George Little: Best time of the year is here

September 28, 2013 at 03:30 PM

That great American philosopher Charlie Brown observed that “Summers fly and winters walk.”

It seems summer just started and now it’s over. There’s less daylight every day. The heat of the day gives way to cool evenings. It’s the season of Friday night lights, fall colors, fleece pullovers and “I thought I my flashlight was right there with the rest of my stuff.”

Early mornings and evenings are prime times for taking long walks in new hunting boots, or old ones that we haven’t laced up since February. Blisters are no fun anytime, but they will take the fun out of the first day afield.

If your hunting dog has spent the summer in the kennel, or in front of the air conditioning vent snacking on Cheetos, it’s time to rock his world. Take him walking with you. Toughen up his feet. Start building up his endurance before you want him to hunt all day. Start now. Neither one of you is going to get there all at once.

Summer’s over, but for hunters, the season of opportunity has begun. Waterfowlers and dove hunters have been at it since Sept. 1, and squirrel hunters a month before that. Archery deer season begins next week. The upland game season is just a short step away. There are still dove hunting opportunities.

Changing your approach may yield some results. Walk the dove fields. Flush the birds that are on the ground. You’re not going to limit out in an hour, but it’s good practice for upland birds. It’s no harder than trying to catch up to an opening day dove that you’ve already missed twice.

No matter if it’s hot, cold, windy or raining frogs, dedicated deer hunters will climb up in their stands when bow season opens Oct. 1. By now, deer stands are secured. Shooting lanes have been cleared, and trail cameras are teasing us with nighttime pictures of recluse bucks.

If there isn’t a safety harness in each of your stands, take one with you on day one. It might get you safely to day two. Don’t forget the bug spray. Ticks and mosquitoes will be active until the first hard freeze.

This year, early season bow hunters will find that standing crops may change deer patterns. The fringe areas may be narrower. Hunters may want to consider hunting from ground blinds set deeper into the timbers.

There will be “frost on the punkin” before we know it. After that, winter will begin its slow shuffle toward spring. Right now is a great time to build a fire on a cool evening, roast a hotdog on a forked stick and enjoy a s’more or two for dessert.

Whether you’re a hunter, hiker, fisherman, photographer, cyclist or enjoy sipping a cup of cider under a harvest moon, it doesn’t get any better than this. Summer is over. Fall is here.
Don’t let it slip away. It’s the best time of year to be outside.

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