Archive for October, 2016

Fall Bird In The Freezer!

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

img_7003Fall turkey hunting is totally different than the spring hunt when the lovesick Tom’s are looking for romance.  In the fall bagging a bird has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time.  You can pretty much forget about calling them, and many counties have no fall turkey hunting at all.  I think most guys that bag a fall bird do so while trying to put venison in the freezer.  Both Tom’s and hens are legal in the fall, but that does’t make bagging one any easier.

I have been pretty fortunate in the past hunting in the southern counties of Hillsdale and the surrounding area, and also a private spot mid-state.  This past Spring my grand-daughter Ava and my daughters fiance (Dave) both shot nice Tom’s, but I was blanked for the spring hunt.  It wasn’t for lack of trying, as I spent more days afield trying to put a turkey on the ground than any year I can remember.

Well sometimes it is much better to be lucky than good.  This year I had three Tom’s prance by me at 20 yards, and they were all “shooters!” I know a rear end shot doesn’t seem like the best to take, but it sure worked well for me.  When the largest Tom cleared his two buddies I released the string.  The rage broadhead did the rest.  The big bird dropped on the spot and Thanksgiving dinner was about to be in the freezer.  No venison yet, but I’m working on that!  It’s still a long way to Jan. 1st, so I’m hoping Mr. Luck sticks around for a few more hunts!

Grandpa’s And Grandson’s-The Hunting Bond

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

img_6867img_6853img_6873This past weekend I was able to get my grandson Kyle Pafford out of school on Friday so we could have a three day weekend at the cabin!  The plan was about as simple as it gets!  1. Go to stand!  2. See deer!  3. Shoot deer!  4. Track deer!  5 Enjoy venison!  I just love it when a plan comes together.  In our case four out of five isn’t bad, or is it?

Anyway the first evening out we saw nothing but some pesky, noisy, squirrels.  Kyle was using my Excalibur crossbow shooting 370 feet per second.  Much faster than my old Barnett that he used to take his first two deer.  That’s right Kyle is just 11 years old and already going after his third deer.  I was 28 years old before I downed my first “stick and string” deer!

We were hunting over a food plot that had not been getting the attention I thought it would.  The deer in my area don’t have any acorns as it’s almost 100 percent pines and softwoods.  You would think some rye and brassica would be a real treat for them.

Evening number two (our last evening) started out much the same as the first evening.  We were in the blind at 4:30 and then at 6:15 a nice doe seemed to come out of nowhere.  She was walking broadside, but was in Kyle’s blindspot.  I told him to get in position and be ready if she gave him a decent shot.  She started feeding but in a “head on” position.  For 10 minutes she did not move, and Kyle was getting a little discouraged!  We were on the third part of our plan “shoot deer,” and she gave Kyle a slightly quartering toward us shot.  He was using the 30 yard pin on the scope, and I told him to squeeze slowly and aim for the crease behind the front leg.  Whump!  Boy that bow made a lot of noise!  The deer bolted but we both knew it was hit pretty good.

I didn’t think she would go very far, but picking up a good blood trail was not to be!  Kyle’s young eyesight kept us in the ballpark, as he picked up one speck here and one there.  I now surmise it was probably a bit back to far and recovery wasn’t going to be handed to us on a silver platter.  We tracked her for about 100 yards, and I made the call to back off and come look in the morning.

At 8;30 we were back on the trail where we marked it the night before.  Kyle’s dad Glen was helping us today!  Again the blood was sparse until we came to a spot she had stood still.  Good blood there, but it soon fizzled out again.  I decided to walk ahead and look for a white underbelly.  I accidently came across some good blood and saw her white belly piled against a tree. Something was out of place though, and as I got closer I could see the coyotes had beaten us to the kill!  How sad, as the whole right side of the deer had been devoured overnight.  The front quarter was all that was salvageable!  We rolled her over and were able to get some good pictures, but the “yotes” only left us a roast and 2 steaks!

So we completed 4 out of the 5 steps in our plan, but number five went to them darn coyotes!  I may have to break out the 223 this winter and see if I can even the score with these varmints!  Three for three Kyle.  Not bad grandson, not bad!

Mike

Cats The Killer No One Wants To Talk About – Especially The Humane Society!

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

When the Wildlife Center of Virginia, a hospital for native wild animals, took a close look at a decade’s worth of admissions records, it found the unsurprising culprits behind many of the thousands of injuries and deaths: cats. More startling was the sheer number of native species — more than 80 — that felines had preyed upon and killed. “It goes beyond the common perception that outdoor, free-roaming cats just attack mice and rats,” said David McRuer, the director of veterinary services at the center and the lead author of a note on the records that was published last week in the Journal of Wildlife Management. The authors looked at close to 21,000 records of patients admitted to the center, in the central Virginia city of Waynesboro, from 2000 to 2010. Of those, almost 3,000 had been injured by cat attacks — some 14 percent, divided about evenly between birds and small mammals. Among the cat victims were mourning doves, blue jays, cottontail rabbits, southern flying squirrels and rarer animals, such as purple gallinules, a kind of water bird. Larger species such as ducks also turned up, and even a kestrel, a kind of falcon.

“It’s impressive that cats can take them down,” McRuer said of the kestrel, adding that few previous studies have documented the number of species affected by cat predation.

The researchers said they took a conservative approach, counting only mammals and birds that had been found either in the mouths of cats or brought by cats to their owners.

The study adds more fuel to a tense fight between conservationists, who view free-roaming cats as super-predators that spread disease and devastate wildlife, and cat advocates who argue thatpopular programs to neuter feral cats are the most humane way to handle them.

[The cat people vs. bird people war has made it to federal court]

Rebekah DeHaven, the senior attorney and associate director of humane law and policy at Alley Cat Allies, which promotes trap-neuter-return programs, commended the center’s efforts to classify the cases. But she said the study did not go far enough.

“From the information shared in the study, there is no way to know how many of the mammals or birds labeled as having been subject to interactions with cats were either ill or injured, by misfortune or by another predator, prior to being found by a cat, leaving open a wide range of other possible ailments that would have led to their death even without a cat’s presence,” she said.

Cats’ proximity to people, she argued, also means attacks to wildlife that occur near humans might be overrepresented in the data.

But the number of animals actually killed by cats is likely much higher, McRuer said. Many of the animals admitted to the center with unknown causes of trauma had injuries consistent with cat attacks but weren’t counted because cat interactions were not observed, he said. And cat predation also extends to reptiles and amphibians, which weren’t part of the original study but whose admission records McRuer and other researchers are examining now.

“It’s not surprising,” said Peter Marra, co-author of the recent bookCat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer.” “It’s really just the tip of the iceberg that we’re seeing in this paper.”

Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, said rehab centers all over the country find the same thing. “The numbers of animals that are brought into rehab centers pale in comparison to those that never make it,” he said. “The evidence against cats and their impact on biodiversity is just overwhelming and yet we still allow them to persist on the landscape.”

Marra co-authored a 2013 study that found cats killed at least 1.3 billion birds and at least 6.3 billion mammals every year in the United States. Some critics have questioned the accuracy of those numbers, saying they were based on studies of smaller, individual ecosystems that were improperly extrapolated to make regional generalizations.

 

East Carolina Marching Band Learns Actions Have Consequences!

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Wolves VS Dogs: Wolves Win!

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

40 dogs killed by wolves during Wisconsin bear hunt; experts puzzled

DNR Adds 5 Michigan Reptiles/Amphibians To “In Danger List!”

Monday, October 17th, 2016

It’s now illegal to kill, trap these Michigan reptiles, amphibians

Northern Exposure!

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

img_6819big-tomimg_6782img_6765My wife and I and two close friends (Bob and Linda Baltrip) just returned from almost a week at out place in Luzerne.  The fall colors are almost in “peak” form, and the 4 maples around our cabin are “showing off” just a little.  We were able to see quite a bit of northern Michigan as my brother Randy ended up at Mclaren Hospital in Petoskey.  He was having some chest pain and had a stint put in one artery and was released the same day.  Amazing what the medical field is able to do, now-a-days to “fix” people up, and send them on their way.  Thank you Warren Petoskey for seeing my brother, and for your prayers.  Imagine being up north at your deer camp, and you end up in Petoskey, and a descendant of Chief Petoskey visits and prays for you! That is memorable moment for sure!  The hills, valleys, and maple woods all over the Northern part of Michigan are worth the drive to view their spender.  Just try not to end up viewing the sites from a hospital window!

I also worked on plumbing with my pal Bob, and just about have it buttoned up.  Should be done within the next two trips to the cabin.  Bob and i were able to squeeze in one evening in the deer blind.  I saw a yearling and a large doe, but felt it was way to early to be meat (doe) hunting.  I’ll save those critters for the grandkids when they come up.

Also had quite a time with my turkeys.  The big old Tom is as mean as ever and tried his darndest to get a “piece” of me!  I’m on to his tricks though and take a rake in the pen with me.  He does not like the “rake!”  The three chicks are growing up and almost as big as the parents.  Still don’t know how I’m going to winter them?  The wild birds are all over the place and should be splitting up soon and claiming their own territory.  That is unless they figure the neighbors farm (and feed) are the best place to call home!

Going to head up again this coming weekend with grandson Kyle to see if he can fill his tag once again.  Should be peak colors and the start of the pre-rut deer season.

 

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

Superintendent Aaron Thomas Your A Disgrace!

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Below is an account of what took place in Coraopolis Penn. recently at a Cornell high school football game! A color guard of military veterans from the local V.F.W. was asked to present “the colors” before the game.  While these veterans stood at attention (as best they could) the National Anthem started to play!  At that point several cheerleaders took a knee right in close proximity to these war hero’s!  I’ll bet they didn’t even know that V.F.W. stands for Veterans Of Foreign Wars!  Furthermore two African American cheerleaders said they could care less about their decision to “take a knee!”  Read what WWII veteran Danny Lorocco has to say about the protest and how it really hurts to see the disrespect shown to American Veterans and the Flag they fought and died for!

The Superintendent Aaron Thomas is a “work” for sure!  When interviewed after the fact he admitted he knew the cheerleaders were going to protest, and didn’t have a problem with it.  I’ll bet this politically correct coward never served a day in his life!  He stated that the whole protest thing was protected free speech and that it helped create “healthy dialog” in the school and community!  What a bunch of crap coming from another sniveling liberal who would never take such a stand say in the Middle East, Russia, China or a myriad of other countries!  It’s because of these Veterans that he can legally offend these men of valor, and support these disrespectful protesters!  My hope would be that the community uses their right to run him out of town on the liberal bus he road in on!  Now that would be “healthy!”

Several high school cheerleaders’ decision to take a knee Friday night while a VFW Color Guard performed at Cornell High School in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, isn’t sitting well with some, especially military veterans.

The gesture has made headlines in recent weeks because of NFL player Colin Kaepernick who has refused to stand while the national anthem is played in protest of racial injustice.

“They don’t know what they are doing, them young kids. They don’t know what they are doing,” WWII Army veteran Danny Larocco said.

Larocco said he didn’t take the photo of the cheerleaders kneeling that has circulated online, but he was there in-person. He said that he and his fellow veterans of VFW 402 in Coraopolis were invited to present the colors before the game.

Instead of standing like everyone else on the field and in the stands 12 out of 15 cheerleaders kneeled, Larocco said.

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“I was 16 when I enlisted, fighting Japanese. To see them do that and disgrace Coraopolis and that school, it made me sick,” the military veteran said.

Cornell School District Superintendent Aaron Thomas, however, said he’s standing by his students’ decision to take a knee.

“This is a classic case that dates back to the ‘60s, and symbolic speech is protected speech,” he said.

Thomas said the district supports the students’ right to free speech, and he said that he was aware some in the cheerleading squad were going to take a knee in a public protest. Thomas, though, said he’s the first to admit their timing could have been better.

“I apologize to those individuals on Friday night that I saw. Ideally could this have happened on another night? Yeah, but it happened on the night that it did (and) it created healthy discussion within (the) walls of our building,” the superintendent said.

Larocco said it all comes down to respect.

“My friends and everybody else that served in the service, they have that right to be respected. We love our flag very much. We fought for it,” he said.

Thomas said he cannot predict whether the cheerleaders will continue their protest at the next home game, but he said to be on the safe side, security will be increased.

 

 

Bears V.S. Tourist In America’s Parks!

Friday, October 7th, 2016

????High above the glassy waters of Hebgen Lake, just outside of West Yellowstone, I’m armed with an industrial-size can of pepper spray and scanning for grizzly bears.

I know they’re here: The mud is indented with Shaq-size prints. Claw marks and clumps of coarse hair extend 9 feet up the pine trees. Freshly deposited on the path, berry-filled mounds of feces catch the sun.

In the past five years, three people have been killed by bears in nearby Yellowstone National Park. During that time, 20 million tourists have come through the park. I’m seven times more likely to be struck by lightning than to lose my life to a bear here.

But I still feel discomforted, so I’m going to turn to the numbers.

Half of all wild bear attacks in the United States happen in six national parks

Since 1900, there have been 158 fatal bear attacks in North America. Of these, 61 occurred in Canada and 97 in the United States.

Paring this down to just US fatalities, 26 of 97 were caused by captive bears — those kept in zoos or as pets (as was a short-lived trend in the early 20th century). I wanted to look only at attacks that happened in the wilderness, so I excluded these.

This gave me a list of 71 wild bear–related deaths in (or near) US state and national parks. (Note: Attacks that happened in a wilderness area before the creation of a national or state park were added to the park that is now on that land. Some of these attacks also occurred just outside of park land; in these cases, we added the attack to the nearest park, forest, or wilderness area).

I found that historically, Montana’s Glacier National Park — home to both black bears and grizzlies — has had the most bear attack fatalities, with 12. Yellowstone, also home to both bear species, has had eight.
Only 11 parks have had more than one bear-related death, and six of them are in Alaska. As a state, Alaska has had 24 total deaths — more than one-third of all bear attack fatalities in the United States. Most of them have been isolated incidents in small parks spread throughout the vast land.

And keep in mind, this is a really small fraction of all national parks. There are 6,741 state and national parks in America, and in the past 116 years, a bear attack death has only occurred in 36 of them.

The top six parks on this list (Glacier, Yellowstone, Glacier Bay, Chugach, Flathead, and Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks) account for more than 50 percent of all fatal attacks.
Most attacks involve grizzly bears, and occur during summer
Among fatal bear attack victims, the average age was 37. Of these victims, 21 were female and 50 were male. Many deaths happened deep in the backcountry, and were hunting- or fishing-related — hobbies dominated by men.

The vast majority of attacks (66 percent) involved grizzly bears; black bears account for the other one-third of deaths. There has only been one recorded wild polar bear death in America: In 1990, a bear chased down and partially ate a 28-year-old man in the middle of an Alaskan town near Noatak National Preserve.
Fatal bear attacks seem to correlate with visitor volume to parks. Most of the fatalities have happened during July and August, when trails are heavily populated.

Attacks are minimal December through April, when most bears are hibernating for the winter and spring.

My grandson just spent 2 years in Yellowstone and was there when a park employee was killed by a sow Grizzly.  He told me you are far more likely to be hurt, maimed, or killed by bison or even the thousands of elk roaming through the park, than a bear.  None of the encounters sound very good to me, so keep your distance and use your “brains” when encroaching in a “wild animals” domain!

 

Screwworm Infesting Florida Keys Deer

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Screwworm flies lay their eggs in the wounds of injured animals, after which the larvae hatch and then feed on the wound as it becomes larger.

“They’re in as gory of a condition as you can imagine,” Clark said of the infected deer. Staff members started seeing more deer with open sores and lesions infested with fly larvae in September. “That made us ask a lot of questions.”

According to the USDA, which declared an “agricultural state of emergency in Monroe County” on Monday, this is the first local infestation of screwworm in the United States in more than 30 years. Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam also declared an “agricultural state of emergency in Monroe County” Monday.

Many of the deer are infected beyond rehabilitation, at which point they are put down with a bolt gun, a modified pistol with a spring-loaded steel rod that causes mortality quickly after being discharged into the head of the deer, Clark said.

Clark’s staff members from the National Wildlife Refuges Complex and others from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office have been performing the euthanizations, Clark said.

Seeing as how the screwworm fly lays eggs only in the wounds of living animals, carcasses are be deposited in a safe spot away from the public where “nature can take its course,” he said.

Staff members from the Big Pine complex aren’t actively chasing deer, but may encounter an infected deer while performing population surveys or receive a call from someone who sees an injured deer. After the deer is put down, the maggots are removed from the carcass.

Humans can be infected the same way the flies infect animals, according to Clark and area veterinarians. How the fly arrived on Big Pine Key has yet to be determined by the USDA and other agencies.

The screwworm fly is not widely present in the United States, but it is found in most South American countries and in five countries in the Caribbean.

The presence of screwworm can be an agricultural nightmare for farmers, Clark said, and would be much more difficult to eradicate had it been discovered in a place such as Texas.

“Thankfully, we have the ability to isolate it here,” he said.

Federal and state officials will remain at a 24-hour northbound checkpoint in Key Largo at mile marker 106, which was set up on Monday to inspect all animals leaving Monroe County for signs of the parasitic fly larvae. They are not pulling all cars over but hope those transporting animals will voluntarily stop to get their animals checked.