Archive for November, 2014

Introducing Non-Hunters To The Taste/Benefits Of Wild Game!

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Mrs Mary's Pre School Chief 10 Bears 053I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving this past Thursday.  I know my nephew Derek did, as his son Jackson got his first deer.  I’ll post a picture when I get one.

For the last several years I have visited school classrooms with my Native American presentation.  My great grandmother was a Northern Cree from Saskatchewan Canada.  I have been learning the Cree language along with Native American sign language, and have a collection of various tools, weapons, clothing, and  pow-wow items.  Many of them I have made myself including several necklaces made from bear claws!

Mrs. Mary Boudrie runs a preschool not far from my place, and I have put on many presentations at her school.  I usually focus in on the first Thanksgiving, as that is what the children are learning about, and that is when they make their special “stone soup!”  They get a kick out of my many animal hides, and  “Chief Ten Bears” Native American outfit and regalia always gets their attention.  My grand-daughter “Cactus Flower” came along to help me, as she has done in the past.

This year we used Mr. Tom Boudrie’s huge pole barn for the kids and their parents.  Tom has one of the largest Native American collections in the state of Michigan, so it was fitting to have my talk/demonstration there.  I knew before hand that there would be many more people present than at any other presentation, and that food was going to be served.  I figured this would be a good time to introduce them to some good Native American food-wild game!  I cooked up some bear meat, wild turkey, and venison for their liking.  I was surprised at how many of the kids gave it a try, and several parents told me how much they enjoyed the fare.  I think the bear meat went over the best!  Many were surprised at how good it tasted, as they expected a gamey flavor.  Even several of the women gave it a try, and were impressed.

What a good way to introduce the uninitiated to the great taste and benefits of our natural resources available through hunting.  It’s a good way to make some allies from non-hunting people you may be able to influence.  And that my friends is a good thing for those of us who do hunt!


Another Elk Poached in Montmorency County

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

elk 028Oct. deer hunt two deer 047How in the world does any (so called) hunter shoot a 650 pound bull elk, and mistake it for a 150 pound deer?  I don’t know either, but it happens every year!

When I was a young man in my twenty’s we used to go into Atlanta to see the big bucks hanging on their game pole.  Seems almost every year there would be an enormous elk hanging there that some knucklehead thought was a new world record deer!  The difference between the two were so obvious it wasn’t funny.  Those were in the early days of re-establishing our elk heard, so the elk numbers weren’t that high.  That elk was killed  in Montmorency County , which is still a hotbed for elk poaching!

Just last week a 51 year old man from Waterford Michigan confessed to killing a bull elk on opening day of gun season in Montmorency County.  The elk was actually found by another hunter, and a call was made to the DNR’s (RAP) hotline.  After a lengthy investigation a suspect was identified, and a confession was forth-coming!  Lt. Jim Gomo of the Department of Natural Resources said “Good old fashioned police work by our officers brought this case to a successful end!”  “We continue to encourage the public to be diligent in watching out for our natural resources.  without the hunter calling the RAP line to report this case, it could have gone unresolved.”

Conservation officers continue to investigate a number of poaching related incidents involving elk in the Northern Lower Peninsula.  The DNR’s RAP line is open 24 hours, and the number is 800-292-7800.

In the above pictures can see the difference between a 400 pound “stag” and a 160 pound deer.  Generally elk are even larger than this stag.  To me mistaking the two is inexcusable, and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!


Little Brother Does It Again!

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Brock and Darryl deer 003A couple evenings ago I got a call from my little brother Darryl.  He’s the one that so far has spent 55 days in the field chasing whitetails.  He’s passed on several bucks, as he shoots nothing but big mature deer.  When I get a phone call from him I know he’s put one down!

Seems a nice big 10 pointer made a fatal mistake, and ventured out into the cold, and windy evening.  You know the one that any self respecting hunter (me) wouldn’t dare venture into, because the deer aren’t moving in this stuff! That’s my brother!  He’s out there while the rest of us are sitting in our favorite chair watching “The Hunting Channel!”

Darryl put the “smack-down” on his buck not very far from where he lives.  Heck if you spend enough time in the field your bound to get a shot eventually right?  Even though I believe the deer numbers are going to be way down this year the Ansel Clan hasn’t done to bad so far.

I did hear from the Baldwin hunting camp around Marquette, and they have had to resort to snowshoes this season. The Upper Peninsula has been blasted by heavy snow.  So far Greg Baldwin shot a nice 8 pointer, and one of the grandkids missed a small buck.  They stay at camp the whole two weeks, so I’m sure they’ll add to that total if Dick Baldwin has anything to do about it.

I’m posting a picture of Darryl and his hard earned buck, and no doubt will be posting more, as there still a lot of hunting to do in Michigan!


Big Buck – Great Story

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Brock and Darryl deer 001Brock and Darryl deer 002The next few paragraphs are written by my Nephew Brock Ansel. He shot a beautiful 9 pointer on opening day and has quite a story to tell.  Here it is in his own words.  I’m posting a picture of Brock with his buck, and one with him and his  son Owen at the Jerome game pole.

I ended up getting permission to hunt 40 acres which is 10 minutes north of my house in Jerome about 2 weeks ago. As soon as I got permission I ended up buying and putting together 2 ladder stands, one overlooking a 10 acre hay field and the other over looking a swamp. I baited with corn and pumpkins and let it sit for a week. On opening day I couldn’t sleep so I ended up heading to the property at 5 a.m.. At 6 a.m. I could hear a few deer come and go but it was still too dark to see. At 7 a.m. I saw a 5 point chasing 3 does through the woods and around 8 a.m. that same 5 pointer gave me a shot but I passed. At 9 a.m. I heard a crash behind me about 50 yards, and when I turned around I saw 3 does. Then behind a tree (about 4 feet wide) I could see horns on one side and a deer butt on the other. I’m left handed and hold the butt of my Muzzleloader in my left shoulder but to make this shot I put the butt of my gun in my right shoulder. This is a shot that I have never practiced! I was ready when the buck moved forward but he decided to take a few steps back, so I had to readjust my target, and when he presented his shoulder I let a bullet fly. I had to wait which felt like minutes for the smoke to clear and when it did, I saw him limping up the hill into a hay field and I was able to see him stager and drop after going only 30 yards. Just the relief I felt when I saw him drop was amazing, I didn’t  have to second guess if I made a good shot or if I was going to have enough blood to track him, all that nervous energy was gone immediately, and then it was onto PARTY TIME!

I have only dropped one other wall hanger in my years of hunting and it was at Uncle Randy’s property in Marquette. I was 16 at the time and just assumed that I would get a big boy every year going forward, boy was I wrong. 16 years later at 32 years old I have another wall hanger. My first big buck sits above my 2 year old Owen’s bed and this buck is going to hang above my 8 month old son Greer’s bed in due time! I’ve truly cherished this moment and all that comes with it because I don’t know if this will happen again in 16 years when I’m 48 or even in my lifetime, so I’m just soaking in the memories and camaraderie that bagging this big boy has brought me. Opening day morning I took my buck to Jerome Country Market and put him on the buck pole and out of 250 bucks entered, my name was drawn and I was awarded with a new beautiful tree stand.  It doesn’t get any better than this!

Successful Deer Reports Slowly Coming In!

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

tom and scotts big deer 001tom and scotts big deer 002deer pics 2014 012deer pics 2014 004deer pics 2014 011deer pics 2014 009Well so much for the forecast of a warmer and,  less snowy Winter!  My brother came back from the Upper Peninsula and said it was the worst year they had ever had.  Deep snow prevented the 4-wheelers from getting around. and the deer were either “hunkered” down, or just weren’t there!  Their group of 4 never fired a shot.  Last year they hung three bucks on the pole.

A friend of mine (Ken Curry) shot a respectable 8 pointer near Mio, but it was the only deer he had seen in two weeks of hunting.  He hunts with a group from Monroe that totals 12 hunters, and so far Ken has the only deer!  They all hunt the general vicinity I hunt, and between me and my two neighbors we saw exactly “no” deer!

I have a couple brothers and nephews that hunt the southern part of the state and they have seemed to fare better.  Nephew Brock Ansel downed a big 8 pointer near Jackson.  They also had a 10 pointer taken from their group.  No report yet from brother Darryl, but as yet he has not filled his bow tag, and that is highly unusual for him!  I also have not heard from the Marquette Baldwin camp, but would expect them to have some success in spite of the deep snow.

All in all I believe the total deer kill is going to be way down this year, especially in the Upper Peninsula and the Northern Lower Peninsula.  In fact if we have another rough winter, the remaining deer are going to be in real trouble.

I am going to post a few pictures of hunter success from around the state, that I selected randomly from the DNR website.

After I posted this I realized I forgot about my brother Brads brother-in-law (Tom Beaudrie) who downed a huge 9 pointer, and friend Scott Calloway who shot a monster 10 point in Hillsdale.  Both bucks will score high enough to make “Michigan Commemorative Bucks record book!  Scott is in the first picture, then Tom, then Ken.  Eat your hearts out fellow Michigan hunters!


Doe Permits And Winter Die Off Drastically Effect Northern Deer Numbers

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

No Deer 003It seems that the price hike in Michigan hunting licenses has severely effected license sales.  Many Michigan hunters have balked at spending the extra money and it shows in total licenses sold.  So far sales are around 1.2 million which is down from the last several years.  Also “out of state” sales is lagging behind due to the increase in cost.  Maybe adding that extra $11.00 dollar (license to buy a license) wasn’t such a good idea after all.

I’m going to make a prediction based on what I have witnesses over the last two months of  spending time in the Northern Lower peninsula.  The deer harvest will be down!  Especially in my part of the state.

Last year I was seeing 8-15 deer every day.  I saw tracks along the roads, and at night deer where everywhere.  I have seen a grand total of 3 deer in the last 2 months around my place.  I was fortunate enough to harvest all three, as my grandson got in the act with me.  It would almost seem that I eradicated the whole herd by myself, but I’m still getting a few pictures on my trail camera.  Nothing like last year though.

I just returned from my place and hunted a couple days of bow season and the opener of gun season and failed to see a deer.  I took a 5 mile ride on my 4-wheeler and saw a total of 3 sets of tracks crossing the road/trails.  This was two days after a 2 inch snow fall. The deer should of been moving.  I talked to my neighbor, and neither he nor his son had seen a deer as of Saturday afternoon. Over the counter doe permits are still available for both private and public land, which makes no sense to me, unless the DNR wants the deer numbers way down in the area?  It’s not like the old days, and those hunters that balked at buying a license  may be the smart ones!

Besides the DNR’s zeal to kill off the deer herd in my County (Oscoda) last winter was a rough one to say the least,  From what I have seen (or not seen) I would have to say the mortality rate was at least 50% in my area, which probably includes the whole Northern portion of the state.  It was a brutally cold and snowy winter that lasted well into the year. I found two winter starved carcasses on my property in the Spring.  You would think the DNR would “back off” on the over the counter doe permits!

If other Northern Michigan hunters are experiencing the same lack of deer sightings that I am, license sales may further decline next year.  I am honestly considering looking for some land to hunt around the lower portion of the state where the herd has stayed strong and healthy.  It will be interesting to see where the final deer harvest numbers stand at the end of the season, but I would bet the farm that they will be drastically down in the 5 county area dubbed “The T.B. Area!”

Michigan’s Deer Season 2014

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

160 class deer 00211 pointer 018deer 004Oct. deer hunt two deer 025It’s just 2-1/2 days away and I can’t wait.  I’m heading north in just about an hour, as I’m trying to miss the mess at the Zilwaukee bridge.  Northbound traffic is down to one lane and diverted through Saginaw.  There will be all kinds of problems in that area Friday.

Sounds like we will have snow for the opener in the norther lower and definitely in the Upper. I am going to post a few pictures from past hunts and let you dream about getting a wall hanger.  No matter how many big bucks one shoots they always dream about getting one just a little bigger.  I’v used my 3 point tag, so this next buck has to have 4 on one side.  Plan on enjoying myself as I relax and unwind at the cabin.  Have a safe hunt and we’ll be back to give a hunting report sometime next week.  Enjoy the pictures.

Greg Baldwin’s Lamprey Study

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

I have always had an aversion for lamprey’s, ever since I saw one clinging to a steelhead’s side!  They are a slimy blood sucking parasite as far as I’m concerned.  They kill trout and salmon and any other fish that they can attach their round prehistoric looking mouth to.  

I happen to have a friend who is retired from the federal Fish and Game Department, who is an expert on lamprey’s.  He is one of only two licensed experts allowed to trap and sell lamprey’s.  There is actually a market for them in Asia.  Greg Baldwin still works with the Federal Fish and Game dept, along with the Michigan DNR in critical research of these boneless parasites!

Greg is considered an expert on all aspects of the lamprey’s life cycle, and is frequently called upon as a seminar speaker.  He is a tireless researcher, and genuinely enjoys his job.  He’s also a bit of a prankster!  He recently told me about the lamprey’s that he and a buddy fried up and distributed them at the local watering hole.  He was doing research on the reaction people would have on eating these slimy ell like creatures.  They were testing the waters to see if they could possibly be marketed as a food source.  The problem was this was a pretty rough place to make the announcement that you were eating lamprey.  The hungry patrons were never told as Greg and his partner slipped into the enveloping darkness!

Currently Greg is working on a much more serious use for the lamprey.  Interestingly if you cut off part of a lamprey, in time they will grow that part back. Greg is involved in the research that is trying to find a way to use the cells (I think) to help injured humans grow back a limb.  I know it sounds like science fiction, but many researchers think that they are on the right track, and are excited about the prospects.  Keep up the good work Greg and I may change my mind about those ugly, slimy, creatures!

That’s Greg hooking up an old World War II road grader to his friends tractor back at their deer camp.
bear hunt baldwins 021

Alaska Brown Bear Mauls Deer Hunter!

Friday, November 7th, 2014

bear 2014 004Just a few days ago an Alaska Brown Bear (sow) attacked two hunters as they stopped for lunch, after shooting a deer.  The men were 68 year old Michael Snowden and 38 year old Jeff Ostrin.

The pair were hunting on the east side of Sally Island in Uganik Bay, near Kodiak Island.  They had harvested a deer in the late morning.  The deer was gutted and the hunters decided to get away from the smell of the gut pile, so they started to drag the deer downhill toward the beach.  The terrain was very thick as they maneuvered their way through the dense thicket they found a small opening where they decided to eat a little lunch.  They did not drag the deer carcass into the clearing with them.  Moments after taking a few bites for lunch they heard brush breaking around them.  Because it was so dense they could not see the bear who had zeroed in on them.  Both men grabbed their rifles and chambered a round.

The adult female bear burst through the undergrowth and grabbed Snowden taking him to the ground.  Ostrin had to wait for a shot that would not hit his partner, and had to shoot the bear in the rump, from 10 foot away!  The bear backed away and Ostrin then shot it in the chest.  The bear and Snowden then rolled down the hill.  Ostrin  ran to his friend to check on his condition.  The bear moved and was shot again killing it.

Jeff Ostrin then went back uphill to retrieve a radio and backpacks, and attempted to call the Captain of the waiting vessel the Mary J. After reporting to the Captain another bear came through the brush, and Snowdon shot it twice with his 454 revolver.  The second bear was a 2-3 year old cub of the attacking sow.

A five man crew from the boat came ashore and assessed the situation.  Michael Snowden had several wounds that went to the bone, and it was decided to call in a Coast Guard Helicopter.  He was airlifted to Providence Hospital in Kodiak where he was in stable condition.

The deer and all the supplies were retrieved from the area by the ships crew.  Another bear was spotted by the Coast Guard, and it was determined it was another 2-3 year old cub.  Alaska Wildlife Troopers helped in the rescue efforts.  Due to the rugged terrain, dense vegetation, and likelihood of another bear in the area the two dispatched bears were left, and the skull and claws would be retrieved at a latter date.  No charges were filed against the two hunters. Jeff Ostrin was hailed as hero due to his actions in saving his hunting partner.



My Grandsons First Deer

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

kyles deer and turkey 015kyles deer and turkey 021Michigan’s “Youth Mentor Hunting Program” has been a wonderful way to get the younger ones involved in Michigan’s great outdoors.  Ever since it’s inception I have been hunting with 3 of my grandkids. We have yet to be successful concerning meat on the table, but that all changed this past weekend.

Grandson Kyle has been with me on several outings for both turkey and deer.  We have shivered in a blind, walked to stands in the pitch dark, rattled, called, gobbled, and yelped our way in and out of the woods on many occasions.  Seen deer and turkey’s, but nothing that would allow Kyle to get a shot.  We came close one time, but “no backstraps!”

Saturday while Kyle’s mom, dad, and grandma shopped in Gaylord we were having the time of our lives.  We were deer hunting, but as fate would have it three turkeys walked past our blind.  They had no clue we were there, and Kyle’s license allows him a turkey tag for any open area of the state.  We had a good rest for my Barnett predator crossbow, and I judged the yardage at 35 yards. We picked the bigger of the three as our target.  I told Kyle to put the sight on the base of his neck and slowly pull the trigger.  As soon as he touched of the shot feathers flew and the turkey’s ran!  One was not keeping up with the other two and soon just stopped.  We left the blind and upon our approach the turkey ran (half flew) to find his buddies.  He quickly came back to the ground and ran for cover.  We found him in a fallen over maple and Kyle had his first ever tag filled.

We were running late and had to make it to my favorite evening hunting spot where I have a large heated ground blind.  It was cold and windy and very late when we entered the blind.  We set the crossbow up in one of the windows looking over my rye and turnip food plot.  Only twenty minutes passed when a young doe entered our field of vision.  We waited for that perfect broad-side shot.  I told Kyle to aim a little high, as it was around a 40 yard shot.  I said shoot when your ready. Crossbows are not known for being quiet, but they are “fast!”  We did not see where the arrow went, but it was a clean miss, as the deer made a circle and came right back.  In the meantime I’m trying to cock the bow and find another arrow while not giving us away.  Kyle gets set and fires again.  Same results!  I can’t believe it!  Talk about disappointed!  Well low and behold that darn deer circles again and comes right back.  Now I am scrambling as I only have one arrow left, and the o-ring that hold the blades in place is missing.  I cock and reload with my last arrow and tell Kyle to put the pin right on the doe’s back.  He fires and we hear the unmistakable “whack” from a direct hit!

It is impossible to see a crossbow “bolt” flying through the air, but we had good red blood at the point of impact.  I let Kyle do most of the tracking, and gave him pointers when he needed them.  The deer went about 100 yards and piled up from a double “leg” shot!  That’s right!  The bolt went through the right leg, brisket, and exited the left leg,  There are major arteries going down both legs and the deer bled out in a hurry.  We had misjudged the distance, which made Kyle shoot lower.  Didn’t matter at this point as we were slapping high fives, and acting like two ten year olds.  What a moment for grandpa and his grandson!  Kyle drug his prize for part of the way, and I helped him get the doe to my 4-wheeler trail.

Kyle had quite a story to tell his mom, dad, and grandma when they arrived back at camp.  It is good to make memories with our loved ones that they can cherish all their days, and what a day of memories we just made!