Duck Season 2015-2016 is Over

By John Criner Outdoors Columnist

Back in November 2015, duck season was ready to open and a state and region of duck hunters were excited and ready to hunt. Arkansas Game & Fish and Ducks Unlimited both said the batch was down some but the hunting should still be above average. It did not turn out that way for many hunters. There was a few hot spots and honey-holes, but there are many disappointed hunters. The AGFC said this last aerial survey was not as good as the survey a month ago, even with the last cold snap. I spent the last four days down at the 101 Club with my son Keith, and it was two good days, one not very good, and the last day, we did not fire a shot. We had three guests from Louisiana and Kentucky. They came a long way to not have good hunts. The 101 harvested about half a normal year. The first part of season was hot and dry, then the high waters from the rivers spread out the ducks and not enough cold weather to get new ducks. Lets hope for a better season next year. For the dedicated hunters, there is still a month to hunt rabbits, squirrels, and bow hunt deer. There is also hog hunting. There appears to be more than enough pigs running around in the woods eating deer food and wallowing out the roads and trails. They do make a mess. Some hunters use traps and others do hog dogs. Both can be exciting and the bacon from woodland hogs is outstanding with a nice nutty taste. If you are into wild pork chops, give me a call. I would like to go along with you. Until the last few years, we have always had a squirrel dog. This can be any kind of dog that likes to chase a squirrel up a tree and the bark, telling you, “Here he is.” The term baying means barking and treeing means he has put the squirrel up the tree. Quite often the squirrel is very hard to see, especially when there are leaves on the trees. It usually takes two hunters, one on each side of the tree, “turning the squirrel.” This is a great way to start young hunters. They do not have to be quiet and can talk and make a lot of racket in the woods. When the squirrel is spotted, the fun really begins. If any of my readers has a squirrel dog, give me a call and take about the hunts. Rabbits with a good pack of beagles is a wonderful way to hunt and a game bag full of swampers can get heavy in a hurry. Fried rabbit is a fine end to a good hunt. Rabbit hunters, call me. Quail season goes out this weekend and while there are not as many quail hunters as in the past, these dog men really enjoy a “Gentleman’s Sport.” I understand the quail population on Crowley’s Ridge is improving. Many years ago I shot many quail near Colt, Arkansas, on the Ridge. Duck season is not quite over. This Saturday is Youth Day. Take some kids to that blind. Adults can not shoot but they can call and cheer the good shots. You will have more fun than that youngin. That first duck mounted by Lakeside Taxidermy sure looks good on the wall. The hunting story will bet better with age. Enjoy the rest of the hunting season. Take that young hunter. Papa Duck Lakeside Taxidermy 870-732-0455 or 901-482-3430 jhcriner@hotmail.com

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