January and February offer plenty of hunting and fishing opportunities but I’m going to have to take an extended break. I am not saying I am quitting but I have got to spend some time getting ready for turkey season and I have still got to gather up some tree stands that are still in the woods. The extreme cold weather is making this decision a lot easier as well. I can’t let my mind linger on grouse, geese, and walleye, or I’ll fall off the wagon. Maybe a trip or two won’t hurt.
I do love this time of year. Some of my most memorable times in the woods and on the water have been during these cold months. I can remember years past when every Saturday in January was spent throwing a rooster tail for stripe and largemouth. We fished places like the “graveyard,” the “silos,” and “40965.” Our tackle box was an old miner’s bag and the only brand of reels we owned were Mitchell 300’s. I’ve still never caught as many fish as I did back then. And that was without a boat. I can also remember taking my untrained bird dog into the woods to hunt grouse. I thought if it was a bird dog, it already knew how to find birds. I was right. It just didn’t know how to set them up for me to shoot. Most of the time I ended up hunting for my dog.
Those cold winter days were some of the best times of my life. The chill was always knocked off by the thrill. The anticipation and excitement always warmed the blood. I’ve never been only a fair weather outdoorsman. I’ve always been willing to step out into the unpleasant climate or the unpredictable circumstances. Those times have produced both feast and famine. The days of famine have been mostly forgotten. The days of feast have been inspiration to keep going back. I have found that we hunters and fishermen are not spoiled with the idea that we must bring quarry home each time we go out. We don’t need constant affirmation. We only need one bullet or one bite; just one good day. That will be enough to call us back to our passion. And that one good day just might be on a cold January evening when everyone else but me and you have opted to stay at home.
Outdoor Truths Volumes I and II each contain over 60 articles that have appeared in this publication. Purchase them on my website.