Robert Sloan Outdoors: Texas fishing, hunting prospects are looking pretty good

Robert Sloan Outdoors: Texas fishing, hunting prospects are looking pretty good

This past Sunday morning delivered some seriously freaky weather for August. I stepped outside at daylight and the north wind was actually cool. Later that morning, Sabine Lake guide Jerry Norris called to say that he had found calm water to the beach, and the trout were tearing up topwater Super Spook Jr.’s. It doesn’t get much better than that in August. So what did I do? Cranked up the pit and smoked two racks of ribs and a whole chicken, all without breaking a sweat.

Meanwhile, Hackberry Rod and Gun Club guide Buddy Oakes e-mailed the news that they were hammering trout and reds on Calcasieu Lake. He reports that the early morning bite, before the wind and sun comes up, has been excellent on the south end of the lake and at the big jetties. The slick conditions are setting up an excellent topwater bite.

The CCA STAR fishing contest continues with more tagged reds being caught. CCA’s Gina Rice reports that 11 tagged reds have been caught. But so far only three tagged redfish have been caught by registered tourney anglers. The heaviest trout in the STAR upper coast division weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces. In the offshore division, the leading fish include a 50 pound, 15 ounce dorado, 78.3 pound cobia and 56.12 pound king. Those are some pretty solid fish.

A friend from the Hill Country sent me a photo from his ranch near Blanco on Monday. It was from a game camera set up on one of his feeders. Based on the size of the antlers in velvet, the whitetails in that region of Texas are not being affected by the ongoing drought.

Texas leads in both number of dove hunters, harvest

About 250,000 mourning dove hunters harvest 5 million mourning doves on an annual basis in Texas – making the Lone Star State the nation’s leader in both the number of hunters and harvest.

“The findings of a national dove hunter survey will help managers better understand the opinions of this important hunting community at a national level,” says Steve Lightfoot with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The National Dove Hunter Survey is a cooperative effort by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Flyways Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Last year, the survey was sent to randomly selected hunters in the 40 states with dove hunting seasons. The large sample of 800 per state on average ensured that most of the survey results are applicable at the national, regional, and state levels. Of the 30,382 surveys successfully delivered, 12,631 hunters responded — earning a 41.6 percent response rate.

This survey was the first attempt to learn more about dove hunter characteristics; dove hunters’ time spent hunting; perceived constraints to hunting; and attitudes and opinions about potential effects of spent lead from hunting ammunition on mourning doves and other wildlife.

“These opinions and preferences are important and should be taken into account whenever possible,” said Shaun Oldenburger, Dove Program Leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “The department does not have plans to make any regulatory changes based on the survey findings. This information about dove hunters’ motivations and their perceptions can help us make informed decisions concerning education programs and in our communications with this group of stakeholders.”

Texas game wardens are checking out anglers and writing tickets

A Tarrant County game warden was checking bank fishermen at Benbrook Lake when she noticed a man quickly carrying an ice chest full of fish to his truck. After contacting the subject, the warden found two ice chests full of white bass. The man said he was told by his friend that the limit was 75 white bass per day. The man insisted that he was under his limit. A total of 56 white bass were in the man’s possession. The warden seized 31 white bass, issued citations, and gave the man a copy of the Outdoor Annual, which points out that the limit is 25.

A Shelby County game warden patrolling Toledo Bend boat ramps and camping areas checking night fisherman noticed a campfire along the shoreline near a boat ramp. As he approached the fire, he heard cast nets hitting the water. After watching the two subjects fish for a while, he made contact. The warden found an ice chest containing bass, crappie and catfish. Multiple citations were issued for undersized largemouth bass, and fishing using illegal means and methods.

A Montgomery County game warden performed a water safety check on a 15-foot boat with seven adult passengers on Lake Conroe. The boat was found to only have three lifejackets, displayed invalid registration, and had no fire extinguisher. Following field sobriety tests, the driver was also arrested for boating while intoxicated.