Sometimes I wish I’d never moved south ! At least when it comes to opening day of deer season. If I still lived in Northwest Ohio, I’d be hunting already! However, living in the deep south, in Baldwin County Alabama, does have its advantages. We have hogs down here!
Recently, I was supposed to get together with a few local friends for a weekend pig hunt on the Upper Delta WMA, but as so often happens, life and work schedules got in the way for a few of us and we had to cancel. Since I was on my own, I thought I’d take the opportunity to scout for deer prior to our October 15th opener, and of course, if I happened to run across pigs, so much the better!
The Upper Delta WMA is a mixture of Oak flats and Cypress swamps, criss-crossed with gas and power lines and service roads. It contains two good creeks as well as the Tensaw River. At over 42,000 acres and sharing a Southern border with the Mobile –Tensaw WMA, over 51,000+ acres, there is ample room to roam!
Normally I find deer in this particular piece, near the entrance of the WMA. Mainly, I believe, due to higher ground and less pigs! Since I was looking for pigs as well, and deer season wasn’t yet open, I traveled further in, toward the southern border. I parked on a gas line and hiked in, bow in hand.
Game trails abound in this familiar piece of real-estate, with bottle necks between oak stands and over the slews that dot this landscape. These slews are important highways for many of the wild life living here. Pigs are particularly fond of them down here where the bugs never seem to give you a break!
As I cross a familiar slew, I’m greeted to an otter family I discovered last season, with a brand new litter of pups ! The family quickly scurried off down the slew but the male posed for a few pics, before chasing after his family!
Hunting in the south, comes with it’s own set of challenges I’m reminded, as I stop to re-apply Banana Boat sunscreen again! It’s the only thing that seems to keep the bull gnats at bay. A little tip Krista Holbrook passed on to me during a spring pig hunt with her and Sterling.
As the sun climbs in the sky and the day gets hotter, I paused to re-hydrate and notice the tail end of a slew that looks like a grenade went off in it! I stalk up to investigate, straining my ears for any sign of the pigs who had obviously been here. Often their sounds are the first indication they are near.
It’s a hog wallow, and by hog wallow, I mean a communal Hog spa!! This thing was easily 20’x 20’ and had a well defined trail, entering and leaving! The hogs are nowhere to be found at this time during the day, but I’ll bet my best arrow that it’s a hot spot at dusk!
I search the area and mark two trees for stands near by upon my return . It was getting late in the day and since I hadn’t planned on camping on this trip, I headed for my truck and home.
I only saw one clear set of deer tracks but tremendous hog sign. Disappointed, but not surprised, I came to the realization, I would rather chase pigs anyway!
James Quinn (Jim to those that know him) lives in Foley, Alamaba with his wife Paula and 8 children. He has hunted with traditional archery only since the age of 14. He is a former US Marine who now works in Telecom Construction. On many of the usual traditional archery and bow hunting websites he can be found under than name “Tower Climber”
A well written piece that tugs at our sleeves pulling us toward the woodline. It definitely encouraged me to be more active in the field. After all The Almighty doesn’t get any closer than a sunrise on a promising stand.
Great article. Very well written-makes me want to get out in the woods with a bow.