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From the Pen of Robert L. Cook

If I’d been in charge of the calendar, I’d have done something different with March. It would’ve probably been a mistake, but I would’ve skipped March and gone right into April.

First of all, you can’t hunt hardly anything in March. Therefore, I don’t have any really good excuses to offer as reasons why I can’t get to that long list of fixing stuff, patching this or that, digging flower beds, bush trimming and mattress flipping that my Significant Other has been keeping for the last 11 months.

Second, the weather is totally unpredictable and it’s too windy. And I’m not talking about my Old Friends, they’re always too windy; I can depend on that and I kind of enjoy it. I’m talking it is too windy to even fly a homemade kite; it tears them up, and that is too windy. It’s too windy to fly fish, too windy to go birding and too windy to varmint call.

About the only good thing about March that I can think of is that it is a good time to get all your camping, hunting, fishing and outdoor gear cleaned up. Take the old pickup and 4-wheeler to the shop for repairs and service, break out the patches and cleaning rods and go to work on your shotguns and rifles, replace all the old monofilament line that you should have replaced last year, fix the screen door at the camp house that Herb thought was open, patch the tent, air out the sleeping bags and do all that kind of stuff.

On the other hand, now that I think about it, I have caught a bunch of white bass in March. When the old-timers talk about it, they say, “The whites are running.” If you’ve never fished for white bass during “the run,” you absolutely must. Take your wife, take a couple of kids; when they’re “running” it is unbelievable. The daily bag limit is 25 and the minimum length is 10 inches, and I don’t think they “run” unless they are more than 10 inches. It is just plain fun and they are wonderful filleted and fried. Plus, it is a fact: The serious bass fishermen love March. They catch more big “lunker” bass during the month of March than any other month! And remember, no fishing license is required for anyone fishing in our state parks.

OK, one other thing. March is a really good month to look for stuff on the ground. I like finding pretty rocks, fossils of any kind and, maybe best of all, shed antlers. The ground is about as bare as it is going to get. You find shed antlers from bucks that you recognize as having seen before, from bucks that you never saw and you know that they all made it through the hunting season and will be back next fall.

One last thing: In late March, before sunrise on warm mornings, the gobblers begin to gobble. Like the bugle of the elk, it is one of those rare sounds of nature, a delight to hear. Some of them are very good at it, while the jakes are just learning; but don’t practice out there ... just listen and learn.

OK, I guess March is not all that bad, but you definitely have to get outdoors to enjoy it.

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