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Larry Woody: Fur flies at Crossville trappers’ gathering

The fur was flying at a recent trappers’ rendezvous in Crossville.

Stacks of pelts at the annual fur sale flew off the tables as trappers across Middle Tennessee cashed in a long winter of hard work.

“This is always a popular sale,” says Lebanon’s Clarence Dies, an official with the Tennessee Fur Harvesters Association who along with wife Laura assists with the annual event. “We have trappers coming in from all over. It’s fun to see old friends and meet new ones.”

Trappers getting together to sell their pelts and socialize is a tradition dating back to the mountain men of the 1800s.

Photo by Larry Woody
A pelt is examined at the recent fur sale.

“It’s great to see the tradition carried on,” says Dies, one of thousands of fur trappers in Tennessee. They range from professionals who reap a sizable profit, to amateurs who trap mostly for the challenge and enjoyment.

Dies, an instructor at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s trapping seminars in West Tennessee, started trapping as a youngster along the Cumberland River.

“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed,” he says. “Like most trappers, I don’t do it for the money. It’s cold, hard work, and I’d hate to think what we make per hour when the furs are sold.”

Skinning a beaver and stretching and scaping the pelt can take two or three hours, depending on the speed and skill of the individual. Setting the traps, running the trapline and carrying out a heavy, water-logged beaver adds additional hours.

The payoff?

At the recent Crossville fur sale, beaver pelts brought around $20. A prime bobcat pelt sold for $42.50 and an otter pelt that a few years ago might have been worth $100 went for $27.

Raccoon pelts, once a staple of fur trappers, brought from $1-$5, depending on size and quality. Possum pelts sold for around $1.

There were pelts of coyotes, minks, muskrats and otters, and even some skunk pelts. The skunk pelts sold for as little as 75 cents.

Knoxville’s Mike McMillan is a professional trapper specializing in “skunk-removal.” He has been in business for 25 years, trapping and removing nuisance skunks from homes and businesses. He puts the pelts to use.

“I use them for crafts and novelty items,” McMillan said. “That’s about all they are good for. Not many women want a skunk-skin coat or hat.”

Coyote populations continue to expand, and their pelts outnumbered all others at the sale. Prices ranged widely, from $10 to $25, depending on quality.

Not only are trappers collecting more coyote pelts, but predator hunters also contribute to the market. Last month’s predator hunt in Wilson County brought in 38 coyotes, and the pelts were harvested by a commercial furrier.

Commercial trappers face a growing faux fur fashion trend, and also have to compete with commercial ranches that raise fur bearers.

“It’s a challenge,” Dies says, “but we’re hanging on. We’ve had good turnouts for the trapping seminars, and that’s a good sign for the future.”

 

School Board examines options for renovating football field

Plans for renovations to Trousdale County’s football stadium were part of the discussions during last Thursday’s School Board meeting.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette

The board had previously retained COPE Architecture to come up with options for renovating the stadium. The current bleachers have gaps and are wobbly and could be considered a safety hazard.

Aside from safety concerns, flooding and an inability to insure the facility have also been raised previously.

Satterfield presented board members with a report that cited costs both to completely rebuild the current structure or to retrofit the existing one.

The report cited costs of $488,192 to completely rebuild the bleachers on both sides. That figure does not include costs of demolishing the current structure.

If the visitors’ side were cut in half from its roughly 1,400 current seats, that cost would drop to $426,093.

To renovate the existing structure would cost an estimated $557,505, according to the COPE report. That number does not include sandblasting and painting the current underpinnings and concrete pier work.

“We had a structural engineer look at this two years ago,” said Director of Schools Clint Satterfield. “This would not take a major funding source.”

Board members opted to send the report to the county’s Education Committee in the hopes of getting guidance from commissioners on how to proceed.

“I think the next step would be to present at the next Education Committee meeting,” said board member Johnny Kerr prior to the vote.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]

Trousdale FCA honors ‘Cheese’ as Person of Year

Trousdale County’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter recently recognized Jerry “Cheese” Richmond as its Person of the Year.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Jerry ‘Cheese’ Richmond, left, accepts his award from FCA representative Chad Harrison.

Local FCA liaison Chad Harrison presented Richmond with the award at the FCA’s fundraising banquet on March 10 at the high school.

“Each year, we like to recognize someone who exemplifies one of FCA’s core values. He exemplifies all four: excellence, serving, teamwork and integrity,” Harrison told the audience.

“He treats everyone the same, with respect and kindness. He is someone who has served, and continues to serve in a capacity where he is seldom seen, but often heard.”

Richmond, who has served as the ‘Voice of the Yellow Jackets’ for 35 years, said he was honored and surprised to receive the prestigious award.

“It’s been fun bringing Trousdale County football, basketball all these years,” he said. “I’ve done it for several years and hope to do it several more. Thank you so much for this award.”

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]

Trousdale basketball coaches work on schedules

With spring sports at a standstill because of the coronavirus, Trousdale County’s basketball coaches have had extra time to work on their schedules for the fall.

TCHS coaches Ryan Sleeper and Jared Hawkins are in the process of making some changes for the 2020-21 non-region schedule.

A second matchup with Smith County has been added instead of the usual one, and two games are expected with Watertown and Westmoreland. Both coaches are working to set home dates with Ezell-Harding and Nashville Christian after traveling to both last season. The games with Gallatin have not been rescheduled.

While the boys’ and girls’ teams have gone in different directions for Christmas tournaments in the past, that will change this year with both teams participating in the Watertown Christmas Tournament from Dec. 28-30.

This summer, the Jackets are planning to take part in camps at Watertown, Lebanon, DeKalb County and Portland, plus either Wayne County or Tennessee Tech.

The Lady Jackets are looking to go to Bethel University’s team camp for two days and three nights, and then have play days at Portland and Station Camp. Tennessee State is also a possible location for a play day.

Army Corps of Engineers closes campgrounds

In the interest of public safety, and in accordance with Center for Disease Control recommendations, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is taking the following precautionary measures to assist public health efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

  • Effective immediately, all visitor centers and resource manager offices are closed to the public until further notice.
  • Parks, campgrounds, day-use areas or other recreation areas that have not opened for the 2020 recreation season shall delay opening until further notice.
  • In cases where closure of a day use recreation area is not possible, public restrooms, group shelters, beaches, and other amenities will be closed in order to promote Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended precautions. Day use fees will not be collected at these areas during this time.
  • Cancellations for campground or group shelter reservations through May 15, 2020 will be processed automatically and a full refund will be issued. America the Beautiful passes may be purchased online by visiting https://store.usgs.gov/pass.
  • Boat ramps will remain open.
  • All future reservations for campers at Defeated Creek Campground on Cordell Hull Lake will be canceled.
  • All scheduled tours, interpretive programs, and special events will be canceled until further notice.
  • Shoreline management visits, usually relating to dock permits, will be conducted by phone, email, or mail between dock owners and Corps personnel in order to protect both parties.

Although public access will not be allowed, resource manager offices will be staffed and available to conduct business and answer questions via email or telephone.

These additional measures will be effective at each of the Nashville District’s USACE managed facilities throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. Please note, certain facilities are operated on USACE property by other entities under lease agreements, such as marinas and municipal parks. It is recommended that the public contact those entities directly in regards to their current operating status.

“We are taking the CDC’s recommended precautions as we work to provide a safe environment for our visitors,” said Diane Parks, Nashville District’s chief of Operations. “Public safety and the safety of our employees will always be our top priority, and every effort will be made to assist in efforts to contain COVID-19.”

Nashville District leadership continues to monitor and assess the situation and will keep the public informed of any additional updates.

TSSAA hoping to resume high school sports

Hoping to salvage the sports dreams of several thousand high school athletes throughout the state, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Board of Control voted unanimously Tuesday to continue the wait-and-see plan.

The board accepted a recommendation by TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress to do whatever it takes to hold a spot on the calendar for the girls’ and boys’ state basketball tournaments as well as the spring sports’ season and Spring Fling.

“We have stayed in close contact with the Tennessee Department of Health, the CDC and other experts giving us advice on how to deal with the situation,” Childress said. “Because of the COVID-19 virus, unfortunately we could look at just saying the basketball season is over, but we’re not at that point yet.

“We don’t want to give up on allowing those young people who have earned the right to play in the tournament to have that opportunity. It could be just a pipe dream, but in our opinion we need to look to continue to see where we are after a few weeks and reevaluate things then. We need our student-athletes to know we’re going to do everything we can to try and save their season.”

On Monday Gov. Bill Lee ordered all Tennessee school districts to close by Friday in response to the coronavirus. If students are allowed to return to school in time to allow the state basketball tournaments to be rescheduled, they likely would need to be restarted by May 11.

“We could make plans, but everything is changing rapidly day by day because of the health concerns,” Childress added. “We are trying everything we can but ultimately it could be out of our hands.”

The board also voted unanimously to leave regular-season spring sports scheduling under the jurisdiction of the schools, which means that technically teams will not have to play any regular-season games and can simply begin with district tournaments.

“If a school decides not to play any regular-season games, they must be allowed to play in the postseason without penalty,” Childress said.

The board discussed the possibility of extending the spring sports season by two weeks in order to have the Spring Fling – the state championship tournament for baseball, soccer, softball, tennis and track and field – sometime around the first week of June.

Softball gets four games in before break

Trousdale County’s Lady Jackets opened the 2020 softball season last week with four games and the postponement of one district game.

The Lady Jackets hosted Pope John Paul II on March 9 but couldn’t get their bats going in a 6-0 loss to the Lady Knights.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Alivia Boykin delivers a pitch against Pope John Paul II.

Makayla Crook had the only hit for Trousdale while three other teammates reached base via walks.

Alivia Boykin pitched six innings, striking out six and allowing seven hits. Hannah Hailey worked the last inning, striking out one and giving up one hit.

Coach Blake Satterfield took his girls to the Commando Classic in Hendersonville on Friday and Saturday, where they got three games in before rain took over.

On Friday, the Lady Jackets committed five errors in a 10-2 loss to the Sycamore Lady War Eagles.

Hailey, Crook, Rebecca Chapman, Jasmine Moss and Ruthie Mink each had one hit in the loss.

Later Friday, Trousdale County picked up its first win of the season as the Lady Jackets defeated the Lady Knights, a homeschooled team from Columbia, 8-1.

Hailey went 2-for-3 at the plate and smashed a home run to pace the Lady Jackets, who also had hits from Faith Winter, Boykin, Chapman, Moss, Kinley Brown and Mink.

Boykin pitched all five innings, striking out six and allowing just two hits.

On Saturday, the Lady Jackets faced Station Camp but fell 13-0 in five innings to the Lady Bison.

Winter went 2-for-2 but Moss had the only other hit for TCHS.

Trousdale County’s scheduled game at Red Boiling Springs on Thursday was postponed due to inclement weather.

Trousdale baseball opens season with shutout

Trousdale County High School got its 2020 baseball season underway with two games last week.

The Jackets made the short trip to Westmoreland for the season opener on March 9 and blanked the Eagles 5-0. Coach Hayden Williams’ boys scored one run in the second inning, three in the fifth and one in the seventh to claim the win.

Kobe Pridemore, a Freed-Hardeman signee, pitched a complete game, striking out 10 batters while giving up just three hits.

Pridemore, Eli Henderson and Brayden Gooch each went 1-for-3 at the plate, while Ben Chumley and Cameron Rankins had the other two hits for Trousdale County.

On March 10, the Jackets played their home opener but fell 4-1 to the Macon County Tigers. Trousdale gave up nine hits while collecting just four of their own.

Taylor Ellis went 2-for-3 for TCHS, while Pridemore and Chumley each had hits.

Henderson pitched five innings, striking out seven batters and giving up five hits.

Larry Woody: TWRA’s Brad Petty on patrol in Trousdale County

For Trousdale County game warden Brad Petty there’s no such thing as a “typical day.”

“Every day is different because you never know what you’re going to run into,” says Petty, 24, who has patrolled the county’s woods and waters since June 2018.

“A lot of what I do depends on the time of year,” says Petty, Trousdale’s lone warden whose area of operation includes a 20-mile stretch of the Cumberland River and parts of Old Hickory Lake, in addition to the county’s vast fields and forests.

Submitted photo
TWRA officer Brad Petty patrols Trousdale County.

“During deer season I get a lot of calls about trespassing and poaching; I have a spot-lighting case in court right now,” he says. “When turkey season opens I’ll get calls about the same issues with turkeys. In the spring and summer it’s mostly about people fishing without a license or expired boat registrations.”

In addition to his game warden duties, Petty assists local law enforcement personnel when needed on domestic violence situations, manhunts and missing persons searches.

Petty works in partnership with Macon County’s game warden.

“He helps me, and I help him,” Petty says.

Petty is on call 24 hours a day. When someone has a wildlife-related problem – a deer poacher, for example – they can phone the Trousdale County Sheriff’s Department and the call will be forwarded to Petty.

Petty set his sights on being a game warden as a kid growing up in the Hickman County community of Bon Aqua.

“I started hunting and fishing when I was about 10,” he says. “I met a game warden when I was 12, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do. I love the outdoors, and this is the perfect job.”

Petty graduated from UT-Martin with a degree in wildlife biology. He applied to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and was began a 12-week training program. Next came four months of field training, followed by twelve weeks at a law-enforcement academy.

Upon graduation he was issued a badge and assigned to Trousdale County, whose previous officer had transferred.

While attending UT-Martin, Petty met a pretty coed named Melissa. They dated throughout college and will be wed next month.

Does Melissa know what being the wife of a game warden entails: her husband responding to calls in the middle of the night, and often on duty on weekends and holidays?

“Yes,” Petty says with a laugh, “she’s been warned.”

He adds, more seriously:

“She understands that this is what I’ve always wanted to do, and she knows how much I love it. She totally supports me.”

For minor violations, Petty gives first offenders a second chance.

“If I catch someone hunting or fishing without a license, I write them a citation,” he says. “I tell them when they appear in court if they’ve got a license by then, the charge will be dismissed. Most of them comply.”

If they don’t, they’d better beware. Officer Petty takes his job seriously, and won’t be so forgiving the next time.

Trousdale County begins softball, baseball seasons

Trousdale County’s Lady Jacket softball team is scheduled to play a district game at Red Boiling Springs on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s catcher frames a called third strike during Monday’s softball game against Pope John Paul II.

TCHS will then take part in the Commando Classic at Hendersonville on Friday and Saturday. The Lady Jackets will play at Monterey on Monday and host Jackson County on Tuesday.

The Lady Jackets opened the season with a 6-0 home loss to Pope John Paul II.

Baseball: The Yellow Jacket baseball team will play Thursday at Middle Tennessee Christian at 5 p.m., then start district play at home Monday against Red Boiling Springs. TCHS will travel to RBS for a Tuesday matchup.

The Yellow Jackets opened the season Monday with a 5-0 win at Westmoreland as Freed-Hardeman signee Kobe Pridemore struck out 10 batters while allowing just three hits.

Lady Jackets’ run ends in region semifinals

The Trousdale County Lady Jackets saw their 2019-20 basketball season come to a close with a 64-50 loss to Pickett County in the Region 3-A semifinals at Livingston Academy on March 2.

The Lady Jackets fell behind by 12 in the first quarter and fought back to cut the deficit to seven at the half, but could get no closer.

“Tough loss; I thought the girls played a hard-fought game,” said TCHS coach Jared Hawkins. “We came out just a little slow, dug a hole of 13 but kept fighting.

“Basketball is a tournament sport and we proved if you believe at the end, anything is possible.”

The difference was basically behind the 3-point line as Trousdale hit four long-range shots compared to nine from Pickett County.

Chloe Donoho concluded her TCHS career with a game-high 26 points, putting her four over the 1,000-point mark. Donoho’s total included two 3-pointers and eight free throws and was a career best.

Kailen Donoho added nine points while Tori Simmons had eight points and eight rebounds. Claire Belcher had four points and Josie Garrett three for TCHS.

The Lady Jackets finished with a 10-23 overall record and were fifth in District 6-A in the regular season with a 4-10 mark. They placed fourth in the district tournament after upsetting Clay County and also knocked off No. 10-ranked Whitwell in the region quarterfinals.

Four seniors completed their high school careers in Chloe Donoho, Garrett, Simmons and Karissa Goss.

“I’m so proud of these seniors for giving everything they had here at the end,” Hawkins added. “I’m extremely proud of all we’ve accomplished these two years with back-to-back region appearances. Hopefully, it’s only the beginning.”

Trousdale’s Davis Stewart receives Scholar-Athlete award

Trousdale County senior Davis Stewart was presented with a Scholar-Athlete Award at last week’s Middle Tennessee Chapter National Football Foundation awards banquet.

The 54th annual banquet recognized seniors from 63 Midstate high schools and seven universities for achievement both on the football field and in the classroom.

Stewart was presented with his award by former Tennessee Titan Eddie George, as well as former NFL players Kelly Holcomb and Brenard Wilson.

Chris Gregory / Hartsville Vidette
Trousdale County’s Davis Stewart is presented with his award by former Tennessee Titan Eddie George, as well as former NFL players Kelly Holcomb and Brenard Wilson.

Stewart was a four-year letterman for Trousdale County, playing running back and free safety. He was an All-Region player as a senior and served as one of the Yellow Jackets’ captains.

Stewart also will be an Honors graduate from TCHS in May and has a 3.48 GPA. He is Sergeant at Arms of the senior class and is a member of the Beta Club.

He was joined at the banquet by his parents, Jeff & Catherine Stewart, TCHS coach Blake Satterfield, Director of Schools Clint Satterfield and “Voice of the Yellow Jackets” Jerry Richmond.

“Davis Stewart exemplifies what a true student-athlete looks like from all angles. He is a great football player who consistently improved each year,” Blake Satterfield said.

“He made a commitment first in the 2019 offseason in both the classroom and the weight room. This carried over to the 2019 season where Davis became a starter and eventually received honors such as Player of the Week and being placed on the 2019 All-Region team. Davis is an even better person who was a joy to coach and was our team captain who always led by example.”

Also recognized at the banquet was longtime Cumberland University baseball coach Woody Hunt, who received the Fred Russell Distinguished American Award, which is the top honor given by the organization.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or [email protected]

Lady Jackets topple Whitwell in region opener

The Trousdale County Lady Jackets scored the biggest upset in the state on Friday night when they defeated the Whitwell Lady Tigers 71-68 in the Region 3-A quarterfinals.

The Lady Jackets entered with just nine wins on the season after finishing fourth in the District 6-A Tournament, while Whitwell was 26-4, ranked No. 10 in Class A, and playing at home amidst a 14-game winning streak.

“I was super proud of my girls,” said TCHS coach Jared Hawkins. “W came in, executed our game plan and got up big in the first half. We got tired and forced some passes in the second half, but we held on.

“Winning a region game is huge, but doing it on the road is so much more special.”

Tori Simmons led all scorers with 29 points and also grabbed eight rebounds. Kailen Donoho hit five 3-pointers in the first half and finished with 19 points. Chloe Donoho scored 11 points, including two free throws in the final minute to ice the game, and also had eight rebounds for TCHS. Josie Garrett scored five points, Claire Belcher four and Kirsten Eversole three for the Lady Jackets.

Trousdale County raced out to an eight-point lead after the opening quarter and led 42-21 at halftime.

Whitwell hit nine 3-pointers in the second half but never got the deficit closer than three points.

Good free-throw shooting helped the Lady Jackets protect the lead as they went 15-of-18 from the line.

It was the first region win for the Lady Jackets since they defeated Clarkrange in Hartsville in 2011. The win put the Lady Jackets at 10-22 on the season and earned them a matchup with Pickett County in the semifinals.

Trousdale baseball, softball set to begin 2020 seasons

Trousdale County’s softball and baseball teams are scheduled to begin their regular seasons next week.

Third-year coach Blake Satterfield will lead the Lady Jackets along with assistant Jared Hawkins. The softball team will open at home on Monday against Pope John Paul II at 5 p.m. On Tuesday, the Lady Jackets will travel to Pickett County for a District 6-A doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m.

Last year saw the Lady Jackets win the regular-season and district tournament titles en route to a berth in the sectionals at Cascade. Trousdale County finished the season with a 19-9 record and has all but one starter back.

Meanwhile the baseball team will open Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Westmoreland under the direction of first-year coach Hayden Williams.

On Tuesday, the Jackets will go to Macon County for a 5 p.m. start.

In 2019, the Jackets went 13-18 and 7-2 in District 6-A before being eliminated from the district tournament after two losses to Monterey.

FCA banquet: Trousdale County’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter will hold its annual fundraising banquet on Tuesday, March 10 at 6 p.m. at the high school auditorium.

The guest speaker will be Josh Anderson.

Larry Woody: Ed Carter leaves powerful legacy at TWRA

After Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Executive Director Ed Carter announced his retirement last week, I began to chronicle his accomplishments during a half-century of service.

I quickly realized I’d run out of room in this column.

So I’ll just mention a few of his highlights as an administrator and devote the remainder of the space to Ed Carter the person.

I’ll start with a personal note:

Submitted photo
Retiring TWRA Executive Director Ed Carter built a solid foundation.

Two years ago, my wife Mary Frances died, and shortly afterwards I attended a wildlife commission meeting. Ed came over and we chatted awhile. Before he headed to the podium to address the assembly, he handed me an envelope. Inside was a handwritten note saying how sorry he was to hear about Mary Frances’s death.

I was touched by the gesture. He could have simply dictated a note to a secretary – if that – but he took time to personally write and deliver it.

That’s the Ed Carter I will always remember.

That personal touch was what made him so great at his job. He was at home chatting with a fisherman in muddy overalls, or discussing policy with top government honchos.

I was impressed with Ed the first time I met him, shortly after he was introduced as the Agency’s new director in 2009. He succeeded Gary Myers, who had held the job since 1978.

I interviewed Myers for The Tennessean when he was named director. Myers did a good job of guiding the Agency through some choppy waters, and now Carter was taking the rudder.

Ed gave me a formal welcome into his office; he knew me by name only. But when he learned that we had a mutual acquaintance – my cousin Jerry Hedgecoth, a retired TWRA officer and longtime friend of Ed’s – the ice broke.

We talked for over an hour about his background and his vision for the Agency.

He recounted his boyhood in Rogersville, roaming the outdoors, shotgun in one hand and fishing pole in the other. After graduating from UT, Ed joined the TWRA as a field officer and steadily rose through the ranks.

Overseeing the TWRA takes special talents. The director has to be a wildlife biologist, hunter, fisherman, environmentalist, conservationist, administrator, politician and diplomat.

He has to answer to everyone from state legislators to muskrat trappers, and at times balance conflicting interests. It can be a hard line to walk, and Ed Carter walked it brilliantly.

Under his guidance the TWRA became a national role model for wildlife management.

Numerous rare and endangered species have been restored, fragile habitat protected, public lands expanded, and waterways made cleaner and safer. As for hunting and fishing, most agree that the “good old days” are right now.

The new director faces some daunting challenges, most notably deer disease and invasive carp, in addition to increasingly strained natural resources. But he or she has a firm foundation to build on, thanks to Gary Myers and Ed Carter.

I wish Ed the best in his retirement. I hope he catches lots of fish and bags lots of ducks, and I hope to see him somewhere down the trail.

Lady Jackets place fourth in district tournament

Trousdale County’s Lady Jackets scored the biggest upset of the first week of the District 6-A Tournament when they took down the Clay County Lady Bulldogs 66-58 in the quarterfinals on Feb. 19 at Livingston Academy.

The Lady Jackets trailed by six at halftime but scored 39 points in the second half to break an eight-game losing streak against the Lady Bulldogs.

Kailen Donoho helped keep the game close early, scoring 11 of her 15 points in the first half. Claire Belcher added 13 points, nine of which came at the free-throw line, and Josie Garrett had a career-best 10, including three 3-pointers. Chloe Donoho, Tori Simmons and Kirsten Eversole each scored seven points, Morgan White had four and Kinley Brown three.

Jerry Richmond / For The Vidette
Members of the District 6-A Girls All-Tournament team were (kneeling, from left): Clarkrange – Kassie Monday, Chloe Howard, Lexi Pierce, Kaylie Monday (MVP); back row: Red Boiling Springs – Kennedy Fleming, Liz Anderson; Trousdale County – Tori Simmons; Pickett County – Kyndal Ludick, Laura Bilbrey, Shayla Wood.

The Lady Jackets faced No. 2-ranked Pickett County in the semifinals and kept the game close until the final minutes, falling 65-57 to the Lady Bobcats (26-2).

Trousdale led 42-30 at halftime, but Pickett turned up the defensive intensity in the second half and forced the Lady Jackets into numerous turnovers.

Simmons finished with 18 points and Chloe Donoho had 14. Belcher and Garrett each had seven points, while Kailen Donoho had five before fouling out with 4:45 to play. Eversole and Brown rounded out the scoring with three points each.

The Lady Jackets started their tournament run on Feb. 17 against Jackson County and scored a 56-40 victory over the Lady Blue Devils (4-21) after the two teams split their regular-season games.

Simmons led the way with 13 points and Chloe Donoho had 11. Kailen Donoho added nine, Belcher, Garrett and White each had six, Karissa Goss three and Eversole two.

The Lady Jackets lost to Red Boiling Springs 60-41 in Monday’s consolation game and placed fourth, meaning they will travel to District 5 champion Whitwell for Friday’s region quarterfinal.

Belcher and Simmons led Trousdale County (9-22) offensively with 14 and nine points, respectively. RBS was led by Kennedy Fleming, who scored 22 of her 29 points in the first half.

On the boys’ side, the Yellow Jackets also faced Jackson County in a 6 seed vs. 7 seed game on Feb. 18 and came from behind in the fourth quarter to down the Blue Devils (10-16) 48-47.

Jackson County saw a last-second 3-poin attempt bounce off the rim.

“This was a great win in a tough environment,” said TCHS coach Ryan Sleeper. “I believe this was Tarvaris’ (Claiborne) best game of the year. He really willed us to the win.

“I was proud of the effort from the whole team.”

Claiborne led all scorers with 16 points while Alex Ford and Cameron Rankins each had 10. Kane Burnley and Trent Pharris had four each, Keenan Burnley three and Brandon Ramsey two.

In their quarterfinal game against Gordonsville on Feb. 20, the Jackets were outscored 12-7 in the fourth quarter and fell 48-44 to the Tigers (17-11). Gordonsville won the game at the free-throw line, hitting nine of 14 attempts while Trousdale made just two of seven.

“Tough way for the season to end, but credit to Gordonsville,” Sleeper said. “They have a really good squad. We didn’t play our smartest quarter in the fourth and it came back to bite us.

“Basketball IQ is the biggest thing still missing to compete for championships in this very tough district and something we will try to remedy in the offseason.”

Ford scored a game-high 16 points and Rankins had 13. Claiborne had eight points, Keenan Burnley three, Kane Burnley two and Pharris two.

The Jackets finished with an 11-18 record and their 11th consecutive losing season.

Claiborne, Jay’dynn Hayward, Aaron Pickett and Ramsey were the four seniors on the squad.

“Thanks to everyone for their support during this season,” Sleeper said. “The future is bright.”

Contributing: Craig Harris, Macon County Times

Larry Woody: Hunters try to reduce local impact of coyotes

If Snowball or Rover suddenly goes missing from your back yard, there’s a chance you’ve been visited by a coyote.

It happens more and more in suburbs throughout Middle Tennessee, as the coyote population grows and they invade residential areas where cats and small dogs are easy prey.

The results of a recent one-day predator hunt in and around Wilson County indicate how fast the local coyote population is growing: 39 were killed, a major increase over the average of 23 killed in each of the past three annual hunts.

“There are more and more coyotes in this area,” says Watertown’s Marc Larese, a representative of FoxPro Game Calls and host of the fourth annual Camboy Outdoors Predator Hunt. “There are also more bobcats; we just don’t see them as often.”

Photo by Larry Woody
A recent predator hunt helped reduced the area’s coyote population.

In addition to the 39 coyotes, seven bobcats were collected in the hunt.

“You’ll never completely get rid of coyotes once they move in,” Larese says. “All that can be done is try to control their numbers. Even hunting doesn’t reduce their population long-term, because they are so prolific. They reproduce faster than they can be removed.”

Coyotes, an invasive species that began migrating into Tennessee from the Southwest some four decades ago, proved highly adaptive. Today they are common sights everywhere, including urban areas. Last year a coyote was found lurking in the Music City Center in downtown Nashville.

While coyotes rarely present a threat to humans, they are known to prey on domestic pets and can devastate small-game populations. They also catch wild turkeys, and take a heavy toll on newborn deer. Wildlife studies have found that coyotes kill over 50 percent of fawns in some areas.

Fifty-nine two-man teams of hunters from across the state participated in the recent hunt. The biggest coyote weighed 44 pounds, checked in by Brian Smith and Luke Stinnett. The biggest bobcat weighed 23.1 pounds and was tagged by John Blankenship and Keith Gull.

Bobcat pelts are valuable, as are coyote pelts to a lesser extent. That’s why Larese holds the predator hunt in the winter when the pelts are in their prime. A local furrier collects the animals for their pelts.

“We consider the hunt beneficial from all aspects,” Larese says. “It helps control the predator population, it is a challenging outdoor activity, and the pelts are an economic resource. Many of the pelts collected in Wilson County are marketed to China, Russia and the Ukraine.”

“Predator hunting is becoming more popular every year,” he says. “There’s no greater outdoor challenge than trying to call in a coyote or bobcat.”

Local archer on target: Watertown’s Hunter Larese helped his collegiate archery team win a Gold Medal in a recent national competition.

The University of the Cumberland in Williamsburg, Ky., finished in first place. Larese, a freshman member of the team, was eighth among 200 archers competing in the individual Bow-Hunting Class.

Lady Jackets defeat Monterey on Senior Night

Trousdale County wrapped up its regular season on Feb. 13 with home games against district foe Monterey. It was Senior Night and eight players were recognized between games.

The Lady Jacket seniors are Chloe Donoho, Josie Garrett, Karissa Goss and Tori Simmons. The Jackets’ seniors are Tarvaris Claiborne, Jay’dynn Hayward, Aaron Pickett and Brandon Ramsey.

The Lady Jackets (7-20, 4-10 6-A) struggled in the first half and trailed by two at the break. But a 29-point effort in the third quarter boosted the hosts to a 61-35 victory over the Lady Wildcats (6-22, 1-13).

Submitted photo
Trousdale County players and cheerleaders are recognized on Senior Night between games against Monterey.

“I was really proud of my girls,” said TCHS coach Jared Hawkins. “We started slow in the first half, but after halftime we really came out, followed the game plan and pushed the ball in transition.

“I was really pleased with the 29-point third quarter and pleased with the attention to detail on defense.”

Chloe Donoho led all scorers with her 18 points, while Kailen Donoho had 16 and Simmons 13 to go along with 12 rebounds. Claire Belcher tossed in six points, Kirsten Eversole three, Morgan White three and Garrett two.

In the boys’ game, the Jackets (10-17, 4-10) started slowly and trailed by 17 at halftime. Trousdale got within three points in the fourth quarter but ended up falling 60-46 to sixth-ranked Monterey (23-5, 11-3).

“We came out pretty flat, which is understandable after a week off for sickness,” said TCHS coach Ryan Sleeper. “I was encouraged by the effort and execution in the second half.

“We have to remember our identity as we enter the tournament and not allow teams to get us out of our style.”

Three Jackets reached double figures as Alex Ford and Claiborne had 15 points each, while Cameron Rankins had 10. Kane Burnley, Ramsey and Trent Pharris each added two points for TCHS, which is now 0-6 against Monterey in District 6-A play.

The District 6-A Tournament was to be held this week at Livingston Academy.

Larry Woody: Watertown man turns trash into treasures

Tony Jennings doesn’t mind being called a “scavenger.” In fact, he’s proud of it.

“I’m a cut above a buzzard,” jokes the Watertown resident, who makes a large part of his living salvaging what others throw away.

“I enjoy collecting old stuff and turning it into art and crafts,” he says. “I take a lot of pride in the things I make.”

Jennings displayed some of his artwork and collectables at the recent tackle-and-gear show in Mt. Juliet. In addition to arts and crafts, he also featured a diverse array of rare artifacts, from arrowheads and an Indian war club to Civil War relics and porcupine-quill fishing floats.

Photo by Larry Woody
Tony Jennings displays some of his unique crafts.

One unique item was a wood carving of a giant fish with a rusty steel trap in its jaw. Art, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder.

Jennings is adept at leatherwork; he made the leather hat and vest he wore at the show.

He also makes banjos, and after they are finished, he can play them.

“Maybe not great,” he says with a grin, “but I can play.”

Jennings picks up items and oddities at yard sales, estate sales and flea markets. He also finds useable stuff in junk yards and alongside the road.

“I’m a hunter-gatherer,” he says.

Jayne, Tony’s wife of 33 years, makes jewelry and other crafts which she sells at shows around the state.

“It’s a way of life for us,” Jennings says. “We enjoy it. We don’t get rich, but we have all we need. It’s not about how much money you make, but how happy you are while you’re making it.”

Jennings’ booth was one of several dozen rented for the annual sale at Charlie Daniels Park. Proceeds from booth rentals and admission fees go to the host Percy Priest Striper Club.

The club uses the money to purchase high-protein food for raising stripers at TWRA hatcheries. The food provided by the TWRA is less expensive for an Agency limited by budget constraints.

“The fingerlings grow faster and are more robust with the high-protein food,” explains long-time club member Tommy LaCroix, who helps organize the annual event. “That means a higher survival rate when they are released. And that means more stripers for fishermen to catch in the future.”

TWRA fisheries biologist Todd St. John, who attended the sale, says the Agency appreciates the help.

“The high-protein food is a big boost for our hatchery program,” he says. “The club’s support is a big boost.”

Meanwhile, over at Tony Jennings’ booth he is showing a visitor how to rig one of his unique porcupine-quill fishing floats to catch bluegill.

How did he come by the porcupine quills?

Well, one day on his way home from a junkyard he stopped at a yard sale…

Trousdale alumni basketball games rescheduled for Feb. 22

The Trousdale County alumni games have been rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 22.

The women’s game will start at 6 p.m. and admission is $5. Current players at TCHS and Jim Satterfield Middle will be recognized to the crowd beforehand.

The women scheduled to compete are Makenzee Dixon (Class of 2017), Kim Scruggs Duke (2000), Porshe Lock (2005), Kaja Moore (2004), Destinee Dixon (2015), Hannah Gregory (2015), Ashley Cornwell Thayer (2015), Tina Lankford Chasse (2002), Terri Lynn Oldham Dixon (1993), Missi Oakley Hunter (1993), Jamey McKoin (2017) and Jennifer Elmore Petty (1994).

The men competing will be Ricky Harrison (2016), Dustin Dillehay (2006), Braison Raney (2018), Austin Ford (2018), Craig Brown (2010), Mike Hehn (1993), Malcolm Brinkley (2018), Chase Haynes (2018), Chris Payne (1993), Ladarius Brinkley (2018), John Young (1989), Michael Ford (2007), T.C. Payne (1999), Namiah Wilson (2003), Bryce Claiborne (2016) and Dusty Stovall (2015).