• January 2013 - Volume 15, Number 6

    Features

    January is no time to sit at home because crappie are beginning to show up in reservoirs across the state. Here’s how to find success in any of these lakes, and particularly at Ross Barnett.

    January is a time of new beginnings. A few souls actually make resolutions with the intention of keeping them, but for most the first month of a new year only marks the passing of the holiday season and time to return to the grind.

    For crappie anglers across the state, however, January marks a time when crappie start to stir in the waters of the reservoirs of the Magnolia State.

    Here are some tips for fishing for cold-water crappie.

    There’s more than 2 million acres of public hunting land in Mississippi, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Enid Lake provides great opportunities. Here are some tips to take deer on this jewel of deer hunting.

    The negative stigma associated with hunting public lands in the Magnolia State needs to be dispelled. As hunters we simply cannot turn our backs on nearly 2 million acres of prime hunting property, which after all is land that actually belongs to us.

    It is a resource all outdoor enthusiasts should appreciate and utilize for its true value.

    Prime among these public properties are those owned and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers out of their regional Vicksburg District offices. These include four major waterway reservoirs with associated adjacent hunting lands.

    Not everyone has access to prime Delta hunting property, but Mississippi’s Foothills on the eastern side of the state offers duck hunters plenty of shooting.

    All was silent in the predawn darkness, save the splashing of water from several expectant hunter’s waders. As they took positions around an old beaver slough and waited silently, a barred owl hooted out his early morning greeting and another day was dawning.

    But would the ducks cooperate?

    Seconds later, whistling wings buzzed right overhead like dive bombers before circling and crashing onto the surface of the slough somewhere in the dark water between us.

    Most hunters dream of killing that one jaw-dropping buck, but the issue of exactly what defines a trophy deer is still very personal. Here are some thoughts on the matter.

    Every year scores of hunters harvest whitetails throughout the state. Each buck, in the eyes of the beholder, is truly a trophy - hosting a set of antlers that are individually unique.

    Yet once comparisons of harvested bucks are made, the stigma of big verses small and scoring classifications can toy a hunter's perspective.

    Simply put: Competition and influence from the hunting media attempts to set a standard of what constitutes a trophy buck.

    The popularity of crow hunting has waned over the years, but these birds are still one of the most-challenging species to hunt. These experts share tips on how to be successful.

    “From around Christmas until the end of January crows tend to congregate more,” veteran crow hunter Darrell Gibson said. “You’ll not only have the resident birds, but the northern flocks will be migrating down. The numbers of migratory birds will depend on the weather up north.

    “When the weather gets nasty up there, we’ll get a push of crows down here.”

    Gibson’s words came in a hushed undertone. You couldn’t see his lips moving because he was wearing full camouflage, head to toe, and one could barely distinguish him from the natural surroundings that he’d meshed together to conceal his location.

    “Ca, Ca, Ca, Ca, Caw, Caw, Ca, Ca Ca” Gibson cawed on his handheld custom crow call.

    Big catfish don’t disappear when water temperatures plummet, and this longtime Pickwick Lake guide knows exactly where and how to catch them.

    Most anyone can catch catfish May through October. But few anglers take monster-sized cats throughout the winter months like Phil “The Catfish” King of Corinth, who guides on the Tennessee River. I fished with King below Pickwick Dam to learn his secret strategies for catching big cats year-round — particularly in the winter. “I’m convinced that cats eat something every day,” King said. “I’ve learned where big cats live through studying their habits. If I put bait up off the bottom that catfish will eat, I can catch them — no matter what the time of year.

    Michael Palamone killed this huge Simpson County deer in November. Find out why it probably won't make the B&C list on page 106.