August 24, 2006

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

August is winding down and my favorite time of year is nearing. I decided this evening I would start getting my gear ready for all of my outdoor hobbies.

Believe it or not, my first step was getting out the calendar. Sure it has pictures of big deer and other wildlife that I look forward to meeting in the timber real soon, but for me it was more about trying to schedule enough time to do everything I crave to get done in the next few weeks.

Bow season opens September 15th and looks as if it might be my top priority in the Fall of 2006. Thatís still a few weeks away but bowhunting requires a little more preparation than most sports.

I took the first step this week by getting a new bowstring installed and Iím considering upgrading my sights and arrow rest as well. Of course shopping is the easy part. I still need to shoot about 100 arrows before I even venture into the woods. Hopefully I can squeeze in a 3D shoot or two before opening day and I definitely plan on shooting from an elevated stand to perfect my approach. I may never get as perfect an opportunity as I was presented last year, but I definitely donít want to face that anguish and disgust ever again that I put myself through with my mishaps a year ago.

If I get tired of nocking arrows I can always take a break and grab the shotgun for some dove hunting. That fun season starts September 1 and if my eyes are not playing tricks on me, there seems to be lots more doves in the region than the last couple of years. The opener falls on a Friday so that means Labor Day weekend should have lots of folks hanging out in the sunflower fields on the Conservation grounds.

If dove arenít challenging enough for you, just wait a few days and try your hand at a speeding teal or two. The early waterfowl season starts September 9th for one of the first ducks to start the southern migration.

I have trouble enough hitting the broad side of the barn, so dove and teal need not worry about me. I still enjoy using them as an excuse to get out on the lake or in the field to enjoy the outdoors.

Okay there are several days filled on the calendar, but Iíve got plenty more to pencil in. I canít totally avoid work, but I can use my job to get some more space filled on my outdoor calendar. The Missouri high school softball season started Monday, so the next month and a half will have some of the stateís best softball action happening right in our backyard. Friday nights will be out beginning September 8th when the Tigers football season kicks off at Salisbury. I look for good things from both SCR-I teams.

What makes all of this scheduling even more difficult is that need to squeeze in some last minute fishing outings and a golf day or two. Both summer passions will have to be put away for the weather pretty soon, but both are excellent fun in the late summer and early fall as the temperatures cool off.

Fishing can be especially productive this time of year, so I expect my tackle box will be in my truck for emergency opportunities. Golf clubs donít take up that much space either, so they can stay for 30 more days or so.

But like I said, I believe my focus is going to be on archery. For no particular reason, my emphasis has been on setting up the field cameras and checking on deer stands. The latter looks like it may take a further toll on my schedule, as several of my top spots need some tender loving care. I need to simply reset my top stand that I started calling the Leaning Tower of Deerza late in the year after the winds pushed it off balance. A couple other stands need some construction and re-assembly and I will have to give up a day for lumberjack services in and around all of these spots that have grown up or blown down many of my shooting lanes.

Fishing or golf would be more fun but I donít plan on wasting my September deer outings trying to balance myself on rickety equipment while peering through the jungle trying to get a peak at the approaching buck. I donít have time on my calendar for that.

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