop and you know what I mean.  Everything has to be hidden from the wary eyes of those wily deer who will pick you out in a heartbeat if you wear the wrong colors!

Now I ask who in their right minds would paint their elevated deer blind “hot pink?”  No one right?  No respectable deer would come within a mile of such an outlandish colored blind!

Well I just ran across an article where a group of Louisiana deer hunters did just that in order to test a theory they had.  They painted one of their blinds hot pink early in the spring and discovered that their trail cam pictures did not vary from those of proceeding years.  The real test would come on the opening of deer season, hunting in the daylight.  It was reported (and you can see by the picture) that the deer were completely unconcerned with the stands gaudy appearance.

The group of hunters deducted that it was the hunters actions around the stands that determined the deer’s behavior, and not the color of the blind.  After all the deer in suburban settings sure don’t give a “bleat” about what color your house, garage, or barn is.  They will eat your shrubs, flowers, grass, and gardens even if your house is painted “hot pink!”

Mike

Don’t Ignore Insect/Spider Bites! They Can Cause Problems!

July 29th, 2014

For more than a week I have had cramps, muscle spasms, fatigue, loss of appetite, low grade fever, and no energy!  I went to a clinic last Friday and to see my family doctor today.  Blood work was done, an EKG given, oxygen levels checked along with lung function and various other test. Nothing conclusive, but there is some evidence that a spider or possibly a infected tick is responsible.

On July 1st. I was cutting my grass with a ride on lawn mower and went under a thickly branched pine tree.  I thought I scraped my leg on one of the numerous pine branches, but later that evening my thigh really started to “burn” and pain!  When I took my shorts off I discovered 7 welts (bites) in a circle on my leg.  It was swollen and red and hurt like crazy!  I still thought I ran into a broken branch until the 7 scratches formed a head like a bite mark.  Well it bothered me for two weeks with pain going from the bite area down my left leg to my ankle.  I put neosporin on it and waited for it to go away.Well here I am a month later and the bite marks are still visible, and I have an infection in my body effecting my nerves and muscles.  The Doctor has me on an capsule called Doxycycline which is good for fighting almost 99% of this type of infection including Lyme disease.  I have to lay low for awhile and forget golf, yard work, or trips north.  Lay around, get some rest, and release some stress.  Hopefully I’ll be a good patient and follow the Dr. orders for once!

I know someone who woks in a pharmacy and they said people seeking treatment for spider bites is abnormally high this year.  So don’t ignore a red, swollen, painful bite, but get it checked out while there is time to catch the infection before it catches you!

Mike

Backyard Bucks

July 21st, 2014

baby Jeremiah and big buck 013It’s hard to believe that we are entering the last few days of July.  It seems that summer just started, but August is just around the corner.  September is just around the corner which brings Michigan’s bear season and the special deer hunts for youth and the disabled/veterans!  Wow October bow season is right behind.

I have a friend that recently showed me a picture of a buck in his back yard.  It’s a 12 pointer that I would guess score around 160-170.  A beauty to be sure.  Funny thing is he lives in an upscale neighborhood with no public or wild lands nearby.  Evidently these deer find suburbia quite a nice place to live and hang out!

One of my son-in-laws also showed me a buck he caught on his backyard trailcam.  He has split G-2′s and may be actually growing more points under all that massive velvet.  This is another example of a trophy buck in the making.  He just hopes the big bruiser is still in the area come October first.

It amazes me that although hundreds of thousands of deer are harvested each year in Michigan, yet they are always replaced by a new crop of bucks bigger and better than the previous year.  Good news for the guys and gals that like venison or a good looking trophy for over the fireplace.

Mike

Bald Eagle Encounter

July 17th, 2014

4th at cabin 2014 022Back when I was a kid there was a report of a pair of nesting eagles in Monroe County Michigan.  Reporters found the huge nest high in the top of a tree not far from the Lake Erie shoreline, and took pictures to go along with the local newspaper story about our national symbol.  Cars were lining the rural road to get a glimpse of these rarely seen birds of prey.  Those days are in the past and now it is quite common to see eagles flying overhead in many area’s of Monroe County.  Many pairs nest along the shoreline of Lake Erie and several nesting pairs patrol the Raisin River that dumps into Lake Erie.  Still it has been a bit hard for me to get a good snapshot of this majestic bird (at least up close!)

Well over the forth of July holidays I was treated to a pair of Bald Eagles searching the waters of the Ausable River for some fresh fish.  Fortunately I had my Nikon along with me and took a couple close up snapshots while they perched in a tree along the river bank.  Just after I took this picture the eagle swooped down and sunk it’s talons into about a 12-14 inch fish!  That was quite a sight to watch, but I was to slow on the camera shutter to record the moment.  Just the same after years of trying I finally got the kind of photo I’ve been looking for.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did taking it.

Mike