Outdoors Digest

Herald Democrat


Through Oct. 31 –Oklahoma dove season first split.

Through Nov. 12 – Texas North Zone dove hunting first split.

Oct. 1-Jan. 15 – Oklahoma archery deer season.

Oct. 2-Nov. 5 - Texas archery deer season.

Oct. 2-17 - Texas pronghorn antelope season.

Oct. 14 – Bryan County Ducks Unlimited Dinner at Choctaw Casino.

Oct. 19 – Texoma Ducks Unlimited Dinner at Denison’s Hilton Garden Inn. For information, call Newt Wright at (918) 557-2622; Paul Terrell at (903) 267-4108; or visit www.ducks.org .

Oct. 23-31 – Oklahoma muzzleloader deer season.

Oct. 30-Feb. 27 – Texas quail hunting season.

Oct. 31-Dec. 14 – Oklahoma woodcock season.

Nov. 6-Jan. 2 – Texas North Zone general whitetail season.

Nov. 6-Jan. 2 – General whitetail season in Grayson and Collin Counties with the means and method of take restricted to lawful archery and crossbow gear.


TPWD says that two Texas critters were declared extinct this week according to an agency tweet. The Ivory-billed woodpecker and the San Marcos gambusia are gone forever. To help prevent more Texas wildlife from disappearing, TPWD urges its constituents to support the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. To learn more about that act, go to www.txwildlifealliance.org ...Did you know? If you're looking for a place to hunt this fall, remember that there are more than one million acres of public hunting lands in Texas. To learn more about public hunting opportunities, visit https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public ...During its regular September meeting, Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commissioners congratulated students and coach Brad Cowan of Locust Grove Middle School’s archery team, which has won the middle school national championship in the 2021 National Archery in the Schools (NASP) competition. According to an ODWC news release, Kelly Boyer, NASP coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, said that the Locust Grove team finished on top of about 7,000 competitors from 287 other middle school teams across the nation. Boyer noted that Locust Grove students who earned first place individual titles in the national championship shoots are Maddox Parks (in the high school male division) and Kylee Tugmon (in the elementary school female division)....Also at the September meeting, ODWC commissioners accepted a $10,000 donation from Oklahoma Pheasants/Quail Forever’s Indian Territory Chapter. According to the ODWC news release, PF/QF Oklahoma Representative Laura McIver and the chapter’s Vice President Doug Austin said the donation would be matched with federal grant funds for projects on Spavinaw and Oologah wildlife management areas. Funds will also aid ODWC’s Shotgun Training Education Program… Don’t forget that the Texoma Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is inside a month now for the quacker backer group’s 46th annual fundraiser, which is slated for Tuesday, Oct. 19 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Denison. Doors open at 6 p.m., the brisket dinner will be served at 7 p.m., and tickets are $60 in advance for singles. There are also sponsor options available with a variety of ticket numbers attached to each level. The sponsorship levels are $300 for Bronze, $750 for Silver, and $1,500 for Gold. For tickets, sponsorship information, and local banquet information, call either Newt Wright at (918) 557-2622 or Paul Terrell at (903) 267-4108. For information on the national organization, or to purchase tickets online, visit www.ducks.org.   

Hunting Reports

While most dove hunters have lost interest now that October is at hand, the shooting can be pretty good this month even if the crowds disappear in most spots…With each cold front that passes through, expect to see a few new birds push into the area, as happened over the last week…Waterholes may become less reliable this month if the heavy rains forecast at press time materialize, but native food sources like leftover sunflowers, croton, and more may become hotspots…To find October dove, get out and scout. Because when you find a handful of doves, odds are, you’ll likely find others too, enough for a good afternoon shoot…As the 2021-22 archery season gets underway today in Oklahoma, ODWC says that its Wildlife Division recently wrapped up deer spotlight surveys across the state, and for the most part, those surveys showed good white-tailed fawn production statewide...On the Texas side of the Red River, opening weekend will likely bring a few big bucks this weekend who are locked into feeding patterns. As with the dove mentioned above, each strong cold front that passes through this month should stir up some activity among mature bucks. In other words, hunt the food and hunt the fronts for October success…Do keep in mind that several huge bow bucks in Grayson County and other parts of Texas have fallen in the first few days of the archery season. Brock Benson’s 200+ inch non-typical Grayson County Booner came on opening weekend several years ago, as did a monster non-typical taken in Palo Pinto County by Scott Layne back in the mid-1990s. On the typical side, John Wright’s former state record typical bow buck, a 173 7/8-inch nine-point buck from Wilbarger County, also fell on opening weekend in 1998  So, it definitely pays to get out and bowhunt this weekend if you can…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 76 degrees; and the lake is 2.17 feet low. TPWD reports that striped bass are good on live bait along the river channel with some topwater action at sunrise. White bass are good on silver slabs and white swimbaits. Largemouth bass are good for those fishing Flukes, Shakyhead jigs, crankbaits, and Texas-rigged plastic worms. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near boathouses, timber near a channel, and brush piles...On the Oklahoma side of the two-state lake, ODWC reports that striped bass fishing is good right now below Denison Dam, in the main lake channel, and around points. Stripers are hitting live bait, topwaters, Alabama-rigs, Sassy Shad, and slabs right now and numerous fish are being caught near the islands and around Washita Point. The agency says the topwater bite is strong (early and late) and that plenty of big fish are being caught right now...At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic earlier this year, water is lightly stained; water temp is 76 degrees; and the lake is 0.48 feet low. TPWD reports that white bass fishing is good on the early morning topwater bite, then transitioning to deeper water later in the day with slabs and jigging spoons working on points, humps, and ridges. Largemouth bass are fair on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs fished near timber, rip rap, and drop-offs. Crappie are fair on minnows fished around timber, bridge columns, and in brush piles...At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temp is 80 degrees; and the lake is 1.82 feet low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are good and that anglers should try topwaters at first light on main lake points and secondary points in water about 1-3-feet deep. Best topwater choices in recent days have been a KVD Sexy Dawg and Yellow Magics. Later on, try Shakyhead worms with Yum dingers (4-inches in length) or Lake Fork Tackle Baby Ring Fry soft plastics in 5-8 feet of water. Anglers should also note that the early morning bite is also happening in water depths of 2-5-feet mid-cove to the backs of coves as bass start to push shallow for the fall shad bite. For this, success is coming for those who are using Z-Man Chatterbaits. The mid-morning bite is in 10-15 feet of water in general and the bream beds are still producing for anglers using Carolina or Texas-rigged 10-inch worms in blue or green flake. Transition at midday to shad colored Xcite XB-5 crankbaits fished in 3-5 feet of water. Crappie are good at Fork on minnows and jigs fished near brush piles, bridge pilings, and timber...At Lake of the Arbuckle’s near Sulphur, Okla., ODWC reports that the water is clear, water temp is 83 degrees, and the lake is at normal elevation. Bass are fair on topwater lures early in the morning, followed by Ned rigs, drop-shot plastics, and plastic worms at 15-foot depths the remainder of the day...At the Blue River near Tishomingo, the water is clear, water temp is 78 degrees, and the river is at normal elevation. ODWC says that largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass are good on crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures fished near brushy structure, creek channel seams, rocks obstructing current, and shoreline areas...On the Texas Gulf Coast, TPWD says that the fishing is great at Bolivar Peninsula with lots of redfish and sharks being caught on squid and mullet. Meanwhile, the fall flounder bite isn't far off as a few flounder are being reported on artificial lures and finger mullet…On the middle Texas Coast at Port O'Connor, TPWD says that the water is clearing up to normal green color in the aftermath of Hurricane Nicholas a few weeks ago. A few tarpon (up to 30-pounds) have been caught by anglers using live croaker. Plenty of trout are being reported near the jetties on live croaker and live shrimp. And slot numbers of redfish are biting on sardines and shrimp. Black drum are also good on dead shrimp...At Rockport TPWD says that fall patterns have begun, the fish are migrating north to south along the beach, and lots of big speckled trout in the 20 to 28-inch size range have been caught along the jetties and in the surf on croaker and mullet freelined. Meanwhile, just to the south at Port Aransas, TPWD says that the redfish have been on fire at the Port A jetties on live mullet, croaker, and cut menhaden. Similar baits are also producing plenty of big trout at the jetties...And finally, on the lower coastline at Port Isabel, TPWD says there are lots of fish on the edges of the Intercoastal Waterway and shallow flats, with the windy forecast stirring up the redfish action and the fall season finally delivering plenty of speckled trout again after last winter's deadly coastal freeze...

Tip of the Week

Looking for an opening weekend archery buck? With warm weather continuing and most local deer still in late summer feeding patterns, look for your best chances to be late in the afternoon around reliable natural food sources.