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Duck season ended, time to prepare for turkeys

As I write this article, we find only the special goose season still open here in northeast Louisiana. I haven't even bought a duck stamp.

I flew into Chicago's O'Hare Airport Feb. 22 and found snow. As a matter of fact, once the aircraft got below the clouds one would have thought the whole world was snowed in or frozen over.

I thought to myself, “Yeah, now that duck season is over, we finally get a good freeze up north to push the stubborn ducks and geese on down.” As we drove south from Little Rock later on, I surely expected to see field after field of geese. But it was not to be.

With the local rains we are experiencing, most things are at a stalemate. I'm sure that there are planters hooked to tractors all across the South. Just waiting.

I have been lucky enough to make a dove hunt of a lifetime the week of Feb. 17-22 in Argentina. It is summertime there as I write. Some of the corn appeared to be near ready, while some was just tasseling. Soybeans were anywhere from 4 to 5 inches tall to plants with pods. The milo crop, or what I was told was milo, didn't favor much. It didn't favor what we call milo at all.

Sunflowers were probably the most standard crop I noticed. As a matter of fact, one sunflower field, probably 350 acres, was due to be harvested Feb. 18, but it rained.

I did not see a hill of cotton on the trip and, contrary to popular belief, most all the farm equipment, tractors and combines had cabs on them. I'm sure somewhere out there is some older stuff, but I did not see it. Maybe next time.

Back to the home front. Our next season will be turkey season. I am guessing that March 22 will be the magical date here in northeast Louisiana. This is my time of the year. This year will be different for me as I have a bad shoulder with surgery due Feb. 25. Wouldn't you know, I got sick. Too sick to be worked on.

So it looks like I'll be restricted to calling for Margaret Ann and, if soccer is over, for Chunk, Margaret Ann's mother-in-law's oldest great grandchild. Chunk has never been turkey hunting and like six-year-olds, will probably have a little trouble being motionless. But, they gotta learn somehow. At least I'll have some excuse for not being the pack mule.

Those of us who anticipate this yearly ritual pretty well know how to load up and what to load. Just for grins, we'll hit the high spots quickly.

First off, shoot your shotgun with the shot you intend to hunt with. “Pattern your shotgun and shells.” Give your various calls a good going over. Do you have the proper chalk for your box calls? Will the rubbers in your diaphragm calls make another season? Does the insect spray you used last spring still spray?

Do you have one of the Wal-Mart-type 99-cent emergency ponchos? Boy, talking about getting wet, try getting caught in the woods during a spring rainstorm with nothing to get under. Carry a brand new black garbage bag with you. It will keep you from getting wet after it rains. Make sure your flashlight has new batteries in it and it functions as a light.

Start practicing your calls.

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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