Spring Turkey Season 2018

April 3rd, 2018

The Spring turkey season is fast approaching, but you would never know it by the weather!  I can’t remember a longer more drawn out winter (it’s supposed to be Spring) than this one.  Our 10 day weather forecast calls for 8 days of a snow/rain mix and temperatures in the 30’s and 40’s! Their still snowmobiling up around our cabin!  I can’t even get to excited about scouting due to the lousy weather!

I have seen some activity down here in Monroe as the Tom”s are still “bunched” up and not seeking any “love” just yet.  I drew the first hunt so I hope some sunshine breaks through the clouds and gets those Tom’s after the hen’s!  I’m thinking those with a third hunt are going to have a better chance than us early birds!  We shall see?

I’ll post some photo’s from the last few years just to get everyone in the turkey hunting “zone!

Mike

The Ice Is Melting and Fishing Season Is Just Around the Next Snowflake

March 31st, 2018

Hopefully these photo’s will get your minds off the lousy weather here in Michigan, knowing that “change” is coming somewhere in the future.  Getting on the water and feeling the “tug” of a fish on the line always changes your perspective of the day!  Come on warm weather!

Coyote Attacks Young Girl

March 19th, 2018

A 9-nine-year-old girl was attacked by a coyote outside of her home in North Carolina.

On Thursday evening, the animal approached Madilyn Fowler on her porch, leaving her with minor injuries, including scratches on her bottom, back and face.

“The coyote had been attempting to attack the family dog before this,” the Davie County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook. “The Victims Mother was able to get the coyote to stop the attack.”

It’s unclear whether Fowler was exposed to rabies; however, the sheriff’s office issued an advisory to those in the area to stay guarded, especially considering the coyote couldn’t be located after the attack.

“We recommend that residents in the area be cautious with their pets and when outdoors for the next two weeks,” the advisory message on Facebook says. “An animal infected with rabies normally expires within two weeks, but can spread the disease to other animals and humans that it comes into contact with.”

The latest attack comes just weeks after a rabid coyote threatened a family in Huntersville, North Carolina. In a minute-long video posted to YouTube, the animal is seen walking alongside a fence and then its heard aggressively growling and biting the car’s bumper. The coyote has since been tracked and killed by the local police department.

In addition to coyotes, other animals such as raccoons, skunks and foxes can carry rabies too. Although human deaths from rabies are extremely rare in the United States—only a few cases each year—the disease presents a serious problem in other countries. More than 59,000 people die globally, primarily in Africa and Asia, from rabies each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coyotes are opportunist and will prey on family pets and livestock if available.  They have definitely become quite at home with suburbia, and that’s partly because of the abundance of dogs and cats available for a quick snack.  Another factor is they are not hunted in these area’s and have lost their fear of “man!”  It’s just been a matter of time before a child would be considered “fair game” on a coyotes dinner list!

Several years ago my brother in law shot a “yote” that had been stalking his ducks around a backyard pond.  I once watched a coyote stalk a backyard full of chickens in broad daylight.  Once upon a time there was a $25 dollar bounty here in Michigan for killing a coyote.  That bounty was removed decades ago, and now we are seeing the results of an overabundance of the crafty critters!

The U.S. Is Losing Ground On It’s “Hog” Problem!

March 18th, 2018

Native American Crafts Keep My Winters Interesting!

March 15th, 2018

Over the winter months when it’s to cold, snowy, and windy for an “old man” to venture to far from his fireplace there has to be something to occupy his time!  For me it’s when I work on my traditional Native American crafts.  This winter I have been busy on walking sticks adorned with deer horns, feathers, leather, and beads.  I also made a couple dance sticks and am working on some turkey feather fans.  I also make Native American necklaces.

I have several tanned deer hides I use for the leather and tons of turkey feathers, imitation eagle feathers, and other various feathers I have collected.  I have a few pieces of mink hide and have another one being processed right now.  Rabbit fur is used in many cases and any other hides I can beg borrow and steal!

The beads and bones, sinew, bells, cones, etc come from Native american trading post!  I have done Tomahawks, peace pipes, quivers, lances, talking sticks, smudge feathers, and ceremonial arrows. I have sold a few items and donated to dinner/auctions, but it’s a way I can relax and commune with my Native American heritage.  My great Grandmother was a woodland Cree from Saskatewan, and my mothers side are all Canadians.

It’s a great way for me to relax and be creative as I wait for Spring turkey season!  I will post a few photo’s of my work.

Mike

 

Japan’s Wild Boar Problem Continues To Grow!

March 12th, 2018

Less than 20 years ago, the only challenges for the 100 residents of the tiny island of Kakara, off southwest Japan, were the elements and ensuring the fishermen’s catch could get to market on time.

Today, the islanders are outnumbered three to one by wild boar who feast on their gardens and are becoming increasingly aggressive and territorial.

The problems facing the residents of Kakara are being repeated across Japan, with boar numbers exploding as rural populations decline.

Japan’s rapidly ageing and shrinking population is part of the reason behind the increase in wild boar, as older rural populations die out, leaving towns and villages empty. Meanwhile, young people are also moving to the cities in search of work. The number of people with shotgun licenses has also fallen sharply in recent years.

And as the people leave, the boar are moving in.

The first boars apparently swam to Kakara, which covers a mere 1 square mile and sits between Fukuoka and Saga prefectures, but have been in hog heaven ever since.

They have found a place with no natural predators and plenty of crops, such as pumpkins and sweet potatoes, that the local people grow in their back gardens.

Other than farming and fishing, the island’s only other industries were small-scale tourism and growing camellia for use in cosmetics, Kyodo News reported, but the famously aggressive boar have chased the tourists away and eaten the camellia plants.

Local children cannot play outdoors for fear of being attacked and residents have stopped walking even relatively short distances for fear of encountering one of the aggressive creatures.

Desperate islanders have set countless traps and catch around 50 of their tormentors every year, but that figure is far outstripped by the rapidly breeding boar population – a sow can give birth to as many as six piglets a years.

Some residents are even suggesting that they should evacuate the island, abandoning it to the wild pigs. Across Japan, confrontations between boar and man are inevitable as the hog population rises, and rural media are frequently reporting incidents in which humans have come face-to-face with large beasts.

In October, a large specimen barrelled into a suburban shopping mall on the island of Shikoku, biting five staff and causing mayhem before it was captured.

In December, two boars managed to get into a high school in Kyoto and panicked students had to be evacuated.

Elsewhere, they are finding their way out of the forests and fields and into train stations, gardens and school sports grounds.

And with few checks on the boars’ territory, they are growing larger as well as more numerous.

In February, farmers in north-east Japan caught a male that weighed in at 280 pounds, well over the average 220 pounds of boars in Europe.

They are also expanding their range into areas that were previously considered too inhospitable, taking over villages with shrinking populations.

They are being given even greater licence to roam in areas close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, abandoned in March 2011 in the aftermath of the destruction of three of the plant’s reactors and the release of radiation across the surrounding countryside.

Local people fled to safety; the wildlife remained and thrived.

Python Swallows Deer Larger Than Itself

March 4th, 2018

Another Florida Python has been found with the body of a whole deer inside it’s stomach!  It’s not the first python found with such large prey inside, but it is the smallest in length to accomplish such a feat!  Actually the fawn deer weighed 35 pounds while the python weighed in at 31-1/2 pounds and was just over 11 feet long. Florida wildlife officials were surprised that such a relatively small python could swallow such large prey! The python is an invasive species in Florida and recently has been know to dine on peoples pets (cats and dogs!)  Lizards, alligators, rattlesnakes, and pythons can be a menace to anyone living in or visiting the Sunshine State!

Brown Bear Subspecies Listed!

February 28th, 2018

Brown bears are fascinating animals and one of my favorite big game species. There are currently eight different subspecies of brown bear that are recognized by Safari Club International. They can be found in the most remote parts of North AmericaEastern EuropeAsia and Russia.  Four different subspecies occur in Russia alone: Amur Brown Bear, Siberian Brown Bear, Kamchatka Brown Bear, and the Eurasian Brown Bear.

  1. Siberian Brown Bears range right between the Eurasian and Kamchatka Brown Bear in size. They have larger skulls and are more bold around people than some of the other brown bear varieties.
  2. Eurasian Brown Bears have a wide range of coloration from brown to blonde to reddish brown and even almost black. There have also been reported cases of albinism . They have round heads, small ears and wide skulls.
  3. Amur Brown Bears, also known as Ussuri Brown Bears, are hard to tell apart from the Kamchatka  Brown Bear. They can be identified by their elongated skull, smaller forehead,  and much darker color. Some call them the black grizzly.
  4. Kamchatka Brown Bears are the largest bears in Eurasia. With a much wider skull than the Alaska Peninsula Brown Bears, they can can grow nearly as large, from 7 feet- 9 feet in length.
  5. North American Brown Bear are also known as the grizzly bear. There are about 25,000 across Canada and the Northwest Territories; 30,000 in Alaska and about 1,500 in the lower 48.
  6. Kodiak Brown Bear is considered by many to be the largest subspecies of Brown Bear, They inhabit the islands of the Kodiak Archipelago. They are most active during the day and tend to go into hibernation in late October and leave their dens in early April.
  7. Alaska Peninsula Brown Bear are some of the biggest bears in the world. They can range from 750-1250 lbs and can reach over 10 ft. They rival even the Kodiak Brown Bear. They’ve reached weights up to 1,500 lbs.
  8. Sitka Brown Bear can be found in Southeast Alaska and Admiralty Island, Baranof Island and Chichagof Island (ABC Islands). They look a lot like the Alaskan Grizzly bear with a humped back and a nasty reputation.

Each of these subspecies is unique in its own way. They are one of the most interesting, powerful, awe inspiring animals on earth. The more I learn about them the more fascinated I am by them.

The Man Who Traps Grizzly Bears

February 24th, 2018

If you imagine someone who traps grizzly bears for a living you’d imagine someone like Chad Dickinson. Large, bearded, deep-voiced. The kind of guy who would much rather be deep in the woods than in an office talking to a newspaper reporter.

His love of being out there is part of the reason Dickinson is slated for his 24th consecutive summer of trapping grizzlies.

“I still love to catch bears,” Dickinson said earlier this month. “For me personally, it’s just seeing them and being up close and getting your hands on them, and treating them the proper way.”

Dickinson’s official title is biological service technician, but he serves as the leader of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team’s field crew. The crew, an arm of the U.S. Geological Survey, goes out each summer and sets culvert traps for grizzlies around the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Once a bear is trapped, Dickinson and his team gather data that inform studies and fuel arguments about the management of the animals — like whether they should be protected under the Endangered Species Act or not.

Endangered Species Act protections were removed from the bears in 2017. Multiple lawsuits have challenged the decision, but delisting critics and supporters alike turn to data that begins with biologists setting a bear trap.

“Other scientists have disagreed with some of the findings, but in general we’re very supportive of (IGBST’s) work,” said Zack Strong, of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Debate is a good thing, and the more information we have to use in our debates the better.”

Delisting has ceded management responsibility to the states, but the IGBST is still largely responsible for monitoring and studying the population, meaning Dickinson still needs to go out and trap bears.

That’s all right with him. He has always liked bears. He grew up on a dairy in Ohio and hunted and trapped as a kid. Moving west was always something he wanted to do, so that’s where he looked when it came time to look for colleges.

“I kind of looked at the areas that had grizzly bears, basically,” he said.

After two years at a community college in Ohio, he landed at Montana State University. Shortly after graduation, he took a seasonal trapping job with the study team, beginning in 1994. He became a permanent employee in the early 2000s, which means his winters consist of data entry and that he oversees two other trappers each summer.

By now, he’s used to the hitch schedule (10 days on, four off), knows all the trap site safety protocols (truck always pointed toward the way out, the doors always wide open in case you need a quick getaway), and can stand the smell of bear bait (mostly roadkill). He’s used to horseback rides into Yellowstone’s backcountry, long drives up rough forest roads and bear encounters don’t scare him as much as the average person — he called it a “controlled fear.”

Usually, they set four or five traps in the same area. Once a telemetry device tells him and the other crew members when one of the trap’s doors has dropped, they head to the site as soon as possible.

If it’s a black bear, they let it go. If it’s a grizzly, the work has only just begun. They tranquilize it and lay it on a tarp. They check the pulse, temperature and respiration. If it’s a new bear, they pull a tooth, tattoo its lip and attach an ear tag.

Ear tags are often how they know they’ve caught a bear for the second time, Dickinson said. It happens once in a while, so there are a few bears he knows well, including one that was euthanized last fall that had been with him from the start.

“He was probably the second or third bear I captured, or helped capture, in 1994,” Dickinson said.

The first capture was in the western part of Yellowstone National Park. About a decade later, the bear turned up in the Gardiner area, on the north side of the park.

Then, this past fall, the bear was caught breaking into buildings and pilfering food in the West Yellowstone area. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks caught it and killed it, deciding its habit of breaking into buildings was too dangerous. It was 27 years old.

Dickinson, now 46, said it was interesting how the bear had reappeared throughout his career.

“We caught him as a sub-adult. He was probably a 2- or 3-year-old. And then to live that long on the landscape, making a living,” he said. “It was interesting to see him kind of move back where he came from.”

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