It’s that time of the year where I usually start counting the days until October 1st. In case you don’t know the significance of the date, October 1st is the opening day of bow season in the Mississippi Delta. October is just a fun month, period. Usually by October the Mississippi heat has somewhat subsided, college football is in full swing, and the MLB playoffs have began. The leaves will begin to change, the mornings will be cool and crisp, and we will have an opportunity, once again, to begin the quest to fill our freezers with whitetail deer. Before any of that can happen, there must be prep work done.
This weekend, I made a quick trip to our deer camp in Vicksburg, Mississippi. For the last four years I have had the opportunity to hunt some beautiful property just south of Vicksburg on the Big Black River. After growing up in South Mississippi, where the average mature whitetail buck was around 165 pounds, this place has really spoiled me for the last few years. We have been fortunate to kill some very nice bucks and my daughter killed her first ever deer on the land last season. It’s also been a great place to fish and I’ve made many memories watching the kids grow into a love of the outdoors. Even better, the people that I’ve got to share time with up there are nothing short of fantastic. To have a place like this, though, takes a little labor and planning.
This weekend was more about planning than it was labor. I cannot ever remember putting a camera out in early August, but my excitement for the upcoming season has grown so much that I decided to do so. I’ve also seen a lot of people posting trail cam pictures lately so I thought I’d get in on the action. I left the office on Friday and hurried home as quick as I could to load up and head to the camp. The drive from the house to Vicksburg is around 2.5 hours any way you slice it, unless you are driving with Eric Ebers and his wife is in labor. That cuts the trip down an hour at least! After loading my four wheeler on the trailer and throwing a bag with some gear and clothes in the truck, I was rolling northwest toward camp. I stopped briefly in Vicksburg to pick up some batteries and a quick bite and tried to beat the sunset to the camp. As I began to turn onto the dirt road leading to the camp, I noticed a familiar critter on the side of the road, a timber rattlesnake! I excitedly jumped out of my truck almost before it could stop, carefully made my way around the back of the trailer and found him in the grass. With one blast from my 9mm pistol the rattler was pretty much done (I did pump an extra round in him to be sure). The trip is starting off great as I haven’t even gotten to camp yet and already I get to shoot something! I load my snake in the trailer and make my way on to the house. When I arrive there are three deer in the field next to the house and I’m reminded of why I love this place once again.
The next morning I wake up early and make my way down to the lake. I try to bring my dog, Tessie, with me when I come to the camp for a companion and because she loves it even more than I do. After she takes a swim and I help out spraying some lily pads we head back to the camp house to grab my cameras. There are at least four places on the property that I want to place a camera to see what’s around. Putting out cameras is usually an exciting activity because I always anticipate what they will capture. The anticipation is still there on this trip, but the heat index reaches 104 and my excitement turns to sweat. Nonetheless, I get the cameras placed in the desired areas and head back to camp. Tessie has been awaiting my return, most likely not so patiently, and gives me a great greeting when I get back. We play around in the yard a while before loading the truck up to head back home. It’s a quick trip, but a productive one, and a trip that I hope yields some promising results. Now I sit at home and wait. I don’t wait for pictures to come to me via email because I don’t own a bank. My cameras are the old school, check your SD card type. I’ll have to return in a couple of weeks and manually check them to see what this years crop of bucks look like. Every time I leave I have a feeling of fulfillment as well as a tinge of sadness with having to go. Until the next trip, I’ll await with anticipation of what the cameras will show, and of what adventure lies ahead.