May 08, 2023
By Lynn Burkhead
Here's a look at outdoors-related news from last week.
Weights in Fish … Again!
Remember the walleye-fishing tournament cheating scandal last fall on Lake Erie? You know, the viral one in which lead weights were found in one catch and resulted in some serious legal consequences for two anglers?
Now there's word of another "Weights in Fish!" scandal. This time—believe it or not—it was in the annual Suckerfest on Michigan's Lake Huron. As white suckers run their spawning migration upriver from Lake Huron, Suckerfest in Omer, Mich., runs for 10 days on the Rifle River, and includes the naming of the Sucker King and Queen and a $1,000 prize to the angler catching the heaviest sucker.
At the recent event, however, one sucker seemed heavier than it should have, according to media reports, which led to the tournament director dissecting the submitted fish and the discovery of lead weights. Unlike the walleye scandal, in which lead weights were found in fish bellies, the weights were stuffed into the sucker’s head behind the gills, according to reports.
The person in the middle of the sucker scandal won’t face legal consequences because Michigan law regulates bass, walleye and musky tournaments, but not sucker tournaments. Suckerfest, more interested in promoting the family-friendly event, is moving on.
"So many have seen that we found someone trying to cheat," the event Facebook page posted. "We didn't release his name because he was young, and we believe that he was influenced by those around him. That being said, I hope that a lesson was learned by all of those involved. He received a 5-year ban from the tournament. We also explained the damages that could have been done if we hadn't caught his mistake."
Arkansas Duck Calling Legend Trey Crawford Dies
Trey Crawford, an Arkansas native who won the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest three times (1976, 1986 and 1993) and the Champion of Champions Contest in 2000, died on April 13, 2023 at the age of 63. After his reported battle with cancer, a memorial service was held for Crawford with attendees asked to bring their duck calls. Along with that fitting tribute to the duck-calling legend, the family notes that instead of flowers, scholarship donations can be sent in Crawford's name to the Trey Crawford Memorial Scholarship Fund.
DUX III Wraps Up Successful Weekend in Texas
The third annual Ducks Unlimited Expo had another successful run, with DUX III dodging evening severe thunderstorms that brought tornado warnings, huge hail and flash flooding to parts of North Texas for three days running. While there’s no report yet on 2023 DUX numbers, or DU’s plans for this event’s future after three straight years at the Texas Motor Speedway north of Fort Worth, everyone seemed happy as thousands flocked to TMS for the latest in decoys, duck boats, dog equipment, calling contests, and more.
YETI Offers Coffee Table Ducks Book
YETI Coolers has certainly carved out a big name for itself with its premium coolers that have wowed anglers, hunters and outdoors enthusiasts for many years now. In 2023, the Austin, Texas, company is also making a name for itself now in the outdoor publishing space. That seems apparent after the release of "YETI Presents: Ducks Coffee Table Book." Similar to the company’s Tarpon book issued a few years ago—which is a hard-to-find and expensive out-of-print cult classic on the used-book market—this new limited edition volume is a must have for any waterfowler’s book shelf.
Printed in Italy, the new YETI book contains stunning photographs of waterfowling figures and hotspots from across North America—including a shot of Outdoor Sportsman Group's Kali Parmley as she hunted the windswept waters of Alaska’s fierce and rugged coastline—along with essays from some of the nation’s top outdoor writers. With a press run limited to 3,800 hardback copies, the 160-page volume costs $100 and will almost certainly sell out. If you’d like a copy, or are shopping for a unique Mother’s Day or Father’s Day gift this year, take a gander at the YETI Ducks book, a surefire winner yet again from the Lone Star State company.
- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has announced that enrollment in the agency’s Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP) is now open for the 2023–24 hunting season. A TPWD news release indicates that open enrollment for the MLDP Conservation Option runs through June 15; the Harvest Option opened May 1 and ends Sept. 1.
- The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is engaged in a five-year, $2-million research project to learn what is causing turkey population declines in the Sooner State and what can be done long-term to manage turkey populations. According to an ODWC news release, the research is focusing on demographic parameters of turkeys at sites in southeastern and southwestern Oklahoma, and genetic variation in wild turkeys across the state. Specifically, researchers are examining nesting success, nesting site characteristics and cause-specific mortality of poults and hens.
- At the recent Strike King Bassmaster High School Series derby at the Red River near Natchitoches, La., Jase White and Carsen Adcock of Bossier Parish, La., High School take the win. Fishing on what they consider their home waters during the May 7 tournament, the pair of high school anglers made a long run--it was 2 1/2 hours one way from the launch site to Pool 5 where the two high schoolers fished!--to catch a winning limit of five bass weighing 14 pounds, 12 ounces.