Archive for October, 2009

My Little Pumpkins

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

PhotobucketWhat do you do, at this time of year, when you can’t make it out in the woods to hunt?  Why, you carve pumpkins for your grand kids.  This is the first of several I’ll end up doing, but it will probably be the biggest one.  We got this pumpkin from son-in-law Tony’s garden.  He’s been supplying us with our October “gourds” for many years now.

Little Addy (Snow White) liked the pumpkin, until I put a candle in and lit it!  Once I turned the lights off she had a whole new perspective on how she felt about “old Jack!”  Of course Ava thought it was “way cool!”  My wife and I aren’t really into the whole celebrating Halloween thing, but we have a good safe neighborhood for the kids to go house to house, and figure it’s better under our watchful eye than elsewhere.  Besides we get to see our kids and grand kids for a whole evening.  I think I may do a bonfire also.

Still not much news to report on the Ansel game pole.  Seems everyone is scuffling to make ends meet this year, and there isn’t alot of time (or money) for recreational pursuits.  I would say the present economy has something to do with fewer hunters in the field this year.  I hope thing pick up pretty soon.  I can’t keep writing about pumpkins can I?


Fall Colors

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

PhotobucketThe fall colors have reached their peak around here.  In some places the reds, oranges, yellows, crimsons, and various shades of green are nothing short of breathtaking.  A visual canvas that is unmatched by mans attempts to capture it!  Pictures can’t do it justice.

I made it out for only a few hours and saw nothing but a few squirrels.  The weather wasn’t the greatest and it looks like it won’t be till next week end when I can try again.  Not having a consistent place to chase whitetails sure puts the “damper” on your chances of filling your tag.  I’m getting tired of watching all the big bucks put on the ground on Versus.  I want my own experience.  In the mean time I’ll enjoy the colors.


Darryl Does It Again

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

PhotobucketThank God for my brother Darryl!  Because of his ability to put meat in the freezer and a rack on the wall, I have something to write about.  This evening I got a phone call from him saying he had a nice 8-pointer down.  He was going to contact a friend of his (Dan) and go “fetch” his buck from the woods.  I caught up with him at his house and snapped a few pictures of  him and his crew, and a very fine looking whitetail.

Darryl said that just after parking his truck he headed down a thick tree filled fenceline.  He was walking west of the tree line when he saw something move at the corner of the woods.  He put his binoculars on it, and was happy to see a deer staring his way.  Darryl simply turned around, and headed away from the deer ending up on the east side of the tree line.  He then snuck down toward the buck, as the wind was in his favor.  At about 40 yards from the deer Darryl started some doe bleats and buck grunts.  He looked for a lane to shoot through, but as yet did not know if the buck was still there or not.  He changed the setting on his grunt call to a more mature buck, and blew again.  This time he saw movement coming toward him, on the other side of the tree line.  At 20 yards Darryl drew, but the deer needed to take a couple more steps to enter a good shooting lane.  Just like he had written the script, the buck took two steps, and Darryls arrow flew true.  How sweet is that?  Shoot a nice buck on your way out to your stand at 5:30 p.m!

Sounds to me like maybe the bucks are getting a little more serious about the “gene pool” lately.  Maybe I’m going to start getting other reports of hunters success.

PhotobucketDan, Tanner, Kurt, and brother Darryl.

Where The Wild Ferns Grow

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

PhotobucketWhat does this look like to you?  Could it be the path back to the barn after grazing all day.  It could be, but it’s not!  This is a genuine southern Michigan deer run.  I found it going through a 20 yard wide funnel between a pond and a thicket.  The deer are feeding across the street and then seeking shelter back where the “Wild Ferns Grow!”  I bet most of you are drooling thinking about where “old” Mike is going to hang his tree stand, right?  Well as it often seems to go for me, this runway was on a piece of “lease” property that I happened to be a day late in obtaining.  That’s right somebody beat me to it.  So near but oh so far.  If you don’t have a good friend or relative with a southern Michigan farm, it’s hard to find a good spot to hunt.  I’ve tried the state properties and usually see more hunters than deer.  I may end up hunting very close to home this year, like in my backyard!

Congratulations are in order for my nephew Brandon Ansel who tagged a huge doe yesterday.  He sent me a couple pictures but I was having a hard time posting them.  The head on this old doe looked like a brown cement block.  She had been eating awful good as the fat layer, under her hide, was about 1″ thick.  Corn feed venison, you can’t beat it.

Rambling Man

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

PhotobucketThis is my little grand-daughter Addisyn giving me a birthday peck on the cheek.  It was a true test of her love, as I just recently grew my scruffy hunting beard back.  She passed the test.  I feel the deer wouldn’t recognise me without the facial hair.  I can hear them now “Hey don’t worry it’s just old fuzzy face, and we all know he can’t hit anything anyway!”  That’s part of my plan – let em get cocky and confident, and then “zap” he’s in the freezer!

Honestly I just started doing a little scouting around my house.  Found a few scrapes and rubs, but they looked like they were made by smaller bucks.  There has been a few reports of a big one hanging around the golf course just about 1 mile from the house.  I was hoping for a couple days this weekend but its calling for thunderstorms, and “homey” don’t hunt in downpours and lightning anymore.  Several years ago I was in my tree stand while bear hunting, and got caught in a thunderstorm.  I was in a tall stand of hemlocks and lightning struck about 75 yards away.  That was close enough for me!  The noise, flash, and huge limb that was severed was enough to send me packing.  Sooo it may be yet another several days before my initial rendezvous with destiny.

In other matters I apologize for the long period of time between blogs.  Little Addisyn has been in the hospital for dehydration, and two of my friends have had heart attacks.  If you believe in the power of prayer please lift up Joe Giarmo (93) and Pastor/Missionary Mike Heil (55.)

In a not related subject I sold my little red chevy S10 4-wheel drive.  I picked up a 1993 (old) ford explorer with 48,000 miles on it.  It’s a beauty so something had to go, and unfortunately the “lot” fell on the “man-truck.”

It’s been good to read about the hunting success of the Sorenson family, and Art and Jeff are off to a good start this year.  None of my family has reported any tags being filled, which is quite unusual for this time of the season.   Tom Sorenson had a picture posted of his little 3-1/2 month old  boy reading a hunting magazine, and it’s priceless.  Click on “Base Camp Legends” to take a peek.


Hauling Dear

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

PhotobucketWell if you aren’t going to haul deer with it, you might as well haul something “dear!”  Here it is the 13th of October, and I’m ashamed to say I have not been in the woods yet.  Hey I’m retired!  Something is not right with this picture, or is it.  Anyone who reads my blogs knows that I really enjoy hunting and partaking in all sorts of outdoors activities during this time of the year.  What you may not know is that I have really cut back on the amount of time I actually spend hunting over the last coupe decades.

As much as I love pulling back on a buck (or doe) my number one priority is my family.  There may have been a time 30 or more years ago when that may not of been true.  I came from a family of 6-boys, who had a dad that loved to hunt, and loved to hunt with his boys.  So when we had family time it included pheasants cackling, squirrels scampering, and rabbits dashing through a new fallen snow.  As much fun as that was, it was deer camp that we all had circled on our calendars.  The game pole at the Ansel camp was never empty.  The odds of 7 of us getting “skunked” were always in our favor.  My dad Norm taught us well.  Brother Randy (oldest) was an expert marksmen in the U.S. Marine Corps, and shot on his base’s skeet team.  Myself and younger brother Darryl qualified as expert marksmen while doing our tour of duty for the Army.  My dad was a crack “off-hand” shooter and had downed more than a few bucks with his uncanny ability to hit the vitals.  Though the younger brothers are good (2 expert pistol shot policemen) it was us older guys that the gang counted on for backstraps.  So you see I grew up in a family where hunting played an important role in our relationships.

Well when my wife and I started our family it was rather unique having the first daughter in the “all male” Ansel household.  My dad loved little girls, and carried Tara around on a satin pillow.  It didn’t stop at Tara, as Alena, Meghan, Mindy, and Courtney filled our closets with all sorts of frilly things.  Oh there were times when I coaxed them into shooting an outdoor bow-hunter league with me, but it never became a passion for any of them, including my son Micah, who showed up unexpected one February.

I have had to curtail my longing, to be hunkered down in a thicket somewhere, with my desire to be with my wife and kids.  The older I get the harder it is to make it 5-days, in the field, without throwing in the towel and making a beeline for home.  You see now I have 10 grand-kids in the mix and they really need me!  Yeh right!

So don’t feel too sorry for me, and my lack of “treestand” time so far.  We really did have a great time on our Minne hay-ride with the grand-kids.  It was a wonderful weekend, as my grandson Logan was in town from Chicago.  We did the apple orchard, cider and doughnuts, smores, bon-fire, horse rides, pumpkin patch, straw maze, popcorn, farmers market, and a couple kids video’s.  Whew I’m tired just writing about it!

Hunting is great, but the most prized possession I have is my family.  My dad taught me that also, and I’m sure he doesn’t mind one bit that I spend more time chasing grand-kids than I do whitetail deer.  I think he would of done the same thing if he hadn’t of left us so soon. (58 yrs old)  Just a little side note here.  My dad smoked all his life, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he “cut” many years off his life in so doing.  Fifty eight is way to young guys.  Think about it.  You owe it to your family and yourself to quit!

!PhotobucketTara, Lorna, Logan and Kyle at the pumpkin farm.                                                            Mike

Little Tiger

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

PhotobucketEvery now and then you have to shift gears and put the old hunting stories on the back burner.  Ain’t much to talk about anyway as the deer seem to be winning most of the skirmishes.

The golfer with the almost perfect form is my 4-year old grand-son Kyle Pafford.  He’s a dynamo of a sports nut if ever there was one.  He plays everything that has a bat, ball, club, or racket with it!  He was really bummed out that his Tigers lost their playoff game the other day, as his dad had tickets to the Yankee playoff series.  Oh well!

Kyle hit a bucket of balls, with some of them  going about 60 yards, and they were straight as an arrow.  Kyle keeps his “head” on the ball, has a fantastic follow through, and is starting to get his feet doing what their supposed to do.  His club grip is good, and his back-swing is slow and smooth.  Can anyone say “Tiger Woods Junior?”

.I just hope “ole gramps” is able to stick around long enough to watch this kid play high school sports.  It don’t hurt that he’s cute as a button with 2″ eyelashes and is smart as a whip besides.  Oh that’s enough bragging on my little buddy for now.  It was good to spend the day with him even if he wouldn’t take a nap for me.

PhotobucketKyle “launching” another Nike into the neighbors yard.

Beaver Stik’s

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

PhotobucketI mentioned that I collect some of the limbs that beavers cut from trees and make walking sticks out of them.  Most of the ones I get have the bark already stripped off of them and are a shiny off-white.  These are just three of the samples that I had around the house.  Two of them I made for my grand kids, and the other one is my own personal stick.

On the fancier ones I use imitation eagle feathers, bead work, deer leather,arrow heads, and imitation grizzly claws.  Of course I have the liberty to be as creative as I want, and I can, and do, use other adornments also.  I use a wood burning tool to do the carvings.  I use various animal tracks and pictures of deer, turkey, elk, and bear on some of the sticks.  I designed an emblem of a beaver holding a limb with the word “beaver stik” below it.  I also use some Indian emblems and can personalize a name on them, like the ones in the picture.  Each stick comes from an area of the U.P. and are chewed on both ends, thus “Beaver Stik!”

On the more simple walking sticks I put the “logo,” a deer hide hand holding area, and a few burnt in sets of animal tracks.  Sticks range in price from $35.00 to $150.00 dollars depending how fancy or personalized the customer wants.  I don’t do it to make money.  It’s just something I enjoy and I usually put many hours into each one.  No two are alike.  It helps pass time during those cold winter months when there isn’t much hunting going on.

PhotobucketBeaver Stic logo, chewed ends, and some engraved tracks.                                  Mike

Find Beavers – Find Brookies

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

PhotobucketOne thing that the beavers do an excellent job of, is make some wonderful trout habitat.  The water behind the dams are usually teaming with fish, as they swim downstream and are “trapped” by the dam created “beaver ponds!”  The water is most always the deepest next to the dams, and I have seen some that are 7-8 feet deep.  This creates a good source of food for the fish as everything comes downstream toward the dam.  It also is a food storage bin for the beaver, as they can snack on fish right out the beaver lodge door.  The creek that was dammed up near the bear camp is only 4-8 feet wide, but the dam has created a pond over 300 feet wide.  We fished just one area of this engineering marvel, so we left plenty of fish for the beavers.  The “brookies” don’t get enormous in these remote ponds, but we were catching 10-14 inchers.  Those are very nice size, and tons of fun to catch, even when you have to release them.

One of the beaver houses I found was right next to the edge of the pond.  His entrance was under water, but most of the living quarters was on dry ground.  These things are so well built I could stand on top of it and not do any damage whatsoever.  The local coyote, wolf, and bear population would have a hard time doing a “breaking and entering” on this homeowner!   I’m sure a hungry bear could make it through the mud and sticks, but the beaver would be long gone before the bear broke into the den.  Beavers are a marvelous creature, and an asset to the eco-system most of the time.  They do cut down many trees, but they are mostly “soft-woods.”  Of course sometimes an older hardier tree “takes a hit,” and that’s when the land owner stats thinking about beaver pelts.

PhotobucketBeaver lodge by the edge of the pond.