Elephants, Sharks, and Assorted Antelope

Last Saturday (the 12th) was our wedding. Getting past that and into this week (and finally being able to actually do homework for my classes like I’d hoped) was like coming up for air. The last 11-12 weeks have been a whirlwind, to say nothing of the month or so before that.  So I thought I’d spend my morning writing some catch-up material.

So we spent 10 days in South Africa. After a grueling 18 hour flight, plus 6 hours in layovers each way.  We were shuttled around by our PH, Sirk. He drove us all over the place and generally was a babysitter/guide, and he was awesome. He put us onto pretty much all of the animals in our package, and big ones, at that. He set up a day of shark fishing for us with a friend of his, and got us a day of video safari at a beautiful reserve. The only animal out of our original package that we failed to get was a warthog. From what I was told, the weather thwarted us there- it was cool (ranging from low 50s F for a high to a few days in the 60s, almost 70s), and often rainy. Warthogs apparently aren’t out and about in that weather, so I swapped for a different animal, a duiker.

The people were all wonderful, the scenery was stunning, and it was quite an experience to be in a country on a continent I never thought I’d visit. So let there be pictures.

As mentioned, we got all of our animals, and with time to spare.

My blesbok, shot at 235 yds

My blesbok, shot at 235 yds

Duiker, shot at about 150

Duiker, shot at about 150

Matt's impala was quite close, inside 100yds

Matt’s impala was quite close, inside 100yds

The kudu was impressive, ad shot at 450.

The kudu was impressive, and shot at 450.

These rhinos were on the farm where we shot the kudu. We were inside the fence.

These rhinos were on the farm where we shot the kudu. We were inside the fence.

Springbok, shot just under 100yds

Springbok, shot just under 100yds

Me following Sirk after some blesbok. He made a good place to hide behind. He was basically a mountain.

Me following Sirk after some blesbok. He made a good place to hide behind. He was basically a mountain.

Matt's big Blue Wildebeest.

Matt’s big Blue Wildebeest.

Unfortunately, I’m still searching for the external hard drive we loaded all of our pictures onto. Once it turns up, I’ll get some more pictures of the scenery and other things we saw up.

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Urban Sugaring part II

The weekend of the 20th, we began boiling down our maple sap. Our first set up was a simple stock pot over our propane turkey fryer, and it stayed that way for another week

30 gall food-grade barrel in the foreground.

30 gall food-grade barrel in the foreground.

Continue reading

Rifle Season Has Come and Gone

And it was a disappointing one. Not that it was entirely unexpected- Forest County was buck only, like much of the northern portion of the state, and the DNR was reporting the overall harvest on opening weekend being down 18%. Willy-nilly tag sales, harsh winters, the presence of coyotes, and the growth in the population of bears and wolves has done in the deer population up there. Continue reading

Matt Goes Up North Solo

Matt’s brother got his weekends mixed up, and told us the wrong ones for his next trip up to the cabin. Originally, he told us the 11th and 12th, so I asked that weekend off, and volunteered myself to work all of this past weekend. Well, that wasn’t what he meant, so I had nine days of work in a row (5 more to go), including this past weekend, and Matt went up without me. However, given the intense stomach virus I was struck with Saturday night into Sunday, maybe it’s best I was somewhere with indoor plumbing.

He had some lackluster duck hunting, tried some grouse hunting, and checked all the trail cameras up there. There are way more deer showing up, but as with every year, this coincides with his grandfather putting out bait.

There was one other reason Matt had to go up north this weekend.

A cute, fuzzy reason that chews on things he isn't supposed to, and pees on the floor.

A cute, fuzzy reason that chews on things he isn’t supposed to, and pees on the floor.

Matt finally got his retriever puppy. I love puppies, but then again I’m also the one doing all the work home for most of the day. We have our work cut out for us house training him, and getting the basics instilled. Then it’s off to formal bird dog training. We also haven’t picked out a name yet.

A Disappointing Opening Day Hunt

It was pretty brisk at ten-to-five Saturday morning. The sun was an hour and 40 minutes from coming up- not even a smudge of bright on the eastern horizon. I had packed everything into the car Friday night after work, and laid my camo out. Last year on the bow opener, I was sweating in light cotton. This year, it was 39F as I shouldered my pack, and trekked up the road in darkness.  Continue reading

Labor Day Weekend

Late Saturday evening, Matt and I drove up north to get to work on improving our duck hunting site, as well as hanging trail cams and various other odds and ends. We turned around and came back Sunday afternoon, hoping to hunt the opener Monday morning for early goose and teal, so we weren’t there long, and packed a lot of activity into a few hours. Continue reading

Trail Cameras, June and July 2014

Last Sunday, Matt and I headed on over to check our trail cameras. We’ll probably get one more good check on them before hunting season starts. We got some images, though there aren’t as many good ones as the last time we checked them.

So, we’re still only seeing two different bucks. We didn’t get a good image of their antlers, but a month ago they looked pretty good. Hopefully we can get out soon and check out some new areas to hunt- I have some serious reservations about hunting this area again, even with how much time we’ve dumped into it (almost three years).

One positive is that on the way home, we found a new spot to duck hunt in. One that won’t require a mud motor to access, and which will hopefully be less populated than Mud Lake. Wisconsin opened an early teal season this year, so we hope to make use of the new spot.

We’re also at the month-and-a-half mark until Matt can go up for bear season.