Whitetails finding bountiful mast crop across the state _lowres

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Taking to the woods, Adam Briedenbach and squirrel dog, Dottie, show off a morning limit taken earlier last season from private land in Pointe Coupee Parish. 

This just in, and it’s another good note for deer and duck hunters.

Reports from across the state are our nut-producing trees are giving up another bumper crop. Oaks are dropping acorns in the northern and central parishes, and there are enough acorns remaining in trees across the southern parishes to know that deer are moving to these mast producers to take up the slack from the drought that gripped the state through most of September and October.

While recent heavy rains slaked the land’s thirst for moisture, and should help restore the succulence of other vegetation, archery hunters and the guys who’ve been able to get out with primitive weapons are talking about having to scout out the oaks for their most successful hunts.

For duck hunters, the heavy rains put water on the ground in rice fields, and filled areas where the marshes were dry.

That’s big news for this weekend’s Coastal Zone youth-only waterfowl hunts, and for the Nov. 7 youth-only day in the West Zone, and the big-duck season’s Nov. 7 opener in the Coastal Zone. Word from the coast is young hunters will have lots of shots at teal and whistling ducks and what mottled ducks hatched out in their areas.

The goose season also opens Nov. 7 statewide (except on Canada geese in the West Zone) and moist ground is a better attractant to migrating geese than last week’s expanses of dry ag fields across the state.

Youth-only days are open to hunters 15 and younger.

It’s best to have someone older accompany a youngster, but the youth is the only one allowed to have a shotgun.

Kelehan’s big win

Travis Kelehan made headlines over the weekend when he won the Nonboater Division in the Bassmaster Southern Open held on Lake Seminole in Georgia.

The Broussard angler hauled in eight bass in three days — it was one fish shy of the three-bass daily limit — and took home a Triton 179 TrX bass boat rigged out with Mercury 115 Pro XS outboard for his 22-pound, 9-ounce total.

“I fished with three outstanding pros this week,” Kelehan told the Bassmaster staff after he was paired with touring pros Randall Tharp, Louisiana’s superstar angler Greg Hackney and Timmy Reneau. Kelehan said all three pros “fished thick grass,” a pattern that suited Kelehan’s experiences on similar home-water areas.

Kelehan’s 9-plus pounds on the third day shot him past two-day leader Bailey Boutries of Daphne, Alabama. Boutries finished with an 18-7 total. Jarrod Anderson of New Iberia finished fourth in Nonboater. His 16-11 catch earned $2,767.

Port Allen’s Brent Bonadona came home with the $250 AllState Great Day Award for his 15-11 catch on the second day, a five-bass limit that was 14 pounds better than his first-day catch. That move jumped him to 37th place and a $2,021 check.

Brandon McMillan won the Boater Division, and qualified for the Bassmaster Classic, with a three-day, 49-5 catch.