Jim Casada

Activities for the summer sportin’ life

Jon Nelson, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, carves a face from a block of cottonwood. Whittling can be a good way to past the time during a hot summer.
Jon Nelson, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, carves a face from a block of cottonwood. Whittling can be a good way to past the time during a hot summer. KRT

When the heat of summer laid its hot, humid hand on the land, my beloved Grandpa Joe talked about it being a less than an ideal time for what he simply described as “doings.” Ever the optimist, though, he would add “a body can find plenty to do in hot weather if he ain’t lazy, and a little sunshine and sweat never hurt anyone.”

Grandpa Joe had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of things to be done. Some were flat-out hard work such as hoeing corn or weeding the garden. Others involved the simple joys of being a boy, or in his case a boy trapped in an old man’s body.

One thing he never experienced – although I suspect he might have found the experience enjoyable – are the church-related game suppers and sportsman’s gatherings which have become increasingly popular. They are a time of good food, fellowship and anticipation of outings to come.

The 11th annual celebration of West End Baptist Church’s Quest for the Record Book gathering is Aug. 7. This year’s guest speaker is Hank Hough, creator of Kingdom Dog Ministries.

Th event is at West End Baptist Church, 1727 McConnells Highway in Rock Hill. Ticket price is $20 which includes a barbeque dinner with all the fixings, a chance to win door prizes, live music and Hough’s message.

No tickets are sold at the door. Tickets are for sale at a number of area locations including Southern Draw Archery, The Outdoor Shop, Jamie K Outdoors, Aim Right Gun Shop, Nichols Store, Sportsman’s Inc., Double B Graphix and Rock Hill Power Sports.

There are plenty of other things anyone who loves the outdoors can do this time of year, such as:

▪ Flying June bug helicopters. This involves catching a June bug, carefully attaching a length of sewing thread to a leg, and turning it loose. It’s like having a miniature helicopter acting similar to a kite, although the June bugs soon wise up (or wear out) and refuse to fly.

▪ Making and shooting slingshots. Hunting for just the right size and type of fork (dogwood and persimmon are two excellent choices), carefully shaping it with a pocket knife, then attaching the rubber (we used pieces for tire inner tubes but in today’s world you’ll be better off with some type of elastic tubing) and a leather patch to hold your rock, is a task worthy of a skilled craftsman. Once you have a satisfactory sling shot you can practice for hours on end as long as your rock supply holds out.

▪ Honing pocket knives for a good session of idle whittling, or maybe carving something out of wood, soothes the soul and gives a body peace.

▪ Cut cane for a fishing pole.

▪ Try something new in the way of craftsmanship that will also have practical uses – try making a wingbone turkey call, make a turkey tote from a piece of deer antleror do something with antlers or turkey spurs in the decorative line such as a key-chain fob.

▪ Build an old-time rabbit trap and, come winter, try it out.

▪ Craft an atlatl or spear thrower and then learn how to use it.

▪ Learn how to catch your own fish bait such as crickets, grasshoppers, worms, night crawlers, and minnows.

▪ Start a sportsman’s journal in which you keep an account of each sporting experience. It’s something I dearly wish I had done over the course of my years.