It was a very good day

By DAN GEDDINGS
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 8/19/18

The long drive was good, and I had time to myself to think about things. Nothing in particular, just whatever popped into my mind. The radio played softly in the background, and I would turn it up occasionally, if a good song came on.

As I …

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It was a very good day

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The long drive was good, and I had time to myself to think about things. Nothing in particular, just whatever popped into my mind. The radio played softly in the background, and I would turn it up occasionally, if a good song came on.

As I approached the main gate, I noticed a work truck approaching with its turn signal blinking, and I thought it must have been on by mistake. But as it passed me, I realized it was slowing down, and in my rearview I noticed it was turning in to one of the gates on the Horseshoe. Then ahead, I saw a lowboy coming with a huge timber skidder that hung off each side of the truck. It was also slowing, and as I turned in to the Clubhouse Road, I looked over my shoulder and saw it turning in to Horseshoe Road behind the work truck.

"Well, they're coming back for the last of the big timber," I said out loud to myself.

The new timber company owners had cut most of the remaining timber on the club but had left a couple of areas standing. I knew they would be back, but I was surprised to see them so soon. They had cut a large area around the clubhouse right before turkey season; now they would be cutting the last of the Horseshoe area right before the deer season.

At the gate, I took a few moments to check out the new sign-out box, or kiosk, that my son Clayton and grandson Collin had helped me install. It seemed good and solid, and I was pleased with our work.

The clubhouse road had seen no traffic since the last rain, so I knew that no one else was there. I noticed several corn piles along the road, and the ground was punched with many fresh tracks at each site. I stopped at one to look closer and confirmed that they were made by deer and not feral hogs.

The big clubhouse was dark and cool inside. Everything looked good, and I went back outside to look at the river and the slough behind the skinning shed. The water level was down some from the high levels we had seen a couple of weeks ago.

The chufa patches were next on my list, and I was very pleased with their condition. The Jerry Road patch was hit hard by the turkeys right after we planted, but enough seed had survived to make a good stand. The Parler Road patch was next, and I think it is the best stand I have ever grown. The plants are thick and should produce a bumper crop of nuts for the turkeys through the late winter and into early spring.

I had brought a bag of shelled corn and drove over to the Rhodes tract to put some corn out at Mister Bill's stand. It's a big box blind overlooking a cotton field and wood line that borders the Horseshoe. Clayton and I will come back and hunt this stand soon. Next, I drove over to the GP tract and was surprised to see fresh tire tracks at the gate. When I drove in, I encountered Mister Reeves parked in the road. He owns the land on one side of the road, and our timber company landlord owns the other. He's our neighbor, and I stopped to visit with him for a while. He hadn't expected to see anyone on a weekday and had stopped in the road to survey his land.

After a few minutes, he pulled over, and I went on to an area that is designated for a still hunting stand. Currently, there is no stand there, and I will have to install one if I want to hunt this area. I put some corn out and will come back to see if there is enough sign to hunt this spot later. Right now the area is very wet, and the mosquitoes are very bad.

I drove back to the Clubhouse Road and turned onto Middle Road. I turned onto Shoot Yo Leg and drove to the end. I have a path there that crosses a big cut-over to what is left of the Upper Swamp. I had brought my sprayer loaded with herbicide and spot sprayed the new growth along the path. It makes it easier to get across the area in the dark during turkey season. By now it was midafternoon and getting hot.

I went back to Middle Road and took Ridge Road down to the River Road. There are food plots all along these roads planted in peas and beans and grain sorghum. They are lush and green. You can see signs that the deer are grazing these plots. At River Road, I checked on the chufa patch there. It didn't do as good as the others, but it will be enough for that area.

It was too hot to linger, and I drove back to the main gate and locked it behind me. A logging truck pulled over on the main highway and waited on traffic to pass before turning in to the Horseshoe. I sighed and turned onto the highway toward home. I had spent most of the day just piddling around on the hunting club by myself. It was my birthday holiday from work, and it had been a very good day.

Reach Dan Geddings at cdgeddings@gmail.com.