Had fun today with the wife and kids at Tickfaw state park catching sunfish and small mouths down by the river. Stink bait caught some cats and worms caught the rest. Then we hit the splash pad to cool down. 3 buck entry fee for priceless memories
I ever tell you about the time I hit quicksand in the Pearl River WMA? It was last year, 2012, and I will remember it forever.
I can think back to when my daddy and me first started hunting the Pearl. That was almost thirty years ago. I remember him saying that the Pearl River was one of the last places in North America to still have quicksand. It was just an off handed comment and he only said it once that I recall but it stuck with me forever. Being a young and impressionable kid and looking up to my father the way all little boys do to their dads, I simply believed what he said about the quicksand and filed it away in my head.
Now I have been hunting the Pearl ever since and I have tromped all over that swamp and never hit anything I would call quicksand. But! here it was November 2012 and I was chest deep in, I kid you not, quicksand. Here's how it happened. I hunt the north end of the WMA off of HWY 11 and there are always little bayous or ditches to cross. So here I was at maybe my fourth or fifth little ditch I was about to cross. Well like all good hunters do I surveyed the situation before stumbling in. I had already crossed a couple that were a least 18 to 24 inches deep and this one looked like maybe only 10 inches deep. you see, it had rained 4 or 5 days before and the water was clear as day and I could see the creek bed,, that was almost definitely dry before the rain, just below the surface. So I figured no big deal, right? The creek bed was maybe only 15 feet wide with maybe only 10 feet of water to cross. So I take the first step, and I sink in up to the top of my boot. And I'm thinking 'woe, that was a little softer than I expected'. But I only have a couple more steps to go, so I take the second step. There was absolutely no bottom and I simply kept going forward with no way to push back against anything. I was immediately in up to my waist and what happened next was because there was no bottom. When the mud hit up to my waist and I realized there was no hard ground under my front foot yet, I knew I would keep traveling forward and deeper into the mud. So I immediately shifted my weight backward and tried to go down to a squat but with nothing below me I just sank. Before I knew it I was literally up to just below my nipples. When I sank it was just instinct to use my shotgun as a sort of snow shoe to give me some leverage to stop sinking. To no avail, my dads Remington 1100 that he had since I was a little boy went under quicksand too. It seems the only thing that saved me was my pack I had on. As I sank the pack rode up and eventually the straps and waist band snugged up tight on my chest and arms and wouldn't let me sink any farther. Immediately I started to panic and almost screamed for help then reality hit me. You see I was so far back in the swamp nobody would have ever heard me. Crazy thoughts started running through my head. What if I had to spend the night here like this and the hogs or coyotes showed up? So this was a true life or death situation that only I could get myself out of.
I know what your thinking. He's stuck in a little mud, we've all been their right? Well let me tell you I have been stuck in mud from the Leeville marshes to the Bonnie Carrie spillway to the Pearl River swamps and I have never hit anything like this quicksand. What was different here was there was no bottom. Usually you sink in mud and eventually you stop and you have something solid enough to 2 or 3 feet down to push off of. Not here, my feet were 6 feet below in mud and I felt absolutely no bottom. The mud was thick enough that I couldn't turn around and get back to the closer bank, my pack was hindering me with that also. There was a skinny tree that looked like it had been blown down a few years before in Katrina several feet in front of me. So I leaned forward and stretched out as far as I could and then I used my dads shotgun to reach out to the tree and pull it to me, but it was so rotted that when I tried to pull it free from the mud it just crumbled. So inch by inch I moved forward and stretched out until I could put my hands on the tree. I was all in my friends, it was this tree or done for. Then inch by inch I squirmed up on to the tree which simply crumbled under me and sank into the mud. For the next hour I moved a total of ten feet to the other side of the creek bed. When I got there I was so happy just to be out that I immediately started to head out of the swamp. I was bleary eyed, exhausted, and disoriented. I had only gone 20 feet or so when I realized this, so I sat down drank some water, ate my PopTart, and studied my GPS. For the next hour I just sat there in the middle of the swamp on the ground and recuperated. Eventually I made it out of the swamp three fourths covered in mud and my 12 guage choked with mud.
Thirty years in that swamp. That was a new one for me. Now a days I try to hunt mostly from the rouge. Careful out there guys
Hunted the Pearl on Tuesday (10/22/13). Beautiful weather, nice and cool. Been scouting a new area with the rouge. This bayou is absolutely prehistoric. I wil post some pictures from the next hunt of the bayou. Anyway, I was heading down the bayou to an area I found on satelite map to scout. As I came around the bend I saw a flash of white. It was a nice size sow drinking at the waters edge. Just as I came around the bend she stopped drinking and moved away from the bank, but she didn't see me. I saw that she was going to keep coming my way down the bank. As soon as I saw her I stopped paddeling and picked up my 12 gauge loaded with some 2.75' high powered #2's I bought just for these hogs. I had my 12 at the ready as my forward momentum kept carrying me forward. I was concentrating on an area about 15 yards closer down the bank where I thought I should see her again. Sure enough as the rouge's forward progress slowed I saw her about 10 feet from the bank into the brush, she was right about where I expected her to be. The bank was about 2 foot above the water level, so that when I drew a bead on her I was actually below her line of sight and moving silently. Not that she was paying attention, her nose was stuck to the ground. A single shot of high powered #2 to the head dropped her. She was maybe 40 to 50 feet from the end of my barrel. I pulled up to the shore, had to step one foot out of the rouge and stretch to reach her and pull her in the boat with me. I never did make it to the spot I was trying to get to, to scout. I figured I had a hog to deal with. So here it was 8:30 in the morning, I had a hog in the rouge, a beautiful bayou all to myself and awesome weather. On the paddle back I said a much deserved Thank You to the big man upstairs and even made it back to my car in time to catch the rest of Walton and Johnson. Awesome. I hope to post many more like this, with pictures next time. stay tuned