James Whitcomb Riley wrote it and I quote it:
“Tell you what I like the best . . . Long about knee-deep in June . . .
‘Bout the time strawberries melts . . . On the vine some afternoon . .
. Like to jess git out and rest . . . And not work at nothing else . .
June is a grand month . . . a great time to be
outdoors . . . a grand time to see nature at its best.
The skeeters are a little worse that usual at
this time of year because of the damp spring. But a good spray, will take
care of them. In the old days, squirrel hunters and others of the outdoor
ilk, carried a small bottle of oil of citronella that sometimes kept bugs
Poplar (tulip) trees . . . our state tree is blooming
now to offer one of our most colorful and beautiful wildflowers and the
blaze of white, yellow, green, and orange tulip-type wildflowers are being
replaced by taller, later-blooming flowers and shrubs, not all of which
Rivers, streams and lakes are falling to summer
normal levels now (not withstanding the gully washers we had last week)
and fish are settling into their summer habit of seeking cover during the
middle (bright) part of the day. Many fish quit the cover to feed at night,
but hole up under structure (natural or man-made) by day.
Take the big cats, for example. Flatheads, one
of our really big catfish, hole up under big drifts (driftwood) by day,
but often feed on the surface on hot, dark nights by hanging down . . .
their mouths barely touching the surface . . . to feed on live critters
there . . . by the same token, goggle eyes (rock bass) love to nestle with
big rocks (other cover) on gravel bottom riffles . . . very good on the
One time, for example, many years ago the Muscatatuck
River got very low (in the late 1930s) got very low and a neighbor found
several artificial lures on logs exposed by the low water. He did not have
any use for the lures, so he gave them to me. I carried the lures around
in my tackle bag for several years and used all but one of them. Then one
hot summer day, I found myself standing three feet above some inundated
root wads changing lures. I had used all but one of the lures I owned (an
important chattel in those days for a boy), and at last the lure that looked
like half a penny on a wire post with spinner in front and brownish-red
bucktail behind with single hook.
I tied on this contraption and dropped it near
the tree roots to view it’s action in the crystal clear water. No sooner
had the lure hit the water before a bullish largemouth attacked. Unfortunately,
I later lost the lure to a deep log hangup. I have not found such a lure
since, but would buy another.
Lazy June also is a prime time for watching the
critters that are reproducing. One time on Grassy Creek, north of Crothersville,
I watched, at close range, a mother mink and three six-inch young as they
frolicked over lily pads just before dark . . . on another occasion I watched
a mother mink and young as they scampered about their summer driftwood
home high and dry on the high banks of my river.
The rule of thumb is never to disturb, or touch,
Mother Nature’s children . . . even if they may seem abandoned. It has
been said that adults of the wild will disown young if a human touches
them. I don’t know about that.
June also is a time for checking on wildlife species
because it is the height of the reproductive season. If the main thrust
of this scouting is squirrels (fox and gray), observing new nests will
tell one many stories about the numbers of young of the year. Harvest figures
later (in August’s season) will be highly dependent on young. The young
are more tender, too. We lived on squirrel in late summers and early falls
in the 30s. When we skinned squirrels, the heads were left attached on
young to tell my mother and grandmother which were fryers and which were
for dumplings. The heads were cooked, too, for the cheek meat and brains.
Heads, incidentally, were cracked with the handle
of table knives to extract the brains after the heads were stripped of
– The Indiana Wildlife Federation will stage its70th Anniversary Celebration
& Conservation Awards Banquet Friday and Saturday (June 6 and 7) at
Abe Martin Lodge in Brown County State Park. More details available by
calling the IWF at 800-347-3455.