Outdoor Corner: The Smorgasbord

Lyle Johnson
Plaquemine Post South

Last week was a really busy week for Team Ascension Outdoors TV as we traveled over 500 miles to take part in Louisiana's outdoor bounty. Our first stop was in Lake Arthur, Louisiana on the southwestern end of our state where we were hosted by Spoonbill Adventures Guide Service.

We met up with Glordun Hoffpauir, owner and chief guide at his lodge for a morning of hunting in the rice fields. Our intention was to do some duck hunting, but the foggy weather was ideal for goose hunting so that became our plan for the day.

We loaded up our guns and gear and headed out to the blind which was a 10-minute ride as Spoonbill has over 90,000 acres that are available to hunt. Anticipation was very high as our adrenalin was pumping at peak levels while talking about how our hunt would pan out.

Glordun dropped off on a levee to take a 150-yard walk to the pit blind to get ready. We settled in and the wait began only increasing the anticipation. As daylight approached, the geese began their morning routine of flying up and honking. The adrenalin was really in high gear.

Things started off a little slow but sure enough a lone Ross goose got a little too close to the blind, and I killed the first one of the day. We settled back in the blind for our next round, hoping it would be sooner than later.

A pit blind is down in the ground as a hole is dug out and the box is inserted. It's built with a bench along with a shelf on each side for storing of gear. The top is level with the ground and cedar branches are used to cover it with holes only big enough for your head and arms to take the shot.

So we're sitting down only able to hear the geese and calling from Glordun. We wait and wait for what seems like a long time after the calling starts. "From the back, right side. Shoot them now!" He barks the order and the shooting begins.

When a kill was made (which multiple times was two or three) the retriever takes off on the dry ground at full speed like a race is on. It was surely a sight to see. Glordun's calling for the morning was spot on. I only wish our shooting was as good, but we did finish the morning with two ross geese, 11 blue's and snow's, and one speckled belly goose.

We also had the privilege of hunting with a pair of hunters sponsored by The Fallen Outdoors along with Dominick Kunze the Louisiana State Lead and Pro Staff for the group and a 16 year Army Veteran currently stationed at Fort Polk. Jeremy Everett along with Scott Kobylski, U.S. Marine Corp veterans, were the pair hunting.

The Fallen Outdoors is a nationwide (39 States) veteran volunteer-operated 501c3 nonprofit organization that aims to connect Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines with a network that will serve them locally and nationally.

"We live by the saying 'Living our dream because they gave up theirs,' which is a way for us Surviving Veterans to honor the Fallen by maintaining a fellowship of Outdoorsmen." Look them up at www.thefallenoutdoors.com to find out what they are all about, make a donation, or see how you can get involved.

Spoonbill Adventures hosts many of our veterans to some great waterfowl hunting. You can get into the action as well by contacting Glordun at 337-368-5969 or www.spoonbilladventures.com. Overnight lodging is available as well as great Cajun cooking in their packages.

On Friday morning I got the opportunity to travel a little north of us to Greensburg for a short squirrel hunt with Robbie Johnson (no relation). It was a bit windy to say the least so conditions weren't great, but I did manage to bag three cat squirrels which was enough for one gravy.

Robbie also has a 3/4 pond that he's stocked with bass, channel catfish, and copper nose bream. So like any normal outdoorsman, two rods just happened to be loaded in the truck. We took a few minutes to fish as Robbie used night crawlers to haul in a pair of two-and-a-half-pound catfish, and I landed six of those big bream. Not bad for a two-hour adventure.

Along with cleaning those three squirrels back home there were also 25 catfish in my live box that needed cleaning as well. Yea, that's right, 25. After last week's gloomy report the catfish went on a tear, and the live box got filled using crawfish.

On Saturday morning the team of Ascension Outdoors headed south to the Chalmatian Nation. That's right - to Reggio - just south of Chalmette for a short crabbing trip along the side of the road.

It's an easy trip with six miles of roadway from Reggio to Delacroix that makes it easy to accomplish. Goosie brought some chicken necks and I brought some catfish heads and bellies from the cleaning at home.

We use rods and reels with the weights sized to the speed of the current. Use the minimum amount as it is important to keep the crab off the bottom as you reel them in. Everything was set up as five lines hit the water and the wait was on.

The tide was a little high, but it was at the end of the low tide, about to turn around which wasn't exactly what we were looking for. It didn't take long for the action to start as I hauled in the first crab, and it picked up as the morning went on.

Slowly but surely, one crab after another hit the ice chests and we piled up three and a half dozen crabs for the ride back to Ascension Parish for their foray into a Cajun hot tub spiced with crab boil.

So both of these adventures will appear on Ascension Outdoors TV. The goose hunt will be aired next fall so you'll have to wait a little while. The crabbing adventure will be on EATEL channel 4 or 704 in Ascension and Livingston Parish in February.

Ascension Outdoors can always be seen on Facebook in short segments and full episodes can be found on YouTube under Ascension Outdoors or Lyle Johnson. We had a full week in a great state to live in. So until next time, remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Be safe in the outdoors and may God truly bless you!!

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net.

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting:3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman's League meeting held at Gonzales Fire Dept on Orice Roth Rd. starting at 7:00 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Squirrel, Quail, & Rabbit Season: Through-Feb. 29, open statewide on private lands only. Daily bag limit 8 and possession limit 24.

Duck Seasons: Through Jan. 26, East Waterfowl Zone. Dec. 21-Jan. 19, Coastal Waterfowl Zone. 21-Jan. 26, West Waterfowl Zone.

Fishing for Tucker Bass Classic: Feb 1 held out of Doiron's Landing in Stephensville. Entry fee $100 per two angler team. $2000 first place payout based on 100 boats. All info on www.fishingfortucker.com or call Ryan Lavigne 225-921-9332.

Krewe of Diversion Mardi Gras Boat Parade: Feb 15 beginning at noon from Canal Bank to Manny's on the Amite River. $35 per boat sign up at Manny's on Feb 14 6:00 p.m. Contact David or Vivian Stevens 225-939-2135 or 225-324-5695.

Anything Outdoors/St Jude Bass Classic: March 28 — save the date. New, bigger and better.

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at reelman@eatel.net