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I’m Gonna Say It!

I really don’t like saying it. I usually frown at people that say it. It’s to early to think it. I want Spring to come around. We have plenty of winter left and I have many hobbies that use winter. I haven’t even pulled my skis out to ski or wax. I’ve taken some beautiful Fatbike rides with friends and by myself.CkS6%xDJTJyY0vexfd9lzQ

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I have taken some hikes to clear the North Country Trail. I really enjoy clearing downed trees. Been doing it for some time up at my uncles. I have been refurbishing some axes, getting ready for the hunting season.%hxEghRPQ2+cVUIsLJPOIg

You can say I really like to play in the wilderness. I am not ashamed for it, I truly love being outdoors. Do I think I am cool doing it? Yes! I don’t care who sees me, I am just down with it.

So I love the winter, actually prefer the cooler weather because of no bugs, air is cleaner. But I want Springtime to come fast. Fast enough for me to get prepared. Prepared for, you ask? I have finally applied for my first Michigan Spring Turkey hunt. Last fall I looked into it for thanksgiving. I found a few private lands that I had permission to hunt but wasn’t ready or didn’t know enough. I have seen plenty of turkeys in the woods while hunting. I’ve played with them in my neighborhood. Never went after them. I have contacted a friend that I believe has years of experience hunting for turkey and other flying birds. The area I applied for doesn’t offer many tags. I am not sure why because I see turkey all the time up there. If I don’t get one I am sure I can hook up with a local land owner and grab a left over tag for a turkey hunt around Lowell. My fingers are crossed and I am so excited.

Last week I had learned that my uncle is selling the property and it was a hard blow to my heart. I don’t bring enough home to purchase it. It is most likely going to a friend of his and he said most likely I will be able to still hunt there. Thats all fine and dandy but I had some cool plans for the property in these following years. I had been drawing cabins, sharpening axes, and gathering hand tools for the possibility of building a small cabin for some good ol fashion living.3VkR1BPkTC2GTYUYvdoO6A

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As my father was telling me my uncle is selling the property I nearly started to tear up. My past time that created some great memories was coming to a end. My mind was creating new future memories for I and my children. I was even thinking of my kids having kids go up there and passing the Bentley way of nature. You could say I failed on securing it for those thoughts because my uncle was not going to live for ever. It was up to me to be able to provide enough for that chunk of land to be in the Bentley hands for future Bentley’s. All I have to do now is get every inch of that land used up until it is sold. My goal is to hunt for everything that I can and make it the best time left. Make it count!

February I will be heading to the property and gathering a old SD card and locating all cameras to the spot that I will put some work into it and make it a great spot. My goal is to create natural feeding spots, I’ve hunted feed spots to many times and want it more natural. This season will be fantastic!

A side note, I never think I write properly. I write to slow for my mind, so if you read this blog and think I am a dumbass? You are right in the English department! I failed English all of the time but love getting my thoughts on paper.

Quick note, I switched my thoughts on fishing for Steelhead. I broke down and bought a spinning reel. I have been fly fishing for years and love it. I want more steelhead in my freezer. Drifting or float style gives more chances than my usual swinging for steelies. It’s learning process and thats what I enjoy. So springtime has me itching and can’t come any faster.

Ted

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Featured

Love Nature

I chose to skip on Hunting this week and take my kids and girlfriend to the hunting property. I was a short trip up there to grab 2 weeks of trail cam photos and my ground blind. We rolled into my fathers Saturday afternoon and quickly headed up to the property to have some daylight. It has been snowing all last week here in Kent County and hoping the same for the east side of the state. The task for the weekend was to grab the blind and show the kids the property, then go to a Christmas party on Sunday down by flint.

When we arrived I put the kids in some winter gear and we grabbed some fire wood for a little fire. I grabbed 2 bags of corn and a sled to get out in the woods. Andrea my girlfriend came with me and it was a blast just showing her around. I’ve been going there since I was 10 and it means a ton to me to share it with my family. As Andrea and I walked checking out different footprints in the snow and I pointed out different features.  I noticed a few different trees had fallen across the lane, more work for me in the spring. I drop the bags of corn at a spot that I planned on moving the trail cam to. I noticed my ground blind had a collapsed roof from about 4-6 inches of snow. We quickly broke down the blind and cleaned up the area. Loaded it on the sled to swing around and grab the trail cam data card. As I reached it I noticed some fresh marks and pee at the buck scrap. that gave me some hope that the rut was still happening and a buck or 2 made thru the hunting season. I was wondering did we scare off the deer or was it earlier? turned out it was around 1pm that 2 bucks were at the scrap. We were there about 4pm, just enough light to get in and out. Andrea n I headed back with the sled full of gear and I couldn’t wait to see what was on the data card. Kids met us half way back and they had a fire going, papa started of course. We sat at the truck eating some snacks and I was getting the computer ready for a show. I had about 116 pics on it.1300:121617:22F:0000:CAMERA1:7E[145:0061]G[008:0x0006]

this one hit the spot after a little bigger buck did. A funky little spike. I don’t think I saw this one during hunting.

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A little bigger and maybe older than the other one. I don’t know for sure but one of the guys shot at a 4pt and missed during rifle season. So this one has 4pts on it but onside is a spike, other has a fork and little spike off its forehead. I have photos of him peeing at the spot just before this shot. damn I love nature and being able to capture it!2213:121117:20F:0000:CAMERA1:6E[084:0868]G[056:0x0076]

A nice doe wondering around in the snow.

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before the snow and a cute doe and fawn playing at night.

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I will never know why it is running thru the night.

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I am assuming the buck is stopping it’s feet at something if you notice the both pics. a good little spike that will be bigger the years to come.

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Calling her little piggy. She wonders up to the camera for a sniff.

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Maybe I left to much human scent on the camera?

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This pic is from me leaving on the last weekend I hunted, im just off the side walking away. This scrap has been used for more than 30 years on the same tree. The scrap rotates around from different years but always under this tree. My uncle has had a tree blind to the right on the photo for more than 30 years. My father and I have fixed the tree blind and now its used by another hunter because I quit going up for the last 7 years. I am back with more knowledge and patience. I plan on hunting in a different area so others can use this spot. Actually the tree stand is directly behind the tree to the left of its trunk. the little mounds are the property line that the new owner of that property put in about 10 years ago.

I am going to leave the camera here at this spot for 6 months and retrieve it in the spring. plan on getting. Few more and place them around the area I am going to work for the next couple of years unless it proves me to try a different spot. I have some major plans and hope I get the time to put them in place. Really looking forward to next year hunting season.

Fall is Coming!

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The Salsa Blackborow has been pulled out of the garage for a scouting ride. I have had a great summer playing with the kids and working hard at the shop. Hunting season is just right around the corner and I am so excited!

I keep asking my kids, if and when do they want to go hunting? My son has said yes for sure, daughter said no. A drive to work one day this past week. A epiphany hit, and started to think. Has my son really thought what was hunting all about? He is a picky eater and I am sure he wont want to try squirrel? The first animal most likely he will be getting after this fall to get some experience. As I type this I look back to my first fall days of hunting with my father and uncle. I carried around a Ruger 10/22 with a banana clip or my uncles 410. I was afraid of big loud guns. To this day I just shoot a 270. Out in the woods we came up on a porcupine trying to get away from us. My uncle said we have to give it a sporting chance before shooting. No shooting animals in trees or sleeping. I am sure we were not going to eat it. Just wanted to give me the first chance of killing an animal to see and feel what it does to a human. A young teenager I have shot many birds and squirrels and didn’t eat all of them.

So back to my son on the question of, If you shoot it, will you eat it? I picked him up from school and was heading to his sisters school. I started the conversation of, dude hunting season is coming up. He said really? I really want to go with you. I replied its going to be great! Then I said. You know if you shoot a squirrel that you have to eat it? I instantly saw a the look on his face of, I did not think about that? I said you know hunting is just not all about killing animals. It’s a lot more! I told him we can go and he has to try the squirrels and we will prepare many different ways to find the way he likes. Trying not to be too hard but want him to understand what hunting is. Well I am super excited to get him out in the woods figuring out how to shoot and testing his human skills on feeding his belly. I have been wanting to try squirrel hot wings. Grill up some squirrel and toss them into a bucket of wing sauce.

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The Salsa and I have been getting along for years now and I kind of think it’s time for the new Salsa BlackBorow? Plan on really working the bike and hunting this year. The Flat River State Game area is right down the road from and its a easy bike ride to it. Scouting is on my brain. Trying to see just where it will give me that chance for a deer. I still see my uncles for first week of gun season. October is a busy month so I am not sure I will get many chances for that. Still shooting my bow for that practice. Today need to glue on some new fletches. All mine are old.

I am going to cut this post short and go for a wonderful fall ride in the game area.

more pics coming soon

Life picked up a little

I have been putting off on adding something here. Life changed in a great way. First big one and adds to the fun and stress. We bought a house and love the change. Got a place on the Flat River in Belding. Added some time to my drive to work. Today actually had to take car in for new struts. Really don’t want to spend money on the car.

I have been fishing and it started off slow. Don’t know why? My idea was fish were spawning up stream at the dam. Or fish were still in there winter spots. All guesses, but a few years will tell me exactly what and why. Finally got into some big smallmouths.

Hope to get after them some more in a day or so. Been tying some more.

Bad hair day was my go to fly for years. First few trips to the river I passed on them. I started using them again and it works again.

Gonna cut it short with some photos of what will be my fly studio.

Clear Your Mind By Getting Lost

Most of us have jobs. Most of us have a family to provide for and need attention. Many of us still need to Get out and Get Lost. I watch and read certain blogs, youtube channels and Netflix for my adventure fix at home. It’s not enough. But it cost money and time, time is money. I have spoke at a few events about winter and summer overnight Bikepacking. One thing I really try to get across is that anyone is capable of this with a family or on a budget. Most of my trips are small, one overnight. Kiss my girlfriend goodnight and head out for 6-10 miles on my bike and find a spot to sleep. I usually have a campfire and eat a snack then get in my sleeping bag. I wake up start cooking breakfast or coffee and pack at the same time. I roll out and head home. You don’t have to do this major 2-3night trip to have fun and get a little adventure. I pack the same gear for a quick local overnight as I would pack for a week trip. Less food obviously. Gives you a great chance to get acquainted with your gear. If something fails to were you have to leave then you are not far from home or a vehicle. With doing small trips you get the confidence of a animal and feel you are capable of bigger trips.

I use this same approach with hunting and fishing. Living in Michigan I have a body of water not far. Pack your bike with some fishing gear and go for a few hours fishing. You don’t need a guide to get fish. Ask a buddy where would be a good spot to get your feet wet? A good chance a buddy will not give you the spot. That pisses me off majorly! I do have a river across the street from where I live (The Flat River). I did some research on what is in that river. I saw fishermen down there, and worked the fishing hard for 2 years. I would come home from work and have dinner with my girlfriend. Then head out for a 2 hour fishing adventure. I have a tough time deciding to go up north fishing because I have a river so close that I can do quick fishing trips. It’s tough to swallow catching no fish after spending a bunch of money for the trip. I still catch no fish sometimes but I just walk across the street and hang dry my waders for the next day. So don’t limit yourself to big expensive trips. Take all chances you can get to clear the mind with a mini adventure.

Don’t go out and get a job as a lumberjack. Go out and help clear a local trail. It is easy to find a local club that loves new volunteers for help maintaining a trail. Take your time and you might get to use a saw. Take a class and become certified as a chain saw guy. People will call you just for your skills to help clear trail. I have a local Trail here in town called The North Country Trail. So on Sundays I takes little walks along the trail and sometimes bring a axe and hand saw. It’s a great workout and lets you play with some fun adult toys. But remember to be safe and contact the local chapter of the trail for info on helping.

So what I am getting at is we all need some nature. We all need to get back to what our ancestors went thru before the city life. Everyone has a piece of nature close that we can use frequently. So Go Out and Get Lost!

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This pick is from today. It was a quick fishing for steelhead on a cold day. Getting my feet wet with using a spin rod and egg sacks. Now I am on to picking the kids up at school.

Muzzleloader season

After I got home from my time off for rifle season I thought I was done? My blind was packed and was thinking of next year. I was bummed and thought I had 3 empty tags from 2017 season. After a couple of days passed I’m reading Michigan hunters guide and quickly figured out I had some time still. I own a muzzleloader that I don’t use often. I have a private anterless deer tag. I still have chances. I still might get a deer. My time is not up! I put the dates that worked with my schedule and BOOM! 2 more chances for meat. 2 weeks had past and rifle season came to a end and muzzleloader season began. December 2nd came fast and I was on my way. Instead of stopping for the night before at my fathers I just drove to camp. Setup camp in the dark, didn’t want to go out and put my blind up. I was unclear where I wanted to hunt? We have plenty of tree stands up but 3 of them are in spots that I believe are not traveled by deer. I wake up the next morning and decide to stay out and decide where the ground blind was going to be set. I had a great breakfast of eggs and walleye. Get my gear set and head out to find the perfect spot for the next couple of days. A spot that I believe will work, if deer are still recovering from rifle season. I set it up and make sure I use plenty of twigs and branches to hide the blind good as possible. I setup a trail cam about 50 yards away overlooking a trail I was hunting. I pour some acorn thick sludge crap for a attractant that just might take the deers mind off my blind. I get back to camp for a big lunch and load up for the night hunt, prepared to sit all day till dark. I know the acorn attractant won’t be effective till later days but hoping it helps. I sit and sit till the night with no sight of deer. Lots of squirrels and others such and birds. After another wonderful walleye dinner and reading a book on steelhead I hunkered down for the night, my friend called. He said his boy and him were heading up for some chats around the fire.

He got in camp around 10 and we quickly got a fire roaring and just talked. His son asked if we always talk? I said yes because we haven’t saw each other in a year or so. And I also said even growing up we chatted for hours. The moon was spectacular and kept us staring for hours.

I called some coyotes to let his son hear them and forgot about him possibly getting scared. We ended up staying up until 430am and just had a blast of a time. I told them I would skip the morning hunt to make a killer breakfast with eggs and walleye. We would take a hike off into the woods to teach him about the back forty. We loaded up some gear and went out after shooting the ruger 10-22. We pulled the trail cam card to see if any critters were around. I am really hoping to capture the coyotes on film.

The trail cam gave me my first view of any does in the area. This year I have only seen bucks or spikes. After the afternoon hike we parted ways and it was time to get back to the prize. Hit the woods about 230pm and just sat with nothing happening. It was getting depressing and it was starting to hurt. The trail cam shots gave me hope but nothing. I had the morning to look forward too. I had some hope. I had to believe I was going to get my chance. I ate dinner and just wanted to get to bed for the morning. Morning came and I slowly rose from my tent and sleeping bag. I gathered my stuff just going thru the motions of hunting but thinking of getting home to my family. I’ve put so much pressure on myself this year. I haven’t hunted in years and expecting to have meat in the freezer. I get the blind and it’s a little lighter out than I would’ve liked but hey I am looking at the drive home. No deer happened to come around. I gathered my sd card from trail cam and moved it to a buck scrap that has been there for more than 30 years. I say that because I have been hunting this land for 30 years and my uncle showed me the scrap when I was little. It’s close to my ground blind right now. In 2 weeks I will be back up for hunting this area for anterless late season. I’ve already am deciding on where to hunt next year and acquire about 3 more trail cams to keep a eye out for signs of making the right choice.

Next hunt is in 2 weeks.

Michigan Rifle Opener Report

Michigan deer season opener was a wonderful time. Car was packed and ready to go right after work and a meeting. I raced out of there to head for my fathers. I landed at his place about 11pm. We quickly said our hellos and I hit the sack for some ZZZZ’s. We went out for breakfast and I headed my way. I landed at Franks around noon and searched for some items. I purchased a Ruger 10-22 that is for my children but I sure love shooting one. I made my way to the grocery store in Standish and got the food that would last me until I gotta deer. I made my way to the property and setup camp and headed to find my hunting spot.IMG_4037

I checked out 2 spots that I have been thinking about and went with a different spot. This one gave me more cover and hoping to see the field behind me. It was in the same area but tucked in some bigger pine trees. My back started to hurt Sunday and it was Tuesday. Was worried about it with sleeping in a tent and sitting on my little chair with no back. I made dinner and a fire some some good times to myself. It was dark and all I wanted was the morning to come.IMG_4041

I had forgotten my pillow and was really happy to see a pillow that my daughter had left in the car. I opted for my big old hunting sleeping bag and it was perfectly warm. The morning came and I got up to get coffee brewing and get ready. It took to long for the coffee to brew with the wind and I didn’t get out early as I wanted. I sit down in my blind and look up and see a white tail scurry off in some thick trees. I figured it was a deer laying in the thick trees that I spooked. The day light was upon us and shots were being fired around the state. It’s a beautiful day with gun shots off in the distance. IMG_4042

As I sit and sip on some coffee not hearing anything and seeing nothing all of sudden a spike that I saw 2 weeks ago came bouncing thru like it needed a place to sit and rest. one bounce and it quickly noticed my blind and kept running past me. I turned to watch it bounce into the field and make its way to the pines. I figured I would get noticed sitting in the ground blind that was just placed there the day before but I was hoping for a second to take a shot. My back started to get annoyed and with not seeing anything else I made the decision to head back to Franks and get a chair with a real back for some support. I leave my blind at 11am and just want to get back with a chair to keep the hunt going. It started to rain and Franks had just what I needed. The one that felt the best was the most expensive and didn’t break down to a small packable size. It had to do the job though. I head back to camp with high hopes of the night hunt and get the job done.IMG_4043

The chair was awesome with no cup holder. The night hunt was nothing. I get back around 130pm and quickly head to the spot for the night. I brought some snacks and kept spirits high. Didn’t see a thing just kept rain and raining. I noticed my blind was leaking in spots were they had stitches from things. I noticed that in the morning hunt and bought some goop for patching, it worked fast and great. Came in after the night had fallen. One thing I love about this spot is a easy in and out. It was close to camp and felt confident when entering and leaving.

Day 2

offered the morning to me and I was up a bit earlier with coffee made and dressed with plenty of darkness. I silently reached my blind and sat with about a hour before daylight. I notice at total darkness I sit freaking still, as light happens I tend to move around more. I figure in darkness I can’t see anything so I have no idea if something is out there to see me move. The sun comes up and shines right in my blind, kind of blowing up my chest area. I do wear all black when sitting in a ground blind because any light shows up in a dark blind. All of sudden a bigger spike comes from behind me entering my right side view. it walks slowly and cautiously and looks right at me. it makes a few bounces just behind a pine right in front of me. I raise my gun about half way. the deer is almost to the left of it. I push the safety off and the deer looks in my direction again like it heard the slightest noise of the safety. It glances and bounces straight away from me into the thick stuff, its gone. Yeah I was bummed and upset at me. The 2 things I keep thinking about is my netting is down in the blind. That gives a better chance for the deer to make me out and say human. The second thing is do I sit with the safety off so the deer doesn’t have a chance to hear it being clicked off. I was really bummed, it was only a spike but it had a big body with some delicious red meat. The rest of the morning I sat just playing that deer over in my head, didn’t see anything else. I decided to sit with the safety off and the netting up. Went back for a load up on fresh socks and add some clothes to my layering and went out for the night. I pretty much sat in the blind all day except a hour. I was determined to see another deer, I saw nothing for the night sit. As sitting I decided to change location of the blind in the same area. I had been looking at some trees straight in front of me and thought that was the spot. So after the day 3 morning hunt I was going to relocate the blind. While I sit thru the night hunt of day 2 I also made other adjustments. First was to decide to shoot thru the netting. I was taking my chances with that just so the deer wouldn’t see me so easy.IMG_4047

The other was to take some paracord and use it so I can lower the windows to make them smaller.IMG_4053

Some much needed improvements to the Barronett ground blind. I do wish they made easier to get the right height without me making my own straps for it.

Day 3

The next morning I didn’t see a thing. I was bummed and started to doubt my spot. Thinking that those were the only deer that came thru there and I already missed my chance. It was the coldest morning and sat till I heard some others roll into camp. Once others come back to camp it kind of ruined my spot because I was so close to camp. I kept thinking that I have been the only one seeing deer so I must have been doing something right?IMG_4054

I went back for some breakfast and to change my location of the blind.IMG_4057

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This spot looked south and west with being tucked in a even bigger pine to the east. I was hoping to not be glowing with the sun rising and give me a better shot at something coming from the west. The tall grass seems even taller because I am sitting lower than the last spot. I was sitting for the night of day 3 and made some slight changes to the weeds in front of me, sneaky. I tied in more branches for some more cover, I sprayed the blind down again with scent sealer.IMG_4059

The night was proving to be not a good spot. So it ended with me heading to town for some more food to have a good meal with friends.fullsizeoutput_4d1

We grilled some Kogels and onions for a wonderful meal. We had a few beers and talked about what we didn’t see.

Day 4

This was the time to shine I was thinking. I moved my blind for a better chance, I kept telling myself. Coffee was made, some others had made it to camp the night before. I was banking on them messing up the back woods and send them my way. This area I was hunting had been showing some reason for the morning hunt. I told the guys to lead the way so I wouldn’t scare them and give my location away. It’s dark and I’m sitting still. the eyes play tricks on you, like a deer walking 20 feet from you. The light starts to break. I was wishful thinking because of last mornings. I’m starting to get cold and I can see now so I scan the area with my fogging binoculars and think. It’s coffee time, give me some warm liquids in my body. I have been using my Stanley thermos so you know the noise they make when you open it and pour into a metal container. I take a sip and its hot as shit and spit it out onto my jacket. I look up and see the back of a deer and which looks like the deer put its head down. It was about 30 yards away. Gun is resting on my lap with the safety off, netting is up to cut down on my human shape. I lower my left arm with coffee in hand to set it down. I look at the ground so it doesn’t spill. I look up and raise the gun. IT’s GONE! I don’t hear anything like a thump or crashing of hooves hitting twigs while running. I don’t see a white tail galloping away. I notice 2 ear like objects right in the same spot the deer was. I pull up my binoculars and they fog, lower them and bring them up again. It’s super moist out this morning and slightly raining. My binos have been fogging all week but right now is not the time. the 2 spots look like they are moving and twisting just like deers ears would be. After about 15mins I decide to stop looking at the deer bedding in front of me. there was nothing there. I was fooling myself and it pissed me off that I made another mistake. I hear some voices and I believe my father is at camp for the morning. I quickly say hi and give him a hug. We high tail it to Franks for some binoculars that I was hoping not purchase until next year. It started to rain on our way and we stop for lunch and head back to camp for the evening hunt. I picked up some Vortex Diamondback 8×42. I have set my sights on those because of what I have heard. My dad was going to sit with me in the blind. That was the reason for getting the ground blind. We sat and glassed the woods together, it was snowing and making a perfect night to be out in the woods. My father can’t sit as quiet as he use to. A couple of times I had to tell him to be quiet. The times had changed. We didn’t see anything and the snow was turning into rain. My father and I got back to camp and parted ways. I had one more morning and then it was time to head back to the family.

Day 5

Which had really nothing exciting. I sat in the blind thinking of what ways I was going to change for next year. I located a spot for the blind. I am thinking of doing some natural food plotting and found a tree with a tree stand potential. I packed up and said my goodbyes. I never even set foot in the back forty of the property. I liked my choice I made to hunt and am going to make it happen. I figured my year was over for deer. I have been thinking and already asked for time off in December. going to bust out my muzzleloader and go for late season antlerless.