ZEKE WILSON: Weather makes it nice
The weather should allow for anything outdoor related to be more pleasant for what looks like the rest of the week.
If not for the obligation of writing this column, Monday night would’ve been a wonderful night to run the coonhounds. With any luck I will be able to get out a couple times later this week and take advantage of the cool nights.
Cherry trees along the field edges are beginning to drop their fruit and appear to have a good crop. A host of wildlife, including raccoons, takes advantage of this food source, on the limb and on the ground. Populations are at their highest for a host of species, and already some grasses are beginning to brown.
• Those with trail cameras are beginning to monitor their woodlots in hopes of capturing information on what bucks are using the area. These cameras also allow the chance of photographing a host of other wildlife.
Much as they can do with bird feeders, bears have little trouble destroying a camera when the urge strikes them. I have not seen a bear yet this year, and with the breeding season coming to a close, it will now most likely happen around food.
• The groundhogs are beginning to feed more regularly as they compete to see who can be the fattest hog. Before school and sports start up again, getting the young hunters out to shoot some woodchucks would insure that the gun is zeroed in for the upcoming big-game seasons.
With the amount of moisture of late, the cut fields are quickly beginning to hide the hogs again. For many pursuits, woodchuck hunting is a get-it-while-it’s-good affair.
Despite the price of ammunition, groundhog hunting is still a low-budget hunt that can at times have the hunter with multiple targets in sight.
• Farm pond fishing is another popular activity that is getting better as the nights grow longer. Tossing a night crawler underneath a bobber into the middle of a small pond is often going to result in almost immediate action, making it great for kids.
When targeting bluegills, wax worms or maggots on a size 12 or 10 wet fly hook suspended with a split shot should allow for them wanting to bite and not let go.
A host of artificial baits are also available that can be waiting in the tackle box when a chance to fish arises.
Finding good bait on short notice at this time of year can be tough, as most offerings have slowly dwindled. The gas station night crawlers should be opened and checked prior to purchase because often they will be quickly closed and put back. Nothing is worse than getting to the fishing hole only to discover bad bait.
A cooler and ice will be needed to keep bait lively, with some anglers choosing to combine bait and beverage into one cooler.
• The opportunity for hunter education courses prior to hunting season are beginning to wind down. Waiting much later is almost certain to result in the heartache of having to travel.