August 28, 2003

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I know itís sort of an overused compliment for most sports fans, but this is probably my favorite time of year (of course Iíll use that line again in November when deer season starts and reuse the line come April and the start of the crappie bite and spring turkey season or later this winter when the ice comes on and the fish are hot and heavy on the wax worms). Yet the close of August is pretty special as well.

Once this 100-degree weather finally subsides weíll all start to see fall coming around the corner. That means big bass action as they fatten up for winter. Bow hunting will be here before you know it and Sunday afternoons will soon be set aside for NFL football and the couch. But letís not look past the great fun we have in front of us right now.

High school sports are kicking off the fall season as August closes out and September kicks off. Toss in the early teal season on the waterways and dove hunting over the sunflowers or recently cut silage fields and maybe weíll forget about yearning for fall.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, both the September bird seasons look promising. Teal season, which opens September 6, will be expanded to 16 days because of good numbers of the small ducks. The population count has to exceed 4.7 million of the blue-winged teal to allow the 16-day season. If numbers fall between 3.3 million and 4.7 million then the season length is just nine days. If the count falls below 3.3 million the season is closed. Last year, dove hunters harvested an estimated 685,000 doves and early reports indicate another big year is here to be had. The season runs from September 1 through November 9th.

But hunters wonít be the only locals showing off their guns this year. The Scotland County Lady Tigers softball team has some rifle arms and speeding bullets on the base paths giving the girls high hopes for a productive season. The senior laidened team can count on the talented battery of Sara Eggleston and Brandi Mallett, the fleet feet of third baseman Jessie Cotton and second baseman Katie Schneider, the big bats of Becky Miller and Jenna Shalley as well as a talented squad of underclassmen as they try to make it back to the district championship and avenge last yearís loss in the finals to Putnam County.

If the Lady Tigers bats donít give you all the hitting you desire then slide on over to Tiger Stadium where this yearís football team definitely will provide more than its share of collisions. While a pre-season injury to incoming quarterback Danny Roach has forced coach Brent Bondurant to audition some new faces for the role, a very talented and deep backfield of prospective star running backs has the team excited about 2003.

The Tigers return a solid nucleus of talent at the skilled positions. The quarterback shuffle may slow down the SCR-I passing game but Joel Myers, Tim Robinson and Jared Shelley are chomping at the bit to get more carries if Aaron Dale fills the quarterback role and the team switches to a wishbone offense. There are plenty of targets like Clint Cottrell, Kiel Fogle, Joe Talbert and B.J. Houghton if the team can fix the pass attack.

Regardless of how they gain the yards, Scotland County always seems to find a way to win football games and 2003 should not be an exception to that rule.

So I think Iíll wait to get excited about archery season and my planned Brown Trout trip to Lake Taneycomo in mid-October. Thereís just way too much fun going on right now to already start looking too far forward.

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