By Josh Gowan
I know we’ve still got a little over a month of summer, but the cool mornings and football commercials can’t help but transcend an outdoorsman’s thoughts to fall.
Most of our favorite hunting seasons are right around the corner, and now’s a great time to get out all your shotguns, rifles, pistols, assault weapons, bows, and cannons, along with your accessories and ammunition, strew them across the living room floor, and give them a good cleaning.
I always enjoy digging the old hunting pack out for the first time each year, it’s like Christmas. I found a knife, a couple flashlights, face paint, some doe pee, a myriad of game calls, and a strawberry poptart, and that was just the first pocket! I spent a half hour separating my duck shells from my dove shells from my rabbit shells, and have determined at my projected DKPS (dove kill per shell) I should be alright for opening day!
Like a lot of hunters, my dove gun is also my duck gun, and I made the mistake of buying some cheap shells from Walmart last year, not only did they not chamber through my shotgun well, I was wounding more than I was killing. We saw this problem last year at Grizzly and began carrying the nsi 1 ¼ ounce long brass dove loads. It made all the difference in the world, not only do they chamber through guns that can hold 3 ½’s, they don’t wound, they kill.
Now we can only hope for a massive harvest leading up to opening day, otherwise there won’t be much to hunt for a few weeks. On a side note, just because Missouri’s opening day starts in the morning and Tennessee’s starts at noon, you cannot travel state to state for a double limit.
Doves, like all migratory birds, are federally regulated, and 15 is the limit per day, regardless of which side of the Mississippi you’re on!
A bumper crop of teal again this year has expanded the limit in Missouri to six per day.
Tennessee is still stuck at four, and that appears to be because they elect to include woodducks in their early season bag. Tennessee also did not get the extended season this year, and is again relegated to only a five day season.
I talked to a friend of mine and duck hunting guide at Reelfoot Lake, and he was highly irritated.
He said that because the rest of the state doesn’t have the teal that west Tennessee has, they continue to push for including woodducks in their early season and that’s why they’re kept at a short season and a four-duck limit.
Ironically, I have always been miffed about Missouri not being able to shoot woody’s, especially since they seem to be the only thing flying in the southern zone the first week of the early season! Hopefully the teal will be here early this year!
I don’t care what the calendar says, September 1 is the start of fall for me! Although we have some hot days to deal with over the Holiday weekend, the extended forecast shows nights in the 50’s within the week. The crappie bite has been good at Reelfoot despite the hot days, and Billy Blakely from BlueBank told me today that he’s been catching good fish, and that although the heat pushed the fish deeper and made the bite lighter, the crappie are still hungry!
I haven’t been able to get a solid report from Kentucky Lake, because my number one source of information, Rich Bay of Kick’n Bass Guide Service, has been laid up in the hospital with a swollen leg! Fortunately he’s on his way home today and will be back on the water within the week! Get well soon buddy!
“Slabber” Dave Maddox and Jeff Riddle, representing Reelfoot Lake and Wappapello Lake, finished the “regular season” of the CrappieMaster’s tournament trail in second place in the points standing after a good finish at Truman this past weekend. It’s hard to express to folks that don’t fish against the best in the country in this trail how impressive that is, but these two guys are amazing fishermen and had a heck of a year.
Congratulations to them and I hope they put up another great showing at Grenada Lake at the National Championship!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com