Short Shots & Small Catches

Winter birds
As we are just starting our winter months in the Midwest, it can be helpful to feed our feathered, winged wonders. Feeding suet, thistle, sunflower and safflower seeds to our flying wizards can help them to be healthier throughout the winter.

Ice fishing tips
1. Before all else, think “safety first.”
2. It’s a no-brainer to dress warm. Remember that you can always shed that heavy sweater or whatever, but if it’s back home in the closet, well, ‘tis no fun sitting shivering in the cold. Too much clothing is better than too little.
3. Electronics usually make life easier for our everyday lives and have influenced many ice anglers. While they can help you locate fish under the ice, you don’t have to use a fish locator or camera, but it sure can help. Christmas is close, so maybe a hint or two to a loved one can put a fishing electronic gadget under the tree.
4. When choosing an ice fishing line, look for a low-memory line and one that has low visibility. Also, a thin diameter and 3-to 6-pound-test should work for most ice fishing adventures.

Monarchs
They are having a tough time of it in many parts of our country. Of course, now they are spending time in warmer climates such as Mexico. This beautiful butterfly lives about 8 months. You can help the declining monarch population by planting common milkweed, butterfly weed and/or swamp milkweed. Sad to say, but in many parts it has become rare to see a monarch. A couple helpful websites on planting wildflowers and milkweed are grownative.org and mdc.mo.gov.

Hunting
1. Always be sure of your target and beyond. Pull up on it if you’re not 100 percent sure on what is directly behind it. A pheasant, deer, or any other animal is hardly worth the cost of a human life.
2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. Make sure you are very familiar with the firearm’s safety. Even with the safety on, never point a firearm at a person.
3. A firearm brought out after prolonged storage should be cleaned before shooting. Obviously, the firearm should be unloaded before cleaning, but every year some individuals forget that important step and bad results often happen.

To bee or not to bee
We prefer to have bees rather than not have any. As you know, bees are efficient pollinators. There are approximately 4,000 native bee species in North America. Sadly, they are disappearing at an alarming rate much like the monarch, and scientists believe the loss of the native bee is partly due to loss of habitat.

‘Mite’ be interesting
Mites are not insects, but are more closely related to spiders as most adult mites have eight legs. Almost every plant and animal on this planet has at least one species of mite in or on its body. There are over 45,000 different species of mites. Some mites hitch a ride on birds and insects. For example, the hummingbird flower mite feeds on flower nectar. It crawls inside the nose of a passing hummingbird so it can travel to the next flower.

Wheat we eat
Pasta and bread is made from wheat, and wheat is consumed more through these foods than any other. This food crop is grown on more of this planet’s farmland than any other crop. The U.S. exports more wheat than any other country.

Winter photos
Some of us enjoy “shooting” wildlife with a camera during the hostile winter months. Closely photographing wild animals in deep snow can cause nervousness to some species and cause them to use up their reserve energy. You may mean no harm to the animal, but that doesn’t mean you will not cause harm.