Top

Water, Water Everywhere…

February 7, 2018

We are becalmed.

We have entered the doldrums, as it were, at least here in North Carolina.

Big game seasons are over.  Waterfowl seasons have ended.  Small game is still open, at least for another couple of weeks, but February begins the cruelest months around here… that gap when the guns sit idle, and cobwebs hang dusty on the fishing rods.  The days are wet, cold, and windy, and the ocean roils with restless energy… too rough for small craft, which is fine because most of the nearshore fish are down south with the warm currents around Florida.

In California, this is when I’d turn my attention to hogs, of course (as if they were ever far from my mind to begin with).  When the ridge tops were snowed over or too muddy for the truck, I’d hike in from the paved road, exploring public lands between guiding gigs, or private land hunts at places like the Tejon Ranch.

In Texas, not only were there hogs, there were exotics of all sorts… especially axis deer.  I kept the Savage loaded beside the kitchen door, ready for action should something tasty stray into my pastures… or for friendly invitations to the neighboring ranches.  Friends from out of town would call, and I’d coordinate exotics outings with local outfitters.

But here, in this southeastern edge of North Carolina, I find myself a bit adrift.  I hear rumors of hogs, of course, and not too far away.  It’s all pay-to-play, though, and the budget I have set myself does not permit that sort of extravagance.  It’s a test of patience.  It always was.  I’ll find some hogs.

In April, turkey season will begin.  Spring will begin to raise the ocean temperatures, ushering in the false albacore, the bonito, and close behind, the cobia and spanish mackerel.  I’ll pull the cobwebs off the rods and reels, and shake the spiders out of the kayak and hope for calm winds on the weekends (for a change).  Better yet, maybe there’ll be a boat this year.

Until then, the place could use a controlled burn, but that’s beyond my skills.  The timber here is not mature enough to interest a logging company, and I’m not sure I want the heavy equipment turning my land into a quagmire anyway.    So, for now, I’ll tune up the chainsaw and the bush hog, and take advantage of the defoliated brush to add a few new trails and thin the over-dense thickets.  Maybe I’ll get a couple of new cameras set out.  That should keep me busy for a bit.

So, I’m not quite ready to shoot the albatross just yet.  But winter can be long.

Listen in my own voice.

Bottom