The buck stops here!

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Youth hunts and archery season have kicked off this year’s deer season in Area 2. Primitive weapons become legal Saturday and the still hunt regular gun season is set to begin Oct. 27. Cooler weather and recent rains should make the season a lot better than it was looking a week or so ago.

The information presented here is the basic info, but before you go to the woods, make sure you check and 2018-19 Louisiana Hunting Regulations brochure to ensure you area is covered. In some parts of the area, only portions of a parish may be open.

Good luck out there…and be safe!

And make sure you bring your deer by Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop for our annual Big Buck contest. Check out all the categories. There are tons of great prizes to be won, but if you don’t punch your ticket with your deer, you can’t win!

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It’s coming: “The Hunt is On”

 

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Please stay calm!  In a matter of days, you’ll be receiving in the mail or seeing in stores a copy of the Fall 2018 “The Hunt is On” sale catalog from Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop, Louisiana. Please resist the rush to leave work without permission. Or to skip supper. And please, don’t speed on your way to the store!

 

There’s so much in the 48 page catalog that annually signals it isn’t long until “The Hunt is On!”.

 

Check out some of these deals:
Page 4 – Wall’s Outdoor clothing, with lots of stock for big sizes up to 8X!
Page 10 – 600 pound Octagon Stand and fill corn feeder for $899.99
Page 17 – New Banded/Avery Caps and Tee’s from $14.99 to $19.99
Page 21 – Browning Illusion Ground Blind for $129.99
Page 43 – Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Scope
Page 45 – GHG Decoy Systems starting at $49.99

 

 

And lots, lots more! Get Stocked up on Everything you need for this Season!

 

 

We’re open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 – 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon – 5 p.m. Come see us. And stay calm. But don’t wait too long. You don’t want your hunting buddies to get all the good stuff!

How the Mojo Decoy All Started

 

 

 

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If you have a passion for the outdoors, then you know that there are millions of products on the market today that are geared to help simplify all your hunting needs. Have you ever wondered how some of these products came about? Believe it or not most were stumbled upon by pure happenstance! That’s exactly what happened to Jeff Simmons years ago as the first Mojo Decoy was unveiled.

 

It all started when a friend of Jeff’s came down to hunt opening day from California and asked if a buddy of his could tag along. During the hunt the guy informs Jeff that his friend is a strawberry farmer. He proceeds to tell him that during the winter they would put white fans in the fields, so the strawberries wouldn’t freeze over. One day the man noticed that ducks were flocking up and sailing on the fans. That’s when an idea sparked! He decided to take a metal blade that was roughly 14 inches long on a stand that was black and white and make it flash. It was a shot in the dark for sure.

 

Before the hunt was over his friend finally convinced Jeff to let him put the decoy in the field. “I covered my face the whole time as he walked towards the field. I just knew this wasn’t going to work,” Simmons noted. No sooner than his leg was back in the blind there were 30 Mallards falling into the decoys. Surprisingly, they had went from shooting very few ducks to reaching their limit in less than 15 minutes.  Still not convinced that the decoy was the reason behind their luck, Jeff wanted to give it a shot the next morning.

 

Once again, the two of them hit their limit the next morning while using the decoy. Jeff knew that this thing could take off. The farmer wasn’t interested with taking the idea forward to sale but, encouraged Jeff to go for it. After discussing what he had in mind and making a few phone calls, it was on!  Jeff contacted a buddy of his, Murry Crow, that built race cars at the time. Murry didn’t know anything about decoys, but was very interested in Jeff’s “crazy” idea. About an hour later and a bit of tweaking they were in the decoy business. “A very interesting fact about this is that he took his wife’s treadmill apart on the trial run to make this grand plan work,” says Simmons.

 

“We figured out that Murry could efficiently make 15 decoys a day. At one point the waiting list reached 2500 people! Keep in mind that most of these were my customers from Simmons Sporting Goods. It was a chore trying to keep the peace between customers due to the fact we simply couldn’t keep up with supply and demand. So, Murry and I opened a factory here in Bastrop, Louisiana. Over time, it became overwhelming and we just couldn’t keep up. We decided to transfer the factory to China where it became very successful. After a few years and much consideration, we had the chance to sale out and agreed on the terms. I had the Sporting Goods Store and a Ranch here in town that required my attention and Murry was ready to step down” stated Jeff.

 

So, the next time your duck hunting with that Mojo Decoy just think that it all started in a strawberry field in Northern California.

Teal season pretty much a bust

Louisiana’s early season teal season has pretty much been a bust. Dry and unseasonably hot weather, lack of rain and lower than usual numbers of birds made it a tough go. The special season runs from Sept. 15 – 30. Cooler temps this week and a lot of new water may help bring in a few more birds, but it is unlikely to make a lot of change. One thing is for sure, though. If you don’t go, you won’t see any. And when that sun comes up every morning, you have to be there to know what’s going on.

We were able to catch up with Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Waterfowl program manager Larry Reynolds, who gave us an exclusive update:

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Larry Reynolds

“Based on bag check data from WMAs, reports from a folks I know, and my own personal hunting, teal season hasn’t been very good this year,” Larry said. “I got few reports from NW and NE LA, and those were mostly poor until Wednesday, when some birds seemed to move in. The great shooting I heard about was in the rice-field habitat in SW LA, mostly north of I-10 in the Lacassine/Welsh/Jennings area, and in some localized areas of the marsh down at the mouth of the Mississippi River.  Like always, there was spotty great hunts all over, but mostly I heard the hunting was fair to poor.”

“There were fewer birds across the state.  We had a very late spring this year, and apparently a late hatch.  My colleagues reported broods of early-nesting species, like pintails, appearing in habitats about 30 days later than normal.  That was confirmed by the LDWF NAWMP Coordinator when he visited that area this summer.  Reports from friends and colleagues hunting doves and sharptails in the Dakotas report there are still lots of bluewings in that country as of yesterday.”

Things should get better, though, in time for the big duck season in Louisiana.

“I expect a good number of bluewings to hold here or still be moving through come the November 10th opener in the West and Coastal Zones.” Larry said. “Not that my predictions have been particularly insightful in the past given how quickly conditions and weather change.  But we have much improved habitat conditions as far as seed-producing annual vegetation in the Coastal Zone this year, so if water levels stay fairly normal, we should be able to hold birds, including bluewings.  If we get a lot of rain, then the shallow flooding in the rice-growing region will support a lot of birds.  A lot will depend on water levels and shallow flooding in the East Zone.  Bluewings were the number 1 bird in our harvest last year, and despite an 18% decline in the populaiton, I expect them to be important in our harvest again this year.”

 

Duck numbers way below average…for now

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Early duck estimates are down, but there are brighter days ahead for Louisiana duck hunters!

The first 2018 Waterfowl Population estimates from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are in. And they back up what most teal hunters found out on opening weekend. There are more mosquitoes than teal. Or than any type of ducks, for that matter.

State Waterfowl Leader Larry Reynolds reported on the September aerial survey results. Here are some of his comments:

The estimate of 59,000 blue-winged teal from this survey is 84% lower than last year’s estimate of 373,000, 32% below the most recent 5-year average of 183,000, and 75% below the long-term average of 236,000. It is the second lowest estimate for blue-winged teal on record for this survey with only the 50,000 estimated in 2013 being lower. The bluewing estimate for SW LA is also the second lowest on record, and the estimate for SE LA the third lowest behind the 500 in 2016 and the 4,000 in 2013. In contrast, the 6,000 blue-winged teal counted at Catahoula Lake was the highest since 18,000 were counted in 2012, but is still just 2/3 of the most recent 10-year average of 9,000. The 16,000 estimated mottled ducks is down substantially from the 25,000 estimated last September and the most recent 10-year average of 29,000. It is also the second lowest estimate on record for this survey with only 2016’s estimate of 12,000 being lower.

The overwhelming majority of bluewings counted on this survey were in agricultural habitat, with the only notable flocks in SW LA seen in flooded fields south and west of Gueydan and southwest of Crowley.

At Catahoula Lake, habitat conditions were much improved over 2017 when rainfall from hurricane Harvey flooded available habitat. Cracks in the soil at the center of lake were visible through the water indicating a complete drawdown during the dry summer conditions before recent manipulation to raise water levels to within management targets. Extensive growth of moist-soil vegetation was evident, and food production for migrating and wintering ducks should be very good if water-level targets can be maintained.”

As for other birds, it’s way too early and way too hot. The survey showed zeroes for mallards, pintails, gadwalls. widgeons and canvasbacks. But with cooler weather and more water, it’ll get better. So don’t let early reports scare you off. Get that blind ready, the dog worked and your gear in order. Opening day for big ducks will be here before you know it.

Gearing up for Duck Season in Louisiana

 

Teal Season is in the Air

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It sure doesn’t feel like it, but teal season is here! There’s something about climbing in a duck blind or wading in the shallow brush of a field when it’s 90 degrees outside that doesn’t appeal to most, but die-hard teal hunters will strap on their camo, spray down with mosquito repellent and throw out the decoys!

 

The state season for blue-winged, tree-winged and cinnamon teal runs from September 15-30. Limit is six per day and there is a possession limit of 18.

 

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries statewide teal numbers survey was delayed due to weather conditions but will be released as soon as possible. Reports from the field indicate there are good numbers of teal in some places, but the overall population this year won’t be as high as last season, at least not yet.

 

There are a couple of upcoming items that duck hunters do have to look forward to. The annual Simmons’ Sporting Goods “The Hunt is On” flyer with the most fantastic sporting goods deals ever will be hitting the street (and the web) in the next few days. You don’t want to miss that as you stock up for the season.

 

Also, next week we will be starting up the annual Jeff Simmons Duck Report with all the latest information about the waterfowl seasons and personal reports right from the blind. That includes daily posts on results all 60 days of the Louisiana season. You can find that by scrolling down on the home page of the Simmons web site. You don’t want to miss that, either.

 

Camo Up!

Your Invited to No Tax Weekend at Simmons’ Sporting Goods September 7-9

Don’t Miss Out on No Tax Weekend at Simmons’ Sporting Goods

 

 

 

Our Louisiana State Government has decided not to extend the Second Amendment No Tax Holiday, but you guessed it! Simmons’ Sporting Goods is doing it anyways. Capitalize on the same great deals we had during our Tent Sale and pay No Sales Tax! Get Everything you need for Hunting Season in one spot. Put your items on Layaway Now for us to hold them and pay it out September 7-9. Now is the time to stock up on all your favorite outdoor apparel! Drake, Banded, & Sitka just to name a few! For those of you who are in the market for a new game camera you don’t want to miss out. Three Days ONLY, The Covert Code Black LTE & Blackhawk LTE Cameras will be $369.99!!  Shop No Tax Sale from home on our Web or Stop In to take advantage of some amazing deals! Our Store Hours will be Friday and Saturday 8:30-7:00 and Sunday 11:00-5:00. We Hope to see you there!

Behind the Scenes of Simmons’ Sporting Goods

Featuring Lindsey and Hunter Simmons’ and Caleb Wallace

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Have you ever wondered what it’s like to own and operate a hunting retail store? Banded Brands decided that they would host a fun Q&A interview with a few of Simmons’ store managers during their Just Go Tour. Check out The Banded Podcast-Simmons’ Sporting Goods- with Lindsey and Hunter Simmons and Caleb Wallace for raw, behind the scenes conversations about how it all started.

 

Simmons’ Sporting Goods started in 1983 in the rural town of Bastrop, Louisiana by Jeff and Robin Simmons. The business has vastly grown from nearly 1,000 square feet, to what now offers over 70,000 square feet of fully stocked inventory! Keeping a family owned business up and running for over 30 years has had its challenges over time. Lindsey and Hunter Simmons, the children of Jeff and Robin, are the new faces of Simmons’ Sporting Goods. Obviously, times have changed drastically since the early eighties and with that, new challenges for hunting retail businesses are popping up everywhere.

 

In the interview with Banded, the Simmons’ team is asked “What sets your store apart from the larger competitors?” The answer is quite simple. “We believe in the old school version of customer service. If you walk into our store and an employee hasn’t simply asked can we help you, then we’re failing to do our most important job. That job is making sure that the customer is taken care of,” declared Hunter Simmons. “Our family and staff here at Simmons are very knowledgeable with our products. We go above knowing the basic key features of our products but understand how they work.” says Lindsey Simmons.

 

If you know any members of the Simmons’ family, then you know that they have a passion for what they do. They believe that customer service and location was the key to their success. Treating people like family when they walk through the double doors of the store is what keeps customers returning! “The Customer is our number one priority” Caleb Wallace explains. The store is located in the backlands of the Delta, also known as the “All Things Hunting” grounds! Before the Store opened people in the Bastrop area would have to drive up to two hours just to purchase ammo or tackle. This motivated Jeff to act on pursuing the business. The store has undergone 10 different remodels, including adding a restaurant since originally opening back in 1983.

To learn more about how Simmons’ originated, and to hear exclusive “Tales from Simmons’” check out The Banded Podcast-Episode 4.

Tent Sale is the cure for your outdoor list!

 

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We know you’ve got a list. We’ve all got a list… guns, bows, shells, arrows, clothing, fishing gear, decoys, deer stands….and on and on. All hunters, fishermen, shooters and folks that love outdoor to just look great in the latest outdoor fashion have a list.

It’s the list of things you need to make those outdoor trips complete.

So, what are you waiting for? Now’s the time to take care of that list at Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get better at the giant sporting goods store in Bastrop, it does. How? The annual Tent Sale, where thousands of dollars of merchandise are priced so low you’ll have to stop and double check the tags to make sure the price is right.

And it starts next week. Expect to see shoppers from all over our region  come to shop the sale and see all the latest and greatest in sporting gear!

This year’s Tent Sale will begin Wednesday,  July 25th and run through Sunday, August 12th.

Come check out the deals under the tent and in the store.  Store hours  are 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Noon  5 p.m. on Sunday.

Wait, there’s more? How about all the great deals listed in 48 pages of the special Tent Sale flyer? You can pick up a copy at the store or start checking items off your list by clicking on the flyer at simmonssportinggoods.com  home page.

Hello, Tent Sale. Goodbye, list!

A Few Traits To Look For In Your Next Hunting Dog

 

 

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You wouldn’t walk into a sporting goods store and purchase the first firearm you saw without doing some form of background research first, so why then would you skip that step when selecting a puppy that you’ll be hunting with for the next 10 to 12 years? Many hunters make that mistake and end up regretting later.

Also, being your most valuable hunting asset, your hunting dog is likely to become your closest companion. Not only will it share some of the best moments of your life with you, it’ll make many of them possible. You’ll spend hours with your dog during training and in the field, so you want to take great care in choosing the puppy that is perfect for you!

Not every puppy has what it takes to become an outstanding hunting dog, says Tim Nichols of Fall Flight Retrievers. So you need to know what qualities and traits to look for, specifically when it comes to health and trainability.

“The most important tip I can give you is to go look at several litters of puppies and don’t take your checkbook with you,” Nichols said. “You need to do some considerable research before selecting a puppy. If you bring your checkbook with you, you’re likely to purchase a puppy before you should because they’re cute, and they’re hard to resist.”

Health, Pedigree, and Performance Titles all play a huge factor in puppies becoming great hunting dogs. Look in to what Titles the parents of the puppy have received. It’s also very important to look into all health related issues due to the lack of trainability that the dog may have.

Knowing When It’s Time to Select your Puppy

Be Sure to ask yourself these questions:

Are the parents on site?

Is the area clean?

Is the breeder reliable?

Do they look healthy?

Odds are that if you can’t answer yes to these questions, then you need to keep looking. Do yourself a favor and take your time in the purchasing of your new hunting companion!