Archive for April, 2009

Random Thoughts

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

PhotobucketI got my grand-daughter Ava working on a box call, and after only about 10 minutes of instruction, she started sounding good.  Well pretty good, I mean it was ok!  If I can keep her wanting to learn; she may be calling a big Tom in for me next year.  I have 5 grandsons and 5 granddaughters and none of them have showed a real interest in following me into the woods.  Maybe Ava will be “the one!”

Been thinking about the relationships you build through blogging.  It might seem odd, but I feel a kinship with those of you who regularly read my blogs.  I always look forward to your comments.  Some of you I have sent personal e-mails to, and have gotten to know you and your families somewhat.  A few live far away, like Oregon and Idaho, and your adventures add excitement and wonder to my life.  It would be nice to have a Rendezvous one year and spend some fun time together.

My buddy Randy Mills didn’t get a deer this year in Kentucky, but a friend of his did (10 point.) Another friend from work went, and passed away last week at 47 years old.  He died from Salmonella poisoning.  What a strange way to exit into eternity!  When ya think about it we all have a last hunting season.  Most don’t think very much about preparing for their final “trip!”  For any trip (hunt) to be successful you need alot of preparation, as well as a plan to follow.  You need a map or GPS, proper clothing, food, tools, good working weapon, and many many more details to pull a successful trip together.  Probably the most important thing is deciding your destination.  Once your sure where you want to go, you better follow the proper directions to get there.  None of us are going to make it out of this great journey alive.  What happens next?  Well there aren’t a whole lot of choices out there.  Lets see you could come back as a cockroach, just fertilize mother earth, become a god, go to a place where you are totally separated from God, family, or friends, or live forever in a special place prepared only for you.  I might of missed a few choices, but YOU must decide where your journey is going to take you.  And whatever you decide you better make good preparations so  you arrive at the place you intended.

You see why this is titled “Random Thoughts?”  Brother Darryl took two of his grand kids hunting turkey last week, and 10 year old Tanner (TJ) got  a Tom with his 20 gauge.  I haven’t heard if Tristan did any good, but I’ll do a follow up blog when I do.


Captain Reno Alley

Friday, April 24th, 2009

PhotobucketPhotobucketThis is Captain Reno Alley, Myself, and grandson Kyle Pafford after our morning fishing excursion.  I already wrote a blog about our fishing trip, but I wanted to fill in some of the blanks about our guide.

Any hunter or fisherman, who has ever hired a guide service to help in his/her quest for fur, fowl, or fish knows that the trip hinges on the integrity of the guide.  I have had the misfortune of hiring two guides (one on a bear hunt and one bass fishing trip) that were very sub-par in their business dealings with their clients.  This leaves a bad taste in the clients mouth, as he’s wasted time, resources, and opportunity, not to mention a desire to” slow roast” said guide.  Enough about bad guides!

Now I’ll  talk about those in the business who are a joy and sheer pleasure to share in your memories.  Captain Reno Alley is one of those guys who delivers what he advertises, and goes out of his way to make sure you enjoyed yourself.  Even if we had not caught over 30 fish, on our morning trip, we still would of enjoyed ourselves with this affable Captain.   The Captain has no sons, and his grand kids live several states away.  He and his wife have a couple dogs, and they like it that way.  Now grandson Kyle is an active little guy, and being on the water didn’t intimidate him at all.  Captain Reno “worked” Kyle like he was a 12 pound bass.  He knew what to say, and when to say it.  He was stern, funny, and patient all at the same time, and that was just with Glen and I!  He had Kyle eating out of his hand, and even let the little fisherman steer his beautiful bass boat back to shore.  (Well not quite all the way back!)

Captain Reno was prepared to fish the minute we anchored, and had everything we needed to have a good day on the water.  He wasn’t afraid to share his knowledge of fishing with a couple northern carpetbaggers. (Glen owns a carpet store)  We enjoyed our all to short time with the Captain, and both of us will book again with him, when in the Orlando area.

I posted his card on this blog, but you can’t read his web-site or e-mail.  So here it is and  Not only will you have a great fishing experience, but Captain Reno can set you up on a turkey, alligator, or wild boar hunt.  Hey let the wives go shopping for the day, and combine pleasure with pleasure while enjoying the Florida weather.  Give the Captain all call.  You’ll be glad you did.


Bunnies and Little Girls

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

PhotobucketIt doesn’t get much cuter than two pretty little girls and a baby bunny.  Every time I see one of these furry little rabbits I swear off ever hunting them again.  As a matter of fact I haven’t put a rabbit in the skillet in some time!

Anyway this little cottontail almost fell victim to my lawn mower.  At this time of year, when people are cutting their grass for the first time, they need to be on the watch out for fur-balls in the high grass.  A mother rabbit does not need a lot of shelter for her nest.  Any slight indention in the ground, lined with some soft rabbit fur, and she’s quite content to birth her babies.  They don’t stay there for long, but more than one bunny has had his little life shortened by someone doing yard work.

This little fella was by himself, and I saw him just before a premature horrendous death.  I stopped the lawn mower, and just picked him up.  I knew the grand-kids would get a “charge” out of him, so I put him in my cooler till they came over.  They petted his little furry body, and we took some pictures, then let him go.  I took him back to the area where I found him, but when I put him down he ran straight for our big pine tree.  It has low hanging branches and is a perfect hiding spot.  I’m sure he knew where he was going.

Before I finished cutting the grass, I took a walk around the yard.  I wanted to make sure that there would be no mishaps today.  If you haven’t mowed your lawn yet, it might not be a bad idea Photobucketto do the same thing.

U.P. Fish Story

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

PhotobucketPaula Baldwin Sides just sent me this picture of her father-in-law Greg Sides with a really nice lake trout he caught.  How would you like to pull this “whale” through your hole in the ice?  Greg was in the Canteen Ice Fishing Derby near his hometown of Pequaming near L’anse Michigan.  There were six cash prizes and one of them went to Greg.  The overall winner hauled in an 18 pound fish.  As you can see by the picture (the frozen fish) it was bitter cold the day of the derby, but that didn’t stop 95 hardy souls from trying their luck, through the ice.  Congratulations Greg on your prize fish.  I’m sure he’ll make a fine dinner for you and the family.


Some Florida Memories

Monday, April 20th, 2009

PhotobucketIf I have any readers of this blog left-I’m back.  I couldn’t find anyone to fill in for me while I was gone to Florida. but thought I would have a computer available for my use at the complex.  I did but it was so far away, and complicated, that I decided to just go “fish”!  “Wow” was that a good decision.

My son-in-law and I booked a guide service (MEMORY MAKIN’ GUIDES) with Captain Reno Alley, and he was awesome!  I plan on doing a follow up story on the Captain in my upcoming blogs.  Anyway he agreed to let my four year old grandson come along (for free,) and did he put us on some fish.  Kyle had his little Snoopy rod and reel, and cast that thing for about 3 solid hours.  We let Kyle hook and land two bass, but we couldn’t talk him into holding them.  I got some good movies though.  Glen caught 16 largemouths, 2 dogfish, and a alligator gar.  I caught 12 largemouth, and 3 dogfish.  Of course we released all the fish, as the largest was about 5 pounds.  Believe me if we would of landed an 8-10 pounder it was going in the live well.

It would of been interesting to try and land a “hog” largemouth, as the smaller ones give you a “run for your money!”  The Captain was true to his guide service name; he did help create some wonderful memories for us.  When you consider I could of fished with the Captain for 8 days versus spending $2000 smackers on a turkey hunt-I think it was a very wise choice.Photobucket“Glen and one of his beautiful Florida largemouths.

Turkey “Sticker Shock”

Friday, April 10th, 2009

In just a few short hours my wife and I will be headed to Sunny (we hope) Orlando Florida.  We are going with my oldest daughter Tara, her husband Glen, and our 4 year old grandson Kyle.  Tara and Glen have a time share, and invited us along for some R & R in the sunshine state.  My wife is on spring break, and so is Tara (school teacher) and me I’m just an “old” retired guy looking for something to do.

I figured if we’re going to Florida during the spring turkey season, then maybe I could take a few days to hunt the rarest bird of them all.  The Osceola Turkey is by far the hardest bird to collect, in order to fulfill the “turkey grand slam!”  I didn’t want to have to drive very far away from Orlando, so I Goggled a couple outfitters within an hour and a half drive from our hotel.  I must tell you that I experience “sticker shock” when the outfitters quoted me a price for a two day hunt.  They both assured me my chance of getting a bird was almost 100%, but my success came with a price tag of over $2000 dollars.  That’s alot of money for 10 pounds of turkey meat.  That works out to $200 dollars a pound.  Needless to say I’ll have two more days to relax around the pool, and dream about what could of been, if only I lived the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous!”  More and more it seems that hunting is becoming a wealthy mans sport.  Thank God for the money hunters have poured back into conservation, wildlife restoration, and habitat development and acquisition.  At least I can still hunt deer, bear, and turkey here in Michigan, and I don’t have to remortgage the house.

I hope there is Internet access where we are going so I can keep my blogging up.  Sunshine and 85 degrees here we come!


Papa’s Girls

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

PhotobucketI can’t hardly get enough of my grandkids.  They stopped in today, and I volunteered to watch them while my daughter went grocery shopping.  Ava (5-years old) asked if we could go back to the tadpole pond, and see if we could find some more of those slippery critters.  I got a couple walking sticks for them, and off we went.  We had to keep sharing the shorter stick, as the other was to long and “heddy” for little Addysin.  I’ve made several walking sticks for the grandkids, but have a backlog of them to make for the last five, who seem to have snuck in on me.

We made it to the pond, but the water was really high, due to several days of rain/snow.  The girls used their walking sticks to turn over the leaves, in the pond, where the tadpoles were hiding.   I never even thought about Ava wearing her good black patent leather shoes, and Addysin wearing her “clots.”  By the time we got back to the truck, they were a muddy mess.  “Hey I’m a guy!  We don’t think about these sort of things, unless you women leave us a note!”  Might be a good idea to keep a pair of boots for them around the house somewhere.

We did see bunches of tadpoles, and several had all four legs developing.  We also had several blue jays squawking at us, and saw some raccoon tracks.  Except for muddy shoes and pant cuffs it was a great day for Papa and his girls.


The Mountains Majesty

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

PhotobucketSince I have been blogging for the Monroe News I have written over 410 short “stories.”  It takes time, thought, and discipline to make sure you write a piece that you are proud to put your name on.  As you know most of my articles come from resources from within my own large family, or hunting acquaintances.  I am always looking for stories that the outdoor community would be interested in.   Any, of this blogs readers, who may have something to share with others may e-mail me with their ideas.  My address is

I also have my own web-page which can be accessed through  This will take you to my other hunting web page that I have been working on.  Within a short while I will be doing all my blogging on this web, so I would really appreciate it if my regular Monroe News readers would continue following my blogs at  From time to time I also contribute to the Base Camp Legends blogs, and Lord willing I will continue to do so.  My site, on their web-page, is called “Hunting The Good The Bad The Ugly.”

A friend sent me the above picture, and anyone who has ever been in the mountains knows there is a mystique and power that you can actually sense and feel.  It is good to know that this beautiful creation was made for our pleasure, by the One who’s word’s (power) hold all things together.



Let Me Out Of Here

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Photobucket“Let me out of  here!”   I feel like  I’ve been cooped up far too long, and yes I do need to get out of here.   Winter has seemed to drag on forever, and the weatherman is calling for 3-6 inches of snow over the next two days.  I love snow, and I want it in the winter, but by golly I don’t like it in the Spring.  Around here it can start snowing as early as September, and as you see, can keep snowing through April.  Seven to eight months of snow is enough for even an Eskimo.  I have one more month before my turkey hunt, and I am counting the days.

Art, Jeff, and Matt, over at “Simply Outdoors,” have been doing very well on those early “tasty” steelhead.  Wish we had that kind of fishing in our streams.  I get a chance for a few walleye’s each year, but without a Lake Erie equipped boat, you don’t put many in the freezer.

Just watched Tom Sorenson’s video of his mother (Sue) downing an Idaho whitetail.  It’s called “Off Trail” and it was taken on their Nov 8th. deer hunt.  Take a few minutes and go over to “Base Camp Legends” and learn something about this dedicated hunting family.  They get a chance to hunt some of the most beautiful country in the world, and then share it with us.  In fact four of them are on a bear hunt, in Idaho, right now.  Can’t wait to hear from them.

Well I have to go see if I can find my snow shovel.  Something is just down right wrong with shoveling snow in April.  Course it could be worse!  I could be stacking sand bags along a river bank.  Ah I guess I haven’t got it that bad after all!



Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

PhotobucketFive of the six Ansel brothers (l to R) Darryl, Brett, Randy, Dean, and Mike.  Brother number six (Brad) could not make it, as we visited with our good friends Gary and Nancy Baldwin.

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the Baldwin name, as we Ansel’s have bear hunted out of their camp since 1973.  Gary and Nancy were on their way back home to Marquette, after a lengthy winters stay in sunny Florida, and stopped to spend a few days with “the boys!”  Gary and his dad Dick, along with brother Greg, are the ones that keep the Baldwin deer/bear camp a bee-hive of activity 10 months out of the year.  I say 10 months, as it’s kind of hard to traverse 200 inches of snow during the dead of winter.  The snow is melting though and Dick has probably already driven his little ranger back to camp.

Last evening we enjoyed a rib-eye steak dinner, with all the fixings, along with some goose breast that I grilled.  We had a lovely evening at brother Randy’s place, reminiscing about past exploits and adventures pursuing bear and deer, here in Michigan.  The Baldwins have always bent over backwards to make us feel at home, during our yearly stay, in their neck of the woods.   We’ve all went from young adults to grandparents, over the years, and the journey has been much sweeter with the Baldwins along.  Good times, good memories, good friends-life is good.