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As deer season winds down, test your techniques

Here we are folks, a new year, 2008. Once again we have survived the Christmas and New Year holidays. Margaret Ann and I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous coming year. For right now, that leaves us with the remainder of hunting season.

For most of us here in Louisiana, deer and duck season will end by the end of January. Check with the conservation department in the state where you intend to hunt if you are in doubt.

Rabbit and squirrel season might go on into February. There might be some type of extended goose season.

Duck hunters: Our weather has finally cooled off. That means water temperatures have also cooled down. If you get in a boat to go duck hunting (or for any reason), have a wearable life jacket on. Some of my toughest and worst jobs in conservation law enforcement were looking or “dragging” for a drowned hunter.

You won't float nearly as quickly as you would in warm water, making life difficult for search and rescue personnel and your family.

I remember only one victim with a life jacket on. That person was apparently expelled from a moving boat while shooting ducks and was hit by the motor.

Put a life jacket on and fasten the ties. Tell someone where you and any fellow hunters will hunt and when to expect you back. Even with a good life jacket on, hyperthermia will set in before you might recognize the feeling if you are expelled into most any body of water this time of year. Act safe. There will be another day.

Deer hunters: We are now in what might be a post-rut for deer. We just need to spend time in the woods now. If you have had any luck at all by now, you might want to experiment with your hunting practice. Rattling horns, doe-in-heat type lures, decoys and other “tricks” might be productive.

Our freezer is near capacity for deer meat, which will allow me to hunt with another rifle — a .22 Hornet. Conditions will be exacting for me to take a shot. Heck, I might even get to see a really big deer and not get to take the shot.

I'm one of the people who has to “hunt” to see things. I have never seen three bucks running together, much less five, as I've heard other outdoor people testify to. I have probably killed the biggest deer I have ever seen and still don't have a 150 class deer to my credit. So maybe hunting with the little Hornet will let me at least see something.

As with duck hunting, never put a loaded firearm in or on a motorized vehicle. This is just ignorance looking for a place to happen. Load your firearm only after you are in or on your stand. Likewise, unload before coming down or out.

Take some sort of camera with you on your next outing. An inexpensive, disposable 35 mm camera will hold memories for the next generation.

I remember one such camera discovered at our camp. A deer was killed and the remaining “shots” were taken. Upon developing the film, there were the boys: Ruff, my son, along with Conner and Mitchell, Mike's son and Terry's son, when they were probably five, six and seven. They are all college students now. What a joyful memory.

If you get a chance, take a kid fishing or hunting. For that matter, take anyone. One doesn't have to kill to enjoy our outdoors. Some of the best meals and friends are made “at the camp.”

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