Shortly after dawn, I launched my Stealth 1200 buck boat into the murky flooded waters of Mahannah WMA in search of high ground and deer. I’d set my sights on one area of the WMA that might still have dry land. Amazingly, I encountered thousands of ducks in the flooded fields and hardwood bottoms from the recent rains and rising floodwaters.
As I maneuvered through the flooded fields and timber, mallards and wood ducks surrounded me on all sides. Most of the ducks swam to the side as I passed within 30 to 40 yards of them. The sound was like something out of a duck preserve, as thousands of mallards were sounding off, thrashing the water and feeding at the same time.
Soaking in the magnificent scene, I reveled in the sights and sounds and the opportunity to experience such a wonderful moment outdoors. Not another soul was in the area; I was alone in the outdoors. The solitude was broken only by the sound of wildlife and an occasional, distant shotgun blast.
Two hours after launching the boat, I hit pay dirt in the form of dry land. Twenty minutes later, I spotted a buck with a tall rack trailing two does. I raised my rifle and took aim as the buck disappeared behind a tree and squeezed the trigger as he came out the other side. The buck weighed 210 pounds and had nine points and a 20-inch spread, my biggest public-land buck at the time.
Two days later, we went back and had a wonderful day duck hunting. The ducks were still there by the thousands, thanks to unseasonably wintry weather and flood waters. I was blessed to harvest a trophy buck and many mallards on the same WMA in the same week.
The cool down
November is a time when most hunters head back to the woods, waters and sloughs in search of deer, ducks, rabbit, quail and doves. Anglers will experience some of the year’s best fishing after the October and November cool-down, when fish become active and feed heavily in anticipation of the coming winter.
No matter what your preferred fish or game of choice, the bountiful woods and waters of Mississippi are teeming with fish and wildlife, and lots of opportunities abound.
If ducks are on your mind, read my public-land waterfowl forecast; you’ll learn about some of the best public lands the state has to offer. I have hunted and fished on many of these public lands throughout my life and harvested an abundance of ducks as well. Biologists give tips on the best spots in their regions across all of Mississippi.
Writer David Hawkins covers November’s magic as it applies to deer hunting during one of our favorite months to hunt. Hawkins is a veteran of many deer seasons and has harvested an untold number of deer from all areas of the state over a lifetime of chasing the wily white-tailed deer.
Fall is one of the best times to catch bass, and the fishing can be red hot from Gulf Coast waters to the many creeks, streams, sloughs, rivers and larger impoundments across the state, along the Mississippi River and up to Pickwick Lake. John Felsher discusses techniques for catching fall bass and covers some of the best ways to locate and catch bass in freshwater lakes and streams.
Felsher also covers topwater fishing for speckled trout, a real saltwater prize. He writes about some favorite topwater lures and techniques with which anglers have had success during the fall. There’s hardly anything more fun than catching specks during the fall and loading the boat with tasty trout fillets.
Kinny Haddox’s feature “Antlers ‘R Us” covers some of the basics of preparation for taxidermy; how to handle deer after the kill and before getting him to the taxidermist. Preserving the buck of a lifetime begins at the moment of the kill and continues until you drop him off at the taxidermist. It can mean the difference between a gorgeous mount, or one less than desirable. He also shares tips that one taxidermist has gathered from the hunters who regularly bring him trophy bucks to mount.
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