April 1, 2010

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Spring hasnít quite sprung, but Iíve had all the winter I can stand, I canít stand no more. I realize March 21st has come and gone, when is Mother Nature going to check her calendar?

I was forced to ignore the below normal temperatures and a fairly pesky wind on Saturday to spend the day outdoors.

If I didnít brave the conditions and get outside I was afraid there simply would be no sheds left for me to find. The wife and daughter had hit the woods the previous weekend when I was tied up working, bringing home a pretty nice haul.

Iím not sure I was invited this weekend, but I crashed the party hoping to avoid being skunked in 2010.

Early on it reminded me a lot of my last few bird hunts, lots of walking followed by the sickening realization that your about 99 miles away from the vehicle and plumb exhausted. Okay, so it was more like .99 miles for this fat boy, but I finally was convinced to turn around and head back to the mule parked on the pond dam.

I didnít mind being empty handed because I had had stashed a fishing pole and a couple lures in the bed of the ATV.

I got in a couple dozen casts and even landed my first fish of 2010. Unfortunately it was the last of the day, as the nice-sized bass destroyed my spinnerbait, breaking the binder that holds the rubber skirting in place, sending all of the colorful material blowing away as I released the fish.

I wasnít too worried, I had another spinnerbait in the ATV. Wait, it was gone. Not the bait, but the ATV. My wife had returned, and not seeing me and decided to do a little motorized reconnaissance of the CRP in search of the elusive dropped antlers.

Well I tried casting my bald bait for a bit, to no avail, and finally gave up on her return, reluctantly hoofing it back to the house.

With impeccable timing, the ATV arrived nearly simultaneously with me at the farm, and I was whisked away to the backside of the farm for more searching.

A few more hours of hoofing it around the paths of the farmís deer herds finally found on me on the path of one ancient deer antler that might more accurately be described as a fossil. Iím guessing this horn had evaded searchers for more than couple years based on its condition.

At least I wasnít skunked, and besides I had my fishing pole in the ATV. Remarkable, once again when I returned to our staging area, my ride was missing. Without any flares or On Star roadside service, I reluctantly wandered toward what I thought was the distant rumbling of the motor.

On several occasions I crested a hill, seeing what I thought was my approaching rescue vehicle, only to have the mirage dissipate into another hill to conquer.

Finally when the ATV did materialize near me, I simply halted what little progress I was still making and flagged down the extrication ambulance. I thought about crumbling to the ground for a short nap while waiting, but was unsure if I would have the energy to get back up again.

Lucky for me I did have enough gas left to do a quick scan of the grass around my landing zone, and believe it or not, uncover a pretty decent antler just a dozen steps or so to my right.

The find was sufficient to energize me enough to consider going after fish number two of 2010 when I was finally reunited with my long-lost gear. That dream was short lived as I noticed my two-piece rod sitting in the back of the ATV was now a three-piece rig, courtesy of some untimely collision with a passing piece of shrubbery. I gave up.

Oh well, I may be able to focus solely on angling in upcoming outings as the girls went back out Sunday and made a better horn haul. Me, I was in bed in tractionÖ not sure who came away from the outing in worse shape, my fishing rod or me.

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