The October sun melts a touch of frost. Water drips from the asters and goldenrods. Geese honk overhead, heading to a distant cornfield. A squirrel runs amongst the limbs of a tall hickory, searching for a meal. There is a crispness in the morning air. The hillsides are covered with hues of red, orange and gold. That smell is in the air. The smell of autumn.
I can remember the smell from decades past. The aroma of a new box of shotgun shells, Hoppes No. 9 and 3 in 1 oil. The shells had to be Peter’s True Blues, 2 ¾ inch number 5 shot, they probably just smelled better. I would carefully load them into my hunting jacket, always more than were actually needed. A black plastic trash bag was always placed into the game pouch. Yes, we actually sat on the ground. Even when it was wet. Carry along chairs and seat cushions hadn’t been invented.
Saturday has arrived, I am sitting under a huge beech tree in the morning darkness. Nodding off, fighting the effects of a restless, nearly sleepless night I await the mornings light. The shooting starts in the east as sunrise approaches. I can hear a rustling in the leaves behind me. Shortly thereafter, my first bushy tail on the season is placed in my game pouch. Squirrel season has officially opened.
Shotgun fire was heard in the hills around town during the entire month of October. The hills are silent now. The hickory and beech patches we were drawn to in youth are long gone. They have been replaced by impenetrable blackberry thickets. The memories of days spent stalking squirrels will always remain.
October has many things to offer the outdoors person. It is the perfect time for mountain biking, camping and hiking. Hunting seasons are opening and fish are gearing up for a final feeding frenzy, prior to cold water conditions. I caught my two largest smallmouths of 2007 on October 30th. The WVDNR will be stocking selected streams and ponds with trout between Oct. 12 and the 22nd. They usually put in a good number of larger brood trout at this time. They make perfect fillets for the grill. Bass and musky are on the feed at this time. The normally low water conditions make finding fish concentrations a little easier.
Squirrel season opens on October 9. Archery season for bear and deer comes in on the 16th, along with ruffed grouse and raccoon hunting season. Trappers should be finished with preseason preparations and awaiting opening day. The traditional fall turkey hunting counties will be open from Oct. 23 through Nov. 20. Other counties have different season lengths, be sure to check the current WVDNR Regulations Summary or go to http://www.wvdnr.gov/.
Most importantly, a squirrel season will be held for youths no older than fourteen, on October 2nd. Take someone out and start creating new lifetime memories. Get outside and enjoy the early fall days. Don’t get stuck in the I’M A GONNA rut. I’M A GONNAS never happen. Autumn is truly a season of anticipation.
This Article First Appeared In Two-Lane Livin
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