Archive for September, 2011

Heading North

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Heading on my way to the cabin to see if I can find the buck that’s using the area where there are some rubs like this.  It’s supposed to rain for the next couple days and clear up for the weekend, with some cooler temps.  That sound great to me and my hunting partner Tony.

The cooler’s packed, but were really hoping to be frying some backstraps Sunday afternoon.  I can almost taste them.

This is going to be short and sweet, as it’s 4:00 in the morning, and we want to beat the traffic at the Zillwalkee bridge area.  Allot of construction going on, and I’m sure I spelled that wrong.  Hope all have a safe and successful opening day.  Will write a report when we get home.  Putting the pedal to the metal!


Old Timers and Tree Stands

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Just returned from another lovely weekend at our very own cabin, in the woods.  I put up two stands (one ladder and one hang on) plus did some finishing touches on my 2×4 tree stand and ground blind.

The ladder stand went over the food plot (in picture), and the hang on went in the swamp across the street.  This old geezer (65 Wednesday) is finding out that this tree stand business is for the younger guys!  You talk about some poor aching muscles.  Thank God for ibuprofen!   My back was screaming at me all the way home.

The ladder stand consist of four 4 foot sections plus the seat.  You have to lay it on the ground and walk it up till it’s upright and in line with where you want it.  Walking up a “top heavy,” awkward, slipping piece of metal is not for the faint of heart.  After trimming branches to clear a path to my chosen tree, I then had to find a small tree to prop the bottom rung against, so it wouldn’t slide along the ground, as I lifted.  The first try put me in the tree, but upon repositioning, the stand came crashing to the ground!  Try number two was successful, but totally wore me out.  Sunday morning after my wife and I had our own little church service, I headed for the swamp.  Trying to latch the climbing sticks wasn’t easy, and hanging the stand proved even worse.  Both stands are 16 footers, and I was ringing wet, and shaky as I exited the swamp.

I needed a young “buck” with me-not this old gray mare!  Trouble is I’m retired, and everyone else is working, or in school, or taking care of other responsibilities, leaving no one to help “bake the pie.” (Little Red Hen)

I found out my roof leaked on my “new” ground blind, and I had to cover it with a camo plastic tarp.  Put up a shelf, inside latch, and added some pine branches to finish off the outside.  Next I carpeted (noise barrier) my 2×4 tree stand and added some camo netting, and a tall painted bucket to sit on.  While in the ground blind I encountered a “huge” wolf spider.  I have arachnophobia and would sure like some suggestions on how to keep them on the outside and not the inside of my “private” quarters.  Moth balls, Osage oranges, insecticides, what???  Give me some suggestions dear readers.

Over all, the deer picture  doesn’t look that great.  I have 200 trail cam photo’s, and just this weekend captured the biggest buck to date.  It’s a small six!  There are a few doe’s, but this hunt area has really taken the “shaft” from our Department of Natural Resources.  Unlimited doe permits have really decimated the deer population according to the locals I’ve talked to.  Several Amish farmers said it is a rare sight indeed to harvest a good 8 pointer these days.  Winter wheat and clover fields are void of deer!  I have yet to see a feeding deer in any field over the last two months.  When I was a kid we would see 100’s of deer in these same fields.  If the goal is to eradicate the herd, then I would have to say this is another D.N.R. success story.  No matter I will thoroughly enjoy myself this weekend, as I hunt from my own cabin, on my own land.  Hope everyone has a good safe opener October 1st.


Jay’s Seventh and Tony’s Pumpkin Patch

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Last week we celebrated my grandson Jacobs seventh birthday.  That’s him in the green shirt.   His dad Tony Russo is one of those Italian gardeners that knows how to make things grow.  Tony usually puts in some watermelons and pumpkins, much to the kids delight.  Daughter Alena had a little party for Jacob, with several cousins and friends attending.  I think the highlight of the party was a trip to the pumpkin patch, where each kid got to pick his own pumpkin.  They took a number and the order in which they picked was the order they got to pick their pumpkin.  It worked out well, as everyone seemed to get the “gourd” they wanted.

Tony also had his little wagon hooked to his Polaris Razr, with little straw bales for a hayride.  Between his property and the neighbors there are allot of trails to ride.  While on the hayride they had to find hidden items for a scavenger list.  The kids had a blast, and the adults also had a good time.  The weather cooperated and Jacob blew out all his candles in one try.  Happy birthday Jay-Bird!


Window on Mr. Whitetails World

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Now that I have my own property, I’m able to do something I’ve always wanted to do.  That is; build a really nice ground blind, and put in a food plot.  The ground blind is 98% finished, and the food plot is growing very well.  In the picture you’ll see the food plot from the front window of my blind.  It’s my window on the world.  World of whitetail that is.

The plot isn’t very big, as I had to use a rototiller to turn over the soil, after I mowed the area several times.  Probably about 60×80 in size.  I used the Imperial Whitetail Institute blend of oats, brassica, and winter peas.  It’s drought resistant, fast growing, and can withstand very cold temperatures.

So far there has not been much activity around the plot, but there was a really nice scrape about forty yards away.  I’m thinking that the late season should really be productive.

The blind is “big” and measures seven foot by five foot.  I’ve got room for me, all my gear (including a heater for sissy’s,) and a couple grand-kids to boot!  It’s even carpeted, and has windows all the way around.  It’s painted and I’ve caulked the cracks.  I don’t want any “critters” in there except for me and my hunting buddies.  I can’t wait for October first.  It will be a dream come true for me.


Mothers Excellent Adventure

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Deer season is fast approaching, and I’m in “hurry up” mode trying to have my new little piece of heaven ready for the opener.  The four hour drive wouldn’t be that bad if it weren’t for the 75 miles of construction and one lane traffic headaches!  Nevertheless My wife and I (again) made the trip over the weekend, and we talked my mom into going with us.

She (mom) has slowed down a tad, but she does pretty good for an 86 year old great grandma.  She rode my four wheeler, took a couple short walks, and kept in contact with me on the two way radio, as I worked on my blind.  We bought “goodies” at the Amish bakery, and shared a meal at the Lost Sky Ranch restaurant.  We saw lots of turkey’s and had one deer show itself right out my front door.  Mom was able to read, watch a few movies, and claim my “porch” rocking chair as her own!  Except for the ride, it was very relaxing for my wife and mom.  I say that as my mom is the worst front seat-back seat driver I’ve ever had co-pilot my car.  Next time mom, it’s a blindfold and duct tape for you.  If your doing over 50 miles an hour she thinks your reckless and speeding.  Of course the orange barrels and construction barriers didn’t help my cause much.

I spent most of the weekend working on my ground blind.  Except for a few cosmetics, it’s done.  I also did a little camouflaging on my tree stand, and pulled my chips from my trail cams.  I also found one fresh scrape by my food plot.  You could tell the buck is at least a six point (possible bigger) because of the marks he made, in the dirt, with his horns.  Seems early for scraping activity.  The trail cam pictures turned out to be doe’s, a small spike, and “Bucky” the forkhorn.

All in all it was good getting mom up at the camp, and I was able to feel better about my “preparedness” for the coming opener.  We had no T.V, so we missed the 9/11 coverage.  We did pause and reflect on that tragic day in our nations history, and prayed for this nation to turn back to “One Nation Under God!”


Get Your Snowmobile Safety Certification Online!

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

It is not to early to start thinking about Winter time fun.  Here in Michigan some of our major winter activities  involve  skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling.

Recently I found out about a program where one can get their snowmobile safety education online.  What a good way to make sure you and your riding partners know the rules and regulations about this popular winter sport.  They have a website and it is interactive, and fully narrated.  It will teach you all about riding your snowmobile safely and responsibly.  You can click on the snowmobile safety course to reach the URL listed below.  The site has been reviewed by numerous experts, and approved by seven different states at the time of this writing.  You can take the course online, and if your state requires certification, you will be certified after taking the course.

This website can be used as a quick reference of the snowmobile laws and regulations within your state, but it’s always advised to check with local authorities on any additional laws governing snowmobiles.

Michigan is not called “The winter wonderland” for lack of snow.  It can, and does start snowing in October, and may not let up till early May.  The Upper Peninsula usually gets hit the hardest, but the (upper part) of the Lower has a “snow belt” that rivals any state for white powder!  Snowmobilers have a winter paradise here for riding their machines, but there are always accidents that lead to fatalities.  Most of these are preventable if the proper safety rules are adhered to.  You owe it to yourself, family, and fellow riders to know all the rules and regulations regarding this great winter sport.  Go to to get all the facts on safe winter snowmobile riding.


Labor Day Fun

Monday, September 5th, 2011

In spite of the rain and thunderstorms we still had a great long weekend at the cabin.  In the picture you’ll notice my “grinning” son-in-law (Glen Pafford) holding a 2 foot long northern pike.  Now it’s not a monster, but it is 3 inches over the legal size.  Glen has a knack for doing something that produces results every time we go fishing.

Up to the point of him catching his pike, he had been “skunked” as Kyle and I had caught 10 perch to Glen’s zero.  We were the only ones on the small hidden lake, and for good reason.  Rain and thunderstorms were in the forecast, so we knew our fishing time was limited.  After about an hour on the water we started hearing thunder off in the distance.  Our trolling motor wasn’t working so Glen manned the oars.  But before he started rowing, he took my recently caught small perch and put it on a no. 5 hook, and cast behind the boat.  We stopped to fish a weed bed on our way in, when Kyle tangled his line.  Glen was working on untangling it when I noticed his “perch” was pulling his line quite fast.  I said “Glen I think you have something beside a little perch on your line.  sure enough the line was zipping off toward deeper water, and Glen set the hook.  I got the net and Glen got the fish, just as the Heaven’s opened and in moved the rain.  We rowed to shore, and made it off the lake just in time to miss the “boomers” and lightning.

So Kyle caught the most fish, I caught the biggest perch, but Glen landed the biggest fish.  It seems to happen that way more often than not.  Next day he took Kyle to the AuSable River, and they both landed a nice brook trout, and of course Glen’s was the biggest.  The Pafford’s are eating fish for dinner, and they didn’t have to by them at the store.  How sweet is that?


Mio Michigan’s Pink Elephant

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Yes there really is such a thing as a “pink elephant!”  Over 30 years ago my wife and I took pictures of our daughter Alena standing by the pink elephant, and we just had to stop again on our recent visit to the cabin.  That’s a “grown up” Alena with her husband Tony, and her crew.  Quinn, (hugging old pinky) Brady, Nina, and Jay pose, just like their mother did many years ago.  This may be the most photographed elephant in the world.  We had to wait in line just to snap a few pictures.

The pink elephant stands in front of an ice cream shop in the city of Mio.  I’m sure he’s been refurbished over the years, as he looks better now than he did 50 years ago.  I don’t know exactly how long he’s been a fixture in Mio, but I remember him when I was a young man hunting the Lewiston area.

Heading to the cabin for Labor Day.  Hope we can miss the bulk of the traffic by leaving about 4:00 in the morning.  Have a great holiday everyone.