June 25, 2008

One Fun Run Ends, Another Begins

It's been a wonderful ride.

Fun-filled, great people galore, excellent experiences.

But it's time to bring this fun run to an end.

There are too many things that I want to do without being tied to deadlines and office hours, camera straps and pens and notebooks.

I can spend more time with my granddaughters, whether fishing, "treasure" hunting or exploring the variety of other fun outdoors activities.

And I can spend more time fishing with my wife, whether we're sitting on the banks of the Missouri River or staked out along the shore of any of the nearby lakes. We're both content to rig bobbers, hook up a worm and kick back and relax.

And now I can fish and not worry about taking along a camera or if I got that picture.

I'll hunt birds without a camera, too. Oh, there may be a camera in the truck, but not hanging around my neck, or nestled in one of the shell pockets of my hunting coat.

But the memories are numerous, from following crews tagging American white pelicans at Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge to watching the process of tagging young pallid sturgeon at the Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery.

From lazy summer drifts on the river while riding with a fisheries crew, hoping to net paddlefish, to high speed runs across Lake Sakakawea to either beat approaching bad weather or merely to get to the other side.

Or a ride on the river with two North Dakota Game and Fish Department game wardens, or a lovely duck season tour north of Wing with a NDGFDgame warden.

And who can forget fishing Devils Lake with a morning temperature of 27 degrees and wind chills 10 degrees colder? At least the boat had a windshield.

That's to say nothing of the great people, from biologists to shooters, from fly-fishers to pro fishers and fishing guides to all of those groups that put on outdoors-related events aimed at kids.

They are the great folks who put so much time and energy into their pastimes or jobs, be it fishing, shooting, conservation or a combination.

I'm still a couple of six-guns short of being set up for cowboy action shooting. And black-powder rifles or even rifles shooting black-powder cartridges haven't made it home, either.

My fly rod has logged more dust time than time on the water. Same for my spinning rods and baitcasting rigs.

My lack of handgun shooting skills are reason enough to not shoot bullseye pistol competition or silhouette pistol. Those same lack of skills carry over to off-hand rifle shooting, be it silhouette or high power.

And my archery skills? Talk about missing the broad side of the barn.

But now I have time to improve those skills.

Thanks for exposing me to to everything, as well as serving up wonderful memories of a great, great trip.

Braggin' Board

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(Reach outdoor writer Richard Hinton at 250-8256 or [email protected] through today. Then look for him pursuing pleasures outdoors.)

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