Archive for September, 2009

A Really Eager Beaver

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

PhotobucketThe beavers are thriving on the Baldwin property in the valley between the ridges.  We saw more sign of their presence than we ever have in the past.  Dick Baldwin used to trap beavers too help supplement the family income, but no one is trapping them now.  I personally found three beaver lodges, which means at least three different beaver families.  I’m sure there are more than that, as the one dam I found was at least 100 yards long.  Stop and think about that, 300 foot of engineered dam 4-5 foot high, in most places.  Not only do they build them, but they maintain them.

My great nephew Seth Ansel is standing next to a huge pine tree that is about a day away from laying on the ground.  This is the biggest tree we have ever seen beavers tackle.  They don’t use chain saws, but their front teeth.  Beavers teeth continue to grow their whole lives, and I can see why.  The word eager beaver is most fitting, as these industrious critters never slow down.  For two days I fished, standing on the top of Mr. Beavers dam.  My 215 manly pounds caused a slight breach in the construction project, as water flowed out from the backed up pond.  Each day I returned, the breech was repaired.  The beavers were probably about to get a lawyer and sue me for causing them extra work, so I found a different spot for my last day of fishing.

I brought back some “beaver sticks” from which I make walking sticks that I sell at craft shows.  I’ll post  pictures of some of my completed work one of these days.

MikePhotobucket

I Drew Blood

Monday, September 28th, 2009

PhotobucketI am happy to report that I “drew blood” on my bear hunt!  The only problem is  it was “MINE!”  While sighting my gun in I inadvertently (idiotically-stupidly) put my hand to close to the shell ejection bolt on my 742.  I actually saw a hunk of skin fly through the air after I made this rookie mistake.  Oh that hurts!

Anyway this is the only blood I saw, unless fish guts count.  No bear, but the baits were being visited.  Not always by bear, as we had several wolves come in on Wednesday evening at my brothers stand, and also had ravens and vultures pay us an unwelcome visit.  If anyone thinks hunting bear over bait is a slam dunk, they don’t have a clue what their talking about.

I (we) busted our butts from sunup till late in the evening.  It’s go, go, go all day long in order to make sure you’ve done everything possible for a successful hunt.   We bear hunters know there are no guarantees in this back breaking sport, but we keep coming back year after year.  I just love the Upper Peninsula, and the Baldwin family is such a joy to be around.  83 Year old Dick hasn’t slowed down very much, as he and his son-in-law Dale cut wood (cherry for veneer) for two straight days.  Gary’s new camp is coming along fine, and I got to see brother Greg one day.  He works for the Federal Fisheries Dept. and we don’t get to visit with him often.

The weather cooperated, but the bear don’t always follow our rule book.  We saw mink, beaver. snakes (didn’t even know they had any around there) partridge, porcupine, deer, eagles, and caught some fish.  So even without seeing a bear, we still had a great experience.  I’ll write about some of our adventures in the soon coming blogs.

I’m going to try and post a picture of a curious beaver that swam within 10 foot of me while I was fishing one day.Photobucket” Mike

Getting Out Of Dodge

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

leaving DodgeGetting ready to get outta Dodge.  It’s hard to believe that only two people are going north for a few days!  Seems I’ve got everything, but the kitchen sink stuffed one place or another.  Yes Tony is going, but Dean is going to have to wait for next year.  Were hoping the weather holds out for a little pike fishing before the evening bear hunt.  Haven’t heard anything from the guys that are hunting right now, but there isn’t much of an opportunity to make phone calls anyway.  Because of Tony’s job we have to be back for Monday morning.  I have a few stops to make before heading out, but I’m hoping for a departure time of around 1:00 p.m.

It will be several days before I’m able to blog again, but will update my hunt as soon as we get back.

Mike

Bear Hunt 2009 – Going South Fast

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Sometimes the best laid plans of Mice and Men go astray.  The bear hunt for 2009 seems to be unraveling fast, at least for brother Dean and Myself.  I was supposed to leave yesterday to freshen baits and set out a couple new ones, but brother Darryl and his son decided to go back up Monday evening and hunt Tuesday and Wednesday.  Since there was only one “hot” bait anyway they will be “chucking” that one up, and setting out a new one before they leave Wednesday evening.  I was going to wait till Dean gets off work early Thursday morning, and leave for the Upper Peninsula.  Now Dean tells me he’s 90% sure he won’t be going.

I’m working on getting Tony to go with me, but no matter I have to retrieve my 4-wheeler, which I left up there from summer vacation.  You think I’d be used to this by now, but it’s still disappointing when your expectations fall way short of what you had planned.  So my trip has been cut from 10 days to 4 days, and I may be going by myself.  Also I check the long range weather forcast for Marquette and it’s calling for two days of rain during my 4-day hunt.  The saga continues!

Mike

Justin’s Bear

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Photobucket The bear hunters!  This was Justin’s first bear, and he did it the hard way with a bow.  There were three generations sitting in the stand the evening Justin arrowed this bruin.  Justin and his son Seth were in a double stand, and grandpa Randy was filming from another stand just a few feet away.  This bear came in so late that they didn’t get any film, but the evening before  nine different bear came in, and they are on film.

When old blackie came in, Justin could tell he was nervous, so he didn’t waste any time drawing down on him.  Randy said it happened so fast he wouldn’t of been able to film anyway.  Seth got to see his dad place a great shot from about 15 yards away.  Justin said he thought he heard the death moan just seconds after shooting the bear.  Sure enough he didn’t go but 30 yards, and piled up.  It’s probably a 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 year old boar with a very large head in comparison to his body size.  Live weight would be in the 200-225 pound range which is a respectable Michigan black bear representative.

Brother Randy said it doesn’t get much better than this.  Last year Justin filmed Randy getting his bear, and this year Randy is with his son when he “connects!”  It was a bonus having his grandson in the stand with them.  That is pretty cool.  Way to go Justin.

Mike

The Bear Hunters Return

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

There are no guarantee’s when it comes to hunting.  No-matter how much time, effort, and money you put into it, it is what it is (hunting.)  You do your homework, you know your quarry, but you are still the “stranger” in the woods.  Your on Natures turf, and game animals all have a
“play-book” of their own.  They have survived for millennium, because they know how to adapt, and they have God given senses that are far better than ours.  It’s not enough to be more intelligent than your quarry, some good fortune helps, planning is good, but as I stated there are no guarantees you will put meat in your freezer, or mount a rack for your hat!

I say all that in order to “cover” for the guys that came home empty handed.  Darryl and Derek came home with only memories of “what might of been!”  The three baits ,set on State land, stopped being hit, and the only bait that was “hot” was the one Justin killed his bear on.  Derek hunted this bait the last two evenings, and had bear around him, but nothing presented a bow shot.  That’s why its called hunting bear, not killing bear.  Derek and his boys did hammer some very nice “brookies” but those “young-ins” had to get back to school, so they could grow up and be smart like their Uncle Mike.

Before they headed for home they “chucked” up two bait piles for Dean and Myself.  The dog hunters are in the woods now, and that could help determine if we are successful or not.  The long range forecast is calling for much cooler temps (good) but also several days of rain (bad.)  No-matter I plan on having a good time with my little brother and son-in-law Tony.  I still don’t have any pictures of Justin’s bear, but will post them when I do.

Mike

Bear Report (2009)

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Deans big oneThis picture goes back in the archives a few years.  Youngest brother Dean was 17 when he shot this 300 plus pound bear.  He’s now in his mid forties, and will be my hunting partner in less than two weeks.

Oh, I almost forgot!  Justin shot a bear Friday evening with his bow.  It’s his first bear, and he made an excellent shot on the bruin.  It only went 30 yards before piling up!  He shot it off the stand where they had seen 9 bear the evening before.  In looking at the videos they took, of those nine bear, it was determined that two of them were indeed shooters.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell how big they are when they come in alone.  That’s all I’m going to say about Justin, as I’ll wait to get some pictures of his hunt.

Darryl and Derek are still trying to connect, but the baits they were hunting have not had any activity in the last several days.  They still have a couple evenings before Derek has to be back to work at Cabela’s.

Mike

When “Groupies” Are A Good Thing

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

PhotobucketI didn’t hear anything from the guys last evening, and I don’t know if that’s a bad thing or not.  They only have phone service in a few areas, so maybe they didn’t have an opportunity to call.  Or they could be tracking one right now-wishful thinking.  Later in the day I’ll try and get in touch with them to see what went down last night.

I got my bow out the other day, and flung some arrows at my deer target.  I shot from 20 yards, and this is the result of my first arrow group.  I shoot with my fingers, as I have never been able to shoot a release consistently.  I had the target slightly quartering away, and all these arrows would of taken out both lungs.  Not bad after a 6 month layoff!  In this case “groupies” can be a good thing.  I still haven’t settled on a broadhead, so I’ll be tinkering with those choices today.  If I can get them flying as well as my field points I’ll be all set.

Been having major problems with my “man truck” and it’s beginning to look like I won’t even be able to drive it up north.  My brother Dean has a Ford Excursion I can borrow, but 10 miles to the gallon of gas isn’t what I was hoping for.  My truck has been in the shop 5-times in the last month, and is there now getting a fuel pump installed in the gas tank.  It’s cost me $1500.00 dollars in repairs in just a few weeks.  I’ve been seriously considering staying home (NOT.)  I’ll take the Excursion and just be glad I have a vehicle I can borrow.

Mike

First Night Out (2009)

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Photobucket This is Randy and his son Justin from last year.  Randy tagged his bear on Sept 11th with Justin doing the video.  This year Justin drew a  permit and Randy is on the camera.

I just got off the phone with them, and what a report they had.  There were 9 bear in their bait last evening, and they got it all on film.  The first bear showed up around 6:00p.m. and was estimated at about 120 pounds.  A second lone bear arrived after the first one left, and he also was on the smaller side.  Around 7:30 a nice sow came in with three cubs, and just before dark another sow arrived with two cubs in tow.  Randy said it was the most exciting evening he ever spent in the woods.  They are having great weather and Justin is fired up for this evenings hunt.

Brother Darryl and his boy Derek had a yearling come in early, and after he left the bait was over-run by raccoons.  He said there were close to 30 of them in the bait.  That could be a problem, since the other two baits have dried up, and haven’t been hit in several days.  It doesn’t take long for your fortunes to change when your invading natures territory.

I told them to call me if they hang one on the pole this evening.  Both nephews are using their bows, so the bear have to be close.  Usually shots are 20 yards or less.  I’ll keep this blog up to date as I get info from them.  Man I wish I was there!

Take a few minutes and remember the hero’s of 9/11 and all the loved ones lost on this day 8 years ago.  There is forever a VOID in all our hearts, as humanity was diminished and deemed unworthy by a group that puts no value on life.  They can kill the flesh, but the Spirit can’t be harmed!

Mike

Baiting “Grin and Bear it”

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

PhotobucketJust received another report from my brothers about the “bear hunting” forecast.  Things are looking about as good as they can be, with all baits being “slammed,” and my 4-wheeler even got fixed. (chain)  Randy says at least two of the spots have huge bear visiting, and Darryl is going to throw up a couple trail cams to see what time the “big boys” are showing up.  He (Darryl and Derek) are leaving today with another trailer full of bait.  Once there they’ll set up stands and put the camera’s out.  We don’t usually hunt the mornings, so Thursday evening should be full of excitement.  I wish I could be there with them, but am going to have to settle for a phone call late that evening.

The bear in this trail cam picture is still in the area, as far as we know.  He’s old, big, and smart, and Darryl is hoping he makes just one little mistake.  These big ones don’t get that way by being stupid, so the chances of fooling him are slim, but that’s what keeps us coming back.  There is also a big one coming into one of the baits close to camp, which it seems Randy and Justin are going to set up on.  Just a few more days and we’ll see if all our hard work has paid off.

Mike