San Diego Continued

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

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!

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!


A Season of Thankfulness

November 24th, 2017

This year I had much of my venison from the 7 pointer made into venison burger.  I passed on the steaks and chops, and just had roast, backstraps jerky, sausage, and tenderloins beside the burger.  I can’t believe how much burger I have already gone through!  Several meat loafs and a few days ago my grandson Brady helped me make venison meatball for a thanksgiving party at Mrs. Mary’s pre-school.  for the last ten years or so I have done a Native American/Thanksgiving presentation for the kids. The class makes “stone soup” and I usually bring a little “wild” fare to the table!

I made two cookie sheets full of meatballs and kept them warm in a crock pot.  They were a big hit, as I waited till last to eat and didn’t even get one!  Good thing I snuck a few before they were served. Many complimented me on them and it’s always nice to allow others to taste natures bounty who aren’t hunters or otherwise would not experience the great food taken afield! I think it certainly helps with public relations with the non-hunting public!  As all outdoorsmen/hunters know we need all the allies we can muster, as the “antis” get crazier with their rhetoric!

Hope everyone had a great and thankful day yesterday.  My family sure did!  Four of our six kids were able to be with us with their spouses and our grandkids.  Can’t beat those family times of remembering the past, praying for the future, and genuine loving fellowship among us! We are truly thankful and blessed indeed!



Opening Day Michigan Deer Season 2017

November 16th, 2017

In the last 57 years I have missed but one Michigan deer season, and that was in 1967 when I was serving in the army!  My brothers and I look so forward to October bow season and the November gun opener!  The anticipation is like waiting to open your birthday presents!

This year has been no different except the weather is some of the worst (if not the worst) opening day I can remember.  It rained across the whole state with gale force winds and rain coming down sideways in many area’s! Five of the six Ansel brothers were sitting in their stands trying not to be discouraged by wind and rains. No one got any shooting with only a few does being sited!  Brother Brett did see a half racked 4 pointer (should of been an 8) but declined to put him on the game pole! Some gave it their best shot but being cold, wet, and miserable was not conducive to an all morning wait for Mr. Big Buck!

Everyone was hoping that day two would be much better, but low and behold the winds have been like a fright train blowing through the trees!  Not only that there have been lingering rain showers which are keeping the deer “hunkered” down and not moving very much! Brother Darryl saw a small buck this morning, but nothing he was interested in.

I have a feeling that the number of deer harvested this year are going to be way down from previous years due to the bad weather from the “get-go!”

I do have a photo of a giant buck that was taken just across the road from where brother Darryl hunts in Bronson.  It looks to be a very symmetrical 12 pointer and is a “buck of a lifetime” for sure.  Just goes to show if your in the right spot at the right time you too could shoot a “wall hanger!”  Hope things improve over the next couple days, or I’m going to “hunker down” myself!


Veterans Day 2017

November 9th, 2017

Veterans Day has always been special in the Ansel family.  My dad Norman Ansel was a world war II veteran of the Pacific Theatre!  One of his best friends was a casualty early on!  My dad was my hero when I was a kid and I always loved getting into the closet where mom kept his army jacket under wraps.  He was a Staff Sgt. and had a couple rows of “ribbons” and a marksmanship medal. Those brightly colored ribbons always caught my eye, and I wanted a “chest” full of them when I went in the army!

My oldest brother Randy was the first of dad and mom’s six (6) boys to go in the service, as he joined the Marines just as Vietnam was heating up!  He met two guys (James Keeler and Pat McElligot) who became his best buddies.  In fact they had plans to join the Michigan State Police when they where done with their commitment to Uncle Sam!  Sad to say that on there very first mission (Operation Double Eagle) James was mortally wounded and died on a hospital ship 3 weeks later. Randy and Pat were devastated, but managed to stay clear of “Charlie” as best they could.  The two of them managed to take two (2) Viet Cong prisoners while on patrol one evening which made their commanding officer happy! Sargent Norman Randy Ansel became a Marine recruiter stateside in the chicago area as his 4 years came to an end.  He and Pat never did join the State Police!  Instead my dad got them into the insurance business, and that’s where they stayed!

I was next in line as I was drafted in December of 1966!  It was one of the largest drafts ever to hit Monroe county.  Several high school buddies were drafted with me.  The guy that wanted to be a hero and earn a chest full of medals was assigned to “Quartermaster school” at Fort Lee Virginia!  In case you don’t know that meant They were going to make a “cook” out of me!  We hated the cooks, K.P. and especially the mess Sgt. I was heart broken!  Turns out being a cook and eventually a baker had a lot more perks than I ever imagined!  I also rose through the ranks quickly and was promoted to Specialist 5th. Class (same as a buck sergeant.)  I stayed state side and the biggest thrill I had was being the assistant 3.5 grenade launcher for our mess hall! No chest full of medals for this “cookie!”

Now brother Darryl was a different story!  He too was drafted and ended up living the Army life I was supposed to have!  Right away his superiors saw his potential, as he was made acting sergeant in basic training.  He was an Infantryman and a crack shoot with the M-16 as well as the 45!  In fact all three of the Ansel boys wore the coveted “expert” marksmanship medal!  Our dad taught us well!  Darryl went to Vietnam after AIT training, and was in the thick of things from the get-go.  He was a fierce “warrior” in battle, and under fire kept his cool!  He saved lives, was wounded, and was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor.  A true hero indeed. He came home with ribbons galore on his chest, and a few scar’s on his back, but never seemed to let his experience define his life.

The last three of the six Ansel brother escaped the service, for which their mother and father were quite grateful.  Those Vietnam years added a lot of grey hair to both mom and dads head!

So that is one of the many reasons I appreciate Veterans Day and stand when the National Anthem is played with my hand on my heart. I also had friends who made the supreme sacrifice! Those among us who have never worn a military uniform or served in combat haven’t a clue about how most veterans feel about those that “take a knee!”

Thanks for your service Veterans!


Brad’s Mock Scrape Buck and Venison Fare!

November 7th, 2017

Just wanted to do a family update on what’s been going on with the Ansel brothers since my last posting.

Well I just heard from my younger brother Brad who lives in Parma Mi. in Jackson county.  What a wonderful area in Michigan to live in.  Jackson is known to produce some of the biggest bucks recorded in the Commemorative Bucks Of Michigan record book, and little brother is doing his part to put some more bucks on those pages.

He shot a ten point a few evenings after he downed a huge 9 point on the same farm he’s hunted for a few years.  I have not heard the whole story yet, so I will follow up when I do.  I do know that just before (5 minutes) he climbed in his stand he put out a mock scrape with doe urine, and before he could get settled in, this buck came in on a string! Brother Darryl had just told him to give a mock scrape a try, and Brad is now a believer in their effectiveness! Just wanted to get a picture of his latest big buck out to you readers and let you know that this buck was the smaller of the two bucks he saw two evenings ago!

I’m also posting a photo of some venison meatloaf’s, potatoes, and carrots that I fixed last night.  I ate it for breakfast this morning, and it was awesome.  Brad is going to be able to enjoy many meals from the two bruisers he put in his freezer!

Some Michigan Archery Success 2017

November 2nd, 2017

Just today one of my younger brothers (Brad Ansel) sent me a picture of the “Hog” he took down last evening in Jackson County.  He lives in Parma and has a couple great pieces of property he can hunt.  He downed a wide spread 9 pointer with his crossbow!  The deer will go way over 200 pounds live weight.  Last week brother Darryl was able to pull a sneak on a nice fat 7 pointer feeding in a cut bean field.  Anyone who’s ever tried sneaking up on a deer know’s it isn’t easy!  Then there’s and old friend of mine (Tony Collino) who downed a bruiser of an eight pointer with his crossbow.  He also shared some great video, from his tree stand, on facebook!  Also pictured is Scott Kegerries (a friend of Darryl’s) who put down one “braggin” buck.  Don’t know how many points, but the height and mass of this buck is pretty incredible. I might as well include a picture of the buck I downed last Friday. It was missing a brow tine which made it a 7 pointer, but was a really big deer for my area.  Hope you enjoy the photo’s and success of your fellow hunters!


Kyle’s First Buck

October 31st, 2017

My last post was “I get by with a little help from my friends” and the saga continues with how my grandson Kyle had help in finding his deer.

The evening after I shot my deer Kyle and I were in the same blind watching yearlings, fawns and a couple decent doe’s, but Kyle heart was set on a buck.  Even though Kyle is only 12 years old he has “downed” three doe’s in prior seasons, and was now ready for a “wall hanger!”

Time to hunt with Kyle is limited due to his involvement in baseball, and basketball.  This would be one of the only chances I was going to have hunting with Kyle this year so I was encouraging him to “quit” passing on the doe’s!  Right around 6:30 a huge doe poked it’s big head from behind a stand of pine trees.  I nudged Kyle and said “If she gives you a shot bust her!”  He was okay with that, but just as quickly as she appeared she vanished!  Last light was fading in our clearing where I had planted the rye months earlier, just as our hopes faded with getting a shot this evening.  Kyle put the crossbow on the gun rail and pointed it in the direction where the doe disappeared.  Good thing he did as she stepped out from her concealment and offered a 15 yard broadside shot.  I had told Kyle that he was on his own and to shoot as soon as she was in his sights.  I heard the “twang” of the crossbow, saw the “flash” of the luminok as it disappeared into the deer’s side.  The deer bolted straight ahead and never gave any indication of being hit or mortally wounded!  The shaft of the arrow was broken about 3 inches from the fletching which contained blood and hair, but there was very little blood in the area where the deer bolted from.  I went to the spot where I saw it make a sharp left turn, but could not find one speck of blood! We went and got Kyle’s dad Glen and with the “dull” flashlights we had, came up with nothing to bloodtrail on!  discouraged we called it a night, and would resume our search in the morning.

I rose up bright and early to try and find my grandson’s deer.  It was quite cold so I wasn’t very concerned about meat spoilage, but I was concerned about finding the deer. Nothing bothers a hunter more than wounding and loosing an animal he’s pursuing!  Last evening we had prayed that just as my deer was miraculously found that Kyle’s deer would also be found! I was dressed and ready to go as soon as it was light enough to see blood among the red, yellow, and green leaves on the forest floor!  Kyle and Glen were going to be about 5 minutes behind me in the search!

I started in the direction I last saw the deer, but still could find no blood.  As I approached the thicker woods with it’s briers and bramble bushes a crow called out as it circled the morning sky 100 yards in front of me! Then another crow called out with the familiar “caw, caw, caw! The one circling landed at the top of a tall pine tree, and I suspected he had Kyle’s deer in sight. As I approached the area sure enough I saw the white rump and underbelly of a dead deer.  The crows had a few hairs pulled from the rear of the deer, but evidently they had just found him!  Did I say him? Our “friends” the crows had lead me to the prettiest little six point I had ever laid eye’s on.  In fact I couldn’t believe this deer had horns!  We were looking for a doe!  Neither of us had a clue the deer we saw twice last night was a buck!  The horns must of totally blended in with the backdrop of the pines around him.

I called Kyle and Glen to where I was and let Kyle “discover” the surprise of his young hunting career!  He arrived and said “Papa it’s got horns!”  I said “Yes this doe is a six pointer!”  Kyle beamed as he reached down and held the first set of buckhorns that belonged to him.  His dad Glen was as surprised as any of us, and immediately started taking pictures!  The deer was shot through the right front shoulder and exited the left lung area.  The “rage” broadhead had “blown” through shoulder bone and ribs, and that deer still made it 175 yards from where he was leathley “hammered!” I backtracked on the path he had taken and only found good tracking blood about 20 yards from where he expired!

There is certainly a lesson to be learned from this, as both of us could of had nightmares about the “one” that got away!  Instead we were so thankful for answered pray and “a little help from our friends!”

Footnote:  The DNR biologist said my deer was a 3-1/2 year old, and Kyle’s was 2-1/2 year old.  Both in excellent health with enormous amounts of winter fat.

Smiling Mike!

Deer Season 2017 or (I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends!)

October 30th, 2017

Due to schedules, birthdays, and unseasonably warm weather (in October) I have not made it to my camp to hunt.  That is until this past weekend!  The plan was to take my grandson Kyle Pafford out for a two day weekend hunt.  My wife and I were able to leave a day and a half earlier than daughter Tara, husband Glen and Kyle.

I hunted Thursday evening with a few doe’s and yearlings spotted, but nothing to get to excited about.  I worked around camp Friday and planned on hunting in the evening as the Pafford’s weren’t arriving till very late!  Again there were doe’s, fawn’s, and yearlings in my food plot, but no bucks.  I was going to hunt 15 more minutes when a nice buck stepped behind two trees.  I could see his head and neck when he feed on the alfalfa, but was not going to take that shot.  All of a sudden something “spooked” him and he ran 15 yards to my right and stopped.  Twenty yard shot that was “duck soup” as far as I was concerned.  I had my Excalibur already raised, put the 20 yard pin on the chest and pulled the trigger! The luminock disappeared, the buck kicked his hind legs in the air, and was gone.  My bolt was sticking in the ground just past where the buck stood. I was so sure of the shot I immediately went to retrieve to arrow and look for blood.

There was a slight smug of blood on the vanes, but the “Rage” broadhead was clean along with the arrow shaft that had some fat on it!  I was in shock!  There was a small amount of red blood where he was standing, but nothing could be found anywhere else.  There were three deer runs he could of taken, but no blood trail on any of them. It was now dark and my flashlights were all in need of batteries.  I figured I would wait till morning and with the help of Kyle and Glen search again!  I was now second guessing myself and was not confident in finding him in the morning.

Bright and early we combed the area, but again found no blood.  We covered an area of about 10 acres looking for a “dead” deer, but gave up, as I figured it was not the “bulls eye” I thought it was!

I had work to do around the cabin, and everyone was busy taking care of needed chores, when Glen called and said there’s a guy walking up the driveway.  First things he says is “did someone shoot a deer around here last night?” I said “Yeh I did, but we couldn’t find him!” He says “Okay describe him to me!” I said I thought it was between a 6 and and 8 pointer, and he then says “We got your deer!” I about fainted as I gave this stranger a big hug!  He called his buddy and son that were waiting by my dead 7 pointer and told them he found the owner.  Seriously there are a lot of guys that would of thrown that deer in the back of their truck and never thought of looking for the rightful owner!  The deer was still warm when they spied it just of a 4-wheeler trail.

It’s quite amazing but it was a dead center chest shot, taking out the lungs, but the only blood was in the area he expired in. He had made it a good two (200) yards from where he was arrowed! The direction he ran was not what I thought, and without these fellow hunters stumbling on him, he would of been coyote and crow bait!  My day got remarkable better.

The deer was huge for a northern Michigan deer weighing in at 174 pounds dressed.  That’s a 220 pound deer on the hoof! Big for any part of the state!

I’ll follow up with this hunt in my next blog, as my grandson “Get’s a little help from his friends” also!