Well it is official, the furry prognosticators have made their appearance on their annual Groundhog Day foray and said we are in for six more weeks of bad weather.
One fuzzy rodent sticks his head out in a ray of sunshine and we get hounded by a month and a half of wintery weather.
Well if it is the kind of winter weather we have had so far, I think I can take it. I will gladly take a couple of days of winter weather and a little bit of snow here and there to get the numerous spring like days we have had this winter.
Winters like these are few and far between and definitely make it nice to get out and do some late season small game hunting without having to worry about frost bite in knee deep snow. Heck, there have been several days this winter that have rivaled the pleasant mid-fall temperatures and made it a pleasure to get out and roam the hills looking for bushytails without the bothersome leaves giving them a place to hide.
Speaking of those tasty denizens of the tree tops, we are officially in overtime when it comes to squirrel season. In years past the pursuit of the tree dwellers had always closed on January 31st, this year hunters get to enjoy another full month of squirrel hunting.
The new extended season now runs through February 28, 2017 offering plenty of additional opportunities to fill the stew pot or make some fine squirrel gravy. This year, especially, we have been graced with some great weather to go along with the extra days in the woods.
Squirrels are by no means the only game in town at this late stage of the hunting seasons. Some of the best days of the season are still ahead for those hunters looking to bag a ruffed grouse or two.
For the houndsmen around, rabbit season is still in full swing or if you find yourself around the highlands of the state, snowshoe and varying hare are both still in season as well. So, get out and let the beagles stretch their legs and their vocal cords.
Of course there are still plenty of opportunities for the coon hunters and trappers alike to get out and add a few pelts to the collections. Raccoon, red and grey fox, bobcat, mink, muskrat, and even otter and beaver are all still in season for a few more weeks. If you aren’t sure what you want to hunt, just grab a copy of the hunting regulations for a full list of all the seasons still open and take your pick.
Hopefully we will continue to have the mild weather and plenty of opportunities to get outdoors for the remainder of the winter. I have no doubts that there will be some cold weather in our future and probably more than our share of snow.
Even if we do get a winters worth of snow we shouldn’t complain. So far, we have had a great winter as far as getting outside and extending our hunts without having to deal with the harshness the elements can throw at us.
So, as long as the sun is out and the snow isn’t flying, I believe I will grab my squirrel gun and head out to do my part in controlling the population and filling the freezer. It is overtime after all and everyone knows that some of the best plays of the game happen in those few extra minutes at the end. Hunting season is often no different!
Roger Wolfe is an Outdoor Columnist for Civitas Media. He can be reached at [email protected] for questions, comments or ideas for future stories.