Archive for October, 2012

Dumb Luck or Dumb Bird?

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

This year I failed to draw a turkey permit, but was able to purchase one over the counter for area “M.”  I knew I would have to take about an hour and a half drive from my cabin, but I had fished around East Lake before, and seen plenty of turkeys.

In the past I have never really “hunted” turkeys in the fall, but would try for a fall license where I was deer hunting.  If I got one great, but if not that was fine also.  This year I purposed to try (at least for a couple days) to put a turkey in the pot.  Actually I was much more confident I could put one down with my cross-bow due to it’s accuracy and blazing speed.

I arrived at my destination after dark, which was not my intent!  I didn’t want to be making a lot of racket in the morning, so I set my blind up near a clearing, not to far in the woods.  I had to use a blue flashlight hoping not to spook every animal in the vicinity of my blind.  I put a chair in the blind and didn’t even bother to camouflage the outside, as I had a 1-1/2 hour drive back.

After a few hours sleep I was up and running again.  I had two decoys with me, and set them in the clearing when I arrived about 6:50 a.m.  I sat down and waited to see what this morning would bring.  I knew this was long-shot, but there’s just something about the woods coming alive in the morning that is special.

In the fall you are not supposed to hunt turkeys this way, but I’m always trying different methods of pursuit.  About 20 minutes after seven I gave a few soft “tree yelps” on my box call.  Immediately I thought I hear several yelps coming back at me.  I thought I was dreaming.  I continued with the soft “yelps” and at 7:30 did two “fly down cackles.”  I could definitely hear cackles and yelping around me.  I only had one blind window opened, so a shot in front was all I had.  At 7:40 I heard the flapping of wings and a bird glided 10 foot past my window and landed in the decoys.  Soon many followed from all directions.  I was stunned!  Most were young birds, but I did hear a couple Toms gobble to my right, but  never saw them.  There were at least 20 birds milling around but I only had a shot at the three that were 20 yards in front of me.  Two were juveniles, but one was an adult hen.  I put the cross hairs on her and let er rip.  The rage broadhead made a clean kill as the bird didn’t make 20 feet from where it was hit.  The other birds didn’t know what happened and stuck around for awhile, but decided to leave their flock mate where she lay.

I retrieved my bird, put my tag on, and proceeded to take the blind down.  I was back on the road by 8:00 a.m.  She was still warm when I got back to camp where I prepared her for a Thanksgiving dinner.  I couldn’t believe I could make all the noise I did setting up a blind in the middle of a roost.  Talk about dumb luck!  Turkeys are not known to be real smart, so maybe it was more like “dumb turkey!”  No matter, I’m looking forward to roasting what nature provided come November.

Mike

Just Horsing Around

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Last weekend My wife and I not only enjoyed having grandson Kyle (and his mom and dad) at the cabin, but we also where able to bring along grand-daughters Ava and Addisyn.   We had been wanting to take them to Fairview for a little horseback riding, so Saturday afternoon we did just that.  Several other family members have been at this stable, and highly recommended it.

The girls loved their ride.  This particular horse was very gentle and well mannered.  The hills still held a lot of there fall foliage as the colors displayed themselves for all to enjoy.

We already have plans for taking a large group next year on a much longer trailride through the hills and valleys around the farm.  We couldn’t do it over the weekend as Addy is only 6 and you have to be 7 to do the trails by yourself.  My wife and I could get used to the laid back lifestyle of up north living, but then again we wouldn’t see the grandkids enough.  We will just have to settle for those special weeks and weekends when we all can enjoy nature at its best.

Mike

Michigan’s Youth Mentor Hunt

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

My wife and I have 11 grand children, and Kyle Pafford is the first “young one” who expressed an interest in hunting with Papa.  This is my first experience with the “Youth Mentor” hunting program instituted  by Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources.

Kyle is seven years old.  We picked his license up last week, and headed for a weekend hunt at the cabin.  I had set a blind out the previous weekend near several good deer runs.  My neighbor raises horses, and the deer like to come in his pasture and feed on the hay he puts out there for them.  I figured the deer would be used to my “pop-up” by then, and we might get a shot at one as it came down the trails.

We slept in Saturday morning, as we had arrived very late Friday evening.  Come Saturday around 4:30 we were ready to go.  Kyle had been shooting my Barnett crossbow very well, so I had him set to shoot out the camouflaged window of the blind.  Around 6:00 o’clock a big doe just “materialized” in front of us.  I swear it was like she was dropped from the skies!  Neither one of us saw her approach down the runway.  I tried getting Kyle in position for a shot, but by the time he found her in the scope, we had made far to much commotion, and off she went with white tail “flagging!”  We were both “bummed” out until right around 7:00 o’clock.  Another doe was making its way down the trail, and we saw this one approach.  I had Kyle ready, but had to observe through a small opening in a side window.  The deer only offered a front on shot which I thought was to risky for Kyle to take.  He said later that he had the deers chest in the cross-hairs, but from my angle I couldn’t give the ok to shoot.  Anyway that deer “blew” and headed for parts unknown, and that concluded the evening.

Next morning found is in a pitch dark blind at 6:00 a.m.  Kyle wasn’t to excited about our little “can’t see nothing” cave, and asked if he could sit closer to Papa.  We tried to doze of for an hour, but between the yawning, coughing, wiggling, stretching, snuggling, and farting I knew our chances for seeing a deer were remote, at best!  We did have one “blow” about 5 foot from the blind, and scare the “crap” out of both of us while it was still dark.  Right around 8:00 o’clock a nice doe was walking right at us, but the sight of the blind made her nervous, and she warily eluded our position.  That was it for our weekend hunt, but we learned quite a bit about how we would hunt next time we come north.  Kyle enjoyed his time with “the best Papa in the world,” and I relished the quality time with my grandson.

There’s a long Michigan deer season, and our hunt is far from over.  I am quite confident Kyle will hang one from the game pole within the next two months.  In the meantime I have a couple other grand-kids that are now interested in going out with Papa.  These little guys just needed some competitive prodding to get them interested in deer hunting rather than an MP-3.  Within a few years I may have a whole hunting camp made up of grand-kids.  Now wouldn’t that be nice?

Venison Tenderloins A Fall Delight

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Pictured is one of the main reasons I hunt.  A plate full of tenderloin venison steaks  makes my mouth water before I even sit down to “dig in.”  No additives or growth enhancing drugs here!  Just delicious “Mother Nature” supplied gourmet eating, and I didn’t have to stand in line at the check out counter.

The side benefits of supplying your own meat for the freezer are numerous.  For one thing wild game is healthier for you, and you get to enjoy the sights and sounds of the woods and water as you stalk your dinner.  You develop hunter/gather instincts that are basically in the soul of every man.  Now I’m sure to get an argument on that point, but not for long under certain conditions.  Hypothetically speaking if one (non-hunter) happened to be in a situation where the only way he could stay alive was to do what the bible says “Take kill and eat” then he/she may develop these instincts rather quickly!

Anyway We really enjoyed our Fall meal of mashed potatoes, corn, and venison tenderloins.  I’m looking forward to some wild turkey, pheasant, and rabbit in the not to distant future.  I picked my grandson Kyles “youth mentor” license up today, and were going to see if he can put some venison on his own table this weekend.  He’s only 7 years old, but he’s been blowing out the bulls-eye with my Barnett crossbow.  Will blog about that soon I hope.

Mike

4 Out of 5 Isn’t Bad-Unless It’s Rain Days!

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

I can’t believe that I finally get away for a 5 day hunt, and it rains for 4 of those days.  I’m not talking a drizzle, but a 4 day downpour!  My cabin is on a dirt road and it was so bad I had to put the old explorer in 4-wheel drive just to go down the road.

I did get to hunt the one sunny day we had and I even sat out in the rain a couple times, which didn’t due my cold any favors.  I saw several does and some young ones, but no bucks.

I got several pictures on my trail cam of a beautiful 10 point, but the last picture was September 26th.  I was hoping he was still around, but I found out today one of my neighbors got him.  There’s more I could say about that, but sometimes you just have to bite your tongue.  In fact I haven’t seen any bucks in the last month except for a couple peanut spikes.  I don’t want to shoot a doe, but come December if a buck isn’t in the freezer than watch out mama deer!

Going up again this coming weekend and taking my grandson Kyle.  He may just want to shoot a deer under the new mentor program.  I’ll be testing him all this week, just to make sure he can pull it off.

Mike

Trabbic’s Pumpkin Patch

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

This past weekend my wife and I took two of our grand kids to the Trabbic Farms Pumpkin Patch in Erie Michigan.  Ava and Addisyn had a great time even though it was cold and windy.  There were a lot of other people there, as it’s quite a nice family attraction.  We were kind of surprised though at the prices of everything.  We dropped thirty dollars, and were very conservative in our spending.  A family of three or four could spend $100.00 bucks without to much trouble.  I guess that’s a sign of the times, but it makes you wonder how do low income families get to enjoy places like this?

The girls went through the straw maze, rode the pumpkin train, petted the animals,and Addy got on a pony.   We also got cider and popcorn and bought two small squash for them.  Took many pictures (as you can see) and were impressed by the size of some of the larger pumpkins.  There was a bonfire going to help with the cold, and trust me it was needed.  After a couple hours we were all ready to get in the car and turn the heater up to “high!”  If we go again it will have to be a day when temperatures are out of the forties and the sun is shining, and I have a pocket full of money!

Mike

Michigan’s Big Bucks of 2011

Friday, October 5th, 2012

Here are last years Commemorative Bucks big buck winners from last year.  Just wanted to let everybody drool a little, and get a look at what could be out there waiting for them!

The first picture is 21 year old Tyler Wagner and his huge 13 pointer.  This is the best recorded bow shot deer from 2011.  It scored 185-6/8 Boone and Crockett points.

The second picture is Robert Evenhouse and his massive muzzle loader 6×8.  Roberts deer grossed 198-1/2 and netted 189 points as the largest muzzle loader buck of 2011.

Next is Nicole Fenwick and her great 8 pointer.  She shot this deer behind her house with a bow.  Her buck scored 126-3/4 and was the top bow shot deer by a woman archer.

Last, but certainly not least is Ann Orel and her almost perfect 10 pointer.  Ann was very patient as she waited out this bedded buck before she made the shot.  Her deer scored 146-3/8 points to make it the largest deer taken with a gun during 2011.

Congratulations to all these blessed hunters.  It’s nice to know that Michigan has plenty more of these bruisers running around out there, and I (we) just have to be in the right spot at the right time.

To all you guys and gals, and kids that will be participating in Michigan’s greatest tradition this year please be safe and have fun.  Don’t pull the trigger or release that arrow until you are 100% sure of your intended target.  Be aware of your surroundings, and make sure there are no other hunters in your line of fire.  A bullet or a slug can travel a long way, so be extra careful.  Send me your successful pictures and story for publication please.

Mike

42 Blessed Years

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

As most all my readers know I am, and have been since I was a “wee lad,” a hunter.  I started bow hunting when I was 16 years old, and have never missed a season, except for the two years I served our country during the Viet Nam conflict.

Today is October second!  It’s actually the second day of our Michigan bow season which has always opened on October 1st.  This might surprise you, but I have only deer hunted October second one time over the last 42 years!

Now for the reason why?  You see I was 24 years old when I got married, and I had a great idea for my wedding.  I basically talked my wife into an October 2nd. date, so I could sneak  a little small game and deer hunting in as we honeymooned at my families cabin in Lewiston.  I thought she might even like tromping hill and dale in pursuit of some dangerous critters!  By golly I was somewhat right, as my 19 year old bride did enjoy catching her first fish. (Now that’s another story)  She even trudged through a swamp as I dropped two partridge for our honeymoon dinner.  Now how romantic is that?  After all I was going to cook the” fins and feathers” myself.  I was all excited about showing her what a great “provider” she married.  Well she may have been enamored back in 1970, but it was all wore off by 1971!

To make a long story short-I wasn’t as smart as I thought I was!  Having your anniversary fall on October 2nd. is not a good game plan guys.  Nineteen seventy (1970) was the only year in these past 42 that I was ever up north for bow-season.  I may have done some whining about it in the past, but I’ve come to realize my “DEAR” is more important than any “deer!”

The first picture was actually taken on our honeymoon, as Lorna holds our dinner.  The second was taken 42 years later.  Don’t know about you, but I can’t tell much difference in those photos.  She looks great, runs 2-1/2 miles every morning, loves Jesus, and is the best wife, mother, grandmother, and friend in the world.  She outsmarted me then and is still doing it today.

Thanks for all the great memories Lorna.  Happy 42nd. anniversary.  I love you.  Now can I go up North?  (Just kidding)

Mike

The Eagle Returns – Can We?

Monday, October 1st, 2012

This past Saturday afternoon I went to see my grandson Kyle play ball in the Fall youth league.  As my daughter and I watched the game I happened to look up, and to my surprise two mature bald eagles circled overhead.  I quickly snapped a couple pictures, but failed to get them both in the picture frame.  One of them flew just 100 feet over the ball diamonds.  I can’t figure out what they were looking for, as there certainly were no fish around, and as far as I know, there were no dead critters either!  They looked like they probably could of snatched someones small child, but that just seems un-American doesn’t it?

Anyway Kyle went on to win his forth game in a row, and all the spectators got to see quite a stunning display made by our national symbol.

I remember when I was a kid an eagles nest was discovered in a remote area of Monroe county, and it made front page news.  Now- a- days eagle sitings are so common they barely get any press at all.  I would say that’s a good thing.  It shows that the pesticides and toxins are indeed being eliminated from the eagles food source.  Healthy eagles mean healthier fish, which often finds its way into our food supply.  It is an awesome and inspiring sight to watch a bald eagle sore on the wind currents in a crystal blue sky.  The eagle has made a comeback, and my hope is that this nation can rebound from the mismanagement of our elected officials, and make a comeback of our own, as “One Nation Under God Indivisible With Liberty and Justice for All!”  We also need to remove the “toxins” from Washington in order to bring about out own healing as a free and blessed nation.