The bright, brisk days of fall stir the souls of those who love the outdoors. Some are called by the rivers of fall. Most any river, or even stream, will do for an overnight on a deserted gravel bar away from the craziness of people’s daily lives. The river valleys are quiet with only the whisper of falling leaves. With the water temperature cooler, fish life too takes on new vigor. The fish know it’s time to put on a layer of winter fat and respond accordingly to an enticingly cast lure or fly.
Some fishermen will wade and enjoy casting a fly to a rising trout. Some will cast a lure to a fighting smallmouth. Some will paddle around in a canoe or kayak fishing or not. All will take time to sit and glory in the turn of the season.
Late night, hunkered close to the campfire, holds an attraction that’s hard to match. Barred owls up and down the river talk of their plans for the evening. Stars twinkle in the dark night sky. The flames dance and flicker. We shift our cold side to the fire and ponder our place in the world. The pleasures that come with the rivers of fall are the soul of treasured memories.


“When a man does a piece of work which is admired by all we say that it is wonderful; but when we see the changes of day and night, the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky, and the changing season upon the earth, with their ripening fruits, anyone must realize that it is the work of someone more powerful than man.”

                                                        -Chased-by-Bears, Santee-Yanktonai Sioux


I love fly fishing for trout, so don’t tell my fly fishing buddies I said this, but in a lot of cases, you can use your ultra-light spin fishing gear for trout or any other fish for that matter. The lightest line that’s practical will help with accurate casting, more delicate delivery, and better action. Larger, weighted artificial flies are easily cast on ultra-light spinning tackle. For smaller flies add a split shot. 


If you’re hunting doves in tall vegetation, it’s easy to lose a dove you shoot. You drop a dove, and another flies right over. You pull up to shoot the second, only to realize you have no clue where the first one is. At that point it’ll take a long time to find. If you’re hunting in high cover, and you drop a dove, don’t take your eyes off where it landed no matter how many birds are in the air. Walk straight to it, pick it up, and then move your eyes back to the sky. 


You did your scouting. You practiced shooting your bow. You hung your stand in a good place. You controlled your scent. You’re in your treestand, and you’re ready. The buck of a lifetime steps out. He’s just beyond shooting range, or he is within range but seems to always be behind a tree or bush. Do you shoot or not shoot?
Either scenario can affect your good judgment. No one is looking. How will they ever know if you violate the rules of ethical hunting? Resisting the urge to take a poor shot will leave you a memory of that buck walking away, and that’s better than the haunting memory of wounding that buck and never finding it. 


“When a hunter is in a treestand with moral values and with the proper hunting ethics and richer for the experience, that hunter is 20 feet closer to God.”

                                                                                                      – Fred Bear