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Turkey season safety a priority; buddy bass tourney a special day personally

Turkey season safety a priority; buddy bass tourney a special day personally

Posted: Friday, March 30, 2012 3:00 pm

Turkey season safety a priority; buddy bass tourney a special day personally | Turkey season safety a priority; buddy bass tourney a special day personally

Deer hunters rely on florescent orange for a safety net during the fall and winter.
Most hunters tend to dress in camouflage clothing from head to toe while adding a bright orange vest and hat.
However, hunting wild turkeys is much more complicated.
Camouflaging yourself from head to toe is a must for turkey hunting. But one thing you do not do when turkey hunting is cover yourself with orange. If you do, your day may become long because the turkey gobblers may never even come close to you.
Turkey hunting requires a different approach than deer hunting — a much different approach for sure.
Here are 10 safety tips from the National Wild Turkey Federation that can help you stay safe in the woods. But the tips are designed to help turkey hunters avoid getting shot at as well and injured.
• Leave the area if you suspect there’s another hunter already working the same bird.
• Resist the urge to stalk turkey sounds. It is nearly impossible to sneak up on a turkey. It is also unethical and could lead to an accident.
• Select a spot in open timber rather than thick brush: Wearing camouflage clothing and eliminating movement is more critical to success than hiding in heavy cover.
• Sit against a large stump, blow-down, tree trunk or rock that is wider than your shoulders and higher than your head when calling wild turkeys.
• Never wear bright colors, especially not red, white, blue or black because these are the colors of a wild turkey gobbler. Watch out for red, white or blue on your socks, T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, hats, bandannas, etc. Wear dark undershirts and socks, and pants long enough to be tucked into boots.
• Remain still and speak in a loud, clear voice to announce your presence to other hunters if necessary. Never move, wave or make turkey sounds to alert another hunter of your presence.
• Keep your hands and head camouflaged when calling.
• Maintain a clear field of view when using a camouflage blind or netting.
• Ensure your decoy is not visible when you are transporting it. Stash the decoy in your vest and make sure the head is not sticking out.
If you harvest a wild turkey during your hunting trip, you also should cover the bird’s head and body when carrying it out from your hunting spot.
• Put your gun’s safety on and approach all downed birds with your firearm pointed in a safe direction after firing. Never run with a firearm.
We have been asked to pass along that the Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge’s Turkey Quota Hunt will be held April 6-8.
Turkey check stations will not be set up on the refuge. As a reminder, hunters must check harvested turkeys at the nearest state check station or on the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website and record Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge as the location of harvest. All hunters must have a Reelfoot NWR quota turkey hunt permit, a signed refuge permit (refuge brochure), and all applicable state licenses. Please contact the refuge office at (731) 538-2481, or check out our website at* for further information regarding refuge hunts.
Here is what report I have from Reelfoot Lake.
I found while fishing the waters of Reelfoot Lake Monday to be fairly clear in most areas. Water temperatures are in the 70 degree range. As for the water level, as of mid-week, the lake still registers at 283.10 feet above sea level. The normal pool level for Reelfoot Lake is 282.20 feet above sea level.
Crappie are still good. The bite has been decent still in the Upper and Lower Blue Basin areas fishing minnows. Some jigs are being used as well.
Bass fishing is good as well. Trees, grass , stumps and lily pads are areas that bass can be caught. I would use the following: Strike King Premier Plus 1⁄2-ounce spinnerbaits in the Sexy Shad colors, any natural or dark colored Premier Pro Model 3⁄8-ounce jigs by Strike King with a jig trailer either of the Perfect Plastic KVD Chunks by Strike King. Also, you can use the Strike King Rage Tail Chunks and Craws. With any color to match up with the jigs. Our best fish on Monday was 6 pounds, 8 ounces.
The TWRA’s Tennessee Fishing Guide is available at this time and can be picked up where Tennessee Hunting and Fishing Licenses are sold. You can also go to the TWRA website at to view and download a copy if you like from there.
Here are the results from last Saturday’s Gibson County Bass Club Annual Johnny Mullins Memorial Open Buddy Bass Tournament that was held on Gibson County Lake near Trenton.
There were 26 boats (two-man teams) that competed in this event.
My partner Bryan Breeden of Union City and I took top honors overall in the tournament, claiming first place with the heaviest stringer of five bass, weighing 16.90 pounds. We also won the overall Big Bass Award being the only team to weigh in a bass over the 24” legal length limit that weighed 8.36 pounds. We caught most all of our bass using a variety of Strike King lures.
Second place big bass was claimed by the team of Parnell/Benson and their bass weighed 3.45 pounds.
Second place overall went to the team of Pruitt/Gardner that had five bass weighing 12.60 pounds. Third place to the team of Gearin/Walker with five bass at 10.66 pounds. Fourth place had a stringer of five bass weighing 9.31 pounds and was claimed by the team of Taylor/Rowland.
There were 14 five-bass limits weighed in during the tournament with a total of 85 bass overall brought to the scales at the end of the day.
What makes this tournament so challenging is that the TWRA has a length limit regulation that you are not allowed to keep and must throw back any bass that measures in between the lengths of 18-24 inches.  So in doing so, Bryan and I threw back several in the 4 to 6 pound range and by talking to many who came up to us after the tournament, not many were able to even do that. So I guess when it is your day, it’s your day. We had a blast. Thanks for the memories Bryan. That makes already two bass for me this year that was close to the 81⁄2 pound range and the year is just beginning.
One thing I will say that has changed my fishing all together on most lakes for the better are the Humminbird Side Image Sonar units. If you want to be able to chase around bass — and big ones at that — you need one of these on your boat. If you have any questions about these state of the art units, you can contact me. I am on Humminbird’s Regional/Field Pro Staff.
I have already boated two bass over 8 pounds this year and a 9.9 pounder was caught in my boat last year along with our best five bass weighing on that day last June over 41 pounds, all because of the Side Image Technology by Humminbird.
This past week has also been a good week for crappie on Kentucky Lake. On Monday, my dad (Lanny) and Jack Parker managed to have a pretty good day overall, bringing 22 nice size crappie to the bank. Also, Ray Wilson of Union City and his partner, Adam Austin of Palmersville, limited out on Monday with crappie.
Then on Tuesday, dad and Ray Wilson teamed up and had 60 of a very nice grade of crappie. They caught most of their fish on jigs. Their best tipped the scales at 2.2 pounds.
Also on Tuesday, Jack Parker and David Williams, both of Obion County, brought 46 nice crappie to the bank.
Don’t forget, the 19th Annual Reelfoot Lake Buddy Bass Tournament is just around the corner and will be held a week from tomorrow (April 7) on Reelfoot Lake out of the Kirby Pocket State Park area.
Entry fee is $80 per boat (two-person team) and will be guaranteeing $1,500 for first through third place. You can pre-register up until Wednesday by 5 p.m. that day and be eligible for a $100 gas card drawing for pre-entries only.
 Pick up an entry form at Reynolds Brothers in Union City, some area Walmart stores and other sporting good outlets that are local. You can also register the morning of the tournament with no late entry fee added to the already $80.
The University of Ten-nessee at Martin Collegiate Bass Angler Team will host their 4th Annual Buddy Bass Open Tournament on Kentucky Lake next month and will be held on April 28, out of Paris Landing State Park. The tournament hours will run from safelight until 3 p.m.
The entry fee for the tournament is $100, with an optional $10 entry for big bass. There will be a 70 percent payout, and the big bass pot will be paid back in full. In addition to the prize money, there will be a $100 cash drawing for every 10 boats that are registered for the tournament.
The UTM collegiate bass fishing team uses the proceeds from this event to send their members to compete in sanctioned collegiate tournaments.
For more information, please contact club president Grayson Smith at 931-236-4627 or at, or club vice president Dylan Powley at 731-336-1402 or at
Til next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.

Published in The Messenger 3.30.12