HOUMA — South Louisiana’s Saturday night tradition, the fais do-do, turned into a celebration of all things outdoors when the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association handed out its top annual awards.
Two dyed-in-the-wool fishermen and two young Louisianans were honored for their activities in 2010 and 12 youths were honored for their writing and photography skills in the LOWA’s 2011 Youth Journalism Contest.
A 6-pound-plus white bass from the Amite River caught by Corey Crochet and an 8.17-pound sheepshead caught by Bennett deBoisblanc took the state’s top honors as 2010 state records.
Crochet won Fish of the Year among the in the rod-and-reel categories. DeBoisblanc’s catch was taken on a fly rod.
LOWA, in conjunction with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, named Ben Broussard, of Sulphur, and Megan Bowles, of Provencal, the state’s 2010 youth hunters of the year.
Bowie Outfitters, the Baton Rouge Chapter of Delta Waterfowl and the Louisiana Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation sponsor the awards.
Broussard’s description of his first duck hunt over the Thanksgiving holidays earned him the 12-year-old the Male Youth Hunter of the Year award.
He described taking a greenwing teal, the hunter-safety efforts by his father, James, and working with the family’s black Labrador retriever. This made him the first youth to win the award after a duck hunt.
“Ben represents the future of this sport in our great state … and we’re happy to support the next generation of hunters,” Delta’s BR chapter president Jonathan Walker.
Boles, 13, won the Female Youth Hunter of the Year award. She was clear about her love for the hunting sports. She said she “grew up hunting with my dad (Charles Boles).”
Although she’d taken deer with a .243 caliber rifle, her writing described an afternoon hunt with her dad, when she took an eight-point buck with an 80-yard muzzleloader.
“Megan comes from a family that lives the outdoor lifestyle with a mother (Kelly) and father who have dedicated their careers to conservation with the U.S. Forest Service on the Kisatchie Ranger District,” NWTF regional biologist Luke Lewis said.
Brittany Gosserand, Amanda Wolff and Alexis Lang took home first-place awards in the three divisions of the Youth Journalism Contest.
The Louisiana Chapter of Safari Clubs International offers cash prizes for the Youth Journalism Contest’s top four places in Junior Essay (ages 7-13), Senior Essay (ages 14-18) and Photography (ages 7-18).
FIRST: Alexis Lang, 11, John Curtis Christian School (fifth grade), “Mourning Doves on my Porch.”
SECOND: Cole Perilloux, 13, Harry Hurst Middle School (seventh grade), “Close Call Turkey.”
THIRD: Brandon Favalora, 13, Harry Hurst Middle School (seventh grade), “The Fishing Trip Gone Wrong.”
FOURTH: Jayla Campbell, 13, North Vermilion High School (seventh grade), “Two days of Eeriness.”
FIRST: Amanda Wolff, 17, home schooled, “Mission: Defeat the Hiawatha.”
SECOND: Emily Villa, 14, Ascension Catholic High, “A Morning on the Bayou.”
THIRD: Ashley Davis, 14, Covington High School, “A Cow in the Bayou.”
FOURTH: Tyler Partridge, 15, Florien High School, “Dream Come True.”
FIRST: Brittany Gosserand, 17, St. Michael High, “Baby King Fish.”
SECOND: Nicole Marie Strickland, 15, Breaux Bridge High, “Lake Martin Sunset.”
THIRD: Brooke Lee, 15, John Curtis Christian School, “Lady Brooke.”
FOURTH (tie): Lauren Leon, 15, Benton High, “Who Dat?” and Dakota Robicheaux, 17, Breaux Bridge High, “Lake Martin Cypress Fog.”