Duck and deer seasons under way in Mid-South

By the time we read this, “huntin' season” will, by and large, be open for nearly everything. Here in northeast Louisiana, deer and duck seasons will be in their infancies for 2008-09.

I have just about quit duck hunting. Here in my local area there are very few, if any, past crop rice fields. It seems that every pothole and brake has been cleared and leveled. Most of the local bayous that used to hold enough water to keep a wood duck around have been cleaned out and with the drier climate we have experienced the past several years, there really hasn't been much runoff water.

Probably the thousands upon thousands of WRP and CRP acres that Ducks Unlimited has got its fingers in have held up more of our ducks than anything else. Just short of a national natural disaster in the form of a giant freeze would be the only thing to force the normal migration back into the Deep South.

If you are in a good lease, hole, camp or place to hunt, enjoy the season, and keep your mouth shut.

Now to the deer hunting! I write about this every year, somehow, somewhere. I was in a bow shop the first week in November when a young man, 25 or so, came in. Within minutes he reported that he had “killed a nice 8-point, nearly 17-inch wide — he was a young deer though.”

I was in a sporting goods store last week watching another hunter look at pictures from his deer camera. He wasn't bashful about his pics as I looked over his shoulder. “Boy, it looks like you have a lot of spikes and one big ol' cow horn spike,” I stated. “Oh, we got lots of spikes. Just because he is a spike don't mean nothing. He might be a 6-point next year,” he stated. “We shoot only 8-points, 15 inches or better.”

Who do you reckon will have the best chance of taking a 150 class deer? One hunter is taking his potential 150 class deer out during bow season. We know he will rarely have a deer make maturity, four to six years old, and even worse, he is taking his good gene pool out of his general deer population long before the rut.

The second hunter is expanding his spike population. Why? Somewhere, somehow, somebody planted a seed that “all spikes have the potential to be shooter bucks.” Ever wonder where a big ol' cow-horned spike comes from?

Boy, I sure don't want a spike or any lesser 8-point 15-inch buck deer eatin' and making “whoopee” with my doe population. I have only in the last two seasons here in Louisiana seen this mating process. Both times in a bean field in full daylight. One time the spike got to pass his gene on, good or bad.

I have Leupold scopes on 95 percent of my rifles and have found that somewhere in the power rings' variable setting is a half hamburger-half sausage setting for spikes, freak horns, and the likes in the pre-rut season. After the “rut,” everything goes. It's hard to sit in a stand with a rifle, firing reloads that are handmade, under a scope that cost more than the rifle to let a really good deer go, but can you imagine a calendar with 5 spikes traveling through the woods or a big ol' cow horn spike chasing a doe?

Try a new approach this year. The “biologist” or camp manager probably ain't paying your dues or property taxes, so why should he care. He's probably telling you what you want to hear, or what he has heard or read about.

The bottom line, to have a real wall hanger, you gotta have age, genetics and food. Only you can accomplish this through good game management and patience.

Hunt safely. Never put a loaded firearm in or on a mechanized vehicle. Let the young ones in your life get the spirit.

If you get a chance, take a kid hunting or fishing. For that matter, take anyone. One doesn't have to kill to enjoy the outdoors. Some of the best friends and meals are made at the camp.

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