Outdoor trails: there is no shortage of fall outdoor activities

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Lots of color is showing now, especially in low places and on hillsides. Usually we have leaf fall just before Thanksgiving. This time of year is full of intensity for many. The last of the open water fishing trips should be done soon, before the cold weather makes the boat trip unpleasant. Campers can still squeak on occasional camping trips before the ground gets too cold and mostly wet in the fall.

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Hunters can once again practice their sports as now not only is bear season open, but most small game seasons are underway in many of our Wildlife Management Units. The two major big game hunting seasons will soon be approaching: moose and deer. Last-minute scouting expeditions should be done now, especially for moose season, just a few weeks away.

All firearms should be checked for summer rust due to ambient humidity, and this goes for the inner bore as well. I use Hope’s 99 for all interior aspects of my rifles and shotguns. You should never use oil inside the barrels of high-powered shotguns.

Of course, as hunters, we need to get as proficient with our firearms as possible, which will mean a few trips to a local sandbox or range. If you go to a remote sandbox, be aware that you must wear hunter orange, even to see into your gun.

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Soon the cooler fall weather will encourage wildlife to move around more than they do in the hot summer, which means driving with extra caution during dusk and dawn periods . A deer or moose on the side of the road, especially at dusk, is really unpredictable, so be careful and vigilant – they may just run away and jump right in front of you, especially if blinded by your headlights.

Fall fishing can be productive and fun, but usually before Thanksgiving many species have already headed to deeper, warmer waters, so the sooner you get there, the better. The lake trout and speckled trout fishing seasons are closed with a few exceptions, which can be found in the fishing regulations. However, walleye, pike, perch, muskellunge and smallmouth seasons are still open and there are still very viable fishing opportunities.

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When it comes to fishing, now is a good time to get your ice shacks out and inspect any needed repairs before the cold season is really upon us – maybe a drop in paint or a reinforced door – and be careful. , as hornets and wasps can make homes inside huts during the warmer months.

If you are a waterfowler, goose and duck seasons are now open. If you have a favorite marsh for waterfowl, create a stretch of open water where you want the birds to land, as they will settle in open water without as much hesitation. I use an old hand scythe, which I bought cheaply at a garage sale years ago. Run the sharp blade just below the surface and remove weed mats. You can even make mounds of this material for ducks to roost at night. If you find a swampy area with an overhanging oak tree, it can be a superb spot as the acorns fall into the water and the ducks gobble them up with relish.

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If you are slaughtering birds while it is still warm enough, it is best to gut them immediately and remove some of the feathers from the breast, so the meat doesn’t spoil, then put them on ice as soon as possible .

If you’re using a retriever for your duck shooting, be sure to keep your dog on a leash when entering said duck swamp – and watch out for bears, who also hang around near swamps and swamps while fattening on the seeds. of bulrush. You probably don’t want your dog to face a bear, because even a hit could seriously injure or even kill your canine companion.

I see more grouse this year than in the last few years, but very few rabbits. What do you see on your outdoor travels? Can I be more helpful? Email me as I love chatting with like-minded outdoor people!.

John Vance’s Outdoor Trails column runs bi-weekly. Contact him at [email protected].


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