Chances are, you probably know that this weekend marks the annual 4th of July holiday in the country.
And with Independence Day happening on Sunday this year – and many businesses taking Monday off to celebrate Uncle Sam’s 245th birthday – there’s a three-day weekend ahead for most of them. ‘between us.
This means that weather permitting, residents of Texomaland will have plenty of opportunities to get out and have fun before and after the fireworks are fired.
And with that in mind, here are five ways to enjoy the 4th of July weekend outdoors, namely:
Boat Safe – As the pandemic subsides, a cool, wet spring wears off and Uncle Sam’s birthday party arrives, there is no doubt that boat launching ramps and waterways will certainly be crowded this 4th of July weekend.
While it’s always important to pay attention to boating safety measures at Lake Texoma and beyond, this is especially the case on a busy vacation weekend where there are swarms of boats everywhere you look.
This means paying close attention to safety principles such as wearing a life jacket; learn and know how to swim; closely supervise children around boats and in the water; use a circuit breaker when operating a boat or personal watercraft; take a boaters education course; be aware of the weather; and of course, never operate a boat under the influence of alcohol.
This last idea leads to a phrase I’ve used more than once in this space over the years, a July 4th saying that comes from my late friend Raymond Copley, known as “Honey,” to his family and friends.
Copley was well known for serving wedges of frozen watermelon after the annual town of Denison fireworks show. But he was even better known for having said this catchy phrase to his guests: “Whoever leaves the Fourth with a fifth, often does not take out the Fifth.” Unfortunately, this is all too often true.
Go Fishing – If there’s a nicer way to catch a fish right now than on a surface or fly lure, I don’t know. And while the hot summer days quickly approach over most of the region’s lakes and ponds, the weather has been cloudy and cool enough in recent weeks that there is still hope for a water enthusiast. surface caps who want to enjoy a few hours of fishing this weekend.
If you’re looking for striped bass in Texoma, a large, clear or bone-colored Zara Spook thrown along the shore or over a main point on the lake just before and after sunrise is a good bet. If you want to land a bigmouth lunker, a Zara Spook, Pop-R, or even a buzzbait can bring a big bar to the surface sooner and later. And if you like to throw a fly like I do, an Orvis 2/0 popper in white, chartreuse, or frog green will often work in low light.
If none of the above is your preference this holiday weekend, you can simply relax with a lightweight spinning platform paired with a crappie jig or minnows caught around a marina or docks dock. ‘a boat.
And if you’re looking for something really simple, how about trying a lightweight spinning rod or platform with a float, gold wire hook, and attached crickets or grasshoppers. If you throw such a platform into an area filled with crappies, redears, and other crappies this weekend, you’re pretty much sure to get some bites!
Practice Your Shooting Skills – If you love to hunt, there’s no better time than the present to start preparing for the fall hunting seasons. After all, with the appearance of Uncle Sam’s birthday on the calendar, there are now less than 60 days until the dove season begins!
One way to start preparing is to practice your shooting skills. Although ammo is scarce in most local stores, if you have several boxes of shotgun cartridges in the closet, you could spend an hour or two this weekend sprinkling pigeons with clay.
If deer is your favorite hunting target, hunters with a box or two of rifle shells might fire a few shots this weekend, punching paper to make sure their scope and rifle are always zero.
And if you are an archery hunter, there are always 3D foam targets or bagged targets in the backyard with your family and friends. Or maybe even get together with some hunting buddies for an impromptu 3D tournament.
Cook Something Wild – Got any leftover game in the freezer? How about a few ducks from last winter? Or maybe it’s elk meat, a pheasant or two, a few mourning doves or striper fillets still lurking in a corner of the freezer.
If so, why not make your holiday cooking a little wilder this Independence Day weekend, choosing to both clean the freezer in preparation for this coming fall and offer delicious table meals to your holiday guests.
If you’re looking for a game recipe to try this weekend, how about Shaw Grigsby’s Buck Burger recipe?
“I use the beer can method to make a pocket in the patty,” Grigsby told me in an interview a few years ago. “Wrap them with a strip of bacon. Then fill the pocket with whatever you want.”
Grigsby, who regularly competes in Major League Fishing’s Bass Pro Tour, says his favorite pocket garnish is Gorgonzola cheese and chopped jalapeño peppers.
“Bryce, my grandson, loves cheddar and bacon,” said the Florida bass pro. “Cook the burgers on the grill over indirect low heat for about an hour until the meat reaches the desired doneness level. “
To find the full recipe, visit the Game and Fish Magazine website at www.gameandfishmag.com/editorial/4-backyard-recipes-for-the-fourth/378633.
Read About The Outdoors – One last thing you can do this weekend is curl up in a hammock on your campsite, slip into the recliner, or even disappear onto the back deck with a good book or an outdoor magazine to read.
In the world of periodicals, I have a soft spot for Wildfowl, Gun Dog, Quail Forever, Ducks Unlimited, North American Whitetail, Bowhunter, Petersen’s Bowhunting, and Fly Fisherman to name a few. And when it comes to books, there’s John Grave’s Goodbye to a River; Gordon MacQuarrie’s Old Duck Hunter series; and anything by E. Donnal Thomas, Jr., Thomas McGuane or John Gierach.
But for this weekend let me recommend The Last Wild Road, a brand new book by T. Edward Nickens, who writes regularly for Field & Stream, Garden & Gun and many other publications.
Available at area bookstores and through Amazon Prime, this is a terrific new book from one of America’s top outdoor scribes.
In fact, I think I hear him calling my name right now. Because if you can’t be outside on the 4th of July weekend, then the best thing you can do is read about it, right?