, Port Arthur, Texas

October 10, 2012

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Fall full of surprises

Chester Moore, Jr.
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Fall 2012 has been one full of outdoors surprises both on a public and private level.

Just as the deadline for this edition approached, I found out about a massive nontypical buck killed by a bowhunter in San Jacinto County. Any time big bucks are taken in East Texas, I am interested and this one is a monster.

The buck scores “well over” 200 Boone & Crockett points according to the fortunate bowhunter A.J. Downs. The official score has not been received at the time of this writing.

“This is a freak deer, there is nothing of this caliber that I have seen on the ranch in the 7 or 8 years we have been on this place,” Downs said at a story at “The first year I was on this lease I shot a buck that scored 160. So yes, the Lazy M has some quality deer.”

We hope to have more details on this monster East Texas buck in a coming edition.

Speaking of monsters, I saw the largest bobcat I have ever seen last week while hiking into an area along the Sabine River in Newton County.

Over the years, I have seen a minimum of 200 bobcats during the thousands of days I have spent in the field all over the country. I am sometimes shocked when hunters tell me they have never seen one when I have seen so many including five on one ranch in a single day back in 2003.

 I have some sort of bobcat magnet or something it seems.

The one I saw last week was a monster. It was a really tall, super long tom with a strong spotted pattern. Many in East Texas have sort of dull coats but this one showed its spots well.

The cat did not yet have its winter coat on but you could tell it was starting to bulk up. By January, it would look much larger.

I consider myself blessed to have seen it.

Ditto for the absolutely stunning number of sharks I encountered last weekend near Venice, La.

Sharks I have seen. Even great whites (in California) I have seen but never this many.

They were schooling for miles and were virtually everywhere from south pass all the way along much of the southern tip of the state and they were annihilating everything in their path including Spanish mackerel, mullet and pogeys. In fact, the guide I was with said they seemed to have halted the bull redfish run in the area since they moved in so thick or at least made the reds super spooky.

Most of them were blacktips and spinners and they were aggressive enough to readily hit artificial lures. It is just about the time those species migrate out to deeper water with many heading toward Mexico.

Perhaps they were fattening up for a long journey.

A couple of weeks ago I was coming out of Sea Rim after dark and saw something that looked like a very large snake just on the edge of the grass. I turned around for a look and was shocked to see it was a cottonmouth.

Earlier this year I caught the biggest cottonmouth I have ever had my hands on but this one was even larger. It was a minimum four feet long and as big around as my pet ball python. I walked right up to it and got a positive identification before it slithered off into cover.

I considered pursuing it but since the light was low and I did not have a light opted to leave it be. Yes, even I have rationale moments when it comes to dealing with potentially dangerous creatures.

Get outside and enjoy the fall. It is already proving to be a very interesting one.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at