Archive for May, 2013

Turkey Memories Last a Lifetime

Friday, May 31st, 2013

tom turkey 009Spent yesterday with my brother Darryl, his son-in-law Scott, and Scotts son Caleb hunting turkey in Bronson.  Caleb is 7 years old and hunting under the “youth mentor program.”  Darryl (Papa) wanted to get him a bird, and so did his dad.

Early in the morning they (Darryl, Scott, Caleb) had turkeys all around them.  Three were huge “longbeards” that put on a show for them they will never forget.  Darryl and Scott were able to capture the “strutting, gobbling, and dancing display” on some incredible film footage.  What they really wanted was the sound of Caleb’s little 410 lighting up the air, and turkey feathers flying!  It wasn’t to be, as those wise old birds would not come closer than 35 yards, which is just out of range of Caleb’s 410.  Actually Darryl whispered to Scott to take one of the big brutes, but Scott wanted Caleb to get a chance, so he passed on a sure kill.  Don’t know if I could of done the same!

Meanwhile I’m surprised by three Jakes following a hen about 65 yards to my right.  They cross thru the thick hedgerow I’m in and walk into the next cut cornfield.  I tried everything to lure them away from their “love interest”, but they would not be deterred!  At one point they were at 50 yards, but out of range for my 20 gauge.  Throughout the day I tried decoys, multiple decoys, frenzied calling, no calling, stalking, and running and gunning, but nothing worked.  I did have three very young Jakes sneak up on me in the hedgerow while leaning against a tree.  I could not swing around on them without totally spooking them, and that’s just what happened!  All toll I saw 10 birds with 9 of them being Toms.

The afternoon/evening hunt for Darryl and his crew was much the same.  The plan was to catch them returning to their roost area, but they evidently didn’t read the plans themselves!  They saw a few birds off in the distance, but we all went home with only some real cool memories.  And when you think about it that’s a wonderful thing.  We saw sights and sounds that others only read about as we were in pursuit of a turkey dinner.  There is always hope for next year-gobble, gobble!



Memorial Day in the Northwoods

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Ed and Linda Cabin 2013 001Ed and Linda Cabin 2013 011Just got home late last night from 4 days at camp with our friends Ed and Linda.  It was my “last hurrah” as far as downing a turkey, and it pains me to say that there will be no wild turkey dinner this Thanksgiving!  I cannot remember the last time I didn’t fill my turkey permit.  Usually within the first few days of the season.  I made it out on eight different occasions this year, and passed on a Jake early on which turned out to be a mistake.  The picture with the full moon was taken at Ed and Pat Alger’s place in Lewiston where I hunted one morning.  Didn’t see anything but one big doe that was curious about my turkey decoys.  No matter as a “bad” day of hunting is still better than a “good” day at work!

With Ed and Linda’s help and Lorna’s over the top drive, we put up all the insulation (Ed and Linda,) paneled one wall, raked leaves, and picked up (piled and burned) more dead trees than I want to think about.  Still a ton more to do, but Lorna put a huge dent in cleaning up around the perimeter of the cabin.  Things are starting to shape up, but I would of liked a couple more days to work on the bunkhouse walls.

We did see quite a few deer around the cabin, which is always a treat, and the hummingbirds found the feeder.  We also saw our first cottontail rabbit who is living under our shed.  Hope the coyotes don’t get him!  Lorna and I are looking forward to this summer when we don’t have a scheduled time to come home.  After 20 years at Meadow Montessori she is retiring.  Hallelujah!

Turkey Season Winding Down

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

Little brother Darryl just sent me a picture of the monster Tom he just bagged in Bronson.  It reportedly has a 12-1/2 inch beard and 1-1/4 inch spurs.  Now that is at least a 4 year old bird!  When they are that old they are hard to fool, as they have wised up to many of the tricks in a turkey hunters arsenal.  Between the two of us we have probably taken close to 40 birds, and of course there are bragging rights that go along with whoever shoots the “biggest” bird!

The picture on the right is me from a couple years ago, and that bird had a 12 inch beard with 1-1/4 inch “hook spurs.”  It was the “King of the Roost!”  Looks like little brother may have dethroned me with this most recent “Monster.”  I shot one in Jackson 5 years ago that weighed 27 pounds, and that one is the largest (weight wise) anyone has ever shot, but he was only a 3 year old with a 10-1/2 inch beard.

I haven’t connected yet this year, but still hope my trip up north pays off this holiday weekend.  I passed on a Jake early in the season, but one better not strut his stuff by me again.  I’m at the “meat hunting” phase of this season now.  We shall see!  Congratulations Darryl on your record book Tom.  That one is going to be hard to beat-but I’m going to try.

darryls turkey 002Mike's monster 011

New Spring Arrivals

Friday, May 17th, 2013

We have two robins nest on the back of our house.  This one is right by our back screen door, and every time we open the door mother robin goes crazy.  There is another nest about 40 feet away built on top of our electrical panel.  Personally I wouldn’t build a house in such a “hot” spot!  The little blue eggs hatched  over a week apart, but the earlier arrivals flew the coop today, as I was about to take their picture.  How rude is that?  My wife told me I better get a snapshot of them today or it was going to be to late.  I just hope the neighborhood cats don’t get them before they can fend for themselves.

Both nest had three eggs, but only two hatched for some reason.  It won’t be long and these babies will be flying high just like their neighbors.  After that I can clean off my lamp, and walk out the back door without getting “squawked” at!

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Venison Barbecue – From Field, to Freezer, to My Plate

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

One of the main reason I (or any other) hunter hunts is to put wild game in the freezer.  Right now I have my choice of venison, elk, wild turkey, squirrel, and some trout.  This is just part of natures bounty at its finest.  No growth hormones and preservatives here.

Just recently I took a venison roast and put it in a slow cooker for about 8 hours.  I added a few special ingredients, and when it was ready de-boned the meat.  At this time it was so tender that it literally fell off the bone.  My plan was to make up a batch of barbecued venison, and that’s just what I did.  I mixed it up with some open pit sauce and it was ready for the buns and chips.  I put a couple sweet pickles on top and totally enjoyed my “wild game” barbecue.  Nothing better than a meal provided by yourself and Mother Nature.  Now if I could only put another turkey in the freezer Id be all set!
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Monroe Rotary “Others Above Self” Winners – Ava and Addisyn Taylor

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Ava & Addy Community Awards 004Ava & Addy Community Awards 013Ava & Addy Community Awards 022Last evening my wife and I attended a banquet sponsored by the Monroe Rotary Club.  The purpose was to acknowledge those in the community that put others above themselves.  There were nominations in the youth division, adults, non profit organizations, and business organizations.  There were around 60 nominations in all categories.

My little grand-daughters (Ava and Addisyn Taylor)  were nominated by Erika Brodie after she learned about their fundraising efforts to drill a well in Africa, and their work on behalf of the Mother Angel Orphans and Widows Home in India.  There were five young people nominated for the “Service Above Self” award, with all being teenagers except for Ava and Addy.  One of the fine young men nominated was a local physicians son who I thought was probably a shoe in to win!  After all the honoree’s were called on stage the judges envelope was opened by the evenings master of ceremonies.  When Ava and Addisyns name was called out I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.  Bill Saul (the Rotary photographer) said that the girls were the youngest to ever win this community award.  There were even a few people who congratulated them afterwards, and even gave a donation toward their next ministry.

The above middle picture is Erika Brodie, her daughter Olyvia, Hostess Josephine Perna Stahl (Key Bank) and Addisyn and Ava.  There is also a picture of the girls and their beautiful proud mother Courtney.

Everyone was gracious and the evening was well attended.  Lorna even had a cousin (Douglas Trouten) who was nominated for the adult award.  I saw some old friends, and enjoyed the evening even though my allergies were trying to “beat me up!”  I couldn’t conclude this post without saying the girls do what they do because of the love they have in their hearts for Jesus.  They know that when they love others they are really loving Him.  There is no certificate or trophy greater than hearing Him say “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”  Grandma and I love you girls.  Continue to put others first and you will have a life well lived.

Feathered Photo Opt

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

mom jacob lorna 003mom jacob lorna 009I don’t always remember to bring my camera along with me when I’m out and about, but when I do remember good things happen!

I live in a country neighborhood and every year we have mallard ducks nesting in peoples yards.  You would think they would learn their lesson, as inevitably raccoons (or some other critter) will get their eggs.  Our neighborhood is not a safe place to build a nest on the ground.  Only once have I actually seen ducklings hatch from these ill advised hiding places.  I’m surprised they keep at it year after year.  This male mallard was just across the street from my house, and posed nicely for a photo opt.

The pair of geese were in my brothers backyard pond, and the female is a little smarter than the ducks.  She has her nest in the middle of this pond, and if you want her babies you’ll have to swim, and then fight her and her mate to boot.  Foxes and coyotes sometimes underestimate the tenacity of a mother goose.  I once saw a goose kill a fox my friend kept for a pet.  The fox went for the little goslings and momma goose smoked him!  She actually picked him up by the back of his neck and shook him so hard she broke his back.  You do not fool around with a mother goose, or you to may be in for quite a surprise.

I also saw a huge “Tom” turkey, but was to slow with the camera for a picture.  He was walking down a road in an area of luxury homes, and surprised the heck out of me.  No doubt looking for some female turkeys.  Thank you “Mother Nature” for the photo opt!