Archive for May, 2012

Fishing – The Smile Says it All!

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The smile says it all.  Grandsons Logan, Keegan and Jacob couldn’t contain their joy, about catching some rock bass and a few sunfish at Papa’s secret fishing hole.

Logan Horwitz is my daughter Meghan’s son, and they hail from Chicago.  Logan has not had much of a chance to do any fishing, and when he landed his first fish they could hear him hollering in Alaska.  You would of thought he just landed a 20 pound brown trout!  Logan and his dad Mark  caught four or five rock bass, and each time Logan went “bonkers.”

It is so “cool” to see the kids eyes light up when they set the hook, and reel in their prize, all by themselves.  Jacob’s dad Tony supervised him, and I took Keegan under my instruction, along with his older cousin Quinn.  Jacob and Logan like to compete against one another, so there was a whole lot of noise every-time a fish was landed.  There are always “bragging rights” for the biggest fish, nomatter how old you are!  Keegan is more laid back, but managed to land four fish himself.  Jacob caught the only two sunfish of the day, as the “ladies” were content to snap pictures and lay by the water on a blanket.  It was a gorgeous Northern Michigan day that these three amigos will not soon forget, and neither will their Papa.  It’s all about the smiles!

As a bonus to our fishing expedition we were treated to the “cry of the loon!”  There is nothing that stirs that wilderness experience like hearing, and seeing, this elusive bird.  We weren’t fast enough with our camera’s, but we’ll carry the memory around in the index file of our mind for a long while.


Memorial Day 2012 at Camp

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Memorial day 2012 is history.  Fifteen members of my family just spent the last four days at our camp near Luzerne.  Four wheelers and motorcycles got a serious workout on the trails around my place, as well as the federal land that is adjacent to it.  Son-in-law Mark Horwitz and grandson Logan had to be pried off their bikes, and Quinn ended up with a lovely “dirt trail goatee!”  We had beginners and experts get riding time in, while “Papa” was cutting down 10 trees, in order to make room for the new bunkhouse.

The existing cabin will sleep 10 alright, but 15 is crowded, and if all 25 show up it’s impossible.  So I contracted with Northstar Storage Barns, in Mio, to build me a 12×26 foot bunkhouse.  I checked on it while I was there, and it was just receiving the finishing touches.  I just need to have the sight excavated, and cabin can be delivered.  No more sleeping in rocking chairs, couches, and tents.

Memorial day we floated the  river with a variety of water craft.  We had quite a flotilla traveling down the cold clear waters of the Ausable.  One flipped kayak (son Micah) and a couple kids overboard (on purpose) was all part of  enjoying the 91 degree temperatures on the water.

We had a bonfire every evening,  did smores, and slapped at those pesky mosquitoes.  Homemade pancakes, eggs to order, along with bacon and sausage were on tap for the early risers.  We did burgers and potato salad (Meghan)  and ordered pizza twice from Lost Creek Sky Ranch.  We thought we brought to much food, but young boys can make it disappear faster than you can buy it!

Forth of July we’ll be at it again, but this time there will be enough beds to go around!


John and Dave Marcum-This Pair is Hard to Beat!

Friday, May 25th, 2012

This is a story that I’ve been waiting for a long time to do.  Pictured is a friend of mine (Dave “Erine” Marcum) and his dad John.  Dave is several years younger than me, but that smiling, handsome, guy beside will be 91 years young this year.  What precious memories Dave is storing up of hunting with his dad.  Most men at this stage of their lives are in nursing homes, or needing some kind of care due to failing health.  Not Mr. John Marcum!  He’s as healthy as a horse, and as sharp as a tack.  Why it was just last year that Dave talked his dad into hunting from a ground blind, and not a tree stand.  Mr. Marcum has scored on deer, with his crossbow, for the past several years.  Just a remarkable man is all I can say.  I do not know of another father son hunting pair, where the dad is in his 90’s!

Many years ago I had the privilege of hunting with Dave and his dad around Hillsdale, where Mr. Marcum lives.  My dad knew John Marcum through church activities, and they were kindred spirits where hunting was concerned.  My dad passed away at 58 years old, but I will never forget our hunt with the Marcums those many moons ago.  To think Dave has enjoyed his dad afield for all these years is nothing short of miraculous.

Those beautiful trophy Tom’s were taken from the same blind one hour apart.  Dave has refined his turkey calling skills, and was able to lure these “bad boys” within range of their shotguns.  Both birds had 10 inch beards, and over 1″ spurs.  They each weighed about 20 pounds, and Dave got his dad’s hunt on his cell phone video.  How cool is that?  Dave owns 40 acres in Hillsdale, and manages it for deer and turkey.  What a great place to be able to take your dad to, and enjoy the fellowship of the “hunt.”  Oh! did I mention the Mr. Marcum not only hunts deer in Southern Michigan, but the Upper Peninsula as well.

Occasionally I would work with Dave’s dad at Ford Motor Company, where he was an engineer.  A finer Christian gentleman you will not find.  Dave I know I don’t need to tell you, as I can see the “spark” in your eyes when you talk about your dad, but you are a blessed man.  Congratulations to you both-a rare memory indeed.

Also a thank you to Ken for sending me some of this information, and who has a great turkey story of his own.  We’ll get to that when I return from Northern Michigan.


Memorial Weekend Happenings!

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

This is a picture of my food-plot from a couple weeks ago.  I hope this coming holiday weekend finds it doing better than this.  I happened to run into Ken Curry who is a retired Supervisor from the Monroe Ford plant, where I used to work.  Ken has a place only about 6 miles from me, and he was a wealth of information concerning food plots.  I haven’t been putting any “lime” down on my food plot, and that may be why the plants were rather sparse.  Definitely need to be using some 12-12-12 along with the lime, and check into a good clover mix.

Ken also told me that there are many fellow Ford retirees with hunting camps in the area.  We’ll have to see if we can round some of them up this Fall for an old timers reunion of sorts!  While I’m thinking about it Ken- e-mail me a picture of that Monster turkey you shot a few weeks ago.  I’d love to let the readers get a look at a true trophy Tom!

I’m having an Amish Company build me a small bunkhouse, so I can accommodate my whole clan.  Presently there is not enough sleeping room for all my kids and grandkids, but I plan on fixing that situation.  I’ll be cutting some trees down this weekend in order to make a spot for the new “cabin!”  Hope I can get the son-in-laws off the river for a few hours on one of those days.  Four wheeling, rafting the Ausable, bonfires, and pancake breakfast.  Sounds like a good weekend coming up!

Lets not forget it’s our fighting men and women that allow us to celebrate this weekend.  Our veterans have paid the price for every freedom we possess.  They are the true “hero’s” of today, and we must never forget our indebtedness to them.  Thank you veterans, and your families, for being on the front lines, and keeping America safe and secure.  You are the best.  I would like to salute those in my family that have proudly served their fellow man with honor and bravery.  My dad Norm (Staff Sgt. Pacific theater) brothers Randy and Darryl (Sgt’s.Viet-Nam) Uncle Mel Douglas (D-Day Canadian tank commander) Niece Jayme McElvany, and Nephew Scott Smiley (airborne), along with Cousin Jerry Marshall, and myself (Viet-Nam era.)

Sp/5 Michael Ansel 1st. Armored Division

16th Engineering Battalion

Late Turkey Report

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Just received a report from my brother that him and his family are having another bang-up year on big Toms.  Brother Darryl shot one in Southern Michigan that had an 11 inch beard and 1-1/4 spurs, and weighed 24 pounds.  That is one nice Eastern Gobbler.  In the picture is Darryl with grandson Tristan with the big turkey he shot last year.  I haven’t received a picture yet, but Tristan shot another big bird this year.  He’s definitely following in grandpa’s footsteps.

Darryl has also called one in for his buddy Dan, and at one time had 10 different Tom’s coming into his expert calling.  Darryl got a whole sequence (on video) of a hen, answering Darryl’s hen call, and it has the Tom’s going nuts.  I can’t wait to see the video.

Darryl has his son Derek out this morning trying to get an elusive Monroe County bird in the freezer.  His grand-daughter Mckaylee saw the bird yesterday, but couldn’t get a shot off.  Lot’s and lot’s of action for his crew on these Southern birds, which makes my season even more strange.  Even though I got a bird, I never heard a gobble all year.

Keep the powder dry guys and let me know if you put any more birds on the ground.


A Silent Tom!

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Boy what a weird year this was for turkey hunting; at least for me anyway!  I have never had any problem getting on the birds during the third hunt, but this year I had to really work at it.  Even though I finally put one in the freezer I never heard a gobble all season!   The bird I “put down” was silent, and I had just about given up on getting one this year.  I changed locations several times, and only saw a few hens and one Jake.  I guess sometimes you have to do a little moving around when things are “quiet” in the turkey woods!

My bird had an 8-1/2 inch beard and kind of small spurs (both under an inch) but he will taste good for sure.  I used my Remington model 870 with a 3-1/2 in “bazooka shell.  It reached out about 35 yards, and actually didn’t do hardly any damage to the meat.  It’s those BB’s to the neck and head that put em down in their tracks.  I love turkey hunting and am already making plans for next year when I hope to hear those “Silent Tom’s” get vocal again!

The Woods Are Alive With The Sound Of Music!

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

In order to get out in the woods, in pursuit of old “Tom turkey,” I have to be up by 4:30 a.m.  I usually stay in the blind until 10:00 o’clock if there isn’t any gobbling going on around me.  Just because I don’t see any turkeys doesn’t mean the morning was wasted, or boring.

I love being out in the field before dawn.  Just watching the sun come up is enough for me to “have a good day!”  The early morning sounds are totally different than the late evening sounds.  Everything is waking up and coming alive, as they start a new day.  I may see some deer, or racoons returning from their nightly forage, but most assuredly I will see and hear plenty of birds. crickets, and frogs, and other sleepy heads.

The little song sparrow pictured, perched just outside my blind, and sang me a most beautiful serenade for about 20 minutes.  I had both male and female cardinals flying around, and several squirrels scampered from tree to tree.  It’s a good thing they didn’t see me cause they would of “given me up” with their loud “I see you” chatter!  I also saw ducks. rabbits, and crows, but no turkeys.  Hey I’m not complaining!  I had a couple great days in the woods hanging out with the critters, and who knows maybe Mr. Tom Turkey will decide to pay me a visit one of these mornings.  No matter I’m still enjoying myself.


Old Timers Need “Young Bucks!”

Friday, May 4th, 2012

That is my son Micah with “his hands to the plow!”  I decided to expand my food plot, and turn over what I planted last year, in favor of a couple bags of a Tecomate seed mixture.  I did most of the rototilling last year, but thanks to my young strong son, I did none of it this year.  This “young buck” worked his butt of for me Tuesday, and I was able to plant 55 trees (pine, cedar, and oak) along with seeding the plot before the sun set.

Wednesday we cut trees, burned branches, and did some turkey scouting.  I still have a ton of downed trees from the late winter snow storm that hit my area hard.  At least we have the trails clear of fallen trees now.  The turkey situation looks pretty bleak.  We saw three hens, and no Tom’s in our travels.  I tried my call on several occasions, but never had a response.  One local told us that the DNR planted turkey’s this year in Fairview, which is quite odd, as Fairview is supposed to be the “turkey capital of Michigan!”  Seems that the State boys have been trapping turkey in and around Fairview for years, and between that and coyote predation the numbers have plummeted!  Years ago we would see hundreds of turkey roaming the fields and forest around Fairview.  We failed to see one bird in our trips into town, which is kind of sad I think.

Thirty years ago I took two of my daughters fishing in a very secluded pond, where we “killed” the pan fish.  I have never been able to find that little lake again, but because of my sons GPS we found it.  I will take my grandkids there this summer and see if the fish are still “worm friendly!”



Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Leaving in just a few minutes to see if me and my son can put a “long beard” in the freezer.  The bird flying (in the picture) is the largest, weight wise I’ve ever taken.  It weighed in at over 26 pounds, which is a very nice Michigan bird.  The one strutting is the first turkey I ever shot, which was many moons ago.  Actually I’ve lost count at the Toms that have graced our dinner table, but turkey hunting  never get’s  boring for me-I love it!

Son-in law Tony put one down a couple days ago, and it was a beauty.  Twenty two pounds with a 9-1/2 inch beard and 1-1/8th. inch spurs.  I’ll post some pictures when he gets them to me.  Haven’t heard anything from my brothers or nephews yet, but I’ll be surprised if they “strike out!”

Sorry this is short, but the explorer is loaded and we need to beat the rush hour morning traffic.  Where on our way!