Confession: I go nuts this time of year
November 19, 2008
I have to confess that I just go nuts this time of year.
Every kind of hunting is reaching its peak. And trapping is at its zenith.
The build-up started in autumn, with the colorful leaves, warm days and cool nights. That's bow-hunting time. And scouting time for everything else. (I'm no pro---they scout year-round.) But to me it's time to put on the full-camo and skulk around with a bow. I also have to get out and go canoeing.
The next big phase for me, where the weather just kills me with bittersweet joy, is when it freezes and gets some snow but the green grass still shows through and the ice is clear and thin on waterways. That's when I get trapping fever. You can easily see muskrat bubbles under that ice, and find their trails underwater. But muskrats tie into mink and coons. Foxes are perhaps a bit earlier. Then there's deer hunting, of all kinds---rifle, shotgun and muzzleloader. You could go out with bow still, too. The whole thing gives me tromping fever. Swamp fever. I want to wade or canoe along creeks, rivers, ponds, swamps. Mud and water are warm this time of year compared to the air.
Now, I don't do much of any of this any more. But the time of year and the things I see as we drive along in the country, just drive me nuts.
XC skiing is mixed into all this. Specifically, training for it, getting ready. In October I would ideally be making trail and cleaning it up. In November, as soon as geese are in the air I start hankering for trail-running, hill-bounding and rollerskiing.
I don't even mind making wood about now. But things that keep me in the yard are lowest in priority. Still, we do them.
I manage not to stray away from work too much this time of year, but if I lived near an ACTUAL CREEK or picturesque waterway, I'd be a GONER. Thank heavens, there are only ditches around here. And swale-ponds and swamps. These I can resist. Only barely. The swamps are hard on me, especially when they're in vales between higher ground. Ditches are fairly easy to resist, though I've experienced plenty of heaven down in them, in their thin ice, cold mud, green underwater vegetation...and muskrat ice bubbles.
Heck, it's even a bit too far just to get to public land of diverse distinction. Still, Rose Lake is only 10 minutes and it's quite captivating...I should get out there at daybreak a few times...I bet that would get me pumpin'. There's ridges and swales there and some water... Word is that it's pressured, but shouldn't I find out for myself?
One of the things about running a trapline was the sense of awareness and largesse it brought. I knew where every game animal in the township was, and its habits. One week muskrats were my priority, then mink, then coon, then fox. Along the way I'd admire the ducks and pheasants and big bucks. I knew what they were up to but I had better things to do. Today I'd love to keep tabs on them all and dip into each of them a little.
But some walks in the woods and a little roadkill now and then will have to do. I have bigger fish to fry. It's hard to imagine. It's not really even true. I need to get back out there. There's no money in it, but there's life.
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