2017: A Great Year To Come Home!


2017 was a good year to move back to West Virginia. After working for the U.S. Navy for 30 years, I decided that I wanted to go home. A place where the outdoors is a way of life. Many people ask me about “retiring” from the Navy, but I only retired in name, not reality. I put in 19 years, active and reserve, six years as a government contractor and five years in government service, all intertwined to equal 30 years. Confusing huh? Let’s just say I joined the Navy in 1987 and left in 2017 and leave it at that. Needless to say, I made a good choice. I have never been healthier, never been more at peace as I have been since I moved home.

I got back to West Virginia on a Saturday, and unloaded my bed, and some belongings so that I could have a place to sleep that night. After a good night’s sleep, I got up early Sunday morning and had a cup of coffee and sat outside enjoying the cool breeze and just taking it all in. I decided to walk to the creek and see if I could catch a bass. After about 10 casts of my buzz bait, a musky hit and for the next 15 minutes of fighting, he just spit it out. It was a great welcome home for me!


For the next few months, I spent a lot of time with family, fishing with my nephews, taking my niece to the movies. It was a great summer, and catching up with everyone was priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We caught fish, turtles and really had a good time, just the way summers used to be when I was growing up.

 

 

 

 

As summer ended, I needed to get back to work.

Of course going back to work, meant
that my time spent with family and in the outdoors was going to be limited. But I still had time to hit the woods a few days.

 

 

 

 


 

I was able to spend a day here and a day there working the trail cameras that were set and each time we looked at them, it was like Christmas morning, we were always surprised. First morning of rifle season and all the preparation paid off, when I took my largest buck to date.

 

 

But the biggest highlight of 2017 for me, was being able to be with family for the holidays. It had been many years since I had been in West Virginia for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I can say it was worth coming home for.

I believe that 2018 will be a good year for me, but 2017 was a great year!

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The Smell of Fall: Hunting Season is Here!


Ah, the smell of fall! Leaves falling (not fast enough in the south), squirrel season is open, bow season is open and people are hitting the woods. In a few short weeks, all the leaves will be down, the smell of firewood will drift through the air and then comes the grand-daddy of seasons, Bucks Only gun season.
sightin-in

 

Every year, during the early seasons, it is a time to get out with family, scout your areas, sight in your guns and have some real fun, all to get ready for buck season. Of course in the south, that same time is also a great time to fish.

 

This year I was fortunate enough to be allowed to hunt on a piece of land very close to where I live, so I bought a new trail cam and set it out. Every time you check the camera card, it is just like Christmas, because you don’t know what you are going to see walking past your camera. Today I was happy to see some deer, a coyote, raccoon and an armadillo (as you can see in the photos below).

img_3926This past weekend, I decided to go to a wildlife management area and hunt some squirrels, as stated above, the leaves in the south are very reluctant to leave the tree right now, so it made it hard to see the little nut eaters!

I was successful in taking one squirrel, which will taste delicious very soon. But more important it was just a nice stress-free day, with no noise except for the wildlife. Believe me, I need about 364 days of that!

Now that we are full into fall, awaiting the first frost, just being outside allows you to breath better, think better and relax… until the BUCK shows up! The excitement is always swift and never goes away no matter how old you get. A few years ago, I went back home to West Virginia to hunt with my family. The day before season came in, we took a drive and got some great photos of deer. Buck-2One in particular was chasing does in the field across from the house. The next morning we got up to hunt. It was freezing rain and cold. As I sat in my favorite spot before daylight, I noticed my eye was twitching. After a couple hours, it bothered me so much that I decided to go to the house to find out what was wrong. Walking along a path, I looked over this bank into this “holler” and I saw a deer. It turned its head and I saw it was huge, the same buck I saw the day before. So I pulled my gun up and my scope was wet and fogged up. I cleaned it quickly and pulled up again, only to notice the deer was moving and I had the scope set on the highest power. I saw brown fur and pulled the trigger! Dang it, I missed and because I didn’t take the moment (that I didn’t think I had) to readjust the setting! 

Needless to say, I kicked myself all the way to the house to find out I had put my contact lens in backward. So two lessons learned and a 10 point was still running the hills.

deer

Fortunately, a couple days later, I took a nice nine point
The lesson here is, that at 52 years old, I still get excited, even after harvesting close to 100 deer in my lifetime, each one brings something a little different each hunt. Also, missing is still part of hunting. You will never get every thing you shoot at. I had a guy tell me once, I have taken every deer I have shot at. I told him he needs to keep that to himself, because being cocky and thinking you are a great shot will come back in a big way. And of course it did, he went turkey hunting, had a nice gobbler 15 yards away and missed. I didn’t let him live that down, nor should I!

With all of this being said, the one thing to take from all the jibberish I just wrote, is go out, enjoy the outdoors, make memories with your family and tell tall tales about the one that got away. Next year at this time, I will be back in West Virginia in my old hunting grounds and filling my tags. I sure do look forward to that!

Best of luck this hunting season and I hope that the your aim is steady and your freezer gets filled.

Note: I really like the app called Prisma, turns a normal photo into a work of art. As you can see from some of the photos above.