By Larry Whiteley, Bass Pro Shops/Outdoor World Radio
Before Halloween even started, the onslaught of Christmas sales had already begun. The real reason we celebrate Christmas gets lost in a bombardment of commercialism. Sell, sell, sell. Buy, buy, buy. It is supposed to be a celebration of the birth in a manger of the Christ child.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas Day. Time with family and friends. The holiday meal. The Christmas tree. Opening presents. Christmas is also my birthday. My family stopped getting a birthday cake for me each Christmas. They said all the candles would cause the fire alarm to go off. I love them anyway.
The rest of the month, I avoid the holiday traffic, computer, commercials, social media, TV news and politicians. I escape all that for a while out in God’s great outdoors. It is my Christmas gift to myself.
The sun rising over the water or woods, an eagle flying in a bright blue sky or a deer happening by your secret hiding place is better than any TV show. Crows calling, owls hooting and chattering squirrels are much better than the sounds of a crowded store of shoppers.
I know it’s cold, but the fish are still there under the water, waiting. Even if they aren’t biting, the outdoors is a natural stress reliever. If you enjoy hunting, deer seasons are still going on. So is squirrel, rabbit, waterfowl and upland game.
Hiking a trail is better than sitting in traffic. December is a great time to take a hike. The leaves are gone, allowing you to see things you can’t at other times. It’s also a great time to camp if you prepare yourself for the cold. You can’t worry or fret when you’re sitting around a campfire. You can’t get Facebook, TikTok, Instagram or text messages if you go where there is no cell signal. Be sure to tell someone where you are going, just in case.
Christmas is about gifts, and it should be. That all started when wise men brought them to a baby in a manger. Gifts do not all have to be store bought or online stuff the retail world says everybody wants for Christmas. You can give the same gift to family or friends someone gave you once: The great outdoors. They will never receive a better gift.
Happy birthday, Jesus. May all of you have a very merry outdoor Christmas!
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
“As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this, and people to whom we are worth the same.”
– Donald E. Westlake
Research has indicated deer may use up to 400 different vocal sounds to communicate with each other and with other animals. Some of the vocalizations may be so subtle they are barely discernable to us humans. For instance, during hunting season, they are always quietly telling other deer where we hunters are hiding.
EAT AND DRINK MORE IN COLD WEATHER
Your body burns more calories in cold weather, so you need to eat more.
About 4,500 to 5,000 calories per day will keep you fueled for strenuous outdoor activities. So, this is no time to diet. Carbohydrates and fats are good sources of energy. You should carry fruit, candy, nuts and cereals for snacks.
Drinking more doesn’t mean alcohol. In cold weather, alcohol is dangerous because it dehydrates. It may make you feel warmer, but it causes you to lose core body heat, which can contribute to hypothermia – a lowering of the core body temperature. That can be dangerous, even fatal, if not stopped.
Drink before you’re thirsty. Your body dehydrates more quickly when it’s cold because you are warming the air you breathe. Hot, sugared liquids will help keep you warm and hydrated.
Remember that being tired and hungry can make you feel colder. If that happens, take a rest break and eat something.
THE WISDOM OF OLD BOONE
Where will you be when the weather is nasty? In staying dry and warm watching TV or outdoors dressed for the weather, where the big bucks and flocks of ducks are still doing their thing?
2022 DEER DARWIN AWARD WINNER
As another year comes to a close, it is time to announce our choice as the overall winner of the 2022 Deer Darwin Award. This award goes to those who do some dumb things involving deer throughout the year. It was hard to choose, so we decided to have two winners. We will not name anyone to protect them from further embarrassment.
The first award goes to the good folks at a suburban Chicago airport. They had a problem with deer wandering onto runways and being struck by airplanes. They erected an electric fence around the airport. The deer jumped over it, avoiding the shock, and still got hit. Someone suggested smearing peanut butter on it. If the deer licked it, they would get shocked and run off. To their surprise, they had even more deer on the runways. Now, wouldn’t you wonder if the peanut butter might be attracting the deer?
A town in Illinois voted to hire sharpshooters to cull troublesome deer. Animal lovers threw a fit and forced them into sterilizing the does. Twenty female deer were drugged and had their tubes tied. The cost was $7,500 each. The cost of a sharpshooter? $500 per deer. Also, they still have a deer problem.
A FUNNY QUOTE
“Before criticizing someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them, and you have their shoes.”