Archive for September, 2008

Bow Season 2008

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Yesterday my son-in-law Tony and I went to Hillsdale to do some fine tuning on our tree stands, and do a little more scouting.  Tomorrow is Michigan’s opening day of bow season. (Oct. 1st.)  The weather man is calling for a 50% chance of rain, and if I remember right it rained last year also.  I don’t mind somewhat of a drizzle, but sitting on stand in a downpour is at the bottom of my “to do” list.  No matter how good of a “blood trail” you may have, it evaporates in seconds during heavy rain.  Trust me I know!

Due to the unusually dry summer, farmers are harvesting their crops earlier than most years.  We have soy beans in one of our fields, but they have a couple weeks before they will be ready.  There’s about 10 acres of high weeds (bedding area) around the perimeter of the beans, and the deer aren’t wandering to far from their food source.  We have a small pond at the south end of the property, and they use it for their watering hole.  My stand is set up close to the end of this pond.  We have found numerous “rubs” but not any “scraps” as yet.

I’m sure the economy will be keeping many hunters closer to home, and the “no baiting” factor will keep some from hunting at all!  I had a 1/4 tank of gas before we left yesterday, and put $66.00 dollars more in to fill it up! (Ford ranger)  Over to Hillsdale and back uses about a half tank of gas, so we’re looking to pull a small “fold down” camper over there in order to save a few “gas” dollars.  I’d be interested to hear if this economy is effecting others hunting plans this season.  Hope you all have a good safe opener, and are able to “close the deal!”

Mike

The Last Hunt – A Fathers Legacy

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

This is the time of year when the great memories of the past come flooding back in full Technicolor.  I had to go back in our hunting archives to find this 1977 photo of  Norm Ansel and his “boys!”   This was the last bear hunt my dad went on, and also the last picture of  him with the six of us.   That small bear hanging on the pole was Dad’s one and only bear, but to us it was big enough.  The mount is proudly displayed on the den wall of my brother Randy’s house, who was with dad when he shot his bear.

In looking at this picture I remembered that dad never donned one stick of camouflage during his hunting exploits.  In fact I wouldn’t be surprises if he didn’t wear the outfit he had on, in the picture, for the days hunt!  The big hunting marketing machine was just starting to roll, back in those days, but dad liked to keep it simple.  Plop down by a stump, or put a big tree to your back, and watch a well used game trail; was his tried and true method of putting meat in the freezer.  Baiting was for those rich “sissy’s” who owned private fenced in hunt clubs, and only left the cabin long enough to shoot one over a mountain of bait.  Dad liked to sit for the first two days of season, but by day three we were doing “deer” drives!  Because there were plenty of us in the woods a deer drive most always paid off.  I distinctly remember a nice six pointer dad dropped with an all out running shot during one of those drives.  The last deer he shot was an 11 pointer that won the big buck contest in Lewiston Michigan.  He was watching a game trail!

Dad didn’t shoot a buck every year, but he sure enjoyed the season and all the great things that went with it.  Taking his crew to “Tally’s” for a “Tally’s burger” and fries was always a priority.  He loved to attend the first evenings buck pole contest held in front of the Lewiston welcome center, and he liked to get his last minute hunting items at the local hardware store.  We always had great camp meals, as my mom was a great  cook.  My dad though was the pancake king, and also  did the fried chicken.  Dad never let our schooling stand in the way of deer season, as mom always wrote our teachers explaining we would be absent for several days due to our deer camp vacation! We made deer hunting a family affair, and when we started getting married and having kids we just rented more cabins.  Dad loved his family, and he was “in his glory” when he had them around.  He was usually the camp cribbage king, and always kicked our “butts” at nickel/dime poker!  We affectionately called him “bear” and we all would give up  our hunting privileges, just to have him wrap his big strong arms around us just once more, and tell us “I love you son!” We love you too dad-thanks for all the great memories.

Mike

Michigan’s “Little Wolves”

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

This is what happens when an “unfortunate coyote” crosses paths with my brother Randy.  In Michigan a small game license is needed to harvest coyote’s, and believe me they are plentiful.  We saw two others, but didn’t get a shot at them due to thick cover.  We knew we had others around us, as we could hear them “howl” most every evening at camp.

There used to be a $25.00 dollar bounty on these “little wolves” but that was dropped many years ago.  I think that kept them somewhat in check, but the population has exploded since those days.  It used to be rare to spot a coyote in Monroe county, but now it’s quite common.  Just a few years ago we had a den on my brother-in-laws 10 acres.  I’ve seen them in every part of the county, and one day saw a varmint sneaking up on a farmers group of barnyard chickens.  They take there share of pheasants, quail, and even fawns when available.  On several occasions we have had to wait overnight to track a wounded deer, only to find the coyotes had beat us to it, the next morning!  Twice we had deer hanging on the game pole, and in the morning the “hams” had all but disappeared!

I live in a country subdivision, but just a few houses over from me coyotes are seen on a regular basis.  This part of the subdivision backs up to a wooded area with a creek running through it, which makes for a great animal highway.  Coyotes are opportunistic and will make a meal of your pet cat or your small dog, if given the chance.  You sure don’t want to keep your pen of 4-H rabbits where Willy H. Coyote can “snack” on them.  I’m glad my brother was able to “gun down” one of these pesky varmints.   Randy’s like the “Road Runner,” Beep! Beep!

Mike

Football’s In The Air

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

My blog is titled “Hunting with Mike” from field to freezer and “in between!” This is one of those “in between post. Big number 12 is my grandson Keegan (Bubby) McNamara who’s playing for the Clawson Wildcats.  The league consist of 7-8-and 9 year olds, with Keegan being one of the youngest on the team.  His dad is one of the coaches, and played college ball for Ferris State.

The area around Clawson is really into their youth football programs, as there were several hundred people in the stands last Saturday.  I’ve been to varsity games where there weren’t that many people!  Keegan didn’t get a whole lot of playing time in, but he was fired up once he got on the field.  In the above picture his coach is giving him some “intense” instructions, and bubby is paying attention., as you can see.  I’m sorry to report that Keegan’s team lost 15 to 14, but it was a good well played game by both teams.

It was another gorgeous day and a good way to spend the afternoon.  The weather has been near picture perfect, but I’m hoping for a cool down as hunting season approaches.  Seven more days!

Mike

Camp Musings

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

The top photo is of Derek’s nice brookie, or is it? Greg Baldwin said he thought it was a brown, but I looked at the mounted brookie’s and brown’s at Cabela’s and I still think it’s a brook trout. Help me out here all you fish experts. Greg works for the federal fishery division, and knows what he’s talking about, but I need someone to explain the difference to me so I don’t feel so “dumb” next time I’m staring at one or the other! It’s a beautiful fish nomatter, and worthy of my frying pan anyday!

The below picture is of some of the beautiful country we are privileged to hunt around camp. You are seriously in the wilds when you can bear hunt, see eagles, spot wolf tracks, and catch fish that heave never seen a lure, not to mention being serenaded by coyotes in the evening. I did get a picture of a large wolf track and I’m going to try and add it to this post.

Eight more days till deer opener!

Mike

Cam-Bear

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Just got this picture this evening from my brother Darryl.  He got several pictures with his trail-cam of this monster bear visiting Dans bait after dark.  We’ve all seen plenty of bear, and the consensus is that you are looking at a 400 pounder with a bushel basket for a head.  This is the reason Dan and Darryl took two more days off from work so they could try an fool this “old timer!”  It didn’t happen, but we drool to think he may still be around next year.  We just have to be smarter than he is, and that could put the “hurting” on us!

Mike

Pte Mouillee Waterfowl Festival

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Yesterday morning my brother Randy and myself went out to the 61st. annual Michigan duck hunters tournament held at Pte. Mouillee. This is probably the largest waterfowl festival held in Michigan with thousands enjoying the arts, crafts, dogs, and large vending areas, not to mention the good food.

During the weekend there is a duck and fish carving contest, duck and goose calling contest, championship layout shoot, (clay pigeons) and the dog trials. All the big name sporting vendors are there, with Cabela’s being the major contributor. Hy Dahlka started this event in 1948, and the annual “Hy Dahlka Award of Merit” is the most prestigious prize in all the individual competitions.

I couldn’t begin to list all the “for sale” items from antique’s to $25,000 dollar boats. Every decoy imaginable, guns, knives, bows, hunting apparel, and tens of thousands of items in between. If your in the market for a good hunting dog, or just a family pet, this is the place to find one.

I didn’t plan on spending any money, but came home with exactly “zero” in my wallet. My brother Randy even faired worse, cause he had more “green” than I did. We had a good time, as I’m sure anyone who attended did. The arts and crafts area was out of sight! It’s a good thing I was broke by the time we hit their tents! I’ll be back next year, but with a pocket full of money for those essentials I didn’t get this year!

Mike

Early Goose Season

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Just before bear season opened we had early goose season around here. My brothers Randy and Darryl had a couple of really good mornings, with limits on a few of the days.

Darryl will put anywhere from 50 to 100 decoys in his spread, and then wait for the “honkers in a portable duck/goose blind. Between him and Randy they have 5 blinds, and they seem to work quite well. Both of these brothers are “crack” wing shooters, and amaze people by their ability to drop em from the sky’s! Randy used to shoot skeet quite a bit in his younger days, and even shot in a Marine Corps league while stationed at Camp Pendelton. Darryl is just a natural at anything outdoors, and probably inherited more of our fathers hunting “genes” than the rest of us!

Goose season opens up again on Oct. 11th. (I think) and they have promised to let me tag along. As much hunting as I have done, in my life, I have never taken a goose. Maybe collectively we can break that unacceptable statistic. I wouldn’t mind having some smoked goose in the fridge for the Thanksgiving season.

Mike

Sounds Kind A Fishy To Me

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

This is Gary Baldwin our very first “bear guide!” He showed us the ropes, and his family has been gracious enough to allow us to use their camp whenever we bear hunt. Gary owns B & G plumbing and heating in Beaver Grove, just a few miles southeast of Marquette. Not to many years ago he turned the business over to his son Matt, and his daughter Paula is the business secretary. Sweet eh? Well Gary has really gotten himself “hooked” on fishing, and he does beau coup of it in the U.P. and Canada.

Gary, Matt, and Matt’s father-in-law Tom all left for Canada just before bear season opened. Usually Dick (Gary’s dad) goes with them, but he had trees to cut, wells to dig, pump houses to build, and generators to rebuild in his spare time! I’m telling you this is the hardest working, tougher than nails, genuine outdoorsmen that one could ever meet. He never stops, and yet he’s always available to give someone a helping hand when needed. I’m glad he stayed back to keep us bear hunters laughing-he’s quite a guy!

Gary’s wife Nancy gave me these pictures from last years Canadian fishing trip, and you can see why they love it so much. The one picture is of Gary holding a 3-pound brook trout (Canadians call them specks) and Gary said if he catches a 4-pounder this year it’s going over his fireplace. That is if he had a fireplace!  They also tied into some monster walleye, as you can see. Two of these were 9-pounders! Tom is holding a very decent smallmouth, and they catch many northern pike. In fact Gary gave me a package of pike and walleye, and we had a fish fry at camp the night before opening day. I also had his recipe for fish, and I’ll have to admit they were some of the best fish I’ve ever eaten. Nancy also fixed us three pecan pies while we were at camp, and that my friends was worth the price of admission. See why we try to go back year after year! We get treated like family and thats the truth. Thanks for everything you guys do to make us feel welcomed.

Mike

The “Yoopers”

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Here is a picture of our crew (minus Dan who took the picture.) From left to right Randy, Tony, Myself and Tristan, Derek, and Darryl. We had temperatures ranging from 95 degrees to 58 degrees, and it rained about 65% of the time. The last of our group just returned home Monday morning without the 500 pounder that was coming into their bait. Darryl saw one Sunday evening, but he had a video camera in his hand, as Dan was the one with the permit. Dan couldn’t see the bear, because of the set-up they had over this bait!

This upcoming week it’s supposed to be beautiful weather in the U.P., but we’ll be getting ready for deer hunting. I guess one out of three isn’t bad, but we had expected to do better than that. I’m going to post a better picture of Randy’s bear, and his son Justin.

Mike