Yellow Jackets go through 7-on-7 football workouts

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets took part in the Riverdale 7-on-7 competition on July 12 and finished with a 2-3 record on the day.

The highlight for the Jackets was a victory over Columbia Academy, which lost in the Class 2A semifinals last year to eventual champion Union City.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
A Smith County defender (4) breaks up a pass in the end zone for an unidentified Trousdale County receiver during 7-on-7 workouts last week.

The Jackets also brought in Smith County on Friday for some 7-on-7 competition.

“It was a great two days of work with 7 on 7,” said Jackets coach Brad Waggoner. “We got to play all our players and got a lot of work with our younger guys as well. We rotated games with older and younger guys and different quarterbacks. So it was a great experience for our players.”

The Jackets will begin practice in full pads on Monday and will host Upperman for a scrimmage on July 26. A time had not been determined as of press time.

Golf tournament: The 10th annual Yellow Jacket Golf Scramble will be held on Saturday, July 28 beginning at 8 a.m. at Long Hollow Golf Course in Gallatin.

The entry fee is $400 for the four-person scramble.

For more information, call Ben Johnson at 615-417-5170 or Brad Waggoner at 404-680-9573.

Summer provides a music all its own for those who listen

Garrison Keillor, in his classic “Lake Wobegon Summer of 1956,” calls it Summer Music.

He reminisces about the familiar sounds of summer, some of which we first heard as kids and nostalgically remember for the rest of our lives: the drowsy drone of a lawn mower in distance, the swish-swish-swish of a lawn sprinkler, the creaking of a rocking chair on a front porch, the contented sigh of an old dog dozing under the steps.

I thought of one we don’t hear any more: the squeak-squeak of a handle being cranked on an old-fashioned, wooden ice-cream bucket. Fidgeting while waiting for the homemade ice cream to become frozen in its bed of rock salt whetted the appetite. When the lid was finally opened and the ice cream dipped out, we ate so much so fast our heads ached.

Submitted photo
Take time to enjoy the music of summer.

Nowadays nobody hand-cranks an ice-cream bucket. It’s done electronically, and the hum of a motor somehow doesn’t sound as delicious.

Re-reading Keillor’s book for the umpteenth time the other day got me to thinking about summer music of the outdoors variety. Since this is an outdoors column, here’s some I came up with:

The gurgle of a summer brook. In the summertime the creek behind my house is reduced to a trickle, and that trickle over the rocks sings a gurgling lullaby – a far cry from the rushing cascade when the creek is wintertime high.

The trill of a mockingbird. Every summer mockingbirds set up housekeeping in a bush outside our bedroom window. For the first 30 summers their constant nighttime chirping kept me awake. Now I can’t sleep without it. Our granddaughter named one resident Mr. Sing-Along.

Bullfrogs. As teenagers we used to hunt bullfrogs as they sang bass in the reedy banks of farm ponds beneath the glow of an amber moon. Frog hunting was mostly just an excuse for my buddies and me to get out at night and ponder such cosmic wonders as homecoming queen Mary Jane Wattenbarger.

Whip-poor-wills. Old folks claimed their mournful cry signaled an imminent death. Last summer during trip back home to visit an aging relative I heard my first whip-poor-will in many years. It made me sad. How did it know?

Train whistle. I guess it’s not technically an “outdoors” sound; I used to listen to a train moan off in the distance as I lay in my bed at night and imagined all the exciting places it was bound for. But we also could hear the lonesome wail during camping trips, so it counts.

The pop and crackle of a campfire. Speaking of summertime camping trips, we didn’t need a campfire for warmth, but it was a requisite for heating beanie-weenies and providing atmosphere.

Summer rain. Whether it is whispering through overhead leaves or pattering on a tin roof, a summer rain is different from a winter rain. A winter rain is drumming and harsh. A summer rain is gentle and soothing.

Katydids. The most nostalgic of all summer music. As a kid I used to listen to them argue outside my open window at night: “Katy did!” “Katy didn’t!” “Yes she did!” “No she didn’t!”  I wondered who Katy was, and what she was accused of doing that had those little green bugs in such a dither.

Now decades later I sit on the porch on warm summer evenings, like those so long ago, and listen to the katydids’ serenade. And I still wonder…

Yellow Jackets resume summer football workouts

The two-week dead period has come and gone, and now the Trousdale County Yellow Jackets have begun ramping up their preparations for the upcoming 2018 football season.

After resuming summer practice on Monday, the Jackets will travel to Riverdale on Thursday as one of 26 teams to participate in a 7-on-7 passing event.

“We look forward to competing at Riverdale this Thursday in their annual 7-on-7 camp,” said coach Brad Waggoner. “It will be a great opportunity for us to get a lot of work in.”

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Coach Brad Waggoner, left, works with Trousdale County lineman on blocking drills during practice on Monday.

On Friday, the Jackets are scheduled to conduct a morning practice while also getting in some 7-on-7 work against Smith County. The start time of the 7-on-7 event had not been determined as of press time.

“I view these 7-on-7 days as practice days to get better with our route running and timing with quarterbacks and receivers, and defensively to make sure we are dropping in correct zones and our linebackers and secondary are fitting together,” Waggoner said.

“I am looking for effort and looking for guys to make plays.”

The Jackets will hold the 30th annual Tobacco Bowl Jamboree on Friday, Aug. 10 and will open the 2018 football season on Aug. 17 at home against Lebanon.

Yellow Jacket Golf Scramble to be held July 28

The 10th annual Yellow Jacket Golf Scramble will be held on Saturday, July 28 beginning at 8 a.m. at Long Hollow Golf Course in Gallatin.

The entry fee is $400 for the four-person scramble.

For more information, call Ben Johnson at 615-417-5170 or Brad Waggoner at 404-680-9573.

Black bear sightings reported in Smith County

Facebook reports of a black bear in Smith County were circulating on social media earlier this week.

On Monday morning, the Smith County Insider reported that a resident of the Defeated community had spotted a bear running across the road and had posted two pictures to Facebook.

Residents of Kempville, near the Smith/Jackson County line, reportedly saw the bear in their area on Sunday morning.

Photo courtesy of nps.gov / J.Mills

A number of bear sightings have been reported in the Cookeville and Livingston areas since early June.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) has been informed of the sightings in Smith County.

The TWRA website instructs Tennesseans to remember that, while bears are usually tolerant of humans, they are still wild animals and should be treated with caution and respect.

The TWRA also provides these guidelines intended to help “minimize many unnecessary and potentially dangerous encounters” with black bears:

  • Never feed or approach bears!
  • If a bear approaches you in the wild, it is probably trying to assess your presence.
  • If you see a black bear from a distance, alter your route of travel, return the way you came, or wait until it leaves the area.
  • Make your presence known by yelling and shouting at the bear in an attempt to scare it away.
  • If approached by a bear, stand your ground, raise your arms to appear larger, yell and throw rocks or sticks until it leaves the area.
  • When camping, keep all food stored in a vehicle and away from tents.
  • Never run from a black bear! This will often trigger its natural instinct to chase.
  • If a black bear attacks, fight back aggressively and do not play dead! Use pepper spray, sticks, rocks, or anything you can find to defend yourself.
  • If cornered or threatened, bears may slap the ground, “pop” their jaws, or “huff” as a warning. If you see these behaviors, you are too close! Slowly back away while facing the animal at all times.

The TWRA encourages the reporting of any bear sightings via its website: tn.gov/twra.

Heat can prove fatal even on the water

A few years ago, an acquaintance who was a professional fishing guide took a client out on Old Hickory Lake one mid-summer morning and on up in the day, as a blazing sun hovered overhead, he began to feel faint.

That was the last thing he remembered until he regained consciousness back at the marina where he lay stretched in front of an air conditioner covered with wet towels.

He had passed out from heat stroke.

By good fortune or divine miracle, his client that morning was a doctor who immediately recognized the symptoms, realized the seriousness of the situation, and piloted the boat back to the dock after placing a water-soaked shirt over the unconscious guide to protect him from additional heat.

Submitted photo
One way to beat the summer heat is to fish early in the day.

The guide at the time was middle-aged, in good health, and had been fishing throughout summers his entire life. He had never had a problem with heat until that one time – and it almost killed him.

About the time he came too with a blinding headache, an EMT crew arrived. One of the EMT workers said if the guide had passed out alone in the boat and remained there under the searing sun, he probably would have died.

That’s one lesson to remember when fishing in the heat of summer – never fish alone.

Also, wear loose, light-colored clothing, cap or hat, and keep hydrated by constantly drinking water and such nutrients as Gatorade. Beware of alcohol – being on the water can enhance its effects.

The heat can be especially dangerous for the elderly and those with medical conditions.

The Dog Days of summer – not named after drowsy old dogs, but after the “Dog Star” Sirius which is particularly bright and visible that time of year – is when the heat index is usually at its peak and the most hazardous for outdoorsmen.

The heat index is a combination of the air temperature and humidity and reflects what the ambit temperature feels like to the human body.

When the heat index approaches 100 it’s wise to stay out of the sun, and particularly off the water. The water reflects the glare of the sun’s rays, giving boaters a double-dose from above and below.

Out on the water there’s no shade. And compounding the situation, when the boat is moving passengers don’t notice the heat so much. It can sneak up on you.

I’ve never suffered heatstroke, but I’ve become light-headed a few times in extreme heat. It’s important to recognize the symptoms – dizziness, dry clammy skin, lack of perspiration, headaches and nausea. However, not all victims show all those symptoms, so a good rule of thumb is if you start feeling woozy, get off the water immediately and cool down.

The best advice is to stay off the water during the hottest part of the day, from noon to four. Fish early in the morning or late in the afternoon, or at night.

But if you do go, be aware of the dangers and take precautions. Heatstroke can strike the most healthy, seasoned boater, and it can happen suddenly without warning.

Since his close call, my guiding buddy stopped fishing in mid-day during the scorching days of summer. The fishing is generally not very good at that time anyway; maybe the fish are smart enough to be inactive in such heat.

Hopefully fishermen are too.

High-tech fishing gear doesn’t always catch the eye

At first I thought it was a joke.

But after checking out the illustration in the magazine and reading the accompanying cutline, I realized the “iBobber” is no joke. It’s real.

It’s ridiculous, but it’s real. I quote from the article: “The iBobber is a small, lightweight cast-able sonar unit that synchs with the angler’s Smartphone, Google Watch or iWatch to provide up-to-the-minute information about what’s happening below the surface.”

It goes on to say that iBobber can spy on fish up to 135 feet deep.

Submitted photo
This “Bud Plug” caught attention but didn’t catch any fish.

The same article includes information about a “StrikeSiren” that calls fish.

Every time I think fishing technology can’t possibly get any goofier, the techies prove me wrong.

I figure it’s only a matter of time until they come up with a gadget that will swim out, locate a fish, insert a hook in its mouth and haul it into the boat. It comes with an added accessory that will take it home, clean it and cook it for you.

Another option will be a little robot you can program to hang out at the local bait shop and brag about the catch.

We’ve gone tech-crazy. Bill Gates is about to replace Bill Dance.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a computer catching fish for me. I’d rather cast than click.

However, I realize that when it comes to tackle technology, anglers might argue over how much it too much.

For example, I fish with spinning tackle, monofilament line and artificial lures. That’s far advanced from a cane pole, line and hook and can of worms.

I fish primarily from a boat, which allows me to venture into places where fish lurk that I otherwise couldn’t reach. I use a motor to propel the boat, an upgrade over paddling.

My boat is equipped with a depth finder, which also shows underwater structure.

So I suppose I’m guilty of relying on modern technology to an extent. I don’t advocate going back to the days of using a wooden spear or woven-reed fish trap. Besides, some of the low-tech stuff is fun.

My favorite tech tackle example is a “Lightning Bug Plug” my Uncle Herb bought back in the 1950’s. It’s a clear plastic plug, about three inches long, that unscrews in the middle.

According to the instructions, you inserted a lightning bug – aka firefly – inside the lure. As the lure was reeled through the water the lightning bug would blink on and off, and the flickering light would attract fish.

The catch of course, was catching a supply of lightning bugs before you went fishing.

I always suspected the Lightning Bug Plug was just a novelty, as was Uncle Herb’s Bud Plug – a miniature Budweiser beer can equipped with treble hooks.

I cast the Bud Plug a few times to see if it actually worked, and it did, wobbling along with its red-and-white Budweiser sides flashing. However, I never caught anything on the Bud Plug.

Apparently all the fish in the pond were teetotalers.

Hartsville man wins Co-angler division of bass tournament

Larry Goss of Hartsville won the Co-angler Division of the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournament on the Barren River in Glasgow, Ky., on Saturday.

Goss caught five bass weighing a total of 16 pounds, 14 ounces and took home $2,048 for his efforts.

Rod Huff of Monterey brought five bass to the scale weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces, to win the Mountain Division tournament and $7,552.

Submitted photo
Rod Huff

Huff said he mainly fished rock and wood and caught his fish shallow, in less than 5 feet of water. He said his day was split between four areas, spanning from up the main river, to both Peter and Beaver creeks.

“Early on in the morning I caught my biggest using a (green-pumpkin) ChatterBait with a (Zoom) Z-Craw of the same color up the main river, around the wood and rock,” said Huff, who earned his second career win in BFL competition. “I ran the bait over a small laydown and put it in the boat.”

Huff’s fish – a 5-pound, 8-ouncer – was the heaviest of the event and earned the day’s Boater Big Bass award of $510.

“My other big bite came between 12 and 1 o’clock flipping the Z-Craw in Peter Creek,” said Huff. “I basically covered water with the ChatterBait and buzzbait, and if I came to a treetop or something like that I’d flip it.”

Huff said he ended up catching around seven keepers over the course of his day.

“The key for me was hitting the areas at the right time. There wasn’t a lot of pressure up shallow. I actually thought the tournament would be won offshore. That, along with my two big bites, was what sealed the deal for me.”

Tony Eckler of Lebanon finished fourth in the Mountain Division with a five-bass haul of 14 pounds, 15 ounces and won $896.

The top 45 boaters and co-anglers in the region based on point standings, along with the five winners in each qualifying event, will be entered in the Oct. 25-27 BFL Regional Championship on Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tenn. Boaters will compete for a top award of a Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard and $20,000, while co-anglers will fish for a new Ranger Z518C with a 200-horsepower Evinrude outboard.

Kayakers see greater risks as numbers increase

A recent rash of kayak accidents in Tennessee – including four fatalities this year – has prompted the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to hold safety training classes for the popular watercraft.

One of the seminars was recently held on Old Hickory Lake, conducted by Wilson County wildlife officer Tanner Romsdale.

“The number of recreational paddle-craft users has increased substantially in the past few years, and as an Agency we are certainly glad to see more people enjoying one of our greatest resources in the state, our waterways,” Romsdale said.

“With that in mind, we have also recognized the need to educate the public on how to use kayaks, canoes and paddle-boards in a manner to ensure everyone goes home safe after a great day paddling.”

Submitted photo
As kayaking has grown in popularity, so have safety concerns.

Romsdale organized a Kayak Basic Operations Safety Class to introduce kayakers to safety rules and equipment, basic paddle strokes, precautions on the water and how to re-enter a kayak after capsizing.

One of the persons who drowned earlier this year managed to hold onto his capsized kayak for awhile, according to investigators, but was unable to get back into it and did not survive.

In recent years kayaks have become one of the most popular forms of watersport activities, used by recreational paddlers and fishermen. Kayaks are inexpensive, as compared to bigger boats, and are easy to transport and launch since no trailer is required. Paddling provides exercise, and the motor-less craft are quiet and tranquil.

But with the surge in popularly has come a rise in accidents. Many newcomers to paddle-sports are unaware of safety regulations and other requirements, including having a life jacket aboard at all times – just as is required for all other types of boats.

Some of the original regulations regarding kayaks were obscure. For example, after sunset a light is required to be on board a kayak, but the only requirement was that it be visible for 360 degrees. Would the dim light from a cell phone meet the regulation? Even some officials seemed uncertain. Detailed kayak regulations can be found in the Tennessee Boating Guide, available at most outdoor outlets.

Also compounding the problem is that many kayakers have started to venture further out from shore. Some, for example, paddle across large bodies of water such as Percy Priest Lake. Since a kayak sits low on the water it can be hard to see from a distance, especially among waves. That creates a hazardous situation as water skiers and speedboaters race across the water. Having a visible flag mounted on a staff above the kayak is a must.

In order to obey the safety regulations, a kayaker first must KNOW the regulations, and that’s the TWRA’s current educational mission.

Here’s how Romsdale puts it:

“As an officer working our waterways, I know too often we have to address safety violations, such as no life jacket on board or not displaying proper lighting after sunset,” he says.

“Unfortunately, we have had to investigate boating fatalities that involved paddle-craft users. At the end of the day we want the public to enjoy the resource, but more importantly, enjoy it safely.”

Yellow Jackets announce 2018-19 basketball schedules

Trousdale County basketball coaches Ryan Sleeper and Jared Hawkins have announced their schedules for the upcoming 2018-19 season.

Two new opponents, Station Camp and Eagleville, will have home-and-away dates with Trousdale County. The Jacket teams will also participate in two new Christmas tournaments.

On Dec. 27-29, the Lady Jackets will play at Friendship Christian while the Jackets will take part in the Nera White Tournament at Macon County.

Westmoreland and Smith County will return as non-district opponents.

Trousdale County will open with Hall of Champions games at Station Camp on Nov. 13 and will open play in District 6-A at Gordonsville on Dec. 4.

Guest View: Big-time baseball prospect displays his small-town values

I want to take a moment to say thanks to all the players, coaches, volunteers, and fans for making this year’s MidTN Senior All-Star Classic a success.

But I really want to tell Ryan Weathers what his gesture did for the greater good of the Classic and for high school baseball in Middle Tennessee, no matter what classification he represented.

See, Ryan was selected seventh overall in this year’s Major League Baseball Draft. That is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 in the first round. He became the highest drafted Tennessee high school kid in 40-plus years. Ryan also was named Gatorade’s National Player of the Year, joining the ranks of Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield, just to name a few.

So, I would get it if Ryan told me no when it came to participating in the Classic. I have had other draftees say ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ due to fear of injury or it not being important. I totally understood.

Ryan chose to attend. He is at a crossroads in his career: whether to sign a lucrative contract and start his professional career or go to Vanderbilt and experience college baseball at the highest level.

Ryan did not play in the event due to obvious reasons, but he honored the game and his high school teammates, coaches, school, community, region and state by attending in full uniform. He was just another Class A All-Star. For that, I am a fan.

I spoke with him briefly due to my duties of running an event and serving as the public address announcer, and he got out of there before I could simply say thanks, and get a picture with him and a ball signed to go along with my many others.

But I wanted to share that even a kid who with a stroke of an ink pen will become a $2.5 to $5 million professional or choose to attend a national power in Vanderbilt, who was named the top high school player in the United States by Gatorade along with his many other accolades and awards, chose to be a Class A kid one last time and attend a small-time Class A coach’s All-Star Game simply because he thought it was the right thing to do.

Here is a tip of the cap to you, Ryan Weathers, for simply giving back to Middle Tennessee high school baseball. I am forever a fan.

Davy Cothron is a Trousdale County native and organizes the MidTN Senior All-Star Classic, which is in its seventh year. This commentary was reprinted with his permission.

Turn your pool noodles into outstanding catfish lures

The neon-yellow foam float danced on the surface, plunged under, bobbed up, and raced off across the lake.

In the front of the boat Chuck Campbell stomped down on the trolling motor and gave chase.

Minutes later we caught up to the bouncing, zig-zagging float and Chuck scooped it up in a landing net. On the other end of a five-foot line splashed a three-pound channel cat.

Chuck unhooked the fish and deposited it the live-well with a half-dozen others. He re-baited and tossed the foam noodle overboard, where several others drifted in the breeze.

It was late May and the catfish were biting on Old Hickory Lake.

Submitted photo
Chuck Campbell brings in a catfish at the end of a noodle.

Specifically they were biting on noodles – a float underneath which a baited hook dangles.

Originally the method was known as “jug fishing,” because the early floats generally were made from plastic milk or soda jugs. Then someone discovered that sections of foam swimming-pool toys called “noodles” work as well, or perhaps better, than jugs.

The noodle sections, usually about a foot long, float well, their bright neon colors make them visible at a distance, and they are easy to handle and store.

Noodles can be bought at most tackle venues, or they can be homemade easily and cheaply.

Chuck, of Mt. Juliet, learned the art of noodle fishing – or jug fishing – from Lebanon guide Jim Duckworth, who made a how-to video about it.

Making the gear is simple. Cut a swimming-pool noodle into one-foot sections, and on one end attach a length of strong fishing line (from 4 to 8 feet long depending on where you’ll be fishing). Tie a single hook and small sinker on the other end.

For night fishing, wrap reflective tape around the noodle.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency limits the number of noodles or jugs to 50 per person, and each must be marked with the owner’s name and address or TWRA ID number.

Good noodle baits include nightcrawlers, chicken/turkey liver, minnows and commercial catfish baits, but I prefer skipjack chunks. Every spring I store several skipjack fillets in the freezer for later catfishing trips. The chunks stay on the hook well and emit an oily ooze that attracts prowling cats.

As each hook is baited, the noodle is tossed overboard in a cove or along the shoreline in fairly shallow water where catfish congregate during the spring and summer months.

The TWRA prohibits placing noodles, limb-lines or trotlines within 1,000 yards below any TVA or Corps of Engineers dam. Also, common sense should be used when placing noodles on crowded lakes used by recreational boaters and jet-skiers and water skiers. The more secluded sections of the lake, the better.

There are specific rules regarding the use of noodles or jugs on TWRA lakes. Detailed regulations are listed in the Tennessee Fishing Guide.

Noodling may not be for everybody – running the lines can turn into work, and some anglers prefer to fight in their fish on sporting tackle instead of hoisting them aboard by hand.

But it’s an effective way to bring home a mess of catfish for a fish fry, and watching a noodle suddenly bounce and go under is exciting. I’m ready to noodle some more.

Trousdale County sending pair to All-Star Baseball Classic

The Trousdale County Yellow Jackets will send two baseball players to compete in the seventh Warner’s Athletic Construction MidTN Senior All-Star Classic, to be played Thursday at Vanderbilt’s Hawkins Field.

Logan Calhoun and Logan Hewitt, who each signed with Roane State, will take part in the game. Hunter Ford was also selected to take part, but is currently attending lineman school and will be unavailable.

The three players helped lead the Yellow Jackets to a 17-13 record in 2018 and an appearance in the region semifinals.

Calhoun batted .369 with one home run and had a slugging percentage of .536. On the mound, he went 3-2 with a 2.82 ERA and 37 strikeouts.

Hewitt put up a 1.55 ERA with 65 strikeouts while batting .343, to go along with seven home runs and a .743 slugging percentage.

“We want to congratulate Hewitt and Calhoun on receiving this amazing honor,” said TCHS coach Travis Humes. “These young men have worked and continue to work exceptionally hard. They have bright futures.

“I know they will represent and exemplify what it means to be a Yellow Jacket. We are excited that they can show off their skills against Middle Tennessee’s top players.

“We also want to thank Davy Cothron for putting together a top-notch All-Star game that displays some of Tennessee’s top talent.”

Among the Class A All-Stars will be Loretto’s Ryan Weathers, who was recently selected seventh overall in the Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres.

The Class A All-Stars will take on the Division II All-Stars at 3 p.m. Thursday, while the Class AA and AAA teams will hit the field at 6:30 p.m.

Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for school-age children. One ticket will be good for both games.

Black bears becoming more common sight in Tennessee

Black bears have recently been spotted in Cookeville as they continue to expand their range from East Tennessee into Middle Tennessee, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency advises the public to beware of them.

Although black bear attacks are rare, they do happen. An attack on a hiker in the foothills of the Smokies a few years ago was fatal, and another attack left a second hiker badly injured.

As Tennessee’s bear population has exploded in recent years, so has the number of encounters. Most of the bear problems are minor nuisances – scattering garbage, destroying bird feeders and occasionally breaking into a car, tent or cabin.

Submitted photo
Bears are being spotted more and more in Middle Tennessee.

But bears are unpredictable. Each one is an individual, and there is no way to predict exactly how a particular one may react to any given situation.

For 30 years some friends and I spent a couple of weeks every summer fishing in a remote area of Ontario, Canada. Bears were everywhere. They would sit on the bank and watch us fish, hoping to scrounge a leftover. They constantly prowled around the cabin, attracted by the smells of cooking.

One night I walked out of the cabin onto the screened-in porch and literally bumped into a bear that had climbed up to pilfer any food that might be available. The night was as black as the bear, and I didn’t know it was there until it suddenly gave a “woof!” and tore off through the screen door. I went in the other direction.

The outfitter who operated the remote fly-in outpost constantly reminded us not to clean fish around the cabin or leave garbage strewn about. He said if we did, we’d be up to our ears in bears. Every afternoon we would haul all fish scraps and garbage out to an island in the lake – Gut Island, as it was christened – and dump it for the gulls and eagles to clean up.

Occasionally a bear would swim out to island and join the birds for a snack.

The point of the story is this: we became so accustomed to having bears around us that we tended to ignore them. Sometimes we’d walk down a trail to the lake and pass within a few yards of a bear – close enough to see the mosquitoes buzzing around its nose.

That wasn’t smart. At any moment one of the bears could have decided we’d make a tasty meal, or panic and charge because it somehow felt threatened. Or it could be a nervous mama with a cub nearby, or a bear with a stashed food item we got too close to.

Luckily, none of our group was ever bothered by a bear – other than getting the daylights scared out of us when we tripped over one in the dark. But one year after we returned home from a trip we got a letter from the outfitter with a newspaper clipping enclosed:

A fisherman among a group staying at our cabin after we departed was mauled by a bear. The mauling wasn’t fatal, but it was serious. Game wardens couldn’t explain why the bear attacked.

It was chilling to recall how many times I’d strolled past bears – maybe that very one – without giving them a second thought.

As bears expand their territory into Middle Tennessee, increased encounters are likely. The TWRA warns the public not to approach a bear. Back away, go indoors and notify TWRA or law enforcement officials.

Chances are, 99 out of 100 bears you encounter won’t bother you.

It’s that 100th one you have to worry about.

Catfish tournament to be held June 23 in Gallatin

The ‘Help For Homeless’ catfishing tournament will be held next Saturday, June 23, in Gallatin.

The tournament will take place from 3-10 p.m. at the Cairo Boat Ramp, located at 799 Zieglers Fort Road.

The entry fee is $25 per bank angler or $40 per angler for a two-boat team. For an additional $10, anglers can enter a pot for the biggest fish.

Organizers are promising a 50 percent payout with all proceeds going to the homeless.

For more information, call 615-808-1176.

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

Hartsville Rotary holds annual golf tournament

The Hartsville Rotary Club held its biggest fundraiser of the year with its annual golf tournament on Saturday, May 12 at Gallatin’s Long Hollow Golf Course.

The event, now in its 14th year, allows the Hartsville Rotary Club to fund college scholarships as well as for a number of local projects in the community, including the Summer Backpack Program, Christmas For Kids and the dictionary project.

Saturday’s weather was ideal for the golf course, with warm temperatures and a clear sunny sky. Eighteen teams comprising 72 players came out to tee up for an 8 a.m. start.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

Estimates on the amount raised were not yet available but were expected to be at around $6,600 net after expenses.

The winning team was comprised of Steve Wilmore, David McDonald, Harold Collins and Steve Johnson, as the foursome shot a 56 in the scramble format. Each player received a $100 prize.

Second- and third-place teams received $45 and $25 prizes respectively, with prizes awarded for first flight and second flight. Two closest-to-the-hole prizes of $40 were also won.

The Hartsville Rotary Club wishes to thank its corporate sponsors: CoreCivic, Advanced Propane, Carroll Carman County Mayor, Citizens Bank, Compliance Enginering, Dr. Bien Samson, Huff Appliance LLC, Hartsville Cabinet, Hartsville Tractor Company, Powell & Meadows, Tri-County Electric, Wilson Bank & Trust, WTNK and The Hartsville Vidette.

The Club also thanks those businesses who purchased advertising sponsorships for the tournament, as well as everyone who played.

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

TWRA spending $500K to help keep Asian carp at bay

As Asian carp continue their rapid spread through the state’s waterways, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is investing $500,000 to combat the invasive species threat.

That’s the amount the Tennessee Fish & Wildlife Commission recently approved for the TWRA’s carp-harvesting incentive programs.

The TWRA will promote in-state carp processing plants to make it profitable for commercial fishermen to harvest large numbers of the fish.

The only effective way to remove significant numbers of Asian carp from a specific body of water is by netting them. At present netting is not practical for commercial fishermen because there are no ready markets for the catch.

Submitted photo
TWRA fisheries director Frank Fiss holds a mounted Asian Carp. The Agency is trying to combat the spread of the invasive species.

Once the TWRA’s proposed processing plants are operating, it is believed markets will open up for the fish, perhaps as pet food or fertilizer. Asian carp are also being promoted for human consumption.

The TWRA’s goal is to reduce the large schools of Asian carp in Kentucky Lake and the Cumberland River. In recent years their numbers have soared into the millions, and they are invading more and more waterways.

Asian carp include both the Bighead and Silver sub-species. The latter are the ones that leap from the water when disturbed by a boat motor. The fish can weigh as much as 20 pounds and when one strikes a boater or skier traveling at a fast speed, serious injuries can result. One boater suffered facial fractures when he collided with one of the leaping fish.

In addition to creating such safety hazards, the invasive carp compete with native fish species in the food chain. Asian carp do on not compete directly with game fish for food since they do not feed on minnows or other small fish. However, they compete indirectly by feeding on plankton and other micro-matter on which minnows subsist.

If Asian carp deplete the plankton and micro-matter, small bait fish will vanish and larger game fish will have no forage. They will eventually vanish too.

Asian carp arrived in Tennessee from Arkansas during floods on the Mississippi River in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The TWRA first detected substantial numbers of Silver Carp in the Mississippi River in the early 2000s.

Since then, they have spread rapidly in the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers and reservoirs. They are also found in the Stones River and Duck River.

Since they don’t eat baitfish, worms or insects, Asian carp are almost impossible to catch by sport fishermen, aside from snagging. There is no size limit or creel limit.

Small Bighead and Silver carp closely resemble threadfin shad and gizzard shad, which are popular live baits. The TWRA cautions fishermen who catch their own bait to make sure they don’t accidentally get small Asian carp mixed in with the shad species and transport them to new waters.

It is illegal to dump any live bait into the water because an invasive species might have been inadvertently mixed in with the bait fish. The TWRA instructs bait fishermen to dump left-over bait on the bank where it will be quickly cleaned up by birds and other scavengers.

Once Asian carp invade a waterway there is no known way to get rid of them; the only thing that that can be done is to try to contain their numbers and their spread.

Emily Booth represents Trousdale County at state track meet

When it comes to athletic success, Trousdale County is clearly known for football more than any other sport.

But the 2018 track & field team enjoyed its own moment in the sun last week as sophomore Emily Booth competed in the state track meet at Murfreesboro.

Booth, who also played basketball this year, placed third in the small school meet in the discus with a throw of 107 feet, 7 inches and sixth in the shot put with a toss of 32 feet, 9¾ inches.

She became just the second Yellow Jacket ever to qualify for the state meet, joining Kayla Howell, who placed fourth in the long jump in 2006.

Photo courtesy of Trousdale County Schools
Sophomore Emily Booth finished third in the discus and sixth in the shot put at the state track meet last week.

“It feels good to be only the second person to do it,” Booth said.

Making state was Booth’s goal from the start of the season, as she said it gave her motivation to work harder all season long.

Booth, who transferred in this past school year, has been competing in track and field since the seventh grade. Shot and discus are the only sports in which she competes.

“I started in seventh grade and I’ve grown to like it,” Booth said. “I just like working hard.”

Her father, Scott Booth, served as head coach of the track team this year and as defensive coordinator of the football team.

“Sometimes it’s tough because he expects more from me,” Emily said of having her father as coach. “I keep that in mind so I always go as hard as I can.”

“We wanted to work every day to try to get better, and that’s what everyone did,” said Scott Booth. “Mackenzie Vaughn qualified for the sectionals in the 400 (meters), and they all improved their times throughout the year.

“Working with my daughter, I try to treat her like any other. At the same time, she has to go home with me so I have to keep that in mind!” he joked.

Emily credited her teammates, including throwing partner Rob Henry, in helping push her toward greater success.

“All through practice, even on weekends, I’ll stay outside working and trying to get better,” she said. “Even at the state meet, I didn’t feel like I did to the best of my abilities. There was some tough competition.”

Emily plans to continue pushing herself to improve with a goal of winning a state championship. Unfortunately, if she does it will not be at Trousdale County, as her father has taken a coaching job in Mississippi in order to be closer to his family.

“I’ll miss the atmosphere here,” Emily said. “I loved this track team this year; they’re my best friends and we got along really great. I’ll miss them.”

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

Matt Dyer hired as JSMS football coach, TCHS assistant

Trousdale County has hired Matt Dyer to serve as head football coach at Jim Satterfield Middle School and as an assistant at the high school level.

Dyer, a 2005 graduate of Smith County, has spent the past six seasons as defensive coordinator at Macon County. He graduated from Tennessee Tech in 2009.

Trousdale County coach Brad Waggoner said Dyer would coach linebackers at TCHS and likely running backs as well, in addition to his duties at the middle school.

Photo courtesy of Macon County Schools
Matt Dyer

His father, Pat, was the former head coach at both Smith County (19990-94) and Macon County (1999-2004).

“He’s got lots of experience as a defensive coordinator and comes from a football family,” Waggoner said. “He’s local; he’s familiar with the area here.

“He’ll be able to help us on defense and help (defensive coordinator) Blake (Satterfield) out a lot. He’ll bring good ideas and he did a really good job at Macon County last year.”

Waggoner said Dyer would be the full-time coach at JSMS and would not serve in that role in an interim capacity.

“I wanted someone at the middle school with coordinator experience, and this will also give him a chance to expand his horizons,” Waggoner said. “He won’t be an interim coach; we’re hiring him as the head coach of the middle school.”

Waggoner said there was a possibility of one more hire for the varsity staff.

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