March 7th, 2014
Actual picture of the illegally taken cougar. Picture was taken by the shooter.
Two of the tree suspects have plead guilty in the illegal killing of a cougar in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Troy Richards was the shooter as the cougar walked into a food plot on Mr. Richards property located in Germfast Township near Seney.
Richards, Theodore Richard, and Todd Richard were hunting over a foodplot at Troy Richard’s Schoolcraft County hunting camp when the cougar chased several deer from the plot, according to the investigation. Troy wounded the animal with a 22-250, and it then fled into the woods. Troy and Theodore then tracked it the next day and finished it off. They brought it back to camp where they field dressed it and then hid it. They then cooked the heart and ate part of it!
Shortly thereafter the intact cougar was hidden in the bed of Troy’s pick up truck. At the Michigan State police post in St. Ignace Troy applied for a roadkill permit claiming he had hit a deer with his truck. They did have an untagged deer in their trailer, so the permit was granted. All the while the illegal cougar was under a cover in the bed of the pickup. Pretty bold move I would say! After hearing about the deception involved in this case I’m not so sure they “really” hit a deer with the truck!
Troy Richard returned home and skinned the animal in order to prepare it for mounting. He also boiled the skull and disposed of the carcass.
Once the Richard gang discovered that the DNR had received a tip and were on to them they repeatedly lied to the investigators. They hid the hide and the skull and claimed the whole animal was left in the U.P. They eventually confessed and the hide and skull were retrieved. The hunting camp was searched and the adult male cougars entrails were also found.
Troy was sentenced to 30 days in jail, three year loss of hunting privileges, fines court cost and restitution amounting to several thousand dollars, and the loss of his rifle. He also was ordered to serve 120 hours of community service. Theodore R. Richard pled guilty to aiding and abetting the illegal taking/possession of an endangered species and paid $1725.00 dollars in fines and cost. He also had his hunting privileges revoked for two years, and was also ordered to do community service. Todd A. Richard pled “not guilt” to conspiracy to take/possess an endangered species. Todd is Troy’s brother and runs a taxidermist shop in Bay County. My money’s on the DNR on this one. ”Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time!”
March 1st, 2014
Just a few weeks ago the “Call of the Wild” Predator Round Up was held near our cabin in Luzerne Michigan. The hunt began at 7:00 p.m. Friday night and ran till 12 noon Sunday. Seventy three (73) hunters signed up comprising 33 different teams. Several teams used coyote dogs and others worked various “sets” while calling. The hunters with the dogs had the advantage, but the first “yote” turned in was by a father and son team who called the 29.7 pound female within range of a flat shooting 223.
A friend of mine Ken Currie (pictured) had a group of guys hunting Gary Prices property, but the deep snow kept these “old timers” at bay! Ken said they didn’t get any coyotes, but they had a good time trying, and that’s what it’s all about. Ken did take a nice coyote during bow season last year and has the hide hanging at his camp.
Ma Deeters (local bar/restaurant) was the starting point of the hunt, and the Best Hardware store was where the successful hunters displayed their success. There were around $1700.00 dollars in prizes with anyone bringing in a tagged coyote receiving a $1000.00 dollar bonus. Knight and Hale (game calls) donated many of the prizes handed out. First coyote, biggest, (41 pounds) ugliest, and longest awards were all given out at the culmination of the hunt. Two of the dog teams garnered most of the awards.
On Sunday afternoon there were eleven (11) coyote and one fox hanging on the game pole at the hardware store. There was an additional prize to any team that brought in the “trifecta” of predator hunting (a coyote, fox, and bobcat.) No one collected that award this year, but one team came close.
The snow was deep, the wind had a bite, and conditions favored the coyotes, but according to the grins and stories it was a successful “Round Up!” I was hoping that some of these “yotes” would be taken around my place, as they are becoming quite brazen in the area. They keep hunting closer to the cabin and on occasion we have heard them actually down the unfortunate animal they were pursuing! No doubt they take a fair share of deer, turkeys, and rabbits wherever they are found. Hope they have more of these events in the future.
February 27th, 2014
Last evening around 7:00 p.m. a rather large black cat walked across my back deck. I have seen this feline a couple times before and it has always been unapproachable. I surmise that this is a wild (feral) cat who gets no canned cat food or has a box full of kitty litter! He lives by stealth and instinct in order to survive, and survive he does!
At the end of my deck is our bird feeder. I suppose to a cat it’s like a flashing neon sign advertising fresh “bird” meat! Today I found the feathers from a morning dove not far from that feeder. Am I supposed to be mad at the cat for following his survival instincts? Good question. My wife and I love watching all the various feather friends who visit our little free food establishment. We do not feed them so cats, in turn, can munch on the birds. This particular black cat was observed hunting in a field about 1/4 mile from the house. He has no doubt honed his skills in the “killing fields!” I suppose most people (cat owners included) believe a few wild animals are eaten by feral cats, but most have no idea just how vicious these killers are!
Researchers in the United States have reported that cats account for killing 1.4 to 3.7 billions birds every year in the U.S. In addition 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals fall to the fangs and claws of all cats. Contrary to what you may think; house pets are some of the major culprits behind these statistics! Researchers explain that, more often than not, the animals our beloved pets kill are birds, mice, shrews, and moles. Because of this, it is the researchers belief that cats constitute a major threat to wildlife and to the country’s biodiversity. According to the “Daily Mail” most of these animals are killed by cats that have owners which allow them to roam their surroundings.
I know from personal sightings that house pets are extremely well adapted to stalking, and killing, their intended target. I once watched my daughters cat (de-clawed) put the “sneak” on a fat robin, and pull him from the air in a move reminiscent of a lion on the prowl. He had no claws, but man he had sharp teeth! I’ve seen other house pets do likewise to unsuspecting birds of various species. So wild cats sometimes take a bum rap for the actions of Susie’s Fluffy!
So where does that leave me with trying to protect my birds? Is the black cat fair game? Heck is Fluffy fair game? Most would not want to harm a neighbors house cat (me included,) but the lives of billions of birds and mammals are at risk if this slaughter continues!
February 25th, 2014
The Supreme Court decline to review three challenges set before them today. Two of those challenges were brought forth by the NRA (National Rifle Association.) The decision not to hear the cases is definitely a loss for gun rights advocates. In the first case the NRA challenged a Texas law that makes it illegal for a 18-20 year old to carry a handgun in public. They can get sent to Afghanistan and Iraq with the best weaponry money can by, and take a bullet for their country, but can’t exercise their Second Amendment rights back home!
The second NRA case was a challenge to several federal laws and regulations, dating back to 1968, that made it illegal for firearms dealers to sell guns or ammunition to anyone under 21.
The third case was on the narrow question of whether consumers have the legal right to challenge laws that regulate the sale of firearms. The challenge to a federal law that restricts the interstate transport of guns, and a related Virginia law, were filed by several residents of the District of Columbia who wished to purchase guns in the neighboring state of Virginia.
The Supreme Court has yet to decide whether there is a right to carry guns in public. So far it seems the individual states are deciding this issue, but it’s only a matter of time before the High Court will have to quit side stepping this question! It would appear that the Justices aren’t very fond of jumping into to this volatile issue.
You can rest assured that Eric Holder and President Obama are not afraid to tackle the issue of gun control. With retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (93 years old) calling for an amendment to the Second Amendment it’s just a matter of time before a move is made in that direction. Tyranny is at work make no doubt about it!
February 21st, 2014
Luke Laha from Kansas has quite a story to tell about the survival of one tough buck! While scouting out some new deer hunting territory in south central Kansas he got a fleeting glimpse of a large buck, which he thought was running with another buck. He soon realized that the large framed deer actually had the head, spine, and rib cage from another buck dangling from its horns!
Laha thought about this deer for several months as he continued to teach classes at Pratt Community College’s Wildlife Enterprise Management program. Laha and his students had set some coyote traps on the property where he saw this deer two months prior, and on January 17 went to check the “yote” traps. He had told his students to watch for the deer with two (2) heads, but did not expect to find him alive. The deer was a walking dinner table for the coyotes in the area, as they had reduces the dead deer to little more than a skeleton. It would be highly unlikely that the live deer could defend himself against a hungry pack of coyotes due to the stress of carrying around another deer for such a long time.
As the students approached the last coyote trap one of them shouted “Hey there’s your deer!” The deer was stressed out, and weak from it’s winter ordeal as Laha and his students set about in hot pursuit. The deer kept stumbling and showed signs serious fatigue as the 4×4′s caught up to it. One student jumped on the deer’s back, and he gave little resistance. By that time only the head of the other deer was still attached to the large rack of the battle weary buck, as they tried to free it from it’s life threatening “baggage!” As they pried the attached headgear from the exhausted buck he hardly moved. Once loose from his “death sentence” the deer stood up and ran off into the woods. It looked like he was going to be alright after all. Laha uploaded a video of their rescue on You Tube for anyone interested in seeing this amazing encounter.
February 18th, 2014
This has been the harshest winter that I can ever going through here in Michigan. Record snow amounts, sub freezing temperatures, and cold biting arctic wind have been the norm this year. Multiple car accidents, tractor trailer rigs jack-knifing, school closings, and tow trucks unable to keep up with the stuck vehicles. Road crews have been stretched to the max, run out of salt and resources, and been lambasted by everyone in Michigan (it seems!)
Now if this extreme winter weather is taking a toll on us humans think what it’s doing to the “game” population! Two nights ago I had a yearling deer in my back yard trying to get some bird seed out of the feeder. I woke up about 2 a,m. and there he was in my backyard. I’ve lived here 23 years and have never (to my knowledge) had a deer in the yard! I woke my wife to show her and we spooked it when we peeked through the blinds. It had a hard time looping through the belly deep snow. I wondered why the deer was alone, and what made him risk coming into our subdivision. Well the simple answer is “hunger!”
We have friends that have 5 apple trees in their front yard next to a busy rural road. The deer have been digging through the snow to reach the apples buried there. In fact they have been bedding right next to the road and have been oblivious to the cars driving by. When you find a food source in this weather, you stick with it, or you will be bait for all the other hungry animals in the woods, sky, and fields!
A friend of mine sent me a few pictures of whats been happening in the northern part of the state. If deer are dying off this early in the season there could be a huge loss to the heard this winter. In these pictures a rather healthy bobcat has been feasting on a winter starved deer. He’s got some competition as the crows and hawks, along with any other meat eating varmints in the area, want a morsel too! I don’t mind a few deer helping to feed others on the food chain, but I’m hoping for a break in the weather soon so deer starvation stays at a minimum.
For any anti-hunters that may read this article it is not a pleasant way for animals to die. It is a slow agonizing death. True cruelty as life plays out for survival of the fittest!
February 16th, 2014
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has recently instituted new mandatory penalties for certain violations. A violation of permits, season, bag limits, shooting hours, and any illegal method of taking game would result in a $50 – $500.00 dollar fine and up to 90 days in jail. Illegal taking or possession of a bear, dear, or turkey would carry a $200 – $1000.00 fine and 5-90 days in jail. In addition it would cost $1500.00 dollars restitution for a bear and $1000.00 dollars restitution for a deer and turkey. Also in addition if the deer is a buck it will cost another $1000.00 dollars! On top of that if the deer has 8-10 points another $500.00 dollars per point will be assessed. EXAMPLE: A ten (10) point buck would cost $7000.00 dollars restitution plus fines and court cost. A large illegally taken non-typical could cost in the neighborhood of $20,000 thousand dollars! For deer that have 11 points or more the per point fine jumps up to $750.00 dollars per point!
Other mandatory penalties are illegally using a light with a bow, crossbow, or firearm to take game could result in a $100 – $500.00 dollar fine and up to 90 days in jail. Carrying a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an automatic $500.00 dollar fine and 93 days in jail! Multiple offenders (3 convictions over 5 years) could result in a $500.00 – $2000.00 dollar fine and 10-180 days in jail.
It would seem that the DNR is serious about stopping poaching in Michigan, but one thing concerns me. There are those individuals out there that could care less about the consequences for breaking the game laws. Some do it for profit, some just for the thrill, and some for trophies. If these criminals are cornered, turned in, or approached will they now be less willing to “go” peacefully under such a stiff penalty? Something to think about!
February 11th, 2014
For those that jumped on the Tesla bandwagon when the stock was selling for around $4.00 dollars a share, things are looking quite rosy. As of today the stock is going for just a few cents under $200.00 dollars a share.
I am one of those guys that helps keep the stockbrokers in business. I buy high and sell low! Not a good strategy for making any money or keeping much of a retirement fund. It doesn’t matter whether I have had a broker manage my account or have done it myself-always the same results. I lost a chunk after 9/11 as many others did, so I pulled the few dollars I had left and started to manage the account myself.
My son give me a tip concerning Tesla so I bought 400 shares at just over $4.00 dollars per share. I know many of you readers are envious of me and my “smart” decision, but like Paul Harvey used to say “Hears the rest of the story!” Right after I bought Tesla, along with some Ford stock and La-Z-Boy, things started going south in the stock market. Because I was paranoid of taking another big hit I dumped everything and put it in a IRA account. I made about $.50 cents a share on the Tesla and thought “wow” I finally didn’t loose any money on a stock! Woopi!
Well in today’s market that $1600.00 dollar stock would be worth around $80,000.00 thousand right now! As Kenny Rogers would say “You got to know when to fold, know when to hold them. Know when to walk away know when to run!”
So don’t be envious of this knucklehead who can only dream of what “Could of been!” I think all I need is a small (very small) can to bury in the backyard. As long as I can remember where I buried it my future is secure. That is depending on how far $37.25 will take me and my wife. Say like taxi fare to the poor house!
February 6th, 2014
Back in December of 2012 a federal appeals court struck down a ban on carrying a concealed weapon in the state of Illinois. Chicago has has some of the most restrictive rules/laws concerning obtaining a concealed carry permit that many law abiding citizens have just given up on the process. In other words good citizens have been thwarted from obtaining their second amendments rights, while criminals continue their assault on the unarmed. Chicago, with it’s restrictive gun laws still has one of the highest violent crime rates in the country including murder.
Recently House bill number (0163) became a state law, that requires schools to post small signs announcing guns cannot be carried in schools. Now do you suppose these signs are for the criminal element or for those law abiding citizens who have obtained a legal concealed carry permit? If you guess “law abiding” you are correct! Anyway many school districts are unhappy about having to post the signs, because they have a “picture” of a weapon on them! You have got to be kidding! Well in case you scholars don’t know guns have never been allowed in Illinois public schools, but lawbreakers don’t care about your laws, rules, or permits! Even though the 2012 court ruling allows Illinois residents the opportunity to get a concealed carry permit, you still cannot carry in churches, government buildings, liquor stores, schools, and certain other organizations.
With the amount of violent crime that still plagues Chicago you would think a small sticker (6″) announcing “no guns” would be the least of an administrators worries. Paul Enderle, superintendent of the Oak Lawn school district had this to say. ”It is not necessarily something you would want on your school building, but it correlates with the law, and I think if it ultimately helps keep schools safe, that’s the objective.”
Well I say this about that! When Johnny Criminal doesn’t give a darn about your sign and has the intent to do harm to those within the school (teacher or student) how is it “ultimately” safer with just the criminal shooter having a weapon on school grounds? Seems to me that an armed administrator, teacher, guard, or concealed carry parent would level the killing field in favor of being safer, and a deterrent to the criminal.