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Traditions/rituals/superstitions spice up hunting

by Minden Press-Herald

By GLYNN HARRIS

If you’re a bass fisherman, don’t you dare catch a fish on your first cast. Tradition has it that you’ll have lousy success the rest of the day. That’s why I usually flip my first cast out near the boat where no bass could possibly be lurking and retrieve it quickly before a fish finds it.

And If you’re a hunter, there are many more traditions we deal with every hunting season. Of course, you remember what happened when you got your first deer. You were probably a little squirt and were proud to wear the badge of a successful hunter; you got blood from your deer liberally smeared over your face.

You also remember the first time you missed a deer; the “kind and compassionate” members of your hunting party un-ceremoniously relieved you of the tail of your shirt; it’s probably still hanging on the wall at the camp along with those shirttails of others who missed deer.

I was speaking at an outdoor event a few years ago and an elderly gentleman approached me after my talk and handed me a bag containing a couple of buckeye balls, the nut that grows on the buckeye shrub, a nut that looks somewhat like the eye of a deer.

“Put this in your pocket when you go hunting, rub on it and a buck will walk out by your stand,” he told me. I’ve tried it several times and all I’ve seen are squirrels and woodpeckers. Maybe I’m rubbing it wrong.

I did an internet search and picked up some traditions/rituals/superstitions from around the country practiced by deer hunters.

One bow hunter offered this … ”I listen to ‘Fred Bear’ by Ted Nugent in order to make the transition from suburbia to the forest complete.” In case you don’t know who Fred Bear was, he’s the father of traditional bow hunting whose success with stick and string is legendary. Ted Nugent? He’s a rock star and a militant spokesman for hunting.

One of the strangest events is this one offered by a hunter…”I eat half a banana on my way to my hunting spot and bury the other half next to my stand. My grandmother told me my grandfather always did it and it seemed to work for him.” Hmmm …

The only ritual I cotton to involving my hunting has to do with squirrels. No matter if a hurricane is raging, rain is pouring, wind is howling or it hasn’t rained in a month and walking in the woods is like walking on corn flakes, I have to be there on opening day. Something about opening day of squirrel season was ingrained in me as a youngster when my dad would get my brother and me all hyped up for squirrel season opening. 

In tandem with my opening day ritual, another tradition closely follows and whether or not I get to engage in it depends on how my opening morning progresses.

Upon returning from my opening day squirrel hunt, I’ll select a young and tender squirrel from my bag, clean it and prepare it for my opening day brunch. Cutting the squirrel into quarters, I’ll dust it with flour, salt and pepper and fry it until golden brown.

While the squirrel is frying, I’ll pop some biscuits in the oven. In the past I made my own but since that gifted lady Mary B. came along, I’ve found that hers are better than mine anyhow. 

Once the squirrel and biscuits are done, I’ll make gravy and spoon it over the biscuits and bite down on that tender sweet squirrel leg. No need for half a banana when you have this heavenly manna. 

FISHING REPORT

BLACK BAYOU – Bass have been fair around the trees and brush. Crappie fishing has improved around the deeper trees and brush. No report on bream. Contact Honey Hole Tackle Shop 323-8707 for the latest information.

OUACHITA RIVER –  The water is at pool stage with no current. Everything is on the slow side except lots of catfish are being caught. For the  latest information, contact the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE D’ARBONNE – Crappie fishing had been quite good fishing spider rigs 16-18 feet deep along the channel edges and drops. Bass fishing has been better in the mornings fishing Bandit crank baits in the Citrus shad and Silver Minnow Sparkle pattern. Best catches have been made along the banks and off the points. The bream have about shut it down but catfish can still be caught fishing cold worms off the banks. For the latest information, call Anderson Sport Center at 368-9669 or Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE CLAIBORNE –  Crappie fishing has improved with some nice fish being caught around brush in the deeper holes mostly on shiners. Bass have been best skipping jigs under the docks with soft plastics picking up some off the points. No report on bream, catfish or stripers. For latest information, call Kel’s Cove at 927-2264 or Terzia Tackle at 278-4498.

CANEY LAKE –  Crappie fishing continues to be best fishing the deep tops on shiners or jigs. The bass have been best with some nice-sized fish are being caught fishing the points with Carolina rigged soft plastics while some are also being caught fishing with jigging spoons off the bottom in deeper water. Bandit crank baits are producing some around the docks and piers. No report on bream or catfish. For information contact Hooks Marina at 249-2347, Terzia Tackle at 278-4498 or the Honey Hole Tackle Shop at 323-8707.

LAKE POVERTY POINT –  Crappie fishing has improved with bigger fish caught on the south end while the area around the boat slips have been fair on shiners or jigs. Catfishing has been good on a variety of baits. No report on bass or bream. For the latest reports, call Poverty Point Marina at 318-878-0101. 

LAKE YUCATAN –The water is quite low. Some nice crappie are being caught around underwater structures on shiners or jigs. No report on bass, bream or catfish. For information, call Surplus City Landing at 318-467-2259.

Contact Glynn Harris at [email protected]

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