Enjoying the Natural World Around Us
Zumbo: In popular hunting areas, set up
where others will push the birds to you.
Think escape routes. Look for natural
funnels, saddles on ridges and bug-out
routes. Also, birds are more likely to walk
downhill, not uphill.
Winter is a prime season for wildlife watching. The absence of leaves makes viewing and photographing
animals easier, as illustrated by this picture of a bald eagle perched along Washington’s Methow River.
Photo by Larry Berg of Winthrop, Washington
‘Civilized’ Wildlife Watching
My young dog, Manny, was unusually
alert one day. His head was up, eyes darting. His dashes through the sage were
more energetic than usual. I soon learned
why. He had sensed, scented and then
spotted a large herd of mule deer searching for a night-time bedding spot.
It was only mid-afternoon, but this
time of year the sun was already behind
the hills and dusk had settled on our
patch of high desert. That is the best
news about long winter nights and short
days: your wildlife watching hours are
a bit more “civilized” because you don’t
have to get up so early or stay up so late
for primetime wildlife viewing.
Most animals are adjusting their internal clocks during the shorter days of winter. They are moving, feeding and seeking
shelter within a smaller window of time.
If you’re not a morning person or
night owl, this is your time to shine.
Before the First Cast
Did you find a new fishing rod or reel
under the Christmas tree? If so, now is a
good time to buy fishing line, since many
retailers are clearing their shelves to
make room for spring inventory.
If you plan to stock up, store the extra
line in a cool, dark location. Sunlight
and heat accelerate the deterioration of
monofilament fishing line.
Soak your new line in warm water for
a few minutes prior to winding it onto
your reel. That way the line will “relax,”
minimizing those annoying loops.
Sometimes, simply flipping over the
spool of line you’re pulling from will help
take out some of the loops. Many pro
guides will stretch new monofilament
line on a reel (the first several dozen
yards) by tying one end to a post, then
exerting gentle tension while holding the
other end of the line in their hand—not
by the reel. This takes out the loops and
improves hook-setting responsiveness.
Test Your Knowledge
It’s time for another contest! If you can
correctly name the critter that is derisively called a “ditch parrot” by those who
doggedly pursue it, you will be entered
in a random drawing for a Mini Maglite
flashlight. Enter by e-mailing your answer
to firstname.lastname@example.org by
February 29, 2012.
Scott Linden’s TV series
Wingshooting USA is
now airing year-round on
Pursuit Channel on your
satellite provider’s basic
tier. For more information,
If turkey hunting is your passion, it’s not
too early to start scouting—and planning.
I still employ hard-won advice from
outdoor writer and TV personality Jim
Campcraft and Outdoor Lore
• Support conservation groups
and possibly win a great prize in my
“TruckVault Cares” initiative. Vote at
• Most new fishing lure models arrive
at retailers in March or April, so keep
your eyes peeled and your hand on your