Talkin' Outdoors

Stepping out on the porch with my morning cup of Community, I feel something stirring in the air. Before taking a seat, I step back inside and slip on a light jacket because my thermometer reads 53 degrees.

There is no time of year to get my senses stirred like right now. We have been gifted with a milder-than-normal summer with showers nearly every week. I may be forced to mow my yard into November.

Settling back with my coffee and Rufus, my lap pup, doing his little circle around and around before curling up between my knees, I hear the steady patter of water oak acorns bouncing off the roof. A branch rustles. Taking a peek, I see a gray squirrel busy with breakfast. It’s that time of year and I love it.

Hunting seasons have already kicked off. It began Labor Day weekend when dove hunting became legal. Dove season is somewhat like LSU playing Chattanooga. It’s a Tiger tune-up for Mississippi State and the other heavy hitters down the road. For the most part, I hunt doves to get the rust and kinks out to better prepare me for squirrels and deer and other SEC-type critters I’ll be hunting in just a few short weeks.

This lovely weather we’ve enjoyed for months will be having a pronounced effect on wildlife I’ll be hunting. I visited with biologist, Kate Hazapes this week who confirmed what I already suspected.

“We haven’t done our mast survey just yet; we’ll do that later this month. However,” Hazapes said, “it looks like we’ll be in pretty good shape. The deer have not had to revert to less desirable browse plants so far as there has been plenty of quality food for them because of the mild and wet summer. I have oak trees in my yard and acorns are already falling.”

Teal season began September 15 and will run until September 30 with daily limit set at six. Only blue winged, green winged and Cinnamon teal are legal during this early season.

Deer hunters who go after their venison with “stick and string” will be sitting in their lock-on stands at daylight in just two weeks. Archery season kicks off October 1 and runs all the way to the end of January.

Next comes one of my favorite seasons. I’ll be sitting on a log somewhere in the deep woods Saturday October 7 waiting for the first squirrel to mimic what my “yard” squirrels are already doing. Being there opening day for me dates back to my boyhood days when my dad would take me with him. I may not go but a couple more times but I simply have to be in the woods opening day.

Rabbit season also opens the same date but most rabbit hunters wait until deer season ends because while squirrel hunting is a quiet solitary sport; hitting the briar patches with a brace of bawling yowling beagles is lot of fun but it’s anything but quiet. Daily limit for both squirrels and rabbits is 8.

Two weeks later on October 21, hunters who wish to go the “primitive” route can take to the woods after deer. Formerly, this season was labeled “muzzleloader” season but the addition of a particular genre of single shot firearms has been added. To be sure the firearm you choose for this season is legal, you’ll want to refer to Wildlife and Fisheries regulations.

In Area 2 comprising of most of northwest and north central Louisiana, still hunting deer season opens October 28.

Waterfowl season in the West Zone begins November 11 while East Zone hunting kicks off November 18.

I noticed my coffee cup is empty so I’ll get a refill with Rufus back in my lap and enjoy the chill and the deliciousness of what lies ahead.