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Take advantage of the Dog Days

August 14, 2011 at 07:58 AM

The State Journal-Register

The “dog days” of summer get their name from the ancient belief that Sirius, the Dog Star, was closest to the sun in the high heat of summer, and was therefore responsible for causing hot weather.

Whether Sirius is to blame, the dog days of summer are here.

Everything seems to slow down a little in August. Many crops are done growing and are starting to dry down. The weeds aren’t growing quite as fast. The squirrels are cutting hickory nuts early in the morning, then taking the rest of the day off. My yard is a pleasant shade of tan. It would be a bonus if it stayed that way until spring.

The lethargy of the dog days will soon give way to September, and then it’s just a short trip to the deer and upland hunting seasons. This is a good time to get ahead of the preparation curve and be ready to go when the bell rings.

Check your gun and bow cases. If they need new zippers or complete replacement, get it done now.

Waterproof all your boots. Check your waders and overshoes to see if they need patching.

Get all the buttons sewn back on your hunting coat. While you’re at it, take last year’s granola bars out of the pockets, and put a copy of your hunting license in one. Hang your hunting clothes outside on breezy days. Those who share a truck cab with you in November will appreciate it.

Learn to use your GPS.

Put new batteries in your dog collars and make sure the collars still work.

The air conditioning is a great place to reload ammunition, sharpen broad heads and knives, clean fishing tackle, inventory your equipment and put it in all in one place. Spend some time in air-conditioned comfort reading up on “new” deer hunting strategies. Don’t be too surprised when some hot new tactic is one an old hunter told you about back when you had more enthusiasm than experience and needed all the help you could get.

Some upland hunters who release pen-raised game birds into the wild experience greater survival rates with birds released in mid- to late August. Insects provide a steady food supply. There is less pressure from predators. Coyotes and feral cats don’t move as far or as fast when Mother Nature cranks up the thermostat. Hawks are still riding the thermals.

It’s best to release birds where there is some overhead protection such as in a cornfield, or under a hedgerow that’s close to water.

Those who think August is the most boring month of the year have forgotten about February.

There are no holidays in August, but there a few days of note, including National Mustard Day and National Vinyl Record Day.

You can take advantage of National Mail Order Catalog Day to shop for Christmas early and hunt stress-free in December.

Contact George Little at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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