Archive for April, 2007

The Bear Facts

Monday, April 30th, 2007

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.


Don’t Get Boared

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

A couple years ago I pulled into our neighborhood and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Running through the yard, and plants, and bushes was a boar. Not a domestic pig, but a “wild boar.” One of my first thoughts was for the safety of the children in the neighborhood, including my own grandkids. The boar, which I estimated to be about 100 pounds, certainly was not tame. As I turned into my driveway he ran through my back yard like his tail was on fire. My oldest grandaughter Nadia was with me, and as she jumped out of the truck, she wanted to chase the boar. I just happened to have my 22 magnum in the garage closet. I grabbed it, and a few hollow-points, and the chase was on. We ran through several of the neighbors yards, before he headed for the safety of the creek and woods. Just before the boar entered the woodline I was able to stop and get a good rest. I put the cross-hairs on his chest as I led him a few inches. At the crack of the magnum the pig entered the thick underbrush. I couldn’t tell, until I got to the bushes, weather I put the “wammy” on him or not. He didn’t go 10 feet past the point of impact, and was quite dead when we got to him. That little magnum packs quite a wallop. I was impressed!

Now I did have some concern as to the legality of shooting a wild boar without a license. I also realised that this critter belonged to someone. My initial thought is that it escaped from a wild game ranch. The safety of my grandkids,and the other kids playing in their backyards, was my first concern. I’ve hunted wild boar in Tennessee, and they are by nature mean and dangerous. They have tusk as sharp as a razor. Did you ever hear the term “razor-back?”

After we threw him in the back of my pickup I called the DNR to get their take on the situation. They told me don’t worry go enjoy some barbecued ribs. In fact they said escaped “game farm” wild boar were becoming somewhat of a problem here in Michigan. Several breeding pairs are now running wild and the DNR fears we could end up with an unwanted population of wild boar running around the woods. Huntes are incouraged to “shoot to kill” any wild boar they see running free. Just recently a hunter shot a free ranging wild boar (in the Michigan woods) that weighed over 350 pounds. Now that “porker” could do alot of damage to anyone or anything it had a mind too. The DNR also asks that you report all kills and sightings of boar you may have.

So next time your in the great outdoors “don’t get boared.” Instead “get the boar!” You can help stop the spread of an unwanted stranger in our woods.


Way to go Dave

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

Yesterday I received a phone call from a friend I’ve known for many years.  His name is Dave (Ernie) Marcum.  Actually my mom and dad knew his parents when Dave was just a little guy.  Dave is a good 10 years younger than me, so it wasn’t till he got turned on to hunting that we started flowing on some of the same wave lengths.

Many years ago I invited Dave on a West Branch deer hunt with fellow church member comrades Bill Michaud, Ken Meloche, Bob McCarty, and Tom Calloway.  We had a great time around the campfire, and even took a couple deer.  One of them being Daves first deer with a bow.  He made an awesome shot, and from that moment on Dave was an offical bowhunting “nut.”  I can remember how proud I was of him, and counted him as an asset to the bowhunting community.

Many, many,years have passed since that day which brings me to my phone call.  Dave had taken a huge Tom turkey in Hillsdale, and had a couple questions to ask me.  Even though he didn’t take his bird with a bow I was still very excited for him.  You see it was his first turkey, and yes I’de say we now have a turkey fanatic on our hands.  As he reported his afternoon hunt to me I could relate to everything he went through.  The only thing that could of made it better would of been me being there with him.  Anyway I felt honored to have Dave call me, and hope to meet up with him in Hillsdale someday.  Good going Dave!  Now you have to harvest one with a bow-it ain’t easy!  Bye the way Daves bird had a 10-1/2 inch beard and 1-1/4 spurs.  Thats a record class longbeard partner.

Turkey Cooking Time

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

The 2007 turkey season is well under way, and hopefully some of you blessed hunters have a bird in the freezer already.  I’m going to give you a couple recipe’s, and who knows maybe even “The Luna Pier Cook” will give us his.





Hope you turkey hunters are successful and safe.  Maybe even I’ll get to try one of these recipe’s on my own bird.


My Better Half Makes Me Whole

Monday, April 23rd, 2007

You’ve heard the saying “take a kid hunting.” Well, how about taking your wife hunting?

I didn’t exactly take mine hunting, but I did take her scouting with me the other day. Believe it or not it was her idea! We had a wonderful day together. It started with a canopy of stars over our heads, which were pushed out of the way by the rising morning sun. We had turkeys gobbling, pheasants kackling, sandhill cranes calling, geese flying, and eagles soaring. A morning like we experienced cannot be bought-its priceless.

It was nice and cozy in our little portable blind, which allowed us to get some great footage of the turkeys. It looks like the “longbeards” are already hooked up with the hens. We did see several lovesick “jakes” looking for a little attention. I’d say the “juveniles” will come to the call easy, but its going to be a problem pulling the older toms from their hens.

Oop’s I got off the subject somewhat. After our three hours in the blind we went into Hillsdale and had a nice breakfast. My wife suggested we stop at Cabela’s (whats up with that?) on the way home. We took our sweet ole time, bought a few sale items, and talked to my nephew, Derek. We also ran into Theresa Pietrowski, the Michigan State record holder for the heaviest turkey. After leaving we stopped to get an ice cream cone in Dundee. A sweet ending to a most memorable day with my honey. It was a great idea, Lorna. I cant’t wait to do it again. Now come on all you sensitive macho hunter types, give it a try! Take your “better half” with ya next time so together you can be “whole.”


Louie’s Town

Saturday, April 21st, 2007

My dad had a group of hunting buddies who hunted in the Lewiston (Louie’s Town) area. Lewiston got its name from Louie the logger who ran a saw mill if I remember right. Anyway, dad’s group knew the Avery Hills, Atlanta, Lewiston area well. It was only natural that once his boys were old enough to hunt that they too, would tromp “ole Louie’s woods.” You’ve heard it said “old habits are hard to break.” Well,weening ourselves from our old stomping ground has been downright hard. After my dad died it just wasn’t the same. Oh,we tried to make a go of it without him, but he was the glue that held our “camp” together. Out of his six boys only one (Dean) has stayed true to Lewiston. The rest of us are scattered across the state. The last few years I’ve hunted around Hillsdale, not far from home. I see more deer ,and certainly see more bucks, but it just isn’t the same. I miss Tally’s Log Cabin Bar and Grill and their famous cheeseburgers. I miss bumping into the host of people from Monroe, who spend a week or two, running around in their red/orange deer hunting suits. I miss the “buck pole” and all the bragging that would go on during big buck night. I miss those scrumptuous meals my mother would have waiting for “her” hungry crew. I miss the smell of the fireplace and the sound of the crackling logs. I miss hearing my dad snoring through those paper thin walls at North-Shore Resort. I miss the kids playing in the snow, pillow fights, top bunk antics, and waiting in line to take a “cold” shower. I guess the heart of this whole thing is I miss those special FAMILY times that have now been regulated to my memory file.

Love ya Dad and Mom.


Secret Places

Thursday, April 19th, 2007

Over 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.”


Skunked Again?

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

When I was a kid of about 13 years old I was sprayed by an angry skunk. The oil from her most potent defense mechanism hit me in the back as I turned to run away. I was a long ways from home and started to run for my life. The smell was so awful I started throwing cloths off while I was running. By the time I reached our back porch I was down to my underwear. My mother “bless her heart” had heard me screaming and was waiting for me at the back door. She wouldn’t let me in the house because I stunk so bad, and ordered me to remove my underwear also. At that point I had no pride what-so-ever and did just as she said. While I stood there, naked as a jay-bird, she was dumping all the tomato juice she could find into the tub. It’s an old remedy, but it works! I soaked in that tomato bath for several hours before it was safe to step back into the world of the “living.” After I put on a clean set of cloths; I traced my steps (or should I say traced my stinky cloths) back to the point of “contact.” Upon my mothers orders I poured a little gasoline on the pile of cloths and set them on fire.

Well yesterday this scene came flooding back to me as I stood face to face with yet another skunk! It was very early in the morning; around 5:45 A.M. I was checking my hunting spot in Hillsdale to see if I could find where the turkeys are roosting. While walking back to the woods, I didn’t want to use my flashlite, so I stayed on a path that went through a clover field. I could barely see ahead of me, but thought something was walking on the path just a few feet away. It forced me to turn my flashlite on for a minute, and there to my shocked surprise was Mr. Skunk. As the scene from my past went through my mind my feet did the smartest thing they have ever done in their lives-they ran like the wind!!! Well maybe not that fast, but for an old guy they did me proud. I gave the skunk a wide berth as he proceeded down “his” trail. I have to remember I am a guest as I meander through the great outdoors that these animals live in. I was so happy that I wasn’t “skunked again” yesterday that I went on to have a most enjoyable morning. No ruined cloths, no birthday suit, and no tomato bath “ahhh!”


More Memories

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

I have had the distinct pleasure of being able to enjoy the great outdoors with my five brothers. Of those five Randy, Darryl, Brett, Brad, and Dean, Darryl stands out in the memory department. Darryl is the consummate hunter. That is he eats, sleeps, breaths, and completely throws himself into the hunting season. His wonderful wife Cathy is a typical hunting widow from October through December. She never complains and has always supported her high school sweetheart during the Fall season. If you want action, then all you have to do is stay close to “Dink.” You better have your camera cause you’ll be taking his picture with whatever your after. I’ve been with Darryl when he’s taken bucks, bears, and turkeys. He’s one heck of a rifle shot (Viet-Nam veteran with the Expert Marksman Badge.) I once saw him drop a running deer at an estimated 250 yards. Most hunters won’t even attempt that kind of a shot, but then they aren’t Darryl either. When you possess his type of skill and natural ability then that shot is taken with confidence and the results are meat in the freezer. I got Darryl involved in archery about 30 years ago, and he surpassed his teacher (me) with flying colors. Twice he’s received the coveted “Michigan Grand Slam Award” from the Michigan Bowhunters Organization. This award is given to the organization member who has taken a deer, bear, and a turkey with a bow in the current calander year. Needless to say only a handful of bowhunters have ever accomplished that feat. At one time Darryl had the No. 2 bow harvested bear taken in the state. He took that huge old boar with a garage sale Bear Archery recurve and a wooden shaft arrow. Nothing like doing it the hard way. Of the three big game animals it takes for the “grand slam”, the turkey is the hardest to harvest. I’ve lost count at how many Darryl has roasted for Thanksgiving, but I’m sure its probably around 8-10 birds.

Darryl has been in law enforcement all his adult life. He started his career with the Monroe city police, spent over 20 years with the Luna-Pier dept. (Chief for many years), and then moved on to the Erie department. Any of his friends, and he has alot, will tell you what a great guy he is to have on your side. He’s been involved in so many heroic episodes in his law enforcement career that my “one” typing finger would get sore telling of all his death defying exploits.

I am so very proud of my “little brother”, and oh so thankful for the scrapbook full of memories I have of you. Your zest for life and devotion to your family and community are a real testament to the man that you are. Thanks for all the good times.


Memories Continued

Friday, April 13th, 2007

I have been around some form of fishing and hunting ever since I can remember. In my last blog I happened to mention our dog Flopsy as I recalled one of the many indelible memories I cherish concerning my dad Norman Floyd Ansel. Flopsy (a once-in-a-lifetime hunting dog) was not only the best bird dog I ever had the honor to hunt behind, she was a friend and trusty companion.

When my dad picked her from his friend Wilford (Bill) Brown’s litter she was the runt of the bunch. When you bent down to pet her, or pick her up, she would lay down on her back and want you to rub her belly. Thats how we came to name her Flopsy. She was part Irish Setter and part English Setter. Liver and white never looked so good on a dog. She was a natural and loved to hunt Monroe County ringnecks. Whenever my dads hunting buddies got wind that Flopsy was going to have a litter of pups, they would line up to get their pick. I often wonder if any of her blood line is still roaming the fields of Monroe County.

Flopsy not only hunted , but was a guard dog extraordinar, and a faithful family friend. I remember getting off the bus one day and my Mom meeting me at the door with the “22 rifle.” “Flopsy’s been fighting a huge woodchuck for several hours”, she anxiously said, “she needs your help!” I loaded the “22” (on the run for the wheat field behind our house), where all heck was breaking loose. Flopsy and this 20 pound woodchuck had a 15 foot diameter circle of wheat trampled to the ground. They kept circling one another trying to get the advantage in this fight to the death. The reason I believe it was a fight to the finish is No.1 – both animals were bleeding from several places, No.2- they had been at it for hours, and No.3 -the woodchucks hole was right there and he had no intentions of diving for its safety. Not even the sight of me standing 10 feet away intimidated the old varmit. I couldn’t get a shot off for fear of hitting the dog, so I ended up wading right in the middle of the fracas, busting the gun barrel over Mr. Woodchucks head. Flopsy then got ahold of the back of his neck and it was all over. We triumphantly walked back to the house where we cleaned her wounds and gave her plenty of food and water.

I could go on and on about this wonderful gift that our family was blessed with for 13 short years. Flopsy spoiled us so much that no other dog could ever measure up after her death. I hope some of you reading this can relate to that “oh so special” “once-in-a-lifetime-bond” between man and his best friend. This will probably sound silly to most of you, but I hope there’s a place in Gods Kingdom for the Flopsy’s of the world. And wouldn’t it be great if she was with my Dad?