Archive for January, 2018

Deer Hunt Memories!

Wednesday, January 31st, 2018

Six summers ago we bought our cabin in Luzerne Michigan.  It’s not far from my old stomping grounds in Lewiston where my dad broke his six sons in to the joy’s of deer hunting.  What wonderful memories I have from those days of old!  Back then you had to be 14 years old to hunt deer with a gun, so that means I’ve been on the old “whitetail trail” for 57 years!  I can remember each deer that fell to the ground from the blast of my rifle, but in particular remember (with overwhelming joy) how happy I was when my dad downed a buck!  Quite frankly it wasn’t that often for either of us! It took me many years in the timber to finally hang one on the game pole, and it was a doe at that!

Which leads me to ponder two of the could of, would of, and should of’s in my “checkered” past! Once I had a bead on a six point pie-bald that was a once in a lifetime sight!  As I was settling in on his shoulder I dropped one of my gloves, and at that the buck bolted, and my finger never got to pull the trigger.  The other good/bad memory took place on a deer drive when a huge 10 point busted cover and ran toward the line of hunters we had on stand!  I was a driver, but George Millhouse fired several shots at the big buck and turned him back my way!  I was in a clear cut carrying a brand new weatherby 7mm magnum with a leupold scope.  I had never used a scope before and totally blew it as I fired 4 shots at this running buck, and didn’t pull a hair.  The scope fit flush with the barrel so there was not open sites under it!

I took a few deer with rifles, but never was consistent until I took up bowhunting in the late 60’s and early 70’s!  My success changed so much that my rifle would usually gather dust, as my tags would be filled during bow season. Over the last 10 years I have put “to rest” some very decent deer, and mind you I am not a bona-fide trophy hunter.  A combination of skill, luck, and location, location, location has played a part in five of my bucks scoring high enough for the Pope and Young record books!  My biggest being a Jackson County 8 pointer that grossed over 160!  In 2016 I took a huge 6 pointer that scored over 110.

I can’t tell you that I have any secrets to big buck success, but I will say the location I hunt is big buck territory with little hunting pressure.  Four out of the last six years I have taken trophy bucks in an area not really known for big bucks.  This years 7 pointer dressed out at 174 pounds, which is a great buck for the northern lower!

The only thing missing from these later year memories is my Dad!  The time his son’s were able to spend with him was not long enough.  My dad passed away 40 years ago at the age of 58.  What a great father he was!  His six sons admired and looked to him for guidance and approval. But cigarettes didn’t care how much we needed and loved him! They removed him from the “hunt” and created a void in his family that continues to this day.

So in conclusion you guys reading this do your family a tremendous favor and throw those cigarettes away!  Seek help if you have to, but do something!  Is it worth selling yourself short of your lifespan by 20 years or more, and eliminating the deer woods in your golden years?

Mike

 

 

Big Game Guide Illegally Takes Coveted Desert Bighorn!

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Most big-game hunters can go their entire lives and never get a chance to legally shoot one of Utah’s desert bighorn sheep, a privilege reserved for fewer than 40 lucky hunters each year.

After 21 failed tries, Arizona big-game hunting guide Larry Altimus finally landed such a permit in 2014 soon after taking up residence in Kanab, the Utah town on the Arizona line in the heart of desert bighorn country. But a jury later determined that Altimus was merely pretending to be a Utah resident for the sake of taking one of the state’s most valuable wildlife trophies.

In addition to a felony conviction and more than $30,000 in fines and restitution, the act of fraud will also now cost Altimus his hunting privileges, under a recent decision by a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources hearing officer. The ban will apply not just in Utah, but 46 other states as well.

While Altimus may still guide hunting clients, he cannot hunt for the next 10 years, according to DWR spokesman Mark Hadley.

“He not only stole the permit. He used the permit he wasn’t entitled to to kill an animal,” Hadley said.

Based in the southeast Arizona town of Pearce, Altimus, 69, operates his company Hunter Application Service and guides hunters in pursuit of trophy animals in several Western states. Altimus, who did not return messages seeking comment Monday and Tuesday, has hunted and guided hundreds of times in the Southwest and has appeared on industry magazine covers with his trophies.

Altimus’ web site features dozens of photographs of him posed with clients and their deceased trophy animals, including moose, pronghorn, mountain goat, elk, aoudad and oryx, but mostly bighorn sheep.

Altimus conducts much of his guiding on private land in Texas, where landowners charge hunters $60,000, on top of Altimus’ $9,500 guide fee. His service specializes in obtaining sought-after tags, according to the site.

“The ‘tags of a lifetime’ are out there, you just need to get your name on one of them!” the site states.

In Utah, desert bighorns are the most coveted big-game species to hunt. The state’s system for issuing tags for such hunts gives an advantage to those who have tried and failed to get permits in past years.

Hunters earn a bonus point each time they unsuccessfully apply for a particular big-game species. Altimus actively sought these Utah tags, and by 2013, he had amassed 21 points toward a desert bighorn sheep, more points than earned by any in-state hunter, according to court records.

Even with the trove of points, the chance Altimus would draw a nonresident bighorn sheep permit were still slim.

“But if he claimed residency in Utah, he knew he had a good chance of drawing a permit reserved for Utah residents,” said DWR director Mike Fowlks.

Under Utah law, however, hunters are not to obtain a resident hunting permit if they move to the state for a “special or temporary purpose.” As someone who makes a living helping clients obtain hunting tags, Altimus was well aware of the rules, according to Kane County prosecutor Jeff Stott.

At trial last July, Stott had to convince a jury that Altimus knowingly took steps to illegally game Utah’s system for awarding sheep tags, which can auction for as high as $70,000.

In 2014, according to DWR data, 5,174 Utah hunters vied for 35 desert bighorn tags, while 7,184 nonresidents vied for three.

“This is a big tag,” Stott said. “It’s huge in the hunting world.”

Big enough, it appears, for Altimus to uproot his life for a few months.

In August 2013, he rented a house in Kanab, moved his belongings there and obtained a Utah driver license, according to Stott. Using the Kanab address, Altimus applied the following March, not long after meeting the six-month threshold for residency, and drew a permit to take a bighorn from the famed Zion hunting unit — just one of 11 awarded that year.

“We proved it was all for this permit,” Stott said. A few weeks after winning the tag, Altimus moved back to Arizona, then returned for the fall hunt, where he bagged a ram.

After three days of testimony in Kanab’s 6th District Court, the jury returned a guilty verdict for wanton destruction of wildlife, a third-degree felony. Judge Wallace Lee ordered Altimus to pay DWR $30,000 in restitution, payable in monthly payments of $1,000 as part of his three years on probation. He also lost his right to possess a firearm and hunt in Utah during that period. Officials had already seized the ram trophy, whose prodigious horns curled into a full circle.

But the real punishment was meted out by DWR, which filed a petition to revoke Altimus’ hunting privileges for 10 years in the states participating in the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which includes all 50 states but Delaware, Massachusetts and Hawaii.

A hearing officer affirmed the recommendation, although the order could be appealed to the Utah Wildlife Board.

Another Florida Bear Attack!

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

A Florida man says he’s lucky to be alive after he was viciously attacked by a black bear while walking his dog.

Andrew Meunier was standing outside of his Naples apartment complex Wednesday night when a bear suddenly appeared and lunged at him, slashing his face and torso.

“This is the first documented injury from a bear in South Florida since we started keeping records in the 1970s,” Brian Norris, public information officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, told Fox News.

Meunier suffered several cuts across his head and chest before he managed to escape the bear’s grip. He called 911 and was rushed to a local hospital, where he received 41 stitches.

“I don’t think it’s very deep, but it’s an 8 inch cut,” Meunier said, describing the gash across his cheek to FOX4.

Though Meunier anticipates a slow and painful recovery, the man says he’s grateful the outcome wasn’t worse.

“I’m just happy to be alive,” Meunier said. “It could’ve been a totally different story.”

Meunier said he saw three other bears along with the one that attacked him.

Several neighbors told FOX4 they’ve recently spotted a mother bear and her cubs roaming around the apartment complex.

“Any bear to me is big, but I have to say this one here is probably between 250 to 300 pounds,” neighbor Kirk Amerine said. “She’s had three cubs around with her.”

Bear sightings aren’t uncommon in Florida. There are about 4,050 black bears statewide, according to a 2015 report from the FWC.

But the FWC said it’s “very rare” for bears to attack humans.

And about 31 percent of all bear-related calls from 2000 to 2016 have involved a bear rummaging through garbage, the report stated. Meunier’s neighbors believe that’s the reason why this particular group of bears has been circling their complex.

“We use these old trash bins, and they should be inside the garage, but they are not,” resident David Johnson told WFTX. “Therefore, any trash that’s left out is a free meal for the mother bear and her cubs.”

In response to the attack, the FWC said it placed two traps in the area with the hopes of catching and relocating the bears.

“Public safety is paramount to the FWC, and we take this incident and all human-bear conflicts very seriously,” Dave Telesco, the FWC’s bear management program coordinator, said in an emailed statement to Fox News. “We have been and will continue to work with this community and others to reduce human-bear contact!

Man Cave Reborn!

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

This past spring our sump pump messed up and during an May record rainstorm our basement flooded.  That is where my “man cave” was located, and where most of the damage was.  The walls were insulated, with a layer of dry wall next, and then some very expensive wood paneling! Couches, love seat, lazy boy, 48 inch big screen T.V. and wild game mounts!  Lots of wild game mounts! We had a $10,000 dollar flood insurance policy which “maxed” out due to all the damage to that room and my storage/laundry room!

There was no way I was going to fix (replace) everything with $10,000 dollars if I called in contractors, so I decided to do the work myself, in hopes of staying within the insurance amount.

Wet insulation, drywall, paneling, carpet, furniture all needed to be replaced.  Mounts had to be cleaned and put in storage while I worked on the remodel.  Paintings and other wall hanging had to be cleaned and stored as well.

I have been working on this project for the past 7 months and was at “crunch” time just a few days before Christmas.  A new vinyl wood plank floor had been installed by my son-in-law Glen Pafford, but the carpeting for the stairs and hallway still needed to be laid down!  On the walls I had chozen to got with 6″ tongue and groove pine which totally changed the former looks of the room.

Christmas has always been held at our house and the gift sharing is done in the basement where we have a little more room for the 23 who would be there. Glen finished the carpet two days before Christmas, and as you will see the project turned out very nicely, and right on budget.  It certainly helped that I was able to do all (except flooring) the work myself!

Mike