Death throes of summer are upon us

By Jim Freeman - In The Open

If you are reading this, congratulations on making it through summer.

Yes I know that summer doesn’t officially end until Wednesday, Sept. 23 (at 4:21 a.m. to be exact) at the Autumnal equinox, when days and nights are the same length, but for all practical purposes, summer is over.

You can literally sense it in the air, and even though last week and weekend was unseasonably hot, you got the impression there was little force to sustain it, that if you could hold on just a few more days you would soon enjoy clear, cool days and crisp evenings.

It was summer’s last hurrah, and it got chased out by kids going back to school, fall sports, Labor Day, and hunting season. I always thought it was interesting how sports like football and cross country start with kids playing and running in sweltering heat, and end with them shivering in the cold on frosty evenings and mornings.

Hunting season is a lot like that, hunters heading out for early season squirrel hunting and waterfowl will be sporting t-shirts and bug repellent, battling the heat and mosquitoes more so than the cold and elements in late November and December.

I can tell you that the bowhunters are geared up and ready to go, the memory cards in their trail cameras are loaded with photos of bucks, and they’ve had their bows out target practicing. For the rest of us, this is a great time to run through your mental checklist. Make sure you have your licenses and tags, inspect your bow and firearms, sight-in and target practice to retain proficiency, and get everything ready and assembled.

While you are at it, double-check and test your tree stands and climbing equipment, and a few pushups and putting some miles on the dreadmill might not be a bad idea.

Soon it will be time for the leaves to begin changing color, which usually reaches its peak around here sometime around the middle of October. Leave your hummingbird feeders out until all of the hummingbirds are gone, there is no set date for taking down hummingbird feeders.

With all of this being said, don’t count summer out just yet. We still have to make it through the annual onslaught of stink bugs and Asian lady beetles, not to mention ragweed, late season lawn mowing, and pumpkin-spiced everything!

If you are one of those people who live for the heat (and humidity, pollen, and blistering sunshine), I offer my sincere condolences. Enjoy the evening daylight while you can.

For the kids, look online for upcoming hunter education classes. As a longtime hunter education instructor I can tell you that waiting until the week before deer gun season to get into a hunter education class is not a good strategy.

For the adults, don’t forget to take a kid hunting and pass along the tradition.

Jim Freeman is the wildlife specialist for the Meigs Soil and Water Conservation District and a longtime contributor to the Sunday Times-Sentinel. He can be contacted weekdays at 740-992-4282 or at [email protected]

By Jim Freeman

In The Open