I’m not big on making New Year’s resolutions, but there are a few things I hope to do more of or become better at during this coming year.
I have to come clean about something. One of several reasons I began writing this column years ago was because it forced me to spend more time in the outdoors. With all the hunting, trapping, fishing, hiking, camping and outdoor photographic opportunities here in our state there are few acceptable reasons for not finding something to do out in the wild at any given time during the year. Also I’m now retired, so the way I see it, aside from a sudden bout with scurvy or the Bubonic Plague, that fact alone removes all excuses. But yet I can get apathetic and lazy; it’s far too easy to just kick my shoes off and plant myself inside or to just stay in bed on Saturday mornings instead of turkey hunting, etc. Even with the several hunting and trapping seasons I take advantage of now, I barely scratch the surface, so in short I resolve to spend more time outdoors trying new opportunities.
Once again, I have to confess that I’ve grown a little complacent when it comes to pursuing interesting and unique outdoor stories. When I first started this column I’d root out different and off-the-beaten-path stories everywhere I went. As I get older, I’ve come to appreciate a good nap more than I used to, and I have had some lengthy home projects of late, but those are just excuses. If I’m gonna’ write this column, I’m gonna’ do it justice, so I resolve this coming year to try to rekindle my enthusiasm for unique and out-of-bounds outdoor stories here in Exploring Kansas Outdoors. Along those lines, over the years I have been given some great tips from readers about those kinds of stories, so by all means, don’t stop now. If you get wind of a fascinating person or an off-beat story that would go great in Exploring Kansas Outdoors please email me.
Fishing has always been my least favorite outdoor activity; first because many fishing opportunities are during the hot Kansas summers, my least favorite time of the year, and secondly because my sorry fishing skills are the stuff of (BAD) legends. Joyce and I can literally sit side-by- side with another couple, fishing over the same brush pile and using the same baits and lures as them and catch only one fish to their ten! Don’t laugh; it’s happened more than once! Anyway, this year I resolve to do more fishing. There is lots of fishing to be done in the spring and in the fall when temperatures are mild, and with all the private ponds and with beautiful spots like McPherson State Fishing Lake practically in my backyard, once again, there are few acceptable excuses not to wet a line. For example, the trout fishing is hot now at numerous spots around the state that will all be stocked with rainbows twice a month through March, and in some cases through April. Go to www.ksoutdoors.com to find the complete trout stocking schedule.
We get our deer processed at a local reputable meat processing plant, and as much as I’d like to say that processing our own deer is a resolution, it’s not; I don’t have the proper place, equipment, knowledge or desire to do so. We’re not big jerky fans so I’ve never bothered to make jerky before, but I can’t help but notice that the rest of the world seems to go bananas over homemade deer jerky, and that homemade jerky is great to give away to friends and family. I have a nice dehydrator so this year I resolve to learn and refine the art of making homemade deer jerky, and maybe venture into the world of snack sticks and summer sausage too. As usual, both the internet and YouTube are awash with information and instruction about all of it, and most outdoor sporting goods store carry an assortment of seasonings and equipment. A company named Walton’s has local stores in Wichita and advertises “Everything but the Meat.” Check them out online at www.waltonsinc.com.
Well there you have a few of my “New Year’s resolutions” so to speak. For everyone I suppose the biggest and best New Year’s resolution should be to take someone with you into the outdoors to learn what you do and to see why you do it as you continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.