Having just returned from a Siberia-like Minnesota for work, I first have to say “man do I feel sorry for you Land of Lakers.” It’s like they forgot to turn off the snow-making machine on the ski slopes and the piles are just getting deeper and deeper in Vikings’ territory.
Whether you’re battling ice, subzero weather, gloomy days or feet of snow like my good friends in Minnesota, it’s cabin fever time of year. What’s worse yet are the little shots of springtime weather that make you believe spring is on its way. It is, but then you blink your eyes and BAM, another snowstorm hits without warning. Saturday my daughter and I took advantage of a small window of nice weather. I was anxious to pinpoint wintering elk and she wanted to go on a hike. We compromised. After looking at hundreds of elk on various winter ranges we dumped the dog out of the truck and hiked the foothills looking at all the different tracks in the snow and the signs of spring starting to show up. We ran into one very vocal group of robins that gave us real hope that spring is just around the corner.
Here are a few ideas to cure your cabin fever until spring arrives. First, visit a sport show. There are still a few on the schedule including Deer Classics in Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois (www.deerinfo.com). Get together with friends and look at new gear, research outfitters and take in a seminar -- it's cheap outdoor entertainment. Inventory your whitetail hunting location. Winter reveals many of the deer living on a property as they hunt for food while resources are limited. Are there enough habitats to hold deer and do you need more food plots? If you don’t like the answers, begin planning for forestry and farming projects when weather allows.
Finally, I’m starting to scour my whitetail and mule deer spots for shed antlers and keeping an eye on the elk until they drop. Hiking is great exercise and the chance to find a shed antler provides a prize at the end of the outing. My daughter and I picked up one big mule deer shed and ended our day with malts at a local café. It was the perfect recipe to cure our cabin fever