Santa Fe Swamp is a challenging area. Except for a small portion along it's far eastern boundary, no roads traverse it. In a wet year, most of it is under water. Widespread peaty soil makes walking treacherous. Because of raging wildfires in previous years many of the standing trees are dead snags, pretty unsafe for a tree stand. I'd only hunted it once before, and that afternoon essentially amounted to hiking the eastern roads with a gun at the ready. I did have a chance to take a shot at a rabbit, but it would have meant shooting towards the nearby parking area so I passed it up.
The new addition is to the west of the main parcel, connected to it by a ribbon of land that includes the headwaters of the Santa Fe River. I'd heard it was largely under water early in the season but it had recently dried up some. This past Saturday I went over to conduct what would amount to a mid-season scouting trip, but since the season was open I brought my gun just on the slim chance I got lucky and ran across a legal buck.
Two new parking areas, one on either side of SR 325, were created to grant access to the new parcels. I started with the western parking area, which was empty of vehicles. Brush-hogged trails lead away from the truck to the west, branching around either side of a large basin swamp. I chose the right hand trail, but it quickly became submerged so I attempted to follow game trails around the water. It wasn't long before these became thicker than I cared to fight with so I backtracked and started down the left hand trail.
|Dark and dreary afternoon in the swamp.|
|Clouds starting to break up over the Loblolly Pines and Loblolly Bays|
|Saltbush releasing seed.|
|The dug pond, it was teaming with frogs and such.|
|Somewhere near the channel, if there is one.|
Adios, Santa Fe Swamp! Hopefully we'll have some good days together in the future.