Hope your Thanksgiving lived up to expectations.
Three days after this very special day — how many other countries stop for a day to give thanks? — we need to count our blessings.
We can start with another year free of hurricanes and free of the destruction and stresses those have brought to our family and friends during the past nine years.
While our swamps and marshes continue to subside, it appears funds are coming to help us stem the rate of coastal loss. And it appears our swamps, marshes and forests are on the roads to recovery from the ravages of major storms in 2005 and 2008.
And, yes, the jury still is out on the full effects of 2010’s BP-Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.
The amazing opener of the duck season is another reason to give thanks. With the current waterfowl numbers, and the increasing numbers of geese flooding our state, it’s a strong bet Louisiana’s waterfowl hunters could swell well beyond 100,000.
There’s every reason to believe cold fronts will continue to push into the Deep South. That can only mean we’ll see more ducks as the habitat north of us can no longer support big numbers of ducks and geese, and these annual migrants will push into our state’s three waterfowl zones.
The unusual early cold weather has also allowed deer hunters to get into stands and blinds across the state. The overnight chills mean the deer must find food to maintain body heat, and that means more deer movement and increased hunter success.
While most of us have heard the moans and groans of duck hunters during the past three years, warm early-season weather has left deer hunters wondering if their areas hold the numbers of deer they’ve seen four and five years ago.
From early reports, and remembering the modern firearms seasons opened this weekend across the southeastern parishes, the cold fronts have brought enough cold weather to move deer.
Hunters in other areas of the state have reported seeing more deer, and we can hope that this year shows enough signs that deer herds south and east of Baton Rouge have recovered from the devastating blow Hurricane Isaac wrought on our deer numbers.
The fall also has reinvigorated coastal fishermen, who won the moans-and-groans contest against the deer hunters after what can only be termed as poor spring and summer speckled trout catches.
The takes of trout and redfish are up during the last month. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin has come alive. The bridges are producing trout, and redfish continue to school up on the south shore near the five-mile cut separating the lake’s north and south shores along the I-10 Twin Spans.
Cold weather has pushed trout in the Golden Meadow, Cocodrie, Montegut, Dulac and Theriot waters, too.
For all that, indeed we need to give thanks.