Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Son!

Nine years ago today, my wife gave birth to my baby boy!  He was born in the middle of turkey season and I remembering asking the doctor sometime in the middle of the night if he thought we could get this thing done soon so that I could slip out and go turkey hunting.  I wasn't serious, but that started a turkey hunting conversation and my wife had to listen to me teach our doctor the fine art of calling in turkeys between contractions.  Reid was born at 5:55 am.  I like to think that there was a turkey gobbling somewhere!

My boy has the ability to melt my heart in one minute and then make me want to pinch his little head off the next.  He can be very loving and then turn around and produce blood curling screams from his aggravated little sister without skipping a beat.  He is very smart and very competitive.  He is my son, hunting buddy, fishing partner, ball player and one of the greatest joys of my life, so I make this post in honor of his birthday!

 Happy Birthday buddy! Your Daddy loves you!   I can't wait to add more adventures to our list!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What are you chasing now??

I moved my game camera to another location on our hunting lease.  This is a feeder that we feed with all year round.  I was hoping to catch some shots of different turkeys so that we might know what we are chasing on this side of the club.  What I got was about 73 pictures of deer and these two shots of what look like pretty good long beards.

Dear Mr. Tom,  I know you are there and I will be seeing you very soon.  You have a date with a pretty talking little hen and one mean Browning!

Sincerely,  The Brave Eagle!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 Turkey Opener!

I had high hopes for 2012.  After our 2011 season, something had to go right.  Besides, as I have written before, I'm an awesome turkey hunter in even numbered years!

Our 2012 opening morning did not go as expected.  Our scouting in the days leading up to opening day had located a bird roosted on a clear cut that had been more than willing to gobble.  Daddy and I made our plans and got there in plenty of time to get set up on the other side of the clear cut before daylight would give us away.  In our minds, we saw it happening like this.   We would get our decoys set up in the road about 500 yards from his roost and back off into some bushes to wait for the Tom to start his morning routine.  We would just call him off the roost and allow him to walk down the road right to us.  Everything was going according to plan except for one small thing.  The Tom didn't gobble.  We waited and waited but he was no where to be heard or seen.  After a long wait, we decided to move and starting chasing 4 different birds, none of which were located on our property.  Try as we may, we could not talk sweetly enough for any of them to cross over to our property lines.

We headed home with a plan for the afternoon and to catch a much needed nap.  Daddy picked me up at 3:00 and we headed back out.  We discussed several different set up options, but decided on an old reliable plan that has proven effective in the past.  We set up our decoys in a fire break in a small head of woods.  On our way into the set up, we noticed scratching and plenty of turkey signs.  These woods are fairly shady and provide cooler temperatures.  The birds have been know to hang out in here and we have killed a few afternoon birds in this same spot.  We started calling every ten minutes or so at about 3:30.  I saw the first turkey at 4:00.  A Jake was making his way to our set up followed by a hen.  It didn't take long for the strutter to make his presence known as he was spitting and drumming his way through the trees.  I let him step into my view and found that red head in the middle of my Tri-Vis sites.  The combination of Browning turkey gun and 3 1/2 inch magnum shells ended his day in a hurry.  Final tally- 12.5 inch beard, 1 1/8 inch spurs, 20 lbs.  A very nice bird!

We picked up and tried to make our way to the food plat where one very slick Tom calls home.  I really wanted Daddy to get a bird today as well.  Long story short, we were busted walking in.  Two Toms crossed the road in front of us and made it known that they were not interested in hanging around.  We were out slicked once again.

It's and even year for this turkey hunter and I am off to a good start.  I look forward to what the rest of the year will bring!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Wild Chicken Run

Fitzgerald, Georgia is home to The Wild Chicken Festival.  I have posted about Fitzgerald's wild chickens before and you can read about them here.  Our annual festival is a fun time that host everything from a street dance to a chicken wing eating contest.  It is also the host for the annual Wild Chicken Run that is put on by our local Kiwanis Club.  The Chicken Run is a 5K event followed by a shorter one mile "Fun Run".  My son Reid decided that he wanted to run in the fun run because his best friend Taylor had participated for the past two years.  I wasn't sure how Reid would do since he has never run in a race before, but we signed him up to let him give it a try.

Reid and Taylor before the race.  Two peas in a pod!

The night before the race, Reid was full of questions.  How do you think I will do Daddy?  Can I beat Taylor (a two time champ I might add)?  Will you be proud of me if I finish last?  Will you pray for me?  I tried to reassure him that he would do just fine.  Reid is a pretty good athlete but he lacks his father's confidence.  I was always the type to know that I was going to beat you no matter what game we were playing.  Reid is always scared he will not do well, when in fact he usually does better than most.

The race started and I watched the crowd run out of sight.  Reid and Taylor were at the front of the starting line and were keeping up a good pace as they turned the corner to go one block over and race back to the finish.  My wife and I waited with the other parents for the runners to come back into view as they would cross back over to our street.  I saw the police car move into the intersection and I knew that the runners would be right behind.  The first group of runners was made up of 3 high school kids that had set a very fast pace, but at the end of that group was another group.  I could tell that it had a couple of smaller kids and I could also tell that one of those kids was wearing blue and red.  It was Reid!  Not only was he going to finish the race, he was going to finish very well!  How well?  How about 6th overall and 2nd in his age division!

In the 8-10 age group, the top three finishers were all kids from my RA group at church.  My friend Todd's son finished first, 4th overall (he runs in a lot of these races), Reid finished 2nd, and Reid's buddy Taylor finished third!

I was one very proud Daddy!!!!

I am hoping that Reid has learned a valuable lesson in his first race.  If you believe you can do it, then you CAN do it!  I hope this is the first of many races to come!  Run Reid Run!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One Slick Tom!

Turkey season in South Georgia starts on March 24th this year, and this is the small food plot that I hope to be chasing this turkey in on opening morning.  I'm not sure if this is "THE" turkey my Dad and I have been after for the past three years, but if it is, he is a slick one!

For the past three seasons, Big John and I have been chasing an old Tom that calls this area home.  He will roost in a number of different trees and fly down in every direction possible, but he is always in the area.  The problem is getting to his area undetected.  We have tried early morning set ups and afternoon set ups.  Nothing has worked.  We have come close a few times, but he keeps giving us the slip. 

For that reason, this turkey has become my number one goal for the season!  The only problem with that is that he is also at the top of Big John's list so I may never get my chance.  Either way, I want this turkey frying in some 350 degree peanut oil before the 2012 season ends! 

Wish us luck!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fishing Tournament- 2012 Fitz Bass Classic

The 2012 Fitzgerald Bass Classic took place this past Saturday on a sunny but windy spring day.  My favorite fishing partner and only son paired up to take on all comers as we tried to land the three biggest fish that we could before a 4:00pm weigh in time.  The tournament is a fund raiser for the Fitzgerald High School Purple Hurricane football team.  The event was a success as over 70 two man teams participated.  Up for grabs was a $500 first place prize check!

So what did Reid and I do to get ready for this big event?  We slept in.  There was no need to get poles ready or charge the boat battery.  Our fishing poles are always ready and we fished from our golf cart in neighborhood ponds.  Every hook that we wet on Saturday was within 1 mile of our house.  Now this may not be the best plan if you are actually trying to win this event, but it is a pretty good plan if you are just trying to spend the day with your son.  We had a great time and caught several fish.  We weighed in a total of 6.55 pounds as we could never land any of those big mossy back South GA lunkers.

The winning team had a total of 20 pounds with second place finishing with 18 pounds.  The biggest fish of the day weighed in at 7.95 pounds.  All of the fish were either released into the city lake or given back to the people who caught them.  What did Reid and I do with our fish.....???

Let's just say that it was a proper ending to a great day!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cancer Sucks!

I live in a small close knit community where we care for each other and keep up with what is going on in each others lives.  Cancer has touched each and every one of us at some point, whether it be a loved one who has battled the disease or a friend who has beat the odds, but this time it feels a bit different.  You see, cancer has hit someone that is in my circle of friends.  I am very lucky to have a large group of friends that are trying to live the best life that we can while serving our community and raising our children.  We see each other often and truly are a part of each other's lives.  When we all got word that Mandy had cancer, it rocked us all to the core.  Mandy is only 35.

What do you do??  The only thing that you can do!  You help her fight!!  That is what we are all trying to do, even though none of us really know what we are doing.  All we can do is offer her support through prayer and love and try to encourage her along this long path that she must take.  Mandy is a fighter and I can promise that she will give cancer all it wants as she scratches and claws her way back to health.  This is one of the things that we all love about her.  She hates to loose and we are all expecting her to win this fight!  It may take several rounds and she will be knocked down a few times, but when the final bell rings, Mandy will be in center ring with arms held high!

She is presently undergoing Chemo treatments and is experiencing all of the usual symptoms.  She has good days and bad days, but has managed to keep a good attitude through it all.  We all wish we could do more for her to help her recover and help lift her spirits. Some of us have taken a step to do just that.  Chemo causes hair loss.  Why should she be the only one with a beautiful smooth head???

Bald is Beautiful!
Some of the guys have taken razors to their domes in a show of support for Mandy.  It really wasn't much of a stretch for me, but I feel good knowing that I am doing something to let Mandy know that we are pulling for her and praying for her everyday!!

We love you Mandy and if shaving my head will lift your spirits, then I'll shave it everyday!

Say it---Fight it----Cure it!!!  Mandy, You got this!!!