Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Early Spring Deer Report

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

????Just returned from a few days at our place around Mio Michigan where the snow is all but gone!  Our driveway was clear of any snow, but it was awful muddy.  There has been a lot of rain these past few days and more coming.  Still a little snow patches in the deep woods, but for the most part Spring is doing it’s thing.  The back-roads are in rough shape to say the least as the mud makes for a slippery (rut to rut) drive!

I of course was very interested to see how the deer around my place were holding up, and it didn’t take me long to find out. They were using our property to bed in, as the neighbor a few properties away, has horses.  The smell of hay, for a deer that can’t find food, must draw them like a magnet. There were signs (runways) that these deer were doing as little traveling as possible.  We saw many area’s used for bedding, usually under a tree where the snow wasn’t so deep.

Northern Michigan is not like the middle or southern portions of the state, as the deer numbers have been down for years.  Acorns are an important part of a deer’s diet, but around my place oak trees are few and far between.  Deer are grazers, and the snow pack this winter shouldn’t have hurt them very much.  There is a swamp not far from my place and many of the trails came from that direction.  No doubt many of these deer were “yarding” in that area.  Not much fat producing protein in cedar or hemlock trees.  In fact we saw where some of the smaller pine trees had been stripped of their branches.  I’m really not sure if deer will eat pine needles or pine bark, but something was nibbling on them.

The deer we saw, for the most part, looked to be in half way decent shape, but there were those whose ribs and hips were quite visible.  There was one small fawn that had a big section of hair missing from his shoulder to the middle of his back.  The exposed area was right down to it’s skin, but the deer appeared none the worse for it!

While sitting at the kitchen table I saw a group of crows landing just off our property, and I know something “dead” had to be over there.  We walked over and discovered what was left of a deer.  Critters had been chewing on it for awhile, so there wasn’t much left.  Makes you wonder if there are more  laying in the woods?  I also think of the doe’s that are about to give birth to their fawns.  Out of the 15-20 deer that we saw, only a couple looked to be pregnant.  Try as we may to spot a buck we did not see a deer we could identify as such.

We did have some pretty good turkey activity around the place.  Just hope these birds stick around for the upcoming turkey hunt!

Mike

Sepsis: The Dark Nights The Light Of Day!

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

This is one of those post I sometimes write that has nothing to do with the outdoors, hunting, or fishing.  It’s about life and the twist and turns that people take on their journey from cradle to grave!

One day your a happy healthy women getting ready to have your first baby and the day after his arrival your feet are amputated! Two days later your hands are amputated! Can anyone tell me a worse nightmare to go through? Mary (Robey) Koch is living the nightmare! Just this past Friday she was released from U.of M. trauma burn unit where she has been since early September. Her in laws have been raising her new son Cooper, and her mom, dad, and husband have been part of a wonderful support team. Besides Mary’s quadruple amputations she has had tissue removed, muscles taken out, and skin grafting harvested from her body! The cause : sepsis! The U. of M. therapist have been working on Mary’s prosthetic hands, but the skin grafts on her feet will take much longer to get to a point where she can do therapy. Mary has a long road ahead of her. She has been a trouper, and her faith has keep her going through the darkest nights. We cannot imagine how anyone can pull through such a trial without the loving support of family, friends, and strangers. Mary could use (and deserves) a ray of sunshine, a happy grin, and an uplift from her “new normal!” I want to do something for Mary and am thinking about doing a dinner/auction at our Church (Redeemer Fellowship.) I can’t do it on my own and need all the help I can get. From monetary donations to auction items and food preparation, etc. If you can find it in your heart to respond make any checks out to Mary Koch or Redeemer Fellowship and write dinner/auction on the bottom. If going through the church do not write Mary’s name on the check. To donate an auction item or funds email me at mikewansel@yahoo.com.  Please share this with family and friends, and prayerfully we all can be a blessing to Mary and her family.

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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?