Hunting Season is Winding Down

By John Criner Outdoors Columnist

Duck season just ended with the last day of the special youth hunts. Several young hunters ended up with birds and good stories. Apparently this last week of duck season brought some new birds into the area. Reports were much more possible. Saturday was the perfect weather to end duck season on. Time to put the decoys away, take the blind off the boat and wash the waders and hang them up for the year. It’s a long time until opening day 2016. Bow hunters still have some time to get that trophy or venison for the freezer. Several hunters have reported seeing deer with only one antler even though it is a little early for shedding to start. One hunter reported he saw three bucks chasing a doe. It is very later for that to occur. Rabbit and squirrel hunters with their dogs are enjoying success and there is not much competition from other hunters. All of it ends at the end of February. There have been some calls about catching crappie and catfish on Horseshoe Lake. The catfish are being caught off the ends of piers and the crappie mostly in the ditches and bayous around the east end of the lake. The crappie tend to be small but enough good fish can be culled to fill out a nice fish stringer. Its hard to beat fresh cold water crappie at the dinner table. Recently there are reports of sick sea gulls, probably Herring or Ringed-bill gulls, not being able to fly on the east end of Horseshoe Lake. This was reported to our local game wardens and they caught some and are sending them to the state biologists. The thought is since only the gulls are affected and no other birds or fish appear sick, the gulls must have gotten the sickness from some place other than Horseshoe. Gulls are known to frequent septic pools and garbage dumps. They will eat almost anything. Do not pick up a gull or any other animal if it appears ill. I know from experience from taking blood samples and banding gulls, that they not only scratch with sharp toe nails but have a very painful bite. Its time to empty the freezer of birds to be mounted at Lakeside Taxidermy. The sooner you bring them to me, the faster you get them back ready to be put in a place of honor on the wall. That trophy means a lot to the young hunter. Send me some pictures and tell me about your hunting or fishing trips. Good luck and put that life vest on. It only takes a few moments to prevent a disaster. Papa John Lakeside Taxidermy 870-732-0455 or 901-482-3430 jhcriner@hotmail.com

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