Outdoors Digest

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat


Through Oct. 31- Oklahoma dove season.

Through Nov. 6 – Texas early archery deer season.

Through Nov. 12 – First split of Texas North Zone dove season.

Through Jan. 15 - Oklahoma archery deer season.

Oct. 24-Nov. 1 - Oklahoma primitive arms / muzzleloading deer season.

Oct. 31-Feb. 28 – Texas quail season.

Nov. 5-8 – Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest tournament on Lake Fork. For info, visit www.bassmaster.com .

Nov. 7-8 – Texas North Zone youth-only duck season.

Nov. 7-Jan. 3 – Texas North Zone general whitetail deer season.

Nov. 7-Jan. 3 – General whitetail deer season in Grayson County with means and methods of harvest restricted to lawful archery and crossbow gear.

Nov. 12 – Bryan County Ducks Unlimited Dinner at the Choctaw Events Center near Durant.


TPWD has announced that Richland Chambers Reservoir southeast of Dallas is now listed as fully “infested” with invasive zebra mussels. Fully infested status signifies that there is an established, reproducing population in the lake according to the agency, which made the designation after recent sampling efforts… The revamped schedule for the 2020 Bassmaster Elite Series rolled on last weekend with the most recent event on Chickamauga Lake in eastern Tennessee…TexasFishingForum.com reports indicate that Major League Fishing was recently in the Waco area, filming one of it’s made for TV “Cup Championship” events. From the sound of it, the event was filmed on local water bodies like Lake Waco, Lake Whitney, and Belton Lake. Unlike the Bass Pro Tour circuit events which are live reported at MajorLeagueFishing.com, the results from that recent Central Texas event won’t be known until the filmed episodes air on Outdoor Channel…  four-day total of 58 pounds, 2 ounces…Longview angler Lee Livesay used a football jig and a frog to find his way to a Day Four / Championship Day limit of 15-pounds, 2-ounces this past Monday, a bag limit that was good enough to win the Bassmaster Elite Series event on Chickamauga Lake in eastern Tennessee. Combined with his three previous days (13-0 on Day One, 13-3 on Day Two, and 16-13 on Day Three), Livesay was able to beat runner-up Mike Huff’s total weight of 56-06 and claim the $100,000 top prize… Missouri angler Jay Beffa caught a five-bass limit last Friday that weighed 19-pounds, 4-ounces, good enough to claim the B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional on Toledo Bend Reservoir near Many, La. With his three-day weight total of 35-12, Beffa beat Albert Collins of Nacogdoches, Texas, who led the first two days, but slipped to the runner-up spot with a three-day total of 32-8…Like the Masters golf tournament being played next month instead of its usual springtime date on the calendar, COVID-19 is also forcing some unusual sights in the bass fishing world. That will include the November visit of the Bassmaster Elite Series to famed Lake Fork, which will be hosting the 2020 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefitting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The event will be staged on the famous East Texas bass factory from Nov. 5-8…

Hunting Reports

Shortening days and occasional cool fronts continue to bring sporadic refreshments of mourning dove numbers here in the Red River Valley. If you focus on natural food sources and waterholes, you might see some surprisingly good action as the season moves on towards the end of the first split…On the Oklahoma side of the Red River, the Oct. 24-Nov. 1 muzzleloader season is preparing to begin. With next week’s big push of cold air, expect to see some giant bucks go down in the Sooner State soon…Here in Grayson County, some daylight activity is being reported on the local bowhunting front as whitetails move towards the pre-rut phase of autumn…A good Grayson County typical in the 160s was reported a few days ago and a 219-inch non-typical was reported in Collin County. Photos of the Collin County buck on social media show a multi-tined bruiser, the third year in a row that at least one 200+ inch whitetail has come from Collin County…Meanwhile, down south in Polk County, a 189 1/8-inch typical (no word if that score is gross or net) was reported a few days ago. If it is indeed a typical bow kill, that would make the Polk County buck one of the largest typical bow kills ever recorded in Texas and elsewhere…As noted here last week, if you have an archery hunting permit for one of this fall’s bowhunts at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, keep in mind that you must either complete an online, virtual orientation meeting or complete the requirement through an e-mailed document. For more information, contact refuge personnel during business hours… TPWD reminds duck hunters that the special youth-only waterfowl season begins in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit on Oct. 24, followed by youth-only waterfowl season in the South Zone on Oct. 31 and the North Zone on Nov. 7. Regular duck season in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit opens Oct. 31, in the South Zone on Nov. 7 and the North Zone on Nov. 14…Quail season is about to start in both Texas and Oklahoma, even though forecasts are not looking too great. Look for a quail forecast soon in the Herald Democrat Outdoors…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 73 degrees; and the lake is 3.47 low. TPWD reports that striped bass and white bass are good on live shad, swimbaits, and slabs. Diving birds are marking feeding schools that are still feeding on the surface throughout the lake. Largemouth bass are fair fishing Texas-rigged plastic worms, jigs, and diving crankbaits in 16-28’ of water with some fish moving into shallow water depths in the 3-10’ range. Crappie are fair on minnows near boathouses, timber and brush piles in 15-25’…Meanwhile, ODWC reports that Texoma’s striped bass are good on live shad fished around main lake areas and along points. Good fall fishing is definitely here according to the agency, which says that Texoma’s stripers “…have put on the feed shack for the winter. Anglers should use live shad to catch striped bass.” ODWC adds that schools of Texoma stripers have been feeding around North Island and Oak View boat ramp in recent days…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, water is lightly stained; water temp is 70 degrees; and the lake is 0.67 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are good on long purple, or dark blue Texas-rigged plastic worms, chrome or silver crankbaits, and white spinnerbaits fished in 9-22’ depths near timber, rip rap, and creek ledges. White bass are good in 15-35’ on white or chartreuse slabs fished near main lake points, slopes, and drop-offs. Crappie are good on minnows and small jigs in brush piles at depths between 18-28’…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temp is 71 degrees; and the lake is 1.98 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair on Shakyheads, crankbaits, and skirted jigs fished near heavy timber, roadbeds, brushy points, and rocky shorelines. Crappie are fair on minnows in 18-25’ depths in brush piles and standing timber near creek ledges or drop-offs…As the 2020-21 fall and winter rainbow trout season approaches on the Blue River near Tishomingo, there’s no word on how the river is fishing currently. Next week’s big cold front should chill waters just in time for the first rainbow stockings over the next several weeks… While good fall action is reported for bull redfish and speckled trout up and down the Texas Gulf Coast, the fall flounder bite continues to be most excellent for this fine eating saltwater fish. TPWD continues to report a good fall flounder bite along the Gulf Coast. At Bolivar Peninsula, flounder are moving through the pass and are good on minnows...At Trinity Bay, flounder is best around rocks on minnow...At West Galveston Bay, flounder are good in the back lakes...At Texas City, flounder are good on minnows around the rocks...At Freeport, flounder are fair along the drains on mullet...At Port O'Connor, flounder is fair on minnows around the jetties...At Port Aransas, flounder are fair on soft plastics...At Corpus Christi, flounder are fair around the docks and channel edges and are good on soft plastics...At Port Mansfield, Flounder are good in the east cut and in shallow drains, although wade fishermen should use caution in the East Cut since authorities have started dredging...And at Port Isabel, flounder are in the back marsh feeding around the drains........

Tip of the Week

As the whitetail autumn heads into the pre-rut phase of late October, look for bucks to increasingly work scrapes and make fresh rubs in the local woods. If you can make a mock scrape or hunt near a cluster of fresh rubs, there’s a good chance to catch a late October monster on the prowl. Keep a grunt call handy too, since bucks will be increasingly responsive to calling and rattling in the weeks ahead.