We are now square in the midst of that portion of the year my Grandpa Joe described as “the time of miseries.” He detested being house-bound thanks to adverse winter weather, and by the time late January and February rolled around, his patience with gray and grim days, punctuated by cold rains or biting winds, would pretty much be exhausted.
Usually not much given to complaining, he would grouse about the “miseries,” a sort of catch-all word which might mean his arthritis was troubling him, that he was tired of Grandma Minnie fussing about him being underfoot, or that he was just flat-out bored.
“No man in his right mind will go out in cold rain or snow at this time of year,” he would say, conveniently ignoring the fact that he had done precisely that a few years before with decidedly bad results.
On a squirrel hunt after a snowfall of three or four inches, he fell and shattered his hip. Grandpa was a good mile from help, yet somehow slid and crawled out of the woods. Stubborn as he was, he did decide that maybe it was best to stay close to the fire when winter weather turned really bad.
Of course, Grandpa’s perspective would have likely been different had he enjoyed the opportunities available to today’s sportsmen when it comes to fighting cabin fever.
They come in many forms – fundraisers by conservation organizations, sports shows, special speakers and sale days at sporting goods dealers, outdoor television shows, videos, and books.
With the exception of books, none of those were available to Grandpa, but there is no reason for today’s sportsman to wonder “will turkey season ever come?” or bemoan his forced status as a couch potato. Today’s sportsman has plenty of ways to beat the miseries.
I recently talked to the folks at Nichols Store and in a few weeks, as turkey hunting season draws near, they will be having a number of special events and speakers. The same thing happens at other local shops, and meanwhile, this is a grand time to spend a joyous couple of hours just browsing to see all that is new and noteworthy for turkey hunting and spring fishing.
I will be attending two events in February: The first is the two-day fly fishing show in Winston-Salem, N.C. It’s an easy trip from Rock Hill with scores of exhibitors along with a full range of speakers on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10. It should make for a great way to get ready for spring.
I’ll be there with a booth and will be offering a couple of seminars each day on trout fishing in the southern Appalachians. You can find full details at www.flyfishingshow.com. If you attend, be sure to stop by for a howdy.
For the turkey hunter, there’s the local National Wild Turkey Federation chapter’s annual fund-raising banquet. The Rock Hill chapter’s event will be March 12 at the Magnolia Room.
If you want a major overdose of “turkey,” or exposure to more yelping and gobbling, and more products and paraphernalia than you can imagine, take in the federation’s national convention at Opryland in Nashville, Tenn. from Feb. 15 to Feb. 17. I attend almost every year, partly because a lot of my writing for magazines and books focuses on turkey hunting, but also just to see a lot of longtime friends and swap tales, plan hunts, and look at new gear.
For sportsmen of every stripe, and a bit closer to home, there is the annual Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston/, Feb. 15-17. It is somewhat at the upper end of the economic scale, with lots of high-priced art work and high-dollar items offered by vendors, but every time I’ve attended, whether as a spectator or an exhibitor, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience. This year’s exposition is the same weekend as the turkey federation’s national convention.
In short, there are plenty of options to cure the sportsman’s winter-time blues or blahs. Take advantage of some of them, and you’ll likely find a bit of added pep in your step, maybe gain some insight from a seminar, or perhaps buy a new piece of gear.
At any rate, you’ll be out of the house and free, for a time, of any thoughts of the miseries.