Kayaks, a big buck, and squirrel tails

By G. Sam Piatt - Contributing Columnist



In the beginning, the annual paddlers race down he Little Sandy River, founded 10 years ago by Tom Clay, was billed as a canoe race.

And that’s what it was, until the kayaks became so popular.

This year’s race, held last Saturday (Oct. 2) featured 14 contestants — 12 in kayaks and two in canoes.

Joe Coldiron and Rancie Hannah, who have run the race in their We-no-nah canoe every year, captured first place for canoes. They covered the six miles from the Gullet-Raccoon Bridge to the boat ramp at Greenup in one hour, 12 minutes and 26 seconds.

Finishing first in the kayak division was Andrew Gooding in his Bracia-Sport.

Mike Caudill, 68-year-old geology professor at Marshall University who lives in Hocking Hills, Ohio, finished 4th in his kayak. He said he entered it for fun and the benefit to his heart from the constant paddling for over an hour.

One contestant was heard commenting to another about the beauty he had enjoyed on the river, specifically the sun rising out of the fog and the hills to the east. And then there was the blue herons standing on stilted legs and fishing for breakfast along the shoreline.

Our rivers and creeks are there for much more than the fish and turtles and muskrats.

It’s good to see them being utilized by folks enjoying themselves in such events as the Soc and Sam canoe/kayak race.

For the first time ever, Tom Clay could not be there due to a prior commitment he could not get out of.

I was there for the beginning, Soc Clay was at the finish line and on the stage for the presentation of medallions to the winners on the next-to-last day of the annual Greenup Old Fashion Days celebration.

Much praise must go to the race sponsor, Dragonfly Outdoor Adventures, located along the river off Route One just south of Greenup, where they offer canoes and kayaks for rent. They had set up a table at the beginning to collect $10 entry fees, which go to charity, and hand out numbers to the contestants. The 10th annual event would not have succeeded without them.

Most people know that Soc was in a wheelchair due to a nasty fall he suffered earlier this year that shattered a bone in his hip.

But he’s undergoing rehab and healing more each day.

Soc and I have more adventures awaiting us, just around the next bend.

He celebrated his 86th birthday two weeks ago. I turned 87 last May.


Eli Porter was in his stand in the woods of Lawrence County, Ohio when the big buck came into view. The arrow from his crossbow flew true and brought down the huge whitetail that had 27 points, said his father, Jeff Porter.

The wide, handsome rack had 10 points on the main antlers, but numerous small spikes grew out of the antlers near the base.

Jeff Porter said the rule is that if those small growths are long enough to hang a ring on, such as a man’s wedding band, then they are big enough to count.

Counting the main antlers and the spikes, Eli’s deer finished with 27 points. The overall green measurement for the non-typical was 177 and one-quarter inches.

Eli’s bucks he brings down keep getting bigger. The past three seasons, Jeff Porter said, his deer have measured 142, 156, and now this Ohio deer killed Oct. 2.

Eli is only 12.

He was taught by his father to hunt, and Jeff Porter in turn was taught by his father, Winford Porter. Winford and his wife, Sue, live on Music Branch in Boyd County.


Once again, Mepps is asking that hunters send in squirrel tails to use in their fishing lures. The company pays up to 26 cents a tail. Plus, the cash value is doubled if the tails are traded for Mepps lures.

Mepps uses the hair from the tails to create hand-tied, dressed hooks for their lures.

Mepps communications director, Nik Kolbeck, said they have evaluated many synthetic materials for their dressed hooks, but nothing compares with the underwater action of hairs from squirrel tails.

“We don’t advocate the killing of squirrels solely for sending in tails, which are all hair, no fur,” Kolbeck said. “Squirrels have some of the best wild meat to eat. Plus, their skins are used for caps, coats, and glove linings. But the tail is usually thrown away.”

For all the details on the Squirrel Tail Program, either visit their web site www.mepps.com/squirrel-tail or call 800-637-7700.

The mailing address is Mepps, 626 Center St., Antigo, WI 54409-2496.


By G. Sam Piatt

Contributing Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619

Reach G. SAM PIATT at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619