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I grew up in Evanston, IL a suburb of Chicago and not exactly a hunting hotspot. My father did, however, take me fishing every summer and I loved it. I loved being outside, learning something new and mostly I loved bringing home those fish to feed everyone. I had done it by myself and it was quite empowering. But I didn't know a sole that hunted, I didn't even think about hunting until I had moved to the country years later and was raising my two children. I started shooting trap with a local Moose lodge and found it to be quite fun. The guys were always talking about going Pheasant hunting so I got a crazy notion that I was going to rescue a Springer Spaniel and teach him to be a bird dog. And I did just that with the help of a local trainer with whom I assisted in training my newly acquired rescue, Buddy, to be a fair bird dog, nothing to write home about, but I was happy. I was out with my dog, having fun.
Well over time my dog Buddy left us, my life took a big turn and I found myself single, kids off to college and my job moving me to Southern Mississippi. Oh my, what was this city girl going to do? Start fishing again adding a cast-net and crab baskets to my repertoire and learn to hunt. I met up with a wonderful group of women and they took me under their wing and now I'm hooked. I've since gone hog hunting, deer hunting and duck hunting. And I can't wait for turkey season to come around. I've also been invited to go bear hunting in North Carolina, that will be a blast I'm sure. I not only enjoy hunting with my Remington 700 .308 or Mossberg 20 gauge, but I also enjoy shooting with my camera and capturing the moments on film. I have just taken up archery and hope to become proficient enough with my new bow to be able to hunt with it as well.
I am currently an NRA Refuse to Be A Victim instructor, and working on my Pistol Instructor certification. I am also a CPR Instructor and member of a wide variety of hunting and conservation groups. I enjoy encouraging other women to get out and have new experiences.
Colorado Regional Director
I didn’t grow up in a hunting family. My father hunted large game as a young man but by the time I was born he had hung up his gun. I did however grow up outdoors. A love of the outdoors was firmly instilled in me by my minister father at a very young age. In the summer if we weren’t at my grandfather’s farm in Nebraska, we were wandering around the mountains of Summit County Colorado, hiking, camping and fishing near my Uncle’s cabin in Frisco. I remember many nights by the camp fire, looking at the immense sky above, filled with thousands of stars and listening to the night sounds of the woods (and wondering if I was going to get pulled out of the tent by a bear). We heard spellbinding stories told by my father and my uncle while eating the rainbow trout we had caught and cooked on the campfire. While my immediate family didn’t hunt, I had uncles and cousins who hunted and I heard stories of their hunts and the animals they harvested. Though I was somewhat familiar with hunting concepts and lingo through them, hunting was still somewhat of a mystery to me. That is, until I met my husband Wayne.
Wayne grew up hunting in Kansas with his father, grandfather, uncles and brother, so sooner or later my hunting introduction was inevitable. It was sooner. Not long after we got married my husband dared me to take a Hunter's Safety Class. You see I was one of those people who didn't have a problem with other people hunting, as long as they did it responsibly, but had no interest in hunting myself. I didn’t understand the necessity of it. Wayne pointed out to me that my opinions were uneducated (although, not quite this diplomatically), and that he would be willing to accept my decision not to hunt after I had been educated by a Hunter's Safety Course, then and only then would he agree not to keep asking me to go with him. At the time I didn't know just how flattered I should be by the fact that my husband actually wanted me as a hunting partner, and still does I’m glad to say. I agreed and took the course. I realized half way through the course that I had been ignorant about just how important hunters were to conservation, so we went hunting.
Our first hunt was in Kansas for Quail. Even after the Hunter's Safety Course, I hadn’t decided that I could actually pull the trigger to kill a bird. Funny how five miles of wet, freezing, ankle deep mud, lugging my father-in-law's archaic, massive shotgun, wearing baggies on my feet to keep them dry (which didn’t work by the way) in my not so warm hiking boots , could so completely change my mind about whether I could kill a bird. We came to a thicket that looked to Wayne like good Quail habitat. He sent me in while he stayed on the edge. I think he wanted to see just how willing I was to do what it took. After five miles of mud, I was willing! I got into the midst of the thicket and a covey of about fifteen birds flushed. We had quail that night and my hunting days began.
To further cement my dive into the hunting world my husband employed a tricky tactic. He thought that if he equipped me with the appropriate gear I would want to use it. He bought me a 12 Gauge, Browning Citori, over under shotgun. Beautiful gun! To further cement the deal he bought me the most adorable, yellow lab pup I'd ever seen, Kate. It worked. How could I resist? He now had a hunting partner for life.
We hunted and field trialed our labs for a number of years. When we had children our field trialing came to a halt and our labs grew older. When our oldest son, Jared, was ready to start hunting we needed to replace our hunting dogs. Both my husband and I were concerned about our sons starting to hunt behind labs. We loved labs, but had concern about a boy making a quick decision on the safety of a shot when a bird flushed unexpectedly. We felt the boys would have more chance to ready themselves with a pointing dog. We decided to try English Pointers. We found a one year old, started Pointer from Arizona and bought him sight unseen. He came to us as Fireman and was renamed Buck. He was money well spent!
Rachel Baker (in the middle) with her two English Pointers.
A friend asked us how good Buck was and challenged my husband to run him in a National Shoot to Retrieve Association (NSTRA) field trial. Without knowing the rules, my husband ran him in a weekend of trials and placed 2nd and 3rd. He was hooked. I wasn’t there because I’m an E.D. Nurse and was working that weekend. My husband really wanted me to love this new passion of his and employed another tricky tactic. He spoke with the friend who challenged him to run Buck in the first place and who happened to be the president of the region. The two of them hatched a plan to have me help out and learn to do the scoreboards, which I was happy to do. That was two and a half years ago. Now I have a pup of my own, Belle, who will start running this spring, I’m a certified NSTRA judge and the Vice President of the Rocky Mountain Region of NSTRA. I really have to learn to watch these tactics of my husband’s. He knows me too well. My oldest son Jared, 14, has also run Buck and is hoping to become a bird planter this spring. My youngest son, Nick, 10, has become the bird handler of the family and calls himself “the birdman.”
My passion for field trialing and hunting has grown into a desire to get more women and youth interested in hunting, shooting and trialing. I’ve found that there are many women who would love to shoot but don’t know how to get started. When I take them trap shooting and give them the opportunity to hunt planted birds on a game farm they find they also love to hunt! Once the women are involved they give their kids an opportunity to do the same. Through a local gun dog club, that my husband is Vice President of, we have the opportunity to have youth and ladies trials. If the participants don’t have a dog we provide the dog, the handler and a coach to help them through the trial. It’s so satisfying to hear a woman, who never thought hunting would be an interest of hers, come off the field beaming and confidently state “I want a gun and a dog!”
Little did I know, 24 years ago, when I first tentatively stepped into that Kansas field with cold, wet feet, my father-in-law’s ancient shotgun, and an eager husband, that I would be so completely enthralled with this wonderful world of hunting, guns and dogs. So far I’ve only hunted upland birds, ducks and geese. I hope to go for turkey this spring and would love to go big game hunting in the near future. I’m excited to be able to share my passion with other women and it’s a fond hope of mine to be able to call up girlfriends and say “let’s go hunting!”
Cold Weather Hunting Tips
By Kathleen Kalina
President of Womenhunters Inc.
It’s opening day with a foot of snow, windy and a -20F chill; you are shaking with the cold and about to go home. Don’t let this happen to you…
Polar Bear Numbers Increase
An expert reports that global warming apparently has not negatively impacted the polar bear population.
By Kathleen Kalina
A spiny beast crawls down a tree leaving a barkless birch. Reaching the ground a bear attempts to eat the varmint but the porcupine arches his back and spins around putting his tail in the bear’s face. Quills are released hitting their mark in the bear’s muzzle.
A porcupine is listed as varmint, because it is destructive to trees and to barns. It eats wood where-ever it can get it. A porcupine walks slow and would be an easy prey except for its sharp spines. Only two predators are known to successfully attack and kill a porcupine
Quill basket makers use a simple technique to capture these quills. They throw a blanket over the porcupine; it arches its back and spills the quills into the overhead blanket. The crafters have all the quills they want. Fishers and beavers can roll the porcupine on to its back and eat the abdomen.
When there is an over population of porcupines in some countries, the authorities bring in Fishers to destroy them.
The North American porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) has short legs and slow movements with its four toes on the forefeet and five toes on the hind feet. They have long curved claws that make distinct tracks protruding the claws inward and the knobby pad depressed in the snow or mud. The porcupine places his nose between his forelegs and spins presenting its rear to an attacker driving the tail full of quills into his face. Dozens of quills release easily, but grow back within 4 months.
Other defensive behavior includes stamping of feet, clicking teeth, growling and hissing.
The three inch black tipped and yellowish quills are barbed. These quills cause painful wounds which can work into the skin and puncture vital organs. Those embedded into the face can prevent an animal from eating causing starvation. The yellowish guard hairs cover the front half of the body. 30,000 quills three inch long are interspersed throughout the hairs.
Porcupines are primarily nocturnal, resting all day in hollow trees, rocky crevices or underground burrows. In the spring they feed on leaves and twigs, but in the winter they feed primarily on bark or the fir, aspen, hemlock and pine trees. They have small heads, but strong jaws. This knowing from the top of tree to the bottom destroys the tree. The porcupine has an excellent ability to balance on upper small branches. Their front teeth continue to grow as they get older. Porcupines are attracted to salt eating plywood cured with sodium nitrate and roadside salt. Salt licks placed further in the forest have kept them off of roadsides.
In addition to their exceptional balance, they are intelligent and rapid learners with good memories, but have poor eyesight. They have good hearing and see motion, but little else.
Balancing high up in trees is not hard for a Porcupine
They are solitary animal that breeds in the fall. Males utter a high falsetto sound and females make a squealing sound then the two starts by nose rubbing. One or two young are born after a 7 month gestation. Babies are called porcupettes. They are born with soft quills that harden in an hour and eyes open, yet in 10 days they have a full body of quills. The mother nurses for 5-6 months. After the porcupettes have stopped nursing they go on to their solitary lives. The life expectancy is between 5-6 years although the oldest ever found was ten years.
Old world porcupines (Berlin Zoo)
Old world porcupines have quills embedded in clusters, but new world porcupines have single quills interspersed with bristles and under fur. Quills come in various lengths depending on age and species. Each quill is a modified hair coated with thick plates of Keratin that is imbedded into skin musculature.
Porcupines are indigenous to the Americas, southern Asia and Africa. The porcupine is considered to be a pest in Kenya, yet they are eaten as a delicacy. In Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam overharvesting for food has caused significant declines in the population.
Renee was bowhunting for Elk in Idaho, by herself, when she heard a noise and looked up to see a wolf staring at her 120 yards away. The wolf suddenly burst into a charge towards the woman. Renee dropped her bow and pulled out her Smith and Wesson .44 magnum. The wolf leaped onto a pile of logs at 10ft from Renee. As the wolf took its final leap at her, she fired hitting him in the head, dropping him. It took two more shots to kill the 90 lb wolf. Renee had a wolf tag anyway, so she was within the law to kill the wolf. After the attack she called her husband to come and get her. It took three people to drag the beast out of the woods.
This story was taken from May 2012 issue of Field and Stream. Be sure to read it to see the photo.
Congratulations, Renee for NOT being a victim.
By Kathleen Kalina
A head turning signal from a black bear requires an answer. Not answering correctly could get you in trouble.
Black bears are a lot like a 5 yr old child “I want this and give it to me now”. But yet they are timid at other times. However, the Grizzly bear is like the moody teenager “Don’t bother me or I’ll hurt you. I know everything, so don’t try to tell me anything”
When you see these two bears in this light, then you can understand their behavior.
Black bears enjoy rolling and climbing as play, much the same as the 5yr old human.
But they have territories and rules for those who wish to pass. A black bear has a system of accepting other black bears and punishing the rude ones. Slapping other rude bears is fitting or chewing at their face. For them, it doesn’t hurt, but if they do it to a human, it can be deadly. The rules are the same for other bears and humans. However, unless you know how it works, you may get into trouble. Bears have long memories. They remember other problem bears and remember people.
When bears meet one another in a non threatening way, they turn their head to one side. The other oncoming bear does the same. This means “Are we cool?” The other bear answers by turning his head “yeah we are cool” A researcher in Alaska found that humans can do the same thing to bears.
I went to the town dump and experimented with bears to observe what they would do, if I did not respond by turning my head. I got as close as possible and sat in my truck. The truck indicates "big" and this is intimidating too.
Bear turning head as a cue to get me to do the same.(Kalina Photo)
(National Geographic photo). Bear is signaling to the photographer with a head turning motion.
The side turning of head can be either way. (Kalina Photo)
Even when the photographer is up above the bear, he turns head for the cue.(National Geographic)
I did not turn my head to indicate "we are cool" The bear responded by curling the lips and making blows indicating that he didn't get the return side glance and he is making a threatening gesture. (Kalina Photo) Bottom photo
Jaw snapping came next and is a signal of increased anger. However, this bear has
turned away from me. His jaw snapping indicates anger, yet he retreated.
If he was facing me and jaw snapping it could be a prelude to a charge.(Kalina Photo)
The bear retreated since his communication hasn't recieved the correct response. He probably knows he can come back. I wasn't trying to get the food at the dump, but confused the communication. He might have tried a bluff charge if I wasn't in the truck. He is not a timid bear either because he didn't immediately run away. He was an older mature bear.(Kalina Photo)
Confident bears will walk slowly and not even look at gawking people. This means: “Yeah, I don’t mind you there. But I am the cool one.” But if a human just like another bear, steps out of place, they will be swatted. Most young bears tend to be timid and run when they see a human.
Bear seems to be playing, but also turning head. It's a common feature even when playing. Older bears as this one do not play like cubs. He's probably just enjoying the cool sand to sit on.(National Geographic Photo).
Bears are funny and playful. They do have a sense of humor much like a playful dog.
The baby bear looks to mother and mother has a slighly turned head. The teaching of communication starts early.(National Geographic Photo)
Black bears tend to not be as aggressive as grizzlies, but certainly have killed humans. The theory of lack of persistant aggression is thought to be due to the multitude of food and forest hiding spots. But as bears get older, they get grouchier.
Ninety percent of bear attacks on humans are to hunters who either walk into a private territory of a bear, disturb him at his food cache or cubs, or are cleaning their own kill and a bear wants a piece.
Evidence of predatory bears is small, but yet it exists. It may be the similar to serial killers in humans, a disease. They are roaming to kill and are not hungry or sick.
Bears will eat with other bears or even with humans around, if the language is clearly responded to that everyone is cool.
Many years ago, I was canoeing in a remote river in the upper peninsula of Michigan. My two friends and I spotted some high bush blueberries. I must say that I love all berries and will stop to eat some. While on one side of the high bush, I was picking and eating the blueberries. I thought that I heard one of my friends on the opposite side of the bush picking and eating too. So I began to talk in a calm voice “These are beautiful thick berries and just so many of them. I adore blueberries…etc” When I heard no answer, I walked around the bush to see why. There on the opposite side of the bush was a standing black bear and using his claws to rake through the berries while drawing them to his mouth. When I appeared, he had already heard me talking so there was no surprise. He may have thought that I was talking nice to him. I stood there staring at him as he looked straight into my eyes at eyelevel. I remember how calm and brown his eyes were. He kept eating. I was careful to talk melodious “you can have the rest of the berries” I said, while walking slowly backward. He just looked me as if to understand. As I backed up, I talked very softly and reassuring. He just looked at me and watched as I retreated.
When I got to the canoe, my friends were getting in. I didn’t mention anything until we pulled away from the shore since I didn’t want them to make any startling noise.
For years, I have thought about this encounter and the sweet look this wild bear gave me. He obviously knew I was there before I knew about him. But bears often will share large berry patches without incident as long as everyone behaves. He may have never seen a human before and assumed I was another bear. But I doubt that. He sensed that my voice was calm and that we could all share without a fuss. Things would have been different if I had acted alarmed (it would have scared him).
Bears like all predators watch other animals and people. They are patient. Bears who intermingle with humans are used to human habits. They know where garbage goes, bird seed and other foodstuffs. They quickly see patterns and avoid confrontation by getting food when humans are away. Bear hunters know that they have to move their spot once they are patterned.
By Kathleen Kalina
President of Womenhunters
A crack of the 30.06 put down a buck running at 250 yards in the valley. Suddenly, the steep hill across the valley came alive with hidden wolves running toward the downed deer. The buck jumped up and started to climb a vertical hill with a fresh foot of snow. One more shot hit the buck as it climbed and the wolves gained on it. Sumac bushes swallowed the animals forcing me to rush to retrieve my deer before the wolves got him.
Wolf pack on the move (L. David Mech Photo)
The steep hill that the buck dragged himself up was covered with bushy sumacs. I could no longer see the wolves or the deer. The hill was only 200 yards from the Quebec border, but still inside Vermont where I lived in 1997. The fresh new foot of snow made it hard to see where the bridge over a stream was located. While going over the bridge, the snow was covering holes that were broken recently. I fell through the hole and straight into the stream driving my 30.06 deep into the mud bottom. The water was only a foot deep and the mud helped soften the blow, but getting back on shore, required rolling up on to the shoulder and expunging the water and mud from my coveralls. I went back in for my rifle and pulled it out of the mud rubbing it on the snow since I had no non-muddy clothes to wipe it.
I wiped the gun as fast as possible so it could fire, but my gloves were so slippery, that not much mud except what the snow could wipe off was gone. I hoped the gun would fire if I needed it too. When I got to the spot of the initial shot, there was a lot of blood, so I knew that the deer wasn’t too far up the hill. With my muddy rifle across my back, I climbed the steep hill grabbing sumac bushes as ropes. The snow made it less slippery. As I climbed, I could heard growling, low barks and snapping. At the top, I slowly peeked over the hill to see the buck surrounded by 6-7 wolves who were circling him and snapping. The buck was down but swinging his antlers at each wolf who dared to snap too close. I figured that if I shot a wolf, the others would charge me, but if I put the buck out of his misery, the wolves would scatter.
Grabbing the slippery rifle, I pressed the wood into my shoulder only to see the scope was covered in mud and couldn’t be wiped clean. Mud slimed my face. I looked under the scope and squeezed off a round. The noise of the loud 30.06 scattered the wolves in an instant and the deer was dead.
Now, I realized that I had only a few minutes to get the deer out of there before the wolves returned. So I gutted him to give the wolves a gut-pile to munch on and leave me alone while I escaped. I wasn’t cold despite the weather, I was exhausted and sweating. I wrapped a dragging rope around the antlers and dropped the buck down the hill. He continued to get hung up on the bushes, but it was easier than going up hill.
Below the hill, I pulled him toward the stream as fast as I could. The incline and snow allowed a smooth pull and even floating him through the stream wasn’t too bad. The haul bogged down when the incline started up. Everywhere in Vermont was either up or down with very little flat areas. At a stop, I thought I could probably get my truck in there.
My worry was that while I was getting the truck, the wolf pack might eat my deer. So I took off my orange jacket and wrapped it around the deer. I put my deer license inside the mouth in case another hunter tried to steal him and at the deer registry they always open the mouth to measure the teeth. It would be then that my license would fall out.
Wolf eating deer (USFW photo)
I trekked the long way to find my friend and get the truck. Just as I got near to my friends position, I thought I was going to collapse…breathing hard, clothes frozen with mud and gun a mess. Suddenly, I saw Carol Nepton she was walking the trail toward me. She looked at me and was horrified “What happened?” I didn’t realize what I looked like covered in mud including half of face. All I could say was “Buck…big buck….get truck.” I stopped and rested while she brought the truck and I jumped in.
Relieved when we arrived by truck to the deer, it was there. However, when I stood over the deer I noticed wolf tracks had circled the deer several times. I searched to see where the tracks went and I could not see the wolves. But they were watching us.
We worked quickly to get the deer into the truck. Suddenly, a man came out of the woods and admired the buck and helped us lift it into the truck. I was glad I had put the license in the deer’s mouth. He explained that he was hunting over near the Canadian side.
Wolf wait for prey (Kalina photo)
In February, we snow-shoed back into that area to see what the wolves were doing. It was clear that they sat on that hill about 20 yards apart and ran down on deer who came through the valley. There were remnents of alot of deer pieces.
Wolves stand behind trees as they prepare to attack. Their coloring matches the trees making them invisible from a distance. (Kalina photo)
February is when wolves den up and mark their territory with the urine of the alpha wolf. The male alpha raises his leg and urinates on trees all around the perceived territory. (The subordinate males squat to urinate). If a bigger alpha comes in and raises the urine line higher, then the smaller wolf will recognize he must leave or fight.
Non Alpha male squats to urinate. Only the alpha male lifts the leg to urinate (Kalina Photo)
For about 2 months a pack will support a den of pups with food nearby, so they are careful to choose a good deer run. The pups grow very quickly and within 6 months they are larger than a german shepard and can join in the hunt.
Wolf pup two weeks old. (USFW). By 6 months they can kill a German Shepard.
When too many adult males grow up, there is a split in the pack with the biggest male and female becoming alphas of the new pack. Sometimes a male will challenge the existing alpha male and fight them to death. It is an ugly challenge. There can only be one alpha male and one alpha female per pack. The alphas eat first and they mate. The others have to wait until the alphas are done eating before they can eat, They are submissive to every command of the alphas. Younger grown females also challenge the alpha female. If a challenger loses and survives, he usually leaves the pack and searches to join or start another one. This is the time when a lone wolf may be seen.
Wolf tracks are 4 1/2 inches wide by 5 inches long. Domesticated dogs are more rounded and don't walk in straight line like a wolf. (Kalina photo)
If a lone wolf is lucky he will find a young pack that he can join without too much fighting. But if an established Alpha is in charge, he must fight him to the death.
If a pack loses their alphas to death, they will quickly absorb a new alpha or join another pack that is ready to split.
Howling is a key communication when looking for a new pack or trying to find their own pack. At evening if all members are happy with their food, they will also howl in a slightly different tone. Most communication within the pack is low growls or snaps. Only puppies play, by 6 months old a wolf is an adult and no longer plays (unlike the dog, who is a perpetual puppy).
If a lot of big game come through an area, either several moose or a lot of deer, several related packs may temporally merge or cooperate in the hunt. Unrelated packs are not known to cooperate. Sometimes howling signals to several related packs, but they don’t live together.
When wolves move into an area, they swoop in very fast and coyotes move out ahead of them. You won’t find coyotes living near wolves, because wolves kill coyotes. Wolves are the top predator, they will kill dogs, coyotes, deer, moose, birds and rabbits, voles etc. The wolf has no predator except man. In the wild a wolf will live 7 years if there is plenty of food. Some have lived longer. But during deep snow and low prey availability, wolves can get hurt or die of hunger or disease (same diseases as dogs). There is only one dog breed to every been recorded to have killed a wolf and that is the Irish Wolfhound. That was a single wolf vs the wolfhound in battle protecting a child. Most occurrences with wolf predation have a minimum of 5-6 working in a pack. When wolves chase down an animal such as a moose or deer, they surround it and bite it repeatedly while it runs, eating it alive until the animal succumbs. One deer for five wolves is a typical weekly diet.
In Alaska, Canada and the Northern United States there is only one species of wolf, (Canis lupus). There are some differences in subspecies, such as Alberta has a subspecies of the largest (200+lb) and most varied colored which includes some totally black and totally white wolves. The eastern branch of Canis lupus is more consolidated in its colors and size (120-170lb). United States Fish and Wildlife re-introduced wolves to Yellowstone park in the 1990’s taken from the larger Alberta subspecies. These packs multiplied and spread very quickly mixing the genetics with a larger size and white or black colored wolves.
Idaho Wolf 127# (unknown photographer)
Alberta wolf 200lbs (unknown photographer)
Stock animals killed by these introduced wolves were billed to USFW causing them to rethink the cost of this re-introduction. A cow can cost $2000 and horses much higher. In Minnesota a bill to USFW in 1999 came to $63,000.
Wolf attack on Moose (unknown photographer)
Ranchers, farmers and hunters very soon discovered that they were up against a predator like their ancestors had kept down. Demands to allow hunts in the U.S. to keep the wolf populations down have been successful in several states.
The Mexican Wolf (Canis ruffus) is a smaller and reddish looking wolf found in Mexico and sometimes in southern Texas. The behavior of this species is more aggressive toward humans and less hidden. About 10 years ago, US Fish and Wildlife decided to introduce some of these Canis ruffus to South Carolina and Pennsylvania. Hunters and farmers who have seen these animals have reported them as large aggressive coyotes. They are not coyotes, by an 80lb wolf.
Idaho, Montana, Alaska and now Minnesota (for 2012) reacted to the large population of wolfs and rising deaths to pets and lifestock by allowing public wolf hunts.
Roadkill Stew and Kudzu Quiche
By Judy Derrickson
Contributing writer, South Carolina
Crawling through Kudzu bypassing snakes brought me dinner...
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