December 2009 - Volume 29, Number 12

Features

Think this year’s high water will force all mature deer up onto the ridges? Think again.

Water came early to Tensas Parish this year. Sloughs and drainage ditches that normally wouldn’t fill up until late December were already reaching their breaking points back in October. And deer that normally wouldn’t set hoof on a ridge that early had no choice but to leave the bottoms and head for the hills.

Target these long-billed birds on the state’s public lands, and you’re certain to have a great time.

At the end of day six, when the good Lord passed a final glance over all of his creation, a wink and a smile must have went out to the diminutive woodcock.

We’ve all had hunting experiences that are more memorable than others — but not because the result was a trophy buck.

My buddy Darren Cooper and I had painstakingly chosen the stand site to cut off a big buck that everyone in the club knew frequented a narrow strip of woods between a large field and the highway cutting through the lease.

December’s the perfect time to make a short milk run to easy speck and redfish action in Terrebonne Parish.

The Dulac/Cocodrie area presents a wide range of options for warm-weather speck chasers. From the Lake Barre oil and gas fields to the east to the feast-or-famine run to Raccoon Island and the small cluster of rigs to the west, anglers and area guides have lots to choose from in the sweltering summer months.

This time of year, cold fronts usually drive redfish out of the shallows and into bigger lakes and bays, where they could not be easier to catch.

Louisiana redfishing is often thought of as the baseball equivalent of small-ball. Tippy, skinny water boats slinking though ponds and broken marsh with a push pole or trolling motor at its lowest setting. Anglers peering through a half dozen species of submerged vegetation, trying to differentiate the colors and motions of the preferred prey from that of mullet, sheepshead and the similarly colored stingray. And then barely daring to utter a harsh whisper when pointing out the telltale push or bright-red pectoral fins before the blunt-nosed bayou brawler comes into full view.

It’s the holiday season, and that means Calcasieu Lake speckled trout are hitting the hard stuff.

Calcasieu Lake was a lot quieter back in 1985 when Capt. Jeff Poe first moved to Louisiana and settled on its shoreline.

Don’t hesitate this month. Point the bow of your boat directly toward this perennial winter hotspot.

I met Brian McAdam for the first time in the dark hours of a cold morning on Paris Road in Chalmette. We agreed to meet there so I could hop in his truck and make a fishing trip with him and one of his long-time fishing buddies, Wayne Lobell. McAdam said I would easily recognize his truck — it’d be the one pulling a 22-foot Hanko.

Some of the best deer hunting in Southeast Louisiana is on the WMAs — if you know how to hunt them.

O.K., answer me this: How many of those brochures in hotel lobbies in the French Quarter beckon you to embark on a charming tour of a “5-year-old pure-pine plantation?” Or a picturesque tour of a “10-year clear-cut timber tract?” Or a breathtaking tour of scenic landscape comprising “select-cut timber featuring scenic logging machinery ruts, gorgeous burnt stumps and piles of cut-downs”? Or maybe: “Come with us and gaze bleary-eyed for four hours down a power-line surrounded by monotonous even-growth pines!”

Hunters across the state schedule their vacation time to coincide with the rut, but what are bucks really doing? Is the rut the best time to be in the woods?

The buck hadn’t stopped for more than a few minutes in days, and was simply worn out. The 10-point had been busy chasing does and taking care of business, leaving little time for concern over its physical health.

What exactly are those big bucks doing during the rutting phase? Find out in this issue.