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A primitive fall in the DBNF

October 12, 2011

Editors Note: This is part one of a two part series.

By Chris Erwin

October, can you believe it?

The summer has just blown past us like a tropical storm, at least it seems that way to me. As I get older, it feels like the summer is in fast forward. One day I’m in shorts worrying about sun screen and the next thing you know I’m trying to keep my feet warm.

While I tend to mourn the passing of the summer, October marks that time of the year when I spend more than just a weekend on the water – it has been a long tradition for me to spend a week in Daniel Boone National Forest. This outing started as a bow hunting trip coupled with some of the best fishing of the year.

More than 20 years ago, my brother-in-law Hershell Crum and I started exploring the primitive camping and hunting on the shores of Cave Run Lake during October. We would load up our two boats with all the gear we could pack and head up the Licking River to some shore side area that was suitable for camping.  There we would stay for 10 days, living in the woods, bow hunting and fishing.

Hershell Crum (foreground), and the author Chris Erwin (background) head to their fall campsite on Cave Run Lake in the Daniel Boone National Forest.

I often find myself complaining about the state of affairs but when I’m standing in the woods with nature surrounding me, I know just how blessed my life has been. To some people the idea of spending 10 days in the woods, having no contact with the outside world, may seem a little scary. To me, it has been heaven.

In those early days, my hunting and fishing partner was a joy to be with. Crum was from Delbarton, W.Va. and he once told me that the first time he ever used a flush toilet was when he joined the U.S. Air Force. He was right at home in our makeshift camp in the woods and while I may have thought at the time I knew more about the ways of the world, it was Crum that would teach me so much. I could never repay him for the wealth of outdoor knowledge he would expose me to.

Crum knew every plant, every tree, and every root from ginseng to May apple, to jack-in-pulpit, the list goes on and on. Over the next ten years, this mild speaking country boy from hills of West Virginia would teach me the things you can’t learn from the city life most of us exist in.

After a 10 mile ride up the lake, we would pull into an area that we would name the Big Pine Camp. This remote location hidden from most by a long treacherous run through the standing trees of Licking River would become our home camp. This location was at one time an old logging road but now it would serve as a good flat place for us to pitch our tent and build a lean-to where we would make our fire place.

After scouting to select a place for our tree stands, we would bow hunt in the early morning and then fish through the middle of the day. This time of the year the fishing can be the best once the water warms up a bit during the day. It seemed like a good way to get the best of both worlds.

Twenty years later, this outdoor adventure is still available to anyone with the grit to test your outdoor skills.

Next week, I will take you along as we hunt and fish the primitive areas of Licking River. If your passion is bow hunting or you just want to fish some of the unspoiled hidden locations that few explore, pick up next week’s edition to ride along with me.

Till Next time

Good Fishing!

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