Sunday, December 27, 2009

The weather in the UK has been cold with lots of snow. It's something the Brits aren't used to. So far they have five inches on the ground. To hear them talk, that's all the snow in the world.
They haven't been around Michigan, obviously. They talk of a day with black ice and how a car slid through an intersection running through a stone wall. That seemed to be big news around York.
Despite the cold weather there hasn't been any talk of hunting or fishing. The laws here for outdoor pursuits are similar to those of Germany, very regulated. And we think we have it tough when the DNR proposes changes to our game laws.
Speaking of the DNR, if you are interested in giving input for future wildlife management, call Kerry Fitzpatrick, 517-373-1263 or to be on the agenda Jan. 14, 6:30-8p.m. at the Comfort Inn, Mt. Pleasant.
Remarks will be taken for a management plan for whitetail deer and habitat needs for other species including birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mamals.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from Germany

It's been a cold couple of weeks; ever since we arrived. There has been on and off snow but nothing lasting.
A minor covering causes alarm over here. Roads aren't de-iced here as quickly as they get done at home. Yes, even though we complain about them, Oakland County Road Commission does get the job done and usually in a timely manner.
I've not talked with any fishermen over here, but did meet a local hunter recently. He had hunted during the day for fox and rabbits.
His gun was a 12-gauge shotgun, hunting over dogs. Jack Russell terriers are used and a German breed as well. \
I'll try and get more information on hunting here. I know they deer hunt for red deer, a smaller version of our whitetail.
There is some pheasant duck hunting along with squirrel and other wild game.
In the meantime, remember the season, be good to yourself and family and stay safe and healthy. Merry Christmas or as they say here, frohe Weihnachten.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Customs and weather in Germany

We are spending the Christmas season with our son and his wife in the small farm village of Affalterbach, Germany. That's not too far from Stuttgart.
It's very cold here with little snow in this part of Germany. In Austria, they have been skiing now for some time.
A country know for the famous Octoberfest that seems to start in August and continue almost to Christmas, this time of the year it's known for the many Christmas markets that pop up all over the country.
We have visited several already since arriving. They consists of many different booths, each decorated with a variety of seasonal decorations to set that booth apart from it's neighbors.
Here you can find all sorts of handmade gifts; ornaments, nutcrackers, chimes, wood toys, leather goods, knit hats, scarves, mittens, walking staffs, and candles along with many others.
Figuring you can't shop on an empty stomach there is food to satisfy every taste; from vegetarian to the meat and potatoes crowd.
Of course there is bratwurst but how about a rotewurst, sauerkraut and potatoes, french fries, crepes filled with different fruit and covered in chocolate, pizza slices, pretzels, hot chocolate, and no doubt the crowd favorite, gluwein (pronounced gluview), a hot spiced wine served in a mug.
Return the mug or cup to the vendor for a refund or keep it as a souvenior of that market.
But there isn't a market or a village you might choose to visit that doens't have at least one Lebkuchen-Schmidt store nearby.
Lebkuchen, German for gingerbread, is sold all over the country and exported around the world. Buy it in plastic packages or in beautifully colored tins, with scenes of the season, or Old Germany. Use the empty container for a cookie jar.
Surrounding many of these small villlages or running through them is the Neckar River. Fishing here is open to those with licenses granted following serious study and demonstration of an understanding of fish habitat, equipment and on and on.
Shooting a recurve at one market, I asked the proprietor if they used compound bows to hunt with in Germany. An emphatic "No," was the response.
Besides, even if you could use a compound, a license to hunt is similar to getting a fishing license and takes months of study and exams before one is granted permission to hunt.
We may find fault with the DNR but we still have a better system despite a few bumps. Acrtually they seem more like blips once you put them alongside rules and regulations in some of these other countries.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Deer Hunting

Too many years ago when I began deer hunting, the choice was simple. One license purchased for the firearms season allowed you to take one buck. A license during bow season allowed a deer of either sex.
I don't recall any "extra" permits being around. There may have been some farmers got for crop damage. And I don't recall anyone complaining that deer were pests, eating their way through ornamental landscapes, backyard gardens and the like.
These days the number of deer you can legally take seems to be an awful lot, to put it mildly. And much is done in the name of overpopulation, car-deer accidents, and damage to property.
Lately there has been comment about controlled hunting in Independence County Park. One side says the deer population has gotten too large for the amount of available food. Another segment says there arn't many deer there, and since the hunt, there seem to be even lexx.
A similar situation occurred at Kensington Metropark some years ago. Visitors to the park used to see a lot of deer. These days, since the controlled hunt, they seem to be few and far betweed.
Personally, I enjoy seeing them. I also enjoy bringing kids to the parks as well as other people who may not get the chance to see deer.
It's a specail moment when human and deer meet on the same ground, eye to eye. I've seen it in my own family and with elderly friends.
It's too bad we can;t strike a balance and come up with a happy medium.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nice people

My story this week had to do with Gregg Lamere from Gwinn in U.P. country. I had the pleasure of fishing with him for two days this past November.
Professional fishing is a lot like golf. There are a handful of people that cash checks regularly. Even though there are a lot of really good fishermen and golfers, only a few make the grade.
Lamere is one that made the grade. I don't think he ever reached the large money sums some anglers have achieved, but what he did achieve he did so with integrity and complete honesty.
This is not to say anglers are crooked when fishing tournaments. Quite the opposite. There is a certain code of ethics that requires self policing. So far that has kept this sport on the up and up.
If a cheater you be, you'll soon be found out and banned from any tournament participation.
I enjoyed being with Lamere for all of the qualities he stands for. Besides being a really good fisherman, he's totally relaxed on the water. Cheerful to a fault, he's quick to smile and tease gently.
I imagine in real competition some of that would change. But those qualities are never too far from the surface.
He's a great family man and dad, making him standout from others. He wears his heart, emotion, and feelings right out front where you can see them.
Had any negative trips with so-called pros that didn't talk to you, share what they were doing, or otherwise make you feel like the odd man out?
Send em' to me and I'll take a look for an eventual story. In the meantime, like Greg Lamere,stay positive.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Books, Books and more books!

I'm one of those that think you can never have enough books. In my case, there are several that I use as reference when writing about a particular topic.
A home library is a good thing to have for many reasons even if you don't write. Books are great entertainment. You can spend hours reading and not realize how the time flies.
They are also a great form of relaxation. Unless of course you're reading some kind of ax murderer novel. Then the violence and action may work the other way and keep you awake!
Good friend John Long recently presented my with a wonderful book, "The Old Ausable." Writtenh by Hazen L. Miller, it's a history of this famous river and one I can hardly wait to begin reading
In my little world, it fits a certain style. This is one meant to be read in my recliner, slowly, to aborb all that I can.
Other books I can fun reading are all over the house. I usually have a couple going at the same time. They find their way to my bedroom and wind up on the floor on nightstand.
For doctors appointments I usually take one of these along. Makes sitting in a waiting room a little more tolerable.
It's true that you can hunt with one gun only, fish with one rod, and read a single book at a time. But with books, once you're hooked you'll probably have a couple open at the same time. Happy reading.