Fall hunting seasons vary in length, and most hunters will say that none are long enough. The problem, however, is more about season overlap than it is about season length. So many things are going on at once that it's hard to find time to do everything.
Personally ,I've no problem with the frantic mindset of fall and hunters wringing their hands over chasing doves, ducks, turkeys, pheasants, geese or deer, not to mention some great line-busting fishing that's worthy of its own headlines. And no doubt about it, we're inching closer to that fall pinnacle of outdoor recreation which for most peaks around the November deer rifle opener.
Over the past 10 years we've even added to the mix, with additional opportunities just for youth, to management seasons for snow geese in spring, mid-August for Canada geese, September/October doe seasons, plus a longer turkey season.
For hunts like migrating ducks, while the season lasts more than two months, the prime opportunity might last only a week or two, and that can coincide with regular deer season or prime time for pheasants. It's a vicious cycle akin to trying to jam 10 pounds of sand into a bag designed to hold only 5. It doesn't work, and all you end up with is either spilled sand or a broken bag.
You’re better off putting 4 pounds into a 5-pound bag. My theory is we're better off satisfied with how we fit this fall's hunting into a life with work, family, friends and other commitments, rather than being frustrated with just a half-day hunt when a full day was on the menu, but cut short.
Hunting and fishing provide recreation each individual can mold to their own schedule and expectations. As a casual football fan, I'm not in control of which teams play each other, the day or location. But a fall hunt can be an hour walk near the edge of town or a weekend camp a few hundred miles away. Each hunter is in control of planning their hunt and setting their frame of mind to best create a feeling of enjoyment.
If a warm cup of coffee and a heavily buttered roast beef sandwhich are just as important as bagging a rooster, then by all means, I'd urge you to stock up on beef and butter. If the drive home is not complete without sunflower seeds and a little country music or football game on the radio, well, you know what to do to make it happen.
My point in all of this is to slow down and enjoy all that fall is instead of turning your fall hunting into a list of jobs that have to be completed before you are satisfied. The array of opportunities is truly incredible. If you don't believe me, check out the Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov and click on the season dates/events tab.
The first listing is Aug. 15 for crow and the fall turkey season closes Jan. Even after that most furbearer seasons remain open.
My point in all of this is to slow down and enjoy all that fall is instead of turning your fall hunting into a list of jobs that have to be completed before you are satisfied. The array of opportunities is truly incredible. If you don't believe me, check out the Game and Fish Department website at gf.nd.gov and click on the season dates/events tab.The first listing is Aug. 15 for crow and the fall turkey season doesn't close until January 10. Even after that most furbearer seasons remain open.
So, the window is open -- not quite all the way, but that will come. While planning is a necessity, leave some open space for reacting as well. There's nothing wrong with finding a free Saturday in October, chasing ducks or sharptails in the morning, wetting a line in the afternoon and pushing for a few roosters as the sun sets. Such days seldom present themselves, but if the opportunity presents itself, I suggest you grab it.
Leier is a biologist with the Game and Fish Department. He can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org