Ducks, Doves, and the Big Dance
5-year-old Brock Murphy with a big Kentucky Lake crappie he caught with his dad, Kevin
There is no greater time of year for us outdoor-folk than fall. The deer are moving about, the squirrels are cutting, the ducks are preparing for their migration down the Mississippi Fly Way, and the fish are gorging themselves! I’ve seen plenty of posts from people on Facebook about fall bringing hoodies, campfires, and football, and while I’m a proponent of all three, my thoughts are drawn more towards big bucks, mallard ducks, and plucking crappie from Reelfoot stumps! (The rhymes are free, you’re welcome.)
Alright, I may have regurgitated that opening paragraph from last year’s column, but when you hit the nail on the head there’s no need to keep swinging! Missouri and Tennessee’s early waterfowl season is in full swing, and as soon as we dry up (which hopefully will have happened by the time most of you read this) most of the areas corn will be getting harvested, opening up the region for a slew of dove hunting opportunities.
Jaime and David Boden of IDHP (that’s Insane Duck Hunting Posse in case you were wandering) have been wide open after teal. Jaime said that Friday morning there were teal everywhere and they limited out within 30 minutes, and Saturday they were getting flogged before shooting hours, but after the first volley the speedy waterfowl disappeared and haven’t been seen since. They spent Sunday morning watching cranes eat frogs, and as exciting as that was, it wasn’t what they were out there for! Jaime thinks the cold front pushed the majority of the teal south, and with the numbers my buddies in Mississippi are putting up, I’d say he’s probably right. All they can hope for is more teal migrating south, and with the season ending shortly, it needs to happen quick.
The dove population is pretty weak according to both the Bodens and Scott Stafford, and the cold nights probably had something to do with it. Scott said after 75 miles of scouting he finally found a small concentration of birds Sunday afternoon and was able to get a quick limit, but overall it’s pretty dismal. He said the doves he found were however, some of the dumbest of the species he’s ever encountered, which means they had not been hunted much or at all on their migration south. Ignorant doves are a rarity, as most fly fast with neurotic patterns and flair away from would-be predators, namely hunters. He said these birds were fattened up and would fly directly at you, even if you were standing in the middle of the field picking up another bird, making for easy targets. I’ve yet to get out after any doves, and it looks to be at least three weeks before I’ll have time, but my wife regularly reminds me that we have a surplus of bacon and BBQ sauce waiting!
By the time some of you read this, my fishing partner Chippy Chipman and I will be on our way south to fish in our first CrappieMaster’s National Championship at Lake Washington, MS. We’re as excited as a mosquito at a blood bank, and are going to work extremely hard to figure out what promises to be a very tough late-summer bite in the Mississippi Delta. It is a two-fold trip for me, as I will be taking pictures, video, and writing updates for upcoming articles for my new gig at www.Wired2fish.com, while we simultaneously bounce around to the five lakes we’re allowed to fish and try to develop a plan.
This is the 5th consecutive time I’ve qualified for the National Championship, and the 3rd with Chippy, and the reason we’ve never gone is because of the astronomical cost. I have plenty of product sponsors, but without some folks stepping up for us this trip absolutely wouldn’t have been possible. Being that my next article will come mid-prefishing from southern Mississippi and Lord only knows what kind of mind frame I’ll be in, I want to make sure and humbly thank the folks that are getting us there: Bait’n’Thangs on Lake Washington, Wired2fish.com, Cajun Fryer, The Silent Stalker, Trey Rone at Butler Drug Store, Carnell’s Collision Care, and Julie and Dr. Boyd!