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Outdoors Digest

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

Through Nov. 29 – First split of Oklahoma light, dark, and white-fronted goose season.

Through Dec. 15 – Oklahoma woodcock season.

Through Jan. 15 - Oklahoma archery deer season.

Through Jan. 31 – Texas East Zone light and dark goose season.

Through Feb. 28 – Texas quail season.

Through Jan. 3 – Texas North Zone general whitetail deer season.

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

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. 14 – Texas West Zone light and dark goose season.

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

Nov. 20-22 – Segment B archery deer hunt at Hagerman NWR.

Nov. 21-Dec. 6 - Oklahoma deer gun season.

Dec. 1-Dec. 29 – Oklahoma second split of dove season.

Dec. 1-Jan. 31 – Oklahoma pheasant season.

Dec. 5-Jan. 3 – Pheasant season in the Texas Panhandle.

Dec. 5 - Jan. 31 –Second split of the Texas North Zone duck season.

Dec. 5-Jan. 31 – Second split of Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season.

Dec. 5-Feb. 7 – Second split of Oklahoma white-fronted goose season.

Dec. 5-Feb. 14 – Second split of Oklahoma light and dark goose season.

Dec. 18-Dec. 27 - Oklahoma holiday antlerless deer season.

Dec. 18-Jan. 3 – Second split of Texas North Zone Dove Season.

Dec. 18-Jan. 31 – Texas woodcock season.

Feb. 23-27, 2021 – MLF REDCREST Championship on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake.

March 19-21, 2021 – 51st Bassmaster Classic on Lake Ray Roberts.

Notes

A news release notes that John Silovsky has been selected as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Wildlife Division Director. According to TPWD, Silovsky began his career with TPWD in 2014 and served as the District Leader for the Post Oak Savannah Wildlife District before being promoted to the Wildlife Division’s Deputy Director position in 2019. He has been serving as the acting director of the division since July 2020…“With more than 30 years of leadership in wildlife management and conservation across Kansas and Texas, John brings an exceptional breadth of applied and pragmatic experience to his new role as the Department’s Wildlife Division Director,” said Carter Smith, executive director of TPWD, in the news release. “John’s long history working in the field, his wide-ranging knowledge about the many and varied issues affecting Texas’ wildlife and his unyielding commitment to serving the needs of all our stakeholders, from private landowners, to hunters, to non-consumptive users, will be great assets to our Department and the mission we serve.  I am excited about John assuming this position and look forward to working with him to help manage and conserve the extraordinary wildlife resources of our home ground.”… Texoma residents might want to be on the lookout for endangered whooping cranes as they push towards the Texas Gulf Coast. As they do so, TPWD is reminding residents that these impressive birds are the tallest, rarest birds in North America. Currently, there is a population of around 506 individuals according to the agency, thanks in great part to ongoing coordinated conservation efforts that have brought the birds back from the brink of extinction…TPWD says that whooping cranes make a 2,500-mile journey from their breeding grounds of northern Alberta’s Wood Buffalo National Park every year to the coastal marshes of Texas. The autumn migration south to Texas can take up to 50 days… The first whooping cranes of the season were spotted in the Seadrift area of the Texas coast on Oct. 19 and more will be pushing in as cold fronts continue to push south. TPWD says that typically, whooping cranes arrive in pairs or family groups. The agency also reminds that it is illegal to harass or disturb these rare birds… Will Texoma residents have a chance to see migrating whooping cranes the remainder of this fall? Maybe. “The recent cold front really put the birds on the move southward,” said Wade Harrell of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “For the most part, all of the banded birds have moved out of Canada, but some are still as far north as the Dakotas and still in migration. Typically, we don’t have all the birds on the Texas Coast until December, so November is often our big month for migration sightings here in Texas.”…

Hunting Reports

The first Hagerman NWR bow hunt of the year took place last weekend and there was a good amount of success reported despite the mild conditions. Several bucks and a number of does were taken, along with one big typical whitetail that should score well in the Grayson County Whitetail Record Book …With the peak of the November rut ready to begin, expect to hear reports of several North Texas monster bucks between now and Thanksgiving…Also, as bucks chase does throughout all hours of the day, drivers need to be on the lookout for deer running across the road, particularly in wooded areas and creek bottoms across Grayson County…The regular duck season opens up tomorrow morning for the Nov. 14-29 first split in both North Texas and southern Oklahoma. Mild weather this week has duck numbers scattered for this weekend’s opening bell, but for those who have scouted adequately, there should be some fair early season shooting for gadwalls, pintails, wigeon, and a few mallards… Looking at the Ducks Unlimited migration app, reports in southern Oklahoma are showing good numbers of ducks in certain spots. Similar reports are coming from parts of northern and northeastern Texas as puddle ducks and snow geese push south…Recent cold weather has pushed birds into some spots, so expect good shooting on opening day if you’re in the right place at the right time…

Fishing Reports

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 66 degrees; and the lake is 1.92 low. TPWD reports that striped bass and white bass are excellent on live shad and slabs. Diving birds are marking schools feeding on the surface throughout the lake, so be on the lookout for such clues. Largemouth bass are good for those fishing plastic worms, silver bladed spinnerbaits, and shad-like jerkbaits in 2-12’ depths as the bass chase baitfish. Crappie are fair on minnows near boathouses, timber, creek ledges, and brush piles in 15-25’ of water. Catfish are good on cut bait and punch bait…Speaking of catfish, ODWC reports that Texoma’s blue catfish are good on cut bait and shad fished around cleaning docks…At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, water is lightly stained; water temp is 64 degrees; and the lake is 0.69 low. TPWD says that largemouth bass are fair on jigs, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits in 5-20’ depths near points, timber, rip rap, and creeks. White bass are fair in 15-35’ on slabs near main lake points, slopes, and drop-offs. Crappie are fair on minnows and small jigs in brush piles between 18-28’ depths....At Lake Fork, site of last weekend’s Bassmaster Elite Series Texas Fest, water is lightly stained; water temp is 64 degrees; and the lake is 2.07 low. After Patrick Walters’ record setting 104-pound, 12-ounce tournament winning effort, TPWD says that largemouth bass are excellent on skirted jigs, shad or perch colored crankbaits, and bladed spinnerbaits near heavy timber, roadbeds, brushy points, and rocky shorelines. Crappie are also good on minnows in 14-25’ zones near brush piles and standing timber near creek ledges or drop-offs…At the Blue River near Tishomingo, the 2020-21 rainbow trout season is underway and ODWC reports normal river level, clear conditions, and a temp of 63 degrees. The agency says that rainbow trout are good on in-line spinnerbaits and garlic scented peach colored PowerBait along the river channel, near rocks and below the falls behind current breaks. Also, gold spoons or inline spinners are also working when such baits are slow rolled close to the bottom. Trout fishing is really picking up as water temperatures cool down and anglers have been catching limits of nice rainbow trout with other good producers being Little Cleos and flies…ODWC says that largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass action continues to be fair at the Blue River on crankbaits and jerkbaits fished along channel edges, rocks and shoreline areas. Focus on a slow cadence with the jerkbait, or use small Texas-rigged soft plastics or Ned rigs...

Tip of the Week

As the peak of the whitetail rut arrives, the best hunting tip right now is to hunt stands in high traffic areas that pinch down, or bottleneck, deer traffic through the patch of woods that you hunt. Keep a grunt call and set of rattling horns handy and be prepared to hunt all day long, from dark to dark. Given the crazy days of the breeding cycle now starting to unfold, local hunters are as likely to see a big buck on his feet at lunchtime as they are closer to breakfast and/or dinner. It’s the best time of the year for local deer hunters, so get into the woods and stay there!