Hunt Destination Ashland City and Cheatham County, Tennessee, Oct. 1, 2012
Nestled in the valley of Tennessee’s Cumberland River, Cheatham County offers sportsmen and residents the advantages of river recreational opportunities, magnificent scenery, outstanding deer hunting opportunities on 20,000 acres of public land at the Cheatham Wildlife Management Area, waterfowling from 30 public blinds, a location only 20 miles from Nashville and inexpensive development opportunities.
My exploration of this county began with interviews with two sisters, Rose Tidwell and Jenny McKnight, who filled me in on some of the county’s features, businesses and general goings-on. This gregarious pair had lived in the county for decades and chose to remain after retirement. Although no longer active in the sporting life, both were conversant with the local wildlife as they had husbands and relatives who were avid hunters and fishermen. We discussed various aspects of local culture, including some passing references to local moonshiners, golfing, major industries and the fact that this county was the source of many residential hot water heaters that are sold by Sears and other retailers, but are made by the AO Smith Company in Ashland City.
The Rev. Paul R. Gupton, a retired Methodist minister, lives in Ashland City a half-block away from the county courthouse and filled me in on aspects of county history, how it was named, hunting and recreational repelling opportunities. We even talked about about a Confederate gunpowder mill that used local bat droppings deposited in caves as a source of nitrates during the Civil War. The Cumberland is a navigable river, and Trinity Marine manufactures welded steel river barges and launches them into the river for use throughout the eastern half of the U.S.
No visit to a community would be complete without going to the local Chamber of Commerce, where I found Director of Business Relations Ann
Thompson, who gave me some hard numbers and contact information. Cheatham County has some 40,000 residents with about 4,000 residing in Ashland City. A higher percentage of the population is distributed in the county’s other communities, like Kingston Springs and Pleasant View, which have their own schools. These communities provide a lot of quiet family refuges for those who want to work in Nashville, but don’t care to live there. A new retirement center, Vantage Pointe Village, has just been completed and a high-rise condominium, Broxton, across the river from Ashland City, will soon open, Thompson said. There are also two hospitals located within the county. For more information you can contact Ann at Ann@CheathamChamber.org or (615) 792-6722. There are also websites, www.cheathamchamber.org and www.cheathamconnect.com. The largest industries are AO Smith, www.hotwater.com, and Trinity Marine Products who builds tank barges (615) 792-37015.
Bowfishing on the Cumberland River with Caught Up Bowfishing is what brought me to Cheatham County. Eric Coller, Clay Cannon and I bowfished and took common carp, buffalo, two species of gar (they have three), a quillback and a redhorse creek sucker. Using unfamiliar bows and shooting at moving fish from a moving boat, I did not shoot particularly well, but between the three of us we did manage to get a mess of fish for me to take home and cook. A YouTube video, “Bowfishing from Airboats,” may be seen at: http://youtu.be/eKphGb81EGA. To arrange a bowfishing trip with Eric, inquire at email@example.com or phone him at (615) 509-9811.
Fried buffalo fish with the small Y bones characteristic of many suckers.
Ads on the show include Billy Bob’s Buffalo Fryer which takes a really large pot with a 600-pound lid, attached hoist, 16 burners and a tractor-trailer load of canola oil to deep fry buffalo legs, backs, necks and ribs. SIN Inc. (Synthetic Industrial Non-Nutritives, Inc.) tells us about their new “fish” products made from the best of coal-tar, petroleum and agricultural waste byproducts that provides the butter, salt and sugar tastes that you crave made from their fish-shaped glop.