January 2010 - Volume 30, Number 1


Think deer hunting’s hard for you? Well, it’s definitely a whole lot harder for 16-year-old Ben Fontenot, but that hasn’t stopped him from whacking some brutes.

The 7-point buck presented a perfect 40-yard broadside shot. Ben Fontenot had been waiting for this moment for a long time. A whitetail deer, his whitetail deer, the first he would shoot, was within his sights.

Hunting seasons are almost over, so take advantage of the thinnest ground cover of the year to load a bag with tasty rabbits.

I could hear the high-pitched yodels of the beagles heading my way along the canal spoil bank. I chose my spot carefully, not just because it would give me a clear shot at a rabbit ahead of the dogs, but it allowed me to also keep an eye on my buddy and my sons back at the boat.

Cold weather got you down? Head to this chunk of marsh, and you’ll proclaim January as your favorite month of the year.

There’s a lot of ways to bring in the New Year. Pop a few fireworks, celebrate with friends, toast 2010 at midnight on New Year’s Eve or you could do what hardy anglers do all over the Southeast Louisiana marsh — go fishing.

Don’t laugh. Get out there this month, and you’ll find ridiculously large schools of ridiculously large redfish in ridiculously clear water.

Minutes after surveying Breton Island’s surprising paucity of fish and off-colored water, Gibby Andry, Lyle Panepinto and I were passing over the solemn remains of what is left of Grand Gosier Island. A small spit of land and a series of sandbars and shallow flats offer a grim reminder of what once was a land mass significant enough to put on most state maps.

Should you shoot that big cowhorn that just walked into your food plot, or will you be stuffing your future into your freezer?

I’m not interested in growing giant, trophy bucks because — everybody repeat in unison — you can’t eat horns. However, I am interested in having a healthy population of deer on my meager Washington Parish property.

Fish these 10 spots on an average January day, and you might strain your back lifting the ice chest out of your boat.

To say that Capt. Charlie Thomason was fighting back misty memories might be a little too strong, but I swear I saw him wiping a tear as his Catch 5 sailed toward the broken shoreline in Cochon Bay just off Lake Amedee.

If you hunt now the same way you did in the early season, you’ll return home with an empty bag and a bruised ego.

Ducks don’t talk to each other nearly as much as hunters think, especially during the late season. Just as a roomful of people will migrate away from a loud, obnoxious guy who tries to dominate the conversation, ducks will exhibit the same behavior.

Once the rut ends, bucks seem to disappear. But they are still around, and there are some basic needs that make them vulnerable.

The hunters had put in so much time afield that interest had ebbed, so when the morning broke on Jan. 20, no one showed much desire to leave the camp. They slept late, and then lounged around, enjoying the last of the season’s camaraderie.

Ira Patureau thought outside the box to kill this post-rut buck in Assumption Parish.