The weather is making a change to the cooler side, which causes some sportsmen to ask the question, “Do I fish or hunt?”
They hate to give up fishing; this is the time the fish feed up for the long cold winter months ahead, and the big ones are hungry. This could be their best chance to catch that elusive lunker they looked for all year. But it’s also time for archery season and most have their guns sighted in for the big game season.
Game should be plentiful; I know from first hand experiences. The deer have been feeding up on our flowers, apple trees, apples, and shrubbery throughout the year. We had to retire the bird feeders after the bears claimed three of them and hauled them off into the woods. The squirrels beat us to the hickory nuts and walnuts. So we know they are all well fed and ready for the table.
When the weather turns so cold, requiring multi-layering of high tech clothing, gloves, heated socks, and face masks, I have second thoughts about being out there running down the lake to that hot spot. When ice forms in the line guides on the fishing rod, the docks have a thin sheet of ice on them, and the water is starting to get hard, I know it’s time for me to hang it up. For others it’s time to compete in the “Iron Man” tournaments, and they will be out there until they can’t get their boats in the water. Some will take advantage of both by hunting in the morning and fishing in the afternoon.
Years ago I hunted and looked forward to the hunt. But, after a few bad experiences in the field, I didn’t continue to hunt. I value my life.
One time, while deer hunting in an area near Galeton, I was positioned at the edge of the woods overlooking a large field. A deer came through the trees headed to the field. I had a clear shot and took it; the deer faltered and entered the field. I heard a barrage of gunfire as I approached the fallen deer. From three orange jackets, in a broken-down foundation and with guns aimed at me, I was warned, “Don’t go near our deer. We’ll shoot!” It was a no-brainer: they were nuts. I hightailed it out of there.
Another time, while sitting on watch near Antrim, the bullets rattled through the trees just above my head. I hit the ground, yelled out, laid low for a while, and then got out of there.
After these experiences I figured that getting hit in the head with spinner bait, sitting on a lure, running a hook in the finger, or falling into the lake is not as final as a bullet in the head, or getting shot by some nuts that would do anything for a deer.
I’ll spend the cold time getting ready for the next warm period. Although, it would be nice to be out there: if the areas I’ve hunted weren’t posted or had a new house on them—and the nuts stayed home.