It's funny how quickly things can turn around in a deer stand.
The other afternoon I hunted a tower in the elbow of a power line. In front of me was a linear food plot; to my left was a swath of broomstraw and briers.
I had high hopes when I arrived but was disappointed to see loggers at work nearby. As I drove in, however, they piled into their van and left, and all was quiet.
By 5 p.m. I was in the stand. Twenty minutes later they returned in a noisy 18-wheeler with an empty trailer, which they proceeded to fill with cut pines.
The racket was deafening and I figured the hunt was over.
I amused myself watching -- through binoculars -- the harvester load trees onto the trailer. Once all the trees were loaded, there was still room in the trailer, so they cranked up a menacing monster of a machine that rolled across a food plot and started shearing off pine trees at the base.
As all this activity was under way, I happened to look to my left. A buck ambled to the edge of the power line and stood there for a full minute. It was out of range, but nonetheless handsome and obviously unfazed by loggers. It trotted across and vanished.
It was after 6 p.m. when the "feller-buncher" disgorged its last load of pines into the trailer. In the interim, a second buck had crossed the power line to my left.
As the crew loaded up to leave, there was half-hour of shooting light left. I had a newfound appreciation for how hard loggers work, but little hope of seeing deer.
No sooner than the dust had settled, a doe appeared in the same food plot where the tree whacker had roared moments earlier. As the shadows lengthened, more deer arrived.
By the time I climbed down to go home, there were seven deer in the darkness below -- four in front of me and three to my left. There was nothing I chose to shoot, but it was an entertaining adventure.
I'd call that a bad hunt gone good.
RAMPANT RABIES: Columbia County continues to produce more and more rabid animals, including a raccoon picked up last weekend by Animal Control on Creekview Circle, off Columbia Road.
It tested positive for rabies, just as 10 other animals -- including foxes and a coyote -- have in recent months, according to Emergency Services director Pam Tucker. The raccoon had bite marks -- indicating it had been in contact with another animal.
The discovery of the 11th confirmed case in Columbia County this year means there are probably more dangerous animals in circulation, so folks who have pets in semi-rural or outdoor areas need to make sure their vaccinations are up to date.
DUNSTAN CLASSIC: The Richard Dunstan Memorial Sporting Clays Classic drew 27 participants this year and raised more than $6,000 for the Georgia-Carolina Boy Scouts of America Council.
Seven teams turned out for the Oct. 4 event, held at Pinetucky Gun Club. The team that captured first place included Barney Dunstan, Bill Trotter, Wayne Ewing and Steve Harding.
NWTF CHANGES: The National Wild Turkey Federation continues to rebuild its management team after losing three top executives -- including CEO Rob Keck -- in a purge by the board of directors in March.
The most recent appointees are Donna Leggett, a St. Simon's Island, Ga., native who -- as the new vice president of development -- will work with fund- raising programs. She has been with NWTF since 1998. Also promoted was Danny Young, an employee since 1993, whose new title is vice president of marketing. Young, from Eastover, S.C., previously was director of advertising and licensing.
In June, George C. Thornton, of Elberton, Ga., was chosen to succeed Keck, who resigned March 26 after 30 years with the organization. Before Keck resigned, the board fired chief operating officer Carl Brown and vice president Dick Rosenlieb.
Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.