Atchafalaya Delta WMA bow season off to a solid start

Aucoin provides Public Rambling deer recap

October’s bow season at the Atchafalaya Delta WMA  started slow but finished with a flurry of deer being taken into the first weekend of November.

In October, there was a very nice 200-pound 9-point buck taken, and then in early November an 8-point, 197-pound buck with a 17-inch spread was checked in.

And during the first weekend of November, 26 deer were checked in at the game warden’s station.

My buddies and I started the season seeing very few deer, but as the month progressed, our deer and hog sightings increased.

Randy Levingston arrowed a nice doe on an afternoon hunt right before dark. It took us 30 minutes to blood trail the doe, and let me say that the mosquitos were relentless.

The deer didn’t go very far, but the blood was sparse until we were within yards of her.

On a recent morning hunt, I set up a ladder stand near a rub line along the marsh. Sure enough on the first hunt, I caught some movement through the willows.

I wasn’t even sure if it was a deer at first — it was walking quickly along the trail. Then as it passed between two trees, I saw very tall antlers. Whoa – my heart started pumping!

I drew back and a huge 8-point (at least) buck stopped and looked right at me.

I had my pin on its chest, thinking to myself whether to take the shot or wait, when – Poof! -it was gone.

No stomp, no head bob or anything to let me know what it was about to do. As it ran back up the trail, I tried a few grunts but that big boy was having none of it. I had the pin on its chest for maybe two or three seconds, too. So close!

The next day, I put my buddy Casey Louis in that stand and took another one about 200 yards away.

Four does came by single file in the early morning morning fog. I took a shot at the third one but missed low, as they were 10 yards further out than I estimated. After  45 minutes, I got down to retrieve my arrow.

I didn’t know it until later, but at that time I spooked the same big buck from the previous day. It headed towards Casey, and he said it sounded like a horse running towards him.

The buck stopped at 13 yards in the myrtles and immediately took off again. Casey had no shot, but did get a good look at it. He said it was huge, with at least 8 points and probably weighed more than his 205-pound 9-point he killed last season in the Basin.

That confirmed what I saw – we can only hope that we get to see him one more time.

On November 1, opening morning for the Big Island, Randy saw a very big black boar. The next day another hunter shot it, and it weighed 165 pounds. That was the first hog we have ever seen on the Big Island during hunting season.

Another very cool hunt happened the next day. Randy and I set up for an afternoon hunt and about 5:30, I saw a big doe and a yearling come into the field that where I had my ladder set up.

They fed for a few minutes when I saw another big doe come in to the field to join them. After another couple of minutes, I noticed the first doe would look over into the myrtles with both ears pointed that way. I knew there was something there that had her attention. Suddenly another big doe started towards the field. It did not join the others eating but kept a little distance from them.

I noticed one of the does looking off into the myrtles again. Yet another big doe walked into the scene and started feeding by the fourth doe.

Then it got weird.

One of last two does that came into the field began sniffing the behind of  the first one. They squared off and then the fourth doe charged the first one and ran it off about 20 yards.

They both went back to eating, and then the fifth doe did the same with the third doe, including running it off to the edge of the field.

All of them went back to feeding, then it happened again and again.

It was so strange to see this activity. Never in my 32 years of hunting have I seen anything like this involving only does.

I am 100 percent positive that all five of the deer were does. This went on for 40 minutes and while they were just out of my bow range, I saw them from every angle and they weren’t spikes.

Eventually the first two to leave were the last two that came into the field, and they seemed to be the dominant and aggressive does. The first three were the last to leave.

A few minutes after they disappeared, I saw the first doe run by an opening in the myrtles. Seconds later the yearling followed suit, and about a minute later another deer poked its head out.

The light was quickly fading and at first I couldn’t tell if this one was a buck. Then it reached straight up to eat off of a branch, revealing one side of a very nice rack.

I tried my grunt call because it was 80 yards away and there wasn’t much time left to get a shot off. But it disappeared and I heard an occasional crack, then nothing. Right before dark the woods began to echo with the unmistakeable sounds of a big buck blowing and blowing and blowing.

At last light, I saw a large shape heading into the field. My heart pounding, hoping it was the big buck, I strained to identify the shape. Turns out, it was a large calico-colored hog, but it was now too dark to see my pins.

Game over.

It was an awesome hunt nevertheless. Getting to watch those does, the big buck and finally a hog was great, and the only thing that would have made it better would have been if I had been able to stick one.

But we are anticipating lots more action and adventures as we head into the rest of the season. So stay tuned – we’re just getting started.

God bless, be safe and good hunting!