Are you in shape for the fall outdoor season ahead? You had better be ready as things are going to come together very quickly now that Labor Day Weekend is here!

I’ve spent my entire life in the outdoors and it takes a lot of energy and stamina to do cold weather outdoor sports. Things like launching a boat in the cold, wading through mud, dragging a deer out from the area where it was harvested, and hauling your gun across an open field; all of these things require more stamina than they do during the warm weather months.

I remember days when I walked cornfields, days when I hauled steel traps through a swamp, days when I played football in the cold, and days when I drug a deer or a beaver out of a wooded, muddy area. The sleep you have after a day like this is a much different sleep then you get during the summer months; in fact, you just collapse and sleep like a baby because you are worn out!

I hope you are ready for the outdoor sports you pursue this year; you don’t want to end up a statistic because you weren’t ready! Get in shape; stay in shape; that’s my motto.

Labor Day Weekend marks the end of summer to me. I say this because I see fewer and fewer people on the water once this weekend is over. Some of this, I’m sure, revolves around the fact that many are putting things away until next spring, while others would simply rather sit and watch football or baseball as these seasons are beginning and coming to an end.

Whatever the reason, I know I won’t see nearly as many of you on the water after this weekend and I sure enjoy that as the big crappies and bluegills are about to show up!

Novice youth (10 years or older) , women and men are invited to participate in an introductory wingshooting clinic on Saturday, September 10th at Johnson Sauk Trail State Recreation Area near Kewanee.

The clinic is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Rock Island/Henry County Pheasants Forever.

Check-in will begin at 9:30 a.m., and the clinic will begin at 10 a.m. Instruction during the wingshooting clinic will be provided by National Sporting Clays Association and IDNR certified wingshooting instructors. Participants will learn to safely handle and fire a shotgun, as well as practice the fundamentals of hitting a moving target.

Registration is $10 per participant. To sign up, call the park office at 309-853-2425 or email DNR.JohnsonSaukTrail @illinois.gov.

These clinics are great for teaching you child or wife how to properly handle a gun. John Hott, former superintendent at Kickapoo State Park was big into these clinics and spent a lot of time telling me about them and how good they were for young hunters.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Saturdays. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: [email protected]