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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 11-11-2015

by Mark Walters

Warm Weather Bowhunt and Camping Trip

Hello friends,

I just returned last night from a camping and bow hunting trip on the Mississippi River backwaters, near Prairie du Chien. I used my 18-foot War Eagle and my canoe for this getaway that featured weather more like early September.

Tuesday, November 3rd
High 72, lo 44

I was fighting the sun clock as I launched my boat at a landing north of Prairie du Chien. I had to place a stand somewhere for the afternoon hunt, find an island to camp on that would not affect my hunting, and build camp with just over 4-hours of daylight.

All of that was accomplished and I had two hours to sit in a tree, which was on public land and about 30-yards from a scrape and forty-yards from a trail. To be perfectly honest, my preferred range is 15-30 yards but I did not have the daylight to find the perfect stand. I also put out two trail cameras just before climbing 16-feet up a maple tree and loving the, do nothing and enjoy the view of whitetail hunting with a bow and arrow.

I did not see a deer and did not care as I had two more days to fill a tag. I purchased a doe tag for Crawford County and because of an upcoming trip with my daughter, would rather harvest a doe on this adventure than a buck.

When I got back to my island, which was after a really cool boat ride. I grabbed a can of beer, my golden retriever (or Selina’s) Fire and sat in my boat and listened to the river. I constantly could hear beaver both swimming and slapping their tails on the water in warning, when they realized I was in their world. I also heard muskrats chewing on vegetation and non-stop fish surfacing.

The following day I did a lot of exploring and the beaver are doing lots of damage, as in dropping too many trees which most are not consumed. The trees on the river islands are what keep the islands from eroding and it appears that the local trappers need to knock down the beaver population a bit on this stretch of river.

Wednesday, November 4th
High 69, low 48

I was up long before the sun this morning and doing an in the dark boat ride and than a hike to where I would hunt. I spent four-hours in tree and did not see a deer and made a decision to explore and find a new spot to hunt.

I chose a natural funnel of a forested corridor on the shoreline and near harvested corn and soybean fields. I placed my stand in the area of two very active scrapes and was really excited for my afternoon hunt.

My afternoon hunt had me listening to lots of wood duck that were sitting on a slough 50-yards away. I actually planned on hunting ducks on this trip but never saw a single duck anywhere but this slough and spoke with many hunters that were hunting but not shooting as like bow hunting for deer, warm weather in November shuts wildlife movement down to a minimum.

This afternoon, I sat in total comfort and watched a gazzilion squirrels and did not see a deer. My boat ride back to camp was after a long hike and was in the dark, like last night, I drank a beer and listened to the river.

The following day, I was either hunting or breaking camp. I stuck it out until dark and am actually embarrassed to say that I never saw a deer on this trip.

When loaded on the trailer, boat, canoe and gear amounts to a big load. Five-miles north of Prairie du Chien, I hit a gully washer of a storm that I drove in for over two-hours and it was a challenge, a few times I realized I was not even driving on the road.

The good news is that I made it home and now I still have a buck tag! Sunset.