I don’t think there’s anyone in central Illinois who hasn’t felt the effects of the extreme heat the last couple of weeks.
With the heat index in excess of 100 degrees coupled with a clear sky and intense sun, it was pretty unbearable. I’ve been putting up a new horse barn for a while now, and simply had to stop in the mid-day hours a few days to re-hydrate and get out of the direct heat for a bit.
I’ve noticed a decline in the firewood sales, indicating some campers have decided to stay home in the air conditioning rather than go camping. Also, I see fewer fishing boats on the lakes in the mid-day hours. Good thinking!
The campers and anglers who have braved the elements have enjoyed some nice early morning and late evening hours, however. The fishing reports have looked good, with nice catches of crappie and bass on most all the local waters.
The squirrels are “cutting” on the hickory nuts pretty good right now, but the foliage is so thick that it’s hard to locate them up in the treetops. Also, the bugs have been pretty intense, and if you’re standing below a tree fanning at some sweat bees or mosquitoes, finding squirrels is not likely.
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As I said last week, the popularity of squirrel hunting with one of the new-era pellet rifles adds an extra element to the sport. It might, however, reduce the number of fried squirrel dinner you enjoy. Fried squirrel with some biscuits and gravy is hard to beat.
The next few weeks will surely bring us some less intense weather and the falling leaves will allow for better squirrel hunting. The late summer camping is always great when it is nice enough to enjoy the water sports in the mid-day but it gets cool enough in the evening to have a campfire and roast some hotdogs or make some s'mores.
Be smart and don’t overheat in the extreme times. But don’t let a little adverse weather ruin you enjoyment of the outdoor experiences. Winter will be here before we know it and we’ll still have a number of summer items on out “things to do” list that we didn’t get around to.
Dave Shadow is an outdoor columnist for the JG-TC.