My first visit to the hunting lease is Part 2 in a series. Check out “My first hunting season, ever”
A couple of weeks ago, I committed to a hunting lease in middle Georgia by giving my buddy $560 which was my share of the yearly cost of it. He and another friend of mine went up there to check it out and pay for it and said it looked pretty legit. Today, Jamie and I drove up there to meet a couple of other guys on the lease and possibly pick out some areas of the property to set up for a hunt.
We live in Orlando, Florida so it’s about a six-hour drive up to Gibson, Georgia where the lease is. I met at Jamie’s and loaded an overnight bag, my .308 rifle, and a .357 pistol into his badass big, fully optioned diesel 4×4 crew cab Ford truck. Since I hadn’t shot the .308 in about four years and brought it to sight the scope. I brought the pistol because I hadn’t shot it yet and this was a good opportunity to try it out.
Jamie brought his crossbow, a new climbing tree stand, and we loaded up the four-wheeler he bought for the hunting season in the back of his truck. So, after he showed me his new Les Paul guitar, we hit the road.
Our drive to the Hunting Lease
Twelve hours (six hours up and six back) of being with a guy in a truck can be tough. That’s a lot of hours just sitting there and we both are too old to just bury our heads in our phones like Millennials. We are good friends though so hanging and talking that long is no problem. On the way there, we covered big topics like politics, hunting, and the general plights of being an American man.
Jamie and I left Orlando at about 2:30 in the afternoon which put us in Gibson at about 9:30 pm. We met up with Bill at the only motel close to the lease and the three of us shared a two double bedroom for $75 bucks. Bill lives in Orlando too but drove separate because he trailered his own four-wheeler behind his mid-size pick-up. This Indian run motel didn’t have any cots available so I elected to sleep on the floor. The two of them gave me their bed covers and a pillow and I set up nicely next to the a/c unit. I volunteered to take the floor for two reasons. One was I wasn’t sleeping in a double bed with a grown man, and two, I felt I had the healthiest back of the three of us because I do yoga.
We were concerned about the four-wheelers getting stolen. Neither one was locked or chained up and some locals were partying out of a couple of rooms at the far end of the Motel. If we were back in Orlando, we would have never risked it but this was in the middle of fucking no-where Georgia. I slept well for being on the floor for about four and a half hours and at five am, we woke and started our day. The four-wheelers were still there.
There aren’t many options for breakfast around Gibson, Georgia. There was a Huddle House I would’ve been ok with but Jamie isn’t much of a “sit and eat” kind of guy. Since I try to be agreeable and flexible, we agreed on the McDonald’s drive-through. I ordered the steak biscuit and an unflavored latte from their so-called “Mc Cafe’”. This was much less than ideal, but for me, it’s better to eat than not, even if it’s nasty fast food.
The steak biscuit was edible but my fancy latte, despite my instruction to put nothing sweet in it, was undrinkable. I’m sure most middle Georgians wouldn’t even notice, but that breakfast dessert disguised as a coffee would’ve sent my body into an insulin production spike that could put me in type two status for a week. I was happy to pour that liquid cancer food out on the street. I then got a really bad but unsweetened coffee at the convenience store which also sold fried chicken.
The site of the Hunting Lease
At daybreak, we made it to the hunting lease site. In the middle of the five hundred acre property, there is an open area where previous hunters have used to camp or park to walk out to their stands. We unloaded the four-wheelers and drove the property. We checked out the hunting lanes and a couple of permanent tree stands and then returned to the camp spot. Bill set up a target so I could sight my rifle. Jamie wanted to try out his fancy night vision scope he put on his crossbow. I was very interested in this night vision scope as coyotes are abundant in my neighborhood back in Orlando and I want to night-hunt them. Bill used his laser range finder to determine the target was forty-two yards away.
My Remington model 100 .308 is a semi-auto, so I pulled back the lever, injected the clip, and was ready to shoot. That model has a hair-trigger so I set up against Jamie’s four-wheeler. Looking through the scope, I found the target, paused to find calmness, pulled the trigger and nothing happened. I inspected the gun by releasing the clip and discovered it hadn’t fed a round in the chamber. I then re-cleared the gun, re-installed the clip and pulled back the chamber. This time it fed a round and I shot a bullet down and to the right of the bullseye. Jamie looked at my result, adjusted my scope, and I set up to try again. This time the gun again did not shoot.
Inspection of the Hunting Gear
After inspection, the casing didn’t release so the .308 was jammed. I pulled out the casing, re-inserted the clip, fired a shot much closer to the bullseye this time. Jamie again made a smaller adjustment on my scope but this time my (3rd) shot was farther off. Knowing that I haven’t shot a gun in quite a while and Jamie has good aim, I suggested he make a shot to see where he would hit. His shot was off opposite of where I missed so that wasn’t good. We then took a closer look at the gun and noticed the scope mount was slightly loose. That was it for my shooting for the day as none of us had the right tool to tighten it.
Now it was Jamie’s turn to test out his new digital night vision scope. He set a practice arrow in the chamber of his crossbow and turned on his scope. It wasn’t working. He checked it out, hit some buttons, took out and re-installed the batteries and tried again. It was still acting up and not working. We don’t know why the scope failed, but that was all the failure Jamie needed to decide he wasn’t going to use it, ever. My friend is a pretty intense, high energy guy and won’t use any equipment that might fail during a hunt.
This was a good example as to why you should always make sure your rifle is ready to go and you along with it. Had I just gone on a hunt without checking things out and re-familiarizing myself with the weapon, I surely would’ve missed out on my first opportunity to bring home some meat.
Meeting the guys that Mange the Hunting Lease
Perry is a seventy-year-old good ole’ boy from middle nowhere Georgia. He has managed this hunting lease for the last seven years for the landowner. I’ve been around country boys all my life and haven’t really been one myself. Some of these guys can be real jag-offs. Luckily, Perry wasn’t one of them. He pulled up at the site in his ten-year-old, optioned out four-wheel-drive GMC Sierra trailering his golf cart. This was a testament to his age and wisdom. He knew a quiet golf cart, although not nearly as macho as a four-wheeler, was perfect transportation for the hunting property. A few minutes later, Rob showed up in his truck pulling his four-wheeler.
Rob appeared to be a bit of a mad man with a big personality. As the four of us met, he started right off telling a story of the last hunt he was on. “Man you shoulda seen me the last time. I shot dis big ol’ buck way back in and had to crawl him out about a mile.”
“Oh get ready now. We about to hear a story now”, Perry said immediately.
“No man. I had to track him to the other side of a creek and it was pitch black and had no other way to get him out”.
“Well, one time I was fishin’ on this ol’ train bridge, snagged somethin’ big, and pulled up a hundred-year-old rail lantern. And it was still lit”, Perry added. I laughed. “Now I’ll blow out that light if you reduce your crawl to a half-mile”. We all laughed and I knew then that we were going to be a fun group of guys.
Out of the four of us, Perry was the only one who has hunted the property. So Jamie and I rode with him in his cart. Bill and Rob followed with their four-wheelers and we drove the site. We covered all the areas for hunting and viewed the lanes to be bush hogged next month. As a group, we talked about getting together to do some seeding and putting up feeders.
We got back to the trucks and said our goodbyes. Jamie and I drove back to Orlando excited about our future hunting season.
Read “My First Hunt” next.