Outdoor Report 8-23-2009

County agent offers food plot tips to hunters, clear water leads to easy crabbing

St. Charles Parish county agent Rene’ Schmit urges hunters to have their food plot soil tested before attempting to plant food this deer season.

“Soil testing measures the plant available portion of soil nutrients, and the soil test results form the basis for nutrient recommendations,” he said.

Schmit said that the method for proper soil sampling includes testing depths between four and six inches, taking samples from multiple areas within the plot and mixing the soil thoroughly.

A laboratory sample should be one pint and can be taken to your county extension office or mailed to the LSU AG Center Soil Testing Laboratory, 6. A routine analysis cost $7.

Another speaker at the annual Deer Food Plot Seminar, Bill Schockey, stressed the importance of deer management.

Schockey said that a hunter has to decide the approach of deer management he wants. Quality management involves keeping a good buck to doe ratio, protecting the bucks until maturity, and having a good habitat with optimal food plots.

Dr. Ron Reed offered a presentation on what to plant and when to plant. Reed said that covering a small portion of the food plot with a wire enclosure enables a hunter to observe growth and document the amount of times a deer uses the food plot.

This were his suggestions for the following seasons for planting:

Warm season planting (April through June) American jointvetch, soybeans and corn, Alyce clover, Lab lab, milo.

Cool season planting (September through November) Austrian winter peas, crimson clover, subterranean clover, white or ladino clover, elbron rye, oats, ryegrass, and wheat.

To be highly successful with food plots, he recommended Legumes over a grass food plot and cereal grains, such as wheat, over a rye field.

Crabbing in Lake Pontchartrain

Even with the threat of a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, Tyler Herbert and his dad, Kevin Hebert, joined me on a trip to Lake Pontchartrain Sunday morning and to crab in the Parish Canal.

Arriving to the canal, the strong East wind was forcing the canal to pile-up with water. The strong tide was coming in, and combined with an extremely high tide, made the water clear.

We set the first drop net out at 9:30 a.m. When we finished setting out all 24 nets, we went back to the beginning and started checking the first net. We caught 22 big blue-claw Lake Pontchartrain crabs on the first run. Immediately, we went back to the beginning and started the process over again.

It was Kevin’s first trip to the Parish Canal. He was amazed how quickly the crabs were getting into the nets. On the second run, some of the nets no longer had bait.

Kevin said excitedly, “These crabs are hungry!”

After a brief rain shower, we called it a day after the fourth run. We caught nine dozen crabs.

On our way home Kevin asked me my method for boiling crabs.

“Very simple,” I replied.

I use this boiling method for crabs and crawfish.

Ingredients include: one box of salt, 1/3 of a 16-ounce jar of cayenne, potatoes – 10 pounds, corn on the cob – 12 pieces, sweet potatoes – six cut into thirds, six onions, six garlic cloves- uncut, broccoli – optional, two whole chickens.

Fill the boil pot to about half. Add the cayenne and salt to water. Heat the water to a boil. Add onions, potatoes, garlic, and what ever you like to boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Then add the crabs.

Bring the water back to a boil and time nine minutes. Shut off the fire and cool down the side of the pot with water using a hose. Put the frozen corn into the water and submerge.

This will cool the water inside the pot. Let the crabs soak for 20 more minutes and then remove. When taking the crabs out, keep them turned upside down.

This will keep the seasoned water in the shells. Your friends will think you are a chef. When the crabs are removed from the pot, relight the burner and put the two whole chickens in the seasoned water.

Boil for 30 minutes then shut the fire off.

Let the chickens soak for 15 minutes. This chicken will be so tender it will fall off the bone. Bon Appetite!


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