Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Day at the Gap

Even though I usually steer clear of the tourist trap hiking trails, I must admit that when it comes to easy walking for the family, you don't get much better than the Cumberland Gap. I took a day to take the family up to the pinnacle then to the iron forge two very easy trails but with rewarding views and destinations. Here are some photos

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

We can all be angels

I have a neighbor who lost her husband and her son to sudden death and lives alone making her quite the busy body. Even though the lady irritates me by having her nose in everyone's business in the cul-de-sac I found myself compelled to cross the street and help her one day as she struggled with a bush she was trying to remove from next to her porch. She thanked me over and over, told me about loosing her son, and while I was trying to leave I felt the need to say something nice back to her since she was bragging on me so much. I said "I appreciate you keeping an eye on my kids when they are outside" or something like that it really meant nothing to me. Two years later for some unknown reason while I was having some trials in my life, and whining about them every chance I got, again I saw the lady raking leaves in her yard and decided to help her. So with the excuse of wanting the leaves for a leaf pile for the kids I proceeded to remove the leaves with a rake and a tarp. After some small talk she surprised me by saying that the words I said to her two years ago had saved her life, that when she felt alone and useless my comment made her believe she could have purpose again. She said I was her angel that day. Wow I thought, God works in mysterious ways. He not only used me to help the lady through a difficult time but helped me to realize how trivial my problems are. It seems angels come in all shapes and sizes even short surly outdoorsmen. Sometimes you touch other people without even knowing it.
Merry Christmas

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wild Bill's Big Buck

It was a once in a life time type of deer Billy drug out of an undisclosed area opening weekend of gun season in unit b. He knew the monster 11-point was there from trail cam photos he had collected over the last 2 off seasons but on the walk to his tree stand just after daylight he had no delusions that he would see the mighty buck today. After some time on stand,which he had gotten into late, he was starting to feel as though he could be more productive elsewhere. That's when he heard the twig snap directly behind him. The mere sight of the animal almost froze him, he swallowed hard, collected himself and grunted to stop the beast. BAM! Billy cursed himself immediately knowing he had gut shot his trophy. By the time he had jacked another shell in to the rifle the deer inexplicably layed down still in rifle range. Now I must tell you I have known Billy since I was 5 year old and he is not only an outdoorsman but a dead eye shot, so the only explanation for his poor first shot and completely missing the prone deer with a second round must be nerves. after this second miss his prize sprung to its feet and bolted. Billy had gained his composure by this time and fell the deer with a running heart shot, no need to track the deer it fell dead in its tracks. Wild Bill was so excited he missed the last three steps on the way down the ladder stand. If you have forgotten why Billy was so excited here is another picture
Congratulations Billy, most people have to leave Tennessee to kill a deer like that.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Noah Ogle nature trail

I despise driving through Pigeon Forge on the weekend so me and the family slipped in the back way through Cosby. We crossed Greene mountain on the parkway which had been recently burned over. we saw some wonderful vistas but we didn't stay long just long enough to take a few pictures. I chose the Noah Ogle Nature Trail due to the fact that it is a short (3/4 mile) loop that is pretty much level, My daughter is only 3 years old. The Trail started at the Ogle cabin which you can walk into if you want. The kids liked it alot since the doorways were little and the ceilings were low like it was built for them. The trail from the cabin is level but incredibly Rocky (easy to turn an ankle or trip). The scenery is nice with some older hardwood trees and rock wall formations along the way. The trail is marked with numbers which corresponds with a brochure you can buy at the trail head. It is very interesting but not very informative. At about the half way mark around the loop we encountered what I consider the best part. A small gristmill on a creek with several small falls nearby. the sound of rushing water rushing over boulders is very soothing to me. Just loud to the kids though. It was a really fun little family hike easy enough for everyone but still interesting. I recommend it to anyone unfortunate enough to be stuck in the over crowded mess known as Gatlinburg.

RGD #4

Thursday, October 16, 2008

No bow hunting in the UK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I recently got a comment from a fellow outdoorsman from across the pond claiming that bow hunting is illegal over there (How un-American). I can't imagine government telling me I can't feed my family by taking an animal with a traditional and effective weapon. I feel for my friend the suburban bushwhacker. If I were him I would start making plans to immigrate to the U.S.A. as soon as possible. I would like to recommend The Great State of Tennessee as a future home. limitless private and public hunting lands, liberal seasons and bag limits. low cost of living and plenty of opportunities to work. Did I mention freedom. Yeah I can take a cross-bow and kill a deer without breaking a law. Look me up if you decide to come, we recently started stocking Elk in the cumberland mountains. soon we'll be hunting them with bows. God bless America

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I only feel free in the woods

My home state of Tennessee is abuzz with talk of the debate tonight in Nashville between two men looking to use the power of government to "Give" stuff to people or to fix all our problems by spending money we don't have on more programs we don't need. I have now realized that Americans no longer want to be free because they might fail and have to suffer. they would rather demand others (the government) insure there future. The only problem with that is that we can't afford as a nation to take care of everybody. I have mentioned before that I love to do multi-day hikes because of the sense of independence and self-reliance it brings me. I do not understand why people don't crave that in everyday life, It seems natural to me. I have heard conservatives say they wish they had another Ronald Reagan. I say he did nothing to change the tide of state dependent, lazy, helpless people. He simply cut taxes and grew government, just at a slower rate. I wish we had another Thomas Jefferson, I get chills when I read his first inaugural address he made in 1801. You will not hear anything resembling any of Jefferson's beliefs tonight at the debate just more promises to take care of us since that seems to be what Americans want. Everybody wants something from the government, either "free" health insurance or to punish gays with legislation. I am saddened by politics I guess I had better plant a garden, and go hunting.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Out of meat

I have pretty much run out of meat. It takes 7 deer a year to feed my family. I have not been able to do any hunting due to lack of money and extra work. however I need to get back out there and provide some table fare. Two of my friends Stacy and Ray have already killed this year. Stacy bushwacked a six point in Heiskell and Ray stuck a doe in Crossville. Word is Ray may have a shoulder or two for my crock pot. Yeah he is a good friend. Maybe next week will bring me some hunting opportunities.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 2 no hunt


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Opening Day 08'

The alarm clock gave its warning at 4:45 am. I rolled over and turned it off then rubbed my face until the cobwebs cleared. I took a few bites of left over apple stack cake my brother brought for dinner a couple of nights before, drank some tea and dressed in faded camouflage from head to toe. It is opening day of archery season in Tennessee, this means my tenderloin is waiting on me in the woods. I am usually alone in the house at this time in the morning, however this morning Ally Grace was staggering through the living room with bear under her arm. Since my wife had not even rolled over when I got up I told Ally to get in bed with her momma. Ally was glad to oblige. I was out the door by 5 o'clock and heading north, an hour and a half later I was sitting in my tree stand near the border of Cove Creek WMA with my crossbow in hand. It was an uneventful morning except for the inordinate amount of yellow jackets buzzing around. While attempting to leave I was met at my truck by a neighbor Charles Johnson. Charles seams to know about everything and is glad to tell you about. During our informative discussion Charles' son pulled up on an ATV with a small doe on the back. He excitedly told his story of the shot with his compound bow and only tracking it 20 yards. I cut the jaw of the deer and preceded to age it at 2 1/2 years of age (no tri-cuspid but no real wear either) which was shocking to me considering it could not of field dressed more than 65 pounds. Reminds me of the little deer at Chuck Swan. I got back in my truck at 11 o'clock already thinking of tomorrow morning when I would hide in the woods once more.

Monday, August 11, 2008

School and Squirrels

Tomorrow is my sons first day of kindergarten, I am very nervous and excited for him. I think he will have a good time. He can already read a little and do addition and subtraction so he will be ahead. I just hope he is successful finding friends as well. You know nice kids not the mean disrespectful ones. I think I will celebrate this next stage of his life by taking him squirrel hunting with me on the 23rd. I think he will enjoy sneaking around in the woods and carrying the squirrels his daddy shoots. But he will probably enjoy school a lot more. My little buddy is starting to grow up. I hope one day my blog will be filled with stories of my son's hunting exploits but if he decides he doesn't like to hunt maybe I will just change the name of my blog.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Capstick Haters

One true joy in my life has been living out high adventure in Africa through the pen of the late Peter Capstick. Books such as Death in the Long Grass grabbed my attention and kept me turning pages. Capstick described outdoor experiences in an entertaining manner I could understand. He also gave voice to my belief that the best way to save a species from extinction was to give it value. People pay alot of money to go on safari and that money is used for conservation. I have recently read some blogs that say he stretched the truth. It always tickles me when someone who was not there wants to pretend to be an expert on what someone else did. I don't care if he took creative liscense, I enjoy his writings. One example I saw used by an arm chair expert was that Capstick over played the danger posed by Hippos. All I have to say to that is why don't you fly to Africa and pet a Hippo on the head then call me. God bless you Mr. Capstick, you are sorely missed in a time where the articles written by so called sportsmen remind me more of a P.E.T.A flyer than a hunting story. If Mr. Capstick was alive now he would be ashamed to see hunters writing apology pieces instead of extolling the virtues of a good stalk.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Good news for hikers

It seems to be set in stone now that the Cumberland Trail (a 250 mile proposed trail from Cumberland Gap to the Chattanooga Area) will be completed. This is good news for hikers who are tired of the crowds in the GSM national park. There is already several miles of this trail open and I can't wait to find time to hike the 17.3 mile smoky mountain section that is already complete. I am sure the vistas of the Powell valley will be breathtaking and the human footprints of settlement and mining will still be evident and interesting. I think the combination of the Appalacian trail and the Cumberland trail will make Tennessee a hikers destination.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Attacked by turkey

While I had the time of my life on the sprawling 2,600 acre Ode mills spring lease, I was out smarted by the wiley turkey. On this trip Ron, Billy, Stacy, and I slept under the stars (sans tent) rode four-wheelers on miles of trails up and down Powell mountain. We laughed and talked around a roaring campfire, called to turkeys and got responses, took long hikes searching for our two legged quarry, but bagged no gobbler. It was a perfect 3 days of outdoor enjoyment with my best friends. Now that I have made it abundantly clear how much I enjoyed being back country with my pals I can tell you the shameful part. Around 1 pm everyday it was reaching 80 degrees (F) and we would all meet up at camp which layed just south from the small creek that cut its way through the property. We were eating some campfire fryed grouse that Stacy had brought and drinking a few cold ones when Billy started showing us all his turkey calls. It was an impressive collection and Billy was adept at using all of them. Now you must understand that all of my friends are accomplished outdoorsmen, the type of guys you could blind fold, drive out to the middle of the woods and leave them. They would make it back by dinner. I mean Ron's house looks like a wildlife museum, Stacy has killed animals from here to Canada, and Billy has recently been on a big buck killing spree. However we all sat at camp with no guns in reach when Billy said in a low tone " you all won't believe me but there are two jakes right there." Everyone just sat still, even Ron who had been falling in and out of a not very restful sleep sat still while Billy made his move for his 12-gauge shot gun. He made his way silently to his gun and then tried to circle around for a clear shot when the turkeys started to walk away from camp (probably sensing the danger). Finally Stacy called out "Shoot!, they're heading away"............"BAM" Billy let a 4 shot shell go even though he was still shooting through heavy brush. The turkey obviously took some shot but not in anything vital and it started running straight up slope with Billy in hot pursuit. I jumped up and grabbed my scatter gun and joined the chase but I skinned off at an angle in hopes that the turkeys would turn and go side hill, I would be there to cut them off. Sadly enough the turkeys continued up hill until they disappeared over the crest out running Billy and out smarting me. It was a sad day when four experience hunters could get caught with their pants down by a couple of jakes. I bet you'll never catch me sitting around camp without a gun in my lap again.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Good friends=turkey

I got a call last week that may have just changed my turkey hunting fortunes for this spring. It was "Wild" Bill Pickett one of the original Heiskell Boys with an invitation to join him along with Stacy and Ron for a few days of tent camping and chasing turkeys over a couple of thousand acres of private hunting lands. We will leave sunday and return on tuesday which will give us alot of time in the woods as compared to my recent half day adventures. Sometimes it is nice to have good friends but other times it is great

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Almost turkey season

I am so excited about turkey season this year even though I don't have a good place to go. I did get drawn on a three day hunt a Chuck Swan WMA. but other than that I have no private land lined up to hunt. While I have not had much free time to scout I do believe I will have more time when the season opens. Turkey... it's what's for dinner.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

All land is not equal

Today I evaluated the soil on a 12 acre tract of land for a nice man. I hated to tell him it was no good for septic systems. I want people to be able to develop their land but it still amazes me that people decide to use their land in a certain way even though it is not suited for it. I wish people could see past setting rental trailors up and look for other ways of utilizing their land. I love to see local farmers having pumpkin patches and corn mazes to increase income without breaking the farm into a subdivision. Farms are great wildlife habitat. All land lends itself to a certain use, don't try to force what you want on to land that is not suited for it. Find land elsewhere and let someone else buy the land that intends to utilize it in the best way.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


I sit here at my computer after a long day at work. My children are tucked into bed. My wife is at work (I work days, she works evenings). Sometimes I let it get me down. Sometimes I still manage thankfulness for all I have. Other times I just yearn for a campfire and the knowledge of what is over the next ridge. I feel at ease in woods. I feel confident and never lack for the correct course of action. I can better predict the actions of a wild animal Than that of my wife of eight years. I believe it to be ironic that the natural tallents I was born with are more suited to life one hundred years ago. Today, The skills needed to interact in a feminized society are much more difficult for me. The constant struggle to fit the times and just survive in a world full of people popping anti-depresents and believing the world revolves around them drains me. Funny how I would rather solve problems like food and shelter than how to navigate relationships with people who's actions impact my family.The one saving grace is that there is still ample wildland left for me to escape to and recharge.