Tracks in the mud

When it rains, and it has rained a lot, here in the red clay capital of the world, Georgia, the clay makes a wonderful medium for tracks. We didn’t hunt today. We scouted for tomorrow’s hunt.

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Driving a Polaris Ranger along firebreaks we stopped to check for tracks. There is little doubt these woods are filled with animals. Deer, raccoon, coyote, pigs and turkey seemed to have been moving along an “Animal Expressway” during the previous night.

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We’ve found a pig stronghold or two and will be picking them tomorrow. Deer season, for archery, is over soon. Pigs, on the other hand, aside from being tasty are a year round game.

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Tomorrow’s weather is forecasted to be sunny, 53°, with a zero chance of rain. Looking good.

Out on the mountain bike

Aside from shooting and hunting I spend a lot of time running, swimming and riding a bike. I really should spend more time lifting weights – I get to the gym about once a week. If the weights were outside I might lift them more often. During gym workouts I stare outside and think I’d rather be there. This morning, the rain eased so I headed out on my mountain bike.

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I won’t be sporting these shoes during a 3D shoot.

The plan was to take an “adventure” ride. Those are rides where I set out to investigate trails I’ve not ridden. The area where I rode wasn’t a site where I could get lost. I could get off course and I did a few times, but I never got lost.

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What I wanted to do was find a trail that would get me through the woods to the water at the end of the little peninsula where we live when we’re in Georgia. The ride crisscrossed dirt roads, hard pack, deer trails, and bona fide paved roads.

The journey lasted just under two hours. I found many dead ends that required me to back track. The deer trails were thorny at times and muddy all the time. Eventually, I made it to land’s end and was rewarded with a spectacular view.

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Heading back I met Brenda driving down a dirt and gravel road.   She had mistakenly thought I’d taken River, my dog, with me. Inviting River run me with while I ride is okay for shorter trips. But, for a long unplanned trip, she stays home. River was missing which caused Brenda to become concerned. Actually, River had hidden on a very comfortable cot and was snoozing.

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One of many dead ends

I woke her up when I got home. Then, we both took off for another ride, this time a shorter one where she could go and investigate. The accumulated trips took close to three hours. It felt great.

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I really wanted to buy this property – it sold before I could make an offer

 

Rainy night in Georgia

It has rained a lot here in Georgia. Rain is better than snow. You don’t see snow when the temperature is in the 50’s and 60’s. I spent last winter in the cold and snow. To Brenda I said, “This is the last winter I spend up north.” In my opinion, North Carolina is too cold. So, we’re hanging out in Georgia. Ray Charles’ cover song, “Rainy Night in Georgia” has frequently been on my mind.

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Shooting on the deck

Shooting in the rain is a mess. Still, I needed to shoot if for nothing more than to work on form. We have a pretty long deck here is I set up a new target at on end of the deck and shot from the other. The new target was a Christmas gift from my daughter, Heather.

My top pin is set to 20 yards; on the top deck I have only about 15 yards of cover. The close shots will help on those small short distance 3D varmints I come across from time to time.

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The rain finally eased up and I was able to head to my makeshift range. It was muddy and warm on the range. It certainly beats cold and snow.

Deer Number 5 for Ray

Brenda wanted to meet our daughter, Heather, in Lexington, GA. Lexington, incorporated in 1806, has a population of 228. There are a number of antique shops along Main Street and the town has two restaurants. We driven through Lexington dozens of times and never stopped. On Saturday morning, we drove over from Tignall to visit the little town. We’d go hunting in the afternoon.

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Main St, Lexington, GA

 

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Court House

Lexington, a total area of 0.5 square miles, did not take long to explore. We’d finished our tour by 11:00 am, about 30 minutes after we arrived. The excursion might have lasted longer but several of the little shops were closed.

Eleven in the morning was time to start thinking about the two restaurants in town. We’d eaten breakfast around 6:00 and we were starting to get hungry. We chose Paul’s Barbeque and walked over for lunch.

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Paul’s Bar-B-Q

Our party, Brenda, Heather, Ray and I, were the first of the day’s customers. Paul’s serves a North Carolina vinegar base sauce, odd for Georgia. We ordered and enjoyed our meals as the dining room was beginning to fill.

Our party, Brenda, Heather, Ray and I, were the first of the day’s customers. Paul’s serves a North Carolina vinegar base sauce, odd for Georgia. We ordered and enjoyed our meals as the dining room was beginning to fill.

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I mentioned to an employee, a middle aged man, that I’d noticed Paul’s while driving through Lexington for many years. I wondered how long Paul’s had been in operation.

The fellow said the Paul’s had been around for a while, but it was never going to make it and was doomed to fail from the day the doors opened.

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“So, how long has it been in business, “ I asked

“Eighty-five years, but it’s not going to make it, “ he replied. I suppose in some books a barbeque hut hasn’t made it until the century marked is reached.

After lunch we returned to Tignall gathered our gear and headed to the woods. The temperature was in the low 60’s with clear sky for a change. The gear included a Polaris Ranger – high style.

I dropped Ray off at his blind by 3:00 PM and was in my stand by 3:15 PM. At 4:05 PM I heard a shot. It sounded like Ray had fired and he’d probably have another deer. It would be dark at 5:38 PM, so I climbed down the stand at 5:15 PM, loaded my gear onto the Polaris and drove it to pick up Ray. I should have left at 4:05 PM when I heard his shot.

Reaching Ray at around 5:30 PM, I learned he had shot a 6-point buck. Great, but I didn’t see it anywhere. Ray had a solid shot on the deer, he said. But, it ran about 150 to 200 yards before dropping. “It took me a hour of hiking around to find it,” he said. He pointed out, “There was initially a lot of blood then it just stopped.”

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The under brush was thick, but Ray had found the deer. He tied orange tape to trees to lead us to the deer. The tape worked, guiding us right to the deer – down a steep slope and laying in an even steeper gulley. The gulley washed in rainwater from the past several days. Perfect.

The buck looked to weight about 150 pounds. I weight about 150 pounds. Ray is 86 and there is no way he’s climbing down the ravine and into the gulley. There wasn’t an easy solution – I was clambered down and hauled the deer up and out. Much easier said than done. Clearly, I’d had been spoiled by the past three easy to retrieve deer.

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You can see where the pigs have been rooting

 

Ray had gotten this deer – I’d been in an areas were hogs have been rooting. None come out before I had to leave. We’ll head back out to hunt again on Tuesday. In the meantime, this buck is being processed and we’ll enjoy it in the near future.

An archer’s day

Today I was able to concentrate on archery. The morning was devoted to target practice, in the afternoon it was hunting.

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Target at 20 yards

In order to practice outside I needed to set up a range. Using a tape measure I marked distances from 20 to 50 yards in 5-yard increments. The Block that I tacked a paper target was positioned onto a plastic chair. The chair was then wedged in the ground before a dirt mound backstop – just in case.

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Old fire wood marks the yardage
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Target at 50 yards

River, my dog, enjoys watching me shoot. On this day her attitude was exclusively play therefore she had to sit in the truck. She whined the entire time. After an hour of shooting and listening to River complain we headed home for lunch.

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River – not happy

Following a feast of Christmas leftovers Ray, my father-in-law, and I headed to the woods. We loaded the Polaris Ranger and hauled it away for the hunt. We’d stay out until dusk, the time our trail cams suggested we’d have luck. We’d each pre-selected an area to hunt. It had been raining and the ground, much of it is red clay, was filled with tracks. We could see recent passing of deer, pigs, coyote, raccoons and turkey. We were optimistic.

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Dropping Ray off at his site I drove the Ranger to the area I’d chosen. It was clear a lot of deer had recently been here.

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Sure beats four walls

It was too dark to shoot at 5:30PM. I’d neither seen or heard anything. The woods were quiet. The woods were also spectacular, cool, calming, and peaceful. Even though neither Ray nor I had seen anything we both enjoyed the afternoon.

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Riding in style

Being able to shoot and hunt is a great pleasure. Practice makes for better hunting when a shot is presented. Even when there isn’t a shot – an afternoon in the woods beats an afternoon at the office.

Measurement and monitoring

Part of my adventure with archery is recording the events, tournaments, training, science, and personalities I meet along the way. Brenda, my wife, she suggested I publish them on the web. The result of her advice has been this website.

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Fred Bear understood measurement and monitoring. It was part of his company’s research, engineering and quality control.

“If it is not measured, it is not monitored,” is often attributed to Peter Drucker. In fact, the first record of this observation is by William Thomson, the Scottish physicist also known as Lord Kelvin. Writing and creating frequent posts for this website takes hours almost everyday, some days less time than others. GoDaddy and others measure the work I do here.1 They measure and I monitor. There is little point in making this public if no one is interested. So, I monitor and review the data.

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Alexa2 ranks this website 9,055,298 in the world according to the frequency of visits. Being number 9.055 million, at first, doesn’t seem so great. However, Internetlivestats’ data indicates there are 1,155,205,776 websites and growing (yes that is ‘billion’).3 Those numbers begin to sound interesting. But, it must be taken into account that 75% of websites aren’t active. That leaves 288,926,444 (25%) of websites as active. This means Puttingitontheline is in the top 3.1% of the world’s most read websites. (The big sites include: Google, Facebook, Youtube, Amazon)

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I look forward to 2015. It will be my first year shooting as a professional. On this journey I’ll continue to record and publish the adventure. There will be new discoveries, new science, more characters and escapades. I appreciate the support each of you has given me by reading. I enjoy your comments. I love that this project is global and so many of you relate on many levels. Thanks.

Reference:

  • https://www.godaddy.com
  • http://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/
  • Users in Alexa’s global data panel base Alexa’s Traffic Ranks on the traffic data provided over a rolling 3-month period. A site’s ranking is based on a combined measure of Unique Visitors and Pageviews. The number of unique Alexa users who visit a site on a given day determines unique Visitors. Pageviews are the total number of Alexa user URL requests for a site. However, multiple requests for the same URL on the same day by the same user are counted as a single Pageview. The site with the highest combination of unique visitors and pageviews is ranked #1. Additionally, Alexa employs data normalization to correct for biases that may occur in their data.

Lesson with Coach Sean

The rain finally eased up. It will be back, soon. Prior to the break in the rain our daughter, Heather and our grandson, Sean, drove over from Winder. We’ll be at their house for Christmas along with our son-in-law, Bill. Bill didn’t make the trip; he was occupied preparing for Santa Claus’ visit tomorrow. This meant I’d be getting a much-needed lesson in archery from Sean.

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Coach Sean suggesting I take a break from writing and shoot my bow

Sean, four years old, is an expert in many areas. Archery is one of his specialties. He recommended we go outside and shoot. A serious shooter, his equipment includes a bow with suction cup arrows that sticks to the wall. His other bow drives an arrow that, “If you shoot it hard enough it whistles,” according to the pint sized Robin Hood.

As Sean tells it, neither of his parents mind when he shoots at the walls. While I questioned the accuracy of his claim he remained firm in his position.

My last lesson with Sean was several months ago. To be accurate, my last lesson in archery. Since that lesson he has coached my running. A master coach in track his commands to, “Speed it, Granddaddy, speed it!” were relentless during that session. That exercise took place the night before a competition in Savannah, GA. My effort to comply, albeit fun at the time, left me a surprisingly sore on race day.

Today, Sean was available to provide his insight into archery. According to Sean shooting an arrow is a matter of, “Pulling it back, then letting it go.”

Our lesson, during the short cessation of rain, took place in the driveway. Sean selected a 3-spot from the collection of targets arranged on a golf cart. Getting to the golf cart is a challenge. The cart is crammed into a two-car garage that houses the cart, a Bad Boy Buggy, a Polaris Ranger, a John Deer Trail Boss, and a Polaris Magnum 325. There is little room to maneuver to reach the golf cart. Sean darted between and around the ATV’s with little effort in his retrieval of a paper target.

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The garage, a warehouse of ATVs

Using a plastic chair (a style we buy to put into hunting blinds) he instructed me to attach the 3-spot to a Block Black crossbow target. Following his approval of the target placement we backed-up to 20 yards for the action.

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Receiving instruction on my arrows

Sean described the best manner in which to hold my bow. The he provided a demonstration of arm placement where he modeled an exact archer’s form.

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Lecture on arrow placement

As I prepared to shoot, Sean standing behind me, being keen on safety, he loudly announced, “Fire in the hole” as I took aim. His demands to “Fire” were as vigorous as his pronouncement to encourage more speed from me during running sprints.

Coach finally decided I’d shot enough for one practice and that he needed to play with our dogs. With that, archery was finished for the moment and Sean’s laps through the family room, kitchen and dining room, while being chased by a dog were underway. Thankfully, the rain had re-started and I wasn’t required to do wind sprints.

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Sean and Nixie in a blur of speed

P.S.: During the above activities Brenda, my wife, and Heather, our daughter and Sean’s mother were making a quick trip to the grocery. Sean elected to stay behind with his Granddaddy, me, and Great Granddaddy, Ray.  The photo below is what happens with Mama and Grandmama return from shopping.

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No running in the house

 

Rain, rain, rain…..

A little rain isn’t bad, hard rain for days isn’t the optimal weather for hunting. The land here in Georgia has a lot of red clay. This red clay, when soaked after days of rain is a mess. Four-wheel trucks get stuck and ATVs bog down in the crimson mire. So, we’ve been stuck indoors. (click the video to get an idea of the rain)

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The rain is going to last for several more days. We’re here for another twelve days. As soon as the rain eases and some of the water runs off we’ll be headed back into the woods.

Until then, I’ll set up a target on the covered deck and practice shooting at 20 yards.

Another good day of eating, shooting, football and running.

We drove into Washington, Georgia for lunch today. In the afternoon, it was time to practice, watch football and run.

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One of the many fine old Southern homes in Washington

The Talk of the Town Café, in Washington, is one of our local favorites; they serve gourmet “sammiches”, burgers, soups, salads and more for lunch. They also have specialty coffees, wine and great desserts. Today, we piled in for the Sunday buffet, which is a feast of great Southern food. Sadly, one plate is all I can handle. I expect I am one of the few people that eat the buffet and the café makes money.

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Talk of the Town Cafe

When we returned to Tignall I napped through the first quarter of the Falcons versus the Saints.   Too bad the Falcons haven’t played they way they did today all year. If they had there’d likely be a lot of happier Atlanta fans.

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Since we’re hunting tomorrow I sighted and practiced with my Mathews ZXT. Man, that is one nice short bow. I am temped to use it in the 3D tournament on Jan 4th.

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I finished the day’s activities running with River. We headed down a dirt road then turned onto trails that led into the woods. As it got dark sooner (today being the shortest day of the year) we left the woods while we could safely run out.

Another good day of eating, shooting, football and running. Not bad, not bad at all.

In Georgia to: hunt, run, bike, kayak, and shoot 3D

Brenda and I made it to Tignall, GA. With us we brought two mountain bikes – we both ride and the land we hunt, 679 acres, has great trails for bikes. I brought two bows, my Mathews Apex 7 and Mathews ZXT, one for a tournament and one for hunting. Our two dogs, River and Nixie, of course made the trip.

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“Are we there, yet?”

Upon arrival, I unpacked, while Brenda helped her dad, Ray, prepare an early dinner. It was too late to shoot, and dark, so after dinner River and I headed out for a run.

Here the terrain is rolling hills. We’d not gone 100 yards when River tore out after deer. The deer are everywhere, here. But, my hunt objective is wild pigs. The pigs that run wild here are abundant. What I am hoping to get is a couple of small gilts, which I think are best for eating.

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Trail cam from October

The after dinner run felt great after being stuck in the truck for eight hours. A bonus was that it was not cold. A friend, Chris back in Maryland, who is an archer and runner had posted that the temperature was 28° F. It was 52°F when I ran this evening.

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We’re here for the next few weeks. I am looking forward to hunting, running, cycling and kayaking. The trip will be topped off spending Christmas with our oldest daughter and her family in Winder. Then off to Social Circle, Georgia for the Buckeye 3D tournament.