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Today is January 22, 2021

Outdoors

The month of celebration

By Tony Kinton

The month of celebration

December is the month for celebration and the clear focus of many during this time is Christmas. A grand period of reverence, reflection, giving and togetherness it is. We would all do well to contemplate its true meaning and pause in deep gratitude for The Gift Christmas brought.

Hunters have justifiable reasons to anticipate December because of the month’s impact on their pursuits. There may be a few extra days off work to hunt or perhaps a Christmas gathering of family and friends affording time in the fi eld with individuals who are not regularly collected. But the primary impact this month has is that all game seasons, save wild turkeys, are open at least a few days within this timeframe.

Likely the most recognized and anticipated season among them across the Magnolia State is for deer. And a big plus for a large portion of the state is that the rut is on. This rather brief period sees bucks rambling widely and one may show up most any time during the day. This possibility encourages hunters to sit tight, keep eyes open and conclude, with validity, that a buck may break cover at any moment.

But deer are not the only game legal this month. Practically all small game common to the state can be pursued. Squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, waterfowl — most all are permitted during some of those days housed by December. And the small game is simply too good to ignore.

There seems in the past decade an increased interest in small game hunting across the state, especially in the arena of squirrel hunting. They likely hold the second or third slot in popularity today, but hunters are showing a new spark of enthusiasm for them. Add a good dog to the mix, and December squirrels, due partly to trees being bare of foliage, are a grand experience. And they are superb as the makings of a community stew.

From a personal perspective, I find that church gatherings and family festivities for a week or so before and then during Christmas garner a great deal of my time. No complaints here; I am enriched by them and don’t choose to neglect a single one. These are elements of great import. I have not abandoned deer, but I no longer pursue them with the gusto of past days when I would slide into the dinner doings still wearing orange.

Small game permits a more rational schedule. A couple hours of early morning or late afternoon in the squirrel woods are the solution. I am still outside and enjoying offerings of nature but still involved with those elements which, in the grander scheme of life, mean the most.

Hunting season is here and it is at full throttle. Enjoy it. And I close with a sincere wish: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

 

Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. He lives in Carthage and is a Central Electric member. Visit www.tonykinton.com for more information.

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