Posts Tagged ‘Atlanta’

Brody_portrait

Brody, at his best.

Sometime in early 2008, my wife sent me a text with a photo of a German Shorthaired Pointer in bad shape.  She was working as a manager at a major pet store chain, and a customer had brought in a dog that was in bad shape from neglect.  The customer told my wife that they had noticed this dog, and it’s condition, and had confronted the owner, who promptly said ‘take it then.’

He was between 37-40# when we brought him home.

Brody_faceBefore_eating
All he really had left was a kind of quiet dignity.  He was physically very weak, having to stop and catch his breath multiple times just to walk around the backyard.  I was in physical therapy for my own injuries at the time, so I could feed him small amounts every other hour or so at first, to get him used to eating again. It was heart-breaking to watch him painfully lay on the ground and root under the cabinets for any stray piece of food the other dogs might have knocked out of their bowls.  It took almost a month to get him used to regular meals again, and probably a year before he stopped searching for every piece of kibble, every meal. During that year, his strength came back, and he shed completely as good nutrition finally started to repair his coat.  The vet guessed that he was between three and four years old, but we’ve never been sure of his age.

He had nightmares.  We noticed that he had bad scabs from sleeping on what we guessed was a concrete pad. He didn’t know how to drink water out of a bowl,and would stick his face in it and clomp his jaws.  After the first few days, he was allowed to walk around the house with the other dogs, since they were used to him being there and could socialize more. The first time I brushed him, he was scared of the brush until I started to gently work on his coat, then he looked at me with an amazing ‘whut the heck is that?’ look on his face. (We’ve always used a kind of Sam Elliot voice for him.) The pattern of discovering new, pleasant things included: soft dog beds. Couches, my chair, a soft carpet and sunbeam near an AC vent, in case he got too hot in the sunbeam.  A fire in the fireplace, Thanksgiving and Christmas, which at our house usually included a tiny meal mirroring what we had for dinner on top of their kibble. (A tablespoon of mashed potatoes with a spot of butter and gravy, a nice piece of turkey sans bones, a small scoop of my country stuffing with minced chicken livers in it, you get the idea.)

As his body became used to good nutrition, the gas was nearly enough to trigger an evacuation of the living room.

Brody had a way of moving his eyebrows, and using body language, that led to years of us saying ‘Ah wuz abused, you shud give me sum o’ what yer eatin’…’   He used that face and general look to good advantage over the years.  He never did really learn to wag his tail though, the stub would just jerk back and forth without any rhythm.

After about a year, we had to have some of his molars removed. The vet guessed that he had been chewing on rocks when he was starving.  In time, other issues included a heart murmur (which no vet could ever seem to remember that we had the problem checked out, which at the time was NOT inexpensive, and would bring it up like it was a new condition) and a large, fatty tumor on his chest that had to be removed so he could walk normally.

The fatty tumor surgery required a drainage tube, so Brody ended up helping us at one of the 323 Archery shoots, when we were still running them, so that I could keep an eye on him.  He managed to use his eyebrows and general body language to get a bite or two of hot dog off of everyone that bought one.  And when we went to shoot ourselves, Clay’s wife reported that at least two people bought him his own hot dog while she was watching registration. That led to years of another staple Brody-joke “Gimme yer hotter dawg…”

He loved hikes.  He loved water, ponds, streams, it didn’t matter to him, as long as it wasn’t a bath, though eventually he gave up and let us ‘take his stink’ every month, since it became obvious that we weren’t going to let him keep it.  (Around that time, I parodied Judas Priest’s song ‘Breaking the Law’ into our monthly sing along of ‘Washin’ the Dog’ “This here dog is really stinky, it’s time for a good bath….”  If you know the original song, it’s REALLY FUNNY to sing the dog wash version, we just made up new lyrics every month.)

Brody particularly loved snow.  This being the suburbs west of Atlanta, snow is rare, and really doesn’t stick around, so in short order, the world would turn ‘Brody colored,’ that is, white with brown spots, and the darn dog could disappear standing still.  He would jump around and this spinning, bucking dance that we always called ‘having a happy.’  Brody having a happy was a sight to see, because all of his great, dearly held dignity went right by the wayside as he spun, ducked, jumped and grinned.

The first time that Brody saw a bird bigger than the ‘popcorn birdies’ (that’s what our cats call them anyway) was at the horse barn.  One of the other boarders had, for some unfathomable reason, brought a bunch of chickens to live at a boarding barn.  The hawks got most of them, but there were a few still running around, and we took the dogs to the barn one day to see how they would interact with the horses, and hike around the trails.  Brody caught sight of one of the roosters and locked up in a near-perfect point. So did Cinders, but after looking at us, and back at the birds, Cinders thought ‘nah, the hoomins aren’t interested, I’m off to find something else.’ Brody?  We had to physically pick him up and turn him around so he couldn’t see the bird to get him to break point.

He was usually a very laid back dog, completely the opposite of Cinders, who is, we’re certain, the result of a mad scientist blending Red Bull into bird dog DNA for no particular reason.  Even at twelve years old, Cinders is still a hyper dog.  On the other hand, Brody was very, very ALPHA.  I’ve seen him walk into a room with thirty other big dogs (by this time, he was at his healthy weight of 85-90 pounds) and take the room over by walking to the edge of the ‘dog’ zone and standing still.  The people at the dog day care he ‘worked’ at for a while (another of the wife’s jobs over the years) called him the Peace Maker. Because when Brody was around, there would be Peace, or there would be Angry Brody.

The only time I ever saw him react negatively to a person, ever, was one delivery driver pounded on the front door very hard. I have no idea why, he just pounded three or four times like he was trying to wake the dead.  What he got was Brody hitting the other side of the door at chest height, roaring more like a lion than a dog.  I couldn’t get outside before the driver got in his truck and floored the gas.

On the other hand, Brody would brook no dog trespassers on HIS turf.  Before we had him fixed, taking Brody outside was a constant challenge, because while he knew very well what the limits of the yard were, he wasn’t about to stay inside an imaginary line if he could sniff so much as a molecule of ‘dog in heat.’  And this dog could vanish without a trace if you took your eyes off of him for more than two seconds.  Once he made it several miles before deciding that he’d had enough and wanted back inside, so he went to the nearest house and sat on their front porch until one of the semi-terrified homeowners gathered the nerve to check his collar and call me.

By the time I got there, everyone in the house was petting him. And yet, the father told me they were all terrified of big dogs.  Brody was like that, he could convert a cat person if given a few minutes to work on them. He grinned a bit of a doggy grin, wandered over and got in the passenger side of my car. He slept good that night, and we still wonder if there are Cocker-Brody’s running around, or maybe a couple of yellow labs with suspicious brown spots and the urge to point at birds.

After we got him fixed, he’d still pull this trick now and then, I’m certain he was just checking how loud I would yell before he’d trick me by reappearing after ten or twenty minutes of frantic searching in the woods, the neighbor’s yard, etc.

Brody was fine with other dogs, provided they didn’t flat-out challenge him or threaten his people or his pack.  But when the rare times that it was just the two of us, usually because he was on a different vaccination cycle than Cinders and Gretchen, he was amazing.  I swear I could have taken him anywhere with me and he would have heeled and been the best companion ever.

We also used to have a problem with stray dogs in the neighborhood. And I mean ‘stray’ dogs, not the ones our old neighbors owned, but let run crazy.  I opened the back door one day and there were two pit bulls standing in the back yard, no collars, just marking over top of Brody and Cinders’ scent.  I yelled at the dogs to get gone, but they didn’t listen.

Brody moved me out of the way then knocked the bigger dog tail over teakettle for about ninety yards, until the other dog gave up and ran as fast as it could.  Keep in mind, this started in the back yard, and my dogs herded these intruders around the house and down the driveway.  Cinders was snapping at his target, while Gretchen was letting war-woo’s out that probably rivaled air-raid sirens in volume.

Our house sits back in the woods a bit, so we have a front neighbor.  Once, that house was occupied by a nice man named John, his wife, and their big German Shepherd, Bishop.   By that time, we had rescued a German Shepherd as well, Zelda, and despite being fixed, she thought Bishop was very interesting.   Brody thought Bishop should stay in his house. All the time.  Bishop tried to sneak up our driveway for a sniff or two of Zelda one day, and Brody ran him all the way back to John’s garage, then sidled up to John for a good ear rub while grinning at Bishop, who was cowering in his kennel.

To illustrate how strong he was at his best, once years ago I flopped face down on my bed, a game the dogs knew very well, but usually only Cinders and Gretchen would play it with me.  (Cinders – 40 pound GSP, Gretchen, 70 pound Blue Tick hound)  Once I flopped on the bed, I’d cover my ears with both hands and pretend they weren’t there. The two of them would burrow under my arms, play-pounce on my back, and have a grand old time until I would laugh and roll over to pet them.  The one time when Brody played, he just stuck his nose under my rib cage and flipped me like a leaf.

To illustrate how clever he was, once at dog daycare, during a rainstorm the dogs all had to be herded into the building.  My wife (who would watch the small dogs, because if she was in the yard with our dogs, our dogs just spent the entire day being a protective detail) told the other dog handler NOT to let Brody inside the building without first putting clips on all of the indoor boarding kennels.  The handler didn’t listen, so Brody opened every single kennel (I think there were nine?) and proceeded to eat every bite of food in every kennel. Right in front of the occupants of the kennels, regardless of breed or size. And none of them dared protest.

Nine years.  Nine years of one of the most wonderful dogs I’ve ever known. That makes him between twelve and fourteen years of age.

He’s still here, for today. Tomorrow is a maybe.  A month would be a miracle.  But I doubt very much beyond that.  The vet doesn’t really know exactly what’s wrong, the best two educated guesses are a tumor on his liver, or heart failure of one kind or the other.  His belly is distended, and obviously causes him discomfort.  He’s having a difficult time standing up, and he’s back to having to walk, take a break, walk, teak a break to go thirty yards.  He is in bad shape, and before long it will be the end. He’ll most likely never have a happy again.

It’s breaking my heart.

(I wrote this last Thursday – this morning, 7/24/2017, Brody passed away.  It feels like somebody has ripped my heart out of my chest.  There is so much more to Brody’s story that I didn’t have the strength to record that day, or today, but hopefully soon the pain will be bearable.)

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Well, things worked out very well for my Maine bear hunt – but I have some other issues that just will not be easily solved at this point, and thinking through the issues has brought me to the logical conclusion of ‘skip the 2015 deer season.’

The first issue, as always, is budget.  The bear hunt was paid for in advance, so that shouldn’t have been an issue, but I really never considered that I would get a bear that has a (small) chance of making Boone & Crockett, so that adds the cost of a trip to Ohio (where my taxidermist lives – I would have used a local one, but the logistics of my bear hunt worked out the same as last time: I flew, my hunting buddy drove, so it was more economical and practical for him to drive the hide and meat back to Ohio. I absolutely love the last bear I had mounted, and trust the taxidermist to do this one justice as well.), and the cost of getting a mount.

I gave up a hunting lease in Rome, GA, earlier this year – It was a nice piece of property just under 300 acres, but it was about a three hour round trip, and I just do not have the spare time or patience to get up at 3am, drive to the property, hike in to a stand, spend the day, hike out, and drive another hour and a half. If I had a good place to camp up there, I could have made weekends of it, but one of the best places to hunt is about the only place to set up a tent, so that was a non-starter.

beaver gulch 161

One of the smaller bucks at the Butler property

I used to hunt an 875 acre parcel near Butler, GA, but the owner (a friend’s uncle) has created a feud with the rest of his family, and an offshoot of that was kicking everybody off of the property, so that’s out.

Which leaves public land.

I’ve written before about Georgia’s complex wildlife management area regulations – for any individual piece of property, they aren’t too bad, but every piece of property has a different set. Add that to the fact that the last three or four times I tried to hunt Paulding Forest WMA or Sheffield WMA, there was a vehicle parked every single place I wanted to park. (We spent three HOURS last year during turkey season just trying to find someplace to park. Not fun.)

So, my budget is thin as well as my patience, and I hate hunting on a ‘lets rush over here (where we’ve never been) and just walk in the woods!’ basis. To me, that’s not hunting. That’s hiking while carrying hunting gear.

I can hike all year long.

So, I’ll relax this season, regroup, work my finances a bit, and start planning for 2016.  Because planning a season is half the fun.

As a side note, I had originally told my wife ‘unless I get drawn for Joe Kurz WMA’s quota hunt, I was skipping this year.’ Well, I didn’t get drawn, which is OK, that adds another point to my growing tally. If something comes up that’s too good to pass up, like an invitation to some really nice property, I may change my mind, but at this point, I’m battening down the budgetary hatches for Christmas.

I haven’t shot much this year – I’ve been busy with my family (my daughter is 16 years old now), work, and life in general, to the point where archery took a back burner this season.  About a month ago though, one of the state qualifiers at Sweetwater just happened to fall on a day when it was perfect, not raining, good temperature, nothing going on at home, so I grabbed my gear and shot some foam.  I hadn’t even practiced in eight months, so I really went just for fun, but due to just about everybody who scored higher than myself having already qualified, I managed to get on the list for the states.

It was hot. Like ‘Holy Crap!’ hot.  And that was just when I got out of the truck at 7am.  By noon, when we finished up, I stopped at the first gas station on the way back to Doublasville and got two BIG sports drinks, and downed one in the four minutes it took to get to Gables.  I think I finished the other one in about fifteen minutes.

I still haven’t replaced the camera that was destroyed last fall at Joe Kurz WMA, but I did snap a few shots with my phone, towards the end of the day.  Overall, despite only having practiced a few times in the weeks since the qualifier, I was pretty happy with my score, I won’t win anything, but with five 12’s, that’s one of the better results I’ve had in a long time, and I got to meet and shoot with some great people.

This was a target towards the end of one of my courses – the sun was behind it, we couldn’t SEE anything on it, but the Senior Eagle I was shooting with made a GREAT shot, and the two adults (including myself) were pretty happy to have a neon-green aiming point on the target.

Sweetwater_states_2015_2 Sweetwater_states_2015_1

This year, the Shooting for a Cure Cystic Fibrosis benefit will be on June 6th, from 8am to 4pm, and will include both 3D Archery and Sporting Clays.

Click to go to the event web site

Click to go to the event web site

Money Classes (75% payback) $25

  • Open Money (45yd)
  • Known 45 (45yd)

Trophy Classes $20

  • Hunter – Max 40yd
  • Women Hunter – Max 30yd
  • Bow Novice – Max 30 yd
  • Youth (12 & under)- Free with a paying adult

Fun Shoot $10
Family of 3 or more $40 max

  • Entry fee comes with 1 chance to win an Elite Bow, Binelli Shotgun, or a 2 Day Hunting Trip to western Kentucky
  • LONG SHOT – $1/shot or 6 shots for $5 (win more chances at the Giveaways)
  • BarBQ Plate for $5

SFTC_2015_flyer

Time for another year of archery!

Big John’s Google Calendar is up to date from what I can see, however are only a few shoots.

Sunday – Jan 4th

3D Buckeye – Social Circle, GA

  • Open Money – $20 50% Payback – Max 50yrds # Stake – 290 FPS Max- All Un-Known
  • Known 45 – $20 50% Payback – Max 45yrds White Stake – 290FPS Max- All Known
  • Open Trophy – $15 Trophy – Max. 45yrds White Stake – 290 FPS Max- All Un-Known
  • Women’s Open- $20 50% Payback- Max 40yrds Red Stake- 280 FPS Max- All Un-Known
  • Senior Open- $20 50% Payback- Max 45yrds White Stake- 290 FPS Max- All Un-Known
  • Hunter – $15 Trophy – Fixed Pins, Magnification allowed, 12” Stabilizer, Any Release – Max 40yrds Red Stake – 280 FPS Max- 10 Known 10 Un-Known
  • Women’s Hunter – $15 Trophy – Fixed Pins, No Magnification, Any Release – Max 30yrds Blue Stake – 260FPS Max- All Known
  • Bow Novice – $15 Trophy – Fixed Pins, No Magnification, 12” Stabilizer Any Release – Max 30yrds Blue Stake – 280 FPS Max- All Known
  • Youth – $15 Trophy – Ages 13 to 14 – Max 30yrds Blue Stake – 240 FPS Max.
  • Sr. Eagle – $10 Trophy – Ages 11 to 12 – Parental Supervision – Max 25yrds Orange Stake – 230 FPS Max.
  • Eagle – Free Medallion – Ages 9 to 10 – Parental Supervision – Max 25yrds Orange Stake – 220 FPS Max.
  • Jr. Eagle – Free Medallion – Ages 0 to 8 – Parental Supervision – Max 15yrds Yellow Stake – 220 FPS Max.

All Classes Will Be ASA Rules Places: 1-5 Shooters 1st Place, 6-10 Shooters 1st and 2nd Place, 11-Unlimited Shooters 1st,2nd, and 3rd Places. Scoring is 0,5,8,10,12 NO 14.

Also considering a shooter of the year this time. Will also update as we go along. Please let us know what you, the shooters want!!!

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North Georgia Traditional Archery Club

Regulations

  • Trad bows only. No compounds, no cross bows. This is about the only regulation that we enforce for the entire year.

Regulations for competition (August shoot only)

  • Barebow, no sights. No release aids. No clickers. No string walking.

Shoot fees
Members – $5 each
Non-members – $10 each
Family rate – $15 for everybody in the immediate family

We are located at 2295 Lee Land Road, Gainesville, GA 30507.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Time for some more 3D!

Sponsored by Gable Sporting Goods

Sponsored by Gable Sporting Goods

 

Click to donate!

Click to donate!

More details:

2 GIVEAWAYS for all Participants

 

(Every participant will receive 1 FREE chance to win)

*A 2-Day Bow Hunt for Deer in Western Kentucky (DONALDSON CREEK OUTFITTERS)

OR

*An Elite Bow of your choice ($850 value)

DRAWING AT 3:30pm

Extra chances can be bought for $5/chance

2014 SHOOTING FOR A CURE CLASSES

Money Classes: (60% payback) $25 

  • Open Money – 45 yd
  • Known 45 – 45 yd

Trophy Classes: $20 (Trophies presented at 4:30pm)

  • Hunter – Max 40 yd
  • Women’s Hunter – Max 30 yd
  • Bow Novice – Max 30 yd

Fun Shoot  $10

Youth (12 & under) FREE w/paying adult*

*Family of  3 or more $40 max

ADD $5 at registration AND RECIEVE A DISCOUNTED LUNCH TICKET GOOD FOR:

BBQ Plate: BBQ Sandwich, bowl of stew, slaw, chips, pickle

IRON BUCK COMPETITION – $5 to enter

  • First shot at 20 yd
  • Contintue at 10 yd increments until you miss
  • Prizes for the winner (longest distance)
  • 3 Classes: *Money *Hunter/Women & *Youth

Had a great time shooting with Mark, James and Jason today, even though my brand new hunting bow only had one pin sighted in. (Still better than a day on the couch.)

Here are the photos – it wasn’t until about halfway through the shoot that Jason told us he was a musician… (Link after the photos.)

Click to go to Jason's website.

Click to go to Jason’s website.

As always, here is a link to Big John’s Awesome Google Calendar!

Indoor – Governor’s Gun Club– Thursday night Indoor Shoot (Powder Springs, GA)

Both Days

3D – North Forty Archery Club – (Cochran, GA)

3D – Rock Branch Archery – (Elberton, GA)

3D – Harvest Archery – (Dayton, TN)

 

Saturday

3D – Sweetwater Archery – (Douglasville, GA)

GBAA – Outdoor GBAA State Field – (Savannah, GA)

 

Sunday

3D – Riverbottom Outdoors – (Franklin, GA)

3D – NGC Amicalola – (Dawsonville, GA)

3D – Shiloh Archery – (Hahira, GA)

 

Target 2 - Lee, Brad and myself managed to squeeze into that 12 ring.

Target 2 – Lee, Brad and myself managed to squeeze into that 12 ring.

First, if you shot at our place today CHECK FOR TICKS! I pulled 2 off right after I got home (one of the little buggers was trying to eat my left hand), and I know Clay had a BUNCH on him, because he called to tell me to double check myself as well.

Second, for the first time this year, we had a BEAUTIFUL day to shoot, so of course I’m sunburned and look like a cyclops from the back since I have a baseball cap sunburn on my head.

A big thanks to everyone who came out today!  As usual, if I’ve misspelled your name, it’s either because I couldn’t read your handwriting, or after scribbling down your name in my notebook to bring home, now I can’t read mine 🙂

Open Money
Mark Keese 210-6
Known 45
Clay Ledbetter 212-10
James Taylor 201-6
Niko DePofi 198-4
David Carney Jr. 192-1
Brian Presley 171-4
Hunter
Robert Nash 193-3
Trepe Jaworski 188-2
Kyle Cooper 186-4
Senior
Ezra “Spanka” 173-3
Fun Shooters
Conner Haney
Doug Cunningham
Austin Cunningham
Rudy Meedy
Logan Taylor
Ken Gary
Hunter Cunningham
David Cunningham
Lee Hulsey
Cindy Bell Hulsey
Brooke Hunsinger
McKenna Sarvis
David Carney Sr.
Sian Weekley
Bobby Weekley
Dennis Page
Jimmy Sturwold
James Grizzard
George Plemmons

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