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Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew

Doe in the Snow
  View from my stand.

It's not too often that WeHuntSC in the SNOW!  I made a little extra time to get in the stand on Sunday because there was a little white stuff on the ground.  A good bit had melted during the afternoon but it was still enough on the ground to get me excited. 

The wind had picked up during the afternoon which made it the coldest hunt I had been on this year.  As I sat in the stand I thought about how cool it is that in South Carolina our deer hunting season extends from late summer to early winter.  Thunderstorms to Snow is how I like to think about it.  Well this season has definitely provided both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. 

It was getting dark but I got a photo of these two.  

The hunt was successful in my book because I saw deer.  Four doe eased out of the cut-over and into the hardwood funnel my stand was in.  They seemed very cautious as they entered the hardwoods.  I'm not sure if it was the wind or if they were wondering why the woods had been highlighted in a blanket of white powder.  They definitely stuck out like a sore thumb against the white backdrop.  Well they moved on and so did I.  It was a pretty fun hunt.  Did anyone else have chance to get out and hunt in the snow?  How did it go?

Black Powder Doe
  WeHuntSC.com - Bruce Puette with the doe he shot with his Muzzleloader
  Bruce Puette with his doe and Muzzle loader

Last Spring Mr. Bruce Puette took me on my first turkey hunt.  After the hunt I posted a blog entry titled ?The Day I Learned How to Turkey Hunt?.  I got all fired up about turkey hunting and went and bought all kinds of turkey calls, camo, etc.  Well, Mr. Puette also deer hunts and we just had another successful hunt.

Two weeks ago I gave Mr. Puette a call to see if he wanted to go deer hunting at some point.  I told him that I didn?t plan on bringing a gun and that I just wanted to video one of his hunts again.  It seemed to work out well the first time with turkeys, so I figured it would probably hold true with deer, plus I had gotten a better camera since turkey season!  Mr. Puette and I got a date on the calendar and I was looking forward to it.

So this past Saturday I crossed the Pee Dee River into Marlboro County and met Mr. Puette at 4:30 in the afternoon.  It had rained a lot in the previous week (we really needed the rain) and a cool front had started to moved in.  It was still warm, but nothing like it has been.  The conditions seemed just right for seeing some deer. 

WeHuntSC.com - The road we came in on   
The road we came in on  

When I arrived we talked around the trucks for a bit and put on our camo.  Mr. Puette said he wanted to hunt with his muzzle loader to see if he could get one with it.  Mr. Puette was shooting a Traditions Pursuit XLT, Black Powder, 50 caliber.  I?ve never even seen a muzzle loader so I really didn?t know much about it.  While we talked, Mr. Puette loaded his gun.  Me, being slack, didn?t even think about videoing how he did it.  After the hunt, I was kind of mad at myself for not getting it on film.  Anyway, I think he put in the black powder and then the bullet.  I know that he took a rod out from beneath the barrel of the gun and pushed the bullet and powder down the barrel.  He really had to put some muscle into it to get it down the barrel too.  It didn?t just drop easily.  After he got the load down the barrel he dropped the rod down on it and it bounced.  He said when the rod bounces then the load is ?set? correctly.  I have never I seen anyone load their gun like that, so it was pretty neat to see.

We headed out to the deer stand not too long after that.  We rode a 4-wheeler to get there and I?m glad we did because it was a pretty good distance from where we parked the trucks.  The rain really did get the road wet and we rode through some big puddles on the way.  You?ll see it in the video, but it was pretty scene on the way in as we rode deep into the forest back to the stand. 

   WeHuntSC.com - The Condo Stand
  The Condo Stand

We arrived to the stand and headed up the ladder.  Mr. Puette had us hunting in style in a nice condo-like stand that he had previously built.  The stand was situated on the edge of some woods overlooking a cut-over.  From our vantage point the cut-over was to the right and the hardwoods were on the left.  Mr. Puette sat on the left side with the best angle on the shooting lane and I sat on the right.  Mr. Puette had a shooting lane cut out to the left and had some corn down on the shooting lane. 

We had been sitting in the stand for about 5 minutes and Mr. Puette said that one of the branches down the shooting lane was bothering him, so he climbed down out of the stand and walked over there and broke the branch off!  Mr. Puette returned to the stand and we sat for a little while and observed the scene looking for movement.  Not too long after that we heard a shot off in the distance that was really early.  Mr. Puette looked at me and said ?That?s a good sign?the deer are moving?.  Shortly thereafter Mr. Puette got his grunt call out and grunted a little bit, but nothing responded.  We continued looking over the cut-over and shooting lanes for a while and then we heard the sound of stick breaking behind us to our left.  If you?re a hunter then you?ve probably heard a sound like this before.  It sounded like an old limb lying on the ground that got stepped on and snapped.  It?s a distinct sound and it got our attention.  For the next little while we were scanning back to our left really hard to see if anything was coming.  We kept looking, but nothing ever showed from that side.

 WeHuntSC.com - Does coming out of the cut-over

I was hopeful to see some deer, but pretty soon the sun would start setting and go behind the trees.  When the light gets low it?s hard to film so I was keeping my fingers crossed that something would move sooner than later.  Since we heard the sound from the left, I kept glancing over that way thinking I would spot something, but I never did.  The cut-over was so thick, I never thought anything would come from that side, but just when I least expected it?I saw a flicker of white out the corner of my eye. 

WeHuntSC.com - Doe in the field   
Doe in the field  
I looked to my right and saw a doe?s head pop up and down once right on the edge of the cutover and I reached to turn the camera on.  I turned to Mr. Puette and whispered??here comes a doe? and I turned the video camera on and clicked the record button.  The brace on the right side of the stand was helping guard my arm and some of my movement from the deer seeing them so that helped me a little.  I got the camera on and zoomed in quickly on the deer.  Mr. Puette just stayed still and watched the screen on my camera rather than leaning up and spooking the deer.  I zoomed in and then saw another doe coming behind the first.  It was obviously more than one and the lead doe kept walking.  A few seconds later?another doe, then another.  They just kept coming and you couldn?t really see them until they got out in the open due to the thickness of the brush in the cut-over.  I tried to keep all the deer in the same shot, but the lead deer got way out and more and more does just kept popping out.  I was zooming in and out, panning right to left trying to keep track of them all.  It was really neat though because the light was still good and I was getting really close-up footage of the deer!  Sitting behind your computer watching the video it doesn?t seem like it?s too hard, but when you?re out in nature trying to get it done, it can be more difficult than you think.  It?s a lot to manage at once (camera angle, being quiet, steady shots, not moving much etc), but it is worth it if you?re lucky enough to pull it off

.WeHuntSC.com - Bruce Puette staring down the scope of his Muzzleloader

Anyway, the does came out of the cut-over on the right and headed towards the woods.  Mr. Puette said ?They?re headed to the corn? and he got his gun up.  He had a little better line-of-sight than I did because of where he was sitting and he whispered ?Here they come?.  I zoomed out for a quick view of him and his gun and then zoomed right back in on the corn pile.  I saw the first one pop its head out and I knew it wasn?t the largest one.  Mr. Puette was saying ?Is that the big one? ?you can hear it in the video.  We were waiting on the largest doe to get there and it didn?t take long.  Three does stepped out before the bigger came into vision.  I told him that the last one was the biggest out of the group.  When she stepped into the shooting lane she was broad-sided and Mr. Puette had the perfect angle.  Mr. Puette clicked his safety off (which you?ll hear in the video too) and the doe perked her head up?she knew something was wrong?and then BOOOOOM?Mr. Puette had shot and smoke went everywhere.

   WeHuntSC.com - Doe in the shooting lane
  Doe in the shooting lane
Since I had never been hunting with a black-powder gun I didn?t know to expect this part, but when he shot a big cloud of smoke came out of the gun.  It was neat looking and it hovered in the air for a couple of seconds and it also had a different kind of smell to it.  The smoke cleared and Mr. Puette said ?I don?t know if I hit her? and I said ?Well let?s look at the replay? and see.  I don?t think what I said initially registered with Mr. Puette, but a few seconds later we were looking at the shot he had just made on the screen in my camera from the stand.  From looking at the video we were sure that Mr. Puette had a made a good shot.  I think he enjoyed being able to see the shot right there in the stand.  It was like instant replay and it let us breathe a little easier seeing the shot because we knew that he had made a good shot.  We sat in the stand for a few moments and then got down to go trail the doe.  As we walked we could hear the rest of the does running off and blowing in the distance.  About 30 yards later we found the doe.  Mr. Puette had bagged a doe with his Muzzle loader and it was a textbook hunt. 

There were some others hunting in the area so we waited until it got dark before we left so as to not mess up their hunts.  While we were waiting we heard another shot.  After it got too dark to hunt, we headed back out to the trucks.  Turned out that one of the guy?s in the group had brought his wife and she got her first deer that night as well.  It seems the deer were moving! 

Below is the video of the hunt? sorry for the low-level production, but I?m still figuring all this video stuff out

It was a great hunt and I got some good footage.  Looks like Mr. Puette can get it done with turkeys and deer and the type of firearm doesn?t seem to matter either!  Next time I?ll be sure to video and document how he puts the load into the Muzzle loader.  We had a great time and Mr. Puette told me that I brought him good luck, but I?m not too sure about that?I think he?s just a good hunter. 

Also, I got a feeling we?ll be filming a bow hunt before too long because Mr. Puette is also a bow hunter!  I bet he?s good at that too?



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