Archive for December, 2013

Michigan Cougar Shot!

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

For at least the last 15 years I have heard stories of mountain lion sightings from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  In fact a friend of mine (Dave Marcum) said he had one around his bait pile several years ago.  He watched it for several minutes.  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources didn’t pay much attention to those that reported such encounters, until the evidence became overwhelming.  Just a few years ago they finally acknowledged that “yes” Michigan did have a few cougars roaming about it’s northern forest.  You will now find them mentioned in the D.N.R’s hunting brochure, as a protected species.  There hasn’t been much mention of them roaming the lower peninsula but an acquaintance of mine caught one on his trail cam here in Monroe County.  You can’t get any further south in Michigan than Monroe.  I’ve seen the picture, and yes it is a cougar (mountain lion!)

Well last week two individuals from Bay county were arrested for illegally killing a cougar in Schoolcraft County in the Upper Peninsula.  The cougar was know to frequent the area he was killed in, and an anonymous tip led to the arrest of the two mentioned.  The perpetrators could receive up to 90 days in jail and a $2500.00 dollar fine.  The last legal cougar killed in Michigan was around Newberry in 1906.  They were gone from Michigan shortly thereafter!

Presently the Department of Natural resources has confirmed 23 separate sightings of cougars in Michigan.  As of yet no breeding has taken place, as it would seem that the all male cougar community hasn’t found a female counterpart.  I’m sure that’s only a matter of time, as the big cats expand their area.  Cougars are territorial and the dominate male will run off the younger competition.  Many believe that the bulk of Michigan’s cougar population has migrated from the Dakotas, as they search for new territory to establish their own domain.  A full grown cougar (close to 200 pounds) can bring down any deer or even a full grown elk, not to mention a human who may get in it’s way.  They are stealthy, silent, and powerful killers, and may be coming to a forest near you in that future.mountain lion 004

Rage Broadheads?

Friday, December 27th, 2013

When the Rage expandable broadheads first hit the market several years ago they were an instant hit with bowhunters.  I thought they were a bit “pricey,” so held off on trying them out.  I finally broke down and shelled out $39.95 for a 3 pack because of the excellent feedback I was getting from other hunters.  Well the first buck that I flung a Rage at, made me look pretty foolish.  I only got 4 inches of penetration as the arrow fell from his rib cage on his first sprint for safety.  I quickly grabbed a 125 grain Thunderhead and got on his trail through the snow.  I was able to stalk within 5 yards of him bedded in a blowdown, and the Thunderhead did it’s job.

I had not used a Rage again until last year.  I have taken three turkey’s and recently took two deer around my camp with the Rage.  The deer pictured dropped in it’s tracks without being hit in the spine!  Never had one do that before.  It was a quartering away shot that went through the opposite shoulder, as shown in the picture.  The deer I shot the day before was a double lung shot that went about 40 yards.  I would be hard pressed not to be satisfied with those results, except for the fact that the expandable blades broke or came apart on the last three shots! On one of the shots both blades were gone, on the next one blade broke off, and on the deer pictured both blades were twisted and bent.

Now that’s basically $40.00 bucks down the tubes.  They may make replacement blades, but it looks like a pain to go that route.Just today I went to Cabela’s with a gift card I received for Christmas.  I bought a 3 pack of the new and improved Rage expandable broadheads.  They do look like a few things have changed, but time and a couple deer on the ground, will tell.  If these don’t hold up I’m going back to my trusty Thunderheads.  I would appreciate some feedback from others who have, or are now using the Rage.
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Christmas 2013

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Had 22 members of my family over Christmas day, which included six of our children and 11 grandkids plus 3 of the spouses.  We had a great time, but the grandkids Christmas play was the highlight of the day.  Ava was Mary and Jacob played Gabriel and Joseph.  Kyle and Brady were shepherds and Addy and McKensie were angels.  Logan did a fine job of playing the animals in the manger (a cow.)  Papa was the narrator.

The kids did two songs (Silent Night and Glorious Night.)  They all did there speaking parts with enthusiasm and 4 year old Brady stole the show.  He never had time to practice, but learned the songs in just one pre-rehearsal before the play began.  Everyone enjoyed the kids and the message of Christ birth that they presented.

We had some great tasting food, opened way to many presents, and did a funny photo booth opt later in the evening.  We have a tradition of one of the grandkids placing Jesus in the manger, and this year it was Logan’s turn.  We usually sing a few songs then sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.  We all stayed up way to late, and around 1:00 a.m. people were dropping like flies.  The trick was to find a place to sleep before someone else grabbed it.  I ended up on the couch with two grandkids on the floor beside me.  My wife had four piled in with her, but we were all so tired it hardly mattered! After all it was Christmas day, and the family was together enjoying this season of love and grace.
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Last Minute Deer!

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

I was bound and determined to make one last trip to my cabin before deer season left me an empty freezer.  I was able to sneak four (4) days in this past week and finally saw some deer.

My good friend Bob Baltrip accompanied me for companionship and moral support, as he chose not to hunt on this trip.  He pastors a small Baptist church and was just going to relax, kick back, and prepare himself for his Christmas message.  We enjoyed our time together to the fullest.  Bob was helpful as well as gracious in putting up with his “old buddy!”

Did I mention snow?  We had 8 inches on the ground upon arrival, and Friday and Saturday it snowed another 4 inches.  The neighbor north of me has horses and the deer had runs going through my property to  their pasture.  Mostly pines and softwoods in my area, so a little horse hay can be quite a deer magnet.

I was actually able to take a small buck and a nice doe (pictured) on successive days not to far from the cabin.  I used my Barnett Predator crossbow with bolts that had lighted nocks.  At 365 feet per second you can’t see the bolt unless you have the illumination on the nock.  I was able to watch the flight of the arrow as it hit dead center to where I aimed.  The buck went down within 40 yards, but the doe dropped in her tracks.  Never had that happen before unless it was a spine shot!

I love hunting the late season, especially when there’s a ton of snow on the ground.  More snow is in the forecast for the Mio area and I’m thinking I’d like to take one of the grandkids up for a couple days after Christmas.  You can’t beat the fellowship of old friends, combined with a foot of snow, and deer on the game-pole. Doesn’t get much better than that!

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Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty Punished for Ruffling the LGBT Feathers!

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Just returned home from my “last hurrah” deer hunt of the year, and was able to put some meat in the freezer.  Had plenty of snow and saw quite a few deer, but I’ll write about that at a later date.

I had not heard anything about the Phil Robertson suspension from the A&E channels mega hit “Duck Dynasty” for ruffling the feathers of a “different duck!”  Seems old “straight shooting” Phil happened to say what countless millions of Americans believe about homosexuality, and consequently has been skewered by the LGBT people (Glaad,) the liberal media, and the speech police.

The A&E channel has suspended Phil from the program, due to pressure from gay activist, concerning  Phil’s so called racist anti gay remarks. Duck Dynasty is the most popular reality show on network T. V.  It is a mega hit and everything the Roberson’s touch seems to be a “money maker.” None of this matters right now as Phil has done the unthinkable thing concerning the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community!  He had the audacity to disagree with their “chosen” lifestyle, and that is now a “hang-able” offense in the once great land!

It is now against the law (Constitution) to speak out against the gays, or have any other belief other than there own.  Where does this leave the millions of bible believing Christians (like Phil) who totally disagree?  Any dissent can and will be labeled “homophobic” and could be classified as “hate speech!”  The biblical standard and teachings from the Christian gospels concerning homosexuality is now “outlawed” hate speech according to the LGBT backers.  What we are seeing, and will continue to see is the growing assault on the Christian churches (along with any religion that teaches homosexuality is sin) to get in line with the “program” or “pay the price!”  Heck you don’t even have to be “religious” to get in trouble on this issue, just voice any opposition to the officially sanctioned version of “right and wrong,” and your head will roll.  What ever happened to “free speech?”  I sincerely believe the day is coming when pastors and preachers, who speak out against the homosexual lifestyle will be fined and jailed for their so called racist hate speech.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a powerful voice for the gay community, and has strong support from Hollywood, the media, and many politicians.  They are now pushing for the many sponsors of Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty to pull their support from the show, or face the backlash from the gay community.  Bob Dylan’s song “And the times they are a changing” hauntingly keeps playing in my head!

I am not a fan of “Duck Dynasty!”  I am a fan of religious liberty, convictions, moral absolutes, and freedom of speech.  Not hate speech, but thoughtful dialog that has room for various differences of  belief.  This is not the case with the LGBT backers as it’s “my way or the highway” which leaves no room for any opposition to their agenda.

Hang in there Phil you have my support.  I hope that the rest of the Duck Dynasty crew will not succumb to the pressure, and will in fact “walk” if A &E will not rescind your suspension.  Money never trumps integrity!  Heck I could no doubt get “flack” from voicing my thoughts on the blog sphere.  Change (as we were promise) isn’t always for the better!


Michigan’s New State Record Archery Buck

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Archery big buck 2013 003Michigan has a new state record typical buck in the archery division.  Bowhunter Robert Sopsich of Milford Michigan  took down this massive 12 point on November 2nd 2013.

Robert owes a big thank you to his brother Donny who talked him out of bowling, and even let him use his deer stand.  Robert didn’t make it to the stand as he saw the monster crossing a field in search of a hot doe.  He was able to collect his composure after a brief twinge of “buck fever” and put his arrow in the vitals.  Robert called Donny (who was helping a neighbor track a deer) and after finding that deer went after Roberts.  It had traveled almost 400 yards before piling up.  No ground shrinkage here!

Roberts buck was officially scored as the new state record last month according to online reports.  The Boone and Crockett score was 182 -1/8 beating out the old record by a mere 2/8 of a point! The deer had 12 points with an inside spread of 19 1/8 inches. The main beams measured 26 4/8 and 26 3/8 inches with the longest tine being 11 inches.

One cool thing is that the brothers had pictures of this buck on their trail camera, and knew he was in the area.  I bet missing a night of bowling never felts so good for Robert and Donny Sopsich. Congratulations Guys!

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Status

Friday, December 13th, 2013

United States wildlife managers on Thursday recommended lifting the endangered species protection for grizzly bears in Yellowstone National park.  If approved it could open the way for these big bears to be hunted again.

The original goal set by the U.S. fish and Wildlife Service called for a goal of 500 bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem.  This goal was reached in 2007 and the federal government maintained that the bears had made a healthy comeback, and thus removed them from protected status.  Almost immediately conservationist filed a lawsuit challenging the de-listing in court.  The courts agreed with the argument concerning climate change and the decline of one of the bears prime food sources (whitebark pine.)

Presently there are an estimated 600-700 grizzlies roaming parts of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.  Federal and state wildlife managers again have recommended the de-listing, which does not hold the authority of law, but is a preliminary step toward the Fish and Wildlife Service lifting federal safeguards.

Environmentalist are jumping all over this issue along with the Sierra club criticizing the de-listing as premature at best!  There will no doubt be another court battle, just as there was when the Obama administration lifted federal protection for wolves in Idaho, Montana, (2011) and Montana in 2012.  There have been limited hunts on wolves since the de-listing, and Michigan had it’s first wolf hunt this year.  Only 20 wolves were taken out of a quota of 43.Grizzly 001

Sandy Hook Remembered!

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

This is my little princess Addisyn Grace.  She is 7 years old and the apple of Grandpa’s eye.  Our love for one another is mutual and we really enjoy spending time together.  She came over to our house this evening so we could practice her lines for the Christmas play we are putting on for the family.  She also wanted to see Papa and Grandma’s tree that we just put up.  She told some really funny Santa jokes and we read the story of the ginger bread man and then put his puzzle together.  We did a Google search and saw our houses at street level.  We only spent a couple hours together, but they were memorable and sweet.

Why do I even mention this on a so called hunting blog?  Well the little boys and girls of Sandy Hook Elementary school are still fresh on my mind.  I think of the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends that have had their little princes and princesses taken away from them!  How do they bear such a loss?  As a father of six and a grandfather of eleven I can’t even begin to imagine the crater that has been left in the hearts of those families.  Tragic, senseless, and possibly preventable.  This was no accident, but diabolical and a carefully executed plan of pure evil.  There is nothing sweeter than five, six, and seven year old boys and girls.  Playful, inquisitive, loving and innocent all wrapped up in sudden burst of energy and unending “why’s!”  What kind of monster could do such a thing to these priceless precious “gifts!”

There are no answers, no guarantees against this reoccurring in another time and place.  You can point your finger at guns, violent games, mental health, parental failure, society, bullying, or any number of other issues, but in the final analysis how do you truly recognize the face of evil.  It can look like Charles Manson or the choir boy next door.

My hope is that the evil that has plunged its darkness into the hearts and souls of the survivors will not win!  I pray that the light will win out and that in the end all will be delivered from evil and it’s destructive intentions.  Please continue to pray for the people of Newtown and keep your loved ones close to your heart always.2013 Christmas Tree 002

Congress to Extend Plastic Gun Ban

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Today’s vote in Congress will extend the prohibition on plastic guns which can be produced from improved 3-D printers.  In fact the gun pictured was made from such a printer.  Technology has come a long way and the implications as to what’s next is a serious concern to gun control and gun rights activist alike!

Presently there has been a ban on plastic weapons since 1988 when President Ronald Reagan enacted the first ban.  Some of this seems like a “no brainer” as these guns can evade screening devices.  Right now they are required to have one metal part on the gun, so it would be picked up by a scanner.  The glitch in that requirement is that the metal part approved is one that can be removed from the gun and reattached later.  What were they thinking?

In a statement last week, the NRA expressed no opposition to renewing the law.  They then stated that they would lobby to fight any expanded requirements that would infringe upon our Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The Obama administration has had little success in it’s focus on gun control, and seems to have shifted it’s emphasis on background checks and mental health legislation.  You won’t get much of an argument from most on that issue as long as the right to bear arms is not infringed upon!  Never the less the battle lines may have been “tweaked” a little, but the war goes on.  At this point neither side is throwing up it’s hands in “surrender” to the opposition.  This is one issue  that won’t stay on the “back burner” for long!plastic pistol 012

Oh Christmas Tree Oh Christmas Tree How Lovely Are Your Branches!

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

My wife have been married for 43 years, and for all of those years we have always had a “live” Christmas tree.  Sometimes they have been pre-cut, but that was in the early years of our marriage.  It’s been a family tradition to cut our own from one of the local Christmas tree farms.  When our kids were little we made it a real adventure.  Now we try and include our kids and grandkids in the excitement of trying to find the “perfect tree.”

Well you can see from the picture “old” Grandma and Grandpa are on their own once again.  The only thing truly exciting about cutting our tree today was trying not to freeze to death.  A winter storm is brewing, and the cold west winds were blowing right through us!  The “perfect tree” happened to be all the way to the back of the tree lot just like they always seem to be.  Thankfully the owner of Santa’s Tree Farm came along with his trailer and hauled the scotch pine back for us.  Good thing cause I was already huffing and puffing and I couldn’t “blow” anybodies house down!! Must of had a dull saw blade.

Several things messed up all of us getting together this year for our annual pilgrimage to the tree farm, not the least was the “flu bug.”  Several have opted for the “easy” environmentally friendly way out and went artificial.  Others were just to busy to fit it in, so Lorna and I figured we better get “sawing” before all the “perfect trees” are gone.  One year we waited to long and had to settle for a Charlie Brown tree.

We’ll let this one sit in the garage a few days then put it up and decorate it.  We love the fresh pine smell, twinkling lights, brightly colored bulbs, garland, tinsel, and our old angel treetop!  But the most precious thing we hang on the tree is the bulb with the Holy Family inside, and all those home made ornaments from Christmases past.  It’s remarkable how a few pieces of construction paper and a second grade class picture can warm your heart, and bless your soul, as it smiles at you from within those lovely branches!tree 2013 Santa's 002tree 2013 Santa's 005