Outdoors event draws experts in wildlife, primitive skills

Benji Cronic of Bethlehem holds some Native American artifacts he found. Cronic practices the ancient skill of flint knapping. (Contributed photo)

A piece of quartz or a chunk of obsidian in the hands of Benji Cronic can make a sharp transformation.

 

The Bethlehem resident makes arrowheads and spear points, much like ancient man did in an age when people survived off the land.

“My interest started when I was a kid finding artifacts and wondering how they made them. The journey has been a long one — over 20 years,” Cronic said about his interest in what is called flint knapping, the art of flaking rocks into tools.

On Saturday, knappers like Cronic and other experts in outdoors skills will gather for the Hardigree Fall Rendezvous at the Hardigree Wildlife Sanctuary on Old Greensboro Road in Watkinsville.

The event, with an entry fee of $10 for ages 13 and up, and free for those 12 and under, benefits the educational programs of the sanctuary.

The experts attending the show specialize in knife-making, primitive archery, outdoor survival skills, hide tanning, tee pee construction, animal-call making and falconry. Many of the demonstrators are well known among other outdoorsmen.

And there will be snakes, according to Hardigree Wildlife Executive Director Steve Scruggs.

Featured speakers are O’Neill Williams of O’Neill Williams Outside TV and Kirk Thomas, founder of Outdoors Without Limits. Archaeologist Michael Miller will also be on hand to help identify artifacts people may have found.

People like Cronic have invested time and energy to learning these old ancient skills. Often, they learn from others.

“One of my best mentors and closest friends was Donny Collins from Stillmore, Georgia,” Cronic said.

Collins, who died from cancer about two years ago, was a survivalist, Cronic said, adding Collins, even on a whim, could just walk off into the woods and live there before coming back home days later. He knew how to find food and shelter in the deep forests.

Cronic said he likes to knapp with obsidian, a volcanic rock.

“It is the sharpest material on the planet,” he said.

Events like Hardigree Rendezvous are often good places to trade for obsidian from other crafters.

“I’m like a kid at Christmas,” he said about such outdoors events that attract knappers from across Georgia and other states.

“I’ll see people I haven’t seen in over a year. We do them annually, but it will be the first one at Hardigree,” he said.

Besides the skill demonstrations, Cronic said people will have an opportunity to see large artifact collections owned by Johnny Williams and Britt Williams of Twin City.

“These guys are so big into artifact collecting that they bought a piece of property for what they were finding on it. They bought 37 acres, and they’ve been digging on it for 20 years and still continue to find stuff,” he said.

A live auction will be held about 4 p.m., with items donated by those participating. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Among the experts planning to attend are:

David Bailey, beekkeeper; Buster Brown, Eurasian owl & birds of prey; Daniel Cliburn, wildlife artist & woodburning; Robert Costa, Native American display; Jerry and Nolan Costin, knife making/scrimshaw; Smokey Drury, birds of prey/falconry; Carl and Edna Etheridge, outdoor survival; Tim Franklin, trapper; Hank Gallups, tomahawk thrower; Caitlin Glennon, artist; Clint Hutchenson, flint knapping; Michele Maki, potter; William McKinney, wood carver; Andrew Minnick, primitive living; Jeff O’Brien, flint knapping; D.D. Quillian, primitive bow making; RandyReagan, flint knapping; Joy Redmond, jewelry; Jody and Naomi Rice, tree climbing.

Also Owen and Sarah Owen, flint knapping; Dan and Molly Spier, primitive archery; Brian Tacto, tee pee/shelter; Gordon Walker, black powder; Tommy Walton, animal call maker; Britt Williams, flint knapping/artifacts/archeology identification; Johnny Williams, flint knapping/artifacts/archeology identification; and Ron Workman, brain tanning/buck skin.

For more information, call (706) 310-0088 or go to hardigreewildlifesanctuary.org

 

More

Sat, 2017-12-09 10:50pm

Hax: Two parents and two sets of rules