Categorized | Opinion

Extended Freeze & “The Order”

By Josh Gowan

Jason Saltzman from Kennett, Mo., poses with a big paddlefish he caught snagging at the Reelfoot Lake spillway.

Jason Saltzman from Kennett, Mo., poses with a big paddlefish he caught snagging at the Reelfoot Lake spillway.

This week in “Outdoors in Alaska”, we’ve got a full schedule. The schoolhouse in Kwigillingok was closed this past Tuesday when a Moose took up residence in the classroom. It looks to be a great year for salmon fishing after last year’s record harvest. Scouting for grizzly bears? Now’s a great time with 42 inches of ice covering Kolekfikpuk Lake, you can get your snowmobile deep in the Yukon and pinpoint areas for when the hibernation ends. Don’t forget, the daily harvest for golden king crab is three per year, and there’s new regulations for dressing your halibut and cleaning razor clams…
What’s that? We don’t live in Alaska? Well could someone please tell Mother stinkin’ Nature!!! I’ve never been so sick of something in my life! I’m getting an early start on this week’s column due to some things going on during the week, and while I sit and wait for the SuperBowl to start, the snow is coming down harder than a pack of huskies after the Iditarod!
Here’s the great news, my least favorite fat, burrowing rodent and his irreverent omnipotence has cursed us with six more weeks of winter.
Next year I’m taking a group of kids to visit Punxsutawney Phil. I’ll be holding a series of competitions at Chuck-E-Cheese’s on the Wack-A-Mole game, and the top five contestants will accompany me and five kid-sized sledge hammers to Pennsylvania…
In an attempt to be more positive about the longest winter I’ve ever had the displeasure of not getting to fish in because my lake can’t thaw out because it won’t stay above freezing for more than 24 hours and it takes me an eternity to make it to work because it won’t stop snowing or freezing raining because it’s the worst winter I’ve ever… sorry, I got off track.
I promised a positive, so here’s one, my wife’s snow cream! Here’s the recipe: 1 gallon of snow, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of vanilla, and 2 cups of milk – put it in a bowl and stir and voila!! For best results, dump a hefty portion of snow cream on top of a couple warm brownies, and drizzle chocolate sauce on top.
It’s just that time of year again, when nothing’s blooming and no one’s playing outside, duck and deer season are winding down, and the only thing biting is the wind.
Normally I’d have filmed at least one video at Reelfoot by now, but among my sponsors there is not one who makes an ice auger (trust me, I checked!) Us outdoorsmen probably watch more television this time of year than any other, and while I’m not a big proponent of wasting away in front of the TV, thank God for hunting and fishing shows!
G3 Sportsman has long been a family favorite, and the new Krappie Kings TV on the World Fishing Network is awesome. I’m one large financial benefactor away from having my own show, and when that happens I’ll expect all of you to tune in!
My favorite late winter activity is partaking in “the order”. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service started the “Snow Goose Conservation Order” back in 1999, and the conservation departments of most of the states in our region have been working with them to dramatically decrease the ballooning snow goose population, and I’m happy to help!
There are no limits in most states, and you can take the plug out of your shotgun.
The geese are multiplying faster than their breeding habitat in the Arctic Tundra can handle, so thinning the population is for their own good.
Getting these big, white birds to decoy is pretty difficult, so in the past I’ve preferred driving around until I find a large flock and stalking them, which although effective and something I’ve done since I was a kid, it is quite exhausting. My waterfowling specialists, the Boden brothers, are hunting a field over 1,500 flags, 250 full body decoys, a couple small “vortex” machines, and a new contraption that swings 24 flying goose decoys in a tornadic motion.
This seems pretty tiring to set up, and it probably is, which is why I show up right before daylight!
Although snow’s are called “sky carp” by many, they can be good table fare if they’re prepared right.
Just treat them like a big, Mississippi river catfish. Cut the breasts up into square inch chunks, and submerge in salt water. Keep them in the refrigerator, changing the water five or six times over a 24 hour period. After “purging” them, you can cook them any way and they turn out pretty good, I prefer them bacon-wrapped and barbequed!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com
— What do you think? Send Letters to the Editor to thomas.sellers@journalinc.com.

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