It is easy to tell when the weather has been bad for an extended period of time, so much so that many of the fishermen and hunters are being held prisoner inside their homes. They are idle, they are agitated and they are grousing about everything.
With a recent rain pattern that rivals that in the Pacific Northwest, the rivers and streams are swollen and too fast and muddy to fish. Some of the weekends that are normally prime time for the spring walleye run have been near complete washouts.
Those folks who expected that months of cabin fever would be cured by a couple warm afternoons wading the Sandusky and Maumee rivers are feeling that fever intensify. Many of the waterways have pushed up over their banks and into the trees, so the fish are impossible to reach, if they are still there in that swirling, raging mass of coffee brown water.
The spring turkey hunters are an equally grumpy group of individuals. They rely a lot on sound and the ability to hear birds rustling leaves and other matter on the floor of the woods. They also need to hear the wild turkeys communicating amongst themselves to get some idea where the toms, jakes and hens are.
Near constant rain makes it difficult for listening, and for sorting out what you are hearing. The accumulated rain has made for tough conditions in the field, where soft turf has been turned into swamp. A very patient lot by nature, turkey hunters are a little bewildered right now.
Ohio wildlife experts have estimated that there are close to a quarter million wild turkeys in the state, and upwards of 70,000 hunters are anxious to pursue these birds.
The only real option for the river fishermen and the turkey hunters at this point is to wait it out, and patience has never been their strong suit. It will take several days of calm weather for the rivers to start to clear, and then several more after that to get us back to prime fishing conditions.
The woods likely won't approach drying out until summer, so the mushroom hunters will have to deal with a lot of the same misery when it's their turn at the plate. There's just too much water piled on top of saturated soil, and more rain just seems to keep showing up on the radar.
After hearing from the fishermen and the hunters, it is hard to imagine there could be a group that is angrier about the lousy spring we've had, but then the gardeners raised an uproar.
We had heard from a lot of farmers previously about how they just needed to catch some kind of break so they can get started with the spring planting.
Farmers talk more about the weather but complain less than most folks do. Nature is their business partner, and eventually, things tend to balance out. There are wet periods and dry periods, cold periods and hot periods, but the farmers persevere and they always seem to bring the crops to market.
But the gardeners are a more boisterous, more militant bunch. They take every rain storm that keeps them from working the plot as a personal insult. That garden is God's little acre, and they are playing the role of St. Peter, guarding the gate.
The gardeners don't like playing catch-up. They want to be out there now tilling, raking, and preparing that precious soil that will give them plenty of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peppers this summer. The plants they started inside will be ready soon, and with the mud and muck everywhere, there is no place to move those young starts.
The human creatures of the outdoors - fishermen, hunters, campers and gardeners - are just stuck. Until the weather settles and some degree of normalcy returns, they are spinning their wheels, waiting for the rain to cease.
Matt Markey is The A-T outdoors columnist.
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