I had a birthday this week and I was reminded of another birthday I had 13 years ago. On March 29, 2008, I was presented a special birthday gift when I slipped out to the woods in Jackson Parish, called in and downed a big gobbler. This brings to mind what is taking place now 13 years later as turkey season in 2021 kicked off for most of us in this part of the state on Good Friday, April 2. Season opened for youth hunters the weekend before and from reports I have seen and heard about, several youngsters were successful in bagging gobblers. You will note that this year’s season begins a week or so later than it did in 2008 as wildlife biologists and wild turkey experts felt it necessary to delay the season a bit to give gobblers and hens more time to get together before the hunting begins. The goal is to have more hens bred before we start chasing gobblers. The jury is still out on whether or not it will produce more wild turkeys on the ground.
As a refresher, here’s what happened on my birthday 13 years ago. This was the second weekend of Louisiana’s turkey season that year and the week before, I experienced something that would quicken the pulse of any turkey hunter. The day before season opened, I drove up to a well site on the back of our hunting club property and surprised a flock of turkeys, including several gobblers that took off. No problem; I knew where I’d be on opening day. That afternoon, I set up my pop-up blind within gunshot range of the well site and the next morning, I was there before daybreak with strutting gobbler and submissive hen decoys in place. Soon after daylight, the gobbling began. My calls were answered immediately and within a matter of minutes, I saw three white heads pop up across the well site and when the three
gobblers spotted the decoys, here they came trying to out-race each other.
What happened next will be forever etched in my memory. All three attacked the gobbler decoy I had out and sent it flying. One of the gobblers separated from the other two and I dropped him. As he lay on the ground flopping, instead of the survivors high-tailing it out of there, they attacked the gobbler on the ground, giving him a pummeling you wouldn’t believe. I swapped my shotgun for my camera and began snapping photos until they eventually
Now to my birthday gobbler. The following Saturday, March 29 on my birthday, I was back in the area with a friend and fellow hunter, Mike Brister, and when daylight came, I heard gobbling back across the well site like the Saturday before. Mike insisted I give another gobbler a try and I hurried across the well site to cut the distance. A few minutes later, I saw a white head as one of the surviving gobblers came in cautiously to my calling. On my 71 st birthday, I put the
pop on him, a fine bird with good beard and spurs. On my birthday this year, I didn’t hunt for one obvious reason; turkey season wouldn’t open for another few days. A lot has happened to my turkey woods over the past 13 years. Much of the land has been sold and is no longer in our hunting club so I’ll have to choose another spot. Even so, I had to be somewhere in woods on our club. Why? Because as author Tom Kelly once wrote….”I don’t hunt turkeys because I want to; I hunt them because I have to.”
FISHING REPORT – 3-31-21
CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been best fairly shallow with trick worms, jigs and spinners picking up a few. No heavy weight bass were reported this week. The chinquapin bite has started with fish moving shallow and hitting worms and crickets. Crappie fishing is good with most of the bigger fish moving shallow while some average sized fish are still being caught beneath the Highway 4 bridge on shiners and jigs. No report on catfish. 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 – Some crappie have apparently already spawned as they’re moving to deeper water with shiners and jigs picking up some both shallow and in deeper water. Bass fishing has been better this week away from the banks as some of these fish have also apparently spawned and moved deeper. Best baits have been spinners, crank baits, spinners and soft plastics. Bream are just now starting to show signs of life as they’re moving to shallow bedding areas and starting to hit worms and crickets. Catfishing continues to be good off the banks on night crawlers and cold worms. For latest reports, call Anderson’s Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bass fishing has been fair this week with some to around 4 pounds caught on spinner baits and Sinkos. Crappie are hitting shiners on yo-yos with some still shallow while others that have already spawned have moved to deeper water. Both crappie and bream continue to bite below the spillway. Catfishing has been fair to good on yo-yos, stump hooks and on noodles. Striper fishing has been fair and the bream are beginning to bite around shallow beds on worms and crickets. Bream are beginning to show up around shallow spawning areas with some caught on crickets and worms. For latest information, call Tim Loftin at Kel’s Cove at 927-2264.
BUSSEY BRAKE – Cooler stormy weather has slowed fishing a bit. Bass are around the banks and trees. Some catches to 5 pounds have been reported on spinners, crank baits and soft plastics. The bream are showing signs of starting to move to the beds. Crappie are slow to fair this week. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Bass fishing has been good on jigs, spinners and soft plastics. Bream and crappie are fair this week. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – The river is still high but starting to fall. No fishing report this week. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – The turn to cooler weather has moved the crappie off the banks and slowed the fishing this week. Catfishing for smaller fish has been good. Bass have improved with some to around 4 pounds reported. Bream are beginning to show up around shallow bedding areas. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – Crappie, bass and catfish have all improved somewhat this week. Bream have yet to start biting. 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.