A Month Ahead

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Spring has sprung a month early in the West Virginia mountains with daffodils and even forsythia in full bloom ahead of schedule. I can’t remember ever seeing the signs of spring so early in February. The grass has greened up and is growing. I’ve already heard spring peepers and wood frogs. Last week I saw a red maple tree that already had bud break and tiny leaves exposed.

This could be a problem for the fruit and mast bearing trees as we still have the rest of March to go. It’s still winter the last time I checked the calendar but you sure wouldn’t think it was by looking around outside. The roller coaster up and down temperature swings have lasted for two months now so who knows what the future will bring.

Snow and freezing temperatures finally made an appearance this past weekend and more is in the forecast. This will most likely harm the early bloomers and tender vegetation. The fruit trees haven’t blossomed yet but they could be affected if this cold weather hangs around. Hopefully the cold temperatures will slow things down but we still have over a month of frost potential to go.

I saw a spike that still had both antlers and another buck that still had one side of his rack this past week. I’ve seen 3 other bucks that have already shed their antlers which has me looking forward to fall. Seeing a buck with its rack still intact in February is rare and it’s even more so in March.

These spring-like days have allowed for 4 fishing trips so far. The fish are biting but they’re still a little sluggish with the colder water temperatures. Water temperatures play a huge role in determining when the fish become active in the spring as the creeks and rivers warm up. Even though we’ve had above average temperatures, it only takes a night or two of temperatures around the freezing mark to drop water temperatures back down.

I’ve found the fishing to be the best on the 3rd or 4th day of consecutive warm weather where the temperatures didn’t get cold during the nights. These conditions are normally hard to come by in the winter months but that hasn’t been the case this year. I’m actually beginning to wonder what is normal when it comes to weather nowadays.

I will say that it has been nice to be able to get out and enjoy these warmer temperatures. It’s amazing what a breath of fresh air and being in the outdoors will do for one’s soul and mood. I tend to start getting cranky with cabin fever by the end of February as there’s usually snow covering the ground and bitter cold temperatures limiting outdoor opportunities. That hasn’t been the case for the bizarre winter of 2017 so far.

We’re less than a week away from the first official day of spring and daylight savings time has forced us to turn our clocks ahead one hour. This will allow for an extra hour of outdoor activities when the temperatures warm back up.

I’m already looking forward to spring gobbler season which starts on April 17 and ends on May 13 this year. The one day youth season is on April 15. That’s less than 5 weeks for those who are counting, 33 days to be exact.

Make sure to take some time to get out and enjoy the great West Virginia outdoors. You’ll feel better afterwards I can guarantee. We’re blessed to be able to call this place home and I make sure to thank the good lord above for it every day. Take care until next time.