Late Winter Excuses To Be Outside

Spring is on the way -- eventually

By Raeanne O’Meara

The sunshine is hanging out a little higher in the sky as of late, and let me tell you, does that ever do wonders for my spirit. Living in a northern rural community means you have to embrace the cold and dark days to some extent – if you didn’t, I couldn’t imagine how long the winters would feel – but that doesn’t negate that feeling that hits near the end of February when those sometimes brutally cold days are met with a blast of sunshine.


It’s around that time of year that I start to get a bit antsy and want to do some exploring outside. Still a touch early yet to have high expectations of finding any shed antlers, but it’s a good excuse to get out, stretch the legs and put a little weight in the backpack to ease into another season outdoors after kicking my feet up for the last couple of months. I would wager there’s an argument to be made about not putting too much pressure on the wildlife in what is a tough time of year for them to get through until springtime, but oftentimes there are existing hiking or snowshoeing trails in an area that you can take advantage of without disturbing the deer unduly.



Shed hunting is one of those things that seems to have blown up in popularity with the rise of social media, with folks embracing it with varying levels of seriousness. Some use a spotting scope to glass hillsides; others watch their trail cameras to get an idea of when the bucks start dropping their antlers. To each their own, but for me it has always felt a little bit like an Easter egg hunt and I relish in the surprise and joy of stumbling across a shed unexpectedly. It brings out a childlike joy that should be tapped into every so often!


As a side effect of my “just head into the bush and see what happens” attitude towards shed hunting, more often than not that means I’m coming home empty handed. Not unlike my attitude towards hunting and fishing in general. Sure, it is nice to come home with something; that doesn’t mean it’s the only goal of being outdoors. Armed with a pack of snacks and thermos of hot tea, an afternoon spent hiking around and getting the fresh air into my lungs is a great day in and of itself!