Friday, July 31, 2009
A few seasons back, I was hunting the family land. I was having a great season, saw no deer but that's not what is all about. I decided to take to the air and lugged my climbing tree stand to the woods. I was in a hurry since I had left late. Dusk was running the final stretch. Murphy really wanted to come with me that night, but I told him no, because I did not have anytime for his antics. After a short debate, he came along anyway.
Ever notice how anywhere there is great deer sign there are no trees to climb. The ones that are there are either too far or are too skinny. As we all know deer are smart critters. I am getting close to uncovering proof that deer hold conferences and have advanced tracking of hunters, and a very sophisticated means of relaying the information to other deer. Including, proof that deer put GPS tracking chips into hunters while they are napping in the woods. Call me crazy but there is no other way they can avoid such a savvy hunter like me, without advanced technology. The report will be coming soon and you will be the first to hear.
Anywho... back to the adventure. I had checked the area before and found a tree that was actually climbable and with in bow range of where I wanted the deer to be. I hooked everything up and scooted to shooting height. There was a cold front coming in, time for the deer to be moving. Wind was picking up in front of the pressure system and made for a rather noisy day in the woods.
Heights and I don't get along. Its not really the height that gets to me, but the chance of falling and then the sudden stop at the end. Hunting out of a tree stand is not my favorite way to hunt. Not cause it is unfair or unsporting, its just the thought of suddenly stopping at the ground if I should fall. That night was the worst time to be in a tree. Strong winds had me waving back and forth in the stand like a flag on the ocean.
After about an hour or so, I relaxed my bear hug on the tree enough to breath again. This seemed to help my ears work better cause it was then I heard the eerie creaking of the tree. It was not a normal sound of a tree creaking in the wind. First I wasn't sure what it was but I was certain it was not good. I glanced up the tree and noticed all the leaves were gone. Looking around no other trees were found missing their leaves. Glancing up the tree again, I realized the bark was also falling off the tree. I knocked on the tree with my release and heard the tell tale sound of a rotten tree.
Being a Michigan man, I am not scared of many things. I quickly made my climb down the tree, knees knocking the whole way, hoping my weight didn't off set the rotten old tree enough to send it crashing to the ground. Dusk was nearly on me, but my never say die attitude kicked in and I quickly climbed a tree I had spent many days in before. It was out of range of any deer trail, didn't provide much cover and was down wind of where the deer should have come from.
Once back in the air, I quickly readied everything and settled back in. I put the bow in the holder, put my release back on my wrist and reached for an arrow out of the quiver. Since my quiver was still on the ground I was not able to reach the arrow from 15 feet above. I said a few cuss words and saw Ole Murph run away toward the truck. I climbed back down the solid tree, and sat the last few rays of daylight out at the base of the tree. Nothing came by.
I later determined the reason I had seen nothing that night had nothing to do with the amount of noise and cussing I made. It was a result of the weather. The wind had been so strong, the deer stayed inside their house, waiting it out. Everyone knows deer don't come out to play or eat when it is windy, or when they may get rained on. If you didn't know that, stay tuned to the Diaries for my report on how deer track hunters and other useless information you probably all ready know.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Toward the end of last deer season, the weather was cold and we had a lot of snow. This is Michigan and all but we had A LOT of snow, even for around here. It had a nice little 2 inch ice covering over all of it. Most spots anyhow, I could take about 3 steps before breaking through and being thigh deep in the glorious white stuff. If you have never been out in snow like this, check it out. Makes great exercise as long as you don't mind spooking every deer for a few miles out of the area.
I was wandering around the land across the street, it is most open in the dead of winter, except for all the scrub oak bushes everywhere. As I crunched along, I remember why it is not good to drink a lot of pop before you go out hunting. I held off the calling as long as I could and decided to write my name in the snow.
This hunt I had my Fred Bear Archery Grizzly recurve with me, and had my side quiver slung across the back. Once I found a good spot to water the dead grass under all the snow, I shouldered the bow and did what I needed to do. A few seconds later I heard a loud tang. The bow jumped off my shoulder and I jumped messing up the “m” in Nimrod.
I looked behind me thinking someone had pulled some sort or prank, you know the old candid camera/rigging up the recurve bow to bounce off the shoulder trick. Its a classic but not so funny when it happens to you.
Giving up on the writing lesson for the day, I walked over to the bow. The thing jumped and had to have sprung some mini wings and rocket boosters. It went from my shoulder to nice place under a tall Pine tree 30 feet away. I picked it up, checked her over but found no evidence of the wings or boosters. My old friend Murphy mustta played the trick on me. He is a quick one that ole Murph.
Inspecting the situation further, the bow string had a nice straight cut across it. First thing I believed was Murph had snuck Yoops scissors from the house, but then I remembered I keep them all dry and squeaky. Never know when Yoop might come after the winter hunting beard. I start it in Spring and keep it around all year. Never know when a good huntin' beard will come in handy.
Anywho, back to dissecting Murphy's trick. . . I then realized that the only other sharp thing near the bow string was on of my super duper, razor like, so sharp the deer just give up at the site of them broadheads. Not being a nimrod Nimrod, I noticed one of the heads was sticking out just ever so slightly from the quiver. It had to have been ole Murph damn it. There is no way I would have left that arrow sticking out. Absolutely not. Each and everytime I go out hunting, or fishing, or anything, I check, re check and then check again to ensure everything is covered. Only once ever other adventure do I not perform the check, re check and check again. Well I do it once or twice a season.
But it doesn't matter. Murph caused me to end my hunt early. It went from a nice, noisy, crunchy mid winter stalk to a noisy crunchy, mid winter walk in the woods. If I can come across a deer that was deaf, blind and sleeping, I just may have gotten a shot. But noooooo, Murph has to play his dumb little trick and I am left walking thru the woods like some tree hugger. I really need to find a new friend.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
In the last adventure, I mentioned the previous fishing trip where I was at the stern and referenced engine issues. Not one to leave people hanging, I felt I should get the story out there. Not to mention I don't want a rift between Mud and I, especially since he has that sweet new to him vessel.
The previous few days, Yoop's nephew from the UP was down visiting. His name is Fidge. Great kid, loves the outdoors and anything to do with it. And boy can he spin a tale. I think he comes on it naturally. He will make a great fisherman, just on his story telling alone. During his stay, we had gone shore fishing a few times, got a couple bites, skeeter bites that is. He was looking forward to a trip out onto the water, instead of from the sidelines.
The day was July 4th. I worked a 12 hour shift ending at 5am, went home and was meet at the door by Fidge. Its been a few years, well a a lot of years since I was a young teen, but since when do they get up at 4 in the morning, without a lot of poking, prodding and being tossed out of bed? Anyway he meet me at the door stating he could not sleep. I put away my work things and we loaded up the fishing gear and set off on our way.
I am not a morning person, never have been, likely never will be. I hear sun rises are spectacular but so is my nice comfy bed. I think that is why god created sunsets, for normal people to enjoy his wonderful work. Moving on, we stopped at a local fishing spot, referred to as the wishing well. The sunrise was pretty nice, but again no where near as nice as my bed would have been at this point. I snapped this shot:
After we put out some careless fools fire from the previous night, we continued on to baseops to meet Mud. Unlike me, Mud is a morning person. One of those that make the average normal person sick. He gets up at about 3am every work day to head off to work. I supposed if I had to get up I would, but thank god I don't. Mud was waiting for us boat and trailer loaded up behind the Mud Machine. Quick over view showed we needed some more gas mix for the boat motor. Unfortunately, 6am is not the time I do my best math, and the only mix we had was for a two gallon can... not the one gallon the boat has. So, I deferred to Mud and turns out he ain't so great at math that early in the morning either.
We got 'er done, hit the gas pump on the way and made it to the lake. A short line to launch went quick and in no time we were on the water. Back to the old electric pushing us out to lake, and the outboard not starting. I pulled the motor's cord a few times and then the cord locked up. Remember me not being a morning person? I am also not that great of a wrench turner. So we are floating on the lake, with a Nimrod trying to figure out why a motor, that he doesn't really know how it works, its not working. A few minutes later I put us back at the launch, and jumped in the water so Mud could take a gander.
For some reason, a round plastic piece that spins as another round piece turns with the pull cord, wasn't turning. Hence the cord wouldn't come out. Mud played with it for a few and it all started spinning again and she fired up. Sorry to get all technical with the descriptions of the pieces, but its the only way I knew how to describe it. I should note, unlike Muds failure to open the gas line, my problem was of no known cause by me. At least that is the story I am sticking to.
Back in service, we started back to the place I caught several fish, many years ago. The outboard was running good but I think our oil mix was a wee bit off for the gas, as it gave us a nice bug clearing smoke, but at least it had enough oil, and not too little.
We spent the next eight or so hours fishing and fishing and fishing. I was having a decent day, catching some nice Crappie, sunfish, and gills on a small jog and grub. All the while, Mud and Fidge were using the old stand by hook, worm and bobber. They were catching fish, and a lot of them. I would guess they caught around 100 sunfish and gills. Biggest being about 6 inches, smallest well smallest was about the size of the leaf worms they were using, 2-3 inches. The rest were in between those sizes
Overall the weather was great. While I would have rather been sleeping, it wasn't that bad. Spent time with some nice dudes on a nice day catching some nice fish, enjoying the nice holiday. It was nice. Only issue happened about mid day. We were fishing a point, in a rather wide channel, when two old coots can putsing up. Instead of utilizing the 150 to 200 feet of open water BEHIND us, they felt it proper to cut IN FRONT of us. Going no less than three feet from Mud and Fidge's bobber's they went in the 30 feet of water between us and shore. Later at the launch we noticed some red,white and blue PBR cans in their hands, but I don't think the beer had anything to do with it. I think they were just naturally the way there are.
Oh and Fidge acting like an elephant in the bow of the boat. I thought for sure his goal was to put us in the lake. But he did not and all was good.
After the day, we returned to baseops, and I promptly fell asleep. It was a nice marathon 30 hour day, but if I was gonna make it home after the fireworks, I had to get some precious shut eye. Fidge had a good time, as far as I could tell Mud enjoyed himself. It was nice.
This trip was her maiden voyage. I forgot the bottle of Bell's Pale Ale so we hit 'er a few times with some plastic 20 ounce bottles. Coke and Mountain Dew. Had to do 'er right. Red even took a whack with her Aquafina water bottle. After the short ceremony we launched her into the channel to head out to the lake.
Mud took his seat at the stern and I thought she was gonna tip over backwards. Mud ain't that big, but the combination was funny to see. I don't think Mud could have seen over the bow if he tried! I put Red in the middle and took the seat at the bow, hoping to level her out just a little. It worked some.
As we motored down the channel, under the power of the electric trolling motor, Mud began to start the outboard. He pulled and pulled, rocked us back and forth, nothing. I began to wonder. Ya know, Mud is a real good wrench turner and he told me that motor ran great. I never doubt him when it comes to engines, but I began to now. The electric finished pushing us out to the lake, while still messing with the motor. It was Deja Vu of our previous trip, while I was at the motor, but that is another story I will tell later.
To cut to the chase, once we were out on the water, and getting blown where ever the wind wished us, Mud started looking deeper into the motor. It was a breezy day, and rather large open lake, we were fighting four to five inch waves, while Mud tried to work his magic. I began to ready some poles and I heard the beast fire up. I looked at Mud and asked what he did. He replied “I opened the gas line.” I asked again, thinking the wind somehow translated what he said over the 12 feet his voice traveled to me. He smiled, laughed and repeated that he had forgot to open the gas line from the tank.
The lake we were on is a real neat lake. It has nearly every species of game fish Michigan can offer. Pike, bass, pan fish of all sorts, walleye, trout, perch, cisco, etc. It is the only one like it I know of in the area. My second cast I had a nice solid 11 inch largemouth at the end of my line. Only about 3 inches too short, maybe I will go back in a year or two to see how it is growing. A few hours later I caught another small bass, maybe 7 inches and a 3 or 4 inch blue gill. That was my day.
We worked the shore and I had noticed Mud wasn't using his normal hook, worm and bobber. I didn't say anything. . . until he started catching fish. That is when I learned he had sought some tips from the family fishing guru, Grey Beard. I must say it worked! Guess one could say Grey Beard is a good teacher, or Mud is a good student. But I won't.
Once we found the hole, Mud was pullin' in crappie after crappie. Using the same style jig, I would work the area while he unhooked a fish and nothing, next time around he would do the same and land one. Oh well, can't always date the cute girls. Right before we had to leave to make it back for Reds birthday party, Mud hooked into a fish. From my vast knowledge and experience it looked like he had a marlin on the line. A few seconds later he pulled in one of the nicest Crappie I have seen. It was about he size of a serving platter, one of the small ones.
That ended our trip. We returned to base ops where Red had her party. Yoop and I got her a tackle box. I am proud to say I think it was her favorite gift of the day! Afterwards Grey Beard sat with Mud and Red, going through a few of his countless tackle boxes. Sharing tips and lures with them. It was good to see him enjoying himself as passed on his vast knowledge to the young (er) ones. The maiden voyage of the new boat in the fleet was a success by most meanings of the word.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Long slow nights at work are no help getting my mind off of flinging arrows. These times I rely on previous adventures to keep the fire at bay. Was talking earlier today with Book and it reminded me of one adventure from the late season last fall.
Mud was over and we were trying to get some venison for his freezer. We went to some family land we both had hunted before. Being Mud has had a dry streak for a year or two, I let him sit in the spot we often see deer. We saw two their this season, way more than other spots on the property. I walked him to a tree and gave him directions to the area the deer congregate in large numbers once or twice a year.
I went to the opposite side of the property and found a nice seat in the two foot of snow on the ground. Reaching around for my stool I realized it was still in the Jeep. I think Murphy took it from me and put it in the Jeep, but, I am Michigan man I can take a few hours planted in the snow. After a few minutes the cold got to me, and I decided a nice walk was in order to thaw out. Not wanting to spoke any deer Mud may see, I took the scenic route back to the Jeep.
Once back, I got out the stool, and sat around for a few hours. Shooting arrows at corn stalk stubs and enjoying a great Michigan winter day. Never unthawing. After about 90 minutes a sheriffs car came by, going to the neighbors. Another sheriffs car came by, turned around in the neighbors driveway and pulled up near the Jeep. I put my bow down and walked up to him, asking if I could help him.
He asked me if I had been hunting behind the neighbors house. I explained I had not, but Mud was hunting in that area, on our property. He told me the neighbor had called hours before about someone dressed like a pumpkin, carrying a gun was trespassing on their land. He asked me if I could get Mud and have him come up to talk to them. I said sure, and gave Mud a ring on the telephone and said the law was there to talk to him. While waiting the law went to the neighbors house with his cohort. A short time later, both law cars left, nary a wave or explanation why they had me end Mud's hunt short.
Mud got back to the Jeep about half hour later. I figured he had seen the thirty point buck next door and forgot about the property line issue. Mud explained to me his compass had led him astray. The 50 yard walk east, then the 100 yard walk north, turned into about a couple hundred yard walk north-east and a conversation with the neighbor.
Mud told me once he explained about the mis-calibrated compass he uses, the neighbor was cool with him. Showed him where his stands were and walked the property line with him. Mud said he was glad I had called him because he was frozen to his chair. We ended the nights hunt and went to base ops for some cold dinner. I don't think Mud was just frozen to the chair, I think he had fallen a sleep after that long walk he took to the stand, then froze to his chair.
My family enjoys the outdoors so much when it came time to buy our first house we only looked at the ones that came with enough land to hunt on. After a long, restless search we found a perfect place. It was surrounded with about 50,000 acres of woods. We jumped at the chance. Now I can walk across the street and hunt, hike, take pictures or what ever I desire. To be honest we did not buy all 50,000 acres of land. We bought one acre and share the rest with the rest of the citizens of our great state. Heck who can afford 50,000 acres?
My wife is Yoop. She is an awesome wife, who loves to get outdoors with me. She rarely complains when I spend countless hours hunting and other things outdoors. We have been married for about 8 years. I made sure the wedding day was a day I wouldn't forget over the years… the start of the second week of firearm deer season. Yeah it would have been easier to remember on the opener... that’s funny. Really think I would risk loosing the opening day? Yoop is a life long rifle hunter from the UP of Michigan. We spent the days before, the day of and the days after the wedding in a deer blind in the UP. She would not have gone for wedding on the State holiday either. I have quickly realized that Thanksgiving at the in-laws is enjoyable, when spent in a heated deer blind in the awesome Upper Peninsula of Michigan!
We have two wonderful kids, Monkey and Munda. Monkey is just getting to the age to go out on adventures with dad. Munda, well she is just starting to walk. She is a smart little girl, loves listening to Chris LeDoux with daddy and watching hockey and hunting shows. Not certain but I think they get their brains from Yoop.
I am a diehard bowhunter. I prefer taking an old Fred Bear Archery recurve, but sometimes ride with training wheels. When bow season comes around, I spend nearly ever daylight hour in the woods. Hours not spent working, playing daddy or sleeping that is. I don't have many close friends I hunt with. Well there is my friend Murphy, of Murphy's Law fame. He follows me around all the time even when I don't want him with me. Anyone who knows of Murphy should know he is not the best of company.
My brother in law, Mud, hunts with me when he is over visiting. We are both dedicated diehard bow hunters. Our lives revolve around bow season. And gun season. And muzzleloader season. We like to get out fishing also. We get along great, even though he is a compound shooter. And his tendency to find the only property line for miles, and go to the wrong side of it. At least the police and landowners have been kind to us when we explained that Muds internal compass is out of whack.
Mud is married to my sister, Book. They have two kids, Red and Tough Enough. Red has started going out with Mud and I on some adventures. Tough is still a little young, but before long he will be joining on the Nimrod adventures.
Mud and I live quite a distance apart. So when he gets over, our base of operations is usually my parents or Muds in laws house, however you prefer to look at it. Grey Beard and Knitter have been married forever, and are still happy together. Anytime we succeed and have a deer to cut into family sized portions, it is done at baseops. They have the equipment and a place to complete the task inside. Minor detail, until you try to do it outside in the middle of a Michigan winter.
I think I covered everything. As the diary continues I am sure you will meet new people along the way. If I fail to introduce them, just let me know. Please check back often. I will add to the diary as time permits between family obligations and my outdoor adventures. Take care, stay safe and shoot straight.