The eagerly awaited bow season has begun, and I have already made several hunts down at the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area.
Deer sightings have been few and far between for me and my hunting buddies. We are trying multiple stand locations on multiple islands. But I have seen pictures of two 4-pointers killed by a couple of veteran Delta bowhunters, and have heard of some sporadic sightings from other hunters.
Hog sightings, however, have been somewhat more plentiful.
While walking back to the boat after a morning hunt, I stalked an area where we have killed several hogs over the past few seasons. As I approached, I heard some grunting and tried to narrow down the location.
Suddenly, a small hog burst out of the thicket and ran by me at no more than 10 feet. It zipped back into another thicket before I could even nock an arrow.
Now at full alert, I heard another hog grunting and this one sounded much bigger. Within seconds, I saw a black sow headed in my direction, but she saw me and started to cut to my right into the thicket. At 20 yards, I could only see the top of her ears in the tall grass, 5 feet before she would disappear into thick cover. Already at full draw, I moved my 20 yard pin to where her shoulder “should” be and let the arrow fly.
She disappeared into the thicket and continued grunting. I waited a few minutes then walked over to look for blood. I found a few drops at the impact site, and then found more on both sides of the brush she crashed through.
Knowing I had a pass-through shot only heightened the anticipation of my first bow kill of the season. The path she made was extremely narrow, and the thicket reeds were about 12 feet high, so I laid my bow down and started blood trailing.
It was a good trail, but the only thing slowing me down was how narrow the path was — I had to force my way through the bushes.
About 40 yards in, I found where the sow had crossed through a bedding area, leaving lots of blood. I noticed a small tree a few feet ahead with blood smeared on it, and bubbly blood on the ground next to it.
What I did not notice was the big hog laying next to the tree in the thicket.
At the same instant I saw the hog, it let out a roar — not a grunt — that sent chills down my spine.
I reached for my knife, but thankfully it ran away from me, sounding like a tank crashing through the bushes. After regaining my composure, I realized that it sounded like it only went about 10 yards before thrashing all around.
Soon all was quiet. But I really didn’t want to get too close at that point without my bow, in case it was still alive and might make a run at me. So I backed out, radioed my buddy Mike, and told him to bring the deer cart from the boat.
I crept back in and carefully approached the hog. It had indeed expired, and was actually bigger than I thought it was. That was because I never fully saw the whole hog because it was mostly hidden by tall grass. We found that it was a good lung shot, and it messed up the liver, as well.
I dragged it out of the thicket and waited for the deer cart. We were able to get it back to the boat in about 30 minutes.
I willingly admit that when the hog let out that roar, it really startled me more than any other encounter that I have had with a hog. Had it charged me, I would have been cut before I knew what happened — it was just that fast. Scary as heck, but what an adrenaline rush.
A few days later, I had a very good opportunity to shoot another hog basically the same size, but a nock issue with my arrow kept me from getting the second pig.
At 5:15, I heard a hog coming from the marsh at about 150 yards, noisily splashing though the water as it approached my stand.
At 25 yards, I drew back and my Nockturnal lighted nock disconnected from the string.
Now at 15 yards, I quickly re-nocked it, drew again and the same thing happened. This time I grabbed another arrow, but the hog had disappeared into the myrtles.
I had never had this happen with those nocks before. The next day, I pulled a new nock from the package and the exact same thing happened. I still don’t know why, but obviously that was it with those nocks for me.
That same afternoon, I saw the only two deer that I have seen from the stand this season — a cow-horned spike and a doe.
They came out about 6:15 and fed for 20 minutes, never coming into bow range. Eventually I tried the grunt call, but it only seemed to spook both of them.
So that's about all of my action so far. I will be hunting for much of November, and hope the coming cold weather will help jump-start the Delta deer.
Hey guys, good luck, be considerate to your fellow hunters and be safe.