|Shanen's pic contribution from 2/10/07 out on the Split Rock River
|Mark's pic contribution from 2/10/07 out on the Split Rock River
(Dude...these pics suck. I look like a fat wood tick. You place last in the photo contest. I
win and Shanen gets 2nd place)
6 p.m. +36 degrees. Almost 6 weeks since I was last here, no good. Barely 1.5 inch's of snow on
ground and that came yesterday. They have had some snow on and off this winter but little has
Fresh 4 finger wide wolf tracks down by the old bait pile at the sniper bunker. He walked right up to
the cabins old bait pile too. Corky says he, "Ain't seen any wolf tracks on my road all winter." Dale
was with Corky. They went down to their stands towards the loggers clearings. I saw them again at
sundown and they said two fresh wolf tracks down there following deer tracks.
This is basically a quick meat run. Picked up a fresh road kill spike buck on way up, unfortunately,
that's the only meat I found on way up. Got a permit for him from the State Department of Natural
Resources (DNR). Hope to get some pictures of wolf this winter with the new Sony digital camera and
12x zoom lens. Dropped the spike up by the cabin.
|Fresh wolf tracks under 12 hours old
Four fingers wide baby...they don't get much bigger around here
|The spike next to wolf tracks
Before this fresh snow it rained pretty good on top of the frozen ground. A lot of water has
pooled everywhere and frozen. Corky has been sliding around with some of his heavy
equipment and he says walking is very treacherous.
|A skating rink down by the sniper bunker
|The big back to back snow storm end of Feb into 1st week of March 2007.
Shanen and John went up two days after Mark and I cancelled due to conditions.
They had to ski in from beginning of Corkys road approx 1.5 miles.
Way to go guys....Shanen thanks for the pic's!!
10 a.m. +22 degrees. Dropped three dead birch for firewood within 75 yards of cabin. Hauled and
stacked them. Dropped 4 young poplar saplings to use as braces for dog kennel.
|Dead birch is
plentiful by cabin
|The intent of the bracing is to prevent a collapse like
last year from the heavy snow loads
6 p.m. +34 degrees. Corky having serious problems with beaver down at his place. They are dropping
all his big poplar right next to his cabin and sooner or later one gonna drop right on the cabin!!
|Corky points to the beaver house where the trouble makers have taken up residence.
They are barely 75 yards from his door. "A dozen sticks of dynamite should do it I guess."
Stay tuned for video of "Cork's Beaver Valley Camp Revenge"
6 a.m. +24 degrees. Got some super moonlight shots last night, and one long term exposure of me
standing in doorway in my red flannel underwear. A mouse got into my salted peanut bag last night
and hauled a few off before I noticed it. He would start crunching on them just when I was drifting
off to sleep. I set a trap for him but never got him.
|Experimenting with 30 second exposure under wolf moon
6 p.m. +10 degrees. Wolf/Fox !!!! Seeing fresh fox tracks on Corkys old road. It went right to
sniper bunker bait station but I have no bait there. Wolf was at cabin and deer gone from 10 days
ago. The classic spine is all that's left. Corky said it snowed Thursday night so my guess is wolf
was here within 18 hours. I picked up 3 road kill this trip so I got plenty of meat. One was a huge
buck. Someone had stopped and cut off the antlers.
|The spine is all they leave with a chunk or two of hide
|An hours worth of hand spliting
|"Free" frozen road kill for coyote/fox bait
Coming in with the new black trailer on the fresh 1.5" of snow and the ice underneath it...well you can
guess what happened with every incline I hit. I was barely able to get traction even though I hugged the
trail off to the side. I thought I was stuck a couple of times and was going to have unhook the trailer and
sled everything in. It was a recipe for disaster with the throttle kicked down, towing a heavy load on top
of ice trails.
After firing up the stove for about an hour I thought I could smell popcorn. I finally investigated and
found a mouse had piled corn on top of the wood stove out of my sight. It's never ending the locations
they find spots to stash corn in. One of the funniest was brother John and I came up for a week of deer
hunting and I hung my work boots on a nail next to his bunk. His head was only two feet from the
boots. All that week a mouse hauled and stashed corn in one of the boots and he never heard a thing.
6 a.m. +0 degrees. Not feeling well. Weak and guts loose.
Noon. Had breakfast at Corkys despite not feeling well. Was going to make a run to Lax Lake with
the wood dark house and set it up but I've decided to use the portable when I come up on vacation next
month. Will split a little wood by hand after a nap.
4 p.m. Split wood for an hour. Good thing I didn't go to Lax Lake though, had to make several runs to
the outhouse with diarrhea.
|The big wolf still in area
|Corky trying to save some trees with chicken wire to discourage
the sharp toothed vermin
|Corky on the "Johnny Popper" moving some of the beaver kill trees around
|The beaver house and dam with winter feed they stocked for themselves
9 p.m. +8 degrees. Came up with John on a meat run. We only got two carcass, but I had a third from
home I've been sitting on in the back of my truck. Dropped John off at the "Possom Lodge." John hadn't
been there for a month and has evidence of a pine squirrel being inside.
Still very little snow up here. Can walk anywhere. All my bait gone and looks like wolf and coyote tracks.
Can't figure out where the mouse traps are disappearing to in cabin. Must be a weasel getting inside and
taking traps and all back out with him? Can't find a hole that big though in cabin.
Will be back in a week for the big annual fox/coyote hunt, and Lax Lake spearing vacation I've been taking
every year now for awhile.
|Fat and sassy blob
Still no snow - a welcome
sight compared to last year
8 a.m. -4 degrees. Weather reports for next week predicting -20 and worse!! Searched the area for the
spines from the 3 deer I left 2 weeks ago but nothing. Wolf must be dragging them off a ways. Nothing
eating corn I left in feeder except a really fat pine squirrel. Don't recall seeing one that fat up here.
7 a.m. -26 degrees. Arrived last night around 9 p.m. and it was reading -22 degrees. I honestly didn't
know if the ATV would start but it fired right up. Corky not home. Got everything in around 11 p.m. and
already had action on bait pile by midnight. It was probably a wolf but I'm not certain it wasn't a large
coyote either. It was very skittish. It should have been...there was no way it didn't know I was in cabin
after all the ATV runs back and forth and noise I had made. I watched for a half hour and tried a few pic's
but it was too dark for the camera. It finally spooked over something. The tracks this morning showed 3
fingers wide so most likely it was a wolf, probably female.
Froze my ass last night. Never even took my bunny boots off. I've never done that before. I laid on the
couch and just threw a few blankets over myself and had the stove wide open. I woke up one time
shaking violently from the cold.
10 a.m. The wind is howling. Probably have a -40 wind chill. Had a bald eagle on bait and was able to get
a few pics.
6:30 p.m. -6 degrees looks like the high for today. I experimented with the new Sony digital 12x zoom
camera at sundown and there is only a small window of opportunity at dusk/dawn for good quality low
light shots. It just can't focus without enough light. I was looking forward to getting a wolf pic too.
7 p.m. Speak of the devil it's out there right now. It's very dark and the moon has hardly risen. I can
barely see the cross hairs in the scope, so even if I was positive it was a coyote it would be a 50-50 hit.
I'm sure it knows I'm watching. It seems to be looking this way at times as it tears and rips the meat off
11:30 p.m. -14 degrees. I woke up and the stove was out. The cabin was very cold. The full moon
was finally out with clear skies. I looked out on the bait and a new visitor was there. This time it was
old yellow tooth himself...Mr Coyote. I shot and he fell to the ground flopping something fierce, trying
to get back up with his front legs. I shot again (missed?) and he disappeared to the left. I watched for
another 30 seconds but saw nothing.
Two hours of searching and not a drop of blood anywhere. Very mysterious esp with the amount of
thrashing it did. The next day it makes sense. The shot was a high grazing shot, the thrashing was only
the reaction to the sting
8 a.m. -18 degrees and a stiff wind. Finally able to see what happened. The coyote was hit alright but
ran across the shooting lane after the second shot. It's there I finally picked up a faint trail...and I mean
faint trail. There are literally dozens of trails coming and going from the bait pile. Scraps of fur and
bones are everywhere. I was hopeful esp after finding a couple good spots with blood. It was clear the
coyote was hit high and had blood dripping down on both sides. It must have been close to the spine?
|Lots of bird activity during the day...the occasional eagle gets choice position
3 p.m. COYOTE!!!! Took it at 1:45 p.m. Dean said they come in at all times of the day. I forgot to get a
few pics first. I was all set to go with the tripod and had taken numerous test shots with the ravens and
bald eagle. But he might have heard the camera start up noise so it was better to get one in the bag first.
The coyote has mange on its legs but nothing like some of the poor bastards I've shot a few years ago.
|Stood here awhile dripping
Something ate turd the next day
7:30 p.m. -4 degrees. I lost the trail at blood bed pic above. I just couldn't determine which way it
exited. I don't think it's a killing shot. He'll probably be limited to mice for awhile, no full power sprints
5 p.m. The low was -18 degrees this morning . Had a rabbit and 2 flying squirrels on bird feeder last
night. Scouted down Corkys ATV trail that leads out to his stands looking for the wounded coyote to
cross it somewhere.
I don't think it crossed so my guess is it headed to the new loggers clearing. Mark will be coming in later
this week and we'll see if "Rudy" can track it from the blood bed.
Put the frame on the portable fish house today to get ready for Lax Lake. Found my dirty laundry bag
(plastic bag) in bunk room totally chewed up. The dirty clothes inside weren't touched.
|Many of the wolf up here look similar to coyote in fur coloring
Wolf tend to have a long legged appearance esp in summer
|Rem 700 25-06 with Hornady 120 grain exit hole
|The devil...on left side of plywood
It was a 20 second exposure and the best I could get in the dark
|Pine squirrel very upset about "Duke"
|Close up of lichen found on some of the rock face on the Split Rock River that day
|"Duke" very upset about the pine squirrel
|The snow is deceiving until you start shoveling
Corky finally home. He said he has the big 4 finger wolf down by his place snooping around his deer
scraps from last year. I see no evidence of the big boy being on my bait since I've been here, just the
3 finger track. If it's a female wolf they do not appear to be traveling together which I find odd.
|"Otter Magnum" Portable
fish house frame
|Chewed up dirty clothes
bag...what the hell?
1:30 a.m. Temp unknown. Wind is howling fierce. I have to keep a piece of carpet along bottom side
of door due to a gap. The wind blew the carpet away and the cold air woke me up. The wind chill must
be horrible outside. Nothing on bait for two nights now but I must admit I'm not watching it as close
anymore. I think the best hunting is over, and I had my chance for two. My best week up here ever I
got 3 coyote, one each night for 3 nights in a row.
Haaaa...I could hear them yipping, yapping and howling at sundown. By the end of the week all was
8 a.m. -10 degrees and the winds are still howling. So much for an early start to Lax Lake to set up.
I'm a fool with -33 degree wind chills to go out on a flat lake and try and set up but here I go...
|-18 degrees in outhouse
You download fast in these temps
|24" thick ice block
I shoved it under the ice after
futile attempt to bring it up
|I foolishly got my floor wet
which froze stat
|I had to wrap rope around
portable to cut down
7 p.m. -7 degrees. It was a rough day out there but at least I saw two northern pike and tried to
spear the bigger one which was at least 20" long and three fingers thick. I threw in front of it. He
stopped right next to the decoy which I wasn't expecting since he had been coming in pretty fast. I
had to calculate his speed, and the 4 feet the spear had to travel just to hit him. The wind was
howling so bad out there flapping the sides of the portable I put ear plugs in. The northern pike
didn't seem to care or notice the flapping noise. My feet could only take about three hours even with
the heater in the portable.
I wanted to bring the block of ice up for a trophy but just couldn't do it. I needed to cut a 5th auger
hole directly in the center to run a line through...then I might have gotten it out. They are really cool
when you bring them out.
Some old guy drove right up to me while I was working and we talked. He also gave the advice to
jig the decoy but the little pike got scared when I slowly backed the decoy up to get a better look at
him. I say NO JIG THE DECOY.
7 a.m. -7 degrees. Radio again giving a wind chill advisory. Already -20 now and will be -30 by
noon. Not looking forward to a 2nd day out there on Lax lake but want to try the wood dark house.
5:30 p.m. +11 degrees. Thats the warmest its been since I arrived almost 5 days ago. I made it to
Lax Lake but not to spear. John and Shanen showed around 9 a.m. just as I reluctantly started to
haul the wood dark house down to the truck. We went out to the lake to retrieve my wood floor and
put sticks and ribbons in my spear hole to warn others to stay away. It was terrible out there with
the windchill. The hole had only frozen over about 2 inches. Someone could easily have dropped a
wheel in and done damage to their vehicle.
John next to my spear hole
|Couple of examples of different style ice houses out there
Although the big one on left is comfy the green one is more practical
Note unique trailer winch system that lowers floor onto ice
7 a.m. -8 degrees. Will work on the wood pile until Mark and Rudy show. John gave me water from
his well at the "Possum Lodge" before he left yesterday. Says it is better than the free artesian water I
stop and get right outside of Duluth. I tried it in the coffee this morning and he is right. Definitely makes
the coffee more smooth. A strange thing about wells drilled around here on the north shore close to
Lake Superior is they sometimes hit salt water which is of course no good to drink.
6 p.m. Mark and Rudy here. Mark able to drive vehicle right into cabin yard. We met up with John and
Shanen at Corky's place and decided to look for the wounded coyote with our "tracker" Rudy. We
started at the blood bed but Rudy was stumped too. There was only one way it could have gone and
that was towards the new loggers clearing.
We fanned out and made a push for the clearing watching the ground for sign (Mark got a couple of
interesting pics I'll post later here).
Miraculously I found one drop of blood about 400 yards from the blood bed. But even from that spot
the tracks were impossible to follow since they criss crossed constantly with other tracks. We call it
quits in the new loggers clearing by John's tree stand. As soon as Rudy knew we were done tracking he
took off for the cabin full sprint. Poor little guy...he was kind of cold and shaky out there. I don't think
it got above +0 today.
|Corky's deer at the corn trough
|Dead beaver pond below Buck Mountain and Lance and Sharon's
place as seen from on top of Buck Mountain with 12x power zoom
|John and Shanen inspect
brush for blood
|Rudy does his best to pick up the coyote
track from the blood bed
|Rarely seen ice can be seen
forming on Lake Superior
Once a decade it freezes over
|We end search for wounded
coyote in new loggers
|Rudy takes off for the cabin
We find him later...faking he is cold &
exhausted being babied by Shanen
|Rudy and John are uncertain as they step out onto the frozen Split Rock river
|A special place two feathers
and I found years ago
|Frozen as it flowed
I've been on this river many times over the
past 20 years and never seen it like this
|Split rocks on the Split Rock River
This location is how the river got its name
7 a.m. -10 degrees Slept in bunk room and legs cold for some reason. Mark and Rudy got primo couch
bed next to wood stove. Rudy stayed at bottom of Mark's mummy sleeping bag by his feet. When I would
load up the stove with wood I kept hearing him itching himself but couldn't figure out where he was.
6 p.m. The temp is unknown but I think it got up to +10 degrees today which felt pretty good without the
wind finally. It was a busy day. Mark and I cut and hauled three birch 100 yards out from cabin and pulled
them in with Otter Sled. Then we went down to Cork's and chewed the fat. Corky said I can have the
beaver kill poplar he had to cut down this winter. I loaded it up in the big black trailer (should have got pics
but didn't) and it took two runs. The MV7 had all it could handle with the poor traction underneath the
John, Shanen, Mark, Rudy, and I drove the MV7 down to the Split rock River. I somehow found exactly
the right trail to take which can be daunting sometimes. The river was in rare form. Brutal temps all week
froze it solid as it flowed.
10 p.m. +28 degrees. I can't believe how winter is still hanging on up here. The trails leading into cabin
still have a firm 5 inches of ice all the way in. I had a freezing ice storm on way up the last 100 miles
and all the lines tying the ATV down were frozen solid. I had to pour water over them to make them
Brought up a new cabin gun. It's a NEF 12 gauge single shot I bought for $69.00 and it will go in the
safe in the bunk room with the .22 rifle I have up here. Between the both of them it will handle all my
needs if I come up on the KLR650 motorcycle, although I will probably be strapping the NEF 30-06
rifle, or Mosin Nagant
7.62x54r on the bike too for giggles. One can never have too many guns up here as far as I'm
concerned. If your ever up here alone at night you'll know what I mean. Like I've said before there are
plenty of sharp toothed vermin lurking about looking for fresh meat. Some of them weigh over 300
pounds and have immense strength. It is unnerving to have them standing on their back legs looking in at
8 p.m. +34 degrees. Chipmunks are out and about. Rained on and off all day. John and Shanen showed
up and we took a run touring the countryside in new places to the west of Buck Mountain. Went down
to the Split Rock River and got some fab pics.
Corky had a silver/white wolf come out on the edge of his clearing a couple hours after we had stopped
by (around 2-3 p.m.). He thought it was just a deer and really didn't pay any attention.
We saw the big 4 finger wolf tracks not 50 yards from cabin and they were fresh. We also saw old
moose tracks down buttercup trail on way to Spilt Rock River.
|End of march and still like a skating rink up here
|Wet rabbit by corn feeder
|Old yellow tooth from February
Chipmunk and rabbit are glad he's dead
|A week or two earlier must of been spectacular when the ice broke up on the river
5 p.m. +54 degrees. Arrived with Teresa, and all dogs...Skipper, Doc, Duke. Needless to say I have
my hands full. And to add to it I got caught in a downpour without rain gear.
5 p.m. Had a low around +34 this morn with frost on the porch deck. Skipper didn't do too well last
night. He's mighty old, confused, deaf, and can hardly see. He fell a couple times into the bunk
room wandering around. We finally got him settled down and at dawn I found him in his bed totally
soaked in urine. This is probably his last trip up here. We figure he is about 18 years old now.
Buzzed up the free beaver kill poplar Corky gave me and stacked it next to cabin. Went down to
Corkys and got some spectacular pics of birds on his feeder and the beaver next to his cabin.
|Skippers last trip to cabin
He died November 12th while I was deer hunting. His last year was a hard one.
We had talked about burying him at the cabin but Teresa had to bury him next to house.
|What is interesting about the beaver pics is the spruce tree. Corky has never seen
a beaver cut and haul a spruce tree
11 p.m. +52 degrees. Arrived with bear bait. Dropped off Andy at the Amer-Inn in Silver Bay where
Kelly, Brady, Sam and Sparky were spending the night. We'll hook up again in 24 hours.
Evidence of pine squirrel in cabin? Lots of stuff knocked down onto floor. I woke him up (apparently
sleeping under the cabin) and could hear him moving around under the cabin, then crawling on the tar
paper on the sides of cabin. I grabbed the 10/22 out of safe but it wasn't loaded, so by the time I got
out there to confirm what it was it was gone.
6 a.m. +46 degrees. Evidence of bear being outside. Wood pile knocked over, bird feeder destroyed,
barrel knocked over. Yogi will die for the damage. As I have said before, "They are nothing but
giant rats with stubby little tails.'
I think I've seen the pine squirrel that lives under the cabin. He is very small and inquisitive. Very
vocal. I was surprised how close he let me walk up to him. He won't last long. A fox or coyote will get
4 p.m. John showed and we dropped the tree by the fire bowl that was old and partially hanging over
our trail. Went to Corkys but he was in his gravel pit. John insisted I bring a trailer of gravel back and
throw it in front of the porch steps due to the steep drop down. Not certain what he wanted me to do
it with it, looks like crap, just a pile of dirt in front of the steps.
Saw a groundhog in the tin shed. I was wondering how the metal pail of corn had its lid removed. I
had placed a heavy object over it the last time I was here.
Noon +65 degrees. All the bear bait was put in the dog kennel. Kelly, Andy, Brady, Sam and Sparky
had a great time. The boys slept in a tent outside. I hung a Coleman lantern out there to discourage
any bear. I was surprised it burned all night, at least 7 hours, and still had fuel in it when I shut it down
Got video of Sparky eating Marshmallows Video 2007 He has some seasoning method where he likes
to roll in his food before he eats it. Sparky is very entertaining.
|A man, his cabin, his guns
|The tree that wouldn't fall
|Corky loads me up with gravel
|I dump it in front of cabin steps
|The rest of the year August, September, October, November all
have their own separate pages and links below:
August/September Bear 2007
October Indian Wedding
November Deer Hunt 2007
There will be some cabin logs for December...
|Called Corky December 6th and there is already 12" of snow on the ground. I'm
planning a meat run soon in preparation for a January hunt. I had hoped to get
ahead of the snow but so much for that game plan. This morning (Dec 9th) it is -26
degrees up there. Looks like this might be a tough winter up there.
6 A.M. +30 degrees. Arrived sundown last night on an "emergency" meat run and sledded everything in.
I didn't bring the ATV because I didn't think I could get it in...I could have, and how I wished I had it. I
had to make two runs with my gear and freezer burned meat. I was unable to pick up any road kill on
way up. It happens, unfortunately, I must have meat soon since my vacation is only 3 weeks away.
|Fresh wolf track found stat
The big boy survived the summer
|2 trips in and down to T-shirt
There's a good 10 inch base of snow on the ground. Shoveled off the three roofs and I was dead meat.
The pine squirrel that is in the cabin has hauled in nesting material from outside. He chewed a new hole
on bottom corner of door after we nailed wire mesh over his last entrance. One day I'm going to find out
which one it is and post his dead carcass on the www.
|Set the Sony DSC-H5 7.2 mp to burst mode...never really tried it before. Takes 5 pics?
|Fetish over coffee creamer
In 18 years this is the first pine squirrel to enter the cabin. I could blast all of them and be done with the
problem but they are entertainment on the bird feeder. I'll identify which one it is first and then blast him.
These little shit heads have quite a mean spirit compared to other birds I watch. They will attack any
other bird trying to get seeds. This fall while deer hunting out at Hunters Rock tree stand I put seed
on the side rails of the stand to watch the birds come in and one of these shit heads purposely walked
along the railing knocking all the seeds to the ground so none of the other birds could get any.
I heard loggers down by Coyote tree stand today . Guess that explains why Lilly gang moved closer
to me this year? I suppose they placed the new stand just off of the paint marks the loggers make. I
guess I knew it was coming down there and I had not hunted there the past two years. I'm too fat,
old, and out of shape to be climbing up 30 feet with a portable anymore anyway, at least not that
high...but it does seem to help keep the scent drifting down to the ground the higher one goes.
Also heard Corky with his machines down at his cabin today but couldn't walk my fat ass down
there. The wolves were howling after sundown at the new loggers clearing by Coyote tree stand.
|Pure evil in these little guys
Test fired the BLR 30-06 with the peep sights I'm attempting to install on it. Of all the quickie target
stands I've devised up there this one actually works quite slick with minimum damage to parts, and
they change out quite easy if they are damaged from a stray bullet.
Made a run to Lax Lake on way home and guess they're just starting to get the shacks out there.
There's pockets of slush on the lake and the entrance is a mess...no vehicles out there even with 12"
of ice, the entrance is just too messed up. Guess the boys are using ATV's to get the shacks out there.
Couple of guys in pretty close this year I noticed, can't be more than 4' or 5 ' deep where they are.
The north end hole sits farther out and is approx 10' I guess.
|Portable target stand that actually works quite well up there
|12-21-07 Lax Lake just starting to get ice shack action
I'd really like to get my wood shack out there this winter but it is just such an undertaking to set it up.
I got a feeling slush is going to be bad this year too and moving them out there in slush is a
nighmare...all you do is spin the tires. So I'll probably be using the portable and hand pulling it out
there this winter.