This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land

Kids Outdoor Outpost August 2020

Joe Schuster | August 2, 2020

With the last pops of Fourth of July fireworks, my thoughts turn to the upcoming deer season. As a bowhunter, I usually spend time in the summer heat slinging arrows at a variety of targets and distances. That’s one of the biggest keys to bowhunting. Practice, practice, practice. However, this year will be slightly different. Uneven asphalt threw one of my early weekend bicycling treks around the county to an abrupt halt. My bike hit soft gravel, rolled immediately to the ground and resulted in extensive damage to my right hand. After six weeks in a cast, I had success in drawing my bow, but I was unable to rotate my wrist to activate my release. We have a long season, and with some rehabilitation, I should be good to go soon.

My recent injury has shutdown my biking and swimming workouts. As a result, I’ve increased my hiking jaunts in the woods. North Georgia is covered up with some great trails. My sister and I hit a couple of good ones at Yonah Mountain and Bearden Falls. At Yonah, we witnessed a coyote running wide open across our trail, chasing or being chased. It was a long and arduous hike, but the views at the top were incredible. Bearden Falls is in the Chattahoochee National Forest, and after about a 2-mile hike, it provided us a glimpse of a beautiful waterfall.

Many of my hikes are closer to home at Sawnee Mountain Preserve. One side of the Preserve is home to the local favorite “Indian Seats” that offer a great view of north Georgia. It’s a pretty easy hike, and on clear days you can see mountain peaks in both Tennessee and Georgia.

The other side of the Preserve is home to a more aggressive trail. Not much is offered in views, but if you want a good 5- to 6-mile, up-and-down workout on a rocky surface, this one is it. Just a few days prior to writing this piece, I came upon a twin spotted fawns on this hike. They were very curious and allowed me to get within about 10 yards of them before they bounced off. I’m sure that mama doe was somewhere close by keeping an eye on them.

With the onset of COVID-19, more people are seeking the outdoors as a way to relieve some of the daily stress that can build up. I wrote about that in a previous Outdoor Outpost column, which depicted the rise in the amount of turkey hunters that my son and I noticed on the WMA that we hunted. I suspect that we may also see an increase in public-land deer hunters, as many folks are still at home with either work, furloughed or no longer required at their job.

With the increase in outdoor enthusiasts, many of these folks are somewhat new to being in this type of environment. Hey, welcome to the Great Outdoors! What I’ve noticed on my hikes is a sharp increase with the amount of trash that has been left in the woods. Let’s remind everyone that if you pack it in, you pack it out. I really don’t want to see any debris left by another hiker or hunter when I’m enjoying my time in the woods and on trails. If we’ll keep it clean, we have a great opportunity to pass it on for future generations to enjoy.


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