News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Locals learn tricks from FLW’s pros
Some anglers impressed with deer here

It was quite obvious that the recent FLW Stren Series Championship tournament in Decatur on Wheeler Lake was a huge success.

Looking back, there were a lot of smiles from anglers and from people in the crowd.

I have to admit I also had a great time working the tournament and speaking with a lot of the fishermen.

Before weighing in their fish, anglers had to keep their fish in special "live tanks" backstage.

While speaking with some of the participants backstage, I noticed one angler looking at my name tag and press badge.

"Is the deer hunting pretty good around here?" he asked me. I remember telling him something about North Alabama being blessed with an excellent deer population when another angler interrupted.

He told me about a place he was fishing the day before where he caught a limit of largemouth bass.

He then explained how he raced back to the spot after take-off from Ingalls Harbor, hoping that nobody already would be fishing in his secret hole.

Shaking his head and smiling, he said he didn't get much sleep that night, thinking about how another fisherman might beat him to his fishing hole. He then explained how he was worrying for no reason at all.

It seemed the water level had drastically dropped quite a bit that night and his fishing hole from the day before had no water on it whatsoever.

He did say how he sat back for a couple of minutes watching all the deer that had gathered at his favorite fishing spot.

After he told his story backstage, several other anglers started talking with each other about all the deer they had seen that day.

Several from the western states said they had never seen deer in the wild before.

After weighing in his fish, Florida's Mark Shepard even spoke to the crowd about all the deer he had seen on the riverbanks.

Coverage of the Championship tournament (part one) will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net (FSN) on the "FLW Outdoors" show airing Dec. 3 at 10 a.m.

Part two is scheduled to air Dec. 10 on FSN at the same time.

For more information about FLW or any of its tournaments, visit

Fishing survey

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Auburn University's Department of Agricultural Economics are asking Alabama fishing license buyers for their cooperation. During November, Auburn University will conduct a mail survey to better understand Alabama's recreational fishing public.

Randomly selected fishing license buyers will be asked questions and the information gathered will be kept confidential and used for research purposes.

According to the 2001 National Survey of fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, anglers spent $723 million on fishing trips and equipment in Alabama during 2001.

Hunting tip

Jackie Bushman and Buckmasters offer the following hunting tip this week about breeding. It is important to know that different sections of the country have different breeding seasons.

One thing every deer hunter should know is the approximate time of the whitetail breeding season in the area he hunts.

The rut is critical because it is when a mature buck is most likely to move during daylight hours.

The buck's instinct to breed is so strong that he'll throw caution to the wind as he travels to find estrus does.

Learn to recognize rutting behavior. If you see a buck with his nose to the ground like a bird dog, you can bet he's following a doe.

He usually doesn't get to breed the doe as soon as he finds her, either. Unless the timing is perfect, the doe leads the buck on a chase that's designed to attract the attention of other dominant bucks.

If you see a buck with a doe during the rut, chances are good he won't leave that doe.

If the doe comes across an opening — get ready.

The buck will be close behind. It's also helpful to know that breeding chases often follow an unpredictable route and might circle back repeatedly.

If a chase comes by your stand and you don't get a shot, stay ready in case the deer come back.

It's also possible to see a breeding chase in the distance and hustle to get in range. The deer are so involved in the breeding ritual that they're less wary than usual.

When hunting during the rut, get ready if you see a doe running low to the ground in a permissive way. A buck is following.

Another tip is to listen for buck grunts. Bucks often grunt when they're on the trail of a hot doe.

Be ready, because the buck will be on the move.

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Paul Stackhouse
Paul Stackhouse

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