Labor Day Weekend & Opening Day 2018
Times Outdoor Columnist Labor Day is the last national holiday until Thanksgiving and outdoor people tend make the best of it. Saturday was the 1 st day of dove season and opening day always generates a lot of excitement.
Around the county were gun shots starting about day break. There were several outstanding hunts where limits were taken by 8 a.m., but unfortunately there were more unproductive hunts than good ones.
The rain and thunder storms a few days before opening day definitely did not help marginal fields.
Sun flowers are the attractant of choice and fresh planted winter wheat very good, but if the birds do not like the set up, it does not matter. Papa Duck hunted a 40 acre sunflower field that had been cut and over seeded with winter wheat surrounded with shade and water near by, but very few birds. This is the 3rd year for this field and it has never been very good. Some places just don't work. There was much up side to the day.
There were friends and families enjoying one of the few days we all get together with all kinds of good food like BBQ, hot dogs, fried fish, and great side dishes.
A hunting camp is not the place to try to lose weight.
Because of the shortage of birds many of the hunters stayed up and visited, making it difficult to get up early. Several of the hunters have other fields to hunt and this was just the 1st day.
The fishermen and pleasure boats at Nancy and Pat Bonds’ AG& F launch enjoyed the holidays with the skiers and boat riders probably having the most fun. It was a relatively calm day and the skiers had nice ski water. Its always fun to see a boat full of kids and their folks enjoying our lakes and rivers. The fishing continues to be slow with catfishing being the best way to fill the ice box and bringing home the makings for a fish fry. A few crappie and bass are being taken but the fishing is very inconsistent. We are all waiting for the cool fall weather to turn the fish on.
Wapanooca water is hot and mossy and there are few good reports, with bass fishing being the best.
No recent reports from Miss Joyce at Midway, the last saying only the catfish were biting on limb and trot lines.
Some local hunters braved the heat and humidity to open the White River Refuge squirrel season that opened on the 1st. They said the squirrels were plentiful but with heat, they only moved around early in the morning and the last couple of hours before dark. The boys had both fox and grays with a couple of black squirrels.
They did not get full limits of 12 per day. The mosquitoes and ticks were in full force and took a lot of skeeter spray to be still and quiet. Squirrel season used to open up state wide on October 1st and it was a tradition for many hunters to go to “squirrel camp”. It is usually much cooler in October.
Early teal season opens on Sept. 15 -30, 2018, with a daily limit of six teal that may include blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon teal. Blue-winged will probably be the most taken. The blue-winged drakes and hens look the same this time of year, so don’t try to just shoot drakes. Cinnamon teal are very rare, if you get one, you need to take it to Lakeside Taxidermy. The odds are you will never get another one in Arkansas.
While we are talking waterfowl hunting, Sept. 1, was opening day for the early Canada goose season. There are several family flocks on the big lakes like Midway and the daily limit is five with 15 being the possession limit. Get your dove hunting clothes on and put a box of STEEL shot in your pocket and try for both teal and Canada geese. Because the geese are in small flocks, a half dozen goose decoys are enough and use only mallard hen decoys for the teal. A dozen decoys are plenty for the teal when mixed in with the goose decoys set off to the side.
Dedicated duck hunters love to hunt waterfowl, no matter what time of year it is.
The fields are starting to brown up and I have an oak that is already starting to color up. Autumn is a wonderful time of year for both hunting and fishing.
This time next month we will can say fall is here.
Several friends have asked how Colleen is doing with her tick fever, and I am glad to say she is much better, but we still have a fight ahead. Opening dove season my friends at Battle Axe had a big surprise birthday cake for me after the hunt. Papa Duck turned 80 and I still enjoy hunting and fishing and being with my friends. Each trip and friend become much more valuable. I truly hope you have as many good memories as I do. Go make some memories of your own and take that kid and friends with you to the water or woods. It’s time to get some more trophies for Lakeside Taxidermy to do for you at a reasonable price, quick service, and a beautiful mount.
Papa Duck Lakeside Taxidermy 870-732-0455 or 901482-3430 jhcriner@hotmail. com
Bryan Taylor killed this cow elk with a bow while hunting public lands outside of Telluride, Colorado, over the weekend. It weighed in at about 400 pounds.
By John Criner