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Being outdoors means tracking weather

This column was written by Jerry Smyly for the Demopolis Times.)

I made the comment last week that it looked like we were easing back into a wet weather pattern. It’s April in Alabama so unfortunately that also means the possibility of tornadoes. Spring weather can be very volatile and has the potential to be deadly. Whether you’re fishing or turkey hunting you should try to stay up to date on the possibility for weather changes while you are afield. A smartphone with a weather and radar map can be invaluable when afield, as long as it has service. Many fishermen, myself included, love to fish just prior to the arrival of an approaching storm front. It has been said for eons that animals, particularly fish, will be very active and attempting to feed prior to the front’s arrival. But, if you timing is off you could put yourself in a dangerous situation.

The same is true of turkey hunting. We all know that Tom’s will gobble at thunder, but is it really a good idea to be afield during a lightning storm? The answer is definitely, No! After the storm is passed but some thunder is still audible would probably be the safest time, but we’re told if you can hear thunder, there is a chance of being struck. Use common sense, no fish or turkey is worth getting seriously injured or killed over!

While it seems everyone is either fishing or turkey hunting, there are other activities going on as well. I’ve been busy with wildlife management projects! Corn has been planted, and there are clover fields in need of spraying. Clover is a very nutritional food for multiple species of wildlife, deer and turkeys both use it heavily. I always try to include a couple species of clover in all of my cool season food plots. A couple annuals such as arrow leaf or crimson are great, and depending on your need and budget, including a perennial such as ladino can provide nutrition all summer. Clover is somewhat high maintenance, needing periodic mowing, spraying, and fertilization. However, if you can keep this little miracle plant healthy into the summer you are providing valuable protein to both bucks with developing antlers, and pregnant or lactating does.

Spring is a busy time of year outdoors. The temperatures are often very nice and it’s a great time to get outdoors. Just remember that spring time weather can change quickly so try and stay alert and keep some type of warning device nearby. Stay safe and have fun!

(This column originally appeared in the Wednesday, April 17 issue of the Demopolis Times.)