Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mud and Blood

Across from Big Woods WMA,A nice piece of nature conervancy property

No name creek on Big Woods State Forest Virginia

So the weather has not cooperated much this year,anywhere in the United States for outdoor activities.Locally we went through Hurricane Irene with the rest of the East Coast.Fortunately,personally all I lost was time to spend outside.The creeks,rivers and lakes were all flooded and way past unfishable.September goose opened up on the 1st however the storm has the birds spread out.I had electricity,A.C. and a home,many people lost these after the storm so I had little to complain about.I decided to switch gears,take a drive and see if I could add some new hunting and fishing spots to my arsenal.

Give it a few years,this path won't look this nice

I ended up at the Big Woods WMA in Sussex county,Va.I was informed about Big Woods at the end of last Summer and never got a chance to make the hour drive to check it out.Big Woods is an interesting WMA in many aspects.First it is one of the few WMA that was purchased using funds from the state hunting/fishing license and ammunition tax.The last part is fact,I researched it.This next part is suspect,who owned the land prior.Before heading to the property I noticed online the maps were much like a rainbow in color.This is because it is one part state forest,one part private property,one small part WMA.Once I arrived on the property,I noticed the Nature Conservancy owns a very large portion of land surrounding the area.I suspect the land was purchased from the Nature Conservancy as they have unfortunately been struggling in the last few years financially.This is not fact,I am speculating.So regardless of who owns what and where it came from,it's now public and mostly free.

Plenty of deer around if that's your thing

I entered on a small access road not labeled on my maps but labeled on my Garmin etrex gps,thank you Garmin!No I didn't get a free gps but i wouldn't turn one down either.The roads were signed forest property and the gate was open.The sign said "While hiking,biking,hunting,fishing,permit is required."Well I was driving so on I went.Now you can imagine the interior roads 0f forest property and a WMA after 10 inches of rain.Let's just say thanks for 4wd whoever came up with that concept.The ultimate goal was to try and find a few creeks I was told about,follow the creeks to the swamps,locate wood ducks for hunting in October.It kind of went like this,drive down bumpy,muddy road,look at gps,move fallen tree,drive,drive,looks good I'm stopping here.I pulled off the "road" and slapped on my Lacrosse knee boots,again not free,they just rule.I followed the path until it ended,then I located a million deer prints,a few bear prints,coon prints and zero water.I jumped back into the truck and headed to the WMA part of the property.

It's funny to me that this property,being managed by two different state agencies,look exactly the same.I was really worried that one side of the property would be well managed and the other would be neglected.This wasn't the case!The entire property is well signed,foot paths are cleared,roads are as good as you can expect.I was actually amazed the roads were open after all the rain.I guess the fact is that the property just switched hands last year so it hasn't had long to be neglected.So on I bumped around trying to find a creek bed to follow and I did.Now that the temperature was up around 85 with ridiculous humidity,I was less than happy to trounce through the woods but i did.Being careful to avoid freshly downed trees i worked my way down the creek.With my gps in my hand I walked through thorns,moved limbs,stepped in water I had no idea of the depth,yes this is what I call fun.I never found the wood duck promise land.I headed back to the truck,sat on the tailgate and took it all in.My sandwich that is!No seriously I did enjoy my lunch on the tailgate,covered in mud and blood.I looked at myself thinking,why do I continually do these kinds of activities?The answer,because I love it!It's a sense of self accomplishment,even though I didn't accomplish anything.It's knowing now that if anyone asks me about this piece of property i have personal hands on knowledge of it.It's knowing that,I could have stayed home on the couch,but I didn't.I got outside and took in nature and to me that's priceless.Until next time,get outside everybody,seriously.


The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

How long is the drive to these new areas?

tugboatdude said...

This area is about a 50 minute country drive away.It's definitely worth another visit this Winter when everything isn't so overgrown.I do my best scouting in March for sure.

sophia smith said...

The photographs you have shared here is really beautiful..Thanks a lot for such an informative blog post.I would like to see more photographs..Please keep posting..