I often lie awake at night wondering, among other things, why my brain spins like a tilt-a-whirl then, but doesn’t work overtime during the day when I really need it.


I often lie awake at night wondering, among other things, why my brain spins like a tilt-a-whirl then, but doesn’t work overtime during the day when I really need it.

Last night, as I groped for sleep all I could think about was the myriad of outdoor opportunities about to break like a wave over the beach, and asking myself how I was going to participate in all of them I wished to. Let’s see, trapping season started today and I have at least six weeks’ worth planned, deer firearms season opens in three weeks, I haven’t got my trapping equipment quite ready yet, and we haven’t set up our hunting blinds to check for needed repairs, and, oh yea, I haven’t bought all my licenses yet, somewhere in there I want to goose hunt several times, which reminds me I haven’t looked through the decoys I bought this summer, and, oops, add all the waterfowl stamps to the “not yet purchased” list, and I almost forgot, my wife and I plan to try our hand at calling coyotes this winter, and then there’s the dreaded “shower and laundry remodel” project we just can’t seem to complete, add to that writing this weekly column and top it all off with a small dose of “try to have a life” and whew…I was even more exhausted than when I went to bed! ... What to do?

Granted, the enjoyment we all get from the outdoor sports we enjoy is not the “lying on the beach sipping lemonade” kind of enjoyment, but shouldn’t it be enjoyable non-the-less? I realize we all want to fill our freezers with fish and game and our fur stretchers with pelts, but every-so-often we may need to take inventory of all the different outdoor activities in which we participate and thin them out a little.

I think that’s why I constantly strive to try new areas of hunting, fishing, trapping and other outdoor sports. For instance, if predator calling proves to be fun and successful for my wife and I together, maybe I’ll stop trapping coyotes and plan to harvest them by calling for a few years; less time and work involved, and a sport we can share together better than trapping.

Maybe this year, you should take stock of the sports you patronize and see if there’s something new you can try that could more involve your wife and kids. Fishing for trout at one of the 21 stocking locations in Kansas would be a great way to start.

I can see you die-hard anglers shaking your heads already. I know this is not like filling your live wells with fat fall crappies, and I also know if you can get your wife to try this it could mean spending most of your time baiting her hook and removing fish, but remember the adage about momma being happy? We Kansas outdoor sportsmen and women need to do all we can do to involve more men, women and children in the outdoors.

Years ago, I fished with a guy who was an excellent crappie fisherman but was so intense about it that it wasn’t much fun for me. It was sort of like watching the professional bass tournaments on TV. We’d race across the lake to a spot, drop anchor and immediately he’d have two lines in the water.

When a fish was hooked, he’d reel as fast as his arms would go, fling the fish into the live well and practically turn himself inside-out getting both lines in the water again… All I’m saying is to be careful not to turn your outdoor adventures into outdoor stressors.

Right now, I want to be setting traps, but somehow finishing a few pieces of our re-modeling project like re-installing the toilet that’s sitting in the spare bedroom and the washer and dryer out on the deck seem to take precedence. If I was setting traps instead, I have a feeling it wouldn’t be as satisfying as it should. ... Relax and enjoy Kansas Outdoors.

Steve Gilliland is a syndicated outdoors columnist, and can be contacted by e-mail at stevegilliland@embarqmail.com.