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Our president has extended social distancing guidelines for another month. And most of our spring outdoor activities are already curtailed because of closures now in place to protect us all from each other. While we may still do family walks around town or on county roads, we are going to be on a general outdoor hold for some time yet. It occurred to me that it might be fun to hear what our fellow homeys are doing to stave off cabin fever. I made a few calls.

After a conversation about our desperate need for fishing and other activities afield in this temporary (please, God) time of careful coronavirus behavior, Mike Livingston (Regional Director for DFW out of Yakima), sent me a note. “Hey Jim, I asked a few folks about what we should be telling our anglers and hunters during this period. For what it’s worth, District Fish Bio Marc Divens developed this list of things to do while being ordered to stay home...”

Following is Marc’s list, along with those of several others to whom I reached out. (Well, I just had to talk to someone about these things…) Interestingly, once they got past the irritation of “stuck at home” and embraced the “Stay Home — Stay Healthy” concept, homies found some useful and appropriate ways of dealing.

Fishing Pro Marc sent along his hunkering-down suggestions and activities — for both fishers and hunters.

For fishing: clean out tackle boxes; put new line on reels; tie flies; practice casting in the back yard; get online and order new gear; while you are online, research lakes; and, install the “Fish Washington Ap on your phone (then spend time learning to use it). Outside tasks can include prepping your boat so it’s ready to go when we get the OK to hit the water, checking all its equipment and supplies (life preservers, etc.), and maintaining outboard motors. Install that new depth finder, and make sure your trailer bearings are checked and packed.

On the hunting prep side: use Google Earth to research hunting areas; pattern your shotgun in a place safe and open to shooting; clean all of your guns; practice with your bow in the back yard; and go through and prep hunting gear now. Finally, work out now to be in shape for the hunting and hiking season, which is sure to come Whit Fosburgh writes the Outdoor Economy blog of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. Last week, he wrote a piece (“Seven Ways to Do Social Distancing Like a Sportsman”) about making the most of our “unexpected off-season.” Included among them were: writing to your member of Congress about outdoor issues (find topics and help at www.trcp.org/action-alert); get out where and when you can to scout hunting ground; practice, practice, practice with bows, fishing rods and firearms where possible; feed a family — take some of your harvest to a local food bank; try a new game recipe (check out www.themeateater.com/cook/recipes); read those great classic outdoor writings you’ve missed for a time; and ready your gear by reloading ammo, repairing anything that needs it, and tying new fishing flies.

Among the several homeys with whom I compared notes, there was a general pattern of using our forced vacation time for things that have been patiently awaiting attention.

Bill Boyum said he‘s been “pruning trees, raking pine needles, cleaning my ditch and arranging the garden,” because gardening will happen whatever else is going on in the world. He also has a part-time gig driving for an agricultural service company doing business considered critical in this time. Some small amount of his time is occupied with helping me and his son Dr. Jon plan and arrange our late July trip to Alaska to get face to face with sockeye salmon.

Hal Mason, in the absence of his rangemaster duties with the Kittitas Valley Rifle and Pistol Club, has been rebuilding his gardens, readying his house, and focusing on things that he knows are going to happen, no matter what, in the coming weeks.

Wes Clogston has been deeply focused on trying different loads for Karen’s little 7mm-08 rifle and testing them at the Cascade Field and Stream shooting range on Hayward Hill. That now expertly managed, he has readied his sprinkler system and refocused on preparing the online lesson plans for his upcoming spring quarter class in wildlife law enforcement for Central’s Law and Justice Department. He’s been reading “More Guns, Less Crime,” by John R. Lott, Jr.

Kevin Clements’s construction contracts have been largely shut down, but he spends some hours a week with one “critical” job. He is now reading his “second tier” of books — those he deemed unworthy a month or so ago. He’s mastering fine dessert baking, painting an overdue room, watching TV for the first time in decades, and “patiently” waiting to head to water and field.

Deborah and Bill Essman have been doing those “spring” gardening and house things we’re all up to, and finding time for scrapbooking of hunting and birding pictures and planning of trips “for when possible again.” Of course, they are out a bit on county roads watching ospreys and other birds (including snipes, killdeers, and turkey vultures) returning to Paradise. Many are now into their mating displays. As the Bird Whisperer of Paradise, Deborah is practicing words like “zugunruhe” — German for a “migratory restlessness” (especially pertaining to birds).

We are managing, it seems.

Jim Huckabay is retired from the Department of Geography at Central. His “WILD WINDS and Other Tales of Growing Up in the Outdoor West” is available online and at bookstores. Contact Jim and join in discussions at www.insidetheoutdoors.com.

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