Outdoor Corner: Life happens in cycles

Lyle Johnson
This is Bridgit and Blaire Melancon with 28 rabbits they helped kill at Wax Lake WMA on January 5, 2019. In the group was Chance Gaudet, Garrett Landry, Charles Brignac, Clay Steib, and Lynn Granier.

I am 65 years old and have spent a fair amount of my time trying to figure things out about the outdoors. I’m sure some of the people that read this and enjoy all sorts of activities outside of their home have done the same thing.

I don’t recall seeing as many deer pictures on social media than this year. Without any research, I’d dare to say that this is one of the best hunting years I’ve ever seen. But a friend had a conversation with me about the lack of deer they are seeing on their lease. His story is “Man, this is the worse I’ve ever seen it.” I’ve had similar discussions with other folks as well, so what’s the deal?

Hunters and fishermen are the world’s worst at trying to “figure it out.” Why don’t we catch fish or take game like we used to. Now I know habitat figures into some of the hunting issues as it’s disappearing in some places and fishing pressure can figure into catch ratios. Limits on length of fish, numbers of animals, whether male or female, and all sorts of different things figure into the conservation part of the equation.

On the hunting side of things as of late is the less than stellar duck hunting seasons we’ve had for the last few years in parts of our state. Many theories have been debated as to the cause such as how much water do we have in the northern nesting grounds. Surely that must be the problem. How about predators eating all of the eggs? There’s no more trapping of furbearing animals because fur is not the thing to be wearing anymore. More predators, less eggs!

Mild winters sometimes have taken their share of the blame also. If the lakes, ponds, and rivers don’t freeze over, the ducks have a place to rest. Hey, then there’s the group that’s been accused of “short-stopping the ducks.” Theories abound about how crops have been planted to keep the ducks from flying farther south. Keep ‘em fat and full and they’ll just stay put.

Then there’s the fish. Salt water, fresh water, it doesn’t matter. We always seem to try and figure out why it’s not like the way it used to be. Many more people fish these days than ever before, so I’m sure that’s a factor. Just like hunting, habitat changes affect fishing patterns too.

Just the other day I was involved in a conversation about the Atchafalaya Basin and how the fishing was. We talked about a lot of things, but one topic was the grass. “What happened to all the grass?” was one of the questions I was asked. I remember times when there was so much grass that you could hardly get a boat through some of the places, the grass was so thick. So what’s up with that?

The forces of nature play a big role. Hurricanes deal devastating consequences to our freshwater fisheries. Fish kills are sometimes in record numbers. It was the opposite in the saltwater arena: the lack of fishermen along with no shrimp boats harvesting the shrimp or by-catch issues, the number of fish exploded in our briny estuaries.

The worst possible thing we can do is overreact. Our first reaction is usually, “Man, what can we do?” We think we can fix it but what happens when we didn’t do anything to cause it? Usually that is a sure fire recipe for a bad decision and lots of unintended consequences that are usually worse that the original event.

So, just what is the deal? How can we fix all of this stuff? We surely spend a lot of time fretting over what we can do to change it. I think a lot of the reasons are simply that life is experienced in cycles. That’s right, ups and downs. Life is full of them.

If we take time to look even at our personal lives, we experience times of plenty and times of lack. Right now in our area, life is going to be good in the construction area. Lot’s of work means plenty of jobs and wages should increase. Sometimes our relationships are as full as they can be, and other times there is strife. Sometimes life in general is just great and other times it’s not so good.

Now certainly there are things that we can adjust to correct our responsibilities that may have things out of whack. We can adjust the numbers that we are allowed to harvest, the times we can and can’t catch fish or take game, along with many other things. Sometimes we may just have to wait until it comes back around.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says it best, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven . . .” So until next time, keep out the slack and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe, and may God truly bless you!

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.

APSO Shooting Range: The rifle range on St. Landry Road is open to the public year-round on the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., or safe shooting light.

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.

Fishing For Tucker Bass Classic: Save the date! The 9th Annual tournament is scheduled for February 2, 2019 at Cabela's in Gonzales.

La-BASS Open Tournament: Feb 16 at Doiron’s Landing Stephensville, La. benefitting Anything Outdoors Helping Kids. $100 entry fee, register morning of tournament. See La-Bass on their Facebook page.

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