Written in Stone

Full Cry March 2012 CoverGreetings from South Georgia. All of us who live in the Peach State have come to accept or expect certain things that are unique to this region. For example, we do expect every restaurant to serve sweet iced tea. This is our liquid shade in the South.  We know our summers are going to be hot and humid, and unfortunately, if you live south of Macon, Georgia, then you will have gnats. This has been one of the worst years I can recall with gnats.

Most of us learn to tolerate the heat but never come to grips with the gnats. It has been said everything in nature has a purpose, but even my smart friends can’t tell me the purpose a gnat serves. Hopefully, the cooler weather of fall will bring much relief from the gnats and snakes. Of course snakes speak for themselves or at least the one in the Garden of Eden did. The constant threat of rattlesnakes and cottonmouths during these summer hunts will wear you down.

Deer season is now upon us. Every year I offer my pre-deer season warning to my nephews, cousins and in-laws hunting the farm. Deer don’t go moo, don’t wear saddles and normally have four legs and don’t always have antlers. Deer don’t sport feathers nor scales. Please don’t confuse deer with Jagds, Dogos, Curs or my beloved Airedale. And no cell phone pictures this year. I have no desire to see any of you posing with some dead animal like you just saved a village of orphaned children and at the same time providing meat for the winter. Here is an idea — send me a picture when you climb down out of that 20′ tower stand, walk up to a bear, slap it around a little bit and then take it out with a spear. Just kidding, boys, stay in your deer stands.

The truth is some of my deer hunting kinfolks have brilliant minds. We even have the PhDs to prove it, but oddly enough there appears to be certain things that confuse them that are quite clear to me. Daddy used to say there is a lot of difference between intelligence and wisdom. You see intelligence is the ability to tell the differences between a black and white cat and a skunk. Wisdom is knowing you need to walk away from the skunk Last month I wrote that this will be the first year that is legal to hunt over bait (corn) in South Georgia. I read recently it that shelled corn sold to hunters in the State of Texas is a yearly $2.2 billion dollar industry. Texas is one of the few states with buying stations that inspect live caught feral hogs and folks can market them for human consumption. There appears to be a decent market overseas for wild boar meat.

The buying stations currently process about 80,000 hogs per year. Now I can guarantee you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if other Southern States followed the example of Texas then there would not be a relocation issue of live hogs.

Georgia, like many Southern States, is populated with a fair share of good dogs folks, and handlers who produce dogs that excell not just in hog hunting but also feathered game, rabbits, coon, squirrel and blood trailing dogs. I read recently that Georgia is second only to the State of Texas in deer recovered by blood trailing dogs.

For many years the Georgia Outdoor News has published a list of handlers that provide a blood trailing service. Last year the men and women on this list recovered 441 deer in Georgia. I was on this list in the early 2000s with my dogs, Billy Jack and Bullet.

Both were fine dogs that left this world too soon. Handlers such as Jody Pate, J.J. Scarborough, A.J. Niette, Randy Vick, Royce Pierce and Nicholas Skinner use a wide variety of breeds and crossbreeds to locate deer, year in and year out.

I have rambled a little bit in this article this month. This is due to hog hunting being somewhat poor for the home team. We have caught a few hogs but have lost a pile in standing cotton fields. They say failure builds character. Well, I have enough of character building now I want to catch hogs.

You hard hunting folks can stop reading this article and flip over to another while I wish my wife Carleen a “Happy Birthday.”  If I had to pick two things that keep me going through this life, I’d have to first pick my wife, Carleen, and then my dogs. I do love her more than the dogs (she would argue this point), and oddly, I love them for the same reasons. Both hold a lot of power over me and my mind is on one or the other most of the time.

I am glad I have never had to pick between one or the other, but she knows I would pick her without hestitation. Without her, I would not have the strength or desire to face the other.  But not everyone is as nice as my “Luv Bug.” As a matter of fact, some folks are down right mean and vicious. How are we supposed to think good of people when they truly are not good the way God does with us. God gives grace and the opportunity to be treated better than we deserve, to receive mercy rather than justice.

Having received, may we share with others the grace God has granted us? “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:27-28).

Until next month, safe hunting and keep reading Full Cry. God bless each of you.

PDF – Written in Stone – Full Cry, Nov 2011