The Paris-Henry County chapter of Ducks Unlimited will have its annual membership banquet that includes a live and silent auction Saturday night at the Henry County Fairgrounds. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Like most public gatherings, last year’s event fell victim to restrictions from the COVID pandemic but the event is back in full force this year.

For tickets to the big conservation event, contact committee members Ty Wilson at 336-7163, Justin Rawls at 693-8617 or Michael Culley at 336-0188.

A wide variety of ticket prices are available with the basic membership/dinner ticket going for $50. Greenwings, which are those age 17 and under, can attend free if accompanied by a paying adult.

 

RABBIT, QUAIL SEASONS OPEN

Traditional opening dates for both rabbit and quail seasons across Tennessee arrive on the first Saturday in November. That means the beagle hounds will take to the field this weekend howling a serenade once a rabbit is jumped and put on the run.

For quail hunters the picture is still a bit fuzzy as drastic declines in quail populations across the South have not gone in favor of bird hunters. In fact, very few quail hunters are left across the landscape as the resource has all but disappeared.

There are a few bird hunters left but nothing like that of yesteryear when bird dogs and bird hunters were both abundant in these parts.

Season dates this year open on Saturday and will run all the way through Feb. 28, 2022. Daily bag limit remains at five on rabbits and six on quail.

 

MUZZLELOADER/ARCHERY SEGMENT

The 2021 statewide muzzleloader/archery season for deer opens in Tennessee on Saturday and continues through Nov. 19 in all of Tennessee’s deer hunting units. The opening of muzzleloader season in the state has a permanent opening date of the third Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Muzzleloader firearms are defined as those firearms which are incapable of being loaded from the breech. Muzzleloading firearms of .36-caliber minimum, plus long bows, compound bows and crossbows are legal hunting equipment for this season. Hunters are also reminded that they must meet the blaze orange requirements while hunting.

The statewide bag limit for antlered bucks is two. No more than one antlered deer may be taken per day. Hunters are allowed the following antlerless bag limits: Unit L — three a day; Unit A and B — two total; and Unit C and D — one total. In Unit CWD, there is a limit of three antlerless deer a day with no season limit and the statewide bag limit of two antlered deer.

Muzzleloader hunters, ages 16-64, must possess in addition to other appropriate licenses, an annual big game license for the equipment used. Lifetime Sportsman license, Junior Hunt/Trap/Fish, Adult Sportsman license and Permanent Senior Citizens license holders are not required to purchase supplemental big game licenses.

 

REFUGE SEASONAL CLOSURES BEGIN

Seasonal closures will be implemented Nov. 15 on the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge. Every year, several areas are closed off to boat traffic and vehicle activity to avoid disturbance to wintering waterfowl.

Local areas on the Big Sandy unit of the refuge such as the launch ramp at Swayne’s Point and open water areas such as Swamp Creek, the area around Sulphur Well Island basin and Bennett’s Creek will be off limits until March 15.

 

EARLY SEASON AT REELFOOT LAKE

Reelfoot Lake duck zone will have a two-day early segment on Nov. 13-14. Every year that area has an early opener some two weeks ahead of the statewide season start. The zone doesn’t get additional days but just uses two days of its 60-day season to kick things off early in hopes of catching some of the early migration of green wing teal, widgeons and gadwalls.

Second segment there resumes Dec. 4 and runs through Jan. 30, 2022. The Tennessee statewide season opens Nov. 27-28 and continues Dec. 4 through Jan. 30, 2022.

 

QUAIL FOREVER HOSTS YOUTH HUNT

The Kentucky Lake Quail Forever chapter will host a youth hunt for youngsters ages 11-15 on Nov. 13. Hours of the event are from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. It will be held at Covenant Ranch, located at 8759 Hwy. 79 northeast of Paris.

It’s free to all participants. The hunt will offer hunting safety tips plus an outing with amazingly trained dogs. Safety glasses, vests and ammunition will be provided.  The hunt is limited to 30 youth participants who have successfully completed the hunter safety class.

To sign up for the Youth Quail Hunt, call Clint Ellis at 731-693-9146 or Ken Creamer at 731-441-3886.

 

FISHING SCENE COOLING OFF

Surface temperatures this week have cooled down to the 59-degree range as chilly days this week descended on the region. Also falling have been lake levels.

Kentucky Lake had risen several inches last week and crested around the 355.6-feet range but has been falling steadily and is now down to the winter pool range at 354.4 as the weekend approaches.

Water color is pretty good across the reservoir as falling lake levels usually pull any stain that was present out of the bays and out to the main river area.

After the present cool spell loses its grip, Kentucky Lake anglers can expect a reprieve by early next week when a warming trend returns with pleasant conditions. Highs are expected to rebound to the upper 60s for a few days, offering some nice fall fishing conditions.

Crappie fishermen have been dodging the cold mornings and nasty north winds some days. The number of boats on the lake diminished when the weather had a mood swing. Watch for boaters to return quickly as mild temperatures take over accompanied by light and variable winds, which give fishermen more freedom to explore out there in the big water.

A few decent stringers have been taken in Big Sandy and West Sandy by anglers stalking midrange depths of 8-14 feet. Some reports indicated a few fish were lurking even deeper during the falling lake levels period.

Some anglers found a few crappie backing off to the 15- to 19-foot depths a few days. It’s not unusual for fish to pull back to deeper venues during falling lake levels. However, with mild days in the forecast, watch for crappie to head back toward shallow to midrange areas.

Odds are crappie will slowly return to structures in the 8- to 12-foot depth range in the next few days once sunny days influence them. And, a few crappie are likely to move up even more to the 4- to 6-foot range.

Some spider rigging techniques were still producing for boaters slowly working both flats and along the edges of changing contour. Both jigs and live minnows have been paying dividends.

Also producing some fish have been tightline techniques for boaters vertical fishing jigs and minnows around manmade fish attractors. Depths of 8-12 feet were giving up a few scattered fish but boaters were having to make a lot of stops as it has been a “one here, one there” scenario as of late.

Bass fishermen are back to tossing shad-colored crankbaits around gravel banks and even some exposed crappie beds that are exposed since lake levels are lower.

Some smallmouth were showing up on the east side of the reservoir for anglers casting twister tail grubs, crankbaits and working hair jigs on sloping gravel banks or submerged sandbars.

The overall bite has remained challenging for most bass anglers this fall regardless of what technique they’ve used, it appears.

Some late fall catfishing is still underway. Not many boats have been out there targeting catfish lately but the bite is still on for those that find the balls of baitfish near the main river channel areas.

 

SPORTSMEN’S CALENDAR

Saturday to Nov. 19 — Muzzleloader/archery deer segment.

Saturday — Paris-Henry County Ducks Unlimited dinner, Henry County Fairgrounds.

Saturday — Rabbit and quail seasons open.

Saturday — Fall Fest, Woodlands Nature Center, Land Between the Lakes.

Nov. 13 — Quail Forever Youth Hunt, Covenant Ranch.

Nov. 13-14 — Early duck season, Reelfoot Lake.

Nov. 15 — Seasonal closures begin on Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge.

Nov. 20 — Regular gun, muzzleloader, archery deer segment opens.

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