Pheasant Hunting & Winter Fishing
By John Criner
Times Outdoor Columnist When we think about pheasant hunting, the images of long-tailed roosters exploding from the corn fields come to mind. This happens up north and out west, especially North and South Dakota, where the natural habitat is conducive to pheasants. Almost all foreign species of game that have been introduced to America have been harmful to the native populations, such as English sparrows and the “jumping” carp. The brown trout and ring necked pheasant are pleasant exceptions.
Usually it requires a long trip to hunt pheasants, but there are now shooting preserves offering these sporting and delicious birds close to home. Recently Justin and Larry Higgins, the owners of L’anguille River Duck Club near Marianna, began offering pheasant shooting near their club house.
Both walk-up field hunting and tower hunts are available.
Walk-up is the most familiar, as the hunters follow the pointing dogs across fields of cover to find and shoot the pheasants that have been previously placed before the hunters go to the fields. In the tower shoots, the hunters are arranged around the launch tower at 8 shooting stations in a large circle and the birds are launched about 30 feet above the shooters.
They fly in all directions and are extremely fast and hard to hit. After 6 birds at each station, the hunters rotate, so every hunter gets to shoot at the different positions. The hunters and dog handlers are on the field to retrieve the downed pheasants. The cost is $200 for 10 birds and 12 to 16 hunters is the ideal number of hunters.
The afternoon Papa Duck visited, there were a group of 12 hunters and who shot a total of 98 birds. They had duck hunted in the morning and enjoyed a beautiful sunny afternoon pheasant hunting. After the hunt, they returned to the lodge for a good supper and preparation for the next morning duck hunt.
To enjoy a hunt, call Justin Higgins at 870-
897-2799 and arrange a time and the number of birds to be shot. Langulle River Duck Club is a full service guide service with a large comfortable lodge, excellent food, and spectular hunting. Tripp Neal is the head guide and is always at the hunting camp.
Last week before the big storm came through, Ronnie Tice, the Horseshoe Lake crappie guide, called and invited Papa Duck to catch some crappie the next morning.
When Ronnie invites, it’s best to go, because he is the best on the lake and knows how and where to catch fish. We boated from behind his house to the bayous where he had located the crappie and had some hot spots.
Using his custom made Horseshoe Lake crappie jigs, made by his wife, Karen, Papa Duck caught a keeper crappie on the first 5 casts. We fished until about 10:30, put 31 nice fish in the live well, and caught at least that many more. Surprisingly we caught 3 nice
bream on the same jig.
If you want to catch a nice mess of crappie, call Ronnie Tice at 901687-6800 and set up a trip. He furnishes the boat, crappie jigs, and rods if you don’t have a fishing pole. Ronnie does not clean the fish, but has a nice cleaning station you may use at his boat house. It may be cold so wear your warm hunting clothes with a hand warmer.
The fish are cold to unhook, but when crappie are biting, you forget about the cold.
For as long as Papa Duck can remember, there has been a Kamp Karefree on Horseshoe Lake. There have been several different owners over the years and has had a $5 boat launch, a café, and fishing pier. Recently it was closed except for the boat ramp with a $5 honor box. Last year it was purchased by the Crisp family and major remodeling began. The old pier, which was falling into the lake, was taken down and the old restaurant completely removed and replaced by a new building piers and major work on the boat ramp and parking area.
It officially opened on Jan. 9,2020. The seasonal hours are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11am to 9 pm. They are open on Sunday 10am-4pm.
Later in the year when the fishing gets good KKF will be open every day. They will offer gas on the water and outside patio where you can enjoy dining on the water. For lady fishermen, they have very clean and nice rest rooms, the only public ones on the lake. Kamp Karefree offers a full menu ranging from hamburgers to hand cut steaks. Friday night is fish night and Saturday is steak night.
There is a Sunday brunch. Beer and wine are served but no hard drinks. The boat ramp is still $5 and covered boat slips are available for $300 per month.
The slips are covered and have water and electricity. Colleen and Papa Duck enjoyed the catfish on Friday night and it was good with generous portions. We were served by Patricia Blake-Smith who was very nice and efficient.
The place was busy and had a waiting line.
We joined Ronnie and Karen Tice who had room at their table and we got to rehash our successful fishing trip.
The manager is Donna and the entire staff is friendly. Everything is new and clean. For information and reservations call 870-339-2828. The duck hunting continues to be similar to last year with good hunting in a few places and very bad in the majority of most clubs. A several man limit may be taken today and a return trip the next day with very few birds. Archery deer season continues through February and small game like rabbits and squirrels can be enjoyed. This is the time for beagles and fist squirrel dogs.
It will be a while before most fishermen get serious, but on the sunny and warm days, take the kids with you.
If you get lucky, the small game and fish might be active on that day. Take plenty of pictures and send some to Papa Duck to put in the paper and let us enjoy the event. Lakeside Taxidermy appreciates your business and we offer great service and quality at reasonable prices.
If there are any questions about hunting, fishing, or just boating, send them to me and they will be passed on to Game Warden Andy Smith.
Papa Duck Lakeside Taxidermy 870-732-0455 or 901482-3430 email@example.com
Caleb Butler and Nick Schaffer from Wasilla, Alaska, came south to do some duck hunting with Danny Daughhetee.