When you’re ready to take your hunting adventures to new levels, think kayak. This is a fun and easy way to ensure success on every different level. My kayaking began in the fall of 2013 when I purchased a deer tag in Kansas. After a short scouting trip through the country it was apparent that if I was going to reach the places I had found on my maps, water craft would be absolutely necessary. I needed a cargo style kayak that could carry all my gear that included a tree stand, sleeping bag, back pack, bow, in addition to enough room to haul out a deer. I found my package in the Ascend FS10 Sit-In Angler Kayak – Camo.
After the purchase, I was ready to load my gear and head north out of Oklahoma. The area I was hunting was riddled with coal pits and secluded peninsulas and trying to walk the long way around these jungled havens was a sure fire way to bust out every deer who called it home. The great thing about this style of hunting was that it virtually cut off all human traffic to these areas and within just a few hundred yards of paddling, you suddenly realize you have everything to yourself.
If you are lacking experience in the kayak field, I would first advise you to practice in a pond or a shallow creek before embarking on a coal pit or lake trip. That time of the year often has water temperatures at or below freezing, and depths will often exceed 60′ in places. The last thing you want is to come home for thanksgiving dinner and explain to the family why you lost all your gear and nearly froze to death trying to swim back to the bank. I have all to many of these kinds of stories that I will gladly touch base on at a later time.
After you have scouted your target areas from aerial photos and maps, find your nearest access points and unload. Make sure all your gear is strapped tight with the bungee cords provided and take off. If you’re planning an early season hunt such as September in Kansas, it’s important to remember insect repellent. My last excursion was handicapped severely due to my lack of OFF and it literally forced me to break camp and paddle hard for the truck, where i gladly slept in the back seat. After enduring a miserable night in the back seat I eventually drifted off into sleep and to my dismay, awoke to the sounds of voices and doors slamming at the boat ramp.
As soon as my eyes opened I could see grey dawn creeping through my windows and I knew right then I had overslept my alarms, by two hours! I raced to my kayak and strapped my gear down as I pushed off the boat ramp. There was no time to hang a stand at 7:30am so I was forced to still hunt, and slowly ease my way into the wind as I worked towards a ridge. My mission was simple, take down a doe and butcher her out to supply meat for the upcoming elk hunt in Colorado. I landed the kayak on the opposite bank while cussing my inability to wake up and slipped through the briars. Slipping through briars is humanly impossible by the way because when you find yourself in the center of a briar patch, every barbed vine for 10 feet has coiled itself around your legs and it sounds like newspaper shredding with every step.
The best technique I have found for working your way out of this predicament is the hot wire high steps. Imagine that you’re trying to step over a hot wire one leg at a time, and you got it. Every time you drag a barbed vine up your crotch, count it as getting shocked. You’ll eventually get the hang of it and start going around the hot wire instead of through it. At any rate I spotted three does feeding along the ridge within 20 minutes of my hunt and I crouched behind some buck brush to assess the situation. The lead doe caught movement but couldn’t quite make out my figure as she began stamping her feet. And as good fortune would have it, curiosity killed the cat as she brought her investigation within 30 yards of my position. I aimed for the back rib and sent the Magnus Buzzcut careening through her chest, watching her fall within 40 yards of impact.
Be prepared to work when your hunting via kayak because after making the kill, you realize you’re a long ways from all the comforts of home. The easiest way to tackle this process is with a pack frame, where you will quarter your deer right where it lays and pack out everything but the carcass. I knew this before hand, but opted to leave mine in the truck in order to save time. That ended up being a terrible idea because I had to hoist her over my shoulders like a sack of feed and wade through all the briars in order to get back to where my kayak was ditched. All in all, it was a lot of fun looking back and I completed my mission for a meat supply. As for the elk hunt that followed, it turned out to be one of epic misery in unmeasurable proportions including broken pack strings, lost horses, broken bones, and much more. I’ll touch base on this adventure at a later time as well. Until then, good luck hunting and break out the kayaks! K.S.