By Josh Gowan
What a gorgeous fall weekend here in the Heartland, I love the days when you have to crank the heater in the morning and the ac in the afternoon!
We experienced our first hard frost this past week, and that means two things, it’s time to seine the garden and the warts are off the rabbits! We had Tennesseans in Grizzly Jig buying their out-of-state hunting license the next morning, and that’ll continue through the winter (apparently there is lack of rabbits in Tennessee).
A rookie killed a trophy buck in the Ozarks, a couple veteran tournament fishermen added to their legacy at Kentucky Lake and an awesome event was held at Reelfoot, so let’s get to it!
The 2nd Annual Wounded Warrior Crappie Event was held this past week at Reelfoot Lake, and it was a huge success, thanks to Brent Work and Charlotte Plish, Shane Hall with the National Wild Turkey Foundation and American Legion Post 171 Commander Will Gunter, among many others. This event supports American soldiers in the HOOAH (Healing Outside of a Hospital) program, essentially helping to acclimate combat soldiers back to civilian life.
Eight soldiers descended on Reelfoot Lake this past week to a host of hosts (not The Host of Hosts, but I’m quite sure He had a hand in the event as well!). They were put up by Brad and Mackey at Reelfoot Outdoors, took the “Pontoon Tour” provided by the State Park, were fed multiple meals by Lakeview Dining Room and Lakeview Baptist Church, and spent Wednesday and Thursday on the water crappie fishing with Brent and his band of local guides!
They all caught fish and shared an experience they won’t soon forget. Strike King representative Brent Callicott was on hand at Tuesday evening’s church dinner and provided the soldiers with donated items from Strike King, Final Flight Outfitters, MinnKota/Humminbird, Kevin Van Dam, Columbia Sportswear and Frogg Toggs. Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter for the Union City Messenger, wrote “The soldiers were very gracious in repeatedly thanking their hosts for their hospitality.
The soldiers, in turn, were repeatedly thanked for their service to their country.”
Last week I received the first real deer story of the year from Sherman Plunkett from Clarkton, Mo. Well, not to be outdone, Sherman’s wife Audrey Plunkett put a nice buck down this past Sunday. There are not a lot of women who hunt, and even less that bow hunt, but that doesn’t matter much to Audrey. She loves the woods and the excitement of the chase, and enjoys sharing her husband’s passion for the outdoors.
Audrey got in the tree around 6 a.m. and was determined to stay alert, after a doe allegedly gave her the slip last weekend! She noticed something coming through the woods around 8 a.m., and recalling last year when she never stood up until the deer was past her, she rose to her feet and got ready.
The 10-point buck walked down the same trail as Sherman’s, but in her direction rather than his, and once he passed her and gave the opportunity, she pulled back the Matthew’s Youth Craze (in pink no less) and let the 19 pound draw fling an arrow right behind his shoulder and through both lungs. Audrey’s heart was about to beat out of her chest, she saw the buck “mule kick” and bound off. After an excruciatingly long 30 minutes, Sherman met her and they set out to track the deer. The buck went less than 100 yards and was hammer dead. Sherman was awfully proud, and Audrey is hooked for life, and the only bad news is, their taxidermy bill just doubled!
I got to hang out with Billy Blakely at the Grizzly Jig Fall Show over the weekend, and he said the fishing at Reelfoot has been great, as long as you’re on the fish! He guided today (Monday) and filled the cooler with big, thick crappie. Now’s a great time to go on a guided trip, just call BlueBank Resort and Billy and his guides will put you on them!
Josh M. Gowan, Outdoors Writer, Crappie Angler Magazine, www.joshgowanoutdoors.com