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The Off-Season

The snow goose migration chase has ended, spring turkey hunts are over and early dove and teal seasons are a solid three months distant, for some the summer months are a time of desperate anticipation but perhaps there's more.

Summer is the season for shotgun practice, dog training, gear replacement and repair and of course scouting for the season that will be here before you know it.

I've come to look forward to all of this almost as much as time in the field come fall but Summer is also one of the best times to be with family, instilling a love for this wingshooting lifestyle we cherish so much.

An awful lot of us are fathers and mothers, husbands and wives and we exact a hefty price to feed our obsession in the autumn months. Family time can suffer for blind time or days wandering the uplands. Summer, is the season for paying that back.

Take your kids fishing, camping, have them help you work your dog.

Get your wife out on some extra dates, or if she's like mine... range time, burning up ammo and sharpening skills is a favorite, that's a win, win scenario. Some of my fondest memories come from time spent with my dad preparing for the fall hunting season. He'd let us help him fix blinds and took us to the trap and skeet club with him; we kept score and were even allowed to "pull" the birds. The point is we were involved with him and his passions and that helped instill those passions in us as well.

So the next time you're headed out the door to work the dog or bust some clays take an extra minute and scoop up the kids or your spouse and remember, nothing is better after a few rounds of Skeet or a set of retriever drills than a quick stop at the ice cream shop. Make it fun, make it special, it will last a lifetime and that's what the Off-Season is truly for.


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