Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat


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

Through Dec. 14 – Oklahoma woodcock season.

Through Jan. 15 – Oklahoma archery deer season.

Through Feb. 27 – Texas quail hunting 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.

Nov. 6-Jan. 16 – Texas South Zone general whitetail season.

Nov. 13-28 - Texas North Zone duck season first split.

Nov. 13-28 – Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season first split.

Nov. 13-Feb. 15 – Oklahoma quail season.

Nov. 20-Dec. 5 – Oklahoma gun deer season.


The rainbow trout season is now underway on the Blue River near Tishomingo where early reports find water temps near 60 degrees and freshly stocked rainbows being very cooperative with anglers … TPWD noted in its news releases earlier this week that the first sightings of iconic, endangered whooping cranes along the Texas coast are being reported. With that news, the agency reminds Texans to be on the lookout for these impressive birds as they move through the state…According to TPWD, whooping cranes are the tallest, rarest birds in North America. Currently, there is a population of around 506 individuals and many make their way to Texas each year. Thanks to coordinated conservation efforts for a number of years, TPWD says that whooping cranes are slowly returning from the brink of extinction…Did you know? TPWD says that whooping cranes make a 2,500-mile journey from their Canadian breeding grounds in northern Alberta’s Wood Buffalo National Park to the coastal marshes of Texas each year. The migration south to the Lone Star State can take up to 50 days…Did you know, part two? TPWD says that during their autumn migration, whooping cranes seek out wetlands and agricultural fields in Texas where they can roost and feed. The birds often pass large urban centers like Dallas-Fort Worth, Waco and Austin, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to see one or two pass through the Red River Valley…Though whooping cranes rarely stay in one place for more than a day during migration, TPWD reminds that it is vitally important that they not be disturbed or harassed at these stopover points. As a federally protected species, it is illegal to disturb or harass these birds as they fly south and winter in Texas... Wade Harrell, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) whooping crane coordinator at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), says in the TPWD news release that the first of the season was a family group consisting of two adults and a juvenile on the Aransas NWR. They, along with another tracked bird, arrived in the Port O’ Connor-area, both on Oct. 29…In the TPWD news release, Harrell says that typically most all of the tagged whooping cranes he studies are on the move in November as they head for their wintering grounds. The majority of the birds arrive on the Texas Coast in December…Once whooping cranes arrive on their wintering grounds in the Aransas NWR region, many stay in the same general area. Younger birds, however, often haven’t paired up yet and can wander a little off their usual flight path, using areas quite distant from the Aransas NWR area…

Hunting Reports

With chilly weather and northerly winds, more and more ducks are filtering into the area in advance of the Nov. 13-28 first split in North Texas and the Nov. 13-28 first split in Oklahoma’s Zone 2…A few geese are also coming through the Red River Valley as well…More waterfowl should appear over the next week with cold weather up north and another front possible late next week…This weekend marks the Segment A hunt at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge. With chilly weather in the mornings, cool weather in the afternoons, and the pre-rut heading towards the full-blown rut, expect to hear of some big whitetail bucks getting arrowed this weekend on the southern shores of Lake Texoma…A few reports of deer being run over are beginning to be received, a clear indication that the rut is beginning to approach. One of those was a good buck run over near Hwy. 75 earlier this week to the south of Sherman…Quail season is underway in Texas, but few reports have been received so far…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, the lake elevation is below normal, water temp is 72, and the water is slightly stained. ODWC says that striped bass are good on live shad, Sassy Shad and slabs fished along the river channels, in the main lake and on points. Meanwhile, blue, channel, and flathead catfish are fair on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, live shad, PowerBait, punch bait and stinkbait… At the Blue River near Tishomingo, ODWC says that the river elevation is normal, water temp is 61, and the river is running clear. With the wintertime put-and-take trout season now underway with the first stockings of the 2021-22 season, the agency says that rainbow trout are excellent on in-line spinnerbaits and PowerBait along channels and rocks. Fly anglers might try a gold-ribbed hare’s ear, a prince nymph, a caddis fly dry fly, or a small streamer… 

Tip of the Week

With the pre-rut ramping up and the peak of the rut approaching in a week or two, now is the time to employ the use of deer scents, grunt tubes, and rattling antlers. While you don’t want to overdo it just yet on any of the hunting tricks mentioned above, bucks are starting to cruise more and more during daylight hours as they respond to the shortening days and approaching rut. Meaning that right now, it doesn’t take much to grab an old bruiser’s interest, just long enough for a shot to be let go. All that's left to do then is to shoot straight and make sure you have your taxidermist on speed-dial!