Friday, April 17, 2020

Social distancing.

Just three weeks ago, I headed to a lake that I do well with when targeting crappie. I thought to myself, and explained to my wife before my departure, that one, it was a week day, and secondly, it was supposed to rain, so therefore the pressure would likely be light in regards to other people even being at the lake.

I was wrong. Every parking spot at the ramp was in use. Every single one. And this wasn’t some small launch area; three full sized ramps and parking for roughly 120 trucks with trailers are there for use. If it wasn’t for one spot that was reduced in size due to some fallen tree material that still allowed me to pull in and out of the way, as well as two kayak/canoe ramps separate from the main three boat ramps, I would not have been able to hit the water from there.

Confinement and closures of businesses meant people were looking other opportunities to keep their sanity it seemed.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission recently revealed guidelines regarding outdoors activities in relation to the governor’s executive order on the stay-at-home proclamation. And it is a change to how things usually are, as everything about the COVID-19 fight has been.

While individual activities and seasons have not been banned or closed, social distancing and immediate household members remain the only permissible opportunities to do things with others. At every NCWRC run boat launch area, signs have been placed explaining what you can do and cannot do, for instance.

No tethering boats together. No gathering of people outside the immediate household. Extra avoidance procedures when using the boat launches. I mean, it is simple to understand what you have to do as it is the same in all other life activities of the moment.

The annual coastal river reports detailing creels from wildlife biologists and agents from our four main river flows in regards to American and hickory shad and striped bass, was suspended on March 26. This is when the information gets really handy in detailing how far up the rivers each species have spawned.

Hatchery supported trout waters opened April 4th, but warned some stockings may be delayed or suspended at various times. Warnings were also issued that all things may come to a halt if people do not adhere to the proclamation from the governor regarding social distancing.

Turkey season begins, and youth-only season began a week prior, but no hunting with someone outside of the household is in effect. No, grandpa won’t be able to call in a gobbler for his little outdoorsy granddaughter unless they live in the same house.

And again, deviation from these rules come with a warning that these activities can and will be suspended not just for those that don’t follow the rules, but for everyone, if enforcement becomes an issue and great task.

Such is the time we are in.  Our actions will dictate our freedoms, even if those freedoms are not quite the freedoms we used to enjoy and take for granted.

As for turkey season, I personally shouldn’t need to worry though. If you have ever read one of my past early to mid-April columns you will know that turkey know how to socially distant themselves from me whenever I go to a turkey blind on a hunt.

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