Monday, December 28, 2009

You'll shoot your eye out kid!

I got my son a Daisy 105 Buck BB gun for Christmas and he is almost as happy as I am about it.  he had shot at Cub Scout ranges before and at Big Papaw's house but now he has his own gun. While I don't know if he will ever have the sort of  obsession I have with putting meat on the dinner table he does enjoy shooting guns.  We set up a range in the yard today and shot for about an hour. That is what I call quality father and son time.  Being outside teaching my son about useful things such as marksmanship and safety and knowing he is enjoying it more than any silly video game fills my heart with love and my mind with hope for the future.
Happy New Year from the Envirocapitalist.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

The wife and kids are the only reason I am not a hermit. My heart cannot survive without them, so I spend more time with the PTA (parent teacher association) than with the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency) and I am the luckiest man in the world for it. God Bless you all.
Your pal the Envirocapitalist

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Roastless Doe?

It felt more like early October in Dekalb Co. Tennessee instead of late November as I settled into a dog house blind. I had chosen this set up because it was so warm that I would be wearing a t-shirt and the cedar thicket I was hunting had no trees to climb. I was hid so well by the blind that a doe approached on the old game trail to 35 yards before I dropped her with my Knight Wolverine muzzle loader. All I could think about as I dressed her in the late morning sun was, I can't wait to eat one on my wife's wonderful deer roasts.
On the way home my father (Big Papaw) was wondering how I planned to cut the deer up and make it to work in time after our five hour drive home. I told him I planned to quarter it up and pack it into a big cooler  until I had time to finish processing it. My father is getting soft in his old age and said he didn't want me to have to stay up late. He knew I never took deer to processors because I did not want to pay for something I could do my self (I am cheap).  He said " let's stop at J.O. Adams and I will pay to cut it up.  I thought its free and on the way (Adam's place is in Claxton) I might as well let him do it.
It was only four days  til I could pick up the meat and the cost to my kindly father was only fifty dollars. I showed up and got the bags full of meat and went home only to realize that my bags held no roasts. I called Mr. Adams and he assured me he would make it right by cutting me roasts off some other deer, but I have yet to hear back from him in 3 weeks. So the moral of my story is..... "Don't let another man handle your will always regret it later".

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Where in the world is Albert Rasch?

I simply ask because I do not know and I miss his musings and informative blogs. It has been weeks since he last left us a clue of his whereabouts and I can no longer open his blog in my browser. Does anyone else have this problem with opening his blog and if anyone knows what has happened to him I would love to know. My curiosity has gotten the best of me.

Your Pal the Envirocapitalist

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Is that what I think it is in my fire ring?

I had pitched the tent, set up camp, and collected a significant amount of firewood before I took my first little scouting hike for the evening.  It was a brisk Autumn day and I had seen deer in this part of the property before and thought I would build a blind or hang a stand to hunt out of tomorrow. I felt a little rushed, this was only day 1 of a 5 day excursion I had planned and I would need to be back at camp in time to start the fire, cook dinner, and prepare for tomorrow. After finding the spot I liked ( I still hunt from the same tree to today) I leisurely strolled back to camp only to find Items missing (food, axe, etc.) and human scat in my fire ring. I can't prove it, but I believe it to be some anti-hunters who own adjacent property. They know where I camp since they had walked up on me during an earlier hunt and told me in no uncertain terms that I should leave and if anything happened to their precious horses that I would be to blame. I never left and this is the only time my camp was vandalized and it has been years now but I still feel uneasy.  If a woman could do that to my fire pit, what would she do to me?  I wondered if anyone else has had a similar incident and if there is any rational reason for pooping in a man's fire pit besides being a crazed lunatic ( I don't think it is ancient Cherokee custom). Just a thought before heading back into the wilderness where it seems that just like in the city, man's greatest danger comes from man. I wished I had thought to take a picture that day. Poop in the fire pit is a lot like Big Foot, you never have a camera when you need one.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I'm subscribing to a Wesleyan way of conservation

I believe that John Wesley ( the founder of the Methodist Church) had the right idea as to how to live life. He had Three simple rules to live by. I think they transfer nicely to not only daily life but also wildlife management. Lets take them one at a time.

  1. DO NO HARM: Every action you take either as a management agency or a hunter should be determined by first making sure this action does no harm. If you are going to take actions to help a species like introducing a non-native species to a ecosystem, you should determine first that it does not harm others.
  2. DO GOOD: The only mind set that should determine the course of human stewardship should be one bound by only doing good. Politics should not play a role in conservation nor should feelings. For instance favoring one species over the health of the ecosystem based on the wants of a constituent or because it is cuter than another. All decisions should be made to improve the environment that man lives in. Everyone who is interested in the outdoors should also volunteer their time and money to projects that do good. Like any good charity, the outdoors is a worthy cause. Maybe shooting does to balance the herd is a good thing to do even if you only want to take trophies.
  3. STAY IN LOVE WITH GOD: Read God as nature. If we all got up everyday and had an attitude of putting a priority on the outdoors we would see a difference quickly. When you actively love something everyday you tend to act in its best interest.

I love the outdoors, it provides me with everything I need. Every time I shoot a deer, I thank God for his creation which not only nourishes my body but also my soul. If all people placed importance on the outdoors instead of just hunters (for the most part at least monetarily) we would be further along the trail of successful conservation and stewardship. If the anti-hunting crowd spent half the time on conservation and preservation as they do trying to stop hunting, they could probably make a real difference.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

May Be A New Record! Is it more important than any other deer?

Check out this article about a guy who may of killed the new non-typical record white-tail buck. Then read this post by Rick at Whitetail Woods, which describes a crazed anti-hunter not letting a man retrieve his deer from her property. I wonder what would have been the outcome if the deer in her backyard was a 32 point world record. I hate to say it, but even though I place equal importance on any deer I kill since I eat them, I would say that the hunter would have retrieved that deer if it had been the monster killed last week up north. Just a thought. Here is the staple of my diet......she doesn't have horns, but I would have gotten her off that crazy woman's property.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A squirrel in a tree is better than two in the bush?

It was a horribly foggy morning when Big Papaw, The Boy, and myself made our way to Cove Creek wildlife Management area for some early fall squirrel hunting. We split up as we left the truck. Partly because it is easier to be quiet in smaller numbers and partly because of Big Papaws emphysema. So Big Papaw sat near the truck under some hickory trees and the boy and I traipsed off down a freshly cut logging road. We didn't go far till we reached the recently logged area and I knew we should probable go else where since all this disturbance surely ran the squirrels off. I took this opportunity to use the bathroom. That is when the boy (who is six) said calmly "Hey there goes a squirrel over that log." By the time I zipped and grabbed the Marlin 22 mag the squirrel was gone. Well I was really teaching the little fellow how to hunt wasn't I.
After some enjoyable sneaking around in the woods we found a nice log to sit on and the boy commenced to eating his snack (a cereal bar) and my snack (a granola bar). While drinking water and discussing why we couldn't just put a hickory nut out on the ground and wait for a squirrel to come get it and then get him, Big Papaw came over the 2-way radio." Hey......... I have one in a hollow tree up here................why don't you come back here." We said yes and made tracks.
We arrived and Big Papaw explained how he was watching a doe when he saw a squirrel running around and proceeded to shoot at it only to wound it and watch it run into a hollow tree. I had voiced a concern as to the validity of the squirrel being in such a small hollow tree so Big Papaw picked up a stick and stuck it up in the tree and we all heard the "CHUCHECK, CHUCHECK" sound of a pissed and wounded squirrel. "I hate to leave a wounded animal and by the length of the stick he is probably about right here" he said pointing at a spot on the tree. "Do you think you could shoot through the tree with that magnum". I said " sure I even brought some solid points. I took a few steps back and shot the tree. The squirrel rolled out the hole at the base of the tree shot through the head and shoulder. If you don't believe me enlarge that photo and see for yourself. While you are looking at the photo take note of the smiles on our faces over one little squirrel. That is what I love about the outdoors, It is always an adventure.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I am back in time for deer season.

I almost quit blogging again but there is something about putting down your own thoughts and experiences that I can't explain. It doesn't even matter if anyone reads it or not I feel compelled to write. I am looking forward to the 26th and the opening of archery season this year. I will start to fill the freezer with venison again. First I will have a go at some Eastern Gray Squirrels tomorrow up in Cove Creek. It will do me and the boy good to bust out into the wilds of East Tennessee for a morning of stalking the elusive Sciurus Carolinenis. Latin names for animals is what I learned at UT in the Wildlife and Fisheries program, I learned about animals in the woods. I guess that is why they call it a BS degree. God Bless .

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ethics and the Environment, Worth the read.

As I surfed the information Highway I came across a blog title that made me fear I may have found a blog based on emotion instead of science. The blog is Ethics and the Environment (with some economics and politics thrown in) I must say it is worth the read. Not because I agree with him but he uses sound facts to prove his point in a well written manner. The Author Josh is from California but don't hold it against him. He has another blog that seems to be more personal experiences which is a great supplement on his perspectives. I highly recommend reading one of his latest blogs, Up in arms over junior deer hunt, which put into words several things I have thought in my own head. Make sure and click on his picture below or one of the links above and enjoy the read. Author of Ethics and the Environment pictured above.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


We slipped through the tall grasses silently and single file. The darkness of night has long since closed in shrinking visibility to a couple of feet. Deep throated croaks in the distance dance in my ears like a siren song. We approach the pond less by sight more by memory. We take a minute to collect ourselves and organize. Ron checks the three pronged gig at the end of a 7 foot long laminated bamboo stick while I familiarize myself with the on/off toggle on the spotlight. I locate the general location of a larger croaker by the sound of his call. Ron (without a word to each other only the familiarity of the activity) starts moving in that direction. I turn the light on and begin searching the shoreline and almost immediately I see the tale tale glowing eyes of our official state amphibian the bull frog. I hold the light as still as possible in our prey's eyes blinding him to Ron's approach. In one fluid motion Ron drives the gig home like a spear. The next couple of seconds are tense until the gig is raised from the water with our first pair of succulent legs hanging for all to see. Several similar little dramas played out that night before we loaded up our trash bag full of frogs and left. While the act of frog gigging is fun, it pales in comparison to the feast we will enjoy after dropping the breaded legs into hot oil. If you haven't ate frog's legs you haven't lived.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sideways snow and a doe!

The only reason I was on a ridge top in Jackson Co. during a blizzard was the doe tag in my pocket, which is a rare thing during high powered rifle season. I had positioned myself opposite the wind from a saddle between to ridges which the deer used to access the valley to the east of the land I was hunting. I had walked up the ridge with Bob who had tried to give me some of his frozen Mcdonald's hamburgers he had purchased earlier in the week for 69 cents. We parted ways and I sat down in my makeshift blind built from dead fall. The snow was blowing so hard that I couldn't see very well and I was becoming miserable. By the time I had decided to give it up for the day I realized my boots were froze to the ground and it took some tugging to pull them free. I needed no more reasons and I headed down the hill while the snow storm pick up its force even more. By the time I reached the field that lays between the cemetery and the old clapboard sided house we use as camp, the weather could be described as a blizzard. I needed meat bad and we would probably start driving home as soon as the weather broke, but I didn't care I was looking for shelter. By the time I reached the porch of the old house I saw Bill sitting in a chair(I don't think he ever left the porch that morning) drinking Diet Dr. Pepper and occasionally stoking the warm morning stove. Before we had a chance to swap pleasantries Bill whispered "I think there is a deer behind you". I spun dropped to a knee and leveled my 30-06 and squeezed one off. The deer went down immediately, it had just entered the field about 80 yards from us. I apologized to Bill for walking up to his deer stand (the front porch) and shooting a deer. He is one of my fathers oldest friends and told me not to sweat it he would have gave the deer to me anyway since my family eats so much venison. I gutted the 1 and 1/2 year old doe where she laid. It was snowing so hard that when my father and Bob finally came down off the ridge they had no idea what had transpired since the blood was now covered by snow. Sometimes luck is better than skill when it comes to filling up the meat freezer.
Your pal The Envirocapitalist.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Raspberry pickin

We had a great time picking berries in Cove Creek WMA. My Son (below), my father, and myself left out for a leisurely berry picking day and came back with chiggers and a few berries.
We had more success finding Raspberry bushes this year, which is odd since blackberries have been more prevalent in the past. I love raspberries, it was a shame that the ones we found were small and picked over. Which made filling our buckets harder work.
We were surrounded by ragweed and widow's lace at the edges of the overgrown fields where we found the berries. It turns out that while it was a pretty setting to spend the day in, it was also infested with chiggers..........................................................sorry I needed to scratch.
Even though we came back with less than a gallon of berries, the memories and time spent together was priceless. The photo below says it all. A very good little boy learning about the outdoors from his Big Papaw. Thanks Dad.
If you don't hunt, forage, fish or farm, it is probably hard to understand the way the world works and what a miracle God's creation is. Everything you need to survive is out there at the end of the concrete. Just waiting for someone to get of the couch and retrieve it. I love the outdoors.
Your pal The Envirocapitalist.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Expedition Melton Hill

I get off work at 4:30pm. (I know your jealous, I understand.) So I have the ability to grab my intrepid son "The Fish Slayer" and head over to my Dad's whom my son calls"Big Papaw" to take short fishing trips to Melton Hill Lake. I like Melton Hill Lake because it has less residential property along its shoreline than most East Tennessee lakes due to its proximity to a nuclear plant (don't worry it is upstream of the plant). It has pretty good fishing to go with its beautiful scenery and a diversity of fish to catch, you never know what you will hook. Our latest endeavour found the three generations of outdoorsmen putting in at about 6:00pm which allowed us 3 hours of daylight fishing. It was crowded at the ramp for a weekday, but its been that way ever since Bob Hodge, a local outdoor writer, spilled the beans on how nice and uncrowded the lake was. It is still nothing compared to the skiing and boating nightmares of Norris and Loudon lakes which lay nearby and have more boat docks than most Island nations. We had more fun than success if you measure success by how much food was collected from the water. My 6 year old son, of course, pulled in the most fish from the green water (2 bluegill and 1 channel catfish) and most of them were from one cove we call Stumpy Hollow, my father nicknames most everything to the point I don't know the real names of some places I go. The Scenery itself is often worth the fuel spent getting there. My son yelling go faster to my 65 year old father as he drives a modified v-bottomed boat through choppy waters is probably my favorite part. Peaceful cove where Ryan caught the Fish (Stumpy Hollow).
First of two bluegills
Small channel cat which later got stocked in the pond next to Big Papaw's house.
It is like the Envirocapitalist always says "Take a kid fishing so your wife can't hassle you for going fishing to much". After all, it is for the children......right.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Fireworks and Tomatos

Independence Day was great this year. My family and I went to Norris to watch a great fireworks show in a small town setting. Not to mention My Tomato plants seem to be doing great this year (amazing what a little rain will do). Here is the first tomato of the year ( think softball). I am almost as impressed by my green thumb as I am by the fireworks.
Happy Independence day.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Cades Cove

Cades Cove is one of the most beautiful places in the eastern United States. I rarely go there for fear of a crowd. I am so glad my wife made me go this time. It is truly breath taking and I successfully ignored the people who know nothing about the outdoors or wildlife and tried to enjoy each moment for what it was. If you do not know what Cades Cove is, it is a huge valley in the middle of the Smokey Mountains. It has a diversity of flora and fauna and has fertile valley soils surrounded by the eroded rocky mountains. It is truly a wonder of the world, but it also has a nicely maintained road around it for people from all over to come and drive around stopping in the middle of said road for what seems like hours every time they see a deer. What scares me the most however is the proclivity of the city slickers to run up to a mother black bear and cub to get a picture putting themselves in mortal danger (thanks Disney). I digress, the outing was very enjoyable and the children got to see some wildlife (pictured below).
We also got to spend time exploring a cold mountain stream. I found a penny, the kids didn't. If you are wondering why my wife takes all the pictures, it is because she is deathly allergic to having her photo taken.
How can you not love the outdoors, it is truly a family playground. .... Your pal the Envirocapitalist

Friday, June 26, 2009

TROC discovers digital plagerizing

By a show of hands......who steals content.....who is to lazy to write your own blog.....
Check out the story at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles, Albert has discovered a couple of websites stealing content but I believe it is a common occurrence it may even be one of those get rich quick schemes sold on T.V. where you get 1000 websites and sell ads. I wished someone wanted to steal my content. If I was Albert (author of TROC) I would take it as a compliment, but I would still want blood.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dekalb County was a drag

The pressure in my head was unbearable. I took two Goodies powders in hope of taking the edge off although I knew from experience that sinus pressure would not go away completely no matter how many pain killers you take. After a drink of water I refocused on the task at hand reached down and grabbed the rope I had tied off to the doe's front legs and head and continued to drag the corpse up the ridge. I had shot the doe early in the morning and had tracked it all day off the property we had permission to be on, up and down ridges, across creeks within sight of houses and finally into a thicket. The poor creature died for lack of blood not from my accuracy with a bow. I was proud of my tracking prowess but embarrassed by my lack of summer practice with my compound bow. It was now afternoon and I strangely felt like a fugitive sneaking back across enemy lines. I don't think anyone would have said anything to me except for the sportsman's club who leased the neighboring property , which I had to cross to retrieve the deer. At this point I would have given any thing to have found someone earlier to ask for permission to cross the private land but I had always figured I would find the deer over the next rise and be gone in a flash. I picked up the pace pulling the deer which seemed to increase in size with every step. I had made it back to the sacred ground of the land I had permission to hunt covered in sweat and wanting to lay down. It was that moment when I heard my father's voice over the two-way radio saying. Hey Gabe, Bill and I have two deer down and need you to come drag them to the truck. I thought Dekalb County is a great place to hunt if you don't mind dragging deer.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pony Party is worth the money.

One of my daughter's friends recently had a Pony Party for her birthday. It was a huge success, my daughter has talked about it every day since going. I may have to drop the coin for her birthday next year. If you are in the Knoxville, Tennessee area you should check them out. They have a website check it out here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Big Pappaws Pond

My father relocated a few years ago to a new home. The best thing about his new place is a small pond next door. This pond is easy to walk around and full of stunted overpopulated bluegill. This is an ideal place for my 6 year old son to hone his casting skills before moving to more treacherous waters. Nothing fills my heart with more happiness than my son saying "Can we go to Big Papaw's and fish!" instead of wanting to play video games or watching mindless T.V. After watching my son catch a few small fish I realized it wasn't just fishing that made all of this seem so enjoyable. It was the fact we were outside in the real world doing real things that are cool to any 6 year old boy and even cooler to an outdoor loving daddy. My son and I didn't watch an adventure unfold on the T.V. screen, we went out and had one. I encourage all to do the same.
Your pal the Envirocapitalist....and Son.

I am back. With more energy.

Interacting with youngsters who are interested (Scouts) in the outdoors made me want to share. So the Envircapitalist is back in business. Lets face it writing about myself and the outdoors makes me as happy as seeing rainbows. By the way the one pictured above followed Tornadoes that tore through my East Tennessee Homeland. No one was injured.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Going on hiatus

I have decided to dedicate myself to my cub scout packs website and give the Envirocapitalist a break. I hope to find a balance one day so I can do the Envirocapitalist blog justice. vio con dios...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Hunting is for food. Not just meat.

I have never understood trophy hunting personally. The only thing I have shot and not eaten was a Bobcat. I wanted to mount it, and it sits on my T.V. today. I like it but not $250 worth. So since then I have consumed everything I have hunted for and this feels fulfilling to me. I get a strange sense of accomplishment by being able to feed my family without any one's help. I even get a thrill when hunting Morel's and finding a patch. or spotting some blackberry briers while berry hunting. I find my thrill comes from extracting food from nature. Most people would starve to death with out a grocery store. I think all people should learn how to garden, slaughter, and forage. I think people would appreciate food much more if they were responsible for getting it just once. Don't get me wrong I love trophy hunters, they spend tons of money on outdoor products and licenses. I don't care why people value wildlife as long as they value it.
I am not going turkey hunting this weekend but I am going on what I call a pre-hike. Before I take my cub scout den to hike House Mountain I will hike it to mark any interesting flora or geology along the way so I can be prepared to share with the den. I will be just as excited to find a common morel as I would have to get a shot at a turkey.....yeah I am weird like that. Next time you see a cuddly animal think of me and remember cuddly = tasty.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I am a predator. What about you?

I quote from Ecology Individuals, Populations and Communities By Begon, Harper, and Townsend the second edition. "Predation, put simply, is the consumption of one organism (the prey) by another organism (the predator), in which the prey is alive when the predator first attacks it." I think this is a fairly widely accepted definition and it puts me in the same category as the mountain lion, jaguar, and Bald Eagle. With that said, my favorite devastating carnivore is the.......... Box Turtle. Cute, unless you are a earthworm then he looks like the Grim Reaper. I think Disney has skewed the perception people have of nature. Eating other critters to survive does not make you mean like some cartoons insinuate. It just makes you part of the circle of life. I am no worse than a box turtle. My worms just say MOO.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A top ten list for my 50th post

Top Ten Hiking destinations in Tennessee according to THE ENVIROCAPITALIST.
    1. The Big South Fork NWR.
    2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park *
    3. The Cumberland Trail (smokey mountain segment)
    4. Appalacian Trail (south east Tennessee)
    5. Savage Gulf
    6. Cumberland Trail (ozone falls area)
    7. Fall Creek Falls State Park
    8. Norris Dam State Park
    9. Big Ridge State Park
    10. Frozen Head State Park.
      * I included the very crowded and commercial GSMNP even though I avoid it for the most part because of its legendary status.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Den Leader?

on Tuesday the 22nd my life changed for good. We have joined the cub scouts. Tiger cubs to be exact and I have volunteered to be the den leader. This doesn't sound like much but I am already the Tee Ball coach so I will be busy. But I do believe in the scouts and I hope my son wants to stay a scout for longer than I did (made it to WEBELOS). I think the scouts are a great place for kids to become young men, learn morals, work ethic, and a code of conduct that will serve them the rest of their lives. I am honored to serve and excited to be apart the experience. Future blogs may include my new den and pack so stay posted while I go scouting!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

My first Morel.

My wife thinks I am crazy for picking a mushroom out of the ground and eating it based only on my own expertise. So I have been acting dizzy and saying things like " I feel funny" ever since dinner just to mess with her. I think the humor is lost on her. It was a great day. No T-Ball practice so me and the boy took a walk in the woods. After several conversations about yellow jackets and poison Ivy we stumbled upon two glorious common morel mushrooms. Not only one of the tastiest mushrooms in the eastern United States but also one of the top four in ease of identification. I never look for them so I have never picked any and brought them home before. But being with my young son in the woods causes me to be much more aware, not only of danger but also of anything I feel would interest him. My fatherly focus had yielded a treat on this day. We drove home and I immediately washed and quartered my bounty and set it to sauteing in butter. Meanwhile my wife had been cooking green beans and potatoes for dinner so I began to grill the deer burgers at her behest. I know what you are thinking "deer burgers! potatoes! and green beans!!" this man lives like a king. Yes I know, but I had only thought I had tasted a great deer burger before now. The addition of the softened morels to my burger was incredible. The morels rich nutty flavor was the perfect compliment to my burger. I have now become a mushroom hunter, they should all shudder under their caps.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hunter's Code?

(1.) Obey the game laws. (2.) Be adequately armed for the game you are hunting. (3.) Respect the rights of the property owner. (4.) Extend courtesy to your fellow hunter. (5.) Aim only for a clean kill.(6.) Pass on these ethics to younger hunters. Here is the hunter's code I display at the bottom of my blog, I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on it. Am I missing anything, is this sufficient, do you have your own code for whatever outdoor activity you participate in. I wait Breathless........

What I did instead of Turkey hunting

Nice Shot! He is a chip of the old block. Instead of filling my freezer with Turkey and Crappie, I have been playing with my son. I got him a basketball goal for his Birthday and we have not stopped playing. I will kick myself in August when the freezer is empty, but for now I am having the time of my life with my little buddy.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Son's Birthday...Goood Times

Teaching my son how to properly pose for a picture after discovering new lands. I like to call it the explorer pose or the conqueror pose. The party was held at the East Tennessee Discovery Center and most of his kindergarten class showed up. It was a great success.
This is the cake my incredible wife made to spoil my son who loves space. Kinda fitting, I always loved the wilderness frontier. My son Loves the last frontier of space. I hope everyone had a good Easter and God bless.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

East Tennessee Bush

Sweat was dripping down and burning my eyes and mosquitoes tortured me with their constant attempts to land in my ears. I remembered all the other times I had climbed the Brier covered bank up off the road then fought through the tangles of vines left in the area cleared at the end of every summer. This pilgrimage led to the only public land that I know of where I can shoot a ground hog then skip on down to the edge of the lake and catch some bluegill without running into another human. The hike itself is not long but I have to carry my Marlin 22 mag, a telescoping fishing rod, a trash bag, and a cooler making the task much more difficult in the humid south. On this day I was alone and still in a state of panic over a 3 month old baby I had left at home. The smell of honeysuckle was thick in the air and the poison Ivy which climbed every third tree and covered much of the ground was a rich and dark shade of green. I entered the Field opposite the lake and was relieved to see that TWRA had mowed recently. I laid down under a popular tree shading me from the noon day sun and proceeded to glass the field with my Simmons binoculars. The little brown spot I had seen before now stood up and looked my direction. He was more than 200 yds away which is out of my 22 Cal. comfort zone so I left my supplies and crawled back into the woods. I slipped back out to the edge of the field but the whistle pig had moved during my short hike in the woods (closer to his hole as I later found out) so the shot would still be a little longer than I might of liked at 140 yds but manageable. I pushed my fanny pack out in front of me as I laid prone and let the barrel of my rifle lay on it. After placing my cross hairs at the top of the hog's head I slowly pulled the trigger and the mini bear disappeared. I waited a few minutes then walked to where I thought the G-hog had been standing. I was surprised to find his hole, and after closer inspection with a flash light I saw his back legs in the hole. Now, I knew he was dead but if you know how vicious a ground hog can be you understand my hesitance in reaching into his hole to retrieve my prize. I spent considerable time thinking about shooting him again....but that would ruin some meat. So I finally settled on poking him with a stick a few times then jerking him out quickly as though he would revive like a zombie . Freeze G-hog I said to my self and after laughing at myself and putting Mr. hog in the bag and jamming him into the cooler I sat down on the cooler at the waters edge and tried to finish my freezer filling day by fishing. Although I kept a watchful eye on the field in case he had company in that hole. That night as I sat cleaning the fish and ground hog, I couldn't help but feel connected to the world. I had retrieved my own food from the world. After packaging with a foodsaver and tossing them into my lay down freezer I said to myself "who needs McDonald's when you have McNature".

Thursday, March 26, 2009

movie Reviews "Alone in the wilderness"

I recently watched a video titled "Alone in the wilderness" . It chronicled the first year a man named Richard (Dick) Proenneke spent alone at Twin Lakes Alaska. I was surprised how entertaining I found this video since it was more of a video diary than a film and was shot on an 8mm back in 1968. It is the ultimate tale of self reliance, he not only builds his own cabin but he does it with tools he fashioned himself. The film intrigued me so that I have checked the book based on Mr. Proenneke's journals out of my local library. I highly recommend this to anyone who is fascinated by true wilderness and how a man can live in it on his own terms. Learn more about the man at

Friday, March 20, 2009

Don't know what to read? I have the answer!

Where I live the only blogs I could find to read were about politics, the BIG ORANGE, or just what somebody is thinking about current affairs. So I searched and searched for blogs about the outdoors ( because that's what I like). I finally found one by a guy across the pond. (Suburban Bushwacker) It was fun to read but it also led me to the Outdoor Bloggers Summit, a clearing house of every type of person conducting many different types of outdoor activities. I had hit a gold mine. I still have not read all the blogs on the OBS blog roll. I do like the extra traffic it has brought to my site getting feed back is great and I love hearing what people think about my writing, even though I have a long way to go. I originally started blogging as an exercise to improve my ability to communicate via the written word, something I think we lack today and probably will never return to the eloquence of our founding fathers. with that said, the greatest gift I have received by being part of the Outdoor Bloggers Summit is having a never ending reading list. My family and I are in and out of the library daily dropping off and picking up but the blog roll at the OBS has become my supplement to the library connecting me to experts and beginners in various outdoor endeavours giving me an insight I never had before. I am sure the OBS is destined for great things, but as long as it keeps giving me an ever expanding resource to the outdoors I will be happy. I Think of it as a campfire in my computer that I can come sit at any time and listen to a tale or spin one myself. If you have not visited the OBS yet.......what's your excuse, I only linked to it six times in this post.
Sincerely The Envirocapitalist

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Surprise guest

The sun hung low and orange in the sky. I figured only an hour to set the two man tent up and get a fire started before dark. I had camped out alone many times but the feeling of impending doom that over comes me if I do not have a fire by dark always tickles me. After the sun had fallen I was able to get a small fire going and leaned back against a log I had drug down for the fire. I hadn't set there long jotting down notes in my field book when I first thought I heard the sound. It sounded like turkeys walking or humans! I don't scare easy and I am always heavily armed even when I am just hiking, but the sound of something staggering around in circles in the middle of the woods an hour after dark is unnerving. I finally couldn't take it anymore, and decided to investigate. At the time I was only 27 year old, extremely fit and a little cocky. I was probably just about a 2 hour brisk walk from the pavement and where my truck was stashed in what would today be the North Cumberland (or Sundquist) WMA. I had decided to scout this area for the impending deer season and was sorely disappointed in my findings today and had planned to push farther west in the morning. It was the lack of deer sign and indecisiveness that had led to me setting up camp late. I started out easing toward the walking sound then I thought "sneaking up on someone in the dark is a good way to get shot" so I turned on my flashlight and said in as manly a voice I could manage (I am only 5'7") CAN YOU HEAR ME? ...........yeah.........was the weak reply. I said OVER HEAR......he said OK. A minute later an older gentleman had walked into my light. He seemed a little disoriented but other than that fine. I said "what are you doing out here walking around at night. he said he had just misjudged how long his walk would take and and after it got dark it was hard to follow the trail and was taking him even longer. I told him he was still 2 hours from the road and he could use my cell phone to call who ever he needed to and sleep in my camp (fulfilling the good turn requirements I had learned as a scout in Elementary school.) The next morning I was more interested in getting my new buddy back to his car than running around steep ridges that held more geriatric hikers than deer. We made the walk to my truck in about 3 hours my comrade was not very chatty and seemed tired. after loading my truck up we drove north up the highway for at least a mile before coming to his car, this is when I first realized how lost this guy was. After dropping him off I thought how lucky he was to come across me that night and how getting lost can happen to anyone even a guy who had been hiking in that area for 20 years hunting ginseng and grouse. I re-learned a lesson from my scouting days at Copper Ridge Elementary that day.......Always be prepared, so lost can become found.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Geat Hikes series #1 ( The Twin Arches Loop)

Great trail for the whole family with a few steep staircases to climb to start the trail. The Twin Arches trail is well maintained and marked with red leaf blazes. Take your time and view the huge rock formations along the way some are very interesting. Once at the Twin Arches there are more sturdy staircases that will lead to a trail on top of the Arches with views that can be safely enjoyed at an elevation of 1730'. The South Arch has a clearance of 103' and a span of 135' and the North is slightly smaller at 62' clearance and a span of 93'. Although horses and bikers are not allowed on this trail they are permitted on various trails throughout the Big South Fork. Here is a topo of the loop. About six miles if you do the whole loop, less if you take the short trail to the arches and retrace your steps. Plan to spend all day the views are worth it.

Trailhead: From Oneida TN. Take 297 West turn left on Leatherwood Ford Rd. Travel 19 miles to 154 North turn right. Travel 1.9 miles turn right on gravel road Divide Road. Travel 3.9 miles turn right on Twin Arches Road. Parking area 2 miles ahead. Please view bulletin board for information of area. (Lat:36.54074 Lon:-84.73614)

For your prospective the sign at the bottom of the photo is as tall as a man. It is a breath taking sight. the largest natural arches I've ever seen.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Should of sat still

Muzzleloader season in Tennessee is the first time you get a crack at bucks and does with a gun. I had made the pilgrimage to Jackson Co. In hopes to score on opening day. All I had with me was my pack a Knight wolverine muzzleloader and a warm jacket. I had started up the western ridge at daylight climbing a couple of hundred feet in elevation before finding a bench field and a dry pond. That is where I began still hunting around the inside of the ridge line. Three steps stop, look, listen, and wait. I did this all day jumping two does and enjoying the early fall weather. I eventually came full circle back to the bench Field below the dry pond where I found this fresh rub.
Should of sat still at the dry pond..........

Monday, March 02, 2009

Big South Fork 09'

This year was truly a camping trip with the boys, we didn't do any hunting but it was still interesting. The cast this year included some original Heiskell Boys: Big Ron, Wild Bill, and Crazy Stacy. plus the builder of the above pictured home away from home Chris, James, and Josh the Eagle Scout. On Friday the boys had to clear fallen pines from the trail to the campsite , a regular event in East Tennessee in recent years since the beetles struck. Later at the Ranger Station near Bandy Creek a wild eyed employee of the national recreation area asked us how we got to the campsite since the trail was blocked. Why with a chainsaw of course.....WHAAAT a chainsaw....You can't have a chainsaw in the area. The boys were bewildered at this news, we have been camping here for a decade or better and had chainsaws every time. After taking a severe tongue lashing from the lady who sold us our camping permit, and calming Chris down since he was terribly upset by the women's bulging and twitchy left eye, we retired to our campsite.
We stayed up late that night re-living greatness of the past, cooking large hunks of meat over the fire, Shooting our handguns, and basically being boys. Billy had brought pistols in most every caliber, Chris , and Stacy had sidearms as well and I brought my 380 acp. We attempted to out do each other in marksmanship way past dark and fell asleep without a care in the world (well except it only being 20 degrees F.)
We always bring deer meat to eat and make cooking utensils from the forest around us. This camp out had, by the next morning turned into a eating trip more than a hunting trip. I have not eaten that much meat and practically nothing else in my whole life, but it was so good.
All the campers had not even awoken on day two when a Federal officer walked into camp. It was apparent from the opening that the wild eyed woman had told on us for the chainsaws. What happened next was a little embarrassing since two of my fellow brothers tried to hide the bright orange chainsaw underneath the truck then we all acted natural. After a dressing down and orders to never bring chainsaws to Big South Fork again the officer made us show him our camping permit and carry permits for the pistols we had been shooting. Luckily the officer didn't push the chainsaw issue any further and we were not in violation of any other laws that I know of.
Undeterred by the authorities we still made a walk about into the wilderness were Billy with some eagle eyes spotted a nice shed (6 points on one side) and scouted out a pretty nice place to hunt next fall. A bottle neck occurs between a bluff and a thicket created by a abandoned field. I hope to be there next fall.
That night we passed the antler around the campfire and told tales of the animals we had killed or almost killed and consumed more fire cooked meat. This typified the activities at Big South Fork 09'
With a thin blanket of snow covering the camp we packed up and left our old faithful campsite for maybe the last time. While we do go to the Big South Fork to hunt wild hogs occasionally we really don't want to be harassed by a pig in camp. Now that the authorities have found our refuge we will probably find elsewhere to camp. While we didn't hunt, hike much, or almost kill ourselves this year I did have a good time with my pals and spending 72 hours outside gives you a appreciation for how far from nature we are in our daily lives and how much I yearn to live closer to it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Back to the South Fork (a preview)

I am about to make this tent my home again for a few days this weekend as I have in years past. The yearly Heiskell boy camp out in the wilds of Big South Fork has arrived and appears to have the potential to be more dangerous than even previous trips I have blogged about here.
This year, an old friend and honorary Hieskell boy from the past Mike Fadnek will be joining us, and unless he joined a monastery since I last ran with him, this year could be very interesting. Plus the usual riff raff should be in attendance and ready to make memories (The group of sophisticates I usually share the woods with are pictured below)
I will report back promptly next week after the excursion, with a death count (animals of course) any amusing stories of grown men doing things they know better than (including myself), and a general entertaining discussion of the events which occur when this diverse group of outdoorsmen go back to nature for a weekend.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

spring squirrel and a G-Hog

My belly was soaking wet from the dew which clung to the grass even though the sun hung high in the sky. I lay flat sweating like a man with a secret barely breathing and hoping my earlier carelessness didn't cause me to miss my opportunity.
The morning had started out well, I made it to Cove Creek Wildlife Management Area right at daylight. The squirrels were moving on this opening day of the 2002 spring squirrel season and despite It being kind of muggy and foggy I only walked 100 yards when the first boomer found itself in the cross hairs of my Marlin 22 Magnum. I probably initiated 7 stalks that morning and brought down 5 Squirrels (all gray). I had slid them into the back pouch of the dove vest I was wearing over a camo T-shirt when I noticed the squirrels were now silent. This didn't suprise me because it was 10 am, typically nap time for squirrels in my area. I knew I wouldn't see any more squirrels until an hour or so before dark, but I still wanted to hunt.
I thought maybe a ground hog or two might be in one of the fields TWRA maintains on this managed area. So I hit a nearby logging road and headed up toward the closest of the fields. I walked right up on the field like an idiot. half not expecting to see a whistle pig at the first field I walked up to I wasn't exactly sneaking. Of course there was one standing on it's hind legs and appeared to look at me as I cleared the wood line. I quickly fell to my stomach, red faced at breaking a rule my father had always drilled into my head. He always said " your always hunting even if you are walking back to the truck, you are always hunting" I decided not to wait to long, I don't know if it was to not give the ground hog enough time to run to his hole or my anxiousness to see if I had screwed up. I raised up to one knee, my Marlin in front of me. I was relieved to see the hog still standing looking in my direction. I aimed at the top of his head (since I new my rifle would drop some at 150 yards) and pulled the trigger. I don't think he even heard the shot, since the bullet blew his brains out the back of his head leaving all of his meat undamaged. I made it back to the truck by 11:30 am but felt pretty good since my dove vest was so heavy that I think I pulled a muscle taking it off.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Women should hunt, just not my wife

I believe love of the outdoors has nothing to do with your chromosomes because I have known many whiny men who can't stand to be in the woods for more than a few minutes.

It was 24 degrees and had just gotten dark. I could see my breath and frequent trips to the fire to re-warm the hands were necessary while we sat up camp on a poplar/hickory ridge near the big south fork river. The group of campers were diverse but experienced with the exception of one couple, Dave and Mary (I have changed their names to protect the innocent). The entire time we all worked in sub-freezing temperatures to make the camp comfortable Dave stayed by the fire whining and complaining about how awful this was and he was miserable and how is he supposed to sleep when he is this cold and on and on. I had bitten my tongue since I did not know Dave well but his girlfriend Mary had finally had enough and basically told him to man up or go home. She was tough and loved the adventure of being out of doors. I would share a duck blind with her any day if my wife didn't mind. I don't think Dave lasted very long, the last time I saw her, the wife and I had ran into her with a different guy at the Outback steakhouse where she immediately showed me pictures of the first buck she had killed on her cell phone. I think she found a guy she could leave at home while she brings home the back straps.

I recently read an article on the American spectator site about hunting. The author dogged women and basically said they should leave hunting to men for several ridiculous reasons. I say women should hunt if the want to and I would be glad to go hunting with a female, my daughter for instance. I think retrieving your protein from the wilds and cutting it up is a valuable lessen for any body, male or female. However I am glad that my wife has no desire to go hunting because we spend every waking moment working in concert to keep the train on the tracks any given day. It is not that she would be a bad hunting partner, its just she is already my partner in everything else. I think it is healthy for us to have some separate hobbies and interests which we do without one another.

I will give you an example. When I leave for a day of hunting we are excited, but we are also glad to see each other when I get home. She likes to go to fancy restaurants with her friends drink over priced fruity martini's and watch movies that end with a loved one dying, I don't go, that would ruin it for her, not because I don't know how to properly drink a martini, but she needs a break from me sometimes. I know it is hard to believe.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Always Hunting

While little RGD mugs for the camera (which he is famous for) Big RGD scans the hillside for the grey squirrel rustling leaves.

It tickles me when a photo tells the truth. My wife snapped this photo while her and my daughter awaited us on a trail during a recent family hike at Big Ridge State Park. I think it is telling, even when the law forbids the taking of animals to eat I can't stop my instinct to constantly scan my surroundings for that tale tale flash of a tail or glint of an eye. I think sometimes i like being outdoors because its my natural habitat, just like west town mall is Mrs. RGD's natural habitat.

Remember the old tag line "take a kid fishing", I would like to change it to "take a kid outside". Maybe I am lowering expectations but I believe kids will love the outdoors if given a chance. I think outdoors beats video games every time you try it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Nuge influence

Ted Nugent has not been a political or musical role model to me, however his passion and love for independence and an outdoor way of life sends chills down my spine. Hearing him belt out "back strap fever" from a tree stand on the outdoor channel made me believe he wasn't just another trophy hunting T.V. host but a true outdoorsman who understands conservation ( taking does out of a population is necessary). And that he understands that taking an animal's life is not just sport but necessary if one intends to eat it. I despise people who call themselves sportsman but don't eat deer (or what ever they choose to hunt). That catch fish only to release them. I call catch and release torture. I call keeping the fish to feed my family fishing. Ted gets excited about the culinary aspect of being self-sufficient enough to retrieve his own dinner from the wilds and cook it up. It is a good feeling to rely on no one but yourself for food. For those out there that only know the Motor City Madman from his Rock and Roll or his many appearances on T.V. defending the NRA, you must watch his show "The spirit of the Wild", listen to his song about Fred Bear, or simply read his books ; Kill it and Grill it, or Blood Trails I and II and you will become a fan of the Nuge. I wish I could derail this Anti-hunting friendly sportsman movement that apologizes for killing animals. They use words like harvest instead of kill. I don't know about you guys, but I have never harvested squirrels but I sure have killed and skinned a lot of them. In one of the most ridiculous moments on T.V. I have ever seen, Jimmy Houston a famous fisherman and T.V personality tried to sell the Idea of hunt and release. He scouted , Climbed a tree stand, and when the deer walked by he said Bam got him, but did not shoot. I hate to tell Jimmy but he didn't get anything. He should really take up hiking and photography if that is what he wants to do. For myself I would pay money to see Ted Nugent kick Jimmy Houston's a** on pay per view. Got to go, my wife just finished putting the final touches on some deer tenderloin and if I don't get to the table the kids will eat it all. Just remember we are still part of the circle of life, I eat deer and earthworms will one day eat me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

That Deer was Forked

It Was a pristine fall day in 1999 and I was slipping out a ridge line on the Tennessee side of Land Between the Lakes. The moon was not full but so bright that my mini mag light was more for warning other hunters of my approach than for finding my way. I was on a meat mission, Doe tags in hand I climbed the tree stand I had hung the previous day. It overlooked a trail heading from some dense bedding to a stand a white oaks, Looked like a cattle trail. I didn't have to sit long before I saw the long head of an old doe poking out of the thick brush. I looked through the Simmons tip-over scope on my Remington 30-06. only the doe and me existed in the world for the moment leading to the trigger pull. "BOOM" I let lead fly and the woods exploded with deer jumping, bounding, and running in seemingly all directions. I had not seen any of the other deer prior to shooting the doe. They could have been bucks, fawns, or more does I should have been more aware of my surroundings. I had no Idea where my dear ran in all the confusion so I slid down the tree almost in a panic hoping to find blood (you should always wait at least 30 minutes kids). Instead of blood I found an astonishing sight, My doe was stuck in the fork of a small maple tree. I hate that I had forgot my camera but was glad I remember my hand saw. That deer was not mortally wounded and would have gotten away but she got forked.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

To my Health

I am a young man of 34 years and I am active but a year ago I decided to quit using smokeless tobacco ( we call it dip in E. Tennessee). I loved dip for its calming effect but hated it for the control it had over me. I had to quit, my son was getting old enough to ask "whats in you mouth daddy" . Granted I gained some weight (close to 40 lbs) over this time which is expected. I was not at the least worried I still was real active and did not feel that bad, but I decided to go to a new doctor and get a complete physical prior to changing my calorie intake seriously and losing weight. It turns out that I'm not the only one to get fat, my liver is fatty as well, and my cholesterol is up and my try-glycerides are high what ever they are. So this year not only do I propose to explore the outdoors more and protect the groundwater of Tennessee but I must get healthy. Right now I weigh about 235lbs and my cholesterol is at 269. I will keep you updated on my health and where those numbers go in the future. I see this as an excuse to go fishing more. Fish are good for lowering cholesterol. My Goals are cholesterol under 200 and weight under 170. wish me luck.