Mississippi Hunters

The Mississippi River it is a fickle mistress. Most years she overflows her banks and gently deposits fertile soil from America’s Midwest farm lands across hundreds of thousands of acres of the Deep South. Those annual floods replenish nutrients in our soil.

One of the many benefits is how much it helps to provide the abundant food for all of the various animals along the river.  This in turn leads to the many healthy trophy animals that we are able to harvest.  In the last few years, she was much more aggressive flooding so many acres that we lost a significant portion of the deer herd and other local animals. We have had to cease hunting and move all low lying equipment and vehicles to higher ground early every year.  

This past year is the first time in a long time that we were able to hunt the entire season. The rising river often covers us with up to 15 feet of water. Through extraordinary efforts of Conservancy and herd management, we are starting to see a significant return to normalcy. For the past few years we have limited all hunting to only one very mature buck per member. This season proved that  our restraint and conservation efforts are paying off. Although the deer  numbers are still not at pre-flood levels, the quality of the deer herd is at an all time high. While the last few years of floods did decimate the deer herd, all of our does are very healthy with at least two fawns. Our younger bucks are big bodied and plentiful.  

Part of our herd management strategy is to selectively harvest only the oldest bucks. Several of us this year were lucky enough and patient enough to harvest beautiful mature bucks.  In the same week, my son and I ended up with nice big old bucks.   As we were getting late into the season towards the end of  the rut,  I decided to try a spot that I had not been in all year.  

A recent storm had damaged the stand and I was more exposed than usual. Early in the hunt I watched as a young 8 point whitetail chased 3 does in the woods around me. I was beginning to doubt my decision in choosing this location.  After a while, I saw some motion on the edge of a clump of trees and there he was.  My buck was skirting the edge of a clearing.

I tried to guess where he would exit the woods hoping he would cross 12 foot wide shooting lane. I was lucky enough to guess right. He crossed at only about 120 yards out.  

A well placed heart shot dropped him a few yards from the lane. Several of our members have children or grandchildren who love to come to the camps.  We used this opportunity to let several of the younger ones help us track this deer.  Most have been keen to learn tracking skills.  They begin to appreciate the effort it takes to be not only a good hunter but a good tracker.  They were ecstatic when they found the downed buck before any of the adults!!  Actually, Stevie Wonder could have tracked THIS DEER…

Over the years, we adopted a Steve Rowe technique using thermal imaging to recover down animals.  It has successfully served us by minimizing any lost animals. We certainly did not need it this time, but we have learned to appreciate the value of infrared.  When we let the kids see how the downed deer looked with the FLIR, they all want to use it next time.  A new generation is learning about the great outdoors.  We all love teaching the new generation about conservation and outdoor skills. 

From our Cajun correspondent

Growing up in south Louisiana I learned quickly why this state is called the Sportsman’s Paradise. In this area of the state we have unbelievable waterfowl, whitetail deer and small game hunting, and freshwater, saltwater and brackish water fishing is outstanding. At a very early age I was introduced to hunting and fishing by my dad and grandfather. 

My passion for Duck hunting requires good camo and a shallow mud boat “Mule” in the marsh, with deckhand Son Blaine
Excellent use of local Resources, these two nice Gators made a beautiful pair of hand made boots for Blaine

Many years later my son and daughter began duck hunting prior to their fourth birthdays. My daughter still enjoys hunting and fishing, and we can’t wait to take my two grandsons out into the field. My son and I have been hunting together for nearly twenty-five years, and many of the marvelous memories that we share were only due to the readily available hunting and fishing opportunities. 

Blaine with Duck Dynasty’s Jase Robertson

Last deer season, we missed the last 5 weeks of hunting due to Mississippi River flooding. The 2,600 acres that we hunt have been under as much as 12 feet of water since January, but we are hoping to get back on the property by mid-August. Although it sounds bad for this season, the deer in our area have been well-fed on nearby, higher land throughout the flood.  The nutrient-rich Mississippi River enables very rapid, healthy growth of the ground cover immediately after the water recedes.

And a Rio Grande Turkey!!

Over the past five years, our duck lease suffered tremendously due to an invasion of an exotic species, apple snails. Some apple snails are as large as a man’s fist and they devastated the aquatic vegetation.  This did not help to hold the ducks in the area during these seasons, but last year the snails moved on and vegetation grew back with a vengeance and the property is once again looking very good for the coming season.

Now that’s a Snail,  on life size decoy!!

A few days ago, the winds of our first Gulf of Mexico Hurricane were ripping shingles off our home, and in the middle of the storm, we rescued a juvenile Mississippi kite that was unable to fly.  After nursing the kite back to health, it was released to rejoin its mother. 

No parking on the Wharf, WHAT WHARF!

Being in the kings club (we have both been king of Mardi Gras) I am attending the Cajun Royal family, well in this case Troy Landry, King of the Swamp, and King Hephaestus at our Local Mardi Gras. Very well disguised. More recognizable in his Swamp People day clothes.