An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 1-15-2014
by Mark Walters
It has been ten years since I visited Walker, Louisiana where my brother Tommy lives with his wife Laurie and my nephew Josh Walters, and my niece Sara Woodruff lives with their families.
A family visit would take up the first two-days of this adventure and two trips hunting hogs and deer would suck up the final 6-days of my Louisiana visit.
Wednesday, January 1st
High 52, low 34
This is one of those stories that I do not have the space to properly tell so it will be in bits and pieces. It was 1126 miles from my house to Toms, other then a two-hour nap I drove straight thru.
I was a deckhand on board the Universal Trader in the early 80’s. We pushed fuel barges from New Orleans to Louisville. I worked 30-days on and then had 30-days off, paid. I always spent all of my off time hunting and fishing and for an 18-20 year old kid; I had a ton of money. What I remember about Louisiana winters is that they are damp and it gets right to your bones.
That dampness in the air would be the case until the Polar Vortex rocked everyone’s world from Duluth to New Orleans.
Our first adventure would be 24-hours at my brother Tom’s and his neighbor and very good friend Bobco Pearson’s hunting camp.
These guys have a shack on a piece of property that they rent and there are maybe 20 other campers, shacks and in some case’s very modern cabins on it.
Their camp is located in the Red, Mississippi and Atchalafaya rivers water basin, which happens to be located on about 65,000 acres of state owned land.
Tom and Bobco do most of their hunting by traveling with either a boat or a four-wheeler.
Until maybe five years ago they did not harvest much, an occasional spiker, a hog, and sometimes a mid size buck. The frame of mind is much different in the deep south and with 3 buck tags and three anterless tags per hunter the mentality is “make meat”
Something has changed in their success and these guys are harvesting some whoppers including a 250-pound, 14-pointer that Tom took last year.
As well as several other trophy bucks that Bobco, Tom, and Josh Walters have made some fine steaks and sausage out of. For the record I am all about the “making meat mentality”.
About the average Louisiana hunter, they are tough, friendly and share information.
Today we arrived at camp, which I saw for the first time, and then headed to the deep bayou that these guys were really excited as the Mississippi was flooding and hopefully condensing the hogs and deer.
I would be paddling a pieru and Tom and Bobco would be in a 17-foot canoe. Basically we had two hours from launch to dark, we were going to paddle, explore, and hopefully sit an hour.
On this hunt it was buck only, and rifles could be used. The following day we would be traveling to the Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge where we would be hunting either sex and would be using muzzleloaders.
We scouted for maybe 20 minutes and each of us picked a spot to sit. Mine was a huge deadfall that I climbed into that had a large amount of both hog and deer sign in the area and was in a bushed over hardwood forest that had a lot of standing water in it.
Ten minutes before dark, I saw a deer maybe 70-yards away and thought I saw very small spikes. I kept my scope on it, specifically the head and was sure that I saw a 1 and maybe 3-inch spike (only has to be a protruding horn, no minimum length)
I made the executive decision to make some meat and put the deer down. When I was climbing down from paradise two things happened. I said a prayer that my eyes had not deceived me and a herd of hogs let out a bone, chilling squealing and crashing through the bush sound.
My deer was a buck, the boys were happier than a hog in a wallow and for just one night this red neck from the north was beating the red necks from the south in the big buck contest.
As you can imagine we stayed up quite late and the boys kept begging me to retell my big buck story, which naturally, I did!
More on this awesome trip next week! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Ormson’s SuperValu