Catch of the week
Danny Calvert of Excelsior Springs wasn’t trying to catch the biggest fish in the pond when he visited a friend’s private body of water recently.
He was trying to catch the smallest.
“I was trying to catch some small panfish and bullheads to use as bait for the juglines that I run at Truman Lake,” Calvert said. “That’s pretty much all I fish for these days — big catfish.”
Much to Calvert’s surprise, though, he ended up catching one of the predators that eat those smaller fish. He caught a 3-pound, 10-ounce crappie, a giant in anyone’s book.
“Even the landowner has no idea how that fish got in there,” Calvert said. “That was his baitfish pond. He thought he had just little bullheads and bluegills in there.”
Calvert was using a night crawler on light tackle when the big crappie hit. When he got the fish in, he brought it to Forty Woods Bait and Tackle to have it weighed, then posed for pictures.
He plans to have the fish mounted as a reminder of a memorable day of fishing
“Before this, the biggest crappie I had caught weighed 1 1/2 pounds,” he said. “Then I catch this fish when I’m not even fishing for crappies. You never know.”
Good news for duck hunters, birders
If early survey results are any indication, there will be plenty of ducks flying south this fall.
The annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey from the northern United States and Canada estimates there are 49.2 million breeding ducks this year, 8 percent higher than last year and 43 percent above the long-term average.
The total pond index was 7.2 million, about the same as last year. Habitat conditions were mostly improved to similar as 2013, thanks to above-average precipitation.
The change was especially noticeable in eastern South Dakota, where rains throughout late April and early May provided an abundance of shallow water on contrast to last spring’s dry conditions.
Teal seasons announced
Missouri and Kansas duck hunters have some dates to mark on their calendars.
Commissions in both states recently set teal seasons.
In Missouri, season dates are contingent on blue-winged teal breeding indexes from the federal population surveys. If the bluewing population is 4.7 million or greater, hunting dates will be Sept. 6-21. If the breeding population is at least 3.3 million but fewer that 4.7 million, hunting dates will be Sept. 6-14. If blue-winged numbers are less than 3.3 million, there will be no hunting season.
In Kansas, Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commissioners recently approved a 16-day season in the Low Plains Zone — Sept. 13-28 — and a nine-day season in the High Plains Zone — Sept. 20-28.
Calling all JAKES
First, let’s clear this up.
In hunting terms, a jake is young turkey. It’s also an acronym that stands for a branch devoted to young hunters in the National Wild Turkey Federation (NTWF). It stands for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship.
Those youngsters will be busy in coming weeks. The Parkville Gobblers, in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited, will have a special event from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 12 at the Kansas City Trapshooters Association facility in Smithville. The event is open to only JAKES members (youths 17 and under). Prospective members can sign up at the event for $10. Youngsters must be accompanied by an adult.
Events will include trapshooting, airgun and BB-gun shooting, archery shooting, casting competition, and trapping, turkey and duck-calling demonstrations
To reserve a spot, call Darrin Buehler at 816-746-9867.
The Stealth Gobblers Chapter of the NTWF and the Missouri Department of Conservation will team to put on a JAKES event from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at the University of Central Missouri Trap and Skeet Range in Warrensburg.
As in the Smithville event, trapshooting, shotgun patterning, game calling, archery shooting and more will be included. Participants are encouraged to bring their own firearms and ammunition, but loaners will be provided to those who don’t have them.
The events is open to youth ages 8-17. Those 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is required by Aug. 11. To register, call 660-530-5500.