Cold is not enough to run off gators and snakes

The good news is that cold weather is finally here. The bad news is that gators

Most people won’t understand this unless they live in Southeast Texas – the best thing about a cold front is that it rids us of mosquitoes, at least for a little while. The one thing cold weather won’t do is run off alligators and snakes. It’s widely believed that a blast of cold air will send reptiles into a state of hibernation. That is definitely not true on the right side of Texas. Keep in mind that the first day of winter is Dec. 21. Even then, snakes and gators will be out and about.

The combination of warm weather mixed with cold fronts is not enough to chill these feisty critters out. Duck hunters know good and well that both snakes and gators have to be dealt with throughout much of the season. Snakes are especially unpredictable in cold weather. A few years back, I almost stepped on a rattlesnake while quail hunting north of Waco in February. It was a bitter cold and windy day and that snake, that was just over 6 feet long, was coiled up beside a fence post like it was the middle of summer. I hit it with a rock and it took off like a bolt of lightning.

The great thing about our latest blast of cold weather is that it’ll definitely move more ducks and geese down the Central Flyway. As of Dec. 10, both the north and south zones will be open for duck hunting. Something else the cold air will do is have deer on the move and coming to feeders.

Along the coast, the sputtering flounder run should really come to life. As water temperatures fall this week, we should see a big push of flounder moving to the Gulf. This will be a very good time to fish Sabine Pass and Rollover Pass.

Stocking of rainbow is coming to Beaumont

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s annual stocking of rainbow trout is underway, and we’ll have plenty of rainbows to fish for at the following areas here in Southeast Texas:

• Beaumont – LNVA Barrier Pond, 3,846 trout on Dec. 13 and Jan. 11.

• Vidor – Claiborne West Park, 1,000 trout on Jan. 17 and Feb. 14.

• Nederland – Doornbos Park, 1,000 trout on Feb. 26.

• Jasper – Jasper City Park Pond, 1,800 trout on Jan. 22.

In the coming months, TPWD will stock nearly 300,000 hatchery-raised rainbow trout at lakes, ponds and river tailraces for fun winter fishing.

For those who want to experience a true trout fishing destination adventure, the popular Guadalupe River fishery downstream of Canyon Lake between Austin and San Antonio will receive its first TPWD stocking Friday, Dec. 2. Temporary lease agreements with four privately owned resorts provide free public fishing access to the river. More than 100 additional sites around the state will receive one or more stockings of trout.

TPWD has stocked rainbows each winter since the 1970s to provide Texans with additional fishing opportunity during the cold weather months.

“Most Texas waters get too warm for trout to survive in summer, so we stock them for a put-and-take fishery during the winter months,” said Carl Kittel, TPWD hatchery program director. “The hatchery-reared fish will bite almost immediately after stocking and typically will take a variety of baits, from whole kernel canned corn or commercial soft bait to artificial flies and even small spinnerbaits.”

Fishing gear can be as basic as an inexpensive spincast rod and reel combo, a small plastic bobber, a fishing weight and a hook. It’s also a good idea to carry along a pair of needle-nosed pliers to help remove hooks, and a 5-gallon bucket, small ice chest or fish stringer to keep your catch. Be sure to keep fresh trout on ice or refrigerated.

Rainbow and brown trout are subject to a five fish per day bag limit, with no minimum length limit.

Anglers age 17 and older must have a valid Texas freshwater fishing license, unless fishing within a Texas State Park where fishing licenses are not required.

Deer decoy is costly for faked-out idiot with a gun

Acting on tips about individuals routinely shooting feral hogs and deer from the roadway at night, Red River County game wardens deployed a full body mount deer decoy with radio-controlled head movements that simulate a live buck. Shortly after setting up the decoy, a truck stopped and the driver exited the vehicle and fired one shot at the decoy with a pistol. The subject was arrested for hunting from a public roadway and discharging a firearm from a public road. Other tickets were issued related to alcohol. An investigation is ongoing regarding hunting deer at night.