January 2016 - Volume 36, Number 1


The unseasonably hot weather early in the season put a crimp in your deer hunting. Your trigger finger is twitching as the season reaches its final month, but should you really shoot that deer?

Deer hunting has gone full circle. In the ’60s, bucks-only hunting was the rule and any legal buck was fair game. No one was going to harass you at the game pole about the size of your deer.

Everyone knows a buck’s nose is a hunter’s biggest challenge. But these two men have found a homegrown product that turns deer’s olfactory senses against trophy deer.

Following conventional wisdom about deer hunting and wind direction, Brandon Nettles never would have hunted the buck he did where he did on the opening day of the 2015 Mississippi archery season.

You carry a lot of equipment in the woods, but is duct tape in your bag? Maybe it should be. Here are some uses for the versatile material.

There are a few items I’ll never leave home without when heading into the woods to deer hunt. Of course, if it’s during the rut, I’ll tote along a grunt call, doe estrous and even rattling horns, in addition to items that are useful all season.

I have to admit that when it comes to carrying the extra weight of survival items, I don’t pack much that could be considered useful aside from a knife and cordage.

Yeah, it’s cold this month, but if conditions get right bass will be thinking about the spawn — and that makes them vulnerable. Use these pro tips to catch more pre-spawners.

They want to go. They probably will go; it’s just a matter of when they’ll go.

That’s the usual fickleness of pre-spawn bass.

Hunting South Louisiana’s deer is nothing like what is shown on the Outdoor Channel. But tag along with this 89-year-old who still humps it into pine thickets to learn how he continues collecting backstrap for the family gatherings.

“What a joke!” came the yell. “Why do I even bother watching this stuff? Deze guys ain’t hunting — not the way we do it down here in South Louisiana! They’re hunting a different animal on a different planet! Geeesh!” 

When this hunter was the LDWF’s Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area manager, he hunted every morning and evening of the duck seasons. And he still hunts the same, simple way — and kills plenty of birds. Here’s his approach.

His blind was ridiculously simple.

The hunter was perched on his shell bucket on one end of a poke boat-style pirogue pulled up on the marsh bank under a rattlebox plant.

Wintertime in Reggio means plenty of reds and trout — with black drum, flounder and sheepshead, as well. And you usually don’t have to make long runs. Here’s how these captains keep their customers happy.

According to Merriam-Webster, a “roundup” is a gathering together of people or animals or items. As in a cattle roundup, or a police roundup of suspects.

In today’s fast-paced duck hunting world, Errol Dennis Sr. directs his family’s hunting as if he were back in the old days. And they’ve mastered the art of killing late-season ducks.

“I was born in 1940. Things were a lot different back when I was growing up as a kid on Delacroix Island. There was no electricity or running water.” 

Errol Dennis Sr.

I was fortunate to be invited to duck hunt with the Dennis family last January. In the blind that morning, were three generations of Delacroix duck hunters who have carried on the family’s duck-hunting traditions on property that has been in their family for almost 100 years. 

If your deer hunting is pretty much over for the season, don’t put your guns up. Grab a shotgun or .22 and hit the woods for some late-season squirrel hunting — when bushytails are in the peak of their winter breeding season.

The cold month of January marks the beginning of the end of our hunting season. The deer rut is over in many places, ducks have become harder to call in and hunters start thinking about fishing.

Looking for some winter pre-spawn bass? Just locate some key travel routes and use these pro tips to pick up bites, even when fish are lethargic.

Bass go where bass want to go, but there’s always a logical reason for why they chose their courses. Seasonality drives major relocation, with water temperature and bait positioning being the major influences.

However, the particular travel lanes fish utilize are most often defined by channels, ditches, drains and other contour features.

When the mercury falls into the basement, Caney Lake’s yellow bass come out to play. And this state record holder knows exactly how to put them in the boat.

“Yeow — that’s a big yellow bass,” I thought to myself when I saw the new first-place entry of 2.67 pounds in the official state fish records kept by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association.

The 2015-16 deer-hunting season is drawing to a close, but the big boys like this one killed on Loggy Bayou WMA by Jerry Bailey are showing up to play. Learn everything you need to know to connect with your own late-season trophy.