Outdoors Digest

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

Calendar

Through Dec. 27 - Oklahoma holiday antlerless deer season.

Through Dec. 29 – Oklahoma second split of dove 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.

Through Jan. 3 – Pheasant season in the Texas Panhandle.

Through Jan. 3 – Second split of Texas North Zone Dove Season.

Through Jan. 15 - Oklahoma archery deer season.

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

Through Jan. 31 – Oklahoma pheasant season.

Through Jan. 31 –Second split of the Texas North Zone duck season.

Through Jan. 31 – Second split of Oklahoma Zone 2 duck season.

Through Jan. 31 – Texas woodcock season.

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

Through Feb. 14 – Second split of Oklahoma light and dark goose season.

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

Through Feb. 15 - Oklahoma quail season.

Through Feb. 28 – Texas quail season.

Notes

On this Christmas Day, please allow the outdoors staff here at the Herald Democrat to wish you, your families, and your friends a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and Happy New Year!… Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commissioners recently recognized Game Warden Jared Cramer, based in Adair County, as Oklahoma’s Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. An ODWC news release indicates that the annual award is presented by Shikar-Safari Club International after the winner is selected by a vote of his or her peers. Presenting the proclamation and trophy on behalf of the club were Suzie Brewster and Wildlife Commissioner Bill Brewster…Staying on the topic of game wardens being recognized for outstanding work and service in the field, TPWD reports in a news release that Aransas County game warden Justin Solis has been named the 2020 Texas Wildlife Officer of the Year by the Shikar-Safari Club International. This marks the 41st year that this award has been presented to a Texas Game Warden. TPWD says that Solis was a graduate of the 58th Game Warden cadet class in 2013 and began his career as Texas Game Warden in Webb County. In 2016, he transferred to his hometown of Rockport in Aransas County…Meanwhile, TPWD has also announced that the Association of Midwest Fish and Game Law Enforcement Officers recognized Texas Game Warden Jon Kocian as Midwest Officer of the Year. The Austin-based agency says that Kocian graduated from the 48th Game Warden cadet class in 2003 and has served in Victoria County for over 17 years. Kocian holds a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and is a licensed Texas Master Peace Officer. TPWD also noted in its news release that Kocian was awarded the TPWD Director’s Life Saving Citation in 2016 for his rescue of and saving the lives of two women kayakers on the Guadalupe River when their kayaks overturned due to swift water …TPWD says that 500 Texas Game Wardens and Texas State Park Police Officers have been trained and equipped with emergency first aid and oxygen kits to help them respond to drownings and other emergencies in the field. The agency says that this training and equipping was recently used successfully in the rescue of a five-year-old boy who had fallen into a well in Starr County…

Hunting Reports:

The 2020-21 deer season is winding down in Grayson County and the rest of the Red River Valley as the Jan. 3 general season closure in Texas and Jan. 15 closure (archery season in Oklahoma) loom. Deer movement seems slow without any bitterly cold weather gripping the region. As a result, most daylight deer activity seems to be occurring early and late near bedding and feeding areas…Despite that note, keep in mind that some of the biggest and best whitetails ever taken in Grayson County have come at the end of December and the beginning of January, so don’t give up just yet…Speaking of great bucks, veteran Lone Star State outdoor writer Matt Williams reports that a Grayson County non-typical buck net scoring 189 3/8-inches was scored recently for the Texas Big Game Awards program. The buck was taken on Nov. 22 by bowhunter Tyler Wells as he hunted on a small hunting property in the southern portion of the county…Fair mid-season duck hunting action is being reported in the Texoma area, particularly on private properties that haven’t been hunted too hard in recent days. While there are certainly a few Christmas greenheads in regional bag limits, the bulk of recent duck harvest has been comprised of gadwalls, wigeon, teal, a few pintails, and divers…ODWC says that Oklahoma’s pheasant season is underway and continues through Jan. 31 with a two rooster limit…Pheasant season is open in the Sooner State in Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Kay, Major, Noble, Osage, Texas, Woods and Woodward counties as well as portions of Blaine, Dewey, Ellis, Kingfisher and Logan counties lying north of State Highway 51… A few mourning doves are being observed across the Texoma region as the second split of the Oklahoma dove season continues through Dec. 29 and the second split of dove season continues for the Texas North Zone through Jan. 3…

Fishing Reports:

At Lake Texoma, water is lightly stained; water temp is 54-56 degrees; and the lake is 1.00 low. TPWD says that striped bass and white bass are fair on live shad. Largemouth bass are fair on soft plastics, deep diving crankbaits, bladed jigs and spinnerbaits, and spoons fished in 15-30’ of water. Crappie are good on minnows and jigs fished near boathouses, submerged timber, creek ledges, and brush piles in 15-25’ of water...At Lake Ray Roberts, site of the 2021 Bassmaster Classic, water is lightly stained; water temp is 55 degrees; and the lake is 0.94 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are slow on skirted jigs, jerkbaits, and bladed jigs and spinnerbaits fished near drop-offs, submerged timber, rip rap, and deep creeks…At Lake Fork, water is lightly stained; water temp is 56 degrees; and the lake is 2.24 low. TPWD reports that largemouth bass are fair on grubs, spoons, deep diving crankbaits, and Shakyheads fished near creek channels with submerged timber, over roadbeds, brush piles, channel swings, and rocky shorelines. Wintertime crappie are fair on minnows fished in 12-25’ of water near brush piles and standing timber near creek ledges or drop-offs…At wintertime crappie hotspot Lake of the Pines, water is stained; water temp is 54 degrees; and the lake is 0.04-feet low. TPWD says that crappie are slow on minnows fished in the standing timber areas along the creek channel, around bridges, and brush piles in 15-28’ of water...At the Blue River near Tishomingo, trout fishing remains good. For spin fishermen, use small inline spinnerbaits with gold blades or Power Bait nuggets. For fly fishermen, blue-winged olive imitating nymphs and dry flies are producing action as well as flies like black wooly buggers…

Tip of the Week

Officials with ODWC say that Oklahoma’s holiday antlerless deer gun season is a perfect way for hunters to get outside and give back to the community by helping those who are less fortunate. Two programs — Hunters Against Hunger and Oklahoma Deer Share — are seeking donations of harvested deer and venison for local people who are facing food challenges and for local food pantries, particularly at this time of the year during the pandemic’s ongoing difficulties. Hunters can donate to either program without any fee, however a $10 donation is asked to help cover meat processing costs in the Hunters Against Hunger Program. ODWC says that Deer Share is new this year and gives venison donors a place to connect with people who would like to take donated venison. For details, go to https://www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/processors/hah or www.wildlifedepartment.com/hunting/species/deer/deer-share.