Not everyone is a hunter

By DAN GEDDINGS
Special to The Sumter Item
Posted 2/18/18

There was a soft knocking on the front door. I sat up, bleary eyed and groggy. Buster leapt from the couch and was barking his disapproval at this afternoon intrusion. We can usually sneak in a short nap before Ginger gets home but not today. Buster …

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Not everyone is a hunter

PHOTO PROVIDEDL.E. Martin adjusts one of his game cameras in his back yard.
PHOTO PROVIDED
L.E. Martin adjusts one of his game cameras in his back yard.
Posted

There was a soft knocking on the front door. I sat up, bleary eyed and groggy. Buster leapt from the couch and was barking his disapproval at this afternoon intrusion. We can usually sneak in a short nap before Ginger gets home but not today. Buster is Ginger's dog, but when she isn't home, he thinks he's my dog.

I stumbled to the front door with Buster at my heels, backing me up with his non-stop barking. It didn't do any good to tell him to shut up. He has a mind of his own. I fumbled with the locks and got the door open. Then the bright sunlight hit me in the face.

Squinting, I could see that it was my father-in-law, L.E. Martin.

"Did I wake you up?" he asked.

"No, I was just resting my eyes," was my feeble answer.

"I got something to show you," he said.

He had his game camera viewer in his hand.

We got L.E. a game camera a couple of years ago for his birthday. Ginger was trying to think of something different to get him, and I suggested the game camera. He had talked about seeing a deer at the edge of the woods behind his house. We thought he might like to get some wildlife pictures.

L.E. isn't a hunter nowadays. He grew up on a small farm in Horry County in the '40s and did some squirrel and rabbit hunting when he was a youngster.

Work eventually brought him to Sumter County. He bought this land when it was a corn field and plowed a road through the field and beyond the few houses that lined the short dirt road. Ginger and I built a house here. Then her sister Rhonda and her husband, Johnny, built next door. Our nearest neighbors were a thousand feet back down the road. L.E. and Linda built next to Rhonda and Johnny. The field out front was a cow pasture.

Cain Savannah Creek runs through the bottomland behind L.E.'s house. Its origin is in Manchester State Forest to the west. Burns Branch comes in from across McCrays Mill Road to the north. These creeks and associated woodlands harbor a variety of wildlife and critters, such as deer, turkey, raccoons, birds and coyotes. We are far enough out to feel like we're in the country but close enough to feel like a part of the town, as subdivisions stretch out on the western side of Sumter.

The road out front is paved now, and we have neighbors right next door. We can see the McMasions advancing across the field out front, and the country feel is shrinking, but the wildlife is still here.

L.E. put the camera on a live oak tree behind his house and spread some corn on the ground nearby. He started getting pictures right away but didn't have a computer or digital camera to view what was on the camera card. His grandson John Martin McLeod has downloaded the pictures occasionally, and we've been amazed at the images. Birds, raccoons and deer are seen, including a huge eight-point buck.

L.E. bought another game camera and put it in a different area, but he still didn't have a convenient way to look at the pictures his cameras were capturing. Then one day Ginger mentioned that she wished her Dad had a better way to access and view his game camera photos. I knew just the thing. I had seen a game camera viewer at Simpson Hardware.

I bought one of the viewers, brought it home, unpackaged it and read the instructions. I tried it out with one of my cameras and told Ginger, "I got to get me one of these." It was just what L.E. needed. It has a large screen and is easy to use. It can be carried in a pocket. I think I'll need one too.

L.E. brought the viewer over that afternoon to show me some of the pictures his camera has captured, just a few paces from his back door. Night time pictures of deer and raccoons. One or two, then three or four deer, now groups of five or six. It was amazing, and he was absolutely delighted.

Ginger drove up while we were standing on the porch looking at the pictures. She came over and joined us with a big smile on her face.

The outdoors can add so much to our lives, and you don't have to be a hunter to love what it has to offer.