Friday, December 30, 2011

Pie Safe Part 2

I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours on Ms. Kay's pie safe this week.  This project is going to be a slow process.  As you can see, the old white paint that was shown in the first pictures was doing a very good job of covering up this nice blue paint that was applied sometime before Caesar was in office.  The picture above has the sides stripped down to the wood and the middle section is holding on to its color with all of its might.  The stripper that I am using seems to have very little effect on this super paint, so I am going to wait for it to dry and try a new approach.  I have had good luck with a rubber sanding wheel, so I will let you know how that turns out.

Happy New Year everyone and thanks for being a part of this blog with me!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Grey Birds

It sure is a busy time of year.  Once all of the shopping is through and you have attended all of the numerous Christmas parties, Christmas Day arrives in a flurry of shredded wrapping paper and instructions for gadgets written in Chinese.  I enjoy Christmas and the time I spend with family, but I have to admit that I needed a break after a long day of "Daddy, open this!!"

That much needed break came the day after Christmas in a peanut field with Josey the Wonder Dog and my Browning Maxis.  The second dove season here in South Georgia is my favorite because of the abundance of birds and the cooler weather.  Reid and I both wore a light jacket as we sat down next to a peanut hay bale and got ready for a good day of shooting.  We didn't have to wait long as the birds started to make their way into the field across the branch where we were set up.  I was shooting fairly well and Josey was retrieving like a  champion.  Reid and I left the field with our limit in short order.  My Dad also obtained the limit so we had a good mess between us.  As we gathered up after the shoot, several people gave me their birds as well.  Tonight there will be grits, biscuits and close to 100 birds dropped into some 350 degree peanut oil as I cook for the hump day crowd.

I have often told you how much I enjoy wing shooting, but I also enjoy the crowd that gathers when you start serving up game birds.  I love nothing more than good friends enjoying a good meal and reliving the hunt.  Now that's a Christmas present like no other!!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ms. Kay's Pie Safe

I have worked with Ms. Kay for the past 13 years.  She is currently our Head Teller and is charge of keeping me straight on a daily basis.  I was very excited when she asked me if I would refinish a pie safe that was given to her by her Mother.  It has been in her family for a number of years and is in dire need of a make over.  I had a chance to get started on it this past weekend.  These pictures will give you an idea of what I was up against.

Why does it always have to be blue?

I started by taking the doors and all of the hardware off of the safe.  New hardware will have to be ordered.  I removed all of the trim that was holding the screen in place on the doors and I will try and save the original screen if I can work around it or remove it without tearing it.  It is in pretty good shape.  I then stared removing paint and was able to complete the front of the safe as well as all of the inside.  I think the wood is cedar and it is turning out very nice so far.

I'm looking forward to seeing how it is going to turn out.  Hope you will follow along with me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

35-23 Good Guys!

The Black Bears of Maine showed up at the prettiest little stadium in America this past Saturday to receive their whipping from the semi-final bound Georgia Southern Eagles!  The Bears put up a good fight, but in the end they realized that we were playing football and not a hockey match.  They had no chance!  The score was actually closer than the game ever was.  If we don't keep making mistakes and putting the football on the dirt, we win this one in a route!

I would like to thank the Duckman for being a good sport and taking his beating like a true gentleman.  Despite the rumors that are circulating, we actually had no bet on the game and I am not making him shut his blog down for 6 months (although he may want to after I'm done reminding him of the loss over and over).

Georgia Southern is on to Fargo, North Dakota to take on the 2nd seeded team in the semi-finals!  This will be our second trip to the semi's in the past two years.  We have some unfinished business to take care of!!

March on Eagles!!  GATA!  One more time on our quest for #7!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's the Brave Eagle -vs- The Duckman!


It truly amazes me that the world can be a very small place sometimes and how things can come full circle to meet in the most unlikely of places.  As most of you who have been following my blog for some time may know, The Downeast Duck Hunter and I have developed a friendship through this little blogging nation of ours over the past year or so.  I have enjoyed getting to know him and feel that I have a good friend in the great state of Maine.  We are both planning trips to visit so that we can experience the hunting lifestyle that the other enjoys.  This week though I am sad to announce that the Duckman and I will be on the opposite sides of the field!

Georgia Southern University defeated  Old Dominion this past weekend to advance to the quarter final round of the FBS (formerly 1-AA) playoffs.  The Eagles play real football where our Champion is determined on the field with an actual playoff, and the next opponent standing in the way of their 7th National title is none other than The University of Maine Black Bears.  Take a wild guess who attended the University of Maine!  You are correct if you guessed that it was none other than the Duckman himself!  This is going to be a problem.

I'm sure that my friend from the North will be bringing all of the smack talk that he can muster and I have to admit that this game worries me.  All games at this time of the year worry me.  Maine defeated App State in Boone this past weekend, so I know that they have a good football team, but we do have a little history on our side.  The two teams have met in the playoffs twice before with the good guys from Statesboro, Georgia winning both contest.  I'm hoping that our defense will play well and the the Maine Black Bears will have trouble defending our triple option attack.

If we win the game we will advance to the semi-final round and send the Black Bears back to Maine.  If we loose the game, I may have to shut down this blog to avoid the Duckman's wrath!   It's a battle of epic proportions!!

Our good looking Southern Boy!

This scraggly dude from Downeast Maine!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Few Good Men and a Worthy Cause!

Clay C, Nate W and Hal W hard at work!
I have always found that when the opportunity to do the right thing is presented to you, the reward for doing so is one that cannot really be measured.  Christmas is certainly the time of year where such opportunities are present all around us.  As Christians, we are celebrating the birth of our saviour this month, but we should also take the opportunity to let our neighbors know of God's love for us in every month of the year.  How can you do that you might ask?  Everyone has their own special way to reach out and minister to people, but my friends and I choose to help children at Christmas by letting them know that Jesus loves them and that with him as their saviour, there is always hope!

The Sportsman's Sunday School Class of First Baptist Church, Fitzgerald is a class made up of about 40 men who enjoy hunting, fishing, golfing, football and all other outdoor activities.  We range in age from the low 20's to the high 60's.  We meet each Sunday morning for a fellowship time and a weekly bible study.  It is pretty much like your typical Sunday School class, but we pride ourselves in being a class that is very giving to those who may be in need.  We have given countless hours as well as funds to people in our church family as well as those outside of our church family.  We believe that if people see "outdoor"type men being "real" men for their church, they may just see God's love working in our lives. 

Our biggest project is one that I would like to tell you about here.  Several years ago we decided that we wanted to do something for the needy children in our community.  We all agreed that a child waking up on Christmas morning without a Christmas present from Santa or their parents was a terrible thing.  A child should feel joy at Christmas and learn that Christmas is a special time of year.  We put ours heads together and came up with "Bicycles for Christmas".  For the past 6 years, we have worked with our local school system councilors to target needy kids whom they felt would not receive a gift for Christmas.  This system has worked well and we are even working along side our local "Toys for Tots" campaign to make sure that we are not giving bicycles to children who's parents have applied for help with them.  The Sportsman's Sunday School Class has donated over 700 bicycles at a cost of about $31,500.  I still find it hard to believe that we have been able to do that.  We have some wonderful people in this community that have donated a great deal of time and money for this project.  It is a lot of hard work shopping for bicycle deals and putting them all together, but so worth it to see those kid's faces light up when you present them with a brand new bike with a tag on the handle bars that says "Jesus loves you!  Merry Christmas from The Sportsman's Sunday School Class First Baptist Church".

I'm sitting here thinking about all of the items that my children are getting for Christmas and how spoiled they really are.  I love my children and I am glad that my wife and I have the means to spoil them a little bit, but the work that I do for our Sunday School class reminds me of how hard other people have it and I admit to feeling a little guilty.  I wish I could buy every needy child a Christmas present but I know that this is not possible.  But I can keep giving a little money throughout the year, shop for bicycle deals on Black Friday, turn a few wrenches on a cold Wednesday night, and help deliver some Christmas Joy to a few needy kids who deserve to be happy on my saviour's birthday. 

I'm thinking that's what Jesus would do, so I'm good with that!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's better than a MOJO? Two of course!

Josey on the ready!
I love this time of year!  I have mentioned several times that I plan my vacation time around the Thanksgiving Holidays.  Hunting for a South Georgia boy does not get any better than this.  All seasons are in.  Duck, Doves, Quail, and Deer are ready for your pursuit.  When the call came in on Friday that we had a bird (dove) shoot to go to, I was reminded once again why it does not pay to be sitting behind the desk on the week of Thanksgiving.  I was glad that my last day of pay without work would be one spent in the dove field!! (I have to return to my desk and two thousand unanswered e-mails on Monday morning).

I told Reid that we would be hunting this afternoon and started to gather our stuff together.  I put Josey the Wonder dog's e-collar on charge, found my 12 gauge shells for the Maxis, got out the proper clothing, and made sure that the batteries in my Mojo Dove decoys were fresh.

I have become a full fledged believer in the power of these little decoys and their spinning little white wings.  I received my first as a Christmas present 2 years ago and received the second on an unbelievable deal from Cabela's.  They were offering a shell belt with a designed carrying case for your Mojo Dove.  The price was only $19.99.  Here's the kicker.  A decoy was included!  A decoy alone cost over $30.  I still believe it was a mistake on their part, but I consider it my gain.  Thank you Bargain Cave!!

If there is anything that is better than one Mojo dove decoy, it's two Mojo dove decoys!!  I'm not sure if I have become a better shot over the past two years, or if the Browning Maxis has anything to do with it, but I am sure that I shoot at and kill more doves when these decoys are in the field with me.  I had them with me on opening day of this season and I had my bag limit in about half an hour and I had them with me on Friday as well.

My Dad, Reid and I pulled up to my friends farm right on time.  We gathered around to socialize for a bit and I knew very quickly that we did not have enough guns to cover the field.  Some of our regular crowd had made their way to our State playoff football game and would not be joining us.  We would be hunting a peanut field with hay bails for cover (my favorite).  The landowner gave us a quick rundown on which way the birds have been flying and Reid and I picked us a spot closer to the West end of the field.  We got settled in and waited.

Josey was building with excitement and nearly caught the first bird before it hit the ground as I made my first shot of the day on a single passing over my left shoulder.  I can not tell you how excited I am to have a bird dog that is performing above all of my expectations.  She retrieved every bird today and had no hiccups along the way.  She understands the game that we are playing and knows that she must stay close to me and keep watch on her surroundings.  She is not a finished dog by any means and still breaks on every shot, but her e-collar training has her to the point that it does not even bother me anymore.  A quick little tone on the collar has her turning back to the blind in no time flat.

The birds started coming at a steady pace and I was really making some very easy shots.  I had placed my Mojos about 50 yards apart at 10:00 and 2:00 from my hay bail at about 30 yards out.  Most of the birds were trying to light between them.  I was lucky in the fact that no one was sitting in front of me and I could take advantage of shooting at low birds (not something I usually recommend).  Everyone had a good shoot and there was a lot of birds that were never shot at, hopefully allowing us to have another chance at them in a couple of weeks.  The end result was a limit of birds with not many shells shot, a tired bird dog, a happy son and a priceless memory.  I was a good day!

I packed up my Mojo Doves and placed them in their case where they will wait for the next shoot.  They have become as important to me as my shotgun for dove hunting success.  So, If you want to make dove hunting a little easier and fill your bag limits, I would get yourself a couple of these secret weapons!

They really do work!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving! A guest post!

This was sent out by a good friend of mine Hal W. in an e-mail to his friends.  I thought it was worth sharing on Thanksgiving Day!  Thanks for a great reminder Hal!!

How do you kill a Monster Buck?  Be Thankful and take a Good Luck Charm!
My story starts a little over a year ago around early to mid November 2010.  I had been hunting pretty hard for about two weeks because rut was in full swing and everyone was seeing the bucks chasing doe every time they headed into the woods.  Myself, I had seen some deer and even the occasional small buck, but nothing I really wanted to shoot.  Prior to the season opening, I had spent the time and money to plant food plots, put up stands, put out trail cameras, and do all the things that hunters do to get ready for the season, and now that rut was here I expected some results.  I was getting frustrated because I was putting forth such great effort and doing everything I thought was right.  Then one day my son Drew said he wanted to go deer hunting with me.  Well, that made my day because going hunting with my son was one thing that I had looked forward to doing ever since he was born.  Some of my best memories as a child were of times I spent hunting with my Uncle J.   So Drew and I headed out one afternoon to the hunting club.  The hunt was pretty much uneventful (as most of my hunts had been) and we didn’t see anything.  One thing that I did learn is when you take a six year old deer hunting you must take plenty to keep him occupied.  We had snacks, drinks, toys, crayons, and coloring books.  Heck, he even peed out the back of the stand.  It was that or leave after hunting only thirty minutes, so he let it rip and I just hoped we were downwind from the deer.   That first trip was definitely a memorable experience, and he and I both enjoyed it so he asked if he could go again.  I told him yes, and in my mind I resigned to the fact that each time I took him the hunt was over before it started, but I wanted him with me and I thought somehow there was an outside chance something good might happen.
It was a Thursday night and I told him that I was going hunting in the morning if he wanted to go.  He said he did want to go.  I told him that I was only going to call him once to get up and he better be ready.  Deep down I was hoping he would choose to go another time because this particular morning was supposed to be the best day to hunt because the GON magazine said it was and the weather had just turned cold again and everyone said this was the weekend.  Five thirty Friday morning came and I called once, twice, and on the third time he sprung up and said, “Don’t leave me!” and started to get dressed.  I had already packed the snacks, drinks, toys, crayons, coloring books, and Nintendo DS game to help keep him occupied in case he really did get up.  We got dressed and we were off.  It was amazing, it was almost six o’clock in the morning and he was wide open making plans on how we were going to kill a big ole buck.  Asking question after question like, “How are we going to shoot a deer in the dark?”, “If I throw my pop tart out of the stand will the deer come eat it?”, “If he does can we shoot it?”  I said no son, that’s what corn is for (hey… it’s legal now).  Finally we parked the truck and got out, and it was cold, very cold.  We walked to the stand in the pitch black dark.  We both had our lights on our hats, but Drew wanted to carry a flashlight just in case his head light went out so he wouldn’t be left in the dark.  We got to the stand and unpacked all our stuff.  At first he was looking all around shining the flashlight out into the food plot looking for deer.  I convinced him to settle down and eat a pop tart and play his game until the sun came up. Around fifteen minutes later the sun did come up, and it was the coolest sun rise I’ve ever seen because I watched it with my son.  We took a break from all the other stuff we brought and I had the chance to explain how, why, and where the sun rises and sets.  For a few brief minutes we watched the world wake up….then he looked at me and said….”Can I play my game now?”  He started playing his game and about twenty minutes after day break a little basket rack eight point stepped out into the food plot.  I quickly nudged Drew and took out his ear phones and instructed him to stand up and look at the deer.  He immediately started asking questions.  “Where did he come from?”  “Does he know we are here?”  “Are you going to shoot him?”  “Can I scare him?”  “Why don’t you shoot him?”  “You said if we see one with horns we would shoot him!  So shoot him!”  I told him that he was too small and we wanted to wait on a bigger buck.  Drew informed me that I told him we would shoot one with horns and that one had horns.  For the next ten to fifteen minutes we watched and debated on whether or not we should shoot the deer and eventually the little eight point disappeared into the woods.  Drew was a little aggravated with me because we were deer hunting for a deer with horns and we had one right in front of us and we didn’t do anything.  The whole idea of what just happened didn’t make any sense to him.  Finally, he went back to playing his game.  Five minutes later, a big, wide, heavy eight point buck comes sprinting out into the food plot and puts on the breaks right where the basket eight had been feeding.  This was a shooter buck and it was obvious that this deer was not going to hang around very long.  I immediately punched (not nudged) Drew and said, “There he is son; hold your ears just like I told you.”  I threw up my Browning .270, found the deer in the scope, waited for him to stop walking, and BOOM!!  The deer spun around and took off into the woods.  I know I hit him because there was an exit wound very visible as he made his way back across the food plot.  I looked at Drew and said, “What did you think about that?”  He said, “Daddy, you shot before I could hold my ears!  What was that big red spot on his side?  Where did he go?  Did you miss him?  Can we go shoot him again?”  I explained that we had to wait a little while before we could go into the woods to recover him, and believe me, that was the longest wait ever.  We did go to the site where I shot him and found some blood.  I marked the spot where the deer was hit and we went to get the truck and made some phone calls telling some fellow hunters that Drew and I had a good one down.  Around 45 minutes after the shot was fired we started looking and quickly found our Trophy.  It was a good day that I will always remember not only because of the big buck, but because Drew and I harvested the big buck together!  See the attached pictures.
Fast forward a year to November 2011.  Again, I’m in the woods as often as I can be and most of the time Drew is with me.  He seems to really enjoy deer hunting and if he puts in to go I make sure I make the arrangement s for him to have all his items to keep him occupied and quiet.  I have even purchased him a youth model .223 so maybe he can harvest his own first deer.  He is not the greatest shot right now but he gets better every time we practice shooting at targets.  One Sunday afternoon I asked Drew if he wanted to go hunting with me and he said that he did not.  As soon as those words came out of his mouth my little girl Emmy says, “I want to go hunting with you, Daddy.”  Now, Emmy is four years old, and I waited until Drew was six before I ever thought about taking him.  But it’s very hard for daddy to say no to his little princess, especially when the only reason is “you’re just too young”.  That answer was not going over very well with her or me to be quite honest.  So, I agreed to take her down to a little area less than a quarter mile behind my house where I had put up a stand and planted a food plot.  I figured that by going down there we could ride the Polaris and when she got ready to go we could go.  Just like last year, I didn’t have much confidence in the success of the hunt.  My plan was to get in the stand about a quarter to five so we wouldn’t have to sit there long.   I packed up all the snacks, drinks, toys, and her Leapster game to help keep her quiet so maybe we could see something.  As I was getting all her items together I quickly realized that this trip was not about hunting to her.  It was more about what “Hunting Costume” she was going to wear.  She changed a few times because she didn’t like the way her pants that I bought her looked.  After mixing and matching the camo that I had bought her and some of Drew’s camo that he had when he was that size, she finally had her “Hunting Costume” ready.  Oh, she was still not ready; her mama had to fix her hair.   She had to get her pony tail fixed so she could wear her Browning hat with the pink trim.  When her “Hunting Costume” and her hair were just right, we loaded up on the Polaris to take several pictures (because of course we have to get pictures on an occasion like this).  We finally made the two minute drive to the stand.  When we got there and started walking to the stand I realized that Emmy is having trouble walking in the brush.  The brush wasn’t that tall but Emmy stands at a whopping three feet tall and she was having trouble keeping up.  So, now I’m carrying a bag that is three times bigger than usual because of all of her stuff, my rifle, and my new hunting buddy.  We made it to the stand and climbed on in, and, just like Drew one year ago, she starts asking questions.  “Where are the deer?”  “What is that black thing out there?” (Feeders are legal in 2011)  “Are the deer in the woods?”  “Kill that spider!”  I start unpacking everything and she is walking around, sticking her head out of each window of the stand, and climbing in and out of my lap.  After about thirty minutes, everything is going just as I expected, plenty of noise and no deer. We did have a cow from a neighboring land owner get through a hole in the fence feeding in the food plot.  Emmy was quick to point out that that was a cow and not a deer and we shouldn’t shoot it.  With the cow and everything else going on, the afternoon was still great because my little princess and I were deer hunting.  For the next little while she played the Leapster, we watched some Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber YouTube videos on my Motorola X2 Android device, talked about numerous subjects, some having to do with deer hunting but mostly about other things.  Then she climbed in my lap and lay across my chair and I held her as if she was a newborn about to take a nap.  This was my favorite part of the entire hunt, I told her that I loved her and she said she loved me and for the next five minutes I stared out into the food plot and she stared up at the roof of the deer stand with the only sounds being the occasional squirrel and the wind gently blowing through the trees.  At that point, the hunt was a total success to me, although I still wanted her to see a deer.  But if we didn’t, I really didn’t care.  Then those big South Georgia mosquitoes started flying and Emmy declared that it was time to go. Even though there was about fifteen more minutes of good light, I didn’t argue with her and I started packing up.  The previous five minutes of silence was broken by the sound of talking, zippers zipping, jackets being put on, and feet climbing down the ladder.  Finally we were on the ground and were ready to head back home.  As we started to walk away from the stand I noticed that the cow had moved out of the food plot and closer to the woods. Then I looked closer and realized that the cow was actually still in the food plot and that what I saw was a deer.  I quickly told Emmy to be still and not move a muscle.  When I first saw the deer he had his head down so I didn’t know if it was a buck or a doe.  Then he picked his head up, and everything changed!  If you are a deer hunter, you know what I’m talking about.  I went from a Daddy who was enjoying an afternoon in the woods with his daughter to a Daddy who was enjoying an afternoon in the woods with his daughter and was about to lay the smack down on the biggest buck he had ever laid his eyes on.  I’m telling you the truth, my little princess did so good; she didn’t move a muscle and didn’t say a word.  I think she was amazed that her Daddy’s behavior could change so fast.  I can still see her face with her eyes wide open waiting for my next instructions to her.  She sat quietly on the ground beside the stand while I got my binoculars out of my bag.  I wanted to get a good look at the deer to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.  When I got him in view I confirmed that this was indeed a shooter buck.  I threw my binoculars down and picked up my gun and found the deer in the scope.  Then, I realized that Emmy was standing right underneath my feet and I couldn’t shoot over her head so I put my gun down and picked her up and sat her about five feet behind me next to a tree and told her, “You’re doing great, just be still and don’t say anything”.  I then turned back around hoping the buck was still there and he was.  I picked up my Browning .270 and found him in the scope again.  At this point the deer was in the brush at about 200 yards and walking toward the food plot.  I watched him in the scope and debated with myself… should I shoot now or let him get closer?  If I let him get closer he may pick up our scent and run off; there is a cow ready to meet him in the food plot (don’t know how that will work out); Emmy is bound to break her silence soon (she still hasn’t seen the deer, she’s too short); what to do, what to …. BOOM!!  I decided to go ahead and shoot.  The deer falls then gets up and makes his way into the woods.  I don’t know if I hit him or missed him.  I am beside myself and my little princess is just sitting by the tree eyes wide open and watching.  Emmy asked, “Did you shoot a deer Daddy?”  I said, “Baby, I shot at him and I hope I hit him; we will have to go see.” I told her how good she did and we packed everything back up and headed to the Polaris.  We took our time getting back to the Polaris and once we loaded up we went to look and see if I hit the buck or just scared him really bad.  After looking for a few minutes I found some blood with a good trail and I knew he was down somewhere close.  By this time it was dark and the mosquitoes were out in full force so I threw my orange vest on the ground to mark the site of the shot and headed to the house.  I dropped Emmy off at home with Jennifer and Drew and called my buddy Nate and told him to get ready we were about to track a deer.  Nate and I met up about twenty minutes later and went back to the site of the blood trail and very quickly found the biggest buck that I have ever harvested.  We loaded him up in the Polaris and soon were joined by Stan and Robert who were there to help, but the job had already been done.  We all stood around admiring the buck.  Then Nate pointed out that I shot the buck through the neck and asked if that was where I was aiming.  I said, “Yeah...yeah, the neck, that is exactly where I was aiming”.  Nate, Stan, and Robert all said that they didn’t believe me and we headed back to the house to show my new hunting buddy what she and I had harvested.  See the attached pictures.
I wrote these two stories because I can’t get these two events out of my mind and am amazed that I have had such good experiences.  A lot of people hunt for years and don’t kill one buck like these.  I can’t explain it but I have been thinking about it a lot and I felt like I needed to put my thoughts in writing so I could share it with anyone who was interested and would take the time to read it.  I’m certainly not an authority on how one should live or on deer hunting.  I enjoy all types of hunting, and I’m particularly proud of the two bucks that I was fortunate enough to harvest in two consecutive years.  I’m most proud of the way it all went down with Drew and Emmy.  Drew and I have a deer on the wall and now Emmy and I will have a deer on the wall, and I think that is pretty cool.  I don’t know why or how it happened, but I do know that all the time that I had spent working toward killing a big buck was beginning to feel like work!  I was going hunting because I felt I had to, because I’ve put all this effort into it and I can’t stop now.  Sometimes it wasn’t even fun, but the minute I stopped caring so much about the results and started enjoying everything around me it just happened.  Was it just chance? Maybe.  Was it that my efforts finally paid off?  Could be.  Was it the Lord telling me to stop focusing on myself and everything I’ve done and start being thankful for and enjoying what he has given me?  I like to think so.  So I’m going to keep planting my food plots, putting up stands, and going to the woods every chance I get but now with a little different attitude.  Next time you are sitting in the deer stand, the duck blind, in the boat, or in the dove field, I encourage you to pay attention to your surroundings and think about all the things that God has put in front of you that you may have never thanked him for.  As hunters and outdoorsmen, we get to see things in the world that a lot of people who do not share our passion for the outdoors don’t get to see. So going forward, why don’t we try to enjoy everything that God has created and blessed us with; like our wife and children, friends who care about us, every sunrise we get to see, every sunset we get to watch, the changing seasons, the small bucks that we let walk so they can grow another year, the fog that lifts off the water while we are sitting on the river bank waiting on the woodies to come in, the mallards that circle as they try to decide if they want to come down as the sun shines on that green head, the big bass that just rolled and told us where to make our next cast, the turkeys that like to hang out in my food plot and under the stand when it seems like they know it’s not their season, the donkey up on the hill that likes to let the world know where he is late in the evening right at dark, the train going by on the tracks that are three miles away but sounds like it’s just across the power line, the shot fired by my buddy on the other side of the club because he finally got was he has been hunting for! 
Remember, be thankful and take a good luck charm hunting with you when you can!

Hal W. – November 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kansas 2011

I wish that I had better news from the great state of Kansas, but the truth of the matter is that we just did not see many birds.  We were told before making the trip that bird numbers were down due to unusual weather in the part of the state that we were hunting which caused an early wheat harvest.  This activity did not allow for a proper hatch and therefore the pheasant was dealt an uphill battle as nest were destroyed by way of the tractor.  They may have had a chance to have a second nesting, but 13 inches of rain in two days washed those chances right down the creek.  We knew what we were facing, but chose to face it anyway.

Our first morning started out at a crisp 21 degrees with sunny skies and wind in the forecast.  Temps were supposed to reach into the high 40's by the end of the day.  As we made our first push through a CRP grass field I allowed myself to think that this was going to be a pleasant day where only a light jacket would be needed, but I soon learned the errors of my ways for allowing myself to have such thoughts.  In the movie Lonesome Dove, Gus and Call are moving their heard north when they encounter a sand storm.  The scene shows a huge cloud of dust moving in their direction that can be seen from a mile away.  That scene popped in my mind as we crested the rise in the field and looked to the west.  A dark grey cloud hung low to the ground and was moving in our direction at a rapid pace.  It swallowed our group of 28 hunters and left us reaching for warmer garments for our chilled faces and ears.  That was the last that we would see of the sun that day and the temps never got out of the 30's.  The wind eventually pushed the dark cloud to the east, but the strong breeze decided to stay with us all day making things very chilly.  At the end of the day, our bird count stood at only 9.

Our second day started out a little better.  At least the 30 mph winds were no longer with us and the sun was out in spurts.  The temps were in the low 20's, but without gale force winds to deal with, hunting was fairly comfortable.  We were still having trouble finding birds though.  This was my 8th trip to Kansas and I can honestly say that this was the most unproductive trip that we have had.  Our group, ranging in size, has killed as many as 250 in a three day hunt and as little as 108 in a two day hunt.  None of us had ever seen anything like this.  The hunting, or should I say killing, was still slow.  We did manage to find one field that reminded us why we keep coming back.  As the walkers topped the hill, birds started flushing one by one and the blockers were ready.  We managed to take about 12 birds from this one grass patch and kept hopes and spirits high for the afternoon hunt.

At the end of the day and the end of our hunting time together, our group managed a two day total of 30 pheasant, 2 prairie chickens, and 3 quail.  Not real good.  But I will say that I had a great time spending time with my Dad and seeing the friends that I have made over the years on this trip.  So here's to you Gary, Swilley, A.G., Chad, Shane, Mark, Cheerio, Bill, Josh, Drew, Alf, Mike, Chitty, Guy, Captain Henry, TJ, George, and many others!  I'm already ready for next year!!

I just hope the birds will be back!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Challenge #4, sort of!!

For those of you who have been reading my blog for some time, you may remember that the Downeast Duck Hunter issued me a set of challenges in order to spice up my blog and get me out of a writers funk that I was in.  It was a simple dare that I took him up on that required some effort on my part, but I have to admit it was kind of fun.  There were 5 challenges in all, and the first one had to be completed in order to receive the second and so on.

The first challenge was for me to film my son catching a largemouth bass.  Challenge complete!

The second challenge was for me to show off my golfing skills.  Challenge complete!

The third challenge was a little vauge and the Duckman was asked to be amazed.  Challenge complete!

The next challenge got a little harder and I guess I will have to admit defeat.  The Duckman asked me to do a South Georgia rap song.  Now those two things just do not go very well together, so I decided that I would sing a song, but not rap a song.  The only problem is finding the time to get my buddies over to film and play while I put my vocal pipes on display.  We all have kids and it seems that time is scarce.  It has been months since challenge #4 was issued by the Duckman, and he has been very patient, but I know when I have had enough and when I have been defeated.  I will not be able to finish Challenge #4.

I will offer this however!  I DID write the song and will share the lyrics with you here!  It is set to the tune of "Simple Man" by Lynard Skinard.

You can listen to the music and get the basic idea of what I was trying to do here while you follow along!

"The Challenge"

-The Duckman told me in challenge one,
this will be easy, just video your son.
I want a largemouth, brought to his hand.
It was 4 pounds and Reid said,
Take that Duckman!!

-Take your time on Challenge two,
for this one's harder, and all on you.
Grab your golf clubs and make the shot.
Task completed Duckman,
Hey, is that all you got??


Cause I'm a challenge kind of man.
Go on and dare me, then you'll understand,
that I'm a challenge kind of man.
I will do this for ya bud, cause I can!

-In challenge three, I bared my soul.
Something different, my words were gold.
I sat there patient, as I made my plea.
Was it good enough Duckman?
Yes sir bud, you Amazed me!


-Next challenge issued, and man you laughed.
I wrote this song, because I don't rap.
If it's not worthy, well I tried,
all I want for you Duckman,
is to be satisfied!


So there you go Duckman!  That was my attempt at Challenge #4.  Maybe one day I will find the time to get it on video, but for now, this will have to do!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Was Lost, Now Found!

Back in August, my Dad and I got several pictures of this 7 point buck seen in the left of this shot.  He was hanging around one of the feeders and was showing up regularly.  All of a sudden, he was gone.  We haven't seen him in almost two months.  He is a nice looking 7 point and looks to have a fairly high rack.  I wanted to get a better look at him from a tree stand, but his disappearing act made me think I may not have the chance.  Well, he showed back up!

I pulled my card on my camera on Tuesday and there he was.  This is a totally different stand location on the other side of the property that we hunt.  Now this brings us to another kind of management issue.  If you are lucky enough to hunt on your own property or have a lease that you know you can keep for a while, and you want to hunt for trophy bucks...What do you do with this guy??  He has a nice rack, but only 7 points.  Is he going to get any bigger?  Is this deer older than three years old?  Do you want him passing on bad genes to the next generation if he is indeed a mature buck?  This is definitely a buck that needs to be talked about among club members to get all perspectives on what others think before you pull the trigger.  That is if you are on a Quality Deer Management kind of club.  My first thought is to watch him grow this year and see what he brings to the table next year.

I'm curious to know what you would do with this buck.  Would you take a wait and see approach?  Would you take him out of your herd because of possible bad genetics?  Would you be like the Downeast Duck Hunter and care less about the rack and fill your freezer?  (not that there is anything wrong with that)

Let me know your thoughts on Quality Deer Management.  I'm curious as to what different regions of our hunting country think.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Duckpower, Inc. Is Mr. President in Trouble?

Mr. Duckman, President of Duckpower, Inc.

A spokesman from the corporate offices of Duckpower, Inc. has confirmed rumors of a possible impeachment.  It seems that many employees and one founding member of the company have become increasingly disgruntled at the leadership being displayed by the company’s President, Mr. Duckman.   There have long been accusations of abuse from the highest office, but loyal followers of the company, which have offices in Maine as well as in Georgia, have been encouraged to sweep those thoughts under the rug for the sake of the business.  The head of the Southern division was overheard saying that “the mental abuse and constant ridicule displayed by Mr. President towards his loyal employees are sure to bring an end to what some have said was a shaky union to begin with”.
It seems that the problems started with an unpaid corporate fishing sponsorship.  Mr. President, who apparently agreed to sponsor an employee’s bass tournament failed to fulfill his sponsorship obligations because the sponsored team did not technically “win” the tournament.  You can see the ESPN article here  where the employee is clearly heard thanking this supposed sponsorship.  Our sources say that the bill was never paid and tensions started to run a little high in the Southern Division. 
There was also word that Mr. President was a little stingy with his allotment of last year’s Super bowl tickets that were given to him by his twin brother.  It seems that Mr. President harbors ill will towards his twin and would not allow any of his employees to support his brother’s team.  All Green Bay Packer gear has long been outlawed at company functions.
The Northern Division of the company can be considered even more unstable.  The relationship between Mr. President and his co-founder Mr. Duckhammer and the one simply known as Diesel, is a difficult one to explain to say the least.  It has been reported that on many occasions, Mr. President has abused his power, using it to his distinct advantage, in blatant attempts to elicit favors from his constituents. As proof of his debauchery, this ½ naked photo of Mr. President clearly depicts him staring lovingly at the cameraman, poor Vice President Diesel, in a vain attempt to seduce him with his powerful animal magnetism in order to solidify his honorable status.
Photo courtesy of Duckpower, Inc. annual report
 This was of course only the beginning of Mr. President’s deviant behavior.  This additional file photo seems to show an unwanted fondling of an employees’ shoulder.  Sure it may seem innocent but trust me this could be a slippery slope that can only end in ruin.

The company spokesman would not confirm or deny that the board was currently in session at time of print, and whether or not Mr. President was in attendance.  It does not look good for the sitting president of Duckpower, Inc., however, this reporter thinks that the company may just be better off in the long run.  Just take a look at this recently surfaced video that was buried deep in the company vaults.  You may recall that just recently Mr. President publicly called out a founding member of the company for lack of shooting skills and that founding member was subjected to ridicule in the duck hunting blog industry.  Parental guidance is suggested due to language not fit for a company President.

Wow!  Nice shooting!!  Now you tell me.  Does this look like a man that should be leading others in a Duck Hunting company/blogging venture??  I think not.

Reporting for Hunting News Daily, I’m A Brave Eagle in the Rabid Outdoors!
**For those of you reading this post and wondering just what in the world is going on, don't worry!  I'm just having a little fun with the Duckman, who I consider a good friend, because he chose to have a little fun with me!  Consider this revenge Mr. President!  You the Man bud!!**

Monday, October 24, 2011

I choose to manage!

2010 success!
My Dad and I have been fortunate enough to lease the same piece of property for the past 20 years.  In fact, we have seen the property as a clear cut twice.  Deer like you see in the picture above were once a very rare site on our club.  Sure someone would kill a nice one every other year or so, but for the most part, we had members that shot any buck that walked, no matter what the size.  As time has moved on and members as well, some changes have been made that have made all the difference in our hunting success.  We started to manage our deer herd.

Our club once had 8 members.  We are now where we want to be at 4, and all of us recognize the rewards that come with a good management program.  Several years ago we starting talking to each other about the size deer that we wanted to shoot.  We decided on an 8 point or better with an inside spread of at least 15 inches (outside his ears).  By letting the smaller bucks go, we started to see bigger bucks in only the second year of our management program.  If you have followed my blog for any time, then you have seen some of the deer that we have caught on camera or harvested including this very nice drop tine 11 point killed by my Dad 4 years ago.

Terrible picture, but you get the idea!
This is the first big buck that came out of our management program and the buck that got everyone on our club thinking bigger and better things.  In the last 4 years the members of our club have taken more 10 point or better bucks than in the first 16 years that we held the lease.  Management works!  Especially if you can talk your neighbors into managing the same way, which we have.

I tell you all this to make myself feel better about not shooting this buck this past Saturday!

I had this bad boy just 100 yards from my stand for half an hour Saturday night.  I studied him long and hard through my binoculars and even checked out his front shoulder with the cross-hairs of my scope.  I admit that I even flicked off the safety.  But I just couldn't bring myself to shoot this deer as I though about all of our management efforts.  What you can't see in this picture is that he has small little kickers on his end beams making him a "want to be" 10 point.  The more I looked at him, the more I realized that he was not a mature deer.  Sure he is a stud 8 pointer, but I think I would have been mad at myself if I shot him based on the potential of what he could be next year or the year after.

Now I know what some of you might say!  "Somebody else is just going to shoot him for you!"  That may be the case, but at least I am giving him another chance to make it until next year.  I'm hoping that he will just stay around our place.  He has all he needs!  Food, shelter and a bunch of does to service him.  Beside, I know there is a bigger boy out there.  One of our members has a definite shooter on his camera not far from this location shown above.  Hopefully I can show you a picture of him in the same manner as the picture below!

Management works!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New spot...New 8 point!

I pulled the card out of my camera after I moved it to one of my favorite stand sites.  This is in the middle of a clear cut and I got 45 pictures in just 2 1/2 days.  I was glad to see that at least one buck is in the area.  He looks like he is fairly tall, but I want to see some more shots of him before I make my mind up about how old he is.  I have been seeing a larger set of tracks near this stand site, so I decided to do a little more scouting in the area with the camera.  This is an excellent afternoon stand and you can see for a long way across this clear cut. 

I think I know where I will sit this Saturday afternoon!

Monday, October 17, 2011

One down, one to go!

I was able to find some time yesterday to put the final finish on the first of my two Columbus Day tables.  Here is what we started with-

And here is how it finished up-

It really turned into a very nice piece and will look great in someones home.  The clawed feet are hard to find and a table in this good of shape should move quickly.  I wish I had room in my house for another one, but then again I wish I could keep all of them that I work on.

On another note...

The OBN is celebrating a birthday this week.  They have been serving as a place for outdoor bloggers to meet for the past calender year.  This has been a great resource for me as an outdoor blogger and they have done an excellent job in maintaining this site.  Here's to many more years and many more blogs!

Happy Birthday!!

Have a great week!

Friday, October 14, 2011

20 Years!

This is what yours truly looked like 20 years ago and baseball is what I lived for.  Nothing was as important to me as that glove, ball, bat and playing field.  A lot has changed in the last 20 years.  I no longer look like this athletic ball player seen before you.  Baseball is not my number one thing anymore.  My teammates are no longer the central people in my life.  But this weekend will give me an opportunity to relive some of those memories from 20 years ago.  The FHS Class of 1991 will celebrate our 20 year high school reunion starting tonight.  I will see folks that I haven't seen since the day we graduated.  I'm looking very forward to it.

It's funny to me how you keep up with some people and some you don't.  I was friends with just about everyone in my class, but as you get older you loose touch with classmates and you are constantly making new friends.  I have been reminded of some great relationships that I had as I have been on the planning committee for this event.  I have already had fun catching up with the other committee members and realizing just what a great class that we really had.  We were a really close group and I think we are proving that by the number of classmates that are scheduled to attend.  Other classes have been celebrating this fall (10 and 25 year), and we have double the number of classmates attending our event.  I think that speaks well for the Class of 1991.

So tonight and tomorrow night I will try to be young again and enjoy celebrating friendships with a bunch of old folks who helped to shape me into the person I am today.  I love my classmates and I am ready to be reminded of just how lucky we all really were to share our school years with each other!

Go Canes!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Not Your Grand Daddy's A-5!

Look out boys!  Daddy's home!!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Scored on Columbus Day!!

Thanks to Christopher Columbus, I had the day off on Monday.  My wife decided to take the day off with me in order for us to spend some much needed time together.  The kids were in school, so we decided to hop in the car and travel down the road to Thomasville, Georgia to check out some of their antique shops.  As I have said before, you never know when the right deal will present itself and that deal can not be made unless you are there to make it.  I didn't set my hopes very high because Thomasville in known to be a very "rich" town and I wasn't sure if any of their shops would have any un-finished items that would be in my price range.  Remember that I am looking for something to be refinished and then resold!

We cruised through their downtown area looking at all of the various shops.  Thomasville has the model for a downtown that all towns should follow.  It really is quite an amazing place with all kinds of antique stores, variety shops, coffee shops, cafes, and even a high end sportsman's shop carrying fine guns.  We decided to park at the end of the main street, which happened to be in front of the first antique shop.  After touring that particular store we just walked up one side of the street and down the other.  We had a good time just shopping along and I was also lucky enough to find a GREAT deal on the two center tables shown above.

This first little oak table is a pretty nice little piece.  It is in very good shape and the legs have a lot of spindles.  The top and bottom shelf have been painted, but that should not be a problem.  At least the legs are bare and should not be a very big challenge.  This will make a very nice bedside table or corner table for someones home or cabin.

This is the table that made the trip!!  This is a fairly large oak center table that is in excellent shape.  I got it for a steal!!  It doesn't have a bad spot on it.  If you click on the picture and enlarge it, you can see that it also has brass "ball and claw" feet.  These are very hard to find and usually sell for a LOT of money.  The table has some age on it and the wood and brass are tarnished with time.  The wood looks almost black, but the next pictures will show exactly what a find that I got!

Is that Tiger Oak that I see????
I do believe it is!!  Cha-ching!!
This this is going to be out of this world beautiful when I am finished with it.  I am going to visit the local refinishing shop this morning to see if I can get some ideas for polishing the old brass on the clawed feet.  I can't wait to see how this one will turn out.  Stay tuned!

I now have 4 tables in my inventory that need to be finished and sold.  If you are interested in any of these, just let me know.  Here is a shot of one that I do have completed that is ready to go.

Overall it was a great Columbus day!  I spent time with the wife, found some deals, worked in the shop and watched it rain all day.  It is still raining this morning and we will take all that we can get!

Have a great week!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

You should try the movies!

I will be the first to admit that I get a small rush when I check my game camera.  I guess it is the excitement of what the next picture could bring.  Will it be that big buck that you haven't seen or a long bearded turkey or another animal all together?  I have focused my game camera efforts on only one stand this season, so I have to admit that I have grown a little tired of seeing the same deer over and over.  I know that this can change while deer move around a bit more in colder weather or during the rut, but I have found my scouting to fall into a little rut of its own.  I decided to give it a fresh look.

I have never used the video feature on my camera before.  I decided to give it a try this weekend in hopes of seeing something amazing.  While the results were not quite amazing, they were certainly fun to watch.  The camera shot 18 sixteen second videos in just over two days.  Here are some of the highlights!  Enjoy!

Yes, Mr. Eight point is still hanging around as you can see.  I also got some videos of feeding does, coons, squirrels and of course turkeys.  Some of you have said that Mr. Eight point is a shooter.  Now that you have had the chance to see him move around a little, do you still feel that way?  I think he is only a 2 1/2 to 3 year old deer and needs a little more time to turn into a wall hanger.  He is still a little leggy and he doesn't have that drooping belly yet.  He also seems to be very skiddish in his movements like a younger deer looking for his big brother to jump out from behind a tree.  He is a nice deer, but if he gets to next year I think he could be a stud.   Just look at the progress he made from last year.  I'm pretty sure this is the same deer based on the general area that he is in and the fact that he has that nice curve on the end of his rack on the right side.

Mr. Eight Point in 2010

Mr. Eight Point in 2011

See what a difference a year makes!!

So go out and flip your camera to video mode if you want a little change of pace.  It is pretty cool to see these deer move around a little bit and give you some different perspective.

Happy Hunting!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Burning Powder!

It was a beautiful Sunday here in South Georgia, so we decided to go out and do a little shooting after church.  We gathered up a few guns, mostly small calibers like .22's and .17's and hit the range.  Reid took his Marlin youth modle .22 and a bag full of bullets.  My Dad and I were content to let him shoot until he was tired.

We had a good time and I am happy to report that even though we had some windy conditions, the groups were very tight by the end of the afternoon.  I even took the time to shoot my 30.06.  I am thankful that it was dead on after only one shot.  That thing packs a little more punch than a .22.

The following is a short video of Reid shooting his gun and getting a little advice from his Papa.  He does pretty well and by the end of the day was showing very good form.  He takes his time and I got a good laugh each time he would eject his spent shell.  After the shell would leave the chamber, Reid would blow into the barrel.  He told us that he didn't want that smoke inside his gun!

It was a good day!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Game 27 means just as much as game 162!

Yeah Jason, We all feel the same way!

So today is a new day for us Braves fans.  It had been two days now since the Braves finalized the 2nd largest September collapse in MLB history.  We knew we could never catch the Phillies for the division crown, but we had a lead in the wild card race of 8 1/2 games over the Cardinals.  We felt that we could match up well with the other division winners in a playoff series and then take our chances with the Phillies for a chance to go to the World Series.  Then September started.  We started playing some very bad baseball and our lead shrunk to scary levels.  We were still up 3 with 5 to play however so all hope was not lost.  Until we lost our last 5 games and were given permission to clean out the lockers.  So what happened?  Was our team that bad?  Was our Manager and idiot?  Are we cursed?  I don't think so.  I think we just had some bad luck.

Injuries to our top two pitchers did not help.  JJ and Hanson went down and our starting rotation was reduced to just pretty good instead of stellar.  Our $15 million dollar man named D. Lowe pitched like a $15 dollar man this year.  That hurt.  Our free agent 2nd baseman hit .180 for the first half of the year. (He was the team MVP in the second half often carrying the team on his back, but a few more hits in the first part of the season would have won us a few games)  Our Mr. Everything prospect and All-star rookie from the previous year, Jason Heyward, forgot how to play the game and batted a mere .220 with 14 home runs.  Our steady Eddie left fielder/3rd baseman, Martin Prado came back down to earth and had a bad year.  Our Silver Slugger catcher, Brian McCann decided to forget how to hit in the last month.  Chipper just keeps getting older even though he is still pretty effective at the plate when he can play.  Our new Manager made some mistakes, but he is not the one who has to hit, catch and throw the ball.  In short, we just did not play up to our potential.  If all of the guys just play to the numbers on the back of their baseball card, then we are a 95-100 game winner and look good going into the playoffs.  Just not meant to be this year I guess!

I could get lost in my misery but there is one thing that keeps me going.  The Red Sox lost a bigger September lead than the Braves.  They blew a 9 game lead in the wild card that allowed Tampa Bay into the playoffs on the last day of the season.  My good friend The Downeast Duckhunter, who happens to be a Sox fan, was reduced to pulling for the Yankees on the last day.  How bad is that????

So now the off season begins and the Braves have some work to do.  We all know what needs to happen but it is going to be hard to accomplish.  We have to move some unproductive players with higher salaries in order for us to get better.  It should be fun to watch!

Go year!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spoiled Rotten!

Isn't this where every good bird dog deserves a little rest??

Have a great day!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Joe's Table Complete!

I finally found time to finish up my most challenging project to date.  Joe brought me a table that was old as time and in terrible shape.  You can see some of the first pictures here.  I took this table completely apart and rebuilt it from the ground up.  It is now very steady and can be used as an everyday piece of furniture that can be enjoyed for the next 100 years.  Here are the pictures to tell the story.
The table has been sanded, rebuilt and is now ready for stain!
After staining.  The old wood soaked up the stain as fast as I could put it on.  Very little to clean off of the surface.


The finished Product!

It was definitely not an easy project, but I did enjoy the challenges that it presented.  I hope Joe likes what he sees!