• February 2013 - Volume 15, Number 7

    Features

    While some hunters complained about a poor hunting season, there were some monster bucks killed. Here’s the rundown of some the biggest from the season.

    Hunters across the state complained of poor deer sightings during the 2012-13 season. Even the keeper of the Magnolia Records had a down season.

    “I’ll be honest: I haven’t seen as many deer as I’ve seen in previous years,” U.S. Forest Service biologist Rick Dillard said.

    The reasons for the lack of deer sightings is a hotly debated topic, and Dillard chuckled that he couldn’t put a finger on the anwer.

    Hogs are almost impossible to exterminate because they don’t like to move during the daytime. That’s no problem for these hunters, who use military-grade equipment in their efforts to control pig populations.

    The first time I had on night vision goggles was while driving a U.S. Army deuce-and-a-half full of soldiers four hours round trip along a dirt road in the desert to a phone bank so they could call home.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to follow a dirt road in a desert, but there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the road and the desert.

    Under blackout conditions the entire trip, I could only hope that the grainy, green view through my goggles allowed me to discern well enough the edges of the road to get the troops there and back safely.

    Just because deer seasons are closing doesn’t mean it’s time to knock the dust off the boat just yet. Grab a shotgun and kick up some rabbits.

    Hunting dogs have a ritual prior to getting down to business. Perhaps it comes from days in a pen and hours in a dog box, but they must complete this ritualistic activity before they can get down to business. Once the hounds are done decorating the tires of the trucks and adorning clumps of clay, it is anticipation time. Beagles sound like vacuum cleaners as they snuffle the ground for the sweet scent they crave. Watching a brace of beagles hunt for rabbits is delightful to the senses - both canine and human. The anticipation builds.

    Few anglers realize there are three species of crappie swimming in Mississippi’s waters, and the third one is homegrown. Learn more about the Magnolia crappie.

    A day at work for the fisheries biologist at the MDWFP North Mississippi Fish Hatchery near Enid begins with flipping on the lights. As the sodium bulbs buzz to life, the sound of rushing water percolating through various fixtures and appliances awaken the ears.

    Depending on the time of year, holding tanks might be brimming with brood fish and smaller clear rearing tanks could be swarming with newly hatched fry.

    Step out the back door, and the rising sun reveals larger one-acre growing ponds, where hatched fish are allowed to gain a little size to make them better equipped for survival in the outside world.

    Where water body will produce the next state-record bass? Neshoba County Lake, which regularly gives up lunkers, is a safe bet.

    Hoot Gibson scanned the surface of Neshoba County Lake. He detected the telltale swirl of a bedding bass in the upper end of the lake and instantly sent a lure her way.

    Seconds later the veteran angler of many bass wars felt the thump that indicated the fish had sampled his offering. Gibson dropped his rod tip, reeled in the slack and drove the steel deep into the jaws of the lunker bass.

    The enraged sow exploded from the depths and wallowed on the surface violently as the tension mounted.

    Head to Okhissa Lake for some great spawning action in a reservoir designed by Bill Dance to produce trophy bass.

    Angling for Florida strain largemouth bass has always been something of a challenge. When the big sows get on the bed that challenge is multiplied in spades by the fickleness of the female.

    Many bass anglers have watched as the their baits are carried away by females, but hook-sets only result in baits flying back toward the anglers with the ferocity of an angry bird.

    The United States Forest Service has only a few fishing lakes in Mississippi. Of those, Okhissa Lake near Bude has to be considered the crown jewel.

    Learn how to get in on some great spawning action at Okhissa Lake, and also find out what deer topped the kill list this season.