Monthly Archives: September 2020

Teal — too little, too late!

Screen Shot 2020-09-24 at 7.49.15 PMTeal season was kind of slow for most folks up here. We just didn’t have any water for the season except in a few places that pumped it up. Then the last week of the season we got 10 inches of rain and filled everything up. But it was too little, too late. The front then moved thousands of birds our way and, boom, the season closed Sunday.

One of my farmers called and said there were 3,000 teal in one of the fields yesterday. That was the day after the season closed.

There were also a lot of teal on some of the area lakes from what I’ve been hearing. Maybe they’ll stick around for a while.

South Louisiana hunters that were away from the storms had some of the best teal hunting they’ve had in a while. Bird counts were way up and the season was pretty successful for some. It’s time to start getting those blinds and fields in order for the regular duck season. Make sure you get out and get in some shooting practice. Nothing’s worse than being out on opening morning and having a wad of ducks fly right into the decoys and then not being able to hit them. Practice. And be safe!

 

The teal deal

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Teal (Blue, Green, and Cinnamon) September 12-27

Teal season is underway and while there are mixed reports, some folks have been having some really good shoots. If you haven’t been yet, you’ve still got a week+, so get out and give them a shot. If you need anything for the teal season, come give us a shout at the store and we’ll help you out.

Safe hunting!

Here’s some interesting information about green wing teal, courtesy of Ducks Unlimited:

About the Green-winged Teal

Breeding

Green-winged teal breed from Alaska, across Canada, into the Maritime Provinces, south into central California, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin. They prefer small, shallow permanent ponds near boreal forests that boast an abundance of emergent vegetation, but also nest in Prairie Pothole country or in areas with dense emergent vegetation. Female green-winged teal lay an average of 8-9 eggs.

DescriptionGreen-winged teal are the smallest of our North American dabbling ducks with a short neck and small bill. Male green-winged teal have a chestnut head with an iridescent green to purple patch extending from the eyes to the nape of the neck. The chest is pinkish-brown with black speckles, and the back, sides and flanks are vermiculated gray, separated from the chest by a white bar. The wing coverts are brownish-gray with a green speculum. The bill is dark slate and the legs and feet are dark gray. Female green-winged teal are mottled brown with a dark brown line that extends from the bill through the eye. The bill is dark gray and the legs and feet are olive-gray to brownish-gray.

Food habits

Green-winged teal feed on seeds of sedges, smartweeds, pondweeds, grasses, aquatic insects, mollusks, crustaceans and tadpoles found while foraging in and adjacent to mudflats or while dabbling in shallow water.

Population

From an all-time low of 722,000 birds in 1962, green-winged teal populations have grown steadily since.

Migrating and Wintering

Green-winged teal have an extensive wintering range, having been recorded as far north as Alaska and Newfoundland and as far south as northern South America. They are most abundant along the Mississippi and Central Flyways, where the coastal marshes and rice fields of Louisiana and Texas provide ideal habitat. Tidal creeks and freshwater marshes associated with estuaries are favored over more saline or open-water habitats. Green-winged teal are common winter visitors to Central America and the northern Caribbean, and occasionally south to Colombia.

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Teal: Our first duck report

ooiLarry Reynolds and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Flying Duck Team did their first aerial survey of the 2020-21 season this past week and saw some pretty good numbers of teal in the state. The LDWF does monthly surveys and uses grids across the state to determine how many waterfowl are estimated to be here. Here are the results of the first survey, which is limited to Louisiana’s coastal zone and Catahoula Lake areas. No estimates for northeast Louisiana were reported.

Here’s the good news: “The estimate of 236,000 blue-winged teal from this survey is nearly twice last year’s estimate of 127,000 and 4-times the 59,000 estimated in 2018. It is 55% higher than the most-recent 5-year average of 152,000 and slightly higher than the long-term average of 227,000. Blue-winged teal estimates in both SW and SE LA are well above last year’s estimates of 110,000 and 12,000 respectively, and the 18,000 counted at Catahoula Lake is the highest since 2010, when 49,000 were seen.

The 202,000 blue-wings estimated from SW LA transects is 45% higher than the most recent 10-year average of 139,000, and nearly all of them were seen in agricultural fields. Marsh habitats in this region were greatly impacted by hurricane Laura with high water, blocked drainages from extensive debris, and vegetation damage from storm surge and salinity. We saw virtually no blue-winged teal and very few waterfowl of any species in the marsh along established transects. However, flocks of blue-wings were seen in a number of rice fields including those southwest of Gueydan, south of Jennings, and the largest concentration just north of the transect line (thus not included in our estimate) west of Crowley. Although there is above-average shallow flooding in the agricultural region, outside of the marsh, we did not see extensive flooding. One potential positive from storm impacts in SW LA was the noticeable absence of invasive aquatics in the marsh described in past reports south of White Lake, west of Hwy 27, north of Rockefeller Refuge, and in the intermediate marsh north of Grand Chenier. Wind, storm surge, and flooding with saltwater appear to have nearly greatly reduced water hyacinth and giant salvinia in those areas to the point that we saw virtually none from the air.

The 16,000 blue-wings estimated from SE LA transects is 33% higher than the most recent 10-year average of 12,000. Blue-winged teal were only counted on 3 of the 10 transects, and there were no big concentrations seen in this survey area. The largest numbers were seen in the marsh east of Venice. The habitat across SE LA appeared only slightly impacted by the storm with about average submerged aquatic vegetation cover in most areas. Habitat near the mouth of the Mississippi River looks improved over last year with notable submerged aquatic vegetation, larger stands of delta duck potato, and expanses of southern wild rice despite some evidence of mild vegetation damage from elevated water levels and salinity. Unfortunately, increased cover of water hyacinth reported last year in the upper Terrebonne marshes, Caernarvon freshwater diversion and other SE LA habitats remains.

The 18,000 blue-wings counted at Catahoula Lake is 3.6 times last year’s count of 5,000, and is over twice the most recent 10-year average of 8,400. The biggest concentrations were seen on the east side of the lake south of the Diversion canal and then north of French Fork in the shallow-flooded vegetation. Water level was about 27.2 feet MSL at the time of the survey, and habitat for teal was very good. Indeed, overall habitat conditions on the lakebed appeared very good if the water levels can be maintained.

Lastly, the mottled duck estimate of 31,000 is over twice last year’s estimate of 15,000 and 19% above the most recent 10-year average. It is the highest September estimate since 2010 when 49,000 were estimated in coastal Louisiana. Interestingly in SW LA, 77% of mottled ducks were counted in agricultural habitats and in fewer, larger groups than typically encountered on this survey. In SE LA, 91% of total mottled ducks in that survey region were seen on the easternmost transect through the marshes south and east of Venice.”

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Lake D’Arbonne drawdown underway

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The drawdown on D’Arbonne happens every four years and leaves much of the lake looking like this

The every-four-year drawdown on Lake D’Arbonne is underway. The drawdown was supposed to start this week on Sept. 8, but the Lake Commission opened the gates a couple of weeks early anticipating huge rainfall with Hurricane Laura. Fortunately that didn’t materialize in our area and the opening of the gates gave the lake a head start on the drawdown.

Lake D’Arbonne  has already begun to fall relatively steady over the past couple days. As of last check the lake level was 79.6’, which is .4’ below the 80’ pool stage, the drawdown will drop the lake to a level of 75’. Once the Bayou below the spillway is charged enough the flow rate can be increased to reach a maximum of 4” of drawdown per day per LADOTD guidelines. Reminder that since the drawdown has begun all commercial fishing activities must cease. LDWF enforcement activities will increase on the lake to ensure all creel limits are adhered to, to maintain the integrity of the fishery.

Anglers fishing the bayou below the lake should be aware of the extra current, moving logs and hazardous boating conditions. The regular use of the lake’s tainter gates have changed the bayou considerably, especially the first few miles below the spillway.

As always please practice safe boating activities as the lake levels recede to avoid emerging obstacles.

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Teal 2020: What you would have expected

Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 6.04.12 PMTeal season statewide starts Saturday, Sept. 12 and runs through Sunday evening, Sept. 27.  The limit is six teal per hunter with a possession limit of 18. Teal season 2020 is about what you would expect, considering everything that’s going on in our world. There are some teal in the state and others flying in as well, but the hurricane week really changed things. A lot of the top teal hunting areas in the state are still struggling to get power back or to repair houses and businesses.

The strange weather also moved teal that were here around quite a bit. If you haven’t gotten a spot ready, time is running out. Get out and get things in shape. You never know what kind of hunt you’ll have till you give it a try. It looks like we will have a little relief in the weather

Make sure your gun is ready to go and you have everything you need. If you didn’t get to practice on doves, or haven’t already taken time to go shoot a few clay targets, it’s not too late. Don’t find yourself in the blind on your first teal hunt with a bunch of birds buzzing the decoys and then MISS!

Be safe out there.

 

 

Teal season

Teal (Blue, Green, and Cinnamon) September 12-27 6 18

Waddell rocks the house at Simmons

Screen Shot 2020-09-05 at 8.52.36 PMThe Bone Collector Michael Waddell and his kids Mason and Meyer pose with Realtree’s Brad Schoor and Phillip Culpepper, and Robin, Jeff and Lindsey Simmons Saturday at Simmons’ Sporting Goods in Bastrop.

We had quite the start to the Labor Day weekend, 2020. For starters, it’s a tax-free weekend for Simmons’ customers and it’s a great time to get those purchases made and save a few bucks in the process.  Second, it was the opening day of dove season and that’s always a big deal.  But what made it really special was a guest appearance by Michael Waddell,  Bone Collector TV host, hunter, guide and family man who made Booger Bottom, Georgia, famous.

Thanks to everyone who came by and talked with him and to him and Brad Schoor and Culpepper, Jr. of Team Realtree. Michael also brought his kids and we had a great time.

Come see us. We’ve got everything for your hunting and outdoor needs. If you don’t find it, just ask someone and we’ll do our best to get it.

And be safe out there!

Michael Waddell & NO TAXES!!!

Screen Shot 2020-09-03 at 12.44.47 PMMichael Waddell and the guys from Team RealTree will be joining us for Tax Free Weekend September 4th, 5th, and 6th. Michael Waddell will be at the store Saturday September 5th from 10am – 4pm.

Don’t miss out on the great deals and meeting “The Bone Collector” himself!

Hosts Michael Waddell, Nick Mundt, and Travis “T-Bone” Turner take the Outdoor Channel viewer across the globe in the enthralling, always entertaining “warts and all” style that viewers have come to know and love. They have become legends in the outdoors for their hunting trips and antics in the woods.

You can take a look at some of their shows here:

Watch Now

Here’s more from . . .

The Man From Booger Bottom

My story began 35 years ago in backwoods and backwaters of Booger Bottom, Georgia. No crowds, strip malls or concrete jungles there. Just a heck of a lot of places for a young kid to get dirty, get into trouble and grow up country – the kind of place where a boy can be a boy and not worry one bit about the fast pace of city life. Man, we need more places like that these days, huh?

Like the old saying goes, I’m Southern by birth and redneck by the grace of God. If I ever get a tattoo, that’s definitely what it’ll say. I’m country through and through. I dig twangy music and old school Southern rock. I like my steaks southern fried, my hashbrowns scattered, smothered ‘n covered and my tea sweet and stout. Real stout – the kind you can dang near cut with a knife – just like my Grand Mamma used to make. I’m a guitar pickin’, blue jeans wearin’, backstrap grillin’ good ol’ boy who was born to hunt. If it gobbles, quacks, bugles or grunts, chances are I’ve chased it more than a time or two. Droppin’ the hammer and closin’ the coffin on anything with antlers, feathers or fur just never gets old. I bet you know exactly what I’m talkin’ about.

Besides Jesus, my Daddy and Mamma and my family, my heroes include a long list of real Americans – like the brave men and women of our Armed Forces – and a handful of truly hardcore hunters like Fred Bear, Ted Nugent and Chuck Adams. I do what I do because of them. They inspire me to be myself and keep walking the path I’m on.

I’m really proud of where I’ve come from, and I’m excited about where I’m at and where I’m headed. I got my start in the hunting industry by winning a Realtree turkey calling contest, and from there I started guiding and filming hunts. Before I knew it, I was runnin’ camera for Realtree all over God’s creation, and learning all I could about TV production. The idea for “Realtree Road Trips” was born a few years later and since then, my life has been a whirlwind – huntin’, travelin’, workin’ hard and meeting great folks from coast to coast. I’m lovin’ every minute of it, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And I plan to keep on runnin’ and gunnin’ until the Good Lord slows me down.

But for as much fun as I have, you better believe I’ll never, ever forget just how blessed I am. I’m blessed with a loving, healthy family, a job I love and awesome fans who’ve supported me every step of the way. I’m blessed with more friends than I guy could ask for, really. I’m blessed to work with and represent some of the top companies in the outdoor industry. And I’m blessed to live in a country where I’m free to be the rowdy redneck I was born to be.

This is not good

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Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement agents arrested two men on Aug. 23 for alleged fishing contest fraud in lower St. Martin Parish. Agents arrested Wade Bourg Jr. 42, of Morgan City, and Justin Lane, 39, of Houma, for fishing contest fraud.  Agents received a complaint about possible fishing contest fraud on July 24 at a Fishers of Men bass tournament near Stephensville.  Agents were advised that tournament officials and contestants believed that two of the contestants in the bass tournament knowingly violated tournament boundary rules.

Upon completion of an investigation, agents learned that Bourg Jr. and Lane fished outside of the allowed area for the tournament.  Bourg Jr. and Lane then weighed in and entered their fish where they won and collected first place over all, first place bonus bucks and the “big bass” contest totaling $5,562.50 in prizes and trophy plaques.  Agents secured arrest warrants for Bourg Jr. and Lane and they turned themselves into authorities and booked into the St. Martin Parish Jail.  Fishing contest fraud brings up to a $3,000 fine and one year in jail.