March 2017 - Volume 37, Number 3


Learn how to tan hides of coons, deer and more

George Ricks doesn’t end his coon-hunting experience when the dogs are put away. He continues by tanning the hides.

“Tanning gives me a chance to get closer to wildlife,” Ricks explained. “I get satisfaction from not wasting any part of the animal. When I was a kid, I was interested in trapping. I wanted to learn tanning, but instead sold my furs (untanned) to a buyer. I started tanning hides two years ago. I went on the internet and found a lot of versions of tanning.

Sure, you could head to Barataria Bay to catch some speckled trout this month. Or you could stay close to Lafitte and spend the day fishing instead of burning gas — and you’ll come home with plenty of fish.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to drive past fish to find fish. That’s why Capt. Lane Zimmer is so excited about fishing out of Lafitte during March.

The old debate about effective colors still rages in the bass-fishing community, but this angler said there’s a way to cut through the arguing and make informed decisions.

Several years ago, I was standing at the counter of a tackle shop shooting the bull when a customer dropped several crankbaits next to the cash register. 

“You don’t need all those colors,” I told him, as the manager began ringing him up.

The spring transition can be tough on Delacroix trout anglers, but these three lures up your odds of success — if you know where to use them.

MirrOLure She Dogs are made with premium hardware, rattles that can be heard from space, natural 3-D eyes, double-dipped MirrOclear exterior finishes and — above all — durable,  life-like colors.

Hunter shares secrets to skinning raccoons

George Ricks skins his coons by the open-case method, which produces a flat hide, split down the belly.

Fur buyers, he noted, only purchase closed-case skinned coons. With this method, the animal is cut from one rear leg ankle to the anus, and from there out to the ankle of the other leg. The hide is then pulled off from the rear of the animal toward its front, like a person removing a T-shirt. 

Trout that were ganged up near deep holes scatter this month as water temperatures rise, and that means boxes of fish are hard to come by. But this Hopedale guide knows the key to heading home with a slime-covered front deck.

Trout start acting squirrely in March. They’ve been cooped up for months — even confined — by the invisible border winter throws around the marsh.

Even when we have a mild February their instincts won’t let them wander far from their deep winter retreats.

If you’re looking for some old-fashioned fun, chasing coons through the dark of night fits the bill. Here’s what you need to know.

A half-hour before midnight, I threw a look over my shoulder to see if I was dragging a certain piece of my anatomy behind me. 

George Ricks was putting a whuppin’ on me. The 57-year-old iron man was making me feel every bit of my 70 years — and he only speeded up when the hounds started yodeling “treed.”

If you’re looking to notch your rod with a double-digit bass, this is the month to be at Toledo Bend. And these certified trophy anglers tell you how to up your odds of success.

In the past five years, Toledo Bend Lake has delivered a mother lode of double-digit lunkers — an unprecedented phenomenon in Sportsman’s Paradise.

And records indicate March is when more trophies will be caught at the sprawling reservoir than any other month.

Gobblers are some of the wiliest critters in the woods, but this North Louisiana hunter has them figured out. Here’s his tips to putting a bird on the ground.

Jerry Antley’s love of turkey hunting took him from an ordinary outdoorsman to a manufacturer of turkey hunting products that gained him a spot in the national outdoor business.

The Tchefuncte River has a reputation as a tough fishery, but the scenic waterway holds a considerable sac-a-lait population. And this is the best month to connect with slabs.

It was America’s least favorite day of the week — a Monday afternoon. The weekend Tchefuncte River boaters had all gone back to work, and Covington’s Jeff Bruhl had all of the main-river cuts to himself.

Learn what one coon hunter looks for in hunting dogs

Although he now calls himself a “pleasure hunter,” George Ricks is something of an expert on coonhounds.

He participated in competition coon hunting for 10 years and also judged competitive events.

“It got to be too much, with all my other irons in the fire,” Ricks admitted.

He said that there are six dog breeds in coon-hunting circles: treeing walkers, blueticks, black and tans, Plotts, American English and redbones.

“There are good coonhounds in all breeds, but my preference is for treeing walkers,” Ricks said. “They hunt harder, they are faster and I like their looks.

If you haven’t already made reservations for a Toledo Bend trip, you’re behind the 8 ball. March is the month when the big girls come out to play.