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, June 28, 2013
HE'S GOT IT BAD
I was in Topeka visiting family and told my 16-year-old nephew, Dylan, we'd run out to the public hunting surrounding Perry Reservoir and try our luck chasing tree rats. He's game for anything and has really got hooked on hunting and fishing in the last few years. He took up trapping, too, and loves all time spent outdoors.
When my alarm went off at 5 a.m. and I opened the bedroom door Dylan was already sitting up waiting for me in the living room. This bright-eyed approach was impressive, particularly considering he didn't get to bed until almost midnight the night prior after a doubleheader baseball game. He was chompin' at the bit.
It didn't take us long to gather our gear and load up. We commented on the stickiness of the air and the fact that it was already 77 degrees an hour before sunrise. It would indeed be a muggy morning. And it was going to get worse.
I had several maps of the public hunting areas surrounding Perry Reservoir. I had penciled in some likely-looking spots after checking them on Google and we made our first stop. The wind wasn't too bad when we hopped into the first stand of timber but my mood would quickly sour.
The undergrowth was intense, woolly and nearly impenetrable in some instances. Plentiful spring rains had the vegetation lush making movement difficult at best. After several failed calling attempts we decided to move on to another spot.
But that lone rat would be it for the morning. We actually saw more turkeys than squirrels and we only saw 4 turkeys. I was disappointed for Dylan. I had gotten his hopes up and wasn't able to produce. The timber we hunted looked like it should have squirrels every 15 yards but it just wasn't to be for whatever reason. I was perplexed and bummed as the morning wore on.
Despite liberal dousing with bug repellent we were both chewed up with mosquito bites and ticks were crawling on us like crazy. And it was HOT! By mid-morning we punted and headed for cooler climates.
It was likely one of the most miserable mornings I've had in the great outdoors in recent history. There were many other places I would have chosen to be after enduring everything else that morning.
But Dylan was a trooper and never once complained. He was glad to be out wandering the woods and seemed to enjoy it despite the brutal conditions and our lack of success.
And when I jokingly asked later that day if he wanted to go again in the morning he said, "Sure!" The kid's got it bad and that's a good thing.