Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Native American Crafts Keep My Winters Interesting!

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

Over the winter months when it’s to cold, snowy, and windy for an “old man” to venture to far from his fireplace there has to be something to occupy his time!  For me it’s when I work on my traditional Native American crafts.  This winter I have been busy on walking sticks adorned with deer horns, feathers, leather, and beads.  I also made a couple dance sticks and am working on some turkey feather fans.  I also make Native American necklaces.

I have several tanned deer hides I use for the leather and tons of turkey feathers, imitation eagle feathers, and other various feathers I have collected.  I have a few pieces of mink hide and have another one being processed right now.  Rabbit fur is used in many cases and any other hides I can beg borrow and steal!

The beads and bones, sinew, bells, cones, etc come from Native american trading post!  I have done Tomahawks, peace pipes, quivers, lances, talking sticks, smudge feathers, and ceremonial arrows. I have sold a few items and donated to dinner/auctions, but it’s a way I can relax and commune with my Native American heritage.  My great Grandmother was a woodland Cree from Saskatewan, and my mothers side are all Canadians.

It’s a great way for me to relax and be creative as I wait for Spring turkey season!  I will post a few photo’s of my work.

Mike

 

Japan’s Wild Boar Problem Continues To Grow!

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Less than 20 years ago, the only challenges for the 100 residents of the tiny island of Kakara, off southwest Japan, were the elements and ensuring the fishermen’s catch could get to market on time.

Today, the islanders are outnumbered three to one by wild boar who feast on their gardens and are becoming increasingly aggressive and territorial.

The problems facing the residents of Kakara are being repeated across Japan, with boar numbers exploding as rural populations decline.

Japan’s rapidly ageing and shrinking population is part of the reason behind the increase in wild boar, as older rural populations die out, leaving towns and villages empty. Meanwhile, young people are also moving to the cities in search of work. The number of people with shotgun licenses has also fallen sharply in recent years.

And as the people leave, the boar are moving in.

The first boars apparently swam to Kakara, which covers a mere 1 square mile and sits between Fukuoka and Saga prefectures, but have been in hog heaven ever since.

They have found a place with no natural predators and plenty of crops, such as pumpkins and sweet potatoes, that the local people grow in their back gardens.

Other than farming and fishing, the island’s only other industries were small-scale tourism and growing camellia for use in cosmetics, Kyodo News reported, but the famously aggressive boar have chased the tourists away and eaten the camellia plants.

Local children cannot play outdoors for fear of being attacked and residents have stopped walking even relatively short distances for fear of encountering one of the aggressive creatures.

Desperate islanders have set countless traps and catch around 50 of their tormentors every year, but that figure is far outstripped by the rapidly breeding boar population – a sow can give birth to as many as six piglets a years.

Some residents are even suggesting that they should evacuate the island, abandoning it to the wild pigs. Across Japan, confrontations between boar and man are inevitable as the hog population rises, and rural media are frequently reporting incidents in which humans have come face-to-face with large beasts.

In October, a large specimen barrelled into a suburban shopping mall on the island of Shikoku, biting five staff and causing mayhem before it was captured.

In December, two boars managed to get into a high school in Kyoto and panicked students had to be evacuated.

Elsewhere, they are finding their way out of the forests and fields and into train stations, gardens and school sports grounds.

And with few checks on the boars’ territory, they are growing larger as well as more numerous.

In February, farmers in north-east Japan caught a male that weighed in at 280 pounds, well over the average 220 pounds of boars in Europe.

They are also expanding their range into areas that were previously considered too inhospitable, taking over villages with shrinking populations.

They are being given even greater licence to roam in areas close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, abandoned in March 2011 in the aftermath of the destruction of three of the plant’s reactors and the release of radiation across the surrounding countryside.

Local people fled to safety; the wildlife remained and thrived.

Python Swallows Deer Larger Than Itself

Sunday, March 4th, 2018

Another Florida Python has been found with the body of a whole deer inside it’s stomach!  It’s not the first python found with such large prey inside, but it is the smallest in length to accomplish such a feat!  Actually the fawn deer weighed 35 pounds while the python weighed in at 31-1/2 pounds and was just over 11 feet long. Florida wildlife officials were surprised that such a relatively small python could swallow such large prey! The python is an invasive species in Florida and recently has been know to dine on peoples pets (cats and dogs!)  Lizards, alligators, rattlesnakes, and pythons can be a menace to anyone living in or visiting the Sunshine State!

Brown Bear Subspecies Listed!

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Brown bears are fascinating animals and one of my favorite big game species. There are currently eight different subspecies of brown bear that are recognized by Safari Club International. They can be found in the most remote parts of North AmericaEastern EuropeAsia and Russia.  Four different subspecies occur in Russia alone: Amur Brown Bear, Siberian Brown Bear, Kamchatka Brown Bear, and the Eurasian Brown Bear.

  1. Siberian Brown Bears range right between the Eurasian and Kamchatka Brown Bear in size. They have larger skulls and are more bold around people than some of the other brown bear varieties.
  2. Eurasian Brown Bears have a wide range of coloration from brown to blonde to reddish brown and even almost black. There have also been reported cases of albinism . They have round heads, small ears and wide skulls.
  3. Amur Brown Bears, also known as Ussuri Brown Bears, are hard to tell apart from the Kamchatka  Brown Bear. They can be identified by their elongated skull, smaller forehead,  and much darker color. Some call them the black grizzly.
  4. Kamchatka Brown Bears are the largest bears in Eurasia. With a much wider skull than the Alaska Peninsula Brown Bears, they can can grow nearly as large, from 7 feet- 9 feet in length.
  5. North American Brown Bear are also known as the grizzly bear. There are about 25,000 across Canada and the Northwest Territories; 30,000 in Alaska and about 1,500 in the lower 48.
  6. Kodiak Brown Bear is considered by many to be the largest subspecies of Brown Bear, They inhabit the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago. They are most active during the day and tend to go into hibernation in late October and leave their dens in early April.
  7. Alaska Peninsula Brown Bear are some of the biggest bears in the world. They can range from 750-1250 lbs and can reach over 10 ft. They rival even the Kodiak Brown Bear. They’ve reached weights up to 1,500 lbs.
  8. Sitka Brown Bear can be found in Southeast Alaska and Admiralty Island, Baranof Island and Chichagof Island (ABC Islands). They look a lot like the Alaskan Grizzly bear with a humped back and a nasty reputation.

Each of these subspecies is unique in its own way. They are one of the most interesting, powerful, awe inspiring animals on earth. The more I learn about them the more fascinated I am by them.

The Man Who Traps Grizzly Bears

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

If you imagine someone who traps grizzly bears for a living you’d imagine someone like Chad Dickinson. Large, bearded, deep-voiced. The kind of guy who would much rather be deep in the woods than in an office talking to a newspaper reporter.

His love of being out there is part of the reason Dickinson is slated for his 24th consecutive summer of trapping grizzlies.

“I still love to catch bears,” Dickinson said earlier this month. “For me personally, it’s just seeing them and being up close and getting your hands on them, and treating them the proper way.”

Dickinson’s official title is biological service technician, but he serves as the leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team’s field crew. The crew, an arm of the U.S. Geological Survey, goes out each summer and sets culvert traps for grizzlies around the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Once a bear is trapped, Dickinson and his team gather data that inform studies and fuel arguments about the management of the animals — like whether they should be protected under the Endangered Species Act or not.

Endangered Species Act protections were removed from the bears in 2017. Multiple lawsuits have challenged the decision, but delisting critics and supporters alike turn to data that begins with biologists setting a bear trap.

“Other scientists have disagreed with some of the findings, but in general we’re very supportive of (IGBST’s) work,” said Zack Strong, of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Debate is a good thing, and the more information we have to use in our debates the better.”

Delisting has ceded management responsibility to the states, but the IGBST is still largely responsible for monitoring and studying the population, meaning Dickinson still needs to go out and trap bears.

That’s all right with him. He has always liked bears. He grew up on a dairy in Ohio and hunted and trapped as a kid. Moving west was always something he wanted to do, so that’s where he looked when it came time to look for colleges.

“I kind of looked at the areas that had grizzly bears, basically,” he said.

After two years at a community college in Ohio, he landed at Montana State University. Shortly after graduation, he took a seasonal trapping job with the study team, beginning in 1994. He became a permanent employee in the early 2000s, which means his winters consist of data entry and that he oversees two other trappers each summer.

By now, he’s used to the hitch schedule (10 days on, four off), knows all the trap site safety protocols (truck always pointed toward the way out, the doors always wide open in case you need a quick getaway), and can stand the smell of bear bait (mostly roadkill). He’s used to horseback rides into Yellowstone’s backcountry, long drives up rough forest roads and bear encounters don’t scare him as much as the average person — he called it a “controlled fear.”

Usually, they set four or five traps in the same area. Once a telemetry device tells him and the other crew members when one of the trap’s doors has dropped, they head to the site as soon as possible.

If it’s a black bear, they let it go. If it’s a grizzly, the work has only just begun. They tranquilize it and lay it on a tarp. They check the pulse, temperature and respiration. If it’s a new bear, they pull a tooth, tattoo its lip and attach an ear tag.

Ear tags are often how they know they’ve caught a bear for the second time, Dickinson said. It happens once in a while, so there are a few bears he knows well, including one that was euthanized last fall that had been with him from the start.

“He was probably the second or third bear I captured, or helped capture, in 1994,” Dickinson said.

The first capture was in the western part of Yellowstone National Park. About a decade later, the bear turned up in the Gardiner area, on the north side of the park.

Then, this past fall, the bear was caught breaking into buildings and pilfering food in the West Yellowstone area. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks caught it and killed it, deciding its habit of breaking into buildings was too dangerous. It was 27 years old.

Dickinson, now 46, said it was interesting how the bear had reappeared throughout his career.

“We caught him as a sub-adult. He was probably a 2- or 3-year-old. And then to live that long on the landscape, making a living,” he said. “It was interesting to see him kind of move back where he came from.”

A Cure For The Winter “Blahs!”

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Like I said in a previous post this is the time of year (for a hunter) when there isn’t a lot of action in the woods!  I’ve come to find out that it is not a totally true statement as rabbit and squirrel season is in full force.

Small game hunting is just a little different than chasing deer, bear, and turkeys around the woodlots.  You don’t use a blind or a tree stand to chase rabbits and squirrels, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have a good rabbit dog.

That thought takes me back to my uncle Louie Marshall who owned several beagles that were “crazy” good at running a rabbit by you!  Along with my cousin Jerry, my dad, and brothers we would descend on a woodlot knowing those dogs were going to do their thing and put some rabbits in our game pouch! What fond memories!  I can hear those dogs “howling” as they were “hot” on a bunny that would eventually get pushed by one of us, who mere on stand!

Uncle Louie went to the “happy hunting grounds” years ago and his beloved beagles took the trip long before him.  I sure hope the book titled “All Dogs Go to Heaven” is true, as he was sure fond of those best friends!

Been many moons since Me or any of my brothers have hunted rabbits with dogs.  When we do get out for a winter hunt it’s usually more after squirrels than rabbits.  Squirrels do not take a whole lot of walking.  Being stationary and quiet in a squirrel woods is the formula for success.  Of course your 22 rifle better have a good scope and be sighted in properly. A squirrel 20-50 foot up a tree is not an easy target as all squirrel hunters know.  It is even much harder to take one with a bow!

My brother Darryl recently took his grandson Tanner out for a day of “popping” some Fox squirrels and they did quite well.  I have not been out lately but was able to nail two with my bow and one with my crossbow during deer season.  There is not a lot of meat on a squirrel, so many hunters ignore pursuing this tasty winter treat.  It may take awhile to prepare but it’s worth the effort.  We pan sear ours first then put them in a crock pot for several hours.  You can season with your favorite seasonings, soups, or even barbecue sauce.  There are some good recipes online!

So get out of your recliner and take a walk in the woods.  Even if you aren’t hunting the fresh air, sights and sound of nature will bless you immensely!

Mike

The Wild Boar Problem Extends From Texas To Hong Kong

Monday, February 12th, 2018

Giant pig caught on camera ravaging dumpster near school goes viral

 The moment a gigantic boar stands on his hind legs to chow down on garbage has been caught on camera — but it’s where the animal is doing it that’s causing concern.

Shocked parents taking their kids to school in Hong Kong spotted the huge animal standing on the tips of his hooves to get his head in the dumpster, while two piglets stand next to him.

The terrifying video, posted to Facebook by Tu Dong, has since gone viral.

It’s already been shared more than 4,600 times and has racked up 300,000 views.

More than 2,500 social media users also commented on the video, many of which expressed concern about how close the wild pigs were to the school.

Misaki Ceci wrote: “The wild pig is in front of the left school. I’m careful with Hyung-Hyung’s primary school, and I’ve got a wild boar.”

The footage shows the boar trying to pull a black garbage bag out of the can while his piglets stand guard.

In Australia, feral pigs were declared pest animals in 2013, meaning they can be legally killed by farm owners.

In July 2013, a 10-year-old boy was gored in the neck by a wild boar at an Australian beach. He had been riding his bike when the pig charged at him and stabbed him in the neck with his tusk.

Feral pigs are also known to cause significant economic losses to agriculture by damaging crops, water holes and fencing.

There are strict laws in place to deter people from transporting and releasing live feral pigs, with fines starting at $2,200 for possessing a wild animal.

Fines climb to $22,000 for transporting live feral pigs.

This particular hog is huge.  I have seen quite a few and I estimate this wild pig to be in the 500 pound range.  These animals are all muscle, are fast, and have razor sharp tusk which can be lethal for anything in their way!  Certainly need to eradicate the ones around this school before a disaster happens!

 

A Recliner, Fireplace, and a Snowstorm!

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Definitely a lull in the action right now especially if your “not” a skier or snowmobiller!  You can only rabbit or squirrel hunt so much in the wind and blowing snow.  I guess that’s why ancient man invented the “fireplace!”  So glad modern man invented the LaZboy!  During a time such as this the cozy warm hearth of a crackling fire are comforting for the soul.  It harkens to so many campfires and bonfires, from years past, and the pleasantness that goes with the glowing embers and the smell of seasoned pine or oak!  We are in the midst of a Michigan snow storm right now, and kicking back in my recliner while the logs snap, crackle, and pop is a pleasant way to enjoy the afternoon.

If you want to ratchet up the excitement level some you can put some bird seed on the back porch and watch the hungry visitors “chow” down!  Actually we have not seen hide nor hair (feather) of any birds for many weeks.  We were beginning to believe they all went South for the winter.  We checked the bird feeder and found it was froze up.  My wife then put two old shoe boxes on the back deck and filled them with bird seed.  Within a matter of minutes our deck was filled with happy/quarreling birds!  We were able to identify junko’s, nuthatches, canary’s, cardinal’s, and morning doves.  They seemed to be quite overjoyed at this relief in the middle of a winter storm!  I know I have enjoyed their antics as they joust for each valuable seed!

Please more tea and crumpets dear!

Mike

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.