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SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2012

Inside:

Growing an outdoor business, the Noell way. • The Amazing Archery In Schools Program

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• Quest for the Grand Slam of Sheep • Youth pursue the ‘Kings of Spring’ • Check out what’s hot for the outdoors This and much more great reading inside!

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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012


Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Just hit ‘reset’ If you’re like me, it’s hard not to get your blood pressure up a bit when you pick up the newspaper or turn on the television. There’s enough uncertainty in our world today to last a decade, and sometimes you just have to get away from it all. One of my favorite deer camps has a sign on the wall that says “Here’s where you forget it.” To me, that’s just what the doctor ordered. I know it sounds like a little cliché but getting outdoors is the ultimate way to hit the reset button of life. It’s not about going out to chase an animal around the woods or to froth the water to try to entice a hungry fish, it’s about being there. How could you not enjoy seeing all the incredible dogwoods and redbuds blooming and for just a minute, forget about the economy, gas prices or what’s going on in the Middle East? While it may take a few more dollars to get outdoors these days, it’s well worth the added investment for one’s peace of mind. We’ve become

a society that feels like we have to be “connected” at all times. Unfortunately, that connectivity comes at a cost, and if you don’t take time to slow down, to smell the honeysuckle, there’s trouble a brewing. We as human beings are not built to go full speed all the time. We must recharge our batteries, physically and mentally. Here’s hoping that you’ll get outdoors to get away from it all, to hit the “reset” button of life, and to enjoy what Mother Nature has unselfishly provided to you. It’s there; you just have to make the effort to see it, to enjoy it, to soak it all it. Thanks for reading this edition of Sun Outdoors. We hope that you enjoy it. Please remember to always send us your success photos and we’ll do our very best to publish them in The Sun’s outdoor pages each Sunday. We’re a proud promoter of the outdoors, the reset button of life. —David Mosesso

Sun Outdoors is a bi-annual publication of The Sun Cover photo: Courtesy of Joe Barnett, Paragould Publisher—David R. Mosesso Editorial support and contributor—Tommy Garner Contributors— Advertising—

Curtis Gray, AG&FC Rob Veach, Jonesboro Terry Tacker, Fishers of Men Cory Clark, The Sun

Austin Sparks Jennifer Rorex Ashley Webb Cathy Richardson Denell Whittingham Gena Sheppard Lisa A. Lynn

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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Catching fish by hand gaining in popularity Like a wildfire that starts with some smoldering embers or remnants of someone’s small campfire then gets fanned by the wind, finding its way into the dry leaves of the forest before becoming a raging fire, a very old fishing technique used for many generations of country folks has come to the focus of the outdoor world. Call it grabbling, hogging, gaffing, noodling or one of many other names, it is hand-to-fin combat with the leviathans of the deep. Outdoor television programs and videos have brought catching big fish by hand to the attention of the world. It is one of the hottest rages right now, but it has been around for decades, if not centuries. At least here in Arkansas, it has been around about as long as there have been people who like to eat fish. On the other hand, most people know little about catching fish by hand or that it even existed. I caught up with Crowbar Russell and asked him to educate us on how, when, why and where someone would stick their hand in a hole under the water in hopes that something big would chomp down on them. Here is some of what Crowbar had to say: “Here in the Ozarks, times in the past were very tough. Some of the old-timers would go to the river or lake, find a bank, rock ledge, a set of falls, big hollow log or any other place that had a hole big enough for a catfish to hide in, in hopes of finding a big flathead or blue cat. If they could catch one, it would feed their family for a few days, so it was worth the effort because if they didn’t catch some fish they might not eat for a day or two,” he explained. “This was before there was fishing and hunting laws put in place, so everybody just did what they had to do to survive. The old men who knew how to catch fish by hand would teach their sons and grandsons, who would teach their sons and grandsons. It was something that was handed down from generation to generation. Later on when there were fishing laws in place that discouraged folks from hoggin’ or gaffin’, it was passed along anyway because it was now a way of life. Right now, there are some rivers and lakes in Arkansas where it is legal, and some others where it is not. Every state has a different viewpoint on this, and their regulations are different, so it is confusing. Even the laws in Arkansas are confusing about what you can and can’t do. My family has always lived in a remote part of the state where it was

Crowbar Russell displays the 82-pound flathead catfish he caught by using the grabbling method. a struggle to feed the family, so the oldtimers in our family knew how to catch fish by hand. Most of the boys in our family were taught how to do this, even though we didn’t have to do it to feed our family.

“Catfish spawn or bed in the spring so they are easier to find at this time of the year. A male catfish will find a hole then fan it out to make a clean place for the sow or female which he will go find somewhere to lay her eggs. The

female will be the one that is closest to his size in that particular hole of water. They pair up pretty good. Often, when they do this it they will fan themselves in the hole, causing it to shut, but they will leave a pile of clean gravel outside the hole. I look for a pile of new gravel, which will be a bright looking spot. That bright looking spot tells me that there is a fish in that hole, whether it is in a mud bank, a rock bank, a rock ledge or a set of falls. I may not be able to see the hole because it is fanned shut, but they are not too hard to find. I will push through to the hole, and whatever I put in there is going to get bit hard. If it is my hand, I know that old catfish is going to try to bite my fingers off. If I stick the end of a pole through, there that catfish is going to hit the end of the pole. This is where a hook comes in handy. What I use is not a gaff hook; it is a big fish hook. A gaff hook is a very large, long shanked hook permanently attached to a handle. I use a big fish hook, I put something on the hook for a lure, and it has a short piece of heavy line on it. I use the hook, lure and line on a cane pole, but it comes off of the pole as soon as a fish hits it. This is simply an artificial bait, like any other artificial bait, that you use to catch a fish. I have never seen or even heard of someone using a gaff or a gaff hook in this part of the world. “Catfish like holes any time of the year, so you can find some fish in the holes in the banks, rock ledges, falls, logs and anywhere else there is a hole. In the lakes they really like the docks, boat ramps and concrete slabs, and you can find them there, too.” Russell said there is danger involved. “There is always the possibility of you finding something else in a hole besides a big catfish. If there is a catfish in a hole, there will not be anything else in there, but if there isn’t a fish in the hole there may be a turtle, snake, beaver or something like that. Most of the time you won’t find turtles in the holes where it is mostly rock. They don’t like the rocks because of their shell, but they like the holes in dirt and mud banks. The water is always a potential danger, especially around the falls. Some of the holes are in pretty deep water, and then you have to deal with the current and back current. Hoggin’ or hand fishin’ is not something that you want to do by yourself because of the dangers, and if you get a hold of PLEASE SEE HAND, 5


Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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A gaff has a gaff hook permanently attached to a long handle. They are used almost exclusively in saltwater fishing.

HAND: Crowbar Russell, his grandson each pull in monster flathead catfish using grabbling method from page 4

two flatheads in the same hole, and they will be a male and female fish, but you probably will never see that happen with blues.” So now you have heard from one of the best hand fishermen around and understand more about this little known and misunderstood sport that has been around for many decades. Not everyone wants to stick their hand in a hole under the water where they can’t see, knowing that if their quarry is in the hole that there is a good possibility that it is going

to bite them and bite them hard. Does it sound like something you would want to do? If it is, be sure to study the fishing regulations thoroughly because they vary from one body of water to another, sometimes even in the same region. It would be better to find someone who is experienced in hand fishing and ask to tag along with them. One thing for sure is that when you hook up with a big catfish, you will experience an adrenaline rush like few others in the sport of fishing.

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a really big fish it can get dangerous quick,” he explained. “I caught a big flathead that weighed 82 pounds, and if the water had been very deep he would have drowned me. I had my arm in its mouth, and it was so big it would just swim off and take me with it. It would go to the bottom and sull up, and if I hadn’t have been able to push off the bottom and get my head above the water I would have drowned. I was able to get a rope in its mouth, and Floyd (Crowbar’s cousin) got the rope to help pull it up, too. My grandson Eutah Russell caught a 23-pound flathead the same day. He is 12 years old and of course we had to help him some.

“Another thing is that a catfish always wants to roll. The old big flathead tore the skin off my arms. I was tore up for a while. I really thought it broke my wrist, but I guess it didn’t. It was just almost too big to catch like that. If it had been a blue cat it would have been much worse. A flathead has bristle-like teeth that are not very long. A blue cat has longer, stiffer teeth, and they have a lot more jaw muscle, too. Besides that, a blue cat is meaner than a flathead. They have a bad temper and will try to hurt you just for fun. Jason (Russell) stuck his foot in a hole one time and a blue cat bit him and tore the end off of his tennis shoe. Blues are so mean that they won’t even let another blue cat stay in the same hole with them. It is not unusual to find

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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Young archers compete in the ANASP Archery Tournament in Hot Springs.

Participation in archery is on the rise in schools By Curtis Gray ANASP State Coordinator

2600 E. Highland Dr. • Jonesboro

932-8329/932-4591

The sport of archery has become one of the fastest growing school sports in the nation, and Arkansas is no exception. The Arkansas Archery in the Schools Program (ANASP) is the catalyst for this increase in participation of students in grades 4-12. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission began ANASP in 2008 as a way to help schools provide another outlet for students to connect with their schools. Since its beginning, the response has been overwhelming from schools across the state. The main premise of ANASP is that archery is a sport that can be enjoyed by students of any size, shape or physical ability, and they can become successful at archery. In order for schools to participate

in ANASP, they are required to teach archery for a minimum of 10 days a year during their in-school curriculum. Where it will fit best into the curriculum is left up to the schools to decide. Typically it is utilized in physical education classes. However, currently there are students around the state learning about archery during every class from physics and math to literature. ANASP started out in a limited number of pilot schools. After the demand was realized, the program was allowed to expand to any school that wished to be trained and purchased a set of the equipment. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission knew that funding would be a major hurdle for many school districts to overcome to be able to purchase a set PLEASE SEE ARCHERY, 7


Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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ARCHERY: Archery organization grows to more than 400 schools, 36,000 students around Arkansas from page 6 of equipment. The remedy to this was a grant that provides half of the money to initially purchase a set of ANASP equipment. This still left the other half of the equipment in need of funding, so the schools can access their counties Act 799 fine monies. The Act 799 fine money is the money that is collected from Arkansas Game and Fish Commission citations and is returned back to the county in which the fines were issued for use in educational programming such as ANASP. After the funding issues were resolved, ANASP has grown to more than 400 schools around the state with more than 36,000 students participating in archery as a part of their in-school curriculum. The neat part about ANASP is that it requires all students to use the exact same bow and arrow. Also, students are not allowed to use any type of mechanical release or sighting apparatus on the archery equipment. This makes sure that all students are equal in equipment, and with the schools possessing the equipment, there is no cost to parents for students to participate. ANASP has also experienced unbe-

A young archer takes aim during the state competition in Hot Springs. lievable participation at its state tour-

nament held in the spring each year.

Schools who participate in ANASP can form an archery team and attend the state tournament held at the Hot Springs Convention Center at no cost to the student or school. In 2009 there were 700 students who participated in the tournament. The last two years the tournament has seen student participation exceeding 2,000 students and total attendance at the two-day event near 10,000 people. It is now the second largest state tournament in the nation. Many of the Arkansas teams are competing for spots at the NASP National Tournament in Louisville, Ky., and the NASP World Tournament at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Several Arkansas schools have competed well on the national and world tournament stage with the current world champions in the elementary division hailing from Batesville. ANASP is always looking to expand the sport of archery into new schools. The training is provided to the schools by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission free of charge. The AGFC provides a variety of educational programming available to schools, all of which can be found on its website at www .agfc.com under the education tab.




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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Local men pursue Grand Slam By Rob Veach Special to The Sun Outdoors

It was September of 2001, and while sitting in a bar in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, having just completed a successful caribou hunt in the Northwest Territories, my brother-in-law and hunting buddy, Michael White of Manila, looked at me and said, “Well, what’s next?� After a little more encouragement from the refreshments at the bar, we decided we weren’t getting any younger and that we needed to go on a Dall sheep hunt. My journey began on that day. By late winter of 2002, we had researched several outfitters, and made the decision to book our Dall sheep hunt. In August of that same year, we headed to the Wrangell Mountains in Eastern Alaska. The Wrangell Mountains include 12 of the 40-plus Alaskan peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation. Alaska, the mountains and the hunt took my breath away, figuratively and literally. It was the most grueling and self-abusive week I ever had in my life! The altitude and climbing on the shell

rock was physically punishing and exhausting. But, as with a lot of physical activities, the mental aspect can separate the men from the boys. When physically spent, you can sit for a period and regroup. When mentally spent, you’re toast. A typical day of hunting began around 6 a.m. with a camp breakfast; then we’d head out around 7:30 a.m. on horseback for a two- to three-hour ride, stopping to glass — using binoculars — to search for sheep. Once we located the rams, we’d dismount and start our ascent up the mountain. On the average day, our climb was a 4-5 hour, physically exhausting excursion to attempt to get a closer look at the rams. Finally, on day three of my hunt, we located a good sheep and I was able to successfully harvest my first ram. Once I returned home and my bodily aches and pains healed, I realized that I had begun what I later learned would be a lifelong endeavor. I was addicted to true mountain hunting. Michael and I were both familiar with PLEASE SEE GRAND SLAM, 9

Rob Veach displays one of the three wild sheep he killed in his pursuit of the Grand Slam of North American Wild Sheep.

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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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GRAND SLAM: Pursuit of achievement has taken Veach years to accomplish, and it’s still not done from page 8 the Foundation of North American Wild Sheep (FNAWS) and Grand Slam Club/ Ovis (GSCO) and decided that we should join them both in 2003. In 2005, GSCO held their convention in Biloxi, Miss., and since the road trip would be fairly short, we decided to go. At the convention, we realized that GSCO was the organization for us, focused on conservation and bringing hunters and outfitters together in a personable, down-to-earth way. The GSCO is the organization that documents the Grand Slam of North American Wild Sheep, along with other sheep and goat achievements around the world. To achieve the Grand Slam, one has to take each of the four different North American wild sheep: Dall, Stone, Bighorn and Desert Bighorn. The sheep must be taken by fair chase, by an individual hunter, and documented with GSCO. Currently, there are a little more than 1,700 documented Grand Slammers. I was one-fourth of the way there. My next excursion in pursuit of my Grand Slam was in 2005, when I harvested a Stone sheep in British Columbia. This time, I was much more physically

Michael White (left) and Rob Veach display a couple of their wild sheep trophies. prepared for the hunt since I knew what to expect. I harvested my Stone sheep on my first day of hunting and became a “half” Slammer. My next quest was for Bighorn sheep. In 2008, I hunted Bighorn sheep in Montana. After six days of hard hunting

with heavy snow, we were driven out of camp, and I returned home unsuccessful from my first Bighorn hunt. In 2009, I had the opportunity to head to Alberta, Canada, for my second try at the elusive bighorn. I hunted hard for 14 days in September, but again, was unsuccessful.

I returned to the same location in October, but was only able to hunt for six days due to heavy snow that forced us off the mountain. In 2010 I headed to British Columbia, where we located 32 rams, but none met the legal requirements. I returned home unsuccessful once again. After hunting 36 days chasing a Bighorn, climbing over 60,000 vertical feet, and spending about 100 hours in a saddle, I have yet to see a legal Bighorn ram! This past March, 2012, I headed to the Seri Indian Reservation in Sonora, Mexico, for a Desert Bighorn hunt. On this hunt, I started at sea level and climbed to about 1,500 feet, making it the easiest of my sheep hunts by far. I harvested a ram on the fifth day of hunting. Having taken three of the four North American wild sheep, I’m now considered a 3⁄4 Slammer. Each hunt was an adventure and a blessing. God willing, I’ll have the opportunity to harvest a bighorn sheep in the future and achieve my Grand Slam. Make no mistake about it, a sheep hunt is a journey; not just a hunt. For mountain hunters, the call of the mountains is undeniable. For me, “The Journey is the Destination.”

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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Edwards family has passion for killing turkeys Sometime before dawn, Lexi Edwards chose to chase turkeys with friend and mentor Chris Gillihan while her sister Abby decided that she wanted to hunt with her dad, Jeff Edwards, and her grandfather, Papaw Jerry Edwards. The two young hunters had high hopes that they would be the one to put a turkey on the ground during Arkansas’ youth spring turkey hunt. At 15 years old, Abby had been hunting since she was 6 when she killed her first deer hunting with her dad. Lexi, on the other hand, had not started to hunt as early as her sister but she had also killed her first deer hunting with her dad at the age of 10. Now she wanted a turkey pretty bad and she hoped today would be the day. Lexi and Chris headed out to their chosen location several miles away, while Abby, Jeff and Papaw stayed close by. You may be familiar with Jeff Edwards because he has been featured in The Sun and other newspapers and North American Whitetail magazine with the stunning 206-inch gross Boone & Crockett 12-point typical buck he killed with his bow in Kansas in 2010. He followed that up with another colossal buck in 2011, which he killed with his bow only a few yards from where he arrowed the giant 12-pointer. The latest buck grossed in the 170s, which anchored it solidly in the Pope & Young record book. It is no wonder that these young girls have the passion for hunting burning bright in their souls. What most people may not know about their dad, who makes bagging a huge buck look easy, is that he is more of a turkey hunter than he is a bowhunter. “I am glad that bow season and turkey season does not happen at the same time because most of the time I would be turkey hunting,” Edwards said. When a dedicated turkey hunter is going to take someone hunting you can count on the fact there will be turkeys wherever he decides to hunt. His dad, Jerry, is almost as fanatical as he is. “Dad is out listening every morning, so he has these birds patterned very well,” Jeff said. Abby, Papaw and Jeff quietly went to where they knew the turkeys would be. At about 6:15 a.m. they heard a gobbler and quickly set up on him. Then there were two other gobblers to their right and another gobbler in the nearby creek bottom. Jeff stayed a few yards behind his daughter and her grandfather. He made some soft tree yelps, and the gobblers responded with thundering gobbles. The hunters heard the gob-

Lexi Edwards shows off her Easter morning turkey.

Abby, Jerry “Papaw” Edwards and Jeff Edwards pose with Abby’s turkey. blers fly down, and Jeff called two more times with the gobblers responding immediately. The two gobblers, which were on the right, made a bee line to get between the hen (Jeff) and the gobbler that was in front of them and the one that they had set up on. Abby could hear them drumming as they were coming. Papaw couldn’t hear them, but Abby whispered softly what was going on, then she saw the pair of longbeards. She quickly pointed them out to her grandfather, then got a bead on one of the gobblers and pulled the trigger. Abby,

Papaw and Jeff ran to Abby’s flopping gobbler, which sported an 113⁄4 inch beard, 1 inch spurs and weighed in at 19 pounds. If ever there was a perfect textbook hunt, this was it. There were four different gobblers, which all wanted to be the first one to the hen that they heard, so they wasted no time getting to her. “This was the one quickest turkey hunt that I can ever remember. I always have to work hard for the birds, and they always seem to get hung up somewhere before they finally come in. I can re-

member some pretty quick ones, but I think this one was the quickest,” Jeff explained. “These birds came straight in.” Lexi and Chris didn’t fare as well but they still had plenty of time. Everyone admired Abby’s turkey, and Jeff made sure that there were some good pictures taken. Lexi, Chris and Jeff hunted the evening of the first day, and they had some birds come in. Lexi was using her modified 870 Remington Youth Model 20gauge shotgun, which was handed down from her older sister Abby. Abby was so small and petite when she started huntPLEASE SEE EDWARDS, 14


Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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CENTRAL TOYOTA T A WINNERS R T U O Y C K CONGRATULATIONS HUNTERS! TO

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Colton Lenderman Jonesboro, Ar. Youth Division Runner Up

Dalton Snider Paragould, Ar. Youth Division Runner Up


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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Love, business and outdoors Noells turn passion into their livelihood By Cory Clark Sun Staff Writer

JONESBORO — Dennis and Kay Noell may have a great sense for running a business, but it is the way the Jonesboro couple gives back to their community that sets them apart. As the owners of DNW Automotive and DNW Outdoors the Noells have watched a small one-man operation turn into a booming pair of businesses. Despite their business success and the time it takes to raise a pair of teenage daughters, the Noells have always found ways to give back to their community. Dennis started what would become DNW Automotive in 1988 as a small delivery service for local service stations and parts stores in Northeast Arkansas and the Missouri Bootheel. Following in the footsteps of his father, who also worked on the road selling oil and other supplies, Dennis went out on his own when his dad decided to retire. Four years earlier Dennis had met the woman who would become the love of his life and his future wife, Kay. While Dennis was an avid outdoorsman, Kay had her mind set on a different path. “I never thought I was going to do this as a little girl. I wasn’t supposed to work in truck accessories,” Kay said with a laugh. “I was supposed to be a biology teacher.” In fact, Kay earned her degree in biology at Arkansas State University, but even before she was done with school, she knew she had met a man who was going to change her life, and her future. “Somewhere around halfway through college I knew I would never be teaching,” she said. “I actually started taking accounting classes as electives.” When she wasn’t in school Kay helped out however she could. “I would man the phones and check in freight or whatever needed to be done,” she said. Soon the delivery business began to prosper and Dennis decided to start selling truck and vehicle accessories. The couple moved their business from North Jonesboro to its current location

Saundra Sovick | The Sun

Dennis and Kay Noell, DNW Outdoors owners, have expanded into a new 23,000 square-foot area adjacent to the former area. on Parker Road in 1992. After 10 successful years of selling vehicle accessories, Dennis decided to try and make his favorite hobby a part of the business. Spurred on by his love of hunting, Dennis and Kay opened DNW Outdoors in 2002. “It was a small portion of our building, and that was in 2002, and then we started knocking out walls and making it a little bigger,” Kay said. Year after year, more walls went down and some even went up, and by the time 2011 ended the store was in massive need of more space.

Earlier this year DNW Outdoors moved into a brand-new 23,000 squarefoot space on the back left side of the former store space, and Dennis said it was definitely a proud moment, since running a small business is so difficult today. “It’s tricky, and that’s the reason why it’s been a tough business for so many people here,” he said. “I think we’ve done good with it, and this new store is going to make it nice for our customers to shop because there is so much more room in there.” Dennis said his philosophy toward business comes from a very simple idea

— treat your customers right. “From the day I started retail sales I’ve based my business on service,” he said. “I’m going to give you service, and I’m going to give you the best price I can.” Another reason for their success in business, according to Kay, has been great and enthusiastic employees. “We have been blessed with very good employees that are excited about what they do,” she said. “They are guys who love trucks and guys who love hunting, so they’re enthusiastic about their job and they enjoy their job.” PLEASE SEE NOELS, 13


Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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NOELLS: Owners of DNW Outdoors let local high school students use their archery range, instructor from page 12 As their business has grown the Noells have always felt the need to give back. With his love of hunting and fishing, Dennis said conservation has always been another one of his passions, and passing on the knowledge of the outdoors to the next generation is one of his biggest priorities. “It’s always been important to me to get youth into hunting and fishing,” he said. Living in a state that is rich in hunting tradition, Noell tries as much as he can to expose children to the different opportunities they have to learn about the outdoors. “There are a lot of good programs out there for kids that will help them, and a lot of times we get involved as much as we can,” he said. Along with a new DNW Outdoors store, the Noells also have an indoor archery range at their facility. The Noells allow local high schools to use their range, and Kay said it has been great to watch the growth of archery in recent years. “Archery is now in schools, and we provide the opportunity for the instructors to bring their kids and use our archery range, and then our archery guy tutors them,” she said. “We’ll even send our bow guy to them, and he corrects mistakes and gives them advice on shooting bows.” Even though he runs a bustling business, Dennis said he still finds some time to get out into the woods, even if it’s not as often as he would like. “Hunting is always something that I’ve enjoyed doing — deer hunting, duck hunting and just hunting in general,” he said. “I fish, but I’m not an avid fisherman. I like to go fishing, but the summer is a busy time for me, and it’s hard to get any fishing in.” Although Dennis loves to hunt, his daughters Holly, 17, and Katie, 14, don’t share his passion for the outdoors. “For me to have a hunting buddy I guess I need to have a boy,” he said with a grin. “I tried to make hunters out of them.”

Saundra Sovick | The Sun

Dennis Noell holds a bow and arrow in the new archery range at DNW Outdoors.

Saundra Sovick | The Sun

Kay Noell holds up one of the shirts available in the expanded apparel section at DNW Outdoors.

Saundra Sovick | The Sun Saundra Sovick | The Sun

cclark@jonesborosun.com

Graham Eldridge organizes outdoor supplies at DNW Outdoors.

Here are some of the many items available for purchase at DNW Outdoors.


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EDWARDS: Lexi gets to experience first-hand what keeps turkey hunters coming back again and again from page 10 ing that it was difficult to get a shotgun that would fit her. Jeff and friend Keith Anderson cut the stock off a couple of times before they got it short enough, then they worked the grip area of the stock down where her small hands could comfortably grasp the gun. The trigger pull was pretty stiff, so Jeff and Keith put a weaker spring in the trigger so it would have an easy trigger pull. Abby has killed turkeys with this finetuned shotgun, but she graduated to something bigger like her dad’s 870 Supermag 31⁄2” 12-gauge turkey gun. “Abby never has been affected by recoil, so she shoots 31⁄2” turkey loads when she hunts,” Jeff explained. Lexi and her mentors headed to the woods Saturday evening, where they again found some gobblers willing to work. Lexi had her shotgun set up on her shooting sticks, and when the old gobbler presented a good shot, Lexi was pulling the trigger but the gun would not shoot. After the turkey left they dis-

covered that somehow Lexi had bumped the release on her gun, allowing the breach to open just a fraction so it would not shoot. This is common with an 870 Remington if the release button is pushed, and many veteran turkey hunters have discovered this the hard way, too. That was OK. Lexi would try again on Sunday morning. Easter morning dawned with clouds in the sky, and the gobblers simply did not gobble on the roost. This is not too uncommon in Arkansas turkey hunting, but you have to know your turkeys and your turkey hunting area to be able to take advantage of this. Jeff Edwards is one of the best, and he knows his turkeys and area extremely well, so he put his Plan B into motion. “I knew the turkeys were using a small food plot, so after we did not hear any gobbling at fly-down time I made the decision to move so we could set up overlooking the food plot,” Jeff said. “I knew there were three gobblers that always roosted close by. Just because they did not gobble on the roost

didn’t mean they were not there. I knew that they eventually would gobble, especially if the clouds moved on and the sun came out. We would not have as much time to hunt this morning because we would have to leave so we could get to church on time. About 7:15 a.m. we moved down to the food plot. I heard a gobbler sound off. We set up the decoys and got ready. I called and a turkey gobbled. We just needed to sit tight for a few minutes. They started gobbling and were gobbling on their own or at anything that made any noise. They were red hot and they were headed toward us. I had decided that these birds were jakes and Lexi told me that she would not shoot a jake. That was all right; it was her decision. When we saw the gobblers, they both had full fans and long beards. They strutted right up to our decoys. Lexi shot one of them, and when he went down his buddy started flogging him. We sat and watched this turkey put on a show. These birds had gobbled maybe a hundred times as they were coming in to our set-up. It was

totally awesome. Finally, Lexi said she was ready to go look at her gobbler, so we actually ran the other gobbler off when we started walking out to get her bird. Lexi got to experience first-hand the things that keep turkey hunters coming back again and again,” Jeff explained. “I have never called so little in my life and had so many gobblers respond. I don’t know exactly what is going on but it makes me wonder what may happen when the statewide turkey season opens. We saw no hens and no jakes where we were hunting. The gobblers acted like they hadn’t seen a hen in a week and they were ready to work.” Lexi’s turkey had 1-inch spurs, a 9inch beard and weighed about the same as Abby’s bird at 19 pounds. This was Lexi’s first bird, but you can be sure it won’t be her last. The two sisters have the passion of the outdoors burning in their souls. Under the guidance of their dad, and under the ever watchful eye of their mother Cathy, these young hunters Abby and Lexi are off to a great start in their pursuit of the Kings of Spring.

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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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See how your trophy gobblers, fish stack up With the turkey season in Arkansas in full swing and the spring fishing going wild almost everywhere, there are some big gobblers that have been killed and some exceptional fish that have been caught. One of the big gobblers that has been killed was taken in Sharp County by 10-year-old Denver Lane, son of Wendell and Amber Lane of Ash Flat. This huge gobbler weighs 241⁄4 pounds, has 11⁄4 inch spur on one side and a 11⁄2 spur on the other. It has three beards which are 81⁄2, 9 and 11 inches long. With the big gobblers being harvested and the big fish being caught, most hunters and fishermen want to know how their trophies stack up when compared to others. Many turkey hunters do not realize that there is an official scoring system on turkeys utilized and accepted by the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). In the scoring system there are two different categories for the gobblers. One is the typical category where the bird has only one beard. The other is the nontypical category where birds with multiple beards like the one killed by Denver Lane are listed.

Bill Treat caught a huge bass, by far the biggest that he had ever caught. Except for a few fish to eat Bill is into catch and release. He put a tape on the big female largemouth, and it stretched to 28 inches. After a few pictures, he eased the big female bass back over the side of the boat, giving her a chance to be caught by some other fortunate angler sometime in the future, and in the mean time maybe produce several thousand baby bass. Bill only guessed at the weight of the bass. No doubt it weighed at least 10 pounds, maybe more, but we will never know. There is, however, a formula for determining the weight of a bass using measurements and a calculator. To determine the score of a turkey, according to the NWTF scoring system, you use the weight of the bird to the closest 2 ounces. Then you measure the beard to the closest eighth of an inch. This measurement is for the longest hair on the beard. You then double the beard length. If the bird has multiple beards, you measure each one of those, but remember it has to be included in the nontypical turkey category. Then mea-

sure the length of each spur to the closest eighth of an inch, add them together and multiply that number by 10. So, take the weight, double the beard length and 10 times the spur length, then add them together to get the score of your bird. A 22-pound bird with a 10-inch beard and 11⁄8 inch spurs would be as follows: 22+20 (10+10) +224⁄8 (1 1/8+1 1/8x10 = 22 4/8) = 624⁄8. This is a good bird for our region. To estimate the weight of a largemouth bass you measure the length of the fish and the girth at the biggest point around the fish. You then take the length of the fish and multiply it by itself or square the length (LxL) then multiply it by the girth then divide this number by 1,200. For an example, lets say you caught a bass that is 24 inches long which has a 20-inch girth. The formula would be 24x24x20 divided by 1,200 = 9.6 pounds. For a smallmouth bass you would deduct 10 percent. With turkeys, all hunters are going to take them home, but with catch and release alive and well with fishermen in our region, a lot of those big fish like the one Bill Treat caught, are released

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back into the water. With this formula for estimating the weight of a bass without the aid of a scale, you can take the measurements to know what your fish weighs and you can release it, too. Sometimes turkey hunters don’t have a tape with them to measure the beard and spurs on their turkeys (which most turkey hunters want to know quickly) and fishermen often don’t have a tape with them either. There is something that we all carry that we can use for a measuring device and it is a dollar bill (or a 20 as far as that goes). A U.S. dollar bill is 6 inches long. If you get technical it is may be a sixteenth of an inch longer than 6 inches, but it is very close. Of course turkey beards don’t all come in exactly 6-inch or 12-inch sizes, and neither do fish, so you have to be creative and realize that one bill length is 6 inches. Fold the bill in half and you have a 3-inch measure. Fold it again and you have 11⁄2 inch. Make one more fold and you have seven-eighths of an inch. So as long as you have your billfold, you have a measuring device PLEASE SEE TROPHY, 16


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Any kind of dollar bill can serve as a good measuring tool for your big fish.

TROPHY: Formula can help one find out how much a fish weighs, what kind of score a turkey will bring from page 15 with you. Using a makeshift measuring device works much better than our eye in estimating the length of fish or game. With a length limit in place on a number of bodies of water like the Ozark Quality Stream Management Program in North Arkansas, where the length of a smallmouth bass must be at least 14 inches it will keep you out of trouble. I have used a dollar bill on smallmouths and they have to be almost 21⁄2 bills long to be legal. This is where folding the bill to get the smaller measurements really comes in handy. The huge turkey that Denver Lane killed has an unofficial score of 1086⁄8. The formula for arriving at this score is as follows: 24 2/8+274⁄8 (12⁄8 = 1 4/8)x10+570⁄8 (8.4+9 11x2) = 1086⁄8. This may turn out to be the highest scoring turkey ever killed by a youth in Arkansas and maybe in the United States. Official scoring is pending and confirmation by the NWTF as to where it will place is forthcoming. Regardless, it is a great turkey, and we will keep you posted.

A $5 bill can serve as a good measuring tool for your big gobbler.


Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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A fishing trip to look back on with fond memories The intense storm raged during the night with high winds and plenty of rain. The following morning the winds had calmed but the clouds remained. It would be a gamble to fish this morning as more rain was predicted across the state. Had we listened to the local meteorologist, we’d have missed out on one of the greatest fishing trips of my life. I was fishing with the father of one of my good friends, who was an avid, experienced fisherman. He and I are a lot alike in the area of bass fishing; we’ll fish with any lure as long as it’s a plastic worm. I was in good company. Our first few casts yielded nothing, then the “tap, tap� of the rod tip resulted in our first bass of the day. Bob boated a nice fish, then I repeated the process. We had fished one of the 27 acres of water and suddenly struck gold. Bob set the hook on a fish and missed it, causing his worm to sail over his head to the opposite side of the boat. Before he could retrieve it, he had a fish strike it, missing him. We laughed about

the fish hitting his worm on the other side of the boat when I had caught a fish right at the boat. It appeared as though perhaps we were right over the spot we needed to be fishing, so I maneuvered us away from the bank and into position. We caught bass after bass from one area. The fish must have been stacked like chord wood because we caught 20 or more from this one spot. Every fish was between 11⠄2 to 3 pounds and full of fight. Bob said that he’d seen it like this before on this particular lake, citing several examples of past fishing trips. For some reason that we couldn’t explain or identify, these fish were located in this one area and were intent on hitting our plastic worms. We caught several more fish that morning, and both our thumbs were raw from gripping the rough lower lip of multiple bass. We wore them as trophies of a great day on the lake, not knowing that in the afternoon, things would get even better. We ate a leisurely lunch and headed

to another lake by mid-afternoon. Bob asked “What day is today?� That’s a sure sign of retirement and many days away from the hustle and bustle of his home in Little Rock. I laughed at him as I told him it was Saturday, secretly hoping one day that I too would ask that question to someone for the same reasons. Bob’s favorite worm was not pleasing to the eye, but the fish seemed to love it. It’s a four-inch June bug-colored Zoom worm that resembles a pencil. No action, no frills, no fancy tail, nothing. It’s probably the last lure I’d ever buy if based on shelf appeal. Take it from me; never question the lure selection of a retired fishing fanatic. You’ll soon feel guilty that you ever did. Bob set the hook on a fish as we drifted past his favorite drop-off on the lake. The battle was on as he boated a hefty six-pounder. A few casts later and he boated another fish almost identical. I subscribe in the theory that fishing is not a spectator sport, and it’s much more fun being part of the action, so I fished harder. Bob set the hook, and it was apparent that he had another big

fish on. As the large bass broke water, it was apparent I was right. “Tap, tap� on my line, and there he was! I was now a participant in the big fish showdown. Bob boated even another big fish, bringing his total to five. Apparently the fish were into ugly because his worm beat my pretty worm heads down. Some might say that it was skill, presentation, or pure ability. I say it had to be the worm. We released all the fish to be caught another day, and I managed to land two more large fish that afternoon, making this a spectacular day on the water. I had my digital camera and took photos of most all the larger fish we caught, proof of our success. Photos don’t lie, but fishermen often do, so we were prepared to back up our story at dinner that evening. It was definitely one of those fishing trips that you look back on with fond memories when the fish aren’t cooperating. As I type this column, Bob’s probably out there right now, throwing his Zoom worm into some unsuspecting bass’s mouth. What day is it anyway?

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What’s Hot The Remington 700 BDL 50th Anniversary Edition Rifle

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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Fishing lures that work A half dozen fishermen stood lined up across a bridge at a local fishing hot spot. Casey Griffin watched each fisherman for a few minutes to see if it was going to be worth his time to try his hand at fishing here today. None of the fishermen caught anything except a couple of small fish. Casey knew that there were some fish holding in this spot, and no one was catching them, so he calmly walked past most of the fishermen to an unoccupied spot on the bridge with some nice water. He cast his salty flipping tube rigged with a quarter ounce weedless jig head into the white capping water. He was rewarded with a solid tap on the line and set the hook. In a few seconds a 23⁄4 pound smallmouth bass broke the water a couple of times before Casey lipped the beautiful bronze fish accented with dark tiger stripes and red eyes. Some of the anglers were surprised and had good comments to make, and others were disgusted, calling Casey a lucky so and so. Knowledge of what bait to use and how to use it had more to do with Casey catching the nice smallmouth right out from under their noses than luck did. This was not the first time that Casey had done that, and it most likely will not be the last. There are baits that work right now, and in the right place they will help you get more hookups. Casey was fishing in a clearwater stream with some nice white capping rapids but not much deep

five feet deep but the force of the current is strong so to catch a big smallmouth bass here you have to get the lure to the bottom. The young angler chose a tried and proven bait for the particular place. It was a Salty Flippin’ Tube rigged with a 1⁄4 ounce weedless jig head. Most fishermen refuse to throw a quarter ounce anything in five feet of water, but if you are not bouncing bottom you will not catch fish here on a jig. If it is not a weedless jig you will spend most of your time breaking lures off and retrying new ones on than you do fishing. The Salty Flippin’ Tube in olive green with a few sparkles closely resembles a crawfish in the water. Crawfish are on the top of the list of a smallmouth’s favored food, and the soft tube combination is a “go-to” lure anywhere there are smallmouths. You will catch a lot of largemouth and Kentucky bass on them when they are present, also. A lure that has proven itself many times over, and that will work right now, is a J 9 Jointed Rebel. This fish catching lure is a mainstay of many fishermen, whether fishing in the lakes or the rivers across the region. The color that works the best day-in and day-out is silver with a black back. If you go to most any body of water you will find baitfish that closely resemble this wonderful lure. They are an almost exact clone of the minnows found in most of the rivers here. There are days when the light and color of the water varies and other color lures will

on a daily basis this is the best. There are several ways to fish this lure and none of them are wrong. What seems to be most effective is to let the lure sit on the top of the water for a second or two, then twitch the rod tip a couple of times, then reel slowly. Twitch the rod tip a few more times as you begin to reel faster. Most of the time a fish will hit the lure before you have moved it very far. The J 9 Rebel is my personal favorite “go-to” lure for most of the places I fish. There is a couple of lures that every pro angler has in their tackle boxes and with which they catch a lot of fish, but none of them will ever admit to owning or fishing with these lures. They have been around for so long there is no money or promotional interests that can be tweaked by admitting to using these lures. Besides that, the pro anglers don’t want you and me to know that they are great fish-catching lures that anyone can use in any body of water. I am going to let the proverbial cat out of the bag right here. These lures are the Spoonbill Rebel and the Wiggle Wart.

The Spoonbill Rebel is a deep diving version of the legendary minnow-imitating lure, the J 9 Rebel, but it is much more effective in deeper water or when trolling. There have been many bass tournaments won on this lure, but when the fisherman pulls up to the weigh-in he has something else tied on his rods, probably a new lure which has some merit in fishing and which has some monetary value for promotion. There are several other of the minnow-imitating jerk baits that will work in the same fishing situation, like the Rapala, Rogue and Thunderstick, but again no one will admit to using them. The Wiggle Wart is one of the most closely guarded secrets of tournament fishermen in this part of the world. The Wiggle Wart is a fat chunky lure with the head being the biggest thing about it. The lip is wide and eyes are big. There is nothing aerodynamic about this lure. The wide lip and big head causes it to have a very wide wobble as PLEASE SEE LURES, 22

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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Fishers of Men hold divisional fishing tourney By Terry Tacker Special to The Sun Outdoors

A floating worm and the Bass Assassin are proven lures.

LURES: Bandit 200 Series works in clearwater streams that hold smallmouth bass from page 19 it comes through the water violently shaking its head. This erratic action drives the fish crazy. The best color for most of the deeper clearwater bodies of water is olive green with an orange body. It is a proven fish catcher, but you rarely hear anyone giving it a pat on the back. It will catch fish and it will do it now in most places. With the water temperature being in mid-range, meaning not hot or cold, the fish in most places are in relatively shallow water. A lure that will work right now on most bodies of water in our region is a Floating Worm. Sometimes a six- or seven-inch worm fished with a single wire hook and no weight is the ticket to catching a lot of fish. Other times, using a weighted hook or a very small split shot attached to the bottom on the wide part of the gap of the hook works better. With a very small weight on the hook, the floating worm will hit the water and make a very slow erratic descent into the water. Give it a slight twitch with the rod tip, and it comes to life and then again falls erratically. It is more than some fish can stand. One thing about fishing this bait is to not

be in a hurry. Give it some time. A Bass Assassin works about the same as a Floating Worm, but it gives a very convincing portrayal of a dying minnow or shad. Fish it with either a light wire hook or a weighted hook. I have seen spectacular reactions from suspended fish, which typically are not impressed with any lure thrown in their direction. A Super Fluke will work in the same fashion and in the same places. It is a matter of choice for you to decide. A crank bait that works in the clearwater streams which hold smallmouth bass is the Bandit 200 Series. It almost goes without saying that this bait should be a crawfish color with an orange belly. Big smallmouth bass target the crawfish, and the action of the Bandit 200 turns them on, and it is doing it right now. The Buzzbait and Spinner Bait are very effective across our region right now. The commotion that the Buzzbait makes on the surface of the water is a magnet to bass of all kinds. Sometimes it can be a fish locator because the fish will swirl the bait but not take it. When they do this, follow up as quick as possible with soft plastic bait, and a high percentage of the time you will

catch that fish. Buzzbaits work where almost no other lure will work, and they will work right now. Color almost is not a factor but it can be at times. Hank Parker told me that he fishes a Spinner Bait so much that he will set out deliberately without a Spinner Bait tied on, being resolved to not throw one all day long. Most of the time Hank ends up with a Spinner Bait tied on before the day is over because he catches so many fish on them. Color of the skirt and the blade design make a big difference with these spinners, so matching them to the conditions will make a difference. The more color that there is in the water the more colorful the skirt should be, and the bigger and rounder the shape of the blades should be. When the water is simply muddy or you are fishing at night, you should use a black bait with huge Colorado blades because they cause so much commotion in the water. Clear water calls for a white or white mix of colors, and a willow leaf blade or a willow leaf blade with a small tandem Colorado blade. All of these “go-to” baits are proven fish catchers which work well in our region right now. Good fishing!

The Northeast Arkansas Division of Fishers of Men National Tournament Trail conducted its second 2012 divisional tourney on March 31 at Lake Charles State Park. The tourney was preceded by a Friday night meeting held at the Powhatan Community Center. Several of the fishermen brought their family to the meeting. The teams blasted off early Saturday morning looking forward to a great day of fishing. The fishermen were expecting the bass to be on bed ready to spawn. Most of the teams brought in bass but only two teams brought in a five fish sack for weigh-in. Mitchell Drum and Kevin Owens came in first place overall with a five-fish limit weighing 12.10 pounds. They also had second big bass with a fish weighing 3.85 pounds. Second place went to the team of Tobin Baker and Kevin Riney with five bass weighing 11.27 pounds. They also had the first-place big bass with a bucket mouth weighing 5.51 pounds. Eric Deckelman and Jerry Harris finished third with four fish that weighed 6.65 pounds. We are grateful for the support of our local NEA FOM Sponsors: Unico Bank, Poinsett Sand & Gravel, Mizmo Bait Co., Shelter Insurance, David Wallace, Cavanaugh Marine in Pocahontas, Food Giant in Harrisburg and Harrisburg Family Medical Clinic. Fishers of Men would like to thank all of our fine sponsors; Skeeter Boats, Yamaha, Stren, Pflueger, Strike King Lure Company, Nester Hosiery, Markel American Insurance, Marshall’s Marine, Power-Pole, Duckett Fishing, Buckeye Lures, Keelshield, Solar Bat, Jacobs Glass, Helly Hansen Workwear and Rejuvenade.


Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Camera Corner Jackson Hunt, 9, of Harrisburg displays turkey he killed in Mountain Home on April 7.

Jaden Cupples of Paragould bagged this turkey on April 15 while hunting with his father Jeff Cupples near Imboden.

Jackson Bridger, 11, shows off his 24-pound Randolph County gobbler with an 11-inch beard and 1.125-inch spurs.

Ethan White recently killed this two-bearded turkey while hunting with his father during the youth hunt at the White’s Farm near Smithville.


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Sunday, APRIL 22, 2012

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Sun Outdoors 2012 Spring Edition