My goal for this year is to experience what North Carolina has to offer the outdoorsman. This wonderful state has a unique geographical landscape that offers plenty of different and exciting opportunities and challenges that many of us never knew was right in our own backyard.
For the coming year, here is what you will be able to expect from this column.
I separated the wildlife into twelve categories, of which I will give due diligence to both participate in and report on over the year. They are whitetail deer, black bear, wild turkey, small game, invasive game, upland game, waterfowl, freshwater fishing, bass fishing, trout fishing, inshore fishing, and offshore fishing. There are not many states that can boast such a large diversity when you break it down this way.
I also want to witness the glory of each of the seventeen river basins located in North Carolina. As much as I would like to hit all seventeen this year, I realize there are just not enough weekends in a year to do it all.
Last week I mentioned I wanted to spend time with my family and help nurture their passions as well. Luckily, I have found a way to intertwine these goals to allow them to be met.
For instance, in late March, my oldest son Turner and I will head down the venerable Neuse River during the height of the annual striped bass migration. It is not uncommon to bring in over 50 fish in one day with triple digit catches possible. Memories-check. Neuse River basin-check. Bass fishing-check.
The opening weekend of youth turkey season will see my daughter Julianne and I head out for her first turkey hunt. Just the two of us, a blind, a few decoys, and my expert calling skills. Ok, adequate calling skills. We will be warming up her bow over the next couple of months as she wants to go after the wiley gobbler with archery equipment, which could not make me happier. Memories-check. Turkey hunting-check.
In June, my youngest son Cooper and I are scheduled to hit the waters for bream and crappie. The old lake where I learned to fish holds some secrets that I hope are still intact some 25 years later. A few little spots around the dam, a couple of clusters of trees out in the open water, and a hidden growth of lily pads down a little known tributary could hold the secrets to some monster sunfish and largemouth and I intend on sharing that knowledge with him. Memories-check. Tar River basin-check. Freshwater fishing-check.
During the summer I will also be taking my wife Susan on an adventure she has never encountered. We will pack up some supplies and head down the Cashie River for an overnight trip. We will stay on the river in one of the many camping platforms built by the Roanoke River Partners. The platforms are located on the water and you paddle right up to it. We will pitch the tent and watch and listen to the wildlife. If we are lucky, we may spot creatures ranging from raccoons to black bears. It is not often I can get Susan to agree to do something like this, so when I do, it gets scheduled! Memories-check. Roanoke River basin-check.
Speaking of black bears, I will hit the Pisgah area once again and hunt them under the shadows of the great Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. I may even run a spot and stalk on a whitetail while there during the archery season. Memories-check. Black bear-check. Whitetail deer-check.
Of course during all of this I will do the usual such as dove hunting, pier fishing, and swatting off mosquitoes. It is what we do as outdoorsmen. It is what we do as lovers of nature and her inhabitants.
Along the way we will discuss things important to us as far as regulations, safety, tips (take my advice for what it is worth) and issues that present themselves. But none of these things are more important than the sharing of one little bit of heaven that God has given us here on Earth. Whether you are sharing it with family and friends, or it is just you and God’s presence, this is the most important.
You can find my goals for 2013 listed here.
What are your goals?