It's the most wonderful time of the year ...
I broke out a pair of SmartWool socks this morning, pulled on a flannel shirt and could see my breath as I strolled to check the mailbox.
God, I love fall.
I feel sorry for folks who live south of the Mason-Dixon Line. They may get to golf year-round, but I'll take the changing colors, the feel of a woodstove on a crisp autumn day and the deer season opener over that any day.
Speaking of deer season, early archery begins Monday with last year's tag. Monday is also my son, Harrison's 10th birthday - and, as he keeps reminding me, "I'll be old enough to hunt when I'm 10."
Unfortunately, the law says otherwise, even though Harrison would probably be a more competent hunter at 10 than many adults I know.
Either way, I hope to immerse him as much as possible this year. Introducing a kid to the outdoors at a young age is hugely important - it is such a healthy alternative to the computer/video/television world with which they are inundated.
Plus it might just give him an incentive not to move south following graduation.
On another note, the Champlain Valley Conservation Partnership is hosting a really cool event the evening of Oct. 6 in Floral Hall at the Essex County Fairgrounds.
The event - known as "Keeping Track Wildlife" - will feature Susan Morse, a nationally-recognized naturalist and habitat specialist who will offer a hands-on display of wild animal pelts, skulls, feet, track molds and other material along with a slide show of her outstanding wildlife photography.
The presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. and the suggested donation is $2 per person or $5 for a family.
It is not the first time Morse has visited Westport offering her photography and expertise in identifying animals and the signs they leave behind.
Chris Maron, executive director of the Conservation Partnership, said Morse visited nearly a decade ago and drew a large audience.
"When she was here in 2001, we had an overflow audience of over 260 people who enjoyed seeing the furs and discovering ways to find signs of animal activity," Maron said. "They especially liked her beautiful pictures and listening to stories illustrating an extensive knowledge and sometimes controversial ideas about wildlife."
Westport naturalist and guide Elizabeth Lee echoed Maron's comments.
"The Keeping Track Wildlife Event gives people, especially families, an opportunity to enjoy an educational and inspiring evening," Lee said. "Full-time residents, visitors, loggers, hikers, hunters, farmers, teachers, nature enthusiasts, and anyone interested in the outdoors will appreciate learning more about the Champlain Valley's wildlife."
Maron said the program was made possible with help from the Northeast Wilderness Trust, the Adirondack Council, Champlain National Bank, Dogwood Bread Company, and Elizabeth Lee.
For more information on Keeping Track visit www.keepingtrack.org.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. His column appears regularly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bowhunting class offered
WARRENSBURG - Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County will be offering a bowhunter education class Sunday, Sept. 26, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Stony Creek Rod & Gun Club. Each student must complete the home study workbook, which takes between 2.5-5 hours, and present the completed workbook at the beginning of the classroom session.
This class is provided free of charge. Youth must be at least 11 years old before the class and have written parental permission.
Class is limited to 20 students; pre-registration is required and can be done by calling 668-4881 or 623-3291.
Buck contest to benefit local youth
TICONDEROGA - There will be a Big Buck Contest to benefit the Riley Knight family. There is a $10 entry fee and hunters must sign up before hunting season. Bucks can be weighed in at the EMA Tuesday through Friday 2 p.m. to closing and at Mike's Bait and Tackle on Dusty Lane in Ticonderoga Monday through Sunday, 4-9 p.m.
For information, call Bobby Fuller at 503-5022.