There is a one-word question with which I too frequently respond when my wife tells me something. That one-word question?
It all started for me several years ago when I was attending an outdoor writer’s
conference in Tennessee. One of the features of each annual conference is to visit the firing range for some hands-on experience with the newest firearms on the market for that year.
I was standing at a station preparing to try out a new muzzleloading rifle. Standing next to me was a fellow writer with a high caliber rifle; I believe it was a 30.06.
I had a pair of foam ear plugs in my hand and was preparing to insert them but just before I did, the guy next to me fired his rifle. What I experienced next was not only ringing in my ears but a roaring sensation hard to describe. From that day until now, I have limited hearing in my right ear as a result of the absence of protection from that rifle blast.
Dr. Jerrilyn Frasier Vaughan is an audiologist with office in Ruston, who recently posted a column in the Lincoln Parish Journal that addresses the vital importance of proper hearing protection for hunters.
“When you’re in the wild, you’re focusing on the thrill of the hunt, not on your ears. The truth is that noise from a single gunshot at close range can harm them, even leading to permanent hearing loss.
“Noises of 85 decibels or more are known to harm your hearing. A gunshot measures
between 120 and 130 decibels, making it extremely hazardous to your ears,” she wrote.
She explained just how your ears are designed to do what they’re supposed to do and how one event, such as the one I experienced in Tennessee, can seriously damage your hearing.
“You rely on tiny hair cells in your inner ear to help you hear. A one-time exposure to an extremely loud noise or listening to loud sounds over time can damage and even destroy these cells, leaving you with hearing loss,” she continued.
One study she mentioned found that men over the age of 48 who hunt regularly are more likely to experience high-frequency hearing loss, the kind that often results from damage caused by sudden loud noises. The risk of having a marked high-frequency hearing loss increased by 7% for every five years a man had hunted.
What suggestions did the doctor offer to prevent hearing loss before it’s too late?
“Hunting ear plugs are usually made of foam and fit tightly in the ear canal, they reduce gunshot noise but not gunshot vibrations,” she said. “Hunting earmuffs minimize the majority of sounds, even at close range. They have a snug fit and enclose the entire ear, making them highly effective at blocking sound.
“Electronic hunting earplugs and earmuffs include technology that suppresses loud noises while still allowing you to hear quieter sounds, such as animal movement. The earplugs are custom molded to your ears for a precise and comfortable fit.”
Although the temperatures have been high and hunting may be the last thing you’re
thinking about now, hunting seasons are right around the corner. Follow the advice of this hearing expert to be sure you won’t be having to respond to comments from your wife with that one word that makes her face turn red as she chinches her teeth.
CANEY LAKE – Bass fishing has been best fishing bouncing jigging spoons off the bottom and also around the docks and grass lines early mornings on top water lures. They’re also hitting at night with Carolina rigs, big 10 inch plastic worms and deep diving crank baits picking up some nice sized fish. Crappie are fair around the deep brush on shiners or jigs. The bream bite is slow. For information contact Caney Lake Landing at 259-6649, Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
BLACK BAYOU –Crappie have been fair on jigs; bass best on topwater lures around the brush. Some bream are still being caught on crickets. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for latest information.
BUSSEY BRAKE –Bass fishing continues to be fair to good with spinners with trailers and flipping jigs around the brush working best. The crappie are scattered around the brush. Bream have slowed. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole at 323-8707.
OUACHITA RIVER – The water level continues to be dropping. Bass are best fishing in the cuts where there is a bit of current. Topwater lures, crank baits and spinners best. Crappie are best fishing shiners or jigs in the river around submerged tops. Some catfish are being caught fishing cut bait on rods and reels. For latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie fishing has been best fishing the flats and in the channels where water temps are cooler. Spider rigs are starting to produce. Bass fishing has been good early mornings fishing topwater lures around the grass. Later in the day, look for them on the points with square bills, soft plastics and swim baits working best. Bream are slow. Catfish continue to be caught fishing cold worms and night crawlers off the banks. For latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.
LAKE CLAIBORNE – Bream fishing has been fair on crickets. Stripers are beginning to school in the coves and hitting shad imitation lures. Crappie have been best at night fishing under the lights while the bass have been best early mornings on topwater lures and at night on dark plastic worms and spinner baits. Catfishing is fair on noddles using a variety of baits. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.
LAKE POVERTY POINT – Pan-sized catfish are biting. Bass and crappie have slowed. For latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318/878-0101. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.
LAKE YUCATAN – A slight rise is expected which should help fishing. Best fishing now is for catfish on trotlines, jugs and noodles. Bass and crappie are slow. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318/467-2259.