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!
Friday, March 30, 2012
The window of opportunity is short for finding these delicacies and typically lasts only a few weeks. Mushroom hotspots are guarded closely and I'm certain some hardcore shroom hunters have gone to the grave with their locations. Some people are addicted to mushroom hunting and I've got one friend who has already spent countless hours walking, searching the Internet for rainfall totals and on the phone with others trying to increase his odds for success. He's good at it, too, and it generally pays off in the form of pounds of the tasty morsels.
I got a phone call from an older gentleman asking questions about morels as he'd found 19 in his front yard in the city limits of Wichita. I told him they were deadly, not to touch them and I'd be right over to remove them and keep him and his family out of harm's way. We had a good laugh and he asked how much they were worth these days. He remembered $6 a pound years ago. I told him I knew of people buying and selling them today for $20 a pound. He was shocked. He asked if people could plant them to grow or if they were grown commercially. He answered his own question "I guess if you could do that they wouldn't be $20 a pound, huh?"
There's still time to get out and look if you're of the notion. Me? I've looked a few times and come up empty. I don't have too much luck finding them and it can be a lot of work and the ticks and poison ivy can be brutal. I think I've figured out I like FINDING morels better than I like HUNTING for them. That being said, I'm glad I have friends like the one I mentioned who is willing to share. I just hope he finds enough every spring he tires of eating them!
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
We wrapped up the sale mid-afternoon Saturday and I asked my twin boys if they wanted to go to Applebees for dinner to celebrate their birthday (they turned 13) or go pond fishing. They got the hang of eating like teenage boys early and I wondered what they might choose.
So we loaded up the truck with drinks, snacks, rods, reels and lawn chairs. My daughter, home from her first college spring break, loves to fish so I knew she was game, too. My wife even decided to join us. She doesn't fish much but knew the evening would be an enjoyable one and she could relax in a lawn chair (she didn't really relax as she tried to catch up on grading papers and other school work).
The action started out a bit slow but the kids all had caught a few fish. My boys suffer from "the grass is always greener just around the corner" mentality and circled the pond in no time casting spinner baits. After catching a few fish on a nearby smaller pond my daughter and I joined the boys on the big pond.
"I caught three right there, Dad," Cody said.
"Then why did you leave?" I asked.
More than likely he was trying to beat his brother to the upper end where they'd caught scrappy bass nearly every cast on our last trip last summer. Boys will be boys.
So Ashley and I stood in the same spot and probably caught 25 largemouth bass or so between us. It wasn't long and the boys were back with us.
And the boys even got to strap on the feed bag later that night. We went to Applebees for half-price appetizers at 10 p.m. If they KEEP eating like teenagers I might have to take out a loan! Either that or I'll show them how to prepare a shore-lunch!
It's all good and was a great way to celebrate the boys' birthday and some nice spring break weather!
Friday, March 9, 2012
Once I get my license I'll be more comfortable as far as the legalities transporting my firearms for hunting and trapping. And the thought of personal protection for me and my family is comforting, too.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Walleye are first on the list of spawning fish in the Sunflower State. They typically spawn when the water temperature reaches the mid-40s. This, coupled with the amount of daylight, triggers spawning activity. Much of the spawn is stretched out over several weeks but for Kansas' waters most of the walleye spawn takes place the last couple weeks in March. The good news for anglers is there is plenty of action on both sides of the peak.
Popular lures this time of year include jigs tipped with minnows or plastic swim baits. Ones in the 3-4 inch range are good and generally fished on a 1/8 or 1/4-ounce jig head of various colors. Crankbaits, both suspending and sinking, are popular as well and can be used both from shore or boat.
Now is the perfect time to go. A buddy and I caught some last week and had enough keepers to whet both our families' appetites. There's nothing better than fresh 'eyes on the grill or deep fried to a golden brown. Go get you some!
Thursday, March 1, 2012
But as water temperatures warm (many into the mid-40's now) crappie bug out and scatter. They can still be caught but major concentrations aren't as likely. Successful anglers often drift or slow troll jigs for suspended fish, covering much more water than in recent months. There are still plenty of opportunities but it may be a little more difficult to locate these scattered fish. Keen electronics, and more importantly the ability to interpret them, is of utmost importance finding these fish. They're often scattered over coves or down rocky breaks and rip-rap. Shad schools can help congregate fish but they don't tend to stay in one place too long.
But if you can't catch them now, don't fret. In another month or two crappie will be accessible to bank and boat anglers alike. This action can be good as well, oftentimes some of the best fishing of the year for many anglers. More crappie are caught during the spawn than any other time of year. And anglers will be out in full force as spring is a great time to celebrate Kansas' great outdoors.