It’s here! (Spring, that is)

I got home from the Texas hog hunt after midnight on a Saturday, unpacked, repacked and took off for South Dakota Monday morning for a couple of weeks. I don’t want to say that it was frigid but it did blow and snow last week in South Dakota. I arrived back home this past Friday and it was warm and sunny.

Wow! I was suddenly jolted out of my frigid winter mode and had woken up in a spring paradise. And it just hit me: I’ve got to hit ram speed and get my spring lined up right fast. First the dirty work though.

According to Uncle Sam I’ve got to get my taxes filed so that will take most of this week along with the 12 to 14 articles that need to be submitted. I think this week I’ll focus on those two tasks and maybe getting out and whacking some whistle pigs. They should be out big time. Hopefully I can get two days in of whistle pig hunting.

For whistle pigs this spring, here will be my arsenal. I’ll start off with my Gauntlet .25 cal. airgun. JSB just came out with a new pellet called Hades. It’s supposed to be an awesome small game pellet. Then I’ve got a new Anderson 5.56 with a Riton 4-16x scope. Can’t wait.

Then bear season is right around the corner. I used to always start baiting on opening day but usually it’s tough to navigate around the snow that early plus, the bears are hardly out and not eating much. So, I’m going to wait until the end of April to start baiting. I think I’ll check and see if the Umarex Air Saber is legal for hunting bears with and use it this spring. Or maybe I ought to try with a Henry’s lever action 45- 70. That’d be cool to shoot a bear with one of those.

Normally I always hunt bears out of a ground blind but this year I got a Primal Treestands SINGLE VANTAGE blind. This will be a big update for me. Being up high slightly defuses your scent and aids you in hunting. OK, and I’ve got to admit — You always slightly worry that a cub will stroll in beside you with the sow not far behind. How many times have I had a sow and cubs within a spitting distance of me?

Numerous! It’ll be nice to hunt out of a ladder stand.

I fly out in a week and as warm as it is I’m betting the mushrooms will be out big time by the time I get back. What to do, what to do. I think I’ll go up and put out my bear bait and then mushroom hunt for a couple of days. I didn’t do very good mushroom hunting last year so I have to make up for lost time.

We’ll write more on mushroom hunting at a later date.

That may sound like plenty to fill up the calendar until June but don’t forget-Crappie Fishing! I think I’m out of crappie. I’ve got to dig down into the freezer and see if maybe there is one or two last packages of crappie filets. (I panicked and ran out to check. Good, there was one package left for dinner tonight.) Walleye is the best freshwater fish and then probably perch but crappie is for sure third best and maybe they split the second and third spots with perch.

Crappie fishing is low key. When the bite is on you can slay them. I do good during the pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn season. So you want to make sure you’re hitting them early so you don’t miss out on the pre-spawn bite.

There’s not a better species of fish to take your kids out fishing for. They’re easy to catch so it doesn’t take a lot of skill. And, the tackle is simple. For lures use some light jig heads, some kind or plastic Mister Twister tails. Carry a variety of colors because you never know what is hot. I like silver, red, yellow and black. I just met Proline Baits and am going to try their scents this spring.

The longer I fish, the more I put stock in scents. Sixty years ago, you never heard about scents other than when carp or catfish fishing but I’m now convinced that I’m missing a lot of hits if I don’t use scents, especially on some species of fish.

After writing this article I’m even more excited than when I started it. Hmmm, I wonder if they’d really throw me in jail if I skip the tax deal for a couple of months and go hunting and fishing for a while? They’re letting all the non-violent criminals out of jail anyway in some states. Surely if I showed them some pics of the mushrooms, coolers of crappie and my bear they’d let me off the hook, wouldn’t they?

Oh no, and what about turkey hunting? We about skimmed right over them. I’ll wait and do a whole article on turkey hunting. I’m definitely going to have to go underground and put the taxes off for a while.

Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop. He can be reached via email at

Post Author: By Tom Claycomb

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