Outdoors: White Christmas just a dream in 2015
One week until Christmas, and more rain than snow in sight.
December 2015 will go down as one of the mildest in history, appreciated by homeowners for the lower heating bills but a real kick in the ice-fishing pants to guides waiting to get their shacks on Green Bay for its lucrative whitefish fishery.
After back-to-back highs only in the 20s Friday and Saturday, daytime high temperatures are expected to climb back above freezing and stay there, with more 40s possible at times.
Even with nighttime lows in the 20s now and then over the next two weeks, warmer days and warmer than usual water temperatures for this time of the year means we’re likely looking at mid-January for any serious offshore ice drilling on the bay.
A week or so prior — and figuring that extended cold has to settle in sooner or later — you might expect to cautiously walk on sections of area rivers and inland lakes, or even a few select spots closer to shore at Dyckesville, Little Sturgeon and Sturgeon Bay.
It’s been an above-average fall for open water opportunities. Brown trout have been caught in both the lake and rivers, with some bonus rainbow trout, northern pike and coho salmon also hooked in the tributaries.
On the hunting scene, there are three weekends left to get after whitetails with bow or crossbow. Goose hunting closes Monday, but wild turkeys and pheasants remain fair game through Dec. 31.
If you like to excellent writing and enjoy an adventure, “Classic Hunting Tales: Timeless Stories about the Great Outdoors” may be for you.
Edited by Vin T. Sparano, editor emeritus of Outdoor Life magazine, the book is a paperback and ebook and came out less than a month ago, retailing for $24.99.
From the terrifying “The Croc That Wouldn’t Die” to the nearly unbelievable “Nightmare Hunt,” in which a hunter survives being mauled by bears, “Classic Hunting Tales” delivers story after emotional story. There are tales of tigers and rams, of deer and cougars, and even a classic story of a moose hunt in the wilds of Alaska in 1897.
Another new paperback and ebook edited by Sparano, “Tales of Woods and Waters: An Anthology of Classic Hunting and Fishing Stories,” also retails for $24.99. It’s a collection of 37 of what some believe to be among the greatest, most enjoyable, and most well-written outdoor stories to have been published.
Experience the tension of hunting in the jungles of Tanzania in Jim Carmichael’s “Kill the Leopard,” the joys of your first .22 in Garth Sanders’s “My First Rifle,” the nuances of river fishing in Frank Conaway’s “Big Water, Little Men,” and the enduring challenge of turkey hunting in Charles Elliott’s “The Old Man and the Tom.”
No matter where one hunts, shoots, or fishes, the outdoors will always be an important place to form memories that last a lifetime.
Bird count is on
The National Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count is underway. It began Monday and ends Jan. 5.
Each winter, thousands of citizen scientists gather in 15-mile-wide circles, organized by a count compiler, and count every bird they see or hear. Their hard work provides valuable insights into population trends for many species that would otherwise go unnoticed and undocumented.
Last year’s count shattered records. A total of 2,462 counts and 72,653 observers tallied over 68 million birds of 2,106 different species. Counts took place in all 50 states, all Canadian provinces and over 100 count circles in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands. Four counts took place in Cuba and new counts in Mexico, Nicaragua and Colombia partook for the first time.
The Audubon Christmas Bird Count began in 1900 when Dr. Frank Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore — which evolved into Audubon magazine — suggested an alternative to the holiday “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most birds.
There is no fee to participate and the quarterly report, American Birds, is available online. Counts are open to birders of all skill levels and Audubon’s free Bird Guide app makes it even easier to chip in. To find a count near you ,visit www.christmasbirdcount.org.
Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. Email him at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Outdoors: White Christmas just a dream in 2015