Yellow Jackets to face Gallatin in Tobacco Bowl Jamboree

Trousdale County football coach Brad Waggoner has announced the lineup for the 30th annual Tobacco Bowl Jamboree, which is scheduled for Aug. 10.

The action will get underway at 5:30 p.m. when the Red Boiling Springs Bulldogs take on the freshmen Bison from Station Camp.

File photo / Hartsville Vidette

At 6:30 p.m., the Clay County Bulldogs will go up against the Gallatin Green Wave’s freshmen class. The Smith County Owls will return to Hartsville next for a 7:30 p.m. matchup with Station Camp’s varsity.

The last half of football will start at 8:30 p.m., with the Trousdale County Yellow Jackets taking on the Gallatin Green Wave. The two teams met in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, with each winning on their respective home field.

“I think playing Gallatin in the jamboree here on the Creekbank will be great for fans from both schools to come out and get a glimpse of their teams as we prepare to start the 2018 season,” Waggoner said. “Gallatin is a big school and will definitely be a great measuring stick to see where we are as we prepare to open up against 6A Lebanon in week one of the season.”

Sometimes silence is the best sound of all

A recent TV commercial portrayed a young couple on a camping trip that can’t fall asleep because it’s too quite.

They finally solve their dilemma by playing a tape recording of “city sounds,” and quickly doze off to the soothing wail of sirens, honking horns and snarling traffic.

It’s a sign – or a sound – of the times.

More and more, folks don’t know how to appreciate the quiet and tranquility of the outdoors.

Submitted photo
There is nothing so silent as a snow-draped woods.

Even indoors, some need noise to snooze. I roomed with a city-boy sports writer at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, and our suburban bungalow was so quite that he had trouble sleeping. He went out and bought a tape called “Sounds of the Sea Shore” – waves crashing, gulls squawking – and played it on his nightstand.

He slept like a baby. Meanwhile the seagulls kept me awake all night.

On a Super Bowl trip I had a roommate who insisted on leaving the TV test pattern on all night. He needed the static hiss of “white noise” in order to sleep.

I grew up in the county enjoying tranquil nights. On warm spring evenings we were serenaded by peeper frogs from a nearby pond. Later, on summer nights, the only noise was the chirp of crickets outside open windows, the occasional distant bark of a dog and the lonesome wail of a midnight train bound somewhere exciting.

On fishing trips to the Canadian wilderness the only sounds after dark were the eerie cry of loons and, on one memorial evening, the hair-raising howl of a timber wolf.

It doesn’t have to be dark to be silent outdoors. Anyone who has walked through a snowy winter woods knows what I mean. The snow-smothered trees absorb all sound, and the light snow underfoot muffles footsteps. The hush is so complete that if a cardinal suddenly chirped it might burst your ear drums.

My wife and I do a lot of hiking in natural areas. Last fall we climbed down into a gorge in the Big South Fork where the only sound was the faint plunk of water off a moss-draped limestone bluff. Otherwise we were surrounded by absolute silence. We sat and listened to the silence for a half-hour.

Our favorite place to walk is the 1.3-mile trail around Radnor Lake. Some early mornings are so still and quiet it seems like the woods are holding their breath.

Until along comes a troop of yapping Yuppies, that is. I don’t understand why some folks venture into a tranquil natural area and treat it like a shopping mall. But here they come, jabbering about their yoga class or – worse yet – gabbing incessantly on their cell phones.

Then there are the ones with their eyes glued to their smart phones, thumbs stabbing at the screen. They’re outdoors, but paying not the least bit of attention to the outdoors. Oh well, at least the smartphone zombies are relatively quiet.

I enjoy many outdoors sounds – the patter of rain on a canvas tent, the sigh of wind through pines, the plaintive nighttime trill of a whip-poor-will, the spine-tingling gobble of a wild turkey, the chirping of tree frogs on a warm spring night.

But it’s also a pleasure to simply savor the silence – to just listen, and not hear a sound.

Nowadays it’s getting harder and harder to do.

TCHS baseball, softball open 2018 seasons

Trousdale County opened its 2018 baseball season Monday with a 5-2 loss at Goodpasture.

The Yellow Jackets have three upcoming home games: against Antioch on Thursday, Macon County on Friday and a district game with Red Boiling Springs on Monday. All three games will start at 6 p.m.

Softball: The Trousdale County Lady Jackets will play a district game at Clay County on Thursday before traveling to Gallatin on Monday.

TCHS will then host Monterey on Tuesday. All three games are scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.

JSMS: The Jr. Lady Jackets will host Walter J. Baird on Thursday at 5 p.m., while the JSMS Jr. Jackets will host Westmoreland on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m.

Yellow Jackets baseball eyes at contending in new district

Trousdale County’s baseball team is preparing to open its fourth season under the direction of coach Travis Humes.

The Yellow Jackets will be led by a group of experienced seniors, including a pair of Roane State signees in Logan Hewitt and Logan Calhoun, who will head up the top of the rotation.

Adding depth on the mound will be some young and talented arms in Taylor Ellis, Robert Butcher and Bradley Blair.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
TCHS catcher Hunter Ford (11) fires the ball toward first base after the Jackets recorded a strikeout during Saturday’s Play Day matchup with Mt. Juliet Christian.

Controlling the pitching staff behind the plate will be three-year starter Hunter Ford.

Some sophomores will good potential to see action in the infield will be Ben Chumley, Kobe Pridemore, Will Holder and Elijah Henderson.

Juniors Stetson White and Dyson Satterfield will be called on to play key roles in the outfield.

“This team has a great amount of potential,” Humes said. “They love the game of baseball and each other.

“This season will have some youthful inexperience, but with the right leadership could end up with great success come tournament time.”

The Yellow Jackets will try to improve upon last season’s 9-16 overall record and fourth-place finish in the district tournament. They are expected to be a contender this year in a new-look District 6-A.

Trousdale County is scheduled to open its season Monday at Goodpasture at 4:30 p.m. will return home Tuesday to host Antioch at 6 p.m.

The first district game of the 2018 season will be on March 19 when Red Boiling Springs comes to town.

Lady Jackets softball hopes to rebuild with young team

The 2018 softball season for the Trousdale County Lady Jackets is set to get underway Monday with a game at Mt. Juliet Christian, followed by a home game Tuesday against District 6-A opponent Jackson County.

After coaching the Jim Satterfield Jr. Lady Jackets to a 12-3 record last year, Blake Satterfield has accepted the challenge of rebuilding the Lady Jackets, who went 0-13 in 2017.

“It will be a challenging season, but one that provides opportunity in the future of Trousdale County softball with just three returning starters from last season,” Satterfield said.

The Lady Jackets will compete in District 6-A along with Pickett County, Jackson County, Clay County, Clarkrange, Monterey, Red Boiling Springs and Gordonsville.

Trousdale County’s roster will be a very young one with no seniors, six juniors, two sophomores and 13 freshmen.

Rounding out the coaching staff will be Kyle Gregory, Leah Dickerson and Phillip White.

“The Lady Jackets appreciate all the support in the local community and hope to give fans something to cheer about in the spring of 2018,” Satterfield said.

Future trappers get to test skills at camp

Lebanon’s Clarence Dies was among the instructors at last week’s trapping camp at Buffalo Ridge in Humphries County, and came away encouraged about the future of the centuries-old profession.

Approximately 180 people of all ages registered for the event, sponsored by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and Tennessee Fur Harvesters Association, and Clarence says total participation came to around 400.

“It was twice as many as we expected,” he says. “It was great to see that many people interested in learning about trapping, and especially so many young people. We had a great time.”

Submitted photo
Aspiring trappers of all ages participated in a recent trapping camp sponsored by the TWRA and Tennessee Fur Harvesters.

The second annual event was open to all age ages and provided classroom instruction on running a trap line, fur handling and how to make various sets. Part of the instruction involved running an authentic trap line.

Dies, who last year was named Trapper of the Year by a national trapping association, has been active in the profession for many years. Every winter he runs a trap line in Wilson and Trousdale counties, and is an official with the Tennessee Fur Harvesters Association.

Last year he and some other officials successfully lobbied the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission to make some changes in the state’s trapping regulations to allow earlier times to maintain a trap line.

The TWRA estimates several thousand Tennesseans trap every year, with their involvement varying from professionals who made a sizable return on their furs to others who trap primarily on the hobby level.

The price of pelts fluctuates greatly, depending on the size and condition as well as the global market.

Clarence says most trappers don’t make minimum wage on their pelts when you figure in time spent setting traps, running traps, skinning the catch, stretching and curing the hides and taking them to fur sales such as the one scheduled next week in Crossville.

He says he does it for the enjoyment of being outdoors, carrying on a frontier legacy and the challenge of trying to outfox such crafty critters as coyotes and bobcats.

Trapping has evolved greatly in recent decades. Traps are more humane, and with the encroachment of residential developments into once-rural areas, care has to be taken to avoid catching domestic animals by mistake. For example, there are regulations concerning what type of above-grounds sets can be made.

In addition to fur trapping, trapping nuisance animals is a growing business in many expanding communities. Live traps are generally required, due to the presence of domestic pets, and expertise is required to catch such crafty urban invaders as coyotes.

Also, in the case of skunks, care must be taken to prevent them from throwing their scent around homes and other dwellings.

Trapping techniques have evolved, but the challenge remains the same.

And, based on the turnout at the recent training camp, it appears that plenty of future trappers will be up to the task.

Hewitt, Calhoun sign to play baseball at Roane State

Two Trousdale County athletes signed scholarships last week to continue playing baseball at the collegiate level.

Seniors Logan Hewitt and Logan Calhoun signed with Roane State Community College last Thursday, with family, coaches, teammates and friends in attendance.

Calhoun signed as an outfielder and has started for three years for the Yellow Jackets. Hewitt signed as a pitcher and is entering his second season at TCHS after transferring from Red Boiling Springs.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
From left: Trousdale County baseball coach Travis Humes, senior Logan Calhoun, senior Logan Hewitt and Roane State assistant coach Cam Hamsley are shown during last week’s signing ceremony. Both Calhoun and Hewitt signed to play baseball at Roane State next year.

“I’m itching to start that next journey in their lives with them,” said Roane State assistant coach Cam Hamsley. “Before I got hired at Roane, I saw Hewitt pitch a bit. When I got the job, I knew I had to get in touch with him.

“Logan Calhoun  – both Hewitt and coach (Travis) Humes said ‘Would you be interested in looking at someone else?’ We started talking and I can tell that he is really passionate and hungry for the opportunity to prove himself.”

TCHS coach Travis Humes said he was thrilled to see both players get the chance to play college ball.

“I’m excited for both these guys,” Humes said. “They love the game, love their teammates and they’re going to be great in the classroom.

“I know the Calhouns and the Hewitts both worked hard to get these boys where they are, and I’m appreciative of their parents too.”

TCHS is scheduled to open the 2018 baseball season on Monday, March 12 at Goodpasture. The home opener will be Thursday, March 15 at 6 p.m. against Antioch.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

TCHS puts three on all-district basketball team

Three Yellow Jacket basketball players were recognized for their play during the recently completed season as they were selected to the All-District 6-A team.

Senior Braison Raney and junior Keyvont Baines were named to the third team, while Alex Ford was tabbed for the All-Freshman team.

Raney averaged 14.8 points per game, scoring 386 points on the season and finishing his career with 1,346 points – good for top five all time at TCHS.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County players who made the All-District 6-A team are shown here. From left: freshman Alex Ford (all-freshman team), sophomore Kobe Ford (honorable mention), senior Braison Raney (third team), junior Will Belcher (honorable mention) and junior Keyvont Baines (third team, all-defensive team).

“Braison did so much for us this year,” said coach Ryan Sleeper. “He was our leading scorer and rebounder.

“I wish we could’ve see how good he really could have been. He had a new coach every year but one since seventh grade. I was most proud of his defensive effort this year. We will miss him next season.”

Baines was second on the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game and will enter his final season with 767 career points. His quick feet and effort also landed Baines a spot on the district’s All-Defensive team.

“Keyvont has the potential to be a district MVP-caliber player,” Sleeper said. “He was our best lockdown guard defender and his offensive game grew tremendously over this season.

“He’s already begging to get back in the gym, so I’m excited to see what the future holds for him next year.”

Ford scored 69 points as a freshman, including a season high of 10.

“Alex is going to be special,” Sleeper said. “He was one of only five freshmen to be honored, and in this district that speaks volumes about his game. His best aspect is he’s always in the gym. Once he fully realizes what all he can actually do, this district better watch out.”

Junior Will Belcher and sophomore Kobe Ford were named honorable mention for the all-district team.

On the girls’ side, seniors Katelyn Fergusson and Kaylynn Dalton, along with sophomores Chloe Donoho and Tori Simmons, were honorable mention All-District 6-A.

Claire Belcher was honorable mention for the All-Freshman team.

Fergusson, Dalton and Donoho were also honorable mention for the All-Defensive team.

Yellow Jackets to hold baseball jamboree Saturday

Trousdale County will take to the baseball field this Saturday for its jamboree.

The Yellow Jackets will play against Mt. Juliet Christian at noon, followed by MJCA against Westmoreland at 2 p.m. Trousdale County will finish the day against Westmoreland at 4 p.m.

Admission to the jamboree will be $5.

Crocus appearances mean spring is drawing near

Grandma Harriet called them wild winter crocuses, and even if that’s not their proper botanical name, it fits.

They are crocuses of some variety, and they grow wild – sprouting up in the woods in late winter, beating their domesticated spring cousins to the starting line by several weeks.

The wild crocuses that grow on the hillside across the creek behind my house bloom every year around the first of February. One day the hillside is brown and bleak, the next day it’s a dazzle of white.

This year the wild crocuses sprouted up on Feb. 2. If the groundhog that lives down by the creek poked his head out, I don’t know if he saw his shadow, but he definitely was treated to a carpet of white flowers.

Submitted photo
When wild crocuses bloom, spring can’t be far behind.

When the crocuses bloom, it signals that we’ve just about survived another winter.

The white blossoms are Mother Nature’s flag of surrender.

Granted, she sometimes violates the truce and sneaks in another snowfall or two. One year a snowstorm hit in mid-February and it was hard to see the delicate little crocuses as they poked their heads through the crust.

But the snow eventually melted and the crocuses survived.

That’s the point.

It means we survived too.

The winter crocuses seem to be saying: “Hang on. It’s almost over.”

Their arrival means turkey season is not far off, and the crappie will start biting soon.

Over the years I’ve studied the clusters of crocuses that revel on the hillside. Each bright-green stem is about five inches tall and so slender that as the white blossom grows, its head bows.

The blossom consists of two delicate side-by-side pedals that resemble folded alabaster butterfly wings.

When I began this column it occurred to me: rather than try to tell you what wild winter crocuses look like, I should take a photo.

I hope you appreciate the effort:

The stream I have to cross – Brown’s Creek, along whose banks Civil War soldiers slaughtered each other for two bloody December days in 1864 – is high and swirling from recent rains and melted ice.

The water that gurgles over a limestone bottom is normally about a foot deep. Today it’s two feet. I plunge into freezing water up to my knees.

But being the intrepid outdoors photographer that I am, I forge on. (My wife had another word for “intrepid” when I sloshed home awhile later, muddy ice water squishing from my boots.)

I climbed up the hillside where the wild crocuses bloom and began snapping pictures. As I moved around, I couldn’t avoid stepping on some of the fragile little flowers. I know it sounds silly for someone who without qualm killed six deer and a coyote last fall, but I felt bad about crushing them.

I got my photos, waded back across the creek, shed my wet, cold clothes, and stored the pictures of the crocuses in my computer. I’ll look at them next winter when an icy wind moans. and sleet rattles against the window pane like No. 8 bird-shot.

They are not mere photos of flowers; they are pictures of hope and promise.

Yellow Jackets end hoops season in district tournament

Both Trousdale County basketball teams saw their seasons come to a close last week with losses in the District 6-A tournament quarterfinals.

The Jackets continue to struggle in tournament play, with the boys and girls combining for just one win in the last five years. That win came last year as the boys edged Red Boiling Springs in a play-in game.

The Lady Jackets traveled to Clay County on Monday night, trying to avenge two 20-point losses to the Lady Bulldogs in the regular season. Trousdale fell behind 18-7 in the first quarter and gave up a 16-0 run to start the third quarter in a 64-32 loss.

“We had it within distance at the half, but the third quarter hurt us,” said coach Jeremy Wilhelm. “We can’t have 10 straight possessions to start the second half come up empty and they just stretched their lead out on us.”

Senior Katelyn Fergusson ended her Jacket career with a 15-point performance that included three 3-pointers. Senior Kaylynn Dalton added seven points while sophomores Chloe Donoho and Emily Booth had three each. Sophomore Tori Simmons and freshman Claire Belcher each had two points.

“I’m proud of this team and the girls on what they did this year,” Wilhelm said. “It was a new district for us that is very competitive and will make us better in the long run. This young team has nothing but good things ahead of them.”

The Lady Jackets finished 9-17 overall, 6-8 in district. It is the seventh straight losing season for the team.

The next evening, the Jackets made the long trek to Pickett County for their game. In January, Trousdale had its worst offensive output of the season against Pickett and the tournament game was little different. The Jackets were outscored in each quarter of an 80-48 loss to the Bobcats.

“I knew it would be a tough draw for us, going to Pickett,” said coach Ryan Sleeper. “There’s a reason they have only lost once there this season. I thought we had a pretty good game plan, but foul trouble and their hot shooting made it irrelevant.”

Senior Braison Raney finished with 13 points, giving him 1,346 for his career.

While complete stats are not available, it is believed Raney will finish in the top five all time at Trousdale County. Jonathan Ford had 1,408 points when he finished his career in 2003, while Del Rankins had over 1,600 career points after the 1995 season.

Senior Octavius Rickman had a career-high nine points before fouling out with 1:41 to play. Freshman Alex Ford had eight points while senior Trace McGuire and sophomore Tarvaris Claiborne each had five. Junior Keyvont Baines added four points and fouled out with 7:41 remaining. Junior Will Belcher had two points and fouled out with 7:47 left, and freshman Trent Pharris had two points.

“I’m proud of this group though and the growth they have shown in just one season,” Sleeper said. “These guys have made a hobby sport into a competitive ballclub in just a short time. That’s a testament to their hard work.”

Two other seniors played their final games in Malkam Brinkley and Chase Haynes.

The Jackets finished with a 9-17 record and 4-10 in the district, tying for sixth. Trousdale County now has nine straight losing seasons on the basketball court.

Yellow Jackets earn sweep at Gordonsville

Trousdale County finished off its regular season last week with three nights of basketball action but could only secure two victories.

Both wins came on Feb. 5 as the Jackets went to Gordonsville to make up a game delayed by January’s snow.

The Lady Jackets trailed by five at halftime, then outscored the Tigerettes 39-4 in the second half to come away with a 67-37 victory.

“It was a good come-from-behind win at Gordonsville and we limited them in the second half,” said coach Jeremy Wilhelm.

Photos by Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County recognized its outgoing seniors on Feb. 6. Boys honored were, from left: Malkam Brinkley, Chase Haynes, Trace McGuire, Braison Raney and Octavius Rickman.
Girls recognized (bottom photo) were Kaylynn Dalton and Katelyn Fergusson.

Sophomores Chloe Donoho and Tori Simmons each scored 15 points as the Lady Jackets won their fourth in a row over Gordonsville (1-24, 0-13 6-A). Senior Katelyn Fergusson added 14 points and sophomore Emily Booth came off the bench to score a career-best eight. Senior Kaylynn Dalton had seven points, freshman Claire Belcher five and sophomore Karissa Goss three.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets broke a two-game skid against the Tigers (7-17, 3-10) with a 68-59 victory. Trousdale built a double-digit lead in the second quarter and maintained that edge until late in the fourth quarter.

“It was nice to finally break out of the offensive slump we were in last week,” said coach Ryan Sleeper. “I thought we shared the ball and played a solid four quarters. Gordonsville was our first district game of the year, so this was a nice measuring stick of our growth.”

Junior Keyvont Baines paced the Jackets with 15 points, while senior Braison Raney and junior Will Belcher each had 14. Sophomore Tarvaris Claiborne scored a career-best 12, sophomore Kobe Ford had nine and senior Trace McGuire four.

The following evening, Trousdale County completed its district schedule with home games against Pickett County for Senior Night.

The girls’ game was tied at 19 after the first quarter, but the Lady Jackets were outscored 30-8 in the second quarter and went on to lose 85-44 to the fifth-ranked Lady Bobcats (22-2, 11-2).

The Lady Jackets committed 26 turnovers in the game.

“We hung with Pickett in the first quarter, but they proved why they are ranked fifth,” Wilhelm said. “These games are making us better.”

Donoho netted 15 points and Dalton finished with 10. Fergusson had nine points, Simmons six and Booth four.

After losing by 33 in Byrdstown in January, the Jackets were out to be more competitive on their home floor. Trousdale took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter but was outscored 15-6 in the final minutes of a 51-46 loss.

The Bobcats (18-6, 9-4) were held to their lowest point total of the season.

“This was an intense defensive battle,” Sleeper said. “I was so proud of our effort. We held them to their season low in points, but we have to be able to hit the big shots when they matter in the fourth. But this game proves we can play with anyone in this competitive district.”

Baines paced the hosts with 11 points, while Raney added a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. McGuire had eight points, Belcher seven, senior Octavius Rickman six, Claiborne two and Ford two.

On Friday, the Jackets ended the regular season at East Robertson.

The Lady Jackets trailed by one at halftime but went on to fall 69-57 to the Lady Indians (16-8).

Fergusson had 15 points, Donoho 14 and Simmons 12. Dalton added nine points, Goss three, Booth two and freshman Morgan White two.

“We got too far behind early in the fourth quarter and didn’t have enough time left,” Wilhelm said. “We can’t give teams 19-0 runs and expect to win.

“Preparing for Clay County (in the district tournament) has been our plan all along.”

The boys’ game was close but the Jackets (9-16) fell 67-62 to the Indians (9-15).

“Our main goal in this game was to play a larger rotation and come away injury free for the tournament,” Sleeper said. “I was pleased to see some of our younger guys step up and give some quality minutes.

“This was a nice, competitive tune-up for the tournament next week. It’s been a fun season full of learning experiences, but now it’s time to execute everything you’ve learned to prolong your season. We are excited and ready for the challenge.”

McGuire had his best game of the season, finishing with 18 points. Baines added 16 points and Raney had nine. Rickman, Claiborne and freshman Alex Ford each had five points while Belcher had four.

The District 6-A quarterfinals were to be played Monday and Tuesday, with the girls at Clay County and the boys at Pickett County. The semifinals will move to White County on Wednesday.

Predator hunt helps reduce coyote numbers

There are 23 fewer coyotes and six less bobcats on the prowl in and around Wilson County after the second annual CamoBoy Outdoors Predator Hunt held earlier this month.

That was the critter count checked in at the host Wilson County Coonhunters Club in Watertown by 55 two-man teams of hunters.

“It was a great turnout,” said FoxPro field staffer Mark Larese, who oversaw the hunt.  “Last year we had 36 teams and this year we had 55. That indicates how predator hunting is growing in popularity.”

Submitted photo
Keith Gull and Jon Blankenship partnered to win the CamoBoy Predator Hunt hosted by the Wilson County Coonhunters Club. They bagged two of the bobcats and one of the coyotes shown here in the total tally.

“It’s an interesting event and we’re glad to host it,” said Coonhunters Club member Jim Goodall. The Club also hosts competitive squirrel and coon hunts.

Here’s how the predator hunt works:

Each two-man team pays a $60 entry fee. The winning team gets 60 percent of the total, second place 30 percent and third place 10 percent. There is also a merchandise prize for the biggest coyote (52 pounds this year) and biggest bobcat (26.4 pounds). With entry fees and merchandise, Larese said the total prize value of the hunt was around $5,000.

The teams, which came from as far away as Pigeon Forge and Memphis, had to pre-register before the hunt. On the morning of the hunt, hunting time started at 6 a.m., and check-in was 6 p.m. at the clubhouse. In Tennessee, predators cannot be hunted after dark.

“Hunters are allowed to hunt anywhere in Tennessee,” Larese explained. “The only requirement is that they have to be at the clubhouse by 6 p.m. If they’re a minute late they’re disqualified.”

The winner is the team that bags the most coyotes and bobcats based on a points system. (A bobcat is worth more points than a coyote.) In case of a tie the winner is determined by the combined weight of the predators.

The team of Jon Blankenship and Keith Gull from the Grant community in Smith County won first place with one coyote and two bobcats. One of the bobcats was the 26.4-pounder that won the Big Cat prize. They collected a check for $1,575, plus merchandise.

“We’ve been hunting together since we were in high school,” Gull said, “but we’re fairly new at predator hunting. I guess maybe we just got lucky.”

Hunters are allowed to use mouth calls and electronic calls. Most use scoped rifles for long-range shots.

Although foxes in Tennessee are considered predators along with coyotes and bobcats, Larese said they are not included in the competitive hunts.

“Foxes are more rare and we don’t want to damage the population,” he explained. “Coyotes and bobcats, on the other hand, have increased in recent years. Coyotes in particular are a nuisance in many areas, and removing some of them is beneficial.”

While coyotes perform a farmland service by preying mice, rats and groundhogs, they take a toll on deer – especially newborn fawns – as well as wild turkeys. They are on the increase in residential areas where they sometimes prey on small dogs and cats.

Bobcats are not as big a problem. They prey mostly on smaller animals and birds, but occasionally take domestic fowl.

Prime winter pelts of coyotes and bobcats can bring $10-$20 depending on size and condition, and Larese said a furrier collects the animals after each hunt to process the hides.

Hartsville Little League holding signups through March 1

The Hartsville Little League is currently holding signups for the 2018 spring season.

Parents can sign up children for baseball/softball in one of three ways: at youth league basketball games from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Feb. 17 and 24 at the elementary school; at Haley’s Hearts Foundation Winter Carnival on Feb. 24 at the high school; or by obtaining signup forms at Wilson Bank & Trust or Citizens Bank.

Submitted photo

First-year players will need a copy of their birth certificate and a copy of their parent/guardian’s drivers license.

Age divisions are: T-ball (4-6), Coach Pitch Baseball (7-8), Girls Coach Pitch Softball (7-8), Little League Baseball (9-10) and (11-12), Girls Fast Pitch Softball (9-12) and Senior League (13-16). T-ball enrollees must turn 4 before Aug. 31, 2018 to be eligible. Senior League games will not begin until after the high school and middle school seasons have completed.

Registration fees are $30 for all divisions except Senior League, which will be $50.

The signup deadline is March 1. For more information, visit the organization’s Facebook page at Hartsville Little League.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or cgregory@hartsvillevidette.com.

Lady Jackets rally past RBS for overtime victory

Trousdale County played two nights of basketball last week, but the one win was the most thrilling of the season as the Lady Jackets downed Red Boiling Springs 67-66 in overtime before a packed homecoming crowd.

The victory also gave the Lady Jackets a season sweep of the Lady Bulldogs for the first time since the 2001-02 season.

“What a game!” said coach Jeremy Wilhelm. “The team stuck to our plan and it paid off in the end. The girls stepped up and hit big-time shots when we needed them.

“Even though we struggled at the foul line, we never stopped trying to get there. I’m proud of these girl and what they have done.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Chloe Donoho is fouled on this shot in the closing seconds against Red Boiling Springs. Donoho would sink both free throws to give the Lady Jackets a 67-66 victory.

Down by three with time running out in regulation, freshman Claire Belcher banked in a 3-pointer from the right wing in the closing seconds to tie the game at 58 and force overtime.

In the extra period, the Lady Jackets fell behind by six but had cut the deficit to one when sophomore Chloe Donoho was fouled with three seconds to play. Donoho drained both free throws to give Trousdale County its eighth win of the season.

Belcher finished with a career-best 18 points, all of which came after halftime. Donoho added 16 points, 10 of which came at the free-throw line. Despite being constantly double teamed, sophomore Tori Simmons scored 13 points. Seniors Kaylynn Dalton and Katelyn Fergusson had eight and six points respectively, sophomore Josie Garrett scored three, freshman Kinley Brown two and sophomore Emily Booth one.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets ran into a hungry bunch of Bulldogs and were outscored 17-6 in the third quarter of a 54-43 loss. It was the first loss in the last five games for Trousdale in the series.

“We have been in a bad slump offensively,” said coach Ryan Sleeper. “Our defense isn’t really a problem right now; we’re holding team around 50. But scoring in the 40s will get you bets nearly every time.

“I don’t believe in excuses. We have to come in and work even harder. This is a very important week to fine-tune us for the tournament. We’ve got to get the ball rolling.”

Senior Braison Raney was the only Jacket player in double figures with 18 points. Senior Trace McGuire added eight and junior Keyvont Baines seven, sophomore Kobe Ford had six, freshman Alex Ford had three and junior Will Belcher had one.

Red Boiling Springs got 24 points from sophomore center Dalton Marsh.

On Jan. 30, Trousdale County hosted Jackson County but came away with two losses.

The Jackets trailed 44-35 after three quarters and cut the deficit to two before falling 52-46. It was Trousdale’s sixth straight loss to the guys from Gainesboro.

“They are just a solid team,” Sleeper said. “They do the little things that keep them in games. They counter our athleticism with fundamentals. It doesn’t matter how high you jump when you’re boxed out.

“When our boys finally realize to stop relying solely on our athleticism in games and focus on fundamentals, we will become a much more consistent ball club.”

Raney finished with 14 points and Baines had 13, 11 in the second half. Kobe Ford had eight points, senior Octavious Rickman had four and McGuire one.

The Lady Jackets, meanwhile, did not make a basket in the first quarter of a 51-21 defeat. It was the 13th straight loss in the series for Trousdale, with all those coming by double digits. The Lady Jackets’ last win over Jackson County came in 1992 in the Hartsville Christmas Tournament.

Dalton scored six points while Donoho and Simmons had five each. Fergusson had two points, freshman Kinley Brown two and sophomore Karissa Goss one.

Trousdale County was to host Pickett County on Tuesday for Senior Night, then will conclude the regular season Friday at East Robertson. The District 6-A Tournament will be played next week, with matchups to be determined. The semifinals and finals will be played at White County High School in Sparta.

Purple teams sweep alumni basketball games

Trousdale County hosted its annual alumni basketball games Saturday to raise funds for the Hartsville Rebounders Club.

It was a good night for the Purple teams, which swept both games.

Photos by Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

The ladies’ game went to the Purple by a 45-28 score. Chelsea Brown Gibbs led the way with 15 points while Ashley Cornwell and Destinee Dixon each finished with 12. Hannah Gregory and Whitney Satterfield Dillehay rounded out the scoring with three points each.

Rachel Ray Smith led the Gold team with 13 points, while Jamey McKoin had nine. Chelsea Dickerson Sleeper had four points and Makenzee Dixon had two.

Keenan Davis helped lead the Purple team to a win in the men’s game, hitting five 3-pointers to finish with 15 points. Jesse Sullins had 12, Namiah Wilson had nine, Austin Ford eight, Dillon Young seven, Davy Cothron three and John Young two.

Mike Hehn hit five 3s and finished with 19 points for the Gold squad. Dustin Dillehay had 13 points, Trysten McGuire and Matt Jenkins each had five, and Timmy Banks and Eric Vetetoe had four each. Craig Brown and Chris Payne rounded out the scoring with two each.

Winter is best time to reel in sauger

Gobs of ice formed on the tips of our fishing rods as we cast and retrieved, numb fingers cranking frozen reel handles.

I couldn’t feel my toes. I was afraid to check my nose for fear that if I touched it, it might break off.

Before launching the boat we had to break a skim of ice around the ramp.

When I left home that morning to drive over to my fishing buddy’s house, the thermometer read 22 degrees. It didn’t feel nearly that hot on the water.

Submitted photo
Lebanon’s Jim Duckworth with a pair of Cumberland River sauger.

From the back of the boat I could hear my buddy’s teeth chattering, which was a good sign – at least he wasn’t frozen solid.

But what’s a little hypothermia among friends? It was February, and the sauger were running.

Wintertime is sauger time in Tennessee, when the streamlined fish with the big marble eyes congregate in tailwaters below dams and in deep pools in river bends.

Sauger are arguably the best-eating freshwater fish ever to grease a skillet, although I’d rate them a dead heat with their walleye cousins. Walleyes are often caught in the same areas as sauger, along with their hybrid relative, the saugeye.

Maybe the reason why sauger taste so good is because of the sacrifice involved in catching them.

Unlike crappie fishing on a warm spring day when the bluebirds are singing and the dogwoods are in bloom, sauger make it rough on a guy. The best fishing comes during the worst weather.

As a kid growing up on the Plateau I didn’t mind the cold. I couldn’t wait to go sauger fishing with my uncles below Watts Bar Dam on the Tennessee River.

Casting from the bank, we would bump hand-tied hair jigs along the rocky bottom from dawn till dusk, pausing only long enough for an occasional sip of hot chocolate from a thermos and gulp down a half-thawed baloney sandwich.

Bank fishing remains an effective way to catch sauger, although fishing from a boat allows the angler to cover more territory and reach some hot spots (hot, as in terms of fish, not temps) close to the dam and concrete walls.

Lebanon guide Jim Duckworth in recent years has shared some of his favorite sauger spots on the Cumberland River. Jim knows every bend of the river and where the fish tend to gather.

The time-tested method of catching wintertime sauger is bumping jigs along the bottom. Garnishing the jig with a live minnow improves your odds. If the fish are biting tentatively or nipping off the minnow, attach a “stinger” hook – a small set of treble hooks – to the single jig hook.

The biggest challenge in sauger fishing is combating the cold. Layers of cold-weather clothing are a must, and modern accouterments such as hand-warmers and in-boat heaters are worth the price.

Safety is imperative; a plunge into icy water can be fatal. Wearing a life jacket is mandatory when fishing tailwaters, and advisable at all times.

If you get too cold, quit. Sauger are fun to catch and delicious to eat, but they’re not worth risking frostbite.

And keep in mind, it won’t be long till crappie time. You should be thawed out by then.

Crappie fishing in the cold

A couple of winters ago I went crappie fishing at Percy Priest Lake with Mt. Juliet’s Chuck Campbell and we caught some of the biggest slabs I’ve taken from the lake.

In addition to catching big crappie, I thought we might catch pneumonia.

It’s no secret that crappie bite during cold weather. I caught some giant slabs in the Tennessee River below Watts Bar Dam one February day that was so cold ice formed on my rod guides and the water in my minnow bucket turned to slush.

Submitted photo
Mt. Juliet’s Chuck Campbell hoists a cold-weather crappie.

Fishing buddy Bob Sherborne and I went to Reelfoot Lake one winter to fish for crappie. We had heard that during cold weather the fish congregate in the few deep holes in the relatively shallow lake.

The crappie were congregated all right – along with the crappie fishermen. There were dozens of boats on each of the holes. Sherborne and I managed to wedge in and caught some fish, but it was cramped and crowded.

That’s not a concern on bigger lakes like Priest, Old Hickory and Kentucky Lake. There’s plenty of room for everyone, and virtually no fishing pressure compared to the peak spring season.

The day Chuck and I fished we were the only boat in sight. I could see why – the conditions were miserable. The temperature was lower than a PETA model’s IQ, and a raw wind swept across the open water.

We sought shelter in a semi-protected cove and began working a rocky bank where the depth gradually dropped from a couple of feet to 20 feet or so.

We immediately began catching crappie.

We were casting small tube jigs in blue-and-silver colors, barely moving them along. That’s one of the keys to cold-weather fishing: fish slow. Crappie and other fish feed during cold weather, but their metabolism (like ours) slows and they are sluggish.

Most hits are felt as slight taps. Sometimes you don’t even feel a tap or tug; there is simply a sudden resistance at the end of the line.

Smaller lures work best, and light line is essential – either 6- or 4-pound test – both for casting small lures and detecting bites.

Minnows are effective in cold weather because they can be fished slowly, drifting or vertically jigging, or left dangling stationary below the boat or beneath a bobber.

The drawback to minnows is that they are a hassle to dip from an icy bucket and put on a hook in frigid weather. Minnow fishing is tough on frozen fingers.

Dressing warmly is a must, and a face stocking comes in handy if a boat ride is required. Bouncing across a lake in the wintertime means a single-digit wind chill.

A good rule of thumb: put on all the clothing you think you’ll possibly need, then add another layer. If you don’t need it you can always shed it.

Escaping the wind is a necessity. Not only does it improve the temperature, it also makes it easier to cast light baits and detect sensitive bites.

At least that’s the way Chuck and I did it, and we brought home some good crappie.

Granted, it wasn’t as pleasant as sitting in a calm cove on a balmy April morning admiring the blossoming dogwoods and listening to robins chirp. But fishing is fishing, and you have the rest of the winter to thaw out.

Yellow Jackets knock off Clay County in district game

Trousdale County had two nights of basketball action last week, with the boys and girls winning and losing a game each.

The highlight of the week was perhaps the Yellow Jackets’ 74-66 home victory over Clay County (13-7, 6-3 6-A) on Tuesday. The Bulldogs won their district and region last year before losing in the state championship game.

“This win was big for us mentally,” said coach Ryan Sleeper. “It’s been a long time since we have gotten a win against Clay County. They have a great program going up there.

“The improvement is there. We are beating teams that beat us earlier in the season. Hopefully we can carry the momentum the rest of the season into the tournament.”

The Jackets trailed just once at 50-49 late in the third quarter before outscoring the Bulldogs 24-16 in the fourth.

Junior Keyvont Baines paced the way with 20 points, 17 in the second half, as the Jackets snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Bulldogs.

Senior Braison Raney added 15 points and sophomore Kobe Ford had a career-best 13. Sophomore Tarvaris Claiborne also had a career night with nine points, seven of which came at the free-throw line. Junior Will Belcher had eight, freshman Alex Ford six and senior Trace McGuire three.

In the girls’ game, the Lady Jackets were outscored in every quarter of a 67-44 loss to the Lady Bulldogs (11-8, 6-3).

“Too many turnovers doomed us early,” said coach Jeremy Wilhelm.

Senior Katelyn Fergusson had 13 points, including three 3-pointers, while the Lady Jackets got nine each from sophomore Tori Simmons and freshman Claire Belcher. Sophomore Chloe Donoho had seven points, senior Kaylynn Dalton four and freshman Morgan White two.

On Friday the Jackets (8-12, 3-7) traveled to Monterey, where the boys trailed by 18 going into the fourth quarter but rallied before falling 65-56 to the Wildcats (21-3, 10-1), who are ranked No. 6 in the state.

“Monterey is a really well-balanced team,” Sleeper said. “They are tough at home and don’t have many weaknesses.

“We didn’t shoot well the first three quarters. I was proud of our boys though. They showed a lot of heart and never gave up. We cut it to single digits but just ran out of time.

“We aren’t scared of any team and know we can play with anyone in our district.”

Raney finished with 20 points, while Baines had 13 and McGuire 10. Kobe Ford and Alex Ford each had four points, Belcher had three and senior Octavius Rickman two.

In the girls’ game, the Lady Jackets (7-13, 4-6) outscored the Lady Wildcats (2-19, 2-9) 22-8 in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 61-42 win.

“A good district win to put ourselves in a spot to improve our district seeding,” Wilhelm said. “The girls came out aggressive and did what we knew would put us in a position to have success.

“It was a great way to finish the game late. We’re better now than we were a month ago.”

Simmons had the best night of any Lady Jacket this season as she finished with a career-best 25 points. Fergusson added 13 points and Dalton had seven. Donoho had six points, Belcher four, White two, sophomore Karissa Goss two and freshman Sidney Gregory two.

Trousdale County will host Red Boiling Springs on Friday for homecoming. Festivities will begin at 5 p.m.

Next week, Trousdale County will play at Gordonsville on Monday and host Pickett County on Tuesday for Senior Night.

TCHS alumni basketball games to be played Saturday

Trousdale County will host its annual Alumni Basketball games this Saturday beginning with the women’s game at 6 p.m.

The Purple squad will consist of Ashley Cornwell (2015), Hannah Gregory (2015), Chelsea Brown (2008), Destinee Dixon (2015), Bridget Gregory (1993), Natalie Storey (2013) and Kristen Elmore (1994).

The Gold team will be comprised by Makenzee Dixon (2017), Jamey McKoin (2017), Chelsea Sleeper (2008), Racheal Ray (2002), Terri Lynn Dixon (1993), Paula Kriest (1993), Jennifer Petty (1994) and Whitney Satterfield (2005).

On the men’s Purple team will be John Young (1989), Earl Burnley (1981), Jesse Sullins (2004), Dillon Young (2010), Namiah Wilson (2003), Landon Clark (1997), Alex Gregory (2010), Davy Cothron (1996) and Austin Ford (2017).

The men’s Gold team will feature Bobby Enoch (1981), Timmy Banks (1987), Trysten McGuire (2017), Matt Jenkins (1996), Rick Moore (2002), Chris Payne (1993), Mike Helm (1993), Eric Vetetoe (2005), Craig Brown (2010) and Dustin Dillehay (2006).

Admission will be $5, with all proceeds benefiting the Hartsville Rebounders Club.