Today is Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Our Feathered Friends - Aug 3

By  RAY POPE Checking out my garden the other days, the Bluebirds started dive-bombing me again, so I opened up their nesting box to find four babies, mouths wide open, waiting for mom and dad to stuff something into their gaping little beaks.

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The Healing Post

By JOHN L. SLOAN Sometimes there is healing power in just a drop or two of water. Add fish, good company, warm sunshine and expand that drop to a three-acre pond and you may have a healing pond.

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Tailwaters, micro-lites & the buffet table

By JOHN L. SLOAN
They did not turn the generators on until 11 a.m. As hot as it was, a mere 94 degrees, I have no idea why they waited that long. Finally, they did and the fun began.

We had been catching catfish in the shade of the big Chickamauga Dam since seven. We caught and released 25-30 cats in the 5-15 pound range and now it was time to try something else, drifting in the tailwaters for whatever hit.

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The proper use of the Shadgraph

By JOHN L. SLOAN
The shadgraph began to throb. The vibration in the rod tip showed a vibrato you could throw a bluegill through. Then it hit the dips-a left dip, a right dip, a double deep dip. I reeled the rod tip underwater about three inches and performed a perfect elbows up. The elbows up are a maneuver designed to sink the hook deep in the tough upper jaw of a Rockfish.

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The birthday

By JOHN L. SLOAN

Many years ago in Wyoming, I spent my birthday fishing on the Powder River in the land of Butch and Sundance. I remember it as being a great birthday. That memory spawned this story. JLS

It had been a pleasant night. He had actually slept well, something he did not often do anymore. Usually he would be up every 90 minutes for one reason or another. Last night he had only gotten up once. Maybe he should try sleeping in a tent and on a foam pad at home.

The woods had been noisy last night. A variety of animals, especially the peepers, had carried on a conversation the whole time. Maybe that white noise had allowed him to sleep so well. It was slowly coming daylight now. He could feel it seeping in. He stretched making both his back and his hip pop. He shook his left arm and got the feeling going in it. Eventually he would have to have something done about the pinched nerve.

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Teeth, eyes & fantastic fillets

By JOHN L. SLOAN
“Hard to find a better eating fish than a walter.” Said Harold Dotson. “They aren’t much to look at and they don’t put up much of a fight but they sure plate up right nice.” Made me look again at the five fish cooling on the bag of ice in the Coleman cooler. I was starting to get hungry.

A walter is a slang name for a walleye. They are a member of the pike family and have all the attendant teeth that go with that group. They also have weird eyes. They are often called “marble eyes”. In daylight, they appear to be blind.

Senor Dotson and I were putting along on the carp arc, a small pontoon boat with a 25-hp kicker and a pump that pumped water right out of the lake and allowed a hot fisherman to cool off. We had four rods in holders-two with night crawler rigs and two with weighted, long-lipped crankbaits. The crawler rigs were winning 4-1.

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What to do when its broiling hot?

Just fish in the DAM SHADE
By JOHN L. SLOAN, June 8, 2011
It is a cool, 97 degrees. Even the trees are sweating. Not Judge Dave Durham, fishing guide Richard Simms and I. We are cool and comfortable bobbing gently in the shade of Chickamauga Dam. The dam rears high above us, providing plenty of cool shade. We are fishing for bluegill.

However, that is just temporary. The ‘gills are just for bait. We are cat fishing on a day that will approach record heat. Probably we will use chicken breasts, cut in strips. The ‘gills are just for insurance.

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The great de-bait

By JOHN L. SLOAN, June 15, 2011
The use of bait for hunting deer is controversial and involves a complex set of biological, social, and ethical issues. Biologically, population influences related to baiting can be important in the dissemination and maintenance of disease and can affect the natural movement, distribution, and behavior of deer. Baiting can also influence survival and reproduction of deer, particularly when it moves towards supplemental feeding.

Finally, concentrations of deer at bait sites may lead to effects on other species, habitats, and ecosystems.

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Them ole speed goats

By JOHN L. SLOAN
I got plum hot the other day and that made me think of this. We were on the Tres Sombreros Ranch in the southeast corner of New Mexico and it was around the first of September. I reckon it was about 110 for an average midday temperature. We were shooting a hunting video and it was hot enough to drive me and the one of the camera girls crazy. We got so crazy we jumped into a windmill fed water tank not realizing it was 12 feet deep.

Good thing we could swim. See, we were living in teepees. Not air-conditioned wikiups, teepees. They were comfortable but at night, when it cooled off to about 95, they did tend to still be hot. I think that may be the first time I ever saw a cholla just get up and leave. See, plants, they aint supposed to walk. But thisun just walked away looking for some shade, I reckon.

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Early autumn & still turkeys

By JOHN L. SLOAN,
The Wilson Post
It was just about as perfect as you could ask for. The nights were cooling, on their way to frosty and the days warmed up to high sixties and maybe a seventy thrown in for good measure. My doe was skinned, quartered and on ice. Well mostly she was. The tenderloins and a piece of back strap had gone the way all good deer meat should go -- supper.

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What is it about Hills?

BY JOHN L. SLOAN
One of my favorite outdoor writers is Gene Hill. One of my favorite archers is Howard Hill. One of my favorite smallmouth lakes is Center Hill. What is it about Hills that attracts me? I guess some of it may be mystery. You never know what a particular Hill may hit you with. It may be a trick shot, a surprise phrase or a fish that you did not expect. Some too, may well be sheer beauty. An arrow etched just perfectly against a blue sky or a “set” of words that become a picture or fog, low on the water that suddenly becomes a rock bluff.

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Looking back at December . . . I blew it

By JOHN L. SLOAN
It was cold this morning, 20 at the house at 6. I dressed accordingly. The gray light had just started to show on the fringes at the top of the trees as I eased the Arctic Cat into the briar patch and shut it off. It looked as though there might not be much of a sunrise, just a spreading of the gray. I made a last check of my pockets, cocked the crossbow and began to ease into the cedars and push my way, using elbows only, into the middle.

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Should TN legalize commercial farming of whitetail?

By JOHN L. SLOAN
That is a question before Tennessee state legislators. Introduced by Rep. Frank Niceley (R) Knoxville, HB 1112 would make it legal to raise and import whitetail deer into Tennessee for commercial purposes.

Let me make it simple for you. What this bill would do is allow Tennessee residents to enclose deer in pens and raise them as they would cattle and then sell the live animals, the body parts for food consumption, allow the killing of them by individuals and sell the various by products.

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An azalea morning

By JOHN L. SLOAN
There was a huge gap between the smell of azaleas in Lower Alabama and the crisp, cool air of the rising thermals as the sun warmed the mountains. Six years. A six years filled with heat, sand, cold, and wind…always the wind. And often, excessively often, the sound of gunfire and mortars and choppers and bombs.

And screams.

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Across the swamp

Since turkey season opens Saturday, April 2, I thought this week and next, I would tell you a couple true turkey hunting stories to get your wattle and snood all aworking. I may even join Big Daddy for a hunt myself. JLS
By JOHN L. SLOAN
It could be raining. The dew is dripping from the trees so heavily it could be rain. I am getting wet and glad it isn’t cold. Again, the coyote sings and again the gobbler answers. He is across the swamp and we will have to hurry if we are to try for him. We have walked some distance from the where we parked the truck. It is almost time for the sky to change clothes from funeral black to church gray.

Eddie starts out at a fast walk. Eddie Salter knows this swamp better than I know my office floor. That is why I am so surprised when he steps into the creek. Fortunately, it is only three feet deep and the drop was less than a yard.

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The solitary fisherman

By JOHN L. SLOAN
He is back again this morning in his usual place, the big tree out on the point. I have fished several days this week and he has been there every morning. I have never seen a fisherman sit so still. If I didn’t know, better I would think he was statue or maybe a Bill Vandeford picture.

It is foggy this morning and his head is hunched between his shoulders to stay warm and ward off the damp. I feel somewhat the same way but instead make a cast. Soon, the sun will rise behind him and he will become a silhouette. Later when it gets really hot, he will move down the bank and closer to the drop-off where it goes from just a rocky bank to 40 feet of cooler water. He is following the natural movement as am I. Of course, we are both just guessing. I am betting we are right but until one of us catches a fish, we won’t know.

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On the fence

By JOHN L. SLOAN
The debate goes on. Should hunting behind a high fence be legal? There are those in favor of it and they see absolutely nothing wrong with it. There are those who are diametrically opposed to hunting behind a high fence and are of the opinion that those who do so should be tarred and feathered.

The question is one mostly of two view points. First, is it ethical to hunt an animal that is, in effect penned and unable to escape? Second, should it be legal to do so? Now also in consideration is the possibility that penned animals give rise to diseases, which may then be spread, to the wild population.

That is another situation. Let me right now state my position. I think that if there is sufficient acreage involved the for the animal to evade the hunter and the baiting or feeding of the animal is not involved, thereby providing fair chase in my opinion, then I have no problem with it.

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Tanning bed days

By JOHN L. SLOAN
Before I started hurting in every joint, I loved a tanning bed day for a little fishing on Percy Priest or Center Hill or Dale Hollow. It wasn’t too bad on Old Hickory, either.

You know the kind of day I mean; a day that makes you want to spend a half-hour at Sun Tan Village soaking up some serotonin and easing the ache in your aging joints. You want drizzle and a temperature that is several degrees below comfortable. It is the kind of day when the clouds hang just feet over the bow of the boat. You have to keep wiping your glasses to get the fog or drizzle off. You are often tempted to pull up the hood on your rain suit but that bothers your vision. Intermittently the sun comes out and cooks you just enough to tease you.

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'Corner Gas fills WGN up with laughs


Hey Ken: I heard “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series was based on a movie that was produced several years before the series debuted on CBS in 1979. What can you tell me about this?

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