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    Sherman Roberts of Biloxi set a new state record for the Oyster Toadfish.

    Record oyster toadfish certified

    Sherman Roberts may not own the biggest entry in the Mississippi Salt Water Fishing record book, but the Biloxi fisherman can certainly claim one of the most curious.

    September 20 at 10:10am
    An interesting photo of a buck that appears to have been sheared by a dog groomer.

    Practical strategies for success

    In the last couple of installments of “Happy Trails” we have been peeling the onion back a few layers on the finer points of supplemental feeding. During the preseason period from late spring to early fall, consistent and properly done supplemental feeding accomplishes multiple things for your deer herd and potentially you as a deer hunter. First and foremost, the right type of supplemental feed during the right time period ensures that your resident bucks growing antlers have enough building blocks, and that does stay healthy as they provide milk for their summer offspring.

    September 20 at 9:00am
    Florida’s Capt. Joshua Lim shows off a 25 ½-inch, 6-pound speckled trout caught this summer in Pensacola Bay with a Matrix Shad rigged as a shrimp imitation twitchbait.

    Turn a Matrix Shad into a shrimp-imitation twitchbait

    Many coastal anglers are probably familiar with Matrix Shad soft-plastic paddletail lures and how deadly they are when jigging for speckled trout.

    September 19 at 6:00am
    Public access to the popular spillway fishing below the Barnett Reservoir Dam near Jackson will be closed this weekend during Operation Clean Sweep.

    Barnett Reservoir spillway to close during cleanup

    The popular spillway fishing area below the Barnett Reservoir dam will be closed to recreation on Sept. 23-24 to accommodate a river-long clean up, the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District announced.

    September 18 at 3:00pm
    Crappie can’t avoid Terry Blankenship just because it’s summer and they’re deep.

    Top 7 tips for catching slabs in brush

    Terry Blankenship’s passion is finding and catching crappie year-round. And the fish don’t stand a chance when the summer heat pushes fish out to deep, flooded brush and standing timber.

    September 18 at 6:00am
    This buck is shedding his velvet. What bowhunter wouldn’t welcome this scene in front of their stand?

    Tracking the rut

    No matter the deer population or the ratio of does-to-bucks, there “will be a rut,” said William McKinley, the deer program coordinator for the MDWFP. It is a staggered start, varying region by region and even property by property.

    September 15 at 7:00am
    With a lot of carryover of bucks from a poor 2016-17 statewide harvest, many hunters could be as fortunate as Barrett Van Cleave of Woodville, who killed this buck two years ago.

    Here’s what’s new for deer in 2017-18

    According to MDWFP deer program coordinator William McKinley, the agency conducted a statewide hunter opinion survey via e-mail in April 2017. Hunters were asked numerous questions about topics including deer populations, hunting methods and season structure.

    September 15 at 7:00am
    Anything unusual in a field of matted grass is worth your attention.

    Frog fishing tackle

    FLW pro Todd Castledine trusts his frogging to a 7-foot, 3-inch Falcon Cara swimbait rod with an 8:1 Lew’s Super Duty reel carrying 65-pound braided line. This outfit, he said, affords him the elements essential to effective frogging.

    September 15 at 7:00am
    Ott DeFoe likes grass edges in low-light conditions.

    Best topwater frogs for different applications

    Everyone has their favorite frog, but putting aside the debates over brand and color patterns, we can break down the basic shape/style options based on their applicability.

    September 15 at 7:00am
    All of the barrier islands offer flounder in the surf. Even though some “door mats” are caught during the day, gigging at night produces the most.

    Deer Island: The short run

    Deer Island is not usually considered one of the barrier islands, due to its close proximity to Biloxi’s casino row — a few hundred yards, but by no means should it be overlooked.

    September 15 at 7:00am
    Food sources are generally thought to be the best indicator for stand placement. Try to locate the stand off the side of a trail leading to the food and don’t place the stand in the middle of the action.

    Find food, place stand

    Before bucks take a serious interest in does for breeding purposes, food sources are one of, if not the most important factor, in deciding where to place your deer stand. Even when the rut comes in, does will still primarily focus on food while bucks shift their focus to the females. 

    September 15 at 7:00am
    Permanent stands left up year-round need to be thoroughly inspected and repairs made as needed.

    Check conditions of stands

    If you deer hunt in areas where permanent stands are erected and have been left in place year round, now is the time to inspect those stands for safety. Ropes, chains, and straps used to secure the stands need to be checked and invariably, some burgeoning timber will need to be manicured so you can see the approach of deer around the stand.

    September 15 at 7:00am
    Using game cameras allows a hunter to keep track of movements, deer numbers and age and sex ratios without having to spend a lot of time in the woods.

    Your eyes in the woods

    Today’s technology allows deer hunters who are pressed for time, or who want to get out into the woods without hunting blind, to hit the ground running. 

    September 15 at 7:00am
    Scouting a few days prior to opening day can pay dividends.

    Early season essentials

    Hunting dove in early September can be brutally hot, especially when the Saturday opening time is high noon. During these late days of summer, when the latent heat of the dog days still lingers, you need to use caution and consider bringing the following:

    September 15 at 7:00am
    1. Pierce the hide above the knee joint on both legs and hoist the hog to a comfortable height.

    Prepping a hog for the butcher

    As they say in hunting, once the shooting stops, the fun ends and the work begins. If you’ve ever field-dressed a deer, you’ll have a rough estimation of how to do a hog, but there are a few key differences in quartering a pig for the processor.

    September 15 at 7:00am
    Tommy Vidrine suggests using a 5- to 6-foot fluorocarbon leader to target big mangroves.

    Mop up on monster mangrove snapper

    During the dog days of summer, Grand Isle, La.’s Trout Master sometimes turns his attention away from chasing specks just long enough to head offshore in pursuit of different prey.

    September 15 at 6:00am