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!
Thursday, July 3, 2014
But show up basically anywhere in July dressed in camouflage and you'll get some strange looks.
"Are you hunting?" comes the inquisitive question.
"Yes" is my reply to which they immediately fire back, "WHAT?"
"Squirrels!" I say and they wrinkle up their face.
Since squirrel season opens June 1 there's no better time to enjoy it than right now. One of my boys, Cody, and I decided to try it recently for the first time this summer. I couldn't have scripted a more perfect outdoor adventure, either.
The air was wonderfully still with a temperature near 60 degrees when we got out at 6:15 a.m. We eased into a stretch of riparian timber and I hit the squirrel call. Nothing, which isn't unusual but always disappointing. Heading to our second location we spied a couple does out in the pasture and watched them until they bounded out of sight.
Our second calling location proved to be a sign of things to come. I hit the call and three squirrels sounded off, one way too close right above our heads and he saw us and spooked. Just across the creek another was barking and Cody readied his .22 rifle and fired and the squirrel fell to the ground.
Over the last few summers Cody has killed a couple of squirrels each trip, but most always with his 20 gauge shotgun since it allowed a little more "flexibility" as far as aim. But he chose to use my .22 rifle which, outfitted with a scope is a tack-driving machine, provided you can hold it steady. I wasn't so sure Cody would have much success on his first trip with it since he's never really shot it all that much. Boy was I wrong.
As we eased down the creek and called in several locations, Cody's rifle sounded off and squirrels dropped, as did my jaw after most shots. I was more surprised than anything, but quite proud that he'd found instant success with well-placed shots. In less than 90 minutes, Cody killed his first-ever limit (5) of squirrels with nearly as many shots. Heck, I rarely do that well and he made it look easy.
I managed to kill two squirrels with Cody calling for me before the wind came up a bit and we decided to call it a morning knowing we had 7 squirrels to clean. I provided instruction to Cody and he cleaned a couple squirrels and I helped to move things along.
As we got back into our vehicle to head home Cody looked at the clock and it was barely 10 a.m.
"Most of my friends aren't even out of bed yet," Cody laughed. "And we've been up for five hours!"
I wouldn't trade those five hours for any amount of sleep, either.