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Veterans Day 2017

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

Veterans Day has always been special in the Ansel family.  My dad Norman Ansel was a world war II veteran of the Pacific Theatre!  One of his best friends was a casualty early on!  My dad was my hero when I was a kid and I always loved getting into the closet where mom kept his army jacket under wraps.  He was a Staff Sgt. and had a couple rows of “ribbons” and a marksmanship medal. Those brightly colored ribbons always caught my eye, and I wanted a “chest” full of them when I went in the army!

My oldest brother Randy was the first of dad and mom’s six (6) boys to go in the service, as he joined the Marines just as Vietnam was heating up!  He met two guys (James Keeler and Pat McElligot) who became his best buddies.  In fact they had plans to join the Michigan State Police when they where done with their commitment to Uncle Sam!  Sad to say that on there very first mission (Operation Double Eagle) James was mortally wounded and died on a hospital ship 3 weeks later. Randy and Pat were devastated, but managed to stay clear of “Charlie” as best they could.  The two of them managed to take two (2) Viet Cong prisoners while on patrol one evening which made their commanding officer happy! Sargent Norman Randy Ansel became a Marine recruiter stateside in the chicago area as his 4 years came to an end.  He and Pat never did join the State Police!  Instead my dad got them into the insurance business, and that’s where they stayed!

I was next in line as I was drafted in December of 1966!  It was one of the largest drafts ever to hit Monroe county.  Several high school buddies were drafted with me.  The guy that wanted to be a hero and earn a chest full of medals was assigned to “Quartermaster school” at Fort Lee Virginia!  In case you don’t know that meant They were going to make a “cook” out of me!  We hated the cooks, K.P. and especially the mess Sgt. I was heart broken!  Turns out being a cook and eventually a baker had a lot more perks than I ever imagined!  I also rose through the ranks quickly and was promoted to Specialist 5th. Class (same as a buck sergeant.)  I stayed state side and the biggest thrill I had was being the assistant 3.5 grenade launcher for our mess hall! No chest full of medals for this “cookie!”

Now brother Darryl was a different story!  He too was drafted and ended up living the Army life I was supposed to have!  Right away his superiors saw his potential, as he was made acting sergeant in basic training.  He was an Infantryman and a crack shoot with the M-16 as well as the 45!  In fact all three of the Ansel boys wore the coveted “expert” marksmanship medal!  Our dad taught us well!  Darryl went to Vietnam after AIT training, and was in the thick of things from the get-go.  He was a fierce “warrior” in battle, and under fire kept his cool!  He saved lives, was wounded, and was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor.  A true hero indeed. He came home with ribbons galore on his chest, and a few scar’s on his back, but never seemed to let his experience define his life.

The last three of the six Ansel brother escaped the service, for which their mother and father were quite grateful.  Those Vietnam years added a lot of grey hair to both mom and dads head!

So that is one of the many reasons I appreciate Veterans Day and stand when the National Anthem is played with my hand on my heart. I also had friends who made the supreme sacrifice! Those among us who have never worn a military uniform or served in combat haven’t a clue about how most veterans feel about those that “take a knee!”

Thanks for your service Veterans!


Brad’s Mock Scrape Buck and Venison Fare!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Just wanted to do a family update on what’s been going on with the Ansel brothers since my last posting.

Well I just heard from my younger brother Brad who lives in Parma Mi. in Jackson county.  What a wonderful area in Michigan to live in.  Jackson is known to produce some of the biggest bucks recorded in the Commemorative Bucks Of Michigan record book, and little brother is doing his part to put some more bucks on those pages.

He shot a ten point a few evenings after he downed a huge 9 point on the same farm he’s hunted for a few years.  I have not heard the whole story yet, so I will follow up when I do.  I do know that just before (5 minutes) he climbed in his stand he put out a mock scrape with doe urine, and before he could get settled in, this buck came in on a string! Brother Darryl had just told him to give a mock scrape a try, and Brad is now a believer in their effectiveness! Just wanted to get a picture of his latest big buck out to you readers and let you know that this buck was the smaller of the two bucks he saw two evenings ago!

I’m also posting a photo of some venison meatloaf’s, potatoes, and carrots that I fixed last night.  I ate it for breakfast this morning, and it was awesome.  Brad is going to be able to enjoy many meals from the two bruisers he put in his freezer!

Some Michigan Archery Success 2017

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

Just today one of my younger brothers (Brad Ansel) sent me a picture of the “Hog” he took down last evening in Jackson County.  He lives in Parma and has a couple great pieces of property he can hunt.  He downed a wide spread 9 pointer with his crossbow!  The deer will go way over 200 pounds live weight.  Last week brother Darryl was able to pull a sneak on a nice fat 7 pointer feeding in a cut bean field.  Anyone who’s ever tried sneaking up on a deer know’s it isn’t easy!  Then there’s and old friend of mine (Tony Collino) who downed a bruiser of an eight pointer with his crossbow.  He also shared some great video, from his tree stand, on facebook!  Also pictured is Scott Kegerries (a friend of Darryl’s) who put down one “braggin” buck.  Don’t know how many points, but the height and mass of this buck is pretty incredible. I might as well include a picture of the buck I downed last Friday. It was missing a brow tine which made it a 7 pointer, but was a really big deer for my area.  Hope you enjoy the photo’s and success of your fellow hunters!


Kyle’s First Buck

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

My last post was “I get by with a little help from my friends” and the saga continues with how my grandson Kyle had help in finding his deer.

The evening after I shot my deer Kyle and I were in the same blind watching yearlings, fawns and a couple decent doe’s, but Kyle heart was set on a buck.  Even though Kyle is only 12 years old he has “downed” three doe’s in prior seasons, and was now ready for a “wall hanger!”

Time to hunt with Kyle is limited due to his involvement in baseball, and basketball.  This would be one of the only chances I was going to have hunting with Kyle this year so I was encouraging him to “quit” passing on the doe’s!  Right around 6:30 a huge doe poked it’s big head from behind a stand of pine trees.  I nudged Kyle and said “If she gives you a shot bust her!”  He was okay with that, but just as quickly as she appeared she vanished!  Last light was fading in our clearing where I had planted the rye months earlier, just as our hopes faded with getting a shot this evening.  Kyle put the crossbow on the gun rail and pointed it in the direction where the doe disappeared.  Good thing he did as she stepped out from her concealment and offered a 15 yard broadside shot.  I had told Kyle that he was on his own and to shoot as soon as she was in his sights.  I heard the “twang” of the crossbow, saw the “flash” of the luminok as it disappeared into the deer’s side.  The deer bolted straight ahead and never gave any indication of being hit or mortally wounded!  The shaft of the arrow was broken about 3 inches from the fletching which contained blood and hair, but there was very little blood in the area where the deer bolted from.  I went to the spot where I saw it make a sharp left turn, but could not find one speck of blood! We went and got Kyle’s dad Glen and with the “dull” flashlights we had, came up with nothing to bloodtrail on!  discouraged we called it a night, and would resume our search in the morning.

I rose up bright and early to try and find my grandson’s deer.  It was quite cold so I wasn’t very concerned about meat spoilage, but I was concerned about finding the deer. Nothing bothers a hunter more than wounding and loosing an animal he’s pursuing!  Last evening we had prayed that just as my deer was miraculously found that Kyle’s deer would also be found! I was dressed and ready to go as soon as it was light enough to see blood among the red, yellow, and green leaves on the forest floor!  Kyle and Glen were going to be about 5 minutes behind me in the search!

I started in the direction I last saw the deer, but still could find no blood.  As I approached the thicker woods with it’s briers and bramble bushes a crow called out as it circled the morning sky 100 yards in front of me! Then another crow called out with the familiar “caw, caw, caw! The one circling landed at the top of a tall pine tree, and I suspected he had Kyle’s deer in sight. As I approached the area sure enough I saw the white rump and underbelly of a dead deer.  The crows had a few hairs pulled from the rear of the deer, but evidently they had just found him!  Did I say him? Our “friends” the crows had lead me to the prettiest little six point I had ever laid eye’s on.  In fact I couldn’t believe this deer had horns!  We were looking for a doe!  Neither of us had a clue the deer we saw twice last night was a buck!  The horns must of totally blended in with the backdrop of the pines around him.

I called Kyle and Glen to where I was and let Kyle “discover” the surprise of his young hunting career!  He arrived and said “Papa it’s got horns!”  I said “Yes this doe is a six pointer!”  Kyle beamed as he reached down and held the first set of buckhorns that belonged to him.  His dad Glen was as surprised as any of us, and immediately started taking pictures!  The deer was shot through the right front shoulder and exited the left lung area.  The “rage” broadhead had “blown” through shoulder bone and ribs, and that deer still made it 175 yards from where he was leathley “hammered!” I backtracked on the path he had taken and only found good tracking blood about 20 yards from where he expired!

There is certainly a lesson to be learned from this, as both of us could of had nightmares about the “one” that got away!  Instead we were so thankful for answered pray and “a little help from our friends!”

Footnote:  The DNR biologist said my deer was a 3-1/2 year old, and Kyle’s was 2-1/2 year old.  Both in excellent health with enormous amounts of winter fat.

Smiling Mike!

Deer Season 2017 or (I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends!)

Monday, October 30th, 2017

Due to schedules, birthdays, and unseasonably warm weather (in October) I have not made it to my camp to hunt.  That is until this past weekend!  The plan was to take my grandson Kyle Pafford out for a two day weekend hunt.  My wife and I were able to leave a day and a half earlier than daughter Tara, husband Glen and Kyle.

I hunted Thursday evening with a few doe’s and yearlings spotted, but nothing to get to excited about.  I worked around camp Friday and planned on hunting in the evening as the Pafford’s weren’t arriving till very late!  Again there were doe’s, fawn’s, and yearlings in my food plot, but no bucks.  I was going to hunt 15 more minutes when a nice buck stepped behind two trees.  I could see his head and neck when he feed on the alfalfa, but was not going to take that shot.  All of a sudden something “spooked” him and he ran 15 yards to my right and stopped.  Twenty yard shot that was “duck soup” as far as I was concerned.  I had my Excalibur already raised, put the 20 yard pin on the chest and pulled the trigger! The luminock disappeared, the buck kicked his hind legs in the air, and was gone.  My bolt was sticking in the ground just past where the buck stood. I was so sure of the shot I immediately went to retrieve to arrow and look for blood.

There was a slight smug of blood on the vanes, but the “Rage” broadhead was clean along with the arrow shaft that had some fat on it!  I was in shock!  There was a small amount of red blood where he was standing, but nothing could be found anywhere else.  There were three deer runs he could of taken, but no blood trail on any of them. It was now dark and my flashlights were all in need of batteries.  I figured I would wait till morning and with the help of Kyle and Glen search again!  I was now second guessing myself and was not confident in finding him in the morning.

Bright and early we combed the area, but again found no blood.  We covered an area of about 10 acres looking for a “dead” deer, but gave up, as I figured it was not the “bulls eye” I thought it was!

I had work to do around the cabin, and everyone was busy taking care of needed chores, when Glen called and said there’s a guy walking up the driveway.  First things he says is “did someone shoot a deer around here last night?” I said “Yeh I did, but we couldn’t find him!” He says “Okay describe him to me!” I said I thought it was between a 6 and and 8 pointer, and he then says “We got your deer!” I about fainted as I gave this stranger a big hug!  He called his buddy and son that were waiting by my dead 7 pointer and told them he found the owner.  Seriously there are a lot of guys that would of thrown that deer in the back of their truck and never thought of looking for the rightful owner!  The deer was still warm when they spied it just of a 4-wheeler trail.

It’s quite amazing but it was a dead center chest shot, taking out the lungs, but the only blood was in the area he expired in. He had made it a good two (200) yards from where he was arrowed! The direction he ran was not what I thought, and without these fellow hunters stumbling on him, he would of been coyote and crow bait!  My day got remarkable better.

The deer was huge for a northern Michigan deer weighing in at 174 pounds dressed.  That’s a 220 pound deer on the hoof! Big for any part of the state!

I’ll follow up with this hunt in my next blog, as my grandson “Get’s a little help from his friends” also!

New Mississippi State Record Buck?

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

A hunt that came close to unraveling ended with what may be Mississippi’s largest typical buck on record.

Josh Clark, of luka, Miss., drew a tag for Zone 3 of the Canemount Wildlife Management Area in Claiborne County. He’d hunted in Canemount before but never in that zone. Clark noticed the area’s potential right away, telling the Clarion-Ledger, “It was crazy, the rubs I saw. The trees were the size of power poles, and the rubs were three and four feet high. I knew there was a big deer there.”

His confidence didn’t last long, though. His first two days of hunting the area passed with no sighting of the big buck. On Dec.14, his third day of hunting the area, and the final day of the season, Clark ventured to the creek bottom for one last sit. He laced the area with scent and did some rattling and grunting once he got to the stand. After getting no response, he deemed the spot a bust and decided that it was time to move on. “I lowered my gun to the ground,” he told the Clarion-Ledger. “When I stood up to turn around, I saw a main beam. I said, ‘Oh, my goodness.’”

Standing before him was the monster buck that patrolled the area. But Clark was out of position, with his rifle at the bottom of the tree. He quickly reeled his rifle back up and took a shot when the buck hit an opening. The deer bounded over a hill and Clark followed. Once he crested the skyline, he saw the deer lying dead.

The score of the buck remains a bit unclear, however. Mississippi Sportsmanreports that the deer is a main-frame 11-pointer with 17 total points*, and that it scored 205 inches. The Clarion-Ledger reports, however, that the deer is an 18-pointer, and that later green scores put the deer closer to 200 inches. To claim the record,the buck will need to beat a net score of 184 6/8 inches, a record set in 2010 by James Saunders, after a 60-day drying period.

Fall Fishing Adventures

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Late summer and early Fall has been a wonderful time to “wet” a line and get in some great fishing opportunities.  About three weeks ago we were at our cabin near Mio and my son-in-law Glen and grandson Kyle fished McCormick Lake as much as possible.  They have fished this particular lake on many occasions, but never really landed a “braggin” fish.  Rock bass, small perch, and a few undersized smallmouth was the extent of their efforts.  Well low and behold Glen caught a braggin 19 inch smallmouth the last day they were able to fish the lakeThen a few weeks ago I was able to fish the last few days of brook trout season right out the front door of our bear hunting cabin. We all caught fish including some beauties caught by Gary Baldwins grandkids and my brother Darryl’s crew!  Rainbow’s and brookies make quite a delicious gourmet meal  in anyone’s book!

Just his past week Glen and Kyle tried their hand at one of our local Metro Parks, and they did quite well for themselves.  Kyle caught several 14-15 inch Largemouth and Glen caught one just a few inches bigger to retain his “biggest fish” crown!  They will be at it again this weekend as the weather seems to be cooperating for all outdoor activities.

Me I’m finally headed for deer camp to see if I can replenish my freezer, and hopefully get Kyle a chance at a buck. A legal doe with no fawns will be just fine for me, as the venison is all gone and I need a “fix!”


“Barely” Marquette Golf

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

While at bear camp my good friend Bob Baltrip and I found several good weather days to play some golf.  Anyone who’d knows Bob also knows about his love for the game.  In fact i’m sure that’s how I talked him into a week in the boonies.  I promised we would play golf as much as the bears allowed so on that Bob was up for our 1000 mile adventure.

Just as Bob hoped the bears gave us ample opportunity to hit the links in the area surrounding Marquette.  We only had one bear captured on my trail camera and he was a night feeder, so there was no sense sitting in a tree stand every night waiting for something that wasn’t going to happen! Not that we didn’t sit a few nights, but the bulk of our time (4 days) we tried some of the local golf courses.

Our first course was Gentz’s Homestead which was only about 6 miles from Baldwin’s camp.  It’s a nine hole course with beautiful scenery, hills, and a few ponds!  We had kind of a rough day there as Bob carded a 46 and I had a 48! Next time we had an early afternoon to spare we drove to Gwinn (near K.I. Sawyer Air Base) and played Red Fox Run.  This 18 hole course was probably our favorite, but also it was quite challenging.  Beautiful scenery, great greens, and friendly people!  Bob played pretty good with an 84 and I carded an 89!  Really not that bad for a couple “newbies” on the course!  Just off of Lake Superior lies Northern Michigan Universities home golf course.  Everyone knows how the winds can howl coming off the lake, but we were hoping that sometimes those winds would be at our back and aid us in hitting a 240 yard drive?  Upon arrival we were told that the back 9 had just been plugged and the front nine had been plugged the day before.  There was sand on all the greens and you could not get a good read or a good even roll! Discouraging but the course had a fair amount of “gamers!”  With the little bit of complaining that we did I shot my best score of the week (go figure) and it was the only game Bob let me win!  I carded an 83 and he had an 84 (whew that was close!)

Our final game was the day before we came home and we opted to go back to Homestead.  I think I was pretty tired as I shot my worst 9 of the trip with a 50!  That little 9 hole just chews me up, and Bob had a fair amount of trouble himself shooting a 47! Like Bob’s friend Dick says “I ain’t good enough to complain!”  Yes We would of had a lot more “pars” if we hadn’t hit the ball so many times!!!

Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes he gets you!  That’s hunting!  Although we did both get 2 “birdies!



Bear hunt 2017

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Just got home from a 7 day bear hunt in the Upper peninsula around Marquette.  We stayed at the Baldwin’s camp once again which has been our base of operations for forty four (44) years. The patriarch of the family (Dick Baldwin) was forty six years old when we first were blessed to meet Him, his son’s Gary, and Gregg and the whole Baldwin crew.  Dick is 90 years old now and still helping Gary cut wood around their beautiful camp.

Our crew consisted of brother Darryl, his son Derek, and grandson’s Tanner and Tristan.  They were only able to hunt for three days and that’s when I took over along with my friend Bob Baltrip!  Derek and Tristin saw bear twice and Derek was able to unleash an arrow at a nice boar, but unfortunately hit the shoulder which barely broke the skin!  The arrow basically bounced off after hitting the thick shoulder bone!  Gary Baldwin had been baiting for us and the three baits were being hit from time to time, but seems once we arrived things went cold!

Like I said I took over Derek’s stand after they left for home with no action for three days.  On the forth day I got a bear on trail camera at 5 a.m.  Two days later he visited just after 9 p.m. and again at 5 a.m. I know it was the same bear on all my trail cam pictures due to the “tuff” of hair missing on his left shoulder!  Yes Derek’s bear was fine, but he no longer would eat dinner in the daylight.  He wised up and now was a nocturnal feeder not giving me the opportunity for bear backstraps or bear sausage!

We packed it in after day seven, but did catch a “Fisher” on my trail camera. Kinda rare to see one!  It’s actually the second one I’ve seen, and there also was plenty of beaver activity in the area.  No matter Bob and I enjoyed our stay at the Baldwin (off grid) lodge and having Gary and Dick visit was icing on the cake!  Did I say cake?  Nancy Baldwin baked me a chocolate birthday cake as she has done for the last three years, and she outdid herself this time.  Chocolate is my favorite and in three days I ate 9 pieces of cake!

Great time with great friends and lifelong memories!


Michigan Youth Hunt 2017

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

September 16,17 was the weekend Michigan set aside for the youth/handicap early deer hunt.  I took my 12 year old grandson Kyle Pafford as I have in the past.  He has two doe’s under his young belt, and this year he would settle for nothing less than a buck.

I had arrive at camp a day early to make sure the stands (2) were set for the Saturday morning hunt. I had a couple trail cams out and there was activity on both.  Doe’s fawns and even a couple small bucks had been into my food plot near camp, so we focused on that blind in the morning.

Kyle was going to be using my 30-06 even though he took his first two deer with a crossbow!  We were in the blind at 5:50 a.m. and it was plenty dark out at that time.  It wasn’t till just after 7 that we seen movement in the rye field.  Two fat raccoons came strolling through at the same time a doe and her 2 fawns arrived.  The deer didn’t like the racoons at their dinner table and the raccoons could of cared less.  We just watched the antics of this encounter for about half an hour.  Once they left the field we headed back to the cabin around 10 a.m.

That evening we hunted our second spot about a mile down the road.  I had a ground blind set up there and we watched an older fawn walk in from the little swamp behind us.  It’s mother was around snorting and stomping the ground, and we only got one glimpse of her as she seemed to have “made us!” A pop up blind setting in Mother Natures living room is a dead give away if it hasn’t been their very long.  It was camouflaged with pine branches, but the back of the blind had very little cover.  Of course that’s the direction “Mama” came from.  No matter, a doe (with fawns) was not on our menu.

Next morning we were back at the first stand and the mother doe and two fawns again showed up.  Once in the field a lone doe joined them.  She was a shootable candidate, and I asked Kyle 3 times if he wanted to put a doe in the freezer. He said he would wait for a buck and that we still had a long season ahead of us.  Good for you Kyle!

We came home empty handed, but we still built some fine memories between Papa and grandson!  As an epilogue to this post when I went to retrieve my pop-up from the other spot there had been a six point buck walk by my camera that morning about 7:30.  That’s how it goes, and like Kyle said “We have a long season!”