Over the last 30, 35 years, I have found a way to “double-down” on my outdoor days fun. I pack my fishing equipment along with my hunting gear for some mid-day or late day fishing action. I started incorporating the fishing with my hunting trips only during the spring turkey season since the crappie were starting to move up in the water and could be found in a “hungry condition” along many of the grass beds lining the banks of the Tombigbee River were we often hunted Army Corp.land for some swamp gobblers.
About 20 years ago while packing my gear for an early season bow hunt, I decided to throw in a couple of my fishing rods and planned to catch some bream in the event my hunt went well and I took a deer early in the day. Since I hunted in Tuscaloosa county at that time and the club had multiple lakes, it was a natural way to spend the rest of the day other than scouting or laying around the camphouse. Going home was not a good option since the trip distance one way was about 112 miles.
I took a nice cull buck on opening day over on the stand we called the “corner.” It was a ladder stand situated among several white oaks that were dropping acorns at a rate of 10-12 a minute, more when a breeze stirred. The corner was in just that, a corner of our property with two old fence lines running through it and another pasture on the other side on the adjoining property. It was a natural bottleneck of woods and a very active corridor for deer travelling along the Warrior river who wanted to use the cover of these woods to get to the large tract of hardwood swamp that covered several thousand acres behind our place.
I got to the stand well before daylight since I had hunted it many times and it was only about 300 yards from the road. As I sat in the darkness, a deer “winded me” and started blowing. The deer’s alarm did it’s job as I heard other deer blow and a number of them ran out in the woods behind the stand and out into the swamp. Then, as I sat there in the darkness, a mosquito bit my cheek and I slapped him in disgust about how my morning had started out. I sprayed down with some deet spray and took a sip of water since I was nearly sweating and the sun was just visible through the woods behind the stand. I cooled a bit, so I put my cap and face mask on, knocked an arrow, and waited.
I figured the hunt might be a “bust” due to the deer blowing their alarms but, after 30 more minutes I saw some does coming from the direction of the road. I had decided to not take any does and sit for a buck to start the season off right. I also will confess right here that my bow shooting skills were lacking at that time so I had markers tied on small saplings around the stand indicating my effective shooting range. Some previous failures where I missed or even worse, sent an arrow into a stomach or hip, convinced me to make only shots with a high success potential. I watched as more than 20 different does and yearlings passed by in the next hour. Then I saw a buck that was what we called a “cull” coming toward the stand from the road side. He fed slowly my way as he munched acorns and I figured he was headed to the swamp to bed down for the day. He kept coming until he was right under my stand! When I made the shot, I almost tacked him to the ground! the arrow did a clean pass through and he took off like a rocket down toward the swamp! He went about 60 yards, stopped and looked back my way as if to be thinking “what just happened?” and then he fell over! He was a scraggly antlered 7 point that only weighed 165, but his jaw bone report the bioligist was doing back then listed him as a 4.5 yr old deer so it was a good buck to get out of the gene pool.
I had him cleaned and hanging in the cooler by 11:00 a.m. I went to the camp house took a shower, then a nap under the air conditioner. At 4:00 p.m. I got up and headed to one of the ponds where I knew I could fish in the shade. I caught about a dozen big bream and culled back to the biggest six fish. I had them sizzling in some peanut oil by 5:30 and enjoyed three of them along with some fries and cole slaw.
I had the other three for breakfast the next morning. I still love cold fried fish to this day!
I plan to recreate this “double pleasure” a few times this fall. Try it, it makes for a great day outdoors!
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Good luck !!