Stay Calm Rule One
Inside the Outdoors, September 20
, 2013

As cooler temperatures begin to set in, the guns that all summer long sat in the locked cases are now out on the tables. Hunters are oiling and cleaning the barrels in anticipation of the long awaited seasons that really aren’t that far away.

Yet, fishing season goes on with stocking in the horizon. The die-hard anglers will continue to wet their lines, while the hunters can be seen scouting the apparel outlets making sure they have the necessities that are required. Could one say fall brings on seasonal changes? It all depends on one’s habits, I guess. Does the fisherman automatically grab guns instead? To each his own would be the more truthful statement.

I had the pleasure of talking to a lad at the farmer’s market recently in Legion Keener Park. We got on the subject of hunting and he told me that one of his experiences led him to becoming lost in the woods, something that has happened too many I’m sure. He stated he keep going around in circles before finally finding something that led him to safety, a nearby highway.

There are dos and don’ts when it comes to walking in the woods. I, too, found out the hard way. First, don’t panic. Running or taking flight as the term may be will only make things worse and diminish any energy one may have reserved. Try to get one’s bearings. There are ways. I have a habit of looking at the sun. It always rises in the east and sets in the west. Try to recall the direction of origin.

Listen to the sounds of the forest. The lad who spoke to me said he eventually heard traffic and knew he was near a road. Once he entered onto it, he then became familiar with the surroundings and found his way back to his vehicle.

I was walking on a path atop a ridge. Eventually it went down and I followed it to a stream. I took note of the water’s flow and followed the current downstream. Any time water goes downstream, it usually becomes larger in width and depth. I found two welcoming sights – a paved road and the place I was living for a time.

But, say the wrong direction is chosen. Here again, don’t panic. Remain calm and stay warm, if necessary. Stay put. Don’t wander into deeper densities of forest growth. That will only throw people off if others are looking for you. Try walking back from where you came if the surroundings look familiar. That will definitely help. In any and every case, stay calm.

The above brings me to the subject of this column – mainly, if you plan to head to the woods to do some hunting this fall, familiarize yourself with the territory before going afield. Now is the time to do it.

Those going after the trophy buck this fall or harvesting a black bear know these animals aren’t going to appear on one’s front porch for the taking, so it will require some hiking to get their game. Knowing the woods where one is hunting is so important. It may mean the difference between returning home safely or stumbling around in the dark stressed out, trying to get back to open spaces where safety awaits. There’s a choice to be had. Pick one.


Tip of the Week – When fishing with a plastic or rubber worm, add a sliding sinker to the line before tying on a number 4 or larger hook. After hooking the worm, the sinker will slide next to the plastic and stay snug against the front of the worm. The weight permits the worm to get down where the larger fish may be hanging out. If one is searching for bigger fish, this is where they will be found..

- Paul J. Volkmann
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