Okay, everyday outdoorsman. We are now at the time of year we all look forward to. Time to get our act (gear) together and take advantage of the wonders of the great outdoors. Winter, or at least what was of winter this year, is behind us. Seasons are opening (fishing, hunting), the woods are in bloom and greening up (achoo), and we are ready to get out and enjoy what nature has served.
1. Turkey season is upon us; yes, it's been open in many states in the SE and hopefully everyone will enjoy success. I suspect if you've done much in the way of scouting you've noticed the birds a gobbling a little early this year. I think it's likely due to the mild weather we had and the early greening of the woods. It likely means your best hunting will be early in the season and that late season hunting may not be as productive as in past years.
2. Fishing is beginning to peak. Fish are on their beds, again, a little earlier than typical because of the warmer than normal temperatures we experienced in February and March. Hopefully you've been tracking the bedding habits and are taking advantage of the early season that fishing provides. If you are into trout I suspect we'll see hatches a little earlier than normal, again, because of the warmer than usual winter.
3. Are you ready to hike? With warm temperatures and early greening, the woods are magnificent. Get out, get your staff and maps and get into the outdoors to enjoy those day hikes. Take plenty of water as the warm temperatures can dehydrate you quickly. Early warming also likely means that "critters" will be active earlier than normal. Pay attention to where you are walking and be on the lookout for snakes that are enjoying the early warm up. Also, don't forget your bug spray as you can expect the creepy, crawly, flying, stinging, biting pests to be on the lookout for a quick meal.
4. Camping on your agenda? Again, be prepared to warmer than normal weather and if you read my last blog, I encourage you to prepare for high levels of pollen and other allergens. Don't forget to keep your campsite clean and food stored to prevent critters from wanting to get into your campsite to see what tasty morsels you may have for them. Don't forget the real necessities this time of the year as temperatures can swing quickly and it's not unusual to experience severe weather; jacketsweater for chilly evenings, battery powered weather radio, bug spray, allergy medicine, changes of clothes, anti-histamine for bug bites, poison ivy or oak, plenty of drinking water to keep your hydration levels up. While this list is far from complete, these are a few "basics" I suggest you not forget to pack.
5. Can't wait to get the boat in the water? Warm weather usually spurs a strong desire to get on the water; whether for pleasure, sporting, or fishing. Be careful and know the temperature of the water. While the air may seem excessively warm, it does not mean the water has warmed up. If swimming check frequently, especially kids, to make sure they are not experiencing hypothermia. Don't forget the sunscreen as the sun is extremely bright when reflecting off the surface of water. Bug spray is in order. Check those life vests/jackets to ensure they are in good condition. Keep plenty of water handy to keep yourself hydrated and don't, repeat, don't consume alcohol while on the water.Okay, we're all prepared to really begin to increase our activities in the out of doors, enjoy the early years weather and take advantage of the early year. Enjoy all your outdoor experiences this year, be safe and prepare. It will ensure your experiences continue to be notable throughout your life. And, don't forget to share these experiences with family and friends.