Archive for October, 2015

Florida Bear Hunt

Friday, October 30th, 2015

IMG_2278This past Sunday Florida wildlife Officials closed a week long bear hunt after just two days of bear hunting!  Nick Whiley of the FWC said that this hunt was the first bear hunt in Florida in the past 21 years, and that it was a learning process for all involved.  A total of 320 bears were going to be allowed to be harvested during that 7 day period.  Check-in stations were set up over the four areas that allowed hunting.

There were 3000 permits issued and baiting and dogs were not allowed.  It became apparent that after the first day of hunting that the hunters were much more proficient than expected.  By day two 295 bear were dead, and the Florida Wildlife officials decided to call off the rest of the hunt.  There were already animal rights activist campaigning against the hunt and wildlife officials were well aware they under the microscope!

Florida hunters paid $100.00 dollars for a permit and out of state hunters forked out $300.00 dollars for a license.  Over $376,900 was raised for conservation projects.  There were a couple glitches during the hunt as a 42 pound cub was killed along with an 88 pound bear.  The hunter who shot the small bear was given a citation and the other hunter a warning! Hunters who participated in the hunt were very pleased with the results, and there weren’t many complaints about shutting the hunt down early.

All in all Florida Wildlife officials said it was a learning experience and it will help in controlling the human bear encounters in the future.  Before the hunt, Florida estimated there was a population of 3500 bears in the state.  Due to the early on success of the hunt many think that estimate should of been much higher.

Turkey Falls Bonus Hunt!

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

FullSizeRender (99)I love hunting turkeys in the Fall.  The fact that a Tom or a hen is legal game is certainly a bonus for the hunter.  Once that turkey is in the roasting pan, cooked to a golden brown, no one can tell if it’s a tom or a hen! I not only love hunting wild turkeys, but I love eating them as well.  For these past many moons our family has had wild turkey as part of our Thanksgiving dinner.  What a great benefit to being a hunter here in Michigan.

I have a friend with 40 acres in area “J”and he has always had birds around his place!  His cabin is about 18 miles away from mine, so its not to bad of a drive, when things are going slow in the deer woods.

This year I put another bird down with my new crossbow, and it happened to be a Tom.  The birds were running in a large group, and I was able to spot one with a red head and pop it from a ground blind.  The “rage” broadhead helped make it a quick, clean, kill, as the bird only went about 10 feet from impact.

I was tempted to roast this one up at camp, but decided to save it for our holiday dinner again this year.  As an extra bonus I just read that area “J” still has left over permits one can purchase over the counter.  I just may get a camp bird yet!


Cabala’s Excalibur Picks Me Up From My Barnett Letdown!

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

IMG_2220FullSizeRender (100)Awhile back I wrote about my disappointment with my Barnett crossbow in trying to get parts from them. After more than a month of wrong parts, delayed orders, and excuses I finally got my new string, cables, and cable slide.  I went to the Dundee Cabala’s store to have them installed correctly.  That was a totally painless deal and they had me ready to go in half an hour (thanks Frank.)  I got home and after 8 bolts Had it sighted in for 30 yards.  I headed up north within the next few days, and was quite confident the first evening out.I did not see any shooters, and I was glad I didn’t!

In the morning I decided to do some target practice and after shooting my first $10.00 dollar bolt into the woods I was scratching my head.  The next bolt headed in the same direction, which was 2-1/2 feet to the left! I had to reset my scope and moved it almost 100 clicks to get back on target.  Needless to say my mind was wondering and my confidence wilting away.  Again that evening I had no shooting, and again the next day my Barnett was 2-1/2 foot off in the opposite direction!  I found no loose parts, and especially checked the scope over. I am now so frustrated with my Barnett Predator that I want to scream!  One of the only times I’ve ever been in the woods that I was thankful I didn’t get any shooting!  

Upon returning home I went straight to Cabala’s and checked out there crossbows hoping I could find one on sale.  I had heard good things about Excalibur and the model with the recurve limbs had some excellent reports.  Well I found one with a $50.00 dollar off tag and put it in my cart.  You would not believe how happy I was once I made the switch.  It was already zeroed in, was lighter, and very fast (370) feet per second, and easy to handle!

I just returned from the cabin and my new Cabala’s Excalibur Equalizer was a big “hit!”  My grandson Kyle Pafford drew first blood with it as he downed a doe at 27 yards, and I filled my turkey permit a couple days later with a heart shot at 30 yards.  Two shots and two down!  I have a long season and I am confident that I will put some meat in the freezer.  Still haven’t a clue as to what is wrong with my Barnett, so any suggestions or feedback would be appreciated.



Grandson Puts the Smack-Down On His Second Deer

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

IMG_2237My grandson Kyle Pafford came up to camp this past week to see if Papa could guide him to another freezer full of venison steaks.  Kyle is now 11 years old and hunting under the apprenticeship license. He can do that for 1 more year before he has to take the “Hunters Safety Course!”

The first evening out we got skunked, but that didn’t curtail Kyles enthusiasm! He was up way before daybreak tugging on my shoulder telling me “come on Papa we have to get to the blind!”  Well Papa got ready, put on his backpack and grabbed his new Excalibur crossbow.  Kyle had not even shot it yet, but I was confident it was “dialed” in!  At 35 yards I was shooting 3 inch groups in the bullseye, and knew Kyle could do the same.

We arrived an hour and twenty minutes before daylight, and just sat and talked in between yawns and dozing off.  At 7:20 I let out with a series of grunts, only to spook a deer coming into my food plot.  I put the grunt call away and ten minutes later a doe and a young buck came into the clover. A buck has to have three points on one side, and this one didn’t so I told Kyle to concentrate on the doe.  It took forever for her to give us a broadside shot, but when she did Kyle was ready.  I told him to hold the 20 yard pin just a tad high, and he hit where he aimed.  Actually the deer was quartering toward us slightly and the arrow traveled the length of its body before flying into the underbrush.  The doe went 60 yards before piling up and Kyle had his second deer in as many years.

I would like to say this about the “Rage” broadhead, “They are awesome!”  I have taken 12 deer/turkey with the “rage” and Kyle has taken two deer and a turkey using them.  I tried one about 5 years ago, and though they are expensive, they are definitely worth the price!

Nice going Grandson!  You did it again!


I Blew It!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

on the forth evening of my hunt I had two yearlings come into the food plot around 6:30. There mother never came around so I assumed they were on their own or she was in someone’s freezer.  They seemed to be enjoying themselves as they wondered back and forth munching on the clover and brassica.  It was 7:06 and dark enough to call it quits.  I didn’t want to scare the heck out of them when I opened my blind door, so I decided to ” grunt a few times so they would run off. I blew about 6 times and they paid no attention to my grunts!  So I slowly opened the door and as I turned to look back at the food plot a huge buck was staring me down.  He snuck into the field after I grunted and was standing 25 yards in front of my blind. I made a feeble attempt to get back in the blind, but it was to late. I had been had, and Mr. Big buck jumped into the next county. Talk about feeling low! That was the opportunity a hunter waits a lifetime for and I literally “blew” it!  I may get another chance as the rut is just starting here in the north woods.

Deer Blinds – My How They Have Changed!

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

IMG_4769When it comes to concealment while deer hunting the times are a changing!  When I was a kid (teenager) we hunted deer by finding a well used runway and plopping down on the ground with a good sized tree as a backrest!  We were dressed in hunter red (and orange a few years later) from head to foot.  We had no cover up scent, no Scent-Lok clothing, or any of the other umpteen thousand products that guarantee success, and yet we occasionally actually shot a deer.  The biggest deer my dad ever shot (11 points) was done in by this manner, and he even had my little brother sitting beside him chewing on a bag of candy!

My how times have changed!  It seems it’s almost impossible to shoot a deer the old fashioned way!  Ground blinds from $59.95 to $400.00 bucks are all the rage.  Stick build wooded blinds can be bought in “deer country” for $350.00 to $600.00 dollars, and the Amish built ones are usually the most desirable.  In the last couple of decades or so tree stands of all shapes and sizes are hitting the market.  Wood, plastics, metal, and canvas are all used for that perfect ambush spot.  It can be a simple ladder stand to a small cabin on stilts!  And I’m not kidding about that!

Recently a friend of mine sent me a picture of the “deer blind” her son was building!  I was in awe of this engineering marvel, out in the middle of deer country. I mean you could live in this thing talk about the ultimate “dog house” or should I say “man cave?”  Attached is a picture of this ultimate deer blind.  I wonder if he needed a building permit?



Huge Buck Caught On Trail Camera

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

IMG_1994IMG_1995Alright we are two weeks into the Michigan bowhunting season for deer, and I have yet to see one in the woods!  Seems to me I’ve been here before?  Around my place the deer are more nocturnal than in other areas of the state that I have hunted.

I picked up two more trail camera’s and they have helped in determining what area I’m going to hunt.  Trail camera’s are an invaluable tool in the hunters arsenal to pattern deer movements.  I actually have 6 camera’s out this season.  it’s a huge investment, but can pay big dividends in ones quest for meat in the freezer or a mount over the fireplace!

So far I have captured several doe at each site.  Some have fawns and yearlings, but there are two huge doe that appear to be dry and by themselves.  In my book they are fair game, and will no doubt be a challenge to hunt.  Big doe’s don’t get that way by being stupid!  At one camera site I have 4 different bucks using the area, but they are all illegal due to point restrictions.  They have to have three points on one side to be legal.  I believe there no doubt will be some bigger bucks come around eventually!

I probably have an area of one square mile covered with the six camera’s and I would of never known that my ground blind sitting on my property has a huge buck captured going into my food plot.  I know what trail he’s been using and what direction he’s coming from, along with the time he’s feeding. He is coming in late (11 o’clock) but in a few more weeks that will change as the rut gets into high gear. He is the biggest bodied deer I have ever seen in that area, and his 10 point rack almost looks small compared to his body size.  I plan on investing some time and effort on putting this bruiser in my crosshairs.

In conclusion trail cams work and are worth the cost when you consider the benefits from the information garnered from their use. They have made a believer out of me!


Michigan’s Fall Colors Are Worth The Drive North

Friday, October 9th, 2015

IMG_2009IMG_2021IMG_2019I just drove home from three days of hunting around my place in Luzerne.  From what I saw (traffic wise) there are a lot of people heading northward.  Traffic looked extremely heavy for the time of day (12:30 P.M.)  Deer season is open, but I would bet more people were headed “up north” to see the beautiful fall colors.

The hard maples are really showing off with their reds, orange, yellows, and gold leaves shimmering in the fall sunlight.  The softwood are changing fast and I would say peak color is just a few days away.  If you want to get in on the show you better make plans to go soon!  This is one event, put on by Creation, that the whole family can enjoy.

I’m going to post some pictures I took on my travels just to wet your appetite for what awaits you in the north country.  My advise is to leave very early in the morning or very late at night in order to beat the traffic!


Pictured Rocks–Picture Perfect

Monday, October 5th, 2015

FullSizeRender (67)FullSizeRender (62)FullSizeRender (65)FullSizeRender (58)FullSizeRender (68)My wife had been asking me for years to go on the Munising Pictured Rock cruise.  I am not much of a fan of the water, as I tend to get a little nauseous out on a boat.

Well last week we were in Marquette for our annual fall bear hunt, which is 44 miles from the boat docks in Munising.  My wife and our friend Linda Baltrip made the necessary phone calls and arrangements to do the cruise while we were in the area.  They made a reservation for a 10 a.m. trip that would not interfere with our evening bear hunt.  The trip was scheduled to last for 2 hours, so we even had time to grab a bite to eat once the cruise was over.

We were able to get some very good seats on the open top deck of the boat which held about 70 passengers.  The air was brisk, but the waters of Munising Bay were calm, as were the open waters, once we left the safety of the bay!  I had taken a Dramamine, but probably never needed it as the big boat plowed effortlessly through the blue/green waters of Lake Superior!

The Pictures Rock cliff were alive with color, and one can certainly see how they got their name.  Caves, colors, and carvings (created by wind and wave) adorned the shoreline as we made our way down this National Treasure of Superior grandeur!  Indian Rock, the Three Ships, Castle Rock, waterfalls, and a variety of many other images, begging to be caught on camera, as you cruise these crystal clear waters.  On the way back our guide gave us a history lesson about the area, which included Grand Island, to the West of Pictured Rocks.  An old wooded lighthouse gives tourist an opportunity to “click” away on their cell phones or camera’s as we slowly sail past.

The Bay itself provides chances for some very unique photo’s, and there is a nice gift shop on the docks to purchase memento’s of your trip.  We were so glad our wives “forced” us to do this, but I’m not telling them that “They were right again!”  I highly recommend this cruise to anyone venturing into the Upper Peninsula!  Trust me you’ll be glad you did!


Opening Day Tree Stand Death in Huron County

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

My bear hunting partner, and friend, Bob Baltrip knows all to well the dangers of hunting from a tree stand.  Many years ago he took a tumble from his stand some 16-20 feet, and ended up in the intensive care unit of the Ann Arbor University of Michigan Hospital.  Only by Gods Grace is he here today.  Today was the bow season opener here in Michigan and already we have a tree stand fatality!

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said a 45-year-old Ohio man died after falling from his tree stand this morning in Huron County. The name of the man is being withheld, pending notification of family members.

Even wearing a safety harness is no guarantee you are totally safe getting in and out of your stand!

At about 10 a.m. a DNR conservation officer arrived at the Verona State Game Area, responding to a call made by the victim’s hunting partner.

The officer and personnel responding from Central Huron Ambulance in Bad Axe performed CPR. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Preliminary investigation revealed the victim had shot a deer and had unfastened his safety harness to climb down from his tree stand. He was found lying next to a tree.

The complete circumstances surrounding the fall are still being determined. The cause of death is pending conclusive determination by the Huron County medical examiner.

The roughly 7,700-acre Verona State Game Area is located about 6 miles east of Bad Axe.