I know for a fact that Pope Gregory XIII was not an outdoorsman. No way. If so, when he developed the Gregorian Calendar we use in the western world today he would have taken out the month of March. Because from a sportsmen’s perspective there is not much of value to the month.
In most states the regular hunting season ends with the last day of February. I guess there is some conservation snow goose hunting to be had, but that usually entails travel and money. Not only that, it doesn’t consume the entire month. That leaves a lot of down time.
There are some fishing opportunities out there. Depending on your location some trout streams are open. In our state of North Carolina the Hatchery Supported streams are closed in March for restocking prior to the big opening weekend in April. Delayed Harvest and Wild Trout waters will have to suffice. But March weather is so fickle it’s hard to make plans for a day on the stream. Crappie won’t hit the beds until early April either.
So from our perspective, I call it the Idles of March. We are just marking time until other opportunities open up in April. It’s a time to tinker. Every year I tell myself to clean up the hunting gear and get it stored. It doesn’t work. How do I know? Because next season I’ll find a pack of cheese crackers in the dove vest left over from last September’s opener.
Oh, I sort through the hunting gear. Not so much to clean and store it but to relive the memories of the past season.I’ll idle some time away putting away the goose decoys thinking about the last goose of the season. It was an odd setup in a cow pasture along a flight path in hopes of getting some geese close enough for a passing shot. I was in a hide at a nearby fence line. My back was turned to the decoys after hearing some geese toward the east. When I turned back a flight of about ten were feet down, wings cupped, landing by the decoy spread. Not a honk or peep out of them.
After that I’ll run my hands through the pockets of my upland vest just to get the leaves and stick out of it. The random grouse or woodcock feather will remind me of a Gordon Setter pointing a woodcock in a stream bed in the central part of the state and Bob’s first limit on the little doodles. Or Ben locked down on a mountain trail as a grouse erupts and my shot miraculously connects.
But that is the past. It’s time to think about the future. I’ll get out the fly-fishing gear and check for the correct assortment of flies. Not that it matters given my casting skills. The correct size and number of leaders will be checked. Maybe this is the year to drag out Uncle Bob’s old Wright & McGill fly rod and give it a try.
All those dove and grouse I missed last year? Well the answer to that is more time at the sporting clays range. March is a good month to idle some time away at the range before my time is consumed with turkey hunting and trout fishing.
So March may not be so idle. It is a month to both reflect on the past season and prepare for the fast approaching new ones. There are things to do. I can’t be idle.