These three contests give any student (home-schooled, or a attending private or public school) that fit the age groups a window into the writing and photography world. This could inspire a young person to enter this world or help them hone an already developing interest.

Hello from the town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Deborah and I have traveled way up north to spend some time with our youngest daughter and her family, which has two of our grandchildren. Lots of snow and beautiful scenery, along with lots of hugs and kisses from those two grandkids abound.

So back at home, do you ever wonder how a person gets the opportunity to write or photograph, then get their work published? How about getting paid to do it? The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association (LOWA) along with some support groups offer such opportunities in three ways.

These three contests give any student (home-schooled, or a attending private or public school) that fit the age groups a window into the writing and photography world. This could inspire a young person to enter this world or help them hone an already developing interest.

Not only will they get to experience the opportunity to write or photograph for competition, the winners will be compensated by winning cash or prizes.

The first one is The Youth Journalism Contest. It is the oldest of the group and is hosted by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association and sponsored by Louisiana’s Safari Club International members and has three categories for writers and photographers.

The Junior Essay category (ages 7-13) and the Senior Essay category (ages 14-18) must be a 300-1,000 word typed, double-spaced, original, unpublished writing that highlights a personal outdoors experience of any kind. It does not have to be associated with hunting or fishing.

The Photography category (ages 7-18) must be an original photo taken by the entrant that is yet unpublished in black-and-white or color, 4x6, 5x7 or 8x10 inches, and center-mounted on an 8x10 board. Only one essay and photograph will be accepted from each youngster.

Each submission must have name, age, school, home address, home telephone number and, where possible, email address attached at the top of the essay or photo. Mail entries to: Joe Macaluso, Advocate Outdoors, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. ATTN: LOWA. Essays can be sent by email jmacaluso@theadvocate.com. Cash awards and certificates are given to the winners.

The second contest is for the Youth Hunter of the Year, male and female. It is supported by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation along with the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and is open to in-state boys and girls ages 15 and younger in separate divisions for its two awards.

For Youth Hunter, essays and accompanying photos need to cover a special hunt or memorable hunting trip with family and friends. The boy and girl winners will receive a plaque and gift certificate from Bowie Outfitters, and will be honored at next year’s Governor’s State Conservation Achievement Awards Banquet.

Delta Waterfowl’s Baton Rouge Chapter, the South Louisiana Branch of Quality Deer Management Association, the Harrison Law firm, Bowie Outfitters in Baton Rouge, and Outdoor Roots are sponsors.

A registration form and rules are available on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries website: wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/yhrp. Entries must be postmarked by March 9. Applications can be sent by mail or submitted electronically. Call Rebecca Triche at 225-344-6707 or email Rebecca@lawildlifefed.org.

The third contest is the LOWA’s Youth Angler of the Year. This competition is chaired by Wendy Billiot, better known as The Bayou Woman and President of LOWA. “Fish, Write, Win” is the Youth Angler’s slogan and sums it up for all the young people that fish the bountiful waters all over our state.

This contest is not necessarily about the biggest fish caught. The story is just as important as the event. Send in a photo and write about a fishing trip with friends or loved ones that has created great memories about the adventure.

Again, there will be a winner in Boys and Girls categories, with Louisiana’s Coastal Conservation Association and the LDWF standing as co-sponsors for the very worthwhile lifetime fishing licenses that they will win for their efforts. If the winner already has one, a gift card will be awarded.

Rules for Youth Angler are posted on the LDWF website: ldwf.wufoo.com/forms/youth-angler-2018. Entry deadline for YJC and Youth Angler is June 30. All winners will be honored at the LOWA’s annual awards banquet.

They will also receive tickets for themselves and two guests to the LOWAs August 10 awards banquet held at a site to be named later. For more information, email Billiot at wwbilliot@gmail.com. Don’t let this opportunity get away to get your kids involved with something that might open a door that was never thought of.

Next, Ascension Parish’s own Robbie Latuso starts his third year fishing the Bassmaster Elite series. Latuso just wrapped up the first event of the season down in Florida fishing the St John’s River. He did us well making the top ten on the last day and finishing the event in 10th place.

On day one he caught a solid limit early and then steadily culled up until he had a five-bass limit that weighed 25 pounds, 2 ounces. The big bag, which was anchored by an 8-6 largemouth, was good enough for the Day 1 lead.

On day two Latuso slipped a little, finishing the day catching five bass for 13-15 and a 39-01 total to hold 9th place. Day three fortunes turned back Robbie’s way as he hauled another five bass limit for 24-10 and a 63-10 total.

Day four was a little tough for our hometown hero as he caught only two bass for 5-5 and finished in the 10th spot with 69 pounds. Those 69 lbs. earned him a $15,000 dollar payday. Robbie, you made us all proud, and keep up the good work!

Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you!!

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting: 3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman’s League meeting held at Chef KD’s on Highway 74 starting at 7 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Squirrel season: Through Feb. 28 daily bag limit 8 possession 24.

Rabbit season: Through Feb. 28 daily bag limit 8 possession 24.

Quail season: Through Feb. 28, statewide, private lands only. Daily bag limit 10 possession 30.

Fly Tying 101: Feb. 16 and 23, 2-4 p.m., Orvis, Perkins Rowe, Baton Rouge. No cost. Hands-on clinic covering basics of fly tying. Materials and tools provided. Registration required. Call 225-757-7286.

La-BASS Open Tournament: Feb 16 at Doiron’s Landing Stephensville, La. benefitting Anything Outdoors Helping Kids. $100 entry fee, pre-registration required so see La-Bass on their Facebook page.

Volunteer Day/Derelict Crab Trap Removal: Feb. 16 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m., Toby’s Oyster Dock, La. 315, DuLarge. Remove abandoned crab traps in Barataria Basin. Wet gear, gloves needed. Volunteer registration at: lsu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5b94Jc8VFxyBsIl.

LSU College Bass Team Benefit Tournament: Feb. 17 at Doiron's Landing in Stephensville, La. benefitting LSU Fishing Team. $100 entry fee, register morning of tournament. See LSU Fishing Team on their Facebook page for info and entry form rules.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net