Archive for November, 2008

Cut Your Own Tree Day

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

PhotobucketPhotobucket” Here we are doing one of our most favorite things.  It’s an Ansel family tradition to cut our own Christmas tree every year.  This year we tried a new tree farm, as the prices at our old place were getting out of sight.  Our daughter Courtney and her two daughters Ava and Addisyn went along with us to cut a tree.  Daughter Tara her husband Glen, and their son Kyle came out also, but we missed them by about an hour.  Our Daughter Alena was with her husband Tony, and their three kids at our old tree farm buying their tree.  The plan was for all of us to meet at Matthis Evergreen Farm and let the kids see Santa, ride the ponies, drink hot chocolate and eat popcorn.

The day was perfect with a sunny sky and temperatures in the mid 40’s.  Matthis has a gold mine, as their operation caters to the family.  The place was wall to wall people.  They have a barn with live Christmas music, food court, gift shop, pony rides, hay rides (pulled by two huge Belgians,) petting zoo, and 100’s of acres of trees, and of course St. Nick!

We tied our trees to the top of Courtney’s explorer, before we headed home, to hang some of our decorations.  I’ll probably put the tree up tomorrow.  This is a very special time of year for us, and we thoroughly enjoy having our family around.

Blessings Mike

Tony’s Thanksgiving Buck

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Photobucket“Now there is only one of my hunting buddies who hasn’t shot a deer yet this year; me!  Tony (my son in law) shot this 6-pointer Wednesday evening, but was having some problems tracking it, so he came home to wait for the morning sunshine.  I met him at 6:00 a.m. and we headed over to our hunting spot.  He had left his hunting hat at the last blood he could find, as he put in a sleepless night, second guessing himself.

The buck had been lured into range by a doe decoy, and Tony thought his aim had been true.  There’s about 8 acres of tall grassy cover that the deer was running through the last Tony saw it.  We arrived, just after sun-up, and had a little snow and lots of frost on the ground and bushes.

Tony walked me through the whole scenario, as we approached his hat marker.  The blood trail was high in the grass, and I was concerned that the hit was a little off target.  It was bright red blood though, and I told Tony that he probably got the liver, and that the deer was dead, we just had to find it.  We started having trouble picking up the blood trail as the deer was zigging and zagging through the thick bedding area.  I put Tony on the trail, as I walked ahead trying to locate his deer.  About 150 yards away from the point of impact lay the fat stone dead 6-pointer.  The exit wound was far back, but the entrance wound looked like it was right on.  We celebrated for awhile, and thanked the Lord for His provision, on Thanksgiving day no less.

When Tony dressed the deer he handed me the heart, and said “look at this.”  The top of the heart had a huge slug made hole in it.  That explains the blood being so high on the grass, but how do you run 150 yards in that condition.  Deer never cease to amaze me with there tenacity to survive!  Tony’s Remington deerslayer did it again.  This 12 gauge shotgun can really shoot some tight groups at 100 yards.  Well there is now a distinct possibility that I will end up with a few packages of venison in my freezer after all.

Mike

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

PhotobucketToday I visited my grandkids daycare run by our friend Mary Boudrie. My granddaughter Ava is wearing pink and kneeling right in front of me. Her sister Addison is the furthest on the right wearing green and pink, and Kyle is right in front of Ava wearing blue and orange.

We had a great time at Ms. Mary’s with all the kids being really excited about Thanksgiving tomorrow. I laid the pelts down on the floor and then let the kids handle them. They picked the beaver as the softest pelt, and as usual, the wolf was the main attraction. I showed them what the Pilgrims had to trade for the furs, beads, hatched heads, knives, blankets, small bells and such. I have made replicas of rattles, jewelry, pipes, quivers, arrows, lances, and tomahawks which the kids always like hearing about. Before I’m finished I read them the story about the first Thanksgiving in order to get their “focus” back on the really important part of my visit.

We all have so much to be truly thankful for in this “land of the free and the home of the brave!” Hope you all are blessed and get to spend some wonderful family time with your loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving.

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Chief Ten Bears

Monday, November 24th, 2008

PhotobucketPhotobucket” Yes it’s that time of the year again when Chief 10 Bears visits the daycares and schools around the area. Today I went to Little House of Hugs run by my niece Jayme McElvany. The 20 kids and four adults had a good time learning about Indians, Pilgrims, and Thanksgiving. It seems like every year I’ve accumulated more “show and tell” items to use in my talks.

One of the major things I do is show them various animal pelts, and hides, which the kids really get into. I have deer, mink, rabbit, fox, beaver, skunk, weasel, and a huge wolf, which I always save for last. The wolf hide came from one of my trips to Quebec, and it’s a dandy! Six and a half foot nose to tail, and usually the audience is really impressed. I’d say the skunk runs a close second, as far as “squeals” of delight go. The boys like to try and scare the girls with that black and white critter, cause boys aren’t afraid of anything right? The beaver also goes over big, as the fur is soft and luxurious. I usually give a little history lesson about the history of the beaver, and what an important part it played in shaping our nation.

Over the years I’ve made replicas of lances, talking sticks, arrows, quivers, dance rattles, bear claw necklaces, peace pipes, trade beads, and other jewelry. I have arrow heads, horns, antler whistles, and wing bone turkey calls to display. Today I brought a bag of turkey feathers, and let each child pick one to take home. Before I wound things up I read them the thanksgiving story, and then gave them a little test when I was done. I’ve got a couple more schools lined -up before Thursday, so I won’t be getting back in the woods anytime soon.  No matter; I’m having a good time with the little guys and gals.

Mike

Caleb’s Prayer

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

PhotobucketThis is my brother Darryl’s son-in-law Scott Smiley, with his very nice 7-pointer taken in Branch county. Scott got him opening weekend, and here is the story, in Scott’s own words.

The day before leaving for hunting, Caleb (4 years old) and I were talking about hunting deer. I told him that he needs to pray for daddy to get a nice buck. He decided he wanted to wait for bedtime prayer to do that. Well he prayed a nice prayer, ending with “Thank you Jesus for letting my dad shoot a nice buck.”

So off we go to hunting camp on Friday afternoon. Darryl and I with Derek meeting us later that night. Opening day was miserable, raining all day. I sat through it all except from 11:30-12:30 to dry my gear and grab a sandwich. I did not see even one deer. I called my wife Jodee that evening to see how her and the kids were doing. She told me that I better get a deer because Caleb has still been praying for me to get a big buck, without being prompted by anyone.

We woke up Sunday to 1-1/2 inches of snow. At around 9:00 I saw a buck trotting across the field in front of me, and all I saw was horns. I grunted once and bleated once to try and get him to stop, but it didn’t work. I thought I was going to have to take a moving shot but then he stopped just on the other side of some bean stubble that I had just ranged. It was 96 yards to the top of the small little hill he was standing on. I touched off a shopt with my 12 ga. as I made a slight compensation for the wind. The buck hunched up, and I knew he was hit. He ran toward the woods and stopped short, looked around, then bolted into the woods. Heart pounding and hands shaking, I got on the radio, and said I’de just hit a nice buck. As I waited an hour or so, before tracking, I started second guessing myself.

At that point the only thing that came to mind was Caleb praying with me at bedtime to get a buck. So I started talking to God. I explained to him why I wanted the deer, but what a teaching it would be for Caleb about the power of prayer.

A few minutes later, my father in law Darryl, got on the radio and we met up in the woods to start tracking. About 15 yards into the woods we found a fresh bed, with just a little blood in it. Darryl being the guru he is told me he must be hurt pretty bad to lay down so soon. He told me to have my gun ready, as he might be close by, and we could jump him. Not 10 steps further we jump him, and I see how wide his rack is. I shouldered my gun, and realized my scope caps are closed. Darryl is shooting, as I open my caps and touch off a shot while he is running broadside in full stride. He hunched again as my shot hit the mark!

Darryl asked me “How many shells does that gun hold?” and I replied “5 why?” “Then why did I only hear one shot from you?” With a smirk I replied “Well dad, when you shoot like me, that’s really all you need.” He just chuckled. I told Darryl about Caleb praying for me, as we excitedly took up the tracking job again! About 60 yards ahead we found the deer, and all I could see was horns. I thanked God, and Caleb, then Darryl for the hunt, and for being there with me. He was so excited for me you would of thought it was his deer. Then Derek showed up, and we got excited all over again. I couldn’t ask for a better father or brother-in-law.

My second shot was a double lunger while Darryl’s hit the butt. Of course there was some ribbing about that, and my one shot when I had five in the gun!

I called Jodee and she got Caleb on the phone. The first thing he ask is if I got a big buck? I told him Jesus answered his prayer, and he got real excited. He asked all about the buck, and I let him know that it was his prayers that got him for me, and how good God is to us. It had to be Gods hand at work for everything to fall into place. The deer stopping at a spot I just ranged, he quartered away looking the other way, and without snow he would of been almost impossible to track. About 20 minutes after finding the deer all the snow had melted. There were many more things too, but the bottom line is God is good.

You can see the big smile on Caleb’s face in the picture with me and my daughter Makaylee. I am a blessed man.

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Brett Ansel One of Monroe’s Finest

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

PhotobucketPhotobucket“This is my little brother Brett Charles Ansel who retired from the Monroe City Police Dept. this past summer. Ever since he was a young boy he wanted to be a policeman. As a teenager he joined the reserve program which only whetted his appetite to be “a real cop!” Brett’s older brother Darryl was already serving the community as a policeman (eventually becoming chief) so Brett had a hero right in his own family.

In January of 1980 Brett became a patrolman for the city of Monroe. We were all so proud of him, and he was beaming with satisfaction himself. During those years as a patrolman he distinguished himself on many different occasions, putting his life “on the line” more than once. He helped with the “shop with a cop” Christmas program, and was chosen by his peers to help negotiate union business. During his time as a patrolman he was named “officer of the year” by his superiors, earning their respect as well.

In 2002 he was asked to head up the new motorcycle division. The new corporal loved bikes, and jumped at the chance to ride a Harley, and get paid to do it! During this time Brett was in his glory, but an opening in the detective bureau tested his love for the “big bikes!” He was offered the position, and after agonizing over the decision, he finally decided to “go for it!” At first he didn’t know if he made the right choice, but it soon became apparent that Brett was a natural for this job. In his first year on the job he solved two murder cases that had languished for years in the unsolved files. His knack for uncovering leads, and winning the confidence of suspects, was uncanny, as case after case went to trial with good solid evidence.

In 2007 he was again nominated for (and won) Monroe Police Officer of the Year. He was celebrated by his fellow officers, and superiors, as being an exemplary policeman, and a credit to the community.

Little brother retired this past summer after 29 years of dedicated service to the people of Monroe. He will be missed of this I’m sure. His dream fulfilled, his passion satisfied! Now what chapters remain to be written, only God knows, but at least He has “a good man to work with!” Congratulations Brett, you’ve made your whole family proud, and I’m sure dad is too! See ya at your retirement party Saturday.

Where’s all the Deer?

Monday, November 17th, 2008

PhotobucketIf you could read my lips I’d be saying “Where are all the deer?” Yesterday (Sunday) I went to church, in the morning, then headed back over to hunt  Hillsdale in the evening. Same old routine as the day before, except I climbed into my 20 foot tree stand, and Tony climbed into his at the other end of our property. I could see for a long way, but nothing was moving. Around 5:00 o’clock two “peanuts” came in from behind me, and fed around my stand for over half an hour. Nothing like live decoys, but even they didn’t work! It was very windy, with on and off snow showers, but the deer should of been hungry, after laying low for several crummy days.

We heard very little shooting around us, and it seemed like no one was even hunting the adjacent properties. That could be one of the main reasons we weren’t seeing deer. The Schneider boy’s lease land across from us, and even their property was silent this year. I’m thinking the deer kill is going to be “way” down this season. We didn’t see many deer on cars coming home, and the check station we drove by was not very busy. Maybe we are in an area of low deer numbers, but I doubt it. We’ll just have to wait and see how things go from here.

My nephew Scott Smiley called last evening and said he got a nice 7-pointer over in Branch county. I’ll get some more information, along with a few pictures. Way to go Scott.

Mike

Weather “3” Hunters “0”

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Today November 15 th. had to be the worst opening day, weather wise, I have ever endured. Not only today, but the last two days leading up to the gun opener were not so great either. Over the last three days I’ve battled wind, rain, snow, and more rain. In the course of those three days I saw two small doe’s, and my son-in-law saw four off in the distance. Not the kind of weather conducive to hanging meat on the pole.

It was a steady rain as we sloshed ourselves to our hunting positions, an hour before daybreak. Tony was hunting out of a tree stand, and I had a pop-up ground blind to hide in. I had a rain coat, but no pants, so they were quite wet when I arrived at my blind. I got myself situated, and then the sky’s opened up, and the wind really started to blow. Usually we have a westerly or south westerly wind, but today it was a frigid “northwester!” Of course thats the direction of my main window opening, and as soon as I unzipped the widow, in came the rain. Not only that, but the wind was trying to pick up my blind and take me to Kansas. I had to literally hang onto the inside crossbars to keep it from blowing away.

Tony and I had a rendezvous time of 10:00 o’clock, and I wasn’t sure I could stay out that long. Well at 9:00 o’clock I saw a hunter walk totally across our private property, just 120 yards in front of my blind. I thought it was Tony, but the guy disappeared into the next piece of private ground. That really ticked me off, but what could I do about it? At 10 minutes to 10:00 I start throwing things in my backpack, for my hike back to the truck, when my cell phone rings. (Should of shut it off) The voice on the other end says “hey where you at?” I reply “I’m just getting ready to go back to the truck, where are you?” Tony says “I’ve been here since 8:30 I’m soaked to the bone!” So I retied my blinds guide ropes, and hoped it wouldn’t end up blowing in the pond, located about 15 yards behind it. There was now snow mixed in with the wind driven rain, and I knew those deer were holed up in a warm bed somewhere. Tony and I decided if those deer can do so can we. We’ll come back tomorrow when the for cast is calling for “just” snow. I guess we’re just a couple of “old” fair weather hunters, but at least we’ll live another day to tell about it, and we won’t have to walk home from Kansas!

An Evening in the Stand Finally

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Well I finally made it out again, after a 3-1/2 week lull.  I used my back up stand for the first time, as it seemed to have a favorable wind.  It’s set up in a fence row next to a small thicket, which is next to a field of standing corn.  I have 20 acres of clover behind me, and was hoping a few deer would filter from the heavy cover before dark.  With about an hour of daylight to go the wind shifted toward the thicket, so I figured it wasn’t going to happen tonite.  About 20 minutes before dark, I happened to turn a little, and there was a deer feeding in the clover field, just 15 yards away.  I turned to get a better look, and could of “popped” this unsuspecting small doe easy, but I figured she may decoy in a rutting buck.  The only animal to follow in her tracks was a opossum, so I had to call it a night.

Tony didn’t even see a deer, and time is running out before gun season opens.  With all the active scrapes we have around us we were surprised the deer weren’t moving earlier.  We did see some later on our drive home, so they must be waiting till after dark before they expose themselves.  We’ll be going back out Thursday and Friday, and then take in the opener of gun season.  Rain is forecast for all three days!  Woopi!

Mike

Two More for the Books

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

pal's dad” alt=”” tom's buddyFor those of you who were wondering how Tom Hedke’s story could be any better; here is HOW!  Pictured above is Boone Bergsma (8 pointer) and his dad Doug and his 14 pointer.  Boone also used a longbow to down his, while his dad used a compound.  Both bucks were  shot in Illinois, and Boone also got his kill on tape.  I am not a offical scorer, but I do know how its done, and my estimate for Boone’s 8 point would be around 130 Pope and Young inches.  His dad’s 14 pointer would gross around 155 if I’m seeing all the points on this “bad boy!”  Tom’s 11 pointer grossed 160, so you have three bucks for the book!

When is the last time you heard of three hunters all bagging record class bucks with a bow and arrow?  I don’t know if I ever remember such a feat being done!  You all deserve a “well done” for such an accomplishment as this.  There had to be quite a bit of skill and ability to pull this one off.  You guys are the envy of every whitetail hunter who reads this blog.

As of today Tom Hedke is now in Indiana after another bruiser.  You may have noticed I had to edit yesterday’s blog about Tom’s story.  I reported the deer as  being taken in Indiana and it actually was Illinois.  My mistake, all those horns gave me “blogger’s fever!”  Keep us posted Tom, Boone, (how appropiate is that name) and Doug.  Again congratulations on doing something that most hunters only dream about!

Mike