Outdoors Digest

Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

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

Through Nov. 28 – Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season first split.

Through Dec. 14 – Oklahoma woodcock season.

Through Jan. 2 – Texas North Zone general whitetail season.

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

Through Jan. 15 – Oklahoma archery deer season.

Through Jan. 16 – Texas South Zone general whitetail season.

Through Feb. 15 – Oklahoma quail season.

Through Feb. 27 – Texas quail hunting season.

Nov. 19-21 – Segment B archery deer hunt at Hagerman NWR.

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

Dec. 1-29 – Oklahoma dove season second split.

Dec. 3-5 – Segment C archery deer hunt at Hagerman NWR.

Dec. 4-Jan. 30 – Texas North Zone duck season second split.

Notes

If you haven’t noticed yet, the cooler weather and chillier water temperatures of late have ushered in the 2021-22 trout fishing season here in Texomaland. Earlier this month, the first stockings took place in Oklahoma at the Blue River near Tishomingo and will continue regularly through March 2022…On the Texas side of the Red River, the trout stocking season will start next month with stockings in Pottsboro on Dec. 14 at Pottsboro Lake and on Dec. 17 at Denison’s Waterloo Lake Park Pond. Additional trout stockings of catchable size rainbow trout—which will be smaller this year than in year’s past—will happen early in 2022 on Jan. 9 and Jan. 30 at Waterloo Lake Park Pond. The final stockings will happen at the end of February with stockings at Waterloo Lake Park Pond on Feb. 27 and Sherman’s Pebblebrook Community Park Pond on the same date…In Central Texas, where the upcoming antlerless deer season is coming up, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is reminding hunters to report their harvests during the Nov. 25 — 28 time period. As a reminder, the agency says that mandatory reporting is required for any antlerless deer harvested during the four-day doe season in Austin, Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Comal (East of I-35), De Witt, Fayette, Goliad (North of US 59), Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays (East of I-35), Jackson (north of US 59), Karnes, Lavaca, Lee, Travis (East of I-35), Victoria (North of US 59), Waller, Washington, Wharton (North of US 59) and Wilson counties…Within 24 hours of harvest, hunters in the 21 counties listed above are required to report their harvest to TPWD using either the free My Texas Hunt Harvest mobile app (for iOS and Android) or on the My Texas Hunt Harvest web page…The Thanksgiving holiday period is also going to bring mule deer hunters into the field out in the Lubbock area. As a result, between Nov. 20 and 28, TPWD says that Lubbock area game wardens will dedicate extra patrol hours and state resources to the mule deer hunting season…The west Texas mule deer season attracts hunters from across the country, as well as around the state, due to the over-the-counter tags available as well as the region’s well-known trophy potential. The nine-day general season that is coming up is open to hunters with a valid Texas hunting license and landowner permission to hunt on the property.  Legal harvesting methods include the use of permitted firearms or archery equipment. The bag limit is one buck per legal hunter and does not allow the take of a mule deer doe unless a special MLD permit is obtained…If you are traveling west to hunt mule deer, remember that with the discovery of a positive CWD case in a local mule deer, TPWD is reminding hunters that harvest mule deer and white-tailed deer in the Lubbock area CWD Containment Zone that they are required by law to bring their animals to a TPWD check station within 48 hours of harvest…TPWD reminds saltwater anglers that the agency will close red snapper fishing in state waters as of Nov. 15. In January 2022, TPWD will reopen red snapper fishing in state waters, although fishing for red snapper in federal waters will remain closed until next summer…

Hunting Reports

Duck hunting has been hit and miss across the Texoma area during the first week of action in the 2021-22 season. Dakota Stowers and his North Texas Outfitters guides have found a number of limit shoots out in southwestern Oklahoma and northwestern North Texas with fair numbers of gadwalls, wigeon and pintails being reported. There has also been some good Canada goose hunting reported as well by NTO guides…With a good cold front this week and the chance of a big storm and front later next week, expect the first split to get better in southern Oklahoma and North Texas as the Nov. 28 first split closing day approaches…This weekend marks the first weekend of the Oklahoma gun deer hunt and ODWC reports that deer are moving well all over the state. With a huge archery buck being reported in the Edmond, Okla. area few days ago, expect to see some more wallhangers fall in the Sooner State…After three very good archery bucks were taken during the Nov. 5-7 Segment A bowhunt at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, bowhunters take to the local refuge again this weekend. That’s when the Segment B archery hunt will take place Nov. 19-21, today through Sunday and with the rut peaking locally, there is another good chance for a few Hagerman hatrack bucks to be reported…FYI, the final Segment C archery hunt at Hagerman NWR will take place next month from Dec. 3-5…There’s been a report of another good buck here in the Red River Valley region, one that could easily qualify for the Texas Big Game Awards program and/or the Pope and Young Club’s archery record book…Quail season is now open on both sides of the Red River, but reports are scarce as most hunters are focusing on big bucks and ducks right now…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 60 degrees; and the lake is 1.46 feet low. According to John Blasingame of Adventure Texoma Outdoors, striped bass are biting well all over the lake. He tells TPWD that anglers should follow the bird action to locate the active fish. Limits of striped bass are coming in around 1-10 feet of water for those using slabs, Alabama-rigs, and swimbaits…On the Oklahoma side of Texoma, ODWC says that striper fishing this past week has been great. Striped bass are currently described as good on live shad, soft plastic baits, Sassy Shad, and slabs fished in the main lake, around points, in the main river channel and in shallow water. On that last note, ODWC says that Texoma stripers are feeding very well right now on live shad in shallow water and that they are moving towards the northern end of the lake. ODWC also says that blue, channel and flathead catfish are good on chicken liver, cut bait, dough bait, goldfish, live bait, live shad, punch bait, stinkbait and sunfish below the dam, along river channels, creek channels, around docks, in the main lake, on points, and around the river channel and river mouth. ODWC also says that blue cats are being caught right now on juglines and rod-and-reel in 25-60 ft. of water. The blue cats on Texoma are biting well on sunfish and live shad.  Crappie at Texoma are fair on jigs, minnows and small lures thrown around brush and structure, in coves, around docks and on standing timber. Crappie are getting better every day at Texoma…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 51st Bassmaster Classic this past summer, water is lightly stained; water temps are 60 degrees; and the lake is 0.48 feet low. TPWD says that white bass are moving quickly in 20-28 feet of water on main lake points and biting on 1-oz. silver and chartreuse slabs, with better luck coming on smaller slabs because the smaller size is most similar to what the sand bass are feeding on. There is no report on largemouth bass at Ray Roberts this week, but TPWD says that crappie are good on main lake brush piles in 20-30 foot depths on minnows. The bigger crappie are in the Buck Creek area in the standing timber, and TPWD says these slabs are coming into angler’s livewells from around 20 feet with the bait suspended in the 10-12 feet of water…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temps are 62-64 degrees; and the lake is 2.63 feet low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are fair right now and clinging to the same holding pattern. Bass are biting on Chatterbaits in the backs of coves in 1-3 feet of water. TPWD also says that anglers should try Shaky Heads, and Texas rigged soft plastics. Those baits are good in submerged timber in 1-3 feet of water with Lake Fork Tackle Baby ring fry selections working best. Suspending jerkbaits around wood in 5-7 feet are also bringing some catches of bass at Fork. The crappie bite is good in the creek channels and the slabs are suspended to 15-20 feet of water for those using minnows and jigs. All in all, fishing is good right now according to Lake Fork fishing guides Jason Hoffman and Marc Mitchell…At the Blue River near Tishomingo, ODWC says that the river elevation is below normal, the water temp is 60,and the water is clear. ODWC says that rainbow trout are excellent on in-line spinnerbaits, PowerBait and spoons fished along channels and rocks. Orange and pink PowerBait seem to be producing the best right now although slow rolling 1/8 gold spoons have also produced lots of fish the past weekend. ODWC says that fly fishermen have done well with midges, caddis and Pat’s rubber leg fly patterns…At McGee Creek Reservoir, the lake elevation is below normal and the water temp is 66 degrees. ODWC says that largemouth, spotted and white bass are all good on crankbaits, jigs, soft plastic baits and topwater lures thrown around lake points, rocks, and shallow water areas…If your Thanksgiving holiday travel plans take you to the saltwater, TPWD says that on the upper Texas Gulf Coast at the Bolivar Peninsula, there are many reports of bull redfish, redfish, and jackfish being caught on live finger mullet, fresh cut bait, or squid...On the middle Texas Gulf Coast at Port Aransas, TPWD reports that bull redfish are in the jetty regions are biting on cut menhaden and blue crab. Black drum and slot redfish are also good in the bay biting dead shrimp...And finally, on the Lower Gulf Coast at South Padre Island, TPWD reports that as long as the wind is blowing, the fishing is good this time of year. The fish are feeding, so anglers that are using live shrimp under popping corks are being successful. And in a nice change from reports this year after last February’s deadly freeze, there are finally reports of limits of good-sized trout being reported. TPWD says that there are also good catches of slot redfish and many undersized reds as well…

Tip of the Week

Take a big whitetail buck this month? If so, you’ll probably want a good photo or two to share with family, friends, hunting buddies, and on social media. To get better buck harvest photos, be sure that the whitetail’s tongue isn’t hanging out; take a few moments to wipe away any excess blood from around the mouth, the nostrils, and the bullet or arrow entry and exit wound regions; and position the deer on the ground for a respectful harvest shot. While a shot or two in the back of a pickup truck is ok, be sure that you have something other than the standard pickup truck shot before taking the buck to the meat processing plant or the taxidermist’s shop. If you’ll spend a few moments here, and make sure that shots are respectful to the animal, you’ll have a photo suitable for inclusion in a hunting magazine, for use on social media, or even in a framed photo displayed in your den or family room!