BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS — Hunting activities for the Christmas break

Published 12:08 am Tuesday, December 24, 2019

By the time that you read this article, Christmas will be here!

You will likely entertain family and friends. Hopefully there will be a candlelight service and a Christmas dinner to attend. You will possibly travel out of town to visit relatives, and it is my prayer that you will not forget the true meaning of Christmas amid all of the hustle and bustle.

Many people choose to take a few days off between Christmas and New Year’s Day to simply relax and hang out with the family. If you find yourself off of work but looking for a fun way to pass some time with family and friends, here are a few often overlooked outdoor activities that can be great fun for everyone involved.

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Squirrel hunting

For many of us who are over 40 years old, squirrel hunting is how we began to hunt. Grab a partner and head out to the woods. Take along your favorite shotgun or rim fire with the end goal of squirrel dumplings.

As far as strategy, you can either get some place and get quiet for about 30 minutes to wait for the squirrels to move, or you can try to sneak through the woods in stealth mode looking ahead for their movement. Both methods can be fun, but for me, waiting them out always pays off with more shot opportunities. If using a rifle, be sure to aim for the head so that you don’t waste any meat. Squirrels are a small target and are often on the move, so great marksmanship is a plus.

Rabbit hunting

Rabbit hunting with a group of friends can be a total blast.

Be sure to check the regulations regarding night hunting and consider putting in a call to the local game warden if you will be hunting where deer are known to roam. Once you have the go ahead, grab a shotgun and a spotlight and hit the fields. Driving around the edges of fields and along canal banks can be a great way to spot rabbits.  Simply shine the light until you see their eyes reflecting back. The brighter the light the better off you will be. As an extra precaution, always make sure that you clearly identify your target before pulling the trigger since there are lots of animals roaming around at night with reflective eyes. With any luck, you will end up with enough rabbits for a nice pot of stew!

Dove hunting

Many hunters don’t even realize that we have a late dove season in Texas. This is a great time of year to line the fields with a few partners and give your favorite hunting dog some work.

Late December and January can provide some awesome wing-shooting opportunities as well as much cooler weather than is typical when dove season opens in September. In order to increase your success, simply scout the area a day or so prior to hunting to find where the birds are flying.

Regardless of which activity that you choose, the important thing is that you get outside and enjoy God’s wonderful creation with your family and friends. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy and blessed New Year!

Brian Johnson, originally of Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of and outdoors writer for The News.