The Forrestland Group Letter

Received this letter Saturday which gives a Feb. 11, 7:30 date and time for meeting at Hinds County Community College Auditorium in Vicksburg.  Brian and I will attend.

Letter from The Forrestland Group

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MDWFP: Flood Areas closed to Hunting

January 10, 2019

Hunting season closures due to flooding

JACKSON – Heavy rainfall and rising river levels have caused extensive flooding along the Mississippi River. As a result, all hunting except for waterfowl will close at the end of legal shooting hours Thursday, January 10, 2019 based on these parameters:

  • Zone 1: When the Greenville, MS gauge reaches 48 feet and shall remain so until the Mississippi River level falls to or below 46 feet on the Greenville gauge. (Lands in Washington and Issaquena Counties which lie south of Highway 82, west of Highway 1 and North of Highway 14)
  • Zone 2A: When the Vicksburg, MS gauge reaches 43 feet and shall remain so until the Mississippi River level falls to or below 41 feet on the Vicksburg gauge. (Lands in Issaquena, Sharkey and Warren Counties which lie south of Highway 14, west of Highway 61 and north of the Big Black River)

Effective immediately the below areas are closed to all hunting except waterfowl.

  • Zone 2B: When the Steel Bayou gauge reaches 90 feet and shall remain so until the Mississippi River level falls to or below 88 feet on the Steel Bayou gauge. (Lands in Sharkey, Humphreys, Yazoo, Issaquena, Warren counties which lie south of Highway 14, west of Highway 149, south of Highway 16 / 149, west of Highway 3, and east of Highway 61)
  • The following Wildlife Management Areas (WMA): Lake George, Twin Oaks, and Sunflower.
  • In addition, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has closed Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge located in Zone 2B consistent with state regulations. Brown Tract in Zone 2B on the northeast side of Delta National Forest is closed to all hunting until flood waters recede.  Waterfowl hunting is not permitted in the Brown Tract.

Shipland and Mahannah are currently closed to all activities except waterfowl hunting until further notice. U.S. Forest Service has closed all roads on Sunflower WMA to motor vehicle access.

MDWFP will continue its increased law enforcement presence in the affected areas to patrol the levees, promote public safety for residents affected by the rising waters, and enforce the wildlife laws that protect animals affected by flooding. MDWFP reminds hunters that high water has also affected areas along the Pascagoula and Pearl rivers and it is unlawful to hunt, trap, take, frighten, or kill game or fur-bearing animals forced out of their natural habitat by high water. For more information regarding this closure and other WMAs in Mississippi, visit our website at www.mdwfp.com or call us at (601) 432-2199.

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Gran Macho Amarillo Ciervos del Pantano

Many of you who know me may also know that I have been wanting to harvest a big swamp buck with my bow.  I also have wanted to bag one of the light colored or what I call “yellow” coats that I have seen and admired from a distance.  The color phase I am talking about is not vastly different from the typical deer color but it’s lighter and sometimes the top of the head is as blonde as any bleached blonde you might see on the beach.  I have only seen the color phase in swamp bucks of the Delta.  Some may say it’s not a real thing, this light or “yellow” color phase, but I see it clearly.

Now,  in Texas, due to the Spanish influence, they often refer to a big whitetail buck as “El Muy Grande”.   The Spanish word for yellow is “Amarillo”.   I wasn’t sure how to put it all together so I went to an English to Spanish translation site to determine what “large yellow swamp buck” would translate to in Spanish.   If the translator is right,  this weekend I finally managed to be a part of taking a “gran macho amarillo ciervos del pantano” or big yellow swamp buck.  Let’s just call him “Amarillo” for short.

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Before I go any further I have to state that the taking of this buck unfortunately wasn’t a img_0623true fair chase like I had always envisioned.  The young son of a friend of mine and I were hunting and we had just cleaned a big boar I had killed earlier.   My friend, Albert, had left to go to work, after killing and dressing a sow pig.  His son, Cullen (inset), stayed with me to hunt the rest of the day.  We were in the process of toting out meat, bows and stands (my friend wanted the boar meat, not me!)   Well my friend’s son got ahead of me and made a wrong turn in the thick palmettos and was walking away from where we had been hunting.  Suddenly I heard his excited shouts.  I was at first concerned because I thought he was lost or hurt or something, but when I caught up to him he told me a big buck had jumped up in front of him and ran off and appeared to be hurt.  We dropped everything except our bows and began trying to find the buck.   Something took off through the palmettos and ran and then appeared to stop.  We couldn’t see the buck but occasionally would see the tips of antlers.  After several repetitions of the cycle of the buck running and then us stalking, the buck finally appeared to become exhausted, giving us the opportunity to slip up on him.  My friend’s son shot him first and I followed up with another shot.   I then eased up as quietly as I could in the heavy cover and delivered the “coup de grace”.   I have a video of the buck before delivering the final arrow.

Oh my gosh, what a buck!    One of the G2’s is over sixteen inches!  The inside spread is 20 and 3/4″.   The buck was green scored at 166.  An incredible buck.   Looking over the buck we found that he had a broken front leg, broken at the shoulder.   The break was high enough that a projectile would have injured the body, but no such injury to the body was present.    Though no gunshot or bow wound was present, the evidence of a fight with another buck was.  We studied the wound carefully but just couldn’t see where the broken skin could have been caused by anything other than just the broken bone.  It is hard to imagine this buck losing a fight considering his headgear, but that is the conclusion we reached.  Other signs of fighting were present, including some antler horn in the skull.  The buck had lost a lot of body weight and the end was not far off.   At the very least we saved the buck from a fate worse than death, being eaten alive by coyotes and hogs.   The weight was 175, but should have been more as you can see by the buck’s ribs showing.  Of course bucks are often lean and worn down this time of year so it’s hard to know how long the buck had been wounded and how much weight loss had occurred from the broken leg.

I know this was not a fair chase adventure, but the fact that I got to experience a huge, and live “yellow” swamp buck and share in putting him out of his misery was fulfilling.  The great buck deserved a better ending than what coyotes and hogs would have given him. Maybe I’ll just stick to the invasive and destructive hogs from now on and let the smaller bucks become great bucks.  Of course we’ll have to see if I still feel that way next year.

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The boar I had taken earlier was a nice trophy too, but considering the buck, hardly worth mentioning:

 

 

Barry Bags a Big Buck!

A hunter that hunts harder than Barry would be hard to find.  So it’s no surprise that he bagged this nice buck this weekend.  Wow.  What a buck.  The vital statistics are:
19 ” inside spread
22″ beam length
10.5″ G2
170 lbs.

Congratulations Barry on another nice deer!

My question, do we call that a drop tine on the right antler?  I do! Which would make it the first drop-tined buck I have ever seen come from Ragsdale.  Nice!

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Happens Every Year!

Chris and I are notorious for taking a buck on Christmas Eve.   Our Mississippi rut happening around Christmas gets us in trouble with family, but when I look back, not hunting on Christmas eve would have cost us a lot of bucks.  This year was no different.  This time it was dear old Dad.

The day started out great with us spotting a bald eagle hanging around our hunting area, which is in the Delta.

 

 

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The morning and mid-day was uneventful though hogs were close by.  At 4:30 PM a  large bodied buck with a strange right side antler walked out to feed under a Nuttall tree.  (I love Nuttalls, many of the trees hold their acorns until late January, dropping a little all along.)

I wasn’t sure about shooting this buck because I had already lost one wounded buck this year and the buck, though big in body and obviously mature, had the messed up right-side.   When he came under me,  since I was hunting with a bow, I stood up to give myself the best possible shooting position.   First the buck let me get away with standing up and then he stopped for me at five yards.  I figured somebody high up wanted me to take him.

It was a good shot, but Chris and I just couldn’t find him in the dark with no blood trail and the cover was very thick.  Where we were, there was no dry ground, only water.  We had done our Christmas with family on Sunday when everyone was home, so I was free on Christmas day but Chris was not.  So I returned alone on Christmas day and found the deer pretty quickly.  Unfortunately the coyotes and hogs had found him first so I’ll spare the not so attractive photos, but I did want to show the strange right-side antler, which is actually kinda pretty:

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I think this deer was past his prime.  He was not especially wary, probably old and maybe even sick.  The coyotes would not have been far in his future anyway.  I think I probably saved him from something much worse.

Haven’t gotten any pics from the camp since Kevin’s buck.  It’s the rut, can’t believe someone hasn’t gotten a good one yet.  What about our double-beamed buck?  Please send me an email with a pic if you have.  Send only quality, tasteful pics, please.

 

Slay a Swine for the Swamp!

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Chris and I have been “Making the Swamp Safe Again” by ridding the swamp of an invasive species.  (Sounds like something Washington should do.)   Yes, Chris and I have been making the swamp safe, and for a lot less money than government hunters shooting shotguns from helicopters.

This hog above that Chris took with his bow has the most massive cutters and whetters that we’ve ever seen.  Just look at those long cutters.  And the whetters, which are thick and curled upwards.  This thing looks like a wart hog to me.   And those cutters are sharp, almost sharp enough to cut your fingers.

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Where Chris has me on size for the past two days, I have him on numbers.  I took four out of four hogs with my bow in two days.  NO MISSES or bad shots.  I’ll spare you the photos.

I was also taken to school by a big buck.  I know you probably can’t see anything in this photo, but there is a big buck in there.  I was just looking around and saw something brown that looked like a log.  I didn’t think it looked right and so I took another look with my binoculars.  It was a nice buck, really nice.  He stood extremely still for a very long  time just slowly turning his head back and forth, LOOKING IN THE TREES!  Luckily I was hidden just a little by the willow oak branch in the photo.  After he stood there for what seemed like an eternity, I know it was between 15 and 30 minutes, he laid down right there where he had been standing.  He stayed with me for almost two hours.

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Watch the video, toward the end the buck moves his head.  Without binoculars I would never have made him.

 

 

Hunting Heritage

Below is a photo of my dad, Ewal Davis.  I discovered this photo after Dad’s death.  Up until I discovered the photo I did not know that he had ever taken a deer.  Of course this is just a small buck, but back in those days in south Mississippi, there were very few deer around.  I am posting this just because, well, this is my heritage and I just thought Dad’s buck deserved to be posted.

Unfortunately when I was born, Dad was 42 years old.  As a result, when I was a youngster, after having had three of my brothers in front of me, Dad was pretty well done with the outdoors.  Mostly due to his smoking two packs of Lucky Strikes per day.  He took me squirrel hunting once.  He took me fly fishing once.  In each case, that’s all it took.

I don’t see a gun in the photo but I’m pretty sure it was a Remington 16 gauge which was his bird gun and the only gun in the house other than a Geco .22 my uncle Howard brought back from Germany.  He had been with the first troops into Berlin and I believe the gun had been confiscated.  Anyway, my son, Chris, took his first buck with that 16 gauge, a spike, and then several more before he got his own Remington 810.  Most of them with slugs, at least one with buckshot that I remember.

Dad looks pretty cool wearing that Fedora, cigar, sleeves rolled up.  To this day you will rarely find me in a long-sleeved shirt or even a jacket without my sleeves rolled up.  Must be genetic.

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Bear Encounters, “Gum-Boo”, A Ditchin’ Good Time, Delta Dawn

Ran out to the camp Wednesday afternoon and was surprised to see the words “Bear Encounter” in the “Harvested” column of the sign-in book.   This was by De’s name.  Boo and Buckethead were at the camp and they explained that De had a bear follow him out of the woods and even his disparaging shouts didn’t seem to deter the bear.   In light of this incident I thought it might be important to pass on some safety instructions to members in case they are attacked by a bear, seeing how commonplace encounters have become.  De, next time this happens to you, simply lay down, cover your neck and don’t move, as the following meme describes:

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I can’t wait to hear the story from De.  Apparently I may get that chance this coming boojpgSaturday night as Boo told me he intends to make his famous gumbo Saturday night.  In  honor of the chef let’s call it, “Gum-Boo”.

 

 

 

 

Well I have a story about an encounter too.   While paddling my kayak in the dark in a flooded ditch with ten foot banks, a good-sized Delta buck decided he couldn’t wait for me and Chris to pass.  Instead, he leaped off the bank and belly-flopped into the water just about ten yards in front of my yak.  Then we were further entertained as we watched him climb the steep, muddy bank on the other side.  Pretty cool, but not a bear encounter.  Happened in the Delta. Here’s a video of Chris launching his kayak to come out, in the cold, cold rain just before it happened.

 

Below is a pic I made of the dawn sky in the Delta on Thanksgiving morning.   Had to hunt by myself that day, but had a great time anyway.  Shot an enormous hog on the ground at ten yards with my bow.  The arrow went clear through him and stuck in a tree.  No, I didn’t follow him into the thickest thicket I have ever seen.  Discretion is the better part of valor.  I’m not sure that putting my hands over my neck and playing dead would work with a big hog like it does for bear, De.

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