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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?




Big Game Guide Illegally Takes Coveted Desert Bighorn!

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Florida Bear Attack!

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man Cave Reborn!

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

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

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

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

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

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


Nows the Time to Enjoy Falls Harvest!

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Now is the time to sit back and enjoy the “fruits” of the harvest over these last several months.  Two deer in the freezer would seem like a lot of good quality meat for the winter, but so many of my friends and family enjoy venison it goes pretty fast.  Over the holidays is always a good time to prepare some delicious venison for family, and friends, and that is just what I did.

I decided to do a venison roast (neck) and then make barbecue sandwiches out of that.  I put the big roast in a crock pot (on high) for most of the day.  I added spices, salt, ground pepper, lawry’s seasoned salt, and a touch of barbeque sauce to the pot and waited till the meat fell off the bone!  I then let it cool down some and broke the meat up in smaller pieces and discarded any fat!  I was the ready to add my “sweet baby back ribs” sauce, and it was ready for a bun!  This is well received by anyone who enjoys barbeque sandwiches, chips, and a soft drink!

I also prepared venison meatballs which I did in the oven at 325 degrees.  Four (4) pounds of meat made about 50 good sized meatballs.  I added onion, salt, pepper, 2 eggs, lawry’s seasoning, parsley, and a little catsup, and mixed it all up before rolling into meatballs!  The were baked for about 35-40 minutes and then put in a crock pot with mushroom sauce.  The crock pot would then be heated before serving.  My mom loves this and two “newbe’s” gave them a try with a “thumbs up!”

It’s good to share “wild game” with loved ones including non hunters and those that don’t get a chance to experience natures unpolluted bounty!  It’s a “win-win” situation for all partakers of this delicious fare!


Snow on the Ground and Still Lots of Deer to be Found!

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

This past week I took the 3-1/2 hour drive to my place in Luzerne as the 4″ of snow on the ground beckoned me to come on up!  I love hunting with snow on the ground.  Earlier I had taken a really nice 7 pointer, so there wasn’t any real pressure to “shoot” another deer, but I did have two doe permits, and a good friend of mine would love one in his freezer! So with that in mind I set out to work on my camp, and if the chance came up, bag a good “eating” doe!

In fact I figured I would use my Myles Keller compound on this deer should I be given the opportunity. I’ve been shooting “rage” broadheads for about the last six years and had just purchased a dozen carbon arrows from Cabelas for my compound. My bow was set up to use “thunderhead 125’s, but I’ve had so much success with the 2-blade “rage” that I decided to swap out the “fixed” for the “mechanical!”

The first evening out I saw two spikes and a small forkhorn, plus a doe with two fawns.  Wasn’t messing with the small bucks, but there are quite a few doe’s roaming my area, and that’s what I was looking for.  The snow on the ground extended my visibility considerably, and I could detect movement much better than from my earlier hunts!

I skipped the second night of hunting as I worked late on the cabin and was very tired.  I figured I would sit for several hours in my blind on the third afternoon so I got out the cabin door around 3:30 p.m.  Two yearlings came through and offered me a great shot, but I declined, as it was still early. then a average sized doe worked her way into my food plot, but right behind her were two spring fawns!  My food plot was being demolished, so I was confident other deer would work their way in!  Just before dark a lone doe walked right beside my blind!  She was so close it startled me, as I banged my bow on the blind roof removing it from where it was hanging!  The doe froze and slowly back off from where she came.  I thought “I blew that” but low and behold she appeared on the other side of my blind about 12 yards away.  I was ready this time, picked a spot behind the shoulder and let my fingers release the string. The lighted nock appeared in her rib cage as she kicked her back legs in the air and headed for the thick woods.

I thought the arrow was a little far back so I waited an hour before checking for any blood trail.  I didn’t have to worry as a blind man could of tracked this deer!  She was bleeding bright red blood from both sides (double lung) and piled up about 100 yards from impact!  The “rage” was devastating as it blew through both rib cages, but stayed in the deer.  I went and got my deer dragging sled and pulled her back to my pole barn where I had a “deer cradle” ready to gut her in a most comfortable position.  I had just made the “cradle” that day and it is the best idea I have ever come up with to gut a deer.

My friend was happy to be able to put a deer in the freezer, and I felt good about putting it there for him!  Snow is the major reason I like late season hunting, but I must admit at 71 years old my muscles are still sore from dragging that doe several hundred yards back to my camp.  I’m thinking about putting a blind closer to the cabin next year?


Scott and Tom Calloway Score Big on Southern County Bucks!

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

My good friend Tom Calloway recently retired from his pharmacist job, and has he made good use of his time! Tom has been able to spend a little more time on his Hillsdale County 20 acres and its paid off for him, and his son Scott!  Twenty acres is not what most invision as a big buck “hot spot”, but if it is perfectly located between food sources, larger woods, and bedding area’s you might have a big buck “corridor!”

Tom has owned this piece of property for many years and they have taken 8-9 really nice southern county bucks, as well as many smaller bucks.  lately though it seems Tom and Scott are looking for the “bruisers” that roam that part of Hillsdale!

A few weeks into the bow season Scott arrowed (cross-bow) a really nice 8 point.  Last year his son Scottie shot a huge 8 point from the same stand!  Tom had passed on some small bucks throughout the season, but this past Friday he “nailed the biggest buck of his hunting career!  With his muzzleloader he was able to bring down a 10 point that tried to sneak past his stand.  Its a good thing there was snow on the ground, as Tom reports there was absolutely no blood to track from the shoulder shot from his 50 caliber! The deer didn’t go far, and the snow worked in Tom’s favor!

Not all big bucks roam the Calloways 20 acres as Scott downed another braggin buck in Petersburg, in Monroe County. It was another 8 pointer, but had all the good stuff that big deer carry on their heads.  It had tine length, mass. width, and beam length!  Scott does his own taxidermy and he’s going to be quite busy this winter.

Congratulations to the Calloway men as you continue the tradition of deer hunting in the great state of Michigan!



San Diego Continued

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

As most people know California has been fighting some of the worst fires in the states history!  The Los Angeles area has been hit hardest, but 5 days into our San Diego visit a brush fire broke out about 35 miles north of the city.  It quickly grew from 40 acres to several thousand as the Santa Anna winds pushed the flames in a westerly direction.  We watched the T.V. reports as several race horses lost their lives and one human death has been attributed to this fire. Several of these six major fires are only minimally contained and the biggest is not contained at all.

The Santa Anna winds kick up in the evening and the whole southern part of the state was on extreme fire alert, including us!  We could see the smoke in the far distance, but felt relatively safe where we were at!  Then on our sixth day there was a 4.2 (Richter Scale) earthquake about 30 miles north of us.  There were also a couple lesser aftershocks felt by the local residence!  We did not feel anything, but just the thought of fires and earthquakes happening on a regular basis made us happy to know we had a round trip ticket!

Our new grand-daughter was born the evening before her due date, which gave us 6 full days to help where needed!  Baby and mother are doing fine.  Jeremiah was delighted to see his new little sister, and loved his “big brother” shirt!

On one of the days we drove to the coast to see the “seals!”  We were very fortunate as there were about 30 of them catching some “rays” on the rocks in LaJolla!  I was able to climb within 40 feet of them and get some good snapshots of both seals and sea lions!  Sea lions rule the roost, and are huge as they dominate the seals!

Our flight was delayed 3 times by Delta which made for some anxious hours.  We never did find out why!  Once in the air the smoke from the fires could be seen as the plumes drifted out over the ocean.  We were glad to get home even if there was snow on the ground and more in the forecast!



San Diego Trip

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

We just returned home from 10 days in San Diego California. We went to be of some help as our daughter-in-law Heather, son Micah, and grandson Jeremiah as his little sister came into the world.  We were all hoping that Heather would be close to her “due date” so we could help with the needs of the hour.

The first few days Micah was our tour guide!  Right after picking up us at the airport we stopped at a fish market right on the water at the San Diego piers! Micah recommended the “fish taco”, and that’s just what we had.  The “Grouper” taco was (to my surprise) very delicious.  We enjoyed our meal on the docks as we looked out over all the fishing boats and the huge Navy vessel in the background!

The very next day we went to the world famous San Diego Zoo!  This zoo is immense and located in the heart of San Diego.  It’s only 4 miles from my sons place, so they take Jeremiah there quite often!  Lots of newer, and ongoing construction, as the zoo continues to be a leader in habitat and natural shelter management!  One actually needs more than a day to take in all the exhibits and sights! There was a lot of walking involved and my hips, knees, and feet rebelled against the abuse. I ended up sitting out for some of the exhibits, but my wife never stopped for a minute!

On day three we went to the ocean and actually stopped at Torrey Pines golf course!  The U.S. open is scheduled be played there in the next few years. I went to the pro shop, and bought a few items, and then looked out from the balcony over the course.  My son and I checked into playing a round, but greens fee”s, club rental, and a few other fee’s added up to over $300.00 for 18 holes!  To expensive for our blood, but the course was packed! I saw more BMW’s, Jaguars, Mercedes, Audi’s,and luxury cars in that parking lot than I’ve ever seen in my life! Lots of “high rollers” in San Diego.

Coronado Beach was our next stop!  This place is on everyone’s radar and has been for over 100 years.  It used to be exclusively private for the well to do, and has momento’s from Presidential visits, sports stars, and real stars (like Marilyn Monroe.) The hotel and private beach houses along with eateries and a exclusive shopping mall add to the festive activities!  There’s even a ice rink in the middle of boardwalk.

Well that’s enough for this post, but stay tuned as I write about the fires and earthquake that kept things interesting to say the least in my next post.



Deer Gun Season Up’s and Downs!

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

Michigan’s gun season has turned out to be somewhat of a bust for our family and friends this year.  It all started off on a sour note when there was a total downpour the first two days of season and not only that the winds were howling!

Last week out of 17 of us being in the woods there were only two deer on the ground.  That changed this past weekend as my brother Randy’s grandson Jax shot a doe in Onaway, and also grandson Tallon took a 4 pointer while hunting with grandpa.  That is not real impressive for the number of hunters in the woods!  Not only that brother Darryl, who has never failed to get his buck, came up empty handed!  Oh he had chances at smaller bucks, but he hunts an area where “Booners” roam, so he lets the lesser deer walk!

I also know of three other groups of hunters consisting of parties of six, six, and four that never hung a deer on the old buck pole!  Reports would indicate that the “rut” took place at various times in different parts of the state.  I know it was late in my area of the Northern Lower Peninsula!

Hopefully the DNR is not inflating the numbers of deer we have in the state, and this was just one of those “off” years for the Ansel’s and their friends!  weather certainly played a factor along with standing corn, and the fact there was no snow to speak of during the whole season.  In fact it was 63 degrees today here in Monroe.  It has been unseasonably warm this whole year! Thank goodness I put one in the freezer during bow season!

The attached photo’s are from bow season!