A few regrets as summer ends, but looking forward to fall's offerings – Wooster Daily Record

You would think with nearly 68 years of experience, I would no longer be surprised − or maybe disappointed is a better word − that summer somehow passed me by and now I wonder where it went?
Not literally, but you know what I mean. All those plans I had for fishing trips, family get-togethers, hikes, campouts, summer ball games, camping trips, bird watching and just some good old fashioned relaxing nights on the porch with a bowl of ice cream covered in strawberries − where did they go?
Some of that happened, but not to the extent I had envisioned. And, it never does. Plans change, bad weather occurs and unexpected things pop up. Mowers break, AC units quit, paint peels, weeds grow (well, that’s not unexpected) and illnesses happen. You just didn’t get done all the fun things you had hoped to. But, there’s hope. There’s always next year.
And now, with the calendar turning to September, there’s fall – my favorite time of the year. As an outdoorsman, the possibilities are endless.
And while fall lends itself to some of the best fishing of the year, it’s the time all hunters have been waiting for. Whether that means taking the grandson squirrel hunting in the woods, sitting in a duck blind waiting for the fog to lift, or early-season deer hunting, it’s time for camo and the smell of just-fired shotgun shells. It’s enjoying cool mornings and brisk evenings taking in nature, even if a deer doesn’t walk by your stand.
Fall is deer scouting and trail cam watching. It’s hanging deer stands and cutting shooting lanes. It’s practicing with your bow and practicing with your gun. It’s deciding when to take a doe, or if you will let the 8-pointer walk. Do you wait for the monster, or put meat on the table?
Fall is your back against a corn row, overlooking a dove field, where you hope your practice with the shotgun pays off in the harvest of some fast-flying birds.
Fall is motoring out to your duck blind, where you make sure everything is just right for that day you call a flock into your spread. It’s when you work on that hole in your waders, maybe buy some more decoys for the hunt, or get in some extra practice with your duck and goose calls.
Fall is turkey hunting (although this year’s season has been shortened to 37 days because of a decline in turkey numbers), and the chance to put a real wild bird on the table for Thanksgiving.
Fall is the sound of beagles hot on the scent of a rabbit, or hounds treeing a coon.
Fall is also go-time for Lake Erie perch fishing and the start of some of the best walleye opportunities of the year. Fall is when the chance of a double-digit trophy “Walter” rises with each passing day. Fall is when steelhead start gathering at the mouth of Lake Erie tributaries before they head inland to spawn, and when smallmouth bass go on feeding frenzies as they fatten up for winter.
Fall is pumpkin patches and apple orchards; it’s changing leaves; monarch migrations and on holding hands on wildlife walks. Fall is for campfires and s’mores, that last canoe trip, firewood gathering and unfortunately, prepping for winter.
This fall, get out there and enjoy it, and don’t let it pass you by.
OPENING DATES − Squirrel season opened Sept. 1, along with dove, rail, snipe and gallinule. Canada geese and teal (blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon) started Sept. 3. The deer archery hunting season is not far behind, with the statewide season beginning Sept. 24 and a season in a few targeted counties opening Sept. 10.
Hunters are reminded to check regulations for changes to season dates and daily limits as the 2022 fall seasons begin. A summary of the 2022-23 hunting and trapping regulations can be found at wildohio.gov, on the HuntFish OH app, or anywhere licenses are sold.
Outdoor correspondent Art Holden can be reached at letsplabal@yahoo.com.