This week our high school football team had a Thursday night game and on the way back from the game we saw about 6 deer in various places along the road. I thought this was a good sign since the deer were moving, but I had hoped they wouldn?t move all night and thus not be out in the morning.
I think I stepped on and broke every stick possible on the way into the woods. I hate to make a lot of noise on the way in, but today I wasn?t too successful at the quiet entry that I hoped for. I headed back to the same stand from last week where I saw the does. I had taken some corn out there and nobody had been back since. I finally got situated in my stand and waited on the sun to rise. While waiting, I sent a few text messages to friends who were also up early. The old man gives me a hard time about texting while hunting, but it does help to pass time.
Soon it was light enough to see well in the woods. I noticed some movement over my right shoulder to the corn pile that is at my 5 o?clock. A deer? This early? Yep, that's exactly what it was. The white?ish-grey ring around this deer?s eyes really stood out to me for some reason. Maybe it was the contrast from the dark that surrounded everything in the forest with the light color around the deer?s eyes. I slowly began to turn to get into better position. As I turned I could see the deer moving its head up and down. I got to where I was in a semi-comfortable position and then I saw antlers on the deer?s head. Because of the lighting, it was difficult to see exactly how many points were on the rack, but I knew that it was a buck. The rush started to come over me as the deer continued to eat corn. Soon enough I was able to make out how many points were on the rack and it was a 6 point with an extremely high rack. It had a good body too. I?ve seen some 6 points that were measly looking characters, but this one was thick for his size. I?m guessing he would have gone around 140 lbs. Maybe he?s been eating enough corn around there to keep him healthy!
On this track of land, we are not shooting any bucks unless they meet certain criteria. This buck did not meet the criteria because it wasn?t old enough and the rack wasn't big enough. So, I knew I wasn?t going to shoot this one, but I didn?t know if he was by himself. After holding in this semi-comfortable position for a while, it started to become not-so-comfortable. I?m sure all hunters know what it?s like to be locked frozen in an awkward position and trying to hold it for a long period of time. With the deer 20 ? 30 yards away, I didn?t want to spook him even though I knew I wasn?t going to shoot him. So, I slowly started to move when he had his head down. There were also a few trees that were between him and me. I rotated and moved until I got into a relaxed position. Once I got back comfortable and just sat quietly.
The squirrels had started to move about the forrest. They say the "woods wake up" when all the birds, animals, and random sounds you hear in the woods start to come out and move. The woods was definitely awake by this point! Nearly 20 minutes had gone by and I turned slowly back around and the buck was still there! I then reached for my camera and got it out of my pocket and turned it on. ( I should mention here that I love the zipper pockets in these pants that are made for easy access once you sit down.) If I wasn?t going to shoot him, I might as well take a picture to post here on the blog. I turned and got the camera ready and he had no clue. Though, I could barely see him because of the trees. I could clearly see his hind end and legs, but his head was behind a large pine tree. I held and held with the camera up. I waited on him to take a step, but he never did. The squirrels were getting closer to me. The buck heard the squirrels and started peeping around?.up and down he went with his head...up and down...several times at random intervals. He was staring dead at me, but heard the squirrel that was in the tree beside me. The squirrels didn?t spook him though. Sidenote: I?m always amazed at how loud squirrels are in the woods in contrast to how quiet deer are. Many times I hear a noise and think it?s a deer, but it?ll turn out to be a squirrel. Deer are stealth creatures! So, I held the camera for about 5 minutes and even took a picture, but it was too blurry to post. You couldn?t really make anything out about the picture other than leaves. So the deer eventually walked back into the woods.
I sat there for about an hour after that hoping to see him again or hoping to see some does come through. Nothing happened though and that was it. There was still some corn left out there, so I?ll be back in the near future hoping to cross paths with a big one.
Also, I wanted to make note that the Solunar Forecast said that these few days were good days for deer hunting and, as you just read, I did see a deer today. I?m not sure how much stock I place in the Solunar forecast, but I?m going to watch it closely on the site this year and compare when I see deer in contrast to the phases of the moon. More to come on that later.
To give you some visuals, I took a few pictures before leaving the stand so as to help you picture what I?m seeing in the woods.
Here's my vantage point
The inverted view...that's a good looking pine tree there!
The stand in the woods
I always look forward to the start of hunting season. Though, I wasn?t able to get in the woods until the weekend of the opening week of deer season. We hunted over a corn pile out of ground blind, I hunted out of a box stand in a soy bean field, and out of 12 foot ladder stand in the woods this morning. The first two days I didn?t see anything but mosquitoes, but this morning was different!
I got up in the stand well before daylight and on the way in I spooked a turkey that was roosting in a tree above me. The sound of the turkey flying off seemed magnified because, as you most likely know, when it?s pitch black and quiet in the woods, everything will startle you a little bit. It was slightly raining early on, but eventually is stopped. The two previous days had been hot and humid, but today it was cool and just right with a little breeze. The stand I was hunting out of is positioned in the break of the woods and by break I mean it?s right on the edge of where some planted pines meet a tree line of oak trees. From looking at the signs, it appears that a buck has a scrape-line along this break in the woods as well.
Hunting in the woods in early season is always a challenge as the leaves provide so much cover. It?s just difficult to see far. In this scenario, I was going to have to have a deer within 30 ? 40 yards before I could see it. I?ve often been in this scenario and had a deer sneak in on me and get right on top of me before I could even get my gun up. So I knew it was important to keep my head on a swivel. We had put out 2 corn piles and from where I was sitting one pile was at my 5 o?clock and the other at my 10 o?clock.
Soon the sun started to rise and the visibility got better. I sat in the stand for a good while and then I noticed a flash of brown moving down the hill past the corn pile that was at my 10 o?clock side. I saw enough movement that I knew it was more than 1 deer. I took this opportunity to turn my body in my stand to get in better position. A few moments later I took my safety off and put my gun up on the railing that surrounds the stand. At this point, I knew there were deer back there, but didn?t know how many or if they were bucks or does. The heart started beating fast again! That rush that every hunter understands came on me. I started looking through the scope and out came 4 deer. There were two fawns and 2 does. I believe one of them was the mama doe, but the other I wasn?t too sure about. The other doe had a much darker tone to it than the other three. I watched them eat acorns and corn for about 15 minutes through my scope. I wasn?t satisfied with the size of the does, so I decided not to pull the trigger on either one. I?m guessing they were around 80 lbs or so and I say that because I could see their ribs when they would take deep breathes. I put the safety back on and lowered my gun when they all either weren?t looking or were behind a tree. The fawns weren?t that attentive so it wasn?t too hard. At one point, one of the larger does raised and charged for about 2 ? 3 steps at one of the fawns making the fawn move away. I?m not sure why, but I think it didn?t like the fawn eating the same thing it was trying to eat. So that was neat to see.
After 15 minutes I traded my gun for my camera phone. Since I wasn?t going to shoot the deer, I figured I?d at least try to get some pictures. Though, I knew with the camera phone the clarity wouldn?t be that great. By this point, the mama doe had worked her way behind me and I could no longer see her. She was headed to the other corn pile that was at my 5 o?clock. The two fawns and other doe were still on the first pile of corn to my left. The fawns followed their mom next, but they came extremely close to me as they were passing. I could have spit on one of the fawns it got so close to my stand. It got right up under my stand, but yet was directly behind me, and just stood there for about 10 minutes. I was sitting sideways in the stand and was holding the camera and was locked in for the whole 10 minutes in hopes of not scaring the fawn. It was difficult to hold still that long without moving an inch! Eventually it went by me. So now the mama doe and two fawns were walking behind me and the odd doe out was starting to head that way. Then, all of a sudden, that shrieking sound came. Yes, you know the one I?m talking about. The mama deer either saw me move or smelled me and she blew as loud as she could. Though, she didn?t run, but rather blew about 4 ? 5 times. Then 2 other deer blew back at her. It was kind of funny because I was hearing them all going back and forth and it was coming from different spots in the forest. They were alarmed and on edge now. The odd doe out was now eating at the corn pile behind me to my right at my 5 o?clock. It started stomping its feet like deer do when something isn?t right. The sounds of the does shrieking blows continued for a little while longer. I swiveled all the way around in the stand to look at it from an easier position. I watched the doe for about 5 minutes. The mama doe had obviously circled back around closer to where I first saw them, but she must have done it from a distance where I couldn?t see her because she blew again and was in front of me. I never saw her, but she blew and finally ran away. She blew the whole time she was running and with every bound I could hear the sound fading away. This also alarmed the doe that was eating behind me and she slowly went into the forest behind me. It was now 8:30.
These does and fawns had me occupied for over an hour. I wanted to give them some time to clear the area so that I could leave. I waited 15 more minutes and was ready to start heading out when I hear another shrieking blow sound from behind me. This time the deer must have smelled me because I wasn?t moving and the tree the stand is on was in between me and the deer + she was further away this time. So I waited another 15 minutes and it was pushing 9 o?clock. I bolted the shell out of the chamber, stood up, put my orange vest on, clipped my bag around my waist and stretched for a few seconds. I figured the deer must have left the area because I didn?t hear any response movement to the sounds I was making. I turned around and started going down the ladder. When my first foot hit the highest step, you got it, another shrieking blow from deep in the woods. This time the last doe bounded away and I here again, I could hear the sound growing faint with every bound she took. I really didn?t want to spook the does away by any means, but I couldn?t get them away from me far enough to let me get out of the stand! What a problem to have right.
Here are some pictures that I took of the deer from my I-Phone below. You may have to squint to see them in some! The deer are the red "blurs" that you see
And fawn #2 when she walked behind my stand
I also saw a nice little rub on the way out too. The buck is continuing to work that scrape-line. From the size of this rub, I?d say he?s a little 6 point.
As this season kicks off, I wanted to write a post about getting your links and information on our site. We?ve had inquiries from various individuals, groups, and organizations about getting their links on our site.
Aligning with the underlying principles of this site, we strive to share information for, with, and between hunters in South Carolina. So, if you are a hunting guide, deer processor, taxidermist, or a member of a group with a just cause, we will gladly post your information on our site. Just email it over and we?ll get it up with relative speed. WeHuntSC.com does not endorse one service over the other, but rather aims to get information out there so hunters can have access to it.
Companies who seek to advertise their products globally on our site do not fall in this category and should visit the Sponsor FAQ page for further information.
Regards, Clint Patterson
The weather is starting to turn to cool, football season has started back up, and deer hunting season is just around the corner. As fall appraoches, I am excited about many things, especially the launching of this site. I look forward to seeing what my fellow South Carolinians are up to and hearing the many stories and seeing the pictures that will come in during the next few months.
After researching, a few of us noticed that there was no single location where hunters in South Carolina could go to share stories, tips, information, and images of the game harvested from the SC outdoors. Thus, this site was created to fill that void. So feel free to send us your feedback, thoughts, & suggestions about the site. We'd love to hear from you.
So we got us a Bushnell Advantage Game Camera this off season and have been very pleased with it so far. The only trouble is that the raccoons seem to be getting the best of our deer corn! It looks like they've enlarged the family in the off season too! Check out this picture of the new family.
Also, we caught the 6 pointer who appeared to have a little run-in with one of the raccoons in a different shot. Would have been neat to see what else went down in the seconds that followed this photo
The clock is ticking until September 15th and I hope you all have as much anticipation as we do to get this season underway.
Until next time...
Clint Patterson WeHuntSC.com Webmaster