Tuesday, October 26, 2010

October Family Trip Roundup!

Well… We're back!

From last Wednesday to Sunday, my family and I spent time in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan for our family October hunting adventure. We stayed at our cabin in Crystal Falls.

The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny… almost too nice really. We had some great weather for some camp fires!

We set up camp, unpacked and set out to check out our hunting spot. Kelly picked out a hill we know as Teepee Hill. There used to be an old teepee style blind on the top from years ago, hence the name.

With her help, we set up our Ameristep Doghouse blind. As I'm writing this, I think we will change the name now to Doghouse Hill. It seems to fit better since we are putting a doghouse blind on the top of it!

Back around the cabin, we did some much needed work. We cut grass on the trail and around the cabin. We finished up in time to head out for the evening hunt.

Each time out in the field, Kelly and I sprayed down with our Dead Downwind Evolve Scent Prevent™ field spray.

We set out on Thursday evening to sit for a bit and we had a doe come in, but she was not able to get a shot due to a bad angle of the deer. It was a good start though.

On Friday, we set out and the moon was bright and full which made it seem pretty close to day light out in the woods. It was clear and cool as we sat in the blind and had a few deer come in again. All does with a button buck but no shots in both the morning and evening hunts, but I knew we had a good chance for Saturday morning.

In the mid-afternoon, Erica and I walk through a couple of our 40 acre land chunks and we did not see or hear anything. No deer .No squirrels. Nothing. Kind of like a dead zone. Now I am pretty sure the weather had something to do with it but it was fun to be out there. We also had the 4-wheelers to ride around on, which is always fun to do!

Saturday started out nice, cool and calm. We did see 3 turkeys as they flew down off the roost and we watched as the 3 jakes made their way past us and up the hill. Not but 5 minutes later, movement and a loner doe came walking in slow and making her way to the bait we had put out ( in the upper peninsula you can still bait). With her mind on the food, she walked in broad side for Kelly. She pulled back and released right over the back of the doe! She took off but she made a semi circle around and walked back in, giving Kelly a second chance. This time she aimed lower but as she let go, the deer dropped and her hit was high and towards the back. The doe took off running and we watched. We both knew the hit was a tough one, so we packed our stuff up, let her go and went back to camp to give the doe time to lie down.

As we arrived back at camp, Deb and Erica we waiting and we filled them in on the events. The plan was to eat breakfast and let the doe go for a bit before tracking her. This was going to be a family affair of tracking. As we finished up breakfast, we got ready and Kelly noticed a rabbit sitting in the yard and Erica (aka P.J) had a small game license. So, I loaded the .22 rifle and we snuck out onto the porch and we could still see the rabbit. Erica aimed and fired and with a "BANG", she took her first harvest of her hunting career. As her nickname would have it, she still had her PJ's on when she shoot it. Not bad I would say.

Erica with her first Rabbit!

After the congratulations, we headed back out into the field and picked up tracking the doe. Giving her about a 2 hour start, we picked up some spots of blood. Within a bit of that, we picked up her broken arrow with the fletching and notice the mostly fat with some blood on the end. As we continued tracking, we worked together, spot by spot, Kelly leading the way. Then, we found the second half of the arrow with the broad head. After the 4 hours of tracking and running out of a blood trail, we had to make the call to let her go and give up but, not for the lack of a family effort to find her.

We got back out for the evening hunt and again Kelly was ready. We had 2 does come in but just not in range and they walked right on by and off they went. Then the rain started and we called it a hunt.

Sunday we packed up the truck and we headed back home. We got home, unpacked and started to unwind from a great trip.

As I look back now, as to how some events unfolded in a strange way, it was really cool to know that hunting comes in different types and fashions. Whether you're deep in the woods or just right out your door, it can be your first kill as a hunter or a first loss as a hunter. You can be in all camouflage or in your PJ'S; it is why they call it hunting.

So, there you have it, our family hunting outing from the UP of Michigan. It was great family time that was well spent in the outdoors.

Remember, when you are in the outdoors, "Aim Small, Miss Small".

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Here we are. It's the end of September and starting of Michigan bow season. Are you ready?

Before we go out, let's take a minute or two and look at the date. Oct 1st, or for that matter, the month of October, is upon us. Not only is it a hunting season month but a month of awareness; Breast Cancer Awareness month to be exact.

So let's take a moment to remind our loved ones that they should be aware of this ugly cancer. Not only be aware but be supportive and you can help in fighting this.

12 years ago this November, I lost my mom to her fight against the wicked disease and at only 62; the time just before she could retire and enjoy her "golden years". Besides losing a mom, she was a grandmother that will never see her grandkids grow up and graduate. My kids will never be able to get to know grandma "D".

They say time heals? Well to me, it makes it worse knowing more and more things that my mom will miss out not being around with my kids to enjoy them.

October means so much more to me then a hunting season. It is the month I look at my arrows and think of my mom. I now hunt with the "pink arrows" from Victory Archery for a great cause to help and fight against.

I think a good start would be that archers should have at least one pink arrow in there quiver to start and show the rest of the world that we care and are aware.

So take the time to ask your loved ones if they are aware and have been or need to be checked for it. It might take a few minutes out of your day but going and getting checked makes the reward outweigh the risk!

Let's be serious. This is not only a woman's thing. Men can get it too. A few years back, I myself discovered a lump and if you want to talk about getting scared out of your whits, that is an understatement! I went to my doctor and had it removed and checked. Lucky it was nothing more than tissue build up that knotted up. Until then, every scenario went through my mind as to what it could be. This all happened right in the middle of my mom's battle.

So to all the men and woman out there, being aware is what it is all about!

So please keep in mind, as the month of October goes by, show your support by wearing or sporting something pink. I do!

This is awareness month, but do not let it stop you from, also, thinking about this the other 11 months out of the year.

I dedicate this column to my mom who I miss every day!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Before you know it!

Here we are, in the middle of August. Temperatures are in the upper 80's to 90's, the sun high in the sky and we are staring right down the barrel of the fall hunting season fast approaching. Can it get any better than that?

It actually all started for me a couple weeks back, when I was attending the Archery Classic at Cabela's, doing some work for Mossy Oak. Seeing the Camo patterns and all the clothing and walking through the archery department, it began to flow into me.

This last weekend, I was at Bass Pro Shop for their hunting classic, also there for Mossy Oak. There were people wandering through with their list of what to get for first time hunters and veteran hunters replacing old camo with new. It, again, raised the thought of the upcoming season.

If that was not enough, the weekend of August 21 & 22, I will be back at Cabela's for Mossy Oak and the Waterfowl Classic.

All of you out there in the Holly, Mi area, just to add to the hype of the upcoming bow season, Spot Shooters Archery is having their own 4th annual Bowfest on August28th with a 3D shoot. Stop by and join in the fun (see flyer below).

Can you feel the hunting fever starting to run through your body, as the thoughts of being out in a blind or up in a tree stand, waiting for that exact moment of truth when your game steps out and offers you a shot? From the blast of the gun to the thwack of an arrow, you play it over and over in your head of what will happen.

Here in Michigan, in just under 3 weeks, the season kicks off. Starting with waterfowl on September 1st and then we have youth hunts, small game, early deer, bear, Turkey and elk, also in the month of September.

You better get out and practice. Whether it is with a bow, a gun, a crossbow, or a sling shot for that matter, you should be ready because the season will be here before you know it!

Shooting Pink Victory arrows
in Honor of my mom!

Also, make it a point to get your hunting list ready and filled. You would not want to be caught short handed out in the field because you forgot something on your list.

Please, think safety first and foremost. Whether it is checking your equipment and making sure it is in working order to getting a new harness and checking on those deer stands and blinds. Make safety #1 and let's return home from our hunts safe and sound!

Remember, when you're in the outdoors, as I always say "Aim Small Miss Small".

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wind, Waves and Fish!

It was Friday 2:30 and I was off of work. I made a stop at home, then with the fishing pole and tackle box in the truck, I was tooling down the highway to my cousins' house.

I arrived at 4:30 after fighting with the construction and all the orange barrels (which is a season all its self here in Michigan).

I threw my stuff in the boat and off we were. We stopped at the bait store for some worms and went next door to the party store for dinner, consisting of pizza and pop. Finally, we went to the boat launch, where we set out onto Lake St Clair.

Now, for all the dry days we have had here in Michigan and the weather man guessing wrong on all the rain possibilities, it's just our luck rain clouds and windy conditions met us as we set out. But not matter what, we were going fishing!

We headed out of metro beach and aimed for a area close to the shipping channel. Getting there was not too bad but we had 3 -5 foot waves.

Our first set up was trolling for musky.

Trolling at between 4 – 5 mph, we had our lure in the water dancing away. As we trolled, on we spotted a few other boats that were also going after those big predators of the lake. Within few minutes, we had a strike but no fish on but still giving us hope. As we continued trolling around the area, we saw another one of our Family Members; Eli Berant of Great Lakes Fly.


For fly fishing in that wind, I give him credit.

After a bit of trolling and no luck, we changed our tactic to drifting.

We were drifting with crawler harnesses. With the waves rolling and wind blowing, we had no problem getting action with our harnesses. The perch were hitting but they were on the small size, to say the least. No keepers out of them and then, as a comment was made about the harness not being on bottom due to the wind being so strong (famous last words of course)…

Bam! A strike and our first walleye was on the line. With Bryan reeling him in, we needed the net and as Bryan worked him in… Bam! I get a hit and I have one on as well. Now with all the commotion, the worms went flying all over the boat and the net got snagged on the fire extinguisher. It was pretty chaotic but funny, so we landed them both with no net. We had an 18 and 17 inch walleye in the boat!

Dan's Keeper

As we drifted further, Bryan had another one on and was it giving him a fight and pole bent trying to pull him in. This time I had the net ready, and to our surprise, it was a catfish! With the line wrapped around his fin, he put up a fight, so we landed him but we threw him back in.

After some more small perch, Bryan had another strike that was short lived. He set the hook and within a second of that action, the fish snapped the whole line, giving us the impression that a musky must have been on. But if you're not set up with the right tackle it is short lived, like we were, it was gone.

Now, as the weather was windy there was rain! Did the weather man say rain? No. But sure enough a 5 minute shower showed up!

Bryan had another walleye hit and this time again, I had the net ready and we landed him perfectly. A nice 16 inch eater as well!

Our keepers for the night!

As I mentioned, we headed off to the shipping channel. By now, we had a few freighters go by and are those some big boats. Good thing we had of plenty distance between us and them.

We made our way back to a spot and drifted again. With darkness approaching and a big wave ride home, we headed in. This ride was interesting to say the least. With the waves pounding away on the boat, it also threw up water like you would not believe! We got soaked! Water, wave, water, wave and as we did, we did have a great view of the sunset. What a ride but you know what?

A sunset on Lake St Ckair!

It was a blast just being out there in the outdoors!

We made our way back to the dock and getting there at dark was perfect timing.

We headed back to Bryan's house, cleaned some fish and called it a day!

And hope we can do it again soon.

Thanks to my cousin Bryan and his boat for getting us out on the water and a few fish to boot was not too bad!

and remember when your in the outdoors as i always say "Aim Small Miss Small"

Monday, July 26, 2010

The New Bow Setup!

The New PSE Vendetta XS in black finally arrived (http://www.psearchery.com/). A few days later, my new XR 2 sight also in black, and a Meta Peep from G5 arrived too (http://www.g5outdoors.com/). Now, all I needed was a rest.

Father's day arrived and I was given a new Tri-Van drop away rest and there I had all the major components. I then was off to Spot shooters Archery (http://www.spotshootersarchery.com/) and there, Jim Beasley would be there to help set it all up. I arrived on Saturday morning with all my new goodies in hand and he got right into setting it up.

First, the G5 sight then the Tri-van rest and finally a loop was added. It was amazing to me to see how easy it was to change the draw length on the PSE; just 3 screws and done!

Now, for the new G5 Meta peep and drop away. He put those on and had me draw back. The peep was right on so he tied it and completed it after a few more shots. He had the drop away working to perfection and tied it in. As Jim did all this, he was explaining everything and if I had question he had answers that were simple and easy to understand.

The New Sight,Rest and peep!

I spent about 2 hours with Jim at his archery shop and he did a great job setting me up. I am now ready to shoot and the next day I did. I love that PSE. It feels good in the hand, smooth, and quiet. The last piece I might add is a stabilizer but I'm not sure yet.

As far as the new G5 XR 2 site, it was a breeze to set up. After few shots , I was where I wanted to be for the first few times out.

The final piece of the puzzle was my arrows. I shoot victory arrows (http://www.victoryarchery.com/ ) and with my new bow, my arrows were too long. We measured them and had to cut 2 inches of the arrow.

Now the practice begins with the new rig all set up. I can't wait for October 1st to arrive and archery season here in Michigan to begin.

A big thank you goes out to PSE and G5.

I want to also thank Jim Beasley and Spot Shooters Archery in Holly, Michigan for taking the time to set me up!

The New Hunting Rig!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Out on the water!

Me and the Family Out on the Water!

I was finally able to get out on the water and into the boat and enjoy the great day of weather we had.

I hooked up the boat and we headed out. By noon, we were cruising around the lake and getting the motor out of it winter slumber .It was nice after a few laps around the lake. We headed to our fishing spot and we set anchor to sit back and do some fishing!

With worms on the hook, Kelly and Erica tossed there lines out. We were officially fishing for the first time in summer 2010.

I know I'm not going to be catching the whoppers but if we do that, it's a bonus mostly. I'm out there to enjoy the day with the family and watch them catch the fish.

Deb also was casting away too. With the kid's lines in the water, the fun began. Sure enough the bobbers were dancing up and down and they were biting away.

The weather was ideal for getting some sun and catching some fish out on the water. What a day!
After a few hours, we went through our tub of worms and we were even cutting them up to make them last longer. Then, we pulled up the anchor and we called it a day.

Before going in, we took a lap around the lake and then we headed in. With the boat on trailer, it was over.

I do have to say, it was a great family day on the water!

They Were not big ones but fun ones!

Kelly Enjoying the Boat and Sun!

Erica in the sun Having her picture taken!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Turkey Wrap!

It's a wrap! The Turkey season for me and the rest of Michigan is now in the books!

I think I would call it a success based on a few different aspects of the hunting season. Going back a week or so ago, over what happen on that Saturday. My cousin Bryan and I headed out nice and early, settling in with a nice warm morning. The mosquitoes were out and about but we managed and we started calling at first light. We got one gobble and he sounded like he was back at the truck! After a few hours, we got nothing to come in and decided to move out for some breakfast. We started our walk out and we checked a field and sure enough, we see heads running the other way! Darn it! They got held up about 75 yards away and never came closer.

We then headed out and re-grouped for an afternoon hunt. With temps into the 70's, it was going to be a warm one out there. We set up our new spot and settled in and starting calling. Within 5 minutes, we had a gobbler talking back to us. He was, unfortunately, behind us in the woods across the field, so we shifted around and starting working him. It took all of an hour but he worked his way out into the field and walked towards us. He got to about 40 yards and stayed there and walked right by us down the middle of the field. He was just out of Bryan's range and we watched him walk by.

It was an exciting event to call him in and was worth the day's hunt. So we left feeling like we got one just not with the gun.

The evening hunt was another adventure. This time, I was sitting with my two daughters. The way we set up was me sitting with Erica and Kelly sitting a few feet away doing the calling. We set up and she started.

Within a few minutes she heard something behind her and when Kelly turned to see what it was, she saw the head of a gobbler and he called, too. Kelly responded for the next 45 minutes. They talked back and forth. He sounded as if wanted to come out but he never did. We figured he just walked the other way and again, we called it a success, seeing Kelly called in another bird but we just did not connect.

The following day Erica and I were out during the day and nothing happened. We set up for the evening hunt and no sooner than when we sat down, a Hen goes off across the field. We look at each other like "what the heck "! A few minutes later, we looked up to see a hen flying down the middle of the field into the woods. That would be the only thing we saw for the evening.

On Thursday evening we set out again. Erica, Kelly and I, we set up and we forgot the Thermacell. OOPS! Big OOPS! We lasted 5 minutes before we ran out of the woods and back to the house to get it. Then we returned and had it cranked up and it was all good now, but the night would end with nothing. That would be the last couple times we got out for the season.

We had a great time and I loved spending the time with my two girls. Seeing them in the field hunting brought a smile to my face

As for the season as a whole, I think it was a good one and can't wait for next year to see what happens. From calling in a bird to having the girls out there with me and sharing, with family, the turkey hunting season in this Great Lake State of Michigan!