Hunting and Ice Fishing 101! Or Just Go Shopping!
Hunting season has arrived…time to get the bob-house ready!
Actually, hunting season started on September 1st, but I don’t really need a calendar to know that, because it’s usually the time when my closet starts craving more shoes. While the men are getting their arsenal of hunting weapons ready, I’m dreaming of what new styles I can add to my collection this year.
Having grown up in a female household, I’m amazed at how much more I learn every year about hunting and fishing. Don’t get me wrong, you’re never going to catch me out in the woods hunting for my dinner…there’s a Supermarket 6 miles down the road.
However, I do live with my boyfriend and his 17 year old son (Zack)…and Zack lives to hunt and ice fish. If this child put 1 ounce of the effort into his schoolwork that he does into prepping for hunting and fishing seasons, Harvard would be begging him to enroll.
I lived in Alaska for 4 years, a place loaded with hunting and fishing fools, but it wasn’t until I met Zack that I learned exactly how many different “opening days” there are for hunting, and how much preparation goes into this "oh so exciting time of the year". Oh, and let’s not forget all of the practicing with the hunting calls…that’s always music to my ears!
Here are some useful facts (not)…did you know that in New Hampshire, you can begin bear hunting on September 1st, followed by “opening day” for archery deer hunting on September 15th? You can then start hunting for deer with a muzzleloader on November 3rd, but you can’t use your FIREARM until November 14th, and men say we women are confusing????
Let’s not forget some of the other good “opening days” such as: Cottontail Rabbit and Snowshoe Hare (October 1st), Fox, Opossum, Skunk (September 1st), crow…Who the hell hunts crow? (August 15th), Raccoons…Again, why??? (September 1st), then there’s the most important one of them all….Pheasant, Grouse, Quail, and Partridge (October 1st)! This is the big event...this is when Zack, as well as his dad, really starts getting giddy. Watching him get ready for hunting every year is almost the same as watching a “bride to be” plan her wedding.
But, and that's a BIG but….as excited as he gets about all of this hunting stuff, there is no comparison to Ice Fishing Season! That is the grand-daddy of all things in this house.
Zack built his bob-house for the most part by himself…dad helped a little, but only when he was absolutely needed “or allowed to.” When it is not in use (you know, when the ice thaws), it is stored out of sight, down below our tree line in the backyard.
Now…even though we live in New Hampshire, (which to most southerners…might as well be the North Pole), ice fishing season doesn’t usually start until sometime in January. “Not to be Captain Obvious here” but there needs to be ice…really thick ice! However, just like every other year, it is now October 1st and the bob-house has already made its way to the backyard. The preparations have begun!
First thing on the list, for this year is paint. Zack says it needs a new coat of paint. Why? Don’t know…it’s just a box made out of wood. He wants to put some shelves in there too. Why? Don’t know…he just sits in the thing and stares down into a hole in the ice! To be fair, it is far more to him than just staring into that hole; to him it’s the only thing that makes winter worthwhile.
Every year, he and his friends haul their bob-houses over to the local lake. Of course my boyfriend happens to be the chosen “dad” who uses his truck and 4-wheelers to lug these winter retreats…he has "The Big Truck"! Every one of these houses is equipped with an ice fishing camera, a small stove, furniture, pots and pans, and of course…whatever it is they happened to shoot during hunting season. AND…I almost forgot, the beef jerky that comes in the same style can as chewing tobacco and the very important “TIP UPS!” Then the boys are all set up for the winter…they are happy boys!
I’ll never understand the ice fishing thing, I’ve gone out there a couple of times…I just don’t get it. I once heard a guy (on the radio) trying to describe to his listeners what it was like….and this is the best explanation I’ve heard so far; he said “if you ever want to experience ice fishing, without actually going out there and freezing your butt off, lock yourself in your closet with the lights off for about 3 hours and shine a flashlight down towards the floor”…couldn’t have said it any better myself!
By the way...we’re only on the 1st day of month 2 of hunting season, and I’ve already acquired a new pair of UGGS and a pair of cowboy boots. My mother sent the cowboy boots up from Texas. When I pulled them out of the box yesterday, my boyfriend’s first sarcastic comment was “I hate your mother”, which he immediately followed with “and tell her she owes me a new closet. “ OH WELL….they hunt and fish, I shop and take up closet space!
Update on this article:
Zack's dad and I have now been married for over 8 years, and have since moved to Florida and back. We returned to New Hampshire this past summer, and I'll be dammed if there wasn't already a brand new bob-house being constructed in Zack's back yard in the middle of August. After all, ice fishing season was just around the corner...wasn't it?