An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 2-1-2017
My brother, Tom Walters and his good friend, Robert “Bobco” Pearson live near Denham Springs, Louisiana and have a hunting camp near Natchez, Mississppi.
Tom and Bobco lease about two-acres of land along with a dozen other groups and over the years have constructed a 20×20 shack that they love to spend time at.
I recently spent a week at this camp, on a go for it hunts for deer and hogs. This week I will to give you an abbreviated version of life in a Louisiana deer and hog hunter’s camp.
Tom has four grandchildren. In Louisiana if you make the purchase by the young outdoorsman’s 5th birthday you can buy a lifetime license that includes all hunting and fishing licenses for $200.00.
The people of this part of the world have incredible hunting and fishing values and I routinely heard that squirrel hunting is just as popular as deer and hog hunting.
We hunted in a wildlife management unit, which was roughly 70,000 acres and the true definition of delta. You are either in oak and wild pecan forests (hogs love the pecans) water, burdocks or swamp. The forest floor at least this year had acorns that were piled up three-inches deep underneath the oak trees and the acorns are the size of walnuts.
There is a large-scale project going on to reintroduce black bear to the area and it is very easy to mistake a black bear for a hog, as they look the same and the palmettoe vegetation can create some dense cover.
The fine for mistakenly shooting a black bear is $10,000 and one day, while we were hunting, a bear completely destroyed the seat of a hunters atv.
The hunt that I was on was a 7-day primitive firearms season. In other words, you could use a muzzleloader, a single shot shotgun or a breech loading, single, shot rifle of 35 caliber or more. I had the pleasure of spending time with a lot of really good hunters and the guys and gals that are really into it, are using the Thompson Center “35 Whelen”.
We are within a mile of the Mississippi River. In 1980’s, at the age of 18, I was a deckhand aboard The Universal Trader. We pushed loaded barges of fuel from New Orleans to Louisville and then came home empty.
In ‘87 I attempted to canoe up the Mississippi River. I made it 980-miles and was in an almost constant “memory lane” type of situation on this trip.
We spent time at night at other hunting camps and had visitors come to our camp for dinner and refreshments. One night, I cooked up bluegill and crappie that had recently been caught and homegrown red potatoes. These folks are fish eaters and really appreciated the quality of cold-water fish.
The first half of this trip, everything was done by atv and due to 80-degree highs and a full moon animal movement during daylight was minimal. The second half of the trip Tom and I went scouting in his 14-foot flat bottom boat that is pushed by a 5 hsp Go Devil. Tom’s goal was to find a new spot on this hunt and we did.
On the last hunt of the trip I had yet to see and animals from the stand. I had a portable stand in an oak tree that was overlooking a dense marsh. The deer were just coming into the rut and I was on my 3rd day watching a scrape.
It was so warm that I was not even wearing a shirt, when I caught some movement. It was a really nice buck. There was only one opening and it was near the scrape which was an 80-yard chip shot with my Traditions “Pursuit XLT” muzzleloader. I put the crosshairs on his shoulders and was sure I sent him to heaven, though it was impossible to tell because of the smoke.
An hour later I was still in the tree, as we had agreed to give him time when Tom grunts in a big buck coming from my direction. Tommy missed an even easier shot and knew it as the buck started snickering at him as he was trying to reload.
Long story short, we both missed, neither of us really cared and I absolutely need to get back down to my other home and hunt some deer and hogs. Sunset.
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Hiawatha National Bank