If turkey hunters remember last spring, and recall the cold and winds that lingered throughout their season, then Saturday’s opening day in the state’s three turkey hunting areas shouldn’t come as a shock.
Opening morning temperatures are predicted to dip into the low 40s with moderate northerly winds. Yet with a much-warmer spring than those days leading up to last spring’s season, reports are that the gobblers are ready to listen to calls. That was the word coming from successful trips made during last weekend’s youth-only and physically challenged hunters’ opportunities to get into the woods.
The opener comes with a list of do’s and don’ts from veteran hunters and state wildlife managers, the latter group sending out the message that hunters need to know the rules and know what’s considered baiting before state Enforcement Division agents write citations for what could be substantial fines.
Briefly stated, you can’t put out any lure to attract turkeys, not corn, nor any other grain, nor salt, and you can’t hunt a spot where turkeys would travel to reach bait. There’s a 200-yard rule covering this baiting regulation, and there’s a 15-day waiting period for hunters after the bait (or lure) has been removed.
Tags are another mandate: Hunters must carry tags into the field and must affix the tag to the gobbler’s leg before removing the bird from the field. Remember, too, that it’s a gobbler-only take with a daily limit of one and season limit of two.
Know, too, that safety is paramount. Opening-day hunters should be aware that they might not be the only hunter in the woods, that other hunters who didn’t have the chance to scout might be on the move seeking gobblers.
For hunters on the move, the best advice from veterans is to move slowly and deliberately, and to wear Hunter’s Orange to and from the field.
A Wednesday note from Wildlife and Fisheries from anyone drawn in this weekend’s hunt on the Dewey W. Wills Wildlife Management Area: the Sandy Bayou and Muddy Bayou roads in the WMA are closed because of backwater flooding.
On the local scene, most youngsters fishing Sunday’s Denham Springs-based Junior Southwest Bassmasters event out of Doiron’s Landing stayed on the Verret side and all 24 young anglers caught bass, including limits for Jackson Landry and Caleb Roblin, in the 7-10 age group.
On the pros side, Gonzales’ Greg Hackney opened defense of his 2015 Angler of the Year title on the Bassmaster Elite Series tour with a fifth-place finish. Chris Lane won the Sabine River event, his seventh major title, and is going home to Lake Guntersville for the April 9-12 Elite event.