Thankful Outdoors: Sights, Sounds, and Memories

Thankful Outdoors: Outdoor Journal Week of August 30th through September 5th

The update on the adventures for the Journal is not so much about actual activities as it was more of sights and sounds that triggered memories and feelings that the outdoor bring to me. I hope as you read this, you take a moment and think about your favorite sight and sounds of the seasons. As we enter the last Holiday weekend for summer and get ready for an unusual school year filled with uncertainty, take a moment to stop and think about things that make you appreciate things in life.

August 31st – Peyton’s 12th birthday

Photo credit: Alicia Kucirek

Tonight, was a break from all things outdoor related; Roberta’s granddaughter Peyton turned 12, and tonight was going to be an evening about spending time with family. It was a typical family gathering listening to siblings talk and pick on each other. There was a lot of talk about the first day of school for the kids. After the chaos of how school ended and how the summer break had gone, it seemed like the kids were excited to get back to school.

I did manage to get a chance to slip in an update on some trail camera pictures and have a little bit of talk about hunting. It is not often that you will find me in a social event that I cannot find someone to talk a bit about hunting or fishing too.

September 1st – Opener of Goose and Mourning Dove Season

Photo credit: Austin Post

The evenings have started to be cooler, and it has been nice to sleep with the windows open; on this morning, I woke to sounds of geese flying in the distance. That sound in the morning just makes me smile and tells me it is going to be a good day. I knew that somewhere in the fields and swamps, happy hunting dogs were retrieving downed birds. As I laid there thinking about the things that needed to be done that day at work, I soon heard shotguns in the distance. I now had the feelings of jealousy setting in as I had to head to the office while others were in the swamp, making memories watching the sunrise and filling limits on Canada geese.

 

September 4th – Just a pleasant stroll in the woods!

The 5 pm time has arrived, and my co-workers leave the parking lot at the office in chaos to start the three-day weekend. Unlike my younger years, when I would be looking forward to heading out to socialize and have a party with friends, I have reached a point in life where I appreciate the quiet, peaceful moments in life.

I am greeted at home by my always happy and excited Weimaraner, Boone. A quick change from work shoes into rubber boots and out the door we go to take a nice walk in the woods. One goal was to check things out for the upcoming bird season and see how the acorn crop is looking in the woods. We wander back to an area that we spent a lot of time chasing woodcock last year, no birds were found on this walk, but I have high hopes that when the season opens, we will find them.

As we enter the darkness of the red oaks, soon, I find the green-capped gems lying all around the ground. I see some have been split open, which is a sign that deer are actively feeding on the acorns. We had not gone, but 40 yards into the hardwoods, and I heard the snort of a big fat doe who was not liking that Boone and I had interrupted her peaceful meal that evening. We continue our walk to visit the stream to see how many wood ducks would be on the river feeding on the acorns. I wanted to see if the little honey hole would be holding any water. Most of McMillan Swamp this fall is dried up and is not keeping much for duck activity in the areas that I usually would take a few ducks during the fall. I was disappointed not to hear or see any of my favorite ducks in the area. I will have to continue to search for another location for the upcoming duck season.

The sun was starting to set, and we turn around to head west on our way back to the truck. Soon I found myself in one of the areas where I often had stopped to look at the setting sun or the stars in the sky as I have traveled this path many times in my journey back to the truck. I just stood there for several minutes, taking in the sunset, remembering the many walks out of the swamp. Some of the memories were of successful hunts; others were just adventures that made great memories. This spot is one that I still chuckle as I pass the little oak tree tucked into the heavy brush where a warden had taken a hiding spot to check hunters during rifle season a few years back. That sure does catch a guy off guard when you are walking out in complete darkness, not thinking about much other than climbing into a warm truck, and a warden jumps out of the weeds with a bright flashlight loudly stating, “Stop, WI DNR Game Warden!” He did his routine check of a license, unloaded gun, and asked a few questions; after passing inspection, I continued my way as he waited for another hunter who still had not gotten out of the woods.

September 5th – Getting the stands ready for opening Bear Season

Craig, Dad and, I carry bait in for what we are hoping is the last weekend. The season opens on September 9th. We also carry in stands to do setup and brush out shooting lanes for not only Craig to get a clean shot but also so that I have the right camera angles for filming. The bait stations continue to look promising; there was a new development this weekend. The one station did not seem to have a high amount of activity that it usually did; we pulled the SD card from the trail camera. As we flipped through the pictures, we soon saw a bear that we estimated to be a 400+ pound bear. He was arriving at the station after shooting hours, though.

Dad figured he had kicked this bear off the station on the walk-in.  He had heard a large animal take off just before getting to the bait station. Dad maybe the old guy in the bunch, but still gets out front and often leads the way as he has done so many times before. Not sure if that is a habit from when he was in Vietnam and led his unit on point while in the jungle or if it was the many years of leading us four boys in the woods.

In closing, I hope you find a way to get into the outdoors, create your adventure and memories, but most importantly, find a way to “Celebrate the Experience.” Go check out www.thankfuloutdoors.com for more content and share your “Celebrate the Experience” moment with us!

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website www.thankfuloutdoors.com or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.