In an ideal world I would have the ability to pick the perfect day and time to go do either. In the real world, that don't happen.
In the real world five days of my week are eaten up trying to eke out a living. 12 or more hours on any given day are dedicated to this endeavor. Think about it. That doesn't leave me, anyone, any real time to go do anything during a work week.
That leaves the weekend, even if your weekend falls in the middle of the week. Hard to plan around that, really. You have the weekend. You pick the day or both and you go hunting or fishing or both. Conditions be damned, the time is there and must be used.
September is technically still summer. The end of it for certain, but summer it is. September 1st opened a number of hunting opportunities. Squirrel has been going for a month, but resident goose, teal and dove all opened on September 1st. If there were still more hunting opportunities that started that day, I can't think of them off hand.
This year, I'm not sure a September 1st start was a good thing. I have no doubt there are hunters that arrange vacation days around that date. And here it was, over 90 degrees. Hardly seems like the type of weather to be out hunting.
In the past I had the luxury of going out when I wanted, a flexible schedule. I've sat out in the open on the edge of a field scanning the skies for dove.
It was warm, but not hotter than hell like this year. I have no doubt hunters got their limit, but what a price to pay. I wonder how many were ill prepared for the heat, not enough liquids, not enough shade.
This year I could have got out to a field at the end of the day, sitting and waiting. Instead I opted to go stand waist deep in the Fox River, a much cooler option. According to my notes, I did alright.
Two hours on the river tonight, 11 caught and 15 missed. Lots of geese returned to the river. Of course, after shooting time and of course, no where near the blind.
I think I made the better choice. The fish are putting on the feedbag in preparation for colder months and eating voraciously. I was much cooler for standing in the water.
I mention the geese. I've sat in blinds in the past this time of year, waiting. And waiting some more.
I've sat in the blind pictured above, sunrise to sunset. During the middle of the day when nothing was moving, I explored the island and found a collapsed house, the bits and pieces of an abandoned pickup truck and deer tracks everywhere. But no geese or teal either. I guess it was a productive day, I like finding things.
This year on the third day of open season for resident geese and teal, I fished out in front of this blind and caught a couple of fish.
When the first round of lightning and rain passed overhead, I took shelter in the blind. I guess it still serves a purpose.
On the fourth day of open season for resident geese and teal I was further down stream. Another blind further down.
This is where all the geese and teal come. Usually within minutes of the end of shooting time. If it's still shooting time, then out of range. Thirty to fifty geese have been returning to the river every night, the chances of getting one are slim to none.
Off to the right of this blind is a channel. On this fourth day of the hunting season I opted to fish that channel at sunset. I watched the geese coming in after shooting time, lazily circling over head in the fading light. And in that last light of day I caught a dozen smallmouth bass out of that channel.
A couple of hours earlier I had to hop up on shore. I stay hydrated, I'm getting old, what goes in has to come out. Up on shore are dense woods; black walnut, oaks and a variety of maples. Perfect food sources for squirrels. Even on this cooler day, standing on the edge of the woods, the mosquitoes were out for blood in hordes.
You look at the picture below and you tell me, where's the squirrel?
Yes, I could hear it. No, you couldn't get me in there to go looking. The sound of buzzing mosquitoes was louder than the bark of the squirrel.
If we're lucky the weather we've been having so far will last for the month of September. If we're real lucky, into November. I recall a Thanksgiving weekend from years ago, standing in the river fishing with just a sweatshirt on.
For now, I'm going to stick with the fishing. The weather has been cooperative and so has the fish. By the time the river starts to shut down, hopefully late in October, waterfowl season will start. Come November the seasons will start for rabbit and pheasant, I like rabbit and pheasant.
I won't be able to plan my hunting days much then, that working thing will get in the way. When the weekends come, I'll go somewhere. I'll just have to make the best of whatever is thrown at me.