New Mississippi State Record Buck?

October 23rd, 2017

A hunt that came close to unraveling ended with what may be Mississippi’s largest typical buck on record.

Josh Clark, of luka, Miss., drew a tag for Zone 3 of the Canemount Wildlife Management Area in Claiborne County. He’d hunted in Canemount before but never in that zone. Clark noticed the area’s potential right away, telling the Clarion-Ledger, “It was crazy, the rubs I saw. The trees were the size of power poles, and the rubs were three and four feet high. I knew there was a big deer there.”

His confidence didn’t last long, though. His first two days of hunting the area passed with no sighting of the big buck. On Dec.14, his third day of hunting the area, and the final day of the season, Clark ventured to the creek bottom for one last sit. He laced the area with scent and did some rattling and grunting once he got to the stand. After getting no response, he deemed the spot a bust and decided that it was time to move on. “I lowered my gun to the ground,” he told the Clarion-Ledger. “When I stood up to turn around, I saw a main beam. I said, ‘Oh, my goodness.’”

Standing before him was the monster buck that patrolled the area. But Clark was out of position, with his rifle at the bottom of the tree. He quickly reeled his rifle back up and took a shot when the buck hit an opening. The deer bounded over a hill and Clark followed. Once he crested the skyline, he saw the deer lying dead.

The score of the buck remains a bit unclear, however. Mississippi Sportsmanreports that the deer is a main-frame 11-pointer with 17 total points*, and that it scored 205 inches. The Clarion-Ledger reports, however, that the deer is an 18-pointer, and that later green scores put the deer closer to 200 inches. To claim the record,the buck will need to beat a net score of 184 6/8 inches, a record set in 2010 by James Saunders, after a 60-day drying period.

Fall Fishing Adventures

October 13th, 2017

Late summer and early Fall has been a wonderful time to “wet” a line and get in some great fishing opportunities.  About three weeks ago we were at our cabin near Mio and my son-in-law Glen and grandson Kyle fished McCormick Lake as much as possible.  They have fished this particular lake on many occasions, but never really landed a “braggin” fish.  Rock bass, small perch, and a few undersized smallmouth was the extent of their efforts.  Well low and behold Glen caught a braggin 19 inch smallmouth the last day they were able to fish the lakeThen a few weeks ago I was able to fish the last few days of brook trout season right out the front door of our bear hunting cabin. We all caught fish including some beauties caught by Gary Baldwins grandkids and my brother Darryl’s crew!  Rainbow’s and brookies make quite a delicious gourmet meal  in anyone’s book!

Just his past week Glen and Kyle tried their hand at one of our local Metro Parks, and they did quite well for themselves.  Kyle caught several 14-15 inch Largemouth and Glen caught one just a few inches bigger to retain his “biggest fish” crown!  They will be at it again this weekend as the weather seems to be cooperating for all outdoor activities.

Me I’m finally headed for deer camp to see if I can replenish my freezer, and hopefully get Kyle a chance at a buck. A legal doe with no fawns will be just fine for me, as the venison is all gone and I need a “fix!”


“Barely” Marquette Golf

October 7th, 2017

While at bear camp my good friend Bob Baltrip and I found several good weather days to play some golf.  Anyone who’d knows Bob also knows about his love for the game.  In fact i’m sure that’s how I talked him into a week in the boonies.  I promised we would play golf as much as the bears allowed so on that Bob was up for our 1000 mile adventure.

Just as Bob hoped the bears gave us ample opportunity to hit the links in the area surrounding Marquette.  We only had one bear captured on my trail camera and he was a night feeder, so there was no sense sitting in a tree stand every night waiting for something that wasn’t going to happen! Not that we didn’t sit a few nights, but the bulk of our time (4 days) we tried some of the local golf courses.

Our first course was Gentz’s Homestead which was only about 6 miles from Baldwin’s camp.  It’s a nine hole course with beautiful scenery, hills, and a few ponds!  We had kind of a rough day there as Bob carded a 46 and I had a 48! Next time we had an early afternoon to spare we drove to Gwinn (near K.I. Sawyer Air Base) and played Red Fox Run.  This 18 hole course was probably our favorite, but also it was quite challenging.  Beautiful scenery, great greens, and friendly people!  Bob played pretty good with an 84 and I carded an 89!  Really not that bad for a couple “newbies” on the course!  Just off of Lake Superior lies Northern Michigan Universities home golf course.  Everyone knows how the winds can howl coming off the lake, but we were hoping that sometimes those winds would be at our back and aid us in hitting a 240 yard drive?  Upon arrival we were told that the back 9 had just been plugged and the front nine had been plugged the day before.  There was sand on all the greens and you could not get a good read or a good even roll! Discouraging but the course had a fair amount of “gamers!”  With the little bit of complaining that we did I shot my best score of the week (go figure) and it was the only game Bob let me win!  I carded an 83 and he had an 84 (whew that was close!)

Our final game was the day before we came home and we opted to go back to Homestead.  I think I was pretty tired as I shot my worst 9 of the trip with a 50!  That little 9 hole just chews me up, and Bob had a fair amount of trouble himself shooting a 47! Like Bob’s friend Dick says “I ain’t good enough to complain!”  Yes We would of had a lot more “pars” if we hadn’t hit the ball so many times!!!

Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes he gets you!  That’s hunting!  Although we did both get 2 “birdies!



Bear hunt 2017

October 4th, 2017

Just got home from a 7 day bear hunt in the Upper peninsula around Marquette.  We stayed at the Baldwin’s camp once again which has been our base of operations for forty four (44) years. The patriarch of the family (Dick Baldwin) was forty six years old when we first were blessed to meet Him, his son’s Gary, and Gregg and the whole Baldwin crew.  Dick is 90 years old now and still helping Gary cut wood around their beautiful camp.

Our crew consisted of brother Darryl, his son Derek, and grandson’s Tanner and Tristan.  They were only able to hunt for three days and that’s when I took over along with my friend Bob Baltrip!  Derek and Tristin saw bear twice and Derek was able to unleash an arrow at a nice boar, but unfortunately hit the shoulder which barely broke the skin!  The arrow basically bounced off after hitting the thick shoulder bone!  Gary Baldwin had been baiting for us and the three baits were being hit from time to time, but seems once we arrived things went cold!

Like I said I took over Derek’s stand after they left for home with no action for three days.  On the forth day I got a bear on trail camera at 5 a.m.  Two days later he visited just after 9 p.m. and again at 5 a.m. I know it was the same bear on all my trail cam pictures due to the “tuff” of hair missing on his left shoulder!  Yes Derek’s bear was fine, but he no longer would eat dinner in the daylight.  He wised up and now was a nocturnal feeder not giving me the opportunity for bear backstraps or bear sausage!

We packed it in after day seven, but did catch a “Fisher” on my trail camera. Kinda rare to see one!  It’s actually the second one I’ve seen, and there also was plenty of beaver activity in the area.  No matter Bob and I enjoyed our stay at the Baldwin (off grid) lodge and having Gary and Dick visit was icing on the cake!  Did I say cake?  Nancy Baldwin baked me a chocolate birthday cake as she has done for the last three years, and she outdid herself this time.  Chocolate is my favorite and in three days I ate 9 pieces of cake!

Great time with great friends and lifelong memories!


Michigan Youth Hunt 2017

September 22nd, 2017

September 16,17 was the weekend Michigan set aside for the youth/handicap early deer hunt.  I took my 12 year old grandson Kyle Pafford as I have in the past.  He has two doe’s under his young belt, and this year he would settle for nothing less than a buck.

I had arrive at camp a day early to make sure the stands (2) were set for the Saturday morning hunt. I had a couple trail cams out and there was activity on both.  Doe’s fawns and even a couple small bucks had been into my food plot near camp, so we focused on that blind in the morning.

Kyle was going to be using my 30-06 even though he took his first two deer with a crossbow!  We were in the blind at 5:50 a.m. and it was plenty dark out at that time.  It wasn’t till just after 7 that we seen movement in the rye field.  Two fat raccoons came strolling through at the same time a doe and her 2 fawns arrived.  The deer didn’t like the racoons at their dinner table and the raccoons could of cared less.  We just watched the antics of this encounter for about half an hour.  Once they left the field we headed back to the cabin around 10 a.m.

That evening we hunted our second spot about a mile down the road.  I had a ground blind set up there and we watched an older fawn walk in from the little swamp behind us.  It’s mother was around snorting and stomping the ground, and we only got one glimpse of her as she seemed to have “made us!” A pop up blind setting in Mother Natures living room is a dead give away if it hasn’t been their very long.  It was camouflaged with pine branches, but the back of the blind had very little cover.  Of course that’s the direction “Mama” came from.  No matter, a doe (with fawns) was not on our menu.

Next morning we were back at the first stand and the mother doe and two fawns again showed up.  Once in the field a lone doe joined them.  She was a shootable candidate, and I asked Kyle 3 times if he wanted to put a doe in the freezer. He said he would wait for a buck and that we still had a long season ahead of us.  Good for you Kyle!

We came home empty handed, but we still built some fine memories between Papa and grandson!  As an epilogue to this post when I went to retrieve my pop-up from the other spot there had been a six point buck walk by my camera that morning about 7:30.  That’s how it goes, and like Kyle said “We have a long season!”



Large Smallmouth Equals Large Smiles!

September 19th, 2017

My son-in-law Glen Pafford is a fishing fanatic.  every chance he gets he has a line in the water somewhere.  glen is a carpet store owner and does most of his installations by himself, so his fishing time is limited.  He has a 14 foot aluminum boat at my cabin and I have a 50 pound thrust electric trolling motor that he uses.  His son kyle is his fishing buddy and they are quite competitive when it comes to “Who caught the biggest, who caught the most!

Glen has a couple spots around my place he likes to fish, when at the cabin, but one spot in particular seems to keep him coming back for more.  He would not want me to divulge the name of the lake, so we’ll just keep quite about that.  On numerous occasions all of us have fished from the shore of this lake and caught rock bass, perch, and sunfish, but never a true lunker!

This past weekend Glen finally reeled in a very respectable smallmouth while fishing for perch.  He was actually reeling in a hook with a minnow attached when the “smallie” attacked!  Glen set the hook and the fight was on! Kyle manned the net and did a great job of getting the prize into the boat. twenty inch 4-5 pound smallmouth are not real common as far as I know.  At least I’ve never caught one that big!

It just goes to show you that persistence does indeed have it’s rewards!

Take a Kid Fishing and You’ll get a Reward

September 9th, 2017

Last weekend I had three of my grandson’s and one of their buddies up north at the cabin.  My son-in-law Glen has a small boat and always takes his boy Kyle fishing when their in camp.

On the first day we arrived Glen went to McCormick Lake and He and Kyle caught about 10 small perch!  well that really interested the boys, so I made up some poles for us to tag along on the following day.  Glen and Kyle still used the boat, but I stayed on shore with the boys.  Mccormick Lake is crystal clear and know to have some huge brown trout inhabiting its deep waters.  There is a special knack in catching these fish, one that I don’t possess, so we were after the rock bass, perch, and yellow bellies that stay in the shallows.

Grandson Jacob used lures and small shiners while I hooked up Brady and Drew with the old fashioned favorite “worms!” Eight year old Brady was the first to land a fish and his smile he couldn’t contain.  He ran it over to show his mom and dad and continued to do so after every rock bass he caught.  Drew reeled in a young smallmouth and then caught a sunfish while Jacob was having no luck.  I even caught a few when Brady was showing off his catch.  Those rock bass give quite a fight and are tons of fun to catch.

About two hours in we ran out of worms and decided to call it quits, but as yet Jacob was empty handed.  I was about 50 feet away from him and saw my bobber go under fast.  I yelled to Jacob to come grab the pole before this “monster” got away. Much to his delight he landed the biggest rock bass of the day.

The reward for me was seeing these boys enjoying the great outdoors.  No phones, I pads, or texting going on, just miles and miles of heartfelt smiles.  Memories they’ll share of the “biggest” (Jacob) – “the most” (Brady) – and “the biggest variety” (Drew) will last for many years to come.  That’s my reward and I’m sticking to it!

And by the way Kyle and his dad caught 10 more perch to add to their “fish fry!”


Michigan Youth Hunt and Bear Season are Upon Us!

September 5th, 2017

Just returned from the north woods and I think things are looking pretty good for the September 16,17 early deer hunt!  Seen more deer this summer than I have in the last several years.  there are at least 4 different young bucks hanging around my place with a nice little basket rack 8 pointer just waiting for my 12 year old grandson to “pop” him!  Still seeing fawns with spots and the does look nice and healthy.

Although there is not a fall turkey season around my place, next spring should be a bonanza, as turkey are all over the place!

Bear opener is just a few days away (Sept. 10th) and five of the Ansel clan drew a third hunt permit.  We hunt private property in the Marquette area and bear have been meandering right through the Baldwins camp where we have hunted for over 40 years. The Department of Natural Resources has stated that there has been a record number of bear nuisance complaints this year.  Seems the bear population has increased in both the Lower and Upper Peninsula, which is a boon for the bear hunters.

My place is in the Red Oak bear unit, but the chances of drawing a permit for it are “nil!” It wood probably take me 6-7 years before I could possibly draw one for Red Oak!  I have seen numerous bear on my property and just this last weekend found a pile of bear scat 12 feet from my deer blind.  I’m to old to wait that long and old friendships are hard to lay aside.  We always have a great time with Dick, Gary, Gregg, Paula, Matt, and now the grandkids Hunter, Jack, Ryan, and Dylan!  Looking forward to some “brookie” dinners and possibly some fresh bear backstraps!


Long Weekend With Friends At The Cabin!

August 21st, 2017

Just returned from a long weekend at the cabin.  My wife and I took two ladies from our church up to experience the wonder of the area.  Friday the three girls shopped and visited the Amish Bulk House along with a store we call the Amish Wal-Mart! They also visited a Christian book store in Fairview.  I stayed at the cabin cut grass and moved part of the popple tree that was cut down two weeks ago.  Spread some dirt around and did just a small amount of work on the new cabin.  I had set a live trap for a “Porky” that’s been chewing on my new cabin and ended up catching a feral cat!

We have three turkey hens that hang out around the cabin and one of them hatched 12 chicks and one hatched 7 chicks.  The third one never had any young ones.  Well when we arrived and got settled in we found that the hen with 12 young now had 7, and the hen with 7 now had six.  Foxes, Coyotes, and I’m thinking feral cats have been feasting on these young birds.  They can fly but have to constantly be on the lookout for predators!

Saturday we went to the AuSable Valley Railroad and road the train with our guest.  Winnie Webb’s deceased husband Gary used to work for the railroad so she was enthralled by the events of the day.  After the ride we went to Cedar Valley Golf and Amusement Park and played 18 holes of putt-putt golf.  The Amusement Park has tons of rides, arcades, carnival food, and batting cages.  If your not into amusement parks but like to golf the course is one of the finest in the area.  I play it every chance I get.

Late afternoon we headed for the Lewiston Lodge for a great dinner by East Twin Lake.  We capped the night off with an ice cream cone as we met up with old friends Ed and Pat Alger, who have a place in Lewiston.

Great friends, great fellowship, and an agreement to do it again in the future.  We love it in God’s country!


Basement Family Room Repairs

August 10th, 2017

Six weeks ago our basement flooded during a rainstorm the dumped 3 inches of rain in our area. Panelling, dry wall, carpeting, furniture, and anything on the floor was water logged!  We had insurance, but not enough to cover the help I needed from the various “trades” needed to renovate my “man cave!” The only way to tackle this problem was to “do it myself!”  My son-in-law ripped up the carpet, and I had help getting the furniture up into the garage, but I’ve been on my own since!

I ordered a load of tongue and groove pre stained siding in 1″ x 6″ and have been pecking away at installation.  It’s the same wood I’m using on my cabin in Luzerne.  I eliminated a closet and put a recessed shelve in it’s place.  New insulation, vapor barrier, and drywall had to be installed first.  Many trips up and down the steps has my “new” hip hurting, among other muscle aches and pains, but last evening I put up the final piece of panelling.  I still have trim work to do, but now I can start moving my mounts back on the walls and out of my wife’s laundry room! she will appreciate that I’m sure!

Carpet and furniture are next.  Actually we are thinking about some vinyl plank flooring that would not get ruined if we ever flood again?  I’ll be glad to get my room back.  It may come in handy if North Korea starts the “beginning of the end!” My Kingdom is not of this world as I realise all things in this life are temporary at best, and my hope rest in the promise of Jesus to “Never leave of forsake me!”