There’s little doubt that this is the most anticipated week for south Louisiana outdoors folks.
All the deer seasons are in full swing with modern firearms seasons open across the state.
Friday’s coldest, snowiest cold front of the season swept through the northern reaches of the Mississippi and Central Flyways — and has dipped all the way into our state’s coastal marshes — all of which means duck hunters should be seeing increasing numbers of ducks to offset the gray ducks, teal, spoonies and pintails that have filled most prime hunting spots.
The last two cold fronts have meant hunters began seeing more mallards, redheads (the waterfowl kind) and canvasbacks in the last week, and more ducks should be on the way thanks to that Arctic blast that will send our morning temperatures into the 30s.
About the only big problem for wild waterfowlers is the still-too-high water levels in stretches of the marsh in the southwestern parishes. Recent rains have put too much water over the food puddle ducks like to eat. Species like teal, grays, mallards, pintails, wigeon and shovelers aren’t divers and prefer shallower marshes to call their fall and winter homes.
Rabbit hunters don’t have that problem: Moist ground helps hold a rabbit’s scent, and the season’s first frost is just what rabbit hunters ordered to cut back some of the vegetation that has hampered beagles’ runs through fields since the season opened seven weeks ago.
If you’re a deer hunter, cold mornings means bundling to ward off the chill and wind, but it’s nighttime temperatures that should boost your success afield.
That’s because there are only two ways a deer can battle the cold.
One is to find a comfortable bedding site out of the wind and with enough trees to keep the frosty cold from descending to the forest floor. Second is they have to have the fuel to maintain body temperatures. That means they have to leave bedding spots sometime during the day to eat. So, if you didn’t see deer in the mornings, then head back out in the afternoon, because that’s when most deer pack in the groceries to tide them over through the cold nights.
All that makes up just the half of the reasons why Louisiana outdoorsmen joyously celebrate Thanksgiving.
Fishing news from the Central and southeastern marshes have told of increasing trout and redfish catches during the last 10 days. Old friend Tom LeBlanc reported Friday from Delacroix. How about 80 speckled trout and two redfish (and he doesn’t go after reds) in a day and a half in places like Little Lake and Alligator Pass (he might not be a friend after giving up his hot spots). Hopedale waters are in the mix, too.
Similar reports are coming from waters west of Golden Meadow over to Montegut, Cocodrie and Theriot.
Happy Thankgiving! And for all this we should give thanks.