Author's Note: I originally wrote this page when I started the blog. For more about how NC Outdoor Ramblings came to be, check out my one year anniversary post - Reflections on a Year of Ramblings
I often wonder if I have too many hobbies. It all started out innocently enough. I did a little fishing when I was young, and some small game hunting with Dad. As I got older and got a driver's license I began expanding both my hunting and fishing. I often think how fortunate I am to live in a state where with a few hours driving, I can fish for trout in the mountains, bass almost anywhere, and saltwater fish in the Atlantic, not to mention the healthy deer, turkey, and small game populations in our state. I think this is one reason I have so many hobbies.
On the fishing side of things, I went from bass and bream in local farm ponds to traveling to the mountains to spinner fish for trout and then down to the beach where I learned pier fishing techniques for speckled trout. Along about the time I graduated from college, I began fly fishing for trout. This was plenty enough to keep me busy for several years. There was the yearly trip to Oak Island to fish for speckled trout, crappie in the spring, mountain trout fishing from spring through fall, bass fishing in the summer, the occasional trip to a carp lake, and the first full moon in May was time to get serious about bream fishing.
After fly fishing for a few years, I decided that tying my own flies would be a good way to save money and a neat way to spend the winter months between deer season and spring fishing weather. Several years later, I'm still tying and enjoying it, but I think the whole money saving idea was just my justification for buying the tools to get started. I hesitate to think how many flies I could have purchased with the money that I have tied up in all my fly tying supplies, but I would guess that it would be more flies than I could ever fish with in a lifetime. I don't regret getting started fly tying, because to me there is something very satisfying about catching fish on something that I created myself. I started out fly tying in order to have some flies to fish with, but over the years it has become a hobby all by itself.
I have been hunting almost as long as I have been fishing, but again I started out simple. Squirrel and dove hunting were my earliest experiences, and this was the only type of hunting I did until high school. Coincidentally this also seems to me to be around the time that seeing a deer anywhere around home, while still exciting, was not the rare occurance that it seemed to be when I was young. The deer population was (and still is I believe) growing, and along with that my friends were all starting to deer hunt. This got me interested in deer hunting, and I hunted my first few years with the same shotgun that I had dove hunted with because I didn't own a deer rifle at the time. From this early experience, I went on not only to get a suitable rifle to deer hunt with, I also took up archery and muzzleloader hunting to take advantage of all the seasons here in NC. A few years after I began deer hunting, the turkey population in my area began expanding as well. This lead to my interest in turkey hunting, and after my first time in the spring woods hearing a tom gobbling from the roost, I was hooked.
Hunting led me to become interested in shooting, mainly because I wanted to feel confident in my ability to make an ethical shot. This caused me to become interested in accuracy, and trying to get the most I could from my rifles. Target shooting caused me to use a lot more ammunition than I did when I just shot a few times to check the scope and then went hunting. This, combined with my interest in accuracy, caused me to start reloading my own ammunition. Unlike fly tying, this probably has saved me money over the last few years. It costs about half as much to reload ammunition as it does to buy it. Another advantage is the ability to tailor the ammunition to the gun, thereby improving accuracy. Just like fly tying, once I began really diving into the ins and outs of reloading, it developed into a hobby all its own.
Gardening is one more hobby that I have, and probably the only one that really works out as a money saver. My wife and I enjoy being able to grow fresh vegetables, and there's nothing like a good home grown tomato sandwich in the summer time. The canned and frozen vegetables sure taste good in winter too! Just like all my other activities, I'm still learning what works best and what I may want to do differently. It's a fun process to learn though!
As I was writing this, I wondered why I have stuck with all these hobbies, and if I wouldn't be a better fly fisherman, or deer hunter, or target shooter if I concentrated only on that particular hobby. The only answer that I can come up with is that even though I may have too many hobbies, they do give me a reason to be outdoors (or indoors working on outdoor related projects) all twelve months of the year. That's why, as I was debating on the focus for this blog (my newest hobby!) I couldn't narrow it down to one specific topic. I love everything about the outdoors and outdoor pursuits, and I didn't think I could limit my writing to one topic. I began this blog as a way to write about my own experiences in the outdoors, and to share all the things that I enjoy. I hope that no matter what your own particular interests are, you will find something on this blog that relates.
Thanks for stopping by!