Talkin' Outdoors

Thank you Lord for that nice rain we had early Monday morning. My gauge read .32 inch, not much, but that was enough to enable me to once again see what color my car really is. How sweet it was to see rivulets of gold washing down the driveway into the drain. The hated pine pollen is gone, at least for a few days.

As aggravating as is this devil’s dust from Hades, it foretells of things about to take place around these parts. Coupled with the pollen are other harbingers of spring, the bursting forth of crimson clover along the margin of the interstate and the explosion of white of blooming dogwoods and the purple of wisteria. Put these all together and it’s time to think fishing and turkey hunting.

For starters, I got a report this weekend of a box of big crappie caught in two feet of water. This tells me that the migration to the spawning shallows is getting underway. The first chance I get, I’ll be putting fresh line on my ultra-light gear and hitting my favorite pond where I know the big bluegills will be fanning out shallow beds to provide not only some exciting fishing but some taste bud tantalizing fish fries.

Already, photos of anglers showing off double digit sway-bellied bass are appearing on social media as these big rascals are following suit with the crappie and bream as they move shallow to begin the process of making baby fish.

I have already received suggestions to get my hummingbird feeders filled and set up because they’re already showing up. Those fortunate enough to have purple martins nesting in their boxes should have them cleaned out and ready because scouts are already here.

What does all this mean? Spring has officially sprung and I don’t know of another more exciting time to be alive than right now. It’s for sure we’ll have a few more cool snaps worthy of slipping on jackets for comfort in going outside but the pollen lets me know that those cool down periods will become less frequent and less harsh.

For the past 27 springs, I have become absolutely giddy as I anticipate pre-dawn drives to the woods I have come to love because of the real possibility I’ll hear a gobbler sound off from his roost tree. I’ll mentally mark the location and return a few more mornings to pin-point where turkeys are hanging out, spending time checking for tracks, scratchings, droppings and dislodged feathers.

Spring turkey hunting entered my sphere of outdoors things I love to do late in life; I was in my mid-50s before I discovered the thrill, the excitement, the elation of matching wits with these wiley creatures.

Hunting this spring will produce some challenges that will take some maneuvering to circumnavigate. First of all, my annual trip to Texas to chase Rio Grande gobblers is off this year; drought conditions have severely affected the population of birds on the ranch I usually hunt. The property owner is curtailing turkey hunting on the ranch this year and next to give the birds time to replenish their population.

Another option for hunting turkeys is on the club where I hold membership, a club where I have enjoyed success the past few years. Unfortunately for our members, a big portion of the club has been sold leaving our club with roughly half the acreage where we chased gobblers each spring.

Before I started turkey hunting, spring-time fishing was what I did this time of year. I have another prospect in mind to chase turkeys but if that doesn’t pan out, I know a spot where the bluegills should be bedded about now. That, in itself, is not too shabby of an alternative.