Archive for March, 2012

Todd Christianson’s “Whitetail Camateur”

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Todd Christianson recently ran across some of my blogs, and quickly sent me an e-mail.  Through our correspondence I learned that Todd had recently started a web-site of his own.  It’s called “Whitetail Camateur” and it deals with videos and trail cam pictures that people submit to Todds site.  Todd realizes that there are thousands of weekend warriors and many avid hunters out there who have a story to tell.  What better way to tell that story than with a camera or video of that spectacular “shot” captured on film.  I have a few unique shots I’ll be sending Todd myself.

You can submit your photos or video to WhitetailCamateur@gmail.com in order to share with others who have similar interest.  You’ll find Todds site under “Trail Cams” on my blog, and by clicking on can go directly to his site.  There is much more information about all the aspects of taking good trail cam pictures and videos.  There are several other hunting blogs one can go to, along with tech talk, and advise for the novice and expert alike.  Hey it’s a good forum just to get input from others that may have “been there-done that” already.  Sharing ideas and knowledge about this emerging aspect of whitetail hunting is essential in our quest to stay one step ahead of the most elusive big game animal on the planet!  Hope you’ll visit Todds site and pass along this information to those you know.

Mike

Compassion and “Water For Life!”

Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Several weeks ago two of my grand-daughters watched a program called Life Outreach International with James and Betty Robinson.  A portion of the program was about their “Water For Life” well drilling ministry in Third World Countries.  The girls watched intently, as they learned that over one billion people (worldwide) lack access to safe drinking water.  They were saddened by the plight of little children and their families as they either drank dark polluted and disease carrying water, or died from dehydration.  We also found out that over 5000 children die each and every day, as a result from drinking “bad” water.  That’s more deaths  each year than the global conflicts taking place right now!  The girls were shocked to see little children dip their cups into muddy water, and drink it, as cows, pigs, and other animals wallowed in the same water.  Many times these disease carrying streams and lakes, are also used to wash cloths, do the dishes, and dump sewage into.

After the program ended the girls asked if they could send what money they had in their savings envelope to  “Water For Life”?  They each had about $10.00 dollars saved, and I said that it would be a wonderful idea to help get water to these thirsty souls.  I then asked if there was any way they could think of raising more money for the well drilling project?  They came up with two good ideas.  One they would draw pictures, and then give them away for a donation.  The other came about with a little help from me.  I seem to always have some change laying around in my car, or sitting on my dresser.  I told them they could have the change (money) and also collect what they could find in their mothers car.  That initial effort netted about $15.00 dollars, and “Change For A Change” was born.  We sent out e-mails to some close friends and family members, and people responded.  In fact one friend just sent a mason jar containing $71.00 dollars in change.  We have had two and three dollar donations, as well as quarters, dimes, nickles, and pennies.  At this present time the girls have collected almost $500.00 dollars for “the cause!”  Donations are even coming in from miles away-like Texas, Florida, and Illinois.  My mother even placed a “Water For Life” jar at her hair dressers.

Life Outreach International plans on drilling 350 wells this year, at a cost of $4800.00 per well.  They only way that goal can be reached is through the compassion and caring of others.  I am so blessed that my grandkids are concerned with the welfare of the less fortunate.  We live in a very selfish and self centered society, and it’s a true breath of fresh air to see their willingness to get involved with caring for the needs of others.

The girls have already surpassed two of their fund raising goals, and continue to reach higher in their quest to raise money, and awareness, for “Water For Life.”  In the Bible Mark 9:41 states “For whoever gives a cup of water to drink in My name, because you are mine, most assuredly will not loose his reward.”  May these precious “thirst” souls receive the gift of clean water, as others rally to bring them “springs of living water!”

Mike

Thanks For the Memories George Millhouse

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Well I’m sad and sorry to say that the hunting fraternity has lost another of their tried and true “old timers!”  Ninety four year old George W. Millhouse passed away last Friday, due to complications from pneumonia.

I’ve know George his wife Albena, and their three children Connie, Rodney, and Sharon since I was a preteen, living in the same neighborhood.  The Millhouse family would invite all the neighborhood kids to various parties they would have at their house.  Halloween, birthdays, and square dance parties are all stored away in my memory storehouse.  George and his wife were accomplished square dancers, and it was a real treat having them try and teach a bunch of 11,12,and 13 year old’s how to “promenade home!”  Yes that was a time when neighborhoods were just that-neighbors looking out for one another, and actually interacting with each other.

The first picture was taken in Lewiston Michigan during gun deer season.  On occasion we (the Ansel’s) would run into the Millhouse hunting party, and then map out a strategy for some well coordinated deer drives.  As you see there are “no” deer in the picture.  George is in the background hanging on the door (right side.)  That’s his son in law Chuck Marlow in front of him (gun in air) and his son Rod kneeling to the left.  I don’t know why we were all smiles, as George and I had both unloaded on a beautiful 10 pointer, and I suspect he died of old age, as we sure never did him any harm!  After we missed the 10 point, a really nice eight point let us walk by him, and then bolted after we had passed right by his bed.  We never got a shot off.  Hey you can’t get them all!  Even if we didn’t hang a ton of meat on the buck pole, we had fun.  A mid-day visit to Tally’s for a “Tally’s burger” fries and a coke always brightened the day, as we embellished our deer stories.

The second picture is of George, and his bow shot buck, that he took in Southern Michigan while hunting with his son Rod.  George and Rodney were not only father and son, but best hunting buddies as well.  I can’t think of a more perfect match than to have your dad be your mentor, guide, and friend while tromping through the hills and dales of Michigan.  In Georges later years it was Rod who did the planning and leg work in order to put George on the deer.  Those were good times, and when a deer was hung it was just icing on the cake for the Millhouse crew.

I recently read a report that the ranks of hunters is diminishing quite rapidly.  Those of us who had a George, or a Norm (my dad) in their lives, owe it to them to honor the heritage that they left us.  We can do that by making it a goal to bring a new hunter into the “fold” this hunting season.  The new Michigan ” youth mentor” program makes it so easy to introduce a youngster to the great outdoors.  I hope that those of you who read this will consider honoring the memories of those that have went before us.  Rodney and his brother-in-law Chuck, along with the six Ansel brothers, wouldn’t trade those wonderful hunting memories for a million dollars (or a million “bucks!)

Rest in peace George.  Many from the old neighborhood came to the funeral home to honor George and the life he lived.  Connie, Sharon, and Rodney you have some great memories to hang onto.  Those are priceless.  Bill, Chuck, and Roxanne you also, along with the grandkids, are blessed with past memories of George and Albena.  I personally thank you all for sharing George with me and many others over the years.  “Thanks for the memories!”

Mike

Turkey’s Galore and Spring Fever!

Saturday, March 17th, 2012

Tell me it’s not March 17th. and the flowers are blooming, the trees are budding, and the turkeys have come out of hiding!  On top of all that the temperatures are in the mid 70’s.  Now that’s a combination that is hard to beat.

I just talked to my brother, who is in Florida playing golf.  I was supposed to go, but opted out this year.  He said it was 82 degrees and sunny.  When I told him it was 75 degrees here, and sunny, with low humidity, he just groaned.  I’ve played as much golf as him, at a fraction of the cost.  Why; I may have saved enough money to pay for my last propane fill up at the cabin.

The main reason that I’m writing this blog is because of the early turkey sightings.  I have never seen them make their presence known this early in the year.  I have seen four major flocks, ranging in size from 70 birds to about 30 birds, around the county.  Two of the flocks are within a mile and a half of my house.  Monroe is not known as a turkey Mecca, but in the last few years that has changed.  In the last several years the first turkey hunt (toward the end of April) has been alright, but the last hunt (in May) has been great-at least for me!  I’m thinking that everything is early this year, and I’m betting that will include the strutting/mating ritual of “old Tom turkey.”  I have already seen Tom’s strutting, but the birds remain flocked up, at least for now.  The forecast is calling for mid-seventy temps for more than a week, and by golly that could have the Tom’s in high gear, and ready for action sooner than normal.  At this point I’m glad my boy and I have our permits in our pockets, as we are also ready to do some puttin and strutting!

Mike

Storm Damage

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Just returned from surveying the damage from last weeks snow storm from around our cabin.  We had lost power, as did most of the upper part of the Lower Peninsula.  In our area we received 16 inches of heavy wet snow, plus 55 mile an hour winds.

I have mostly red and white pine on my property along with some poplar and birch trees, with a few cherry mixed in.  I would estimate that we lost around 200 trees to the heavy snow and wind.  My driveway had been plowed out, but several trees had to be cut out of the way in order to make a path to the cabin.  One big limb just missed the side of my place, but other wise there was no damage.  The furnace stayed on, even though there was no power, so I never had to use the tools and generator I hauled along; just in case!

We saw seven deer around the cabin, and they looked to be in good condition.  We recognized all of them, due to the many pictures we have on our trail cams.  A couple of orphaned fawns made it through the winter, and the coyotes didn’t get the big black rabbit living under the woodpile.  Speaking of woodpile’s-I’m going to have more campfire wood than I’ll use in ten years, once I get sawing on the downed trees.  Looks like it’s time to invest in a new chainsaw!

Mike

Winters Last Hurrah?

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Last week the storm system that spawned all the tornadoes down south, also wreaked havoc to the upper part of lower Michigan.  The west coast around Traverse City (both north and south) were hit hard by snow and high winds.  Snow accumulated Thursday and Friday to almost 36 inches in parts of the state.  There were over 250,000 people without power after this monster storm swept through the area.

My wife and I wanted to go to our cabin, as she’s on a school break, but our area had a snow emergency, and cars were not allowed on the road.  Power lines down, phone service disrupted, and trees blown down by the snow and high winds (55 mile an hour.)

It took us three days to find out we had lost power, and as of today we still don’t have any.  My furnace is supposed to stay on even when the power goes out, but I’m still a little nervous about what could be waiting for me when we drive up there in the morning.  I’ve had frozen pipes before at another place we owned, and it can really be a mess.  I’m taking my tools just in case, but I’m hoping they stay in the explorer.

Everyone knows we had a very mild winter.  In fact the National Weather Service says it’s the fourth warmest on record.  Just when I’m thinking Spring is in the air, Mother Nature throws me a curve ball again!  I did get a report that it’s been in the 40’s and 50’s the last few days, and the snow’s melting.  Hope the power is on for us when we get there.

Mike

Skating’s Ups and Downs

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

I used to do quite a lot of roller skating when I was growing up.  This past weekend about 15 of us (my family) went to Great Lakes Skateway for a birthday party for grand-daughter Ava.  We were able to have the rink for several hours, and most at least gave it a try.

Three of my grandsons are in this picture, and my oldest (Quinn) actually won the “men’s” race for the evening.  He’s the one with the glasses and brown shirt.  Kyle, in the blue shirt, (background) is only 6 years old, but is an excellent skater.  My daughter Tara (Kyles mother) is also very good.

The next day all the “old timers” shins were sore, while the little guys had no complaints.  Hey, if you did that on a regular basis, one might get in shape!  I’ll tell ya the truth though-skating definitely has it’s ups and downs “ouch!”

Seeing how tomorrow is supposed to be in the low 60’s me and a couple of my buddies are hitting the golf course.  We’ve been playing on the indoor range in Monroe, and it’s time for the “real deal!”  Hope I’m better at golf than I was at skating!

Mike

Michigan’s Big Cat’s

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Here is a picture that a friend of mine caught of a bobcat feeding on a deer carcass.  Looks like a pretty good sized cat to me.  Personally I have only seen two Bobcats in the wild in my lifetime.  Either they are very rare or awful elusive.  It’s hard to believe that Michigan has a Bobcat season.  None of my hunting acquaintances has ever shot one.

Of course it’s not everyday that I’m tromping around the thickest Michigan swamps either.  From what I know that’s where they like to hang out.  In fact this picture was taken deep inside a big swamp around the Houghton Lake area.

Little do these stealthy predators know, but it seems they may be getting some powerful competition from their much larger cousins.  I recently got an e-mail of a cougar (mountain lion) caught on film here in Michigan.  Because the Dept. of Natural Resource has denied Michigan has any such critters roaming its forest; I believe it’s given them a chance to establish themselves statewide.  It’s just been within the last two years that our state finally confirmed “yes” we do have a small population of cougars roaming our timberland’s, and sometimes our backyards.  The state has even ask that any cougar sightings be brought to their attention, as mentioned in the rules and guidelines booklet that hunters receive when they purchase a license.

If it took me 65 years to see two bobcats, I wonder how many years it will take to spot a cougar?  I don’t think I have another 65 more left in me, but it would be kind of neat to see one on the prowl.  That is as long as he wasn’t prowling for “ME!”

Mike