Give Snow Shoeing a Try

During this time of year I often find myself looking for outdoor recreational opportunities that do not involve shoveling snow. Deer season has come and gone, the last stripers have headed for points south, and most lakes and ponds in the area don’t yet have sufficient ice coverage for a safe outing.

Along with the holidays and all the extra eating that goes along with them comes time off and the need to go out and get some exercise.

One activity that is a relatively new discovery for me is snowshoeing, and it seems I enjoy it more and get more out of it each time I strap the things on my feet and head out into the woods or across a field after a fresh snowfall. I have had the experience be one of quiet and solitude with barely a sound aside from the snow falling from the trees.

I have also had the privilege of watching a marsh hawk dive repeatedly into a clump of cattails trying to come up with a mouse or a bobcat sitting at the edge of a field with his back to me, intent on spotting his next meal and seemingly unaware that I was watching from the woods. I have found owl pellets under the trees and spent 10 Minutes scanning above me, certain I would see my first Great Horned Owl resting in the branches above, and I have seen numerous tracks in the snow, many easily identified – some not so easily. You just never know what might happen or what you’ll see until you get out there.

If you’d like to try snowshoeing it really doesn’t require much in the way of specialized equipment besides the shoes themselves. The pair that I use are actually borrowed and were purchased by my father-in-law from E.M.S. There are many similar pairs available online or at any of the outdoor outfitters for between $100-$200 new and I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to find a used pair if you were so inclined. Most if not all have toe clips and adjustable straps. You just wear your Pac boots. Gore-tex pants or Gators are advisable as you tend to kick quite a bit of snow up on to the back of your legs as you walk. A pair of ski poles are also useful for balance and help negotiating obstacles like fallen trees, small streams and old stonewalls.

As with any outdoor activity at this time of year you’ll want to dress in layers so you can make adjustments as you warm up and cool down. Carry a pack to stow those articles of clothing you peel off, some H2O and maybe a pair of Binos and you should be good to go.

So if you’re looking for a new way to enjoy the outdoors and you haven’t tried snowshoeing get your hands on a pair and check it out. If you’re anything like me you will find it an enjoyable, rewarding way to spend a wintry day.

Scott Peters is an outdoor enthusiast and sportsman. Please see Nikon Buckmaster for details on some of his favorite hunting equipment.

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