Not quite a week old, new year resolutions are beginning to crack, next month they will go back into the wilderness under your bed, ready to be drug back into action next year. This does not stop outdoor activities, nor will you suffer anguish over non-performance by the guilt police inside your head. Outdoors is outdoors, fun is being in it.
January is the month for some planning for the sportsman. If you plan to go out of state to hunt this year, you may already be too late to make an application. For hunting in California the story is different, you have until the end of May to make an application for deer tags. If you have first time hunters, they must complete the required training course for hunter safety. Today's hunter safety courses are much more about game management and species identification as it is about gun safety. Seasoned hunters already know that they are the front line when it comes to management of our fish and game species. Teaching this responsibility to a new hunter, by example, is our task and our privilege as seasoned hunters. Gone are the days of guys driving into the mountains with a rusty .30 .30 in the backseat of the Oldsmobile, the ink barely dry on their deer tag. Nearly every year one of them would end up dead or missing a body part, shot in a careless instant.
Your fishing license is kaput now, they are good only for a calendar year, this includes the various stamps, tags and harvest tally cards. Abalone season is closed this year to get some kind of handle on what is happening to the fishery, this saves divers fifty bucks or so on tag fees. With that, be sure you send in your harvest report from last year no matter if you had a few punches or not. The state will begin levying fines or block non-reporters from a renewal license altogether.
January is the biggest outdoor sports show in our area, the International Sports Exposition in Sacramento. The show is acres and acres of the latest equipment, the coolest dogs, the hottest off-road toys and booking agents from the basic to the African safari of your dreams. There are pig hunt booking agents aplenty if your hope is to nail a porker this year. You will be doing the back country a real favor and having a hoot to boot. www.sportsexpos.com/exhibit/sacramento/ for details or Google: ISE Sacramento to get a link. If you've never been, go, you won't be sorry, and take the older kids.
January is also the month of the mid-winter choice edible mushrooms, the three big ones are; The Black Chantrelle, the Hedge Hog and the Yellow Foot, they follow the wet, dry, cold cycles this time of year. We sure have the cold and dry part down this year. Winter is also a good time to visit the desert for rock hounds, cool, sunny and beautiful, mostly. This is also the month of the giant rock shows in Quartzite, Arizona, just east of Blyth on the I-ten. Mid-month the mother of all rock shows opens in Tucson, Arizona, the entire city is littered with rock and gem shows of every ilk. Dealers from all over the world bring their best stuff from the rough stone to the finest faceted gem stones. This is also the end of the Teotihuacan exhibit at the DeYoung museum. If you have any interest at all in ancient cultures of the Americas, this one is riveting.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.