Morning Run

I run nearly every morning.  If I miss a day it is generally due to travel.  The weather is rarely a factor that limits time on the trails behind my house.  I don’t run alone, River, my lab has been a running companion for going on nine years.

Because some of the trails are now posted, for weekend hunters (who have as yet not hunted) River and I stick to trails outside of the posted property. River can run without being leased so long as we’re on our property.  Once we hit the trails that are easements for surveying and beyond private property she gets hooked.

River’s nose is much better at sniffing things out to explore during our runs.  On our property, while free ranging, I noticed she’s moved a few feet off the path.  Curious as to what it was she was examining I moved closer.

She’d discovered a massive yellow jacket nest.  We eased away and continued down the trail.  I hoped, that until I can spray this nest, so long as I leave them alone maybe they’d not attack me.  Oh, I’m going to get them.  Yellow jackets are often relentless when it comes to stinging me.

Moving down the trail River nosed what seemed to be a trespasser who’d met its ultimate demise.  Later, I’d learn that was indeed the case.  Only the posted sign hunters didn’t bring about the end.  The trespassing critter had been wreaking havoc on plants at a neighbor’shome.  I suppose this section of the trail will project olfactory offense soon.

If you’ve been reading this you are likely an archer.  Possibly, you are not a runner.  Possibly you enjoy getting outdoors to hunt.  If you’re an archer that runs, especially on trails, you know that sort of outdoor activity, trail running, is a nice way to enjoy the woods.

 

Big Game Hunters

The law tries to keep a balance between the rights of regular people to enjoy land and the rights of landowners. If there is no fence, the land has not been improved, looks unoccupied and has no posted sign, then someone can assume the land is public for the use of anyone. Under the natural squatter law, the community should use land for productive purposes. Unused land returns to communal ownership.

Adjacent to our property is vacant land, about 24 acres.  The land has old logging roads and trails.  There are a number of abandon tree stands on the property. A friend of mine once hunted on this property.  He no longer hunts there because of the homes next to the land.

The homes are on ‘estate lots’ which means larger than 3 acres in Walton County.  The range is from 3 to 10 acres. Our sparsely populated development, 9 homes, connect with the unused land.

There’s one paved road that leads onto the 24 acre plot of land.  At the end of the road is one house; the road is about a quarter of a mile long.  It connects with Georgia Highway 186.  This one road runs parallel with the road we live on.

The trails on my property connect with the trails on this vacant land.  I’ve run on them for nearly two years, since we moved back to Georgia.  By running the trails I can connect with the single paved road running parallel with our road. There is zero traffic and great for running. Until this past weekend.

The owner of the property seems to have given permission to a couple of guys to hunt on that land.  These fellows work Monday through Friday and will hunt on Saturday and perhaps an occasional Sunday.  My primary running on these trails is Monday through Friday.  On weekends I’m more likely to be shooting in a tournament or running in a race.  During hunting season I’ll take time off from my routine and go hunting on my father-in-laws property – around 900 acres. A few of my neighbors have also enjoyed the trails and short walks through the woods.

In Georgia, ““Wandering, strolling, and walking around a private property which doesn’t have expressed prohibition to enter it do not amount to trespassing unless the person enters the property with unlawful purpose.” (1)

Sadly these hunters have now posted “No Trespassing” signs all over the property.  The signs are posted immediately next to everyone else’s property. Now the land is for the sole pleasure of a couple of guys.

I can still run through the woods on my land and the easement along the paved roads that encompass the signed off hunting zone.  That modified run isn’t as nice.

I’ve had trail cameras up on my property since I’ve lived here.  In nearly two years I’ve seen two deer.  A small buck that got shot last year.  A doe I’d see every morning.  Last week, I saw her, dead, hit by a car on 186. There’s plenty deer nearby. However, those deer stay in the more forested nearby areas.

In a couple of weeks bow season opens here in Georgia.  The two “hunters” will be sitting in the once abandoned trees stands.  Their attire will equal that of a Special Forces soldier.  Their faces will be covered with green and black make-up.  And for the first time in a year they’ll be taking aim with a bow.  What is more worrisome is that gun season isn’t too far away. I expect any deer that might show up will be perfectly safe.

Not long ago I watched as one of these marksman as he tried to kill an armadillo with a 22 rifle from 10 yards.  He missed and needed to try again wounding it on the second attempt.  He let the poor creature hop around in pain for 5 solid minutes before in finally expire.

One evening I heard the same fellow fire off 24 rounds as he worked to rid his property of another armadillo.  The possum on a half shell was eventually scared enough to run away.

I suppose the land is convenient for these hunters.  They only need to drive their ATV about 200 feet to reach a tree stand.  I expect loads of big game hunter selfies and probably a phone collected video of their tree stand experiences. In the meantime, the wilder animals of the woods will pretty much be able to safely enough free corn.

Reference:

https://bixonlaw.com/georgia-trespassing-

Home in the nick of time

If you do a sport that’s an outdoor activity you have probably be caught in the rain. If you’ve been there, then you will understand:

Run looks pretty good. There are some clouds coming in, but seems okay
It appears to be getting darker rather than brighter as this morning runs progresses. Maybe its going to rain earlier than predicted
“River, here” – feels like a good point to start heading home
Barely a drop on me

Sure, some folks might have continued on their morning run.  I admit, I turned around shortening the run.

Trying to Get Ready for Field Archery

In preparation for the Georgia State Field Archery and NFAA sections, coming in a few more weeks, I’ve been studying how to shoot a Field Archery Tournament.  I’ve read the rules, watched a tutorial on how to shoot them and the scoring, and purchased the targets used for the event.  It is a lot to remember.

Practicing on Hunter style targets for field archery

I’ve already booked a campsite and signed up for the tournament.  Too bad there aren’t any closer similar archery contests near me.  I’d feel better having a more solid foundation with the venue.

In the meantime, all that can be done is to prepare as best as possible. Part of that preparation means having a bow on which everything works properly.

80 yards if a long shot

My target bow is still AWOL.  It’s been gone, sent back to Elite, for months. I’m shooting an older back up bow. That bow needs a new rest.  The QAD rest clicks and rubs and feels like it could enter a complete meltdown at any moment.  I’ll give QAD a call for help tomorrow. They’ve been helpful with the problem in the past.  It happened to me before.

Had to pause during practice to trim some long hanging tree limbs to reach the target at 80 yards.

The back up bow is a 2014 Elite 35.  It has a lot of mileage and the limbs have been replaced once.  I upgraded to the Elite 37X in 2018.  That bow never did seem to shoot right.  After a while I noticed cable guard pitting which clearly isn’t right.  The bow was returned in March. Over two months later and Elite has the bow and the money.

Shooting 4 arrows at the same 35 cm target can be costly

I’ve also gotten my hands on an old Mathews Conquest Apex 7.  It was my first bow and it was sold to get the Elite 35.  The second owner returned to me that Mathews bow.  I shot it for 3D last week and won competing in the Hunter class (ASA) at a local competition. I’m considering making that the bow for the Field Championship.

Before I retired, I’d have just gone and bought a new bow. Since retirement, seven years ago, I’ve become a bit tighter with my cash.  But, the best bow out there is always the one in your hand.

Going into the next State Championship, everything is not ideal.  There are still a few weeks to go and in the meantime, I’ll do all I can to get ready. And hope I’ll get in a group of friendly archers that won’t be put out having me tag along.

We Took A Little Trip

View facing our campsite

Brenda, our two dog and I took a short camping trip to the mountains.  Less than 2 hours from our home in Good Hope we ended at Don Carter State Park near Helen, Georgia.

Looking our from the Winnebago

The Don Carter State Park is on Lake Lanier and is the newest of the Georgia State Parks. It is in a great location, on the Lake and close to Helen and Dahlonega.  Both towns are about a thirty minutes drive from the campground.

River stopped here apparently wanting to follow this trail, so we took it.
You can just make out this deer

The park has  nice boat ramps and 8 miles of paddling trails.  We didn’t bring kayaks on this trip but next time the boats are coming along. There are 12.5 miles of trails which River, my lab, and I spent hours investigating. More than once we walked up on deer.  I was glad we didn’t cross paths with any bear.

We went along the trail where she’d stopped. She really seemed to like this one.

Even though the trip was short we learned that camping nearby could offer a change of scenery and easy access to trails, water, and cool Georgia towns.

Some of the deer weren’t too camera shy

 

The Other Dog

River doing her thing

You know, if you’re a frequent reader here, that I have a Labrador retriever, River.  She’s with me a lot, most of the time actually.  But, you may not know we have a little buddy, Nixie.

Nixie returning on command. A rare skill among dachshunds.

Nixie is a wire-haired dachshund. She’s a bit to low to the ground and short legged to keep up with River and I when we run.  She never gets the stick that’s been tossed for River, but she never gives up trying. Nixie will even jump off docks to swim after sticks tossed for the big dog.

Checking to be certain River is following

In the evenings when we take a walk through the woods it is a highlight of the wiener dog’s day. She comes along and for a short while she’s a big dog.  Well, in her mind she’s always a big dog.

A 12-Mile Mountain Bike Loop Failure

It started as a short 12-mile mountain bike ride. Most of it on trails or narrow dirt roads. There was one section of paved road that I suspected would put me on a loop back home. If it worked I’d have a nice 12-mile loop.

When I started racing bicycles in 1972 our team, The Savannah Wheelmen, had permission to train on Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. There was a road, Perimeter Road, which as named, encircled the perimeter creating a 10-mile loop of the base. Our team would ride around Hunter two to twelve times per day. Since it was a 10-mile loop it wasn’t tedious. The major factor was that it was nearly void of traffic. It remains one of the safest training routes in memory.

Finding a 12-mile loop, mostly off road, here near Athens, Georgia seemed like a great idea. I’d been searching and felt I was close. Heading out to find the last few miles needed to create the course I was optimistic.

Miles of this on a mountain bike is fun. This is a long uphill grade, steep in sections.

For seven miles I was primarily on trails, dirt roads and a very isolated paved road. Then, things got dicey.

I knew a section of the yet discovered loop would be on a more traveled road. It wasn’t a bad road and there were signs to encourage motorists to “Share the Road” with cyclists. This would last only a mile or so before I turned left and took my Cannondale back into the woods to close the loop.

This old shack is next to a single track

The surprise came from a road closure with only four miles of my estimated ride remaining. Riding right wouldn’t work since that would send me in the wrong direction. Left was out because that landed me on a road with heavy traffic. I took road number three a total guess; Monty Hall would have been proud. He’d also have been saddened by my choice –it was the wrong road.

Not exactly certain where this is, but there were cattle everywhere.

After too long and being a bit lost, I needed help. I had my phone in my pocket and decided to consult Google Maps. Naturally, there was no cellular service. I did spot a few folks skinning a deer so I rode over on my bike to ask for help.

This is a familar crossing.

One nice thing about living near Athens, cyclists are a common sight. So are people skinning deer. In fact, many cyclists here skin deer. When I asked how to get back to Good Hope, Georgia, I learned I was way the hell off course. So far so that the fastest way home was to do a 100% back track.

When I passed this, I knew I was at a minimum in the correct county

I’ll try this again with the road is open. I know there is a way to come up with a 12 to 15 mile loop that is almost as safe as those days circling Hunter.

Back From a Short Adventure

We just returned from a four-day adventure. During that time there was Bluegrass music, eating, camping, ATV riding and hunting. It was a quick trip but with all the activity it seemed longer.

Our youngest daughter has moved back to Georgia. For her it is the beginning of a great adventure. She, her husband, and their three children are planning to take the next five years, travel the country and station themselves periodically near work projects. Jason, my daughter’s husband, has a job where he works with a team to repair historic sights. This will take them to exciting locations across America. For the next six months are so they’ll be in Georgia as they prepare for their journey.

Li’Roy and Lizzy

Our four-day mini-adventure began by a visit with them. Before the visit began we stopped at Tabor Baptist Church in Tignall, Georgia. The church was established on 1827 and a friend of ours is the “Preacher”. The Preacher is also the Sheriff. No one acts out in church.

Preacher and Sheriff Paul Revere

It was homecoming for the local Baptist member and to celebrate Li’Roy and Lizzie’s Bluegrass Band played. This is an award-winning group that recently won the Bluegrass/Country/Roots Song of the Year, “Dinner on the Ground.” Lizzy was also recently inducted into the “America’s Old Time Fiddler’s Country Hall of Fame”. During the service, the band succeeded in playing long enough in the packed church to avoid a sermon.

Tabor Baptist Church, est. 1827

After church, we drove into Lincolnton for lunch at the Home Café, owned by Richard. I don’t know his last name, but I know most of his staff by their first names. Ray (Papa) eats there several times a week. I eat there when we’re in town. You will not get fancy food. Richard will, however, serve you good Southern food and your plate will be filled.

Not fancy, but real good

Because our daughter is, for the moment, staying with her Grandfather, Ray (Papa to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren) Brenda and I camped at Hester’s’ Ferry campground. There is currently no room to lay our heads at “Papa’s.”

Having the campground to ourselves

Hester’s Ferry is one of our favorite campgrounds and this time of the year we had the place to ourselves.

Quiet mornings
A little fog over the lake

This is also hunting season. Last year, with our move from North Carolina home to Georgia, I didn’t get to hunt. I did get out into the woods a lot. Just not for hunting. I’ll hunt with either a rifle or bow. Right not I am still using my bow. I may stick with it all year. There are areas where I hunt I know I’ll not see a deer within 50 yards. When I am there I’ll go to a rifle.

This squirrel had no concerns at all with me sitting in a tree stand a few yards away
This is where I expected to see something

I did get to hunt on this trip and I did see one buck. In fact, that deer, a young buck with a medium sized four-point rack, showed up about 40 minutes after I’d settled into the stand. Despite a perfect opening for an arrow this buck stayed behind branches for about 30 minutes avoiding the opening. He meandered around and snacked until he moseyed out of range.

Close to where I thought a deer would pass. Those limbs prevented a clean shot to I didn’t try.

After calling it a day of hunting I headed back to “Papa’s” to ride grandkids though woods on ATVs. Even though these children have lived in Pittsburgh their entire lives, my daughter (a true Georgia Girl) has had them outdoors pretty much non-stop. During the ATV trips my oldest granddaughter, seven years old, was able to pick out animal tracks and name the animal that had left it behind. In this instance she pointed out: deer, turkey, raccoon, rabbit and squirrel without assistance. She, as are all our grandkids, is extremely comfortable outdoors.

It was a nice four days. Camping, hunting, riding ATVs, and good Southern food make for a successful adventure. With hunting, I don’t need to shot something to call the trip a success.  It is more about being outdoors, enjoying family and friends. Live Bluegrass Music from one of the top groups in the business is a bonus.

A Short Bit About Fitness

Coaching Tip

Frequently, I’ll post about sports activities other than archery. Those are primarily cardio workouts. If you look over a USA Archery Training plan you’ll find blocks of time set aside for cardio fitness.

An early run in the woods – River has sprinted ahead
Riding a bike off road you come across neat stuff.

I enjoy running and cycling. Archery is my primary sport, but running and cycling where with me long before a bow. Lately, I’ve been running and riding on trails. Trail running is much more appealing that running on a road. Mountain bike riding isn’t more appealing that road riding. I just like being in the woods.

This mountain bike trail is just right
One of the locals in the woods is giving me the eye

Either way, off road or on road, cardio-fitness is a benefit to health and can keep you, as an archer, in better shape prolonging your enjoyment of archery. If you happen to be a 3D competitor you know some ranges can leave you huffing and puffing when you reach a stake. Should you be a hunter, you will know that hauling a kill out of the woods can be a major physical effort.

An ER Physician friend of mine says, “You’re not having fun until someone is bleeding.” I suppose I was having fun

I write about fitness often. That’s because I cross paths with too many folks, in all walks of life, that are not fit. It isn’t hard to be in shape. It is also better for you in the long term.

Finishing this day with 3D practice

The Week that Began and Ended in Social Circle, Georgia

It was a long week. Starting with an archery tournament and ending with another both in Social Circle. In the middle there was a big family gathering and one huge birthday party.

The start was a competition I nearly didn’t shoot. It wasn’t the difficulty of the shooting that created some pause, it was the hour. It tournament didn’t start until 7:30 PM. But, it was shooting near home, about 25 minutes away in Social Circle. Being so close it is hard to pass up archery contests such a short drive down the road. Heck, if it got too long I could always just go home.

Going home was a drive for others that came to the tournament. Archers from Atlanta, Decatur and Kennesaw were on the line. The line was at 50 meters and the lines were full.

Yes sir, it was a long tournament, but I didn’t leave even though this event went well past my bedtime. The crew from ACE Apache, led by USA Archery Level 4 Coach Big John Chandler, did a great job of organizing and running the show.

I did leave before the awards were presented. I’ll go out on a limb and say I won my age group (over 50). The chance projection is based on the semi-final Olympic Round where when I was finally eliminated – the other few remaining archers seemed no older than 30 years. I made it home at midnight. I was so keyed up that there was no sleeping until after 2:00 AM.

We camped for the “Party”

Even though I didn’t fall asleep until around 2:00 AM, our dogs insisted that I was up by 6:00 AM. Dogs have no mercy when it comes to human sleep requirements. It took three days to get over the break in my sleep pattern.

Little Roy and Lizzie playing

With that to endure there was no time to ease up. There was a birthday bash to follow. By birthday bash, I mean catering, a live blue grass band and a good percentage of the Town of Lincolnton, Georgia attending. This shindig was put together in part by his friends in Lincolnton and his family. It was Ray’s, my father-in-law, 90th birthday.

View from our campsite

Aside from lawn maintance my role was to smoke a ham, two large Boston Butts for pulled pork, and grill about 12 pounds of sausage.

After long days at Ray’s it was nice to get to a piece of quiet

At the end of a long week I got to pick up a bow and shoot another tournament, this time a 3D competition. What I can say about the crew at ACE Apache in Social Circle, the put together a 3D range that was perfect. I won that on as well.

Yes, this was nice

It was a long week. It was fun. I am tired.