Public Rambling: Scouting underway on Atchafalaya Delta WMA for upcoming seasons

Newly-formed sandbars could make access more difficult this year, Aucoin says

I have made two scouting trips down to the Atchafalaya Delta so far this summer, both being early-morning ventures because of the intense heat and humidity in August.

I try to get to my destination right at daylight and head out no later than 10 a.m., and I  hydrate before I start and keep the fluid intake going both during and after the scout.

Both areas I visited were very dry, though everything is “greened up” as usual for this time of the year. On the second trip, I saw three does and numerous hog and deer trails. Rabbits were everywhere — too many to even count.

The mosquitos were quite intense, as were the deer flies, which is expected on an early-morning scout. They dissipated as the morning wore on, but the heat increased dramatically as well. Hog sign was in most areas, though not quite as much as last pre-season.

We anticipate now access to the Delta will be quite a bit more difficult than usual. The long period of high water has deposited new sandbars, as well as reinforced and built up those that were already there. We actually hit a sandbar in the middle of one of the channels at high tide.

The water is still higher than normal but continuing to drop daily. When it bottoms out, we will be taking a trip down just to assess what we will be facing this coming season. However shallow it may be now, when the north winds from a front start blowing in the winter, many areas will be completely inaccessible — even for a surface drive.

So we will have to prepare for those days and have backup areas to hunt that we can access. I would also advise you to redo your GPS tracks from the boat landing to the Delta. While riding down there in the daylight is usually not that difficult, at night (especially when it is foggy), you want to be sure you are in the deepest part of the channel. For the most part, the Coast Guard buoys and lights seem to be intact, in place and working.

After last season’s very successful, productive numbers, we’re hoping for more of the same. The weather has not been a factor so far, and if we can get through September without any tropical storm surges or hurricanes, the area should be holding a nice deer herd, as well as great opportunities for hog and rabbit hunting.

Remember, if you haven’t already started, to try to get in the best physical shape as possible prior to the season. October is typically very hot and humid. Dragging a deer or hog out in 90 degrees is hard work,  even for those in the best of shape. If you aren’t in good shape, it could prove to be a life-threatening experience — one that you don’t want to subject yourself or your family to.

As much as I truly love to hunt, my prayer each time out is not not that I get the biggest buck ever, but that the Lord helps me to return safely so that I can be with and provide for my family.

Be safe, good hunting and God bless.

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