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Wintery mix & an 8 point
This past weekend a big winter storm covered the east coast.  With such a strong rain I wasn?t sure if I should go hunting at all, but I did end up venturing out in the wintery mix.  It was raining and very cold and in some nearby towns there was ice, sleet, & a little bit of snow.  Though, I think in Pageland it was mostly cold and raining.  Since it was wet and cold I opted to sit in a box stand where I would be shielded from elements.  I stuck the camera out the window to give you an idea of what I was seeing and hearing.  
Even though I was inside, I still somehow managed to get cold.  I sat in the stand until I couldn?t really see much more and then I headed out.  It rained the entire time I was there and, at moments, the rain was coming in sideways.  I was set to go duck hunting the next morning and so I was really hoping that the rain would stop before we went out to the swamp the next morning.
  The swamp as the sun was rising
So, early the next morning I met my fellow duck hunters over at the shed.  Luckily the driving rain from the previous day had stopped and we weren?t going to get soaked while we were out on the swamp.  Marty, Josh, and I were in the boat and Roger was posted up out on a point.  Marty and Josh and I went duck hunting 2 weeks ago (in my previous blog post about duck hunting).  This time we had an additional hunter with us.  Roger is a duck hunter from waaay back and I once saw him drop a mallard that was a country mile away!  So, leaky waiters and all, we were all ready to have at it!
The sun started rising and we had 2 mallards come in on us very early.  They landed in an opening just behind us, but we were unable to get a shot on them.  Not too long after that, random groups of wood ducks started coming in.  I would say that we saw in between 16 ? 25 wood ducks all together. Now that may not seem like a lot to you, but it is a whole lot better than only seeing 2 like we did last time!  We were only able to get decent shots off on one group of wood ducks.  Josh and I both shot twice at that group and one wood duck went down.  Time passed and a few more groups of ducks came in and landed in distant locations in the swamp.  We could see them, but we were unable to shoot at them. We stayed a little while longer in hopes of seeing some geese fly in.  We didn?t see any geese and when we went to get the wood duck, we couldn?t find it!  We had feathers everywhere, but no duck.  Though, I?m sure you?re probably saying it to yourself? but that appears to be about par for our course with duck hunting so far!  Have no fear though; we are working on some platform-based duck blinds.  If we get those successfully installed that should give us better looks and shooting lanes over the swamp.
Now switch gears to that afternoon and deer hunting?
Over the course of the afternoon Jason (the camera guy) came down because he was going to attend an engagement party (my engagement party) later that night.  If there was going to be a party, we might as well try to get some footage beforehand.  We went back out to the bean field because we needed to be able to make a quick exit if we were to make it to the party on time.
It was still cold and the rain from the previous day had left a lot of damp & muddy areas in the field.  We sat and waited for a good while.  So far it has been ?Murphy?s Law? that if we take the camera in the woods, we never get a deer on tape.  Also, when we take the camera there always comes a point to where we are unable to continue filming.  This, of course, is the best time to see a deer? right before it gets dark.  
  The box stand
Right as it was getting dark, 3 deer came out of the tree line.  If you hunt with a good scope, then you know that you can see better with the scope than you can with your naked eye right as it gets dark.  It was so dark by this point that you had to be looking through the scope to see them and even at this point it was still difficult.  While watching the group of deer for a few minutes 2 more came from the woods and one of them had a big body.  It took the bigger deer a while to continue up the tree line towards the other 3 deer.  As the deer continued walking, it was easy to tell that it was a good buck.  It took (what seemed like forever) until the deer got broad sided.  The anticipation was killing me..then BOOOOM? the first shot rang out and startled the group of 3 deer, which we think were does and they quickly fled the scene.  The white tails in the air were still visible even though it was getting dark.  The big buck ran about 15 yards and stopped momentarily.  I don?t know if he was hit or just startled, but it was just enough time to get another shot off at him and then he seemingly ran off into the darkness.  Let me back up here and say that these deer were at about 175 to 200 yards out and with it being very close to dark, it was really difficult to see or make out what was going on.  
Jason and I (with our hopes up) stomped through the mud all the way down to the tree line to see if we could find any blood.  On a side note, I looked at my phone and it was right at 6 o?clock and we had to be showered and at the/my engagement party at 7.  It was lining up to be a fun evening all ready ? My fiancé would be frustrated if we were late to our own party (because of a dumb deer as she would say) At the same time, the hopes of finding a big buck were running through my mind all at once.  Holly had previously told me that if I knowingly went deer hunting before this party then I was indicating to her that deer hunting was more important than she is!  Can you feel my predicament?   Too much to juggle at one time!  I told Jason that we really had to be in a rush.
We walked down the tree line for a good 50 yards looking for any sign of a hit when I saw a white stomach.  I told Jason ?I think that?s a deer? and we both walked closer and sure enough, a nice 8 point buck was lying right there in the edge of the tree line!  It was a good sized deer?that was the good part? the other side of the story was that we had to drag him 200 yards through a very muddy field, get out without getting the Blazer stuck, somehow get him to the processor, and make it to the party all within an hour.  The excitement & stress both came at the same time.  We grabbed horns and started moving.  I?m glad we had some adrenaline helping, but even so we had to stop and take breaks about every 50 yards.  It was freezing out there and I was pouring sweat.  I was pushing to ?keep on keeping on? because in the back of my mind I knew that Holly was waiting on me at the house and she probably wasn?t as happy about the deer as we were.  We kept on pulling and dragging through the mud.  As we got closer to the box stand, my chest was getting heavy and I could feel my legs starting to shake?and I mean the kind of shake you get when you are out of shape and you start getting the ?shakes? when doing a strenuous exercise.  When we lift weights and get light-headed?we like to call it ?going green?.  I was definitely winded, light-headed, heavy-chested, sweating and shaking by the time we made it to the Blazer.  It took us about 25 minutes to drag the deer and get out of the field because we got back to the house around 6:35.  The Blazer, Jason, and I were all covered in mud.  Let?s just say that there was no ?Hey honey how are you doing hug? when we arrived back to the house.
Jason said he would take one for the team and take the deer to the processor (a whole different mission in itself since he?s not from Pageland) and in doing so would arrive late to the party.  So Jason snapped a few quick pictures of the deer while I headed for the shower with multiple women in my family looking at me with stern looks on their faces!  Here is the best pic of the deer.
I hurried up the stairs and got clean, dressed, and back downstairs within a few minutes.  I was dressed and still sweating because of how worked up I got dragging that deer.  We arrived at our party at 6:59 and it started at 7.  I was still hot and, in the back of my mind, I was worried as to whether Jason was going to make it or not.  If you?ve ever heard of Angelus, South Carolina, then you probably know that you can?t get there from here.  I sent Jason, a Charlotte, NC native out via GPS trying to find Angelus Deer Processing.  We were at our party and for the first hour I was worried about him finding the processor.  Somehow he found the processor, shot some quick videos, and made it back to the house in time to get cleaned up and make an appearance at the party.  All of these exciting events made for a memorable day/engagement party.  Even though we weren?t able to get it on tape (due to darkness) it was still a good overall hunt for us.  
  A view out of the box as the sun went down
For those of you who gave me a hard time last week, let me go on record and say that I did go to church on Sunday so that you are aware that you can go hunting and go to church within the same day!  Since we were exhausted from the previous afternoon/evening?s events we slept in on Sunday morning.  I went back out on Sunday afternoon and was hoping to have 2 deer at the processor on the same weekend, but it didn?t work out.  This time I was able to take the 4-wheeler in and let me tell you that it is a lot easier to get a 4-wheeler across that muddy field than it is a Blazer!  However, let me also say that it is a lot colder riding it back than it is riding in a Blazer!  I think it took my knuckles 15 minutes to thaw out once I got back.  I guess it?s always good to have a good, thick pair of gloves around if you ride 4-wheelers in the cold? I learned my lesson.
And that was the weekend recap.  This coming week is Christmas week and I should be able to get a few more hunting trips in.  I?m planning on doing both duck and deer hunting again.  Right here at the end of deer season, you never know what can happen!

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