I hunted inside the Okefenokee National Wildlife refuge this weekend for the second weekend in a row.
The list of rules is lengthy, and as you might imagine it's probably compiled by someone who has never in their life hunted for deer. For example, you're not allowed to use any sort of flagging tape or reflective tacks to help you find your way in the dark woods. I suppose that these things might utterly destroy the largest swamp in America. Finding your spot is a real challenge without them.
The other rule that is particularly onerous is the requirement that your treestand can NOT be left on the tree - even overnite. It must be packed in and out on every trip! Well... the noise created by this rule has probably cost me a shot at some deer. Not to mention what happened to me Saturday morning.
I hiked in (another rule - No ATVs) in the predawn darkness carrying my tree climber. Once at the base of the tree I had an equipment failure. My tree climber had a major malfunction. Nothing to do, but hike right back out. With only the one tree climber at my camp, I was forced to drive to my other hunting camp for a replacement; a roundtrip of 186 miles. Saturday was NOT my day.
Sunday I saw a group of deer feeding right by the main gate. Rules say no hunting within a mile of the main gate. Now... bear in mind this is an ARCHERY hunt - no guns! So all I could do was look at the pretty deer feeding peacefully there beside the road as I drove on my way.
Here are a couple of pics taken from the stand I sat in Sunday morning (Much closer to the road than Saturday's spot). Note the fire damage visible in the foreground.
The view behind me. That's some THICK stuff there!