Spring is here and many of us will be enjoying the outdoors. However, it’s always prudent to remember that we share the woods and fields with many other creatures who could pose a danger to us.
Snakes, for example. While in the Walmart in Rayville a few months back, I ran into a friend whose leg was swollen to twice its normal size! I learned that he had stepped on a copperhead less than one hundred feet from where I park my truck while hunting. The copperhead bit him three times! Two years ago, I was nearly bitten by a copperhead myself. Fortunately, he moved, which caught my eye just before I stepped on him. I jumped back and shot him with my .17 varmint rifle. Cotton mouths also pose a big danger in northeast Louisiana, especially around ponds and lakes. You must always be vigilant.
We now have so many black bears in northeast Louisiana that they are becoming dangerous hazards. Several have wandered out in our highways and have been struck by vehicles. If you’ve traveled down Interstate 20 recently between Delhi and Tallulah, you probably have noticed the new signs warning motorists to look out for bears crossing the Interstate along a 13 mile corridor. It is my understanding that at least three bears have been struck and killed in our area, which is not good for the bears, and certainly not good for a vehicle that collides with a 400 pound object in the middle of the road.
My neighbors tell me that there are numerous bears in the Holly Ridge area, which is only 5 miles from my 20 acres. I expect to see them on my trail cam any day now. I also expect that we may have a bear season, once one of them wanders up on a local school yard. That is, if the coach doesn’t register him in school and put a football uniform on him.
There have been several cougar sightings in Richland and Morehouse Parishes recently. Cougars, of course, have an extremely predatory nature and are much more aggressive than bears are.
People working or playing in the woods of northeast Louisiana should take precautions where they may encounter these wild animals. Outdoorsmen are urged to wear tiny noisy bells on their clothing to give advance warning to any large animals that might be close so you don’t take them by surprise. Also, anyone using the out-of-doors is advised to carry “Pepper Spray” in case of an encounter with these animals.
Outdoorsmen should also be on the watch for tracks, and should be able to tell the difference between black bear feces and cougar feces. Black bear scat is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Cougar scat has tiny little bells in it and smells like pepper.
My neighbors tell me that there are numerous bears in the Holly Ridge area,
several cougar sightings in Richland and Morehouse Parishes recently