Dec 2020 News/Columns

The Great Outdoors, by Larry Whiteley

The Great Outdoors

DECEMBER DAYS

 I like to take a few of my December days and get back out in the deer woods while other hunters are home by the fireplace. I’ve usually had a successful season by then so I’m out there because I want to be. Harvesting another deer is not important but if I do it’s a bonus.

Some December days you will also find me out on a local crappie lake in my warm deer hunting clothing. I usually have the lake all to myself except for maybe a heron or an otter out fishing too. The crappie will still bite but if they don’t, I really don’t care. It is the quiet I am after. It’s hard to think about pandemics and politics out there on the water.

Other December days you might find me sitting around a campfire watching the hypnotic flames as I warm my bones and recall great memories I have made with my kids and grandkids. I also think about how good grilled venison tenderloin and fried crappie fillets would be for Christmas dinner. There’s plenty of other things to do outdoors so go enjoy your December days.

AN ALMOST TRUE STORY

 The other day I am in a tree stand when a squirrel comes down the tree next to me barking and fussing. He suddenly jumps and lands on the tree my stand is in. It had huge fangs and claws! I screamed and would swear the squirrel did too and then it ran away. I turned to see a huge 10-point buck laughing at me and then he ran away too. I hate squirrels!

FUELING UP

 Your body burns more calories in cold weather so you need to eat more. About 4,500 to 5,000 calories per day will keep you fueled for strenuous outdoor activities. This is no time to diet. Carbohydrates and fats are good sources of energy. Carry fruit, candy, nuts, and cereals for snacks when out enjoying the great outdoors.

ESCAPE THE HOLIDAYS

 In a world of commercialism, the real “reason for the season” is sometimes lost in an onslaught of Christmas sales. This year shopping is either in stores with social distancing and masks or shopping online. Escape the holiday’s. Escape commercials, computers and smart phones. Escape for just a little while and get out in our great outdoors.

The sun rising over the water or an eagle flying in a bright blue sky is better than any TV show. The sounds of geese flying overhead or a loon’s haunting sound will be music to your ears.

Under hard ice or flowing water fish can still be caught. In most places deer and duck seasons are still going. Hiking trails and campsites await you. The outdoors is a natural stress reliever. We all need that after the year we have been through.

Christmas is about gifts and that all started when wise men brought them to a baby in a manger. Gifts don’t all have to be stuff the retail world says everybody wants for Christmas. You can give that same gift to a child, grandchild, or friend that someone gave to you long ago – the gift of the great outdoors.

 

IT WAS THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS

by Larry Whiteley

It was the day before Christmas as I snuck through the house
grabbing my fishing stuff as quiet as a mouse.

My fishing buddy was waiting as I closed the door with care
we were excited about the good time we would share.

While everyone was nestled all snug in their beds
visions of big fish danced in our heads.

We got to the lake as the sun started to rise
unloaded the boat and stared at the sky.

What a great day to catch a big mess of fish
the good Lord had granted me my Christmas wish.

Away from the dock we flew like a flash
we were all in a hurry to hook a big bass.

We tied to a tree and started to rig
trying to decide on spinners or jig and pig.

When what to our eyes should appear
but a bass boat pulled by eight reindeer.

With a little old driver so lively and quick
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

As we set there staring, he made a great cast
then let it settle and reeled it back fast.

When out of the deep the monster did come
swallowed the hook and started to run.

But the jolly old man had done this before
and he fought that fish until it couldn’t run any more.

He won the battle and let out a big Ho Ho Ho
then released the fish and told it to go.

He then turned to us and said, “Times wasting
I would like to stay but I really must start hastening.”

I heard him exclaim as he left on his mission
“Merry Christmas to all and good luck fishin’.”

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