Stories and Commentary from the Swampland

Appropriate for in-town possum hunting.

.22 Caliber Gold

When I was 10 or 11 years old, I spent the night on a houseboat with my father and his friend Harold “Greasy” Gaskin. They were going fishing that evening and the More »

broken boat

Dreaming of Stuff that Works

Every time there’s a huge Lottery or Powerball jackpot, people talk about what they would do with all that money if they won. Mostly it’s the same old stuff – mansions, vacation More »

Cartoon squirrel

Why I Never Trust a Squirrel

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve built up a lot of bad squirrel karma over the last 40 years or so. In fact, if the Good Lord is a lover More »

wrap string

How to Make and Store Bush Hooks

I saw a Facebook post recently that said, “Invest in precious metals. Buy lead.” There was a picture of a bullet underneath it, but lead weights and fish hooks are pretty pricey More »

"I'm a tree. Not a deer. Just a tree."

The Deer that Got Away (and the Squirrel that Didn’t)

Of all the family members I write about, my two oldest brothers, Mack and Hentz, are the ones who appear least frequently.  For his part, Hentz has been noticeably tight-lipped since I More »

.22 Caliber Gold

Appropriate for in-town possum hunting.

When I was 10 or 11 years old, I spent the night on a houseboat with my father and his friend Harold “Greasy” Gaskin. They were going fishing that evening and the following morning, but it was during hunting season and I got to bring Daddy’s old Remington .22 and a brand new box of bullets.

Dreaming of Stuff that Works

broken boat

Every time there’s a huge Lottery or Powerball jackpot, people talk about what they would do with all that money if they won. Mostly it’s the same old stuff – mansions, vacation homes, yachts, expensive cars and the like.

Not me, though. My dreams are much simpler. I have enough stuff. I just want stuff that works like it’s supposed to.

Why I Never Trust a Squirrel

Cartoon squirrel

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve built up a lot of bad squirrel karma over the last 40 years or so. In fact, if the Good Lord is a lover of limb rats, I’m going to need a lawyer with me at the Pearly Gates. On the other hand, if squirrels do go to heaven, I can claim credit for a lot of them getting there a little sooner than planned.

How to Make and Store Bush Hooks

wrap string
You'll need your line, weight, hook and an empty shotgun shell. (Oh, and your knife.)

You’ll need your line, weight, hook and an empty shotgun shell. (Oh, and your knife.)

I saw a Facebook post recently that said, “Invest in precious metals. Buy lead.” There was a picture of a bullet underneath it, but lead weights and fish hooks are pretty pricey as well.

The Deer that Got Away (and the Squirrel that Didn’t)

"I'm a tree. Not a deer. Just a tree."

Of all the family members I write about, my two oldest brothers, Mack and Hentz, are the ones who appear least frequently.  For his part, Hentz has been noticeably tight-lipped since I started committing these stories to print. Which makes sense because his advice when I started my blog was, “Be careful that you don’t write anything now that could be admitted as evidence later.”

Springtime is the Right Time for Outdoor Education

Child driving boat

By Lane Stephens

Springtime in Florida.  It’s a time of transition, from days spent in the woods hunting wild game to getting out on the water in search of our abundant freshwater or saltwater fish.  Of course, we still have a little bit of turkey hunting to do, so that makes it an easy transition for many of us.

Two Years of Outdoors Down South

Somewhere down there is a well-armed catfish.

It’s been two years now since I started Outdoors Down South and to the extent I get questions, the most frequent one is why I write it. The truth is, even after more than 120 columns, I haven’t really been able to put my finger on it.

The Bigger the Bait . . .

crawfish

It’s hard to overstate the entertainment value of growing up with Gary Wayne Purvis as one of your best friends and running buddies. For one thing, GW was spring-loaded to go fishing anytime, night or day, year-round. For another, he usually had a good idea where folks were catching fish and how.

Bringing Back the Slat Trap: What I Learned by Building a Catfish Basket

launch small

It was my Aunt Ann who first stirred my interest in wooden catfish baskets. Her father was a commercial fisherman on the Apalachicola River and his livelihood depended on them. When I was younger, she actually had one in her living room.

Talking Turkey with a ‘Tween

turkey gobbler

I’m a big believer in taking kids to the woods early and often to make sure they’re comfortable outside the world of couches, television and computers. But the reality is that it doesn’t always work out exactly like you hope.

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