Its time to send in your bear hunting application for this coming fall season. Michigan went to a point system several years ago. The good old days of buying a bear license over the counter will probably never return here in Michigan. To me it doesn’t make sense, as the bear population continues to increase year after year. In fact this year several more counties have been opened to bear hunting, which were previously closed to the sport. The reason being, more bears! The DNR says that if you apply for a bear license, and go for three years without getting one, on the fourth try you will receive your permit. I believe thats a bunch of bologna. I know guys that seem to get one every year, and others who can’t seem to hit the bear lotto.
When you could buy one over the counter my whole family (the six Ansel brothers) would spend a week together at the lovely Baldwin camp in Marquette. This was a tradition my Dad started through a chance meeting with Gary Baldwin. Man were we blessed the day we met him. What an honor to get to know the Baldwin clan of Beaver Grove (Marquette.) Dick is the Patriarch and he’s about the most rugged woodsman you’ll ever meet. We all could sit for hours listening to his stories of the old trapping days, deer hunts, and snow storms, not to mention his bear adventures. Always laughing and smiling this man would lend a helping hand to anyone that asked. Even at 78 years young his boys Gary and Greg can’t keep up with him when it comes to cutting wood. They have their own saw mill back by their camp in the middle of “Big Hole” area. Why Dick has even cut some boards for Red Wing hocky great Mickey Redmond, who owns a camp not too far away. The Baldwins basically gave up bear hunting about 30 years ago, which was about 4 years after we met them. Their passion is deer hunting. I mean BIG DEER hunting! The boys try to keep up with “pop” Baldwin, but they have their hands full most years. Dick still has the biggest buck in camp. He never misses and knows the whitetail inside and out.
Getting back to the point system. It’s kept the Ansel boys from ever being able to enjoy the cammaraderie and fellowship of the Baldwins on a yearly basis. Sure every 3rd. or 4th. year a couple of us may draw a permit, but we truly miss the old days. Thank God for the memories, fresh bear backstraps, golden fryed brook trout, Nancy’s pistachio pie, cribbage, poker, 4-wheeling, mud holes, the big hole, cutting wood, our big meal at camp with the Baldwins. I could go on and on. Let me just end this by saying “Thanks for the Memories Dick, Ruth, Gary, Nancy, Paula, Matt, Greg.” “You guys have been awsome!” I also need to thank my buddy Mr. Albert Beauchamps (now deceased) who helped me track a 500 pound bear I had arrowed on his property. Miss you all.