Atchafalaya Delta WMA fares well through Isaac

Deer, hog sign indicates good hunting for 2012-13 season.

Hurricane Isaac spared the Atchafalaya Delta WMA from any apparent tidal surges or damage. A full day’s scouting trip revealed no more than a few branches down here and there. About the same amount as from any heavy thunderstorm.

The dreaded tidal surge never appeared because, for the most part, the wind blew down on the Delta from the north for the majority of the storm. This actually kept water levels lower than normal, and by the time the winds returned from the south as Isaac moved away, the tides became a nonevent.In the past, any tidal surge would result in the saltwater intrusion that would immediately devastate the wild pea population, which is a late-summer food crop for the deer population of the Delta.

The peas, favored by the deer herd, are very fragile and eventually the first hint of frost will bring about their demise. Upon inspection this week, we found the pea vines flourishing on every island we scouted.

The deer sign is good in certain areas, and the hog sign is excellent on most of the islands.

The mosquitoes are out of control (as usual!), but the deer flies seem to have dissipated somewhat after Isaac. Snakes are out in abundance; I couldn’t even count how many we saw in a day of scouting.

Water lilies are currently jamming up many of the canals, limiting access.

I have not yet scouted the Big Island, but have talked to guys who have and they tell that all is well there also. Some of the sandbars seemed to have built up a little more, but that is expected and just a part of the delta terrain we have to deal with.

None of the camps have been brought down there as of last Monday. This year, there are only half as many as in the past allowed due to the closure of one of the areas from marsh intrusion and shallow water. There was a lottery selection to determine who received the privilege this season.

The season is fast approaching and, if we are fortunate enough not to have any more storms, I do anticipate a very good season for deer and hogs, judging by the browse available and the good amount of rainfall we received this spring and summer.

When scouting or hunting down at the Delta, please pay attention to the tide chart (Shell Island), as the sandbars can be tricky and the steep drops in tide can leave you high and dry for a very long time.

Also know that come, Oct. 1, the fog usually begins to roll in, particularly early in the morning and right at dark. A good GPS unit is a must, but remember that the unit won’t tell you where big floating logs or upcoming crew boats are.

Another must-have is a Thermacell for mosquito protection. It will become your best friend, at least until we have some serious cold weather to knock them down somewhat.

I have found (through experience), that a change of clothes, extra food and water, and something to shelter you should you have to spend the night down there are very good to have along with you on each and every trip.

Good hunting, God bless and be safe!

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