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Don’t be stupid: Wear a PFD

Fishing is at the heart of Louisiana outdoor life. Sure, we love to hunt, but that’s only allowed for a few months each year. Fishing season, on the other hand, never ends.

March 01 at 9:00 am

Small Tract Toms — Turkey-hunting tactics for small properties

My return to turkey hunting after a 15-year hiatus was truly haphazard.

I had recently leased a 150-acre tract of land near Folsom for deer hunting and was scouting for deer sign in late winter trying to learn the lay of the land. What I discovered was startling: The deer lease was full of turkey sign, and I spotted several turkeys during my scouting trips.

With spring fast approaching, I thought a little turkey hunting might help me get more familiar with the new lease, but realistically my expectations were fairly low.

I was in for a real surprise.

March 01 at 7:00 am

Wetland Warriors — Battling coastal erosion by hunting nutria

“The coyotes ate all the rabbits! The ducks got short-stopped! And the squirrels all live in woods leased by deer clubs who hate squirrel hunters! So how’s a kid supposed to scratch his hunting itch nowadays?” 

Artie was in another of his moods at Doc’s camp. 

“Oh, I don’t really mean hunting itch,” he continued after a hearty swig and a thunderous belch. “I mean blasting and killing itch. Oh, I know, I know. It’s not really ‘blasting and killing;’ it’s ‘harvesting,”’ he added with a smirk. “And I know, I know: It’s not all about the shooting. It’s about ‘the camaraderie, about learning sportsmanship and conservation principles, about watching the beautiful sunrise, the pretty roseate spoonbills, about blah, blah, blah.’ Sure — sure.

March 01 at 7:00 am

The jewel in the city

I was in the heart of the urban jungle.

It was 4:30 in the morning.

The neon sign on the Morning Call coffee shop in New Orleans City Park blazed brightly, so it seemed open. But everything was dead quiet — no cars in front; no people visible inside. 

I ventured to the door, half-expecting it to be locked. It swung open, revealing an impressive mounted largemouth bass on the wall of the foyer. The label beneath it said it was 7 pounds, 14 ounces and had been caught by Mike Laviolette.

March 01 at 7:00 am

Manchac swamp stranding shows importance of survival gear

If you’ve ever traveled Interstate 55 south to New Orleans, you have passed over that exotic, and almost mystical area between two of Louisiana’s major lakes — Lake Maurepas, and Lake Pontchartrain.

The mixed cypress and hardwood swamps bordered by brackish and freshwater marshes are connected by Pass Manchac, the winding waterway that connects Lake Maurepas with its much larger brother, Lake Ponchartrain. 

Little has changed this area since Iberville passed through in 1699, en route to the French fleet anchored at the Chandeleur Islands. He and his brother Bienville split their forces at Bayou Manchac, just south of the site of present-day Baton Rouge. They were returning from their exploration of the Mississippi River as far north as the Red River’s junction with the “Father of Waters.” 

February 28 at 9:00 am

Statewide crappie recap: Saline-Larto complex

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the seventh and final article in an online series on hot crappie spots across the state that originally appeared in Louisiana Sportsman magazine. Today's article features information on the Saline-Larto complex.

February 27 at 11:15 am

Crappie crooks

February can be a little slow, as far as hunting and fishing goes. Hunting seasons are ending. The fish aren’t spawning yet, and besides it’s still pretty cold for getting in a boat.

But in Central and North Louisiana, where a “speck” is a crappie and not a speckled trout, where it is a “white perch” and not a “sac-a-lait,” a little fishing is going on — and most of it is going on in the dark.

And it’s not exactly legal.

February 21 at 9:00 am

Climate change impacting wildlife, study claims

The National Wildlife Federation is urging sportsmen to do their part to help slow down or reverse climate change, concluding in its latest report “Nowhere to Run: Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World” that many big-game species across North America are already being affected and could be headed for a big fall.

The 36-page report says overwhelming evidence points to climate change brought about by air pollution and other chemical additions to the earth’s atmosphere, and that wildlife managers need to take into account possible results when managing big-game populations.

The report, which can be accessed at, points to habitat changes that have already been documented affecting North American big-game populations of moose, pronghorn antelope, caribou, bighorn sheep, mule deer and whitetail deer, and predicts that effects of further climate change could even more drastically affect those species — as well as humans.

February 21 at 6:30 am

Does the moon really matter?

As regular readers of “Happy Trails” have come to know, I am a trail/scouting camera fanatic, and use the data I derive each season from my web of cameras to tell me when and where deer, and bucks in particular, move on my personal hunting property.

I ascribe to the premise that less is not more when it comes to wringing all you can from a set of trail camera photos. I hunt and manage a several-hundred- acre tract of hunting land. There is an approximately 200-acre core area in the center of my overall property, which is accessed at some point by virtually all of the deer that use my property.

February 19 at 9:00 am

Tragic murder inspires Paradis hunter to create charitable program

Nathan Verdin’s love of hunting began at a young age when he shot his first deer as a 9-year-old. When a cousin was killed and another became disabled after an accident, Verdin turned to hunting to ease the pain.

February 17 at 3:00 pm

Saltwater guide catches 12-pound bass at Toledo Bend

Every year, Jared Adams makes his first fishing trip for Toledo Bend bass in February, then transitions to saltwater fishing after early spring.

February 14 at 1:22 pm

You can’t beat crawfish

A Louisiana bass fishing pro getting ready for his fifth season on the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament trail said there’s no question about one of the artificial lures he’ll nearly always be throwing when the bass and the money are on the line in 2014.

“I mean, everybody pretty much knows it’s going to be a crawfish,” Dennis Tietje said.

Tietje had just returned from his deer-hunting camp during the holidays and obliged a question about one of the favorite artificial lures in his tacklebox, a confidence bait.

“I’m going to keep three baits on no matter what — a small crankbait (red KVD Square Bill), a (Strike King) Rage Craw and a small (Strike King) spinnerbait,” the angler from Roanoke said. “Even though I may not rely (full-time) on the soft plastic, I tend to throw some type of crawfish bait 60- to 70-percent of the time.”

February 14 at 9:00 am

Three Louisiana men charged with illegally importing deer in Mississippi

Three men and a company, all of Slidell, are at the center of a 13-count federal indictment filed Wednesday in Gulfport involving the illegal importation of live white-tailed deer into Mississippi.

February 13 at 3:17 pm

Tackle boxes, Nets, etc.

Plano Guide Series Tackle Bag

Winner of the Best Tackle Management award at ICAST 2013, this intuitively re-engineered bag features a molded top that holds a 3700, 3600 or 3500 ProLatch StowAway box in place with elastic straps. Remove the StowAway and you have a handy workspace for rigging tackle.

With five additional boxes stored inside the bag, it’s easy to switch out your top StowAway so you always keep your most-relevant tackle within easy reach.

February 13 at 2:03 pm

Clinton hunter gored by big East Feliciana 6-point

When he closes his eyes at night, Bobby Neames still has vivid recollections of the attack he endured by a big 6-point East Feliciana Parish buck this past Christmas Eve morning.

February 12 at 5:31 pm

Watch Sportsman TV tonight at 6:30 on CST: 'Dave's Deer Management'

Watch Cox Sports Television tonight at 6:30 as host Greg Hackney and retired Deer Program Leader Dave Moreland travel to Morganza in pursuit of management deer.

February 12 at 1:35 pm