You won’t find fast food, Wal-mart or a movie theater in Glascock County.
What you will find, however, is a community where almost one fifth of its population – 18.9 percent – have hunting or fishing licenses.
The statistic, third among Georgia’s 159 counties, came to light last week as we were comparing license sales data from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources with population figures.
The goal of our computer analysis was to gauge the “outdoorsiness” of counties across the state, and especially those in the Central Savannah River Area. (You can read our complete report in today’s Metro section).
As part of our reporting, I made a visit to the town of Gibson, the largest town in Glascock County.
I stopped in at the local hardware store, where its owner, Dan Peaster, sat behind a counter packed with ammo, knives, fishing tackle and all sorts of outdoorsy things.
Dan was chatting with a visitor – Conservation Ranger Brian Adams, of the Wildlife Resources Division Law Enforcement Section (that’s a long-winded way of saying he is the local game warden).
In talking with these guys, I learned a few things about why Glascock County is one of the most hunting and fishing-friendly places in our huge state.
For starters, the county is unusual in that hunter education is taught in the local school – and available to all the children.
The Glascock County Consolidated School is also unusual in another way: it houses kindergarten through 12th grade – all under one roof.
In addition to all that reading, writing and arithmetic, the kids get a dose of fishing each year, starting in kindergarten all the way through fifth grade.
Fish are donated by state hatcheries and stocked in a local lake owned by Henry “Olin” Mathis. Then, each year, there are field trips to the lake where youngsters get to fish.
“This is the 17th year of doing this,” Adams said. “Each grade has a full day of fishing, every year.”
Could a rural education that includes fishing account for creating a community of outdoor-loving adults?
Adams and Peaster think there just might be a connection.
“Just imagine, one whole day of mom and dad and the kids, sitting out there all day fishing – and talking,” Adams said.
TOUCH AN ANIMAL DAY: Have you held an alligator, felt a rattlesnake's rattle, or touched a possum before?
On Saturday, the community is invited to Touch an Animal Day, sponsored by the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, from 9 a.m. to noon at the University of Georgia-SREL Conference Center on U.S. Hwy. 278.
A variety of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, birds, insects, plants and more will be out with handlers for close encounters.
SREL scientists will be on hand to answer questions and educate guests about diverse flora and fauna all around us.
Although the Savannah River Site is a secured facility, the SREL Conference Center is located outside the security perimeter, and is therefore easily accessible to guests.
No security clearance is required.
For more details or directions, e-mail Jennifer Gibbons at email@example.com.
CRACKERNECK OPEN: Aiken County’s Crackerneck Wildlife Management Area and Ecological Reserve will be open to the public on Saturdays during September.
The site near Jackson includes 10,470 acres owned by the U.S. Department of Energy and managed for them by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
The area is located in Aiken County, along the Savannah River and south of Jackson, off SC 125. Access is through the check station gate off Brown Road.
Detailed maps/brochures of the area that include special rules and regulations can be requested in advance by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and providing a name and postal mailing address.