Winter doldrums? Not really

Jan. 26, 2013 @ 06:50 PM

 

This is the time of year I used to dread. Deer season is over. Duck season is over. The coastal water is too warm for stripers in the surf and too cold for red drum. It’s a bit too cold to get folks to shoot clays or rifles, or pistols for that matter. It is the winter doldrums.

I could sit here and write how this is a great time to clean out your tacklebox or wipe down the guns and reload some ammunition. You could work on the boat (I certainly need to) or paint your decoys. Of course, you could also get out there and have some fun. This week, I got a call from a friend asking about fishing opportunities. My friend didn’t mind traveling so I suggested Florida. Some of the best redfish trips I’ve ever had happened in Florida this very time of year.
A few years back, Billy Lagle and I attended SHOT Show in Orlando. I knew the area and booked our hotel in Titusville, about 45 minutes away. I did this partially because I hate big towns but also because I love the Mosquito Lagoon. I called an old friend, Tom Van Horn, and we spent a morning after the show chasing schooling reds in two feet of gin clear water. I don’t remember how many fish we caught but it was good. I heard from Tom this week and he’s catching crappie, shad, and bass in the dark lakes around Orlando and I know the reds have to be out there in the Lagoon as well. There’s you something to do. Tell the wife you’re taking her to Disney World and sneak off to fish one day.
Of course, the game preserve season is still in full swing and Larry and I have been chasing Chukars and Pheasants all over Beaver Pond. Just 45 minutes from High Point, Beaver Pond has 300 acres for them to hide in and Larry is all about hide and seek. On a recent hunt for chukars, we covered the tower field and had a great time with friends, Matt and David Miller. I think Larry found all the birds in the field, though Matt and David didn’t share his average. Larry had more fun than any of us.
Game preserves are a great hunting opportunity for new and less experienced hunters and the best way to train a dog I know of. Whether you hunt quail over pointers or chukars and pheasants over a flushing dog, game preserves offer controlled hunting conditions that allow you to fine tune your dog that will take three times as long with wild birds, provided you can find wild birds at all.
Saturday will be the fourth appreciation event for veterans held at Beaver Pond Sporting Club and I’ve been working on making this a great  one. Thanks to donations from MANA Crop Protection and the High Point Area Builders Association along with other corporate and individual donations, Beaver Pond will be hosting up to 60 veterans at the MANA  2013 Enduring Gratitude event. There will be clay target shooting, rifle and pistol games, fishing, and a tower shoot for all the veterans along with a pig picking lunch.
These guys have put their lives on the line for us and the mission of Enduring Gratitude is to provide them with a memorable outdoor experience as an expression of our gratitude for their service. We are almost full for this event but if you know a combat veteran who loves the outdoors, please let him know that Enduring Gratitude wants to thank him for his service. We’d also love for you to get involved as well. We have all the volunteers we need for this event but we have more planned later in the year.
Donations are appreciated, sponsoring a soldier costs $300 and Enduring Gratitude has no paid employees. Enduring Gratitude received 501C3 non profit status this year which means donations are tax deductible. We have guides, outfitters, and charter captains who offer us trips at their cost to do their part but it still takes money to make this happen. We still need a few volunteers to get ready; a little time doing something for a veteran would be a good way to spend a winter day.
Today is Sunday and the Greensboro Gun Show is running. It’s the biggest gun show in North Carolina and Friday I was there to scout around. With the recent political uproar about changing gun laws, some guns and ammunition have been scarce. I wandered around a bit and saw several of the hard to find guns and all the hard to find calibers of ammunition were there in big quantities. With the bad weather yesterday, spending a little time at a gunshow might be a great way to spend a Sunday Afternoon.
Of course, you can clean out the tacklebox or clean the guns, or just sit by the fire if you like. Me? I’m going to be out there. You can’t run with the big dogs if you stay on the porch. There’s a lot to do and I’m busy as a three legged cat in a sandbox.
Dick and Cherie Jones are outdoor writers living in High Point. They do public speaking for clubs and organizations, host outdoor events, are NRA Shooting Instructors, own Lewis Creek Shooting School and help church and youth groups raise money with outdoor events. You can visit their website at offtheporchmedia.com and contact them at offtheporch52@yahoo.com