Most of the rest of the country is celebrating this holiday weekend by putting the lid on summer.
Not here. Not for several weeks.
We’re going to take to the fields across our state Saturday in what Yankee brethren would consider sweltering weather to celebrate the opening of the hunting season.
Doves are first on the list, followed by 16 days of a teal season, then openers for archery-for-deer seasons, then squirrel and rabbits. It’s possible, by one or another means, to hunt somewhere in our state all the way through April. Then if you take a couple of weeks off, there’s May’s squirrel season. That’s almost nine months of nonstop action.
Youngsters should think about their time in the woods, fields, marshes and swamps. Think about recording your adventures with a camera, or in a journal. It could be well worth your time.
Earlier this month, 15 youngsters from across the state received certificates and cash prizes for their writing and photography efforts in the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association’s Youth Journalism Contest.
That same evening, brother and sister Jay Chase and Chloe Slayter of Pineville, were named recipients of the Louisiana Male and Female Youth Hunters of the Year during LOWA’s annual banquet in Houma.
Chloe backed up her 2012 YHOY award, a story about her taking a giant 14-point buck from the Richard Yancey Wildlife Management Area, with an adventure that began when she was drawn for a youth lottery hunt on Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge.
Her uncle, Billy Porche, accompanied her on the hunt on a cold, windy morning when the deer weren’t moving. Her afternoon hunt was much different.
Drawing a different stand, a buck showed up at 4:20 p.m. and Chloe wrote that she didn’t waste time drawing a bead on another trophy. This was an 11-point, 210-pound buck with a 17 5?8-inch inside spread.
Jay Chase Slayter was selected after detailing his hunt during an East Zone youth-only waterfowl hunt on Catahoula Lake. Jay Slayter, Jay Chase’s dad, guided Jay Chase and two friends on what the young hunter described as a “foggy morning and quite challenging boat ride to the blind.” His story was complete with limits of pintail drakes.
The Youth Hunter Program requires a photo and essay, and is sponsored by the Louisiana Wildlife Federation, the South Louisiana Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association, the Louisiana Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Harrison Law, LLC, Delta Waterfowl’s Baton Rouge Chapter and Bowie Outfitters.
“Those of us who are involved with the Youth Hunter of the Year Program salute the Slayter family for keeping the Louisiana hunting tradition alive,” YHOY coordinator David Moreland said. “The goal of the program is to get the youths in the woods hunting and to keep them hunting as they become adults. No doubt Chloe will be a lifetime hunter.”
The 2014 YHOY competition actually began with the 2014 spring turkey season and runs through the end of the 2014-15 fall-winter seasons.
That’s not all
If hunting’s not your first choice, then consider the other side of the bullet-and-hook scenario that puts Louisiana’s bounty on your table.
Fishing is not a season here, it’s a lifestyle and adventures await.
Take Friday and Saturday and the 17th annual Save Our Lake and Coast Fishing Rodeo. This is a new date for a rodeo that awards prizes named “The Big Kahuna,” “The Lil’ Kahuna,” and “The Kayak Kahuna.” Yes, there are three places in eight fish species, and prizes for the biggest fish and the top five-speckled trout stringer, but this is a rodeo that has an award for the biggest crab.
Everything caught must come from the Pontchartrain Basin, and the New Canal Lighthouse will be the weigh-in site from 2-5 p.m. Friday and noon-4 p.m. Saturday. Call (504) 836-2205 to enter.
Another wrap on our summertime activities is to celebrate the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association’s Fish of the Year awards for 2013.
Fordoche’s Able Ceja received the award in the Rod & Reel Division for state-record 74.43-pound gag grouper taken on the Viosca Knoll in July, 2013, out of Venice.
And, Houma physician and ardent fly fisherman Dr. Victor Tedesco III earned the Fly Fishing Division’s award for landing a state-record gafftopsail catfish weighing 6.24 pounds. He caught the fish at the “Buoy 13” rocks off Grand Isle in May, 2013.
The ‘world’ up next
Nathan Flemmons of Welsh, Silas Ardoin of Ville Platte and young Miles Pond of Folsom are the respective Senior, Intermediate and Junior champions after competing in the State Duck Calling Contest last Sunday in Gueydan.
They earned a stipend to defray costs to represent Louisiana in the Nov. 28-29 World Duck Calling Championships in Stuttgart, Arkansas.
More for youngsters
The Inshore Fishing Association is adding a first High School Saltwater Championship to its list of championship events scheduled for Houma in late October.
The event is scheduled Oct. 19 for two-angler teams of 9th- through 12th-grade students. That’s the same weekend IFA will hold its IFA Kayak Championship, and a week before the IFA Redfish Tour Championship out of Falgout Canal Marina.
Each team must have a coach. Registration is open at the HighSchoolFishing.org website. Mandatory check in is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at the marina, where teams will take off at 6:30 a.m. Oct. 19 with a 2 p.m. weigh-in. Call (501) 317-7281 for more information.