ESCAPE TO THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Sunrises and sunsets in the outdoors are better than any TV show or movie. Lying in a tent while camping and listening to crickets is better than the finest hotel room. Hiking a trail enjoying the quiet and beauty is better that fighting city traffic. Being with your wife, kids or grandkids when they harvest their first turkey or deer, or catch their first fish is a memory you and they will never forget.
The outdoors is a stress reliever and a worry reducer that slows down the hectic pace of life and brings the world back into perspective. We all need that in today’s crazy world. Escape to the great outdoors.
CRAPPIE FOR THANKSGIVING
Crappie tend to suspend more during this time of year, so use a float rigged with a small crappie jig or minnow. Once you have located an area to fish, start by setting the float at a certain depth and fish around the cover until you find them.
Sitting around watching football games and eating fried crappie sounds pretty good, or fried crappie with the Thanksgiving turkey would be really special.
Over 120 people are killed in the United States each year in deer-related car crashes and hundreds more are injured.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are 1.5 million deer-related vehicle accidents every year, resulting in $1 billion in damage and causing 175 to 200 fatalities and 10,000 injuries.
Deer cause enormous damage to farm crops and suburban landscaping as well as spread ticks that can spread Lyme disease and other tick-related illnesses and other diseases to our yards.
I know some of you enjoy watching deer in your yard, and you may even feed them, but read the above statistics and facts again. Instead of condemning deer hunters, you should thank them.
HOW TO TELL IF SOMEONE LIKES TO HUNT
You can probably be assured someone likes to hunt if their kids or dogs are named Chase, Bowman, Archer, Easton, Forrest, Gauge, Drake, Colt, Remington, Winchester or, of course, Hunter.
If their phone quacks, gobbles, grunts or bugles instead of rings, you can bet they like to hunt. If the only shirts or caps you ever see them wear are camo or have ducks, bucks, turkeys or elk on them, you can be assured they like to hunt.
If they drive a dirty truck and the back window is covered with decals that say DU, NWTF and QDMA along with silhouettes of bucks, ducks or turkeys, you can be sure they are someone who likes to hunt.
“I do not hunt for the joy of killing but for the joy of living, and the inexpressible pleasure of mingling my life, however briefly, with that of a wild creature that I respect, admire and value.” – Aldo Leopold
DEER CAMP PRANKS
Pranks are a part of the traditions of deer camps.
One year at deer camp, I took a very real-looking fake rattlesnake and put it in the floor of the outdoor toilet. I watched as several hunting buddies went in to do their duty only to come stumbling out with their pants down around their ankles. They did pull them up before they started chasing me.
We also had a guy who is deathly afraid of mice. He has found fake mice in his sleeping bag, in the camp box, dangled on a line above his face while sleeping and in the toilet roll container in the outdoor john. He promises me he will get even.
When we have a new guy at deer camp, I take tootsie roll midgies, tear off pieces and roll them up until they look like deer droppings. I then take the guy out, act like I find them and show how to tell what deer are feeding on by popping them in my mouth and chewing them. The look on their face is priceless.
WATERFOWL AND WEATHER
With the low visibility of heavy fog, ducks and geese don’t like to fly much but when they do, they become very vulnerable to calling.
They don’t like to move much in heavy rains either but as soon as it’s over, they will search for newly flooded areas caused by the heavy rain. If it didn’t rain where they are, they seem to sense it rained nearby and will leave to find new water created by the rain. Find that water before they do and be there when they arrive.
Cold fronts do push ducks and geese south but not all the time. Sometimes, as they can find suitable areas to roost and feed, they will stick around.
A HUNTER’S THANKSGIVING PRAYER
Thank you, God, for the great outdoors you created for me, my family and my friends to enjoy. I do not comprehend how anyone who sees sunrises and sunsets over woods and fields, hears the sounds of the wild birds or flowing streams, and smells the fragrance of a wildflower or morning rain can ever think there is no God.
As I sit waiting for a deer or turkey to come by my secret hiding place or look up and see waterfowl coming into my decoys, I thank you for this special time. If I am successful, I honor you when I honor the game you provided.
I thank you, too, for all the many memories that bring tears to my eyes. Memories of camp fires and deer camps, taking a turkey with my great grandpa’s shotgun, time hunting with my sons, the look on the faces of grandsons and granddaughters when they got their first deer, of our Guatemalan grandsons dressed in camo and so many more great memories. If it be your will, I pray there are many more memories to come for me and for them.
“In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world.” – John Muir