Trying to kick a bad case of cabin fever
I’ve had cabin fever after a long winter before, but nothing has compared to this year, and it has nothing to do with how long the winter has been here in the north country.
Make no mistake, winter has held on in our neck of the woods. Plenty of ice is on the rivers and lakes and ice fishermen were still taking snowmobiles out to their spots as late as April 22. Some may still be doing it. The Coast Guard is still assisting freighters in Lake Superior and the St. Mary’s River. A lake freighter was stuck in broken, wind-piled ice at Marquette for a couple days just a week ago.
Non-outdoors types lament the long winter, but I do not. The sun is gaining strength and will eventually win over the cold, of that I am certain. I don’t mind being able to fish through the ice a little longer than we usually do. In 2017, we ice-fished through April 1, and this year I wouldn’t be surprised if some guys are still tip-toeing out on May 1.
But what bothers me the most at any time of the year is when life gets in the way and I go through an outdoors drought, unable to get out. Through a variety of circumstances, I have not been able to hunt or fish in weeks and it’s driving me crazy.
I know there are some who consider themselves lucky to be able to hunt or fish once a month, or maybe even less than that, but I am accustomed to getting out at least once a week, if not twice. The fact that I can be hunting or fishing within 30 minutes or less is one of the big reasons I chose to live in the Upper Peninsula.
This year, I’ve had to be content with catching the sound of migrating sandhill cranes over the house, the sight of returning ducks and geese on the river while I’m at work, and the scent of rain over my thawing garden beds for the first time in months. I threw some fish carcasses on my vegetable garden during the first week of March, the last time I was fishing, and the snow finally cleared enough this week to allow me to bury them.
Last weekend, I took a ride down to some property I’m looking to sell and stopped the truck to watch turkeys in the fields. I squawked at a couple of them and got a chuckle when they mistook my mouth-yelping for a hen. That’s as close as I’ve gotten to turkey hunting so far, even though the season opened several days ago.
You’ve heard me complain about an outdoors drought before, but this has been extended. Nevertheless, I have high hopes for the coming few weeks. Once I get my turkey license, I’ll be able to hunt for several weeks. The thought of that reminds me of how lucky I am to live in a place where the outdoors is so readily accessible – the turkeys will be ready and waiting.
The next time I write, I hope to be telling you about a recent fresh fish dinner or wild turkey barbecue.