It is a transitional time for most sportsmen and women. It saddens me to admit, being an afflicted turkey hunter who enjoys almost every morning of the season watching the sun come up in hopes that a turkey will gobble, that no matter if you are ready or not the bell rings when the season ends.
When it is over, it’s over. But don’t fret, soon enough fall turkey seasons will open as well as the chance to go afield for turkey during the winter’s Mountain Heritage Season. I am truly excited and looking forward to them both. Again, please forgive me, turkeys occupy my brain all year long. But, I digress.
Back to the transitional period, it generally starts with a gear swap in your hunting rig, basement, closet, garage, or wherever you have carved out a spot for your equipment. Mine always starts with shedding a tear as I hang my turkey vest in the barn, clean and store my shotgun in the safe, and put my high rubber boots on the shelf. It even saddens me more when I find a shotshell or forgotten turkey call in my truck after the season — No need to be reminded that the season is long gone.
On the upside, the back seat of my truck quickly gets converted into an early-season fishing rig. As I hang up my turkey gear the fly rod case, vest, net, and waders fill the empty void. It is the best form of therapy for the ailing — aromatherapy and visual reminders that change is perfectly acceptable and fine. Like a symbol for life — nothing ever remains still, and life is always in a constant state of motion.
My thoughts and daydreams tend to fade from turkeys to changing over to wild fish and even wilder, remote sections of creeks that fill my memories of years prior.
Images like an old slide projector, whiz past my mind of native brook trout, wild brown trout, and of course, holder-over stocked trout. Warming days with long evening hours filled with rising trout, smiles, and cold waters rushing past my legs as I wade in search of trout willing to please and eager to slurp in a fly.
Fishing in the late spring seems light and airy mixed with an easy-go-lucky attitude. With its sunshine, bugs flying around, ample amounts of daylight left in the day, and plenty of cold, rushing waters filling all the creeks makes for an ideal setting for people who choose to fish.
But the transition season is always changing. Soon it will be the big rivers and lakes of summertime. For me, that means plenty of smallmouth bass and fishing for my new crazy addiction, summertime walleyes way down deep in the cool waters.
And as soon as I get the hang of summertime fishing, the days will shorten indicating that soon it will be time to start scouting for food and game signs for fall. This reminds me, my new puppy Blue’s first full squirrel season is coming up this fall. He simply can’t wait, and neither can I.
We are blessed to live in a state with four distinct seasons full of nearly endless possibilities for outdoor lovers. I love each one of them equally like my children (and of course, my dogs)
I can only hope my hunting and fishing truck has another season or two left in it. It’s hard to find a new one with so many memories.
Chris Ellis of Fayetteville, W.Va., an outdoorsman and Marshall University graduate, is owner of Ellis Communications, a public relations agency serving the outdoor industry. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.