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Jay-Bird Gets His Bird!

Sunday, May 7th, 2017

Took my grandson Jacob Russo up to the cabin to try and get him a turkey.  He’s 12 years old and shot one a few years back with his dad, but I have never taken hi.  Two of my other grandkids have shot turkeys at my cabin (Kyle Pafford and Ava Taylor) so this was going to be Jacobs big hunt.  We only had two days to pull this off so we didn’t waste time getting in the blind thursday morning.  Heard several gobbles from the roost, but no takers coming into the decoys.  Jacob got cold early so we headed back to the cabin at 7:30!  Bad idea as we flushed 5 tom’s still on the roost 200 feet from my front cabin door! Saw nothing that evening.

Next morning we got out even earlier 5:20 a.m. and again had gobbling from the roost.  We had a huge Jake come in with a 4-5 inch beard, but his tail fan was messed up big time so we let him walk! That was around 6:30 and it got quiet from then on.  I new that some Tom’s don’t gobble very often and sneak in on you silent.  I told Jacob to be patient and we may have some action if we stay put!  Around 8:30 Jacob was ready to “hang” it up, but I convinced him to stay a few more minutes.  Just like Papa said two Tom’s came sneaking by without a peep!  They seemed to like my decoy set up, and at 15 yeards I told Jacob to take the second bird, as it looked a little bigger than the led bird!

“Pow” the little 20 gauge exploded and turkey feathers flew!  Jacob is now the third grandkid to bag a turkey at Papa place.  He was grinning from ear to ear!  That made it all worth it to me. We took many pictures and Papa then showed Jacob how to clean a turkey and get it ready for the freezer.  It may have been a fast two day trip, but things went our way and we now have some memories that will last a lifetime.  Way to go Jay-Bird!


Suburban Coyote Spotted At Detroit Zoo

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

A coyote was spotted on the grounds of the Detroit Zoo on Monday morning, just before school field trips were about to get under way, prompting park officials to close the zoo temporarily while staff tried to search for the coyote.

As of 10:20 a.m., the coyote had not been caught or seen, but the zoo reopened for business and zoo officials stressed the public is not at risk for any harm, noting the coyote is more of a risk to the smaller animals at the zoo.

“Every now and then, these things happen,” said Detroit Zoo spokeswoman Patricia Janeway. “We will shelter animals that might be at risk.”

According to Janeway, animals that might be at risk include the flamingos, storks and other birds. She said this isn’t a new problem for the zoo, noting unwanted visitors like skunks, foxes and raccoons have showed up in the past, prompting closures. Last year, she said, a deer caused a temporary shutdown.

But nobody has been hurt. And zoo officials weren’t expecting any trouble this time, either.

According to the Humane Society, coyote attacks on people are very rare. More people are killed by errant golf balls and flying champagne corks each year than are bitten by coyotes, the organization states on its website.

“Often, coyote attacks are preventable by modifying human behavior and educating people about ways to prevent habituation. In many human attack incidents, it turns out that the offending coyote was being fed by people. In many other instances, people were bitten while trying to rescue their free-roaming pet from a coyote attack. Less often, people are bitten by cornered coyotes, or even more rarely, rabid coyotes.”There have only been two recorded incidences in the U.S. and Canada of humans being killed by coyotes. One involved a child in Southern California in the 1980s and the other a 19-year old woman in Nova Scotia in 2009.

Coyotes are generally nocturnal and seldom seen. You may catch a glimpse of a coyote, however, as it moves from one part of its territory to another in search of prey, usually small mammals such as mice or voles.

Observing a coyote in this manner (even during the daytime) does not mean that the coyote is sick or aggressive. If the coyote is scared away by your presence, it is exhibiting natural behavior and this should not be cause for concern.

According to, coyotes are naturally timid animals and will usually flee at the sight of a human. If they linger or approach, here on some tips on what to do:

  • Be as big and loud as possible. Do not run or turn your back.
  • Wave your arms, clap your hands and shout in an authoritative voice.
  • Make noise by banging pots and pans or using an air horn or whistle.
  • Throw small stones, sticks, tennis balls or anything else you can lay your hands on. Remember, the intent is to scare and not to injure.
  • Spray with a hose, if available, or a squirt gun filled with water and vinegar.
  • Shake or throw a “coyote shaker” — a pop can filled with pennies or pebbles and sealed with duct tape.

More 2017 Ansel Turkey Success

Monday, May 1st, 2017

My brother Bradley got his nice Tom last week over in Jackson.  His bird had a 10-1/2 inch beard and he said he’s looking for a taxidermist to do a full strut mount. He better be ready to remortgage his house cause it isn’t cheap (around $800.00 dollars.)  My brother Darryl and son Derek have been trying to get Derek’s boys Jackson, and Jacob a bird, and several days ago Jacob scored on his first bird.  Jackson had three sneak in (silent) but could not pull off a shot.  Now grandpa Darryl’s permit started today, and it didn’t take him long to put down a super big Tom, and with his bow no less!  He called in two big Tom’s early this morning that fell for his set-up, and was able to let an arrow fly true to it’s mark!  Darryl’s bird had a thick eleven (11) inch beard and weighed 24 pounds.

I’m taking my grandson (Jacob) up north for a shot at a bird this coming Thursday.  We have many more permits to fill, but I’m confident more birds will be in the freezer before the season is over. Pictured is Jacob, Brad, and Darryl!


Animals Gone Wild At The Zoo!

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

bear 2014 004What kind of a zoo could possibly have conditions exist where those attending the zoo are killed or mauled?  This particular zoo is found on the West Bank in Palestinian territory.  Where are the zookeepers, and why are the animals not kept at a safe distance?  Evidently safety precautions are not that important in some parts of the world.

Recently a bear bit off and ate the arm of a 9-year-old boy who tried to feed it during a school visit to a zoo. You mean he could actually stick his hand through the bars to feed this obviously hungry bear?  What a shame! Police said the Palestinian lad lost his arm at the elbow when he was attacked in the West Bank town of Qalqilya.The bear then devoured his limb.

The victim was being treated at a local hospital for his horrific injuries.Currently home to around 170 animals, the zoo is the only one of its kind in the West Bank and was built in 1986.

In January a tourist was mauled to death by three tigers in front of his wife and child, stunned witnesses have reported.Chinese media claims the father died after he entered the enclosure and walked towards the hungry cats as they were feeding – one tiger was shot and killed during the drama.Horrendous footage shows the visitor writhing in agony on the floor as the three animals bite and claw his body with their massive paws.

Three ISIS fighters Killed By Wild Boars!

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

Three militants loyal to the Islamic State group (ISIS) have been killed by wild boars ashey planned to ambush Iraqi tribesmen opposed to the group, according to a local anti-ISIS leader.

At least eight ISIS fighters had reportedly taken cover among dense reeds in Iraq’s al-Rashad region, about 55 miles southwest of Kirkuk, in preparation for a surprise attack on local anti-ISIS tribesman when a herd of wild boars attacked the jihadists on Sunday, killing three. The militants likely disturbed the notoriously short-tempered animals, said Sheikh Anwar al-Assi, a chief of the local Ubaid tribe and head of the group of local tribesmen who took up arms after ISIS took control of the nearby town of Hawija.

“It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields. The area is dense with reeds, which are good for hiding in,” Assi told The Times.

The event was corroborated by local Kurdish fighters who have joined Iran-backed Shiite Muslim militias in attempting to oust ISIS from nearby Hawija. The jihadists’ mutilated bodies were reportedly discovered by refugees fleeing the violence that has beset the war-torn nation. An alliance consisting of Iraqi military, majority Shiite Muslim militias (called Al-Hashd Al-Shaabi), U.S.-led coalition forces and Kurdish units (known as peshmerga) are seeking to drive ISIS out of Iraq, according to Brigadier Azad Jelal, the deputy head of the Kurdish intelligence service in Kirkuk.

“Three fighters from ISIL were near the Peshmerga checkpoint in al-Rashad. They met some feral boars and the boars killed the three fighters,” Jelal told The Telegraphusing an alternative acronym for ISIS.

“Some refugees saw the bodies on the edge of a farm when they were fleeing and they told us. A few days later ISIL started to kill pigs around the area,” he added.

 The news first appeared on the local Iraqi news site Al-Sumeria, which quoted unidentified local sources, and later gained attention on social media as officials confirmed the event. While fatalities caused by wild boars are relatively uncommon in the region, the animals are known for their relentless, ferocious attacks that can result in death, according to a 2006 article titled “Death by attack from a wild boar” published in the Journal of Forensic Medicine.

“The boar has a typical method of attack wherein it steadily rushes forward, pointing the tusks towards the animal to be attacked and inflicts the injuries. It goes back, takes position and attacks the victim again. This repeated nature of attack continues till the victim is completely incapacitated due to multiple penetrating injuries, which can have a fatal consequence,” the authors wrote.

Sunday’s incident reportedly came after ISIS massacred at least 25 local civilians attempting to escape areas under the jihadists’ control. As pro-government forces close in, ISIS’s territory, which is down to less than seven percent of the nation from 45 percent in 2014, has been largely reduced to the northwestern city of Mosul, where a months-long battle has been waged by the Iraqi military and its allies to defeat the jihadists. The militants still maintain small pockets of control in southern Kirkuk.


Crossbow Dangers

Monday, April 24th, 2017

001IMG_8390 (1)So here is the rest of the story from my last blog.  three years ago while bear hunting in Marquette Michigan I had the opportunity for a nice 275-300 pound black bear.  It was my first hunt using a crossbow.  Previously I have taken 5 bear with archery and two with a rifle.  On this hunt I was sitting in a two person ladder stand with a shooting rail.  My friend Bob Baltrip was beside me also in a two person ladder stand.  The shot was so downhill I had to lift the crossbow over the shooting rail which created awkward position fro my right hand on the forearm of the bow.  To make a long story short my thumb was sticking up in line with the string and when I squeezed the trigger I almost took my thumb off.  We retrieved the heart shot bear, hung him up and ruched to the hospital where the emergency room doctor sewed me back together.  three years later I still do not have full use of that thumb!

This brings me to my turkey hunt from last week.  As I snuck from tree to tree trying to get in position for a shot it never crossed my mind to make sure my thumb stayed in a safe position!  Thar’s right you guessed it.  As I came out from behind my last tree I steadied my shot by resting mu forearm on the tree which caused me to raise my thumb in the line of fire.  Again I squeezed the trigger and “wack”  I nailed the same thumb again.  This time it almost tore my nail off (I will loose the nail) and bruised and cut me in two places.  Six days later it is still bleeding from behind the nail, which is actually a good thing as it’s relieving pressure from behind the nail.

You would not think I could ever do that twice, but trust me in the testosterone moment of truth one does not always go through a safety checklist in his head!  Both bows used (a Barnett and an Excaliber do not have finger/thumb guards.  When I got home I purchased a Bear crossbow with guards in place!  If my thumb could talk I’m sure it would be asking for a divorce due to thumb abuse.  It’s battered and bruised, but still with me, and I promised to the best of my abilities to keep it attached.

Let this send a strong warning to those of you who shoot crossbows with no guards.  when shooting thumbs up is a no-no!


Another Successful Turkey Hunt (Michigan 2017)

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

turkey 1turkey 5Been out of town for the 2017 Spring turkey hunt, and once again I have put a bird in the freezer.  Things did not start out that well as I arrived at my place early Sunday morning and was checking my equipment out.  I set up a target to check out my crossbow to make sure I was still “zeroed” in!  I went to cock my crossbow with the rope cocking device and put my left foot through the stirrup.  It’s my left hip that was recently replaced and when I pulled back to cock the bow my weak left hip buckled and I went flying backwards one way and the crossbow went the other. I fell on my good hip, but the impact with the wooded floor rattled my whole body.  I am still sore today and have regressed in my recovery which is so very frustrating!

I did some scouting and found a fire trail about 1-1/2 miles from my place that had turkey tracks galore.  I set up a blind Sunday evening and road my 4-wheeler ther early Monday morning.  I don’t know what was going on, but I never had a response or heard anything more than a chickadee!  I stayed out till 10:00 a.m. and headed back to the cabin for coffee and breakfast. My pal Ed and I along with his wife Linda worked on putting up a tongue and groove ceiling on my new cabin for the rest of the day.

Tuesday morning I hunted my blind at the back of my property and called in a group of Jakes that hesitated and turned tail when they sae my “Pretty Boy” decoy!  Guess they were afraid of getting their butts whooped!  Went back to the cabin for lunch and was sitting in my living room talking with Ed and Linda when a hen turkey came strolling through my yard.  As we watched out the window a Tom appeared in hot pursuit!  I had Ed quickly cock my crossbow for me, and I scooted out my side door. They were already working their way into the woods and I went into stealth mode.  I put one pine tree after another between me and the Tom until I was at a comfortable 20 yards away.  The Tom was concentrating on his girlfriend, but when I stepped out from behind the tree he looked at me as if to say “She’s mine buddy!”  I quickly settled the 20 yard pin on the middle of the bird and squeezed the trigger. The bolt hit a small sapling which deflected the arrow low, but it still looked like a good hit!

I’m going to end this story right here as there is a whole nother story to tell after squeezing off that shot. I did get the bird, and will post a couple pictures, but it was not as easy as it may of sounded!  To be continued!


Michigan Turkey Season About to Start!

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

IMG_4082Michigan’s 2017 spring turkey season is about to take off this coming Monday.  You would think at 70 years old I could come and go as I please!  I guess that’s wishful thinking.  I had plans of being at the cabin right now scouting, putting up ground blinds, and getting all my equipment in order.  Just so happens half my family has decided to go to Florida over Easter break and several need to be dropped off at the airport this Thursday and Sunday.  Well the only one left in “Dodge” is yours truly! Why would my family schedule a Florida vacation the week of my turkey hunt?  Me thinks me smells a “rat” in all of this?

Anyway it sure doesn’t leave any time for me to do any of the above plans.  Not only that the 10 day weather forecast is calling for cold and rainy conditions the whole week!  That is going to work against me also!  Those big lovesick tom’s really like strutting around in the sunshine, and I would much rather plant my butt under a pine tree with the sun rising in my face than a cold wet wind making me miserable!

Ah well as a friend of mine always says “Hey it is what it is!”  Did Popeye say that?   In reality as an outdoorsman it really doesn’t matter!  It is what you make of it, and I intend to enjoy myself and take in all the “tukey woods” has to offer.  I can just about bet that I will put another great memory stashed in the movie theatre of my mind, to enjoy any time I choose to “play” it!


Michigan Bowhunter Banquet 2017

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

IMG_4265.JPGIMG_4150.JPGimg_3899The Michigan Bowhunters Association just held their annual banquet today April 8th. 2017.  Once again my little brother received one of the most coveted awards given out by the association.  The Michigan “Grand Slam” award goes to the member who has taken a deer, bear, and 30 point small game animal.  Small game meaning a turkey, bobcat, goose, or coyote with a bow and arrow.  Darryl Ansel is the most consummate hunter I know, spending more hours afield than any married man in Michigan!  His wife (Cathy) is a true Saint, as she lives the life of a widow from mid Sept. to January 1st.  Darryl has more “hot spots’ and places to hunt than their are counties in Michigan!  I guess it helps when your a police officer knocking on a landowners door and asking for permission to hunt?  Some guys have all the right words and know how to open doors, so to speak.

Of course I say some of that in jest, but he truly is one dedicated outdoorsman who knows the ins and outs of consistently putting game in the freezer.  I am the one who got him involved in the sport of bowhunting, and he was the first one I signed up to join Michigan Bowhunters.  He took to the sport like no other, and within a couple years was showing me up with his prowess in the field.  He has more awards from Michigan Bowhunters than I can come close to remembering including the Master Bowhunter award which only a limited number of members ever achieve!  I personally have come close to winning the “Grand Slam” award, but have never fulfilled all the requirements. Little brother has done it 4IMG_5122 times which may be a Bowhunter record!

For this years award Darryl downed a nice southern Michigan 8 pointer a day before gun season opened, and also took a goose around the same time. He drew a hard to get first bear hunt along with his son and grandson for the Marquette area.  He and his grandson both took a beautiful bear off the same bait pile on the same evening!  Yes Darryl may be 66 years old, but that has not slowed him down when in comes to the adrenaline rush of having a well laid out plan come together. He’ll be after a Tom turkey in just a few weeks, and you can bet his family will have a “wild ” turkey for Thanksgiving!  Congratulations Darryl!  You are the “real deal” when it comes to bowhunting the great state of Michigan!


Fishing Michigan Equals Great Big Smiles!

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

DSCN4780golf and Mindy's place 034cabin july 4th. 2015 060Cabin July 4th 2013 017memorial day cabin 035Michigan is known for it’s vast herd of Whitetails, but the many lakes and streams make our state an anglers “heaven!”  Michiganders have more water access than any other of the lower 48 states.  The Great Lakes have some of the most fantastic fisheries of any fresh water lakes in the world.

I personally have enjoyed fishing for perch, walleye, northern pike, large mouth and small mouth bass, steelhead, brookies, catfish, bullhead, and panfish.  On occasion I have even tangled with the  enormous carp that hide in the Lake Erie marshes.

Well in case you forgot it’s time to renew your fishing licenses here in Michigan.  There is nothing like fighting a bass, or seeing the joy on a kids face as they land their first sunfish.  In fact if you find the right secret pond you can have an absolute blast with some big pumpkin seed or red eye sunfish.  Talk about good eating!  While perch are my favorite, sunfish/bluegill, and brook trout rank right behind them. Two years ago I had a goal of helping every one of my grandkids catch a largemouth from the pond my daughter lives on.  Eleven of them did just that!  Grandpa had a blast as he witnessed the reactions of each grandkid “wrestle” in a “lunker” largemouth and then release it back into the crystal blue spring feed pond!

My nephew caught the nice smallie in the picture, and it won’t be long before he and his cousins will be at it again.  Three of my brother Darryl’s grandkids have turkey permits for the Gaylord area, and there’s a lake nearby full of smallmouth bass.  Ah! A day on the clear blue water, of a hidden little jewel, nestled among the pines of Northern Michigan can’t be beat!  A word of caution to all who may soon hit the waters-check your fishing line.  Fishing string will rot and get brittle, so you need to make sure yours will function as intended.  Also lubricate your reel, and do some precautionary maintenance on all the other equipment, before you hook the fish of a lifetime, and he gets off!