Well, it’s late summer and the heat is definitely on. It will take some effort and a lot of willpower, but it’s time to get moving.
I made my first scouting trips the past two Mondays down to the Atchafalaya Delta Wildlife Management Area, and despite the heat and bugs it really did feel good to be back out in the woods. I try to make as many trips as I can up until two weeks before the season begins to look at old faithful areas, and also try to find a few new ones.
I found lots of hog sign, some good deer sign, and I jumped deer on both trips. The vegetation is lush and thick as would be expected.
The Delta area was spared the floods that were experienced to the north and west, but walking was still slow at spots and as the morning wore on, my legs started getting a little (or a lot) heavy. Needless to say, the heat is very intense.
As I remind everyone, each season at this time of year if you do not prepare properly, there could be dangerous or even fatal results by scouting in 95-degree-plus weather.
Start drinking fluids long before you get to your scouting area. Get to your location early, and keep the scout to an amount of time you can tolerate safely.
As always, I have been working out for several months in advance of the season — both running and lifting weights. At 58, I try to stay in as good a shape as possible. As anyone who hunts the Delta can tell you, it is not for the faint of heart.
There are not many places where you can hop out of your boat and walk 10 feet to a stand — at least, not if you want to get a nice deer or hog. There is usually a lot of walking through some thick, mucky areas that will sap your energy really quick if you are not careful.
That said, I am grateful there are no hills down here, like you guys further north have to endure. I guess we all have our inconveniences, don’t we?
Looking back at the stats at the Delta from last season, I found that the hunter efforts were up and the kill numbers were down slightly from 2014-15. There were 24 8-point-or-better bucks killed, which was about average.
The heaviest buck reported weighed175 pounds and was an 8-pointer. There were five 9-pointers and four 10-pointers harvested as well.
For the first time in many years, the doe harvest was larger than the buck harvest, though just barely ( 52 percent does to 48 percent bucks.)
Personally, I have always thought it strange that at a bow-hunting-only WMA year after year, there were more bucks killed than does. I believe most hunters typically see more does than bucks at the Delta, but obviously choose to wait on a buck.
Compared to last year, hunter efforts were basically the same in October, down by 15 percent in November, up by 50 percent in December and up by 50 percent in January, as well. January hunting actually was up 300 percent compared to just three years ago. I guess some hunters will wait for the cooler fall temperatures to kick in and the mosquitos to calm down a bit before venturing down the river.
As for me, just like every other season, I will be there on opening day and again on closing day — with quite a few trips in between. Hopefully we will be spared any tropical storms and hurricanes, and we can all have a successful season.
I am going to try something new this year. For the first time, I am going to self-film my hunts using a Tactacam action camera, which will be mounted inside the stabilizer on my bow. I have done a few practice videos and they look promising, so I plan to upload some of my hunts to YouTube and also feature them here on LouisianaSportsman.com. My inspiration is to be able to bring the action of the hunts home for my dad Raymond (who started me deer hunting and no longer hunts due to two bad knees) and also my grandson Baylor, 7, who loves all things to do with hunting and fishing.
Now it’s time for some more scouting trips and fine-tuning my bow for the season. I will be talking with you guys again soon. Until then, God bless and be safe.