The rapid spread of the coronavirus has forced the closure of schools, businesses, events and any other nonessential gatherings of people. For many of us, being off work or out of school means fishing, hiking, boating, mushroom hunting or turkey hunting. But should we?
Probably the safest place to be right now is our great outdoors, but are we really safe? It’s easier to practice social distancing when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, in open spaces and open air. That doesn’t mean we should be oblivious to the dangers of contracting what, for some, can be deadly. Avoid crowds at fishing, canoeing, kayaking, boating and hiking areas.
Your biggest risk is at the gas pump. Perhaps 500 people have touched the handle before you. The second greatest risk might be pulling through a drive-through to get a biscuit on the way to escape to the outdoors.
Avoid touching any hard surface without protection. Wear gloves if you can. Using a paper towel to hold the gas pump handle might save you from getting the virus. Unwrap that biscuit with a napkin and avoid touching the outer packaging.
It’s important to observe caution when you consider doing outdoor things with another person. If they are coughing or have any other symptoms, don’t go.
Should you decide to go with someone else, do all you can to avoid touching any surface they have touched. You can’t practice social distancing while sharing the cab of a pickup. Wear masks and gloves.
Whatever outdoor activity you choose to do, obey the rule of social distancing and practice common sense. I used to be one of those who felt all these precautions were ridiculous, that this was a pandemic fed by the media and was not anything worse than the flu. I don’t think that anymore. Practice common sense and be safe in the outdoors.
SPRING FISHING TIP
In spring, look for white bass far up feeder creeks and rivers leading into large impoundments where they go to spawn. They should be tightly concentrated and easy to catch. Use live minnows, jigs, lipless crankbaits and spoons.
Don’t you wish turkey hunting was as easy as it seems on outdoor TV shows and YouTube videos? Reality is, far more turkey hunts end up with no bird, mainly because of mistakes. How many times have you gotten up from your calling site and spooked a gobbler that was headed your way? Staying longer is better than leaving too soon.
Other mistakes include calling too loudly or too much, sitting where the swing of your gun is obstructed by trees or bushes, not having your gun ready, setting up too close to the roost, not being aware of obstacles a turkey won’t cross, and believe it or not forgetting to load your gun, and the list goes on.
Those TV and YouTube guys make the same mistakes you do, but they can do something you can’t, edit!
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know eight-foot tall giant beavers roamed freely in North America during the last ice age? They’re thought to have weighed up to 220 pounds each and were roughly the size of a black bear. I would say it didn’t take them long to build a beaver dam.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
“I go to Nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put together.”
Larry Whiteley was born and raised in Nixa. He was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in honor of his more than 40 years of communicating the great outdoors all over the world through his outdoor articles and radio shows.