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The 2000 Hunting Season

I'll be hunting in several different places this year.  Most of my deer hunting will again be done with Arnold Kirk on his land down near Lancaster, South Carolina.   In addition to his private acreage, we have leased an additional 300 acres adjoining his property to form the "Briarpatch Hunt Club." This gives us quite a bit of land to hunt.  We're trying to follow good management practices with an eye toward the future. One of our primary club rules is that we won't shoot any small bucks, hoping that three years from now the land will start producing some trophies.

I'll also be deer hunting with my longtime partner Ted Leonhardt on the game lands of both North and South Carolina.  Although we'll mostly concentrate on the Uwharrie game lands in NC, we'll spend some time on the game lands down near McConnells, SC.  

This marks my first year hunting with my own four-wheeler, a brand new 2000 model Honda Rancher ES. 


2000 Game Record
Animal Seen Killed
Whitetail Buck 5 0
Whitetail Doe 28 3
Turkey (Gobbler/Jake)0 0
Turkey (Hen) 0 0
Coyote 0 0
Fox 0 0
Bobcat 0 0
Squirrel - 0
Dove - 0
Quail- 0
Crows 0
Ducks / Geese 0 0
Notes: Clicking on any picture will show you a full size image of that picture.
 Click here for a "cast of characters" for my hunting journals
January 1, 2001 Closing Day and Season Reflections  

Plans up in the air, may hunt at McConnells, may hunt Briarpatch, may not go at all, depending on the results of the 29th and 30th.


December 30, 2000    

Ted and I arrived down at Arnold's by about 9:15am.  Ted, Arnold, and I drove out to the lease and began the search for my deer.  We easily found where we left off last night, and spread out to search the woods in the daylight.  I found blood for about 15 more yards than we did last night before it finally gave out.  We searched for over 2 hours, but couldn't find the deer.  Pretty hard for me, this is the first deer that I have shot but not recovered.  I know that it eventually happens to all hunters, but that doesn't make it any easier.  For the evening hunt, I put Ted in a tripod looking out over one of Arnold's wheat fields, which I myself hunted in the tree box on the lease (shown on November 21 below).  Neither of us saw anything...


December 29, 2000    

Today I hunted in the same spot as yesterday on the power lines, with Arnold hunting one field down past me.  Since the deer that I saw yesterday were never aware of my presence, I figured that they would be back today.  And they were.   At 5:15 today the deer again appeared in the wheat field.  I watched them for quite awhile, picked the biggest doe, and fired.  I watched her run off down the power lines.  About 5 minutes later, I heard one shot from Arnold's stand.  I got down, loaded up the ATV, then rode down to where my deer had been standing.  I looked for a few minutes but didn't see any blood, so I decided to go help Arnold look for his deer, then come back and find mine. 

Arnold had killed a large doe, which we loaded in the mule, then we went back to search for mine.  After about 15 minutes, we hit the blood trail.  We followed the trail for an hour and a half before losing it.   We searched all over the woods in that area, but couldn't find anything.   Although I intended to hunt game lands with Ted tomorrow, we decided to come back in the morning and look for the deer instead.  Arnold said that Ted could hunt on his land that afternoon (thanks Arnold!), so Ted was very excited about that.


December 28, 2000    

An afternoon hunt at Briarpatch, again in the same spot where I killed the doe ten days ago.  For most of the afternoon it was quiet.  I did get a couple of good looks at a red tailed hawk through my binoculars.  Then, at about 5:15pm, two large does entered the field.  I watched them for quite awhile, then became aware of three more big deer that had "appeared" in the field. 

I have no idea where the last three came from.  Since it wasn't a doe day, I simply watched the does through my scope until it was dark.  I got down very quietly from the stand with plans to return to it tomorrow afternoon, a doe day.  If I can get in that stand before anyone else does tomorrow, and if the does come back, I plan to take one to go ahead and close out the season.


December 19, 2000    

I hunted today in the same spot that I killed the doe in yesterday.   It was really windy and cold today, and it had been raining all morning.  I had hoped that the rain would wash away the blood scent that was in the field from yesterday, but for whatever the reason, I didn't see any deer today.  The only thing I did see was a pair of A-10 Warthogs doing practice runs up and down the power lines.   Very cool.


December 18, 2000    

The 2000 deer season has been one of the strangest ones that I've ever experienced. Normally, we see a lot of deer in the early season, then once Thanksgiving is past we never see another deer. This year I rarely saw deer before Thanksgiving, and now I'm seeing them almost every time I go into the woods. With just two weeks left to go in the season, I decided to hunt over a field on the Briarpatch power lines where I had jumped some deer a couple of days before.

At 4:00pm, a bit early, I noticed movement down at the far side of the field, 150 yards away. Thinking it might be a turkey, I raised my binoculars. It turned out that I was looking at the head of a doe. Most of her body was hidden at the time, which is why I thought it was a turkey. I quickly raised my rifle, adjusted the scope to 9 power, and confirmed that it was a doe. As I watched, she began walking down the power lines, directly away from me. Although twice she gave me opportunities for a shot, I decided that the distance was a little long and the angle was tricky, so I passed.

Shortly after the doe went out of sight, I noticed more movement on the edge of the field. Looking through the scope I saw another doe. I released the safety, centered the crosshair, and squeezed the trigger. I saw the deer fall, and knew that I had made a good shot. As I watched the deer on through my scope to make sure that she didn't get up, I noticed that the other doe was headed back toward the field. She was apparently curious about the shot, because she came very quickly up the power lines. As she got to the edge of the field she slowed down and began looking around. She saw the dead doe lying there and started to move cautiously in that direction. She stomped her feet several times, but could not figure out why the dead doe wasn't moving. She moved closer and closer, and I assume she finally saw or scented blood, because at that point she snorted and ran off into the woods.


December 16, 2000    

Because of a heavy rainstorm, Ted and I decided to only hunt the afternoon today instead of the all day hunt that we had planned.  We arrived at McConnells at around 3:00pm, and decided to still hunt around a promising thicket that we knew of.  While still hunting, we each chose a spot to sit at for the last light of the day.  We still hunted for about an hour, but we never saw anything.   We each returned to our chosen spots and sat on the ground to watch for deer.   This late in the season, it can be tough to find deer on game lands, and today was no exception.  We never saw a thing.


December 15, 2000    

Hunted again in #7 at Briarpatch.  Today was a doe day, so I had a choice to make.   I could hunt at #7 and be sure of seeing deer (but wouldn't be allowed to shoot anything but a trophy), or hunt somewhere else and maybe shoot a doe.   I decided on #7.  Wrong choice.  Some dogs were running wild through the woods down there, and the deer were too spooked to show.  I did see a deer at the edge of my ATV headlights on the way out of the woods...


December 14, 2000    

Although I planned to hunt the entire day at Briarpatch, some early morning rain changed my mind.  Instead, I headed down for an afternoon hunt, again hunting at #7, where I saw the bucks last week.  Today I saw three large does down by the wheat field.  While two of them were only passing through, I did get to watch one of them feed for quite awhile.  A fourth deer, behind me on the power lines, scented me and blew.  I turned in the stand in time to see it run back into the woods, so I have no idea what it was.  Paw-paw again didn't show, so I had to content myself with watching the does.


December 8, 2000    

Bucks!  After a long week of training at work, I was able to take the afternoon off to go hunting.  I made it down to Briarpatch by 3:00.  My plan was to hunt down in "the hole", but the wind was wrong for that stand.  Arnold recommended that I hunt down in #7, the stand on the power lines that overlooks the wheat field.  I agreed with him, loaded up the four wheeler, and headed out that way. 

At 4:15, I heard movement in the woods, across the power lines, just to my left.  As I watched, a spike buck came out very close to me.  He wandered in my area for a good fifteen minutes before heading down the hill toward the field.  As he moved away, I noticed another deer standing on the edge of the field about 70 yards away.  For a long time this deer wouldn't lift its head, so I couldn't tell what it was.  I finally saw that it was another spike, or possibly a three pointer. 

These deer were very confident, rarely lifting their heads to look around.   Even though the wind was at my back and blowing toward them, they never smelled me.   They stayed around for the rest of the afternoon, finally making it into the field itself to eat the wheat.  While watching them, I saw another deer in the woods to my left, but only for a second.  This was a big bodied deer, but I never did see its head.  Since we are only allowed to shoot trophies in this field, and since I refuse to shoot a spike with my rifle, I just sat back and watched them feed until dark.

Next year I think I'll add a table [to my journal] to keep a running count of the number of deer that I've seen during the season. 


December 2, 2000    

This was to be my last day of hunting for about the next week and a half, so I decided to hunt hard and make the best of it.  The weather report called for clear and very cold, so I dressed in my very warmest gear and left for Lancaster by about 5:00am.  I decided to do things a little different this time on Briarpatch.  Instead of hunting in one of our pre-existing stands, I decided to take my climber and hunt along the main logging road that runs up through the lease.  

After another freezing cold ride on the four wheeler, I found the appropriate tree and climbed way up in it, as high as I could go.  I had a great view of about 200 yards, all the way up the road.  Once again however, nothing at all happened.   At about 10:00am, I got down and decided to still hunt up to the area that the deer had been bedded in when I missed that shot a few weeks ago.  I made my way silently up there, but again they just weren't there. 

On the way back down to the stand, I saw fresh heavy tracks in the ground, with the dewclaws very evident.  I am a firm believer in that fact that you can't tell the sex of a deer from his tracks.  If you tell me you can, I'll argue that point with you over and over.  In my opinion, you just can't do it.  However, you can tell that a deer is an older deer from the spread of his hooves, and from these tracks, it was apparent that this had been a good deer.  I guess this one fooled me, crossing the road behind me while I was out of sight.  This is a common thing for deer to do, so if you're still hunting, always remember to check your back trail.

Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is the view that I had from my climbing stand while hunting the main lease road.

All morning while I had been in my stand, the weather had been playing tricks on me.  Instead of being clear but cold as advertised, it was misting rain almost the entire time I had been hunting.  As I finished my still hunt, the rain began to pick up, so I quickly loaded my stand back on my four wheeler and headed back to Arnold's house.  Arnold and a friend of his, Jesse, were working on a new screened-in porch on Arnold's log cabin, so I hung around with them for a few hours and helped out where I could.  By about 2:30pm, I was ready to get back in the woods, and since it had rained most of the day I decided that a box blind would be the best place that I could be.  I drove the ATV out to the power lines on Arnold's land and got up in our tower.  Nothing crossed the entire time that I was out there.

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is a good picture of the tower out on the power lines.  The power poles are spaced about 50 yards apart.  From the blind to the horizon is about 400 yards, so you can see that from this stand we have quite a good view.

I know that in our area it's rare to even see a deer after Thanksgiving, but this is getting ridiculous.  Even though I have two deer for the season, this is still one of my worst years ever for seeing deer.  I'm sure I've said that in this journal before, but at this point I'm really just starting to look forward to the turkey season in April.  I'd really like to close out this season with one more deer, so I'll keep trying, but my confidence is dwindling.  I'm starting to research deer management techniques.  We need to do something to keep deer on our lease all year round.  I think we're going to have to keep this place planted all year, which is something that we traditionally have not done.


November 30, 2000    

Another all day hunt at Briarpatch.  I got down to Arnold's at about 6:00am, loaded up the four wheeler, then signed in on our map to show that I would be hunting in the box blind on Walker Road.  I noticed on our deer log that Doug had killed two does from that stand on the past Saturday.  I sat in the stand from 6:30 until 10:00am, but never saw a thing.  After leaving the blind, I decided to still hunt up to the bedding area where I missed the other day, hoping to get another shot off and redeem myself.  Unfortunately, the deer weren't using that bedding area today.  I headed back to the four wheeler and packed it in for lunch.

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is a view from inside the box blind on Walker Rd.  When I missed the shot at the doe from this blind back on 11/17, the deer was standing down where the road curves to the right.

After a trip to town, I headed back to the lease for the afternoon hunt.  I decided to hunt at a stand that we call "the little loading dock"; the same stand that I hunted in on opening morning of the rifle season.   I sat there from 2:30pm until dark, but again saw nothing.

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is the view from the climbing stand at the "little loading dock".

Driving the four wheeler out of the woods, I got behind Doug on his ATV, and we sped back to the base.  Arnold was there, and we commiserated about the lack of deer.  Doug had seen two does in the bottom field on the power lines, while Arnold had seen nothing at all from his tower, also on the power lines.  As we were talking, Donnie Shook, the game warden, pulled up and passed some time with us.   He recommended that we hunt the hardwoods, since there are still some acorns falling.  I think this is good advice, and will probably give it a try on Saturday.


November 25, 2000    

Although I had initially planned to hunt all day at Briarpatch, we stayed up too late on Thanksgiving night for me to get up this morning.   I made it down there by about 3:00pm instead.  After helping Arnold string up some new garden lights around the front of his house, I loaded up the four wheeler and got ready to go hunt down in "the Hole". 

The Hole is a stand way down in the woods that overlooks a very small, lush wheat field.  Looking at this stand, you just know you're gonna see deer.  I only had about an hour and a half of hunting time left, so I settled back quietly in the climbing stand and began to watch the field.   Nothing.  I stayed in the stand until I couldn't see my crosshairs, but nothing appeared.  On the way down, I did hear a deer behind me run off, so at least there were deer in the area.

As I left the area, I ran in to Doug Beaver on his four wheeler.   He had been hunting down at the very last field on the power lines and had seen several does.  He had to pass on them, as that's the stand where we're only allowed to take a trophy.


November 21, 2000    

An all day hunt at Briarpatch.  This was the coldest day we've had so far, with temperatures starting out in the low 20s.  I put on all of my warmest gear, then packed a heavy blanket to take into the woods with me.   In the morning, I hunted again in the box blind on Walker Road, where I missed the deer from on the 17th. 

After the cold mile long drive on the four wheeler to the stand, I was sure ready to wrap up in the blanket.  I did manage to keep quite warm as I sat in the box from 6:00am until about 10:00.  I didn't see a thing, so at ten I decided to do a little still hunting up a logging road that cuts through the lease.   The wind was in my face the whole way, and I was able to very quietly make my way up the road. 

About halfway up, I noticed movement in front of me.  A turkey, I thought.  I raised my binoculars, and to my surprise saw the head of a doe instead of the turkey that I expected.  I had found a group of bedded deer, and they were unaware of my presence.  I raised my rifle and sighted in on the head of the biggest doe.  I've heard bad things about head shots; the potential to hit the deer in the lower part of the face, ruining the jaw but not killing the deer, instead causing major pain, suffering, and possible starvation to the deer.  I decided not to take the shot. 

However, as I was watching, the deer caught sight of me and raised her head to get a better look.  I moved the crosshair down to make a neck shot, then squeezed the trigger.  The deer jumped just as I fired, and I watched as the entire group scattered.  I walked over to where the deer had been and began to look for signs of a hit.  There was no blood at all in the bed, and an hour and a half search of the surrounding area also turned up nothing.  Another miss. 

I found an old Coke bottle and set it up against a dirt bank, then stepped back about a hundred yards and rested my rifle across the seat of my four wheeler.  I fired a shot and watched the bottle jump.  At least my rifle was still correctly sighted in. I just can't believe that I've missed twice in a row now. I guess a friend of mine phrased it best when he said to me before church one morning, "there's a lot more space to hit where they aren't then where they are."

For the evening hunt, I decided to try an elevated box blind overlooking a wheat-planted road.  This is a very "deery" looking stand, but nothing was moving at all.  I've always like the looks of this stand, but I have yet to see a deer from it.

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is the stand that I hunted from in the afternoon.  The light flares that you see are because I accidentally exposed some of the film from this roll.  A better picture of this stand will be posted after I finish the current roll in my camera.


November 18, 2000    

Well, I feel better about missing that deer yesterday.  Since I missed, I asked Ted if he minded skipping the morning hunt today and instead driving down to the Leeds Rifle Range in the Sumter National Forest to make sure that my rifle was sighted in properly.  We got down to the range by about 11:00am.  There were several spots open, so we set up a target for me at 100 yards.   The first group was hitting four inches to the right at 100.  That would have to be exaggerated to at least 8 inches at the 200 yards away that the shot I took yesterday was.  Since the deer was standing facing the right yesterday, I'm sure now that the bullet passed somewhere just in front of her.  After a couple of adjustments, I was able to bring the rifle back close to zero at 100.

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is the Leeds Rifle Range, down in the Sumter National Forest.  This is an excellent range, set up for both pistols and rifles.

We left the range and headed back to McConnells for lunch and then the afternoon hunt.  We got in the woods at about 1:00, hunting in the same spot that we were in back on the 15th, although I chose a much better tree for my stand.  What a beautiful day for hunting.  It was very cold and overcast, the best kind of day for hunting in my opinion.  We didn't see any deer, which was a bit of a disappointment after seeing deer for the past two days at Briarpatch, but the weather made up for it.  I did see a wood duck as it flew across the clear cut that I was hunting over. 

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is the view from the stand that I was in this afternoon.

This was the last time that Ted and I will get to hunt together for several weeks.  The South Carolina rifle season will close soon for an archery break on game lands, so I'll spend most of the next couple of weeks hunting at Briarpatch.   This also wraps up six solid days of hunting for me.  Back to work on Monday.   Thankfully, to ease me back into the old job life, I'm taking Tuesday off to give Briarpatch another try.


November 17, 2000    

A morning hunt at Briarpatch, in the same stand that I shot the doe from back on November 2nd.  This morning I watched two does cross the road about 200 yards away.  Although I intended to take a doe today, I held off from shooting at either of these two in the hopes that a buck may have been hanging back behind them.  However, they moved off into a thicket near the creek, and a buck never showed. 

About an hour later, a big doe came out of the woods in the same place as the first two had.  I decided to shoot.  The deer never hesitated as it crossed the road, and I saw my shot splash in the mud of the road behind her.  After waiting about ten minutes, I got on the four wheeler and drove down to where the deer had been.   I spent about an hour looking for a blood trail, but I never found a drop.  I guess someone will have to cut my shirttail off; this is my first miss of the year...

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is a the box blind on Walker Road.  From this angle, I am facing the front of the stand, standing about where I shot my second deer of this season.


November 16, 2000    

Today I hunted down at Briarpatch, in the stand on the power lines that overlooks the bottom field.  This is the stand that we call the "best on the lease."  It's an interesting stand to hunt, since not only does it overlook the field 100 yards away, but you can also look back over your shoulder up the power lines for another 150 yards. 

About an hour before dark, I noticed a doe feeding behind me about a hundred yards back.  She stayed up there for a good half hour before heading down my way.  As she got close to me, she walked off the power lines and back into the woods.  I could hear many deer walking around in the woods where she went in, but nothing I could do would bring them into view.  I tried grunting a couple of times, and even hit a pair of rattling antlers together once or twice, but nothing came of it.

Just before dark, I saw two deer feeding at the far end of the field.  It was beginning to rain, and night was falling fast, and I was unable to confirm whether the two deer were does or bucks.  Remember, in this field we are only allowed to take trophy deer, so I was unable to take the shoot.  I got down from the ladder stand and snuck as close to the field as I could, but by the time I got in range it was too dark to see at all, so I had to give it up and head back to camp.


November 15, 2000    

Ted and I hunted all day in McConnells.  For the morning hunt, Ted chose the same tree that he was in yesterday afternoon.  As for myself, I picked a tree a little bit farther down where I could get a better view than I had yesterday.  It was extremely cold this morning, and we really thought that the deer would be on the move, but, of course, they weren't.  I think the hunting pressure on these game lands on the weekends is so intense that the deer have already gone nocturnal.

During our lunch break, we went and scouted out another area close to the McConnells game lands.  We had heard that there were some public dove fields in the area, and it turns out they are very close to McConnells, on an area called the Draper WMA.  We drove around and looked at the fields and decided that they were very nice looking, and we made plans to dove hunt here next year.  I'm going to do some research and see if deer hunting is also available on Draper.

For the afternoon hunt, we chose an area overlooking the same thicket that we hunted in the morning, but about a quarter mile around from where we had previously set up.  I chose a tree that looked like a thousand other hunters had used it.  It was such an obvious place to hunt from that I couldn't help but give it a try.  The view was excellent, but again nothing was moving.  Ted hunted overlooking a small road cut through the woods just down from me, but he also didn't see anything.  Ted decided to take tomorrow and Friday off from hunting, so this will be our last hunt together until Saturday.


November 14, 2000    

Ted an I again hunted on the game lands in McConnells.  Since we had some good rain the day before, we did a little bit of scouting prior to getting in to our stands.  We found a nice thicket full of young pines bordered by an older growth of pines and poplars set about 30 yards off of the road.   There were several nice looking tracks in a mud trail surrounding the thicket, so we decided to set up in that area. 

We chose stands about 50 yards apart where we would both have a good view down into the young pines.  We placed some scent bombs laden with Tink's #69 on the edge of the woods in hopes of pulling in a good buck.  However, it was very windy and cold this afternoon, and nothing was moving at all.  I have a feeling that the spot we found is a good bedding area, so the best bet may be to hunt it in the morning rather than in the afternoon.

November 13, 2000    

After a week oncall at work, it was nice to get back in the woods again.  Ted and I are taking this week off for vacation, and will be hunting at various times throughout the week.  Today we hunted back down in McConnells, in the same area the Ted killed his seven point the last time we were there.   Ted hunted from the same tree this week, while I went and hunted on a cutover that looked promising. 

The afternoon was windy and overcast, with a chilly breeze blowing most of the time.  Toward dark, we got a couple of quick light rain showers, but nothing was moving in the woods.  As we were driving away from the area we were hunting, a doe and a yearling jumped out in front of us.  Tomorrow we may try hunting the area that they came from.

November 7, 2000    

Just curious... is anyone reading this hunting journal?  If you are, how about sending me a quick note to let me know!

November 4, 2000    

An all day hunt with Ted on the game lands of McConnells, SC.  I was pretty discouraged going in to this hunt. Since we would be hunting game lands, I doubted that we would see any deer at all.  For the morning hunt, we hunted the same area that we did back on October 28th.  The morning was very hazy, due to all of the smoke from the fires in the North Carolina mountains.  Not only did we not see any deer, but several other hunters came in loudly behind us, causing us great frustration.  I'll be writing an article about game lands etiquette very soon that deals with people like this.  Look for it in the "Articles & Editorials" link on our main page.

For the afternoon hunt, we hunted in the same area that we hunted on the afternoon of the 28th.  This is a very good looking area for deer.  It's an old road bed leading through some thick hardwoods, with a great bedding area off to one side.  We again had hunters walk in on us.  We discussed this over the radios, saying how little respect the hunters down here seem to have for each other.  The two that walked past me tried to nod at me and wave.  I wouldn't even look at them.  

After the other guys got in the woods, things settled down a little bit, and we began to wait it out, hoping a deer would emerge. After about an hour, one of the hunters who had walked in on us showed up again, heading back out.  He was carrying a treestand with him this time, so we figured that he had left it in there this morning and had come back for it. 

Things soon quieted down again.  As darkness approached, it began to rain lightly.  I called Ted on the radio to make sure he was ok hunting in the rain, and he said that he was keeping dry.  About 20 minutes before dark, the other hunter came walking slowly out.  Guess he was too much of a sissy to take the rain.  It had been raining for an hour already, and here he was leaving during the best 20 minutes of hunting of the day.  His loss. 

Shortly after I heard him drive off, I heard a single crack from Ted's .308 Howa rifle.  I guess I was a little excited, because I immediately called him on the radio and asked him what he got.  He said that he had made a good shot on a deer, and that it had run off about 30 yards and fallen. He wasn't sure what size deer it was.  I quickly got down from my tree and headed his way.  He said that his flashlight had died, but I told him that mine was fine and that I would be there in a second. 

After I reached him, we started looking around, and soon found blood.  As the rain was falling pretty heavily and we were in unfamiliar territory, I told Ted to stay where he was and let me track the deer so that we wouldn't get lost.  I was able to follow the blood trail, sometimes losing it, but always picking it back up, when I saw the deer laying dead about 60 yards from where Ted was standing. 

I approached it and made sure it was dead.  I saw from the exit wound that Ted had made a perfect heart shot, so I radioed him back and told him that I had found the deer.  I asked him if he wanted me to tell him what it was.   "What is it, what is it?" he said over and over.  "Seven points," I responded.  I heard his excited scream both over the radio and echoing through the woods.  I dragged the deer back over to where Ted was, using my flashlight to tell him where I was as he guided me back over the radio.  This is Ted's fourth deer ever, and his first good buck. He's having it mounted.  I did take several pictures of  it, though they may not come out.  If they do, I will post them here as soon as we get them back.

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
Here's a picture of Ted with his deer.  Due to problems that I was having with my camera, the picture didn't come out very well, but at least you can get some idea of the size of the deer's rack from this shot.
 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
July 20, 2001: Finally got pictures back that we took after Ted had the deer mounted.


November 2, 2000    

Another all day hunt on Briarpatch, my last chance I'll have down there for a couple of weeks.  I decided to hunt in the closest thing we have to a guaranteed place to see deer... a box blind overlooking Walker Rd.  This is a public dirt road that runs down the side of our lease.  It's quite a long road, and you usually can see deer or turkey by just driving down it.  I don't quite understand why deer are constantly visible in this area.  The road doesn't get a lot of traffic, maybe 1 car per hour, but the deer are always hanging around here.  

At about 6:45am, I saw the first deer of the day: a medium sized doe that came out about 25 yards from the blind.  The doe stepped quietly out of the woods and into the road.  She stopped there and looked around, and I had plenty of time for a shot.   However, I decided that she was a little too small to shoot, so I simply watched her as she finally crossed the roads and went off into the woods. 

Shortly after that, another small deer, this one a buttonhead, came out and crossed the road in a similar fashion.  While I was watching this young buck cross, I heard movement in the woods to my left.  I looked out the door of the blind, and I saw a large doe standing about 20 yards away, standing almost hidden in the underbrush. 

As I looked, her ear twitched, and she began walking toward the road.  I decided that I would take this deer, as she was quite large.  As she moved out of view walking around the blind,   I slipped the safety off of my rifle and aimed it towards the spot in the woods where I thought she would emerge.  I didn't have to wait long; her head appeared first in my scope, and I confirmed that it was a doe.  As she took the first step toward the road, I centered the crosshairs on her heart and fired.  She dropped where she stood, and I had my second deer of the year. 

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is a shot of Walker Road.  I killed the doe from a box blind on the left hand side of the road close to where this picture was taken from.

In the evening, I hunted in a ladder stand on Arnold's land where I had killed an 8-pointer on opening day of the 1998 season.  Arnold and I both thought that this would be a good spot to see a deer from. It looks out over a wheat-planted road that leads down to Arnold's pond.  Unfortunately, this was another uneventful hunt.  I didn't see or hear a deer the entire time I was out there.  Even though I have already tagged two deer this year, I have to say that this is turning into one of the worst hunting seasons I've ever had for seeing deer.  I've seen less than 10 deer this entire season.  It's still very discouraging.

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is the road to the pond.  It was here that I killed an 8-point buck on opening day of the 1998 deer season.


November 1, 2000    

Being somewhat discouraged by the lack of deer that we're seeing, I almost decided not to even bother hunting today.  At the last minute, I decided that I had a better chance of seeing deer by going hunting than I did sitting around the house reading.  So, at 3:30pm, I grabbed my gear, which is always packed and ready to go, and took off for the lease. 

I made it down there by about 4:30, and in the interest of time just drove on over to the area I was going to hunt in, rather than messing around with the four wheeler.  Since the drought is still going pretty strong, I decided, with a hint from Arnold, to hunt in a little climbing stand overlooking a wheat-planted roadbed near the creek.  This is the most "deery" looking place that I've seen yet on our lease.  You just expect to see a deer walk out, but, once again, it just didn't happen.  I sat there from 4:45 until full dark, and not a single animal came out.  No deer, no squirrels, nothing.

October 31, 2000    

This was an all day hunt.  With daylight savings time having just ended, this meant that I had to get up and out of the house by 4:30am to get down to the land prior to sunrise.  I got there by about 5:30, planning on hunting on a stand that overlooks Walker Rd.  When I checked the map, I saw that Ken was hunting in a stand very close to that area, so for safety's sake I decided to try somewhere else.  I ended up going back to "the ridge", the same stand that I hunted on opening morning of the bow season. 

Although there were many acorns on the ground and some still falling, nothing was moving this morning.  In the afternoon, I hunted back down in that ladder stand overlooking the best field on the lease, but again, nothing was happening.  This drought may have something to do with the lack of deer movement.  No one is seeing anything at present.  I'm starting to think that the deer may be holding close to the remaining water sources. 

October 30, 2000    

An afternoon hunt.  I had planned to hunt on the lease, but at the last minute decided to hunt on the power lines on Arnold's land.   This has been a pretty good spot in the past.  We usually at least see quite a few does out there.  The power lines has a very comfortable tower stand which gives you a view of about 300 yards of scrub brush.  This time, however, I didn't see a single deer.  It's starting to look like this will be a very discouraging deer season.

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is a kinda cool picture that I took from inside the tower on the power lines.


October 28, 2000    

Ted and I hunted on the game lands near McConnells, South Carolina.  We had to go in blind, since we had not had a chance to scout it out earlier in the year.  I was very pleased with my morning stand, although I didn't see any deer.  I picked a tree overlooking both a road and some thick woods, and I am confident that this could be a good spot to tag a doe. 

In the afternoon, we found a great thicket with some huge tracks leading out of it.  It hasn't rained in over a month, so I'm sure those tracks are very old, but we decided to hunt it anyway.  We set up very close together, and from our trees we had a great view down into the thicket, but we didn't see anything at all.  The truth is, this would be a better morning stand than an evening one, but it looked so good that we had to give it a try.  Next time we hunt down there in the morning, we'll try to get in there early and see what happens.

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
Here's a shot of Ted sitting in his tree on the evening hunt.


October 26, 2000    

I had planned to hunt the entire day down on the lease, but I was just too tired to make it in the morning when 4:30am came around.  I hunted on the same stand as I did on opening morning, at what we call the "small loading dock".  This is a climbing stand on a logging road overlooking a very small wheat field.  Although I had seen a six pointer here on opening morning, nothing at all was moving today. 

Close to dark, I heard a shot from a couple of hundred yards away from me.  On the way out, I met up with Doug, who had tagged a four pointer in one of the fields on the power lines.  I mentioned in an earlier post that our club allows nothing smaller than an 8-pointer.  That wasn't quite accurate. Each hunter is allowed to take two smaller bucks per year.  I don't give much support to this policy, so I won't allow myself to shoot any buck that I'm not planning on mounting. 

October 17, 2000    

I hunted again on the lease, this time on a stand on the power lines overlooking a small wheat field.  Although I stayed in the stand until about 11:00am, I saw absolutely nothing all morning.  After lunch, Arnold and Doug were going off to ride motorcycles, so I decided that I'd just go out into the woods and sit on a stand all afternoon.  I went to the store and got a big bottle of spring water, made sure I had a good book packed, then I drove down toward the very best stand of all on our lease. 

It's a long long way down the power lines.  The stand is a ladder stand that looks way out over a large wheat field at the lowest point of the power lines.  Most of the afternoon I heard the turkeys calling to each other, but nothing showed itself.  Finally, a half hour before sunset, a large doe walked out into the field.  I watched her feed through my scope until it was too dark to see, but nothing else came out.  Our club rules say that only a trophy buck can be shot from this stand, so I had to content myself to watch the doe without shooting. 

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
The view from what is arguably the best stand on our lease.


October 14, 2000    

Ted and I hunted at Uwharrie again.  This time we concentrated exclusively on the spot where we had seen the 8-pointer back on the 7th.   No luck at all.  We didn't see or hear anything deer related all day.  We decided that this will about do it for Uwharrie for us until the opening week of rifle season, which is also a doe week.  We're both taking that week off from work, and will be doing some serious hunting during that time.  For now, we'll concentrate on the SC game lands down near McConnells. 

October 11, 2000 Opening Day of SC Rifle Season  

This was the first day that any of us in the "Briarpatch Hunt Club" would be hunting on our lease.  We worked out a cool system where I made a map of our lease on my computer and had it blown up and printed out.  Doug Beaver got some Plexiglas for us, and we mounted the map on the door of Arnold's shop.  Each hunter is supposed to use a dry-erase pen to mark the stand that he will be hunting on.  

We drew straws for the first hunt.  I got the long straw and had my choice of spots for the morning hunt.  I chose to hunt over a small wheat field near the power lines that cut across the lease.  Not the greatest choice, since deer generally won't eat wheat in the morning while the dew is still on it.  However, since this particular stand is on a long road overlooking the field, I thought I might get a shot at a deer as he made a crossing. 

I saw one big doe early.  She scented me, but could not pinpoint my location.  She snorted quite a bit and stomped her feet several times before running off.  Finally, at about 9:15am, I saw a 6 point buck enter the road at the furthest point that I could see.  Although I had an easy 150 yard shot at him, I held off, not wanting to violate the rules of the club.  I watched him through my scope for several minutes, and began shaking with buck fever as he walked out of sight.  That was the last deer I saw that day.  Arnold saw a four pointer, which he also had to pass up.

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
Here's the map that I made for us to mark where we'd be hunting...
 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
...and here's Arnold showing off the map after we had mounted it to the door of his shop.


October 9, 2000    

An afternoon bow hunt at Arnold's, the last bow hunt before rifle season opens in South Carolina.  The weather was turning very cold today, and although it was quite windy, I decided to hunt anyway.  On today's hunt, Doug Beaver, one of the members of our club, was hunting with Arnold and I.  Arnold and Doug were both hunting with muzzleloaders, but since I don't have one I stuck with my bow. 

I hunted in a treestand overlooking two wheat fields.  About an hour before dark, I heard a shot from Doug's direction.  Then, as the last light of the day was fading, I heard some deer walking around in the field behind me.  I turned around in my stand and got in position for a shot.  Shortly, a doe appeared directly in my line of sight.  

I fired my bow, and the deer took off running.  The arrow looked like it was headed straight for the deer, but then I saw it bounce off the ground 5 feet out past her.   I figured that either the arrow had gone straight through her, or I had somehow shot under her.  About 5 minutes after the shot, I saw four more good does, but I didn't take a shot at any of them, thinking that I might have hit the first deer.

After dark, I got down from my stand, met up with Arnold and Doug, and we began to look for my arrow.  We couldn't find it, but I did find some dark red blood on the ground where the deer had been standing.  Arnold moved off and began searching the woods near the field, while Doug and I tried to find a blood trail.  Doug had killed a nice 8 pointer, so he finally said that he needed to go home and clean it.  As he departed, Arnold yelled that he had found my deer.  She had run into the woods about 50 yards from where I shot her.  Turns out that I made a perfect heart shot.  Well, the pressure is off for the season, and now it's time to start hunting for Paw-Paw!

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
This is the stand I shot the doe from.  I've now taken four deer from this particular stand, making it my single most successful stand that I've hunted from.   The stand itself is visible in the full sized picture (click on the thumbnail above)


October 7, 2000    

Ted and I headed up to Uwharrie for Ted's first bowhunt of the season.  I took along my new treestand, purchased from my friend Robert Burns of Austin Outdoors.  Robert and I grew up in the same neighborhood, and did quite a bit of hunting and go-kart riding together as kids.  At this point, let me highly recommend Robert's stands to you.  They are top quality, very comfortable, and extremely easy to use.  I use both the "Big Shot" and the "Big Shot Magnum".  Robert accepts orders over the phone, so check out his website if you're in need of a good treestand. 

Ted and I left Charlotte at about 5:00am, and reached Uwharrie a little after six.  We decided to hunt near a bedding area where I had taken a bow shot at a doe some years before.   It was quite cold in the woods, and we saw absolutely nothing that morning. After a BBQ lunch at Troutman's, we decided to drive up and down the roads looking for thickets. 

When we came to a likely looking patch, we got out of the jeep, and Ted would take a nice stand overlooking a trail into the thicket, then I would begin calling with my distress call.  I generally don't like to use this call, but on game lands sometimes it's all you can do to even see a deer.  We tried this a couple of times with no luck. 

There were just too many people around for us to expect to see any deer.  Campers, horseback riders, Uwharrie has just gotten way too crowded.  For the evening hunt, we decided to try a lesser known section of the game lands.  We found an awesome spot.  I'm not telling you where it is, and although we saw no deer during the hunt, on the way out we jumped a nice buck not a quarter of a mile from where we were hunting.  I guarantee you we'll be trying that spot again.

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Ted walking back to the truck after our morning hunt


October 6, 2000    

I took a half-day off from work to go hunt down on Arnold's land. After coming off a rough pager week at work, I really needed some time to get into the woods.  The acorns are slowly starting to fall now, and Arnold told me that he had started seeing deer in the woods.  I asked him how the fields would be to hunt, and his opinion was that the woods would be a better place. 

I decided to hunt down in a bottom where we had put some deer cane out back at the end of August.  Arnold had seen Paw-Paw (our term for any large dominant buck) in the area a day or two before, so he figured that this would be a good place for me to get an easy bow shot.  I loaded up my four-wheeler and headed down to the spot.  On the way in, I passed a huge scrape right in the middle of our trail.  Arnold was right, this does look like a good place to be.  As I reached the stand and started up it, a deer bedded down 15 yards away spotted me and started blowing.  Unfortunately, this was the only deer I saw all day.

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ATV parked in the woods near where I was hunting


September 15, 2000 Opening Day  

I got up at 4:30, and was out of the house and on my way to Lancaster by 5:00am.  It was a slightly humid morning, and the fog hung heavy in the air.   When I got to Arnold's house, the lights were out, so I decided to go straight on to the stand.  I decided to hunt on "the ridge", as I have for most opening mornings for the past seven years. 

The ridge is where I killed my first deer almost a decade ago.  Back then, there was only a climbing stand stuck in a white-oak tree; now we have a permanent ladder stand one tree over from the one I shot my first deer from.   The ridge is a nice stand of hardwoods on the far side of Arnold's property, and we've seen a good many deer in there over the years. 

This morning, however, I only saw one deer, a nice spike, at a distance of about 70 yards.  There was no chance for a shot.  In the evening, I hunted one of our fields, the one we call "the pond".  We call it this because, obviously, it's very close to Arnold's pond.   The wheat and beans that we planted the previous week were just coming up, and unfortunately the deer hadn't found them yet.  I saw nothing that evening.  My favorite part of the evening was riding back to the house on my four-wheeler in the dark.   I love riding at night...

 Click on the picture for a full-sized view
ATV loaded on truck ready to take to Arnold's


September 14, 2000 Preparations for Opening Day  

Tomorrow is Opening Day of the archery deer season in Lancaster County, South Carolina.  Tonight I'm making my final preparations for it.  My bow is ready, my broadheads are sharp and tight.  All of my equipment is together and in good order, except that I can't find my favorite grunt call.  It's not that big a deal, since I haven't had much luck with deer responding to grunt calls, but I sure would like to have it along. 

Anyway, last year I started carrying a backpack out hunting with me.  That sure was convenient, and I've decided to do that again this year.   Here's a list of what all I carry in the pack.  Though the contents may change as the seasons do, most of the items will be in there for the duration.  Although it sounds like I'm carrying quite a lot of stuff, it really doesn't weigh that much, and is not a hindrance to me at all.  And the good news is, I just remembered where my grunt call is.  It's in my inflatable seat cushion (which is broken).  Speaking of that, I guess I better run up to K-mart and get a new cushion tonight.  I really hate to hunt without that.

  • Clock - I don't wear a watch.  I've never really been comfortable with them.  For Christmas two years ago, Micki gave me a neat little clock that I have clipped onto my backpack.
  • Buck knife - Given to me for Christmas by my parents one year, I have a buck skinning knife that I carry in case I'm lucky enough to get a deer.
  • Gloves - These will change with the seasons, but tomorrow I'm carrying just some lightweight gloves to keep the mosquitoes off of my hands.
  • Small flashlight - A mini-mag light to help me find my way to the stand. 
  • Spree - A small roll of Spree candy
  • Goody's - A pack of Goody's powders.
  • Hall's - Half a pack of Hall's cough drops. 
  • Bright Eyes - A full pack of "bright eyes" reflective tacks, which I can use to mark a trail if I'm hunting unfamiliar country in the afternoon.
  • Facemask - A thin facemask to help camouflage my face.
  • Broadheads - An unopened box of broadheads just in case I need them
  • Toilet paper - Just in case
  • Large flashlight - A mag-light in case I have to search after dark for a deer that I've shot that afternoon.  This is the heaviest item that I carry, and I leave it out of the pack for the morning hunts.  I do like to carry it along on my afternoon hunts.
  • Safety Belt - My treestand safety belt
  • Rope - 30 feet of camouflage rope, in case the stand I'm hunting from doesn't already have some there waiting for me.
  • Deer call - My "fawn in distress" call.  I don't really like to use this one, but I'm carrying it just in case...
  • Small flashlight - No, this isn't a repeat. I actually have another mini-mag light in another pouch in the backpack.
  • Binoculars - My hunting binoculars, also a Christmas gift from my parents from several years back.
  • Marking tape - A small roll to help me track any deer that I might shoot.
  • Insect Repellent - A small bottle of Dick Idol's "Earth Scent" insect repellent. 
  • Leatherman tool - A "Leatherman Micra" folding tool, which includes scissors, tweezers, knife blade, a bottle opener, and two screwdriver heads.
  • Release - My favorite release for my bow.
  • Release - My backup release.
  • Paperback book - Although I don't read very often while I'm hunting, sometimes I like to have a book along with me.  This year I'm starting out with "The Lonely Silver Rain", the last Travis McGee book.
  • ATV Key - a spare key to my four wheeler, in case I drop the other one.
  • Lens wipes - Four individually packaged lens cleaners for binoculars, scope, or eyeglasses.


September 9, 2000    

Ted and I again went dove hunting up on the Uwharrie game lands.  The fields had a few more hunters in them than they did on opening day, and the doves weren't flying nearly as well.  Ted managed to bag one dove with quite a shot on a fast overhead flight, but that was all we saw for most of the morning.  After lunch, again at Troutman's, we drove back to the game lands to try to sight in Ted's new muzzleloader.   On the way to the range, we blew out a tire on my truck on the sharp gravel roads, so we had to cut the day short and go get my tire replaced.

September 8, 2000    

Another work day down at Arnold's land, and on our lease.  We picked up fertilizer, soybeans, wheat, and clover at the local feed and seed store, then proceeded to plant a total of nine fields.  It was quite a hard day's work, but when those soybeans start to come up and the deer start coming into the fields, it will all pay off!

September 2, 2000    

Hunting season in North Carolina typically begins with the opening of the dove season on the Saturday before Labor Day.  The season opens at noon on that day, and, as usual, Ted and I headed up to the fields of the Uwharrie game lands.  Having worked at my real job all night on Friday, I asked Ted to drive us to the game lands. 

When we got to our favorite field about an hour before noon, we were shocked to find that it was completely empty of hunters.  We walked across the main field, then down a little road to a smaller field that we refer to as the "back field".  The back field was also empty, so we took the best two spots, set out a half dozen decoys, then waited out that long hour until the season opened.  During that hour, a good many doves crossed the field, so we were very excited. 

When the noon hour finally arrived, no doves came.  For a full forty-five minutes we stared at an empty sky.   As 1:00 approached, the doves started flying again, and although we got off a good many shots, neither of us hit anything.  By 1:30, other hunters had heard our shots, and began to fill our field.  We continued to get the occasional shot off, but never hit a single bird.  Finally, as a large storm approached the area, we decided to call it a day and head to Denton for some BBQ at Troutman's.

August 31, 2000    

A little bit of last minute preseason work.  I took the four-wheeler on down to Arnold's place, where it will remain for the season.  Arnold and I drove around to all of our permanent stands and put camouflage blinds around them.  We also checked a couple of the spots where we had put out some deer cane a couple of months before.   The deer had really torn those areas up, so we put some new blocks out for them.

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