Outdoors Digest

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat


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.

Through Feb. 28 – Texas quail season.

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

Nov. 6-8 – Segment A archery deer hunt at Hagerman NWR.

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.

Nov. 14-29 –First split of the Texas North Zone duck season.

Nov. 14-29 – First split of Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season.

Nov. 14-Feb. 15 - Oklahoma quail season.


The Bassmaster Elite Series is holding its season finale this week at Lake Fork as the Texas Fest bass catching derby visits the Lone Star State’s most famous big bass lake in the fall thanks to COVID-19 restrictions and schedule changes earlier in 2020. As of press time on Thursday, the bass catching legend and four-time Bassmaster Classic champ Rick Clunn had the early lead with five bass weighing 29-pounds, 4-ounces.... Big largemouth bass were being caught frequently during Thursday's first round. Those big Lake Fork lunkers included a 9-pound, 9-ounce largemouth landed at 8:24 a.m. by Seth Feider, the current No. 1 lunker spot on the Phoenix Big Bass leaderboard. Robbie Latuso was 2nd with an 8-12 largemouth caught at 1:16 p.m., followed by Rick Clunn in 3rd with an 8-9 at 1:08 p.m., and Koby Kreiger in 4th with an 8-2 landed at 7:05 a.m... Action out on the water can be seen daily at Bassmaster.com a daily “weigh-ins” (fish are actually weighed on the water in this catch-weight-release tournament format) happen each day at 3 p.m. CT as anglers come to the stage, show off one big fish, and get interviewed…It’s a somber week for the Elite Series anglers and the circuit’s staff after the announcement was made that long time weigh-in master Trip Weldon is battling cancer and will not be able to finish out the season at the scales… The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) said this week that it has discovered the presence of giant salvinia on Lone Star Lake during a recent fish population survey. While eradication is unlikely, the agency is aggressively putting a treatment and management plan into place to eliminate the spread and severity of the invasive plant now occurring in the East Texas lake… 

Hunting Reports

The first Hagerman NWR bow hunt of the year begins today as the Nov. 6-8 Segment A begins at the big buck hunting grounds on the southern shores of Lake Texoma. With mild weather, a waning full moon cycle, and the peak of the rut still a week or two away, the hunting could be a little bit slower than usual. But because it’s Hagerman, don’t be surprised if a “Refuge Monster” gets taken during the pre-rut phase of the whitetail autumn…In fact, similar conditions existed in 1995 when the late Sherman traditional bowhunter, Forrest “Junior” Robertson, used a recurve bow to arrow the first Boone and Crockett qualifier in Grayson County history during that year’s Segment A hunt. While 200-inch deer aren’t common, even in Grayson County, it would never surprise anyone familiar with local bowhunting to see another multi-tined monster go down on the Segment A hunt…One good Pope and Young buck appears to have fallen in Grayson County this past week, at least according to a photo circulating on social media… Mourning dove numbers aren’t plentiful as the first segment of the Texas dove season comes to a close on Monday, Nov. 9. The second split of the Lone Star State’s dove season doesn’t open up until its Dec. 18-Jan. 3 run during the Christmas holiday period…Meanwhile, the Oklahoma first split of dove season came to an end last Friday, Oct. 30. The Sooner State’s second split for doves is scheduled to run from Dec. 1-29…The 2020-21 Texas quail hunting season is underway. Reports from South Texas saw some hunters find good shooting and several coveys per day while reports of successful wingshooting were more limited and sparse in the Rolling Plains region of the Lone Star State …This weekend marks the youth-only waterfowl season in the Texas North Zone, running from Nov. 7-8…Meanwhile, the regular duck season for the Texas North Zone remains a week away, getting ready to open up on Nov. 14 …

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 68 degrees; and the lake is 2.69 low. TPWD reports that striped bass and white bass are good on live shad and slabs. Diving birds continue to mark feeding schools feeding on the surface throughout the lake. Largemouth bass are fair for those fishing plastic worms, silver bladed spinnerbaits, and minnow-like jerk baits in 12-28’ of water with some fish moving into shallow water in the 3-10’ range as they chase shad. Crappie are fair on minnows near boathouses, timber, creek ledges, and brush piles in 15-25’. Catfish are good on cut bait and punch bait…Meanwhile, ODWC reports that fall fishing is good on Texoma with striped bass good on live shad fished along flats and the main lake. Striped bass are biting good in the mornings and late evenings and anglers should look for working birds along with active fish on electronics. White bass are fair on Alabama rigs, live bait and small lures along flats and the main lake. Blue catfish are good on cut bait, live shad and shad fished around docks and river channel. Blue cats have also been feeding near cleaning docks on cut bait/rib cages….Speaking of big blue cats, Pottsboro angler Brett Graham posted on his Facebook page this week that he got into some good action on the big whiskerfish, landing at least one trophy sized blue…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, water is lightly stained; water temp is 66 degrees; and the lake is 0.62 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are fair on jigs, diving crankbaits, and spinnerbaits in 5-20’ of water near timber, rip rap, and creeks. White bass are good in 15-35’ on slabs near main lake points, slopes, and drop-offs. Crappie are good on minnows and small jigs in brush piles between 18-28’…At Lake Fork, site of this weekend's Bassmaster Elite Series Texas Fest tournament, water is lightly stained; water temp is 64 degrees; and the lake is 2.02 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are good on dark skirted jigs, green or blue crankbaits, and bladed spinnerbaits near heavy timber, roadbeds, brushy points, and rocky shorelines. Crappie are good on minnows in 14-25’ in brush piles and standing timber near creek ledges or drop-offs…On the Texas Gulf Coast, the fall bull redfish run continues to produce a good bite for big reds in East Galveston Bay and near the dike at Texas City on mullet. The bull redfish bite is also good around the jetties at Port Aransas......

Tip of the Week

As the peak of the whitetail rut approaches in a week or two, it’s time to start rattling a little more frequently and aggressively in the local Grayson County deer woods. While a full scale monster-imitating mock antler fight might be a little much at this juncture, it’s still time to start putting the horns together to mimic smaller bucks sparring over a winsome doe. That might be enough to get the curiosity of a big buck, lure him in to check the fight out and see if there is an estrous doe nearby, and maybe, present a window of opportunity for a quick, accurate bow shot.