There's lots of smaller stuff to write about today, so how about some notes discussing a springtime smorgasbord of outdoor news?
First up is spring turkey hunting here in the Red River Valley. While some states have pulled the plug on spring turkey hunting seasons in wake of the coronavirus pandemic (particularly for non-resident hunters), most seasons are currently underway in Texas and Oklahoma.
The exception is here locally in Grayson, Fannin, and Lamar counties where the April 22-May 14 season gets underway next Wednesday morning under Texas’ Eastern turkey hunting regulations package.
What’s the forecast for the 13 counties open under those regulations? In general, there’s been a slow decline over the years as the Lone Star State’s restocking success for Eastern turkeys (and Rio Grandes here in Grayson County) has stalled out. Put simply, many counties that had Eastern seasons in the past 20 years currently don’t.
For those that still do, hunting success depends almost entirely upon where a person is hunting in a given year. In other words, if you hunt in an area where birds have been seen in the past, you’ve got a chance to tag a gobbler in 2020. But if you hunt an area with few birds, then you might have to go to the store and hope you can still find a Butterball.
Incidentally, if you do harvest a turkey in Grayson, Fannin, or Lamar counties, don’t forget to report the kill to TPWD within 24-hours. Electronic turkey harvest reports can be made with either the agency’s smartphone app or online at www.tpwd.texas.gov.
Spring Turkey success increasing
North Texas Outfitters owner and head guide Dakota Stowers is a tired young man this week.
Why is that? First, he’s been hard at work balancing guide duties, navigating through pandemic regulations in Oklahoma, and practicing social distancing requirements during the strangest spring turkey hunting season that anyone has ever experienced.
So far, the gobblers themselves are still cooperating.
“We’ve seen a good number of turkeys get tagged during the first couple of weeks of the season,” said Stowers. “We’ve had two check in with beards at 11 inches and 1 ½ inch spurs.”
Stowers said that gobblers in southern Oklahoma are really sounding off on the roost over the past week, making early morning locating chores rather easy. But once the birds hit the ground, many are henned up and falling silent. For those willing to sound off, Stowers noted that they can often be lured in with good calling.
What’s the second reason that Stowers is such a tired man? Simple – his wife Summer went into labor in the overnight hours on Wednesday.
“I got in late, ate dinner, showered, and closed my eyes for about 10 minutes,” he said. “Next thing I knew, I was waking up (and heading for the hospital).”
Something tells me that the young guide needs to get used to the idea of being awakened in the middle of the night, for the next several months at least!
DU online fundraiser
The COVID-19 pandemic may have put a stop to in-person fundraising dinners for now, but for Ducks Unlimited, the fundraising show goes on.
One way that DU is keeping the cause of waterfowl and wildlife conservation alive right now is through online fundraising efforts. That includes a fundraiser here in the North Texas region according to Dillon Schroeder, the local regional director here in the Texoma area.
According to an e-mail from Schroeder, the current fundraiser will have five winners drawn for a variety of firearms and ammunition packages. There are 100 tickets available for this drawing with raffle tickets selling for $75 each or 3 for $200.
To purchase a raffle ticket, all entrants must be 18-years of age and able to meet all local, state, and federal regulations to receive any firearms won by raffle.
"Firearms will be shipped to your local FFL dealer," said Schroeder's e-mail. "Winners are responsible for any FFL transfer fees and winners will be drawn via Facebook after sellout (of tickets)."
For additional information or to purchase raffle tickets, contact Schroeder at 918-424-3422 or by e-mail at Dschroeder@ducks.org .
MLF announces 2021 REDCREST location
Like all other sports right now, professional bass fishermen are sitting on the sidelines as they wait out the coronavirus pandemic.
That didn’t stop Major League Fishing from making a big splash this week, however, as MLF announced that Tulsa and Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees will be the host of the Feb. 23-27, 2021 REDCREST championship derby for the organization’s Bass Pro Tour (BPT).