The Great Outdoors

By Larry Whiteley



May is a time for fishermen to over indulge themselves. It’s a time to sample all the great fishing May has to offer. Mornings are made for fan casting rocky points for walleyes before jigging for slab crappie until sundown. By then, it’s time for bass to start swirling along the banks, and it’s midnight before you know it.

The next day might be roll casting wooly worms under some shoreline’s overhanging shrubbery hoping to catch bull bluegills or trying to match the hatch on your favorite trout stream. Topwater bass action on a local pond can be your night activity.

The next morning, you might cast into a school of white bass. Then head to a stream for smallmouth and rock bass. If it rains, the feeder creeks will be full of big channel cats, and the larger rivers will be stuffed with jumbo blues and flatheads.

There’s so much great fishing to do in May and so little time to do it.


Did someone let you go turkey hunting on their land this past season? Send them an e-mail or text, or give them a call to thank them. Better yet, take some already cooked wild turkey breast by for them to eat or maybe even take them out to dinner. You can also offer to help with chores that need to be done or even take them fishing.

Remembering landowners during the off season helps guarantee you will have future hunting opportunities for years to come.


A backyard with a lot of shade and persistent dampness is perfect for a mushroom garden. Your mushroom garden can contain such delectable mushrooms as the common white button mushroom or the delicious Shitake mushroom.

To start a mushroom garden, get a number of red or white oak logs and stack them in a damp place. Moisture content can be kept high by draping the logs with a porous material such as burlap.

The fungus is introduced into the logs by inserting the mushroom mycelium in the form of spawn into holes drilled into the logs about 6 inches apart in rows the length of the log with about 4 inches between each row. The spawn can be purchased from commercial suppliers online.

Once the mycelium is inserted into the holes, they’re plugged with hot wax or foam to prevent drying. Six to 18 months later, delicious mushrooms will appear on the logs.

Mushrooms you grew yourself are a delicious treat with all the fish you catch, the wild turkey you harvested or a good steak cooked on the backyard grill.


If you like to spend time star gazing when camping like I do, then you need to choose the right campsite. You want one as far away from city lights as possible.

Plan your trip during a new moon when the moon isn’t visible at all, which helps with seeing even more stars. Also, try to star gaze when humidity is low. The drier the air, the more easily stars can be seen.


In a recent study by the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Commerce, it was found that of non-hunting Americans, over 54 percent observe wildlife, 17 percent photograph wildlife, 63 percent feed birds and 26 percent feed other wildlife.


While the fishing pros would have you believe you must race from one fishing hole to the next and constantly switch your baits, the truth is sometimes you just have to relax and be patient, enjoying the beautiful day or time with your family.


Going on a trial run camping trip in your own backyard is a great idea. Make a day of it, and while you’re doing it, ask yourself some questions. What does your tent need? How comfortable is your bedding? What items did you find little use for?

Be sure to bring a notepad and pen or make notes in your smartphone so you can keep track of the things you thought you would need but actually hardly ever used or didn’t even use at all. The less you take, the more you will enjoy it when you go on your actual camping trip.


If you’re going hiking, take along a hiking stick. You can buy hiking sticks, but why not just make one of your very own?

I like to make mine out of young red cedar trees by removing all the limbs and peeling off the bark. Cut it about shoulder high so you can better lean or rest on it. Choose wood that is pretty straight and will support your weight. Thin but sturdy is best so it weighs as little as possible. It also should be solid, but a few knots will give it character. Carve your name or designs in it to make it really special.

A hiking stick can give you extra lift when climbing steep trails and extra support when descending steep trails. It will give you balance through rock fields, crossing streams, narrow ledges and slippery mud.

Other uses include protection against snakes, dogs and other animals. Use to signal for help by tying on a bandanna and waving it. Use to knock branches and rocks off to the side of the trail. I am sure you will find many other uses for your hiking stick.


“When a man does a piece of work, which is admired by all, we say that it is wonderful; but when we see the changes of day and night, the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky, and the changing seasons upon the Earth, with their ripening fruits, anyone must realize that it is the work of someone more powerful than man.”

– Chief Chased-By-Bears, 1843-1915

Santee-Yanktonai Sioux