Archive for May, 2009

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Nevaeh BuchananThe fate of little 5 year old Nevaeh Buckanan is still not known as of today.  For a full blog on this local tragedy go to www.mikeansel.com, and get some of my thoughts on this story.  If any of you readers believe in the power of prayer please intercede on Nevaehs behalf.  Our community is pulling together on finding this little girl, and we are all hoping, beyond hope, for a good outcome.  Please stand with us and Nevaeh’s family.  Thank you for your prayers and concern.

Mike

Friends

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

PhotobucketFrom left to right are Gary Wilson, Jim Smith, Dick Robinson, Myself, and Bob Windel.

Much water has flowed down the mountain since these five friends fished the Cache Le Pouder River in the Colorado Rockies.  My second time in the Rockies, but my first earnest fishing expedition.  From the trail head we hiked into the back country several miles, packing everything but the kitchen sink.  Between the five of us we carried about 400 pounds of gear.  Bob Windel (a NFL prospect on the far right) carried the most, and didn’t let those little mountains slow him down.  We set up our tents next to the river, and made memories that will last us all through our lives.  You discover something about yourself, and your companions when you rely on one another and nature to provide for your well-being.

Gary is a 30 year friend from church, and is the art professor at Monroe County Community College.  On this trip I discovered Gary’s outdoor culinary skills were top-notch.  Gary cooked those mountain trout for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we never got tired of eating them.  As long as we were fed well, nothing else mattered.  I also discovered why people like him so much!  He has a sense of humor that is witty, self effacing, and mischievous at the same time.

Jimmy Smith, at the time, was my best friend.  We slept in the same tent, and basically fished every pool together.  Jimmy was a pure “city boy” and I wanted to show him a side of life unfamiliar to his upbringing.  Believe it or not Jim packed in his guitar, and serenaded us around the campfire at night.  I discovered the soothing voice and musical talent that was just waiting to be mined from this, as yet, undiscovered talent.  Jim and I no longer see one another, and his lost friendship is a definite negative in this journey of life.

Dick Robinson and I graduated the same year from high school, but only became friends through our church associations.  Dick was one of Monroe’s best tennis players, along with his younger brother LaVern.  Dick was an accomplished artist, and a purest in every sense of the word.  I never realized what an art form “fly fishing” was until I watched Dick perform, in the middle of a high mountain valley.  It was awe inspiring to watch him in action.  Once he hooked a fish, and landed it, he was so gentle with the release.  Dick was totally in tune with his surroundings both spiritually and emotionally.  Dick died in his 40’s from brain cancer, and is sadly missed by many.

Bob Windel was the new kid on the block, as we had never met him before.  He was Gary’s brother-in-law and soon became fast friends with us all.  Bob was a starting college lineman from Minnesota, and was highly scouted for the draft.  When push came to shove Bob choose a career in education rather than the NFL.  Bob is now the administrator of a private school in Eagle Colorado.  His rugged surroundings mirror Bobs love of the outdoors, but masks his caring and gentle nature.  I discovered that this gentle giant was not only big and strong, but strong in his faith as well.  I liked Bob from the second I met him, and have admired him and his wife over the many years and miles separating us.

On any backwoods experience companions can make or break a trip.  When multiple personalities are involved things can go in the wrong direction, in a hurry.  This was one of those trips that was made in heaven.  Not a “blip” on the screen, nor a discouraging word.  Great memories are made from such meshing of men’s hearts and souls!

On a side note, Gary Wilson’s son Darren is a college professor at Judson, and just finished his second film documentary about the miracles of God in this present age.  Bob’s son Bobby is one of the camera men and helps with the editing.   Reviews of Darren’s  first film “The Finger of God” can be found on the Internet, along with information on his new venture into independent film making.  You will be challenged by what Darren discovered as he traveled the world documenting the miraculous.

Mike

Random Thoughts and Memorial Day

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

The good news is I can blog today.  The bad news is my computer will not be up and running for about another week.  My daughter let me use her laptop, but there are limits to how long I can use it.

Tonys been getting some pictures of deer around his small woods, and when I get them I’ll post em.  One is a nice little buck.  Also seen one around our house along with a big tom and a hen.  It’s a good thing I’ve got one in the freezer already.

I’d like to wish you veterans, and their families a blessed Memorial Day.  We have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness because of the sacrifice of those military men and women who gave up their future so we could have ours.  Thanks brothers Randy and Darryl, who both served in Viet Nam, while I stayed state-side in a training unit.  I have paused over the last several days to reflect on those young men, that I knew, who never came home to their loved ones.  What gratitude we owe them and their families.  Cut down in the prime of their lives, so we could live to “old age!”  You are worthy to be remembered veterans.

You Michigan readers don’t forget the elk and bear applications are available for this fall.  One of these years I’d love to draw that coveted elk permit.  Maybe this is the year.

This is for the Birds

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

PhotobucketMake mine medium well please.  Yesterday I was getting ready to put a steak on the grill, and I looked out the back window, and saw I had help.  This little robin had been trying out his wings, and must of got hungry or tired.  He was there for awhile, as his “momma kept coming back with some delicious worms.  I was as patient as I could be, but hey this steak was “screaming” to be cooked.

I went outside to see if I could get a different picture,but he flew away, after he “crapped” on my grill again!  As I look at the  white droppings ,all over my cars and truck, I’d say the birds are doing quite well aroud hear.

The steak got cooked, and we eventually had a fine dinner without any fine feathered guest.  My brother-in-law just called to report a big tom and hen were behind his house, which is only a few hundred yards from my house.  I’d take Tony over there tomorrow, but it sounded like they would rather watch the turkey’s than eat them.  I think Tony chances are getting slimmer and slimmer.  We’ll see!

Computer Headaches

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

These computers are a wonderful thing when there are working properly.  When they are not doing what they are supposed to do they can be a real pain.  Mine is down for an indefinite amount of time.  It looks like I’m going to have to take it into a shop.  I’m using my daughters wireless, and some things are set up different than what I’m used to.

My H.P. is over 10 years old, so it is probably considered an antique for a computer.  It’s the stuff (pictures, blogs, ect.) that I sure don’t want to loose.  So you regular readers please be patient with me, and I’ll try and be up and running soon.

Going to give it a last shot this Thursday, and see if we can get Tony a bird.  Some are still gobbling, but mainly from the roost.  They seem to quiet down once they hit the   ground.  The Jakes may still be a little active, and we sure aren’t too proud to “pop” one, if he makes a mistake.   Will try and keep you posted.  It would be something if we could go 8 for 8 on the birds.

Mike

Bonus Fare

Monday, May 18th, 2009

PhotobucketI bet you can’t guess what’s cooking on the stove?  No it’s not fish, chicken, or steak.  Those are mushrooms, found while turkey hunting.  One of the delicious benefits of being in the woods this time of year, is the morel mushroom.  I cooked these up after church Sunday.  My wife wasn’t around, so I had to eat them all by myself.  Sob!  Sob!

Son-in-law Tony gave me a variation on how to cook them up, and they were fantastic.  It’s very simple, so listen up!First when you get the mushroom, cut them in half, or into manageable pieces.  Clean them with cold water, then let sit over-night in a saltwater solution.  Rinse and let dry.  Your now ready to cook these wild delights.  Start with a couple eggs, beaten in a bowel.  Dip the morels in the egg then batter them with a mixture of flour and Italian bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.  Heat a frying pan with olive oil covering the bottom of the pan.  Make sure its hot, and drop (carefully) your fare into the pan.  Brown to your liking, on both sides, and you are ready for a treat.

Mushrooms like to grow in sandy soil, and if you know where there are any dead elm trees, there’s a good chance you’ll find some morels.  This is probably the last week that you’ll find any, as the season is about over.  Good luck.

Little Man – Big Bird

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Tristens birdHot off the press!  I finally got a picture of my “great nephew’s” bird, and it was worth waiting for.  Tristen Ansel downed a gobbler bigger than he is, and of all the birds the Ansel clan has taken this year, his has the longest beard.  It was 11 inches long and weighed in at 23 pounds, with 1 inch spurs.  How many 10 year olds  shoot a record class tom their first time out?  Of course it helps to have a grandpa, and a dad, that are champion caliber callers.

Grandpa Darryl told me that this bird came into their set-up so fast, that he never had time to pick up the movie camera.  They used a hen and a strutting tom to fool the old bird, and Tristen put a great 18 yard shot on his trophy tom.  The dog-gone fan is big enough to make a ground blind out of.  Tell your dad to get the pictures and story a little faster next time ok?

When you consider that so far we have filled 7 0f 8 turkey licenses it is phenomenal.  Michigan success rates average about 35% for tagging a bird, which make our year “over the top!”  Tomorrow morning I’m going out with my son-in-law Tony, and see if we could possibly make it 8 for 8.  Now wouldn’t that be sweet?  When you think that two 10 year olds, a first time female hunter, and a overweight 62 year old were part of that “tom dropping” group, it makes it even more amazing.  I can’t wait for the morning to see if we could possibly make it 8 for 8.

Mike

The Hunt Begins

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Photobucket“The Hunt Begins.”  Mary Ansel and her guide, and husband, Derek.

Note:  Please read “From Hunters Wife to Hunter”( below) before reading this 2nd installment of Mary’s turkey hunt.

We started our hunt on Friday on a piece of property where a big tom had been seen by the property owner.  We sat, and sat, and then sat some more.  I had gloves and a face mask on, and was starting to get hot.  The temperature was, a very warm 83 degrees.  No turkeys, but lots of gnats!  Derek had another spot to check out, and this looked like the place to be in the morning.  There were turkey tracks, and wing feather trails all over, in the sand.  I guess it was a “turkey hot spot” if there is such a thing.

Saturday morning the alarm went off at 4:30, just as planned.  The snooze button was hit so many times it ceased to function, which was “not” in the plans.  It was very late when we finally rolled out of bed.  We threw on our camouflage and headed out.  Thankfully there was a McDonald’s on our way, and I got my morning cafe’ mocha.  I’m a different breed of hunter I know.  Imagine my joy when we passed a Starbucks in Gaylord.   We didn’t get out in the woods until 9:30, and Derek was apologetic over being so late in the “turkey woods.”  He kept saying “I’m always out before sunrise!”  “What would my dad say,” he wondered out loud?

This may seem totally “stupid” to many of you seasoned hunters, but I had not yet shot my gun.  With raising four kids, and all the duties of a mom, there just had not been time.  This made my probability of actually getting a bird quite slim.  Then again I had no anticipation of the loud bang, or the recoil when I squeezed the trigger.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

We found a place where I could sit against a tree, and Derek layed behind me to do the calling.  It didn’t take long for some birds to answer in the distance.  Derek called to those birds for, what seemed like hours.  They were not moving!  Derek decided it was us that had to move, so we did.  I have to say that this entire time I couldn’t get over my surroundings.  The songbirds, blue-jays, and woodpeckers were all seemingly conversing back and forth, and off in the distance were those stubborn gobbling turkeys.

In a last ditch effort Derek decided to try and bring the hens in, as those big boys weren’t leaving their “ladies!”  Derek started going crazy on his call, and I didn’t have a clue that he was stirring up the hens.  Well whatever he was doing it was working, as the gobbling started getting closer.  Suddenly I could see a turkey’s head bouncing through the trees.  My heart started to beat hard.  My shot gun rested on my knee, and I was ready to shoot.

The bird got closer and closer until, wait, it was a hen!  No, make that two hens, and strutting just behind them were two big old tom’s!!!  Their feathers were spread out and they were beautiful.  Derek said not to shoot yet, cause they needed to get a little closer.  The hens were only about 15 yards away, and starting to get nervous.   Then the tom’s seemed to notice something was going on.  They started to turn, and I asked Derek, “can I move to shoot them?”  He said “yes” and I quickly lined up my gun on the second bird, and went for it. ” Bam.”  I couldn’t tell if I had gotten it or not, but as soon as I saw Derek’s face I could tell he was down!  I started jumping up and down, and ran over and hugged my patient husband.  It was so exciting!  I was very proud and wanted to carry that bird around with me all day.  (I didn’t of course!)

The rest of the trip was spent hiking up and down beautiful hills, looking for mushrooms, and just enjoying God’s creation.  We found 70 morel mushrooms!  More than that we found quiet peace that I think,in this busy world, we both needed.

I hope this story calls out to any potential women hunters or even just nature lovers.  Get out there whenever and wherever you can!  Take your families or friends and experience as much as you can.  You will be glad you did!

Mary Ansel

I want to thank Mary for her great story.  She is an inspiration to all the hunting/outdoor community.  It was so refreshing to relive those old “first time” feelings that came from a pure unpolluted beginners heart.  Thanks Mary, and you too Derek.

Mike

From Hunters Wife – To Hunter

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

PhotobucketMary Ansel’s big Tom.  Her story in her own words.

This is a story of a women going from hunter’s wife to hunter.  I am a mom of four, and have, what I believe to be an adventuresome spirit.  (After all I did marry Derek!)  I have always considered myself on the sensitive side, and for years I couldn’t even swat a fly!  Actually I was pretty much phobic of bugs, fish, frogs, and “wildlife” in general.  Then it happened.  I fell in love with an outdoorsman, whose family tree was rooted in hunting, fishing, camping, and just plain nature.  What does a ballerina do in such a situation?

How I got to this point was a slow process.  Most things worthwhile do take time.  First it was trips up north with the kids.  Watching them fish and catch frogs and just enjoy themselves with nature has to make any parent feel good.  Dirty feet and dirty faces.  I was beginning to see that “Dirt really doesn’t hurt!”

As my relationship with God has grown through the years I have become more and more content with the outdoors.  I think at first if your mind isn’t used to the peace and quite of creation, it takes awhile to slow down and enjoy your surroundings.  Once you do you can feel Gods presence in the air, and hear Him in the birds song.  Not to mention the exhilarating smell of pine trees!  I have come to understand that these things are truly gifts.

As the years have rolled on I have experienced many exciting hunts through my husband’s stories.  Each season I think  his passion for hunting rubs off on me a little more.  Last year I actually was able to watch the hunting videos without covering my face when the hunt was happening.  This winter my husband asked “Do you want to try turkey hunting this spring?”  Hmmm.  I did want to try it, but was I really cut out for hunting?  Wouldn’t people laugh at me if I said I was going turkey hunting?  Not you hunters, but to those  people that don’t hunt turkey, it sounds a little like hunting for chickens!  Was I ready to withstand the verbal taunts I might hear from friends and family?  That’s where my adventurous spirit sad, “Sure!”

Before I knew it the plans were made.  My mom and dad, and my sister and brother-in-law welcomed my kids into their homes for a few days.  We are blessed to have a  family that is  willing to support us through life’s adventures..  The trip north was like any other northern Michigan trip, except there were fewer potty breaks, and fewer times being asked “Are we there yet?”  Derek and I laughed at everything, just like when we were dating.  I felt wonderful.

Mary Ansel

Next installment “The hunt begins.”  You don’t want to miss it!

Mike

More Birds In The Freezer

Monday, May 11th, 2009

PhotobucketYou might laugh at the young man with the turkey call, but don’t laugh too hard, cause he knows what he’s doing.  This is my brother Darryl’s grandson Tanner (T.J.) and right after this picture was taken he shot a nice Tom.  I haven’t received any pictures of it yet, but I heard he made a beautiful shot with his 20 gauge Remington.

We have two more turkey licenses, in the Ansel family, that haven’t been filled yet, so I’m just kind of hanging loose before I write about our phenomenal success this year.  We still have a few more weeks of season left, and I’m betting we fill those other permits.

Tanner is with Grandpa, in the field, whenever he gets the chance, and he’s a chip off the old block.  He’s got more hunting savvy than some adults I know!  He loves it, and him and his grandpa really enjoy one another’s company.  There will be more stories to come on this young lad, of that I’m sure.