On the road again

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While I was glad to see national and state-level COVID restrictions eased, I was also hesitant to throw the caution we’ve all been practicing for over a year out into the wind.

But as the the month of May progressed and I found myself away from home for a series of events, I have to admit that the sense of normalcy that comes with socializing sure felt good.

It started with the New York State Outdoor Writers Association Spring Safari held May 13-16 in Fulton and Montgomery Counties. I joined about a dozen of my fellow scribes for a weekend of soaking up outdoor-related fun and rubbing shoulders with some old friends. I also made some new ones.

We had a phenomenal weekend in the Mohawk Valley and southern Adirondacks (44lakes.com), a place that has made NYSOWA feel welcome so many times before.

Still, the reality of just being able to spend some quality time with a number of individuals that I’ve grown close to over the years was reward enough. Whenever it feels like old times, it usually feels like good times, and it certain was. We’ll have a full report on the NYSOWA spring safari, including a report on our meeting with DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, in the June 11 edition of New York Outdoor News.

A week after the safari I found myself a little further west when I towed my little RV over to the Herkimer County Fairgrounds for the New York State Trappers Association (nystrappers.org) Gun Show and Flea Market, held May 21-23. My job as Editor of NYON began just about the time COVID kicked in, and one of the things I’ve missed out on is meeting NYON readers in person. This would be my first real chance to do so.

The weather was hot that weekend, in the 90s at times, but we were comfortable inside a building where about half of the approximately 150 vendors were set up, including an NYON booth.

I’ve never felt more welcome than the leaders and members of the Trappers Association made me feel. Several dropped by the booth to chat and I wound up hanging out with some great folks by the campfire, who also invited me to dinner one evening. All of these folks shared some interesting perspectives on trapping that will surely find their way into the pages of NYON.

Best of all, I got to meet and talk with some passionate readers of this publication and recruit some new ones as well. I’m not sure how many sport shows I’ll be part of in the future – that duty usually falls with our advertising czar, Craig Turner – but I’m glad I did this one.

One concern I had about being so busy during May was how these events would impact my turkey hunting. Well, that all worked out just fine. I called in an adult tom on May 2 that weighed 21.5 pounds and sported a 8.5-inch beard. And before heading off to Herkimer I filled my second tag with a smaller tom. Overall,  I managed 14 mornings in the woods. Not bad!

That left things open for Memorial Day weekend where, once again, I was on the move. This time it was all about fun as my wife Adrienne and I joined some friends for some early summer fun on Raquette Lake in the central Adirondacks. It didn’t feel like summer at all, as the mercury barely broke 50. But it was nice to be with good friends around the campfire just the same.

I’m not sure if COVID has made me lazy, or craving activity. Perhaps a little bit of both. I only hope this sense of normalcy continues in all matters, including those in the outdoors.

Categories: Dan Ladd

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