Get ready

March 11, 2008

Faith Outdoors

The warmup is finally starting. After a cold — actually, normal — winter, the mercury is climbing above freezing and the snowpack will soon turn to puddles. Actually, a year ago, we had 20 inches of snow on the ground, thanks to two big snowstorms in late February and early March.

So, despite all of the cold we’ve had this winter, we have less snow on the ground than we did on this date last year. Naturally, I’m looking ahead to spring turkey hunting and the fishing season. My imagination is coming alive with dreams of getting a big gobbler and a trophy bass, but I’m also engaged in the preparation for those experiences.

This is a great time of year to get ready for your outdoor adventures. I’ve done more work than normal to prepare. I’ve bought a fishing boat and am doing some tinkering to make sure it’s fully operational come opening day. I also have been hard at work getting places to turkey hunt both in Minnesota and Wisconsin. I have talked to landowners in both states and gotten permission to hunt on some great farms that have lots of turkeys on them.

Once the snow is gone, I’ll go out and do some scouting. In the meantime, I have been spending time on a great software program called Google Earth. It provides satellite photo imagery that you can manipulate in a variety of ways, including tilting to see changes in terrain.

This is important in turkey hunting because hilly terrain is generally more appealing to the birds. You also can find out where the woods are and where the open areas are, including crop fields. Turkeys roost at night in the woods and spend some of the daylight hours there, but also spend lots of time in the open, feeding and breeding.

I have found Google Earth to be an invaluable tool, especially for scouting new areas. I have used aerial photos and topographical maps, but I like Google Earth much better. Plus, it saves money that I previously have spent to buy aerial photos. This is one instance where technology has made hunting more fun. In just a couple of weeks, I’ll begin exploring the places I have been viewing on Google Earth. Can’t wait!

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek