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.

2017 Michigan Rifle Season

November 15th is coming up fast. People say the orange army is hitting the woods, I take that like they are upset or making fun of the hunters that use a rifle or shotgun. I bow hunt and use a gun, sometimes a muzzleloader. The more I think about bow hunting. The more I dislike it. Steven Rinella gave me something to think about, A arrow bleeds out the animal to death, A bullet kills the animal faster. As I started to think about that I questioned should I hunt with a bow? Well I am not going to give it up for small game and fun target practice. I won’t give it up for deer archery season either but the people that poke fun at The Orange Army can suck it! I started hunting both with my father and uncle for the meat, for the family tradition. Sure my father had some beers and my uncle had a bottle of whiskey, but know one drank too much and acted out of control. I can’t wait to pass this onto my children. Do I drink? No, but I can have a tasty beverage if I choose to. I choose to not drink because most beers out there are not what I like. I like a beer aged in barrels and 9% and above. I look for a great flavor of hops and malt.

So I am doing the last of the laundry, packing all the gear that I might need. I am taking a bigger stove, frying pan, and coffee pot. I plan on sleeping in my ground blind so I can be in the spot faster and less noise for the opening morning. I am switching out a lightweight sleeping bag for the giant heavy sleeping bag that I have used for years in the cabin. I still haven’t chose my spot, 70% sure but I need to look at it again. I plan on getting in Tuesday and ride my Salsa Blackborow around putting a grounds eye in the exact spot. Once I choose a spot setting up the blind and getting cozy for the night. Do I question setting up the day before and sleeping in the blind? Yes! A few spots will be on the far away spot from shooting or where I think the deer will be coming from. So that is a slight issue. One spot that I have been thinking about is going to need a real good camp blending job. This year I believe my father and uncle won’t be up there, I am a little bummed. I still have to get the job done.

I have had 2 customers bring in their fat bikes for the opener at the shop. It’s good to see others using a bicycle instead of a gas machine. I have been riding fat bikes since 2010 and it is a great mode of transportation for hunting and fishing. I ride one with 100mm rims and 5″ tires so 6-8 inches of fresh snow is still doable. The smaller 4inch tires do great with a max of 4-6 inches of fresh white stuff. My area doesn’t plan on seeing any snow but roaming of 5psi of air is perfect for the ground. Thought about making a decoy to attach to the bike as a cover up. I decided to not, maybe next year. I am not sure if I believe a decoy is a good thing? this year has been a bigger roar of fat bikes for hunting, I would recommend trying it. A lot of people say they are to expensive but look at what is spent on the other hobbies? They do cost some money for one that will last and be reliable in the field.

Time for bed, car will be packed tomorrow and just have one more day of work and a meeting after. Then off to a beautiful place that relieves stress and is great for the soul! So get out and give fat bikes, hunting, fishing, hiking just get outdoors and enjoy nature.

Lets Do This!

The goal was to get after it! I had a set time off work for last week to hunt and fish over on the east side of the state. I had some really good feelings, even called a friend who does taxidermy. Asking about how much for a deer mount and how to skin it just in case. Loading my phone with some good old country music for the drive and just in case I wanted to hear some while there. I loaded a few offline areas onto my OnXmap app for no cell service areas. I left after work instead of leaving in the morning to get a jump on the drive. I made notes on the windage and temps for those days. I was planning so far ahead for greatness. Made gear checklist with my daughter. Made a grocery list for stopping in Standish. Made a list for stopping at Franks outdoors. I was loving the process! I was so excited to see what my uncles land looked like after not being there in 5 years. The last time I was there I was just told by my ex-wife to leave and we need to be apart for a while. I was craving what being out in the wilderness can do for someone. I had fishing gear just incase I stopped off at the Rifle River in Omer MI or fish the Au Gres River near camp. Shotgun, both bows, ammo, binos needed to kill a animal to eat. Sick and tired of eating farm raised things and slaughtered with no heart involved. Yes I do like to kill a animal, but I want to taste and feel what nature has to offer us as humans. I am a meat eater, I hunt to eat. I shoot a squirrel for a small meal and use the fur for tying flies. I prefer harvested feathers and fur from me or someone else, look into how all the fly shops get there furs and feathers. It’s a passion, it’s time with my father and uncle, it’s something I want to pass onto my children.IMG_3974

The weather looked just ok for the weekend. I left Thursday night and stopped at my fathers for the night. He lives about a hour from The Property. Allowed me a quick shot Franks outdoors and see about any equipment I am not aware of, yet. I chose not to purchase anything and made my way to Standish MI. There I stopped in at the grocery store for eggs, cheese and coffee. Stopped off in Omer MI to see the Rifle River at a public access ramp, river looked real nice and just wanted to get going. I made it to the dirt road to the Property and checked out the Au Gres river which looked pretty fishy, but just needed to see the Property.IMG_4030

I found a spot to park and setup my tent, get everything in order and made lunch.IMG_3992

It was a beautiful sunny day with temps a smidge warmer than I wanted. I was eager to get out back and see what the tree stands looked like, where were the new ones I have been hearing about. I heard a friend of my uncles son has been prepping the land. Some new spots with tree stands and some older stands moved. He was starting to set in a food plot which I have always wanted and he put it in the exact spot that just seems right. I loaded my pack with hunting clothes and a make shift ground blind just incase it was needed. I love hunting in trees but I have to feel 100% comfortable for me to use it. I am slightly afraid of heights, it’s the climbing up and coming down that gets me nervous. Once I am up in a stand I really love the view. I headed straight back to my uncles old tree stand that has been repaired many times. It looked solid still, had 2 milk crates for a seat and I climbed up. looked around and didn’t want to put my smell everywhere so I decided to give it a sit. wind was coming from the north hitting my dead in the face, gusts 13mph and up. I pulled my jacket out of my bag and threw it over my sweater I was wearing. My pants had no long underwear under them and brought my hunting pants also. I was just to scared to put them on up in the tree. So I sat in the tree for about 4 hours with squirrels everywhere, man I sure wanted the fat grey one that hung out around me. Didn’t want to screw up my chances on spooking a deer so I just kept letting them run around. The one thing that I forgot was batteries for my headlamp, still had my flashlight. So I just sat until dark and quietly got out of the tree with no sight of a deer. Saw 2 different types of woodpeckers, making a shit tone of noise. a couple of crows making a noise that I have never heard, sounded like it had a chunk of food in its throat. Another one sat in the same tree after the first one left and made the same noise. Heard some turkeys off on the other properties near. A great sit for nature but no deer. As I started to walk out I began to shiver horribly, legs were just really cold. should have put on the pants at the bottom of the tree before climbing up. I was so cold I had to make sure I kept my tongue out of the way of my teeth, they just start to shiver at any time. I was cold and needed to warm up fast. made it back to camp and changed into warmer gear, the temps dropped pretty fast, not super cold just didn’t have what I normally would wear hunting. Went off into the pines to collect fire wood but all of the wood was soaked, it had rain a day before and a week ago. I could not get anything to stay lit in the fire pit, that was all I had to do while waiting for bed. So I made dinner and started to enjoy the dark sky. Watched a big moon rise above the trees and just enjoyed myself. Heard a pack of yotes multiple times cruising thru the forest.IMG_3996

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So I started to get a little bored and decided to get in my tent for the night, it was around 830, never go to bed at those times. I fell asleep fairly fast and was woken up by a car pulling into the property. I checked the time and see who it was, around 1am and it was my uncles step-son. The dude was hammered and he always is. I felt a little bummed I wasn’t gonna be alone but Ill need to make the best of it. He invited me to sleep in his RV that had been parked there, I took the invitation and fell asleep. The next morning I was going to need a different spot because he had been sitting in the stand I sat in the night before. I was unclear where to go so I opted to lay in bed and sleep a little more. Its super easy for me to skip the morning hunt because sleeping is fun. I woke up around 9am after the other guy went out for the hunt. was woken up by hearing a car pull up, looked out the window to see my father. My father and I talked about him driving over Saturday to hang out, good to see him do that. The other guy came back with no good news and we all just walked around trying to light the fire pit, all wood was way to wet. Around 11 I decided to get after those squirrels with my shotgun. headed out for a walk and some sits till 1. The squirrels were quiet and none to be seen. I was hoping for squirrel for lunch. after I got back my father and I took a drive just check out the area. I have found a HAP from my OnXmap app that I wanted to see what the rules are. IMG_4003

we found a cow skull and just as I was about to pick it up we noticed a trap went off. Earlier I chatted to my uncle and he has let a local trapper trap on a chunk of land. I felt really bad setting off his trap, the trapper let us know later. We get back to camp and I set out for the evening hunt. earlier that day I walked around looking for squirrels and found the other tree stands. I was checking my notes on windage and set out for a stand. walked up to it and climbed up but felt uneasy with getting in and out. I went to another stand that was 10 feet taller, I am calling the Hightower. Climbed up that and felt right at home getting in. So I was there for the night.IMG_4007

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It’s the tallest stand I have ever been in but super easy to get in and climb down. It started to rain on and off. My notes said rain was due for the night, spot on in the forecast. I sat for a few hours and had a porcupine and a small spike to my right. I was unable to shoot but really wouldn’t have taken a shot anyways, just a little guy.IMG_4005

I spooked the porcupine up a tree on my way into the stand and he came down to get after dinner after I was in the tree. The spike kind of came out of nowhere. I had been using my binos and had been thinking no deer was gonna get close without me seeing it, I was wrong. The spike was eating 5 feet from the porcupine for about 20mins. Just before dark he wondered off when the rain picked up, I didn’t want to give away my spot so was really glad he walked off. Made it back to camp and my father and I headed into town for some pizza, ground beef and green olives. Dropped me off and he headed back home. I settled in and watched a movie with the other guy, Jurassic Park. Got up for the morning hunt this time, besides it was my last day. Rain kind of stopped and the wind was still in my favor that hightower stand. Real foggy out, it just seemed like I was going to see a big deer this morning.IMG_4023

It wasn’t raining but drops fell from the trees all morning. The night before and this morning I was using my Patagonia fly fishing jacket, it’s the nicest rain jacket I have ever owned.IMG_4017

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The woods were freaking cool, any minute I expected to see a deer. I did not! Duty called and the morning hunt was cut a little shorter than normal, hurried back to camp.

I packed up everything, taking my time to leave and head back home. Stopped by Franks to get a ground blind, I chose Barronett Big Mike blind. hoping to get my father out in a cozy old man set-up. I plan on laying wool blankets down and having a sleeping bag so I can sleep all night and be ready for open day rifle. I have 2 spots in mind depending on the wind. one is a open field that will give me a long range shot and the other is a close encounter attack, which one do I set-up in first?

So I only saw one deer, didn’t fish. I walked away with another great memory of hunting. Yes I could ask for more but I don’t need to, I loved every minute of it. Next chance is rifle season!

The Night Before

Today I had my usual day off and really needed some outdoors time. So last night I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do? The 2 things that I have been thinking about was small game hunting and fishing. Bow season is happening so I hate the idea of messing up other hunters, public land. The weather has turned kind of into fall. We had some rain last weekend and the river was up. I saw some pics on Instagram of steelhead near Lansing. So things were pointing towards fishing. The night before is probably one of my favorite happenings. You set a goal or activity and get ready for it. I haven’t needed to tie any flies because I got a good stock pile of them. I gather all my stuff set it aside and mentally prepare. The one thing that I forgot was my Bripe. We just got them in at GRBC

I have been dying to go out fishing and spark up my Bripe. But where I spent most of my time was assembling my fly boxes. I have a few and always reorganize them before a outing. Its the fun part of guessing what might work and what I will not use. everything in my fly box I have made or purchased and then tied myself. I try not to buy many flies, usually 1 or 2 to see if I like it or I catch some fish. Pretty sure everyone else does the same, I heard the saying is to buy 3 or more for loss to nature. I never have, usually 1. I have a carp ton of tying supplies and get a bunch of fur, hair, and feathers from friends. When I find a fly to tie and go to the fly shop for materials they almost always don’t have the exact materials I am looking for. They usually say well this material will work just as good. So they have taught me to not go there as often, smart. I use what I have! Lately I have been thinking most of my boxes are to natural. Not enough blacks or flashy stuff. I like the more natural stuff to catch fish on, it gives me a sense of greater satisfaction. So I unload all of my fly boxes and look for anything that I wanna eat. Think of the past years and check my notebook to see what worked around this time.

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other side same more Darters
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Tube flies
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Classic small flies and Darters

I felt good about these flies. I never use everything but these boxes might not get changed until the next year. I usually carry 3 boxes but wanted to downsize to 2. 1 box for my tube flies and the other for normal. I was all done going thru the boxes and this is where I keep thinking and thinking, oh the sleepless night of hooking that sliver chrome. I watched a little more TV but kept thinking of the morning hunt for chrome. The Flat River doesn’t see a ton of Steelhead but they are there. It’s shallow with not a ton of cover, some for sure spots when they are in the river. I generally fish 1 location but cover a bunch of ground. I use a Cabalas switch TLR 7wt rod, Lamson G3.5 reel and rio short scandi, it does the job well. I do wish I just had a 2 hander 13ft rod, don’t care for the switch characteristics. I decided to not take a net, most of my steelies are landed by beaching. I hop in the river at a good location of not spooking to many fish. I use to hop in at another spot and walked all the way across and around to start. This entry spot gives me some quiet time to sit and get ready. choose which fly I am gonna start with and maybe think about when I do change again. Able to sit and just take in the beauty of the flowing river. Its a urban spot next to a dam but I fish facing south so all I see is woods and river. Second cast I got hooked up in a tree right above my head, wasn’t spot on with my spey cast. I started to get in the groove and take a few steps after 1 or 2 cast. First felt tug of the morning wasn’t strong but wasn’t tiny. IMG_3858

I just couldn’t tell exactly what it was but then it had no major jolt of a tug. It was wishful thinking. It put up a real nice fight on the 7wt and just kept shaking its head. I snapped a quick pic and released the smallmouth back in the water. I couldn’t tell if it followed my fly from the faster water or was sitting in the calmer water. It hit my line at the end of the swing. A few more cast and steps down stream I hooked into another one. This one put up a bigger fight but it was slightly smaller. Just a riot on the swing. I text my fishing buddy with a pic to have a celebration with someone. I had to tell him I started to tie my flies to my line the way he does, give a fist bump. Non slip mono loop I have always watched him use it or he would share a fly with me. They would always have a tag still on, it’s a good way to attach a fly to your line if you are looking for a active fly. So after 2 runs along the spot and using 2 different flies I went to check out the Honey hole. That side of the river had less flow and the Honey hole doesn’t work well with little flow. Actually the biggest problem is me. When I use my switch rod the head on it is a little to long for stripping. I always wish I had brought my other rod for those moments but truly love swinging with that switch. Yes I could run across the street and grab it but it was time for lunch and get ready for the day. A wonderful day on the water, sun was out. Fish were biting and just Pure Michigan.

I am still putting together my hunt for out west. I have found some different locations for research. Im close to just giving up on trying to find the perfect location and go for a spot that I see as the perfect location. I feel with some time and walking I can find deer where ever I choose. The spots I am drawn to are hard to reach spots. Lots of elevation and steep canyon walls. Its what I picture is sitting with my binos and just glassing for hours. Growing up in Michigan you don’t have that. Viewing this open country and taking it all in. Not just for a giant trophy deer but a lifetime of memories in one swoop. I do feel I need to find a hunting buddy. I have a few that are open to the idea but no true takers yet. I usually do all of my activities by myself and enjoy it but love the chatter about the experience with someone else. I just keep thinking about Idaho. Anytime I google somewhere else I am right back to Idaho and checking another unit. It’s my calling to see Idaho for the first time in all its beauty!

A little rant. So I have been listening to a podcast called The Meat Eater and the last podcast of this week really pissed me off. I have read 3 books by Steven Rinella and met him at a dinner about his book American Buffalo, one of my favorite all time reads. The dinner was in Grand Rapids, MI with some of his ideas of cooking and recipes. We tasted the buffalo that he killed and prepared in a way that was, ok. It was like dried ground beef that he handed around the room for everyone to try. I left the dinner thinking he was a dick! Still really enjoy his writings and thoughts on conservation and hunting. I lost some interest in him after the dinner.

I was notified about the Meat Eater show, podcast etc from my fishing buddy. I have read the American Buffalo and The Scavengers Guide To Haute Cuisine before of hearing about Meat Eaters. I recently picked up The Complete Guide to hunting, butchering and cooking wild game volume 1, its more of a reference book than a read. So I have been enjoying the podcast and on Netflix and would recommend any of his writings, podcast, and shows to anyone who hunts or just loves the outdoors. It’s close to a nature show with sometimes a dead animal being butchered.

So the latest podcast ended in a way that Steven was so honest and direct that he would punch a guy if he did this to him. But he does it anyway. I don’t get if you believe in something deeply but still do it? Im leaving it really blank and unfinished but you should listen to the podcast just to see what he does.

We need some rain

This weekend I was supposed to head up north and hunt some small game and swing some flies for steelies. Family got in the way so I canceled the trip and switched the Monday day off. It ended up being perfect for getting Thursday off for my beautiful girlfriend. It’s her graduation for a leadership program she has been taking all summer. So overall things worked out. 

As I sit here with some windows open, no need for heat or air conditioning. I hear the rain and keep thinking about the steelhead and salmon that have been waiting for the fall push. I don’t travel far for fall fishing. I put my waders on and walk across the street to the Flat river, which flows into the mighty Grand river. Salmon and steelhead leave  Lake Michigan to make there way to the Flat river for some spawning. Is it a spot to come across the United States for? NO! But for me to go and wet some lines in, it is perfect! I don’t fish for salmon but for the fresh silver bullets they call steelhead. Last 2 years I have had good success with catching a few on the swing. I don’t chuck n duck or use a classic nymphing style for them. I find those ways really boring. Yes I do believe they are the best ways to catch dinner. I just can’t stop swinging flies, hoping for that angry bullet. I’ve hooked a couple King salmon but never landed them. They have taken me for a ride that would make a awesome movie. 

One day around 5 pm I was throwing flies and started to lift up my rod to do a snap-t and cast again. All of sudden my line ripped completely straight across the current about 30 yards, throwing a rooster tail off the line. I tugged a couple of times with the weight of a giant at the end of my line. It quickly turned and headed straight back following the same line it just dragged raced from. Moved about 30 yards and then headed down stream at a alarming rate. My reel was singing like angry bees, ( King hubs ). I started shifting my feet just in case it was going to split the beams in the river. It did and I moved fast to keep tension and try to pull it back thru the beams of a building that protrudes out from King Mill. I kept reeling, moved to help, maintained tension. Then the line went limp and my jaw dropped. I reeled the line in thinking I lost the fly. I didn’t, kind of a win. The fly just happened to fall out and I lost a freaking fast fish. I’ve got a better story but that’s later. 

One reason I don’t go for King salmon is by the time they finally reach the Flat river they start to get zombie like. It’s a killer fish to catch but I would rather see it spawn and die than me pull it out of the water for half dead meat. The steelhead I catch in the fall I keep, love me some fresh steelhead! Spring steelies need to lay eggs so I really don’t target them and it’s a time the river deserves some respect with the flowing madness of high waters. 

I might try to get out Sunday for some fun in the water. Haven’t had the switch rod out in a few months. I swing for smallies thru the summer on the Flat. After steelhead leave and the water gets lower in the spring the smallies come up for spawning. That’s one of my favorite times for smallmouth. Bass season isn’t open yet so no keepers but let the good times roll. So hopefully we get rain here n there and the temps drop lower at night. Water needs to come up a little. 

It’s a good fly that has landed good smallies and steelhead in the fall. I don’t have every step but you get the idea. I don’t claim to invent it. Just tying what I see in the river and use patterns from others. Let’s see if I get out for some tight lines?

My History, What has made me!

Coffee is made, and some music is on and its time to get everything on paper or the Interweb. Im a Michigan man thru n thru, born and raised. I grew up in Grand Blanc MI, my Mother worked for the United States Post Office and my Father worked in the plants of General Motors. Almost everyone in my family worked for GM at one time. I grew up with the thought of working on cars was a bad thing. I would walk to the post office and chill in the backroom after some school days. I have a older sister that I wanted to do whatever she was doing during the younger years. My parents divorced when I was 3 or so. So I don’t have any memory of a regular mother n father in the house at once. My Father remarried and had my little brother, he was always trying to do whatever I was doing. I was given the chance to do any kind of recreation that was out there. Don’t care to read but love writing, I think thats why my writing suffers. I believe I had a wonderful childhood pretty normal.

One hunting season my father was on his way to pick me up from my mothers house. He showed up with a dirt bike laying down in the back of it, laying ontop of all the necessary hunting supplies we took to the property. I couldn’t believe my eyes! He told me he picked it up at a garage sale for cheap and wanted to give me the chance to ride a dirt bike. So we headed to the Great Up North. My uncle owned some property around Au Gres MI. Thru the years we started to get more motor vehicles up there. I was starting to out grow the 4-wheelers and 3-wheelers so a dirt bike was the next step. The trip up to hunting camp was amazing. We would stop at the great Tony’s in Birch Run for breakfast and leftovers. Roll thru Pinconning MI for some cheese. Stop at Franks for some last minute clothing, bullets, license etc. I was still growing and all the hand me downs were to small for me usually.

My uncle is a short dude, about 5’4″ and my father is around 5’9″. I out weight them both and taller. Loved wearing what my father and uncle wore, it made me feel like them.

We took about 50% highway then hit roads to take us to the hot spots for some supplies. the whole time in the truck I kept looking back at the Dirt Bike, dreaming of what I am going to do with it. A kid in a candy store that is actually getting candy. A few more spots before the roads to hunting camp. My father and I usually arrived after my uncle had already settled in, sometimes the gate was open with a fire already going burning brush. Shed doors open cleaning out the mess the critters maid over the year from last. See the property was only used for hunting bow and rifle. after the season it was shut down and not seen until the next year.

Freshest Beats

It was a Awesome feeling pulling into the camp waving to my uncle and sometimes a friend he brought up with him. hop out of the truck and start unloading. There was a spot in the circle drive that made it easy to unload the dirt bike. Back up to the little bank and drop the tailgate and roll it off. I couldn’t start it yet, more work to unload. Sometimes we would get there, unload and then take the truck to go grab a truckload of sugar beets. On the way up we would scout to see who was carrying truck loads of beets, check out the prices.

truck is unloaded my dad and uncle are looking over the dirt bike and I’m just in utter amazement. My dad lays down the rules for me. See I have been riding ATV’s for some time. I grew up jumping bicycles and 4-wheelers so this thing wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. My dad goes first with trying to kick it, its a no-go! we study the bike acting like we know what we are doing. My uncle is a wizard with tractors so he can do anything, in my mind. The bike fires up after pulling plugs and cleaning them off. It dies after hitting the throttle! We repeat this process for a hour or so, with no results in me zipping around doing wheelies n shit. Thats how I thought life was going to be like after this bike got started. We run to the local motorcycle Harley shop in town for some stuff to see if we can get it going. We finally figured that gas leaked while laying down in the truck and fouled some stuff. I really can’t remember exactly but we got it going after 2 hours of fiddling and drying. I was the happiest hunter that year. My uncle owns about 60acres that are long stripes of 15 or so. one field was open and not much hunting was used for that so that was my dirt track. Flat with a small ditch that I made a big part of my ripping back in forth. We had some small dunes that I jumped a lot but during the season when other hunters were at the property next door I kind of stayed away. I am ripping hot laps making a track out of this 2-3 acre chunk. just having a blast. This bike didn’t have a front brake. Thats ok because I didn’t need brakes? ripping across the land pulling wheelies, making my own berms and just flat out having a ball. The chain snapped on me. I pick up the chain and start to walk back where my father and uncle are  standing around the fire pit. They said they heard a snap and quickly checked the crank case to see if the chain hit it. No major damage was done except my ability to rip hot laps until we get home to buy a new chain.

I played all kind of sports, soccer and baseball was my favorite. I was a pitcher up to middle school and they said I didn’t have any junk to throw. Defense in soccer till high school then mid. I finished the last 2 years of high school at a different school then growing up. Old friends stayed friends but we separated fast. Starting a new school in junior year was tough but playing soccer helped to make friends, I was, new kid. My mother lost her job at the post office and she moved to Florida to be with her parents and help them. I chose not and moved in with my dad. It was life changing but I rolled pretty decent.

around age of 13 I was a regular fixture at hunting camp, bow n rifle. I had a 10-22 ruger that I would take out during the afternoons and shoot anything that moved. Always came home with a bunch of chipmunks and chickadees. Started to get better and come home with squirrels for dinner. Hunting for us was the morning hunt roll back to camp around 11-12. Figure out what the plan for activities was, cleaning, get a old lawn mower running, get the tractor running, collect firewood. after some good down to earth work somebody would go in for a nap. myself would find target practice be entertaining or riding the awesome vehicles. The time was to get ready for the night hunt. We would all talk about where we were going and load up and head out. It was a blast walking next to my dad and uncle with our weapons. It was a about a 300 yard walk to the woods. we walked down a 2track to a creek and then split up. Honestly we hunted on maybe 15 acres. when I fine tuned my skills I could sit in my spot and lean a certain way and pick out everyone hunting on the land. I feel my uncle would go off in a area to just get away from everyone, not resulting in a deer but just checking the not so good spots out. As the sun settles. one by one I would watch the flashlights start to walk down the trails. Hear the creaking of a old ladder, the old hinges to a door on the shack. Maybe spook a few little yearlings. sometimes we walked back together or just my dad and I. More fun was to be had if we heard someone shoot or just the stories of what you saw. We had a giant fire pit that was always full with wood collected thru the afternoons. we used gas or old oil to start the massive fire. every year someone did collect a deer for the freezer but nothing special. Doe’s is what we wanted the most, MEAT! Some years everyone got deer and others, well you know the story. Thru the years I didn’t see many bucks, I wasn’t tuned yet for them. I moved around to much. My dad would tell me he could hear me moving and see me, I thought sitting still for a minute was a lifetime. Later in my teens I started to take it more serious and learn other methods and a result see more deer. stay out after everyone left the woods. walk quieter and stalk the woods. Sit in different but the same areas just to get a different view. No  I wasn’t getting the big bucks but seeing more than the Fawn who lost its mother the day before. I was doing things that my father and uncle would say why? but I was getting results in seeing deer.

I have 2 kids and always try to express the importance that something takes time. I use to sit in the basement trying to ollie my skateboard for days.

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2008 hunting season, I think the best buck my Father has ever shot. My brother and were walking just chilling after the morning hunt and heard a shot. it was awesome walking up to my dad to see his excitement in his eyes, deer down he said.

Where do I go from here?

This is the post excerpt.

As I start to build this page into my own I learn what can be done and can’t. My first odd thing is trying to add a header image? I accidentally found it and placed a really cool pic but then left the page and it was gone, I did not save it.

So sit tight and enjoy what I learn for my trip out west and this blog website.

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