October 2016 - Volume 36, Number 10

Features

This Monroe hunter has big bucks figured out, and he’s willing to help others learn his bowhunting tactics.

There’s an old episode of the TV show “Gunsmoke” in which a Dodge City resident returns to his home with a load of stolen loot. But in “A Man Called Smith,” all his plans and efforts lead to nothing but trouble.

There’s a man named Smith in Monroe who often returns to his favorite home woods in Madison and Richland parishes. 

Hunters across the state will be running for the woods this month in hopes of stocking up on squirrels for their camp stew pots. Here are some of the top public options, as well as tips on how to consistently fill your limits.

On opening day last year, conditions were favorable for squirrel hunting at Sherburne Wildlife Management Area and the adjacent Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge.

Winds were calm, temperatures were tolerable and the forest floor was moist as hunters made their way into the 44,000-acre wetlands complex.

Well before sunrise, Joe Speyrer and his three sons boated south along Big Alabama Bayou, making their way through the area locally called the “narrows” and traveling past the Bayou Des Glaises junction.

The Florida Parishes holds the state’s only population of Bachman’s fox squirrels, those blazed-faced beauties coveted by hunters. But there’s also no shortage of feisty cat squirrels to round out your bags.

Artie suddenly put down his basting brush, clapped his hands, and bellowed.

“So who wants squirrel sauce piquante next week for the LSU-Florida tailgate PAAAW-TY?” he howled.

All heads turned — but remember Otis Day in Animal House? Remember his reaction when Boon yelled, “Otis! My Man!”

If you’re looking for a real challenge, try deer hunting with a longbow — where 20 yards is a long shot. It’ll push your woodsmanship to the limits and make you a better hunter.

A stick and a string ­— the only things standing between a traditional archery hunter and harvesting a whitetail.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that. 

If you think bowfishing isn’t sporting, you probably have never given it a try. These die-hard bowfishermen share their tips for success and explain why it’s not as easy as it looks.

It wasn’t like shooting fish in a barrel. I thought they would be just kind of sitting there, hovering helplessly in gin-clear water, hypnotized by the boat’s bright lights.

Helpless.

Easy pickin’s.

If you know there are deer on your property but you strike out time and time again, these hunters know the perfect solution. And it’s so easy you’ll kick yourself for not thinking of it.

For about 10 years, I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that I was doing something wrong.

It didn’t matter how many food plots I planted, how many mineral sites I created or how many piles of corn I put out, our deer-hunting success was marginal — at best.

October offers fantastic fishing, but it can also be frustrating as cold fronts push in howling winds. But this Lafitte backup plan will keep your rod bowed and your ice chest full.

Listen carefully and you’ll hear a universal sigh of relief as we close the door on September and the peak month of hurricane season.

Not that October can’t get nasty and produce tropical systems — and, officially, the hurricane season doesn’t close until November.

But, unofficially, we know that once we get past September the potential for the worst is over.

Now we can exhale.

Fall is when bass begin ganging up and following baitfish migrations, and these expert anglers knows jerkbaits are still one of the best producers around.

Word association games show us our true perceptions by drawing forth gut responses.

Say the word “jerkbait,” and many anglers would likely say “cold” — and they would not be entirely wrong.

However, they’d also not be entirely right.

Redfish move into Vermilion Bay, and you can catch all you want fishing community holes. Or you could bypass the crowds and target these unpressured reds.

The warm Gulf waters swirled soothingly around my legs. The October air was crisp and dry, but the briny broth still carried much of the warmth it stored up during the long Louisiana summer.

Unnoticed by his wife Debbie, the lean, normally reserved 56-year-old Pat Attaway looked at me and grinned broadly — like a little boy in a mud puddle.

He was happy.

The long wait is finally over and it's time to hit the woods. Learn everything you need to know to put a deer on the ground.