There is nothing like a sixty-degree day in February. It is hard to believe we have already had a couple of them, and it is looking like the end of February will have fifty-degree temperatures all week. Of course, that is actually believing the weather forecast a week out but hey I like the sound of it so let’s keep our fingers crossed.
I started off last month hoping that the ice would stay around long enough for me to get a couple of days of ice fishing in. Not sure what the deal is this year, but I want to get some fishing in very soon. Unfortunately, about the time I was prepared to get some fishing in the sixty-degree days show up along with some rain so there was no way my big ole butt was getting on the ice. I might just have to crack the seal on the boat a little early this year if the temperatures hold.
One exciting thing that has transpired over the last couple of weeks is Adventure Sports Outdoors Magazine TV Show. After Harry’s passing the show was in limbo for a few months and then his son Billy took over the everyday operations of the show. For some reason Billy didn’t want me involved so I stepped back and let him do his thing. After receiving many phone calls from the Canterbury Family and friends I decided to try and get control of the tv show. The show had veered off path from what the show is meant to do. Harry and I discussed many times the whole purpose of this show was to provide our local outdoorsmen with a show for the Midwest. Yes, there were shows filmed all across the world, but the main concentration was to provide our locals with a show of their own that they can relate to. After all our saying is we are “The Voice of the American Sportsman”. So, after some negotiations I have been able to purchase the tv show and now the magazine and tv are back in one place. I plan to work with many of the same people as Harry to help continue his legacy.
Harry loved veterans and always strived to help them in any way possible. He would sit down with many war heroes so they could share their story and it would provide their family with a very special keepsake. We plan to continue supporting our veterans and hopefully we can get some veterans out fishing and hunting with us. I look forward to this opportunity and I hope to provide you with a great show. This month the show will air on Saturday March 30th on WTVP, PBS 47 at 5:30 pm. This will be our second show. This will be out of the Peoria market, and we hope to expand soon across the State of Illinois so all of our readers can watch our show. Don’t forget it will be on our youtube channel as well at YouTube.com/ASO Magazine. This show will be a monthly show and is usually the last Saturday of the month so set your DVR’s, so you don’t miss an episode. Hopefully we can have some fun together.
My new lab Lucy is now five months old so for the last few months we have been working on the basics, sit, stay and lay down. We have also started some leash training and so far, so good. This is the first time I haven’t picked the runt and boy, is she a dominant female. She seems to run our house already and my old girl cocoa doesn’t seem to mind. She does beat the heck out of our pug Vinny, but it is nice to have a new chocolate in the house. This will be the first dog I send off for training. In the past I tried to train my dogs and it has worked out, but hasn’t produced the best minding dog. Cocoa has the drive like no other dog, but the gun goes click and she sees a bird falling good luck slowing her down. She was never good on a whistle or hand commands, so this time I want a finished dog. I will be taking her to Locked Up Gun Dogs near Canton, IL for three months July-September. She will be joined by her brother Duke who my buddy Tim has. I knew if we were going to have two good duck dogs be around each other they are going to need better training than I provide. Not sure how I or the family will handle her being gone, but I know it will be best for all of us in the end. She will leave training the last week of September, and will immediately head to North Dakota for her first week of hunting. By the end of her first week, she should have 50-75 retrieves under her belt. It should be a great way to start a duck dog. This has me as pumped for North Dakota as ever.
Now is the time to start hitting the woods for sheds. On one of our warm days in February I decided I needed to get out of the house and head down to the farm to see how things were. Of course, upon arriving I saw tire tracks going back into our property and in the back area I saw a bunch of footprints. I will never understand why people have to come onto property that is not theirs. We have had this problem for years. Since I now have some ownership, it is time to put some gates and fencing up to try and keep people out. I assume that will work but we will see.
After getting mad at trespassers, I headed down to the food plot to see how our clover was doing. We planted some white clover late last summer and it really seems to be taking off in most places. We decided to do a little frost seeing at the end of January to see if we could fill in some bare spots and have a nice stand of clover this year. It will be nice to have our two-acre plot of clover down and we can concentrate on creating a new bedding area with switchgrass and work on a couple more food plots. We spent the last couple of years getting control of the food plot. We would kill it off, then mow, then we would run our tiller through the soil two or three times trying to break it up. With this being such a low-lying wet area, it takes a few times to get the dirt nice and dry where it will powder up. We finally have our main food plot going and we have another area we started working last year so hopefully we can get a couple of more acres of food in this year and a new one-acre bedding area of switchgrass.
After evaluating the food plot, I headed to some known bedding areas. I knew it was a little early but some people have found a few sheds so I thought if nothing else I would get some exercise. The grounds were partially underwater so after an hour or so of looking I was over it. I headed back to the truck and headed for home.
When I finished up the tv deal I needed to put a tv show together in less than a week. I don’t have my boat out yet and there is no ice, so my buddy Al decided he would be my cameraman and we would go shoot a show on the property and discuss our plans for the 2024.
We arrived at the grounds and headed towards the plots after shooting some footage, I wanted to hit some of the bedding areas that I didn’t hit the week prior. I usually seem to find most of my sheds in mid-March. I go a few times a year in February and if I find them, they seem to be last year’s or older. We were pretty lucky and ended up finding two fresh sheds and two old sheds that had been chewed up by the squirrels. I was happy that we were able to do that on camera and hopefully in the next few weeks I can add to my collection. Although the wife keeps asking how many do you need? I just tell her some day I am going to have three antler chandlers made for the kids and give it to them. Sounds like a good plan, but I am just not sure she is buying it.
My friend and I started shooting the five-stand league and Peoria Skeet and I must admit I really suck at it. I went into it knowing I wouldn’t do great but in the first two weeks I am hitting under 50%. I have used a couple of different guns over the first two weeks but same result with both. My buddy Tim is hitting right at 50% so I don’t think either of us can brag too much. As you can see, I said under 50% so you don’t know how bad a really shot. If you haven’t ever shot a five stand it really is a must. I have shot trap off and on since I was a kid and can usually shoot 22 out of 25. The five stand not so much. The price is low for $15 a piece you and your friends can go to Peoria Skeet and Trap and try your hand at the five stand. I guarantee it will humble you. I watched a very good trap shooter only shoot 36 out of 50 so this isn’t as easy as you might think. So, grab some friends and head to Peoria Skeet and Trap to try your hand at the five stand you won’t be disappointed in anything but you’re shooting.
I am sure everyone is getting excited for turkey and mushroom season. The last couple of years for morel mushrooms haven’t been the best. I have been able to get enough to eat and give a few away but a far cry from the 12 – 15lbs. I used to find. Hopefully with a warm spring and some rain we will have a good year. I think the way things are going, it should kick off in Southern Illinois it could start as early as mid-March. Usually in Central Illinois they kick off with a few small greys the first couple of weeks of April, and that should hold true again for 2024. I usually find my largest messes of morels around the third week of April. With all of the changes to the season only time will tell if that holds true.
Coming up on April 18th this year is IGOLD 2024. The Illinois State Rifle Association fights for the gun owners in Illinois. Without them I am not sure where we would be. This is an organization that all outdoorsmen should be a part of. Without them fighting for our rights on a daily basis, no one would. The Illinois State Rifle Association is our state’s premier gun-rights and training organization. If you aren’t a member, please check out page 11. Each month Richard Pearson, the Executive Director of the association, provides Adventure Sports Outdoors Magazine readers with the most up to date information going on with our gun laws and also discusses cases throughout the state of Illinois and beyond. Since I now have the tv show, we will be attending this event on April 18th. We will be meeting at 10:00am at the Bank of Springfield Center, 1 Convention Center Plaza, Springfield, IL 62701. You can see page 101 in this month’s issue for further details. There is a handicap bus that will be available if you are unable to march. Come join us as we continue to fight for our rights as law abiding citizens. If you are at IGOLD and see me there, please stop by and say hi. I always like to talk to my faithful readers.
Until next month. May your sunrises and sunsets be magical!