Blast and Cast Stats

Ducks shot: 0

Fish caught: 0

Stumps shot: 1

Number of times stump was shot: A whole bunch

Beers drank: 8-10 pints

“Nips” taken from the bourbon bottle: Way too many

Cheap cigars smoked: 5

Brain cells killed: A whole bunch

Hours friend spent hungover: 1/2

Hours I spent hungover: Don’t know yet, still waiting for pain to end

Hours that I will spend drinking and smoking cheap cigars in the foreseeable future: 0

Southern Sportsmen and The Disconnect

I try very hard not to discus my political views in public. It’s not because I’m ashamed of them or anything, I’ve just come to terms with the reality that I can actually enjoy talking to and being around people who hold a completely different world view from mine.

Many people haven’t.

I found it’s easy as long as you have the ability to find the common ground, which for me is usually fishing, hunting or guns. I know a good bit about these subjects and the love of these three things are how I usually find myself being friends with people who have political views that don’t hold with my own.

See, I’m a sportsman, I’m proud to be a southerner and (this is where I may lose some readers, but oh well…) I’m a liberal. That’s right. A woolly headed, bleeding heart, up with the people, down with the man, tax loving, religion and politics should never meet, government interference wanting LIBERAL. I feel confident in saying most of the people who enjoy fishing and hunting here in the south aren’t. I’m honestly perplexed by this.

I’ve spent the majority of my life fishing and hunting on public lands next to people who actively support politics that would be more than happy to destroy those public lands if it put money into people’s pockets. These pockets don’t belong to any one of the people I hunt and fish with.

From family and friends I hear complaints about how the new sub-development over on such and such road has wrecked the hunting or fishing in the area but they support politicians that support developers. I hear people praising the local DNR for buying plots of land that go up for sale before developers can get to them and yet these same people bitch about having to pay the taxes go into buying these lands. I hear about how the government should leave businesses alone but how the factory they put on a certain stretch of river completely ruined the fishing. I hear from people how the environmentalist are destroying America but who hate the fact that the Forestry Service plants pine trees in the National Forest instead of something deer and turkeys can eat all for the sake of making a quick buck.

The disconnect baffles and quite frankly infuriates me at times. You want good fishing? You want good hunting? You want undeveloped public land? Support the people who support the environment!

May 1

Foreword: I drew more than a little inspiration from Memoirs of a Flygirl and her post grandpa for this. Thanks!

I believe it was in 1923 on this day that my grandfather was born in Mississippi. I say “I believe” because I can never remember if he was born in ’23 or ’24 and unfortunately he’s not with us anymore so I can’t ask him (at least not without the help of a medium or a ouija board which, I have to say, I have very little to no faith in). I do remember that May Day was his birthday though.

Actually the exact year of his birth is one few things I don’t remember well about him. One thing about my grandfather, his stories and the stories about him; they’re all memorable.

Some of my favorites include the story about when he supposedly bit some guy’s nipple off during the war in a bar fight in Nice, France. And then there was the time when I was 16 and playfully squared-off at him and he, without breaking stride, bloodied my nose and told me that he “was too old for that kind of bullshit.”

The greatest and my absolute favorite story about my grandfather has to be the time he and my father were driving around the woods, drinking (this was in rural South Carolina sometime in the mid 70′s and was a totally acceptable form of entertainment for the time and place) during a large thunderstorm, when my father’s truck “slid into a ditch”.While my dad went to get help. my grandfather got bored and started rifling around in the glove-box of my father’s truck where he found a bag of what my old man described as “the best homegrown in the lowcountry”. Well, my grandfather, being bored, drunk and curious about what all the fuss was about. decided that then was as a good a time as any to experiment. So he found an old corncob pipe, packed it full and went to town. When dad got back with help my grandfather was sitting in the rain on the tailgate of the truck with a blue halo of smoke around his head and a pile of beer cans at his feet shouting “YOU MISSED ME AGAIN YOU SON OF A BITCH!” at the top of his lungs in between fits of laughter every time there was a clap of thunder.

But more than the comedic examples of violence and substance abuse, my grandfather was the man who would wake me up at dawn to dig up a coffee can full of worms from around the hog pen so we could spend the day catching warmouth, fliers, bullheads, redfin pike and other small fish from the small blackwater creeks that ran their way through the Frances Marion National Forest. He was the man who would take me to the Wando river to catch croaker, spot, speckled trout and the occasional channel bass (redfish). He taught me to squirrel hunt. He taught me how to butcher livestock and take something as unappetizing as the head of a pig and turn it into something better than what you would find on a high dollar charcuterie platter in an upscale restaurant. He taught me to plant, pick and can. And he taught me through his stories that war and death are nothing to glorify.

My grandfather was a hell of a person and I wish he could have stuck around to meet my children and teach them some of the things he taught me (with the possible exceptions of all is fair in a bar fight and boredom can be cured with beer and weed)…

Happy Birthday.

10 Lessons My Six Year Old Learned on Our Last Hunting Trip

Lesson 1:  Staying Quiet                                                                                    Squirrels in the forest are not like squirrels in our yard.  The squirrels                       we hunt are true wild animals that have keen senses they use to avoid                     predators. We must move slowly and stay as quiet as possible if we                       wish to be successful. Sprinting from tree to tree while shouting “I am                     The Dark Hunter, tremble before me, squirrels!” is not the ninja like                         stealth you claim to have.

Lesson 2:   Sometimes Animals Do Get Away                                                  It’s an unfortunate situation, but sometimes you wound a squirrel that                     \ finds its way into the hollow of a tree and it’s impossible to recover.                       Just remember that nothing is truly wasted in nature.  That squirrel will                   become food for others in the ecosystem.  No, it does not count as                       “half a point”.

Lesson 3:     Hunting is Not a Game                                                                We hunt for food, not for sport.  We respect the animals we hunt, big                       or small, and we use every part of the animal we can.  Hunting is not                       like a video game.  Yes I remember that we have that hunting game for                     the Wii. Yes, I do like to play Big Buck Hunter. You know those are                       not real animals. But… Okay, we’ll just assume that all of those                             animals get eaten. Yes… sometimes the games are more fun than                         actually hunting.

Lesson 4:     Learn to Look and Listen                                                              You have to use your eyes and your ears to hunt successfully. Look                       for movement in the trees. Listen for the rustle of leaves and the sound                     of squirrels barking. No, that’s just what they call the sound a squirrel                     makes.  No, that’s an actual dog barking you hear.  I’m sure.  When I                       hear a squirrel bark I’ll point it out to you.

Lesson 5:     Nature is not Scary                                                                       Animals are more scared of us than we are of them.  We as humans                       are the top predators in almost every environment.  Yes, even bears                         are usually scared of people.  Sometimes, but those bears are usually                     surprised or trying to protect their cubs, and we don’t have grizzlies                         here in South Carolina.  Or very many black bears.  No I don’t think                         there’s any bears around here or much of anything else at the                                 moment.  Now remember, we need to be quiet.

Lesson 6:     Look for Animal Signs                                                                  Animals leave signs we can see.  Look under this pine tree. No. This                       one. The one we’re standing by.  You see the pine cones that have                         been stripped clean? That means that squirrels have been in this tree.                     If there were wild pigs in these woods we would see their signs; rubs                       on trees, wallows, places where they rooted around looking for acorns                     and bugs and stuff. So no wild pigs.  And like I said animals are more                     scared of us. Yes, even wild boars.

Lesson 7:     Monsters are not Real                                                                    That is not the sound of a monster.  That’s what a real life cow                                 actually sounds like.  Yes, I’m positive.  No it’s not a wild cow. There’s                     a farm over that hill over there.  I swear that’s just a cow. No… wait,                         where did you pick up “Hell beast”?  Buffy? Whatever. Now                                     remember, whisper.

Lesson 8:     The Source of that Sound                                                              Boy, I’ve told you already there ain’t no wild hawgs around here!  That                       was probably a squirrel or a rabbit runnin’ from your mouth. Now                    HUSH!

Lesson 9:     Daddy’s a Jerk                                                                              I’m sorry for yelling.  We just need to be sneaky, like ninjas,                                   remember?  No, don’t cry, I said I was sorry.  It’s okay.  What? No, I’ll                     bring you hunting again.  I just…  We … quiet, remember?  Quiet.

Lesson 10:   When it’s Time to go Home                                                            What do you mean you want to go?  We’ve only been out here for half                     an hour.  The squirrels haven’t even started coming out yet.  Well yea,                     there was that one but…  Boring? What do you mean you don’t ever                         want to go hunting again? Weren’t you just crying because you were                       worried I wouldn’t bring you hunting again? You’re tired? But…  Yea,                         whatever. Fine.  Yes, Starwars Legos are pretty cool… I don’t know,                       Yoda I guess.

Fly Fishing and the Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse

I’m a big fan of “The Walking Dead”.  The show and the comic. Especially the comic.  And like all fans of the zombie apocalypse, I know deep down in my heart, that I’ll be one of the survivors.  I know how to fish, hunt, shoot a gun, shoot a bow, throw a cast-net, clean a deer, tan a hide…  I’d be fine.  My poor wife and kids on the other hand, well I guess my near crippling depression over what ever happens to them can be worked into the story arc, but whatever.  Point is I’ll survive.

The plan was to make it to one of the less populated barrier islands on the coast here in SC. Probably Wadmalaw; lots of land, low population density. There, other survivors and I would blow the bridges, clear out the dead left on the island,  eat by fishing/shrimping/hunting, make daring raids into the city for supplies, and have a few “the living are more dangerous than the dead” moments. I will not stop fly fishing during any of this.

I’m pretty sure that the sporting good stores that we raid during our brave but dangerous forays into the city will probably be stripped of most of their more practical supplies but the fly fishing gear will be mine for the taking.  Sage, Orvis, G. Loomis; they will all be mine.

Not to mention with the sharp decrease in population, fishing pressure in general will be way down.  I’ll have all the best flats to myself.  After a few years the fishing should down right phenomenal.  Other than worrying about the dead eating my flesh and fighting off the occasional boat full of pirate shrimpers life should be pretty awesome.

Of course I don’t live on the coast anymore…