Public Rambling: November rut heats up at Atchafalaya Delta WMA

Aucoin’s group bags three deer plus a hog during well-timed vacation week

The first six weeks of deer season were brutally slow for us. We saw very few deer, but I was fortunate enough to take a nice hog. Then, suddenly, it was like a switch flipped and deer —especially bucks — were everywhere.

The rut started and we began to see an average of five to six deer per hunt, and  sometimes many more than that.

I took some time off from work and it paid dividends right away.

On our first hunt, my buddy Randy Levingston saw three does easing through the myrtles, but he couldn’t get a shot. Soon, though, two of the does circled back around and he was able to lay one down — a nice 100-pound doe.

A little later, two more does passed by his stand, and he radioed me that they were coming in my direction. Within five minutes they appeared, but at 60 yards heading away: No shot for me, but just seeing all these deer was a big improvement for us.

Suddenly, I heard a bow shot. Within seconds my radio came to life — Randy had just arrowed a buck. He thought it was a 6-pointer, but he wasn’t sure about the shot — he said he may have missed low.

We gave it plenty of time, then checked the arrow. There was good blood, and the tracking took all of about one minute: The buck was down 30 yards from the site of impact. And it turned out it wasn’t a 6-point after all, but a nice 152-pound, 8-point Delta buck — a great way to start things off.

Dragging those two out took us quite a a while, but on a great day like that one, who really cares?

The next morning we were at it again. This time I could hear something walking slowly and quietly through the water near the marsh. In the early morning light, I could make a out some antlers on the right side. The buck stopped for what seemed like forever.

I didn’t want to draw my bow until it stepped behind the next tree. Finally, the buck slowly eased up and I drew back my bow. I really had a very hard time seeing my pins because it was so early, but I did my best to find the spot between my 20- and 30-yard pin and let an arrow fly.

What happened next has never happened to me before. As the arrow blew through the buck, it frantically ran right toward my 15-foot ladder stand. The deer slammed headfirst into the stand so hard it shook me and made quite a racket with antlers impacting metal.

The buck bounced off the stand and ran only 20 yards before piling up. I waited a while, then got down to check on the deer. It was a 5-point buck, and I radioed Randy and went back to get my bag from the stand.

When I got down, I noticed movement from the area where the buck crashed. Amazingly, it was a coyote running away. In the less than three minutes it took me to get to my stand, climb up and bring my bag down, this coyote had stopped by to sniff my deer. Good thing it wasn’t in the myrtles for any amount of time, or it might have had some bites taken out of it.

Just like that, the deer season had come to life in a flash. Talking with other hunters and the game wardens, we were told of several 9-pointers, and a 10-pointer all taken with the last few days.

The next day, the action slowed some, but at last light I could hear something slowly making its way out of the myrtles. As it got closer and the light faded, I could see it was a black hog. And just like the previous morning, it was going to be difficult to see my pins because of the low-light conditions.

At 20 yards it was pretty much a silhouette, so I made my best estimation and let an arrow fly. The arrow passed through, and we had to track the hog for a few minutes. But during the trailing, my bow got a stick stuck in it near the cam and pulled the string off. So the next day the good folks at Songy’s Sporting Goods restrung my bow and got me right back into action.

Only four days into my vacation, we had three deer and a hog — it really doesn’t get much better than that. Over the next week, we passed on numerous yearlings, spikes, and small bucks. And we did have a couple of misses (a 5- and a 6-pointer), plus some hits that we did not find, but all-in-all it was a lot of fun.

Then, as quickly as it started, it stopped.

We have not seen a deer in our last four hunts. The intense action seemed to last about two weeks, which is pretty much right-on for the Delta rut. But after the deer rest up a bit and we get some more cold weather, we are hopeful to get right back on them.

Good hunting, be safe and God bless.