February’s can be blah.
The weather’s nasty and a big freeze is on the way. Most of us are sick of snow already and there’s no end in sight.
What happened to that easy winter last year? It only spoiled us, I guess. Grumble, grumble and who doesn’t love to grouse about the weather?
Perfectly natural behavior for the human animal, we’re never totally happy it seems, and most of us aren’t very good at waiting. However, it appears to me that February’s true purpose may be to make us wait, wish, yearn and desire. Perhaps this waiting period, the seemingly never ending poor weather has a purpose, making us truly appreciate spring when it does come; who can say?
However, the calendar doesn’t lie and a quick glance shows that New York trout season is two long months away and, at this moment, two months seem like forever.
Pennsylvania’s trout season opener is a bit of a shocker this year. For the first time in history, the Pa opener is April 3. Did the Earth just move? Has up suddenly changed to down?
Pennsylvania’s opener is always the second Saturday in April, but no longer, I guess. Oh, I’m in favor of that for sure; it’s nice to see something get better instead of worse.
But, what do you do in February besides wait?
Great questions and I have been addressing that very issue.
THE SEARCH for last year’s equipment is always an adventure for me.
Over the fall and winter, the well-stocked trunk of my car with everything needed for trout fishing carefully arranged has been totally upset by hunting season. First, the waders have to go, then the fishing rods, spare socks, bait boxes; net and fishing vest get in the way and are hurriedly hauled inside and dispersed of.
Of course, since they are removed helter-skelter, they never seem to get stored in any sense of order or even in the same room. Things get buried or put in places they really shouldn’t be; most frustrating.
I’ve discovered my bait boxes in the bicycle equipment or on top of the cupboards. My fishing rods are never a problem since they’re hung on a rack for safety, thank goodness. My fishing vest should be hanging in the back room on a hook, but sometimes it isn’t there, usually buried in the summer coats somehow. My net also has its own specific spot, but sometimes it ends up behind the sofa in my room?
Figure that one out.
My waders are large enough of an item they generally can be found with a minimum of digging, and that’s a relief, but they are old and have a tendency to leak a bit from knee level up. This is due to my notorious friend, the dreaded blackberry bush, and its even more nefarious cousin, the totally terrifying multiflora rose with their nasty hooked thorns. The wounds I’ve acquired over the years from those thorns are impressive and sometimes bleed for extended lengths of time. I really need to carry a pair of pruning shears with me to help free myself from their painful clutches.
ANOTHER project I’ve scheduled for March is patterning the new shotgun.
I’m never satisfied until I’ve broken a shoulder, burned up expensive ammunition and purchased two or three different chokes. Some people, I understand, can simply buy a shotgun, a particular brand of special turkey load, screw in a special gobbler choke and go hunting. I’m aghast, but some even have success doing so and never testing a single thing. Very perplexing, such behavior, it’s almost criminal not patterning your shotgun.
But, I love the details and the science, have to pattern, change sights, polish, adjust and fret over every little item. I simply have to know how each shell performs and how every choke patterns. Nothing is for certain in the woods, but if I call a gobbler into a certain range I want to know exactly how my shotgun will perform. I insist there are no questions, and if I squeeze off the shot the turkey will drop.
I also purchased a new box call. Now, I already have several box calls and adding another is more than likely a futile gesture, but I love box calls. You seldom find a box call that’s tuned to its best potential at purchase. The call usually benefits from a coat of sanding sealer. It not only waterproofs the call, but gives it a truer tone. Don’t use a hard, finish coat varnish; it seldom mellows the call. Then the striker needs sanded across its length to rough it up a bit and the lips of the call may need thinned.
The screw holding the striker in place almost always needs adjusted to hit very near the center of the call sides, and it’s a rare call where the striker hits both sides in the sweet spot. You usually have to adjust the curve of one side to make that happen. A box call is a musical instrument and needs some TLC in most cases.
I ALSO purchase several mouth calls as well; one may be better than the other.
Naturally, that new slate may have a better tone than my old way and be easier to use. I’ve managed to lose my Easy Yelper, will have to find another with the same deeper tone. The only problem is my drawers are bulging and can barely slide shut. Hmm, that’s a problem when I need to stuff more into them.
There are several different hand loads setting in my shooting bag. I am getting the .223 zeroed in quite nicely, but still messing with different powder/bullet combinations. When you buy four or five different bullet weights it’s difficult to quickly find the most accurate load for each. Do you know how many different powders there are for each of those bullets? It seems the possibilities are endless, especially if you want half-inch sized groups.
So, I’ve come up with several projects to get me through February and hopefully March, but I still find myself hating this new snow and cold, just waiting and waiting for winter to finally end. Its just human nature, I guess.