Archive for February, 2012

KeepShooting.com Has Ya Covered

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Back when I was growing up in Monroe we had two army navy surplus stores in town.  They were my favorite place to browse, as I rarely had money to spend.  I loved seeing all the neat army gear, and one time even saved enough money to buy a gravity knife.  It was like a switchblade, only it opened with the flick of the wrist, and not a button.  To this day my parents never knew I owned something that could of gotten me in a lot of trouble.  I never had any intentions of using it in a bad way; it was just cool having it.

Anyway I have added a link to my blog page called KeepShooting and the link is http://www.keepshooting.com.  These guys have you covered, and for me it was a no brainer adding them to my blog roll.  They don’t just handle Army/Navy surplus supplies, but also firearms, firearm parts, camping equipment, survival gear, and clothing.  They have three warehouses full of stock, and they are staffed 24/7 three hundred and sixty five days a year.  They pride themselves on fast quality service and making sure they meet every customers expectations.  They also can be found at Gunbroker.com where they have a 100% feedback.

If you get a chance go to their web page and do some browsing.  I think you’ll be surprised at the variety of items they carry, and the very competitive pricing of their merchandise.

Mike

Winter Can’t Make Up It’s Mind In Michigan

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

In this sequence of pictures taken in my back yard you will see how fickle Michigan weather has been.  There is only a 36 hour difference between the first picture (no snow) and the last picture (snow.)  In between is a blast of winter followed by warm (snow melting) temperatures.

This year will probable go down as “The winter that wasn’t!”  Seems like the only thing we could count on was that we couldn’t count on anything!  I just hope we don’t get a blast of cold and snow when were all looking forward to Spring.  The animals that have to struggle to make it through a harsh winter have certainly had a reprieve this year.  Hopefully at least they will benefit from our “Winter that wasn’t.”

Mike

Welcome Home Brad

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Yesterday it was my honor to attend my baby brother Dean’s third adoption, along with his wife Tiffany.   Judge Holman presided over the proceedings, and declared Brad (holding the certificate) to officially be Dean and Tiffany’s son.  He joins baby Landon and older brother Jeremy, as the third Ansel boy in little brothers family.  He seems like a great kid, and melts into the family mix like he was “born” to be there.

The court room was packed with well wishers including most of Tiffany’s family.  Her dad Marty and mom Sharon along with the rest of their kids and grandkids (Brads cousins) filled the courtroom.  My mother Betty, brother Randy, and myself represented the Ansel side for this wonderful occasion.

Dean is one of my three brothers that are police officers.  He has always loved children, and along with Tiffany they make a great parent raising duo.  They have tons of support from the Cossins family (Tiffany’s side) and Brad has already bonded with many of his new cousin’s.  Don’t get confused here on me!  Yes Tiffany’s maiden name was Cossins.

Just wanted to welcome you into the family Brad, and pray that you will be all that God intended you to be.  With the love and support of your whole family you can conquer anything.  Congratulations young man!

Uncle Mike

Little Kids=Little Bows=Big Plans

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

I had my grandson Kyle over the other day, and he wanted to shoot his new bow (A Christmas present from Papa.)  It wasn’t exactly warm out, but we braved the cold for a half hour or so.

As you can see Kyle’s form looks very good.  The draw length is several inches to long, so he wasn’t able to anchor his index finger in the crack of his mouth.  The (headless) deer target ended up being “drilled” several times, and Papa was well pleased with our first foray into shooting a kids compound bow.

There are three (3) weight adjustments on this bow, and I think Kyle could handle the middle weight, rather than the lower weight it’s set at.  Kyle’s age (almost 7) is perfect for starting a kid into archery.  I have another grandson (Jacob) who also got a bow for Christmas that’s the same age as Kyle.  They are best buddies, and very competitive with one another.  I can see where Michigan’s new child hunting mentor program is going to be a hit in my family.  I already have four grandkids talking about hunting with Papa this coming season.  Turkey hunting is just around the corner, and I’m hoping to put a couple of these guys on a bird.

Of course I may need to buy “another” youth model 870 – 20 gauge shotgun!  I say another as I bought my son one 18 years ago, and loaned it to “someone.”  I can’t remember who I loaned it to, but whoever it was evidently claimed it as their own.  You certainly wouldn’t think that something like that could happen, so now I make a list of who borrowed what!  Anyway it’s very rewarding to see a whole new generation (in my family) interested in pursuing the outdoor sports; namely hunting.  I think I’m going to like being a “guide” in these upcoming years.

Mike

Memories

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

This has been a pretty inactive winter for me.  I haven’t been out “playing” in the snow as usual, primarily because there hasn’t been much snow.  What there has been is a lot of reminiscing about past good times with my family.

I am the second of six boys born to Norm and Betty Ansel.  My dad was raised on a farm here in Monroe County.  The old farm still stands, even though it’s well over 100 years old.  My dad hunted, trapped, and enjoyed the outdoors as a young man.  Back then you supplemented the food supply with what you brought home from the woods and water.  My dad would tell us tales of the “runs” of fish that would come up the creeks in the spring.  There was an abundance of suckers, carp, and even northern pike that would end up on a dinner plate in those days.  Rabbit, squirrel, and pheasant were a normal item on the grocery list.  Muskrat, weasel, and an occasional mink pelt brought in that much needed income during the “lull” of the winter winds!  In fact muskrat was one of the staple foods during those trapping days.  My dad used to fix the muskrats that we would trap as kids.  I remember them being fixed in a corn mixture with the “rat” being cooked whole (head minus the tail) in the oven.

My dads dad (my grandfather) Charles lost the farm during “The Great Depression.”  The family moved into town, and grandpa died at a early age.  My dad quit school,and got a job, like most young men had to do in those tough days.  He joined the National Guard at 16 (lied about his age) and ended up serving  in the Pacific during World War II.  He had married my mother before going overseas, and resumed his life here in Monroe after his discharge.  He handed down his love, of the hunt, to his six sons, and the memories from those years I will cherish forever.

The picture was taken on one of our traditional deer hunts.  We never owned a cabin or any land.  We always rented a place to stay, and hunted state land around Lewiston Michigan.  Bucks were few and far between, and oh what a celebration there would be when we strung one up on the game pole.  Of course there were those years when four, five, or even six deer made that old pole sag, and made our hunting season a “legend” in our own minds!  I vividly remember every buck my dad shot, and three of his sons have mounted bucks on their wall today.  What an honor for me to be one of those sons.  Hunting for the Ansel’s was always a family affair, as my mother was camp cook for a week.  Thank God we all took pictures, and have them to help stir up the memories of those great times together.

Those reading this who had a father teach them the ways of the woods are blessed indeed.  Those that didn’t (for whatever reason,) please take the time to pass on your love for the hunt to your children.  They will thank you, and remember you with heartfelt love, for sharing your special times with them.

Mike

New Michigan Youth Mentor Program

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Not long ago I talked to Christy at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources about the new Mentored Youth Hunting Program.  She said that there was an upcoming meeting (this was a couple weeks ago) and that there would probably be a specific course required in order to become a verified mentor.  Well just Saturday I got the news that everything was in place to launch this new program, and mentors do not have to take a course to be illegible.  The requirement is you must be at least 21 years old, have previous hunting experience, and posses a current Mich. hunting license.

This new program gives the parent or guardian the right to determine when his child is ready to take a weapon afield; not the state!  Of course the mentor is responsible for the youth hunter’s action while in the field.  Also there is no limit to the number of children a mentor can take afield, but the state recommends that it be limited to one or two, for a more quality hunting experience.  The mentor and youth must have close contact at all times, and the youth can not be situated more than arms length away from the mentor.

The license package for a youth hunter is a bargain and a half.  For $7.50 a youth hunter gets to hunt small game, turkey (spring and fall,) deer (two tags any deer,) trap furbearers, and fish all species.  Note:  The deer tags can only be used on private land, which is the current state law for 10-13 year old hunters.

I have several grandkids in the 7 and 8 year old range that are chomping at the bit’s to get in the field.  Looks like I have to get my act together, and start working with these “youngins” so they are prepared for this coming fall.  Deer camp ought to be very special this upcoming year.  Thanks State of Michigan and the DNR-this program is good news for outdoorsmen and women, and all the youth hunters from all over the state.

Mike

 

 

Tracks

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

My wife and I recently returned from our cabin after spending the weekend up north.  We had a very relaxing visit, as we both read a couple good books, and watched two video’s we had brought along.

I checked out my property and some of the surrounding area for deer sign, and also for any turkey tracks (none) in the area.  Up north weather has been as unpredictable as ours.  Last week there was 10-12 inches of snow on the ground, and this week there’s only 3 inches left, with many spots completely bare.  The temperature Saturday was a balmy 46 degrees, as the melting snow dripped off the cabins roof.

I saw some encouraging deer sign (see picture) but saw no turkey tracks anywhere.  Also there weren’t any coyote tracks in the area, which is a good thing.  The AuSable River is just a mile away and that’s where many of the critters head for the winter.  This unseasonable weather will have one good benefit, as it should help the deer herd make it through the winter with low mortality rates.  We saw one doe around the cabin and she had twins with her that weighed about 50-60 pounds.  I thought that was awful small for this time of year.  She must of had them very late last Spring.

My wife is hoping that are lack of snow isn’t a sign that were going to get blasted in March and April.  It doesn’t take but a few nice mid 40 days, and I’m ready for the warmer weather.  I never did put my golf clubs away for the year.  In fact there were guys on the golf course Sunday!  Could Spring not be far behind?

Mike

Huge Florida Snake Swallows Whole Deer!

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

If your planning a trip to Florida you have more than alligators to watch out for.  You may be aware that the Sunshine State has an infestation of exotic creatures.  The swampy humid climate of Florida is perfect habitat for snakes, and they are reproducing in alarming numbers.  Except for alligators they have no real predators keeping the numbers in check, and some are growing to epic proportions.

The python in the picture is a classic example to “Pets gone wild!”  Yes that is a whole deer being extracted from this huge snakes belly.  If a deer can go down it’s throat-why not a person?  A smaller child would be a snack for one of these “monsters!”  The problem has caught the attention of the Florida Fish and Game, but they are hardly making a dent into these evasive species.  Feral hogs, lizards, and snakes are but a few of the non native critters that are wreaking havoc on Florida’s native game species, as well as the flora and fauna!

A few years ago a huge snake was found dead with a dead alligator in it’s “ripped open stomach!”  Seems the alligator got the last “kick” in, as it was being swallowed whole, and tore open the snakes stomach as it was being ingested!  These snakes are exceeding 200 pounds and nearing 20 feet long.  It takes some good nutrition to grow to that extreme.  Dogs and cats aren’t safe, and I suspect it won’t be long before a human is added to the list of delicacies these imports will swallow!  Vacationer beware-you may soon be on the menu, as you relax in Sunny Florida’s “giant snake pit!”

Mike

No Snow = No Coyotes

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

So far it sure hasn’t been the kind of weather that makes for good coyote hunting.  At least not around here anyway.  Monroe county, and actually most of the south-eastern section of the lower peninsula, are way below the normal amount of snow for this time of year.  I would of golfed Tuesday (57 degrees) but the course was to muddy for golf carts, and this old timer don’t walk!

I need snow to hunt coyotes and foxes, and there just hasn’t been any on the ground when I’m free to hunt.  I did see a red fox a couple days ago by my house, but it didn’t look very healthy.  Looks like it could of had the “mange” or maybe it was just having a bad hair day!   I’ve been wanting to try out my new battery operated “moving rabbit” in distress with my rabbit call, but it looks like I have to wait till the middle of February.  The long term forecast is for unseasonably warm weather for the next couple weeks.

Pictured is my nephew Derek with his bow killed “yote” that he took during this years deer bow season.  It isn’t easy getting one of these varmints into bow range, and it’s even harder actually putting an arrow in one.  Derek is a cool customer and a crack shot, as he’s learned from one of the best, my little brother Darryl.  Derek is one of the managers at the Dundee Cabala’s, so he doesn’t have tons of time to “hit” the fields, but when he does, he’s deadly!

Mike