The area I drew is right on the edge on the Mississippi River, which is rising a foot of day. There's about 800 acres of cocklebur land down there that's still above water, but it won't be for long because it's coming up fast. The deer are bedding up there, and there are two funnels of water and we're basically hunting two boat ramps that are the only way for the deer to travel without getting wet.
Thursday afternoon we had great weather. We saw 27 deer within 80 yards. Seven were racks: one 4-point, five 2-year-old 8-points and a 3-year-old 9-point that the guides scored at 139. Three-year-old deer have to score at least 140 to shoot, so it fell just shy of that. The buck is so distinctive they have named it "Wrap-around" because the main beams almost touch at the ends.
That afternoon, we watched 20 does and yearlings, and the weather was still beautiful.
Friday morning, with nice weather holding, we watched 17 deer. "Wrap-around" even showed up again. He stayed all morning at 20 yards in the wide open, sitting there eating pecans.
However, that afternoon the wind switched on us, and we didn't see anything else after deer started scenting us and blowing.
The rains began on Saturday morning, but we still saw 10 does and yearlings. The problem was the wind, which continually shifted back and forth. We got blown out by deer, and that took care of the hunt.
Eight does and yearlings were seen that afternoon, and we could hear bucks fighting. They in those palmettos tearing the palmettos up. They were about to come out, which my guide and I knew because we saw the does heading our way. And then the wind shifted again and the does busted us.
Sunday morning presented us with three does, a 4-point and a 6-point. On the afternoon hunt we watched two does, another 4-point and a 3-year-old, 16-inch 8-point chasing a doe. He was too young to shoot, so of course he stayed well within range all afternoon.
There are 12 hunters on the island, and thus far only one 230-point 8-point has been downed. However, four big bucks were hit high and couldn't be found, and there were two air-balls. Every one of these shots was inside of 20 yards.
One of the hunters missed the opportunity to take a really big buck at only 10 yards. The stand site was surrounded by thick cover, and when the deer stepped into one of the few shooting holes the hunter just wasn't ready.
Another hunter lost the chance on a 150-class 9-point when his arrow slipped off the string. That monster was only 11 yards from the stand.
And then there was the 145-inch deer that is still walking because of miscommunication between the hunter and his guide. The guide had whispered that the deer could be shot, but the hunter failed to hear. The guy was drawn back and didn't know he could shoot. The guide saw him drawn back and thought he was going to shoot. Finally, the hunter looked back and asked the guide if he could shoot, and the deer heard him.
So we've had lots opportunity but on one connection. In fact, I think I'm the only hunter who has yet to get a shot.
The deer are still in a pre-rut stage. The earliest does are coming into estrus, and when you find those, the bucks are all over them. The bucks are also sparring. At least half the people have seen or heard them fighting. They've been rubbing and scraping for a couple of weeks now.
But I feel it's only a matter of time before the big one shows up in front of me. I'm in an area that the deer have to move through, so it's just playing the odds.