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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am taking at least a week off at the end of October. Scouting a few days in advance of that in mid-Oct. I have a co-worker with knowledge of the area in general just W and N of the McCormick tract in Baraga county. What prospects for a bowhunt being new to that area? I'm familiar with some of Dickinson county around Ralph and I have to say that whole county is pretty sweet looking. My goal is a reasonable # of deer with at least a fair chance at a decent buck. I've hunted for 32 years and plenty of them were years where I barely saw deer, so I can be patient and make my own luck but not knowing the country described, I'm curious for any insight the members here may have? N of Lake Michigammee, E of Craigs Lake State Park and the area in general W of the McCormick tract again. Thank you!!
 

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I used to hunt the ralph/norway lake area every year during October. I always saw bucks not always big ones but bucks non the less. I stayed at the sportsmans paradise on norway lake. I did see some nice bucks every couple of years. I think if you know where to look you will find deer in this area. I have been through Baraga and the Huron mountain area near Ontanogon, Rock, Bergland, etc. This is some rugged country. I have never hunted it but I know that big deer come from this area every year. My old man goes to Toivola at the base of the Keewanaw every year and gets a buck. It is not uncommon to see/get a deer that will be a 1 1/2 yr spike or a 2 1/2 fork...the winters are so hard.
 

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I hunt Houghton and Baraga county every year for the past 10 years or more. This one came from that area last November during the bow season.
ps. with no bait!
 

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Not as many deer up there but I'm sure there are big bucks dying of old age in that area. Vast wild country up that way. I'm up scouting in Dickinson County right now!
 

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I hunt in Western Iron County and I love it up there. I ussually set up around cedar swamps. You will probably see some bear, pine martins, maybe a wolf, and hopefully a big old aged buck. Good luck
 

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I've hunted for 32 years and plenty of them were years where I barely saw deer, so I can be patient and make my own luck but not knowing the country described, I'm curious for any insight the members here may have? N of Lake Michigammee, E of Craigs Lake State Park and the area in general W of the McCormick tract again. Thank you!!
That is about as "big woods" as you can get in MI. You may already know this, but just to be sure:

1) Don't underestimate how difficult the cross country travel can be in that area. It can be very rough going, ESPECIALLY in low light conditions. Really!
2) Don't underestimate the weather. It may snow like hell(throw a shovel in the back of your truck), a long dreary cold rain, or then again it may be pleasant and sunny(don't count on it)
3) Make sure you have a topo map, compass or preferably a GPS(don't forget to waypoint your truck) ;) Personally I always carry some very basic gear just in case I had to spend the night out there. I would rather spend a cold night out then break my freaking leg walking out in pitch black.

I'm a terrible hunter so I would not take any of my hunting advice to heart :lol:, but I will say that the terrain in this area lends itself to natural funnel points nicely.

The nice part about that country is even if you don't have any luck it really makes you feel awesome hunting in that style, and you may just see a moose or wolf if you are lucky.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I am really gettin' gassed for this trip. For a lot of the week I'm going to be on my own. My own Man vs. Wild thang:D! Except I plan to come back to a camper and make some hot chili:evil:. I'll be learning new ground this year so my expectations aren't high for bringing back a racker with my 45 lb trad bow, but if I "make meat" I'm going to be pretty happy this first year. I may go back up during the muzzleloading season. I'm kind of being true to myself this year and hunting mostly primitive style. Truth be told I love success and work toward it, but could really give a rip if I bring home something for the freezer. One deer a year is pretty much enough for me, so time in the woods and if I'm lucky enough to take an animal on my terms, that fills the bill. I really appreciate the advice given!
 

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I.ve hunted south houghton county for 25 years. My advice would be to get a topo map and try to find a pinch point between a ridge and water source. Next would be to find an oak ridge. There is nothing like hunting Gods country. Good luck. Make sure you have a compass and never doubt it.
 

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Thanks for the comments on my buck. That is one hunt I will never forget.
I grew up hunting in the thumb of Michigan where I took at least one buck every year. I also blew a few oportunities at some nice bucks, but all in all it was always pretty easy to get at least one buck in the thumb, so long as you put your time in.
The western up is a hole nother animal though. I have spent many hours in the big woods without seeing anything and that challenge is part of the reason I favor hunting there.
The other post are right on the money---this place can be gods country or it can be the worst hell hole you can imagine if your caught out after dark when the weather turns sour. I have been in some pretty bad situations and mother nature (up there) is unforgiving.
I spend at least two weeks every year up there and it is by far the best two weeks of the year for me.
Your gonna like it without a doubt, but make dam sure you have a compass even if you take a gps along. The gps will fail you up there from time to time because of the dense cover above.
Good luck and enjoy!
 

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I did not realize you were going to be on your own until I re- read your post. Lots of thing can happen tracking a buck shot in the evening.
Example: I shot the buck in the picture (125.25 Pope & Young) an hour before dark. 1.5 inches of snow on the groung. I waited till dark when my hunting partner returned to track this buck (approximately 1.5 hours after shooting him) I shot him quartering away from me pretty hard at 45 yards, arrow blew all the way thru.
I normally would have left this deer alone for a couple more hours being uncertain of the shot placement but the snow started to fly covering up the red cool aid in the snow, so I had to get after him before I lost the blood trail to falling snow. We tracked and jumped this buck 15-20 times over 3.5 miles before I came upon him still alive and wanting a fight with ears pinned back. I could here him breathing thru the whole on his left side were the arrow exited. I had hit him in the liver and blew thru the opposite side lung. At 1:30am (9.5 hours after shooting him) After finishing him off I looked at my buddy and said were are we. We had went thru several beaver floods, beaver falls, reveans and everything else that area had to offer. Luckily I grabbed my gps and turned it on, however in my excitement I failed to mark the truck as a waypoint. There was no way we were about to follow the popcorn trail the gps offered as a way back. We went thru hell and beyound chasing that tuff old beast.
I panned the gps and discovered a railroad track 1.5 miles away so thats what we went to plowing thru what seemed like two feet of snow by now, maybe more. After walking 4 miles we found the truck, which we took back to camp for the four wheeler, that we rode down the railroad tracks until the deer, I had mark and left my hunting coat over to keep the wolves off of, was directly East. We walked in 1.5 miles and drug him out up and over huge hills, beaver swamps, etc.
We got him back to camp, hung him on the buck pole and off to bed at roughly 4:00am. Needless to say we did not hunt the next morning.
I posted all this just so you know one of many senarios you could be in for by your self, so be carefull and be smart.
I probably would have been found dead from a heart attack dragging the biggest buck of my life (so far) if I had not had my hunting buddy with me, but that wouldn't be so bad either:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Frostbite - thanks for the thoughtful follow-up post. I'll be pretty conservative and cautious until I learn this new ground. I do have a gps (just bought it!!) and have good map and compass skill. I too have been "screwed up" in the woods more than once, but twice were real memories for me. The first was in the woods of northern Maine when I was 18. Thought I was a pretty good woodsman until after trying to find my way out after an hour or so. I noticed a stump that looked awful familiar and it dawned on me I had walked in something of a circle. For the first time and really the last, I had that feeling of panic hit me, but I kept my composure and took my compass out and got lucky enough to walk right out to the truck after a couple hours. That experience was a good early education in woodsmanship and took the overconfidence in the skills I had out of the 18 year old I was back then.

I got balled up in northern Wi. a few years ago and came in at 9 pm. I knew the main features of the area and just took a compass bearing, hit the big area lake in a couple hours and followed the shore back to camp.

So, believe me, I'm pretty humble about my abilities without a compass or gps and don't take unneccessary risk. I make sure I understand the terrain features and typically key off them as to where I hunt. I will be scouting in advance in mid October too, so I won't be utterly unfamiliar and I hope to have a stand location picked and marked that I'll be able to find without trouble. If I'm lucky enough to sink an arrow into some hide, I'm going to be sure to mark my way as I follow the trail. That said, I could still run into something unforeseen, but hell, it's an adventure, right:D! Maybe I'll see ya up there! Please let me know how you do...
 

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Good advice and great stories, guys! As if we weren't already pumped up enough :)

Scott - that is indeed Big Woods. Take extra care because you're alone, and never wander off without your basic survival gear (I've done that - was just going to check the blood trail for "a little ways") You'll probably see moose and wolf tracks up that way. Also be prepared for anything e.g. Oct 15 '06 I tracked a wounded doe through a foot of fresh snow in Houghton Co. If you get in a jam don't hesitate to contact me. Enjoy and be sure to give us a complete report!
 
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