Riverkeeper report: Attack of the hawk

Published 11:41 am Saturday, November 12, 2016

Spirit of Moonpie and I spent the 5th through the 7th on the Nottoway below Round Gut. The water was 60 degrees, low and clear as glass. Air temps ranged from 39 to 70 degrees and except for being fairly windy, the weather was bout perfect.

I picked up a fair amount of trash, but that was because we had such high water recently.

The fishing on this trip was great; even though I only caught one chain pickerel, which is the species I was really fishing for. I did catch a lot of largemouth, though; sorry Doug, no smallmouth. I guess I caught 15 up to a nice three-pounder. All were caught on a C.C. Shad and A.C. Shiner.

Another item I was after on this trip was to harvest a squirrel or two for my annual Brunswick stew I make each fall. I had a right tough time with that because of the wind, plus I guess the River Spirits make their stew this time of years also, ‘cause they took one of my squirrels I had a bead on. We were fishing along keeping an eye in the trees for tree rats when Moonpie said, “There’s one right there on that limb, easy shot.”

I put down my rod and grabbed the shotgun. Right then I heard a strange noise above and behind me and from over my head swooped in a giant hawk, which grabbed the squirrel and was gone just like that; that fast. I gotta tell ya that ‘bout freaked me out! I ain’t never had nothing happen like that to me when I was hunting.

I looked at Moonpie in disbelief expecting some sympathy.

“Too slow on the draw there, dude,” she drawled. “You wait, you’re late in this game.”

I cannot print what I said next to her, but well you get the idea that it was bad. I was going to continue along that same piece of shoreline but we had to move after the attack ‘cause the entire squirrel community went crazy after that. They were hollerin’ and screaming warnings all over the place, so we moved. I eventually got three squirrels for my stew.

Later that night sitting at base camp by the crackling fire, I thought about the attack and I figured the River Spirits must were kinda just showing me who STILL rules out there on the two rivers we call the Nottoway and Blackwater.

JEFF TURNER is the Blackwater/Nottoway Riverkeeper. He can be reached at blknotkpr@earthlink.net.