Wow! What an Indian summer we have been having. As this is. being written, it has cooled off a bit, but it’s still not too bad.
At last, the leaves are, for the most part, down. This is great news for squirrel hunters. At last, we can easily spot the little critters. In fact, in my experience, it seems to take them awhile to realize that the leaves are gone, and they are readily visible. The warm, rainy days we have had are great as well, as you can move quietly through the wet leaves.
Over the years, I have read a lot about squirrel calls. I have a number of them, but I have never had one that worked, at least for me. In fact, several years ago, I saw a squirrel up close, and, rather than shoot, I decided to try the call. Upon hearing it, the squirrel ran away!
One of the problems I have with November is that it brings the cold. For many years, I’ve been a big proponent of wool clothing. A Woolrich shirt, worn under an uninsulated upland jacket, will provide a lot of protection from the cold of November. The old Pennsylvania firm markets a wide range of such shirts. Some are even in bright orange, so that if you have to remove the outer layer, you are still legal in the orange department. You can get the shirts at a variety of dealers, or visit the company’s website at www.woolrich.com.
I guess it’s time to turn to something a bit unpleasant. The topic is the way we conduct ourselves afield. In many ways, the image we portray to the public can have a direct influence on the preservation of hunting, shooting and gun ownership, things in which we all have a stake.
Of all the stupid things hunters do, other than mistakenly shooting a person for game, nothing is worse than vandalism. It’s pointless, senseless and ignorant, yet every year, road signs, mailboxes, fences and other property are damaged or destroyed. This gives each and every one of us a black eye that we certainly don’t need.
Wasting edible game is also very bad for our public image. I try to go with an “if it dies, it fries,” policy in this regard. It’s also not a good idea to leaves piles of “cleanings” along main roads, etc. Once again it can send the wrong message and give us another black eye.
Landowner relations, and the role they play in the continuation of hunting, cannot be over emphasized. Most hunting grounds today are privately owned, yet some hunters are blatantly inconsiderate of landowner rights. Roads are blocked, crops are trampled and fences are damaged. Valuable livestock animals are injured or killed. Firearms are discharged too close to dwellings, and piles of litter are left behind for the landowner to clean up. Pets are sometimes shot. All of this makes it understandable why someone would choose to post their land.
Guns and booze don’t mix, and seeing a drunk staggering into the woods with a gun is a bad image in anyone’s mind, but it continues to happen.
The aforementioned things can make a terrible impression on non-hunters. These are the people we really need to worry about. Anti-hunters aren’t going to change their minds no matter what we say, especially if they’re already fanatical. Therefore, our fate could be decided by that huge segment of the population that is currently uncommitted. We need to keep them from going over to the other side.