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John's Journal... Entry 182, Day 4


The Joy of Flip Hunting

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'll talk with David Lovejoy, Sim's son and Lyman's brother.

QUESTION: David, how are you related to the other Lovejoys?
ANSWER: Sim Lovejoy is my daddy, and Lyman is my brother.

QUESTION: Are you the oldest Lovejoy?
ANSWER: No, Lyman's the oldest.

QUESTION: How long have you been shooting with a flip?
ANSWER: Probably 40 years.

QUESTION: They say you're the best shot out here.
ANSWER: Well, I used to be. I'm not anymore.

QUESTION: What does being a good shot with a flip require?
ANSWER: It takes practice. Most of it is going into the woods and shooting.

QUESTION: How do you aim with a flip?
ANSWER: You just eyeball the tubing and shoot. You mostly shoot by feeling.

QUESTION: How far do you think you shoot accurately?
ANSWER: Maybe 50 to 75 feet.

QUESTION: What are you aiming at when you aim at a squirrel?
ANSWER: The squirrel's head.

QUESTION: Can you usually hit the squirrel in the head?
ANSWER: I usually can.

QUESTION: Out of five squirrels in a tree, how many will you kill with a flip?
ANSWER: If they don't jump out, I'll kill them all.

QUESTION: How many people do you take with you when you go flip hunting?
ANSWER: Usually about four or five. They're usually pretty good shooters, too.

QUESTION: How many squirrels will you get in a day?
ANSWER: Probably 10 or 15.

QUESTION: How many squirrels will the dogs tree?
ANSWER: Probably the same amount. If the squirrels don't go in a hole, 60 or 75 percent of them we'll get.

QUESTION: When the dog trees and the squirrel starts timbering out, why do you send somebody chasing the squirrel?
ANSWER: Mostly to keep the squirrel out of the hole. They'll go to hollow trees, and you'll try to stop it. If you can keep somebody ahead of the squirrel, it'll stop. They're hard to hit when they run.

QUESTION: What's the hardest thing about taking squirrels with flips?
ANSWER: Just getting good hits on them. You can hit them in the foot, and they'll slow down.

QUESTION: What's the best day of flip hunting you've had?
ANSWER: We probably took 10 or 15 squirrels. That's an all-day hunt. We'll let most of them go, especially if they give us a good chase and get into a high tree. We'll let them go and look for another one.

QUESTION: Why is shooting into a tree with a lot of limbs difficult?
ANSWER: You can't see the squirrels in all those leaves. You can't get through to them with the pellets (steel balls).

QUESTION: Why do you enjoy flip hunting?
ANSWER: Because it's a sport -- more sporting than with a gun. I enjoy watching the dogs. It's safer than hunting with a gun. If you get hit with a steel ball, and it just hurts.

QUESTION: How deadly are you at 30 yards with a flip?
ANSWER: I used to be about 80 percent or better.

QUESTION: How many ball bearings will you shoot in day?
ANSWER: Ten or 15 pounds. I carry them in a side pouch. It doesn't take that many to weigh 15 pounds. You use a lot when the squirrels get up in a high tree.

QUESTION: Do you think flip hunting will continue?
ANSWER: It'll continue as long as we're living because all of our kids do it. It may fade out later. But we're keeping it alive.

QUESTION: How did your great-grandfather get started flip hunting?
ANSWER: I don't know really know. It goes back about four or five generations of flip hunting.

To contact David Lovejoy, write PO Box 265, Trussville, Alabama, 35173, or call (205) 467-7474.




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

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