An Outdoorsmen’s Cure for March Malaise


For most hunters and anglers, March is a wasted month. Coming after big game and ice fishing seasons and before spring fishing, it’s full of rain, mud and restlessness.  But with a little creativity, March can be a cornucopia of outdoor delights.

Take shed hunting. No matter where you are in deer country, now is the time to explore every nook and cranny to find the dropped antlers of the wall hanger you want to target come fall. In the north, snow is melting, revealing the polished tines before mice and squirrels chew them up. Take a walk on the sunny side of slopes where deer hang out in January and February or near winter food sources. It’s a great way to get out of the house for a healthy hike and locate new spots for stands.

And while you’re out there, March is the perfect time to locate flocks of winter turkey and travel territories just before spring season. The soft ground and remaining snow capture plenty of tracks and give you a good idea of how many birds are in your hunting territory. Take a couple calls along and practice the clucks and yelps you’ll hear as the birds talk to each other.

You can even go to the dogs in March. Your retriever, pointer or trailing hound has been sleeping by the fire, gaining weight and losing its edge. Get Rover in the field for some off-season refresher courses before the summer heat. That’ll give both of you a head start on toning up for the fall seasons. Game farms are still open in March for a variety of upland bird shooting, which will help you keep your shooting eye.

And speaking of shooting eye, if you take part in trap, skeet or sporting clays events during the summer, now’s the time to reload a passel of shells, recondition guns, practice your swing and polish last year’s trophies.

Is March looking more exciting? We haven’t even got to the fishing yet. Crappies get an urge to be caught in March. Up north the big slabs are concentrating just under the softening ice, and there is nothing better after a frigid February than a sunny, 30-degree March day when you can pull eager fish through the holes. Where the water is already open, early spawning beds are loaded with aggressive crappies.

If you’re a fly fisherman, your spring season is almost at hand. Time to get out the vise, thread, hooks and feathers and whip up a new batch of Caddis flies, Royal Coachman, Wooly Buggers and streamers and repair rod ferrules and holes in the waders.

Instead of being too long and boring, perhaps March is too short.  So put the outdoor magazines away, turn off the TV and write your own March story.

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