In the world of south Louisiana outdoors, September’s last days usually fall in the “calm before the storm” category, mostly because hunters and fishermen await the approaching fall months.
Not this week, not with the last days of what’s turning out to be an extra special teal season and of what appears to be solid dove hunting the state’s North Zone. Then, there’s the special youth-only, squirrel-hunt weekend on 13 public-access areas, including Maurepas Swamp, Pearl River, Sherburne and Sandy Hollow wildlife management areas within easy drives of our state’s two major metropolitan areas.
And that’s just scratching the surface.
With the Atchafalaya Spillway waters down inside the banks, bass fishermen will find favorable areas for Saturday’s annual Angling Against Autism tournament and Sunday’s annual St. Michael’s open bass tournament. Both benefit worthy causes, the former raising funds for Baton Rouge’s Emerge Center and the latter to keep open Convent’s Catholic Church that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Even better is we’re running headlong in to Louisiana’s celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day set for four locations around the state Saturday. Around here, plan to head to the Waddill Wildlife Education Center on North Flannery Road. Hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and will include the last Family Fish Fest of the year along with the dozen and a half other activities that go along with this special event.
The Fish Fest invites youngsters to fish Waddill’s ponds. Registration begins at 9 a.m., and the first 50 young anglers will get a rod and reel. The first 100 get a “goodie” bag. All registered kids will be entered into drawings for prizes. Best of all, there are no fees.
Other NHFD celebrations are scheduled for the Woodworth Outdoor Education Center south of Alexandria, at the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Range near Monroe, and Bodcau Wildlife Management Area near Haughton.
Then next Sunday, from 1-4 p.m., it’s the Hunters for the Hungry annual Clean Out Your Freezer Day with collection sites spread throughout the Capital City area. The complete list of collection sites will appear in Thursday’s Advocate Outdoors.
All this comes in a week when federal fisheries managers announced that the recreational season on greater amberjack will close next Sunday and remain closed until Jan. 1. The closure takes in all Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters.
It means three species — red snapper, gray triggerfish and greater amberjack — will be off limits to recreational fishermen for the rest of this year. A prize goes to anyone who isn’t a biologist and knows the difference between greater and less amberjacks.
We know why the feds close seasons on certain species. Overfishing. Right?
Oh, well, happy National Hunting and Fishing Day.