by Leon Archer
Sweet Thing and I took a few days to join Tim and the family at Thirty Island Lake up in Ontario. It was a great time, but there was a total fire ban in effect, so there was no sitting around the campfire toasting marshmallows for s’mores. We could still partake in the cooking of some of the great panfish and bass fillets, because Coleman stoves are okay. It’s just open fires that are a no-no. We did stack up some firewood for use at another time when the ban is past. Maybe next summer – who knows.
The kids kept busy paddling their kayaks and tangling fishing lines, but as long as one has a patient grandpa to do the untangling, what’s the big deal. The kayaks are ideal craft for the lake, and the kids handle them really well, almost never turning one over. I haven’t turned one over either, but I figure it’s just a matter of time before I make the real wrong move and end up in the drink. I wear a life jacket and the water is very comfortable, but I think it might be a good idea to put my wallet in a zip lock bag just in case. I haven’t done that yet, but next time out I will. Hopefully that won’t jinx me.
You know I’ve been watching the geese around here grow like they do every summer, and like always there are plenty of them out there. Drought or no drought, they seem to do pretty well. Goose hunters do their best, but I don’t think our resident goose population is in any danger of going away. As for other waterfowl, it’s hard to say.
I thought there would be lots of ducks last fall, but I was rather disappointed by the numbers I saw. The report from the prairie duck nesting grounds this year is sort of a mixed bag. There were plenty of ducks and there was water early on, but nothing like during really good years. A lot of ducks looking for good nesting areas overflew the pothole country and headed farther north. Some probably went all the way to the arctic.
We get some ducks coming through our area that were produced out west, but most of them head down the central flyway. We get canvas backs, redheads and blue bills that move down the Great Lakes on their way to the east coast and Chesapeake Bay.
Some of them may spend the winter on the Finger Lakes, but there is no great number of hunters seeking them out. You have to be one tough soul to brave the ice, cold and snow to shoot a few ducks. I did it a few times when I was younger, but I think I’ve got it out of my system.
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