Archive for November, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree – Oh Christmas Tree

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

I would like to say that I cut this Christmas tree off my ten acres up north, but I actually bought it at Costco in Toledo Ohio.  When we were at the cabin last weekend I was looking for a tree we could cut.  My wife and I both thought that would be kind of neat, to have a tree from our own property.  Alas we discovered that we don’t have one suitable tree on our property.  Mostly white pine and a few “Jack” pine, but no shapely full branched Christmas trees.

Seems if I want to cut my own,on my own property, I’m going to have to plant them.  Hey that sounds like another good up-north project.  My summer should be just about “spoken for” with what I plan on doing around camp.

Anyway the tree we bought at Costco is a really nice one, and we got it for under $30.00 dollars, which is amazing.  Generally we spend between $45-65 dollars for a tree we cut from a Christmas tree farm.  I’ll let it sit for an evening, and then start decorating it tomorrow.  That is if I get my daughters back-up sump pump installed.  We’ve had so much rain lately that most stores have run out of sump pumps, as many basements have flooded.  If this were snow (and I wish it was) we’d have about 20 inches on the ground.  I’m hoping for some of that white stuff, come Dec. 10th., when northern Michigan’s muzzle-loader season opens.  I’m still hoping for a chance at that 10 pointer, and some nice deep snow could get em moving.

Mike

MaKaylee’s First Deer

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

This is a couple pictures  of my niece Jody, her husband Scott, and her two kids MaKaylee and Caleb.  Mac (as we call her) had downed this 1-1/2 year old buck just about an hour before the bottom picture was taken.  She made a perfect double lung shot with her brand new 243 (youth model.)

I hunted with Mac and Scott Friday evening from my wooden ground blind, but we didn’t see anything.  Next morning I wanted to sleep in, so just Scott and her went out.  They saw a spike-horn about 7:30 a.m. and then at 8:15 this nice doe came there way (They thought it was a baldy.)  As Mac raised her gun, Scott was whispering directions in her ear, as he hyperventilated.  Scott is a city fireman and also an EMS worker, but this excitement was almost to much for “dear ole dad!”  Mac was cool as a cucumber, at least until after the shot!  Her knees got a little wobbly once she knew she put the “smack down” on her first deer.

Scott used a walkie talkie to let us know at the cabin, and we all joined in for the short tracking job.  Once the “doe” was recovered we realized it was in fact a spike horn.  The Mio DNR said it was a year and a half old deer, and lack of nutrition probably played a roll in the poor antler growth.  No matter we were all proud of her accomplishment.  After all how many 10 year old girls have the biggest buck on the game pole (top picture?)  All the guys in camp got “skunked!”  Caleb is chomping at the bits to get his own deer, and he might just do it, if he shoots as good as his sister.  Way to go Mac!  Your the best.

Mike

Chief 10 Bears – Thankful Again

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Once again I made my annual Thanksgiving/Native American presentation at Ms. Mary’s Day Care.  Each year I seem to have collected more artifacts and reproductions than I could possibly use to hold a 3-4 year old’s attention.  Actually they seem to like the various Native American paraphernalia I lug along, and my hide collection really holds their interest.

This year we started off by going over some of the facts concerning the first Thanksgiving.  Most of the kids knew a little about the holiday, and the older ones present knew alot.  All were eager to raise their hands, as I asked them questions about Thanksgiving and Indians.  One of those questions stumped everyone, except Ms. Mary.  I asked what was different about “me” and 99.99 % of Native Americans?  It was kind of a “trick” question, but you can’t fool Mary Boudrie.  I’ve grown a beard for hunting season, and Native Americans have never been big on facial hair.  Seems their DNA is closely related to the Japanese/Chinese concerning lack of facial/body hair.  Also most practiced personal hygiene that eliminated any hair from the body.  They would pluck or singe what little amounts of hair that sprang forth.  Since I am only 1/6th. Northern Cree I grow lots of hair.

I’ve added a coyote hat this year, a new dance rattle, and a stone tomahawk.  I also now have a reproduction grizzly claw necklace.  Hard to find real grizz claws for such a project.  I do have several black bear clawed necklaces I’ve made from bear that I’ve taken.  Ill be  working on some new dance sticks this winter along with trying to make my own set of deer hide pants.  Hey it keeps me off the streets!

The kids always love posing for the group picture with Chief 10 Bears.  Maisie (with the wolf skin) and her pal Kennedy (beside her) were a big help to me during my presentation.  Everyone got to choose a feather at the end, from an assortment that I had brought with me.

Hope everyone can count their blessings this year in spite of these trying times.  There’s an old saying that says “Keep your family and friends close, and keep your enemies closer!”  There’s probably some wisdom there, but I like the idea of being surrounded by family and loved ones during this special holiday we Americans celebrate.  I am a blessed man, and so thankful for my wife, kids, grandkids, mother, relatives, and close friends.

Mike

Jesus: A Very Present Help In Time Of Need

Monday, November 21st, 2011

It is so hard for me to get back into blogging about hunting, when Dr. Douglas Baltrip was just laid to rest today.  I am so grateful that his parents (Bob and Linda) have a solid foundation to lean on.  What do people do that don’t know Christ in a personal way?  The Holy Scriptures proclaim that Jesus was a man of sorrows and well acquainted with grief.  He is able to comfort those that call on His name in their time of trouble.  Faith goes hand in hand with trust.  In the book of Job we read that Job lost everything important in his life (kids, home, business, servants, and health) yet he proclaims to those around him “Yet though He slay me I will trust Him!”  I see my friends Bob and Linda exuding this same kind of faith.  The Bible says “Faith is the evidence of things hoped for and the certainty of things not seen.”

They hold onto the promises, of their Savior, who proclaimed that he would prepare a place for us, so that we might be with Him.  No Karma, no reincarnation, no penitence, no atheistic philosophy, but the wonderful promise of a loving God, full of grace and mercy.  Through the centuries He has proven Himself over and over again the He is not a man that He should lie.  His grace certainly is “Amazing.”   His power has not diminished, His hand is not slack, His love has not grown cold, His grace is still sufficient.

I don’t think anyone can explain all that has taken place in these past days.  Trust is placing our hand in His and allowing Him to lead us.  We don’t have to know or understand everything.  We just need to know that our Heavenly Father is good!  Not some of the time, but “all” the time.  Trust walks with the eyes of faith, and leads us into the Promised Land.

Trials and testings come to all who follow The Master.  We are encouraged not to shrink back, but to press onward toward the prize, and the calling on our lives.  I know God called my “old buddy Bob” to be a shepherd over His sheep.  He called Linda to be his helpmate.  They are a team.  Every tear God is keeping in a safe place for you both.  Every sob is recorded in the very heart of God.  He can and does comfort His children.  He sends His angels as “Ministering Spirits.”  Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we shall fear no evil.  Why?  Because he is with us through His Blessed Holy Spirit.  Thank God for the Comforter-our down payment of things yet to come.

Bob and Linda, as you are tried in the fire, your light shines brightly for all to see.  It brings the “sheep” a sense of peace, and speaks volumes to the unsaved.  Surly as you follow your marching orders, the Kingdom will be expanded and territory will be taken for the Lord.

Our lives are like a vapor as we approach the final stretch in our race.  Soon and very soon we are going to see the King.  Oh what a day, what a glorious day awaits the Saints, as we are reunited with loved ones.  Vanquished, and forever removed,  will be the  pain, sickness, sorrow, and tears  associated with this life.  Lean on the rock.  Fridays over and Sundays coming!

Love you and yours always.

Mike

Dr. Douglas Baltrip A Fallen Flower

Friday, November 18th, 2011

It’s with a heavy heart that I write this blog.  While enjoying the pursuit of the elusive and wile whitetail at my cabin, I received a phone call concerning an old friends son being killed in an auto accident.  As the snow came down in huge white flakes I gathered my stuff for the 4 hour drive home.  The joy of the hunt had vanished, and all I could think about was the overwhelming sorrow that Bob and Linda Baltrip were experiencing right now.  Bob is the Pastor of Liberty Missionary Baptist Church in Monroe.  He and his wife Linda were in our wedding.  We camped, hunted, and worked together.  I introduced Bob to the joys of bowhunting.  We watched the transformation of their lives, as Bob gave his “heart” to the Lord, and never turned back, as he sought to do His will.  He was instrumental in my own quest for getting “right” with God.  My thinking was “If God could change my pal Bob, then there was hope for me!”

Dr. Douglas Baltrip was their first and only son.  He was respected and well liked in the community, as he ran his “Eye Care One” Optometrist office.  He was a good dad to his two children Colton and Emma, and his stepchildren Banyon and Brooklyn.  He had so much to live for.  Strange how life can change in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.  One minute your going to help your son do some work on his barn, and the next your planning his funeral!  Every parents worst nightmare is to have to lay to rest one of their children.  I Peter 1:24 says “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall.”

It is at times like this when you realize that life is so temporary, we are all going to die someday.  Some will leave this earth much sooner than others, but leave we will.  Some will have time to prepare themselves and their families for this departure, but others (like Doug) will not get the chance for last goodbyes, and the embrace of loved ones.  Our hearts break for the whole Baltrip family.  Linda’s arms must ache for her dear son.  Doug and his sister Kelly were very close.  Kelly worked in Doug’s office, and was around her brother alot.  Bob was a good father, and  tried to steer his son in the right direction with his life.  He was always available to help when Doug needed a hand with anything.

The funeral will be this coming Monday.  Life is forever changed for the Baltrip clan including  Grandma Elsie Baltrip.  Please keep them in your prayers, and remember the brevity of life.  Hug your kids, spouse, mother, father, grandparents, friends, and all those who are dear to you.  Tell them how much you love them, and how important they are to you.  You never know when that “flower” is going to fall to the earth.  Drink in “it’s” presence while you can.

Blessings Mike

Battleing Bucks

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

At the end of October my trail cam snapped a picture of these two buck going at it.  They were in my food plot, and you’ll notice a scent pad hanging from the tree, where I had put a mock scrape.  These don’t look like they are very mature bucks, but they obviously know how to fight!  The problem is that most all the bucks I’ve caught on trail cam have been very late at night or in the “wee” hours of the morning.  Of course it’s been two weeks since I’ve been at my camp, so I’m hoping the rut is getting them moving in daylight hours.  I’m leaving tomorrow for a few days of bow and three days of gun, so I will not be posting for a week.  Anyone who could fill in for me is going to be in the woods themselves.

I found out a couple days ago that three of my young great nephews (Tanner, Tristin, and Seth) all shot nice deer.  Tanner shot a  7-pointer, and Tristin shot a big doe.  Seth also shot a buck during the youth hunt with a crossbow.  Congratulations guys, now send ole Uncle Mike some pictures!

I hoping that this upcoming hunting season will be the safest Michigan has ever had, and that all you deer hunters have a great time enjoying Gods creation.  If ya put some venison in the freezer-that is a wonderful accomplishment.  If you don’t, may your memories be the kind that you want to revisit over and over again.  Be safe, shoot straight, and enjoy the fellowship of the hunt.

Blessings

Mike

Venison Grilled Backstraps

Monday, November 7th, 2011

I know there’s supposed to be four backstraps on the grill, but I couldn’t resist, and already ate one.  Man that was some good eating!  Many don’t know it, but I ended up being a “Mess Sargent” while serving my country back during the Viet-Nam Era.  I still like to fool around when it comes to cooking, and I especially like to experiment with wild game.

I let these backstraps soak for two days in a Italian dressing mix.  When it came time to pop them on the grill I generously sprinkled Cabela’s “Open Season” spice blends seasoning on them.  I let them cook for about a half hour, and then put some KC Masterpiece Caribbean Spiced Marinade on them.  Of course this is all experimental cooking, and I was hoping I wouldn’t ruin those hard earned backstraps.  Well I’m happy to report they were delicious!  Man I love it when a plan comes together-Yum-Yum!

Thursday my son-in-law Tony and Myself are back at it, as we head north again for a few days of bowhunting, and then 3 days of the gun opener.  Nephew Scott will join us later in the week, and then over the Thanksgiving holidays we’ll be trying to get Scott’s daughter Makalee (10 years old) a deer.  Scott bought her a new youth 243 single shot, and we sighted it in this afternoon.  Can’t wait to help the little princess take her first deer.

Mike

 

 

Crossbow Report

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

I have been a member of the Michigan Bowhunters Association for a long time, and in the past, have felt that the crossbow had no place among the bowhunting fraternity.  It was with mixed feelings when Michigan’s Legislature and the Department of Natural Resources passed into law, the use of crossbows for hunting.  I had felt that it may be ok for a disabled hunter to go afield with one, but any self respecting hunter would not even think about using a crossbow.

Well as Bob Dylan sings “The times they are a changing!”  As I’ve gotten older it has become apparent that certain parts of my body don’t work like they used to.  I have had to “crank” down the poundage on my compound bow to 58 pounds draw weight.  For years I shot comfortable at 72 pounds.  With arthritis settling into my joints, and in particular my wrist and fingers, it has become increasingly difficult pulling my bow back.  Throw in a bad back and nerve damaged feet (neuropathy) and you have the typical aches and pains of a senior citizen.

Well I have been thinking about at least trying to shoot one of these new- fangled contraptions, and figured this may well be my last year shooting my compound.  My brother-in-law went out and bought himself a Barnett Buck Commander over the summer, and had been bugging me to come shoot it.  At 365 feet per second it is fast; I mean “fast!”  Two weeks ago I took him up on his offer, and quite frankly I was pleasantly surprised at the speed and accuracy of this deer slaying weapon.

I asked if I could try it out last weekend, and was excited about the opportunity to take it into the woods.  After I had one on the game pole with my compound, it was time to give the “Buck Commander” a try.

Here is my assessment of this new weapon in Michigan’s deer hunting arsenal.  This outfit came with an illuminated 3×32 multi reticle red/green dot scope.  I had sighted it in for 20 yards.  Once that is done the 30, 40, and 50 yard dot’s are automatically zeroed in.  I shot one bolt at 30 yards, and hit the center of the bulls eye, which was the size of a 50 cent piece.  I also used a sling and a tripod to help keep me steady.  This thing oozes confidence.

Last weekend I used the crossbow from my tree stand and ground blind.  First off these things are awkward to handle, heavy, (nine plus pounds) and cumbersome!  But when you consider the accuracy of the weapon it sort of outweighs the negatives.  It definitely was harder to maneuver from the tree stand, as I rigged up a sling to help keep it steady in the ground blind.  When I got my chance to take a big doe (aged at 4-1/2 years) it was almost a “done deal” from the start.  The deer was 22 yards away quartering slightly toward me.  By the way I would not take this shot with my compound.  I held the 20 yard dot just behind the front shoulder and squeezed the trigger (3.5 pound pull.)  The deer ran about 60 yards before piling up.  It was over in less than 10 seconds!  The arrow entered the right lung (exactly were I was aiming) and exited the back of the opposite rib cage slicing the liver also.  The first doe I shot (with my compound) was a double lung hit that ran approximately 100 yards.  365 feet per second rocks!

In summarizing a crossbow is definitely in my future.  The cocking string is tolerable, and the safety features are more than adequate.  The jury is still out concerning whether this is really a cross/bow or a cross/gun?  Even though it shoots an arrow and broadhead it shoots like a gun, and is very accurate out to 50 yards.  Most archers can’t come close to this kind of pin point accuracy with a bow.  I will say this in defense of using a crossbow.  It will surly cut down on wounded and un-retrieved deer for those converting over from a bow.

Now I have to let Santa know what this “old hunter” wants to find under the tree.  I just hope he can afford it!