A wet start to November put a lot of rain on the Delta, providing good early habitat for ducks. Hunters just need it to keep raining and for the temperatures to start falling quickly to hasten waterfowl migration.
Deer hunters, especially in the northeast area, aren’t so lucky.
“I’ve got more water now than I had last year, and we had a great December duck season a year ago,” said Carl Young of Grenada. “Our duck lease in the Delta was ready for ducks Nov. 1. What’s funny is that my deer club over along the Tenn-Tom (in northeast Mississippi), we had a hard time getting food plots started because it was so dry. I mean, bone dry.
“Heck, my boys and I tried to squirrel hunt over there at deer camp a couple of times, and it was so dry that we sounded like elephants — we crunched so loud in the leaves and sticks. It was frustrating. We could see squirrels but couldn’t get close enough to them.”
That was Young’s only complaint.
“Between the two, I’d rather have the rain on the duck hole,” he said. “You can’t hunt ducks without it, and we’ll be OK on the deer. We’ve had a good acorn crop, and we supplemented the feeding.”
Young said a repeat of last December would be ideal.
“We were on the cusp of deciding whether to keep the duck lease because we’d had a couple of tough years,” he said. “My two friends and I who have the duck lease together, we had about given up. Our 40 acres there cost me more to lease than my quarter-share in the deer camp lease, and my sons (10 and 14) prefer deer hunting to ducks. I was putting in more workdays for ducks than for deer and not getting much to show for it.
“Last year, though, it was crazy. We had a great hunt Thanksgiving weekend and figured we’d be done until January. We weren’t; ducks came back by the next weekend, and then those two hard (arctic) blasts we had in December kept them coming. My sons even enjoyed it. It was the best duck season we’ve had over there in the last 10 to 15 years.”
Drought this past summer in most of eastern Mississippi put many hunters behind schedule, but hunting was good.
“Fortunately, where I hunt in Monroe County, we had great acorns and good browse,” said Riley Sims of Starkville. “We’re right on the (Tenn-Tom) river, and I hunted the hardwoods. I saw plenty of deer every trip during the first two weeks of archery season and got two does. I was hunting a big 10-point but never got a decent look at his vitals in range.
“They disappeared after mid-October, just like they usually do. Trail cams were still getting pictures, but they quit moving in the afternoon. We finally got some decent rain, and our plots were up the last week in October and the cams there started loading up. I know where the 10 is.”