Thought I'd share my story from today where I failed at all three.
Right now I'm in east Texas camping near a few wma's. We're out here mainly to camp but also because I wanted to try woodcock hunting with my dog. It's the first time I've hunted east Texas.
I almost always carry a back pack with first aid kit, flashlight, manual compass, emerg blanket, food, water, etc. when I'm out in the field. Well I was hanging at camp because it has been a steady rain all day but at about three today I decided to go rent a canoe and take it across the lake here to try and hunt woodcock in the wma because there's no walk in access from here. So I grabbed my phone, gun and the dog and that's it and take off.
This lake I'm on doesn't really have a clear bank like you would see in a dfw lake. I ended up paddling into this swampy cove area (one of many) and just sort of tying it to a tree in about 6 inches of water.
The map only showed the lake and land and Google earth only showed tree tops so as far as I knew it was just regular forest. Well this was some really wild ground. It was so thick in spots that I couldn't see the dog after about ten feet.
So I didn't really have a plan and was just following the dog as best I could trying to take the easiest route. Exploring really. Was rainy and a little miserable. Keep in mind it was wet ground everywhere I walked but I was skirting the deep swamps as I went.
Well as it started getting dark I decided to head back so I started going in the direction I thought I had come from. After twenty minutes or so I thought I better check the apple map on my phone and I had been headed straight north that last twenty minutes and I should have been headed southwest (I had luckily dropped a pin where the canoe was)I had no idea and for the first time in my life I realized what it felt like to have no sense of direction.
So I opened the compass on my phone which turned out to be my saving grace, turned southwest and took off in a straight line. Twice I had to readjust because I had drifted course and didn't realize it until I checked the compass again.
So Im walking and finally come to a straight up swamp. Looked like the movies with the cypress knuckles sticking up everywhere. So I tried going right a ways and see nothing but swamp. Try going left a ways and see nothing but swamp. So I decided to go straight through because the first ten foot was only about shin deep and thought the worst that would happen is that my feet would get wet. So I'm walking and this is where it gets bad. Funny looking back but it felt bad at the time.
I'm walking and drop off straight to my waste. It was cooold. By this time I can see hard ground about 50 yards ahead so I just keep going. There was some sort of thick grass growing in the deep part of the swamp that made it so very hard to walk but it also saved me from falling on my face a few times because I would trip and fall forward and just lay there on that grass catching my breath.
If you're wondering about the dog, he was right behind me. It was sad. At one point I was leaning against a tree in the swamp catching my breath and and realized he was having the hardest time following me. All I could see was his head and back. I think the thick grass helped him some too as far as resting but it made forward movement really really hard.
So about the middle of the swamp I get my phone out again (forgot to mention I put it in my hat when it first got deep, luckily it was in my jacket pocket at that time and not my pants pocket). So I'm checking the compass again and that's when I notice my phone was on 4%. Great, my only compass is about to go dead, it's getting really hard to see, and I'm waste deep in a swamp. Oh, the other dumb move on my part was not using my good Garmin alpha dog collar so I had no map tracking where I had walked. If I had that I would have just retraced my steps.
So back to the swamp. I realized I had to hurry because I might be spending the night if my phone went dead. The rest is sort of anti climatic. I got through the swamp, which was the hardest 50 yards I've ever walked, and easily found the canoe from there.
So, quite the adventure. East Texas is no joke and things could have been a whole lot worse. Hardest hunting in its own way that I've ever experienced. We're back at camp and will be back at it duck hunting in the morning.
Blue getting warm after his swamp trek.