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O’Neill Outside – The Dogwoods are Blooming

04/11/2016 Craig Joyner

dogwoodLook outside. Are the dogwoods blooming? Sure are. Why aren’t you fishing? It’s a rule, I’ve always heard, that if you live in the Southeast during the flowering dogwood season, you should go fishing everyday. Don’t know quite where I heard that, but none-the less I’ve taken it as fact. Been sticking with it for over 60 years.

So, with that in mind, I’m going fishing. Will I see you on the lake? Tell you what, recruit a little kid, maybe one that doesn’t get to go fishing much, and take him or her. If he has a dad at home, take him too. Shame his dad into going if you have to, but take them both. Maybe there’ll be a connection established to the outdoors for them. Maybe not. Either way, while you’re there look deep into the forest. Reaching through the leaves for the sunlight will be your beacon for spring, the beautiful flowering dogwood with its showy petals. Thank the lord for the sight; catch a cooler of Crappie; take them home and fry them up. Why those? Easy to catch, just put on a minnow on a 1/16th ounce Road Runner under a cork or float of some kind and cruise around the shallow, brushy coves or around a dock. You’ll catch a bunch.

Recommendations! Plan ahead so the child can enjoy the preparation. Use fresh light line, a closed face reel…… that works and finally take a camera, that’ll make the trip last forever. You don’t have to be in a major reservoir either, a simple little pond with a Crappie population will do nicely. OK? Done.

Now, there’s something else. Spring Turkey Season. Oh, my goodness, how do we mix it all in? Focus, you can do it.

Here’s an idea. Visit www.realtree.com/o and bone up on the latest instruction and lessons learned over the years from the experienced turkey hunters associated with Realtree.

For the moment, however, let’s stick to the subject of taking a youngster on a turkey hunt. From realtree.com/o, here are the recommendations. This is good.

Let him or her have their cell phone or I-pad. That’ll keep them quiet. It’s a good trade-off.

Days before you leave, teach them to use a box call. It’s louder, easier to use and keeps them involved. It’s not hard. It’s not the quality of the call, it’s the rhythm, and they can learn it easily.

Put up a blind with seats so they’ll be comfortable and will be more to likely spot a bird. If they go to sleep, lettem. If you get a bird working, wake them up.

Shotgun choice? Don’t overload with a 3 and ½ inch mag 12. Use a turkey load in a 20 gauge and let the bird get within 30 yards. It’ll work.

Make the morning special, make it fun. This is about you and them, not some kind of turkey hunting competition.

Know that this is a good thing and they will remember it always.

–O’Neill

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