This past Spring & Summer like most kayak fisherman you may have spent hours pouring over Google maps looking for that secret pond or slough. As I looked for those hidden spots in MS; I learned that both sides of the local river was public hunting land. Ask yourself this – “How many of your buddies load up in there boat or kayak to hunt.” You may have a few that answer yes because they duck hunt out of there kayak or boat but what about deer hunting or big game? I began to notice that the end of the backwaters or sloughs usually held local ducks and were perfect corridors for deer to travel to the islands.
How many times have you stopped on a bank to stretch your legs, eat some lunch and noted the deer tracks. Game trails down to the water are a common sight. Most public land along rivers and creeks leave the oaks as part of there timber management program making an abundant food resource. Much of the public land along this local MS river is bordered by hunting camps and not accessible by public right of ways. This makes kayaking the perfect tool to access land that may have limited hunting pressure and reduce your walking time to the stand. I found it a lot easier to paddle my climber into a hunting location than to have walked in with it on my back.
Here are a few quick tips to help you get started when looking for your next piece of hunting ground using your kayak.
– Research public hunting land in your area with emphasis on places that are accessible by boat or kayak.
– Use Google Maps to identify sloughs for ducks or pinch points for deer crossings. Throw your snake boots in the kayak during those Spring or Summer fishing trips and see what the terrain is like. Here in MS if you find Persimmon trees or old fruit trees you probably hit the jackpot.
– Take notes when you find promising hunting areas during the Spring/Summer months to revisit in the Fall. This is especially important when the lily pads are thick and make travel to the bank difficult or just wanna keep those spots secret from your fishing buddies.
– Remember there is a good chance islands will hold deer especially if they are being pressured on the banks.
– Drive by the boats ramps during hunting season to see what the pressure is like.
– Have multiple locations you plan to hunt. I suggest picking them in pairs within a close paddle distance. This will be beneficial for that morning somebody is in your primary hunting spot and you have little time until daylight.
Hopefully this will help get you started using your kayak beyond just fishing. I know it was a new experience for me when I ventured out duck hunting and then again when I used it to deer hunt. I’m still learning and gain more confidence with every trip. Please use Water Safety, Wear your Life Jacket and BE PREPARED especially during Winter kayak activities.