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John's Journal... Entry 182, Day 2


History of the Hunt

EDITOR'S NOTE: Eighty-eight-year-old "Whittling" Sim Lovejoy of Springville, Alabama, has made flips for 55 years. His children, grandchildren and extended family get together every year for a traditional, family squirrel hunt using their flips. Today we're talking with Ray Cochran, a longtime flip hunter.

QUESTION: Ray, how are you related to Lyman Lovejoy?
ANSWER: Lyman is my second cousin. His daddy is my first cousin. My uncle Sim Lovejoy makes the flips.

QUESTION: How long have you been hunting squirrels with a flip?
ANSWER: I've hunted with flips since 1985.

QUESTION: What does making a good shot with a flip require?
ANSWER: You need a lot of luck. I always aim right through the V in the flip. I look down the V and try to put the target in the middle of the V. That ball should go right across that V when you shoot.

QUESTION: How long have you been using steel balls for ammo?
ANSWER: Well, for a long time we hunted with punch-outs - steel scraps that were sharp on one end and flat on the other. But we've hunted for about 10 years with the steel balls, which are much more accurate.

QUESTION: Was Sim Lovejoy a big part of getting this tradition started of having a family squirrel hunt with flips?
ANSWER: Oh yeah. He started it. Sim ran Camp Cosby just outside of Birmingham, Alabama, for about 40 years and that's where he got in with the kids. He taught flip shooting at Camp Cosby.

QUESTION: How many kids do you think he's taught to shoot the flip, including at Camp Cosby?
ANSWER: I don't know. It's hard to say. Probably 5,000.

QUESTION: There are 50 people on this squirrel hunt, right?
ANSWER: We have 50 to 60 people here -- young folks and old folks. The youngest is probably 2 or 3 years old.

QUESTION: Tell me the secret of keeping the squirrel from escaping.
ANSWER: You want to keep as close to the tree as you can, to keep the squirrel from running away from you, because the squirrel will out of the tree when you're not expecting it.

For more information about flipping, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope (S.A.S.E.) and note to write "Whittling" Sim Lovejoy at 17079 US 411, Springville, Alabama 35146. To contact Lyman Lovejoy, write 11520 US 411 Odenville, Alabama, or call (205) 699-5816.




Check back each day this week for more about HUNTING SQUIRRELS WITH A HANDMADE

Day 1 - Flipping Fun
Day 2 - History of the Hunt
Day 3 - Aiming and Shooting a Flip
Day 4 - The Joy of Flip Hunting
Day 5 - Flip-Hunting

John's Journal