Monday, March 25, 2013

Off to a Good Start!

The 2013 Turkey season began with forecast of bad weather for South Georgia.  A series of storms were set to hit our state beginning on Friday and lasting through Sunday morning.  As the rains fell on Friday afternoon, my hopes of an opening day Thunder Chicken were slowly turning into some serious doubts.  Daddy and I spoke on the phone Friday night, and after watching the weather decided that we may just get a break for Saturday morning, so we made plans to hit the woods.

The morning was cold, cloudy and windy but no rain was falling as I made my first cup of coffee.  My hopes were being renewed as I gathered up my gear and loaded it into the truck.  We hashed out our plan of attack on the drive to the property and put that plan to order shortly before daylight.  We parked the golf cart in a central location and decided to allow the woods to wake up on it's own.  As the woods came to life a loan crow sounded off followed by an angry gobble fairly close to our location.  Getting to this gobbler was going to be a problem due to the access routes to where he was roosted.  We made an attempt to get a bit closer and set up on the road leading into his location.  As we started to softly call to the bird, the bottom came to life with the sounds of the real thing.  We didn't have to do anymore calling because we had several hens calling for us.  We knew we were doomed.

The Gobbler actually flew down in the other direction and took the hens with him.  We packed up and tried driving around to hear another bird, but we were not successful.  We decided to call it a day and go home to wait out the storms that were coming our way.

I was all ready to take an afternoon nap when the sun decided to try and peak through the clouds.  Bad weather was still in the forecast but it looked like we may get a small window of sunshine.  With clouds in the distance we struck out to try and get an afternoon bird.  We set up on "Death Hill", a place we have had great success in calling birds in the afternoon, and started some soft calling.  It didn't take long for our first birds to appear.  Here he is.....

This is Judas!  Well not the actual chicken that Daddy and I have named Judas, but he looks just like this.  Judas is a Burmese Jungle Fowl and is a part of Fitzgerald's history.  I have written before about how these chickens were released in the wild in this area as a game bird, but found their way into town and have been thriving for the past 30 years roaming the downtown streets.  Well Judas has somehow made his way to our hunting club.  We started catching pictures of him on our game cameras this past summer.  He was hanging out with a group of gobblers.  We felt that Judas's days were numbered, as these birds have never done well in the woods, but he made it through the fall and through deer season.  I guess it helps to have a bunch of turkeys around you to warn you of any danger.  We named him Judas because Judas likes to crow.  A lot!  Little did he know that his crowing would betray his new roost mates and give away their location to us opportunistic hunters.

Back to the story.....  As we were calling, Judas crowed.  Then we heard a gobble.  Another crow.  Another gobble.  Judas came running in to our set up looking around for his friends.  We were laughing.  He hung around a bit and decided he didn't like something, so he wondered off out of sight.  We called again and this gobble was much closer.  I caught sight of his white head as he made his way up from the creek bottom to check out our decoys.  He only had to walk about 15 yards to give me a good shot.  This took a few minutes because he was very cautious in his approach.  This was a young gobbler and I'm sure he was making sure that the "Boss Tom" was not around.  He took a few more steps and I let the Browning bark.  First Turkey of 2013 was down for the count.

I think I heard Judas cry!

Tale of the tape- 10 inch beard, 18lbs, 3/4 inch spurs.  A two year old Gobbler

We are off to a good start!

Monday, March 18, 2013

It was time to Step it Up!

Reid likes to run!  He does not get this from his father!  I have never enjoyed running even though I understand the importance of running for athletes.  Running has always been a little boring for me.  I was more of the type to get my exercise from a pick up basketball game or a racket ball match, but Reid seems to enjoy it and it keeps him active.  He has entered several one mile races and has done quite well winning first place in two of them.  We started talking about a 5k this past fall and this weekend was our first opportunity.

This past weekend was Fitzgerald's annual Wild Chicken festival.  The festival kicks off with a 5k and a fun run on Saturday morning.  We signed Reid up for the 5k and sent him to the starting line with the assurance that we would be proud of him if he just managed to finish the race.  He did a little better than that.

With a field of an estimated 200 runners, Reid finished in 7th place for his age division which included 12 and under.  Reid is 9 and was running against boys that were 12 and others that had a lot more experience.  I was very proud of him for giving it such a great effort!  Someone told me that a kid his age is doing really well if he can run a 5k in about 30 minutes.  He finished in 30.13, and this included a short walking break as he told me his lungs were hurting.

I look forward to watching him in more races to come.  Now that he knows he can complete a 5k, he can work to get faster!  Run Reid Run, but you better watch out....I think your sister may be ready to give you a challenge next time!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pinewood Derby 2013- The Bulls-eye was on our backs!

The 2013 version of the First Baptist Church of Fitzgerald's RA/GA Pinewood Derby race took place last Wednesday night in front of a crowd of thousands.  Hometown racing legends, including 4 different "Car of the Year" winning race teams, flocked to the Ministries and Missions building to witness history.  Last years champion, Luckie Race Team, might as well have been wearing a Bulls-eye on their backs as every other race team had them squarely in their sights.  The early local odds had them as a two to one favorite to repeat their winning ways.

This years event featured a new twist, as the girls would be joining the act and having a race of their own.  This would allow two entries from the Luckie Race Team.  The RA event qualifier for this year was a Georgia Southern themed car named "Talon".

The GA racer was this beautiful little number (designed by little princess) by the name of "Flitter".

The crowds began to gather and all cars were put through a pre-race inspection.  Luckily we only had two cars that did not meet specifications.  We think they were members of the Methodist church trying to sneak their way into the race.  After a beautiful lip sinc performance of the National Anthem by Beyonce' (she was nervous), we were ready to race!

Both cars from Luckie racing started out well. The first video is Flitter blowing the doors off of her competitor.  The second is Talon getting the job done!

As the races progressed, it became apparent that the Luckie Race Team would have it's work cut out for them if they expected a repeat of last year's performance.  Another race team emerged on the scene and quickly raised eyebrows by defeating "Talon" in the second round race and placing the race favorite in the losers bracket.  At the same time, the same race team was dominating the GA races as well and placed "Flitter" in the losers bracket.  Both cars from Luckie Race Team fought their way back, but the precisioned engineered cars from the newcomer was too much to overtake.  The Luckie Race team finished with two second place finishes and one design trophy!  A great success in our book given the competition!

After the initial races, all the cars were grouped together for one final race to see who would race last year's Car of the Year, "The Under Armour" car from Luckie Racing!  The legend has been patiently waiting for 365 days to defend it's title.  It would come down to "Talon" and the newcomer after everything was all said and done.  Talon showed well running a very close race, but it was simply not to be.  The newcomer would get his shot at the title!  It did not look good for Luckie racing!  No "Car of the Year" has ever successfully defended his title....................until now!!!

The Under Armour added to its already powerful legacy by racing to victory in grand fashion!  He took his place back on his throne in the "Car of the Year" box and will patiently wait for next year's challenger!

It was a great night!!