Camera adventure

Make the most of Labor Day weekend with an outdoor adventure

Labor Day weekend is fast approaching.

For many, this three-day vacation is the unofficial transition from summer to fall.

This is a time when outdoor opportunities collide. Camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, boating and more are available to those looking for an outdoor adventure.

If you haven’t made any plans yet, there’s still time to find out how to make the most of this holiday that was created on September 5, 1882 to celebrate our country’s working class.

Make these men and women of yesterday and today proud by catching a bass, barbecuing with brats or blowing off steam floating down your favorite river.

I’m an outdoor generalist, which means I love everything. There aren’t enough days in the year for me to pursue my array of outdoor hobbies.

There are others who specialize: bass anglers who aren’t interested in anything else, deer hunters who are obsessed 365 days a year, hikers who can’t put enough miles on their boots and paddlers who have never encountered a board that is too long.

For generalists like me, it’s hard to decide how to spend precious time. I tend to approach my adventures seasonally and in combinations.

This year, I plan to spend Labor Day weekend split between camping, dove hunting, fishing, and floating.

This is a coordinated effort requiring time management and dedication to sticking to a schedule, which I believe can be accomplished.

Friday night is all about watching my daughter cheer at her high school football games. Bailee is a senior this year, so I plan on not missing any games.

I’ll start my weekend late, but it’s worth it.

My truck will be loaded and ready to roll very early in the morning with my constant companion, Shotgun Willie, in the seat next to me as we head out for our first hunt of the fall season.

Saturday morning will find me in a public dove field long before the light is cleared. I will be positioned at the edge of the field with my back to the rising sun.

Doves roost at night and go to the water in the morning. They like sunflowers and most cereals.

Try to position yourself between their perch and the water. Dove hunting is often excellent on farmland near water.

Doves are a great introduction for newcomers to hunting, as the action can be fast and furious.

Lessons learned from dove hunting translate to other types of hunting, and finding a place to hunt them is easier than many other types of game.

At noon, I hope, with a cooler full of doves, I meet up with a group of friends to float and fish in one of our favorite rivers. We will enjoy the warm afternoon floating lazily while trying to catch some fish.

Smallmouths and goggles thrive in this southwest Missouri gem, and we should find success with soft plastics, crankbaits and spinners.

I will be using a medium light spinning rod with a 6 pound line. This will be the maiden voyage of my new three-person Smith Fly raft, which I look forward to traveling the country’s rivers with.

Saturday evening will be devoted to tent camping. Good times will be spent around a campfire.

Let’s hope the temperature drops low enough to enjoy the first flannel shirt night of the year.

The plan will be to roast dove breasts over an open fire while frying fish in a skillet filled with peanut oil.

These simple pleasures of nature’s bounty are best shared with friends, and around a waterside fire is as good as it gets.

Sunday we will be back on the river for another day of floating.

With fall fast approaching, the days are getting shorter for swimming and enjoying the last rays of summer sunshine.

There’s really nothing I love more than floating crystal clear rivers. I will float all year round, but I enjoy it the most when you spend a good part of the day in the water.

A gravel bar lunch of hot dogs and burgers will keep our energy on the water all day.

A long drive will end at home on Sunday evening.

Monday will include a little labor of love. I will be at my farm making some final cuts around my tree stands in preparation for the deer opening season which is fast approaching.

I will cut the trails to the bleachers and make sure my shooting lanes are clear. I have four trail cameras to extract maps.

It’s always exciting to see the deer captured on camera.

I know a lot of people have to work Labor Day weekend, so that kind of experience isn’t available to everyone.

I’m grateful that I was able to make the most of a three-day weekend.

If you’re lucky like me, I hope you don’t waste that late-summer gift enjoying the great outdoors.

See you on the trail…