Giving of Thanks

November 27th, 2015

Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year, but the act of being thankful should go on forever.  I think Thanksgiving is a great American holiday that should mean more than expanding the Christmas shopping season.

My family gathered at my daughter Tara’s house and we all had so many blessings that we could be thankful for.  We had a great meal including my own recipe of wild turkey breast and oven bakedIMG_2527IMG_2528 goose breast.  I did the turkey in a crock pot this year and the results were awesome.  Probably the most moist bird I have ever cooked. We even revived our old football game as the temperature was in the 60’s.  Not bad for November 26th.

Me being the Patriarch of this 24 member clan had to just sit back and enjoy the blessings God has shown my family.  I am in awe of His goodness, kindness, and grace toward us all. From my little 1 year old Jeremiah to my 21 year old grandson Quinn the grace flows in a never ending stream.  What a great way to spend a day toward the end of the week.  Family, good food, back-yard football, and plenty of memories that warm are hearts as we think on them!  And not only that “The Lions won!” Hope you all had as good a day as we did.  blessings!


A Family Affair “or” You Don’t Need 160 Acres To Be Successful

November 23rd, 2015

38B8351B-883C-4257-8BB2-58CBBFDD6B8920151115951112492014111695142119 (1)I Francesco's 10 pointhave a good friend (Tom Calloway) who has a son-in-law Francesco, and a son Scott, who has a son Scottie, and they all lived happily ever after on their 20 acres of deer hunting woods!  Of course this isn’t really a Fairy-Tail, but the dog gone truth so help me God!

Just this last evening I was at a gathering (Toms grandson’s birthday party) where all the above mentioned guys were swapping deer stories.  It just so happens that 17 year old Scottie dropped another nice 8 pointer off the family 20 acres just a few days ago.  It’s this “kids” forth buck already and he’s still wet behind the ears!

Many hunters think if they don’t have a huge piece of property to hunt then they won’t have much success with putting meat in the freezer!  Well I’m here to tell you that the Calloway twenty acres of woods has put plenty of venison in the roasting pan, and some gorgeous “racks” on the wall.  In fact three of these deer qualify for the Michigan Commemorative Bucks record book!  That is impressive to say the least considering that there are, at times, four hunters in the woods.

Tom’s son-in-law Francesco has the bragging rights for the biggest rack, but Scott’s not far behind, and Scottie is proving to be quite the woodsman.  Tom has taken some nice deer recently, but is still waiting to nail that true wall-hanger.  I’d say if he quit letting his family shoot all the big boys he might have a chance.

Hope you enjoy looking at some of the beautiful bucks that have been harvested off this small, but very productive twenty acre parcel.  It’s not for sale is it Tom?

“The Buck Stops Here!” By Derek Ansel

November 21st, 2015

IMG_2324My nephew Derek Ansel (brother Darryl’s boy) is one of the managers at Cabela’s in Dundee.  He’s a perfect fit for the job of his dreams, but there is one slight drawback!  As much as Derek enjoys the great outdoors in the fall, his job requires him to put in many hours during their busiest time of year.  He has to kind of sneak in a day here and there, and usually brings home the venison, not to mention some pretty impressive “racks” as well!

Derek has a “honey hole” that is his go-to spot when time works against him.  His father Darryl had recently scouted the area, and determined there had been some recent scrapping and rubbing activity.  That’s all Derek needed to hear as he set out to hunt a few hours yesterday morning.  He had to change his normal entrance into the woods/swamp due to the wind direction. As he approached the spot where he intended to enter the tall grass, he looked up to see something looping  in his direction. He put his binoculars on the object and saw it was a buck; a very nice buck indeed!  Derek silently said “keep on coming big boy!” And come he did!  Almost in Derek s lap!  You’ve heard the old saying “The buck stops here!”  Well that’s pretty much what happened, as Derek put the “smack down” on this really nice buck while walking to his stand.  Another nice Monroe County buck drops to a well placed slug!

Darryl ended up driving out and helping Derek with his heavy bodied 9 pointer where they celebrated as only a father and son can do.  Nice job Derek, now get back to work!  LOL!

Jealous Uncle Mike

Father and Sons Michigan Memories

November 19th, 2015

IMG_20151115_100213603IMG_20151116_184748259This is a really good deer hunting story told by my friend Ken Currie.  He hunts pretty close to where I hunt, and actually had one of those years dreams are made of.  Not that he saw a ton of deer, but non the less Ken and his son put two nice bucks on the game pole.  Read and enjoy this memorable father son hunt. Not only that but Ken put in a nice “plug” for me.  Thanks Ken.

I just finished reading your Blog and was wondering if you rifle hunted this week in Mio? I still read everyone of your Blogs, which I have for many years. We ended up having a great year on state land this year. But if you are talking about the whole season it was similar to last year, which was not very good. I saw 1 deer in the first 10 days of October, that is going out every morning and every afternoon and did not have a shot. It took the first 12 days of November until I saw a Big Buck chasing a doe into Muskrat Lake. Unfortunately I was hunting on the other side of the lake! Opening day of Rifle, my son shot a nice state land 8pt and weighed 122 lbs. at 7:45 am, which made my season. I was able to share the tracking event and finding the deer. It was the largest deer and 1st deer he had shot in the area in 5 years. I did not see a deer that afternoon. Monday I was in my blind and the state decided it would be a good idea to start cutting the trees down about 100 yards from my blind at 9 am on the 2 ed day of Rifle season? I pulled my blind, went in and processed my Son’s deer because we were leaving Tuesday. We went out at about 3 pm and I decided to hunt old style by sitting on a chair in the trees. I went to the other side of the lake that I had been hunting on and where I had seen a buck chasing a doe earlier the previous week. Unfortunately we had a South East wind and it  was right in my back. I decided to go back up and sit on a hill and over look about 500 acres that had been clear cut in the spring but had a field of 4′ and 5′ poplars throughout. With the wind in my face, at 4:50 pm the largest buck i have ever seen in Mio stepped out of the thicket in front of me at 100 yds. Shooting a 35 lever action Marlin, I was about to see if it was really a good brush gun. I put the sight right on the front shoulder and missed or hit one of the poplars.He never moved and I fired another shot and he gave the old Donkey kick and started to run. I shot again and later found out I missed, but he went down. He then got up facing away from me and I shot the last bullet in my rifle to the back of the head and he dropped. It turned out to be a 8 pt with a 17″ plus inside spread and hung at 154 lbs. It was the largest buck I have ever shot and believe it was the buck I saw chasing the Doe into the water. As you said in your article it is all more special when you shoot a Deer in Northern Michigan,plus you get to share the Hunt with you Son! I Have attached the pictures of the Bucks, needless to say both racks have a lot of character and are not perfect but I would not trade either one of those deer for the experience my son and I shared!

Southern County Bucks!

November 18th, 2015

IMG_0076IMG_2316IMG_2315Man you just can’t beat these big Southern County bucks here in Michigan!  My brother Darryl hunts in Branch County and he sees many huge bucks all season long.  In fact three of the bucks in these pictures came from the property adjoining his. The other is my nephew Brock who shot his deer in Jackson county.  That’s his second nice 8 pointer in as many years.

The corn, soybeans, alfalfa, acorns, and a variety of other deer feed helps keep these southern deer big and healthy.  A two and a half year old south county buck can produce antlers of record proportion, while northern deer seldom grow to that size in such a short time. Not only that but a southern county deer can weigh 250 pounds (or better) on this amazing diet.  The 10 point in these pictures reportedly weighed over 200 pounds dressed!  You won’t find those kind of body weights in there northern cousins.

It’s a completely different kind of hunting in the south vs. the northern herd.  Deer are pushed from woodlots and cornfields in order to take refuge in the next woodlot, where hunters await in ambush.  It’s all a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  The open ground of a cut cornfield or soybean field can yield a shot at a monster buck at any given moment, while hunting around my place seldom gives you a shot over 75 yards.  Thick cover and endless woods definitely gives the deer the advantage in the northern zones.  Not only that but deer numbers are down dramatically after several harsh winters here in Michigan.

As much as I would like to hunt the “bruisers” of these southern counties there is a mystic about hunting the northern forest of my fathers haunts.  It’s where we sunk our teeth into the joys of the hunt.  Deer camp, trail sitting, tracking, game poles, fried liver and heart, poker, campfires, and camaraderie are just a few areas that are seldom repeated in the southern hunts. Admittedly it is much harder to take a nice northern buck, which makes it all the more special when you do!


Larry Kreps 2015 Monroe County “Booner!”

November 15th, 2015

IMG_2307IMG_0699Reports of successful hunters have been coming in slow.  If hunters saw the amount of deer we saw it will be a dismal year for sure.  My crew hunted eight days and saw a total of 4 deer.  I only saw one yearling and that was it.  My niece saw a buck the last day of bow season (the 14th.) but it was in heavy cover and did not present a shot.  Absolutely the worst bow season and gun opener I have ever experienced!

My brother Randy shot a nice buck at his camp in Marquette at 7:45 opening morning, and my nephew Brock got a doe in Jackson.  That’s it so far, but I do have a picture of Larry Kreps bow killed main frame 12 point shot in Monroe County!  Why go up north when “Monsters” like this are roaming the woods and cornfields of Monroe!  This deer’s rack looks like a picket fence and my guesstament is around 180 Boone and Crockett inches.  Its symmetrical, tall, wide,and just plane beautiful! Enjoy drooling over this “once in a lifetime deer!” I’ll keep posting as success stories come to my attention.  Congratulations Larry and Randy.


2015 Big Bucks

November 7th, 2015

IMG_2281IMG_2058IMG_2282IMG_1857IMG_2195IMG_2150 (1)Some really big bucks have been hitting the ground so far this season, and I happen to have a few pictures of some beauties! A couple of these deer are from Ohio including the monster main frame 14 pointer the succumbed to a car bumper!  That just is a total travesty!  This monarch should of fell to some “blessed” hunter, not a 4000 pound vehicle.  The rut is a good thing if your in a tree stand, but its a bad thing if you drive in deer country.

My brother Darryl’s grandson Tristan is also included in this group.  He’s the kid with the yellow hat and huge buck. That early season hunt has been a boon to the younger hunters!

There also is a picture here of Cory Redmond who played ball with my son.  His dad “Randy” is a hunting fanatic, but he will be hard pressed to beat his son this year.  Nice buck Cory. The other big deer will just make you drool and dream of one of these bruisers crossing through your shooting lane. (deer in bed of pickup)

I believe the 8 pointer with the huge inside spread was taken in Ohio.  Don’t know if I’ve ever seen an 8 point that was so impressive!

I also threw in a picture of a “wee little rub” in the area where my brother hunts.  You see a rub like this and you know “deerzilla” is in your area.  Note the trail camera trying to get a picture of this bad boy.  Many more days to chase these wily whitetails so be alert, as you never know where the next “wall-hanger” will show up!



New Rifle = Background Check

November 5th, 2015

IMG_2414for those of you who have not purchased a gun (rifle) in many years, you may be in for a shock as you fill out the paper work needed to be approved for said purchase.  I went into Dunhams this evening as they were running a sale on their Bushmaster Carbon 15 – 5.56mm NATO/.223 AR 15 chambered for Remington ammo.  The gun on sale had a red dot scope and a 30 round clip included for less than $600.00 dollars.

It actually took two clerks to walk me through the paper work involved, and some of the questions were quite invasive (I thought.)  They needed my drivers license and there were quite a few background questions to be answered.  By the time I was done I felt like I may not pass the “test?”  The two clerks took my information into a back room to call the F.B.I. hotline and find out if I could in fact purchase a gun.  They came back and said everything checked out all right and that they would meet me at the cash register and walk me out of the store before handing me my new purchase.

I also bought a box of 120 rounds of 5.56 ammunition as they were out of the .223!  I’m not sure but I think .223 rounds are going to be hard to find.  I have also been looking for 22 magnum ammunition without success?  Any readers that can turn me onto either of these calibers it would be appreciated.

I can certainly see why a background check is necessary, but I still had an uneasy feeling about my Second Amendment Rights being abused in a subtle sort of way!


Rut Advice

November 2nd, 2015

IMG_2166IMG_2167The rut is not far away from being in high gear.  Bucks have been scraping for some time, and chasing the females relentlessly! The reason I know this is I’m starting to see dead “doe’s” along the highways much more frequently as the rut goes into full mode!  These next days, before gun opener, should be a real boon for bow hunters.  If your an archer now is the time to be in your tree stand with grunt tube in hand.

I have a couple trail cams set up by active scrapes.  I placed them about three quarters of a mile apart.  To my surprise I have the same 8 point buck hitting both scrapes at different times.  They are still after dark, but that should be changing soon!  Mr. Buck is about to let his testosterone change his cautious habits to the point where I may just get a shot at him.  My son in law also has a camera set up and this same buck is on his camera.  They do a lot more traveling than most hunters realize.

So get out there over these next few weeks, and you may be rewarded with a day time visit of a love driven buck.  They truly do throw caution to the wind when sniffing for that “special doe!”  And just for your information it is a good thing to leave the doe population alone, for the time being.  Bucks are in search of doe’s and if there already shot off they will go to where they are!


Florida Bear Hunt

October 30th, 2015

IMG_2278This past Sunday Florida wildlife Officials closed a week long bear hunt after just two days of bear hunting!  Nick Whiley of the FWC said that this hunt was the first bear hunt in Florida in the past 21 years, and that it was a learning process for all involved.  A total of 320 bears were going to be allowed to be harvested during that 7 day period.  Check-in stations were set up over the four areas that allowed hunting.

There were 3000 permits issued and baiting and dogs were not allowed.  It became apparent that after the first day of hunting that the hunters were much more proficient than expected.  By day two 295 bear were dead, and the Florida Wildlife officials decided to call off the rest of the hunt.  There were already animal rights activist campaigning against the hunt and wildlife officials were well aware they under the microscope!

Florida hunters paid $100.00 dollars for a permit and out of state hunters forked out $300.00 dollars for a license.  Over $376,900 was raised for conservation projects.  There were a couple glitches during the hunt as a 42 pound cub was killed along with an 88 pound bear.  The hunter who shot the small bear was given a citation and the other hunter a warning! Hunters who participated in the hunt were very pleased with the results, and there weren’t many complaints about shutting the hunt down early.

All in all Florida Wildlife officials said it was a learning experience and it will help in controlling the human bear encounters in the future.  Before the hunt, Florida estimated there was a population of 3500 bears in the state.  Due to the early on success of the hunt many think that estimate should of been much higher.