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Rising waters make fishing more difficult

(This column was written for the Demopolis Times by Jerry Smyly.)

After four straight days of rain, we are supposed to be getting a welcome break. Six to seven days of dry weather are in the forecast, but it is likely too late. The rivers are back on the rise and muddy. Water levels that won’t stay put, combined with mud are the number one complaint of most fishermen. Crappie and bass anglers have done well between the rising and falling, there just hasn’t been very long periods of stability.

Catfishermen are the only ones that have faired well in all this. The hungry whisker fish are feeding heavily as they prepare for their spawn. I’m not insinuating that fish aren’t being caught, but the conditions make it more difficult. I look forward to low, clear water, and I’m sure many other anglers do also.

I’m hearing reports of turkeys still gobbling. Actually, I got to hear it firsthand. Guiding a hog hunt last week found me surrounded by Tom’s that gobbled as much as I’ve heard in the last two seasons. They gobbled at hawks, woodpeckers, crows, and even my attempt at yelping by mouth. It was absolute torture to hear knowing I couldn’t do anything about it. It’s good to know they’re still out there though, and it just made me mad at them for next season.

If you haven’t been paying attention to the happenings in Montgomery lately, you’d be interested to know that it is now legal to hunt hogs and deer over bait. Yes, hogs and deer! We’ve been allowed to feed during season for a while now; however, the rule has stated that we must be at least 100 yards from said feed, and it must be out of our line of sight. Well, that’s all been done away with, you can now sit as close an you like, for an additional permit costing $15 for resident hunters, and $51 for non-residents. There has been much debate about this law. Both for and against, as can be expected. Many hunters seem to think that putting a little feed out is going to be the “silver bullet” for getting that big buck. I tend to disagree; I still believe that some strategy will be necessary. The hunter that goes and sits in the same food plot (that will now include a feeder) day after day regardless of wind direction will continue to see what they have seen in seasons past, very little. I seriously doubt that any deer, much less a mature buck will march directly to a feeder in daylight hours with the presence of human scent. Theoretically he could just wait until dark and feed, the same as he would do prior to the law. He could also just turn around and walk to the neighbor’s property, since ‘everybody’s doing it.’

As always be aware of hunting laws and rule changes before heading afield this fall. How this new law affects our hunting remains to be seen. Let’s hope some good will come of it.

(This column originally appeared in the Wednesday, May 15 issue of the Demopolis Times.)