The outdoors has special meaning to me. I caught my first fish at age 4 and shot my first duck at age 9. Nearly four decades later I still get excited when I get to spend any time outdoors. A lot has changed during that time but the anticipation and experiences are still similar and just as exciting. It’s a great place to be....Read More
These days I enjoy many different types of hunting. I’m an avid, some might say rabid, waterfowler. I love to bowhunt and have traveled the country doing so for various big game species, although I’m fairly content with Kansas whitetails and turkeys now. And when it’s not hunting season I’m usually fishing. I love to fish for walleye, crappie and channel catfish. I’m at home on the front of my boat on a big reservoir or wading a small Flint Hills stream. It’s all good.
Throw in a recent bout with the trapping bug and decades of camping with family and friends and it’s obvious I have an addiction for the outdoors.
Many of my most memorable outdoor experiences in recent years have centered on those with my children. My 18-year-old daughter and twin 12-year-old boys have been a major part of my outings. Watching their eyes light up as they realize the wonders of Mother Nature and her bounty likely has even more meaning than my own personal satisfaction. Spending quality time with them outdoors carries significant and substantial meaning, no matter what we’re doing.
In this Blog I’ll attempt to relay some of the enjoyment and satisfaction I get from being outdoors. Topics covered will be broad in scope and run the gamut. It’s all fair game. If you can sit at your computer and read a particular entry and it stirs you to try it, or helps make your experience more enjoyable, I will be pleased. And if it does nothing more than make you smile or laugh that too, will please me. The outdoors is truly a great place to be!
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Over the last few years he's developed a love for chasing bobcats. Many Kansans don't even realize thousands of bobcats roam the countryside and most have never seen one. It's part of this mystique that draws Lathers to pursue them for weeks on end from Christmas to mid-February.
He'll set anywhere from 30-45 traps and check them daily. Most are walk-through flat sets with a #3 Montana buried under dry dirt. He uses a variety of lures and visual stimuli to pique the curiosity of an inquisitive bobcat. Traps remain in place for several weeks as bobcats have a wide home range and may only roll through an area every week or so.
Last year Lathers caught a personal best 16 bobcats. He sells their pelts for up to $100 each but averages about $50. He also traps raccoons heavily during the first week of the furharvesting season in November. He was up at 3 a.m. and back at the house, showered and changed for school every day by 7:30 a.m. During nine days he caught 110 coons and averaged about $8 each selling each of those animals on the carcass.
Lathers admits you have to love something a lot to spend that much time at it. He reasons it's kept him out of some trouble some teenagers might find along the way. Lathers realizes the tradition and history of trapping and relevance to our country making it even more appealing.
Once again, the outdoors is truly a special place.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
The mallard is the most popular duck in Kansas. Die-hard waterfowlers anxiously await the times when waters up north freeze and food sources are covered with snow. That sends the big ducks packing and Kansas is on their list of stopover points. How long they stay here is never a science and depends on the weather. At this time of year there's no shortage of efforts to take a limit of five greenheads. Throw in an "extra" duck and a 6-duck limit is a wonderful thing.
A buddy and I recently had a wonderful late season hunt on a small pond during the warm spell last week. Recently ice-skatable, the pond opened up for a few days. It didn't take the ducks long to move back in, either, and the sights and sounds were inspiring.
Huge flocks of mallards, some numbering into the hundreds, descended from a bright, blue sky. Early on there was little wind but we still got a few to play our game. As the morning progressed the wind came up and ducks heavy with full crops from feeding were looking for water and a midday hangout. We had the welcome mat out and our 2-man limit of 10 greenheads was quickly filled. Throw in a beautiful drake greenwing teal each and we had duck straps heavy with nature's finest colors of the fowl world.
With just a couple weeks left in the season I'll be out as often as possible. There's something magical about big, or even little flocks of mallards responding to a call. It's addictive and I hope they never find a cure.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
But throw buck fever into the mix and our best intentions flew right out the front window of the blind. The buck bolted at the shot and I didn't see any visual evidence of a hit. I could only see him for 15 yards before he got into some thick cedars. Cody asked if he got him.
"I don't know, buddy, we'll have to go look," I told him not overly optimistic.