A Good Year

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Well the clock says it all.  Deer season, bow season specifically, opens Saturday morning. I have the countdown clock above set for 7 o’clock Saturday morning.  With the beginning of the season I would like to take a minute to say a few things.

What our camp needs most is “A Good Year”.   A lot has happened in the past year and most of it is a result of “not so great” years in the past. We have a new set of bylaws.  We have new leadership and our participating membership looks quite a bit different.  The bar has been set high for this year.  So far we seem to have transitioned pretty well.  I know our camp preparation is not what it has been in the past, but at the same time, an enormous amount of work has been done which says a lot about the future.

Let’s talk about the future.  It belongs to the camp membership as a whole and how we perform.  We need to be “self-policing”, in fact, that is a responsibility that has directly been placed on us by our biologist.  Our bylaws include general rules and QDM.  We can certainly interpret the general rules as we need to and I already am aware of some adjustments that need to be made; however,  when it comes to our QDM and rules that relate to our contract, we need to be strict to accomplish a “Good Year” as it relates to ATCO and their policies.

First, let me remind everyone that NO BAITING OF ANY KIND IS ALLOWED.  I say that knowing that every single person in the camp knows better.  BUT, just in case, like John Kennedy said when he told the military to stand down a second time during the Cuban Missile Crisis “there’s always some poor SOB that doesn’t get the word”.   Don’t be that person.

We are a “still” hunting camp now and many of our members prefer to hunt food plots.   That is all well and good, but I would like to warn everyone that food plots are “nurseries” for the deer, especially this time of year. The following best practices are recommended all year, not just early season.

  • Young button bucks that have been forced away from the family unit will find the food plots a delicious treat and with their limited experience and in their lone bachelor lifestyle, will see little reason to avoid them.  BEWARE THE LONE DOE ENTERING A FOOD PLOT.   You must examine any doe carefully.  Does have a rounded head as opposed to the flattened look of  a young button buck or young spike.  With the added time that still hunting provides, you can and should be able to determine if a deer is a buck without horns.
  • Insure does are of a mature size, small deer can be button bucks.
    • In my experience, young deer often have a kind of fuzzy appearance.
    • Beware of relying on a scope to examine deer.  They all tend to look large enough in a scope.  My advice is to invest in a small pair of binoculars which can be focused.
  • Please avoid taking deer with spotted fawns, this is early season. Spotted fawns can be bucks and they need their mother.  To help prevent this, give does enough time to bring their young into the plot with them.
  • Regarding buck harvest, please use the advice provided by our biologist:“Most publications list either 15 or 16 inches of width from tip to tip of an alert whitetail deer.  Generally,  per biologists in our area, a deer measures 14 inches from ear tip to ear tip.  A best practice is that if one can see an inch outside the ear on either side one may conclude it is a 16 inch spread.  As far as beam lengths go, there are way more variations on what to look for, but generally if the beam extends to the nose it will have 22+ inch beams.Recommended best practice for those that are trying to field judge deer is to wait until you see that that there is NO question about whether it will make the specs or not.  If you have to wonder and try to decide and waffle back and forth, then generally that deer is going to be too small.”

Jeff has the scales, extractors and saws and will bring them down Saturday, hopefully, along with his tractor.  Marc and Pink brought the generator to the camp last Saturday.

So, good luck on this season.  And, let’s stay positive and keep the camp on the right track to a “Good Year”.

With that I am going to post a video of a deer I watched last year and “let walk”.

Thanks,

Glen

 

 

 

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9.23.2016 Workday Report

Clyde, De, Marc, Pink and Steve and myself were on hand.

  • Steve brought a little chain like harrow made for ATVs and he used it to run over the rye grass seed that we put on the fresh dozer work that was prone to erosion.
  • De and Clyde worked on cutting back the green/cistern road and parts of cable road.
  • Marc, Pink and I cut back the north duck hole ATV trail on River Road which Joe had knocked down for us with the dozer.
  • We cleaned up and piled all board with nails etc left at the old deck site.  If Boo could pick up the pile and drop it with the rest of the deck that would be great or we can just burn it in place.

I checked on the early season food plots planted by Craig and Brian.  They looked like they were doing really well:

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Should be interesting to see what they look like.  Craig said the little fern like leaf is the vetch.  There is rape, vetch, wheat and oats and turnips planted.

The roads still looked good, the rains were not enough to cause any real damage to the fresh dozer work.  Running over them with the trucks and packing them plus planting the rye grass seed will hopefully help.  I wish we had hay or something to put on them but the leaves are falling pretty good and will help to put a little natural mulch on them in some places.

That’s the work that was done.

Thanks,

Glen

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Status Report and Workday for Saturday 9.24.2016

Saturday 9.24.16 is a planned workday.  Items that need attention are:

  • Review dozer work, check for problem areas from recent rains
  • Rye grass seeding on fresh dozer work ( I have a hand seeder I can bring)
  • Choose food plots for planting, compute acreage for planting
  • Stands on the roads- (up for discussion, bring them to camp or inventory in place)
    • De Lewis has mentioned he could make tags to identify stands
    • If we have the stand tags then we could tag each stand and inventory them and leave a book at camp so they could be checked out with location
    • We need a way to locate stands or make persons checking and moving stands accountable for the binder to be removed before the March 1 ATCO deadline
  • Install newly keyed locks (depending on if Larry is present and has the locks finished)

Earlier in the week I talked to Larry.  He has a tractor he can bring but no bushhog, at least not one small enough where he can get it on his trailer with the tractor.  He is asking a neighbor about borrowing a bushhog, if he can’t borrow a bushhog, then he could use Boo’s disc to disc-up the food plot near Rock Ford which is ready for disc’ing.

I talked to Jeff E. this morning.  Jeff will bring Charles’ tractor down Sunday morning and bushhog the big fields.  He has to drive to the coast in the PM so he will only be able to work the morning, but depending on work situations he may be able to do more during the week next week.  He  will definitely be down the following weekend to do more.

Jeff has a new disc and is going to loan his small Kubota with the disc on it to Barry to bring down. I can’t remember what Jeff said about when, so I’m not sure of the timing for this activity.

Boo will be home on Oct 4 and is on coming to the camp Thursday or Friday, most likely Thursday.  He will be able to get most of what is left done.  He will be able to bring a bush hog and his disk is already there. He will just need a list of what needs to be bush hogged and what needs to be disked at that time.  Boo said “So if they can get done as much as they can this weekend I will clean up when I get home.”   

On our planting weekend, Oct. 15-16, Craig has a 15 gallon atv seeder we can use.

That is what I know and what we have plans for.  We are not planning to rent a tractor. DeVinney doesn’t have anything until Oct 7-10th and the rate is $535 with an implement and a trailer, per day on a weekend, $400 per day without a trailer.   That’s a 50 horse with a 5ft bushhog which weighs at least 3,700 lbs and would require a pretty hefty truck.

I am certain there are other tasks to accomplish but this is all I can remember.

Thanks,

Glen

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Early Season Plots Planted, Tractors Needed

Last Thursday, 9/15, Craig and Brian planted four plots with rape, vetch, turnips, wheat and oats.  I understand that Brian almost keeled over with anaphalactic shock from an allergic reaction to the seed dust.  Thanks to some Benadryl and a tough ole fireman’s can-do attitude he was able to stay with it.  Along with the rain we got this past weekend, some little plants should be grunting their way to the surface this week.  The plots planted were:

  • Last food plot on Hill Road (#28)
  • Last food plot on Pine Log
  • The last food plot on Creek Road, the low plot next to the creek
  • Middle Tree food plot

James is working on planting the plot he normally hunts near Rock Ford tomorrow.

This weekend we will need tractors, tractors, tractors with bushhogs to get the fields cut and ready for our big planting on fish fry weekend.

  • From calling around I understand that Jeff may be there with Charles’ tractor, will verify
  • Joe is going to ask and see if he can borrow one
  • Barry has tractor but has no implement as I understand
  • I understand Larry may have a tractor?

Now that Joe is done with the bulldozer, we are adding up our expenses  to estimate whether we can afford to rent a tractor.  I would like to only do that as a last resort as we have been blowing through some cash to get the camp in shape.  So please let me know if you might be able to get a tractor to the camp this weekend or sometime soon to help me make a decision on renting a tractor.

Thanks,

Glen

The Rock Ford Indian Mound

Ragsdale Hunting Club has an Indian Mound on it.  At least I am pretty sure that’s what it is.  For the longest time as a new member I thought it was a “Pig Pen” because that’s what everybody called it.  Apparently some farmer in the past had put wire around it and used it to keep stock, probably pigs, and that’s why it was called the pig pen.   You may still here a member refer to the “Pig Pen” and this is what they are talking about.  It is located about 50 yards northeast of Rock Ford near the Ragsdall creek.  It is hard to see it off in the woods whenever there are leaves on the trees, the photo below was a March photo.

The people who created these great earthworks were ancestors of the Choctaws, Chickasaws, and other contemporary tribes. They were members of the Mississippian culture that rose a millennium ago and flourished for five hundred years (AD 1000-1500).  They are all gone now, wiped out by the diseases brought by European explorers and also hunted down after they attacked Fort Rosalie in Natchez.

Don’t dig in it, my understanding is that it’s against the law to do so because it is an archaeological site, whether it has been made public or not.  Plus, you won’t find anything, the mounds were ceremonial and very little has ever been found in them.

Mississippi has them all over with the Grandaddy near Natchez along the Trace, Emerald Mound, which is a real trip to visit, .   Not too far down the Trace from the camp, it’s worth a visit.  Mississippi has a new mound trail too, you can read about it at Mississippi Mound Trail

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The Mound

I am sure that the flat where the Ragsdall and the little spring fed creek meet must have been a great campsite.  I have found at least one arrowhead in a salt lick nearby and another on the road.  I imagine the rock formation which forms the crossing at Rock Ford probably extended all the way to the creek in past times.  It would have been a good place to bathe, wash and obtain clean drinking water.

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I wish someone could explain the presence of this underlaying “floor” of Rock at Rock Ford.

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Rock Ford, with a solid rock bottom, unlike the “ole bad mudhole” around stand number 10 on River Road, this is the only water crossing on the camp where you won’t get stuck!

One day when I was hunting nearby Rock Ford I couldn’t help but notice a large rock sitting in the woods off by itself.  There were no other rocks nearby and it occurred to me that the rock must have been placed there by someone.  Of course loggers move all kinds of stuff around but this rock was near the edge of the creek, on the bank and it just didn’t look like some log skidder could have kicked it up.  It was a kind of square rock and it was sitting square and flat and it didn’t look haphazardly kicked out of the ground by a skidder. It just had the appearance of having been placed there.  I became curious as to whether it possibly was a rock an Indian or Pioneer had  saved for some reason.  It occurred to me it might be the right kind of rock for chipping out arrowheads which is something I had tried to do but never seemed to be able to find the right kind of rock.  I took it to the camp and tried getting it to shear in a way that would be good for making arrowheads.  Well it didn’t break cleanly and had a kind of fine sandy powder in it so I realized it wasn’t something good for making arrow heads, but I was still curious.  I took a piece and started trying to make it chip, but it just didn’t chip in the concoidal fractures that is required for arrowhead construction.  Finally,  I just took two big pieces and rubbed them together which produced a distinct crackling sound.  In my cabin, which was pretty dark inside, I rubbed the two pieces together while looking in in the space between.  I was surprised to see tiny blue flames and I could hear the crackling sound plus a kind of burning smell, which convinced me that Indians must have used the rocks for fire making in some way.  I have made sparks from flint, but this was something unusual I had never seen before.

Gosh, how long had that rock been sitting there in the woods where some Indian must have left it?  What kept them from ever getting to use it for its purpose?  How did they use it?  These are all things to think about while sitting in a deer stand while sharing the same area as our ancestors.  I can’t ever hunt near Rock Ford without thinking about it.  I am constantly looking around the woods and trying to imagine how the Indians lived there.  Oh, and of course, I feel like I am sharing in some way their life as I sit in  a tree with a bow in hand, hunting in a similar fashion in the same area they had hunted.  Finding an arrowhead while holding a modern bow, to me, is a moving experience.

I have  a round cylindrical rock nearby which appears to be an Indian tool.  A member was on his tractor scraping the road when suddenly a rock, disturbed by the blade, began rolling down the road.  I followed it and picked it up.  It was obviously made to be almost perfectly round by continuous use in grinding grain or some activity.

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I have found two arrowheads near Rock Ford.  The best places to look for arrowheads, in my experience, is in the undercut banks around the Ragsdall or rocky feeder creeks.  Obviously rocks are heavy so the best place to make one is near the rocky material.

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Arrowheads are hard to find at Ragsdall but fossils are not.  I found this fossilized piece of wood in the small feeder creek which makes Rock Ford.

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Ragsdale has a lot of history and we are lucky to have it.

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Bulldozer work – Nice!

The old deck is gone!  Only one OOPS! when the water line broke and Barry and Allen had to repair it back.

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South from camp at Pine Thicket.

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Rise going up into Locust Thicket.

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In between Pine Thicket and Locust Thicket.

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Just before the salt licks and Middle Tree/Jesse’s Road intersection.

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Starting down Middle Tree.

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Halfway down the big Middle Tree hill.

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Joe opened up the drainages good.

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Success!  Middle Tree field in a pick up truck. Been a while since I could have done this.

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Starting down the big hill on Cedar tree going down from the food plot just after Middle Tree.

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The last food plot on Cedar Tree before the Rock Ford flat.

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The last little hill before the flat to Rock Ford where I had to lean way over to the left on Clyde’s ATV to keep us from falling in the giant ditch in the middle of the road.

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And…

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Workday Participation and Accounting

 

Members,

First, thanks to everyone participating in our recent  workdays.  Participants have been great and the camp is definitely getting in shape.  We can drive a truck easily all the way in to Middle Tree field and Rock Ford thanks to the bulldozer work provided by Joe Strickland.  Many fields have been sprayed by Craig Millett and are ready for bushhogging and planting.  I really appreciate the extra workdays folks have been putting in to get the job done.

That said, there has been a noticeable absence of a large segment of the member population during these crucial workdays.  I would like to remind everyone that Ragsdale is still on probation.  Remember, we are on Ragsdale 2.0 right now, it’s a new club.  We need all the help we can get to demonstrate to ATCO that we deserve a new lease.

I understand there were two significant work days in the Spring on 3/4 and 3/5. I have the records and have been looking at them.  Of course this was before the major intervention by ATCO and necessary reorganization of the club.   How the board counts these days may differ from what the members may be thinking.  The reason I am concerned is some individuals have not shown up for a work day since the reorganization, but their names do not appear on the camp register for 3/4 & 3/5  or they may appear only once.   I am not trying to minimize the work days performed, the binder removal, wood cutting and splitting and bridge work is greatly appreciated.  I would like to ask you to look at the pages from the log book below for 3/4/2016 and 3/5/2016:

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There are few sign in times and no sign out times.  Others appear for one day, not two days.  Board members were present on those work days and can verify the work done.  Our bylaws specify a minimum of six hours to count as a work day.  See bylaw par. 17 below:
Members will be required to work 3 work days of at least six hours per day, per year.  The fine is $100.00 per work day missed unless the work day is made up.  Work day fines must be paid before hunting is allowed.  Work day’s can be made up individually by signing in the register book and reporting verifiable work performed as well as notifying a camp director of the made-up work day.  Workdays are based on a calendar year from February 1st to January 31st.


Those members thinking they are “good to go” regarding the 3/4 and 3/5 workdays probably need to review the camp register.  Please fill out a page in the “Work Day Log Book” for each of those days you expect to be counted. Include your hours worked and a description of the work.  Ultimately, the board will review and determine whether you have met your obligations before any fines are assessed.  Let’s make sure we are all on the same page, but there is certainly no rule preventing anyone from working more than three days.

 

There are three bags of rye grass in the cabinet and we have fresh dirt all over the camp from the bulldozer work.  This would be a good opportunity to “bag” a work day spreading seed on the fresh dirt as soon as possible. Also there is a workday planned for September 24th and October 15.

 

If you have work days for 3/4 and 3/5 and your name does not appear, or if you worked two days and only signed in once or if the data is incomplete, please email me or call me with that information as soon as possible so that we may discuss it.
 
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9.10.2016 Workday Recap

Yesterday’s workday was a huge milestone for us.  Greeting everyone at the gate was a big ole yellow bulldozer which Joe had placed there earlier in the week.  It was a thing of beauty, knowing how bad the roads need the work.

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Barry, Allen and Steve got to work cutting back our overgrown roads while Clyde and I scouted down Mr. Brown for some gravel.  Joe began cleaning out ditches and making a road around the bridge for the gravel truck while we waited on Mr. Brown’s driver.

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One load of gravel was placed in the last curve right before the camp, one was placed north of bridge in the low place in front of the hill and a small portion was dumped in the curve below the area where the water-line is prone to exposure, leaving a pile there for future use.  Joe smoothed it out and packed it for us.  With a little dry weather, the ditches cleaned out and some travel on it, the gravel will pack in nicely.

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The fields that were sprayed were dying back nicely.  The following are the first two food plots on Pine Log.  I know there are two schools of thought on spraying, cut first/spray first, but we simply had to get it started, we just don’t have enough bushhogs or time to cut it first.  This way at least the heat should be out of the grass when we cut and disk.

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I left the camp with Joe headed south on Cedar Tree, which needs dozer work badly all the way to Rock Ford.  While I am on the subject, special thanks to Joe for making this happen.  I would gladly get on that dozer and do some of it for him, but I am sure he would agree, we don’t need a dozer upside-down in some gully!

I placed the temporary “Ruger”” lock for James on the main gate.  I spoke to Larry and he said he should have the re-keyed camp locks back soon.
Billy was there to pull his trailer out but Allen purchased it from Billy, so Billy’s trailer is now Allen’s (“De”).

I managed to break both a hammer and a ditch bank blade, making it a costly workday for me.  I did manage to pull most of the posts from the Ricky/James deck.  There are some good, long, treated 2×4’s in there that were used as joists, but Joe has probably pushed that thing into the gully by now.  If he has pushed it, then good riddance to that snake infested, potential rusty nail in the foot mess!

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Brian and Craig will be down Thursday of this week to do some food plot preparation for bow season.  I am sure they would love some company.

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Vernalia Plantation

I bumped into this tidbit while researching maps of our lease.   Most of you know about the Indian Mound near Rock Ford, but have you encountered the old farm implement down in the woods nearby?  If you draw a line between the Indian Mound and Middle Tree Field, down in the bottom there is an old, iron, farm implement of some kind down in the bottom along the ditch that runs to Ragsdall Creek.  If you bump into this old implement you will be in the approximate location of an antebellum plantation, Vernalia Plantation. Yes, really.

I found this in a book, “Mississippi in Africa”.  There was a quote by a Mrs. Edna Regan of “Vernalia plantation”, that in the 1940’s many families in the area were “too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash”.  It also said that “Edna and her husband were forced to set up house in one of the dilapidated slave quarters”.  Could that have been the old house on the corner of Regan and Hankinson that burned down?  There is nothing there now except those ancient cedar trees which were, no doubt, there at the time when Union Troops camped on the plantation and looted the Rocky Springs home.

The location provided for Vernalia plantation is

Latitude: 32.1001539
Longitude: -90.8362144

When I put this location into Google maps, it comes up with the approximate location of that old iron farm implement on our lease.  My drawing is approximate, I can’t really see the Indian mound or Rock Ford, but it’s close enough.

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A little further research via Google uncovered the following excerpt:

VERNALIA
– Erastus and Sinai Foster Lum; Maj. Robert and Mary E. Foster McCay – Dst. 3. Two miles west of Rocky Springs on road to Hankinson’s Ferry. One-and-a-half-story frame house with porches supported by white columns. Large closets are unusual features. During the Civil War, Union troops camped on the plantation and looted the Rocky Springs home.

Wow.  I don’t know if the lady with the quote was the same woman that used to shoot over our heads when we put the dogs in by her property or not, but I can’t help but wish I had talked to her while she was still alive.  That is, without the shooting over the heads part.

Well, “too poor to paint, too proud to whitewash”,  that about describes us doesn’t it?  Some things never change!

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