- By Brandon Wikman
There’s nothing quite like the excitement of slapping a trail camera against a fresh tree overlooking a totally new area. Yesterday I hopped in my truck after class and sunk my rubber boots into an area that’s shielded from human existence.
I’ve always searched for different spots where no hunter has set foot. It is obviously near impossible discovering a place so void of human sign. Hunters and hikers have made a slight indentation on nearly every sand, snow and ice granule across the planet. After countless hours staring at Google Earth, I was able to find a hunting spot that is dislocated from any roads, four-wheel trails and public access. It’s not often when you find a potential sweet spot buried in the map, hidden from even the keenest set of outdoorsman eyes. I was just plain lucky, so I thought.
After packing up a few of my Moultrie cams, I burnt rubber and ventured into the woods. A backpack is a wise idea to bring with you on any journey. I was able to fit a few cameras, bait and water bottles to quench my thirst after an endless trek into no-man’s land. I felt as prepared as I could be for a new exploration. High hopes complimented a silly grin as I gave my best attempt to lose myself in nature. The smile didn’t last long.The walk was brutal. A map only shows a simple illustration of terrain. Needless to say, I found myself battling impenetrable patches of thorn bushes, waist high swamp waters and viscous swarms of blood thirsty mosquitoes! I was about as unprepared as a hunter without his weapon. I wore shorts and a short-sleeve shirt, which was a huge mistake. The thorns sunk into my naked skin like razor blades. I forgot to bring any type of mosquito spray. In fact, the scratches and cuts on my arm made me even more attractive as prey for bugs. I turned my own body into a dinner platter for swamp critters. When I arrived at the halfway point, things got real ugly. I escaped the dagger field and eluded most of the swarms of bugs, but when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they surely did.
My knee-high boots vanished into the depths of a seemingly endless mud hole. Black water oozed into my boot as I desperately struggled to win back my leg. Sludge-choked water nipped at my toes until my entire boot filled with swamp water. I had it. I was done.
My risky business of venturing into the hellhole of an abandoned marsh wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever stumbled upon. I found myself pulling a 180-degree turn the heck out of there! Sometimes I think we as hunters try way too hard trying to find the most out of reach location on earth to hang a stand. It always makes me laugh (not really) when I hear hunters say they shot their giant buck a mere couple hundred yards behind their house. It never ceases to amaze me how the whitetail brain works, but I think we can all ask an even better question…how in the world does our mind wrap around the concept of trying to nail everything a deer would know? It is better left unsaid.
At the end of a tireless, wet and distasteful voyage into the cattails, my job isn’t done yet. I will sling a Moultrie around a tree down there, but just not today.