Monday, July 6, 2009

Fading Memories.

Memories don't just pop into mind for many of us, they are spawn by a smell of something that we've smelt before, a site of something we've seen before or maybe even a word phrase we used to here or be told by someone we knew long ago. For me many of my memories have come back to me through the old photographs my parents show me or give me as they become older and want me to have. As a kid growing up, a trip to Picther, Oklahoma the week of the 4th of July was a scheduled vacation for the family to visit my grandparents and of coarse fishing was always on the agenda. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that I began my deer hunting legacy even though I had hunted other wild game previously. That first year of whitetail deer hunting set things in motion for me that has lasted more than 40 years now and the memories I had and made are enough to last me for a lifetime. Though my memories come and go through my mind as I get older and I'm sure there are things I'll forget, Ill never be able to write all my memories down here on my web page before my time is up. Stories of days gone by that are told aloud are often forgotten within years of telling them but stories put to print are remembered and passed on through future generations for life. This is why I started this website and will continue to add to it as often as I can remember a memory to write.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Is Poaching Hurting Our Wild Game?

Many years ago when I first started hunting wild game of all kinds, game was abundant. Today, I find it harder to find a place to hunt, people willing to hunt by the laws set forth by our wildlife resource agencies and wild game in abundance as it used to be years ago. Now I know that where I live the farmers have alot of problems with hunters crossing their fences to hunt without permission and trash being left behind by hunters and make-out parkers ( kids parking on the side of the roads to make out at night or day ), fences being cut, livestock getting shot not only by hunters but by drive-by shooters and farm land being destroyed by vehicles driving on wet muddy grounds but this doesn't mean that there isn't some hunters out there that don't respect the lands and the owners and the wild game. Though disease does claim many of our wild game animals that still doesn't account for the drastic decline of nearly half the wild game animals. Yes the human population expanding throughout the countryside is taking a great toll on our game but that only causes the game to move to new locations. Poaching is what I believe to be the biggest problem with our wild game decline and I've watched this happen many times throughout the years I've been hunting. Hunters don't like being told they can't shot but one buck if the limit is four and four show up in the field in front of them. Hunters don't understand the license fees going up almost every year and not seeing any return on this increase only more laws preventing them from filling their tags. Hunters not being able to hunt lands they see big bucks on ( which many never even ask permission to hunt the lands ). Small farms and acreage being hunted with deer only crossing them causing the hunters to shoot or cross the property lines to take a deer. License fees to high for some people to be able to afford them so they hunt deer and other wild game without a license hoping not to get caught ( and most don't ) and not checking in the deer. Folks not able to find a place to hunt so they ride the roads both at night and during the day to hunt wild game, pulling onto farm lands looking for game to shoot. This is what our hunting world is coming to and there has to be some kind of solution to the problem. Our wildlife agencies can't do all the work for us, we've got to help bring this problem under control. Earn the respect of the farmers and the community and show them you can be an ethical hunter who understands the cost they sustain in farming and values of their property. Support the wildlife agencies in your area and work with them to control the poaching problems we all face, reporting any suspected poaching. Share your wild game with the farmland owners and your community citizens, the elderly and the poor. Through this process we will all gain in a greater outlook on the outdoors and the wildlife that lives for our hunting heritage to continue for years to come.

Friday, April 17, 2009

40 Years of Our Heritage--- Is It Dying?

Years ago when I was young and full of life hunting and fishing was my world.It was the only thing that I could do that I did well as far as a hobby. It didn't matter what time of year it was I always had someone ready to go hunting or fishing. That was when I lived at Lascassas, Tennessee and had grown up there knowing everyone and they didn't care back then if you hunted or fished on their property. Now days I live at Sparta, Tennessee and it seems as though you have to go through an act of congress just to find a place to hunt or fish and then it takes you a year or so to learn the woods and waters to be able to do any good at taking game when you go on an outdoors adventure. Now days you either have to lease a farm to hunt, know someone with a big farm to hunt or own a big farm yourself just to hunt unless you go to a management area where your hunting with alot of other people around you which lessens your chances of taking game. Even people with big ponds full of fish who don't even fish the ponds don't want you fishing them. The world has changed so much in the past 40 years and most of it is the people in the world doing the changing. Land being cleared, land being sold of for homesites and condos, land being posted as " no trespassing " and land changing hands from farmers to large holding companies that you don't even know who owns them and can't find out cause they live in another state somewhere. Then there is the cost involved with going on an outdoor adventure which is getting to be outrageous as well. The cost of tackle, putting your boat in the water, licenses, bait, gas, leasing land to hunt on, hunting gear, scouting trips, ammo, processing, taxes and even your health keeps going up every year. What are we to do watch our heritage die out before we do in years to come?. As we grow older we tend to hunt and fish much less then when we were younger and thats one reason we all look to find young adults who we hope will get interested in hunting and fishing enough to carry on our heritage. Schools are teaching our children and grandchildren our heritage sports now but what good does that do if theres nowhere to go?. Many of them will find it just as hard to find a place to go on an outdoors adventure as we do and may end up giving up the heritage due to lack of a place to go and cost. Everything in our heritage today has to do with money. Greed has driven and is driving the price of our heritage to a place where none of us want it to be--- extinct. With the rising cost of everything beginning with taxes and filtering down from there, everyone wants a piece of the pie. They all want their share of the growing economy which includes our heritage. From my view point the government is working in a way to prevent any of us from having a heritage to pass on to our children and grandchildren within years to come. They want us to give up our guns so they rise the price of taxes, our licenses and anything else that has to do with our outdoor adventures that they have a hand in which makes it harder for us to be able to afford our heritage sports. Then everyone else rises their prices to offset those price increases and it snowballs from there as it has for the past 40 years. Though many of us don't see the really big picture here it is a growing trend that our heritage is dying off faster then we think. Take a good long look around you at our young adults and find out just how many of them are really into outdoor sports today--- not as many as when we were growing up. Our heritage is dying fast and we have to find a solution to preserve it if it is to survive. What is the answer? I don't know but we have to do something soon or it will be gone forever and we'll be left with only our memories of our heritage.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

June Bugs and Grasshoppers for Catfish.

Although I can't remember the year of this grand fishing trip, I still remember everything about the trip as if it were yesterday. It took place in Pitcher, Oklahoma where my grandparents, aunts and uncles lived. It was mid-summer, hot temperatures and the June bugs were out everywhere. My Uncle Bill told us kids to go out and catch a bunch of June bugs then when it got dark we were to go walk through the tall grass and weeds and catch large grasshoppers. After procuring the bait we all loaded up in my uncles 1958 chevy Cheyenne pick-up a headed to the river with the camper in tow. On the way tho the river my uncle stopped at the package store and picked up some beer ( which was high on the must take along list ). As we traveled to the river my uncle began handing the beer out the window to us kids in the back of the truck when my dad ask what he was doing . My uncles only reply was " I thought they were thirsty " and my dad replied that we were only kids not adults. Once we arrived at the river everything got set-up for the night and we got our trot lines and fishing poles put out. It wasn't long before the fish began biting on the June bugs and grasshoppers and by the time morning came around we ended up catching 52 keeper catfish which weighted from 2 1/2 pounds to 34 pounds. Though the night seemed short, it seemed like it took forever to clean all those catfish when we got home the next morning.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Last Deer Hunt On A Management Area.

Years ago I used to hunt on management hunting areas but I quickly figured out this just wasn't my cup of tea. I had the privilege to hunt with one of my high school buddies and good friend Ricky Duke and another friend Chris Ballinger at Motlow State College Management area back in 1986. Now Ricky was to meet us there opening morning to give us a little insight on the best areas to hunt and where we could hunt as not all the management area was open to hunting. After getting the lowdown on the hunting areas we set of to hunt what was actually the back side of the management area. Ricky went to the left of us and Chris and I planned on following a fire access roadbed down through the woods and cross over a couple of hollows before setting up to hunt. As Chris and I walked in , we came upon a hunter sitting up on a ladder platform stand that became very rude and impolite and vulgar toward us telling us that he was hunting in that area and for us to get out of there and go somewhere else. At the time I was young and quick tempered and this guy made me mad very quickly by trying to claim the woods as his own hunting area. So at that time I was carrying a Remington 300 magnum and turned to my hunting partner, which put the barrel of my rifle pointing straight at the ladder stand, and clicked the safety off the rifle and ask Chris if he heard what that big fat m*****F***** had said to us?. When the hunter heard the rifle safety click off his eyes got really big and he decided not to say anything else to us as we moved off further into the woods behind him which was where we were headed for anyway. AS we walked further down into the hollow we could start to see there was blaze orange everywhere in that area and I was still mad from my encounter with the rude hunter. I raised my rifle and shot into a large oak tree then hollered out " There he goes boys yell get him ". Blaze orange was everywhere looking for the deer and we moved off further still into the woods over three more hollows before finally setting up to hunt. We traveled so far back into the woods we were hunting on the management area property line which joined a big farm. Chris sat by a big tree watching the hollow and I had set up watching the woods at the property line hoping a deer would come from the farm into the woods. As luck would have it a nice six point buck did cross over into the woods from the farm but the brush was real thick and my shot didn't connect. When we got ready to leave we had gotten turned around and found ourselves coming out in the town on the back side of the management area. Luckily Ricky had already figured out where we would be coming out from and had come around the road to get us and return us to our truck.This was the last time I ever hunted deer on a management area and as long as I can find property to hunt behind closed/locked gates I won't be hunting management areas again. Just remember everyone has the same rights to hunt on any management area so don't make the other hunters mad at you-- be polite.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My Mentor To Our Heritage.

Some twenty years ago I had a mentor who helped me learn about deer hunting. How to shoot a bow, what signs to look for during scouting trips, tree stand locations, field dressing my deer, bucthering, packaging and cooking my venison. I in turn passed this knowledge on to young adults getting started and carried them on youth hunts for their first deer. When I moved away from Lascassas, Tennessee I kind of gave up the passing of knowledge to young adults until now. At present day I am mentoring my grandchildren and neighborhood youths in the art of Whitetail hunting and enjoying every minute of it. Each subject I talk to the youths about brings back a memory of my mentor and these memories are what keeps him alive for me to continue my teachings. He was 7/8 Cherokee Indian and could shoot a bow better than any man I know now so I know everything I was taught was better than anything you could ever get from reading books and TV shows. Today, I'm proud I had a teacher and dear friend willing to take the time to show me how to hunt whitetail deer and enjoy the woods and nature as it was meant to be. Our heritage was handed down to me by my mentor and I've passed it on throughout the years as it should be to many young adult hunters. Today my mentor has long ago passed but his spirit lives on through me and my mentoring of young adults. Be a good friend and mentor to some young adult and pass our heritage on to future generations of young hunters trying to learn our great sport as you did when you were young. Mentoring is a great feeling and it keeps our young adults out of trouble with the law. Thank You Charles Duke for passing on such a great heritage to me.

Friday, September 19, 2008

My First Hunting Trip.

Years have passed since the first hunting trip with my dad. I was only 13 years old and eager to go squirrel hunting with my dad. Though I didn't have my own gun yet I knew from my first trip out into the woods this was what I wanted to do the rest of my life. Anyway, it was fall of 1971 and the leaves had already began to change colors, there was a slight dew on the ground and the weather was a perfect cool morning air with no wind blowing. As we drove to a little country churchyard and parked, Dad explained that we would have to leave by 8:30 a.m. due to church starting. We were hunting the woods behind the church house which were full of big red fox squirrels. As the sun began coming up we could already hear the nuts dropping and the squirrels jumping from limb to limb. We sat by a large oak tree watching and waiting till we could get a clear shot at a squirrel stopped on a trunk or limb of a tree. Dad had given me a 410 single shot shotgun to hunt with and he was using a 22 bolt action with a scope. By 8:00 a.m. we had both taken our limits and was heading for home.It was a couple of years later in life that I found out that my mom didn't like any wild game that was all shot up with shotgun pellets so then was when I began hunting small game with only a 22. My birthday was in October and for my 13Th birthday my parents got me a 22 rifle which I learned to use well and took many a squirrel and rabbit with. To this day I still only hunt small game with a 22 rifle and enjoy every minute I can in the woods whether or not I take game home or not. Today I hunt big game with an occasional trip for small game but my preference is big game animals.