Thursday, February 23, 2012

Come Along and Follow Me

The new blog is up and half way running.I have yet to acquire a new camera but it is on my list for Spring shopping.number one I want to thank all the people who have stuck with this blog over the last few years.Some of my posts were informative,some were pure rants that didn't need to be put down on paper.I hope you will all follow along with the new blog as I strive to write better stories and take better pictures.I look forward to any and all comments as to how I can improve the new blog. The new blog,Keeping it Rural,is waiting for you to follow along.Thanks everybody and take care!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Outdoors Education,Get One

*Prime Hook is NOT where the following violation took place*

I have been in the past one of the many idiots with a fishing pole/shotgun participating in outdoors recreation.That being said it took a few lessons learned in my younger years to show me that if I wanted to be outside I needed to understand it.I'm talking about everything from plant identification,a work in progress,to wildlife rules and regulations.I was reading on another website of an egregious wildlife violation that happened in broad daylight,in plain view of a public audience,on a National Wildlife Refuge.To sum up,a professional photographer had submitted some pictures to the local newspaper.An image of snow geese on the NWR was chosen for the front page,beautiful picture by the way.The next morning the locals read the paper.That afternoon an idiot decided someone leaked good information on where those dang ol snows been creeping round.He went to the NWR,in front of others,with a shotgun and blasted into a large group of snow geese killing two and crippling others as the story goes.After the few up to date photographers and locals questioned the man he was oblivious that not only was what he was doing wrong but EXTREMELY illegal.So I have been told he was later arrested and charges are sure to follow.So what's the point?The point is this local yocal decided well pappy and me used to kill them there sky carp all day and night when I was a littlin!He probably has not acquired a license or even a regulation handbook in years if ever.The papers will be all over this and he will be labeled as a "hunter".A "hunter" that has broken the law to a ridiculous extent.This in turn makes us all look bad.Which in turn adds fuel to the fire of let's say anti Sunday hunting bills.So I say well done you stupid bastard and thanks from all of us who spend hours and hundreds of dollars to keep it legal.I will let everyone know how this specific event unfolds in the court and in the local papers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bad Luck at the Best Time

One last try on the Blackwater River

If it was going to happen I would vote that it goes down in February.I came home last week,after being gone for 29 days,to an angry house.It started with a flat tire on my old Ford ranger.Easy enough,I can fix that!A few minutes later while retrieving the tools necessary to change the tire I noticed my yard was a bit mushy.As I stepped closer to the well house I heard the pump running almost non stop.Strange because I was running no water.I took the top off and bam,problemo numero dos!So I figured before I cut off the water I needed a shower.I came inside turned on the water and BAM,the shower drain is clogged,problem three.Now imagine being gone for four weeks and coming home to two minor problems and a major one.Not exactly relaxing in any way.So I made a few calls and lined up a service tech for the water pump,the leak was underground and I'm not about to go digging up the yard to find it.I may have drank a few adult beverages that evening while I changed the tire and snaked out the drain.The next morning brought very little good news financially as I was hit with the realization that Sanford and Son installed the last jet pump in my well and it was ancient.So I pulled the trigger and bought a new one,with a new tank and new plumbing.Being a homeowner has its rewards but they will cost you.So the next day I had a Canada goose hunt planned and the bad luck came with it.

Princess Anne WMA February 2012

the season for Canada geese goes until the middle of the month out by me because we are in a different population then them there coastal fellas.With liberal limits,five a day,and plenty of geese around it's hard not to go.I mean what else is there to do in February outdoors?I met my friend who called and said he had a sure thing field lined up for us.The truck was jammed packed with lay out blinds,shells and floaters.He got in and pointed me in the direction to drive.BAM!I quickly informed him where the field was lays literally on the other side of the boundary.Yes the side where the season is closed!He is a bit younger and didn't think to check things out.So I woke up at 330 am for no reason,nice.I did manage to make it out on the river,which is currently holding zero geese,and spent the morning watching wood ducks and mergansers recreate the nutcracker ballet in my goose decoys,duck season is closed of course.Today I met up and drove two hours to Princess Anne WMA to try for snow geese.I know nothing about hunting sky carp but hey it was worth a shot.We only saw a few small flocks and couldn't figure out where they were.We drove a few miles south to Mackay Island NWR and well there they were.Right next to the road and the freshly burned marsh.I love ordered burns but why would you do it on a NWR,where you can't hunt,instead of on the WMA where you can.There is a conservation order in effect for snow geese.They want us to kill these geese,why would you do that!So I may try and get my sanity back once or twice more but the way my luck is going I simply don't want to push it.If this had all gone down a month ago I may have had a problem keeping sane.Is it time for me to go back to work yet?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Blog

Or maybe the blogger formerly known as Tugboatdude.It's time for this blog to undergo a major overhaul.Over the next few months I will be reevaluating what i enjoy writing about and where i want this blog to go.Obviuosly I appreciate everyone who has stuck with me over the last few years and all the nex comers over the last yeear.The Outdoor Blogger Network has been a seriously crucial part of me keeping this going and I don't intend to wuit,just merely change and revamp.A few years ago when i started this blog I wanted to explain my job along with share a few of my outdoor stories.Confession time,it is impossible to explain my job through words and pictures so I stopped trying.I have taken the direct route to an outddor blog and the current format of this blog simply isn't attracting the amount of readers I believe it should.So it's time to change the name and the over all format.I plan on writing a little less and posting more pictures which I believe tell the story better than I ever could.I have fallen in love with outdoor photography and I don't have sufficient equipment for it.So to rectify that I will be purchasing a much better camera than my current Canon powershot,yeah,exactly.Good camera,horrible for the outdoors.So please stick with me as I continue to post on here and I will let everyone know when the new blog is up and running.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Waste of Time?

Ever see this from your couch?Didn't think so!

That seems to be the general consensus among my friends and coworkers relating to my outdoor activities.Everything from hunting and fishing,to hiking and just plain old sitting in the backyard listening to the wind.Over the last few years my financial situation has improved which has given me the opportunity to travel to outdoor destinations previously only seen in my mind.My coworkers and a good chunk of my friends see my outdoor obsession as ridiculous,a waste of time,money and spare time.I will grant them that I should take sometime to do other things,watching movies,throwing my money away at the bar,etc,etc.The problem is I see what they view as fun the exact same way they view my outdoor obsession.So how can I come to enjoy sitting in a dank theater paying 7 bucks for a soda and 12 bucks for a ticket?How do I enjoy a 9 dollar crown and coke at the bar getting lung cancer with every breath?My answer is simple,I don't care to find out and you can have it.Now stop reading useless information on the internet and get outside!

Who's an underwater basket weaver?Not this guy!

I'm 32 and the physical labor at my job makes me feel like I'm 50 most days.Inside me a little child is fueled by the energy to get outside and not waste any minute sitting on the couch.Seriously how hard is it to step outside with your morning coffee to watch the sunrise?Why would someone rather watch the morning news?I forgot,normal people don't get up at 4 am for no reason.I have been inundated with a barrage of,why the heck you wanna go sit in a boat and try to catch a fish at 6 am?You aren't starving so what's the point?Why don't you just go hunting at 11 am,why you gotta be out there at 5am?....Yes the people I work with either have a serious southern drawl or are crazy Yankees.I don't have an answer for these seeming simple questions.I usually say something like,you can't catch 'em from the couch!Or I go another route and ask them,why do you like sailing,it seems awfully gay.Why don't you just start doing flower arrangements.It doesn't really matter whether they think it's a waste of time,the question is do you?It's your spare time,you worked hard all week,month,year,life,so do what makes you happy.If you want to go bungee jumping,do it,want to climb that mountain,do it,sit on your ass and be a lazy American,don't do that please.I'm going to try and find some other things to do that aren't outdoor based.I promise there will be no wine tasting or underwater basket weaving.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

So Close to Lost

Swamp Thing from River Mud Blog waiting on a second flight that never came

Honest question,when was the last time you were lost?For me it has been quite some time,although I did have a near miss about a week ago.It all started innocently enough as just another duck hunt in the swamp.My oldest brother Swamp Thing from the River Mud Blog was in town for a few days of hunting and we were down to our last hunt on his last day in town.I was fortunate enough to secure permission to hunt a beaver pond on private property as our last hunt.This was only my fourth time to the site and my first time navigating to it alone.My worries initially laid with the 2 mile boat ride in the pitch black down river to get to the swamp that leads to the beaver pond.We dumped the boat in the water and with the engine cranked I headed down river at an easy pace.I successfully dodged all stumps,logs,cypress knees and floating debris.It was then that it started raining,fortunately the temperature was a balmy 53 degrees.I beached the boat in the correct spot and we loaded up with shotguns,blind bags and a few decoys.Now my focus laid on getting us through the flooded swamp on foot and onto the berm of the beaver pond,aka duck heaven.This was the task I failed miserably at.

Sunrise,December 31st,54 degrees in Southern Virginia

If you were to look at a map your eye would be drawn to the simple fact that to access the beaver pond you would need to travel in a straight line.You could even veer left or right and still find the pond.So how did I get lost?So it's 530 am,in the pouring rain and we leave the beached boat on the river.We enter the hardwoods and have relatively easy travel for about 75 yards minus the occasional dodging of a tree limb or thorn bush.We enter the flooded swamp and the excitement of the duck hunt to come is building inside me.We continue to go "straight" through the swamp.I see an opening up ahead,it's water,I'm stoked I have found the pond with such ease.Unfortunately it wasn't the pond,or even the swamp,it was the river.Yes that's correct i managed to go in a half circle and ended up downriver from the boat,major fail my friends.Now it's at this time that I can't contemplate how exactly this happened and this is my first big mistake,besides getting us lost of course.Cooler heads prevail,right?Well not when I can't let go of how it happened and try to figure out how to fix it.Luckily my big brother was there to bring me back from my Vietnam lost in the jungle rage.I will admit that no tears were shed but many curse words were thrown around.So after some simple deductive reasoning Old Swampy had us back on our way.

You have to show the ducks you aren't scared sometimes

We did manage to make it to the pond right at legal shooting time and even managed to down a few birds that morning.The trip out was quite a bit easier with daylight.This is mainly an outdoor blog,why would I write about how poor of an outdoorsman I can be?I honestly think it's a level of comfortability.I got to comfortable and didn't focus on the important task which was navigating an unfamiliar piece of woods in the pitch black.So comfortable that for the second time this year I didn't have my fancy GPS on me when I actually needed it.Seriously,I spent 300 dollars on a GPS and the two times I have needed it I didn't have it.But wait,I completely forgot that the knife in my pocket had a compass on it.Do you have any idea how helpful that would have been?Sorry for not mentioning that at any time during the day Swamp Thing but you had a shotgun.Apparently in high pressure situations I may not be the guy to go to.I'm man enough to admit that.My answer is to bull rush and throw anger at the problem and that's not the way to go.I'm taking this as a learning experience and I hope a wake up call.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The End of Duck Season

I hit it hard and fast and didn't reap many rewards in the way of birds downed.Over the last two weeks I hunted every possible day except for two.As you all know the weather this Winter has been mild,even with the current cold snap we are going through.The temperatures by the end of the week will be back above normal with rain up and down the east Coast.The birds simply haven't moved from New York and Pennsylvania.Lack of snow cover and above normal temperatures will do that.I will get more in depth over the next few weeks on some amazing hunts I had this season.Not for the amount of ducks downed or even seen but for the time spent with my brothers and new found friends.It's back to work for this guy tomorrow.I hope everyone has had a great Holiday season and stay tuned for pictures and more in depth stories in the next few weeks.Thanks for tuning in!