Covenant Ranch will host a field trial at its headquarters located at 8759 Hwy. 79 northeast of Paris on Jan. 29, and you and your family are invited to attend.
You can observe some impressive trained dogs live up to their breeding reputations or bring your own dog to participate in the contest.
It’s a great outing where you can bring youngsters, too, introducing them to some impressive dog work as they suddenly freeze on point once locating a bird.
Lunch will be available and the event kicks off with registration at 8 a.m. followed by competition beginning at 9 a.m. It’s fun, bragging rights, experience and prizes.
Entry fee is $50 a dog but it’s free to come and watch if you’d like to get outdoors and observe bird dogs living up to their heart’s desire.
For information on the field trial, contact Covenant Ranch at 642-2099 or Kentucky Lake Quail Unlimited spokesman Clint Ellis at 731-693-9146.
BIG DOG PREDATOR HUNT
Holly Fork Shooting Complex, 6133 Hwy. 79 northeast of Paris, will host the 12th annual Big Dog Predator Hunt on Feb. 12. Entry fee for the two-person teams will be $100 a team plus an optional $10 Big Dog side pot for both coyotes and bobcats.
Weigh in your team’s three biggest dogs. Total team weight determines the winner. Payouts will be — first place, 50%, second place, 25%, and third place, 15%. Side payouts will be 100% to first place.
Hunt hours will be 30 minutes before sunrise on hunt day and entrants must be checked in at 6:30 p.m. at Holly Fork. Payments can be mailed to 1665 Buchanan Road, Buchanan, TN 38222 or PayPal: Dustin@plasticproductresources.com, or Venmo: @Dustin-Mackey-54.
All teams must be registered by 5 p.m. Feb. 11. For a copy of rules or any questions on the event contact Mackey at 417-621-1974.
DOVE SEASON ENDS
Every year, Tennessee has three segments of dove season based on framework allowed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The state’s first segment began at noon Sept. 1. Since then, a segment in September, followed by a short segment in October, has come and gone.
The third and final segment has been in progress since the first week of December, but it will draw to a close this Saturday.
Doves have not been abundant this year and for most hunters it was a below average season. Not many hunters participate in the late segments but even during the early season it was subpar.
DUCKS PLAYING GAMES ON HUNTERS
Ducks continue to play games with a lot of waterfowlers across northwest Tennessee and neighboring states as well. There are some improvements but seems there’s also a lot of haves and have nots as of late.
Some dramatic weather changes have occurred across the region the last two weeks, ranging from cold temperatures and snowstorms to flooding conditions across the four-state region.
The first cold front two weeks ago, accompanied by a snowy day which was preceded by heavy rains the night before as warm weather greeted cold weather, is usually just what the doctor ordered to stimulate duck activity.
However, the first cold snap didn’t move ducks and waterfowlers across the region were disappointed and downright mystified when it didn’t help jump-start a sluggish season.
Then late last week another cold front with some snow tossed in dropped temperatures dramatically across the South, putting ice in the picture for many shallow areas. The second front finally brought some new ducks to the region but it also delivered heavy rains that swelled the elevation of places like the Mississippi and Ohio rivers plus most of their tributaries.
The rapid rise of backwater areas after the flood inundated such areas all along the Mississippi, scattered ducks and for some hunters, depending on their locale, quickly benefited. Areas that were high and dry or without ducks most of the season suddenly experienced a rapid influx of both water and waterfowl.
Some zones such as the upper bottoms around Hickman, Ky. saw ducks move in as did the region around Reelfoot Lake, where hunters saw large flocks of greenwing teal and gadwalls descend on the area for a few days.
Eastern Arkansas and across the bootheel of Missouri got a lot of water — almost too much — but got ice issues once temps fell in the aftermath of the cold front. So for some, the bitter temps were a mixed blessing.
Hunters were seeing increased activity in west Tennessee from new flocks of specklebelly and snow geese moving up the bottoms.
Closer to home in the Kentucky and Barkley lakes area plus the backwaters of the Obion, Forked Deer and Hatchie river drainages, ducks did not move in as hunters had hoped.
Recent reports from a lot of public hunting areas such as West Sandy, Big Sandy, Gin Creek, Dover Bottoms and Camden Bottoms wildlife management areas were still suffering from low duck numbers. Bottom line was hunters were just not seeing the ducks.
A few ducks filtered into the flooded grain fields of the river bottoms to our west but not in normal numbers for this time of year during what should have been ideal conditions. Traditionally, ducks follow the fresh water and move off the Mississippi River area up the abundant agricultural rich shallow feeding and roosting areas of the Obion and Forked Deer.
Having a lot of water just north of us and across much of several neighboring states is likely a factor. Ducks have a lot of places to go right now. When that happens, they scatter out. That appears to be the present scenario.
Meanwhile, duck hunters in this region have long felt the transition of ducks further to our west. Most feel the migration has shifted in that direction for the last several years.
With the window of opportunity rapidly drawing to a close — the season ends Jan. 30 — hunters here are hoping for a fast finish to a season that got off to a slow start for most local hucksters.
DEER HARVEST TOTALS
Last weekend saw the final Youth Deer Hunt of the season bring the statewide deer season to a close.
The total deer harvest for Tennessee stood at 131,385 as of midweek, according to the tally from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
Locally, Henry County deer hunters checked in 2,347 this season. The leader among the state’s 95 counties was Giles, as its total was 3,539. Giles had been leading the state for several consecutive weeks and its top rank in the Volunteer State comes as no surprise this year.
A check of neighboring counties show Benton with 1,468; Carroll 2,377; Stewart 2,168 and Weakley 1,938.
Saturday — Dove season ends.
Jan. 29 — Kentucky Lake Quail Forever field trial, Covenant Ranch.
Jan. 30 — Statewide duck season ends.
Feb. 5 and Feb. 12 — Youth Waterfowl Hunt.
Feb. 6 and Feb. 13 — Veterans and Active Military Personnel Waterfowl Hunts.
Feb. 11 — Big Dog Predator Hunt registration deadline.
Feb. 12 — Big Dog Predator Hunt, Holly Fork Shooting Complex.