Vidalia dad teaching son all he knows

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 7, 2009

Vidalia — On a good weather day, Clayton Ferguson won’t be found inside his Vidalia home and neither will his family.

That’s because, the Ferguson clan would rather be enjoying the outdoors than cooped up inside.

“If I’m inside it is either raining too hard to be out or too cold to go hunting,” Ferguson said.

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Ferguson and his girlfriend, Love Tucker, are avid hunters, fishermen and all-around outdoors people, and they are teaching their 2-year-old son Landon Ferguson to follow in their footsteps.

When The Dart landed on Mimosa Street Ferguson and Tucker were wrapping up a two-day yard sale and Landon was practice fishing in the front yard.

“We bought him a little rod and reel a couple of months ago, and he had gotten pretty good at casting that thing,” Ferguson said. “He can stand in the driveway and cast it all the way out to the street.”

And it seems he got his talent for casting honest.

“I used to stand in this yard and practice cast at that (fire hydrant),” Ferguson said. “I got to where I could hit it pretty consistently”

The Fergusons don’t just fish in the dirt. They hit the water pretty regularly. Ferguson said he prefers fishing rivers, particularly Old Man River.

On recent fishing trips, he bagged a 27-pound and 46-pound yellow catfish.

The 27-pound fish found a home in the family freezer, but Ferguson didn’t have the heart to filet the biggest fish.

“I kept him alive in the cooler long enough to bring him home and take some pictures, but then we let him go,” he said. “As soon as he got in the water, he ran off.”

Ferguson has a faithful fishing partner in Landon and the two have enjoyed a number of trips together. Right now, Landon mostly just observes though.

“I took him perch fishing and he’d push the button and let his line down then reel it back in,” Ferguson said. “So I thought we’d try bream fishing, and I put a cork on his line. He did the same thing — let the line down and reeled it back in.

“Next thing I knew, he had would up to cast it out and nearly caught everything in the boat, so I thought we might need to wait a little before real fishing.”

Landon isn’t the only one picking up fishing tips, Love Tucker has been a good student, too.

“I thought I knew how to fish,” she said. “But all I really knew was how to put a worm on a hook. He has taught me every thing about fishing.”

And why wouldn’t she listen to Ferguson, he’s basically an expert she said.

“My sister said he could catch a fish in a mud puddle,” Tucker said. “And I think she is right.”

Fishing and gardening pretty much fill the summer months. When November rolls around, Ferguson and Tucker will hit the woods for some hunting.

“Primitive weapons only,” Ferguson said.

But while they enjoy spending time in the woods, they don’t have to go far to enjoy some wildlife.

They have three squirrels in a large cage in their backyard. The squirrels, Charlie, Red and Little Girl, fell out of a tree about three years ago and Ferguson and Tucker nursed them until they were big enough to take care of themselves.

“Their eyes were still closed,” Tucker said. “That’s how young they were.”

“We had to bottle feed them,” Ferguson said. “I guess we learned on the squirrels before Landon came around.”

Now they are active and happy.

Ferguson said he feeds them sunflower seeds, acorns, peanuts and other foods and the squirrels have water and boxes inside their cage.

“The plan was to let them go when they were big enough,” Tucker said. “But, they’d just stay around the cage anyway.”