April 24th, 2017
So here is the rest of the story from my last blog. three years ago while bear hunting in Marquette Michigan I had the opportunity for a nice 275-300 pound black bear. It was my first hunt using a crossbow. Previously I have taken 5 bear with archery and two with a rifle. On this hunt I was sitting in a two person ladder stand with a shooting rail. My friend Bob Baltrip was beside me also in a two person ladder stand. The shot was so downhill I had to lift the crossbow over the shooting rail which created awkward position fro my right hand on the forearm of the bow. To make a long story short my thumb was sticking up in line with the string and when I squeezed the trigger I almost took my thumb off. We retrieved the heart shot bear, hung him up and ruched to the hospital where the emergency room doctor sewed me back together. three years later I still do not have full use of that thumb!
This brings me to my turkey hunt from last week. As I snuck from tree to tree trying to get in position for a shot it never crossed my mind to make sure my thumb stayed in a safe position! Thar’s right you guessed it. As I came out from behind my last tree I steadied my shot by resting mu forearm on the tree which caused me to raise my thumb in the line of fire. Again I squeezed the trigger and “wack” I nailed the same thumb again. This time it almost tore my nail off (I will loose the nail) and bruised and cut me in two places. Six days later it is still bleeding from behind the nail, which is actually a good thing as it’s relieving pressure from behind the nail.
You would not think I could ever do that twice, but trust me in the testosterone moment of truth one does not always go through a safety checklist in his head! Both bows used (a Barnett and an Excaliber do not have finger/thumb guards. When I got home I purchased a Bear crossbow with guards in place! If my thumb could talk I’m sure it would be asking for a divorce due to thumb abuse. It’s battered and bruised, but still with me, and I promised to the best of my abilities to keep it attached.
Let this send a strong warning to those of you who shoot crossbows with no guards. when shooting thumbs up is a no-no!
April 22nd, 2017
Been out of town for the 2017 Spring turkey hunt, and once again I have put a bird in the freezer. Things did not start out that well as I arrived at my place early Sunday morning and was checking my equipment out. I set up a target to check out my crossbow to make sure I was still “zeroed” in! I went to cock my crossbow with the rope cocking device and put my left foot through the stirrup. It’s my left hip that was recently replaced and when I pulled back to cock the bow my weak left hip buckled and I went flying backwards one way and the crossbow went the other. I fell on my good hip, but the impact with the wooded floor rattled my whole body. I am still sore today and have regressed in my recovery which is so very frustrating!
I did some scouting and found a fire trail about 1-1/2 miles from my place that had turkey tracks galore. I set up a blind Sunday evening and road my 4-wheeler ther early Monday morning. I don’t know what was going on, but I never had a response or heard anything more than a chickadee! I stayed out till 10:00 a.m. and headed back to the cabin for coffee and breakfast. My pal Ed and I along with his wife Linda worked on putting up a tongue and groove ceiling on my new cabin for the rest of the day.
Tuesday morning I hunted my blind at the back of my property and called in a group of Jakes that hesitated and turned tail when they sae my “Pretty Boy” decoy! Guess they were afraid of getting their butts whooped! Went back to the cabin for lunch and was sitting in my living room talking with Ed and Linda when a hen turkey came strolling through my yard. As we watched out the window a Tom appeared in hot pursuit! I had Ed quickly cock my crossbow for me, and I scooted out my side door. They were already working their way into the woods and I went into stealth mode. I put one pine tree after another between me and the Tom until I was at a comfortable 20 yards away. The Tom was concentrating on his girlfriend, but when I stepped out from behind the tree he looked at me as if to say “She’s mine buddy!” I quickly settled the 20 yard pin on the middle of the bird and squeezed the trigger. The bolt hit a small sapling which deflected the arrow low, but it still looked like a good hit!
I’m going to end this story right here as there is a whole nother story to tell after squeezing off that shot. I did get the bird, and will post a couple pictures, but it was not as easy as it may of sounded! To be continued!
April 12th, 2017
Michigan’s 2017 spring turkey season is about to take off this coming Monday. You would think at 70 years old I could come and go as I please! I guess that’s wishful thinking. I had plans of being at the cabin right now scouting, putting up ground blinds, and getting all my equipment in order. Just so happens half my family has decided to go to Florida over Easter break and several need to be dropped off at the airport this Thursday and Sunday. Well the only one left in “Dodge” is yours truly! Why would my family schedule a Florida vacation the week of my turkey hunt? Me thinks me smells a “rat” in all of this?
Anyway it sure doesn’t leave any time for me to do any of the above plans. Not only that the 10 day weather forecast is calling for cold and rainy conditions the whole week! That is going to work against me also! Those big lovesick tom’s really like strutting around in the sunshine, and I would much rather plant my butt under a pine tree with the sun rising in my face than a cold wet wind making me miserable!
Ah well as a friend of mine always says “Hey it is what it is!” Did Popeye say that? In reality as an outdoorsman it really doesn’t matter! It is what you make of it, and I intend to enjoy myself and take in all the “tukey woods” has to offer. I can just about bet that I will put another great memory stashed in the movie theatre of my mind, to enjoy any time I choose to “play” it!
April 8th, 2017
The Michigan Bowhunters Association just held their annual banquet today April 8th. 2017. Once again my little brother received one of the most coveted awards given out by the association. The Michigan “Grand Slam” award goes to the member who has taken a deer, bear, and 30 point small game animal. Small game meaning a turkey, bobcat, goose, or coyote with a bow and arrow. Darryl Ansel is the most consummate hunter I know, spending more hours afield than any married man in Michigan! His wife (Cathy) is a true Saint, as she lives the life of a widow from mid Sept. to January 1st. Darryl has more “hot spots’ and places to hunt than their are counties in Michigan! I guess it helps when your a police officer knocking on a landowners door and asking for permission to hunt? Some guys have all the right words and know how to open doors, so to speak.
Of course I say some of that in jest, but he truly is one dedicated outdoorsman who knows the ins and outs of consistently putting game in the freezer. I am the one who got him involved in the sport of bowhunting, and he was the first one I signed up to join Michigan Bowhunters. He took to the sport like no other, and within a couple years was showing me up with his prowess in the field. He has more awards from Michigan Bowhunters than I can come close to remembering including the Master Bowhunter award which only a limited number of members ever achieve! I personally have come close to winning the “Grand Slam” award, but have never fulfilled all the requirements. Little brother has done it 4 times which may be a Bowhunter record!
For this years award Darryl downed a nice southern Michigan 8 pointer a day before gun season opened, and also took a goose around the same time. He drew a hard to get first bear hunt along with his son and grandson for the Marquette area. He and his grandson both took a beautiful bear off the same bait pile on the same evening! Yes Darryl may be 66 years old, but that has not slowed him down when in comes to the adrenaline rush of having a well laid out plan come together. He’ll be after a Tom turkey in just a few weeks, and you can bet his family will have a “wild ” turkey for Thanksgiving! Congratulations Darryl! You are the “real deal” when it comes to bowhunting the great state of Michigan!
April 6th, 2017
Michigan is known for it’s vast herd of Whitetails, but the many lakes and streams make our state an anglers “heaven!” Michiganders have more water access than any other of the lower 48 states. The Great Lakes have some of the most fantastic fisheries of any fresh water lakes in the world.
I personally have enjoyed fishing for perch, walleye, northern pike, large mouth and small mouth bass, steelhead, brookies, catfish, bullhead, and panfish. On occasion I have even tangled with the enormous carp that hide in the Lake Erie marshes.
Well in case you forgot it’s time to renew your fishing licenses here in Michigan. There is nothing like fighting a bass, or seeing the joy on a kids face as they land their first sunfish. In fact if you find the right secret pond you can have an absolute blast with some big pumpkin seed or red eye sunfish. Talk about good eating! While perch are my favorite, sunfish/bluegill, and brook trout rank right behind them. Two years ago I had a goal of helping every one of my grandkids catch a largemouth from the pond my daughter lives on. Eleven of them did just that! Grandpa had a blast as he witnessed the reactions of each grandkid “wrestle” in a “lunker” largemouth and then release it back into the crystal blue spring feed pond!
My nephew caught the nice smallie in the picture, and it won’t be long before he and his cousins will be at it again. Three of my brother Darryl’s grandkids have turkey permits for the Gaylord area, and there’s a lake nearby full of smallmouth bass. Ah! A day on the clear blue water, of a hidden little jewel, nestled among the pines of Northern Michigan can’t be beat! A word of caution to all who may soon hit the waters-check your fishing line. Fishing string will rot and get brittle, so you need to make sure yours will function as intended. Also lubricate your reel, and do some precautionary maintenance on all the other equipment, before you hook the fish of a lifetime, and he gets off!
April 3rd, 2017
Just like these turkeys need to be very cautious as to what direction they take, so do outdoor recreationists in taking to the woods this Spring. I mean it is spring isn’t it? At least the calendar says it is, but Winter doesn’t want to release its relentless grip on Michigan!
I know most of us are chomping at the bits to get outside and enjoy a long walk, or a hike in the woods, and just take in the sights and sounds of Spring. There are some common sense safety tips for anyone to keep in mind before heading into the woods.
In Michigan spring means mushroom hunting, hiking, trail riding, fishing, turkey hunting, and exploring the trails all our public lands have to offer. Because we all have a touch of “cabin fever” right now we need to make certain we don’t tempt the coyote, (See picture)
Before heading off always let someone know where you are going, and what time you expect to be back. Cellphones work in almost all areas of the outdoors, so take one with you just in case. A GPS system is not a bad idea either. A compass and a small flashlight can be invaluable. I have gotten turned around (not lost) on more than one occasion, and I want to tell you spending the night in a tree deep in a Quebec swamp is not “FUN!” Someday I may write about that “dark night.” Hopefully you will be somewhat familiar with the land your on. Remember there may be turkey hunters in the woods, so wearing hunter orange could save you from being “Thanksgiving dinner.” As we all know the weather can change in an instant in Michigan. Good idea to take a little backpack and put some light rain gear, snacks, and some bottled water in it. During hunting season a lost hunter can always fire his gun, but in the spring a whistle is a good way to make some loud noises to help locate you, if needed. Make sure you have enough layered cloths with you. You can always take some off, but can’t put it on if you didn’t bring it.
Now if we can just coax the sun to appear and warm things up a tad, we can hit the trails, and enjoy all the great state of Michigan has to offer.
April 1st, 2017
Have you seen the latest news about a Python swallowing a whole crocodile? Just recently a Python killed and swallowed a human in south America. They have been known to take down deer, wild, boar, and even porcupines, but human, alligators, and crocodiles have not been know to be on their diet!
This latest incident took place in Africa with the python measuring 22 foot long. Now that is several hundred pounds of bone crushing snake, who had the confidence to attack an 8 foot crocodile. First the snake coiled around it’s body and then put the squeeze on it! Actually death comes by suffocation and not having all it’s bones broken.
Next the snake starts to swallow the crocodile head first, as it unhinges it’s lower jaw slowing dragging it’s prey into it’s stomach. The pythons teeth angle inward and help move along the dinner into the middle of the snakes body. The snakes skin has the capacity to greatly expand, allowing for larger prey to be digested over a period of time. For an animal this size it could take 6 months to a year to digest! In that time frame the snake would not need to eat again.
Eventually it is possible that a human will be on the dinner list of python’s who are roaming Florida from coast to coast. Florida has the type of weather and terrain that snakes thrive in. There is an all out effort to eradicate these invaders, but they seem to multiply faster than they can be found and killed!
April 1st, 2017
On February 3rd. I had my left hip replaced due to arteritis. Before surgery I asked my Doctor (Irwin) if he thought I could be playing golf by April. He said as long as therapy went well he didn’t see why not.
Well after 5 weeks of therapy I was ready for some warm weather and a chance to try out my new driver. Last Monday I got the opportunity to go out with my grandson Kyle who is a great little golfer in his own right! We booked a tee time for 2:00 in the afternoon and were going to start out slow with nine holes. I had no idea how the hip would hold up as I was still favoring the left side with a pretty good limp. The doctor told me not to swing very hard and at 70 years old that’s not hard to do.
On the very first tee I swung quite easy and made sure I did not rotate those hips to much. To my surprise I hit a 200 yard shot straight down the middle on a par five. I’m not going to bore you with a play by play, but the game went “way” better than I expected. I shot a 41 for 9 holes and Kyle had a 46. I was a little sore, but that was to be expected after surgery and a 7 month layoff.
Three days later I hit Green Meadows again with my brother Darryl and shot a 44! In reality those scores are under my handicap? Now did surgery do something to improve my game? Does slowing things down add to the equation? Or was it just “beginners” luck? I don’t know for sure, but I do know that second game about done me in. I had sore muscles I never knew existed! I’m going to lay low for awhile and make sure I don’t overdue it, but I do have a grin on my face as i think of being able to play minus the hip pain. Come on summer I’m ready for ya! The first photo is me on the green after my first par of the year! Whoopi!
March 28th, 2017
Just returned from a few days at our place around Mio Michigan where the snow is all but gone! Our driveway was clear of any snow, but it was awful muddy. There has been a lot of rain these past few days and more coming. Still a little snow patches in the deep woods, but for the most part Spring is doing it’s thing. The back-roads are in rough shape to say the least as the mud makes for a slippery (rut to rut) drive!
I of course was very interested to see how the deer around my place were holding up, and it didn’t take me long to find out. They were using our property to bed in, as the neighbor a few properties away, has horses. The smell of hay, for a deer that can’t find food, must draw them like a magnet. There were signs (runways) that these deer were doing as little traveling as possible. We saw many area’s used for bedding, usually under a tree where the snow wasn’t so deep.
Northern Michigan is not like the middle or southern portions of the state, as the deer numbers have been down for years. Acorns are an important part of a deer’s diet, but around my place oak trees are few and far between. Deer are grazers, and the snow pack this winter shouldn’t have hurt them very much. There is a swamp not far from my place and many of the trails came from that direction. No doubt many of these deer were “yarding” in that area. Not much fat producing protein in cedar or hemlock trees. In fact we saw where some of the smaller pine trees had been stripped of their branches. I’m really not sure if deer will eat pine needles or pine bark, but something was nibbling on them.
The deer we saw, for the most part, looked to be in half way decent shape, but there were those whose ribs and hips were quite visible. There was one small fawn that had a big section of hair missing from his shoulder to the middle of his back. The exposed area was right down to it’s skin, but the deer appeared none the worse for it!
While sitting at the kitchen table I saw a group of crows landing just off our property, and I know something “dead” had to be over there. We walked over and discovered what was left of a deer. Critters had been chewing on it for awhile, so there wasn’t much left. Makes you wonder if there are more laying in the woods? I also think of the doe’s that are about to give birth to their fawns. Out of the 15-20 deer that we saw, only a couple looked to be pregnant. Try as we may to spot a buck we did not see a deer we could identify as such.
We did have some pretty good turkey activity around the place. Just hope these birds stick around for the upcoming turkey hunt!