Hunting the wild turkey in the spring is one of my treasured rituals. It’s the time of the year when I’ve stowed my ice fishing gear and I’m waiting for the lakes and reservoirs to open. Turkey hunting cures cabin fever.
At the very moment I spoke those words, the sky exploded with that familiar, vibrant blur of a rooster pheasant! Startled enough by that one, a second rooster busted from the cover and headed for the trees.
After a few minutes reviewing shotgunning principles, they started taking turns, focusing on one bird at a time, and swinging through after the shot. It was amazing. They both started hitting birds and making some impressive shots.
Fall is the time to get out to the fisheries here in Utah. Fish become more active after water temperatures drop and lakes turn over; they’re preparing to spawn or looking to fatten up for wintertime. As summer comes to an end and hunting season approaches, a few people stow their summer fishing gear. Not me.
Many of the larger rainbow trout were shaped like Spalding footballs, especially those in the 15- to 17-inch size class. Brown trout have also taken on a new look, and the night’s “big fish” was a 20-inch brown trout weighing in at 3.5 pounds.
Many hunters harvested their first deer and elk on WIA areas. Since the program began seven years ago, we’ve received many comments from proud fathers, avid anglers and enthusiastic hunters.
On page 13, the Utah Fishing Guidebook states, “Fishing for crayfish (also called crawdads) is a fun activity for the whole family.” But I’m here to tell you that crawdaddin’ is not just “fun,” it’s crazy-awesome and you have got to give it a try.
Seeing a striper boil in person was awesome—it’s louder and more frenzied than I imagined. The final fish count included three respectable stripers, one obscenely large bluegill, a couple largemouth bass and a few smallies.
As my eyes took in the side hill to the south, I noticed the white mustache and pointed ears of a mountain lion lying on a large boulder about 100 yards from where I sat. I didn’t see it move, and it was looking right at me so assumed that it had been watching me from the moment I arrived.
Participants were extremely satisfied with the experience—especially the opportunity to see these mysterious creatures in the flesh. There was also talk of how therapeutic it was to sit in the darkness and watch the stars from lawn chairs.
My charges include over 200 species of birds and dozens of mammals. Many of the latter (such as pygmy rabbits, American pika and northern flying squirrels) are poster children for cuteness. Most of our sensitive species can fit in your hand. One of these “sensitive” critters—and by far the largest of them—requires at least two people to handle: the California condor.
Each summer, more than 60 employees from the DWR’s northern region spend a day together, improving wildlife habitat and a local DWR facility. In June of 2012, we held our annual workday at the Hardware Ranch Wildlife Management Area (WMA).