It is cold this late-season, December morning. Twenty-two degrees.
The climb up the ridge has me sweating. Too many clothes on and too old. My glasses fog up from the excess body heat. Daylight is coming.
I'm not sure why I am even hunting this morning. My freezer is full of deer meat and I have filled the freezers of several other families.
It was not a big pond, maybe three acres.
It had been there a long time and had been carefully stocked.
It was 30-feet deep at the deep end and the shore was full of down timber and bushes.
They can't be far behind.
Quite some time ago, I reported that I was sure there were Mountain Lions in Tennessee.
Within a few weeks, the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency had a couple confirmed sightings.
I said, they follow the river systems eastward and I still believe that.
Well, the sun has set on another deer season.
For me, it was season number, 62.
Sixty-two years is a long time to chase those ole things but I enjoyed every minute of it. For me, it was a great season. I killed several does and two bucks.
For quite some time, I have been getting reliable reports of folks catching coolers full of Tilapia.
The hot spot, pun intended, has been the waters of the Gallatin Steam Plant. That is logical since they, the Tilapia, do not survive well in waters below 70 degrees.
Nothing much happens in Rutledge. Once the bustling center of a small plantation community, it is now just the decaying remnants of time passing by.
Only the old, general store, itself, weathered and listing, showed signs of life. Rutledge is just a town the wind blows through on its' way somewhere else.
It is here, just in front of the store that the road to the hollow turns off. I parked near the neglected, weed grown cemetery.
I am sitting over a brown, greenfield at White Oak. They didn't get any rain, either. I'll tell you about this trip in a week or so and we will also look at his year's deer kill and crunch some numbers. In the meantime, maybe you will enjoy this.
Over 30 years ago, I wrote an article for my good friend, M.R. James, editor of Bowhunter Magazine. I called it, "The Magic Tree". It was about a tree on Cheatham, WMA from which other hunters and I had killed a total of 33 deer. That number included three, in one day, by three different bowhunters. It was a quite deceptive tree.
I have trouble writing Christmas columns, have since the kids grew up. So, I thought, maybe you'd enjoy this factional, (combination of fact and fiction), account of a cold day. Might help you cool off.
The misspelt werds are intentional. It is callt vernacular...or something. Might make you consider Christmas JLS
Thinking about buying some camouflage or scent killer "stuff" for Christmas? Or maybe something way out of the box. Give this some thought.
Ninety-five percent of the hunting camo made today, is made to fool human eyes. Three-percent, is designed to be drapes, curtains or seat covers.
The remainder, is designed to fool animal eyes. Animals do not see as human see. Most of the animals we are trying to fool, have diurnal vision.
We are about 70-plus days into our 2016/17 hunting season. For half of it, it was more like summer and a drought was building.
Hunting should have been slow. In some areas, I guess it was. Crazy Weather!
Is Al Gore to blame? What is it with the summer weather during bow season? But for that matter, what do I have to complain about?
Deer season is open. Of all the places I hunt and have hunted, by far, my favorite is an old, abandoned, decrepit homestead. That was the subject for the first magazine article I sold Bowhunter Magazine, over 30 years ago. Thanks to Chuck Denault for the idea, the pictures and superb paintings. JLS
Been some big deer killed this year. The one making a lot of news is the potential world record, non-typical buck, killed recently in Sumner County, during the muzzle loader season.
Young Stephen Tucker, killed the buck in outside Gallatin, with 47 points that is possibly a new world record. Big deer for sure, over 300 inches of antler.
Swap your smoke poles for your rifles. Our rifle season opens this Saturday, Nov. 19 and runs all the way through, until January 8.
Then, if you have access and permission to hunt private land, you get some more time to hunt does, Jan. 9-13. Remember, this year, for the first time, if a male deer has antlers that protrude above the hairline, you must check him in as a buck. The limit here, in Unit L, is two bucks for the entire year and three does per day.
I can't think of another facet of whitetail deer hunting about which more pure recycled pasture has been written than the rut. (Maybe the horse hockey about rubber boots and scent control is close?) Every year, I see countless articles written that are just flat wrong.
Most, designed to sell you a product.
Get the out your orange vests and hats, boys and girls, the best deer hunting of the year is about to open.
Our muzzleloading season opens this Saturday, Nov. 5 and runs through Friday, Nov. 18. This is the prime time to kill a mature buck. And by the way, this fall fishing is good now, too.
If the weather will cooperate, the bucks should be out during daylight hours, searching for that "special" doe.
The weather has been a big factor in our archery season, so far. By hunting the cold fronts, I have managed to kill three does but the hot weather that followed the cold fronts kept me from putting out a lot of effort.
BTW- I am a real fan of the Wasp Dueler broadheads. They are doing a great job out of the TenPoint crossbow.
Well the season has started. This column is not about what I or others are seeing or shooting. And it is important that you remember, this is just my personal opinion. This is about deer management in our unit, Unit L. And I am not PC. I do not harvest, I kill. Here is what I think.
All you can eat Oct. 13.
I got three fat deer in the freezer, time to take a break for something important. Like a great meal after eating my own cooking while Jeanne and the family were in Gulf Shores.
Y'all like catfish and all the trimmins that go with a great catfish dinner? Shoot! Who doesn't? But just in case you are that un-American, you can eat some dead chicken. So tell whoever does the cookin at your place, they have tomorrow night off.
It has taken well over two years. Tremendous hurdles had to be overcome. Three separate government agencies had to cooperate.
But finally, not in a small part, through the efforts of Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto, we have a new, state of the art, boat ramp at Misty Cove.
Formerly known as Bentley's Boat Dock, Misty Cove has been in deplorable condition for a long time.
I don't watch much outdoor programming. I don't get most of the channels that show it. Before I start teeing off on this subject, let me first admit to some things.
Yes, I have been a professional hunter. I have been compensated to hunt. I have been a professional guide, compensated to put other hunters on game. I have been on television and I have made hunting videos and I have promoted products and been compensated for it.
This Saturday, just three days from now, Lord willing and weather and health permitting, I shall enjoy my 61st opening day of deer season.
My great aunt Fannie! The changes I have seen in those years.
Lemme tell you about some of them and then, I'll bring you up to speed if need be on the changes here.
It had been a while. I had not shot doves in several years.
To say my aim was rusty is an understatement.
More accurately, I could not hit a bull in the butt with bass fiddle.
It is hot and going to get hotter. You can bet on that. It is not daylight and it is 75-degrees.
So, I slip on the fleece jacket to my jogging suit. It will feel good. No matter what the temperature, until the sun gets up, it is cold on the Caney Fork.
Dove season opens at noon tomorrow (Sept. 1st). The limit is 15 and you can't have more than that in possession.
That is the easy part, remembering that.
Remember also, they are migratory birds; your shotgun must be plugged, no more than three shells. And of course, make sure you have the proper license, including a Tennessee migratory bird permit.
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