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2011 Deer Season - My Opening Weekend
   WeHuntSC.com - Camera videoing the doe in the soybeans
  A pic of the camera videoing the doe in the soybeans
I was able to go hunting this past weekend for my first hunt(s) of the 2011 deer hunting season.  I?d been itching for deer season to get here for some time and it finally arrived.  The weather has been hot lately, but this weekend a cool front moved in and I was hopeful that the drop in temperature would have the deer up and moving. The day before the hunt it was in the 90?s and it was right at 60 degrees in the stand on my first hunt. I don?t particularly like to be sitting in a stand and sweating the whole time so this new cool weather was very welcomed by me.
I went hunting with Jeremiah Johnson in Chesterfield County.  Jeremiah is always posting big deer to the site and he?s obviously got a knack for spotting the big boys and handling them when they arrive.  If you watch the site for a period of time, sooner or later you?ll see Jeremiah posting pics of some good deer.  I looked forward to our hunt and was just hoping to see anything.
We got up in a tower stand that overlooked a 2-laned food plot that was right beside a cut-over before it got light.  The wind was blowing pretty well and it felt good in the stand. It felt like the fall finally! Jeremiah and I whispered some and he told me where he usually saw deer coming from so that I could keep my eyes peeled and help him spot any movement.  As soon as light started coming through the trees we heard some clucking from behind us. There were turkeys all around us and they were clucking and purring from the roost. As it got a little bit lighter out we could see a turkey in a tree not far from us.  Shortly we saw a turkey fly down beside us, then another, and before we knew it we had 3 turkeys on the ground. One turkey was out in front of us in the food plot picking at soy beans (or bugs on the soybeans) and the other two were walking through the woods to our right. I got some good footage of the turkeys on the roost and in the plot. It made for a neat sunrise, but it was still cloudy and very windy.
We?d been sitting there for a while just surveying the cut-over and food plots when Jeremiah said ?Look, there?s a deer?. A doe got out in the food plot as quick as I could turn my head. I looked back and sure enough a doe was out in the food plot munching on soy beans.  I cut the video camera on and started filming. To our surprise the doe was by herself. I couldn?t believe that this doe stayed out in the food plot for over 45 minutes eating.  She sure must have been hungry and she surely left with a full belly!  
WeHuntSC.com - A closeoup of the doe eating soybeans in the food plot
As this deer browsed the food plot I taped her walking her way through the soy beans.  We had no intention of shooting this doe because Jeremiah was looking for a large buck and this doe was probably too much on the small side to be harvested.  As the doe ate Jeremiah and I whispered about how the doe may have had a fawn, but that the prevalence of coyotes in the area may have gotten the fawn at some point. Obviously one will never know, but usually does are traveling with younger ones at this point of the season. 
This deer stayed out in the food plot for an extremely long time and I was able to get some great video footage.  At one point we had a turkey in one shooting lane and the doe in the other lane. I panned the camera from both lanes to get a view of both of the animals there at the same time.  The doe slowly worked her way toward our stand and she stopped to eat and was ?winding? once or twice when the wind blew really fast.  She was definitely a little hesitant given the circumstances of the morning.  We watched the doe and video her for some time. Eventually I guess she got full and headed back into the cutover. She disappeared as quickly as she arrived once she stepped into the cutover. We caught one more glimpse of her half-way through the cut-over and then we didn?t see her anymore.
The below video is 17 minutes long...the doe gets closer over the course of the video. Close-up shots at the end.
We had no intentions of shooting it.
It was a great morning to be out in the woods. The weather was great and we saw some turkeys and a deer.  It was a good way to start the season.
Thanks again to Jeremiah for letting me tag along on the hunt.

WeHuntSC.com - Buck with weird rack eating soybeans    
Buck with weird rack eating soybeans  
I went hunting a couple more times over the weekend and didn?t see anything on two of those hunts. It was very surprising to me because I figured with this cool front moved in that I would be seeing more deer, but as you know, it doesn?t always work out the way you think it will.  I finally saw more deer on Sunday afternoon.  I went and sat in a different soybean field that I?ve hunted several times before.  Again the conditions seemed perfect and on my way in I noticed how much higher the soybeans were in this field. The soybeans came up to my ribs in places as I walked through the field.  This was both good and bad.  Good for the harvest, but bad for seeing deer!
After sitting in the stand for a while and posting several tweets on Twitter.com/WeHuntSC I saw a flicker of brown way off in the distance just over the edge of the soybeans.  Sure enough it was a 4 pointer that looked to still be in velvet, but it was so far off I couldn?t tell.  After zooming in I could see that this deer had more than 4 points and some of the points seemed awkward looking. I?m not sure what?s going on with this deer?s rack, but it definitely looked unique.  I watched (and filmed) this deer eating soybeans for 30 minutes.  All of the footage looked exactly the same so I cut it down to the best 4 minutes I could extract.  
As with the doe above, I had no intention of shooting this buck.  It wasn?t big enough and we?re trying to manage game on this land as well.  As I watched the deer I was wondering what I would do if that would have been a bigger buck.  I thought a bigger one may be trailing not too far behind him?at least I was hoping so.  I came to the end conclusion that I wouldn?t have tried to shoot the deer because it would have been an ill-advised shot.  It was really far out and there?s no way I could have gotten the bullet there without going through a ton of soybeans and they would definitely slow it down and alter its course. If it would have been a huge buck it would have driven me crazy, but I still would have had to suck it up and be disciplined.  
Here?s the footage of the buck eating soybeans
Overall it was a good opening weekend to deer season. To me, seeing any deer is a successful hunt whether or not I harvest one on the hunt!

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