frhunter13
May 21, 2017

Louisiana Jungle Swamp Hunting

34 comments

 

I was out at my hunting camp this weekend. We have mandatory work parties out there to keep the lease in good shape. There are 13 of us in the club. "Factory Road Hunting Club" between Folsum and Bogalusa Louisiana. Torrential rain chased us away today though. Yesterday we mostly worked around the camp site because of the weather. We sometimes get 100 inches of rain in the year, and dangerous flash floods.

bullet.behaviour
May 21, 2017Edited: May 22, 2017

Geez... and some folks think Africa is "not for sissies"...

 

What would the typical work entail had it not been for the rain?

 

"Way back in old Louisianna,

just about a mile from Texarkana,

In them old cotton fields back home...

 

When them cotton balls get rotten

You can't pick very much cotton

- In them old cotton fields back home....

frhunter13
May 22, 2017

Work details include:

 

1. Taking our Machetes or Pole Saws or Pole Axes and cutting back the growth on trails and around food plots. Lots of trails.

2. Building bridges over last seasons washouts, or creating new cut arounds for our vehicles and tractors.

3. Rebuilding or replacing tree stands and ground blinds damaged by hurricanes, flash floods, fires and time.

4. Hiring a bulldozer for the more severe cases of back road repair, or negotiating new culverts with the locals.

5. Bush Hoging and planting of higher protein roughage for wildlife support.

 

It's not like most places in Africa I suppose. There are many more farms and people around so the more dangerous species are killed off long ago. Except for the pernicious Alligators. We do have several species of highly venomous snakes more than capable of killing you. One species will actually attack, the cotton mouth water moccasin. Our mosquitoes don't carry malaria, however they do carry other diseases and the only ways to keep them off when it is warm are full body coverage (I mean FULL body coverage) or military grade "deet". These mosquitoes don't die if you just slap them. Nobody hunts in shorts no matter if it gets HOT. There are swamps and bogs on our lease. My son took a short cut one day and I got a call. When I arrived on my 4x4 ATV I could only see the handlebars of his. He was barefooted, having lost his boots, but he had saved his rifle, full of quicksand grit. We pulled his ATV out and actually got it running later. His 3030 took a trip to the gun smith. If you hang your skinned kill there are little yellow and black wasps that will swarm on it and place their lava in the meat. The little suckers have a nasty sting too. That's why we don't dress it in the field. Water spray keeps them off.

 

We have boar, whitetails, coons, otters, squirrels, rabbits, very nasty coyotes, turkeys, the rare panther and super rare wolf. Supposedly we have black bear but I have never seen one. This is a more civilized section of rural southern Louisiana. There are hunting reserves in areas only accessible by pi-rogue, air-boat or go devil flatboat. The deer down there have black antlers.

 

So, having said all that I guess you can understand why I am dying to take a break over there in Africa :)

bullet.behaviour
May 22, 2017Edited: May 23, 2017

Sounds like Mozambique coastal flood plains. Must be a pleasure to have a breakaway like that. A whole set of new survival skills would be needed for me. I have read about that red mouth moccasin.

 

On skinning: The giraffe was field skinned because of its size and weight. Just to roll it onto its back to lay the netting and start the skinning we needed the truck and a rope and five men. No other option with buffalo too unless you have a winch to get it onto the back of the truck.

 

We keep the skins on for as long as possible on kudu and smaller game we hunt for meat. Even hang the big game in their skins for a week at 40 degrees F to let all the muscle spasms release and all lactic acid dissipate from the meat.

 

Shucks, I'll have to work in some fancy footwork somewhere just so you do not feel out of place and bored...

 

bullet.behaviour
May 23, 2017

Of course a particular kudu can not be tied to a tree (or even ten thousand acres) and photographed, but we have asked the land owner in the Eastern Cape to train his binoculars into the brush on the slopes of the high hills when he gets out and about. He will have a good idea of bulls staying and migrating.

 

Because it is high hills country, hunting style will be much like Colorado - glassing the sunny slopes from about 9 a.m. onwards, find something worthwhile and then starting the approach and the stalk.

 

Northern Transvaal where we'll go after wildebeest and impala is mostly flat, sandy soil and grass, so early morning scouting for fresh tracks and following them. Same again from 3 p.m.

frhunter13
May 26, 2017

I am not swift on my feet these days and must wear calf boots in the woods. This is because two years ago I was almost killed in a motorcycle accident and broke all sorts of things, including every bone in my left foot except the big toe. It got caught between an SUV and my motorcycle engine when I was broad sided. I am not crippled anymore by any means, yet can cover large distances only with my calf boots, which are snake proof by the way :) That accident actually put this trip off for two years.

bullet.behaviour
May 26, 2017

Heck - you too? My younger son was hit by a car one year ago - exactly side-on. Still limping and pain.

 

Calf boots are O.K. It will keep the spiky grass seeds from your socks. October/November is beginning of rain season so the bush is only starting to grow new shoots and still has good visibility. If the rains are late it may be hot and dry.

 

We do not hunt when it rains but late afternoon thunder storms break quite quickly and may find one out in the bush. A thin Macintosh is a clever addition to ones day pack. Normally there is no need for the hunter to be encumbered by a pack as I carry mine with a few essentials.

 

If the hunter has no calf boots it is clever to wear anklets - not sure what you would call them: Impenetrable covers around the ankles to keep grass seeds from entering, but not of a plastic based water proof type that makes noise through the low grass. With the giraffe hunting the other day that schoolboy wore stuff that was too noisy.

 

Ticks may or may not be present, so me wearing shorts and soft ankle boots without socks have to carefully check for the tiny critters every evening.

 

Snakes are hardly ever seen. I think no chance to encounter a mamba in the areas west of the Pretoria longitude (28 degrees East). I have never ever seen one west of this line. Puffadder may be seen - they are like fat rattlesnakes, lazy, and warn you with a loud hiss.

 

 

frhunter13
May 26, 2017

Ouch. I was limping badly after only one year. Wore a cast boot for six months. Tell your son after two years your body catches up :) Mostly. The scars never go away though. It's nice to be alive, so no point in complaining.

 

Snakes in our swamp are unpredictable. I was up in a tree once and watched a five foot Copper Head Moccasin slither up to the tree and start climbing. Ack, what do I have but a 3006. So he gets up to where my lower climber meets the tree, and I pull the jaws off the tree and then slam them down to catch the snake about six inches past it's head. My boots are almost within reach. I grind him into the tree until he is quite dead, I hope. Pull the jaws and down he goes. So what was that, some kind of Karma? Freaked me out.

bullet.behaviour
May 26, 2017

Geez.. imagine sitting in a tree and here comes a snake up from ground level to look you over... good thing we do not hunt from tree stands because in Natal and Mozambique that is the hideout of green mambas, tree snakes and the Mozambique spitting cobra.

 

Residents of a residential development on the southern bank of the Crocodile river bordering Kruger National Park recently shared photos on the internet of a python that had (climbed?) 60 ft. up a Marula tree to eat the chicks in an eagle's nest. Mommy eagle caught him red handed but the outcome was not recorded.

 

Do your calf boots have a fully stitched tongue all the way to the top?

frhunter13
May 26, 2017

The boots are stitched most all the way up, being waterproof as well.

 

I have seen spear hunter films, and they hunt from the trees over there.

 

If you swim in the Bayous here, or if you pirogue or flatboat around around, then you need to watch out for the Moccasins in the water. They will attack a swimmer and climb into your boat. Many times I have had to scoop them up with a paddle and throw them overboard. Turns you into someone like me, who firmly believes the only good snake is a dead one.

bullet.behaviour
May 26, 2017

I kayaked extensively in the Everglades northwest of Fort Lauderdale. Coming from a land of perpetually hungry crocodiles and after having seen the big numbers of alligators around my eyes were searching for them. Thinking back on that I bet I missed many snakes.

 

As said before apart from Natal and particularly Mozambique the chances of seeing any snake while hunting here is very slim.

 

With that boot design you will not need anklets to keep the ground level grass seeds from wrigling into your socks and your skin.

frhunter13
May 26, 2017

The snakes keep their heads out of the water so you can see those and the ripples of motion. When swimming I would splash water at them and most would turn away. Every now and then one would submerge, and at that point I would lam it out of there pretty quick and back up on our boat. Alligators are sly and sneaky critters, and quite fast when they want to be. There were not many in our bayous back when I used to swim them, having been hunted out. Now they are back in force big time, and hunting is allowed once more. A lookout with a rifle is a good idea these days.

 

Another problem we are having now are the Boas and Pythons that have been released by stupid pet owners. They have multiplied and are becoming a serious problem. It's open season on them.

bullet.behaviour
May 26, 2017Edited: May 26, 2017

Yes, all over Florida too. Unthinking "huggers", and then one day they become unthinking discarders.

 

Are the soles and upper leather of those boots pliable? O.K. for the odd stretch of rocky work uphill?

frhunter13
May 26, 2017

Well the ones I have now are Cordura canvas with leather accents and rigid soles. They are very comfy. I will be getting new ones the same make before going over there, because these are already two seasons old. They take a serious beating and the stitches come loose after I mistreat them so much. They are also very quiet boots although we don't have rocks where I hunt, so I don't know. I do use them with my tree climbers.

gladesman/Gary
Jun 4, 2017

I, too, live and hunt in Louisiana, only in the northern part of the state. Our camp is near Ruston in north central Louisiana. I live about 60 miles east of there on a small river in the Mississippi River delta. My ancestors settled that area around Ruston in the 1840s. We are fortunate to have retained some of the original property as a family. There are sites of plantation homes to be found, some of the homes were still being lived in when my parents were young. Heavily dependent upon open fires for warmth and cooking those old homes were prone to burning and they are all gone now. I spent my early childhood in a modified shotgun style home dating to just after our Civil War. Electricity had been added for lights and a butane cook stove. Otherwise, it was little changed from when it was built.

 

Terrain is pine hills and hardwood creek bottoms. While the terrain is somewhat different from the area in the southern part of the state, we still have the rain, mosquitoes, coyotes, hogs and especially the snakes that frhunter13 discusses. When I was younger we had no deer. With the poor red clay soil that made up these hills, farming was difficult. Agriculture eventually moved eastward to the delta country. The abandon farm land now supports mostly timber. Deer, now, are abundant and we have generous bag limits. I actually live on a small river in the delta country. Teddy Roosevelt hunted bear around here, but it is now mostly farm land. Alligators are ubiquitous, however, and an occasional bear is seen even now.

 

 

frhunter13
Jun 4, 2017

I was looking at a photo I took back on a hill in the middle of the swamp close to where I have taken some nice dear, just a few days ago as I was cleaning out my phone photos. I never saw him/her while I was hunting late last year, but when I blow the picture up there is a Black Bear up in a tree facing away from me but looking around over his shoulder at me. In the photo! I never knew he was there! He looks terrified, heh. I would have freaked if I saw him because up until this I have never seen one back where I hunt. We cannot shoot them.

gladesman/Gary
Jun 4, 2017

I came upon one about 10 years ago at the camp, standing on his hind legs and clawing a tree. When he realized I was watching him, he took off. They are really fast. No one believed me until I showed them the tree he had clawed up. A guy down the the road from me saw one in his drive way a couple of years ago.

gladesman/Gary
Jun 4, 2017

The most efficient way to catch a bull frog is by hand. Hang off the front of the boat holding on with one hand and extending the other. As you and the boat are rammed into the overhanging bushes and vegetation on the bank you grab the frog as tight as you can hold and scrunch him into the mud until you get a good hold on him. Occasionally, a cotton mouth has eyes on the same frog. The cotton mouth will not back up. Leave that frog for the snake. Backing out of there in a panic to get away from what, by now, is a very mad snake can be comical for the other guy in the boat. Not so much for the frog catcher in front.

frhunter13
Jun 4, 2017

Yep. Catching a giant catfish in a stump works, but for the same problem. Those darn snakes.

Andries
Jun 4, 2017

So what's with the bull frog catching? Using as bait to catch alligators?

 

Africa Bull frog right here in my area.

 

gladesman/Gary
Jun 4, 2017

Nothing eats better than frog legs. Lightly battered and fried hot in a cast iron frying pan they will jump around in the pan if fresh caught.

 

Catching frogs in the Everglades is a completely different .subject. Bullfrogs in the Everglades sit on vegetation in the water. The slightest ripple on the water will send them under and they are gone. I used a 14 foot cane fishing pole with a gig made of copper pipe and straightened stainless fish hooks taped to the end of the pole. The airboat must be kept on a plane to avoid rippling the water so you are traveling fairly fast Meantime, the gig on the tip of that slender pole is moving up and down, up and down as you are traveling. It takes practice to hit a frog that way. Once you get the hang of it that gig is very effective. I used an aircraft landing light attached to a plastic contractor's hard hat. A very good light is a real asset in finding your way around in the glades at night. I also used a 4" piece of PVC pipe attached to the super structure of the boat just below the driver seat with a burlap bag tied to the end of it. When you take the frog off the gig, just drop him down the PVC pipe and into the bag. What is really handy is foot steering on the airboat. The agency I worked for let me buy the boat to most any specification I wanted, but drew the line at foot steering. A high performance boat can be tricky enough with stick steering. Most of the biologist we had were better suited to joy sticks than airboat sticks.

New Posts
  • frhunter13
    Jan 29

    So I am looking for a nice buck in the swamp, after taking a doe from a fixed stand early in the season on a food plot in the adjacent high ground. The weather is quite mild in the early season here, with the temperature somewhere between 50 and 80 Fahrenheit. Lots of mosquitoes, the occasional viper, and thick cover with a heavy carpet of dead vegetation to frustrate a hunter. The previous season I had taken a doe using a compound bow on the first day of bow season at the same food plot, while sitting in a chair, concealed by cover and wearing head to toe camo with mosquito netting over my face . She passed within ten feet, not detecting me because she was upwind. Hunting the buck is totally different than hunting the doe, and many hunters - even in my club - don't realize this. The very best time to do it is during or just after a long cold spell late December or Early January. This will kick in the rut, when the Buck's brains move between his legs. They are almost totally nocturnal in our area, and you can get pictures of them on the game trails and even to food plots. This at least lets you know what is out there, or you would think so anyway. Later on THAT. It is best to hunt them in the rut, near but not on top of a food source where the does feed. With this in mind, I started hunting the buck in mid December. My cameras indicate the presence a six point, a four point, a spike and three does in the general area. So I am after the six point since that is actually respectable around here where big boys are exceedingly rare. A typical morning hunt has me on my 4x4 ATV at 05:30, riding the trails for about four miles to within one mile of my stand. The subsequent walk to the stand is on an ATV trail to within 1/4 mile. There is water on this trail in places so water proof knee boots are a must. Mine are also snake proof, a wise precaution. The remaining 1/4 mile is in swamp where the route must circumvent ponds and bogs and cross creeks to reach a relatively high ground ( maybe one foot higher) game trail which runs from a nearby farm, through the DEEP swamp onto higher ground bedding areas. The ground not under water is covered with dead leaves and sticks a foot or more thick. Movement must be slow and careful to at least minimize the noise you are making. Silence is impossible. Reaching the climber finally, it is now close to 7 am. Yes, that is an hour and a half getting there. Starting in the dark, the dawn is nigh. The climber is there so I can at least have a place to sit. I cannot really climb the tree because there is a ton of low cover all around. You cannot see much from twelve feet up. So I only go up high enough to see over the bush around me and put an adjacent smaller split tree in front that I must shoot around, and which gives me good cover. I can actually reach down and grab the barrel of my rifle leaning against the tree below me. There are creeks all around me, and I can see 100 yards in front and fifty yards to the side in spots and lanes yet there is plenty of cover for a deer to feel "safe". The first time out, a pair of coyotes cross the trail about fifty yards in front of me, trailing something. Normally I would shoot them, here I do not. Clearing the carcasses from the area would be too difficult and would ruin the pristine sense of the place. Mid December, the weather is still mild - about 45 Fahrenheit. Next time out, a week later, the weather has turned and it is windy and cold - 35 Fahrenheit. Heavily clothed, walking in makes me sweat. Sitting still in the climber I get very cold in the wind. A large bobcat is seen trailing something on Saturday. I don't shoot him. On Sunday a spiked buck comes to my doe call and presents for a perfect shot, but I don't. The next week it has snowed and disaster strikes. The large trees and scrub trees are rooted in very soft ground. The weight of the wet snow accumulation brought many down. A significant percentage are brought down across our ATV and game trails. We lose power at the camp site and the deep freeze has set in. It takes us all that weekend to chain saw our way back into our hunting areas. Now the travel has become longer and more hazardous because we must negotiate the barely passable trails. It is now the last weekend in December and I have four days off. The temperature is in the 20's on Friday and I shiver on my climber all morning after jumping a group of wild hogs going in. I could hear them thundering away, so just kept my rifle on my back. Then a bloody Russian razorback circles back to check me out. He spooks when I swing my rifle off my back and ducks behind a log. No shot as he used the log to cover his escape. The area around the stand has been compromised by a fallen tree, limiting my view directly ahead. Nuts. It becomes really hard to leave camp the next morning. It's cold and why not just stay in the warm bunk and hunt later after it warms up? Really, why not? Argh. Just can't because, well because. At least it is back to the mid 30's, so I drag my ass out there again, reaching for my VZ 24, 35 Whelen custom rifle from the climber at 6:55 AM. The wind has let off so it's not so friggin cold at least. At 7:30 I hear something coming from behind me to my left. By now I can tell a deer from everything but a hog. Either way this could be a shooter, so I put my foot up on the cross bar of the stand to give me support across my knee and put my finger on the safety. To the rear and left I finally see a deer. Soon I see antlers and he is moving through the cover to my left. No shot. I get another view and see lots of antlers so it's the six I have been looking for? He is moving toward a shooting lane so I take the safety off and raise the rifle across my knee. When he cross and I can see him plainly about 40 yards off, he is no six. He is larger. He is angling away just a tad and his right leg is forward so I aim just behind the forward shoulder and fire. He jumps three feet into the air and disappears. I hear no crashing through the woods, so am fairly certain he is down on the spot. Waiting 15 minutes is hard, but I do it and the make my way over to him. Oh boy, he is a big 5x4 that was never seen on my cameras. A deep swamp deer with his brains between his legs, reeking of the rut. Happiness! Determination is to remain upbeat as I drag this buck back to where I can reach him with the ATV. At least it is cold so I don't overheat too much with this effort. Once I retrieve the ATV and negotiate it to the area (not so easy by the way), I use the hoist I carry with me, around a tree limb to lift the buck where I can get the ATV under him. Since I am 66 and rather beat up in a motorcycle accident, I no longer can lift the deer myself. The trip back to camp is dicey through the poorly cut ATV tunnels with the buck in the back, but we get to the camp eventually. He is on ice by 10:30. There are not many hunters in our club these days because it is such difficult hunting. There are only three of this group willing to go after a buck like this. They get discouraged because the bucks very, very rarely will come out on a food plot in daylight. Even the does have wised up for the most part.
  • erich_33614
    Jan 20, 2018

    Well, Whitetail season in Georgia is over for me. I made my last trip to my lease this weekend. There's still one more week but I won't be able to get out. Work and family keeping me from hunting. This was my first time hunting anything in over 25 years. I didn't get anything but, to be fair, I deliberately passed some good shots on does hoping to get a buck. I got into the season almost as it started, frantically joining a club, doing a one day scout, picking my spot, using a new rifle I'd barely had time to sight in. I consider the season a success for the following reasons. 1) I saw deer. I had some very nice does I could have shot but I wanted to see what else would show up if I left them undisturbed. I know deer are there and I can get to a shooting position on them. 2) I definitely heard a buck grunt just before Christmas. He caught some scent he didn't like but wasn't sure of. He skirted the small clearing I overlooked and grunted but never showed himself. Well played sir. See you next season. 3) I am a much better rifle shot now. Outside of some law enforcement qualifying I'd barely touched a rifle since I got out of the army. LE riflery is much shorter range and very different from hunting riflery. Due to my practice for hunting, I am very confident in my rifles and ability out to about 150 yards (the range I have access to only goes to 100). I'll seek to remedy that during the offseason. 4) I learned alot about tracking. I can identify different tracks and some species of trees now. This is something I can continue to work on. 5) I learned about weather forcasting in the field. Still a work in progress but I'm constantly studying and learning more. 6) I've learned what helps attract deer and what doesn't (mostly by doing the wrong things). I've got some land mangement ideas for the off season that will help. This was a great "first" season. I feel like a young man again with all the new experiences and learning opportunities. It wasn't just about the deer; it was the whole experience. I loved it and can't wait for next season. You'll notice I didn't talk about the friends at deer camp. For some reason, my trips seemed to correspond to when no one else could make it. I was usually alone or maybe with 1 other person. We joked that everyone was avoiding the new guy. Hopefully I'll have some good stories about that next year like the time they hid a dead rattlesnake under the camper of the policeman just before he went under there to work on something and he launched himself out with a pistol in each hand... Next up: Teaching my 7 year old to shoot the .22 that Santa Claus brought him and including him in my trips to the property this offseason. Some feral hog hunting and mastering the flintlock rifle my beautiful wife and bright son gave me for my birthday. Sorry this is so long. I wanted to get it down while it's fresh. I'm curious to read others' comments, reflections, insults or stories.
  • erich_33614
    Dec 30, 2017

    I've recently returned to hunting after a 25 year abscence. I'm currently finishing out my 1st season of whitetail hunting in Georgia. The legality of baiting varies county by county here. It happens to be legal in the counties that the club I joined straddles. I'm not really a fan of baiting. It feels like cutting corners. I'd prefer to spend time studying the topography and terrain then locate my stand accordingly. I didn't get to do any preseason scouting. I got in so late, I just picked up an existing stand left by a former member in a spot he'd prepared. In the offseason, I intend to follow a couple of gametrails I've found and see if I can find a new spot that is still in my assigned area. I'm not criticizing folks who bait. It's a valid tactic. I'll be planting a food plot after the season which, frankly, amounts to baiting. I'm curious to get others' take on baiting, not just on deer but any game. Do you do it? Why or why not? What types of game? How do you feel about the practice? Thanks. Erich

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