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Posts Tagged ‘birds’

Spring Birds

May 27th, 2013

Spring Birds

The Spring is my favorite season for bird-watching. While I was out and about this weekend, I was able to catch a few birds in the field.

Some of these guys are not-so-common inhabitants of the Michigan Forest, but yet they are still present in enough numbers for observant folks to catch them.  Happy Birding!

 

Black Billed Cuckoo

Picture 1 of 11

 

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Bird Hunting 2011

October 26th, 2011

Bird Hunting 2011

The annual hunt took place at the hunting lodge known as ‘The Hootch’ again this year. This is always a special time for my family as we spend the weekend together hunting the woods for ruffed grouse, woodcock, and the occasional rabbit.  The weather was very good for hunting, as the previous two days blew hard and strong winds and rain which drove down the leaves and the high grasses.  The cool, crisp mornings and the sunny, breezy afternoons are just a joy to experience in the northern part of Michigan.

Our adventures were cut short this year by an injury to ‘Wink’, the rockstar Bird-dog that never seems to give up in the woods.  He sustained some tear from running through the woods through the bushes and under logs.  It was unclear exactly how it happened, but a trip into town to the veterinarian and he had Wink fixed up in no time.  We look forward to the next time we can get Wink out in the woods for more birds.

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October Hunting 2009

October 29th, 2009

October Hunting 2009

Autumn Captivates

Autumn is my favorite season of the year.  There are many reasons for this, too many to name and list.  The colors changing on the trees create the best visual eye-candy that Natural Michigan has to offer. As another fall begins, the hunting tradition is rekindled once more.  The autumn colors, the crisp fresh air, I look forward to this weekend every year.  There is no better season for me than the fall; being able to walk in the woods, hike through the great wilderness in Northern Michigan, and hopefully find some woodland creatures to interact with. The cool, crisp mornings that focus the senses, the musky aromas of the fallen leaves and fading grasses that linger in the memory to recall the moment. The clear nights and stars that come early, and last late into the morning.  All these things and more make the fall an exciting time to enjoy nature at it’s best.  It is this tradition that assisted in my falconry journey and that is precisely why I am including it here.

Small Game Hunting

I got into hunting when I was a small boy; I grew up with it.  Hunting has always been a tradition in our family, and I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors for the many wonders the outdoors provides. It’s great exercise walking through the woods, and there are no better places than the areas we hunt. The thrill of the hunt adds to the excitement as we walk through the woods looking for birds.  It’s always a challenge to find the Ruffed Grouse in the northern woods.  There are so many names for them:  Grouse, ‘Pat’, Partridge, heck, we even call them “Gooney-Birds” because of the gooney stuff they do. Whatever you call them, they are a challenge to find, shoot, and knock out of the air. Woodcock are another great target that we regularly scare up out of the woods.

This year we were able to venture to our favorite hunting grounds.  These areas that we hunt get their names from past adventures of when we first hunted the area.  We have ‘Gooney Bird Central’, an area where the tag alder and the thornapple trees are thick, as are the ruffed grouse that we hunt.  There is another place, not to far from this area, called ‘Squeaky Tree.’ After hunting this area for an afternoon, and scaring up a few grouse, we returned to the truck for a break one afternoon, only to listen to the wind blow through the branches of a large oak tree, rubbing it against another producing an audible  ‘squeak’ of wood on wood. Another area that we are fond of is named “Doodleville.”  We even have an ‘East’ and a ‘West’ area to this hunting preserve.  It is some prime grouse country on the shores of Loon Lake in the Presque Isle County that we reside in at the Hunting lodge.  One of the largest areas that we can enjoy for an entire day is called ‘The Meadows’.  This is a large plot of state land that runs itself into a great duck hunting swamp, but we never seem to make it back to that area.  The Meadows is an area where some bow hunters have tilled the area (we are talking about 10 acres) and planted rye, clover, and often wheat to entice the deer to this commons.  Again, this area borders some wetlands that are prime cover for some ducks, and also, as a side effect, provides a great home to the ruffed grouse.  Another area that we like to go to at least once during the hunting expedition is near Cranberry Lake.  We call this place, ‘Cranberry Lake’, oddly enough.  This is another section of pine-oak forest with a border of tag alder trees that provide the perfect habitat for our quarry.  The unique attribute of this area is that it borders on Cranberry Lake, which usually holds a great deal of ducks. All of these areas are within 35 minutes drive from the ‘Hootch’, the great hunting lodge where we take up are refuge from the elements.  In our traveling this weekend, I cannot recall another time when I saw so many eagles!  We counted about 10 Bald-Eagles in our travels over a weekend. That’s pretty amazing, considering that for years I never saw one!

Big Game Hunting

In 1997 I began deer hunting. My Uncle has 350 acres of prime Northern Michigan forest with the Hunt Creek running right through the property.  He has maintained 15 deer blinds and several miles of ATV paths on the property. Part of the tradition with keeping the hunting lands ready for each fall involves a weekend in September of wood cutting, lane cutting, and path clearing.  It’s a great setup that enables everyone to be safe while hunting during rifle season. In my years of hunting deer, I’ve only been successful twice, and each time it was quite a thrill. The major draw for deer hunting is the deer camp experience with the camaraderie of the uncles and cousins that we have grown up with over the years.  It’s a great time to spend in the woods and watch as the day unfolds while sitting in the deer blind waiting to spot some game.

Fellowship


Our hunting crew consists of the four of us (pictured above) guys who always have a great time when we gather at the Hootch for Partridge Hunting. It is this brotherhood that keeps us coming back year after year together to go out in search of quarry in the woods. Many people think that a Hunting Camp or weekend is about killing animals.  While I know there are folks that would argue about this, I would say that the main reason that folks go out into the wilderness is to be in the outdoors.  Sure, bagging a big buck or shooting the forest up can be exciting, but knocking down a deer is far from a guaranteed thing, and neither is bird hunting a guaranteed successful hunting excursion. This year was an exception to the four of us, with Uncle Mike unable to join us due to work responsibilities.  Ah, well, it happens some years.

Falconry Hunting

This first year of my falconry apprenticeship adds a new dimension to both the Bird Hunting weekend and the Deer Camp experience.  I’ve been preparing the guys for the additional hunting partner, and they are very excited.  With only a few more weeks before deer camp, I hope to get in some keen hunting excursions with Tahoe before Deer Camp so I know she is ready.  During grouse hunting, we were not able to get out to a hunting area with enough game to ensure a successful hunt, which is why I opted for some Hunt-Training experiences instead.  We should be ready to go for deer camp in a couple of weeks.

Hunting, the outdoors, and falconry will be my legacy, for I am a legend of the fall.

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