Sumter outdoors columnist Dan Geddings: Excerpts from a diary


Throughout the summer of 2001, I kept a small field book in my truck to document expenses and food plot work on our hunting club. At that time, we managed more than 26 acres of food plots.

Some of the plots were on powerline right-of-ways that I had enrolled in the Power for Wildlife program. It was a cost-share program. The work was done by my brother Matt and me, with some occasional help from a few club members. I enjoyed documenting the work and started another book to describe some of the hunts when the deer season opened. I had forgotten about the diaries but found them recently on a bookshelf when packing for an upcoming move. What follows are some excerpts from those books.

Jan. 18, 2001, applied for Power for Wildlife program.

April 17, 2001, approved for 5.5 acres on Santee Cooper R/W and 5.5 acres on CP&L R/W.

May 31, 2001, Matt has bush hogged and plowed a 2-acre section of the CP&L R/W. Harold Corbett planted the 2 acres in corn and applied nitrogen.

June 19, 2001, Harold cultivated the corn. Corn looks OK due to plenty of rain lately.

June 29, 2001, Matt has been plowing an area below the corn. Ground is hard and there is much grass. We will try to put this section in peas and beans.

July 2, 2001, bought 10 bags of 10-10-10 fertilizer. Paid $4.97 per bag. Cost including tax is $52.68. Spread fertilizer and planted peas and beans on lower section of power line. We now have entire section of CP&L planted.

Aug. 7, 2001, very hot and muggy. Have been bush hogging and plowing Santee Cooper power lines. Bought one bag of brown top millet for $18.55. Plan on mixing this in on the food plots.

Aug. 10, 2001, Matt, Butch, Davy and Scooter put out fertilizer and planted peas, beans and brown top on Santee Cooper R/W. It is very hot and humid. Had a big rain yesterday.

Aug. 21, 2001, Matt, Butch and I planted the big powerline with cowpeas and a brown top, rye grass mixture. Planted the hidden field with Rackmaster. I added in some brown top. Very hot. Worked till dark. Need rain.

Aug. 30, 2001. got big rain!

Saturday, Sept. 1, 2001, first day of deer season. We ran the big swamp. Lots of does were seen. Dogs ran good. A nice buck slipped out of the hunt. Raymond Brown saw him, but he was too far to shoot. The buck was in velvet. We moved on to the flat woods, and Wesley Geddings killed a nice eight point in the bean field. By the time we caught the dogs up, it was noon. Goldenrod blooming. It's cloudy and about 80 degrees. A good breeze came up after lunch and blew the clouds away. Blue sky showing.

Sunday, Sept. 2, 2001, skipped church and went to hunting club to run bush hog. Tractor overheated and cut off. Took a little walk while tractor was cooling. Looked for arrowheads. Didn't find any, but did find some pottery. Heard coyotes howling. Got tractor running just as a big rain came up. Very many yellow flies after rain. They were so bad it was hard to operate tractor with both hands. Had to swat them constantly.

Monday, Sept. 3, 2001, hunted the boggy branch. Saw a little buck cross the weed fields. Dogs ran very good. Matt and Raymond shot at a big buck. He got away. At lunch time, I rode around to cool off a little. I saw a hen turkey at the back of a field.

Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2001, left work early to go do some bush hogging. Cut till about 6:45 then had to drive the tractor back. On the way, I noticed tiny white bugs in the air. They were so thick it looked like a fine snow storm. Untold millions. There were so many I had to turn my head down to keep them out of my eyes and mouth. When I got back near my truck it was so dark, I couldn't see the ground or my hand extended in front of me. I had to look up to stay on the road between the pines, as the open sky was illuminated by the stars. Then my white truck stood out ahead like a big ghost.

Saturday, Sept. 8, 2001, hunted the big swamp and the branch. We missed two bucks. Still very hot. Shot doves in the afternoon.

I made no diary entries from Sept. 11 through Sept. 13, 2001. Events on the world stage dominated the news and changed our lives.

I did get back to the diary, and some of those excerpts may be shared in the future.

Reach Dan Geddings at