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!

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.