RIEGE: November is a month of transition and traditions

Published 9:49 pm Wednesday, October 27, 2010


November starts out with shades of summer and slowly evolves into winter. Fall is in all it’s glory this month and all of us should take the time to stop, look, and listen to November. The click of a receiver on a prized shotgun will bring back memories of the cackle of the rooster pheasant or the feeder call of the mallard duck, but November has more than that to offer. November has pumpkin pie and bowl games and dogs curled by the fire. November allows us to put on hunting boots, wool clothes and fleece lined slippers, but it also gives us memories of Mom and Dad.

November is a special time of the year, if you are interested in finding large fish, especially those wallhanger walleyes that we seek during the summer months. Probably more 10 lb. plus walleyes are caught during the month of November than any other month. Those big walleyes are starting a feeding frenzy to fatten themselves up before winter arrives.

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At no time of the year will muskies be heavier than they are in October and November. These months test the most avid fisherman. Frozen hands, numb feet, and ice-covered livewells, tackle and sandwiches are normal experiences. Snowstorms, slippery boat ramps, and iced-over boat landings can all add to the problems encountered. Snowmobile suits, pac boots, wool socks, waterproof gloves, and lots of hot coffee help a bit. A little action from the fish can help a lot during this brutal time of the year!

Where does the time go? It seems like yesterday that we were raking leaves and riding bicycles, enjoying the warmth of that fall sunshine. I to have to stop and reflect at this time of year and spend time, real quality time with my family. I want my daughter Amanda and my son Aaron to experience such memories as, the smell of fresh baked bread, turkey roasting, and the first fire in the fireplace that makes the house feel like a home. Although, both of my children are grown, they still come home in November to experience and relive memories that were long ago established.

More importantly, I want them to take time to experience the wonders of the outdoors. November has some special times and paths that take us into the marshes, or allow us to feel the rush when a rooster pheasant explodes at your feet. My wife Ginny and my daughter Amanda like to walk in the woods where they might catch a glimpse of a turkey or whitetail deer. While I like to follow my Irish Setters, Reily & Laddy, into the fields and to hear the cackle of the rooster pheasant or the scolding of the fox squirrel.

It is a “homecoming” the beginning of many days when friends and families reunite. It is a time of Thanksgiving and memories with the family. Spending, as much time with my father, as possible November was the month that brings back special sights, sounds and smells of this transitional month.

I remember when I was a young boy and also when Aaron was about the same age when he discovered fox and raccoon tracks in the soft mud by the edge of the creek. Aaron was amazed to watch a buck deer come out of nowhere to rub his antlers on the sumac not less than twenty feet from our blind.

November is also more than hunting or fishing it is an experience in realty. Where else could you witness, in the clearing, where the farm once was, is a 12 point buck waiting for the wind to still so he can go on feeding in the quiet and keep a watch out for any predators. As the day folds into late afternoon we all like to find a spot that we can watch the migrating flocks of waterfowl and delight in the beauty of the setting sun.

“God doesn’t count the hours man spends afield with friends,” or “The thing we build that lasts longest is memory.” All we ever need to do to hear the sounds of geese is to listen. All we ever need to do to see the point and hear the flush is to close our eyes.

Of all the months that we can choose from, November holds that special place in my heart. Why don’t you get out of the house, take a walk in the woods, catch some large fish or sit still and take in all that November has to offer.