George Block

Column George Block

George Block is a sports columnist who loves the outdoors.
21

Oct 2017

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Attempting to re-establish the pheasant population not an easy task

There are some people whose hair will stand up in anger when the long-gone pheasant population is mentioned. It is difficult for those under the age of 55 to truly understand just how common it was to watch a cockbird cross the lawn or to flush one from a local cornfield. Some dogs would be working in these cornfields with the hunter. You would see the pointer freeze, exposing the bird’s hiding spot, and the flush dog would be hot on the bird’s tail, only to watch it cackle and fly where it was safe from the annoying canine but exposed to the waiting shotgunner.

Two things happened last week that revived my memories of flying birds and the trusty side by side scattergun. First of all, to our astonishment, we watched a male Ringneck Pheasant casually stroll across our yard. We live a long way from any gamelands or, for that matter, cornfield. It jogged my memory back to when such a sight was common. That was before the bottom fell out. Everything from farming practices to disease have been blamed for the demise of the wild pheasant population, but it doesn’t really matter for the wild flocks are long gone.

Another reminder of the pheasant came from George Furda, who invited me to see the pheasant- and quail-raising operation done by the Westland Sportsmen Club. This was a reminder not only of the birds but of the individuals and clubs that sacrifice so much time and money improving all outdoor endeavors. Furda and Chet Krcil of Claysville are two who were there that day. Krcil is active in Pheasants Forever and President of the Washington County Sportsmen League. He works hard, along with this club, to improve habitat for these birds. Krcil does a lot of things toward this end, preparing for the yearly sports show at the mall, attending meetings in other counties and notifying other clubs of various goings on. These people do these jobs with no expectation of thanks.

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07

Oct 2017

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Of antler restrictions, elderly hunters and the buck mentality

One is never too old to learn. I am a perfect example of the truth in that statement. I have spent an abundance of time in the woods watching deer in their natural environment, yet little do I really know. Those were the years when Eileen and I would tramp to a local farm and often just sit and watch.

It was in the fall and the air was crisp, all the leaves were showing their spectacular array of crimson, orange, brown and yellow. Occasionally, we would be startled by the T-wonk of a flock of passing geese flying over in a beautiful bright blue fall sky. As I watched their flight, I remember thinking of that old joke: Why is one leg of that V formation longer than the other? Because it holds more geese. Back then, we assumed most flights were headed south for the winter. The reality is they stay here all winter and create a nuisance.

Sitting along the edge of the woods, we could see the pair of fox squirrels as they made their way back and forth from den tree to corn field. The corn field made an eerie sight when the sun dropped over the top of the woods. It had been picked, leaving a stubble with a few ghostly stalks still standing. The evening birds dart back and forth grabbing a last meal before roosting and the sky was giving up a meal to a dozen swooping nighthawks. Today, I ask myself when I last witnessed this evening sky show? It has been some time since I last saw a nighthawk, and longer still since I heard the plaintiff call of the Whippoorwill. Of course, we also frequently heard the hoo-hoo of a stationary owl watching every move we made.

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01

Oct 2017

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Somes dos, don’ts and maybes for hunting deer

Well folks, deer season is just around the corner. The weather has been hot and many of those bucks that were seen earlier are now little more than buzzard bait but still bow hunters will enter the woodlots with high hopes.

After all, there will still be deer that escape the ongoing battle with EHD. Many more years have been spent watching deer than I care to admit and I have a lot of opinions on deer habits and behaviors.

While I have had little schooling on such matters, I was once told there is more than one way to learn. We can learn through text books, history or experience. I guess my learning has come mainly from the latter. It is surprising how much one can learn by just sitting and watching.

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23

Sep 2017

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EHD could be problem again for deer in area

Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease.

Just writing the name makes me shudder. It’s like an old deadly enemy has returned.

I hope my information is wrong but I am again hearing reports of EHD striking south of West Finley. It was not that long ago when John Dino and I travelled this area finding dead deer along almost every waterway. Little streams feeding into the Enlow were littered with dead deer. One could hardly step outside without smelling the death in the air.

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