Play it safe – go hunting

Play it safe – go hunting

I’ll begin with some information that will likely not be a surprise to many hunters, but it could be to the general public. At least it could be a surprise to those that are members of the anti-hunting crowd. These statistics have been compiled by several groups including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report comes from National Electronic Injury Surveillance System of the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the International Hunters Education Association Hunter Incident Clearinghouse.

These organizations compared 29 recreational sports, and hunting was included. Hunting was the third safest of those recreational sports. Hunters were hurt at a rate of about .05 percent or one in every 2,000 participants. Camping was first at .01 percent rating.

There has long been a misconception that hunting is a dangerous sport, but with the hunter safety classes that have been offered for a good while now, hunters practice safety around firearms.

There are, according to the survey, several recreational sports that cause many more injuries.

Volleyball has 11 times more injuries, snowboarding 19 times more, cheerleading or bicycle riding 25 times more, soccer or skateboarding 34 times, and football 105 times more than hunting.

There was an estimated 16.3 million hunters that went afield last year. There were a total of 8,122 injuries or 50 per 100,000 participants. Of that number 6,600 were tree-stand related. Finally from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention reports, firearms cause just 1/2 of 1 percent of all of the unintentional fatalities in the United States. That would include those in the homes.

Now lets go fishing. And with this springtime weather over the past few days, there will be some catching. The large amount of rain across most of the state has had a really drastic effect on the fish. The freshwater lakes are on the rise and they are within a couple feet of full pool level. This, as mentioned in a previous article, will entice the fish to move toward the banks to feed. Since it is near the spawning time for the largemouth black bass, they will likely nest in that newly flooded ground. For the next couple of months, there will be some reports of some super bass catching.

On the saltwater scene, the rains and runoff have put lots of freshwater into the sloughs, bayous and creeks that empty into the local rivers. Ever since last spring, there had been plenty of speckled trout, redfish, flounder, black drum, sheepshead, and pan fish in the Neches and Sabine rivers. That’s not unusual for the Sabine River, but catching saltwater species in the Neches River all the way up to the saltwater barrier is almost unheard of. At least it was before the drought. There were also tons of the big tasty blue crabs there. Now anglers would likely be more successful if they headed to Lake Sabine’s south end. The redfish and flounder will tolerate the freshwater intrusion better than the other species.

For some reason, the area along the Louisiana shoreline in Lake Sabine will remain salty and usually fairly clear with the freshwater intrusion in the remainder of the lake. This is a highly productive speckled trout fishing area even after the heavy rains. That area has yielded many outsize speckled trout, flounder and slot size redfish.

The reef on the lake’s south end will appear to have more fresh and muddy water than it really has. There will likely be some layers of good salty water down near the bottom. There will be some speckled trout and redfish in that saltwater-laden bottom area. Most anglers choose to drift that area in order to locate those fish. Plastics on lead-head jigs are the more popular lures. Nosom Fontenot, who is known as the King Of The Reefs, prefers to use small jigs.

Don’t let the ugly water keep you from going fishing.