July’s Outdoor Column

Here we are in July and it sure has been hot.  One would never know that we are only a month away from the beginning of the squirrel hunting season. The season starts the first of August in Illinois and August 15th in Indiana.  It just doesn’t seem possible that we are this close to the start of hunting season and, if this hot weather continues, your squirrel might be already cooked before it hits the ground.

There are many theories on how to take a big bass during the heat of summer.

All fish have to feed but the really big bass feed less often especially in this heat. Fish are like people; they like to be comfortable during the hot days.  Just like we seek out air conditioning in the summer, fish seek out cooler water during the summer and that cooler water is in the deeper parts of lakes and ponds.  Fish also seek out water where there is plenty of oxygen as well.

Perfect conditions are not always at the bottom of the lake as the actual bottom may have less oxygen, therefore fish suspend.  Fish suspend in water that offers them the proper amounts of both temperature and oxygen. Trolling often becomes a popular way to fish during the heat of summer.  Trolling allows an angler to find suspended fish. Lures that suspend at certain depths are used for just this purpose.

Many of these suspended fish can be found with a good fish locator.  Even if you find fish at a certain depth this doesn’t mean they will bite! The technique is very important in catching suspended fish.  Sometimes you can just run your lure through a group of suspended fish and catch one right after another.  Other times they won’t even look at your lure unless it is doing something that will make them strike such as momentarily stopping it or jerking it once you get it down to the perfect depth.

Color is also a very important factor in taking suspended fish.  Choose a color that resembles a food source in the lake; shad, perch, bass, and crayfish are just several you have to start with. The heat of summer allows you to experiment with new ideas to take fish during the heat.

There is still a lot of summertime left to fish and the fall fishing around Illinois and Indiana is normally a great time to get out. Your local Big R Store carries all the supplies you need for hunting and fishing as well as many items for preparing your catch or your game.  Stop in your local store to see what all is there to help you this summer and fall.


December’s Outdoor Column

The month of December brings us Christmas and sends many of us scrambling to find the right Christmas present.

If you are buying for that person in your life that spends time in the outdoors, the number of possibilities for a Christmas present are tremendous. The upcoming months are going to be cold so outfitting your outdoor person may revolve around the purchase of something that will keep him or her warm in the outdoors. The obvious present is simple; a pair of gloves, boots, jacket, etc.

I encourage everyone to ask before they buy thus making sure the present is what is needed and, don’t forget, your local Big R Stores will have lots of nice items to make your Christmas shopping easy. December makes up a big part of the waterfowl season which is expected to be about the same as last season. Some duck populations have fared well over the years while others have not done as well.

The mallard, the number one duck in the hunter’s bag in this part of the country, is well known to most Americans. Often called “Green Heads”, the mallard is one of the largest ducks using our flyway. The hen mallard is mottled brown with black markings to allow it to hide from predators. The teal, the smallest ducks which come through our area in early September, is a fast flying bird that gives hunters a great challenge.

Waterfowl hunting is tough hunting and requires a lot of time in the cold. Nasty days are many times the best days as is the case many times with early spring fishing. Inexperienced waterfowl hunters need to spend some time with veteran hunters to learn the ropes as, not only is it a tough and cold hunt, but it can be a dangerous hunt.
Which blinds to use and the proper setting of decoys are just some things a novice needs to learn. Staying warm and dry, training dogs, and o shooting techniques are best learned from experienced hunters.

The dangers of hunting around water include drowning and hypothermia so proper care and calculating each move is more important than similar activities done during the warmer months. Being a survivor rather than a statistic is most important to you and your family, so making foolish moves while around water is something you need to consider before you make them. No animal, deer, duck, goose, fish, etc. is ever worth you not coming home so learn the ropes necessary to stay safe while in the outdoors and don’t stray from them!