Archive for January, 2017

Time To Enjoy The Fruits Of Hunting Season

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

IMG_7698IMG_7699Deer season is over and it’s time to relax, sit back, and enjoy the fruits of the hunt!  In my case I decided to go with the venison back straps this past weekend.

I retrieved them from the freezer and let them thaw out for several hours.  Once I could slice them into half inch (or less) mini steaks I put them in a mixture of egg (2) and milk.  I was able to get 14 small steaks out of one back strap.  I then put a cup of flower, salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika, and Lowery’s seasoning into a large pie tin.  Mixed it up good and pit 1/2 inch of olive oil in a frying pan on high (just to get the oil hot.)  Once it was hot I turned the heat down to medium.

I then took the steaks from the milk egg mixture and rolled them in the flour ingredients!  I gently dropped them into the hot oil, as the sizzled when they were submerged.  Because they were quite thin it did not take long to cook all the way through.  flipped them from one side to the other as they browned up nicely.  As you may notice there are two steaks missing from the picture of the frying pan.  I couldn’t wait!  Oh my goodness they were delicious!  My wife is quite “picky” and she ate two of them!  You know they had to be good.

I ate till full and polished off 3 more before bedtime.  There were still three left which I took over to my 92 year old mother, who enjoyed them for supper the next day.  Next up is a roast that I plan on making venison barbeque out of! Bon Appetit!

Mike

Michigan’s CoyWolf Hybrid Confirmed In Two Northern Counties

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Phil Myers had heard the stories from Cheboygan County farmers: Tales of odd, oversized animals that looked bigger than a coyote, but smaller than a wolf, and hunted in packs — and how strange they sounded.

He wanted to hear for himself.

Wolves are known to have a rendezvous point where, in the evening, individual wolves that may be sleeping all over get together as a pack to go off hunting, said Myers, a now-retired professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan. Based at U-M’s Biological Station in Cheboygan County, researchers had found dens, and what they thought was a rendezvous point.

So, one night last August, Myers parked his pickup about a quarter-mile from the spot and listened.

“As the full moon goes up above the jackpines, one of these things starts howling — it wasn’t the yipping of a coyote or the full voice of a wolf; but a hoarse, sustained call,” he said.

“About five minutes later, I hear a bark from my right, then a bark from my left, five or six of them. I was surrounded by them. But this was in forest and swampland; these were no dogs. Those were pack-mates coming into this rendezvous point.

“It was probably at least an hour before the hairs on the back of my neck sat down.”

Myers’ close encounter was with a unique, still relatively unknown and misunderstood hybrid of coyotes known as eastern coyotes or coywolves. They’re mostly coyote, but contain a small percentage of wolf from an unlikely mating of the two species about a century ago. It may sound like an urban legend, but coywolves exist throughout the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada, and have been confirmed in northeast Lower Michigan through blood-testing and DNA analysis.

Coywolves tend to be a little larger and heavier than their western coyote counterparts, but still well below the size of even the smallest North American wolves. They look like coyotes, though observers often note wolflike characteristics in their faces and fur.

Though researchers have determined the range of coywolves — from the Great Lakes east and as far south as Virginia — their numbers and whether their behavior is distinctive from pure coyotes is still largely unknown.

Cheboygan County farmer William Benthem hasn’t seen them, but hears the stories from fellow farmers. They believe they’re seeing wolves, he said.

“I know too many people who are knowledgeable people who have seen them,” he said.

‘Eastern coyotes’

Coyote expert Stan Gehrt, a professor of wildlife ecology at Ohio State University, rejects the term “coywolf.” He doesn’t even like referring to them as hybrids. It leaves the impression that they are a near 50-50 mix of wolf and coyote, and that just isn’t the case, he said.

They are eastern coyotes,” Gehrt said. “They aren’t really different from other coyotes, other than they have a little bit of genetic difference. I’ve trapped and tracked hundreds of Midwestern coyotes and a pretty good sample of eastern coyotes in Nova Scotia, and I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two.”

But those, including biologists, who encountered coywolves up close in the Lower Peninsula say they had some wolflike features.

The animal was discovered in the Pellston and Cheboygan area in 2010, after reports of unusually large tracks in the snow, Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Jennifer Kleitch said.

The DNR and the U.S. Department of Agriculture “became very interested,” thinking wolves may have appeared in the Lower Peninsula, Myers said. The last confirmed wolf south of the Mackinac Bridge was in Presque Isle County in 2004, but sightings have been reported since, and the DNR conducts surveys searching for wolves in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Trail cameras were installed in 2010, and some of the photos coming back showed animals that were “wolflike,” Kleitch said. A USDA wolf biologist trapped a male pup in July 2010 in Cheboygan County. Blood tests were taken, and the pup was ear-tagged and released.

Later that fall, a coyote trapper caught two half-grown animals, and noticing their difference from typical coyotes, contacted the DNR. As in July, blood samples were drawn and the animals were fitted with radio collars.

“They wanted to see how they were moving, and whether they are a problem for the farmers up there,” Myers said.

Kleitch got to see the coywolves that were trapped in October up close. She’d never seen anything like it.

“It was strange,” she said. “The nose was a little narrow for a wolf, but the feet were large like a wolf. They were the young of the year and they were females, and the weights on them were about 42 and 49 pounds — that’s pretty large for even an adult female coyote.”

After tracking the animals’ radio signals for several weeks, one of the collars began transmitting a mortality signal, Kleitch said. It was later found cut off and thrown into a ditch. “We presume the animal was poached,” she said.

But the other animal is still followed, with the help of Myers’ class at the U-M Biological Station, she said.

Meanwhile, the genetic results came in on the three animals’ blood tests.

“The animals were all from the same litter, and typed out as coyote rather than wolf,” she said. They also had DNA from eastern wolves, the tests showed.

Interspecies breeding

Based on the relatively low percentage of wolf DNA in coywolves, many scientists say the interspecies breeding occurred in the early 1900s, likely in Ontario as western coyotes migrated east from the Great Plains. Some split and headed north of the Great Lakes into Canada; others to the south around Ohio. Based on coywolves’ range now, it was a coyote in this northern group, perhaps having no mate of its own species available, that must have mated with a female eastern wolf. It’s known that the female in the coupling was a wolf, because the mitochondrial type of DNA exhibiting wolf characteristics is passed on by the female.

Sharing Venison With Family, Friends, And Non-Hunters

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

PhotobucketNot very long ago I wrote about a venison meatloaf that I had made.  To me winter is prime time venison eating time!  I love the taste of venison, but that is not the only reason I enjoy the bounty of nature.

According to the USDA’s website on nutrition, venison is one of the most nutritious meats around.  This report states that similar sized servings of beef, pork, and chicken contain more calories than venison.   Of course all meats would be cooked in the same manner, baked or broiled.  Not only that venison has less fat and more iron than these other meats.  Beef  is marbled with the fat running through the meat, while with venison a majority of the fat is removed by the person butchering the animal.

The sorry thing about this whole article is that you (the reader) may never get a chance to consume a fine venison dinner.   Unless you are a hunter, or good friends with one, you won’t have much of a chance to sink your teeth into a juicy venison steak.  Venison is not available in your local supermarket, and it’s against the law to sell it.  Personally I love sharing with the “less fortunate.”  I’d rather give a few packages to a non-hunting neighbor than have him out in the woods shooting MY deer.

So far this year I have shared venison with family members and friends.  Just this past week I took some to a meeting where 6 women were in attendance.  I brought along some venison meatballs to share and 4 out of the 6 said they really enjoyed them, and of course it was a hit with the guys!  I also donated several packages to a single mom along with making her a complete meal which she was so grateful for. She prefers venison over beef!  A good women for sure!  The more happy customers I have the better relations with the non hunting public, and that’s a good thing!

Mike

Venison Meatballs Yum Yum!

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

img_7678I just made the best venison meatballs I’ve ever made.  I thawed two packages of venison burger from the spike I shot earlier this year.  Once thawed i added italian bread crumbs and a can of tomato paste.  I stirred that up and then added two eggs and two tablespoons of Worchester sauce.  Added some parsley and onion salt along with a dash of Lowery’s seasoning.  Stirred that all in and then cut up a onion and added that and a little more bread crumbs.  Salt and ground pepper were next plus about a 1/4 cup of water.

Once that was all mixed up I sprayed olive oil in a square glass baking pan and rolled the venison into meatballs.  I had 24 of them in the pan and when the oven reached 340 degrees I set them in to cook.  After 20 minutes I rolled them over to make sure both sides where feeling the heat!  In just under an hour they were ready to go.

I immediately ate three of them while they were nice and hot.  My wife (not a big fan of wild game) even ate one and gave me a compliment.  I took a bowl of them to a small church meeting and they never made it “home alive!”  Several women questioned me as to whether they were eating venison, and I replied “yes!”  They responded that they could not tell and enjoyed the chance to sample the wild game.  Followed up the night with a meatball sandwich.  It did not disappoint!

Mike

Michigan Spring Turkey Permits Available!

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

IMG_4082IMG_4053IMG_2206Jay-Birds bird 004img_7007Hey you turkey hunters out there it’s time to send in your application for the Spring turkey hunt.  January 31 st. is the deadline, so don’t wait for the last minute!

Turkey hunting has become one of my favorite hunting sports, which has allowed me to share with others, including grandkids.  My 12 year old grandson Kyle has taken 3 birds thus far and my 12 year old grand-daughter shot a beautiful Tom with a 9 inch beard last year. Grandson Jacob also took a nice bird a couple years ago. My daughter Mindy’s fiance shot his first bird last year, and I shot a huge Tom myself.  I have been super successful over the years, but it doesn’t happen by accident!  I know the birds, know where their at, and know how to “call” like a lovesick hen.  Just those three ingredients should help make for a nice wild Thanksgiving bird in the freezer! Of course a good blind set up and a decoy or two doesn’t hurt your chances either.

The range of the Michigan wild turkey is from one end of the state to the other, including the U.P.  I hunted the Escanaba area for 3 years and took three nice birds with the biggest bird I’ve ever seen getting away!  I’ve hunted Southern Birds (Hillsdale and Jackson) and always scored.  Hunted mid-state last year and took a nice Tom on private property.  Recently I have been hunting the northern county of Oscoda in the Spring and have been very pleased with the results around my cabin.  Actually the biggest bird (12 inch beard) I ever took was just behind my home here in Monroe County.

Wild turkey is a great addition to ones freezer and can be a wary and smart adversary in the woods.  Don’t fall for the belief that they are stupid by any means!  A Jake may come and go, but a true trophy Tom can make a fool out of you in a heartbeat!  Do your homework, know your equipment, and get ready for some strutting, yelping, and gobbling this Spring!

Mike

Not All Bucks Are In the Freezer!

Friday, January 6th, 2017

 

PhotobucketSure now you show up and stand 20 feet away from me.  I saw this nice 8-point a few days ago, as I traveled the back country of the north woods.  He looked healthy, and no worse the ware for being on the “wanted list” for over three months.  It’s a good thing that many of these nice bucks do make it through the season or we would all have to eat more beef.  I think that by the time a buck gets to be 2-1/2 years old he’s already got his Bachelors degree in out smarting hunters.  The really mature bucks (4-1/2 on up) have a Doctorate in eluding the dinner table or den wall.  All I can say is it’s a good thing for the “rut!”   Most of those “bad-boys” taken during deer season are caught off guard, cause they have their mind on the ladies.  Can you imagine that?

Right now I should be well into some coyote/fox hunting, but the weather isn’t cooperating.  We have had very little snow that stays around, as we keep getting warm spells and rain to get ride of the snow.  right now the ground is totally void of any snow around here.  I hate rain in the winter!  If it’s going to be winter I want snow and lots of it.  Michigan usually does get It’s share of the white powder, but my area doesn’t seem to get dumped on as much as the rest of the state.  (South-East corner)  Oh well we still have a good while to go before the daisy’s start popping up, so I’ll just bide my time.  Those “yotes” and foxes will still be chasing whatever critter they can sink their teeth into, and hopefully I’ll be chasing them shortly.  We at least have snow up around the cabin and I can try my hand up there when I get a chance.

 

Mike

Another Florida Python Alligator encounter-Alligator Looses Again!

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

OCHOPEE, Fla., Jan. 3 (UPI) — A reporter in South Florida witnessed a large python battling an alligator while on a bike ride in a nature preserve in the Everglades.

Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post spotted the epic battle between the gator and the approximately 15-foot long Burmese python after hearing several loud splashes while biking in the Big Cypress National Preserve west of Miami.

“Right there, just off the edge of Loop Road, no more than 15 feet away, an alligator was rising tail first and belly up over the surface of the water and then plunging back down. It was clear it was moving against its will. Then, as the gator rolled over and sank, something else came into view: the muscular coils of a very large snake,” Capozzi wrote. “It was a sight, I would learn later, that’s rarely witnessed in the wild — an alligator being attacked by a Burmese Python.”

The Miami Herald reported that the last time a gator and python were seen battling in the area the gator managed to break free of the 13-foot python’s stomach, snapping the snake in half.

The encounter Capozzi witnessed appeared to go much more favorably for the python as the lengthy snake coiled around the gator as it seemingly ended the ten minute scuffle by squeezing the gator to death.

“Just below, its coiled body with those distinctive giraffe spots could be seen in what I assumed was a fatal embrace with the alligator,” he said.

Pythons are an invasive species in South Florida that have begun to breed and swim to different parts of the state including one 9-foot snake which was found wrapped around a dock in Biscayne Bay National Park.

Deer Season 2016 Is In The Books

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

img_7652I went to the cabin Friday morning with a doe tag in my pocket and came home today with a doe tag still in my pocket!  I was wanted to donate some venison to a couple families I know that love venison, and could use some help in putting meat in the freezer.  It wasn’t for lack of trying I just couldn’t pull it off on a two evening hunt!  Mornings I was working on my new cabin putting in counters, sink, and a countertop.

I have a small farm on my northern boundary line and the piles of sweet smelling silage have the deer crossing my property to investigate.  They must be yarding up in the area as I have never seen so many tracks in such a small area. I sat in my ground blind both evenings and saw several yearlings, but not the big doe I was looking for.  It was hard to choose the right locating because runways crisscrossed from every direction.  I put a couple trail camera’s out, but really needed more time to determine what runways were being used in daylight hours!

Upon checking the camera on the west side of my blind I found that the morning hours turned out to be my best chance for a daylight deer. Guess maybe I should of put off the cabin work for awhile and sat for a morning hunt.  Oh well you don’t get a deer every time you sit in a blind!  Can’t complain as I took two bucks this year and 10 deer were taken within the Ansel family.

Depending on the winter, next year could see a dramatic increase in deer numbers around my place.  Actually I need to seriously think about harvesting more doe’s for better QDM around my place.  There are way to many doe’s compared to the amount of bucks seen and harvested around my area. At least I have a freezer full of tasty venison and some good memories to tide me over for another winter.  I will post a photo of the amount of deer activity going on in the snow covered woods around my place.

Mike