A Cure For The Winter “Blahs!”

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

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

Mike

Nows the Time to Enjoy Falls Harvest!

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!

Mike

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

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?

Mike

Scott and Tom Calloway Score Big on Southern County Bucks!

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!

Mike