ENCOUNTERS WITH WILD CRITTERS MEMORABLE

After reading the account of an area female deer hunter who had an encounter with a black bear after tracking down the buck she had shot only to find a bear had beat her to her buck, the wheels began turning as I recalled encounters I have had with a variety of critters that have scared the daylights out of me.

SNAKES

My most memorable snake experience I had took place when as a kid, I was swimming in the creek behind our home with my brother and two cousins. It was a typical warm summer day and our little pup accompanied us to the creek and was enjoying the cool water with us. As the pup and I were paddling along, I felt a sharp pain behind one of my knees. My first thought was that one of the three boys had sneaked up and pinched me. When I glanced toward the bank and saw all three over there, I reached down and grabbed what had me by the leg. It was a black snake as long as my arm. Flinging it aside and scooting up the bank with
blood streaming down my leg, we examined the bite and breathing a sigh of relief I saw a row of teeth marks, not fang punctures, indicating the snake was not venomous.

FERAL HOG

I had a hair-raising experience once when I was on a pre-season scouting excursion for wild turkeys on our hunting club in Jackson Parish. I found a seat on a log as I listened to see if I could hear a gobbler. Instead of hearing turkey sounds, I was puzzled at the increasing crescendo of crunching sounds coming from the oak grove just down the hill from me. Momentarily, I discovered the source of the sounds; a herd of wild hogs was foraging on acorns under the oaks. All I could do was watch as I was not hunting and only scouting and had no firearm with me. I noticed one particular big boar foraging with the group and as the wind changed and carried my scent to the hogs, they became suspicious and nervous, all except the big boar. He slowly made his way up the hill to my side and stopped 50 yards from me sniffing the air. The next thing I heard was what sounded like a throaty growl as the hog spotted me. Was I nervous? You bet I was because had he charged, I had nothing to defend myself. Fortunately, with a loud “WHUFF…WHUFF”, he turned and trotted back down the hill.

BOBCAT

My dad worked in predator control for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and during summers when I was out of school, it was exciting to accompany him to run his trap line. There was a serious drought one summer that made finding animal tracks difficult. Dad was after a particular big bobcat and when we got to where one of his traps had been set, it was gone; whatever he had caught had taken off dragging a chain and drag hook. Following where the hook had disturbed the ground, a trapped animal seldom went far before becoming entangled in brush. Dad told me search in one direction while he went the other way. As I walked along checking the ground, I noticed a rotten log that had been disturbed. I walked up for a closer look and something caught my eye about six feet away. A big bobcat perched in a small sapling next to the log was glaring at me. Two more steps and I’d have had a mad bobcat on my head. The majority of my outdoor excursions have been anything but traumatic but the
experiences I have had with angry snakes, hogs and bobcats keep me on guard every time I venture outdoors.

FISHING REPORT

CANEY LAKE – The yellow bass are turning on and hitting spoons bounced off the bottom in deep water. Bass are on the deeper points and some are being caught on deep diving crank baits and oversized plastic worms. Crappie are on the move to deeper water with jigs and shiners picking up a few down deep. No report this week on bream or catfish. For information contact
Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323- 8707.
BUSSEY BRAKE –Crappie are scattered and fair. No report on bass, bream or catfish. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU – Fishing overall is rather slow. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
OUACHITA RIVER – Crappie fishing has been best fishing around the deep tops in the river, fishing 20 feet deep in 30 foot water on shiners or jigs. Bass are fair in the cuts on soft plastics, crank baits and Rat-L-Traps. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie have started their move to the deeper channels now that cooler temperatures are sending the shad down deep. Best bet is to fish shiners or a variety of jigs including the Indigo Sky, Penny Back or Popsicle patterns. Bass are also moving deep with best catches made on deep diving crank baits or jigs. Bream fishing is slow while catfish are still biting cold worms 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 – No report this week on bass or stripers. Catfishing has been best on trotlines or stump hooks using small bream for bait. Crappie have started moving to deeper water with Monkey Milk jigs and shiners picking up a few. For latest information, call Misty at Kel’s Cove at 331-2730 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Catfishing has been good with mostly smaller fish being caught except a 30 pounder adding to the mix. Crappie are off and on using shiners or jigs. No report on bream or bass. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101.
LAKE ST. JOHN – The lake is being lowered but the gates have now been closed. Fishing overall has been quite slow. For information, call Ken Mahoney at 318-201-3821.
LAKE YUCATAN – The water is rising fast but should start falling next week. No fishing to report this week. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.


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