Archive for the ‘News’ Category

In the first quarter of the year, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  I was, and to some degree still am, quite heavy.  I love to cook, and hey, guess what? Eating what I cook goes hand in hand with cooking.  I have a job that is entirely desk-based, so the only way I could burn less calories at work is if somebody paid me to sleep.

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I started off watching a ton of videos on YouTube, reading fitness posts, etc. etc., but I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s really just diet and exercise to loose weight.

No, really, that’s it. Spend more calories on exercise, eat less calories, try to avoid fried foods, processed foods, etc.  Not some crazy ‘eat nothing but avocados and sunflower seeds for three weeks straight’ diet or anything like that.

At my heaviest, I was around 365.  I say ‘around’ because the scale at work stops at 350, and I wasn’t going to go find a CARGO SCALE to put my Sasquatch-sized carcass on for better accuracy.  In the six weeks leading up to being diagnosed with diabetes, I had lost thirty five pounds with very little effort. That’s what worried me, that and having to go to the bathroom about every forty-five minutes, all day, all night.

Since that time, I’ve been walking, lifting, and keeping track of what I eat with various applications on my smartphone.  I believe these are all UnderArmor apps, My Fitness Pal, Map My Walk, Map My Fitness, and Map My Ride. I’ve walked 279.6 miles since June 1st. So in 92 days, I’ve averaged just a hair over 3 miles per day.  Some weeks I’ve done far more than that, walking eight and ten miles at Sweetwater Creek State Park, Chattahoochee Bend State Park, and Red Top Mountain State Park. We also hit Skidaway Island State Park when we were in Savannah on vacation in June for a couple of miles.

I’ll toss a gallery of some of my UnderArmor walk ‘finish’ screens at the end of the post along with some photos from my hikes.

I think most people would be quite surprised at how fast their physical condition can improve simply hiking a few hours per week, let alone per day.

I’ve been lifting weights, I have a Weider home gym that I’ve nearly maxed out in all of the major exercises.

I’ve got my weight down to 314, almost all of the progress was made in the first month though, which would be disheartening, if I hadn’t also lost two pant sizes since then.   Yes, I know, muscle weighs more than fat. I’ve known that since high school biology, yet every other person I see gives me that nugget o’ information like it’s the Holy Grail of ‘Keep going!’  My blood pressure is finally in the green, my resting heart rate went from 90 to 60, and I feel very odd on days when I have to sit still. So it is working, I just have to keep going, keep reminding myself that I didn’t get here in 90 days, I’m not going to get back to where I was before in 90 days. I just hope it doesn’t take quite as long to get fit as it did to get to where I was at the beginning of the year.

My current goal is to get down to 300 pounds, at which point I want to start doing higher intensity training, because the goal after that is 275,  then 250.  I’d be quite happy with 250 at this point.

So if you’re pining away for a better you, find something, anything, to get off of the couch, out of the chair, and go do something.   Even if it’s just walking in your neighborhood.  The UnderArmor applications have challenges built in, like ‘Complete 30 GPS verified hikes in 30 days’ for a chance to win prizes, and to be honest, I don’t care about the prizes, it just helps motivate me.  The prizes are a random drawing based on completion, so don’t think you can’t win based on where you are in the ratings.’

If that sounds boring, add in audio books, or your favorite internet radio station over your smartphone, but it’s a sure bet that if you just sit still, you won’t improve your physical condition.

My big contest at this point is completing the ‘You vs. 2018’ challenge – 1018 kilometers in 2018.  I’ve completed 587.9 k at this point, and I have 123 days left to do the rest.

Easy.

Tomorrow is the start of Dove season here in Georgia – y’all be safe, and enjoy.

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*Whew!* I hadn’t realized it had been over two months since I wrote an update.  I’ve been very unlucky with my shift rotations at work, I’ve only been able to hit one 3D shoot this year.  I had a great time at Riverbottom Outdoors though, and our schedule is supposed to change late April to a fixed shift, so I may be able to shoot a lot more this year.

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As another update, I’ve finally decided to start building AR 15’s for myself and my wife.  Current projects include a 6.5 Grendel build for myself, and a 5.56mm for the wife, which will either be upgraded to a .224 Valkyrie later in the year, or depend on prices for uppers, simply have a second upper purchased in that caliber.

I chose 6.5 Grendel for several practical reasons, and one impractical one.  The practical reasons include, in no particular order, the caliber’s place between the .22/6mm offerings (I own a fantastic  Winchester Model 70 in .243) and .30 caliber offerings (I have a .300 RUM, .308 Winchester and 30-30), which means I have a mid-range caliber firearm that is practical for everything from varmint hunting to mule deer.  I read multiple reviews of the caliber, watched quite a few videos, and repeatedly ran into professionals who stated that the 6.5 Grendel was pretty much the perfect round for an AR platform.  The impractical reason stems from Beowulf; I’ve always loved that story, so when I see the name ‘Grendel,’ I tend to pay more attention.

On to turkey season!

In keeping with the last two years, I’m trying to increase my outdoor activities in 2018 by a wide margin.  I need the exercise, I’d like to get away from the city and suburbs a LOT more, even if that just means ‘drive to a remote place, get out of the truck, cook a lunch over a small grill, eat, relax for a bit, drive home,’ and I’d like to practice more camping and bushcraft skills.

I’ve been watching Joe Robinet’s YouTube channel quite a bit, along with McQBushcraftDoug Outside, Wranglerstar, and some other channels (I’ll put a list at the end of this post, I don’t want to leave any of them out because, lets face it, if they are running a YouTube channel, they need people to be able to find them.)  These channels have given me plenty of motivation to camp, fish, and just enjoy nature more. Thirty years ago, I camped probably one to three weekends per month and spent a good part of the summer either at a summer camp, or working at a summer camp.  Camp Chickagami to be specific.  Now, unless I push for it, I don’t get out at all, so push for it I must.

Yesterday, the wife and I drove to Cloudland Canyon State Park, near Rising Fawn, Georgia.  It’s about a two and a half hour drive from the house, but it’s one of four parks in Georgia that make up the Canyon Climbers Club achievement.

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From the map we picked up at the trading post, the hike down to the waterfall looks TINY, and in fact it’s less than two miles.  We parked near the Interpretive Center, walked the Overlook trail and took a few photos, then walked the Overlook trail to the Waterfall trail behind the cabins, down to Hemlock Falls and back again, and I think my Under Armor walking app recorded 1.69 miles.  It’s the stairs that are the killer, because you drop down several hundred feet in switchbacks along the cliff face on a combination of natural trails and wooden walkways with expanded metal stairs and decks with benches for people like me who need to sit down on the way back up.  It took us (out of shape as we are) about two and a quarter hours for the entire hike, which is very slow considering my normal hiking pace is closer to two point six miles per hour when I’m taking it easy.  We needed to take the time, because unless you really exercise on stairs or a Stairmaster, this is a serious thigh-and-calf workout. The app reported that we burned approximately 2,955 calories in that time frame.

The temperature was perfect, mid 60’s Fahrenheit, but with a nice cool breeze, plenty of ice left from last weeks freeze, and a beautiful blue sky.  We will most definitely have to go back and camp, this park has a lot of trails and is very well set up for folks to get out into nature, my only slight concern is that it does look very popular, so ‘getting away from people’ probably won’t happen unless you take the longer trails and get lucky.

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Now for the YouTube list I promised you:  I am going to link to the YouTube channel and copy the ‘About’ section from each channel below. Except for Joe Robinet, MCQBushcraft and Doug Outside (who I have been watching a lot of lately) the rest are presented in no particular order other than where I find them on my YouTube subscription list.

Joe Robinet

Bushcraft, Back Country Camping, Wilderness Canoe Tripping, Backpacking, My Dog, Scout. This channel is mainly bushcraft style camping trips, sometimes I build a natural shelter, sometimes I sleep in a tent, under a tarp, or in the snow. I try to show the realities of being out in the bush, weather it be an overnighter in the woods, or an extended, 10 day fly in canoe/fishing trip. I’ll leave in my failures, as well as my accomplishments, in an effort to show you who I really am, just a regular Canadian guy who enjoys spending time outdoors. I’m not a survivalist, and my definition of “bushcraft” may differ from yours. 🙂

Doug Outside

On this channel you will find videos on Bushcraft -Carving -homestead – making stuff and whatever else floats my boat at the time -thx for stopping by

MCQBushcraft

I’m a UK based outdoorsman who started hunting and fishing with my friends when I was young. Educating yourself about your surroundings and having the core skills to sustain yourself using your environment is a lost curriculum in the United Kingdom. We are well provided for, so well that “why do anything if somebody else will do it for you”. This lifestyle has drastically disconnected people from having the knowledge and skills required to spend even one night in the woods and not get hungry. I love being outdoors and have never lost the desire to learn and practice skills that I get a sense of natural connection from. Hunting hangs controversy in the minds of many, but in my eyes there is nothing more natural if you choose to eat meat. I appreciate that not everybody hunts in moderation though. Thanks for reading Michael McQuilton

Wranglerstar

In 2010, the Wranglerstar family decided to turn our backs on a comfortable city life and become modern day homesteaders. Our adventure starts in the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Have you dreamed of stepping off the treadmill of life? Join the Wranglerstar family as we blaze a trail for all those who dream of becoming truly independent from the mythological American dream.

TA Outdoors

Bushcraft, Wild Camping, Wilderness Hiking Trips, Solo Overnight Camps, Fishing, Shooting, Hunting, Cabin Building, DIY projects are all things I love. My dog joins me on some of the trips. His name is Jaxx. My name is Mike. If you wish to send me stuff: Mike Pullen PO Box 7466 HOOK RG27 7NA Check out our other YouTube Channel TAFishing: https://www.youtube.com/user/TAFishing

Tumblehome

Wilderness tripping / Shenanigans in the bush / Paddling the waterways of Ontario

Survival Russia

The Survival Russia Channel is about “The Reality Of Survival”. I live on a Homestead in far away Russian wild nature and here are no room for “TV” Survival. Only Reality counts here. Survival Russia promotes the philosophy of always carrying equipment and never to be parted from equipment which will affect chances of Survival. So did the old timers and pioneers of both the East and the West. I’m Danish and I Live In Russia!! Get Out and Train and Get it Done! All Content On The Survival-Russia Channel is Reserved and Copyrighted By: Survival Russia Regards, Lars

Burley Outdoors

(Burley didn’t publish an ‘About’ on his YouTube page – he is a friend of Joe Robinet’s and a great outdoorsman.)

Mountain Man Survival Guide

Bushcraft and Survival

Far North Bushcraft and Survival

Here at Far North Bushcraft And Survival you will learn about many long forgotten tricks and tips of the old time woodsmen. Not only will you learn about bushcraft / woodcraft but you will learn many things that will help you to survive in less than ideal “survival” situations as well. Come along and sit with me by the campfire as I delve into these subjects in a way that you can easily learn to then do yourself. I will show you how to make shelters, gather food, use wild medicines as well as start fires without matches, lighters, ferro rods, etc

In April, I ordered a Etekcity backpacker sized stove with self-ignition in the hopes that I could use it to make a hot beverage or heat water to use with a dehydrated meal on the trail sometime during the year.  I didn’t end up hiking as much as I wanted to (my work schedule was changed multiple times, making it difficult to tie in with my wife’s days off, so when our days off coincided we would use the time to catch up on housework etc.) so I hadn’t used it.

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Etekcity Ultralight Portable stove with piezo ignition – this image is from Amazon.com

Recently, I watched quite a few bushcraft videos, mostly Joe Robinet and McQ Bushcraft, and remembered that I’d bought this tiny stove, but hadn’t used or tested it yet.

The stove takes butane-propane mix canisters, so on a recent shopping trip, I picked one up at REI for under $5 to test the stove out.  Be careful when buying this kind of stuff, my first stop for most gear is Amazon, but always, always double check prices with other sites and/or physical stores.  REI doesn’t even list this item on their website, and Amazon has it listed for $18.99, but it was $4.95 at the REI near Kennesaw, GA.  (In the past, I’ve found quite a few items listed by third party sellers that was outrageously priced.  One item was $8 per can at Academy Sports, and $49.00 from a third party seller on Amazon.)

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To test this, I used a tin cup I picked up in Afghanistan about ten years ago, two cups of cold tap water, and put the stove on the railing of my back porch.  I wanted to see how long it would take to bring the water to a rolling boil.  According to our outdoor thermometer, it was 34′ outside,  and Intellicast.com shows a 10-15 mph NW wind.  I don’t have a lid for the cup, and for the first seven minutes of the test, I didn’t block the wind.

The little stove heated the water very quickly, but it wouldn’t come to a boil until I stood blocking the wind, at which point roughly one minute later I had a rolling boil.  If I had a lid for the cup, and had blocked the wind from the beginning, I have no doubt that this tiny stove would have had the water boiling quite fast.

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The water started to steam in the cold air in under a minute

I really like it – the package lists the output as 6,666 BTU, which I think is really good for something under $12 that can fit in a shirt pocket.  I don’t know if I would rely on this kind of thing for long-term survival, but as a short term, light weight option for camping trips and backpacking trips, it would certainly be much faster than cutting firewood and starting a full campfire when all you want is to re-hydrate a meal and have a cup of tea before moving on. It cools down very quickly, by the time you have the meal ready to eat, it should be cool enough to put back in the carrying case.

The stove comes with an orange plastic two piece carrying case.

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This shows the stove when out of the case, in the case, and when the case is closed – Image is from Amazon.com

We used to go on more hikes and more adventures with our canine friends, but over time, work and illness limited what we’ve been able to accomplish.  Last year we went to Joe Kurz WMA one time in the off season with the dogs, and just walking around the loop at Lodge road from the gate wore most of them out. It was a hot day, and even with a trip down to the river, the dogs were plain tired when we got back to the truck.

Fast forward a little over a year, and Brody is gone.  While discussing where to take the dogs on a day off last week, I pointed out that we had never hiked Red Top Mountain state park, because ten years ago when we first went there, my wife didn’t feel well and we only walked for about fifteen minutes before deciding to drive home again.

So we got our supplies together and packed up the truck. Cinders, Missy, Zelda and especially Gretchen were going nuts because RIDE IN THE CAR! HIKE! YAAAAAH! I always carry a LOT of water on these hikes, along with other gear.  What I should have taken was a wheelbarrow, because three miles into a five mile plus hike, Zelda was done.RTM_Zelda

Zelda lost the genetic lottery on just about every level.  She has severe allergies to most proteins, and is moderately allergic to rest of the proteins on the blood test.  She has seasonal allergies. She has the ‘slope back’ inbred German Shepherd shuffle, she’s near sighted (she walked into a tree on the hike, face first. She didn’t even hesitate, just ‘trudge, trudge, BOOP, whaaaa?’)   When she stands still, her back legs are touching each other, and her back feet are splayed out at a 45 degree angle. We may have to get her tested for Degenerative Myelopathy, because she’s seven now, and getting worse in her clumsiness.  We have a chain of rugs all over the house because she has a panic attack if she has to cross open hardwood floors.   At this point, she’s on antibiotics because she decided to stick her nose in one of the cats’ faces one too many times (WHAP!) and it got infected, and because of her chronic skin infection, she’s on steroids for the skin issues as well, and Apoquel, which is twice a day for her allergies.

This is a dog that gets stuck on the couch, because if we call her name from the dining room, we’re on the other side of the couch, and she can’t figure out how to get down unless we come over to the front of it. I’m not joking.

We decided on the Homestead trail, a 5.8 mile loop that has a decent amount of lake shore views, and honestly, it’s one of the nicest, easiest trails that I’ve been on in a long time. It’s wide, fairly rock-free, (some areas have loose stones, but that looks like erosion, not like some of the trails I’ve been on, where it looks like volunteers intentionally rake rocks on the trails because they never actually use them.  I’m looking at you, Pine Mountain.) and whoever graded the trail to begin with made the elevation changes very manageable.  There are benches spaced throughout the trail, and it’s very well marked.

So there we are, with Cinders, our twelve year old German Shorthaired Jerkdog (he’s a jerk. You’d have to know him to know how big of a jerk he is, but we love him.) had been PULLING me all day, because despite having done this dozens and dozens of times, being on a leash, to him, means ‘Pull, pull hard, never stop pulling…’  So, in the front of the hike, I’ve got the oldest and youngest dogs, Cinders and Missy, with Cinders pulling for all he’s worth, and at the back of the hike is Lisa with Gretchen and Zelda, and Zelda would prefer to be carried. All eighty plus pounds of her. There is no couch. There is no TV, she doesn’t want to be here, at all.

When we got to the loop intersection of Homestead, my wife said ‘I don’t know if the Pointed Dog can make this hike,’ because Zelda was already looking tired.  We discussed it for a bit, and finally decided to go ahead, but take it slow. Halfway through the loop, almost exactly, we realized we’d made a mistake.  She would walk for ten to fifteen yards, trip over her own back feet, and lay down. The wife would  help her stand again, and the process would repeat.  We had forgotten her boots as well, because the dog will not or cannot pick her feet up, so she was starting to get sore spots from dragging her back paws when she walked.  I noticed on the walking app that we were, by this point, parallel to one of the roads, and suggested that we walk to the edge of the road, where the wife could wait with the dogs and my pack, and I would speed-walk back to the truck and come get them.  And that was the final plan.

The splits on the walking app look hilarious. 53 minute miles,  until the last 1.3 miles, which I did by myself in under twenty minutes.

For three days after the hike, I was very worried about Zelda. She wouldn’t even stand up without help. I had to carry her up and down the stairs to out to the yard, and once out there, she would just stand in the grass and look at me.  But my wife reported that when she got home, the dog was stiff, but up and moving and doing her business outside with minimal help. (I worked twelve hour midnight turn the three days after the hike) It occurred to me that Zelda wouldn’t get up and move because she thought I was going to make her walk ‘forevers’ again.

So, on to the next plan, getting her into better shape, one short walk at a time, until we can go back to hiking more often.

Wow, I did NOT realize how long I’d gone without posting an update. I’ve done several hikes, been at the NRA Annual Meeting, done some bowfishing, and gone to Key West (curse you, Sea Urchin!) since my turkey season post.

Rather than blather on and on, I’ll just build a quick photo gallery.  No, that isn’t me getting married, it’s my youngest sister-in-law, I’m the fat guy in the hat, the Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses in the beach photo. So, here are some shots from the NRA show, bowfishing with Treetop Archery, Key West, something you should avoid stepping on, because you’ll end up in urgent care getting spines pulled out of your foot.

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That’s ‘5’ as in ‘5 years now, and counting.’  I’m not done this year, but at this point, I’ve started thinking about turkey hunting more in terms of ‘how far am I going to hike with my Remington 1100 today?’

I hit Paulding Forest both days last weekend, Saturday I hunted north of highway 278, Sunday I headed south of the highway.  I didn’t hear a bird on Saturday, but I did find a couple of sets of tracks and dust wallows.  I also  practiced with my handheld GPS: I’ve had the unit for years (it’s a Garmin eTrex about eight years old,) but never really used it or studied how to use it properly, so shame on me for not learning how to use a good piece of gear.  I also took my Remington 1100, a pair of VERY CHEAP decoys, a slate-style call and water.

Saturday, I followed the WMA ranger road for roughly a mile, calling softly every few minutes to see if I could get a gobble, with no luck.  At the end of that particular road, I hiked out to a point where I could sit and call into the bottom.

Nothing.

After an hour and a half, I used the GPS to navigate back to the truck using the most direct route.  I had started my fitness app on the phone when I left the truck, and paused it every time I stopped, at the end of going up and down all of those hollows, my fitness app told me I burned 2,190 calories.  My legs told me they wanted a divorce. (If you don’t know me personally, I look like the result of Sasquatch going on an all pizza diet for a decade. Yes, I can probably curl an economy car, but anyone who can sprint would easily get away if I was chasing them. 🙂 )

So, I consulted with my Paulding Forest WMA expert, and he said ‘you look tired.’ *insert drumroll here* – Just kidding, he said to scout SOUTH of 278 because the hunting pressure is much lighter on that side of the highway.   So Sunday, that’s where I hunted.

After finding a WMA marker (which is somewhat difficult in places), near a small power line, I decided to pop out of the truck and walk into the woods for a bit.

I would like to point out, both days I entered the woods after dawn – I like to get into the woods an hour BEFORE dawn, but when I don’t know a location, I don’t like taking the risk of an injury, or screwing up somebody else’s hunt, or even ending up on the wrong side of a property line.  Being safe, courteous, and legal is more important to me than what time I get in the woods.

So the power line was a small one, single pole, maybe three actual cables, it doesn’t show up on the WMA maps I printed, and it wasn’t what we think of as a power line cut here in Georgia, which are usually large enough to park an aircraft carrier inside of without touching the trees on either side.  I started walking down the hill, and immediately found wildlife.

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Just after taking the photograph, I heard a gobble, and my heart started thumping.  Working quickly and quietly, I moved to a bend in the cut and set up my hen and jake decoys, then found a patch of thorn bushes to sit behind where I could see and shoot if I had the opportunity.

I hit my slate call with a few clucks, and three gobblers responded.  Three.  One across the road behind the strip of woods behind me, one down the hollow that was a fair distance away, and one that sounded remarkably close.  I waited forever (three or four minutes) and hit the call again, more aggressively this time, and again, three gobblers responded immediately.  I should point out that my skill at using a turkey call is minimal.  As in ‘I can get it to make noises that sound turkey-like.’  For all I know, what the gobblers were hearing is ‘Bug water tree rock! Fat leaf dirt dirt!’ instead of ‘Hey big boys!’

Based on an hour and a half of calling, and an hour and fifteen minutes of gobblers responding, I’m pretty sure I confused all three of the birds to no end.  Yes, I’m sure these weren’t other hunters, the chances of three other hunters ONLY using gobble calls, in those three directions, are very slight.

An hour after the gobblers stopped responding, I decided to pick up the decoys and wander down the hollow to see if I could either tease a gobble after moving a few hundred yards, or locate some tracks or other game sign for information.  I did find some interesting spots in the little creek bottom, but no sign of turkey or other critters.

But there’s always next week.

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This is an email I received yesterday:  One of the proposed regulations would add a feral hog and coyote two week long season on WMA’s, right after turkey season.

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Hunting Regulations Focus at Upcoming Public Hearings

To save folks having to click multiple times, here are the public hearing locations and dates:

PUBLIC MEETINGS AND HEARINGS

Hunting Regulations Public Hearings: Hunters and other interested citizens are invited to attend any of three upcoming public hearings to provide comment on proposed hunting regulations for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 hunting seasons:

APRIL 11, 2017: 7 P.M.

APRIL 12, 2017: 7 P.M.

APRIL 13, 2017: 7 P.M.

  • Sports Complex and Civic Center (786 Austin Avenue East, Pearson, GA)

WRD recognizes that some individuals will not be able to make the public hearings.  At the public hearings, staff will give a brief presentation highlighting major changes in the proposed regulations for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 hunting seasons.

To view a PDF of proposed hunting regulations for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 hunting seasons, click HERE (link coming soon).

To view a PDF of the Powerpoint presentation to be presented at the hearings, click HERE (link coming soon).

Those unable to attend a public meeting or hearing may submit comments electronically or by mail. More information found HERE.

And here is the link to the proposed regulations, and recently added regulations:

HUNTING REGULATIONS

The purpose of hunting regulations is to manage Georgia’s game birds and game animals according to principles of sound wildlife management and to meet public objectives for use of these renewable natural resources.

PROPOSED REGULATIONS:

RECENTLY APPROVED REGULATIONS:

**Update** And 2016 claims Carrie Fisher as well.

So.. my 2016 goal was to get back to being an outdoorsman, and the only way to chalk that up as a win is to compare 2016 to 2015 and 2014, in which case I succeeded.  I still didn’t get out nearly as much as I wanted to or expected to, not once did I go fishing, so far no small game hunting (though if I hadn’t fallen ill over the holiday week, I would have spent yesterday squirrel hunting with Gretchen and Cinders.  I wouldn’t have actually expected to get any squirrels, or if I did get them, manage to get them INTACT, since Gretchen thinks ‘all squirrels are mine,’ but it would have been fun.)

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Gretchen and Cinders when they were young.  Cinders played with toys, Gretchen would tackle him.

I did get a nice hog in January, and managed to see a nice number of deer this November,  including a stunning buck, the deer just happened to be where I can’t hunt them.   I managed three or four hikes, but that was my goal per month, not for the whole year.

We lost my father-in-law, unexpectedly young (early 60’s), which was devastating to the family: Dennis was so cool, whenever the wife and I would dream out loud about taking a vacation across Canada by train, or going to Yellowstone, Ireland, wherever, we were always including how much Dennis would enjoy it.

The world lost a vast number of celebrities of various types this year, and since George Michael passed away Christmas Day, all we can do is keep our fingers crossed for the next few days to get out of 2016 with what the world has now.

So, back to the outdoors: once again, I’m going to try to ramp up my outdoor activities in 2017.  I have six points saved for an alligator tag here in Georgia, so that should come to fruition this year, and I look forward to figuring out how that will work.  I finally have a camper shell on my truck, so taking the Woofs to outdoor adventures should be easily accomplished, and my daughter is 18 and driving, so that’s no longer on my plate.

The property in south Georgia is covered in turkey, so in a few short months, I should be able to, once again, be totally frustrated and skunked by the antics of the mighty Thunder Chicken.  For me, turkey hunting feels like those old comedy gags where there is a chase scene in a long hallway with doors everywhere, and people are going into and out of doors in a random sequence where they can never catch who they are chasing, but the people being chased can never seem to quite get away either.

Fishing will happen, even if I just have to go find a public lake and put a worm on a hook.

I also need to find property where I can fossil hunt – I haven’t done that since I was a kid, and it might be a way to lure the reclusive Wife out of the house.   She still thinks armadillos are these flat things on the side of highways.  I told her the fastest way to find an armadillo is to go deer hunting near hardwoods, where the leaves are good and crunchy, but she doesn’t believe me.

So, all in all, farewell 2016.  Here is to hoping 2017 is a better place for everyone, everywhere.

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Went back to the hogs-only property for a few hours yesterday to scout a new area. Saw more deer (4-6, they were a couple of hundred yards away in high grass) and thunder chickens, an actually saw some decent hog sign, but I didn’t spot any hogs.