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A Weekend in the Woods

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Photo Courtesy of Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

By Scott Coopwood, HT.com blogger

One of my favorite times of the year is July 4. There have only been a few instances in my life when I didn’t spend July 4 in our cabin on the Miss. River.

Three days of redbugs, mosquitoes, ticks, heat, dust, and rattlesnakes did not disrupt our family’s bliss at our cabin over in Donaldson Point Hunting Club. In fact, now that our sons are older and spend more time with their fiends, it is hard for our family to spend an extended period of time together in one place.

This year, we were joined by our friends from Nashville, Beth Fitzgerald and Bobby Burns. Beth, who is my age and was raised in Memphis, has spent most of her life at Donadlson Point Hunting Club in western Bolivar County with her parents Robert and Hattie Johnson.

In fact, Beth learned the woods from her father –– following him all over the old Po Boy Hunting Club, which is now Concordia Rod and Gun Club. I have spent many hours with her father sitting next to Old River with him telling me about his World War II battle experiences. They were pretty significant.

For many years, Beth’s parents owned the cabin next to ours and several years ago, her parents sold that property to us because they had moved to Franklin, Tennessee, and were getting older. It was very sad for this family to release that property.

It was even sadder when they returned in the summer of 2011 for their first visit after selling it. Upon their arrival, they found their cabin no longer existed as it was destroyed by the Mississippi River flood earlier in 2011. We enjoyed that next door cabin only a couple of years before the flood arrived. Luckily, we were able to restore our old cabin after the flood, and that is what we use today.

Over the holiday, we fished, cooked, and travelled the various roads and trails throughout the 10,000-acre hunting club. This was Bobby’s first trip to the Delta. He owns a real estate brokerage and development firm in Nashville and was enamored with it all … the woods, the river, and the bear.

Yes, the bear! While we were at Donaldson Point, two Miss. State graduate students were documenting the various bear population up and down the Mississippi River. They captured a total of four bear during the week, three were captured during the weekend.

We had the great fortune of watching them sedate a bear, check all of her vitals, place a satellite transmitted collar on her, put tags in her ears, then watch her wake up and scurry off into the woods as if she was awakened from a bad dream.

As a lifelong woodsman, I’m delighted to see these beautiful creatures return to the Delta wilderness up and down the western portion of our county on the Mississippi River. We have all heard the famous story of President Teddy Roosevelt and his bear hunt in the South Delta in the early 1900s. However, not long after his trip, Delta hunters extinguished the bear population and it wasn’t until the late 1970s that a bear was spotted in the Delta. For the past ten years, they are beginning to return in respectable numbers.

Summertime in the woods, you can’t beat it! I hope you had a great fourth as well.

Scott Coopwood is the owner and publisher of Delta Business Journal, Delta Magazine and The Cleveland Current. He can be reached at scott@coopwood.net

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