By JOHN L. SLOAN, email@example.com
I have walked the woods and fields of this country and others for quite a few years. I started out hunting with a single shot, Winchester, 20-gauge and some olive drab coveralls for camouflage. I progressed from doves, squirrels, rabbits and waterfowl to deer and on to elk, bear and caribou, and just about everything that roamed.
I have a closet full of hunting equipment. To say I have watched, even studied hunting and the concept and feelings about hunting change would be a great understatement. In brief, a quick way of explaining what I have seen and feel follows.
1950s: Almost no posted land. Just about, anyone could hunt anywhere there was land. Some hunters asked some did not. Except for the old, traditional hunting clubs with huge acreage tied up, there was almost no leasing except in Texas. Dogs were a standard way of hunting deer and hogs in the south. On occasion, fences were run over, livestock escaped and fields were rutted. Landowners sadly shook their heads and posted property.
1960s: More posted land, permission usually granted by asking. Some hunters did, some did not. Some hunters left gates as they found them some did not. Some abused the land some did not. More posted signs and more leasing to those with the money to afford it was the way it was becoming. More attention was given by wildlife agencies to securing land and managing it for wildlife and non-game species.
1970s: Much more posted land and the posted signs were backed up with legal action. When asked sometimes permission was granted, sometimes not. Some hunters observed the rules some did not. More land went into leases, usually for private use.
As the deer herd grew, much more utilization of WMAs. Poaching increased, trespassing increased. The My daddy always hunted here and I will too.
Attitude replaced respect for the posted signs and understanding regarding leased land in many areas.
Deer and turkeys began to proliferate and hunters gave more attention to them. Trophy hunting, hunting for big antlers began to grow and become big business. The support industry-products to help hunters be successful-started to boom.
Manufacturers hit the market with products that had little or no field testing and there were plenty of willing hands with open checkbooks. Magic potions and cant miss calls replaced woodcraft and experience and the hunting industry exploded.
1980s: The deer herd now approached 500,000 in Tennessee and deer hunting began to grow steadily as some small game hunting began to seriously decline. Hunters, wanting to insure a place to hunt and try to manage the deer they wanted to hunt, began to lease more land and in larger tracts and post it and enforce the posting. Trespassing got even worse and poaching grew. Now we had a muzzleloader season. Bag limits increased.
Traditional bowhunters ramped up their feud with the compound shooters and bowhunting technology began to spiral upward, causing even more controversy. Compound shooters lobbied hard against crossbows. In-line mzls would cause the end of the world as would lighted sights, expanding broadheads and a strong north wind. A chasm began to widen between various forms of hunting, each group certain the others were wrong and detrimental to hunting. Trophy hunters looked down on meat hunters. Bowhunters objected to rifle hunters having a longer season. The petty objections became almost endless.
Through all of this, the numbers of hunters remained relatively steady and even grew in some aspects as the quest for a monster animal grew. Attention was given to Quality Deer Management and an organization was in place just for that. However, in the vast majority of cases, QDM simply meant an effort to grow bigger antlers.
1990s: The proliferation of leasing began to cost many hunters their old hunting grounds. Some could notunderstand why they could not hunt that big tract of hardwoods they had always hunted.
Just because some rich city guys leased it and the landowner made some money was no reason to keep them out. In fact, by God they wasn gonna keep me out!
To add fuel to the flames, more states began to allow crossbows during the regular archery season and for sure, that was the end of the world. I t mattered not that the deer herd in those states continued to grow and throve.
Instead of banding together for a common cause, lets by God split up some more and argue with each other.
An offshoot was the push by the minority to regulate what bucks could be killed by the majority.
The minority feeling was, We want antler restrictions and a reduced bag limit on bucks. You should give it to us even though the majority of hunters are opposed to it.
Little or no thought was given to sound biological management and that there was no need for antler restrictions or a reduced buck bag limit. Only older deer with larger antlers counted as far as the minority was concerned.
Landowners, seeing the dollars in leasing hunting rights, started actually seeking hunters to lease their land.
Some just charged to hunt and took as many hunters as they could with no regard to the effect on the game. As the habitat for wildlife shrank, so did the habitat for hunters.
Guiding and outfitting for big game animals became a major industry in some states that had never before seen guides for deer in their state.
As the demand for big antlers increased so did the demand for hunting land to lease. Hunting replaced corn and beans as the cash crop in the Midwest. Family farms that barely scraped by now could command big money for their 200 acres of prime deer land. That farm was no longer open for the neighbors to hunt.
2000: So far, everything is right on schedule. I am quite confident we are going to see more and more leasing and closing of lands to hunters and we are approaching European style hunting. And in that approach, I am sure we are going to see hunting, as we know it, lost all together. I dont mean next year or 2050.
However, the future of hunting is starting to look shaky for my grandchildren and for sure, their children. That concerns me far more than can I hog hunt or can I shoot a young deer. In the past 11 years, I have seen tremendous emphasis put upon huge antlered deer and less and less put upon enjoying nature and learning the ways of wildlife. It has become far easier to bait them or buy a spot on one of the high-fence operations. Thankfully there is little of that in Tennessee.
Last September made 57 years I have been hunting and watching hunting. Each decade I have seen a just a little less of the pie available to Joe Hunter. Many in the industry, in either the equipment end or the writing end have been warning of this for several years. Few hunters listened. Want to kill a hog? It costs X amount of dollars.
Want to come hunt deer? X amount of dollars. European hunting and the end of hunting as I/we know it. I wont see it. None of you will.
But it is coming. However, you can kill a world class, monster buck for a mere $30,000. You can even look at pictures of him first.
I sincerely hope I am wrong. Each year, I have seen what I predicted come to pass. Each year, I see more emphasis put trophy antlers and less concern for simply enjoying the hours in the outdoors. We, none of us, have to hunt for subsistence.
We can buy food far less expensively that we can kill it. Certainly many of us eat what we kill and enjoy it. We share with others. The meat is utilized. That is not always the case.
Perhaps it is time all of us who enjoy outdoor sports started taking a hard look at not what is best for us but what is best for hunting.
Good. Now I have that off my chest.
These experienced and seasoned hunters discuss what it takes for a buck to have antlers this size. The deer on the wall prove they know where to find them and it is not behind a high fence. They were all killed fair chase and with archery equipment on public land.
By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post
There was little discussion or disagreement during the Lebanon City Council regular meeting Tuesday night as all agenda items passed unanimously in a short span, the council approving a contract with Johnson Controls, Inc. that could save the city millions in the long run.
Council approved a performance contract with Johnson Controls, a company that provides services and solutions to increase energy efficiency, which will make many improvements across Lebanon to save the city money.
In February 2011, the company approached the city and in March began an evaluation study to determine what improvements could be made to the citys infrastructure.
Improvements to be made include lighting changes in city buildings, high-efficiency equipment installed at the citys Water Treatment Facility, heating and air conditioning updates, water and gas meter replacements and upgrades as well as leak detections for pipes.
During their initial work session, representatives of Johnson Controls estimated the city could save between $7 and $8 million by instituting the improvements. By lengthening the term of the contract, the city looks to save around $11 million.
The council also entered into Hold Harmless Agreements with Horn Springs Group, LLC and Hamilton Station Apartments, LLC for placement of landscaping, paving, columns and signage for the Hamilton Springs transit-oriented development.
While the landscaping and signage would be in the public right-of-way, the city will not be responsible for maintaining or repairing any improvements that are placed or built.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From Post staff reports
A Lebanon man was charged with his third DUI after a reported hit-and-run accident sent a woman to the hospital.
The incident occurred at approximately 6:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 2. Lebanon Police officers responded to the hit-and-run traffic accident on North Cumberland Street at the Dollar General Store. The victim, Amanda Vaden, 27, of Lebanon, told officers that her vehicle was struck by another vehicle that had left the scene. She was transported to University Medical Center by Wilson County Emergency Management Agency.
Based on the description given, the suspect vehicle was quickly spotted by responding officers. The driver was identified as William Lee Rawlings, 56, of Lebanon.
A news release from the Lebanon Police Department said that in plain view of the officer, a medication bottle containing Lortab was on the drivers seat. Mr. Rawlings advised he had taken the medication earlier. Mr. Rawlings submitted to field sobriety tests and exhibited signs of impairment. Lortab is commonly prescribed for pain.
A check of Rawlingss driving record revealed two prior Driving Under the Influence convictions, as well as three prior Driving on Revoked license charges. His most recent DUI conviction was in August 2011.
Rawlings was charged with Driving Under the Influence 3rd Offense, Driving on Revoked 4th Offense, Leaving the Scene with Injury, and Failure to Render Aid. He is scheduled to appear in General Sessions court on Feb. 7.
By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
Pat Suddarth, former principal at the Wilson County Adult High School, was named the new principal at Wilson Central High School Tuesday morning, just in time as students return to school today.
Wilson County Director of Schools Mike Davis made the announcement at WCHS yesterday morning as administrators and faculty returned to school. Former principal at WCHS, Darian Brown, resigned the position at the end of the fall 2011 semester.
Were excited about her accepting this new challenge, Davis said.
A teacher for 33 years, Suddarth has been the principal at the Adult High School since 2009 and before that was a teacher at the school since 1999. A Lebanon resident, Suddarth has been teaching in Wilson County since 1978, when she taught Chemistry and Biology at Mt. Juliet High School.
Following that, Suddarth taught Math and Biology at Lebanon High School. She later earned a Masters in Education in Administration and Supervision from Trevecca Nazarene College.
Davis said Suddarth will have a positive influence on WCHS and said the staff and administration will not miss a beat despite replacing leadership in the middle of the school year.
Its always difficult when you replace someone in the middle of the year, but shes ready to go to work, Davis said.
Brown is to be assigned as a reading coach for the spring semester at West Wilson Middle School. He held the principals position at Wilson Central for nearly two years and prior to that, was a teacher / coachfor 16 years.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at email@example.com.
By PATRICK HALL
The Wilson Post
Narcotics detectives with the Wilson County Sheriffs Department executed a valid search warrant at 380 Clemmons Lane in Lebanon on Tuesday, Jan. 3, recovering felony amounts of marijuana, prescription pills, several weapons and cash.
According to the department, the warrant was obtained due to the alleged illegal narcotics traffic that had been reported at that location. Occupying the residence at the time the warrant was executed was Nathaniel Shane Gipson, 33, a female and three children.
During the search, detectives recovered and seized a felony amount of schedule VI marijuana, schedule IV prescription pills, assault rifles, shotguns, handguns and a 2003 Ford Mustang and $627 in cash. Sheriffs Department Det. Alan McPeak said all of the weapons were either in a bedroom or within close distance.
Evidence supporting the alleged sales of narcotics reportedly included several digital scales and other drug paraphernalia. Documents and records were recovered as evidence supporting the illegal sale and proceeds received from illegal transactions.
Gipson is a convicted felon, and McPeak noted those charges are for theft of property. He said Gipson did not have any felony narcotics charges. However, owning firearms is illegal for a convicted felon.
Since he is a convicted felon, hes not allowed to own any firearms, the detective said.
McPeak said the department contacted the local Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in Nashville and requested an investigation for the possibility of federal weapons charges.
Im not sure if were going to pursue that option, he said.
McPeak said a grand jury investigation will begin soon and any arrests will be made following that investigation.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Coach Larry Inman's birthday, Lebanon High's Devilettes rallied from 13 down at intermission to defeat Wilson Central 42-40 Tuesday night in Gladeville.
Mackenzie Lamberson's putback of a Julia Fox miss just beat the final buzzer for the game winner.
"I told the girls, we just needed to get some stops there in the second half and they responded. Bottom line, we just needed to play a little better. To come here tonight and come away with a win against a team like Wilson Centtral is a great honor for our kids," Inman said.
Soph Kristen Dedman helped key the comeback with four second half 3-pointers and finished with 12 points. Fox led LHS with 15 points. Lebanon improved to 8-7 overall and 2-1 in District 9AAA play.
Central's Sydney Vanlandingham led all scorers with 20 points while Taylor Peterson chipped in with 10. WCHS finished 7-of-8 from the line, but a mere 1-of-13 from beyond the arc.
The Lady Wildcats slipped to 9-4 overall / 2-1 in 9AAA play with the loss.
The boys game was all Wilson Central from the jump as the Wildcats took a commanding lead at intermission and went on to down Lebanon 71-37.
Three Wildcats reached double figures, led by 19 from Jacob Williams, Dee Oldham with 17 and Tyler Soffiantino with 13. Central improved to 11-2 overall and 3-0 in District 9AAA play with the victory.
Lebanon (5-10 / 0-3) was led by Cameron High with 19 and Case Sloan had eight points.
LHS will visit Station Camp on Friday, Jan. 6while Wilson Central travels to Gallatin High.
MJCA wins two at Boyd Christian
McMINNVILLE -- Mt. Juliet Christian Academy swept a doubleheader at Boyd Christian Academy Tuesday night.
The Lady Saints went out to a 26-0 first quarter lead and never looked back en route to a 44-7 win in the opener. Now 6-6 on the season, MJCA was led by 14 points from Shelby Leech, 12 from Lynnze Ethridge and 10 points from Jessica Melvin.
The nightcap found the Saints riding a strong second quarter burst in a 56-50 win over the Broncos.
MJCA (7-5 overall) overcame a 16-10 Boyd Christian lead with an 18-7 run in the second quarter. The Saints never trailed again. Jackson Harrell led MJ Christian with 14 points; Ben Wankel had 13 and Sam Mummert chipped in with 12 points.
MJCA will be on the road Friday, Jan. 6 for a twin bill at Webb School in Bell Buckle.
Mt. Juliet hammers Portland
MT. JULIET -- Two lopsided wins went up on the Mt. Juliet ledger Tuesday night as both the Lady Bears and Bears hammered District 9AAA opponent Portland High.
The Lady Bears of Coach Chris Fryer improved to 15-2 overall and 3-0 in the league with a 55-19 victory.
MTSU-signee Caya Williams led all scorers with 17 points while Jamasha Jackson had 10. Helen Mitchner knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with nine.
The nightcap was all Black and Gold as the Bears led 15-0 after one quarter and went on to record a 57-25 victory over the Panthers. MJHS (13-3 overall / 3-0 in 9AAA) was led by 12 points from C.J. McEwen and 10 from Quinton Hall.
Mt. Juliet will entertain league foe Beech High on Friday night, Jan. 6.
Watertown splits with RBS
WATERTOWN -- The Purple Tigerettes dropped a 47-41 to District 8A rival red Boiling Springs Tuesday night, despite 20 points from Morgan Gartner.
Watertown (10-6 overall / 0-1 in 8A) led 23-22 at intermission, but RBS took control with a 17-10 third quarter run.
Hayley Clark had eight points while Hailey Speck had five and Kristen Vantrease four for Watertown.
The Purple Tigers wasted no time in putting the hammer down in Tuesday's nightcap, racing to a 24-5 lead en route to a 68-26 victory over the Bulldogs.
Watertown, now 13-2 / 1-0, was led by 13 points from KeAnDre Bates and 12 each from Nick Sackman and Ty Jobe.
Watertown will be at home Friday, Jan. 6 to take on in-county rival Friendship Christian School.
FCS splits with Gordonsville
LEBANON -- Gordonsville's Lady Tigers knocked off Friendship Christian 41-30 Tuesday night in the District 8A opener for both teams at the Bay Family Sportsplex.
GHS closed out the game on a 12-3 run as Friendship dropped to 6-5 on the season.
Andi Morrisett led FCS with 13 points while Deja Jones had eight.
Mark Sandoval broke loose for 22 points as the Friendship boys thumped Gordonsville 76-44 in Tuesday's second game.
FCS, now 9-2 overall / 1-0 in 8A, got 16 points from Allen Heaston. Dalton Patterson and Sam Lancaster had eight points each for the winners.
Friendship will be on the road Friday night at Watertown High.