There are always news stories circulating this time of year about how January is the most depressing month.
The reasons, they say, range from post-holiday debt, lethargy and weight gain to the onset of cold and flu season.
One study in Great Britain even found January was the major month for breakups among couples.
Here in Georgia, outdoor folks are mourning the end of deer season, which closed New Year’s Day in some areas – and just last Tuesday in the state’s southern zone.
With all this free time, what can we do until turkey season gets here?
After polling a few friends, here are some ideas to help releve the outdoorsman’s seasonal doldrums:
• Order a case of tannerite from eBay and go to the range. Or better yet, go to someone else’s range.
• Run past your buddy’s trail camera in a Yeti costume – just don’t get shot.
• Try fishing for yellow perch in the Savannah River (which I plan to do on Monday).
• Order an assault rifle and write your Congressman about what an idiot Michael Bloomberg is.
• Take some kids squirrel hunting with rimfire rifles and plenty of ammo.
• Spend an afternoon looking for arrowheads in winter fields and along old logging roads.
• Invite a pile of friends over to cook all that fish and game in the freezer.
• Sleep late on a Saturday morning.
• Make venison jerky to give to friends who have been nice to you.
• Comb the thickets around your food plots to find sheds – which typically offer insight into the bucks you will be hunting this fall.
SHOTGUN TEAM TIME: Enrollment and orientation meetings will be held in Columbia County this month for new and returning members of the Clay Pigeon Target Sporting Program open to students in seventh through 12th grades.
Meetings for new and returning members will be held Thursday and Jan. 29 at Savannah Rapids Pavilion. Both sessions begin at 7 p.m. and all interested team members must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The yearly club fee is $135, includes shells, clays, trophies, and competition fees to attend district & state matches.
Practices are held on Thursdays and will begin in February at a closed section of the Columbia County Landfill off Columbia Road.
Although participants are expected to provide their own 12 or 20 gauge shotgun, new members can arrange to borrow a shotgun.
The team is sponsored by the University of Georgia’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Science, with volunteers and coaches trained by Georgia 4-H and Project S.A.F.E. (Shooting Awareness Fun and Education).
The program’s county competition is held in late March or early April, followed by district and state competitions. All members must have a hunter safety card.
For more details, visit the program’s Web site: http://www.columbia4htrap.org.
SHOOTING RANGE FREEBIE: Hunter education graduates can “give it a shot” with a free three-month pass this winter to any of the 18 Department of Natural Resources shooting ranges in Georgia.
Typically, a $19 wildlife management area license would be required for shooters age 16 and up.
“A recent study of hunter education graduates showed that 26 percent of them did not purchase a hunting license within the first year of passing the test,” said Walter Lane, hunter development program manager. “When they don’t get the chance to hunt right away, it is a chance that we have lost a hunter. This range pass is an immediate way to invite them out to give it a shot. They can test out their shooting skills while keeping their enthusiasm strong.”
How will it work? At the conclusion of their class, each student receives their hunter education certification card. The graduation date, listed on the card, is the beginning of their three-month shooting range pass. They just need to show the card at the range. Students will also receive information about the use of the pass and where to find participating ranges during their classroom time.
For more information, go to www.georgiawildlife.com/hunting/archery-shooting-ranges. Most ranges are open year-round.