Archive for June, 2014

Ansel Turkey Success

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

Even though I never bagged a turkey this year my brother and his family made up for it.  Darryl downed a nice mature Tom over in Bronson Michigan that weighed in at 21 pounds with a 10 inch beard.  His boy Derek also shot a 24.7 pound bird with a 10-1/2 inch beard in the same area.

Later in the season Darryl took his crew to Gaylord for the third hunt and two of his gran-kids dropped nice Toms.  Tanner McElvany scored on a good bird near Lewiston while his grandpa Darryl worked the bird into range.  Tristan Ansel (Derek’s son) shot the 4th. bird of his young career while his dad did the calling.  Both these birds weighed in around 19 pounds with 8-9 inch beards. Congratulations to you all.  Do you think you might throw me a spare drum stick around Thanksgiving time?  darryl 2014 turkey 003

Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

It would seem that to some brown bears the answer to the question “Brown bear brown bear what do you see,” is “I see a meal looking at me!”  The reason I say that is there was yet another brown bear attack in Alaska recently.  According to Alaska State Troopers Andre Siegenthaler suffered serious injuries Tuesday near the village of Slana.  The location is 250 miles northeast of Anchorage and 100 miles west of the Canadian border.  Siegenthaler was reported to be in stable condition at the Wasilla hospital.

According to Ed Bullock (a neighbor) Andre (66 years old) was on his way to pick up some nails from Mr. Bullock when the bear attacked. There was no provocation as the attack happened without warning.  Andre was carrying bear repellent, but the attack happened so fast he didn’t have time to use it.  Despite their size brown bears are very fast, and can reach speeds up to 30 miles an hour.  Adult brown bears (500-800 pounds) are the top of the food chain predators, and have killed and consumed humans on occasion.  The worlds largest brown bears are found in coastal British Columbia and the Kodiak Islands in Alaska.  Bears can go well over 1000 pounds in these areas.

Andre suffered bites to his right hip, both shoulders and arms, and had damage to both cheeks and an ear.  Talk about being “in your face!” After the attack Andre walked approximately 900 yards back to his house where his wife called 911 which called in transport to the hospital.  As of this posting there were no plans to try and locate the attacker.  I guess Andre will have to be a little faster on the draw (bear spray or a 44 magnum) next time he decides to walk to his buddy Ed’s house!

Mike

Whitetail Fawns

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

Whitetail Deer Newborn Fawn Newborn whitetail deer fawnThis is the time of year you start seeing these little guys wandering about.  My son-in-law Tony has four of them roaming around his property.  They are the offspring of two whitetail does, and are never far away from the protection of their mother.  When a whitetail fawn is born they have no smell (scent) to them, in order to elude the keen sense of smell from the various predators in the area.

Years ago a friend of ours (Dick Baldwin) was actually charged by a black bear who was defending his freshly killed fawn!  Thankfully Dick made it to the safety of his truck before he became a “side dish!” Bears, coyotes, and even eagle’s will take fawns if an opportunity presents itself, but probably the greatest threat is vehicle traffic!  I have already seen two dead fawns laying beside the road in rural area’s.  Be alert and pay attention when driving in any area where deer are present.

We have a couple of twin fawns around the cabin which are always a treat to see.  I’m kind of surprised there aren’t more because of the high number of doe’s around.  Of course you have to have bucks in order to have fawns, and I can’t say there are a ton of them roaming the area.  I’ll know better whats going on once I get my pictures off my trail cams over the 4th. of July holidays.

Mike

Baltimore Oriole’s-Baseball-And Big Birds

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

fathers day 2014 019fathers day 2014 0182013 ball games Ava and Addy 015The Baltimore Oriole is probably my wife’s favorite bird, but getting a glimpse of one is rare.  We have tried for years to get one to come into our Oriole feeder to no avail.  boy have things changed this year.  We have a male and female coming into two feeders (one grape jelly) and the other a actual Baltimore Oriole mix.  Not only that we recently took a trip to Indiana and saw 3 of the colorful birds along the way.  To top things off my son-in-law and daughter have a nest in their front yard where we watched them feed three young ones in their hanging nest.  What a treat that was!  We had several people trying to get a good photo of them, and I actually got a pretty good one which I will post, along with the nest.

Baseball and softball are in full swing around here, and Grandma and Papa are quite busy trying to keep up with all the grandkids and their sports. This typical Michigan weather is keeping everyone on their toes, as a thunderstorm seems to be hiding just behind the next bank of clouds!  So far no rain outs, but that won’t last forever.  It might be the only way we can get a “break” this summer.

Twice this past week I have seen adult eagles flying over our city, and both times there have been black birds dive bombing them!  Don’t they know they are attacking our national bird?  I think that’s against the law!  Evidently the much smaller and swifter black birds harass eagles, hawks, owls, and crows when they invade their air space.  The bigger birds have a hard time trying to maneuver away from the pecking defenders and are quite helpless as they seek safer territory.

Forth of July is just around the corner.  Can’t wait to spend some time with the family at the cabin.

Mike

Michigan’s Wolf Survey

Friday, June 13th, 2014

wolfcoyote 001The Michigan department of Natural Resources has just completed it’s annual study of the states wolf population. DNR biologist estimate that there were a minimum of 636 wolves in Michigan this winter which is down from the estimate of 658 for last winter, but the numbers are stable and no cause for concern according to the DNR.

Last fall Michigan’s first wolf hunt was held with a target of 43 wolves to be harvested.  Only 22 were taken in areas where their are various conflicts and issues with farm animals and pets!  Michigan’s population of wolves has stayed between 600-700 for the last several years, which indicates a leveling off of the population due to the lands carrying capacity.

I personally have seen three wolves while driving and hunting in the Upper Peninsula.  The first was spotted crossing the road in the Seney Wildlife Refuge.  Another was spotted while deer hunting in Crystal Falls several years ago, along with sighting many wolf tracks.  The last was just a few years ago while bear hunting in Marquette.  There has definitely been a pack hanging around our bear hunting camp.  They have been known to get into our bear bait.  A pure black wolf has been spotted on several occasions, and what a majestic sight it is to see these “top of the food chain” predators!

Mike

Michigan’s Number 1 Typical Buck For 2013

Monday, June 9th, 2014

2013 big buck 0052013 big buck 006During the November 2013 deer gun hunt here in Michigan I kept hearing rumors about a huge buck being shot in my own county (Monroe.)  I tried unsuccessfully to track down these tall tales about a 300 pound monster buck, but to no avail.  It wasn’t till several months had passed that I learned that Adam Stretch had indeed taken a huge 12 point typical buck in Dundee.  Dundee is in the western part of Monroe County and has some excellent farmland deer hunting areas.

It was Adam’s first buck in 20 years of hunting, and he shot it within the first hour of opening day gun season.  Here in the southern counties you have to use a shotgun or muzzle-loader to deer hunt, and Adam used a Mossberg pump action 12 gauge with a Bushnell variable scope.  The big 12 pointer surprised Adam as it came from behind him at 10 yards while he was “grunting!”  The deer didn’t spook, but turned and started walking away from where Adam was sitting.  At about 60 yards he turned broadside and gave the fortunate hunter a shot.  Adam was sure of a hit, but did not find the buck till the next day.  A neighbor saw antlers sticking up out of a ditch 200 yards from where Adam had shot the buck and told Adam!  The buck was hard to retrieve from the very deep ditch, but the cool water helped preserve the meat.

I never heard of anyone getting 200 pounds of venison out of one deer, but Adam did!  The old timer (8-9) years old had to weigh in the 300 pound range in order to garner that much meat.  The official score was 181 3/8 gross and 176 1/8 net to make it the largest typical scoring buck for 2013.  Stretch will really have to “stretch” in order to beat this big boy!  Who knows 20 years down the road he may run into another Monster Monroe County Buck sneaking into his grunt call, and put another one in the books!

Mike

Michigan Free Fishing Weekend

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Mem. Day 2014 cabin 065jerimiah 023Don’t forget this coming weekend June 7-8 is the free Michigan fishing weekend sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources.  For the hunter and outdoorsman, summer means getting on the water and wetting a line or casting a fly!  The bass, sunfish and blue gill are on their beds right now and action along the shorelines should be fast and furious.  This is the time of year to get the kids and grandkids involved in fishing.  I have never seen a kid who did not get a thrill out of catching a fish, especially their 1st fish!  I can remember my own 6 children and the pure delight they had when the hooked and reeled in that first “whopper!” Now it’s the grandkids turn, and I have my hands full with trying to get the 12 of them a braggin size sunfish/bluegill!  We will give it the old “college” try over the 4th. of July weekend.

Switching gears somewhat: I saw three eagles today on my way home from Tractor Supply.  Two were juveniles and one was a mature bird.  They were flying in a circle looking for something to eat I assume.  What a great feeling to know these majestic birds have made such a remarkable recovery.  Conservation works!

Also saw this huge snapping turtle near my sons condo in Ypsilanti Mi.  His shell was all covered in moss (mossy-back) and he was no doubt a very old turtle.  When I was a kid we would of snatched that “bad boy” and dad would of made fried turtle and turtle soup out of him.  Not any more!  I just enjoy seeing these elusive prehistoric looking critters as they show themselves from time to time.

Mike

Pileated Woodpecker Photo Shoot!

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Mem. Day 2014 cabin 008Mem. Day 2014 cabin 040For several years I have been trying to get a good picture of a Pileated Woodpecker but to no avail!  Then last week at our place in Luzerne I got my chance.  We have had a pair around the place for years, as they keep pounding” holes in the dead trees looking for bugs.  Some of the trees have been so “beat up” that they have fallen over on their own due to woodpecker abuse!  You know when a Pileated is in the area as they sound like a woodpecker on steroids.  The hollow sound of them pecking on the tree can be heard from long distances.

I caught one in the act on several occasions and got a few good snapshot of him doing his thing.  I also was fortunate enough to get a good picture of a Red Breasted Grosbeak.  We don’t see them here in southern Michigan so it was quite a treat having him and his mate around the cabin.  Hope you enjoy the photo’s.

Mike