Outdoor Corner: A huntin' we wil go

Lyle Johnson

The fall teal season, along with the opening of dove season, is well underway. That means the fall/winter hunting is about to be in full swing. That means the guns have been pulled from the closets or gun cabinets to be cleaned and readied for the first shot of the new seasons.

Although, with the attempt to control the population of non-native, invasive species such as feral hogs, hunting season technically never closes. Opening day has a certain ring to it and will never go away.

Spoonbill Adventures Guide Service filled 10 blinds with hunters that harvested 440 teal. What an opening morning.

My personal “opening day” is the beginning of squirrel season. That takes place on the first Saturday in October, which falls on Oct. 3 this year and will run through Feb. 28. When I start thinking about that first day, my mind always goes back to my childhood memories of hunting.

There were no deer to speak of in South Louisiana back then, so most folks that enjoyed hunting usually targeted squirrels and rabbits. We were fortunate enough to have relatives in Galvez that had squirrel and rabbit dogs. That allowed us to do a lot of hunting.

My son, Wesley, was introduced to the same sport by his dad (me) at a young age. My grandson, Canaan has enjoyed a squirrel hunt with his Paw Paw as well. One of my daughters and my granddaughter has expressed interest in giving it a try as well. This excites me to no end.

So, this is the normal process as opening day approaches. A part of a morning prior to Oct. 3 will be spent doing a little scouting. There are a couple of reasons for that. The first is to take a look at the woods. The place I’ll hunt is a normal spot, so familiarity is not a problem. Just taking a look to see if any changes took place.

Danny and Monica Bourque pictured with some of the striped bass they caught in Lake Hamilton located in Arkansas.
Danny and Monica Bourque pictured with some of the striped bass they caught in Lake Hamilton located in Arkansas.

The next reason is to find the restaurants where the squirrels will be eating breakfast. Just like we choose our eating places for whatever reason, not all oak trees are alike nor do all acorns taste the same. Squirrels will travel quite a distance to find the acorns that tickle their taste buds.

The object is to get in the woods before daylight to see where they end up feeding, so you’ll have a good place to start. Next, take a walk through the woods and take a look under the trees. Just like we leave crumbs or dropped food around the table, telltale signs in the form of pieces of eaten acorns will litter the ground. The legal bag limit is eight squirrels per day. The only thing left is to get out in the woods on opening day and do the deal.

There are lots of other things to hunt as rabbit season opens the same day. The bag limits are the same; eight per day and 24 in your possession. The deer season opens as early as Sept. 19 in some areas, while Oct. 1 is the other opening date in the rest of the areas.

The state sectioned into 10 areas. Ascension parish is in area 9 in the second largest next to area 2. The early parts of the season is limited to bow hunting only so a trip to www.wlf.louuisiana.gov is needed to see all the information. Click on Seasons and Regulations tab on the top/left of the page to see it all.

Teal season opened this past weekend and from all the reports I’ve seen it was quite spectacular in Venice. Cole Melancon and his crew found some birds as the six hunters filled their limits of six birds on opening morning.

Although to the west, our neighbors are still in the recovery mode. There was a silver lining with the teal season opening as Spoonbill Adventures Guide Service located in Welsh opened the season with a bang.

They filled 10 blinds with hunters that were amped up for some relief from our circumstances. Their wish was granted as the group of hunters were blessed with plenty of birds and managed to kill 440 ducks. Wow!

Glardon Hoffpauir operates Spoonbill Adventures in Welsh that includes some great places to hunt and a full service lodge. Glardon can be contacted at (337) 368-5969 or you can find them on Facebook. The statewide teal season runs from Sept. 12-27 so call Gordon for an opportunity to do some great waterfowl hunting.

On the safety aspect Welsh is in Jefferson Davis parish. There is still some hurricane aftermath in neighboring Cameron parish. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is alerting hunters and anglers to be aware that Cameron Parish continues under mandatory evacuation protocols in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. A parish-wide curfew remains in place from 8 p.m.to 7 a.m.

With Teal season opening statewide this weekend, hunters and anglers are advised that significant amounts of debris and hazardous material remain in waterways and scattered throughout Cameron Parish.

LDWF recommends that anglers and hunters use extreme caution and follow the public safety guidelines established by the parish. Be aware that the EMS services are limited and there are no functioning hospitals in the area.

By the time you’re reading this, we will have been through another storm, likely a hurricane. Most of us are a bit weary from all of the events from a seemingly unending year of life-upending events.

But just like our parish name, Ascension (means to rise up) we will do better than just survive. We will rise above our circumstances as we have in the past. Lots of our folks have been helping our neighbors in Louisiana and Texas fight their battles and so we will here.

Keep your chin up, pray and look to the future. We will be victorious. So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you!