• December 2012 - Volume 15, Number 5

    Features

    While some hunters choose to sneak around, these two veteran squirrel hunters take to the woods with the abandon of playground kids — and come home with plenty of bushy-tails.

    Jeffrey Wood has been hunting squirrels for most of his life. But for the past 20 years, the Stringer resident has emphasized the use of dogs in his hunts. And as an avid outdoorsman, he’s had many outstanding trips with his canines. But it didn’t take Wood long to pick out the most memorable moment in all of those hunts. It took place more than a decade ago in an area near Vicksburg during the filming of an outdoors television show.

    Too good to pass up, here’s a look at a Grenada Lake most crappie anglers never knew existed.

    Back in March of this year, the Mississippi Sportsman Crappie Hotspot Series made a stop at the official home of the 3-pound crappie, Grenada Lake, and provided 10 hotspots for spring crappie fishing and tips on how to catch them.

    After the article was published, Jason Golden, the owner of Lakeway Archery & Outfitters in Grenada called to compliment the March issue, and then in idle conversation let the cat out of the bag.

    “You know, there’s a part of Grenada Lake over on the Scuna River side that all the anglers who come here to fish in the spring never see,” Golden said. “It’s the great wintertime crappie fishing we have during the winter drawdown.

    “It’s still Grenada Lake, including all the big white crappie we catch during the spring, but it’s like fishing an entirely different body of water.”

    The glory days of running dogs across wide-open land might be past, but the sport is still alive and well. Learn why these die-hards refuse to give it up.

    Bubba Bennett killed his first deer, a cow-horn spike, when he was 6 years old.

    “I shot at it one time, and my dad asked me if I was sure it was a buck,” Bennett told me as he recounted his earliest memory of deer hunting with dogs. “I was sure it was, but a little doubt crept in the more he asked me.”

    Like an innocent suspect badgered into a false confession, Bennett was just about ready to admit to his father that it might not have been a buck.

    “That’s when I heard a few other people shooting at it,” he continued. “That erased all my doubt, and I knew for sure it was a buck. We moved to another road, and not long after that I finally got the shot to kill it.”

    When hookings and scrapes begin appearing, hunters know the best opportunity to bag mature bucks has arrived, but what drives this magic time of the season? Here’s what the research shows.

    Few periods of a deer’s life are as important to hunters as that reproductive time commonly called the Rut. It is the subject of much discussion, anticipation and study. It is the one time each year when hunters have a better-than-average chance at seeing and harvesting a trophy buck. But do you as a hunter know how to best use the collective research to kill the trophy of a lifetime? The woods are full of deer sign in the fall. Much of this sign deals with deer as they enter the rut. Knowing and properly interpreting these signs can make the difference in success or failure. Sorting out all the variables is a little like a computer flow-chart, with dozens of “if-then” blocks to consider. In the end the solution is there, right before your eyes.

    Goose hunting might not be a major focus for Mississippi waterfowlers, but it should be. Follow these hunters’ tips to load up on tasty specklebelly geese.

    Goose hunting has never been a major part of the Mississippi waterfowling experience. There just haven’t been that many of the B-52-sized birds migrating through the state to attract that much attention. But that has changed in recent years, as agricultrual practices along the Mississippi Delta have changed. And, so while most Magnolia waterfowlers dream of that perfect flight of greenheads cupping into their spreads, Canton’s Jacob Sartain and his buddies have spent every available minute trying to outsmart wave after wave of geese. “Geese started coming into these Mississippi counties about 12- to 15-years ago,” explained Sartain, who has been chasing geese for the past 15 years. “The numbers of geese drastically have increased.”

    While most hunters climb trees and sit in shooting houses, this group of buddies slog through water to shoot public-land ducks. Here’s how they do it.

    In a state full of hunters dominated by buck fever, high-powered rifles, high-tech compound bows, food plots, rubs, scrapes, proprietary brands of camouflage, family deer camps, Bad Boy Buggies and big-buck bragging rights, would a group of young guns forego all that tradition to take up duck hunting? It makes one wonder just what they were thinking. And when I say, “Take up,” I don’t mean to imply merely hunting with Dad, Uncle Pete or even a seasoned waterfowl guide. I mean starting from scratch with virtually no help, or little veteran adult duck-hunting guidance, but with a huge decoy bag full of gusto.

    Shane Ragon had to do more than sit a stand to ambush this monster buck.