NO REALLY! QUICKSAND!
I often rave about my sacred swamp on our old Michigan family hunting grounds, and it is indeed a wildlife paradise sacred swamp.
This wonderful October afternoon would not bode well for the old backstrapper as I gleefully stalked the marshlands and fen into my timbered buck knob oak mound, smack dab in the middle on no-mans muck-hell!
We have always known there are numerous pockets of quicksand within the vast mucky, muddy, super-goo hinterlands of this incredible piece of property, but we have always believed they can be avoided just by cautious observation and the diligent avoidance of the treacherous floating black globs of bottomless peat in and around the amazing impenetrable tangles of alders, dogwoods, willows, cattails, reedgrass and the plethora of aquatic vegetation that makes this ground the definitive wildlife sanctuary.
I have traversed such dangerous areas for more than forty years with only the occasional leg sucking encounter, always able to extract free before things got too threatening.
On this day I had even mentioned to my wife Shemane that I probably shouldn’t hunt the buck knob by myself, as more than a few deer retrievals have tested even a tag team effort in the past.
Well, yours truly, Mr. Goofball ignored my instinctual intellect and I ventured into the dangerzone anyway.
Arrowing a fine old she-deer before dark, I didn’t like the smell of my arrow, so backed out and cleaned up and had dinner before taking up the bloodtrail a few hours later.
Once again ignoring the wisdom from my wife to not track the deer alone, I figured I would just take up the bloodtrail a short-ways and not put myself in jeopardy as the boot-sucking goo factor increased.
The bloodtrail looked promising and inspired me to stay on it.
There are no words to adequately describe the rabbit defying thickness of this astonishing tanglezone of jungle-like vegetation. Every foot of progress is painstaking and challenging beyond words.
I struggled through the heavy branches, roots, multi-flora rose walls of phenomenal flora and squirmed hellishly on my hands and knees following the ever-decreasing blood spoor.
Taking the trail through this most amazing maze, I finally popped out into the somewhat negotiable sawgrass that provided a hint of barely supportable footing. Now facing the partially open water of the muck-pond, I knew I had to backtrack my adventure to make my way back to the knob.
With the nearly full-moon overhead as a constant guide, I carefully fought my way back through the hellzone when suddenly a thrusted right foot hit a gob of black goo and I sank quickly to my crotch falling forward uncontrollably, sinking fast.
I immediately knew I had hit quicksand and with my legs akimbo nearly in the splits, I struggled with all my might to yank my leg out of the black snot, only to cause both legs to sink deeper.
I forced myself to stop struggling, having learned from old cowboy TV shows in my youth that one should never struggle when mired in quicksand as it only makes things worse.
I laid back against a nasty tangle of vines, limbs and roots to catch my breath, and slowly attempted to wriggle my right foot upward using only my arms and back muscles to literally weightlift myself out of the sucking slop.
Being less than a mile from our cabin, I knew my situation was not hopeless or life-threatening with my son Toby and hunting buddy Jim to the rescue at some point worst-case scenario.
Now if only my cell signal is strong enough to text everyone!
I texted Shemane, Jim and Toby- “East of buck knob quicksand come asap”
With that big moon shining down, I very slowly hoisted myself out of the mire, inch by inch for the next half-hour, crawled over the limbs and puckerbrush, and eventually made my way back to the high ground of the knob just about the time Jim arrived.
I was soaked head to toe in sweat and covered in thick, black, clinging muck up to my crotch, my left hearing aid and hat gone back there somewhere.
I leaned against a big oak for a while catching my breath and sharing my adventure with Jim, rather pleased and downright thrilled to have gone through the challenge, and rather relieved to have made it out not much worse for wear.
At my age I am well aware of the heart attack considerations of old men, so all my decisions were made to err on the side of steady-as-she-goes controlled excursion.
Unfortunately, I never did recover my doe and that always leaves a hole in our hearts, but the adventure was fascinating to say the least.
Hosing off my pants and boots left a giant puddle of black muck on the driveway, remnants of a hard lesson learned to always believe in and trust your instincts and the smart advice of your loved ones.
From here on out, the buck knob is off limits to my solo hunts, and here’s to fully charged cellphones and flashlights!
Email Ted Nugent at [email protected]