Whitesburg KY

Struttin’ Time:

Choosing national forest hunt a no-brainer

Gee, ain’t it funny how time slips away? The words to that song are so true. During this off time from beating the bush to hunt my mind is filled with memories of hunts and days gone by. Here is one of those memories:

The year was 1960 when my dad and Henry Sword hauled me to hunt in a faraway land called the Cumberland National Forest. The forest covers several counties, but we would hunt in Pulaski County at Mount Victory. The name of the forest has since been changed to the Daniel Boone National Forest, but the forest never knew the difference and to me it will always be Cumberland. I am not much of one for change just to be changing.

Here were our options — hunt Letcher County and climb mountains to kill six squirrels a day, or drive five hours and camp and fish in the Rockcastle River to kill six squirrels in the morning and six in the evening. On top of that we could also hunt fox squirrels and black squirrels, which we never had in the mountains. We also walk on level logging roads or hunt Letcher County. To us, Mount Victory was the land of milk and honey.

My favorite hunting started around nine at night when we would load up in the back of the pickups and drive the roads hunting snakes. They would crawl on the sandy roads that held warmth. When the lights of the pickup hit the snakes the shooting would start. It was nothing to kill a couple of rattlesnakes and several copperheads each time we went out. Those happy days are gone, and it is probably against the law even to shoot on those roads now.

On a similar subject, I have never understood the law that says you are allowed six squirrels a day or have 12 in your possession. I guess I am too old to figure it out now.

My last trip to hunt in the Cumberland/Daniel Boone was in the fall of 1999. By then our crew had dropped from well over 30 buddies to just four of us. I hope to make one final trip to hunt Mount Victory. I would love for it to happen, but even if it doesn’t, I still have my memories.

Almost all of our old crew has crossed the Silent River. Meanwhile, I am waiting for our big hunt when we are together once again camping, fishing, and, of course, just hanging together.

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