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He might just be telling us what we long to hear in the midst of frigid temperatures exacerbated by biting gusts of wind, but General Beauregard Lee predicated it will be over soon. The Georgia ground hog didn’t see his shadow on Tuesday morning, signaling that Spring is “right around the corner.”

The anticipated public celebration of Lee emerging from his miniature home at Dauset Trails Nature Center to make his annual prediction didn’t happen this year because of COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. Only a select few of his closest neighbors witnessed his prediction on Ground Hog Day, Feb. 2. Ike English, director of Dauset Trails, said he planned to entice Lee out of his winter hibernation with his favorite Waffle House hash browns as usual, even though there wouldn’t be a crowd gathered outside this year.

Since Lee moved to Dauset Trails in 2018, after his long time home at Yellow River Game Ranch near Stone Mountain Park closed, the Dauset Trails staff has welcomed visitors from near and far for his prediction. The public celebration was also cancelled for the northern Ground Hog, Punxsutawney Phil, who usually holds court for his prediction at Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Penn. 

After seeing his shadow, Phil predicted six more weeks of winter weather, which seems a pretty safe call for Pennsylvania.

According to English, Lee has a much better record of accuracy than Phil. Lee claimed to have been 94 percent correct in his predictions from the Yellow River Game Ranch for over three decades. The weather report for Georgia over the next week doesn’t sound like Spring, with temperatures possibly dipping into the teens. But maybe it is just around the corner of next week that the warm sunshine and gentle breezes Lee predicts will be found.

His proclamation declares, “We’ll have a welcome reprieve of winter’s cold sting! I did NOT see my shadow or other scary a-thing! Happy early Spring everyone!”

If you want to visit Lee and try to discuss it with him (Ground hogs are generally not very sociable animals), you can find him at #1 Whistle Pig Lane, 360 Mount Vernon Church Road, Jackson.