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Into the Outdoors: A Little Bit of this and a Little Bit of That

By the time you read this, the shortest, yet seemingly the longest, month of the year will be over in a couple of days. I don’t know what it is about February, but it just seems endless. Perhaps it’s the miserable weather. That certainly plays a part. Also, it still is too early to seriously start thinking spring. Whatever it is, it’s just plain miserable. So, for another year, it will soon be behind us.

March, of course, is not without its shortcomings. There’s a lot of really ugly weather possible in March. It’s known for freezing rain, sleet and unexpected snowstorms. In fact, on the night I was born, there was an ice storm. Despite all of this, it is the month of spring. Before long, we will be turning the clocks ahead, one of the happiest days of the year for me. Also, we’re almost certain to get some really nice days. The frogs will start to sing. It all combines to show you that you made it through yet another winter, and that’s great.

A lot of our favorite birds make their way back in March, too. Red-winged blackbirds, robins, turkey vultures (a personal favorite of mine) and several others will begin to be seen. Though far from great, March does at least have some good points about it.

Then, of course, there’s fishing. A couple of weeks ago, we looked at sucker fishing, the most common and best known form of March angling. That’s not all, though. Walleye fishing is legal through March 14th. Pike and musky are also in at this time. Bass fishing is also in until April 12th. I don’t ice fish, but, for those who do, this winter has been sort of a bust.

While I have not yet seen any, groundhogs might very well be out. If not, they will be soon. That tells me that it’s time for varmint hunters to break out the old varmint gun. Although I don’t hunt chucks much anymore, due to my “If it dies it fries” philosophy, I have done a lot of it over the years, and still have the suitable guns. Of the calibers I own, my personal favorite is probably the 22 rimfire. I couldn’t tell you how many woodchucks I’ve bagged with my old Mossberg over the years. This year, a friend is planning on purchasing a 22 magnum. Over the winter, I’ve read a number of articles touting its merits. The primary advantage, of course, is expanded range, although a wider variety of bullet types and weights are available, too.

I should clarify something here. My reference to, “If it dies it fries,” in no way means that groundhogs are not good eating. In fact, they are delicious when prepared properly. Old Bub’s mother and aunt used to work culinary magic with them. They are good on the grill, too. The preparation, however, requires more effort than I am willing to expend.

You can also hunt crows on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays up until March 24th. I sometimes doubt if there is a smarter critter to pursue than the crow. They actually seem to know when you have a gun. Shotguns, of course, are the most commonly used firearms for crow hunting, although the same rifles used for varmint hunting are sometimes used to make long distance shots on sitting crows. At least, that’s what I’ve read. Crows can be decoyed and called in, but you really have to know what you’re doing.

Some of the warm days we’ve had recently have given me a pretty bad case of spring fever. As revolting as the thought may be, there could still be one or more major snowstorms in the near future. We’ve made it this far, though, so let’s not give up now. After all, trout season is only about six long weeks away. In the near future, we’ll take a look at that.

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