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Youth only hunts begin this weekend

 This weekend youngsters can get a jump on waterfowl hunting.

    The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) has coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to offer a youth-only waterfowl season in the North and South Duck Zones Oct. 23-24 for licensed youth 15 years of age or younger.

    TPWD has also set aside Oct. 30-31 as special youth-only seasons for white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkey. A youth-only late season is also available Jan. 3-16, 2011. They reported during the statewide special youth-only hunting weekend, licensed youth 16 years of age or younger will be allowed to harvest white-tailed deer and Rio Grande turkey.

    “The youth-only weekend offers a chance to mentor young hunters and can be a valuable management tool on ranches needing to reduce antlerless deer numbers,” said Clayton Wolf, TPWD’s Wildlife Division director.

    TPWD officials said a Special Youth Hunting License ($7) is required and may be purchased wherever hunting licenses are sold, as well as online and by phone at 1-800-TX-LIC-4U for an additional convenience fee.

    This year, more than 139,000 special youth hunting licenses have been sold, evidence that hunting continues to be an important pursuit among young Texans, TPWD reported.

    Youth who are hunting on TPWD lands must be accompanied by a supervising adult 18 years of age or older. If they are hunting on public land, the adult must possesses the required Annual Public Hunting permit as well a valid hunting license and any required stamps and permits.

   “The Annual Public Hunting (APH) Permit is a $48 permit, valid from Sept. 1 through Aug. 31 of the following year. The APH permit allows an adult access to designated public hunting lands in the TPWD public hunting lands program,” TPWD reported.

    Now onto the report…

    North Sabine—Redfish and trout are fair under birds on plastics and spoons fished around East Pass and in the middle of the lake. The bite has been good in the evenings. Flounder are fair to good on jigs tipped with shrimp and live mud minnows fished along the Louisiana shoreline. Black drum are good on dead shrimp fished around drop-offs in the channel. Some up to 40 pounds have been reported.

    South Sabine—Trout and redfish remain fair to good on Gulp shrimp, live shrimp and spoons fished under birds. Flounder are good along the Louisiana shoreline and around the causeway on live bait.

    Sabine Pass—Redfish and trout are good on soft plastics and spoons fished along the edge of drop-offs. Black drum and croaker are very good on dead shrimp.

    Sabine River—Very few reports of trout. Redfish are good but running small in the bayous on dead shrimp and soft plastics. Flounder are fair on live shad around the bayous and near drop-offs.

    Calcasieu (Big Lake )—Hackberry Rod and Gun reports trout and redfish are very good on live shrimp and soft plastics fished in West Cove and all along the south shoreline. Flounder are very good in the bayous on outgoing tides.

    Sam Rayburn—Texas Parks & Wildlife Department officials report largemouths are good on watermelon soft plastic worms and crankbaits in 10 -30 feet of water. White bass are good on minnows and pet spoons. Crappie are good on live minnows and blue tube jigs. Bream are good on nightcrawlers. Catfish are good on trotlines baited with live bait.

    Toledo Bend—Holly Park Marina reports largemouths are fair on extra large plastic worms in dark colors fished on a Carolina rig. White bass are good on spoons fished on the main lake. Crappie are good up the creeks on the north end but low lake levels have made it tough to get in there. nightcrawlers. Channel and blue catfish are slow. Yellow catfish are slow.

    Hunting—State waterfowl biologists report September floods along the coast provided ample water for prairie ponds, however, high pressure has dominated for much of October and sunny blue skies have evaporated much of that water. Outfitters have had to turn on the pumps to begin filling ponds for the Oct.30 duck and goose opener. Teal, pintails, shovelers, gadwalls and wigeons are using watering sources. A few specklebellies are showing in cut rice fields. No cold fronts are forecasted for Texas this week.

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LAKE LEVELS

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TOLEDO BEND: Normal Pool Level: 172.0 Current Pool Level: 164.38 Was 164.50

RAYBURN LAKE: Normal Pool Level: 164 Current Pool Level: 156.03 Was: 156.96

B.A. STEIN HAGEN: Normal Pool Level: 85 Current Pool Level: 82.46 Was: 82.44

    Chester Moore, Jr. is The News Outdoors Editor.