Archive for August, 2013

66th. Annual Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl Festival

Friday, August 30th, 2013

pt. mouillee 005pt. mouillee 008The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Pte. Mouillee Waterfowl Festival committee will host the 66th. annual Pointe Mouillee Waterfowl festival Sept. 14-15 at the Pte. Mouillee Game Area in Brownstown township.

Admission is free so bring the whole family.  It’s a fun event with plenty to do and see.  Hunters can buy, sell, or swap goods with other outdoorsmen from all around the Midwest.  There will be at least 100 exhibitor booths set up selling and trading equipment and supplies.  If your looking for a good bird dog, then this is the place to be.

Over the weekend there will be the Michigan Duck Hunters Tournament, sponsored by Cabala’s, a Wildlife Art Show, Lake Erie Championship Layout Shoot(sponsored by Gander Mountain), and the Midwest Goose Calling Championship.  There are also daily demonstrations of fish decoy carving and duck decoy carving, boat building, and fly-tying.  Kids games, face painting, a BB gun shoot along with archery shooting, and a sling shot contest will keep the kids busy.

The DNR will be there selling hunting and fishing licenses along with trapping licenses.  Maps and other information are also available.  There will also be animal furs and skulls on display.  DNR wildlife biologist Joe Robison stated “This is a great opportunity for adults and kids to experience the great outdoors and the rich waterfowl hunting traditions of western Lake Erie and the lower Detroit River.”

For more information visit www.miwaterfowlfest.org or call Pte. Mouillee Waterfowl Executive Director Dick Whitwam at 734-379-4292.

Mike

No Rain – No Food Plot

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Cabin bear poop 001Cabin bear poop 012Just returned from another three day stint at the cabin.  One reason we went up was due to the positive weather report calling for rain over the weekend through Monday.  I have not attempted to plant my food plot due to the drought conditions around Mio/Luzerne.  So I figured I had a chance to drop a few seeds, but Mother Nature fooled me again!  The only seed dropped on my property were inside the bear scat (poop) laying on one of my trails, about 50 yards from the cabin.  It was a good size “calling card” no doubt left by the same bear I have caught several times on my trail camera.  The dry and dusty conditions are just not conducive for growing anything.  Had the same thing happen last year, and it was a waste of time and money trying to get seed to grow.

Saw several flocks of turkeys and their young ones.  I have a group around the cabin and the “new ones” are the size of the adult hens.  Others (like the ones pictured) are still quite small which shows the various time lines when turkeys hatch their young.  I’ve been told that a hen turkey will lay a second “clutch” if the first one is disturbed, which could account for the difference from one hatch to another.

As with all the critters in the woods water is a necessity!  That is no doubt why I haven’t been seeing as many animals as I have in the past.  The AuSable River is about 1 mile north of my place, and my guess is they aren’t wandering far from that water source.  Wish I had a pond on my property.  Sounds like a good project for next year.

Mike

A Wolf Is A Wolf Is A Coyote?

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

wolfcoyote 001If it looks like a wolf, acts like a wolf, and is as big as a wolf, why is it a coyote?  In the past few years a number of “wolves” have been killed by coyote hunters in the Northern Lower Peninsula.  There hasn’t been a “stink” raised about it, because the Department Of Natural Resources has done DNA testing and determined these wolves are a hybrid cross between a wolf and a coyote.  It matters not to them that these (so called coyotes) are more than twice the size of a coyote, and have all the features of a wolf.

Dennis Fijalkowski of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy has his own theory about “when a wolf is not a wolf!”  He stated “The DNR does not have the money to manage a wolf population in the lower peninsula, and they don’t want the social problems they’ll get if wolves start eating pets and scaring people.  So they’ll call them coyotes in the lower peninsula and let hunters shoot them and eliminate the problem.”  There are many in the state who agree with Dennis, as these (hybrids) have all been located within 100 miles of the Upper Peninsula, which has a well established population of grey wolves.  Fijalkowski also noted that a female coyote will weigh between 25-35 pounds.  One of the wolves trapped by the DNR was a young female that weighed 74 pounds.  He stated “No matter what the DNR says that’s a wolf!”

In a recent article in the Detroit Free Press there has been a growing concern over coyotes in the suburbs.  They have become less afraid of humans, and grow bolder as their natural fear subsides.  Your livestock and family pets are on their menu, and its just a matter of time before a small child makes that list.  It’s already happened in other states (especially California) and recently a child was killed by coyotes.  The report goes on further to say the coyotes are even interbreeding with dogs as they share much of the same genes.  Wolves, coyotes, dogs interbreeding and roaming our woodlots and neighborhoods.  To me that does not sound like a healthy environment for small children to be turned loose in!  Just three weeks ago I was on a golf course, just outside the Monroe City limits, when a pack of coyotes entered the fairways.  This was in broad daylight, and golfers had to yell at them before they retreated to some thick cover along the railroad tracks.  A pack of coyotes weighing an average of 35-40 pounds can seem a little unnerving, but can you imagine a pack of hybrid wolves/coyotes weighing between 75-100 pounds looking at you and licking their lips?  That scenario may well play out in the “not to distant future” if the powers that be continue to ignore the problem!

Mike

 

Bear Attacks

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

Bear Dad and Mike5This is going back in the Ansel bear hunting archives quite a few years.  That’s my dad (Norm) and myself with one of the 40 some bear we’ve taken while hunting the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  We started hunting black bear in 1973 and have had hundreds of encounters with these bruins over the 40 years that we’ve pursued “old blackie!”  In all these encounters only a few bears have had aggressive tendencies.  We have encounter sows with cubs and I personally have seen “Mama bear” quite upset!  I once had three cubs run up a tree right next to me.  They were so close I could touch them!  Mama was pretty irritated and was “popping her teeth” at the base of my tree stand.  I’m glad she stayed on the ground, as my bow and arrow seemed pretty puny at the time.  She woofed and the three cubs shimmed down the tree and scampered off into the woods with their sibling who had climbed a different tree.  Now seeing four cubs is a rare sight indeed and I was more thrilled than frightened with our encounter.  I could go on and on about bear stories and am thinking of writing a book of bear camp memories sometime in the future.

Within the last couple days there have been several bear attacks in the United States with one of them taking place in Wexford County Michigan.  That’s one county over from my cabin in Luzerne.  Regular readers of my blog may remember that we have had a number of bear around our place with one strolling through the yard in broad daylight.

Abby Wetherell the 12 year old who was attacked this past Thursday north of Cadillac was walking down a two track with nearby homes in sight.  When she saw the bear she ran trying to reach the safety of one of those homes.  The bear caught her and mauled her legs.  Abby broke free, but was knocked down a second time.  A neighbor heard her screams and scared the bear off.  Abby was airlifted to Munson Medical center with deep wounds to her legs and thigh.  It is reported she will be released today.  The DNR has placed live traps in the area in hopes of capturing this potentially dangerous bear.  This incident sure makes me wonder about my own grandkids playing around the cabin with bear in the area.  Obviously this was not a female protecting her cubs, but a blatant attack by a very aggressive bear.  I’m assuming it was a boar (male) who saw Abby as prey.  I hate to think of the consequences if there had not been an alert neighbor in the area!

It has been reported that the bear are hungry and trying to fatten up for hibernation.  I’m not sure I believe that one, as hibernation is still almost 3 months away.  Bears eat a lot of berry’s, acorns, ants, and such which makes me wonder if their natural food supply is lacking this year?  Although we have had considerable rain in the southern part of the state, drought conditions exists in the northern part.  Are bears salvaging for food where there’s easy pickings?  Bird feeders, garbage cans, and even outdoor pets and livestock are all fair game on Mr. Bear’s dinner list.  Hungry bears who loose their fear of humans have the potential to attack the most vulnerable among us.  There have only been a couple bear related deaths here in our state, but overall encounters seem to be on the rise in bear country.  Carrying a handgun (where legal) or a can of bear spray may be good advice as we do move closer to Fall and bears move closer to easy food sources.

I will be doing a follow up on bear encounters in the next few months.

Mike

North Woods Ramblings!

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Dean Cabin 008Dean Cabin 014Went up north over the weekend to try and get some loose ends tied up.  I almost finished the kids playhouse/rock climbing wall/slide.  Just have the door to install and it’s good to go.  Grandson Kyle was the first to try out the rock climbing wall and he said he really liked it.  He also tried out the slide after grandma cleaned it off.

I installed a tether ball set just before the 4th of July, and what a good investment that was.  Everyone seems to enjoy batting that leather ball around the pole.  Daughter Tara (picture) just smacked one out of Kyle’s reach, and is on her way to the winners circle.

I had two of my brother Deans kids up with me (Jeremy and Brad) who helped with my many projects.  Jeremy rototilled my food plot and put a bag of lime down.  I did not plant it though as the ground is very dry and there is no rain in sight.  Down here in Monroe there’s been nothing but rain!

Also worked on my tree stand, and found out I bought the wrong SD card for my trail cams.  I didn’t know you could do that!  An SDHD card will not work so I had no pictures on my trail cams.  I did see one nice little 6 pointer, a couple does and several turkeys over the weekend.  Still have not seen any fawns which makes me think the “yotes” are eating way to well.

Mike

La-Z-Boy Open – Boys 10 and Under

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Kyle La-Z-Boy open 2nd day 003Kyle La-Z-Boy open 2nd day 013Grandson Kyle Pafford and his caddy (me) just finished a two day tournament, sponsored by La-Z-Boy, at Green Meadows Golf Course here in Monroe.  Kyle had not played any golf so far this year, as his sport of choice is baseball.  He played on two teams this year which left little time for golf.

His mother Tara (my oldest daughter) heard about the La-Z-Boy Open from Kyle’s buddy on the ball team Matt Zwack.  Matt’s grandma and grandpa own River Raisin Golf Course, so Matt is well schooled in all aspects of the game.  Kyle was interested in playing to at least get some experience with tournament competition.  I had but a couple days to take Kyle to the driving range, as did his mother Tara.  We got three visits under our belt, but never were able to actually get on a course.  Wednesday was the first round of golf Kyle played this year and he was a little rusty.  He was the youngest player in his 10 and under group, but he didn’t get buried by the older more experienced boys the first day.

Today was a whole different story.  Kyle went to the driving range Wednesday evening and again Thursday morning before his round.  I tried to change some fundamental flaws in his swing and set-up and it really clicked with Kyle.  His mother worked with him, as I wasn’t available, but she stuck to our game plan beautifully.  Even though Kyle came in last on day one he turned that completely around and came in second on day two, which gave him a third place for the tournament.  Not bad for the first time on the golf course this year.  His round today was a 49 (9 holes) which was just shy of Matts 45!  Matt won the tournament and deservedly so.  He’s a good little golfer.  I hope Kyle can incorporate both baseball and golf into his future plans.  The way he’s going he’ll be beating his “caddy” in a year or two!  Way to go Kyle.

Mike

Trail Camera’s Work

Monday, August 5th, 2013

????????Trail camera’s have become one of the most helpful tools in a hunters arsenal.  It has helped so much in scouting potential “hot spots” that most hunters own several.  I only have two, and trust me I need at least 6 more.  They aren’t particularly cheap, so owning several is a big investment.  One major drawback is once hung on a tree (in the woods) a thief could easily pocket your cam if he had a mind to.

I once got a picture of a guy as he walked in front of my blind, on private posted property!  He went into my blind and stole my propane heater ($100.00 dollars.)  I could not see his face but have a good idea who it was because of the trail cam.  The suspect has moved out of the area so I shouldn’t be getting any more pictures of him doing his evil deeds.

The two eight pointers pictured are both on my wall downstairs.  It doesn’t always turn out that way, but the trail cam helped me with figuring out the regular pattern of these bucks.  I have six different bucks on my trail cam this year so far, with one ten point, an eight, two sixes, and two fork horns.  I have noticed that “antler development” is behind these big southern deer.  There is so much nutrition in zone 3 that the deer develop faster and larger than there northern cousins.  Not only do you capture the movements of deer, but every other critter out there using that game trail will pose for his picture.  It’s nice to know you have several turkeys in the area, and also good to know if the coyotes are on the prowl.

If you haven’t tried a trail cam it might be high time you did!  I assure you it is a good investment, and will help put meat in the freezer and a rack for your hat.

Mike

Fishing Michigan

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Cabin July 4th 2013 169Michigan isn’t called the “Water Wonderland” for nothing.  You don’t have to drive far to make a cast for your supper.  The biggest inland lakes in North America surround us!  Michigan is a fisherman’s paradise to be sure.

This time of year vacationers are enjoying their kids as they reel in some lively sunfish or blue gills.  Perch, rock bass, and bull head are all fair game for the youngsters that are fortunate enough to enjoy Michigan fishing.  Pike, Walleye, small mouth and large mouth bass rate high on every serious fisherman’s agenda, along with salmon and trout.

This picture shows my brother Darryl and Tristan and Tanner (His grandkids) hoisting a couple really nice stringers of largemouth bass.  He takes his whole family on a fishing excursion once a year, and the 17 of them enjoy it to the max!  The kids (and adults) really get into seeing who can catch the largest bass on the trip, and I believe Tanner was the winner this year.  Even the girls got in on the action.  Fishing is something that has to be experienced to understand the thrill of a bent rod and a screaming “drag.”  Bass fishing is “big” here in Michigan, and they are feisty and plentiful.  In fact Lake St. Clair was recently named the best small mouth fishing lake in the world.

No matter what lake, river, or pond you may wet your line in, you are almost assured of catching a few fish and bringing smiles to every kid you take with you.  Get out there while the weather is so cooperative and you’ll soon be smiling too.

Mike