Patience pays off for young hunter Lance Yates _lowres

Photo furnished by KEITH THIBODEAUX Despite his youth, Lance Yates is a deer hunter far beyond his years. With the opportunity to hunt on private lands just over the state line in southwest Mississippi, Yates scouted this tropy 10-poind buck throughout the early days of the archery season, and the Denham Springs teenager earned the envy of older hunters when he got a shot on his biggest whitetail buck on the opening day of the rifle season.

Scott Favre and Keith Thibodeaux said they knew something like this would happen when Lance Yates took to the woods this year — not later, but sooner.

Yates set the curve for hunters taking to the forests and fields on the Favre family’s Mistletoe Farm just north of Natchez, Mississippi.

A 10-point whitetail buck coming on the first day of the Magnolia State’s youth-only rifle season would be tough to better for any number of hunters at any hunting club in any southern state.

And when Yates took that trophy, it wasn’t by happenstance.

“Lance has been hunting with us, mostly with his dad, Jason, since he was 4 years old,” said Favre, a Baton Rouge businessman/contractor. “He grew up on Mistletoe, and he’s taken a lot of deer. He’s a good athlete, a good baseball player and a good golfer, and he’s all in when it comes to hunting.”

It’s more than that.

“He’s a good woodsman,” Thibodeaux said. “He’s a hunter in every sense of the word.”

How so?

The two men told Yates’ story, and both related the same scenario.

The 14-year-old Live Oak High School student — Yates lives in Watson — watched the giant buck since the archery season opened Oct. 1.

“Lance said the deer never came within range of his bow,” Favre said. “He said he had shots on other deer (during the archery season), but he passed on all those chances.”

Thibodeaux said Yates told him that he had a buck “within 15-20 yards, but he told me he didn’t shoot because he wanted to hunt that bigger buck.”

Somehow the two men said they knew the young hunter would be patient enough to withstand the temptations most deer hunters have when it comes to spending time on the stand, and turning that time into meat on the table.

Apparently, at Mistletoe, there are enough deer to achieve that objective, which is why Yates’ persistence coupled with woodsmanship beyond his years, drew plaudits from older hunters.

Favre said a deer management approach to take 10-30 does annually from the herd along with “cull” bucks has given family a chance to see trophy bucks.

“We realized early on that there were good genetics in the deer in that area,” he said. “We stepped in there and implemented management plans to continue to have deer, and quality deer.”

And there was more than enough inference from the two men that Yates had seen his trophy buck in years past and passed on those shots, too.

“Like I said, Lance is a hunter,” Thibodeaux said. “He’s a very good hunter.”

Next season talk

The state Wildlife and Fisheries Commission meets at noon Thursday in Lake Charles. Listed among the agenda items is, “to hear a general overview of the 2016-2017 hunting seasons and Wildlife Management Area rules and regulations.”

In recent years, this has been a preview of the outline of season dates and changes the state’s Wildlife Division will propose early next year for the next hunting seasons.

The Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced Monday that the meeting will be streamed live, and will be available at

You’ll have to go to this website:

After registering at that site, the release indicated you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting’s webinar.

This “overview” means hunters can have an early start to responding to proposed changes in deer zones and dates and other changes that usually come for any and all activities on wildlife management areas.

The biggest change to the hunting during the 2016-2017 season has already been decided when the commission voted to alter the duck hunting zones. Furthermore, waterfowl hunters can expect a change in goose hunting zones. Already discussed is changing to a two-zone goose hunting plan, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will allow states to propose duck season dates as early as January for next season.

The barometer

A couple of phone calls/emails during the past two weeks about barometric pressure and its effect on fishing shows anglers are paying more attention to this problem.

Veteran Lake Pontchartrain guide Dudley Vandenborre said he watches the barometer and knows his catch will be severely limited when the pressure hits 30.30 inches (of mercury in a barometer tube).

While pressure is the indicator, it’s likely that high pressure isn’t the only reason artificial lures, even live bait, fail to attract strikes from freshwater and inshore saltwater species.

Barometric pressures referenced by Vandenborre come only during the late fall and winter months in south Louisiana. And when pressures hit those high marks, it’s on a cold front, conditions that usually arrive with much colder conditions, which means a corresponding drop in water temperatures.

It’s on these “bluebird” days — days following what usually are cloudy, rainy periods when sunlight is at a minimum and when water temperatures fall. And cold water means lethargic fish.

Trout, bass, sac-a-lait, flounder, and sometimes redfish, head to the bottom, where water is warmer, but not warm enough to trigger the aggressive strikes fishermen find from these species during the spring and early summer.

That means anglers fishing the first two days after a hard-cold front passes will find soft bites and decreased action. Waiting a couple of days, when sunlight has had a chance to warm the water, usually increases catches.

If you want to find out about barometric pressure forecasts, go the Weather Underground website, punch in your zip code, then find the daily, then hourly forecast. Barometer predictions will be listed for each day.