Search This Blog

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Day on Virginia's Maury River (Blog 244)

Friday, I went fishing on the Maury River with visiting friends from the Potomac River Smallmouth Club ( Jamie Gold and Bill Amshey.  Before going, I told Jamie and Bill that the water would likely be clear and low and that topwater patterns would likely be the key.  I also suggested that they forget about hard plastic minnow baits and bottom bumping worms, that topwater poppers or soft plastic jerkbaits would likely be the patterns.

We struggled to catch quality size smallmouths all day and by the end of our trip, no one had caught a bass of 12 or more inches.  The general consensus was that the bigger smallies had just not been biting.  That opinion was put to rest when a man and a woman arrived at the take-out just after we did.  The gentleman regaled us with stories of his wife's three 19-inch smallmouths caught on hard plastic minnow jerkbaits and plastic worms.  What a pattern he exclaimed - once again proving how wrong I can be while afield either fishing or hunting. One thing was true as is always the case (and as these pictures show) the Maury is a beautiful river.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Just Born Deer Fawn (Blog 243)

Sunday, I was on my way to go trout fishing in Rockbridge County, Virginia with guide Josh Williams ( when we saw a deer fawn standing next to the road.  Josh stopped his vehicle, and I bounded out of the vehicle and began taking photos.

I didn't want to leave the fawn next to the road and knew that the mother doe was likely nearby.  But Josh and I were also concerned that the fawn would blunder out into the road and be hit by a car.  Fascinatingly, while I was taking pictures, the fawn began following me, so I walked across the road and into some weeds and the fawn followed.  Josh and I directed a car around the whitetail, which appeared to have been just born.

And then we decided to leave the fawn to its fate.  The mother doe soon showed up and escorted her fawn away from the road and into a field.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring for the doe and her offspring.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Buff Orpington Chick: Recovering: (Blog 242)

About 10 days ago, the Buff Orpington chick Elaine has named Olivia began, every few minutes, falling over and tumbling then arising again.  Olivia, then age five weeks, also regularly kept her head tilted over and had a hunched stature.

Elaine and I tried various cures such as giving her electrolytes and apple vinegar in her water, as well as spraying her with something designed to kill mites and lice.  We also placed diatomaceous earth in her brooder, as we had separated her from her flockmates.  Nothing worked, and we expected her to die anyday because she was not eating or drinking well.

Then we read an article in Chickens Magazine ( where it talked about the benefits of adding probiotics to water to maintain digestive help.  Elaine did so one morning, but we had low expectations.

When I arrived home that afternoon after a day of teaching high school English, I checked in Olivia's brooder and found it empty - and immediately decided that she had died during the day.  Then I looked in the adjacent brooder where Olivia's three flockmates live and saw her there.  What's more, she was walking about reasonably well, though she still took the occasional "tumble."

When Elaine arrived home, I asked her why she had moved Olivia, and she said she had not done so.  The only thing we can figure is that our sick chick felt better, flew to the top of her brooder, then flew down among her flockmates.

We still don't know if Olivia is going to survive, but she is definitely better and is much more active than before. Below is a picture of Olivia in recovery mode.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Frustrating Morning in the West Virginia Turkey Woods (Blog 241)

This morning I arose at 3:00 A.M. to drive 75 miles to my favorite West Virginia turkey farm, which is in Monroe County.  I was overjoyed to hear three gobblers in the pre-dawn murk, and I was able to successfully set up within 100 yards or so to them.

My last decision was to set up to watch the right or left side of a hump, as one of them would be the likely path of the trio.  To be brief, I chose the right side of the hump and the turkeys came across the left side.

Around 6:10, I heard the sounds of putting and walking, both of which grew progressively lighter as the turkeys left the vicinity.  I tried resetting up on them and anticipating where they might have gone, plus changed calls.

But all my strategies went to no avail, and I came home empty-handed.  I am going to take a personal day from school one day this week and try again.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Hunting with Hanks Game Calls (Blog 240)

Saturday, I took Kimmy Hanks and Josh Gray of Hanks Game Calls ( to my Potts Mountain land, which lies in both Virginia and West Virginia.  Having tagged out in Virginia, I went to the West Virginia section and spent the morning shivering in the cold and not hearing or seeing a single turkey.  I could not even find any fresh sign.

When I reconnoitered with Kimmy and Josh around 11:00, I was fascinated to learn that they had doubled around 8:00 A.M., both killing longbeards.  What's more, they had heard five or maybe even six gobblers, heard them gobbling scores of times, and experienced a scintillating hunt.

Once again, I was amazed at the vagaries of spring gobbler hunting.  I could have sworn that the entire mountain was void of turkeys, yet in one portion of it, there were birds everywhere.  I am going to return to the mountain this week before I go to school, even though I will only have an hour to hunt.