Sigh… LSU court’s name goes on trial

Whenever you go to a basketball arena, do you ever notice if or who the court is named for? Better yet, do you ever care? Didn’t think so.

Which makes this whole Dale Brown/Sue Gunter thing at LSU equal parts typical, laughable, and, of course, political. (After all, this is Louisiana.)

A year ago, the LSU Board of Supervisors voted to name the court at the Maravich Assembly Center in honor of Dale Brown, longtime LSU men’s coach. They trotted out Dale and his supporters for the ceremony and the whole nine yards.

But then, the wind started blowing and a movement began to add Sue Gunter, the longtime women’s basketball coach (who passed away 15 years ago) to the floor naming. Last week, a new vote was taken and was approved.

Insert uproar here.

If it is your inclination to say “who cares,” you certainly have my permission. To me, there is only one person in the history of LSU athletics who has reached the level of greatness that should merit a naming opportunity. Take a bow, Skip Bertman. You take a program that few even knew existed and then win five College World Series titles? Now that’s where the standard ought to be.

That’s it. That’s the list.

What has been truly amazing is to see how polarizing the basketball court has become. And don’t let anybody try to tell you differently; there were plenty of folks who would tell you that it shouldn’t have been named for Brown in the first place.

But we all know that we live in a world where the standards have been lowered. Harold Baines, who was a .289 career hitter, never led the league in anything and was never higher than ninth in MVP voting, is in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For some reason, people feel compelled to put up statues at sports arenas for coaches and athletes who are no one’s idea of legendary.

Now, if you ask who has had the greatest impact on LSU basketball? Then Dale Brown is your guy. He didn’t build LSU basketball out of nowhere – that Maravich kid was pretty good and Bob Pettit would like a word – but yes, he was the dominant force behind LSU’s rise to a new level for an extended period of time.

Plus, Dale was a dominant personality. You always kept your eyes (and TV screens) on him.

But let’s be honest as well: there are plenty of answers from the other side as to why naming the court after him wasn’t standard worthy. Most will point out that he won as many Final Fours as you did. And there are many other reasons that get thrown around.

Let’s see if we can agree on this – if you say that LSU has to name the court after somebody, then Dale Brown is the best choice. (The better question is, do you have to?)

If Sue Gunter were so worthy, then why wasn’t her name brought up originally? You know the answer.

But the furor over this is really something to behold. Just like to point this out: no one is saying Brown’s name was ever going to be taken off the court.

Naming the court at Duke for Mike Krzyzewski? Of course. Tennessee named its after women’s coach Pat Summitt, who won eight more titles than Gunter (8-0). That’s the kind of standard that should be met.

Instead, Lou Henson, who never won any national titles, has not one, but two courts named for him (Illinois and New Mexico State).

We have accepted the Lou Henson standard instead of the Krzyzewski-Summitt standard when it comes to all of this.

So what should LSU do? At first, this idea seemed laughable, but now it seems perfectly in keeping with what this has all come to. Have two decals ready to apply to the court — one for Dale Brown when it’s a men’s game and one for Sue Gunter when it’s a women’s game.

Everybody wins! And we all get orange slices afterward!

Contact JJ at

Pushing through a tough tournament

Every now and then an angler has to overcome some adverse conditions. It might be rain, high winds, cold temperatures or extreme heat. But we have to approach adversity just like the postal service slogan: come rain, sleet, snow or shine, the mail must go through.

My first tournament of this year fit this scenario not because of what Mother Nature threw at all of us, but because of illness. To say it was a tough tournament would be an understatement. Nothing is worse than going to a tournament and being physically ill. Today, I’ll give an angler’s perspective on what it’s like to push through a tournament. 

Let me set up this challenge, and remind you that I am fighting Melanoma. On Jan. 3, I had biopsy surgery on my upper left ear — again! The following day, I had my fifth immunotherapy treatment with a drug called Opdivo. This is a drug designed to attack any cancer cells that might be present in the body. My body has not handled it very well. I’ve had to endure major muscle contractions of the lower back during the infusion of this drug. During this infusion after the pain hits, they inject me with two drugs; a pain killer called Demerol and a muscle relaxer called Ativan. This is the only way I can get through these treatments.

So, over a two-day period of surgery and IV infusion with pain killers, muscle relaxers and antbiotics, my body was going through hell. One week later, I headed for Sam Rayburn to get ready for the first ABA Open Series event.

My first practice day on Thursday, I felt sick all day and had major abdominal pain off and on. That evening my good friend and travel partner/competitor Adrian James and I went to dinner. Anyone that knows me, will tell you that when it comes to eating, I don’t pass up many meals. Feeling nauseated with strong abdominal pain coming and going, I started to eat my dinner and could only handle about five bites. I was concerned at this point that I was not going to be able to push through this event. So, I packed up and headed back home to Louisiana.

On Friday, I decided to take it easy and see if the pain and nausea would subside before I made any decision to withdraw from the tournament, which I’ve never done over my entire tournament career dating back to 1990. At 3 that afternoon I called the ABA Tournament Director, Chris Wayand (who does an outstanding job), and told him my situation. He told to me I had to let him know by 5:30 whether I was coming or not since the pairings for this event would be released at 6.

After getting through the day with minimal pain and starting to feel like I could maybe push through a one-day event, I called Chris confirming that I would be there. I left the house Saturday morning (tournament day) at 4 a.m. and made the two-hour drive to Sam Rayburn. I launched my boat with a queasy stomach and some anxiousness as to whether I made the right decision. I got lucky and did not have a partner as there were more pros/boaters than co-anglers. Sometimes in these events, anglers don’t always have a partner.

Finally, it was time to go fishing. As I headed across the lake for a short run to my first spot, I knew immediately that my stomach was going to be an issue. Nothing like a rough boat ride on an upset stomach along with abdominal pain to make you question, “why am I here?” But I powered through, trying to focus on catching fish. I caught one fairly quickly. It’s always amazing to me how much better catching fish will make you feel.

But one hour in, I had to take a break and sit down for about 40 minutes to let the pain subside. This happened four times during the day until 2 o’clock, when I decided I was done. I went in and weighed my fish and finished 24th overall and got some good points. I was kind of proud of that finish due to everything I had to overcome.

One thing about fishing a circuit or trail, if your goal is to make the championship at the end of the year, you can’t afford to miss a tournament. Missing an event puts you too far back in the pack and there’s no way to make up a missed tournament in terms of points. So, I got my points and survived a tough event and I’m still in position to make it to the Ray Scott National Championship in 2024.

Just so you know, I didn’t write this article for you to feel sorry for me but help you realize that sometimes an angler has to push through an event whether he’s facing Mother Nature herself or going through some personal aches and pains.

Until next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to wear sunscreen. Melanoma is real and can be deadly if not treated early. Also make regular visits to a dermatologist; it just might save your life.

Contact Steve at

A chain, open collar, a smile and … pure Lanny Legend, all the way

If you are 50 or older and grew up in North Louisiana loving sports, the light and lyrical name of Lanny James likely brings back some happy memories for you.

Lanny was a sports reporter for KNOE-TV in Monroe and, from 1974 to 1989, the CBS-affiliate’s Sports Director. His career included his Sportscope TV show and coaches shows and lots of play-by-play for high schools like Neville and Ouachita but also for Grambling, Louisiana Tech, now the University of Louisiana-Monroe (NLU then), LSU, and even the old Shreveport Steamer of the World Football League.

But what’s had me thinking about him since the day he passed away — February 2, age 82, and fittingly I was at a basketball game when I heard — was that Lanny James, with the simple and playful name and flamboyant, welcoming personality, so perfectly captured for me such an important time in my little life. I think of it, and I have to think of him.

We’d just moved to West Monroe from a tiny town in South Carolina in 1974. I’d just become a teenager, knew my cousins and that was it, and this was the biggest town I could ever imagine besides Atlanta, where we’d gone a few times to Six Flags. For a kid who grew up 43 miles from an interstate, it was overwhelming.

And there was Lanny James, in his mid-30s, young but naturally I thought he was old, anchoring the sports on television, which was at a TV station just across the river. My god!; this man was within my gravitational pull! He was like right there. I might even see him one day.

And I did. Down there on the court at NLU basketball games with Mike Rose and Calvin Natt and Jerry Jingles and other players, probably in the annual Pacemaker Classic at (then) Ewing Coliseum.

How did I know it was him? You’ve got to be kidding. A small and well-proportioned guy, filled out, tanned, full head of hair perfectly parted, open collar, a necklace or two — guess you’d call them chains? He was beautiful, is what he was. Smooth talking. “The TV Sports Guy.”

I could count on him. He entertained me. And he lived in my town. Covered my teams.

I would meet him later. He did not disappoint. Never did. He was always the same Lanny James. (It was hard to call him just “Lanny” when “Lanny James” rolls off the tongue. Seemed to fit him better. Just perfect.)

Once at Louisiana Tech after a media basketball game before a real game, he sent one of us to the store to get him some hair spray while he showered. True story. Wasn’t the least bit ashamed to ask for it either.

Not a big guy, but bigger than life to me back then.

Once I saw some TV guys hauling a big case up to a football press box. They were struggling. “What’s in the box?” I said. “Need help?”

“No,” one of them said. “It’s just Lanny.”

There is a street in Monroe called Lamy Lane. Once Lanny was picking up his daughter at elementary school and another student saw him and pointed and screamed, “Look! It’s Lamy Lane! It’s Lamy Lane!”

Honest mistake, but I love that kid. Ever since I’ve heard that story, Lanny’s been “Lamy Lane” to me.

He’s gone now and I won’t get to call him that anymore. He’d moved to Florida — loved the sun and golf — and then to Texas around Spring near Houston, and we hadn’t seen him in maybe 20 years. Which hurts me. He was a legend and fun to be around, just because he was Lamy Lane. I wish I could tell him that, and thank him for being my friend before he knew I even existed.

He’d probably thank me for the hair spray.

It’s an interesting coincidence that another local legend, Bob Griffin, passed away at age 85 on February 3, 2020, in Shreveport, almost three years to the day before his Northeast Louisiana sports counterpart. Bob’s career lasted more than 60 years and we all felt we knew him, he was on television and at the ballparks so much. And of course, the world went crazy and closed, you might remember, a month after he died, another interesting coincidence but hardly a surprise.

Lanny and Bob made their living in life’s toy department, but they didn’t take it for granted. If they were going somewhere, they took you with them, and made sure you learned something and laughed along the way. You can’t help but miss guys like that.

Contact Teddy at or Twitter @MamaLuvsManning

What’s it like to land a state-record bass?

It was a cold 27-degree morning, February 12, 1994, when 40-year-old Greg Wiggins and fishing partner Mark Smith launched Wiggins’ boat into the chilly waters of Caney Lake in Jackson Parish. The duo had to have been thinking about the trophy bass that Caney had been producing, including a monster 15.54 pounder caught a year earlier by Tommy Foster.

We visited with Wiggins recently and asked him to relive and share the special moments that took place just before noon that morning.

“I liked to fish a jig and Mark wanted me to show him how the jig worked and how to fish it,” said Wiggins. “We went to a spot I thought might be good and fished there for several hours without getting a bump. We took a break, went to get us a bite to eat and returned to try again.

“Soon after we got back on the lake, Mark hooked and landed a nice 4-pounder. We weighed it, made a few more casts when Mark tied into a really big bass, one that weighed over eight pounds. We took it to what was then Brown’s Landing, weighed it and headed back to the lake,” Wiggins continued.

Wiggins was still sitting in the driver’s seat when Smith made a cast and the fight was on. A monster of a bass had taken Smith’s jig but before Wiggins could net it, the fish broke off; Smith had neglected to retie his jig after landing the 8-pounder.

“I made a cast and turned around to help Mark find the bait he was looking for in a tackle box. When I looked back I saw my line ‘wobble.’ I set the hook and assumed I was hooked on a stump but then the fish started moving,” he continued.

Wiggins was afraid the fish would turn and go into the stump field where Mark had hooked his big fish but fortunately, the fish Wiggins had on the line headed for deep water.

“The fish was stripping my drag and I got on the trolling motor and followed her out into the deeper water. She finally came to the top and appeared tired and worn out so I started reeling hard and brought her to the side of the boat. Thankfully,” Wiggins said, “Mark was able to get her in the net and in the boat on the first try.”

Wiggins said he was shaking so bad and was so rattled he stuffed the bass into the smaller of the two live wells with plans to head for Brown’s to weigh it. He was so nervous he had to ask Smith to start the engine.

“When we got to Brown’s I tried to lift her out of the small live well, knocking off several scales before being successful. We weighed her on Brown’s official scales at 15.97 pounds. I really believe if I hadn’t knocked those scales loose, she might have made 16 pounds,” he laughed.

Today, the 69-year-old Wiggins enjoys getting back to bass fishing with his son-in-law. He had given up bass fishing for several years and had switched to fishing for crappie but his son-in-law talked him into getting back to bass fishing.

Wiggins turned the bass over to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for samples to learn what strain of bass she was, with later confirmation she was a Florida strain largemouth bass. Interestingly, samples were also taken on two other Caney bass weighing over 15 pounds and both were native largemouths.

Today, Wiggins enjoys retirement from his work in maintenance in a plant in Winnfield and spends his spare time fishing with his son-in-law. There’s a good chance, though, that when he leaves home to head for the lake, he pauses to glance at the mount of his state-record bass hanging on the wall, one that has maintained the top spot for 29 years. 

Contact Glynn at

Mahomes’ magic helps Minden’s Sneed collect first Super Bowl championship

Just prior to halftime of Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes was barely able to make it off the field after he aggravated an ankle injury suffered in the AFC Championship Game. The Philadelphia Eagles soon kicked a field goal to build their lead to 24-14 at halftime. 

Things didn’t look good for the short-term future of the reigning NFL MVP, and it appeared a couple of trends would continue. A newly-crowned league MVP had not won the Super Bowl since 1999 and the team who’d won the coin toss hadn’t won the game in nearly a decade. 

Following the extended halftime break, Mahomes looked like … well, Mahomes. 

The 27-year-old threw a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, then engineered a game-winning drive in the final five minutes and the Chiefs rallied to defeat Philadelphia, 38-35, as Kansas City and Mahomes collected their second championship in four seasons. 

Former Minden star L’Jarius Sneed earned his first title. The Chiefs’ cornerback led the team with two passes defended and ranked third with seven tackles on Sunday. The former fourth-round draft pick was a rookie when the Chiefs lost to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl to end the 2020 campaign. 

“I learned a lot this year – tried to learned how to try to be a leader,” Sneed said during this Super Bowl week. 

The performance marked the Louisiana Tech product’s return from a concussion suffered against the Cincinnati Bengals early in the AFC title game. 

“I was sensitive to light the first few days, but I was fine after that,” Sneed said. 

Sneed dedicated this year’s Super Bowl run to his late brother, TQ Harrison, who was killed in Minden in December of 2021. 

“I think about him every day,” Sneed said. “He raised me.” 

The second former Bulldog in the game, Philadelphia running back Boston Scott, had four touches against Kansas City in his first appearance in the big game. 

Scott had three carries for eight yards and one reception from quarterback Jalen Hurts for nine yards. 

Another former Tech standout, Eagles defensive tackle Milton Williams, made one solo tackle. 

Former LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was inactive for the Chiefs on Sunday, but the running back will pick up his first ring. Edwards-Helaire, out with an injury during the second half of this season, was Kansas City’s leading rusher when it lost to the Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. 

Contact Roy at

Not every trend trickling down should be embraced in prep sports

Whenever some seismic shift happens in sports at a level above, it always seems to filter down. The 3-point line. The designated hitter. (Sadly) the wave.

Once it starts with the professionals, it will make its way to colleges. And the next stop? High school athletics.

In these times when contracts don’t mean anything in professional sports — Russell Westbrook signed a five-year contract five years ago and is now on his fifth NBA team — neither do scholarships. Don’t like where you are? Then just take off and go somewhere else and play immediately.

Ah, but there is that last bastion of restricted athletic movement – high school sports. If you want to transfer, there’s a price to pay: You have to sit out a year.

To be sure, there are some ways around it – a few of them are actually legal according to the LHSAA handbook – but as a general rule, you’re relegated to not much more than getting to practice with your team and then watching from the sideline while your teammates actually get to play the games.

But with literally thousands of college athletes venturing into the transfer portal and then becoming immediately eligible at another school, you have to wonder if some form of that might be headed to Louisiana.

The argument that was heard for many years in collegiate sports was that the trombone player could leave one school and still be instantly eligible to play in the band at State U. With a backbone deteriorating before everyone’s very eyes, the NCAA threw up its collective hands and gave the “olly olly oxen free” to athletes who wanted to transfer.

But if you think Louisiana’s policy is right in line with other states, think again. More than 30 states have passed open enrollment legislation as, one after another, transfer rules are being relaxed all over the country. State associations exist to try to create a level playing field. That seems to be a never-ending battle, but there’s another battle that’s going to be hard to fight.

Consider this quote from Traci Statler, a professor of sports psychology at California State University-Santa Barbara, who discusses the issue of high school transfer eligibility in her sports philosophy and ethics class: “One of the primary reasons for transferring high schools is that kids are trying to make themselves more marketable to colleges. Student-athletes are less likely to be loyal to the school their older brothers and sisters went to and more likely to be loyal to the school that can get them what they want — a college scholarship.”

And there it is! You just knew if we tried hard enough, we could get there.

In Louisiana, there are a variety of school attendance zones. Some are divided (theoretically) by geography. Some are parish-wide. Some parishes allow Majority-to-Minority transfers, some don’t. And if you really want to get the eligibility party started, throw in the magnet component and watch all the heads start spinning.

Feel free to wonder, if only for a moment, what an open enrollment might look like?

“I think there would be a lot of distrust,” Captain Shreve head football coach Adam Kirby says. “You’d have to wonder if high school coaches would turn into recruiters. It would put pressure on high school coaches from outside sources to go and find those players. And if you are going to do that, you might as well be a college coach. Part of the reason I enjoy being a high school coach is the purity of the sport. I think it would push high school coaches out the door.”

Kirby has been a head coach for one year, but Glenn Maynor, who has been Haughton’s baseball coach for 29 years, feels the same way. Maynor will be the first to tell you that he’s benefitted from having transfers in his program – “we’ve had some dang good players transfer in,” he says — but he has also lost a few as well.

“I’d definitely prefer it stay the way it is,” Maynor says. “I like the idea of having your own community. I stopped worrying about losing kids a long time ago. If we are running a good program and winning some games, we might lose a few players and we might get some.”

Who would benefit? Some say private schools. Others say it’s more of who it would hurt because of the Darwinian Theory that only the strong would survive. Some schools are challenged enough already to get kids to play in many sports.

“And it would change how you coach,” Maynor says. “If you get on a kid and need to discipline him, he might just take off and go somewhere else.”

“I think this would be a Pandora’s Box,” Kirby says, “that you could never close.” 

Contact JJ at

How quickly it can happen

Over the course of an angler’s career, there are times situations can turn deadly really quick. How you react when you’re in one of these unexpected disasters can be the difference between living or dying. 

Your ability to remain calm is very important in maintaining a clear head and thinking things through. Today, we’ll go over one of these life-or-death events that this angler encountered.  

During the course of a bass tournament, things can go wrong. You hit a stump and destroy your lower unit on your big motor. You run into a log with your trolling motor and break the shaft. You blow a fuse, and all your electronics stop working. You lose your aerator system with your live wells and all your fish die. 

But there’s also the possibility that your batteries go dead, leaving you without the ability to use the trolling motor. This is what happened to me during a promotional tournament sponsored by the Horseshoe Casino.  

For three or four years, the Horseshoe Casino sponsored an event in which they brought in many of their “high rollers” and hired 20 to 25 of the best anglers in the area to guide these guys while they fished for a $10,000 purse, a “winner take all tournament.” It was truly a fun event with some great guys who were just looking to go fishing and have a good time. 

Make no mistake, each wanted to win, and they would sell their mother down the river in order to get the win. Horseshoe paid us (guides) well to take these guys out for a two-day tournament. We fished from daylight until about 1 p.m. each day and had to be at the Horseshoe for the weigh-in by 2.  

One of these events was on Red River and this is where one of my worst nightmares unfolded. My partner and I were fishing and doing pretty good, when around 10 that morning my trolling motor batteries went dead. At the time, we had about 14 pounds of fish in the live well with three hours of fishing left. 

Well, let’s just say the wind was not our friend, blowing about 15-20 mph out of the south, so not having a trolling motor was going to make fishing very difficult. I decided to go back close to the boat ramp we launched from and let the wind push us down a stretch of bank where I had caught good fish before. We made one pass down this 150-yard stretch and culled two good keepers that gave us about 16 pounds by 11 a.m. with two hours left.  

After we made that first pass, we ended up by a boat dock where people had a couple of houseboats tied up. Again, the wind was really blowing hard and as we drifted, we got hung up on the boat dock and I had to try and push us off. There was one piling that was in my way and as I was trying to push the boat away from this piling, my hand slipped off, and into the water I went! 

One thing I discovered when I hit the water was not just how cold the water was, but that the pullover jacket I had on, which was made of Burma fleece, was equivalent to a huge sponge. Understand this: you cannot imagine how absorbent Burma fleece really is. The minute I hit the water, I gained 25 pounds of extra weight on top of my 230-pound frame. I went straight to the bottom and landed like an anchor being dropped from the Titanic.  

The first thing that went through my mind was, “This is not good,” as I opened my eyes and realized I was in a bad situation in 15 feet of water. I tried to remove my pullover, but it was as if I had been shrink-wrapped with this Burma fleece jacket. There was no getting it off, so I was just trying to figure out how to get back to the surface. 

The piling my hand had slipped off of was about four feet away from me, so I started walking on the bottom of the riverbed and wrapped my legs around the piling and started trying to shimmy my way up. Problem was, the piling was covered in algae, and it was like a monkey trying to climb a greased pole. Finally, I was able to get enough grip with my shoes, that it allowed me to get my head above water. I’m not sure how long I was under the water, but according to my 75-year-old partner, it was at least two minutes. He thought I had drowned and was in total panic mode. 

After surfacing I asked him to throw my life jacket to me. Even though it was laying in the driver’s seat in plain sight, he could not see it. At this point there was no choice — it was either swim to the bank or try to get back to the boat. Getting to the boat, in my mind, was a priority as my partner was on the verge of a heart attack! 

At this point I pushed off the piling and swam towards the boat and lifted myself back into the boat with the help of the trim switch on the motor. Totally exhausted, I laid on the back deck of the boat for about 15 minutes trying to gain my energy back.  

Once fully recovered, it was time to get off these wet clothes. This is why you should keep a complete change of clothes in your boat at all times. Once changed out, we went back to fishing — against my partner’s wishes. But as far as I was concerned, we were in it to win it and we needed to get to 18 pounds to have a shot. Well, we ended up in third place with a little over 16 pounds, but to say it was an adventure is an understatement.  

After it was all said and done, I realized on my drive back home that day just how quickly things can take a turn for the worst. Looking back, the thing that stood out from this experience was that I never panicked. For some reason, I was able to maintain my composure, think clearly and slowly process my situation, and find my way back to the surface. 

Talking to a game warden one day about my experience, he told me that most drownings take place in water four feet or less, all because people panic and lose their thought process — when all they really had to do was stand up. 

Until next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen. 

Contact Steve at

Hunting squealers: A blast from the past

I suppose it’s normal, when you get older, to revisit more frequently those special times and events that define who you are. One such activity that put an indelible mark on my life will seem insignificant to some who never experienced it, nor would they care to. I’ll explain.

When I was growing up on the rural route near Goldonna in Natchitoches Parish, hunting in fall and winter was as natural then as driving through the Burger Doodle for a burger and fries is today. There were neither deer nor turkeys to hunt in the woods where I grew up but beeches and oaks growing along the creek banks harbored plenty of squirrels. For real excitement, I knew I could head down to the slough and more than likely, I’d be able to get a shot at a few wood ducks.

I’m not sure if in the 1950s, I knew the proper name of wood ducks, the colorful little ducks that made their living in the sloughs and back waters down in Saline swamp. They were simply “squealers,” deriving their name, I assume, from the high-pitched call they made as they careened through the timber on their way to shallow areas in the swamp to feed.

From the time I was old enough to tag along with my dad, we hunted squealers practically every morning before school. In no way did our early morning squealer hunts resemble duck hunting today. There were no blinds; no decoys; no dogs; no calls. We gathered at dawn with other fathers and sons to pass-shoot squealers at the Sand Flats, a narrow spit of sand dotted with blackjack oaks that lay on the east side of Saline Bayou.

For as long as I can remember, wood ducks flew across the Sand Flats after leaving their roost on their way to a feeding area. I’d like to think that they still fly the same route today. I’m sure they flew across other areas along Saline, but since blackjack oaks don’t grow tall, the ducks generally flew lower over the Sand Flats.

I don’t recall killing very many squealers on these early morning forays, but the anticipation that I might was temptation enough to prod a teenager from a warm bed, morning after morning, for less than half an hour of wing-shooting action.

As I grew older, we took squealer hunting to another level. Instead of shooting for half an hour at the Sand Flats, we pulled on hip boots and drove as far as the old truck would take us down into the swamp, down to where Fordoche Creek spilled out of its banks across the lowlands under the hardwoods to create a shallow green-tree reservoir.

Just about every morning during Christmas vacation from college, I’d join my brother, my dad, and two cousins to wade out into an old brake where squealers came to feed. On rare occasions, a mallard or two would drop in but for the most part, wood ducks were all we saw.

A couple of years ago, I was privileged to relive this experience once again when I joined three other members of our hunting club before daylight for a squealer hunt. One member had seen ducks pouring into a particular portion of our flooded woods several days in a row while he sat on his deer stand.

On this particular morning, we gave the deer a rest, pulled on waders, laid aside deer rifles and picked up shotguns. We splashed our way to the flooded woods, spread out 75 yards or so apart and were waiting when the first “whee-o-wee” echoed through the flooded oaks.

The shooting was fast and furious and within 45 minutes, it was over. We collected seven squealers, one short of a two-bird-per-hunter limit and were back at camp by the time the sun broke over the horizon.

For a few fun-filled exciting minutes, I was down on the old brake with my brother and cousins, waiting in flooded timber at daybreak, listening for the first squealer to announce its arrival. I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a hunting experience more. On second thought, maybe I do. Perhaps it was the last time I shot squealers down on the old brake back home. 

Contact Glynn at

For ETBU hockey, a goal and a look to the sky marks a long goodbye

Dylan Hedrick isn’t sure about the details of his last interaction with longtime friend and East Texas Baptist University hockey teammate Hunter Dorram. All he remembers is that it came on the ice — after the final buzzer to cap a Jan. 29 game against Texas Tech on George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. 

“That’s what’s tearing me up inside,” Hedrick told The Journal. “I just don’t know the last thing I said to him.” 

Less than 24 hours later, the 22-year-old Dorram was gone, the victim of a fatal accident on Interstate 20 near Waskom. 

Dorram and Hedrick were two of three seniors on the Tigers’ Division III team. Just one weekend remained in their four-year college hockey careers. 

“Hockey was his life,” Hedrick said. “He went through a lot growing up and it was a way to get away from it – an escape. He loved to play, loved the grittiness of the sport.” 

On Friday, four days after the tragedy, Hedrick and his grieving Tigers teammates mustered the fortitude to take the ice for a weekend series against North Texas. Before the game, Hedrick and the other senior, Jason Moore, took the ice wearing Dorram’s No. 13 jerseys. The game started with the clock at 13 seconds and Hedrick took the faceoff as the Tigers played with just four skaters. Not only was there a figurative void in the hearts of those on the ice, the missing piece was visible, too. 

“He was listed in the starting lineup,” ETBU head coach Alain Savage said. “It was his last buzzer. That was a great way to let it go.” 

Hedrick and Dorram were a “package deal” when Savage recruited the duo out of the Dallas Metroplex. Their near-decade playing together began during junior high in Mansfield, Texas. It was only natural they’d take the next step side by side. 

At 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds, Dorram was imposing as a defenseman. However, the classroom is where the Gypsum, Colorado, native excelled. He was a 4.0 student who had just two games left in his hockey career, but was set to be armed with a business administration degree. 

The possibilities moving forward were endless and hope abundant. 

“Hunter was really quiet, didn’t say much, but when he spoke people listened,” Savage said. “On the ice, it was more of the same. He led by example. Once you got in his circle, you weren’t getting out. He was going to keep you as a friend forever.” 

How to cope with the events of the past week aren’t covered in any coach’s manual or taught at a player’s camp. The Tigers weathered the first seven days as a family. 

“There were a few guys who didn’t want to get on the ice,” Savage said. “The guys are really close to each other. We rely on each other. I was really down Saturday (for Senior Day), but the boys picked me up. It’s a big family. That’s our culture.” 

The time inside The George has proven to be the easiest part of the grieving process. 

“You get out there and you forget everything — it will take the bad away, at least for a little bit, anyway,” Savage said. “I’ve never been through something like that. This is as close as I can get to losing my own child.” 

The tenacious Dorram created a blueprint for all student-athletes, one Hedrick and Savage hope prevails in the hockey program for a long time. 

“Matching his work ethic, and the perspective Hunter had to combine hockey and school – those are things that will benefit future Tigers,” Hedrick said. “He loved the toughness of hockey, and he brought toughness to the team. He loved scoring those dirty goals.” 

As if Friday wasn’t challenging enough, Saturday’s Senior Day was lathered in emotion. Since Hedrick didn’t get to bid his “best friend” a proper adieu, or doesn’t remember it, he did the only thing he knew worthy. 

“Friday was very hard, the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life,” Hedrick said, “but Saturday, I just can’t explain it. I had a feeling.” 

In his final college hockey game, Hedrick scored the Tigers’ first goal and looked to the sky. 

“It was very emotional. It was for him,” Hedrick said.

THAT is something he’ll never forget. 

Contact Roy at

The World According to JJ (non-sports edition) …

I love East Texas. I love all of that small town, Big Texas feel it has to it. The piney woods, the football stadium lights, the billboards just outside of town to let you know there was a girls golf championship won at the high school 43 years ago. I’d move there, but there’s no way they’d let me in for one simple reason.

I don’t drive a truck.

But last week on a trip with the fiancé through area code 903, I suggested a stop for lunch at a non-franchise location somewhat off the beaten path. You know, to get that true East Texas feel. Swiped through a few suggestions on the phone and found what I was looking for, five miles off the interstate in a town that had never been anything other than an exit sign.

The establishment had a down-home sounding name and, more importantly, got four stars! (I still think that whole rating system is rigged.)

Exit ramp, here we come!

And there it was, complete with a pole-position parking place as if they were waiting for us city folk to drop in and stay a spell. We chuckled at the “No Shirts, No Shoes, No Service” sign on the door as a kind of folksy quasi-Welcome sign.

Little did we know.

“Come on in and seat yourself” said the nice lady as we walked in, as if I had sent her the script in advance.

Did notice a strange smell as we scoured for a place to sit, but I was more focused on how every single person in the place was straight out of central casting. Lots of hats and flannel shirts.

Cream gravy as far as the eye could see. The tables were a little cramped and it was one of those two-part restaurants with overflow seating in the back section.

So we made our way to the back section and there it was. And when I tell you couldn’t believe it, I mean exactly that. That smell I had a hint of when we walked in had now come into clear, olfactory focus.

The guy at the center table was burning one. Marlboro Man. Nicotine City. He hadn’t yet put his cigarette out in the mashed potatoes, but I can promise you that was next on the agenda.

But we didn’t stick around to find out. Actually, we did return to the front section, sat down for maybe 14 seconds, realized that we had somehow been transported back to 1989, when humans did this sort of thing, and got out of there.

We sat in the car for about five minutes, just trying to fully comprehend what we had just seen. Were there authorities we were supposed to call? Was there some kind of Yelp review we were morally obligated to post?

To be honest, the two Louisianans had just received far more attention than the guy literally smoking in the restaurant. And then I found out why.

Texas has no law against smoking in restaurants. Some cities have enacted a policy, but not the state. Actually, you can’t smoke at a Texas school, in a museum, a library, a theater or a hospital. But in a crowded, poorly-ventilated restaurant along the side of a country road? Come on and gitcha sum!

We got our lungs out of there and hopped back on the interstate in search of a lunch free of carcinogens. Probably would have even settled for a place that allowed shirtless or shoeless people.

Contact JJ at

It’s just a cupcake!

The legendary former coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Jimmy Johnson, made a statement one time that really stuck with me. To summarize, he said that he could take a great coach and make them a great CEO due to their ability to motivate people.

As a guy who has worked both as a coach and was Louisiana Director of Manufacturing for Holloway Sportswear, I have to agree with his statement. So how does this relate to tournament bass fishing? Today, I’ll give my perspective on how these two are related.

While overseeing six factories with 95 percent of the staff being women, I discovered that some of the techniques used to motivate players during my coaching days also worked for motivating a work force. The one thing a player needs in order to perform at a high level is motivation.

This also holds true for an employee, whether working for a company or working for him or herself. It might be even more important for someone who is self-employed because they don’t have that person above pushing them to be better. They must be self-motivated in order to be successful. 

But while taking over a Holloway factory in Ville Platte due to issues with previous management, I found out really quick that people just want to be appreciated. The factory had major personnel issues due to a lack of leadership, making the people working there very unhappy. Employees were writing letters to the president of Holloway expressing their displeasure. 

My first goal was to make them feel appreciated. As Halloween came around, I decided to order 300 cupcakes and pass them out during the last break of the day. I took a cart full of cupcakes and made my way around the factory and personally gave one to each employee and told them thank you for doing a great job that week.

The reaction was nothing short of amazing! As I stood by the back door of the factory while the employees clocked out and left, so many told me thanks for showing appreciation for what they did that week, and that they had never been told that by a manager ever before. 

I thought to myself, “It was only a cupcake!” It made me realize that it doesn’t take much to make people feel special. Over that year of running this factory, we did more things like this quite often and the production numbers increased 40 percent. Factory morale was at an all-time high and if I needed an order to go out on time, all I had to do was ask and they would deliver, all because they felt appreciated. 

Tournament bass fishermen are no different! While all anglers have egos and want to win every time they back their boats in the water, in reality they know that won’t happen. But bass tournament trails that pay way down in the standings are usually the most successful and have the greatest following.

Why? Many of today’s tournament anglers just hope to get a check! Even if it’s only enough money to help pay for gas or maybe their hotel, they consider it a successful tournament if they just get a check or “a cupcake.”

This is what motivates them to come back and fish again and follow a tournament trail — the cupcake! Eighty percent of any tournament trail is made up of the guys that never win. The other 20 percent that complain because they want a bigger payback don’t understand the concept that the 80 percent that aren’t winning are the reason there is a tournament trail to begin with. 

Bottom line is this, we all want to be appreciated and it usually doesn’t take much effort on someone’s part for this to happen. Some anglers are perfectly happy finishing in 40th place and getting a $200 check, even if it only covers their entry fee. Most don’t fish for the money; they fish for enjoyment, and nothing is more enjoyable than walking across a tournament stage and getting a check in front of your peers — even if it is only a cupcake.

Until next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen. Also make sure to schedule regular dermatologist appointments. If you don’t have a dermatologist, find one!

Contact Steve at

Just … please, just wait a minute

Every now and then, I wish the NCAA Transfer Portal worked in real life, and I could put somebody in it and send them to another place.

Or I could get in it and send me to another place.

Sigh …

If only life were that simple.

If only the two-year-old transfer portal were that simple.

Until April 2021, the NCAA allowed student-athletes to transfer and be eligible to play at their new chosen institution after sitting out a year. But that was eliminated that Spring of ’21, nearly two years ago, when the NCAA granted its student-athletes a one-time waiver to transfer with no penalty. And with immediate eligibility.

And it has been a musical chairs stemwinder since. 

Throw in the NIL stuff, and what we’ve witnessed since is a Saturday night barn dance in fast forward.

Coaches move around. College professors and administrators move around. Even writers. Great. Players should be allowed to do the same thing.

But … there is a not-so-great side. The NCAA data, at least so far, reveals that only half of the student-athletes entering the transfer portal enroll in a different school. The other half goes to a non-NCAA school, plays another sport, quits ball, withdraws from the portal, or drops out of school.

No team. No degree.

There are students with scholarships who get into the portal, sacrifice their scholarship, and then … can’t get on a team.

There is always going to be a spot for the elite athlete. There are some players who are going to play, a lot, at any school they wish. They aren’t gambling when they enter the portal. And you’d think that most of the time, they are moving to a program that they’ll enjoy more, for any amount of reasons.

But that’s not a big number of athletes. Only a handful from the tens of thousands can play anywhere.

And some athletes made the wrong decision out of high school, again, for any number of reasons. That’s why there was a transfer rule to begin with.

Warning: a person would be dumb as a bag of ankle tape to take any advice I might have. I can share experience, but never advice. So this is just an observation.

This current bunch of college students has never really had to wait. Most of them have never heard a dial tone. Never had to wait for the newspaper to get thrown into the yard. They’ve had microwaves and most always a drive-thru. Automatic banking, one of the great inventions of modern man. Pay at the pump. Cell phone. Audio books and books online.

And all that stuff is awesome. Wonderful. I’d cry if I couldn’t fast-forward through commercials.

But we were trained to wait, just because a lot of smart people hadn’t come along yet to invent things that would allow us to wait less, (and thank you for that, Mr. or Mrs. Online Music Inventor So I Can Listen To Tom. T. Hall Whenever I Want To Person).

We knew there was such a thing as waiting. Today’s gang, not so much. Waiting your turn can be a drag, but it’s not a death sentence.

A suggestion might be to think about why you chose State U. in the first place. Revisit those feelings. Maybe school could be about more than playing time. And players get hurt. And players get better. You never know what the next wave will bring in …

What a lot of Transfer Portal People will miss is relationships you build with a coach, your teammate, the managers and trainers, your academic advisor. You don’t build any history with your professors, the custodians, the staff, the grounds crew …

For most of us, it might be worth the waiting. Sometimes it’s wise to wait. And see.

Again, only half of student-athletes who’ve entered the transfer portal have enrolled in a different school. Of all the student-athletes who signed Wednesday and in December to play football for whatever schools, you wonder where they’ll be, or be heading to, next year at this time. 

Contact Teddy at or on Twitter @MamaLuvsManning

For top-notch entertainment, go outdoors

I enjoy a good movie now and then. I’ll sometimes even go to a concert like the one I attended a couple of weeks ago when Tommy Emmanuel’s amazing guitar work made me want to head home and bust my guitar over a fence post.

These events serve as an avenue of entertainment; we need such occasionally to get us out of our rut and offer a measure of change from the daily grind.

For sheer entertainment, though, I’ll take what Mother Nature has to offer any day. Sitting and observing the things that happen naturally in the Great Outdoors offers entertainment that money can’t buy. It’s free; it’s relaxing; it’s exciting and I can’t seem to get enough of sitting and watching nature do what nature does.

One of the most entertaining events I ever witnessed was provided by a bobcat. I was sitting in my stand among the hardwoods on a hill one day several years ago, enjoying the peace and tranquility the setting offered.

It was obvious I had to have been hunting deer instead of squirrels because the woods seemed to be full of bushy-tails that morning; they never show up in such numbers when I have my shotgun loaded with No. 6s instead of the deer rifle I was packing that day.

In an instant, everything changed in the woods around me. Squirrels that had been leisurely scurrying around one moment all went on high alert the next. I watched at least half a dozen scoot up trees and start to chatter excitedly. I knew they had seen something I hadn’t detected yet. Scanning the woods, I saw movement of something brown and identified a bobcat walking slowly out in front of my stand.

I’ve never been one to let such opportunities go by without extending the excitement, so I dug through my pack and found a predator call which sounds like a rabbit in distress. When a predator hears it, the natural instinct is to cash in on a quick and easy meal.

Here the bobcat came in response to the call, sneaking up and sitting down beneath my box stand. I enjoyed the show until he looked up, our eyes met and he knew he’d been hoodwinked. If a bobcat can look embarrassed, that one did as he slunk back into the thicket.

On a later hunt, I attended another of nature’s productions as I sat on my stand under clear skies and cool temperatures. Two young bucks, identical in size both sporting six-inch spikes, entered my food plot to begin grazing on the grass I’d planted earlier. Our club rules prohibited the taking of spikes, so I sat back to enjoy the show. Soon I realized I’d been watching them for over an hour, darkness was approaching and the spikes seemed perfectly content to graze on the oats and clover.

I knew if I climbed down from my stand in full view of the deer, they’d see me and high-tail it into the brush and they’d key on my stand the next time they came to the plot.

Since it was almost dark and I needed to get off the stand and head home, I decided on a tactic that was sure to cause the two young spikes to bolt without identifying me. I pulled out my grunt call and rattle bag and began grunting and rattling horns like mature bucks fighting, expecting the two little guys I’d been watching for an hour to scoot.

Nothing doing. The aggressive sounds I made with the grunt tube and rattle bag only fired them up. Instead of dashing away in fright, they faced each other and I got to watch a serious head-butting, pushing and shoving match. Instead of turning them away, I apparently turned them on.

Such is the entertainment Mother Nature offers every time you head outdoors.

Contact Glynn at

Ossai’s blunder was costly, but Pratt’s blast was worse

Some things just hit the wrong way.

Can Cincinnati fans forgive second-year defender Joseph Ossai for that no-doubt late hit on Patrick Mahomes, setting up an infinitely more makeable game-winning field goal for Kansas City Sunday night to decide the AFC Championship?

That will come faster than the Bengals should forgive another linebacker, Germaine Pratt, for shouting at Ossai minutes later as the team filed into the dressing room. “Why the hell (actually, he used another word) you touch the QB?!!!”

I’ll bet Ossai, 22, lasts a lot longer with the Bengals and in the NFL than Pratt, who is now the poster boy for Teammate You Don’t Want.

A day later, Pratt tried to explain himself. He failed, again.

“I was emotional. I was in the moment. I was wrong. As a man, you can look in the mirror and say I wasn’t a great teammate at that moment.”

All true. All lacking accountability – not to mention, an apology. Not even a hint of one. Then, this gem ….

“That don’t define me as a man.”

And this: “The brotherhood we built around here is unmatched.”

What color is the sky in Pratt’s universe? Football people like to say it’s the ultimate team game. Pratt’s outburst, however “in the moment,” defines him as somebody unreliable, certainly not a player I’d want to count on.

Some things just hit the right way.

Exhibit A Monday: B.J. Hill, the Teammate You Hope To Be. Hill stood next to a graceful but still misty-eyed Ossai during postgame interviews, like an older brother, “deflecting” some questions that were harsh. Normally that would get a thumbs down from yours truly, but in this moment, after Ossai sat sobbing on the Bengals bench as the game ended, as he patiently fielded questions about his mistake afterwards — and admitted his gaffe — I’m sure there were moments when queries danced near the line of unintentional cruelty. Nobody complained about what Hill said or did.

Best thing I heard Monday: Pratt is in the final year of his contract. Easiest prediction: he’ll find a job in the NFL, but it won’t be back in Cincinnati. With what we’ve seen from Bengals coach Zac Taylor, who has transformed a burning dumpster fire of a franchise, Pratt’s mistake will be the last thing he does on that team.

For his part, Ossai was trying to deal with the reality that his blunder – full-speed, but foolish – all but ended Cincinnati’s shot to return to the Super Bowl. He was comforted by the rest of his teammates in the locker room Sunday night.

“It’s given me peace right now, for sure.” 

Contact Doug at

Shreveport blanked in Super Bowl, but Tech contingent strong

Last year, former stars of three Shreveport high schools represented the city in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Southern California. When this year’s game heads back west – State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona – there won’t be a local athlete on the rosters of the Kansas City Chiefs or Philadelphia Eagles, but the game will be lathered in the red and blue of Louisiana Tech. 

A trio of former Bulldogs, headlined by cornerback L’Jarius Sneed of Minden, will play for a championship on Feb. 12. 

Sneed will represent the Chiefs, who kicked a last-second field goal to defeat last year’s Super Bowl runner-up Cincinnati, 23-20, on Sunday. 

The former Crimson Tide standout was not able to finish the AFC Championship Game after he suffered a head injury while making a tackle on the opening drive of the game. 

The Eagles, who dominated San Francisco, 31-7, in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, will boast a pair of Louisiana Tech products — running back Boston Scott and defensive tackle Milton Williams — when they look to capture the franchise’s second championship (2017, coached by former Calvary head coach and ULM quarterback Doug Pederson). 

Scott was originally drafted by New Orleans (2018, sixth round, 201st overall), but never played a snap for the Saints. 

The 5-foot-6 Baton Rouge native has scored in both playoff games this season. His 10-yard touchdown run was a backbreaker Sunday as it gave the Eagles a two-touchdown lead with 16 seconds remaining in the first half. 

Scott has three rushing touchdowns in six career playoff games. 

Williams was drafted by the Eagles in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s played in all 34 regular-season games during his career and made two starts last season. The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder made two tackles against the 49ers on Sunday. 

Williams made 106 tackles (49 solo), 19 tackles-for-loss, 10 sacks and recovered three fumbles during his 30 games for the Bulldogs. 

The Bengals’ gutting loss ended the season for wide receiver Trent Taylor, a product of Evangel and Louisiana Tech. Taylor was joined in last year’s Super Bowl by teammate Brandon Wilson (Calvary) and Robert Rochell (Fair Park) of the Los Angeles Rams. 

Wilson (knee) did not play a game for the Bengals this season and ultimately landed on the reserve/physically unable to perform (PUP) list. 

Clyde Edwards-Helaire of LSU (ankle) was inactive for the Chiefs on Sunday, but will join his teammates on the trip to the Super Bowl. 

There will also be a former Northwestern State Demon on the Chiefs’ sideline. Barry Rubin, a tight end in the late 1970s on coach A.L. Williams’ squad, has been alongside Andy Reid as strength coach since their days on staff in Green Bay. 

Contact Roy at

TV football analysts slam dunk hoops guys

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been on the shelf and unable to function as a normal, semi-productive member of society.

This has forced allowed me to watch a lot of sporting events during that time, of which there is no shortage of inventory. (I am also fortunate to have DVRed 169 episodes of Mannix, so I’ve got you covered on that front also.)

Lots of basketball, pro and college. Plenty of high interest football as well.

And what has really struck me is the difference in the way these two sports are analyzed during a game.

Look, I’m no expert on sports television broadcasting. I’m just like you – the only qualification is that I watch a lot of it. Just because I listen to music doesn’t mean I know how to play the guitar.

Also just like you, certain announcers drive me crazy for reasons that really don’t have to be logical (see “Raftery, Bill” at the beginning of any college basketball game he calls.)

But I’ve been thinking about this for a while and it has really started to become obvious during my infirmed state: It’s really amazing what football analysts are able to do. And especially when compared to basketball analysts.

I get it … part of it is the nature of the sport. In basketball, you better be quick because the next play has already started. Football has a built-in 30 seconds or so for an explanation.

But I also know you are talking about a sport that has 22 players to account for instead of 10 and a playing surface 12 times as big. And yet these color analysts do it relatively easily and on time fast enough to get ready for the next play.

Yes, they have immediate access to a replay before the previous play is almost over. Still, this is more than just “that looks like pass interference.” They see the game through the quarterback’s eyes, the linebacker’s eyes and the deep snapper’s eyes.

Why did the receiver run that route, making an adjustment after the play had already begun?

How did the linebacker know what the pre-snap read needed to be?

What was the intention to use that kind of motion and did it serve its purpose?

But the one that gets me the most is with blocking schemes. It’s as if they are able to look at all the run or pass-protection techniques of every offensive lineman and instantly know why it made the play work (or didn’t).

San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey had barely even dropped the ball in the end zone when Fox analyst Greg Olsen was telling me to watch how 49er offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey was able to use an effective blocking move on two defenders to free up the touchdown run.

You and I are such simpletons that we just watch the ball and figure that’s all we need to know. 

NBC’s Cris Collinsworth may have a rather annoying voice, but his attention to detail is spot on. Say what you want about ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, but he always seems to nail it on important plays.

I watched a great college basketball game last weekend – two Top 15 teams – and all I got was jargon from the analysts. “That’s a yo-yo!” was one of my favorites, offered without explanation. Or it’s an endless supply of over-talking – “dribble drive” or “screen the screener” or “they ran a high-low to run a scissor off a back cut to get a big open for a shot in the short corner.”

In other words, someone tall made a 3-pointer.

But this is really all about the praise for these football guys who know what to look for, explain what they see and have a bow on it all within 30 seconds.

I’d still be trying to figure out the number of the guy who caught the ball.

Contact JJ at

The ugly side of professional bass fishing

Recently, I watched a great You Tube video by Elite Series Pro Chris Zaldain. He and his wife, Trait, host a You Tube/Podcast show called “Zaldaingerous,” and I came across a 1:44-long video edition in which they dove deep into some of the issues facing professional bass fishing. 

This episode featured Elite Series Pro Matt Herron, who happens to be a good friend of mine and is never short on words. If you want the truth and perspective of a guy who has made a great career for himself, then Matt is the right choice. He will not sugar coat the issues and has sound advice on how these issues should be handled.  

In this particular episode, Matt breaks down some of the problems and situations pertaining to professional bass fishing. Matt, Chris, and Trait talk about rules, sponsorship dollars, polygraph testing, the 2019 split, the new open series, and the Tony Christian scandal. 

If you’re an up-and-coming young man and want to know how to be a pro angler, you better make the time to sit down with Matt Herron. He will not lead you to believe that being a full-time professional angler is easy. If anything, he may have you second-guessing yourself before you walk away. He’ll probably ask you, “Are you sure you want to do this for a living?” 

The first topic they discuss is the fight over sponsorship dollars and how the pool has shrunk. He referred to his days of starting on the FLW (Forrest L. Wood) Tour (2003) and how FLW ruined and burned so many non-indemnity sponsors like Tide, Walmart, Gastrol Oil, Land-of-Lakes, Kellogg’s, and many more. FLW did not deliver the exposure they promised all these major sponsors. When FLW folded, all these potentially great sponsors dropped out of the professional fishing market and left, probably never to return. 

The market of companies out there looking to provide assistance to an angler has shrunk dramatically. Matt points out that today, it’s almost impossible for an angler to make it on his own without solid financial backing. He makes light of how mommas, daddies, or grandparents with deep pockets are footing the bill for these young anglers to try and make it. They do OK for the first couple of years, which is all they are guaranteed. Then, the 70 percent that don’t make it leave the sport with thousands of dollars of debt — up to their eyeballs!    

Next, Matt, Chris, and Trait talk about polygraph issues. He and Chris both would like to see more anglers polygraphed after an event and have some of the questions be revamped. Matt talks about how he personally knew an FBI investigator and how the FBI conducts a polygraph test. He talks about how the wording of questions is critical to catching a cheater. 

They brought up the Tony Christian scandal that rocked the professional bass fishing world when Tony was caught cheating in an FLW Tournament after his “honey hole” was discovered and investigated. It was discovered that he had made a special basket, put it in the water, and stocked it with bass. The basket allowed for his bait to enter the basket, catch a bass, and exit while the lid closed as the fish came out of the basket, retaining all other bass waiting to be caught. Tony was eventually banned for life from fishing as a professional angler and has virtually disappeared. 

If you want to hear the undisclosed side of the professional bass fishing world, check out the episode yourself. Go to and search “Zaldaingerous.”   

The husband/wife Zaldain team interviews anglers who fish the Bassmaster Elite Series. They do a fantastic job of introducing their fans to the harsh reality of being a professional angler. There’s no topic or subject that’s out of bounds as Chris and Trait are excellent hosts with a wealth of experience themselves as professional bass anglers.  

Until next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen. Also make sure to schedule regular dermatologist appointments. If you don’t have a dermatologist, find one! 

Contact Steve at

In the NFL, being No. 2 ain’t easy to do

When Kansas City backup quarterback Chad Henne came into Sunday’s NFL Divisional Round game to replace injured Patrick Mahomes, named Wednesday NFL MVP by the Professional Football Writers Association, I thought the same thing as you.

“Chad Henne’s still in the league?”

Luke McCown, who started 10 games at quarterback during his 13-year NFL career from 2004-2016, those last four seasons backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans, was watching too. His thoughts were more along the lines of, “Lord, have mercy.”

The Chiefs led Jacksonville, 10-7, at the time. But Mahomes was headed to the locker room to get an X-ray of his ankle and Henne was taking a first-down snap from his own end zone.

On first down, Henne threw his first completion. Of the season.

Nice start.

The 37-year-old Henne and the Chiefs put together the longest touchdown drive in the team’s postseason history — 98 yards — increased the lead to 17-7 with 3:54 to go in the half, and ultimately won the game, 27-20.

Mahomes played the second half, hobbling a bit, and is expected to play when the Chiefs host Cincinnati Sunday night at 5:30; the winner plays the winner of Sunday’s 2 p.m. San Francisco at Philadelphia game in Glendale, Arizona in Super Bowl LVII Feb. 12.

Mahomes finished 22-of-30 for 195 yards and two TDs. Henne, who starred for Michigan in 2007 (seems like 1987, I swear) and has four starts in the past seven seasons, was 5-of-7 for 23 yards and a touchdown.

But it’s timing, man. If you ain’t got timing — and a really good tight end like Travis Kelce — you ain’t got nothing.

Henne, in a pinch, was gold when it counted under circumstances only guys like McCown and others in the fraternity can fully appreciate.

“You ARE the insurance in case something happens,” McCown said about the backup’s role. “You understand that. Now, can you handle the horse when it’s time to climb on?”

McCown never had to finish a game “at a moment’s notice” when the starter went down, but with Tampa Bay he did have to sub for the injured Jeff Garcia in 2007 in New Orleans and, in a game that decided the division title, threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns, the last one in the final minute, in a 27-23 win.

“That was early in my career,” he said, “so I was dumb enough not to know how much pressure I was under. Like they say, ignorance is bliss.”

And in 2015 he found out on a Friday he’d start for an injured Brees Sunday against Carolina, the league’s best defense that year, when the Saints were already 0-2. McCown finished an efficient 31-of-38 for 310 yards, but it was in a 27-22 loss; too much Cam Newton and Greg Olsen that day, if memory serves.

So McCown knows about being No. 1 and about being No. 2.

“What (Henne) did is extraordinarily hard for a couple of reasons,” he said Wednesday afternoon while picking up kids after school in his hometown of Jacksonville, Tex., where he and wife Katy, former Shreveporter and Louisiana Tech cheerleader, are raising six children. It takes a minute to round all those young ones up, so the Tech Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2017 inductee had plenty of time to talk — and about one of his favorite subjects.

“First, you’re not getting any reps,” he said of backups. “Henne might have gotten a series with the starters Friday. But mostly you’re running scout team, so you’re running the other team’s plays, not even your own. And if they’re developing a guy — if you’re the old guy like Chad or like I was in New Orleans — that young guy might get the extra practice series with the starters.

“The second thing’s not the reads: you know that. You’ve played for years, you’ve watched film, you’ve done all that,” he said. “It’s the unknown, the emotion of the game at that moment. You can’t be shaken when they say, ‘OK, go get your helmet.’ The crowd is coming to see Mahomes or Joe Burrow, not the backup. So you want to live up to that standard. And to the standard you’ve set for yourself.”

Sunday, McCown was rooting for Henne and for backup QBs everywhere, for guys who McCown says are “worth every penny” when the football gods and fate conspire and suddenly … It’s Time.

“Maybe I’m saying it because now I’m an old backup, but the disparity in pay between the starters and backups in football, or the starting pitchers and the bullpen in baseball, it’s hard to believe,” he said. “You’ve got to have those guys. In moments like Sunday’s, what Henne did proves why you should pay to keep a good, experienced backup.”

Because once the moment is gone, you can’t get it back. You’ve got to make it happen. Right then. Henne, the latest Banner Waver and bellcow for the Backup QB Fraternity, did.

“It’s fun to see him get his due, to see anytime a backup gets his due,” McCown said. “Take any backup playing today: any one of them can out-throw any guy in college. There are what, four billion guys in the world?, and only about 64 of them can throw a goofy brown oblong ball like those guys. You’ve got to remember that these are the best football players in the world.”

The Chiefs had the right one at the right time against the hot Jags. And while he doesn’t have the paychecks Mahomes does, Henne was money Sunday. 

Contact Teddy at or on Twitter @MamaLuvsManning.

It all started with cousin Doug

Back in the day — I’m talking eight decades or so ago — kids raised out on the rural route did it differently. When it came to entertaining yourself, there were no wi-fi gadgets; no cell phone; no video games. Why? It takes electricity for these things to work and it was years before the wires were strung and lights came on in Goldonna. 

I grew up in a four-room house my daddy built – a living room, kitchen and two bedrooms. Bathroom? Forget about it; it took water piped into the house to make it work. Our bored well, bucket, pulley and rope in the back yard was the water supply. Indoor plumbing consisted of what some folks called a thunder mug or slop jar. The serious stuff took place down a path out back that led to the outhouse.

My brother, Tom, was two years younger than me and we, just the two of us, would no doubt have run out of outdoorsy things to do had it not been for our first cousins, Doug and Sambo who lived on the next hill over from us. Doug and Sambo were like brothers to Tom and me and we did virtually everything together. I was the oldest, Doug a year younger than me, Tom a year younger than Doug and Sambo bringing up the rear, a year younger than Tom.

What did kids do for entertainment way back then before electricity and such came to us? If youngsters growing up today had been deprived of all the gadgets and widgets available now, chaos would no doubt ensue. Not for the four Harris boys; none of the other kids growing up in the community had anything modern either, so we didn’t miss what we never had.

What we did have was the tank pond lying adjacent to the L&A railroad track that furnished water for the steam engines that chugged and labored up Oshkosh Hill after filling tanks.  Just over the track was Molido (pronounced Molly-dough) Creek that coursed through the woods half a mile in back of our house. We learned to swim in the tank pond. Molido with its resident red perch, goggle eye, bass, jackfish and mud cat population was the perfect training ground for boys just learning to fish.

The passage of time has a way of changing things. We all grew up, married, had kids and lived in homes with electricity and indoor plumbing and all the amenities these afforded. Tom and I moved away while Doug and Sambo remained in the little town where we grew up. It’s sad but it’s true; when the realities of life separate you from those who were once so important to you, you grow apart, not because of problems but that’s just the reality of life.

Several years ago, I got a call from Doug. He had retired from a successful career in the petroleum industry, had purchased land and constructed a nice pond near his home and he stocked it with bluegills and bass. Like me, he had missed the times the four Harris boys had growing up and he suggested that we meet on his pond, catch, clean and cook fish and relive some of the special times we had growing up.

On June 29, 2007, the four of us met up on the pond, did those things he suggested, had so much fun and enjoyment we decided we would meet together every year and do it all over again. The Cuz’n Fish Fest was born on that day 15 years ago and has continued ever since.

Changes are inevitable with the passage of time and eight Aprils ago, my brother Tom passed away. That left the three of us to continue what Doug started in 2007. We continued to meet and it became obvious that Doug’s health was in a slow decline.

On January 11, I drove to Goldonna to attend the funeral of Doug, the one who started it all. This leaves just Sambo and me, the oldest and youngest of the four Harris boys, to pick up the pieces of our childhood. Will we continue the tradition? I suppose time will tell.  

Contact Glynn at

When opportunity knocked, Prescott stumbled, again

The table was set for Dak Prescott. Sunday offered the best chance in seven years to change perception and take the next step as an NFL quarterback. 

Again, it didn’t happen. 

A 19-12 NFC playoff loss at San Francisco closed the book on another disappointing finish to a season. This didn’t happen at the hands of an Aaron Rodgers miracle or a team vastly better than the Cowboys. 

This time, Prescott got bounced by a rookie — a third-stringer who was the 2022 NFL Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant just eight months ago. 

No, Brock Purdy didn’t light up the Cowboys defense. The uber-talented 49ers didn’t ride his right arm into the NFC Championship Game. He completed 19 of 29 passes for 214 yards. 

However, the kid played mistake-free football. 

In tight games, especially in the postseason, that can be the difference. 

Sunday, Prescott was the difference. 

The 29-year-old, who ended a lengthy turnover streak with a dazzling five-touchdown performance a week earlier against Tampa Bay in the first round of the playoffs, fell back into his 2022 ways. 

The former Haughton star threw two interceptions Sunday, one in the first quarter that led to a San Francisco field goal and another in the red zone during a tie game in the final 90 seconds of the second quarter. The Niners also added three points from that mistake. 

The second half was littered with opportunities for Prescott and the Cowboys to take the reins. 

They managed six points. 

The 23-year-old quarterback who makes peanuts, the guy with just six prior starts, prevailed. Not the seven-year veteran with the $160 million contract. 

Just when all appeared lost for the Cowboys, San Francisco running back Eli Mitchell gifted the Blue Stars a chance to pull off a miracle after he ran out of bounds when the 49ers had a chance to run out the clock. 

It wasn’t meant to be for Prescott. Again. 

In addition to a pair of picks, Prescott tossed one touchdown and completed 23 of 37 throws for 206 yards. 

San Francisco has reeled off nine straight victories. The Niners are a legitimate threat to win the Super Bowl. However, the Cowboys had the supposed edge at quarterback Sunday. In the playoffs, that’s supposed to be enough – especially in tight games. 

Rookie quarterbacks, especially third-stringers, have almost no track record of success. 

Prescott has been there. When he arrived in Dallas as a fourth-rounder in 2016, many had him pegged as third-stringer. However, injuries to Tony Romo and Kellen Moore vaulted Prescott to the top spot before his rookie season began. 

Prescott stunned many by leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record that season. He’s since helped the Cowboys build one of the league’s most potent offenses. He’s amassed big numbers and an impressive amount of victories in the regular season. However, after Sunday’s loss he heads to the offseason with two career playoff wins and four losses. 

Purdy is headed to the conference title game after two playoff wins in two playoff starts. It’s a place Prescott has not been. 

This doesn’t spell the end of the road for Prescott. His career will not be defined by Sunday’s loss or a tumultuous 2022 campaign. His overall body of work is too good to ignore, but the mistakes that labeled this season must be an anomaly. 

He’s already a good quarterback, arguably really good. Can he be great? 

Assuming he stays healthy, Prescott can still quell the naysayers. Will any of the opportunities be as good as the one he faced Sunday? There is certainly no guarantee. 

All we know right now: The lost seasons are piling up.

Contact Roy at

Tigers tailing off as reality arrives with top-half SEC opponents

At one point this season, the LSU men’s basketball team was 12-1. There were warning signs going off all over the place at the time, but it was hard to recognize when you are blinded by the 12 and the 1.

Since then, the Tigers are 0-5 and those trouble signs have become too obvious to ignore. So let’s get on-the-court issues out of the way and then try to figure out how we got here.

And you don’t have far to look to find the biggest of all – the Tigers can’t shoot. Ever since James Naismith tacked up the peach basket at the Springfield YMCA, that’s kinda been what basketball has been all about. Put the ball in the basket more times than the other guys and you win.

LSU’s guards don’t shoot well from the outside, which might be OK if they could finish at the rim. But they can’t do that either. As a team, the Tigers are 11th in both scoring and field goal percentage.

Not that blocks are the greatest indicator of defensive efficiency, but they are second-to-last in the conference. They are also 12th in rebounding.

But remember – these stats are for ALL games, not just the conference ones. Those would tell a much more definitive tale of the misery that LSU is now experiencing.

Which is also what the fan base is experiencing. They can claim otherwise all they want, but when every sport is good, men’s basketball is the No. 2 sport in LSU athletics. Not gymnastics. Not women’s basketball. Not … hold on here … baseball.

The reason some might laugh at that is because LSU baseball has had an extended period of success at a high level. That’s a sure-fire way to raise and keep the interest level.

But on the occasional times men’s basketball has risen to those heights – if only for a season or two – it’s been obvious how it can hold its place. It’s much easier to puff your chest out when your school’s teams are successful in a sport that is recognized nationally for four months instead of four weeks.

Everyone loves a winner – that’s not indigenous to Baton Rouge – but the hot start was fool’s gold. The non-conference wins were against one of the worst schedules in the country. When you post big numbers on the left side of the hyphen, fans buy in.

And maybe that’s why the schedule was made that way. Basketball schedules aren’t made like football. In football, you already know some of the opponents you’ll play 10 years from now. Basketball is basically year-to-year, but even that can change as late as mid-summer.

So the Tigers, under new coach Matt McMahon, had two choices: Play Cupcake City and build up fan excitement AND player confidence or take on some of the Big Boys. In the old days, almost every big school played a creampuff schedule and then got ready for conference.

Perhaps these days, it’s driven by TV inventory, but it’s not that way anymore. Some of the biggest names in college basketball play each other in November and December. There are lots of reasons for it, but it does give a coach a chance to see what he’s got and what it will take.

McMahon didn’t know what he had because literally everyone left before he got there (three returned from the portal). The Top 5 recruiting class that was coming to LSU completely disappeared to other schools. So it made sense to play North Carolina Central instead of North Carolina, Texas-Arlington instead of Texas and Kansas City instead of Kansas.

LSU should have beaten a Top 25 Kansas State team in a November tournament but a questionable official’s call took that chance away. The Tigers did beat Wake Forest, who has turned out to be pretty good (currently tied for second in the ACC).

But the SEC did LSU no favors in its schedule-making. Of the bottom five teams in the conference, LSU hasn’t played any of them yet except Arkansas, a team everyone thought was good but has seen its season go south.

The Tigers were always going to be a lower-third SEC team. It’s just taken a while to find that out.

Contact JJ at

Too many tournament trails?

If you’re a bass fisherman and looking for which circuit to follow, you’re in luck as there’s never been a greater variety.

Texas especially is a tournament fishing mecca with more tournament trails to choose from than there are BBQ places.  It’s getting to the point that anglers are now having to pick which one to follow because there’s just not enough weekends in a month, nor do anglers have an unlimited budget to fish everything. The time has come to choose!

All across the Ark-La-Tex there’s some bass fishing circuit that will accommodate anglers on all levels. The most popular trails fall under the category of team trails. This is where you and a buddy can fish against other teams from your local area or on a regional level.

Team trails are all the rage right now with a handful that continue to set the bar at a high level. Bass Champs, Texas Team Trail, Fishers of Men and the new Brandon Belt Team Trail are kicking off this year in Texas. There’s also Outlaw Outdoors Team Trail and TTO Pro Team Trail, designed for anglers who want to pay higher entry fees in order to fish for a higher level of payback.

It’s no exaggeration when we say our lakes are overcrowded! There’s not a single weekend from January thru October that there’s not a bass tournament, particularly on Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend. It is amazing how well these two lakes hold up and continue to put out five-fish stringers weighing anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds depending the time of year.

Sam Rayburn just might be the most pressured lake in the country and yet it just keeps on cranking out big fish and high 20-pound five-fish stringers on a weekly basis. It’s proof that the Texas Department of Wildlife and Fisheries knows how to manage a body of water.

There’s another organization that’s been around a long time called ABA (American Bass Anglers), which started out as a military bass fishing circuit but has now expanded beyond the military. Its primary focus is on the Open Series which is a pro/am type circuit where one angler is in control of the boat (boater/pro) while the other angler (co-angler/amateur) has to fish from the back of the boat.

ABA has recently introduced a new trail designed to focus on a boater-only circuit called the Solo 150 Tour. This is a trail where the boater/pro fishes by himself without a co-angler in the back. This trail is really taking off and becoming very popular due to the fact there are no co-anglers to deal with, giving the boater/pro full control of the boat all day long. It also makes it a lot easier for a tournament director to run the circuit by not having to deal with enough co-anglers to pair up with the boaters/pros.

So how does an angler decide what he’s going to fish? First, he’ll probably look at the schedule. Where are each of the tournaments located and how far a drive is it? Will you have to stay the night, or multiple nights, and acquire accommodations? How much is the entry fee and what is the payback percentage? Is there opportunity for advancement to a regional or a national championship?

Of these two ABA trails, most anglers look at where the regionals are located and most of the time that will determine whether they follow the circuit or not. Another determining factor for some anglers: which circuit gives them the best opportunity to be competitive? No angler wants to sign up for a tournament knowing they don’t have a chance to at least collect a check.

It all boils down to what is convenient, affordable and what lake or lakes the circuit is going to. One thing is clear. Bass tournament anglers have no shortage of circuits to follow.

Until next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget your sunscreen even in the wintertime.

Contact Steve at

It was the oddest thing … 

Monday morning before his team trounced Tampa Bay, 31-14, in the NFL wild-card playoff game, Dallas kicker Brett Maher heard his alarm clock go off two hours late, hit his non-kicking toe on a Tampa Bay Hilton Garden Inn chair, got a past-due bill notice in his email, then spilled all the coffee when he opened the door on his knee.

But he really started living a sad country song once he got to the stadium. Once his team scored a touchdown.


And once he missed the extra point.


Then his team scored another touchdown.

And he missed the extra point.

Then his team scored another touchdown.

And he missed the extra point.

Then his team scored another touchdown.

And he missed the extra point.

Four in a row. For a professional kicker.

Ultimately, it didn’t matter — although don’t try to tell that to a guy who bet the over. (More on that in a minute.) But it mattered to Maher, who finally made one on his fifth try after the Cowboys’ final TD.

It mattered to everyone watching, because you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy. If anyone ever needed a hug …

And it mattered to kickers, who are people too, at least sort of.

“It was tough to watch,” said Jonathan Barnes, a former All-Louisiana place kicker for Louisiana Tech from 2014-17, now living and working in Ruston, where he and his wife are expecting a little kicker or cheerleader come summertime. He was almost as nervous watching Maher try to kick Monday night as he will be when wife Lauren goes into labor.

It’s a kicking brotherhood kind of thing. They really can’t help it.

“You know when he’s going out there the second time, he’s still thinking about the first time,” said Barnes, who came to Tech from Baton Rouge and is pursuing a graduate degree while he works as a realtor. “And when he’s going out there the third time, he’s still thinking about the second time …”

Since the ball was moved from the two-yard-line to the 15 in 2015, an NFL extra point has been from 33 yards: 15 yards plus 10 yards of end zone plus eight yards to hike, place and kick.

In college, it’s hiked from the two (old NFL rules), making the kick about 20 yards. Barnes was 43-of-46 as a senior, and missed just once in 137 times as a sophomore and junior.

“We do miss a kick,” Barnes said, laughing, “every now and then.”

It’s hard. And tricky.

Consider that Maher has kicked a pair of 62-yard field goals. He has the franchise record with a 63-yarder. But four times Monday, dead on, he missed four straight kicks that NFL kickers make more than 94 percent of the time.

“Ninety percent of kicking is those few inches between your ears,” Barnes said. “It’s not an ability thing with this guy; he’s got all the ability in the world. Just all of a sudden, he got out of that groove — and trying to find it again, right then, can be tough.”

The Cowboys signed another kicker this week and might activate him for the division round when Dallas (13-5) plays at San Francisco (14-4) Sunday at 5:30.

Wish I could activate somebody to cover for me. I am in a harmless but meaningful 28-person family football league. We pick against the spread and no money changes hands but feelings are often hurt. Like mine, when I went 0-for-6 last weekend.

0-for-6. Two misses worse than Maher’s historic all-time league-worst four whiffs.

You can try hard for a long time and not go 0-for-6. I’ll tell you about it sometime, in hopes maybe I can help some poor, misguided soul.

Oh, and just because favored Dallas won and easily covered the 2.5-points spread, don’t think Maher’s missed kicks “didn’t matter.” The “total,” or the over-under, the number of points both teams were predicted to score, was 45.5. They scored 31 + 14, so 45 total. That means if you bet the “under,” you were the winner because the Cowboys professional kicker missed four extra points. FOUR! If he makes just one, the “over” wins.

Except he didn’t. So if you bet the over, what you wanted to kick … was Maher. 

Contact Teddy at

Nursing student follows hubby’s urging to tag big buck

A nursing student at Louisiana Tech, 20-year-old Jordyn Clayton followed her husband Zac’s advice to shoot the shoulder of a deer that had its head and massive antlers hidden from her by brush. She did as he instructed and ended up with a huge 12-point buck that scored 180 3/8 inches.

Jordyn and her husband live in Clayton in Catahoula Parish and they hunt on a 100-acre tract of land owned by her father, land that lies just across the highway from their home. On the afternoon of Dec. 26, the duo decided to walk across the road and head for their box stand located in an area overlooking an opening with heavy timber on each side.

“We left the house about 3 o’clock and walked to our stand. After about half an hour, we began hearing lots of noises coming from the thick woods and suddenly, a doe came out running across the clearing and she was followed by two bucks chasing her. I told my husband that if one of them came back out, I might try and shoot it as they were both nice bucks,” Jordyn said.

Zac suggested that she hold off because it was only 3 o’clock, leaving plenty of daylight to have a chance at an even bigger buck, should there be one in the area.

“Five minutes after the doe and two bucks came across, another deer came walking through the woods where the three had come from and it stopped before getting to the clearing. All I could see was a big body as its head was behind some trees. Zac could see the head and whispered to me to quickly get my gun out the window. I still had no idea what sex or size the deer was because all I was looking at was the shoulder,” she continued.

Following her husband’s urging, even though she had no idea what she might be looking at, she got her .270 out the window.

“At first I couldn’t find the deer in my scope but Zac pointed it out to me and told me to hurry up and shoot before the deer took off. He knew it was a fine buck but I still had no idea since I had only seen the shoulder. So,” she said, “I shot and the deer took off like it wasn’t hit.”

In order not to disturb her sister who was hunting on a nearby stand, Zac suggested that they wait until legal shooting time was over to begin the search.

“After sitting for an hour, my thought was that I had missed because the deer took off so fast. We walked down to where the deer was standing and could find no blood. Then Zac walked another 25 yards, found blood and we followed it to where the deer was piled up 15 yards further,” Jordyn said.

The buck was a fine one, weighing 285 pounds. It was about 5 ½ years old and carried a rack of 12 heavy points. Inside spread was 17 inches, main beams reached out some 25 and 26 inches each with bases approaching 6 inches each.

The buck was taken to Simmons Sporting Goods in Bastrop to be entered in that store’s big buck contest and the rack was measured at a whopping 180 3/8 inches.

Not a bad deal at all for a young lady who couldn’t tell what she was shooting at. Thankfully, her husband knew, she followed his command and ended up with a buck that could very well win the women’s division in Simmons Big Buck contest.

Contact Glynn at