Into The Outdoors 3/25/14 Issue

Well, folks, the moment so many of us have been eagerly awaiting has finally  come.  It’s Spring!!!
The signs are getting more and more numerous with each passing day.  Recently, I reported seeing a turkey vulture.  Now, they are all over the place.  Today, as this is being written, my son told me that he saw a live groundhog.  I’ve seen dead ones, so they must be out.  As far as chipmunks go, I just don’t know.  The only place where I have really looked for them is our backyard, and I think that our cats have hunted them to extinction there.  Recently, I was talking to a friend at a Young at Hearts meeting, and the damage she related to her bird feeders can only be the work of a bear.  It looks as though we have made it through another winter, brutal though it was.
For me, at least, the arrival of vernal equinox means that some good fishing is just around the corner.  The only trouble is that a couple of my favorite species are out of season.  The regular trout season, which is the only one I know anything about, does not commence until April twelfth.  Walleye went out on March fourteenth, and doesn’t come back in until May third.  Bass goes out on April thirteenth, and doesn’t come back until June thirteenth.  Of course, suckers are in all of the time, and this is important now that the river ice has gone out.  Old Bub and I are really getting the fever for trout.  He has a worse case than I do, as he is better at trout fishing than I am, or than most people I know are.  The last trout fisherman I knew with his abilities was a guy named Babe Hillwig, who has been gone for many, many years.
Of course, before you can enjoy the great fishing that our state has to offer, you must have a license.  Remember, your old one ran out on January first, unless you are a geezer like me, with a permanent license.  I never have to buy another one.  If you turn sixty-five during the current license year, you qualify, and it is an investment well worth the money.
There is also a geezer hunting license, which is also a great value.  Once again, you must turn sixty-five in the current license year.  You also still have to pay for doe licenses each year.  The Game Commission recently announced that they plan no changes in the ridiculous antler restrictions.  All adults and seniors must abide by the regulations, although juniors are exempt.  This brings me to another point.  If juniors can shoot any buck, why not seniors, who have paid for licenses for many years?  I am not saying this because I am a senior.  At sixty-six, I have been blessed with pretty good health,  but, what about, let’s say, a senior who is eighty, and would like to bag one more buck in his or here life? Let’s face it;  they are not in as good shape as a thirteen year old.  Fair is fair, and the Game Commission seems to have lost sight of that concept.  Why not say that seniors beyond the age of seventy-five are exempt from antler restrictions?
As has become my custom, I’d like to close the first spring column with one of my favorite poems, by the great American poet Robert Frost.
THE PASTURE
I’m going out to clean the pasture spring:
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I shan’t be gone long.—You come too.
I’m going out to fetch the little calf
That’s standing by the mother.  It’s so young
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I shan’t be gone long.—You come too.

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