Survival means recalling good times

G. Sam Piatt

PDT Outdoors Columnist

When we lose loved ones, especially when death comes so suddenly and unexpected, we’re sometimes tempted in our grieving to try to bring them back, to somehow change the unchangeable.

Kendall died in an automobile accident four days after Christmas 2014; Kelly of heart failure on the way to the hospital four days before this Christmas just passed. Both were in their 50s.

Survival for me means dwelling on all the good times I had with these two sons as I watched them grow. They loved the outdoors – camping, fishing, squirrel and rabbit hunting, looking for ginseng and mushrooms, exploring unknown woods – just as much as I have.

Some adventures didn’t turn out as planned. Some got a little wild, mostly because of a fickle and unpredictable weatherman. Lightening flashing and thunder crashing and winds so fierce the waves threatened to swamp the boat.


I remember one time when our family, along with the family of my brother-in-law, the late Ross Wright, had pitched our tents on a gravel bar on the banks of Kinniconick Creek. An occurrence that trip could have turned out deadly.

While we busied ourselves with campsite chores, Kelly and Kendall, about 8 and 7 years old at the time, wandered downstream, turning over rocks on a shallow riffle searching for crawdads.

Our other child, Cindy, five years younger than Kelly, was not particularly fond of catching crawdads.

I saw the two boys coming back upstream toward us. Kelly was holding something in both hands, his arms outstretched in front of him.

“Look, daddy, what I caught,” he said.

I knew in an instant what it was. There was no mistaking the new-penny/old-penny coloring and the pits under its eyes. A thought flashed through my mind of the venom those fangs could pump into Kelly’s veins, or those of Kendall, who was close on his heels.

I picked up a large, flat rock. “Kelly,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady. “When I count to three, I want you to throw that thing as far as possible.”

“But daddy I just caught it!”


Reluctantly, he threw the copperhead. I crushed it with the rock.

I could easily write a book about my adventures with these two boys, about me and Bonnie watching them grow to manhood.

No doubt we could all fill a thick volume about the joy and tribulations of raising our children.


Kentucky’s three-day modern gun season for black bears, scheduled for Dec. 12-14, ended after the first day when the quota was met, according to the web site of the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

The quota was 10 bears, or five females, whichever was reached first. The department did not say which of those quotas was reached.

The Humane Society of the United States had, in a letter to Gov. Steve Beshear, asked that the gun season be canceled. The society made that request after bowhunters, in their season, held earlier, exceeded the quota, which was the same as that set for gun hunters.

Bowhunters killed 22 bears, including 10 females.

Adam Wright, associate director of the Sportsmen’s Alliance, said on the alliance’s website, that the real interest of the society is to stop bear hunting entirely.

“It wouldn’t matter if a single bear was the quota,” Wright said. “the Humane Society of the United States would not approve. And they won’t be satisfied until all hunting is stopped everywhere.”

He said the department of fish and wildlife has taken a conservative approach in implementing their bear seasons and the exceeded quota does not pose a threat to the viability of the bear population.

Biologists estimate that Kentucky has about 700 bears.

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