Note to Self
I hope you will not think me pushy, but knowing how you have gotten
forgetful in the last quarter-century or so, and how goofy you get when
you think about those rainy gray-squirrel days in the fall woods, I thought
I should remind you that hunting doves and a mess of other early-migrating
birds starts soon . . . Don’t forget to work something into your September
column about them . . .
Your Alter Ego
Dear Alter Ego:
OK! So maybe I do wax a little poetic when I think about being in the
deep woods on a coolish, overcast (even rainy) day in September when gray
squirrels forego their mid-day snooze and work daylight to dark like little
beavers as they store nuts and acorns in the forest floor for snacks when
the “north wind doth blow.”
I admits it . . . I do get a little excited when I am sitting with my
back against a big white oak tree . . . my little Steven’s Favorite single-shot
.22 across my lap . . . first there is nothing . . . just the sounds of
the deep woods . . . maybe the hoot of an owl that has been fooled by the
dim-lit woods into thinking it is time to hunt . . . and then there
he is . . . a gray squirrel . . . he comes in like a gray ghost riding
on a fog bank . . . seconds later he is up a sapling and into the hickory
tree to get a nut to carry off and bury . . .
Yes! I admits it . . . I do get excited . . . maybe even forgetful about
other things . . . when the outer hulls of the nut come cascading down
through the browning leaves as I cock the little rifle . . . anticipating
a shot as the frisky gray comes down the sapling the same way he went up
. . .
Sure . . . I am thinking of absolutely nothing else as the silver streak
half runs, half falls down the trunk of the sapling with the nut in his
mouth . . . .I rest my elbow on my knee and try vainly to line the
sights up in case he pauses for an instant . . . but he disappears through
the brush of the forest floor as miraculously as he appeared . . .
You can bet I am thinking of nothing else when I grin--or maybe snicker
quietly . . . as I tell myself I would have bagged the bugger if I had
brought the little 20-gauge . . . but then I settle down again to nibble
an apple slice while awaiting the next customer . . . the little rifle
at rest again across my lap . . .
Yes! It is easy to forget other things on a gray-squirrel day in the
deep woods . . .
Thus, I point out here and now that that the arrival of September does,
indeed, signal the beginning of hunting for several species of early-migrating
birds. And this is a great way to spend a September day.
To appease that “alter” fellow I even include the season dates for the
early migrants, the most important of which being mourning doves, Canada
Geese and blue and green-winged teal.
Furthermore, it is a fair assumption that I will try my hand at hunting
all of the aforementioned birds since I have purchased my Indiana hunting
license, my Indiana waterfowl hunting stamp, and my federal waterfowl stamp.
I also have called in to get my free HIP number, which is an absolute must
for those who want to stay legal while hunting any migratory bird (see
Earliest of the seasons open Sept. 1. Season dates on other species
of migrating birds (ducks and geese) will be found elsewhere
on this site.
Here, by species, are the season dates for early migrating birds:
Sora rail--Sept. 1 - Nov. 9;
Mourning dove--Sept. 1 - Oct. 16, Nov. 8 - Nov. 17, and Nov.
28 - Dec. 1;
Common moorhen (gallinule)--Sept. 1 - Nov. 9;
Woodcock--Oct. 4 - Nov. 17;
Common snipe--Sept. 1 - Dec. 16;
Blue and green-winged teal--Sept. 7 - Sept. 15;
Canada Goose--Sept. 1 - Sept. 15.
Migratory bird hunters must register each year with the National Migratory
Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) before they hunt migratory birds.
Telephone registration is free by calling: 1-800-WETLAND (938-5263) and
providing the information requested. Online registration is possible at:
For a complete listing of early migratory bird hunting season dates,
bag limits, and possession limits, see: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/huntguide1/earlygbird.htm
Without further interference from that pushy other me, I note (voluntarily
. . . and without further duress) that the cool nights of September sort
of awaken crappies, bluegills, bass and some other denizens of the deep
and they are hungry.
Coincidentally, those self-same cool September nights somewhat demobilize
a phalanx of grasshopper types to make them easier to catch. Put a hook
in them and make them available to the aforementioned denizens, and you
have the makin’s of an interesting day on a lake.
Furthermore, if one selects a day during the early seasons on migrating
birds (especially dove, Canada goose, or teal)--and if one brings along
a little shotgun--one’s fishing efforts can be punctuated by shots that
lead to a great mixed bag of game and fish . . . Do it by floating a river
or stream that is lined with trees and Mr. Bushytail will add another dimension
to your outing.
We also are duty bound to point out that as September grows older the
produce of Mother Nature’s growing season approaches maturity. The things
that spill from her cornucopia are free for the taking . . . the
only charge is a little effort and desire . . . the rewards will come in
Then, of course, there is the September opportunity for those who neither
hunt nor fish to get out and just enjoy nature. Just as cool nights bring
down the migratory game birds, it brings many songbirds and a raft of raptors--including
the osprey, which does its share of fishing on Hoosier lakes and rivers.
|Mixing fall fishing with hunting--doves/bass fishing here--is
an excellent way to spend a September afternoon.
||The same cool nights that improve hunting and fishing,
are just as good for bringing dozens of migrating birds. Look for migrating