Hunting Seasons Gear Up


            Those cool breezes blowing through Montgomery County have sent a wave of hunters into the field.  Last week saw the brief four-day duck season come and go.  Lots of hunters took advantage of the beautiful weather and headed for local lakes and swamps.  Field reports have noted lots of mallards and wood ducks on Badin Lake along with some scattered greenwing and bluewing teal on Tuckertown.  Folks hunting private swamps had good luck reaching their two duck limit of wood ducks.  The season now takes a break for a month.  Afterwards, the Thanksgiving session runs from November 8-29.  It then takes another break before coming back in for the remainder of the season.  The long session runs from December 13 until January 24.  If youíre going donít forget to pick up your duck stamp from the local Post Office.

            Deer season is also swinging into high gear.  Currently, bow season is off and running.  Friends have noted seeing lots of deer already with activity seeming to pick up thanks to the cool weather.  As opposed to last fall, the acorn crop is scarce.  Deer havenít been browsing on the mast and are thus turning to corn piles and food plots.  Also, the first signs of scrapes and rubs are becoming evident meaning the rut is only a few weeks away.  Bow season will continue until November 7.  The one-week muzzle-loader season is then from November 8-14.  Rifle season makes up the remainder of the season running from November 15 until January 1.  

            Other small game seasons are also on the cusp of opening.  Squirrel seasons runs from October 13 through January 31.  Though not as popular as deer hunting, squirrel hunting is a favorite of traditionalists and those sportsmen trying to teach beginners about the outdoors.  Rabbit and quail seasons run parallel from November 22 through the end of February.  If youíve never been on a rabbit hunt with a good set of dogs I highly recommend it.  Watching and listening to good beagles work through the thickets is well worth your time.  On top of enjoying the dogs work, a successful hunt will reap the rewards of a fresh bowl of rabbit stew.  Unfortunately, quail hunting has been on the decline for many years.  Current land management practices are not conducive to strong populations of quail.  On the positive side, recent research and wildlife programs are shedding light on the decline of quail and teaching landowners how to better manage their properties to provide good habitat. 

            Hopefully you can find time to get out and take advantage of these seasons while they last.  As always, please be respectful of landowners who allow you on their property.  Place safety first.  And finally, try to find someone who isnít familiar with hunting and introduce them to its many benefits.  Not only will this be good for them, but it will also be very rewarding for you.