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!
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
While many birthday presents for youngsters these days often center around electronics or video games, there are still a few kids who cherish those gifts related to the outdoors. I remember getting a few during my adolescence and they were some of the most memorable, both big and small. I met a youngster recently, Hunter, who will likely have a similar memory after a winter crappie ice fishing trip on the docks at Pomona's Lighthouse Bay Marina.
And use it he did. The youngster caught several nice crappie and took them to the adjacent dock to put in his other family member's bucket.
"I got another one!" he hollered as he walked.
After a half-dozen fish, Hunter's family was quick to follow him back to his honey hole, or actually holes.
"I caught one in this hole, that hole and that one, too," he pointed.
Hunter's enthusiasm was contagious and entertaining.
"Fish ON!" he'd holler as he set the hook.
Adult anglers around him were smiling and laughing each time he caught a fish. Hunter was eager to share his secrets with his family and other anglers. And the youngster was willing to share the wealth, too. As he took off his most recent fish, he turned back around to see another youngster, much older and larger, fishing the hole where he just caught the fish. The older kid began to reel up and was about to give the hole back when Hunter said, "That's okay, you can fish there. I'll just fish this one over here."
Here's hoping, Hunter, that you catch many more fish with that birthday present. Happy Birthday, Hunter!
Thursday, January 9, 2014
|CAN YOU FIND THREE SCAVENGERS?|
I've always wondered about what animals are capitalizing on these offerings. Over the past few years I've tried to find out just who or what is responsible for slicking up similar offerings of nasty leftovers and remnant scraps. In order to do that I've placed trail cameras, both those that shoot video and still photos, on various carcass piles.
On my most recent experiment I had a dozen or so cleaned goose and duck carcasses and the rib cage and legs of a deer carcass. I wired all of the waterfowl to a stake and did the same with the deer leftovers. It didn't take long for the pile of leftovers to be reduced to a pile of nothing but a few feathers.
There's only been one common denominator in all of these experiments. Within a week or two, rarely more, the pile is reduced to absolutely nothing save a few traces of feathers or hair. Mother Nature's garbage disposals are efficient. It's kind of fun to watch, too, and I'd never really know how it worked without the cameras. Nothing goes to waste and the food chain continues to function as intended.
Friday, January 3, 2014
But someone forgot to inform the ducks of our plans that morning. Save a loan honker scratched from a group of geese flying the river at daybreak our pickings were relatively slim for the first two hours. We saw a couple small groups of ducks but they were off in the distance and apparently had definite plans.
We had just got done discussing the "good ol' days" when huge flocks of greenheads, sometimes numbering in the hundreds would descend from the heavens and land in our spread. It had been quite some time since we've seen that but our luck was about to change when Jim spotted a flock of mallards and they looked interested. Soon, several smaller flocks became one and it numbered nearly 100 birds.
Plenty of calling and several passes later some finally got close enough to go. Guns blazed and ducks started falling. Five greenheads floated in front of us as Trav, Jim's yellow Lab, hustled to get them slicked up. Although we should have killed more from the flock we were in awe of the spectacle they just provided. The mere site of those birds cupped and committed is still vividly etched in my mind.
A short time later we had a flock of big Canada geese that acted interested in the full body goose decoys we had sitting nearby on the sandbar. Jim and Matt started pleading with them to join us and the sounds of their calls convinced them to venture too close on one pass and we killed three nice honkers from the bunch.
And we weren't done with the ducks, either. We were blessed with a repeat performance from another nice flock of mallards. Although not quite as large, the results were the same and five mallards splashed down belly up. We added another single a short time later and ended the morning with 11mallards and four big Canada geese.
The morning shoot wasn't hot and heavy by any means. Those two flocks of ducks really saved the day. But the experiences of what few birds we worked will be enough to tide us over until our duck segment opens back up for a week at the end of this month. We'll be back after them hoping more bluebird skies are filled with big greenheads and they're locked up. Here's hoping the 2014 duck season starts the way the 2013 one ended.