featuring Drew Keeth
Editor’s Note: The South usually is the worst place in the world to hunt early-season ducks. Canada and the Northwest and Midwest have been the Mecca of early-season duck hunting. However, one place in the Southeast that will rival the duck hunting in Canada and the Northwest is Honey Brake Lodge in Jonesville, Louisiana. Many swarming flocks of waterfowl pile into Honey Brake. To find out why, Mossy Oak has interviewed Drew Keeth, general manager of Honey Brake Lodge. Keeth and all his guides wear Mossy Oak camouflage, because Mossy Oak patterns like the new Shadow Grass Blades blend-in so well with the duck blinds.
Up until now, we’ve been talking about early-season duck hunting in Louisiana, and the abundance of waterfowl we have available for hunters all season long. We also have some unbelievable goose hunting. In-between the split duck season, during the conservation season, hunters can hunt without plugs in their shotguns. They can use electronic callers, and there’s no limit on the snow and blue geese they can harvest. The season for white geese returns again on January 27. Hunters who want to get in on some of the most-outstanding goose hunting they’ll ever experience need to stay in touch with us during those two seasons, because the ideal conditions to hunt those big flocks of white geese are dry weather and fog. If you come hunt with us on foggy days during dry conditions, you won’t be able to load your shotgun fast enough to harvest all the light geese (snows and blues) within range of your shotgun. Several years ago, a big group of hunters harvested 178 light geese and shot 22 boxes of shells on one foggy day.
For the people reading this article who don’t understand how hunters can harvest an unlimited number of geese during the two conservation goose seasons, let me explain. The white geese are reproducing faster than the habitat and the food available for them, especially in the northern nesting grounds. A large flock of 1,000 to 2,000 geese can invade an agricultural field anywhere along the flyway and completely destroy a farmer’s crop, and his income for the year. This reason is why there’s such a liberal limit in the two seasons on the light geese. If hunters don’t help keep the numbers of snow and blue geese in check, parasites, disease and starvation can decrease their numbers dramatically. By harvesting large numbers of light geese, hunters are helping keep these geese healthy and preventing thousands of them from dying of starvation. We usually put out 1,500 decoys and often use lay-out blinds during these special goose seasons. We want to make sure our hunters have the best chance of success when we put that much effort and time into putting-out and taking-up decoys.
As I’ve mentioned, after we finish taking waterfowl, our sportsmen can fish Catahoula Lake. The lake is famous for 1-1/2- to 2-1/2-pound crappie. Anglers may not catch a large number of them, but the size more than makes up for the lack of numbers. You still may load the boat up with small crappie, but most of our resident fishermen don’t keep crappie unless they are 1-1/2-pounds or more. We have a crappie limit of 50 per person, per day. So, you can pull off the Honey Brake trifecta by taking a limit of ducks, a limit of geese and a limit of crappie in the same day.
For more information, visit http://honeybrake.com, or call 318-775-1007.