As I stow away the decoys at the end of the season, it dawns on me that there is a feeling of loss when a season closes.

However, there is also an endless amount of work to be done. The end of deer season is often lamented with a seeming lack of hunting and fishing opportunities. Late season waterfowl, trapping, and small game seasons are coming to a close, and depending on where you are, the water may not be hard enough for ice fishing.

While it may appear that there is nothing to do this time of the year, that could not be further from the truth.

This is a great time of year to get some boots on the ground. If there is snow cover, go out and look for tracks. Take note of areas where animals are moving. Additionally, February is truly the start of the shed hunting season. Bucks shed their antlers every year after breeding ends, and in the late spring/summer they grow new ones. In snow cover, look for antler tips poking out from the snow. Without snow cover, keep your eyes peeled for the off-white color of an antler. It is extremely exciting to find a shed antler, whether you step on it in the weeds, or you notice a strange-looking branch that you decide to check out. This is also a great way to get the whole family involved in the outdoors.

When the weather keeps you indoors, prepare your equipment for the upcoming seasons.

Upon season’s end, did you carefully go over your gear, making sure that everything was in working order? Use your time inside to double-check gear. It will save you much time before the season starts, and reduce headaches in the rush of prepping for the following year.

Before you know it, trout and turkey seasons will be upon us. Preparing your equipment now will bring much relief when it is time to grab your rod or shotgun, and head out the door. The anticipation is half the fun, and spending some time gathering your kit can really get you excited for the upcoming seasons.

Connelly, an educator from Selinsgrove, is member of the governor’s advisory council for hunting, fishing and conservation. She also engages people via kayaking, hunter/trapper education and other outdoors ventures. She can be contacted at joleneconnelly@gmail.com.

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