February 26, 2004

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Do you ever wonder why, when the batteries are going dead in the remote control, we press the buttons harder? Like thatís going to make a difference, right. Well thatís sort of how I felt Friday evening as I was traveling down the road. As I was cruising down the highway I caught a glimpse of a man ice fishing. As we all know, by Friday we had suffered through a week of high temperatures and spring like conditions, ruining what was left of the ice fishing season too early. Apparently this guy had just got back from Alaska, because here he was waltzing across the thawing remains of a rather large pond. What made me think of the whole remote control analogy was this guy was tip toeing across the ice with his bucket in one hand and the auger in the other. Call me crazy, but if the ice is going to break, your tip toe work ainít gonna save you. Then again, maybe he was trying to make it back off the ice? Maybe I should have stopped and made sure he could make it. Of course he was only about 10 steps away from the four-foot wide ring of open water that was between the ice and the pond bank. Either he waded out to the ice or had a board bridge or something. When it gets to the point that you need a boat to ferry you out to the ice, I put up the waxworms and the Vexilar and start looking toward spring and open water.

If a person wants to get real ambitious there is always opening day of trout season, which is less than a week away Ė March 1. That marks the opening of Missouriís eight-month catch-and-keep fishing season at Montauk State Park near Licking, Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Roaring River State Park near Cassville and Meramec Spring Park near St. James.

Now I was once again lured into yet another hobby by my late uncle-in-law, but even the worst case of cabin fever canít make me want to go shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the fly-fishing enthusiasts who will definitely fill the stateís trout parks to capacity on the first morning. Thereís just something about having to duck every few seconds to avoid your neighborís cast and trying to decide which one of you hooked the fish first, that doesnít make this crowded option really enticing to me. Donít get me wrong, Iím looking forward to hitting some new trout spots this year, but Iíll wait until the crowds die down a bit. Okay, so this opening day may not be as bad as Bennett Springs, but the MDC still is expecting some 10,000 anglers if the weather is respectable.

On a totally unrelated subject Ė does anyone know what taxidermists do to make your mount shrink? Is it a special chemical to treat the antlers? I could have sworn that my deer was bigger than that? Well, maybe it was just wishful thinking, or the less than favorable size comparison to the dozen other mounts waiting to be picked up. Regardless, that 10-point buck still looks awful dang good on my living room wall. Thatís right, my LIVING ROOM wall. When you walk through the front door, my deer is the first thing you see. Maybe thatís just me, because Iím a little obsessed still, but anyway, my deer is upstairs Ė in plain sight. And some question who wears the pants in my family. My deer sits right there in the same room as my wifeís new dining room set. She keeps the checkbook in her pantís pocket.

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