Fairview “Wild Turkey Capitol of Michigan” – “NOT”!

April 19th, 2015

Fairview turkey capital 002Anyone who has been around the Mio/Fairview area over the last several decades knows that Fairview claims to be the ” Wild Turkey Capitol of Michigan.  In fact there is a roadside sign, as you enter Fairview, that makes just that claim.

I shot my first turkey in Fairview and followed that with five more birds over the next 10 years or so.  My brother Darryl and his son Derek had also done quite well hunting this turkey mecca of the north.  Then about 20 years ago the birds started disappearing.  We knew the DNR was live trapping birds and sending them downstate, but we never dreamed it would turn Fairview into a “no turkey” zone.  There had to be other factors causing such a major decline in the “Turkey Capitols” lack of turkeys!

We used to drive through downtown Fairview and see turkeys in people’s yards, the high school front lawn, and in the church parking lot.  Very rare to see a bird in the area anymore.

I just came back from around that area and asked a guy (Tim) who owns 78 acres, if he turkey hunted.  He said he used to, but there aren’t any birds anymore.  He and his wife said they had not seen a bird on their property for over 4 years.  Others have the same story!  What the heck happened?  I know one thing; I think it’s time the highway sign came down and was replanted somewhere in the southern corn belt counties.

I have a place 15 miles south of Fairview and see birds on a pretty regular basis, but not like it used to be.  I do hear a lot of “Yotes” hollering at night as I set around our campfire.  I’m sure they take out quite a few birds and their numbers seem to be on the rise.  All I know for sure is the old “Turkey Capitol” days are gone, and I don’t think there coming back!

Mike

Jacksonville Crazy-Orlando Great!

April 15th, 2015

Kyle's birthday and Florida 2015 065Kyle's birthday and Florida 2015 175Kyle's birthday and Florida 2015 220Kyle's birthday and Florida 2015 245Talk about crazy.  The traffic was absolutly nuts and it seemed to take forever to arrive at our destination.  At just a half mile from our hotel a woman on a bike was hit by a car and seriously injured.  The street we needed was blocked, and an alternate route had to be put into our Garmin.  Just before we pulled into our condo unit on the ocean there were three police cars and an ambulance on the beach.  When we arrived at our room there was a full scale rescue going on by the local beach life guards and the rescue squad.  We were able to watch from our balcony as crews on surfboards scanned the choppy waters.  The guy was actually found and drug to shore by a lifeguard.  He was weak and shaken but seemed alright after some time in the back of the rescue truck.  What a way to start the first day in Jacksonville.  Weather in the mid 80s and sunny.  Can,t complain about that. Onward to Orlando tomorrow.  Thanks Ed and Linda for watching the place for us.  Maybe we can bring back some of this sunshine for you so we can finally get some golf in.

Orlando was great.  Perfect weather everyday.  Six days of relaxation and fun with our family (at least some of them.)  We even took a drive to Tampa and swam in the ocean on a blistering 90 degree day.  The traffic was crazy, but we made it back in one piece to our condo.  We had some good home cooked meals and only ate out a few times.  Everyone came back to Michigan with some color and some good memories.  To bad it was so cold and windy when we pulled into our driveway.  Now if it would only start to heat up around here before we all loose our Florida tans.

Mike

 

,


 

Treestands on Public Lands

April 13th, 2015

2010 deer hunt 008DNR reminds hunters to remove tree stands from public land

The deadline to remove scaffolds, raised platforms, ladders, steps and any other device to assist in climbing a tree from public land was March 1. The Department of Natural Resources reminds those who have not removed any of the previous listed equipment to please do so.

Public lands are available for the use and enjoyment of everyone. It is imperative that equipment is removed by March 1 to ensure the safety of all visitors. Owners of equipment that is left on public land past the deadline are subject to a 90-day misdemeanor and a fine from $50-$500.

For those who hunt on public land, tree stands must be portable and the hunter’s name and address must be affixed in legible English that can be easily read from the ground. Scaffolds, raised platforms, ladders, steps and any other device to assist in climbing a tree cannot be placed on public lands any earlier than Sept. 1, and must be removed by March 1. A permanent raised platform or tree stand may be used for hunting on private land with the permission of the landowner. See pages 22-24 of the Hunting and Trapping Digest for more details on these equipment regulations.

For general questions, please contact your local DNR Customer Service Center.

And don’t forget no nails in the trees on public lands.  Many guys forget to put their name and address on the stand they hunt from and this could bring you a hit to your wallet that you certainly don’t want.  Also if you don’t remove your stand it’s quite possible someone else will move it for you.  Think about it!

Mike

Osceola Sticker Shock!

April 2nd, 2015

Osceola Turkey Hunting In FloridaIn just a few short hours my wife and I will be headed to Sunny (we hope) Orlando Florida.  We are going with my oldest daughter Tara, her husband Glen, and our 10 year old grandson Kyle.  Tara and Glen have a time share, and invited us along for some R & R in the sunshine state.  My wife is now retired, and daughter Tara (school teacher) is on Spring Break.  Me I’m just an “old” retired guy looking for something to do.

I figured if we’re going to Florida during the spring turkey season, then maybe I could take a few days to hunt the rarest bird of them all.  The Osceola Turkey is by far the hardest bird to collect, in order to fulfill the “turkey grand slam!”  I didn’t want to have to drive very far away from Orlando, so I Goggled a couple outfitters within an hour and a half drive from our hotel.  I must tell you that I experience “sticker shock” when the outfitters quoted me a price for a two day hunt.  They both assured me my chance of getting a bird was almost 100%, but my success came with a price tag of over $2000 dollars.  That’s alot of money for 10 pounds of turkey meat.  That works out to $200 dollars a pound.  Needless to say I’ll have two more days to relax around the pool, and dream about what could of been, if only I lived the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous!”  More and more it seems that hunting is becoming a wealthy mans sport.  Thank God for the money hunters have poured back into conservation, wildlife restoration, and habitat development and acquisition.  At least I can still hunt deer, bear, and turkey here in Michigan, and I don’t have to remortgage the house.

I hope there is Internet access where we are going so I can keep my blogging up.  Sunshine and 85 degrees here we come! Maybe turkey will be on the menu of one of the restraurants we go to.  I’m sure I can get it for less than two thousand dollars!

Racoons Beware! No Free Grubs Here.

March 30th, 2015

PhotobucketYou’ve probably seen the t.v. show “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?”   Well I was beginning to wonder “Am I smarter than a raccoon?”  As you can see by the picture I won this contest, but not until the ninth inning!

This raccoon has been tearing up my yard for over a week.  I tried to borrow a live trap, but had to go buy one ($75.00 bucks) as I couldn’t locate a loaner.  My sod was being ripped up, as Mr. Raccoon went looking for grubs, and I was getting tired up patching things up every day.

The first night I set the trap I used a cut up hot dog for bait.  The coon simply stuck his tiny hand through the wire mess and pulled his “offering” out without going near the entrance.  (I watched him do it!)  The next night I put pieces of chicken at the entrance and had a little “chicken road” going back to the trap trigger.  Next morning I found the trap door sprung, all the chicken gone, and no raccoon.  Now I’m getting frustrated!  I then snuck into my wife’s pantry and opened one of her expensive tuna cans.  I left part of the lid attached, and pushed it to the back of the trap.  I knew this would work.  Next morning, after I got chewed out for “wasting” our groceries, the trap was empty.  This old rascal had turned the trap upside down, setting off the trap door, and dumping the tuna cans contents to where he could reach them.

Wow I’m dealing with the “Raccoon from Hell!”  Not only is he getting fat off my free dinners, but he’s still tearing up my yard.  It was time for some serious action!  I placed a black nylon bag over the end of the trap, so it looked more like a cave or tunnel.  I then staked the trap in the ground, so he couldn’t roll it.  I put the half can of tuna back in place, and the greedy fat bandit was mine!  In his last act of defiance he chewed my nylon bag into little pieces.

Ah, now I can go after those pesky grubs that started this whole scenario in the first place.  Anyone got a “grub” trap I can borrow?

Mike

Spring Means Ticks and Possibly Lyme Disease-Be Informed

March 29th, 2015

We are fast approaching a season that can literally “tick” you off! I’m talking about (Ixodes spp.) or deer tick! The deer tick is the major source of lyme disease in the United States, with 43 states reporting cases, including Michigan. Up till 2006, 186 known Lyme disease cases have been documented here in our state. The actual disease comes from the whitefooted mouse, which the tick nymph attaches itself to.� The tick then lives off the “host” mouse for about a year. In the spring, those that have reached adulthood, climb onto leaves, ferns, and branches waiting for an unsuspecting warm body to pass by! That’s where you, or even your dog, comes into contact with these lyme disease carriers.  Trying to find a Doctor who has knowledge of Lyme disease symptoms and treatment can be very frustrating.  I have found out that many physicians in Michigan don’t even acknowledge the disease, and information on it is at a premium.  As you can see statistics aren’t up to date in this blog, but trust me the ticks have not gone away.

In 2004 and 2005 I turkey hunted around Channing in the Upper Peninsula, and the ticks were the worst I have ever experienced! One day after “tromping” over hill and dale, I shook over 40 ticks off my cloths. My son-in-law did likewise. When we got back to the cabin, we had to do a tick search before we showered. There were several more embedded in our skin that needed to be removed. I used to think that a hot match or rubbing alcohol would make the little “buggers” back out, but that’s not so. The only accepted way to remove a tick is with a tweezers, or similar devise. Gently pull the tick out, and try to make sure you get the head, and it doesn’t break off under your skin. If the head doesn’t come with the tick, you may want to call your Dr. and have him put you on an antibiotic. Make sure you check your hair, and anyplace there is soft tender skin, and have a partner check the places you cannot see.

Lyme disease is nothing to “trifle” with, as in about 20% of cases, lifelong effects can be quite serious. Rob Kress, who used to be the channel 7 news weatherman, contacted the disease while on a camping trip many years ago. He was one of the ones that suffered kidney and heart problems, and his life has been permanently changed. So do you and your family a favor this year, and make a “tick check” part of your daily routine when spending time outdoors. That way you’ll be sure not to get “ticked off!”

Keep Your Secret Hunting Spots Secret

March 28th, 2015

turkey hunt 2011 031Over the years I’ve had the distinct pleasure of being able to hunt with good friends. Most of those experiences have been very enjoyable, and helped cement the bond between us. However there has been a few surprises along the way.

One such incident stands out in my mind as far as “living and learning” goes. I once took a childhood buddy to my “secret” duck hunting pond. We had a blast and bagged quite an array of ducks that day. Well a few days later I returned (alone) to my “secret” duck hunting blind; only to find “my buddy”, and a friend of his, with a stupid grin on their faces. I wasn’t to happy about the betrayal, and let my friend know that he broke a sacred trust. It took me awhile to get over it, but I’m a forgiving person by nature. About two years later I took this same friend rabbit hunting with me and my dad. My dad was a milkman at the time, and he had permission to hunt several of his customers properties. I could hardly believe my eye’s a week later when my dad and I got to the end of the stubble field. There standing (shotguns in hand) was my “ole buddy” and his pal with sheepish grins on their traitorous faces.

Well there’s and old saying goes something like this “Do me once and its your fault-do me twice and its my fault.” Needless to say I never ever took that “friend” hunting again. You live and learn from these, and other, experiences you have in the field. Not to say I never got “burnt” again, but I was more cautious about who I took to my “secret places.”

Mike

A Cool Reception In Myrtle Beach – But Good Friends Warm It Up!

March 25th, 2015

Courtneys birthday and Myrtle Beach 026Courtneys birthday and Myrtle Beach 027Courtneys birthday and Myrtle Beach 021masked face squirrel 001Just came home from a week in Myrtle Beach South Carolina, and what a week it was.  Rainy and cold!  Actually it was the coldest Spring temperatures they have had in the last five years.  Hope they don’t blame it on us!

We couldn’t believe that we would leave the cold and snow of Michigan, and be greeted by the cold and rain of Myrtle Beach. We did have two days that the sun popped out and the temperatures rose into the mid 60’s which we enjoyed to the max! Strange that we would arrive home late last evening and need our winter jackets with snow in the forecast for tomorrow. Michigan is way behind in welcoming in “Spring!”

Anyway back to Myrtle Beach.  We stayed with our dear friends Bob and Linda Baltrip in a gated resort community.  What good friends and wonderful host they are.  Despite the weather they bent over backwards to make sure we left our troubles behind in Michigan.  Lorna took a daily walk with Linda along the ocean front, and they have three bags of seashells to prove it.  We played games every evening, and Bob and I even squeezed in three rounds of Spring golf.

We played Friday afternoon, and again Saturday we were joined by my third daughter’s father-in-law Irv Horwitz, who lives in North Myrtle Beach.  Irv is a retired teacher and coach from Farmington Hills, and at 74 years “young” proceeded to give Bob and I a lesson in golf.  We had a great day on the course with a lot of laughs, and a few good shots, even though they all seemed to come off of Irv’s clubs!  We played again Tuesday before our evening flight home, and partnered up with a fellow from Pakistan and another from India.  Wonderful guys to play with on my last glimpse into the start of this years golf season.

On several occasions we saw a species of squirrel that I never knew existed.  I had to look them up on “Google” which said they were a “masked face fox squirrel.”  They are much larger (about 3 pounds) than a regular red squirrel and looked more like a racoon squirrel cross.  They didn’t seem to nervous about our presence, but I could never get one to hold still long enough for a picture.

Anyway it’s good to be home, especially after our “bumpy” flight back into Detroit Metro.  Now if Michigan would just get the message “Hey it’s supposed to be Spring out there!”

In the posted pictures that’s Irv and Me pointing to Irv’s drive that beat mine by 2 inches!  That’s as close as he would let me come! Also pictured is Bob and Me, then Me, Irv, and Bob, and last the “racoon” squirrel!

Mike

Golf Season Just Around the Next Snow Drift!

March 18th, 2015

golfing 005cedar vally golf april 007101_6711golf w ed 001This is the time of year when a man’s fancy turns to getting back out on the golf course.  It has been 4-5 months since most of us “duffer’s” have been able to play, and if your like me, I’m going stir crazy.  You can only go to Dicks, Dunham’s, and Carls Golfland so many times, eyeing all the new products, before you spend some cold hard cash.  How else you going to beat your playing partners if you don’t get a “leg” up on them with the newest and “best” clubs on the market.  After all a guaranteed 20-30 yards on your new Callaway driver is hard to beat!  But first you have to come up with $400.00 “smackeroos!”

All winter long Hank Haney has been giving me helpful hints on improving my game and lowering my score by 6-12 strokes.  I got so excited about one of his “tricks” the other day that I found a “grassy knoll” on the edge of my property.  The sun had melted a circle about 6 foot in circumference that looked like a good place to execute my latest Hank Haney secret.  I took 3 old balls (just in case) and my 6 iron.  It was 36 degrees out and I had to walk through a foot of snow to get to my launching pad, and launch I did.  My first ball missed the “back” of the neighbors garage by a foot or two.  I sliced it about 40 foot from my intended target, which was a big weeping willow tree about 160 yards away.  I went through the drill several more times trying to visualize my ball landing somewhere close to that willow.  “Bam” my second shot went straight as an arrow and landed just in front of the willow!  Wow was I pumped!  I dropped my third ball, went through the checklist, and “whammo” another straight drive that actually hit the branches on the tree.

Look out guys I’m ready for ya this year (I think.)  Anyway I will be going to Myrtle Beach soon and see if I can duplicate my “grassy knoll” success on a real course against my buddies who have been laying around watching the “Golf Channel” all winter.  I’ll report later how Hank and I turned things around for me.  Of course I’ve been looking for a “deal” on that new Callaway just in case!

Pictured above are some of the guys my old buddy “Hank” is going to help me humiliate this year.  Well maybe not quite humiliate, but a good one stroke beating would be just fine!

Mike

 

Michigan Spring Turkey Season Coming Up

March 16th, 2015

late snow- turkey hunt 018Jay-Birds bird 004kyles deer and turkey 015What a great opportunity to take your kids or grandkids on a Spring turkey hunt.  Michigan’s “Youth Mentor” program along with it’s “Apprentice” program opens the door for a great way to introduce the “younger set” to hunting in Michigan.

Some of my fondest memories from my youth are those days spent afield with my dad.  Not just fond memories, but great memories.  Those days are long gone, but I can sort of relive the past with my grandkids.  I have taken Kyle, Jacob, and Ava on the mentored youth hunt, and last year was able to get Kyle his first bird.  What a thrill that was, and I’m sure it’s something he will never forget.  This year we have to go with the “apprentice license” as they keep getting older on me.  I did receive my permit in the mail last week for my area around the cabin.  We saw many turkeys in the area last year, and were able to put a couple of them in the freezer, and I’m hoping one of the grandkids pulls it off this year.

We use a pop-up ground blind, which does not seem to bother a turkey like it does a deer.  I’ve actually set one up (one day) and shot a turkey on the next mornings hunt!  Hard to do that with a deer.  A pop-up allows some extra movement that normally would not be tolerated in other blind set-ups.  As everyone knows kids tend to do a little more moving when waiting for the “big moment” to happen!  You can also do some “low voice” talking (coaching) when the moment of truth starts strutting into your field of view.

Anyway the snow is melting rapidly, the temperatures are rising, and the “birds of April” are getting ready to fall in love again!  All we can hope for is that another one will “fall in love” with us this year!

Mike