Editor’s note: It is our goal to bring content to readers that they enjoy, so the Jackson Parish Journal is pleased to have the opportunity to publish once again the ever popular, “Glynn Harris Outdoors” column and “Fishing Report.” In order to know that you would like to see this on a weekly basis, comments would be appreciated.
I was a late bloomer when it came to hunting wild turkeys. About this time 29 years ago, I took my first step into the turkey woods, downed the first gobbler I ever hunted and like a drug addict doing whatever it took for another hit, I was hooked. Since that April morning in Coosa County Alabama when that long-bearded gobbler came strutting up, spring time has meant turkey hunting time for me.
Over these past almost three decades I have chased turkeys from Alabama to Florida Texas to South Dakota and Louisiana and with turkey season just around the corner this year, I’m ready to give it a go again. I have been reading some material and talking with turkey hunters around the country and
something I have learned is disturbing. In the southeast, the overall number of wild turkey has been in a slow but steady decline over the past several years, the decline attributed to several factors. Nest depredation, brood habitat loss, and the burgeoning population of feral hogs seem to be the principal culprits. Ron Jolly, long time turkey hunter from Alabama contacted me to tell me about a group that has been formed to attempt to stop the decline in turkey numbers, particularly in the southeast.
“Of the factors contributing to the decline in turkey populations, no one of the factors alone has created this problem. It’s a combination of these that are taking a toll on our turkey population,” said Jolly.
A group of what Jolly calls a “bunch of old gray beard turkey hunters” decided to see what could be done to at least slow the decline.
“We came together as a group of concerned turkey hunters who have had a total of over 500 years of chasing gobblers. In June 2020, we formed a non-profit 501-c-3 group we’re calling Turkeys for Tomorrow. We are working with the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and are targeting our state wildlife agencies that are already charged with the protection of wildlife resources. They already have the personnel and equipment and are the only people who can do this,” Jolly explained.
He noted that each of the 17 southeastern states has a wild turkey biologist that collaborate each year together to identify problems that affect turkeys.
“We are going to let them convince us where we need to focus on work and projects needed to improve the lot of wild turkeys and we plan to go directly to turkey hunters in those states. We don’t plan to have fund raising banquets or fund raisers but we’re asking turkey hunters to partner with us because when you get right down to it, hunters are responsible for the wild game we have,” Jolly continued.
Hunters and organizations interested in becoming partners in this endeavor can get involved by going to the website, turkeysfortomorrow.org and click on becoming a partner. The organization is growing and has already signed up a group of partners including Pistol Creek, Great Day Outdoors, Pittman Game Calls and Jager Pro. As Turkeys for Tomorrow grows, Jolly said the efforts will enhance what the National Wild Turkey Federation is doing, an organization that has suffered this year because the COVID pandemic has put the skid to that organizations fund raising efforts. It’s the hope and prayer of every turkey hunter that these far-sighted efforts will slow the decline of these special birds and I’m sure they’ll want to get involved.
“The plight of wild turkeys has become an issue as numbers are declining. Hopefully, Turkeys for Tomorrow can find some answers and help fix the problem.” – Jeff Perot photo
CANEY LAKE – Crappie are beginning to leave the deep holes and starting to move shallow. Also some are being caught under the Highway 4 bridge on shiners and jigs. Bass fishing is beginning to pick up as the big females are starting to ease into shallow spawning areas. Sonny Watson, Ruston, landed two last week that were near 10 pounds each. No report on catfish or bream. For latest information contact Bateaux on Caney Lake at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie are on the flats and starting to move to shallow spawning areas. Some good ones have been caught on shiners and jigs. Bass are also starting to make a move toward the shallows and Flukes, Rogues and crawfish colored lipless crank baits are starting to pick up a few. No report on bream but catfish are probably biting on cold worms and night crawlers fished off the banks. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – The water has been high but falling and crappie are showing signs of moving from the depths to more shallow water. Some are being caught on yo-yos baited with shiners. A good many catfish are being caught on yo-yos as well. Bass fishing has been fair with mostly small to medium sized fish reported on a variety of lures in fairly shallow water. No report on stripers or bream. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Cold icy weather has slowed fishing a bit but both bass and crappie are showing signs of moving up to shallow spawning areas. No report on bream or catfish.. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Crappie fishing has been off and on with some good fish caught when they’re biting. No report on bass or bream. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – The river is high and rising. No fishing report this week. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Crappie are showing signs of moving to the banks where another slab weighing 3.04 pounds was caught. Bass are fair with a 9 pounder reported. Catfishing has been good off the back deck at the marina. No report on bream. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – The water is at pool stage and bass fishing has improved. Other species are slow. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is very high and rising. No fishing this week. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
LAKE BRUIN – No report. For information, call 318/766-0075.