Archive for May, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

Monday, May 30th, 2011

Memorial day 2011.  This day  we honor and remember those who have served this great nation, and especially those that have fallen.  We oftentimes refer to their deaths as sacrificial, and I suppose that is a pretty good way to sum up their absence from their families.  I would never want, in any way, to dishonor the brave men and women that have not, nor ever will, return to their families, wives, kids, jobs, and adventures and dreams they all had.  Everyone that died, I’m sure, had some sort of a future plan.  They should of been able to return home, and live their dreams, as most of their fellow comrades did.  It is truly unexplainable why Richard died, and his pal Bob came home.  The old saying “War is Hell,” is much more true to those that have experienced it’s horrors. Today I’m thinking about friends and acquaintances who’s lives ended way to prematurely.  Some were gung-ho and couldn’t wait to “engage” the enemy, while others were shy and timid, as they entered the” fray” with fear and trepidation.  I think I can safely say that not a one of these fallen wanted to be a war casualty!  Most were just kids, (teenagers and early twenties) when our country called on them to abort their future plans, and serve in this nations military.  I personally know of no one that fled to Canada, or dodged the draft.  Yes there were sacrifices made, but these wonderful lovely band of brothers and sisters all wanted to return home.  Their plans, hopes, and dreams, were cut short, so you and I could realize ours!  I sometimes feel guilty about that.  Why them and not me?  Many parents and loved ones rejoiced at their son or daughters return from war, while others will forever mourn the death of a child, father, husband, brother, uncle, aunt,or friend.  We need to remember them today, as though their lives meant something, as those whose sacrifice is sacred.

Just recently I have had two brothers diagnosed with “Post traumatic stress disorder!”  Over forty years ago they served in the jungles of Viet Nam.  Their experience’s still have a hold on them in ways that non-combatants can not understand.  Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are returning home with horrific injuries, as well as mental challenges.  Families forever changed, material hardships, lives altered beyond belief.  We need to stand behind these valiant warriors, as they return home and try to reestablish their shattered lives.  They should not be denied housing, a job, or the best medical advancements this country has to offer.  If I had my way each returning war veteran would receive a substantial sum of money so they didn’t have to worry about a roof over their heads or where their next meal was coming from.  We can prop up foreign dictators, and send billions of dollars overseas to despots and crooks, but we can’t lavish a few bucks on our own hero’s.  That, my friends, is a bunch of “bull” that should be recognized in Washington, for the travesty that it is.  Let your Congressman and your Senators know that you want our veterans fully supported, by the country that put them, in a position, where they were sacrificed to the ravages of war.

Please remember the veteran’s today.  Shake a hand, give em a salute, push a wheelchair, send a note.  Let them know you haven’t forgotten, and that they are appreciated for their service to this nation.  As you enjoy this day, just remember “why” you can enjoy it!

My good friend Staff Sargent Joe Giarmo is in the first picture (European Theater.)  Next is my dad Staff Sergent Norman Ansel (Pacific Theater.)  The last is of my dad and three of his six sons.  Marine Sargent Norman “Randy” Ansel (Viet Nam)  Specialist 5th. class Michael Ansel, and Sargent Darryl Ansel (Viet Nam.)  I thank all you men and women who have served this nation with honor, valor, and integrity.  You are the best!  Have a great day, just remember why your having it!

Mike

Second Amendment Alert

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

It would appear the the Obama administration is about to try an “end around” in their battle to curtail gun ownership.  Evidently there have been some secret meetings taking place behind locked doors concerning gun control.  If President Obama issues his plan by “executive orders” it will bypass Congress and become the law of the land.  So much for a transparent administration!  So far Congress has blocked Obama;s plans to strip our First Amendment Rights from us.  But by using the “executive order” loophole, he can get away with his radical liberal agenda concerning the Second Amendment.

For more than two centuries, Americans have bravely fought and died to protect our Bill of Rights.  You and I owe it to them to see to it that Barack Obama does not, with the stroke of a pen, destroy their sacrifices and our Second Amendment for good.  Now is the time to contact your Senator and let them know where you stand.  They work for us!  Also if you can make a donation to the National Rifle Association or the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms it would certainly help the cause.  Remember the money from the anti’s is pouring into their coffers.  We must stand united as a “Band of Brothers and Sisters!”

2011 Turkey Season Winding Down

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

2011 Spring turkey season is almost in the books.  Birds like this big old boy are still responding to the call, either off the roost, or after his hen sets on her nest.  Actually I’ve already seen baby turkeys, as some clutch’s have already hatched.  The Tom in the picture is a Monroe County bruiser.  He’s one big bird, and has his mind on the business at hand.  This smart bird is on private property that is posted, and unless he gets “lead” astray, should probably die of old age.

The Michigan DNR recently stated that Monroe County holds 650- 700 wild birds, and I actually think that figure is a little low.  I’ve seen birds in every part of the county, and even have a good sized flock around my neck of the woods.

My immediate family have, so far, put four birds in the freezer, but several still have a tag to fill.  A few years back we limited out (8) on Tom’s, but I don’t expect that to happen this year.  Weather wise it has been a lousy year, due to all the rain and unseasonably cold weather.  I think I actually was able to get out in the woods on two consecutive semi-warm sunny days, and what a treat that was.  “Hey Ansel crew, if you get your bird let me know, so we can move on to summer vacations, along with some fishing.”

Mike

Non Hunters + Tasty Wild Game = An Ally

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

This is my son Micah’s fiance Heather, holding a plate of freshly grilled venison steaks.  Heather comes from a family that did very little hunting, and she actually can’t recall eating any wild game at her house.  Since she’s been around here turkey, venison, elk, bear, perch, salmon, trout, and turtle have all crossed her palate.  Micah likes to cook, and can put together some amazing concoctions.  Heather is always game to try, so it hasn’t been hard introducing her to “wild things!”

The venison steaks were marinated in an Italian salad dressing mixed in with some barbecue sauce.  They were left in the fridge all night and just before going on the grill I wrapped them with a slice of onion and a piece of bacon.  I put toothpicks through the bacon and onion to hold things together on the grill.  About 10 minutes on each side, and we were ready to go.  Potatoes were already baked, and the pork and beans were hot in the pan.

I love feeding non-hunters critters that you can’t buy at Kroger’s!   You can bring people like Heather into the fold, just by getting to their taste buds.  Heather loved the meal, and I must admit, those steaks were tender and tasty.  What even impressed me more was two days later there were still three steaks sitting in the fridge, wrapped in tin-foil.  Heather came into my computer room around 7:00 p.m. and asked if her and Micah could have the left over venison.  I was thinking about heating them up myself, but couldn’t say no to this new wild game convert.  It proved she really did like what I had fixed, if she was wanting some more, two days later.  Thoughtfully they did end up leaving me part of a steak which I devoured for breakfast next day.  I knew I had to jump on it quick, before Heather beat me to it.  Bon a petit!

Mike

Turkey Hunting’s Fowl Memories

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Every now and then us hunters find ourselves in kind of a precarious situation.  One in which we have almost no control over.  How many times have you had a deer stare you down, when your gun or bow is not in position.  Not much you can do about it, unless you take a shot at a spooked deer hightailing it out of the area.  Well I found my self in a somewhat similar, and in retrospect, a funny situation while turkey hunting a couple weeks ago.

I’ll be 65 years old this September, and admittedly not in tip-top shape.  I’m a type II diabetic and have had neurophathy for several years.  My feet hurt, as well as burn, and walking just increases the pain.  I have a few other issues that just go along with the age, but nothing (as yet) is keeping me out of the woods.  Any way;  of the two guys I was turkey hunting with, one was an “all American” track star in college, and the other runs marathons.  What am I doing with these guys?  Oh I almost forgot I don’t hear very well, after working 37 years in a noisy factory.

So here we are on the second morning of our turkey hunt getting ready to sneak into the woods close to the roost.  My guide (won’t mention his name-yet) says we can get closer to the birds than the day before, when they hung up on us at 45 yards.  We walked across a large cow pasture surrounded by an electric fence.  I had been using the rubber butt of my shotgun to hold the fence down in order for us to step over, without getting zapped.  The second fence we came to was hard to see, and the metal from my gun touched the wire, and “bingo” I was charged for the day!  I didn’t make that mistake again.

After crossing the cow fields we had to walk through a little meadow and then slowly climb a ridge.  The turkeys were roosting in the woods that started at the base of the ridge.  We were trying to be as quiet as can be, cause we knew we were close to the birds, when Britt stops dead, and motions us to hit the ground.  Britt sprawls out on his stomach, and we do the same.  He whispers were in the middle of the roost, and says the only chance we now have is to lay motionless until the birds fly down off their roost.  Well the plan was to be in position early, and WE were early, but this is not the kind of position I had anticipated!  I was in between Britt and Scott, and if I raised my head just enough I could see birds on the roost.  Britt kept whispering “don’t move, don’t move!”  That was easy for him to say!  As I laid there with my head on my hands, I noticed Britt’s stomach moving up and down quite rapidly.  My head was positioned just below Britt’s butt, as he let the first of many “farts!”  Is this any way to treat a client I thought?  Of course the wind was blowing in my direction, and I was pinned down, as I was “gassed!”  Not only that my allergies were kicking up, and I was biting my tongue trying not to cough.  Both arms had lost feeling, and I had the worst “itch” a guy can have, you know where!

There was a Tom right over head gobbling his lungs out, and when he finally flew off the roost he landed about 15 feet away from us.  Because I don’t hear real well I missed Britt say “Take him!”  Scott heard him though, but the bird went down the other side of the ridge, and scadadled out of there.  Laying motionless for forty five minutes, on the side of a hill, in 36 degree temperatures, while being “gassed” will defiantly go into my “unforgettable hunting moments” memory bank.

My guide Britt told me he’s a state trouper, but after that morning I think he meant state pooper!  Hey sometimes you have to grin and bear it when in pursuit of a wily old gobbler.  Both Scott and I did score on nice birds, and I honestly have to thank Britt for the “fowl” memories!

Britt and me with my nice Tom about three hours after our little hillside adventure.

Bob Leach and His Booner Buck

Friday, May 13th, 2011

If you remember I promised a couple months ago to do a follow up story on Bob Leach’s big Upper Peninsula buck.  Four of us golfers including Mary Louise Leach’s kid brother Norm spent a week at their Florida home this past winter.  Mary Louise and Bob took a Caribbean cruise, while we enjoyed some great golfing weather.

Bob is quite well known to those who follow college football, and he even coached two years for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Bob is a legend at Michigan’s Ferris State University as a coach and administrator.  What many don’t know is Bob shot one of the biggest bucks ever to roam our Michigan forest!

In the pictures you see “smiling Bob” and his monster U.P. buck, and the mounted “paddle horn” on bob’s wall.  The deer was scored as a non-typical, and only had those two canoe paddle looking drop tines for his “irregular” score.  This is one of the most unusual deer I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Bob’s shot his deer on opening day of 1981.  It was examined by a DNR officer, and a Commemorative Bucks of Michigan official scorer.  It was determined to be 9-1/2 years old, and estimated to weigh 265 pounds (live weight.)  The deer had 13 points, and a 22 inch inside spread.  It ended up with an official score of 189-5/8 Boone and Crockett points.  I have an older Commemorative buck record book, and Bob is still listed as the number one non-typical taken in Mackinac county.

Bob’s son Rob shot a nice eight pointer right around the time Bob hit his monster.  Before looking for bob’s deer Randy (another son) came to help dress out Rob’s deer.  Bob made the comment that he just shot one that Rob’s rack would fit inside.  Both boys were thinking “yeah right Dad!”  Well when they started tracking and the bedded deer jumped up, Bob put another 270 round through this Monarch.  The boys couldn’t believe their eye’s, and 30 years later they have yet to top dad’s buck.

Thanks Bob for sharing your story with me, and thanks for being one of “The Good Guys!”  You have made a difference in many a young man’s life.  You and your buck are truly a “Once In a Lifetime Duo!”

Mike

Michigan Hunters Safety Course

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Anyone living in the United States or Canada can now take a hunters safety course online.  Huntercourse.com is officially approved by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources – Law Enforcement Division, as well as most other states and Canada.

You receive a free study guide and chapter quizzes, and pay only if you pass the course.  Not a bad deal for us “time strapped” busy Americans.  The course is fully narrated and interactive.

Once you finish the online course, you print out a voucher for your field day testing.  Field day testings are done in various parts of each state and you will then book a date for this part of your certification.  Generally it takes two full days (a weekend) to complete the Michigan Hunter Safety Program.  This way you can do the bookwork at home, and then spend one day on the shooting course.  As you should know a hunter safety certificate is required for all Michigan residents (and non-residents) who were born after Jan. 1, 1960.

My own grandson Quinn has never taken the course and it kept him from going turkey hunting with me this year.  He’s great on the computer, and this is probably one way to get him into the program.  If you want to contact Huntercourse.com you can call toll free 1-866-495-4868 or e-mail them at info@huntercourse.com.  I think this will help get more young people (and maybe a few old ones) in the woods with all the proper safety training.

Mike

Scott’s Big Bird

Friday, May 6th, 2011

At 10:30 A.M. of the second morning of our hunt I was back at Britt’s place with my bird.  Britt had to leave for work by 1:00 P.M. so it didn’t give him much time to try and find Scott a bird.  Britt suggested some “running and gunning” as Scott is a marathon runner and Britt was a college “All American” in track.  Well you know where that left “the old fat guy!”  “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch!”  So I stayed back at camp, laid my sleeping bag on the bed of a trailer, and caught some sleep while basking in the sun.  That’s right I said the “sun”-something very rare in these parts.

As Scott and Britt pulled out of the winding pine tree lined driveway, I said a little prayer that Scott would get a bird “bigger than mine!”  Little did any of us know what lay in store for Scott.

Britt drove them to a spot we had not hunted where there was a cut corn field surrounded by woods.  They approached the field by walking through one of the wooded lots, and saw a Tom and hen across the field, which in fact had been “turned over” and was just plowed dirt.  Once the turkeys entered the opposite wood line Britt set out a Jake decoy, and then hunkered down behind a small brush pile.  Upon Britt’s first call no less than three birds responded.  Britt managed to pull the single Tom away from his hen while two others approached from a woods on their left.  All three birds drew closer together as they walked the furrowed field in search of the amorous hen.  All the birds were big mature Toms, and one in particular did a lot of “strutting.”  All the birds gobbled their heads off as they made their way across the 200 yard gap separating them from Scott’s Mossburg 12 gauge turkey gun.  Two of the birds flared, but the one doing most of the strutting came to within 45 yards.  Fourty five yards is not a sure thing with a turkey, so plan “B” went into effect.  Britt had arranged for such a moment, as he had brought along his trusty single shot 10 gauge with a 3-1/2 in shell.  He stealthily slipped it to Scott, and the rest is history.

Scott’s bird was weighed at just under 24 pounds, and had a 12 inch beard until a little rough man-handling pulled the longer strands out.  He still ended up with a 10-1/2 inch beard, but the most impressive aspect of this true trophy Tom were his spurs!  He boasted 1-1/2 inch daggers, which is bigger than any of the 24 birds that I’ve taken, and even bigger than any Britt has taken over the years.  The bird was truly impressive to say the least.  Scott was about as excited as I’ve ever seen him, and couldn’t wait to get home and show his family.  That’s Scott’s boy Caleb with him in the picture.  He can’t wait to get in the woods with dad and shoot one of those big birds!

So that’s the story of “Scott and Mike’s Excellent Adventure,” and were sticking to it!  My turkey rest in my freezer waiting for Thanksgiving dinner, while Scott’s is at the taxidermist waiting to be made into an unforgettable memory.

On a side note: check out the difference in the color variation of the two birds tail feathers, and the horizontal bars on the birds fan.  Very interesting indeed.

Mike

2011 Turkey Success – Or Scott And Mike’s Excellent Adventure

Friday, May 6th, 2011

I think the smirks on these two turkey hunters faces says it all.  We had one of the most memorable hunts I’ve ever been on.  As some of the followers of this blog know last year I hooked up with “Bolt Outfitters” out of Hillsdale.  I took a bird (10-3/4 inch beard) within the first three hours of the hunt.  It took awhile longer this year, but the same results.

Britt Owens and his partner Larry are the most knowledgeable turkey guides/hunters I’ve ever met.  They will work their butts off to get their hunters on a bird.  Not only will they work their butts off, but they’ll work yours off as well.  This old man walked close to seven miles before pulling down on a big Tom, and I’ve got the sore feet, legs, and back to prove it.

Opening morning we had decided that my brother Darryl’s son-in-law Scott would get first opportunity.  Scott is a novice turkey hunter, and I wanted him to get a good Tom, and he was itching to put one in his sights also.  Within 45 minutes of our first set-up Britt called four mature Toms to within 41 yards (range finder.)  A hen had us “made” and she was clucking her worried head off, so the Toms hung up.  Scott took a shot, but had a clean miss, so we had to move locations.  Several Toms were spotted, but would not leave their hens, and come within shooting range.  Larry and his wife Kendra took us out for the afternoon hunt, and I had a huge Tom hang up on me at about 70 yards!  Man that was a big bird!  A while later Larry called two “Jake’s” to within 45 yards, but a Jake wasn’t on my menu.  We drove to our final spot, but were about 20 minutes late as the birds were headed to their roost, and would not be deterred.

The second morning we mistakenly walked right into the roosting area, and had to lay on our bellies for 45 minutes so we didn’t startle the birds off their roost.  One big Tom flew down just a few feet away from Britt, but because of our positions we couldn’t get a shot.  We worked those birds for about an hour, but they didn’t want to play.  We then headed for another spot where Britt had seen birds before.  It was less than a ten acre parcel, but we immediately got a “gobble” when Britt called.  We went into the woods about 150 yards and set a Tom decoy in front of us (three) as we had our backs against a big maple tree.  Two Toms were working their way in, as I positioned myself for a shot.  You dare not bat an eye, or they will turn tail, and leave you sputtering.  Britt saw him first as he creased the small hill in front of us.  At 25 yards he stepped behind a tree giving me a chance to move the barrel of my model 870 magnum right on the tree concealing him.  When he stepped out I put the bead on his neck and squeezed the trigger.  He rolled, got up and started running!  Britt hollered “shoot again,” and I obliged with a 40 yard running shot that even surprised me.  He was a good bird with a 9-1/2 inch beard and 1 inch spurs.  We high fived and celebrated, as things came together, making great memories for us all.

I will continue tomorrow with the incredible story of Scott’s monster bird.

Mike

American Justice Served-Thank You Navy Seals

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

I was going to post some pictures from our Florida vacation, or possibly write about my upcoming turkey hunt, but this mornings news has changed all that. “Osama bin Laden is dead!!”

Last night, before going to bed news of his death started trickling on the news.  Then it was announced that the President was going to make a statement concerning his death.  I thought “well if the President is going to verify Osama’s demise, it must be true!”  After almost 10 years of relentless pursuit the worlds number one terrorist has American Justice come to his very own doorstep!  Planning, patience, and precision were the words for this Navy Seal operation.

I doubt there was any remorse flash before Osama’s eyes before he closed them for the last time, as he was defiant to the end.  According to the news reports our military carried out a stunning operation that involved a nighttime helicopter assault on a compound just a few hundred yards away from Pakistani military school!  We did not let the Pakistani government know about our plans, which was a very smart move, as Osama was caught off guard.  Two well placed head shots put an end to the biggest manhunt in history, but no doubt will stir up more “crazies” to take his place.  If ever our nation needed to be on vigilant alert it’s now.

I hope this brings some closure to the thousands of people who’s lives were forever changed by this terrorist murderer.  It’s strange, but I see how many are dancing and rejoicing in the streets here and around the world, while others have sworn vengeance and promise more terrorism.  The leader may be gone, but the idea of radical Islam is alive and strong, and we, as a nation, cannot let our guard down.

Thank you Navy Seals, and President Bush, and President Obama, and all who diligently pursued justice for the United States and the victims of International Terror.  “The Eagle has landed!” and gauntlet has been laid.  It may take awhile, but rest assured Mr. Ayman al-Zawahiri “you can run, but you can’t hide forever!”