Hurry spring; most folks have had enough winter and need sunshine
Groundhog’s Day has come and gone, Phil and most other groundhogs predicted six more weeks of winter. Sun or none, six more weeks of winter usually can be anticipated on Ground Hog’s Day.
Not all groundhogs are named Phil and not all are in Pennsylvania.
Some Europeans apparently gave the forecasting job to the bear, but the groundhog seemed more friendly when aroused from a deep winter sleep. Anyway, the job was assigned to a creature that hibernated, and its emergence symbolized the imminent arrival of spring.
This year, a grumpy groundhog named Jimmy (apparently not happy about being brought from a sleep to forecasting duties), bit the mayor of Sun Prairie, Wis., on the ear.
The Germans had considered the badger as their weather prognosticator, but due to a shortage of badgers in the area they settled, they assigned the task to the groundhog.
The groundhog also is known as a woodchuck, and in some areas is called a land beaver. It is a member of the rodent family, belonging to a group of large ground squirrels, known as marmots. They are found from Canada to Alabama.
Groundhog day comes at a dismal time of the year when most of us need a reminder that spring will come. However, Phil or any other groundhogs don’t have good records of predicting the arrival of spring.
After the groundhogs do their thing Feb. 2, and early March rolls around, I always anticipate spring. I get too anxious.
In March, there usually are a few relatively nice days, but they often can be counted on one hand. Usually, it is early April before the weather really starts to significantly improve with crappie action and turkey and mushroom seasons highlighting the month.
However in the meantime, one can take advantage of the few good days if they coincide with personal time available.
Even cold blustery days can be time for scouting for spring hunts, looking for shed antlers, and readying the fishing gear.
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NEAR RECORD -- After two seasons of record harvests, Kentucky’s deer hunters kept the pace up this past season. according to a release from the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.
The 2014-15 season closed on Jan. 19 with 138,892 deer checked; the second highest total on record and third consecutive season with a harvest exceeding 130,000 deer.
“I’m happy,” said Gabe Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “There are a lot of deer on the landscape, and we’re seeing an uptick in license sales. We’re providing hunting opportunity and our hunters are able to be successful. As an agency, that’s what we want to do.”
A record 144,409 deer were taken during the 2013-14 season when a spotty acorn crop put deer on the move.
Acorns were plentiful across much of the state this time around. Recognizing this, many hunters likely shifted their focus from field edges to the timber and travel corridors instead.
A strong opening month and an unprecedented start to the modern gun deer season emerged as key drivers.