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Lloyd3 Online Content OP
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We were supposed to fly SouthWest into Buffalo on the 26th of December. Found out on Christmas morning (& not from SouthWest) that the airport there was closed and not expected to reopen anytime soon. A quick review of the air transport system (& our options) wasn't very reassuring so...we drove it. Threw out the in-laws after Christmas dinner(!) and packed up our 5-year old crossover Mazda (which nobody but me liked before this trip) and hit the road a little after 6PM here. Got on I-70 East of Denver and took it all the way to Columbus, Ohio. From there up to Erie and then the "Lower Tier Expressway" to Salamanca, NY, dropping into Pennsylvania from there. Three drivers and 23 hours of straight driving (not for the faint of heart). We actually got there about when we would have otherwise if we'd have flown. I did fine until we visited a little bar & grill the following evening where my now-deceased brother-in-law's oldest daughter was working and saw his photograph on the wall of "Local Heros" (the establishment is owned by a former LEO as well). Change is hard, eh? No bird hunting or fishing this trip, just lots of little visits with what remains of my other friends and associates from my past-life there. The driving tour across the country was an interesting view of current conditions "on the ground" for several states (Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, and of course Pennsylvania. I can report that the "infrastructure" that the politicians like to talk about, all the way across the country... is looking pretty shopworn (St. Louis seemed to be the worst). I have remarked to my family (for many years now....something of a broken-record I fear) how bad things looked to me in at-least my part of Pennsylvania, but the rest of the country we crossed was looking pretty tough to me too. Another thing that I had noticed back there in the last few years was how, even in what was historically the more-remote areas, there were people now trying to scratch out an existence. Many (if not most) of my old coverts back there now have houses (or trailers) on them. I guess I'm not sure if I'm just-another angry old white guy or if I'm really seeing something unfold?

Last edited by Lloyd3; 01/03/23 02:41 PM.
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Can’t comment on the first of those two but definitely know the second is true. I make that drive (as far as STL) multiple times a year to care for an elderly aunt. I spent my first 22 years in Missouri and so much has changed, some for the better but far more for the worse.

As for the wild places and the hunting grounds of our youth, I’ll let a real writer speak to those:

“I came by there five years ago and where I shot that pheasant there was a hotdog place and filling station and the north prairie, where we hunted snipe in the spring and skated on the sloughs when they froze in the winter, was all a subdivision of mean houses, and in the town, the house where I was born was gone and they had cut down the oak trees and built an apartment house close out against the street. So I was glad I went away from there as soon as I did. Because when you like to shoot and fish you have to move often and always farther out and it doesn’t make any difference what they do when you are gone.”
Ernest Hemingway - Remembering Shooting-Flying

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Good that you quoted one of Hemingway's "Key West letters" written in the mid-1930's for Esquire magazine, and prior to his covering the Spanish Civil War..My middle of three daughters gave me for Christmas this past year the newest book on my all-time favorite author-- "Hemingway on Hunting" edited by Hemingway's surviving grandson, Sean Hemingway, whose late father Gregory was Hemingway's last of three son. My favorite of his many works will always be "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" and that is contained in this book, along with the equally as moving- "The Snows of Kilamanjaro"-- So far, my favorite has been "The Shot". One of the many, many reasons I am drawn to Hemingway's life, and work, and avid hunting and fishing- I am always discovering something new to learn about this most complex writer. RWTF


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Of the 20 favorite quail spot from my youth 18 have either houses or trailers. No loss, since quail do not live there or anywhere else these days. My best marsh in my teens is now owned by the State and holds about half the ducks of a modest size zoo. There are things which are better. Deer are a pestilence and turkeys which were never seen now are more common than turkey buzzards. Also state game wardens are more plentiful than coveys of quail, just not as much use.

As to the roads in my travels I have to say that Maryland and Ohio seem to have the most consistent, well maintained road. PA does seem to have some of the saddest roads I travel. Worn out and no sign of any ability to fix them.

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This form of "progress" has largely been lost on my little part of the world, thankfully. Oh, there is a nuclear power plant up the river aways, across from Savannah River Site, but both are in isolated areas that required the loss of not much good bird habitat. Indeed, other game coexists with the two mega-plants. Because this part of Georgia is so intensely agricultural, and because the counties for the most part have recognized the value of this to the local economies, there has been farmland protection steps taken over the years. There are covenants available to reduce landowner's taxes in exchange for promising not to develop the land. I live between two large state owned wildlife management areas. While this has caused some consternation because of our proximity to them, in the way of poachers who claim they thought they were on Yuchi, or Tuckahoe, it also has provided many opportunities to hunters and fishermen.

There is no longer a huntable population of quail, but they aren't completely gone, and have adapted to their habitat changes successfully. The population on my properties, and on those surrounding me, holds it's own. They're tough little boogers and my hat's off to them for surviving against overwhelming odds. Learning to escape to thick woodlots is the biggest difference I see in their habits. They just don't get out in the open broomsedge fields and harvested grain fields as much as in the old days. They never seem to be more than a few second's quick flight to thick stuff, by thick I mean impenetrable ........ by most hawks, or man. Hunters don't bother them much anymore. Lots of new houses being built here, stick built houses. More irrigation systems going in, on farmland. that's a sign that it will likely remain undeveloped for quite awhile.

I know I am blessed to be able to "escape" the day to day clockwork of life by running down to the nearby Savannah River. I can literally back my truck up to my boat at my shelter, drive to the landing, and be in the water in not much over 5 minutes. I can be at the sandbar in 20, from my yard. Everyone needs a place they where can enjoy a brain drain. I'm just fortunate that many of those places are still nearby me.

Savannah River, South Carolina side on the left looking downstream, between Stoney Bluff Landing and the US 301 bridge.

[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

Last edited by Stanton Hillis; 01/06/23 08:22 AM. Reason: spelling correction

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I hate to see so much woodland being cutdown around me. Our neighbor had a jennie fly into her backyard the other day. I assume from the neighboring woods being bulldozed

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Originally Posted by journeymen
Our neighbor had a jennie fly into her backyard the other day.

What is a jennie, journeymen. I've never heard of the term other than for a female donkey, but spelled with a "y" instead of "ie".
JR


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Jenny is the opposite sex of a jake. I hear it all the time. Gil

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Reminds me of old Doc. Breckenridge at U of Minn. He filmed prairie chickens dancing where Met. Stadium was built and now it is gone.

But sort of the opposite around here as lights go out on the small farms and the landscape becomes more barren. Their small pastures and hayfields, as well as the rod of native prairie public right-of-way bounding all the sections are gone as well as many of the basin wetlands. The wetlands that remain are mostly beds of cattails and willows surrounded by 'roundup-ready' cropland. These former areas of meadow and shallow marsh once supported the most species of plants and animals in the Prairie Pothole Region.

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Lloyd, I'd guess part of the problem is that you picked the worst possible time to travel back east. Nothing looks great a day after a winter storm and blizzard. I'm sure the unexpected change in travel plans didn't help either.

Development has always been something hunters dislike. But it has happened everywhere some humans saw an opportunity. About 20 years ago, I was hunting near Tionesta, Pa., not far from your hometown. I met an elderly guy sitting on a log in the woods, overlooking a creek bottom on the Taylor Reserve. He was at least 80 years old, and as we spoke, he pointed to the hillside across the creek, and told me he was born over there. Now, the only sign of human activity was old overgrown logging roads, some long abandoned oil well casings, and the remains of an old pump house with part of a large hit-and-miss engine. So of course, I asked him about being born there.

He told me there was a small village there that was all gone soon after the Great Depression hit. He said there were several houses, a general store, a violin maker's shop, a sawmill, and a coal dump station. There was also a narrow gauge railroad line that served the area, and hauled oil, coal, and timber. That explained how they probably got that large hit-and-miss engine and cast iron flywheel so far back in the woods. I told him I never noticed any sign of that, except for the rusted oil wells and pump house. So he went into detail about where remnants of old stone foundations and signs of the rail line might still be found. I paid close attention on later hunts, and found some. All that remained of the rail line was some regular depressions in the ground where the railroad ties had been before rotting away. I was amazed at how quickly the earth had swallowed up almost all signs that this had been a place where people lived and worked.

And I'm sure you've heard of places near there like Pithole City and Petroleum Centre in Cornplanter Township. Both are Ghost Towns where virtually nothing remains. Petroleum Centre had several thousand people in the 1860's until the oil wells stopped producing, but all that is left are stone steps from a bank building. In the 1860's Pithole City was an Oil Boom-town that quickly grew from a small farm in the wilderness to a town of nearly 20,000 people. Old photographs show it was an environmental disaster where almost every tree for miles around was cut down to build derricks, pump houses, oil storage tanks, barrels, hotels, buildings, saloons, theaters, churches, and brothels. Oil spills, leaks, and fires scarred the land. Dirt roads became a sea of mud, crude oil, sewage, and waste. It was said that toxic muck covered the horses that pulled the Teamster's wagons, and caused them to lose all of their hair. Yet when you walk and hunt that area today, there is barely a sign that it ever existed, and it seems like a pristine woodland with crystal clear streams. If you can snag a copy of this book on Pithole City by William Darrah, you'll find it fascinating:

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania in Tioga and Lycoming counties looks like a geological feature that was created over a million or more years. But in reality, it was a relatively shallow valley in a conifer forest that was very quickly carved out by massive erosion soon after the virgin timber was clear cut. In fact, Pennsylvania was predominately conifer forest until early settlers repeatedly logged it, and it turned to mostly deciduous hardwood forest. That was a huge change that helped habitat for game and hunting. It also opened the door for agriculture.

You saw the pictures I posted here a couple years ago of some of remains of early stone iron making furnaces that were built in Pennsylvania during the 1800's. Every time I hunt near some of these ruins, I'm blown away with the fact that these now heavily wooded areas were once heavily logged and mined to get the charcoal, iron ore, and limestone that fed the furnaces for years. Most ran until almost all trees were cut down for miles around, and it became uneconomical to transport wood to produce charcoal. I'd guess that didn't help hunting in those days. But without iron and steel-making, there would be no firearms to hunt with either. Nor the means and materials to build a nation.

If you think about it, even Stan's farm, and all the farm lands we love to hunt because of the allure of agriculture to wild game, also represents development. Before Stan's ancestors worked to clear the land and build a farm, there was probably native woods and swamps, and possibly remains of Civil War battles. For many of us, some of the best hunting opportunities we have are on or near farms. And without that human encroachment, poverty and starvation in the world would be much worse.

Change happens to the places we hunt. Some is bad, some good, and all is temporary. The change in our country that really bothers me is the recent cultural change that seems like it may do far more damage than any urban development or environmental disaster. I'm talking about a weird and mentally ill world where depraved people try to indoctrinate our children, and convince us that perversions are normal or that men can become women... and expect us to accept it without question. I hope humanity can recover from that.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

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