Archive for October, 2011

Three is Never a Crowd-When There Hanging From Your Game Pole

Monday, October 31st, 2011

What’s this?  Multiple deer on the game-pole?  Will wonders never cease?

After a two year dry spell I scored on two big fat doe’s on consecutive nights.  My nieces husband Scott made my buck pole a real “buck pole” by hanging the first buck of his archery career from it’s crossbeam!   That’s Scottie’s spike horn in the middle, and my two doe’s on either side.

I arrived at my camp on Thursday, and didn’t see a deer that evening.  I hunted my ground blind on Friday, and had a nice sized doe come into the food plot around 6:45.  I took a 20 yard broadside shot, and thought the hit looked good, but I did not get complete penetration.  I tried tracking her at dark, but only had a blood trail for about 15 yards, and it went sour.  Figured I’d come back in the morning and try and pick it up again.  It bothered me all night, and I didn’t sleep a wink wonder if the coyotes were feasting on “my” deer, or that I didn’t have a killing shot.  At 9:00 a.m. I was back at “last blood” when I heard a couple crows call.  They were circling just a little ways ahead, and I thought maybe they spotted my deer from the air.  I hadn’t walked 20 yards in the crows direction and saw my deer laying on the ground.  Even though it was a perfect double lung shot, she still ran 100 yards before piling up directly south of my blind.

Gutting her was not one of the most pleasant things I’ve ever done, as she had bloated a bit, and was rather smelly from the gas build up.  I hosed her down good with water, and wiped her with clean rags after hoisting her in my garage.  It got below freezing at night, so the meat wasn’t going to spoil.  I felt very good about taking the first deer off my property, and hoped it would be the first of many.

Scott came up Sat. morning, but I’ll save his story and my second doe for the next blog.  By the way I hunt in an area of the state where doe tags are over the counter, and are almost unlimited, just in case you were wondering.  Two in the freezer is enough, but I’m looking for some horns now.

Mike

 

I’m Out of Here-For Six Days That Is!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

I think I’ll call this snapshot “Reflections.”  I took it at the start of the Mio pond where the Au Sable River opens up to it’s widest point.  How my wife and I love being up north.

Actually my dads old stomping grounds are a mere 14 miles away, and I have countless memories of our stays at North Shores Resort in Lewiston.  Friday I’ll be meeting up with an old and dear friend of mine and his wife (Ed and Pat Alger.)  They have a place just outside Lewiston and we are meeting for lunch and fellowship.

Of course I’ll be hunting my place for the six days that I’m there.  Nephew Scott Smiley is coming up Saturday to hunt three days and get a feel for the land, as he’ll be gun hunting with our party of four.  I won’t be blogging for those six days, as I’m giving it my best shot to put some meat in the freezer.  Hope to have a successful report when I get back.

Mike

Another Long Weekend of Cabin Fun

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Another 3 day weekend at the cabin with three of the grandkids, and my daughter Tara and son-in-law Glen.  This swamp is just down the street from my place, and I put a tree stand and ground blind around converging runways.  May be a good spot when rifle season opens.  Kyle and Addy loved our little 4-wheeler ride, even if it was a little chilly.

Glen and Kyle did some fishing, and Glen caught a nice pike at the 10 mile bridge on the Mio Pond backwaters.  It’s quite a story of how he hooked and landed this fish in front of 6 guys that had been at it all morning, with nothing to show for it.  Glen walked up, and on his first cast, hooked a 24 inch Northern on a small hook and half a leaf worm!  He was there a total of 15 minutes, and as he was packing up to go he heard “Sure catch the biggest fish in the pond and leave!”  Hey some days you get the fish, and some days the fish gets you!  Later Kyle said his dad was the best fishermen in the world.  Can’t argue with that!  The picture is from the next day when we put the boat in the river.  the fish won that day!

I had quite a thrill as I put a stalk on two grazing yearlings.  I used the terrain, hide behind trees, and belly crawled to get within 12 yards of these deer.  I had my recurve, and as I stood for the shot they spooked.  One stopped broadside at 25 yards, and I took the shot.  I was right on the money, except a tree jumped up and grabbed my arrow.  To me it was a “good miss” as it was a thrill just to stalk that close then get a shot the old fashioned way.

I am determined to take one with my stick bow this year.  The deer are still moving late, especially the bigger bucks.  I caught a new 8 point on my cudde back, and also a six I have not previously seen.  Heading back up Thursday for 5 more days of strictly hunting.  No fishing, sight seeing, 4-wheeling, or kayaking!

Patience?

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Admittedly I am not a real patient person.  I may have mellowed a tad in my “old age” but I’m one of those “Let’s get it done and over with kind of guy’s!”  Don’t like waiting in line at the bank, checkout, or Dr. office.  Maybe that stems from my years in the Army when it was “hurry up and wait,” for everything.

Well since I bought my little piece of “Heaven on Earth,” I am diligently trying to be more patient, when it comes to hunting.  So far I have done a few things that are polar opposites to the way I usually go about things.  My thinking has been “Hey I own my own piece of property, and I can pretty much hunt it whenever I desire.”  That is if I’m not scheduled to watch my grandkids.  The time in the woods factor has not proven to be what I hoped for.  Here we are three weeks into the season, and I’ve only been able to hunt six days.  Alas though, in those six days I have passed on three bucks, and 5-6 does!  Generally speaking I never do that!  I love venison to much to pass on a legal opportunity to put meat in the freezer.  And besides my sightings of deer within bow range, haven’t been anything to brag about.  In fact I have not taken a deer, with my bow, in the last two years.  So passing on numerous chances to fill my tags has taken extreme patience on my part.  I did take a shot at a nice fat 5-pointer (one broken tine-should of been a six) and missed.  That was frustrating to say the least.  Well here I am, at the end of October, with the pre-rut kicking in.  I am leaving for another three day weekend, and I’m hoping I can control myself, if I get another opportunity to draw down on a deer.

I just have to remember that I’ll have a 6 day reprieve coming up the last weekend of the month.  No grandkids in camp, no fishermen, no 4-wheeling, no hiking through the woods!  Just me and two hunting buddies, with one goal in mind-put some venison on the game pole.  My partners have the green light from me to shoot any legal doe or buck they so desire.  I’ve ask them to let the spikes and Bucky (3-pointer) go and grow, but I won’t hold them to my standard, cause I have time on my side (I hope.)  Pictured is Bucky in my front yard.

I’m so looking forward to the late season bow hunt in the snow.  I plan on using my long bow with some great broadheads I just received from Razor Dobs.  I started my hunting exploits with a recurve, but have taken only half a buck with a stick bow.  I say that as years ago I arrowed a Pope and Young (133 inches) nine pointer with my recurve.  I hit it in the neck, and watched it bed down along a fence row.  I put in a sleepless night, but snuck back in on him in the morning.  I “chickened” out using the recurve again, and took my compound in the morning.  He was still where I left him, and I was able to crawl within 18 yards of his bed.  I drew my bow from behind a tree, and stepped out.  He turned and looked at me, but didn’t try to stand, so I let one fly.  Wack-a double lung hit!  He ran about 20 yards and piled up.  The arrow from my recurve had done some damage, but it was the compound that finished the job, so that’s why I can only take credit for 1/2 a deer with the stick bow.  The nine pointer is pictured.  I hope to change those statistic’s this December.

Mike

Fact and Fiction of the Proposed Lead Ban.

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Environmental groups are now claiming that wildlife, on a large scale, are being impacted by lead poisoning,either by ingesting spent lead, or consuming lead from gut piles.  They further claim a human health risk from eating wild game.  They make no secret; they are pushing for a complete ban on the use of lead in all ammunition and fishing tackle.  The facts that surround this issue are complex, but the ramifications of a complete ban would have devastating effects on the shooting and fishing industries.

Lead is a naturally occurring element in the environment, and really has no beneficial role in biological systems.  Lead is toxic, and has been banned in paint, toys, and gasoline.  As I stated in my earlier article the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service banned lead shot used in waterfowl hunting in 1991.  The ban followed research done on bottom feeding waterfowl in very heavily used waterways and marshes.  Because these birds have gizzards, which hold onto and grind up food, lead does not pass through their systems, thus making it toxic to them.

Those pushing the ban on lead cite the impact that lead has had on raptors, such as the bald eagle.  The truth is raptor populations have been increasing for several decades, and the Bald Eagle was even removed from the Endangered Species list in 2007.  Here in Monroe County it is not unusual to see eagles in the air on any given day.

For the life of me I can’t see where individual fired lead bullets are (or ever could be) a threat to the environment whether in Colorado or the Upper Peninsula.  Granted there may be some hazard area’s, but these are minute compared to the whole scope of our precious hunting lands.  Trap and skeet ranges, dove fields, and heavily hunted marsh area’s could have a high concentration of lead in the vicinity, but these small specialty area’s should not spill over into the millions and millions of acres where lead is not a concern.

I will finish up my thoughts about this topic in my next blog.  This is certainly an issue we (sportsmen and women) want to stay up on.   If we fall asleep at the wheel on this one, there is going to be an awful crash!

Mike

What a Lead Ban Would Mean to the Future of Outdoor Recreation

Friday, October 14th, 2011

I’m willing to bet that there are only a handful of sportsmen and women that are knowledgeable concerning proposed legislation banning the use of lead.  On August 3rd. of last year (2010) environmental groups petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a complete ban of lead under the Toxic Substance Control Act.  Congress had enough “guts” to specifically exclude ammunition from the legislation, and the EPA rejected the petition on the grounds that it lacked the authority to implement such a ban!  The environmental groups then filed suit against the EPA claiming that they do indeed have the authority to ban led ammunition.  The argument of the environmentalist/anti-hunters is that the lead deposited by hunters (and subsequently fishermen) can, and does do irreparable harm to wildlife as well as humans.

If you remember the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service banned lead in all waterfowl hunting in 1991.  Environmental groups had filed a lawsuit stating that lead pellets were a threat to birds (ducks and geese) that might ingest the shot pellets.  Research documented that in heavily hunted wetland areas there was a higher waterfowl mortality rate due to ingestion of lead pellets while foraging.   from this single argument comes the environmental notion that all lead should be banned from use in the hunting and fishing community.

If that ever happens it would have a profound effect on the cost of replacing lead with much more expensive metals.  The shooting and fishing industries would be severely “burdened” as well as sportsmen and women, as the increased cost would be passed onto them!  Keep in mind that the anti hunting folks and the environmentalist have a bigger goal in view than just the banning of lead shot.  Bottom line is they want your guns, and your right to hunt and fish.  If they can’t directly do that (a little thing called the Second Amendment) they will use whatever harassing tactics available to them.  Making it more expensive for manufacturers and sportsmen alike could certainly put a huge damper on our outdoor sports, as we now know them.

There is more to be said on this issue, but suffice it to say fellow outdoor enthusiast, “Be on guard!”  Donate your time, talents, and money to those organizations that take a stand for our rights, as hunters, shooters, and fishermen.  Keep abreast of the issues, and let your Congressmen and State Representatives know where you stand.  We have a Commander In Chief that is not very sympathetic to the cause, and he could be there for four more years to implement his anti gun policies.  Remember one women singlehandedly took prayer out of our schools.  We need to be diligent and aware of our adversaries and there tactics in order to preserve our heritage as sportsmen and women.  More to come later.  Click on the Hornady/Boone and Crockett heading in the sidebar for a video presentation concerning this issue.

Mike

Food Plot Magic No. 2

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

There is a reason this blog is titled “Food Plot Magic No. 2!”  It’s because I wrote it yesterday, posted it, and then did some editing, only to have it mysteriously disappear from my blog-roll.  I’ve contacted my site administrator, but haven’t heard back from them yet, so we’ll try it again!

The pictures show a very nice 10 pointer and a flock of turkeys feeding in my little half acre food plot.  Proof positive that i”If you plant it they will come!”

This august I started the plot by mowing the grass, removing dead timber, and cutting down some smaller shrubs and trees.  Once that was done I used a rototiller to turn the ground over, and then raked the bigger pieces of sod out of the plot.  It was allot of work, but only took two days of preparation before I planted my White-tail Institute seed blend.  It consisted of  brassica, oats, and a winter pea mixture.  Within two weeks I had “shoots” that were 2-3 inches tall.  Today the plot is healthy, and attracting deer and turkey from around the area.  I only planted a little less than half an acre, but already have plans to increase the size next year.  One of the nice things about this plot is that once the seed is planted there is no maintenance.  Also these plants will come back for three years, which gives me time to experiment with other kinds of seed blends-possibly turnips next year.

I have well over 700 pictures from my Cudde-Back trail camera’s, and I can identify 11-12 different bucks.  Most are small (under 6-points) but there has been one 8 pointer spotted, and this nice 10 (in picture.)  Deer up in the northern part of Michigan do not grow big racks like their southern, corn feed cousins, nor do they have huge  bodies.  This 10 pointer is about as good as it gets, but I’d be tickled pink to have a crack at him.  I think he might be the deer that started making scraps several weeks ago.  I’m going to see if I can fool him with some mock scraps with a little doe and buck urine mixed in.

With all the deer activity around my food plot, it has caught the attention of the area’s apex predator.  Mr. Coyote has been filmed crossing the plot, and last Saturday evening we actually heard a pack run down a deer and make a kill.  It was quite a moment for us all, as we sat around a glowing campfire, and listened to the chase for around 15 minutes.  We were sure they made a kill, as we heard an animals distress screams, mixed in with excited coyote yelping, and then dead silence.  We assumed they were then eating dinner.  The next day I never saw a deer on stand, and that was probably due to all the commotion the night before.  Sounds like I may need to do some predator hunting this winter.

Mike

Full Moon – Coyotes – Family Fun

Monday, October 10th, 2011

A four day weekend at the cabin resulted in another win for the “whitetail deer!”  I had a hunch things were going to be a little tougher, due to the full moon, and they were.  Not only that we had a cabin full of kids and grandkids, which honestly didn’t leave much time for chasing those elusive deer anyway.  I did give it a shot, but you can see, in the picture, there are no deer riding with me on the 4-wheeler.  Total deer sightings for four times in the stand were three deer.  One lone doe owes her “hide” to a squeaky cam on my compound.  WD-Forty fixed that, but not before it blew my chance for some venison.  The bright moon had those deer moving very late at night, as my trail cam can attest to.  I did get one picture of a very nice 10 pointer in my food plot, but it was after midnight when he showed up.  I also have a good picture of a coyote walking through the plot.  Looks like I need to do some predator hunting this winter.

The second to the last night we were at camp, we heard a pack of coyotes off in the distance.  We were sitting around a blazing campfire telling scary stories, when the yelping started.  The girls and kids listened intently as the howling got closer.  I knew at one point they were within a couple hundred yards of our camp, and maybe even closer, when we heard the bone chilling encounter between predator and prey.  We don’t know what they caught up to, but they surely brought down something, as it got very quiet after the yelping and screaching stopped.  It was the next day that I saw nothing while hunting, but came across 5 sets of coyote tracks crossing my property.

Besides the hunting we kayaked the river, rode the train, went horse back riding, roasted smores, and even caught a couple nice “brookies!”  We watched a couple videos, played board games, and had home made pancakes for breakfast.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, and Grandma and Papa were delighted to host our kids, their spouses, and grandkids for a few days of family fun.  It’s a long bow-season, and I’m not the least bit concerned about putting meat in the freezer.  It will happen!  I just need to be patient.

Mike

Deer Camps and Game Poles

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

I don’t know about you, but every deer camp needs to have a game pole.  When I purchased my place there was no game pole, and quite frankly there really is no need for one when you have a nice pole barn to hang your game in.  That being said, I was still looking forward to putting one up, just to make it an official deer camp.

Well we were so busy preparing for the weekend hunt, we didn’t have time to construct a game pole.  In fact I wasn’t even sure we were going to need one on the 2 day hunt, as we were mostly feeling things out.  You know, getting used to the area, patterning deer movements, finding travel corridors, that kind of stuff.

Well everything changed when Tony officially christened my new camp with a big fat doe.  Now I had to make a “buck” pole.  We found two good trees, and used an 8 foot long fence post that was laying around the shed for the cross bar.  The pole is about 15 foot from the campfire pit, so you can sit around a blazing fire and tell deer hunting stories.  Some of them might even be true.

This week and part of next is supposed to be like Indian Summer here in Michigan.  My wife and I are meeting up with some of the family for 4 days at camp.  The colors are just about at their peak, and I’m going to sneak in an evening hunt or two.  I’ve got two grandsons (six and seven) who want Papa to take them out “hunting,” and we are surly going to do that.  My new 6×7 ground blind will be used for the purpose it was built for-concealment and noise/scent reduction.  We are sure looking forward to heading northward again.  “Hasta la vista baby!”

Opening Weekend 2011 Bow Season

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

What a great opening weekend at my own deer camp!  Son-in-law Tony shot a really nice doe Sunday morning, and I saw plenty of deer.  In fact I even had a shot at a nice buck, but had a clean miss (over it’s back) at a mere 15 yards!  I used my 20 yard pin which is a stupid “rookie” bowhunter mistake.  Can’t believe I did that, but there’s always next time.

I had some awesome experiences while in my stand.  I’ve made a contract with a little buck we’ve “dubbed” Bucky.  I promised him he is safe while on my property.  He doesn’t seem to have any fear of humans or human scent.  I watched him spare with a little spike horn, and also saw him work over a couple little saplings.  A huge group of turkeys came around the food plot one evening, and the interaction between them was comical.  Bucky would kick at them and try running them off with his head down.  They would scatter, only to return at the first opening in Bucky’s defense.  Nature can put on a much better show than you’ll see on T.V.

The night Bucky spared with the spike there was also a tall five point around my stand.  I considered taking a shot, but it was the first evening, and I decided to just watch the show.  I figured if he (the five point) showed up again Sunday I may take a crack at him.  In between all of this I had several yearlings in the food plot, but to my surprise I never saw a mature doe.  I had a doe permit, and would of liked to of taken a nice fat doe for the meat freezer.  Anyway Sunday evening the five pointer shows back up, and yep I missed him.  I’ve got allot of hunting season left, so I’m really not that disappointed.  It was a great way to christen the new camp, and I’ll be back next weekend for another go at it.

Mike