The property originally belonged to the McCall family, which has lived for many generations in the area. Mr. McCall is said to have crafted some of the best moonshine around, and people came from far and wide to “appreciate” his craftsmanship. He actually had a permit to operate a distillery on the property (in what we now call the “Moonshine Shack”, which has been renovated as an efficiency apartment) to make ethanol – supposedly for alternative fuel for automobiles. But apparently that wasn’t viewed as the “highest and best use” for his product. In addition, Mr. McCall was renowned locally as a bear hunter, using pot-bellied pigs to train the bear hounds he’d raise on the property. We still have a handful of photographs which were found at the house (originals returned to the McCall family) of generations of their relatives posing with deer and bear taken years ago from the endless mountains and forests of Pisgah. As a local relative related to me, “in his later years, Mr. McCall did most of his hunting from the wrap-around porch of the house, and now wildlife is making a marked comeback on Mine Mountain as hunting pressure has faded”.
These days, we put out game feeders for the local wildlife – cautious to keep the deer and turkey close, yet not enough to create any dependency within the local bear population. In the fall of 2009, we actually had two yearling bears “grow up” on the property and we shut the feeders off to encourage them to ramble off deep into Pisgah where they belong. Contrary to popular myth, bears are actually very elusive creatures, and count your blessings if you do actually get to see one in the wild. More frequently than not, your view of a bear will be that of a rapidly retreating blur of black fur scrambling back into the woods.