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Into The Outdoors: A Hodgepodge of Info.

Probably the best way to describe this week’s column would be a hodgepodge, as we are going to be taking a short look at a variety of topics.

First, I must reiterate the necessity of watching out for your pets. For one thing, it’s coyote mating season. During this time, the males become more aggressive and bold than usual. Also, coyotes will soon be in a position of having to feed a litter of hungry pups.  This makes them hunt more frequently and more aggressively.  Virtually all creatures, including humans, will go to great lengths and take great risks in order to feed their young.  It is just the way of nature.

By this time, great horned owlets are probably hatched and hungry. Great horned owls are voracious predators, to begin with, but, with hungry babies to feed, they become even more so.  A friend of mine once saw a great horned owl taking one of his adult cats. They can also wreak havoc with free-ranging chickens and small dogs and puppies.

My friend Dave Lewis knows of at least five bobcats, including kittens, that are on his farm.  They, too, can get pretty bold at this time of year.

The point of all of this is to be careful about your pets and poultry. That is why I keep my little cat, Maggie, inside at all times.

On another front, deer seem to be getting hit by cars at a fantastic rate. As this is being written, there are three dead along the road in a two-mile stretch of road from my house.  Drivers would be wise to use a bit of caution.

As the weather warms up, I find myself thinking more and more about panfish. As soon as the ice is off your favorite panfish pond, it’s time to break out the old ultralight and go get some.  The fish are hungry after the long winter, but I have found the action to be productive, if a bit slow.  In the summer, you can sometimes catch a sunfish on almost every cast. Now, you have to cat a few more times, but it is still pretty easy to catch a good meal or two.  It might be my imagination, but I believe they taste better when caught in cold water.

I almost forgot to mention this.  I have been seeing ever-increasing amounts of trash along roads.  There are even full garbage bags. As far as I am concerned, this is one of the biggest hog tricks people can pull.  Our woods are not a garbage dump, and should not be treated as if they are.  Besides the environmental impact, trash dumping also leads to the posting of private land.  You can’t really blame a landowner for posting their land after having to pick up someone’s trash time after time.

One of my friends recently read a letter to the editor in an outdoor publication in which the writer blamed cats for the decline in wildlife species. While cats no doubt take their toll, what about the other predators?  Coyotes, foxes, fishers, bears, birds of prey, raccoons, snakes, and a lot of other critters prey on small game. As far as cats go, they are often prey, as mentioned earlier, as well as predators. Feral dogs also have to be included in the mix.  The simple fact is that, in nature, small game animals rank very low on the food chain. To single out cats is unjust, and the idea of killing someone’s pet, even if they should keep it inside, is abhorrent.

And finally, I have to mention the Ides of March. Julius Caesar ignored a warning about it, and look what happened to him.

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