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An annual ritual begins

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

 

They’re here! At our local launches! Boats sitting crossways or tilted crookedly on their trailers as they yell and stomp and send strange hand signals to their partners. Yes, the nautically challenged vessel operators are now becoming ever more present on our local waters and boat ramps. Temperatures have risen to near 90 several days the past week, usually this triggers these individuals to dust off their craft and head to the nearest waterway. Their migration is subtle at first, but as air temperatures soar, their numbers increase. Its an annual ritual, not unlike migrating wildebeest or spawning salmon.

The key to dealing with these folks is patience. I witnessed a fine example of this last weekend. I saw no room for my assistance so I simply observed from a safe distance. I watched in awe as intricate hand signals were used, and verbal commands were barked. Though not educational, it was quite entertaining. If you are one of these people, I’m sorry for poking fun, but I didn’t catch very many fish! Keep at it and maybe one day you’ll get the hang of loading your vessel. Meanwhile the rest of us will continue to watch, don’t be shy chances are we’ll gladly help if asked.

As traveling turkey hunters return home with tails of suicidal Rio Grande or Merriam turkeys, most of us are fishing. There are a few however that have turned their attention to hogs, either with dogs or spot and stalk. I have been doing a little of both the past few days.

Also, it is time to start looking into getting some summer food plots in the ground. There’s still time to plant corn, and beans and peas should be going in the ground soon.

Don’t forget about your doves. Sunflowers and millets are highly preferred by these speedy fliers, and offers them much more to eat than just tossing some wheat out on the ground in September. The weather’s nice and there’s plenty to do, get out and enjoy it. And if your really lucky (or maybe unlucky) you’ll get to witness the annual migration to the boat launch I described earlier!

(This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, May 8 issue of the Demopolis Times.)