by Beth Brown
How many of you folks can sing this little song with me?
“Born on a mountain in Tennessee
Greenest state in the land of the free
Raised in the woods so’s he knew every tree
He killed him a b’ar when he was only three
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier”
There are many more lines to “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” but I can rememb
er my brothers and me singing this part of it while wearing coonskin hats and running around with (fake) rifles like wild heathens. I didn’t know much about ole Davy then, just that he wore coonskin hats and ran around in the wild frontier. Sad to say, my knowledge of the man didn’t increase too much until a few years ago.
I was enjoying the fountain at the square in Troy, Tennessee and finally took the time out to read the marker that had been there on the corner for about as long as I can remember. After I read it I couldn’t believe that I had waited too long to do so! I learned that Troy was the first town plotted in Obion County and was laid out in 1825 with assistance from Davy Crockett. Troy was also the county seat from 1825 until 1890. There was a bit of drama that happened when the county seat was moved from Troy to Union City, but that is another story.
I also learned that Mr. Crockett killed 105 bears in the Obion River bottoms in 1825! That was something I couldn’t quite fathom – bears in Obion County! I was conflicted about how I felt about this news. I knew that Davy had been very important to Obion County and had even represented the region in Congress. He was known as an honest man and as a man who stood up for what he believed, whether it was popular or not. Those are qualities that have never been easily found in the majority of politicians so I feel that he was a good man.
But, 105 bears! In one year! I feel fairly comfortable in drawing the conclusion that he is, in a large part, responsible for the lack of bears in Obion County and maybe even all of West Tennessee. My initial reaction was to be upset by his lack of wildlife conservation. However, the more I think on it, the more I appreciate his actions. What if we had a population of bears in Obion County? What would be different? Of course, residents would be able to get some great photos of the big critters and the state would be able to sell more bear hunting licenses. And my mama bear vigilance would increase mightily.
I would worry about my kids building forts in the woods and just generally running rampant around our property. I would probably insist they take bear spray and a dog with them on every outing
I would not keep my dogs outside. Ever. This would not be ideal since they are big dogs and are used to being out most of the day to get their exercise.
I would rarely use the grill. The delicious smell of chicken, duck, beef or pork might be more than a bear could resist. One might try to take over my back deck and eat my dinner.
I would feel compelled to put electric fencing around any flowers with a strong, sweet smell, which would greatly increase my likelihood of getting shocked – not good. It would also almost guarantee that I would get my weed eater string tangled in the fence at least once a season – also not good.
My son’s Fuji apple tree would be too much for a bear to resist. I would be fighting the bears for apples, and I already have to fight Japanese beetles and other winged pests. I really would never get to try any of the fruit!
After thinking on all these things, I will take my small corner of the world as it is, bear-less. The good folks in East Tennessee can keep on having the monopoly on the big, 4-legged beasts. I’ll keep battling the possums and the skunks and be grateful for it!