Making the tough decisions: What to hunt, where to fish, what water to paddle
By Ben Gruber
Cool fall mornings are easily my favorite time, and the only complaint I have is that I wish there was more of them. I never have the time to do all of the things that I want to get to.
As the leaves fall off and the forest canopy opens up, I love to take a slow, quiet walk through the woods and squirrel hunt. I took Addy out with me the other day for her first squirrel hunt, and I was really impressed that she walked the entire way on her own with no complaints. We saw two, and much to Addy’s disappointment I missed both of them. She pointed out to me with all three of her years of wisdom that maybe I should get better at shooting. Point taken.
For an almost 3-year-old, she was remarkably quiet. She has been practicing her hunting voice for a while now, and she did good enough that I will take her out to the blind with me one of these days for an evening bow hunt.
Deer movement is picking up. My good friend Mark Walters and his daughter were out to our farm while I was in Montana for the youth deer hunt. Mark and I met years back when I contacted him about the youth outdoors mentoring program that he started, Kids And Mentors Outdoors. I have been involved in that organization now for many years, and it is great.
I suspect that Mark maybe is not very good at deer hunting, despite all of his bragging, so I invited Selina to come out and hopefully get her first buck here at Bear Creek Ranch where even Mark can find a buck.
By 8 a.m. she had a large doe and a nice buck down. I am pretty sure that it is bigger than any buck that her father has ever shot. I was excited to hear about their success. Any cold fronts this time of year are a great time to be in the tree stand, both before and after.
For my fellow paddlers, it is also a great time of year to be on the water. Many of the waters that are congested with recreational boating traffic during the summer are now pristine and calm with nary another boat to be seen. The small rivers are beautiful right now as well. Fish are biting too as they try and feed up for the upcoming cold weather.
I would like to get out yet this fall and do a day trip down either the Black River or the Yellow River. Hopefully I can find time to squeeze it in.
As I write this, it is 11:30 at night, and I am in the process of boiling and waxing my traps, getting prepared for my first trap line in at least 10 years, and really excited about it. On opening night of bow hunting, I had a large pack of at least six coyotes come under my tree, so I am looking forward to outsmarting a few of those and turning them into a nice blanket.
Duck hunting is going to start ramping up as soon as we get some freeze-up north of us, so be ready for some birds moving soon.
Get outside, and take a kid.
Ben Gruber can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.