Since I was a boy I have loved seeing different plots of rural land. One thing that has always fascinated me was how it seems everyone has a name for their land and what they call the various parts of their property.
Geography is the study of the earth and its inhabitants, and all of us learned world geography at some point in school. In the land business we also have some exposure to cartography, which is the study and making of maps. Toponymy is the scientific study of place names, and the meanings, origins, and uses of those names. I have been an amateur toponymist (without knowing what it is called) for many years.
As I mentioned, one of my favorite parts of visiting other people’s properties is to see their place and hear the names associated with it. A big dairy farm in Marengo County, Alabama has a huge field named “Bluegrass” and a deer hideout called the “Hackberry Thicket.” When I turkey hunted the place, they told me to go through Bluegrass, past the Hackberry thicket, cross the creek, and hold up inside the wood line. Those directions led my brother-in-law and me right to a strutting tom.
One of the seller’s I am representing in Fayette County, Alabama has a farm where every food plot is named for an SEC football team. Some of the best hunting can be found in “Bama” or “the Swamp.”
Last year I hunted at Foothills, a pay-to-hunt outfit, down in south Perry County, Alabama. They showed us a map of their 3,000+ acres of prime Black Belt agricultural land and started naming off potential sites for us to go the next morning. My brother-in-law, Chris, was assigned the “75 tripod” that hugged the south border of their sprawling operation. The roads through the property were marked with signs detailing the way to various stands. I loved riding by the hand-painted wooden signs as we passed each one. About 45 minutes after Chris and I settled into our spots, he took a nice 159” 11-point. I remember the name of his stand, but not mine.
We do the same thing on the family land where I live. If you come for a visit, you will see the “Triangle Field,” the “Right-of-Way,” the “Little Lake,” the “Yellow Jacket Field,” or “Perfection.” Perfection is a one-acre food plot that was cut into the middle of the forest with a woodland mulcher. We have white oaks, red oaks, Japanese persimmon and pawpaw trees to provide food for the deer. We take extra measures when cultivating this plot to make sure all of the areas are planted and fertilized. I love this plot. It is always my first choice of a place to hunt. Even though we have a lock-on stand in a pretty good location, I will experiment with hanging my climber on various trees along the periphery. The very first time I hunted Perfection I saw six racked bucks feeding at once. That one event spawned a love affair with my favorite hunting spot.
Many of these places are named for past events which took place in that location. We have one place we call the “Yellow jacket Field.” This was named for a fateful encounter our tractor operator had with a subterranean hive of yellow jackets. He was stung twenty-two times before he could escape their fury. He went home after the last one got him inside the nose. We felt that event justified naming the field in its memory.
Fine homes and plantations have long been bestowed with regal names that left an indelible impression on everyone that heard about or visited them. What images appear in your mind’s eye when you hear Monticello, The Magnolia Plantation (Charleston), Mount Vernon, King Ranch, or even the Ponderosa? Naming property is not reserved for the wealthy or prestigious. Just down the road from my house is a beautiful home and acreage called “Repose.” I can connect with that feeling of rest and relaxation associated with a great home place.
This past week I read that the ancient Greeks called the island of Cyprus “Makarios” which meant “Isle of Happiness.” The word “makarios” carried such a strong connotation of happiness that it meant one never needed to leave the shores of the island because it contained everything he could ever want. That thought really resonated with me. In many respects when I am with my family and we are enjoying all that God has created in the outdoors, I often think “What more could you want?”
No doubt as you read this you are thinking about the names of some of the places you have hunted or that are on your land. If you have a favorite hunting spot or if you have named your property, please share the name and a brief story in the comment section below. Personally I would love to hear about some of the places that are special to our readers.
If you love your land, give it a name. Names of places are often a lot like the places themselves. They outlive their originators and connect many generations with the history of the place. Wherever your place and whatever the name, enjoy your time on the land.
Please take a second and share some of your names and places with other readers in the comment section below. I think our readers will enjoy hearing from others who share their passion for the land.
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