Outdoor Corner: What Could it Mean?

Scott J. Anderson
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

I was in Texas a few years ago to enjoy the birth of my third grandchild, Enoch Micah Woest. (Pronounced west) At that time they lived in the Woodlands, a “smart” subdivision that has all the amenities inside the development so one wouldn’t really have to leave its boundaries to find anything you’d need.

Gage Becnel pictured with a bass caught fishing in the Atchafalaya spillways on July 22nd using plastic worms and black/chartreuse jigs with his dad, Josh.

The unique thing about this place is the buffer of “woods” that line the main streets so you can’t really see any of the businesses, schools, churches and other buildings as you drive by. There was also lots of land, hence the name “The Woodlands.”

Between trips to the hospital in Kingwood, where Enoch was born, and back to the house, the only outdoor activity I was able to take part in was an early morning jog around the subdivision they live in.

On the second morning, I began to notice something that looked a little like earthworms crawling on the street. I slowed down to take a look and sure enough that’s what it was. I don’t know what was making them leave the comfort of all those beautiful lawns that were covered with grass and moist dirt underneath, but they were.

As I went on, the scene repeated itself and there were more and more of the worms everywhere. Being the avid fisherman I am, my first thoughts were, “Bait!” Man, if I would have brought a zip lock bag along I could have gotten enough worms to catch a really good mess of bream in all those ponds and lakes around the neighborhoods.

As I came to my senses and realized there would be no time for fishing on this trip, my thoughts returned to the worms and their journey. “Where are they going, and what are they doing?” was my next thought. They left the comfort of their homes and headed out in what was surely like a desert to them.

Then pretty soon a bird took advantage of the situation and became “the early bird that got the worm” and feasted on an easy breakfast. That scenario repeated itself a time or two as my journey continued.

Crossing this “desert” would turn out to be certain death for all these worms. They would make it out a couple of feet and get covered with gritty dust making it impossible to crawl. The worms would sort of dry out and eventually expire.

In this state they would become easy pickings for another group of insects that we are very familiar; ants! These hard working and very opportunistic creatures were quick to take advantage of the situation and had breakfast as well. This was really nature at work.

Most of nature’s creatures are very opportunistic and adapt really well to their surroundings. Even as urban development intrudes upon their habitat they still have the instinct to survive.

All the lawns I ran past had sprinkler systems installed and most of them were operating because they were in the middle of a really dry spell in their weather. All this watering caused water to pool in the road and the squirrels took advantage of the newly formed “ponds” to get their morning drink.

Squirrels are pretty normal in subdivisions but because of the amount of wooded areas, rabbits are a normal sight as well, and I saw them both mornings. The rabbits were eating some tender grass along the roadside. Heck, there are enough woods that Brandon saw a 10-point buck not far from their house.

With sunrise each morning, my trip to work includes the dawning of the day. Nature is stirring around, getting ready for the day’s tasks which mean spending most of the time finding something to eat.

The bunch of crows that roost near my house have learned where meals can be found relatively easy. Their early morning route is flying the same highways that I’m traveling. Being the scavengers that they are, road kill is what they are looking for, and they find plenty to take part in.

The buzzards have gotten really good at eating road kill as well. They’ve smartened up some so instead of dashing into the road to get a bite or two and then heading back to the side when a vehicle comes, they work together to drag the carcass of whatever got killed off of the road so they can eat at peace. Well, somewhat at peace, they fight each other.

I began to feel a little sorry for the worms because of the fate they were suffering. The thought of stopping and putting them back on the grass crossed my mind a time or two but such is nature.

Nature produces enough worms for most of them to end up as food for another group of earth’s inhabitants. The animals that eat the worms might well end up as food for a larger group of animals. At the right time of the year birds, squirrels and rabbits could end up on my kitchen table. So I just let them be and let nature take its course. Such is the circle of life. Hakuna Matata!

Aaron Burstall and Dylan Stafford took to the Amite river for a night fishing excursion. They caught the catfish on jugs with cut shad, the sac a lait on shiners and jigs along docks at night. While they were fishing, the frogs were everywhere.

Every now and then, things work out for folks on an outdoor excursion better than anticipated. Such was the fate of Aaron Burstall and Dylan Stafford. The pair set out on a night trip on the Amite River looking for two species of fish to catch.

The first was catfish using jug lines with cut shad for bait. After setting the jugs the pair planned to fish for sac a lait along some lighted piers. The proof of success was in the pudding as they caught some beautiful catfish on the jugs and plenty of sac a lait. They added a bonus specie as bullfrogs could be seen everywhere, so those were added to the mix. (See photo)

Not a bad night, right? Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time, have fun in the outdoors, no matter where you might find it; be safe and may God truly bless you!