After running around last Friday to gather up all the necessary tags, licenses, scent-killer and my favorite Carhartt Base Force clothing, I got to head out for two days filled with one of the most absolute treasured experiences of my life each year – the opening weekend of deer season with my dad.
The first time he took me was when I was about 13 years old right after I passed my Hunter’s Safety Exam. We saw a doe and her two fawns on that first trip. Guess you could say I got “doe fever” that day, because I’ve been passionate about hunting ever since.
We spent this year’s opening weekend between Minneapolis and La Crosse, Wis., along the Mississippi River, on a huge patch of public land called Whitewater Wildlife Management Area. The cool thing is my hunting heritage roots go back to my great grandfather – so having my dad, his uncle, my cousin and a friend of mine from church share this tradition-rich event made the weekend even more special.
And you know what, we never saw a deer – but that’s okay – we had fun enjoying a great natural resource that’s really special to us – and took home great memories with lots of laughs too.
Speaking of laughs – actually, we did “see” a deer. At one point we were driving through a protected section of land within the wildlife management area – and right next to a “Wildlife Refuge – No Hunting” sign was a doe – just standing there in the middle of the day. I swear they can read signs and calendars too. It’s like they know exactly when deer season begins.
There’s a chance largemouth know how to read calendars too. In November, they know to put on the feedbags and get pretty aggressive following shad toward the backs of major creeks on reservoirs throughout a large portion of the United States.
This month, especially as exceptionally mild as the weather has been this year, is a great and fairly easy time of year to catch bass – they’re keying on shad, they’re shallow and you know they’ll be in some portion of a major creek.
That said, lure selection doesn’t need to be complicated either. Shad colors rule the universe right now – and a squarebill crankbait is a super efficient tool for covering lots of water. Plus, they’re great for casting around a wide range of shallow habitat like docks, rocks and laydowns without getting hung-up.
Add a small to medium-sized swimbait to your lure arsenal too – few lures imitate a shad better than a 4- or 5-inch swimwbait. Lastly, tie on a time-proven spinnerbait. The flash of a spinnerbait’s blades look a whole lot like a school of shad flashing, and the great thing about a spinnerbait is you can go from a 1/4- to 3/4-ounce depending on how deep the creek banks or contours are in the particular creek you’re “hunting” in.
Can you tell I love November? The largemouth are hunting shad. My family and I are hunting whitetails. Man, what a great time of year! Until next time, be really safe in the woods, and go catch a fat green bass while they’re chowing down on shad like some sort of Thanksgiving feast.