Archive for March, 2017

Minnesota Poaching Ring Busted!

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

 A two-year investigation by Minnesota DNR conservation officers has resulted in two men facing charges for illegal trapping activities, in what is likely the largest poaching case of its kind in state history.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that the men — Douglas Anthony Marana, 70, and Roderick Robert Kottom, 68, both of Chisholm, in northern Minnesota — are accused of running 638 illegally set snares.

“That is such a number that it’s unheard of,” Tom Provost, MDNR regional enforcement supervisor, told the newspaper. “This number of sets has not been surpassed in Minnesota before. Our average for fail-to-attend traps or snares would be one to 10. Ten would be a big number in any other case.”

The men were charged with gross misdemeanors for illegally taking or possessing pine marten, otter, fisher and wolverine. The pair was also charged for failing to tend snares (Minnesota law requires snares be checked daily) and for making snare loops too large. Further, the state alleges that the snares weren’t properly identified, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Conservation officers purportedly seized 17 foxes, five snowshoe hares, two fisher, and one deer that the poachers had illegally taken. Officers also suspect numerous dogs were trapped.

The case began in Dec. 2014, when a conservation officer received a tip that a wolf had been caught in a snare. According to the News Tribune, the responding officer found other snares and bait of the same type that caught the wolf nearby. In time, officers obtained a warrant to place a tracking device on Kottom’s vehicle, and, during a search of Marana’s home, they seized a GPS device that contained data on where traps were set.“That had waypoint data,” Provost told the News Tribune. “[Marana and Kottom] did a good job of marking their trap sites for us.”

Marana has no previous game-related violations on his record. But that’s not the case for Kottom, who, in 2004, had fisher and pine marten pelts seized from his home, and who was also convicted for various counts of unlawful trapping in 2007 and 2013. What’s more, he was fined and on probation in 2008 for possessing a mounted Canada lynx, a federally protected species.

As far as Bert Highland, a trapper from northern Minnesota, is concerned, Kottom and Marana can’t be considered trappers. “They are butchers,” he told the Star Tribune. “You’ve got to give them their day in court, but they are not sportsmen, and they are not conservationists.”

The men face one year in prison and $3,000 in fines.

Is There A Jaguar In Your Future – And I don’t mean The Car?

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

CConservationists are making another push to get federal wildlife officials to devote more resources to the re-establishment of wild jaguars in the U.S.

Only three jaguars have been seen in recent years, but conservationists like Rob Peters, a senior representative for Defenders of Wildlife, believe they can call the United States home again with a series of conservation measures including translocation and establishing a larger habitat area by federal officials.

Wild jaguars lived in Arizona as far north as the Grand Canyon and in New Mexico for years before habitat loss and predator control programs aimed at protecting livestock eliminated them in the past 150 years. It’s been over 50 years since a female jaguar was seen in Arizona.

But in the past few years, trail cameras have captured three jaguars in Arizona. Two are males, and the gender of the third one, which was captured on camera in the Dos Cabezas Mountains in Arizona about 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border late last year, is unknown.

Recovery efforts have faced pushback from all sides, including livestock owners who sued the Fish and Wildlife Service when it set aside nearly 1,200 square miles along the border as habitat for the conservation of jaguars in 2014.

“There are all these political issues, but when you have good plan, coexistent techniques that really work, I think there’s a path toward success,” Peters said.

Peters said the biggest obstacle to a renewed push for recovery is the habitat boundaries set by a proposed jaguar recovery plan released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in December. That plan aims to sustain habitat, eliminate poaching and improve social acceptance of the animal. It focuses recovery efforts on northern Mexico, where a sizeable population of jaguars lives.

Peters also says Fish and Wildlife should also consider relocating female jaguars from Mexico to the United States.

Local Deer Get Through Winter In Good Shape!

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

Photobucket I was on the way home from my grand daughters birthday party when I saw these five deer moving from the woods in search of something to eat.  The funny thing is, they aren’t but a couple hundred yards from the country subdivision I live in, and are feeding directly toward my house.  The last deer in this group seems to be larger than the others, and I would bet it’s a buck.  I have lived for 16 years in this area, and seen some deer sign, but these are the first deer I have actually laid my eyes on!   I’m glad there are some roaming around, and I hope to see more in the future.

Can’t wait for those fields to be green instead of white.  Temps. have been in the high 40’s the last couple days and most of the snow is gone.  I’m not missing it one bit!  I need some warm sunny weather to get those lovesick Tom’s looking for a mate. Sometimes the first turkey hunt can be somewhat disappointing, as the birds may be “late” due to cold weather conditions.  I only have about three more weeks before my hunt starts.  Well at least a couple of the grandkids have the later hunt, which might end up being the best hunt!

Mike

Winter: Please Let Me Outta Here!

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Photobucket“Let me out of  here!”   I feel like  I’ve been cooped up far too long, and yes I do need to get out of here.   Winter has seemed to drag on forever, and we just received more snow in the last couple days.  I love snow, and I want it in the winter, but by golly I don’t like it in the Spring.  Around here it can start snowing as early as September, and as you see, can keep snowing through April.  Seven to eight months of snow is enough for even an Eskimo.  I have one more month before my turkey hunt, and I am counting the days.

In other news a friend of mine (Ed Kane) recently caught a 24 inch rainbow trout in Monroe’s own River Raisin  The DNR had two river dams demolished and a fish ladder put in another.  Not only was the rainbow a big surprise but walleye have been finding their way up stream and fishermen are hoping Lake Erie salmon find the mouth of the river to their liking.  What a boon for tourism that would be. Spawning river walleye’s would put Monroe on the “hot spot” fishing radar for sure.  I get a chance for a few walleye’s each year, but without a Lake Erie equipped boat, you don’t put many in the freezer so a river run would sure be nice!  Think spring! Think spring!

I have seen some turkey activity around Monroe, but the snow is still quite deep up around the cabin where my permit is for. This goofy up and down weather isn’t helping those Tom’s separate from one another yet, and who knows what April will hold?  It could be in the 70’s or we could have a late season blizzard!

Well I have to go see if I can find my snow shovel.  Something is just down right wrong with shoveling snow in the middle of May.  Course it could be worse!  I could be stacking sand bags along a river bank or looking at a demolished house due to a winter tornado.  Ah I guess I haven’t got it that bad after all!

Mike

 

Golfers Don’t Tempt Fate – Stay Away From Alligators

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Just a little warning to all my golfing friends about those alligators they run into on the golf courses while taking a reprieve from Northern Winters.  Even though it is quite rare for golfers to be attacked by “gators’ on the golf course it does happen. You might want to get a close up snapshot of a “course” gator, but in reality you might end up as dinner for this Apex predator. They are not afraid of you, and a golf club probably wouldn’t do you any good if you have 2000 pounds of jaw pressure pulling you into deep water.  Read the below report coming out of Mexico.  One minute the young man is fishing the next he is gone! I’m thinking that’s not a good way to leave this earth!  So fellas if you encounter a “gator” keep IMG_8015your distance.  Don’t tempt this prehistoric giant to put you on his menu.  And I do know the difference between a crocodile and an alligator, but they both are “killing machines!”

Mexican authorities are looking for a 10-foot crocodile that reportedly ate a young man who was fishing in southern Mexico.

The attack was reported by three of the victim’s friends who were there and watched the whole thing unfold. They were able to escape unharmed.

The gruesome incident occurred Sunday in La Encrucijada reserve in southern Chiapas, a protected area they had entered without authorization.

“Most of these events are caused due to unawareness of people coming to unauthorized fishing grounds,” an official with the Commission on Natural Protected Areas told El Universal.

According to the Environment and Natural Resources Office (Semarnat), they have experts combing the marshy area and have put up warning signs.

The goal is to capture all 10-foot crocodiles and pump out their stomachs to find the victim’s remains, officials said.

Michigan Hunting Memories With My Dad!

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

File3Scan13Dad2Deer camp 19777Scan8I personally have been in the fields and forest since I was old enough to carry a rabbit for my dad.  My dad Norm was raised on a farm and the surrounding area was his private playground, if you will.  He had an old hand me down 410 that he would rabbit and pheasant hunt with, and across the street from their farm was a small creek that he trapped.  Muskrats, weasel, mink, coon and even skunks were fair game.  Dad was an excellent “skinner” and taught us three older Ansel boys how to do it without any tears or rips in the hide.  It was especially hard to do the eyes, ears, and mouth, but we all eventually got the hang of it. Dad would sell the hides to a local buyer, and a Frenchmen would buy the muskrat meat.  Monroe has a French heritage and muskrat dinners are still a big thing around these parts!  One of the Ansel’s “claim to fame” is a small creek/drain in the Ida area named after our family.  It’s actually called the Ansel/Snell drain!

Fall was the greatest time of year for my dad and his sons!  From October through December it was like Christmas every day. My dad had the best bird dog in the county (Flopsy) and all his friends wanted one of her pups.  Sometime after her 6th. litter, dad had her “fixed!” Back then he would sell a pup for $25.00 dollars, or if you were a hunting buddy he would “grace” you with a wonderful gift!  He only kept one pup for himself, but ended up giving it to a very good friend of his who hunted with him often.  I remember Haskel Ray, Tom Connor, and my Uncle Louie Marshall, along with Bill Brown, Ron Hudkins, and Cecil Asher. What a great group of guys for a young hunter to “hang out” with.  Several of these guys owned beagles, so rabbit hunting took off when pheasant season was over.

Dad would even deer hunt with several of these friends, and Me, Randy, and Darryl got in on the action in our early teens.  My Uncle Louie would go to the Upper Peninsula for deer and always came home with a “monster” buck.  In those days you didn’t need a bear license to shoot a black bear during deer season, and Uncle Louie brought one home along with a big 10 pointer one year.  Dad always hunted around Lewiston, but one year we went to the U.P. with Bill Brown and his youngest son Tom.  I think that experience really piqued my interest in the beauty and remoteness of hunting this vast unspoiled wilderness.

Sadly all these men (except one) have “walked on” and we are now the old timers in camp!  While the memories of small game hunting along with deer, turkey, and bear hunting are firmly implanted in the movie theatre of my mind, there also is a whole section reserved for fishing memories.  My dad did as much fishing as he did hunting and we would enjoy the fruits of his “leisure” time all year round.  From fishing off the banks at Bolles Harbor to ice fishing on Lake Erie.  Several years we rowed to an island in the Upper, and pitched a tent for a week.  Pike, perch, bullhead, catfish, bass, and panfish were in our freezer waiting for dads culinary skills to transform them into a fish dinner to “die” for!  In dads final years, on this planet, we learned how to catch brook trout while bear hunting the Marquette area.  Talk about delicious! One of the best “camp” meals I ever ate was lake trout, squirrel, partridge, with all the trimmings, fixed by my dad over a woodburning stove at the Baldwin bear camp.

Thanks for the wonderful memories dad and all the adventures you showed us here in the great state of Michigan.

Mike

Radioactive Wild Boar Running the Streets In Japan!

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

AAnd we think we have a wild boar problem here in the United States?  How would you like a radioactive green glowing wild boar running around your neighborhood?  Well except for the “green glow” that’s exactly whats happening in Japan!

Hundreds of radioactive wild boars have reportedly taken over at least two towns located within the exclusion zone near the abandoned Fukushima power station in Japan.

The meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant six years ago forced thousands of residents to leave the surrounding area, but now the Japanese government wants residents to return home

After people deserted the towns, wild boars emerged from local forests to scavenge for food and, according to local media, have flourished.

The boars have been eating food and plants, which have caused the animals to be exposed to radiation levels far in excess of government stipulated safe levels.

Reports state that teams of hunters have been dispatched to cull the boars from the towns of Namie and Tomioka.

At the end of March, Japan is set to lift evacuation orders for parts of Namie, located just 2.5 miles from the wrecked nuclear plant, as well as three other towns.

Meanwhile, residents who do not return to homes not sited within mandatory exclusion zones are being told they risk losing housing benefits.

A Greenpeace report has said that of the 160,000 who fled their homes, 80,000 have yet to return.

The report accused the government of trying to minimize the impact of the disaster and that evacuees are being returned to areas with radioactive contamination at higher levels than internationally recommended safe levels.

“Many may be forced to return to contaminated communities against their wishes because they cannot afford to stay where they are currently living.

“This is economic coercion, not a choice freely made,” the report reads.

The report has said that the Japanese government’s response to the nuclear disaster “resulted in multiple human rights violations, particularly for women and children.

Pheasants Forever – Not In Michigan

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

PhotobucketYou might have to use a magnifying glass to see the beautiful rooster pheasant in this picture.  Just about every evening  he feeds along a patch of weeds across the street from my daughters house.  You would think I could get a better picture than this, but he’s a little camera shy.  Every time I try to get close, off  into the weeds he goes.

I have not pheasant hunted in many years.  For one thing it is almost a rarity to see one anymore, and if your serious about it, you need a good bird dog.  We had the best when I was growing up.  She was a spaniel/setter mix, and that dog was born to hunt.  When you get one as good as old “Flopsy” you get spoiled on ever having another dog.  That is, at least another dog that measures up!  We have a pheasant preserve in Monroe, but I just can’t get into pen raised birds.  There was a day (before farmers started strip farming) that you could take a drive and see plenty of birds.  I once stopped my car and watched nine roosters fighting with one another.  They put on quite a show, and didn’t seem to mind me watching.  Sure not like that anymore!  I’m content just to see one, and try to get a snapshot if I can.

I have great memories of hunting with my dad and brothers back in the late 50’s and 60’s.  My brothers and I would always have a contest to see who would put the most birds in the freezer.  One local sport shop would always have a prize for the longest tail feather turned in during hunting season.  I even won it one year and still have that mounted bird on my wall.  Never did shoot a bigger one than that.

So far it’s been a mild winter and the critters should of made it through okay.  Spring is just a week away, but the weather looks like one more good snowstorm coming at us.  Would sure like to see the pheasants come back like the good old days, but I’m afraid that just can’t happen.  I guess if I really want to roast a couple birds in the oven I’m going to have to swallow my pride and visit the local pheasant farm!  Who knows I might not be able to hit one anyway?

Huron Creek Golf and Country Club Revisited

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

IMG_8013IMG_8012IMG_8014My younger brother Brad just returned from another golfing vacation to Florida.  He went there after playing for three weeks in colorado! My he is loving his semi-retirement years.  I can’t wait for my hip to heal and I can get back in the “swing” of things. Five years ago I was in Florida with brother Randy, Brad, and family friend Norm Sauer. What great memories I have of the trip and playing on one of the most impressive and beautiful courses I have ever played!

That would be the “Heron Creek Golf and Country Club.”  It consist of three 18 hole courses called the “oaks,” “marsh,” and the “creek.”  It may well be the highest above sea level course in all of Florida.  Of course the hills were not “naturally” there, as they were actually at one time a land fill.  You would never know it now, as the flora and fauna along with the buildings and grounds are breathtaking.  It has a guarded gate, so your name better be on the guest list.

Once inside the gate we were able to find a parking spot, and were immediately greeted by an attendant and a starter.  We were given a quick over view of the grounds, and the started took our names and said he would call us at our start time.  We checked out the pro shop, lounge, and men’s locker room.  They had showers with towels, sun screen lotion, shaving kits, and water on ice, at your disposal.  Talk about feeling pampered.

At exactly 9:35 a.m. our names were called to “T” off.  Even with the course crawling with “well healed” members and guest we were spaced out perfectly with the group ahead of us and behind us.  What a well managed course.  The staff was not uppity or snobbish, but quite friendly and very helpful.  Our round of golf cost $78 “smackers,” but considering the sheer elegance and beauty of the course it was worth ever penny of it.

While playing we saw, and heard, many birds, and even snapped a picture of this big “gator!”  If your ever in the North Port Florida, and like to golf, give this challenging course a try.  Even if you don’t break 100 (I didn’t) it is worth it just to say “you did it!”  FORE!!

Native American Heritage

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

tomahawkIMG_3621IMG_3609IMG_3611IMG_3624In the winter time, when it’s cold and snow is on the ground, I like to work on Native American reproductions.  My mother is from the far north country of Canada.  Her father was Irish, but her mother was one half Native American.  My mothers grandmother was a beautiful Cree Indian from Saskatchewan Canada who married my great grandfather John West!  Not much is known about her and what we do know is by oral tradition and stories from older relatives.  The Canadian Government didn’t keep good records of Indigenous people, and the little office that kept the records concerning my great grandma was burnt down by a disgruntled halfbreed!  That would be my great Uncle “Billy” who was ashamed of his heritage.

Anyway for the last several years I have been making Native items such as smudge fans, necklaces, ceremonial arrows, dance sticks, walking sticks, lances, quivers, and a few other items.  I use mostly supplies that nature provides such as deer hide, animal pelts, sinew, stones, animal skulls, horns, bones, feathers etc.  I combine that with bead work and and other Native American crafts to reproduce ceremonial items from past days!

I also go to local schools during the Fall, and especially over Thanksgiving and give demonstrations of the Native American way of life.  I go by Ten (10) Bears and bring all my hides and reproductions with me, along with some artifacts I have collected over the years. I will post several photo’s of some of the things I make.

Mike