Friday, October 30, 2009

A Sound Of Leathery Wings

It was two years ago during our Youth Hunt at the famous Christmas Place Hunting Club in the Mississippi delta that I was involved in one of the strangest and most frightening episodes that I have ever witnessed.
That weekend we had about 15 kids, boys and girls, participating in our Youth Deer Hunt for does and it had been a great Saturday. Half of the kids had taken deer and we enjoyed a real celebration that night. The children ate hearty with fresh deer steak, roasted wild hog, bright yellow corn on the cob with butter and all the trimmings you can imagine.
After supper the members had a roaring fire built for the kids to gather around for creepy ghost stories and to roast marshmallows. The air was cool and still while an orange gibbous moon peeked over the woods and shone down on the backyard as the tired kids made their way to the fire, I got up, managed to quiet them and started to get ready to tell some Ghost Stories before we went to bed.
A few clouds half covered the strange looking moon as I called them in close and they pulled up chairs or plopped on the ground around the fire. Even our two dogs, Camo and Triggger had lain down close to the fire as if they wanted to hear the stories too.
I wanted to start with the old story about the Whipporwill and then tell some of the strange stories that involved the Christmas Place. I began to talk.
I had not told much of the spooky story when we heard a rhythmic whooshing sound,a flapping that grew louder and louder. Whoosh, Whoosh, Whoosh, slow and heading straight for the group of campers. It was a leathery sound that sent chills down my spine as I stopped talking.
Everyone there turned to look for the source of the strange sound and all chatter suddenly stopped as we looked into the sky to try to see what it was. The dogs stood and waited also, and a low growl began in the two dogs throats.
A loud cracking of limbs, then a flutter of leaves and dead branches fell from the huge Pecan tree that stood just outside of our little circle of light, more cracks and snapping in the tree and it became quiet.
Still no one spoke as we gazed up into the blackness of the limbs. The dogs had moved between the tree and us and their hair stood up as they growled menacingly.
I shook my head and realized it was probably a giant owl or maybe a turkey had been pushed from it’s roost and it had landed in the tree above us. I smiled and spoke loudly as I tried to restart my story.
Out of the darkness from the height of the tree a strange laughing cackle started and a chalky scratchy voice cut across the night, “HEH, HEH, HEH, I LIKE GHOST STORIES”
Every person there and the dogs, broke for the back door of the camp house. Several of the men grabbed up a kid or two and threw them onto the back porch. I stopped there and tried to gather any of the small kids I could and get them into the house before they were trampled. My heart hammered in fear as I helped get them inside and suddenly it was quiet outside. I could hear yells and screams from inside but it seemed that Burney, Paul, Mark and I were the only ones watching to see what horror was going to land on the ground beside the fire.
A loud fluttering noise in the big pecan, a couple of small branches fell and then we heard the sound of the large wings flapping and gathering speed. The whooshing sound started and in the moonlight we could see a black figure with enormous wings slowly flapping it’s way toward the dark woods across the night sky.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trick Or Treat

Tomorrow I will write about a spooky and blood curdling experience that I witnessed, which happened during one of our early Youth Hunts while we sat around a campfire telling ghost stories. Stay tuned.
This weekend I will also go to the famous Christmas Place to work on stands and get as much ready for deer season as I can. I also hope that I can slip away Saturday night in the hope of spotting the Haunted Train that appears roaring across the ridges of our land.
Please send your pic for the Christmas Card. I have most of them but need everyone to submit them as soon as possible. Plus, you need to do a Hunting Haiku over at Matt's blog.
Happy Halloween Everyone.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time To Sight Your Rifle

Deer season is right on top of us and now is the time to make sure that your rifle is performing exactly as it should. Even if you feel your rifle is dead on you need to shoot it. If it is on, still shoot a minimum of three rounds to make sure of your pattern. For any kids out there, take warning. You must shoot your rifle yourself. Do not accept that someone else shot it and it is perfect. You need to get the feel of the trigger pull yourself and not fear the recoil or noise of shooting it.
If your rifle is off, make sure that after adjusting your scope that you still shoot a minimum of three times after you feel that it is correct to make sure of your pattern. Good Luck everyone.
PS- Marian, you may need a large butcher knife so you can jump out of the stand and stab the deer to death after you run out of bullets.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hogs In The Grove

After our disastrous elephant hunt a couple of weeks ago at Ole Miss, I was reluctant to go back up there to try and roust those Arkansas Razorbacks out of the grove on Saturday. I am glad I went as we had a great time and sent them packing back to the hills of Arkansas. A perfect day for football and friends as we beat them 30-17. Wish you had been with us.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Sweet Smell Of Death

The famous Christmas Place lies half in the Mississippi Delta and half in the steep bluffs that stand above. It is over 2000 acres of farm and timberland. The history of the land is old with many strange tales and occurrences recorded from the time of the Indians, through the Civil War and up to today. I guess any property rich in history attracts stories like these, but what I am about to tell may be part of the answer to the reason that more than a few people have disappeared on this land never to be seen again.
Near the East end of the property is a large block of land covered in kudzu. Part of it was in fields years ago but it is completely covered in the kudzu vine now. Very little timber protrudes from the vines leaving a large opening in the woods. Toward the back edge of this open area a huge ravine about 200 yards wide cuts across the opening. This sheer drop off and gulley is covered with kudzu also but out of the middle of this ravine a small sharp kudzu covered hill rises steeply like a island, and at the top is a thick stand of what looks to be mimosa.
I had often thought over the years that it would be a perfect spot for a big buck to spend his days just watching and waiting ‘till dark so it could move. A perfect bedding area. This thought came to me one day in the spring and the thought that he would have shed his antlers there came to me also. That afternoon, I had some free time and made my way there with the 4-wheeler, made my way across the kudzu fields and parked at the edge of the steep drop off. I found deer trails there and worked my way down into the thick vines at the bottom of the huge gulley and worked my way up the steep slope of the isolated hill.
I stood at the edge of the mimosa thicket and looked around. The view was great in the sense that you could see anything move within 300 yards from where I stood and reinforced my belief that this is where the biggest buck on the property spent his days. I could see a quick moving storm heading my way and from where I stood, I could smell the sweet, strong smell of the thick mimosas. I worked my way into the thick grove of trees.
The smell was overpowering and almost sickening. I looked at the trees and realized they were not the mimosas I thought but some strange look-a-like. I guessed they were some family of the tree but now am not so sure.
I looked for antlers there and worked my way through the thick grove. Strangely, I did not find any deer trails or signs of life there. I circled through several times and then suddenly found myself on my knees, not realizing how I had fallen. The thick smell was all around me and I tried to clear my head but a minute or two later I was lying on my back almost unable to move. The cloying smell seemed to make it hard to breath and I knew if I could just take a nap, go to sleep for a few minutes, I would have the strength to get up and head back to the camp.
Lying there I could feel vines move around me, seeming to wrap me up gently and slowly pulling me into the soft earth. Lightning shot across the sky and I tried to get up but the vines seemed to be steadily wrapping around me, moving me, pulling me into the soft earth.
When I woke again, the rain was falling heavily. I was drenched as I came to. The first thing I noticed was that I could breath easily again, the sickening smell of the mimosas was gone. Looking around I saw that I was entangled, wrapped in layers of vines and my legs were half buried in the ground. The rain fell harder and I managed to work my pocketknife out and cut myself loose. As I cut, the vines holding me began to retract back into the soft ground. A few minutes later I was free and staggered off of that horrible little hill and back down into the ravine. Later, I got up the other side and onto my 4-wheeler, then back to camp where I spent the remainder of the day having a few drinks and reflecting on my narrow escape.
I spent part of the summer studying the hill from a distance. Maybe the large gulley around it was manmade and had held water 500 years ago. Whatever was there had been forgotten by modern man. I worked my way to the base of the hill and spent a lot of time cutting a wide circle around the hill with a jo-blade and when the kudzu died in the fall I went back with 2 cans of gasoline and set the hill on fire.
I will keep an eye on it but I will never go back on top of it again and I will always fear the sweet smell of mimosa in the woods.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Good Weekend

The first night we had a great council fire with Michael, Spencer and Austin keeping it going.

As you can see, it was very relaxing and enjoyable.

Cleaning squirrels

Jamies's friend Roddy got a nice doe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Satan Was Busy

Satan was busy at the camp this weekend. He was busy spreading lies, deceit, mistrust and confusion everywhere he went.
It was after lunch and I was half asleep on the couch when I heard the roar of an uncontrolled 4-wheeler. Then suddenly BA-BOOM as the whole camphouse shook. We rushed to the bunkroom and back door to see Paul staring at the door amd window that his 4-wheeler had just crashed through. The wall was broken, glass was everywhere and the 4-wheeler was stuck in the wall. The evil lawyer had tried to start it by spraying starter fluid in the breather which was Ok except that when he pushed the start button it was still in gear. It took off like a roman candle.
While we were straightening out the mess, he kept calling to his son to come on and go hunting. To his credit Michael said "You need to get off and help clean this up, you are like Satan with a golden fiddle." After being embarrassed by his son, he did join in the clean up for a little while then disappeared.
We made sure to call him Satan all weekend.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Squirrel And Dumplings

They whipped up a great meal of squirrel and dumplings Saturday Night and everyone had more than plenty to eat.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Squirrel Camp 2009

The Squirrel Camp was once again a big success. High wind and cool temperatures kept the squirrels from moving much this year but the camp managed to get 80 for the weekend. Burney and Roddy each got a deer and a hog was taken too.
Pretty damn good weekend.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Delta Ghost Hunt

It started as a lark, a chance to scare the kids and have a spooky adventure. What it ended up as was one of the strangest and most unnerving experiences of my life.
A local (and very big) farmer known as Mr. Cunningham owns farmland or farms vast acres of land all around our property known as the Christmas Place. We get along well and one afternoon I met him on the gravel road beside our camp and we ended up talking for a few minutes. He mentioned that he had bought the old Belden Place and since I was an appraiser and ran the very cool Deer Camp Blog, I might want to go over and look at the old plantation home with it’s impressive wood work and fireplace mantles. He said it was about gone but it must have been a beauty in her day. He told me how to get there and later that afternoon I traveled the mile down the road, turned into an old road marked with a coke can on a limb, and made my way back into the base of the bluffs. I could see where field roads led off of the main road and that Mr. Cunningham was already getting the fields on the old plantation in order. I was surprised by what lay at the end of the road.
The yard was grown up in Cedars and Magnolia trees but the house itself was magnificent from a distance. It looked like the old haunted antebellum homes in movies. Getting closer I could see the worn appearance, missing windows, rotted porches and state of neglect of the old home. Still the lines and big columns were impressive. I closed the car door and went inside. Most of the rooms were empty, there was a couch, old piano and a few wooden chairs scattered around the big parlor. The fireplace had been used frequently, and there was some wood on the floor. I went up the wooden staircase (it was solid) and checked the bedrooms. Large and at one time luxurious, it gave me a feel for the old South. I never felt spooky or eerie or nervous. I love the wonderful architecture of these old buildings and it was a shame that it had been reduced to a haven for mice and other creatures. As I left, a plan emerged in my mind of something fun to do.
I called our farmer and asked him if it would be OK and he agreed. I got Burney and he helped me get flashlights for all the kids, I told them all that we had a big plan for that night. We had an early supper and as it grew dark I told them that we were going on a Delta Ghost Hunt.
Driving up to the old house that night was fun. Burney and I told the kids awful tales of murder and death ‘till they were almost scared and excited out of there minds. We broke them up into ghost hunting teams, started a small fire in the fireplace and turned them loose. They chased each other, they screamed, they hid, they screamed, they ran, they saw and heard ghost everywhere, did I mention they screamed?
We cooked marshmallows in the old fireplace and had a ball. No one caught a ghost, but we had a great time. We rounded them up after they ran through the house a few more times and Burney led them back to the truck. Through the window I could see flashlight beams everywhere and yes they were still screaming and hollering. I started making sure the fire was completely out.
That is when I felt the cold. Like a wave it hit me and I knew someone was looking at me. I shined my light all around and listened. No noise except the kids outside. I shined my light up the stairs and there was an older woman there glaring at me. She screamed “Get Out” as I panicked and started backing out. I could see through her and her anger seemed to hammer at my senses. I took a quick photo and ran out the door.
I did not tell anyone except Burney what happened later that night and no one outside had heard the shrill scream that she yelled at me.
The old house is gone now and I wonder if the ghostly woman on the staircase still haunts that spot.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Crazy October

Yes, it is raining again. I can't remember the last time we had sunshine and blue skys. This is the most rain I can ever remember and the farmers are about to go crazy because there is no way to get their crops out of the field.
Halloween is coming too. My crazy dog, Camo, spends half her time spinning around in front of the mirror saying "Bloody Mary's Dog, Bloody Mary's Dog" That dog has way too much free time.
Half the stands at the camp need to be rebuilt, We need to scout for a place that looks good for opening day and some stands need to be moved. None of it can be done in the rain. I have never shot a squirrel wearing hip boots but I might this weekend.
Everyone is starting to get there pics in and there are some real fun ones in the group. Keep them coming.
Tomorrow I am going to post the first Ghost Story of the month for you to enjoy over the weekend, while Old Scratch and I head to Squirrel Camp.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wet Squirrels

It has been raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock. If this keeps up we will have to hunt squirrels from a boat. The big Suirrel Camp is this weekend.
I have been busy between showers and have completed a record number of appraisals. I am trying to check in with everyone for new pics for the Christmas Card but the internet is down half the time from the weather.
If you read this, take 10 seconds and send me a picture. Yes Kristine, your time has come and I don't want to use the only pic I have seen of you.
Several people have already bagged a deer. Matt and the Captain, Moose, Arthur, Darrell, Gary and a few others. The season has just started and things are looking up.
Maybe Andy and Julie can give me some wet weather squirrel hunting pointers.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

News From Deer City

While Mark, Paul and I were getting lambasted at the game, Trent was working. The remaining fields that needed planting were still too wet to get a tractor into, so he finished them the old fashioned way, with a hand spreader. I don't brag on that crooked lawyer often, but I do want to say Thank-You. The only thing he did wrong was to trade our milk cow for some worthless magic beans to plant in our food plots. I can't even tell you the problems that caused. Now that football season is over and everything is finally planted, we can get back to the important job of deer hunting.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Gameday Colors

PS- elephants trampled us.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Elephant Hunting

This weekend I will not be going to camp. Paul, Mark and I are headed to Oxford on an elephant hunt. Most times we get trampled, but there is always hope.
If you go to the game, we will be tailgating in front of the Math bulding. Please stop by and say hello and visit with us. Maybe you can help figure out a flag to hang on our tent that encourages the Mississippi bloggers (like Mandy) to congregate there.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Stuck In the Middle with Thunderhoof

Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain't right,
I'm so scared, I see a big hairy hand
And I'm wondering how I'll get to my stand.
Ghosts to the left of me,
Bigfoots to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you.

Yes I'm stuck in the middle with you,
And I'm wondering what it is I should do,
It's so hard to keep the fear from my face,
Losing control, I’m aiming all over the place,
Kees to the left of me, Othmar to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well you started out a pooka,
And you're proud that you're a self made deer,
And my friends, they all come huntin’,
Slap me on the back and say,
Please.... Please.....

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see Jody makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to have a squirrel in your hair,
'Cause I don't think that I can take anymore
Ghosts to the left of me, Bigfoots to the right,
Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.

Well you started out a legend,
And you're proud that you're a self made deer,
And my brothers, they all come huntin’,
Shoot me in the back and say,
Please.... Please.....

Well I don't know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that Phillip ain't right,
I'm so scared in case I see a big hairy hand,
And I'm wondering how I'll find my deer stand,
Ghosts to the left of me,
Bigfoots to the right, here I am,
Stuck in the middle with you,
Yes I'm stuck in the middle with you,
Stuck in the middle with Thunderhoof.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sunday Rain

As stated, we got caught by the rain Sunday morning and once again did not get finished with planting the fields. Worse, the fertilizer buggy had to go back on Monday. We spent Sunday morning unloading the mixture into barrels and the big grain hopper. This rain needs to stop.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Where Are We Hunting???

While planting on Saturday, we found this shed antler with six points on one side. Needless to say, the rush is on to hunt that stand. It was found at the Persimmon Stand across the Beaver Dam.

Pictured are Paul, Burney, and our good friends Trey and Joey Anderson.

Monday, October 05, 2009

First Deer Taken

The first deer of the year has been taken off of the Christmas Place Plantation Hunting Club. This doe was taken by Burney Howell with a well-placed shot at 23 yards off of the Pond Stand. What he was doing on Matt's Stand, I don't know.
This deer weighed 130 pounds and is the beginning of a great year for everyone.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Last Weekend

Last weekend we did not get much accomplished because of the rain. It quit Saturday afternoon and Trent and I headed to the T-Field. We repaired that stand (no thanks to the Mailrider) and then headed over to string a cable across one of our entrance roads.

From there we eased over below the BeeHive Field and cleared lanes for one of Trent's secret stand in the middle of a thicket.
No I do not want to hunt there.
Trent is starting to get the fever and reminded me not to publish any pics or stories about any deer we see. Yeah, I'll get right on that.

We are set for this weekend. Everyone is coming to help finish up the planting, the fertilizer is on the way and hopefully the weather will remain clear.
Burney is trying to bowhunt this morning so maybe I can give a successful report when we return home.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October Finally Here

October has finally arrived and there is a slight feel of fall in the air. The mornings are crisp and cool, leaves are starting to fall and football is in the air.
Likewise deer season is about to begin. This weekend we will finish all the planting at the famous Christmas Place come hell or high water.
October is also the time that I start putting out my Spooky Stories and, of course we all celebrate when Thunderhoof discovered America.
Good luck to all the bowhunters and I can't wait to get to camp.