Gobblers still bunched up

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 9.34.40 AMI’ve been hunting over in Mississippi this week since their season opened before ours in Louisiana. I’ve been seeing and hearing a lot of gobblers, but they are still bunched and and just not doing right yet.

I set up on top of a ridge and heard about a dozen different gobbles just a couple of days ago. I had a group of longbeard gobblers walking up and down the bottom. I just knew one of them would come right up the ridge, but they stopped short about 40 yards away and never got out in the open. They took off after a bunch of hens and I never had a shot.

I spent some time in the woods scouting up around Marion yesterday and had planned to go there Saturday morning. But I never heard a turkey gobble. I ran into a forester that was in the woods every day and he said he hadn’t heard many so far either. I’m not sure what I’ll do opening weekend, but we’ll get you a report early next week and let you know how folks did. It looks like the weather is going to be a challenge opening weekend. Keep your eyes on that. And be careful out there and always put safety first. Never fire a shot until you are SURE of your target.

If we can do anything to help your season be more successful, come see us at Simmons’ Sporting Goods.  That’s why we are here.


Turkey talk

The 2017 turkey season is set to begin, just over a year after catastrophic flooding in much our region. How did it affect turkey populations for this year? We asked Cody Cedotal, Resident Small Game and Wild Turkey Program Manager, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, for an update. Here’s our Q& A with Cody:

Is there any way to measure last year’s tragic flooding on turkey populations this year?   There is no real way to measure impact as it is difficult to estimate population for wild turkeys.

Any reason to think it may hurt the season?   No reason to think it will hurt the season. To my knowledge, we received no reports of flood-related mortality of turkeys.  The flooding occurred at a time when poults were nearly fully developed and capable of avoiding the event with the adult birds.   The flooding was relatively short in duration (less than 7 days in most places) allowing turkeys to seek refuge on high ground and in the trees.  Although habitat quality was temporarily impacted by growing season flooding, most of those impacts were short lived and those areas have recovered this Spring with a flush of new growth.

Are there are field surveys or anything that would give us a prediction of turkey populations, especially in north Louisiana, this year?   We conduct a Summer Wild Turkey Survey each year to assess production throughout the state.  Each year, survey volunteers record turkey sightings from July 1st through August 31.  Based on the 2015 Summer survey, the production in NW LA was improved which would indicate moderate to good numbers of adult (2years old +) gobblers for this season.  However, production in 2016 was down which would indicate fewer juvenile gobblers (jakes) for this year and 2-year old birds for next season.  The attached Poult Map which summarizes this data for the past several years in each management region of the state.

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Add this to your gobbler arsenal

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 8.05.27 PMTurkey season in Louisiana is here. Well, almost. The season runs from March 25 through April 23 in Area A, which encompasses most of our region. The season also opens in Area B and C then, but closes on April 16 in Area B and April 9 in Area C.

Something you need to consider adding to your turkey hunting arsenal this year is the The Jekyll and Hyde of the decoy world! This Avery decoy has an aggressive head on one side, passive head on the other, The turkeys don’t know what it is.

They just can’t stand it; this is the decoy that will revolutionize turkey hunting. This item ships for free on our website or you can come by the store and get yours!  It has flexible EVA construction, a motion stake and carry bag plus a fabric fan.

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It’s turkey time!

Screen Shot 2017-02-16 at 10.40.43 AMTurkey season in Louisiana is here. Well, almost. The season runs from March 25 through April 23 in Area A, which encompasses most of our region. The season also opens in Area B and C then, but closes on April 16 in Area B and April 9 in Area C.

Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Now is the time to get out there and start scouting your birds. Good luck this season. And if you need any gear or any help with gear and equipment, come by and see us at the store. That’s why we are here!

Day 60: What a season

ducksWe only killed three ducks Sunday morning, but we got back into the geese. We killed 12 specklebellies, so that made it a good hunt. The ducks were just few and far between. We had quite a few yesterday, but they just were not there this morning.

Day 60. In same ways, I’m glad it’s over because we hunt long and hard. We need to recharge our batteries. But at the same time I’m sad it’s over. The East Zone ended Sunday at sunset.

One thing is for sure, it’s been a great season. We killed three times as many ducks this year as we did last year and the mix was

Boss surveys the situation

Boss surveys the situation

great. We killed 50% mallards and that is very unusual for the rice fields. It’s usually around 20%. And the geese. Wow. We killed around four times as many specks this year as usual. Overall, I’d say it’s been better this year than in the past 10 years.

Now comes some of the hard part – picking up everything, getting everything cleaned up and putting everything in order. A little work now taking care of things pays big dividends later, though. Don’t put it off, especially when it comes to taking care of your guns and equipment.

Thanks for following the Duck Report. We at Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop enjoy bringing it to you. We’ll be doing a Turkey Report starting soon. Stay tuned. And be safe out there.

PS  –  Make plans to come see us on Saturday, March 4th for the winners of the annual Simmons’ Big Buck Contest. About 90% of the hunters that killed big ones will bring them back for the day and there are tons of prizes and fun. Come see us.

Day 59: Amazing waterfowl hunt!

Screen Shot 2017-01-28 at 6.03.47 PMWe started off the day in the wrong spot Saturday.  Things were pretty slow, but a buddy of mine called and said they were about to limit out and had lots of birds still flying. So we loaded up and headed down the road. By the time we got there, they had 24 ducks and were headed to the truck. We headed in and had just got settled in the blind when a whole flock of about 150 specklebellies came by.

I hit them with the call and they locked up and every one of them headed right into the decoys and landing. We popped up and got five out of that bunch. My guest from Realtree, Brad Shorr, said he’d like to do that again. I laughed and said you’ll be lucky to do that once in your lifetime. But then, about 15 minutes later, another group came and did the same thing. We got five more and had our limit. I’m still laughing. That’s one we won’t forget. We loaded up Brad’s son, Jackson, with the birds and it was all he could do to hold up the morning’s kill.

We didn’t have as many ducks flying, but we did have enough to get 19 ducks along with the geese so it was an outstanding hunt. Amazing might be a better word. Even after we limited out on specks, they still kept coming. Check out a video of that on our Facebook page. It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it in 50 years of waterfowl hunting.  Go to this page and scroll down:  https://www.facebook.com/Simmons-Sporting-Goods-248385291871423/

One more day and the 2016-17 season will be in the books. I can’t wait to see what the last day has in store. This has already been a memorable season. But we’ve always got room for one more good hunt!  Be safe out there.

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Day 58: Fun, but tough

Screen Shot 2017-01-27 at 4.12.05 PMWe had a fun day Friday, but hunting was tough. It may be that way through the last two days. We killed 17 ducks and two geese, but we had to hunt until 11:30.  Here’s the funny thing. We had one big drove come in and we killed eight out of that one bunch. That’s highly unusual. If we wouldn’t have had that moment, it would have been a pretty sad morning. These are all ducks that have been here and they know the drill. They are real shy about coming in to the decoys.

We had pretty good conditions with sunny cold weather. We could have used a bit more wind, but we ended up doing okay. I’m not complaining because it’s been pretty good all year. I can stand anything these last two days. We still had our guests from Realtree and had fun shooting and just being outdoors. It’s typical last weekend type conditions with the ducks.

Two more days, folks. There are lots of ducks in the area, so hopefully there will be lots of duck hunters out to keep the birds moving and we’ll have some good hunts. We do have lots and lots of water and the ducks are scattered. There aren’t a lot of new ducks either. You know me. I’m going whether it’s good, bad or ugly. I’m hoping for the first of those choices!

Day 57: Had to wait them out

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-8-44-47-amWe got 23 ducks Thursday, but we had to wait them out. It took us until 11 a.m. That’s a long time from legal shooting hours. But it was a good hunt. No big wads of ducks, but we had enough to keep us interested.

They didn’t really work like I thought they would. Conditions were good, but these were apparently ducks that have been around for a while and were a bit decoy and blind shy. We had Brad Shore and Chris Griffin and their boys down from Realtree so I’m glad we got some ducks, even if we had to work for them.

We killed a mixed bag – gadwalls, widgeons, pintails, teal. But not many mallards today. We had been seeing mostly mallards but they went somewhere else on us. Friday we are going to try a different spot where my farmer friend is telling me there were a lot of birds today. We’ll see and let you know here tomorrow.

Stay tuned. Hard to believe it, but there are three days left to the 2016-17 duck season. Get after ’em.