As the wind drove the snow past our dining room window, I happened to look outside over the back field. We tend to put “leftovers” from cleaning animals out back on a rock shelf and allow the birds like turkey vultures and crows to perform a sky burial–they eat the bits left over.
Today, hounded by two crows, a Bald Eagle made an appearance! As I write, he’s still perched in a tree at the edge of the wood. He’s stayed there long enough that the crows have given up and gone to get out of the weather deeper in the forest. It’s a rare sight, and a welcome one!
Enjoy my interview with long-time outdoorsman Brian Beyer on Artists first radio. We discuss a variety of hunting and fishing topics as the State of Michigan is in the midst of a sacred holiday season – White Tail Deer Firearm Season! Beyer gives his thoughts on the state of hunting and fishing, how to get started hunting and fishing, and goes down memory lane with how he started hunting and fishing. Click on the link below to enjoy Family Wild Radio!
10 Financial Tips for You and Your Family – Unless You Hate Your Family reviews those basic, everyday banking and financial situations people face. Learn what you can do in just minutes to save yourself and/or your family months and thousands of dollars if not completed properly. We know this isn’t about hunting or fishing – but we hope you enjoy it.
Kim and I harvested the first deer on the Family Wild acreage last night. After watching a ruffled grouse and rabbit, as well as multiple cranky blue jays, a mature doe came out to our micro-plot. After a couple moments, she turned broadside and offered a lung shot. Kim had never witnessed a deer in a blind, much less watched one harvested.
I got the opportunity to pass on my Uncle Gary’s toilet paper trick of tracking as we followed the blood trail in the autumn leaves. We found her and she got up and moved so we let her lay for a couple hours, had dinner, then went back out to recover the mature lady.
Kim also got her first experience of field dressing and performed assistant surgeon duties admirably. We then set up our new pulley system in the garage and, after rinsing out our quarry, hung the deer overnight. As a result, we have new nicknames, Brains and Brawn. Kim’s the Brains (of course!) as she figured out the pulley system and I’m the Brawn, because God knows I’m not the brains.
This afternoon we took her to our favorite Alpena deer processor – Kipfmiller’s – and we should have fresh venison in about 10 days. Suffice to say, we created another Family Wild memory!
What a strange month October has been. The usual colors of fall are much more into the purple-red spectrum this year, and we’ve had 90 degree (record setting) heat here in the North Country. While its wonderful to get a few more weeks of summer, it’s also a little off putting. Our pines are heavy with cones this year as well–Jack, White, Blue Spruce, even the cedar are showing more-than-usual cone growth. Lots of folks are predicting heavy snows and a rough winter to come.
I’ve recently finished a small lap blanket, made with a simple nail and wood triangle frame loom. I recycled a bunch of left-over yarns, then crocheted the triangles all together to create this project. Yeah, in 90 degree heat. Go figure. Rolled up and tied with a ribbon, it made a lovely gift for my friend.
My grand-daughter is working away at her first art slams–we sent the new art manual book to her this week. I’ll share what she comes up with!
We’re getting to the last 14 days before we shut the property down for archery and rifle deer season. We should actually limit access on the first of September – but I had more to do around the property this first year. This last weekend, I created another micro plot between two of our blinds and on the way to our hub food plot. Using a small rototiller, I broke up ground in a 20 by 30 area just a ways from a major travel corridor that leads to the main night food plot.
Also, had a chance to cut out a second window on one of the property’s remaining box blinds and started the process of clearing a shooting lane out for it. I’m down 2 chainsaws as I wait for a carb-adjustment tool to come to our door. Until that happens, it’s just hand clippers and me.
We found four more apple trees I want to liberate from the cedars; sigh…but, again, have to wait to get the chainsaws up and running.
Since we acquired our 50 acres, we’ve spent a lot of time watching videos, reading books, and making changes to our land. I’m arguably one of the worst hunters and fisherman around – but I love to be in the woods and on the lake. Our property was about 5 acres of ignored apple trees and 45 acres of cedar swamp. We brought in a crew to clear cut based on specific goals. First, we wanted to liberate our now 30 apple trees from the suffocation of cedar trees. Mission accomplished. Next we wanted to open up the interior of our property in sections to allow for ground growth. This went great until the loggers were up to their 5 foot tires in muck and swamp. They were able to open about 3 acres near and around our home.
They plan to come back in January/February when the ground freezes. Mission started. Next I planted the new large field with a variety of food sources. Oats, red clover, white clover, rape, turnips, radishes and chicory. My thought was to determine what our deer like and don’t like this year. Further, because we have a mix of limestone/rock and swamp, I wanted to see what would grow and not grow. Last night was epic as we had 7 deer in our main field including at least two young bucks. This may not seem like much to most; but, to us this was incredible as it marked the first time we’ve seen deer in the big food plots before dark. Even better, this morning three does were in our field and spent most of the morning at our all you could eat buffet.
The highlight was when they had filled their bellies, they exited along the new path in the woods we made last week! That path goes directly to a micro-plot that grows in front of one of our blinds!!! Success. We invested hours of sweat, chainsaw time, tilling, fertilizing and seeding and nothing was sweeter than seeing those three does head that way!
When you look at the Google Earth photos of our property, we are surrounded by cedar swamp for a several mile area – absent of any major food source. As a result, we hope the loggers can come back after deer season to further open up our property for new browse to come up. Our strategy is to create 3 or 4 “zones” in the behind our house that have corridors on the perimeter and connecting each side of our property to our neighbors on the west and east. Our West neighbor also clear cut as he wants to open it up for his business expansion and for future baseball fields for children. This works for us a baseball goes from about April through July. This is a long term project for him and until then – more browse will come up with our property being the primary bedding/cover area. Next year we plan to take advantage of that as part of Phase II doe/buck bedding and hinge-cutting.
Stay tuned for more info and pictures!
I love when things go on sale – don’t you??? So when pear trees and apple trees went on sale I grabbed three. On our property we’re blessed with a base of limestone and rock. So digging becomes a challenge. Fortunately, there were ruts in the back field from our clear cutting I was able to utilize and fill in around our two pear trees. At one of our blinds we experimented with three straw bales, planted the tree on the base and filled in with top soil. We’ll see how that one does. We have over 30 apple trees on our property so they seem to do well in our soil (or lack thereof) conditions. Pictures and more to come!
We talk about birds, fishing, hunting, and wildlife arts a great deal on this page. But another wonderful thing to learn about as a family is the weather! Wind, rain, hail, snow and bright sunshine all create an impact on your natural environment, on your hunting and fishing successes and influences how that camera works! Here is a picture taken over Lake Huron during a severe thunderstorm–beauty is always all around us.
This weekend was the annual Doe and Youth Hunt in Northern Michigan.
We didn’t see any deer, but it was an incredibly successful hunt.
In the deep quiet of the blind, I could feel my body relax. All I had to do was stay awake, watching how the light brought first this leaf, then that fallen tree, then the blue of the Jay into sharp relief. This time of year, the forest sings with toads and insects, and the wind murmurs through the poplars and birch almost like chimes.
And there was quite a bit of wildlife to watch–the antics of a small pine squirrel trying to carry away an entire apple, the very noisy business of a woodpecker, the quick lilting steps of a grouse.
If we shot a deer every time, this season would be called “harvesting” or something like that. I loved my hunt–meditation and beauty.