Is it Spring yet?
Taking advantage of the nice late January-early February weather
we’ve been having here in the Southern Tier, my wife and I went for
a walk. The temperature was in the 50s and the warm weather was
predicted to hang around all week.
“I could take this kind of winter weather every year,” my wife
“Not me,” I replied. “It’s too warm.”
Now, my wife knows I love where I live. I love the change of
seasons and I really don’t mind winter. Deer season is over, I have
enough wood cut and stacked to last for two years – three if the
warm weather continues – and turkey season is right around the
I know other people definitely share my wife’s appreciation of
the warm late January weather, but unseasonably warm weather often
plays havoc with nature. Just south of us across the Pennsylvania
border some people have reported seeing black bears emerging from
hibernation. This was confirmed by the local conservation officer
who said the ursine activity was a little out of the ordinary but
not totally unusual.
Believe it or not, one neighbor said she saw her crocuses
pushing their noses above ground, apparently fooled by the warm
temperatures. The problem is other less hardy plants may not fare
so well when temperatures return to normal and bitter weather
returns. Several years ago a similar weather pattern occurred and
many of the apple trees where I hunt began to bud, only to be
frozen again when the cold returned; nipped in the bud, as the
saying goes. This wasn’t good since there were no apples to be
found on the farm I hunt when archery season opened in October.
Ice fishing was one of my passions. I don’t do that anymore
since my ice fishing partner died. Every weekend for 25e years we
took turns cutting holes and scooping slush until we had a dozen or
more holes cut into the frozen lake surface. We only fished with
bucktail jigs or a small Rapala and never used tip-ups. After the
holes were drilled we built a fire in a five-gallon bucket we had
to warm our hands and to make our coffee. The temperature didn’t
matter and nothing ever stopped us from enjoying a few hours of
hard water fishing.
Beginning in late December, we kept a close eye on the
temperature and were delighted when it was sub freezing. “Making
ice,” we would say to each other. Judging from the number of ice
fishermen with whom we shared the lake every weekend, I know there
are a lot of guys dying to get out there. In fact, some are dying,
period. Last month a local angler lost his life when he pushed the
season a little by trying to fish a lake that wasn’t completely
frozen. He fell through the thin ice and drowned.
Cross-country skiers, snow machine enthusiasts, snowshoers and
ice fishermen are all lamenting this warm weather, and my wife and
countless others just don’t understand the concern. Call me crazy
but I love winter.