Aug. 1-5 – Week in the Woods from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. daily. Open to ages 8-15. This weeklong series of hands-on classes focuses on outdoor skills and safety. Participants will learn about tracking, using a compass, survival skills, wildlife and much more. They will spend one day hiking to the top of John Rock.
For the novice trout angler these two may be of interest. Aug. 6 – Fly Tying for the Beginner from 1 to 4 p.m. Open to ages 12 and up. Learn the basics of fly tying during this introductory level class. Participants will work at their own pace to tie a basic pattern. Equipment and materials will be provided. Aug. 19 – Casting for Beginners: Level II from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Open to ages 12 and up. Participants will learn more advanced casting techniques at their own pace from experienced instructors. This class will be held at Lake Imaging in DuPont State Recreational Forest. All equipment and materials will be provided. Participants should bring a bag lunch.
With hunting season just around the corner it is time to think about required Hunter Safety training for the new hunter. Aug. 23 and 24 – Hunter Education Course from 6 to 9 p.m. No minimum age. This two-day course will covered hunter responsibility and firearms and is accepted in every state in the United States. Everyone must complete a hunter education course successfully before hunting in North Carolina and all attendees must be present both days. There are also Hunter Education classes at Skyland Fire Department August 3 – 4 and Haywood Community College August 8 – 9. Get it done before the season starts!
Speaking of hunting season, it is time to start getting ready for resident goose starting September 1 and of course dove on September 3. I spoke with a WRC officer the other day and he says the recent rains have really helped the dove fields at Sandy Mush and they should be ready for opening day. If this drought persists I’m concerned about the impact on early goose season though. Last year’s drought led farmers to cut their silage corn early. That combined with low water levels made it difficult to pattern goose movement. Hopefully better results this year.
And since wingshooting season starts soon here is another last minute reminder to get some shooting practice in. You can have the best equipment, best camouflage, and best location in the field and if you can’t hit the birds there is nothing in the freezer and you will be very frustrated. True, you can’t simulate every target angle you will face in the field but that’s not what you are trying to achieve. The main goal you work on is your timing and re-establishing those motor skills you’ve lost since last season. Do some work at home mounting the gun until you’ve got it coming to the same place every time. Take that to the sporting clays range and force yourself to focus on the target while moving the gun ahead of it for a smooth, consistent swing to break the target. Two to three trips to the range will lead to more satisfaction in the field and a full limit.
I talked with a couple of fishing guides this week and both confirmed that conditions are terrible right now due to the persistent drought in our area. Drifting the French Broad for smallmouth bass is impossible. Not only is the water low but it is muddy because what water is there is run off from upstream. They are doing some trips to Tennessee for tailwater trout. About the only fishing to be done right now is wade fishing for trout on streams and it has to be done early morning before the water temperatures rise. Let us hope this drought will subside and conditions will improve before the Fall fishing season begins and Delayed Harvest streams are restocked.
Don Mallicoat owns Wings & Clays Guns and Gear and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 828.633.1806