Home » Hunting Journals » 2008 Trail Cam Gallery | Other Hunting Journals | Big Game Records
The 2008 Hunting Season

As we begin the 2008 season, I can't help but wonder how this year will compare with last year.  2007 was my best year ever for hunting.  I saw more deer in one season than I ever have before, and I took seven of them; a new record for me.

I also went to Africa last year, and it's strange coming into 2008 having fulfilled that lifelong dream.  We won't be able to top that this year, but I'm already starting to think about going back sometime in the near future.

Although we've talked about predator hunting every year, we've never given it a real serious effort.  This year that will change.  My hope is to get at least three coyotes and one fox before March.

For the deer season, I'm going to start early and do a lot of preseason scouting this year, and plan to get back into bowhunting in September.  It's been awhile since I've taken a deer with a bow, and this year I'd like to get another one that way.

However you look at it, it's going to be a great season!


2008 Game Record
Animal Seen Killed
Whitetail Buck 18 2
Whitetail Doe 26 5
Turkey (Gobbler/Jake) 0 0
Turkey (Hen) 2 -
Wild Boar 0 0
Coyote 1 0
Fox 1 1
Bobcat 0 0
Squirrel - 0
Dove - 0
Crows - 1
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, 2009 21° Low / 43° High - Clear 0 Animals Viewed

With seven deer in the freezer and plans with Micki for New Year's Eve, I decided just to hunt this afternoon today.  I left home around 10:30, and as I drove down to the last half mile before the lease gate I had to stop in the road while a house was moved into position across the street from our lease.  I waited about 20 minutes for them to get it out of the road, then proceeded on to the sign-in board.

I had hoped to hunt the Family Stand today, since I'd have a long time in the stand and wanted to be comfortable.  Unfortunately, Jimmy had already checked in for the stand.  Several of my other favorite stands were also already taken, so I gave up on that and went back to my ground blind one last time.

I sat there all afternoon without seeing anything.  A half-mile down the road, I could hear the trucks still moving the house into place, along with the voices of the workers.  I'm not sure if this kept the deer away or not, but whatever the reason, they didn't show up today.


December 30, 2008 31° Low / 68° High - Weather 6 Deer Viewed

Pete was back with me today.  We went over to the new road, with me getting back in my blind one more time and Pete using a climber that we had put up a week or so back.  My morning started quickly with a four point buck (one that I've seen before) crossing 100 yards down in front of my blind.  He moved quickly, but conveyed no sense that he had seen me.

An hour later, I saw movement just past a hump in the clearing that I was watching.  I saw a doe lift her head, then lower it.  She did this several times, and often she would look off into the woods to the right of her.  I kept looking into those woods myself with my binoculars, but I couldn't see anything that would have her so alert.

She began to move off, and when I saw a clear shot opportunity I went ahead and took it.  There wasn't much room for a shot, and the bullet caught her high in the spine.  She collapsed, but began flopping on the ground a little bit.  I chambered another round and tried to get a lock on her, but she was not still enough, and I missed the second shot.  The third shot did the job, and the deer was down for good. 

After the first shot, I saw the white tails of four other deer as they scattered in various directions.

It was only 8:00am, so I quickly retrieved the deer, loaded her into my Jeep, and ran her down the road to Baker's Deer Processing, which is just 10 minutes from the lease.  I was back in the stand by 8:45am.  I stayed until 11:00, when Pete radioed to tell me he was back on the ground.  He had seen nothing from his stand.

We went over to Riverdeck for a quick lunch, then came back to the lease.  Pete decided to get in the Family Stand, which was a good choice... there were lots of tracks in the field that it watches.  I went over to the Blue Top stand, which is a tall tower overlooking a small cutover and logging road.  I saw nothing all afternoon, but did hear one shot from Pete's direction.

When it was dark, I drove back over to get Pete.  He had, it turned out, taken a shot at a doe but had missed.  He had recovered his bullet from the gouge it made in the dirt, and there was no blood or tissue on it or on the ground. 

At the sign in board, we met club members Jerry and Phil.  Jerry, it turns out, had gotten stuck in a mud-filled curve in the lease where Pete and I had almost gotten stuck ourselves earlier in the day.  Looks like we need to do something about that spot before next season.


December 27, 2008 44° Low / 57° High - Overcast/Rain 0 Animals Viewed

Just a short morning hunt today.  I went back to my blind and stayed until 11:00am, but saw nothing this morning.

After the hunt, I stopped at Jordan's to pick up my deer from last week.  Took it home and with the help of Pete and Daniel we processed the deer.


December 20, 2008 57° Low / 66° High - Rain 2 Deer Viewed

With the season less than two weeks away from closing, Pete and I headed out for the lease this morning.  I dropped Pete off at #1#, then headed over to the ground blind on the new road that I've been hunting for the last two weeks.  After driving past the gate, I turned off my headlights and used my flashlight to see my way down the road to where I park.

The heavy cloud cover blocked the moonlight made it difficult to see my way down the trail once I left my Jeep.  I got out my green Streamlight, and soon found the marker that led me to my stand.  However, I couldn't see my blind anywhere.  Sweeping the light this way and that, I finally saw that it had blown over in a recent windstorm, and was still attached to the ground with just one tent stake.  From the way the blind was laying, I figured that my chair had collapsed and was inside it, but when I set the blind back up it was empty.

Perplexed, I looked around some more and saw my chair just sitting there beside the clump of downed trees near my blind.  Remember, it was quite dark, and the Streamlight doesn't give you much visibility.  I got everything set back up, found one more stake still in the ground, and got into the blind.

By the time I had finished getting everything set back up and had gotten settled, I only had to wait about 15 minutes for the sky to begin to lighten.  At 7:10am, I saw the first and only deer of the morning.  It was the tall racked six pointer seen in the bottom picture of my previous journal entry.  He didn't stick around this morning, but instead crossed the road and disappeared into the woods.

The wind got stronger as the morning progressed, and I found myself having to hold the blind in place every time it gusted.  Ted had experienced the same thing last week, and I made a mental note to bring some more tent stakes with me next time I hunt.

I stayed in the stand until about 11:15, then drove down to check out the place where Ted had hunted last week.  There were lots of tracks in the area, so I figured this would be a good place for Pete for the afternoon.  Pete wanted to hunt a climber rather than a blind, so I looked around to try to find Trey's blind, which Ted and I had moved to this spot last week.  I wanted to put it back where we had found it... but I couldn't see it anywhere.  I finally located it 30 yards from where we had left, blown up under a deadfall.  I loaded it into the Jeep and headed over to the first road to get Pete.

Pete had jumped a deer on the way out of his stand, but that was the only one he saw this morning.  Together we went and put Trey's stand back up on the first road where it had previously been laying, then went over to the grill by Lake Wateree to get lunch.  Finishing that up, it was back over to the new road.

We drove to the end of the road, and I showed Pete the corn and deer tracks.  He decided to put a climber in the same tree that Jimmy had been using previously, so we did that, then added another bag of corn to the existing pile.  Just as I started to pull away, it started to lightly rain.  Pete said he had his rain gear in his pack, so I drove away to my own spot.

I parked the truck, and as I got out and got ready to walk to my stand it started pouring rain.  I had to quickly put on my raincoat, grab my backpack, and make a dash through the woods to my stand.  I still got wet, because I decided to tie the tent blind to various trees or stumps at each corner to try to prevent it from blowing away.  I hoped this would hold until I could get back with some stakes.

I finally got settled into the blind, and the rain beating on the roof soon sent me into a snooze.  I slept on and off for about and hour.  The ropes that I had used to secure the blind had pulled one of the walls into an odd angle, and it was allowing rain to drip in on me.  There wasn't anything I could do about it, so I did my best to ignore it.  Once, just after I had awoken from a brief nap, I looked up and saw Pete waving his orange cap at me from 200 yards down the road.

I called him on the radio and he said that he had not gotten his rain gear on in time and was soaking wet.  He was headed back to the truck to change clothes and get warm.  I met him outside of my blind, and we walked back to the truck.  He said that he would be fine there, and for me to continue my hunt.  With just a couple of hours of daylight left, I thanked him and walked back to the blind.

The rain and wind continued, often hard, and fog moved in and out of the area.  At 5:00pm, as dusk was settling in, I saw a deer materialize in the clearing.  I gave it a quick look with my binoculars and saw that it had a good body size.  It may have, I thought, been a spike, or it could have been a doe.  It stood there broadside, and I quickly considered my options.  It was late in the season, I badly wanted to process a deer at home, and Pete was sitting patiently in the truck waiting for me to finish my hunt.  We'd hunted hard all day in the rain, and had been rained on at this spot once before.

The choice was pretty easy.  I slipped off the safety and fired.  The deer leapt into the air, then ran.  A solid hit, no doubt.  I got out of the blind and went back to the Jeep.  Pete had been napping, and had not heard my shot.  I told him the situation, and we drove down to where I had shot the deer.  We found blood right away, and in the fading light I handed Pete my flashlight and asked him to look for the blood trail.  Meanwhile, I would look for the deer itself.

There were two possible paths that the deer could have taken; one down a steep hill into a deep bottom, and the other down a less steep hill and into a flatter area.  I walked halfway down the hill, wanting to determine which way the deer had gone before committing myself to one of the two choices.  The light was fading quickly, and Pete hollered "You know he went down hill, go on!". 

I chuckled, but kept my ground, wanting to be sure.  Instead of going into the gulley, I walked across the face of the hill, and soon found a spo of ground that was torn up badly.  I looked around, and saw the deer laying 30 more yards down the shallow hill.  It blended in well with the ground, and I wouldn't have been able to see it even five minutes later on in the evening.

I dragged it partway up the hill by hand while Pete went back to the truck for the Glenn's Deer Handle (a dragging tool that makes it easier to pull a deer out of the woods).  We hooked it up (the deer was, in fact, a very large spike), and I pulled it up the hill some more.  I paused to catch my breath, and Pete dragged it the rest of the way to the truck.  We took a couple of quick pictures, then loaded him into the truck.

I was glad to have gotten a deer out of this spot.  The picture doesn't reveal the true size of the deer; he took up most of the basket on the back of my truck.  I had known when I took the shot that it might have been a spike, but sometimes the circumstances warrant the shot anyway.  This was one of those times, and I'm glad to have a deer to process next week.  We'll post pictures and video of the butchering process in next week's journal entry.

We dropped the deer off at Randy Jordan's house.  Randy will hang it for me for a week to allow the meat to age, and he skinned it for me for a small fee.


December 13, 2008 22° Low / 58° High - Clear 8 Deer Viewed

It seems like I've been waiting for this day for a long time.  Today I finally got to hunt the orange gate blind in the morning, when I believe the deer are most active.

The moon was full and bright when I arrived at the gate.  It was bright enough that I was able to drive down the logging road with my lights completely off, and bright enough that I found my way to the blind without even using a flashlight.  It was cold too, but I was relatively comfortable in my heavy overalls.

I sat quietly in the blind waiting for sunrise, and soon it came, and with it came the first deer.  It looked to be young deer, and I saw immediately that it was a buck:  a little spike.  I watched him feed, and soon another deer came out.  The second one was a young six pointer; a yearling.  I watched these two deer feed for a little while, and every once in awhile the trail camera would flash, taking their picture.

The two smallest bucks

Once, the camera flashed brighter than it normally does.  The deer spooked, and as they ran out of the little clearing towards the woods, I saw a third, larger buck.  His antlers were easily visible, but he was gone as quickly as the other two were.  I could tell from his body language that he wouldn't go far though, and I was right.  He was soon back, and the two little bucks came back with him.  He was a tall six point with an ugly rack.

They fed for about a half hour before wandering off into the woods.  I sat back and watched, but saw nothing for an hour.  Once, interestingly, a big bodied, small horned four point trotted by, not 10 feet in front of my blind.  I was quite surprised to see him.  I had heard nothing, and he was gone as quickly as he had appeared. 

The larger buck, with a smaller one in the background

I stayed in the stand until 10:45, hoping that the late feeding does would come out.  I had promised Micki that I'd take her to the Christmas parade in Clover today, and I needed to get on the road.  I hated to leave my stand without seeing the does, but my time was just about up.  I gathered my gear, zipped up the blind, and walked back up the road to my truck. 

I loaded all of my gear into the back of my Jeep, then lowered the tailgate.  From where I had parked, the corn pile was only 150 yards down the logging road, and I decided to peek down the road one last time.  They were there.  One, two, and then two more does sprang away from the corn.  My tailgate slamming had alerted them, and they had been looking right up my way when I walked around the bend to look down there.  If I had stayed in the stand for 5 more minutes, I would have seen them. 

That was so frustrating.  I won't get a chance to hunt this week at all; my PTO from work is almost done.  My next chance to get in the woods will be a week from today, and who knows what will happen between now and then.  The deer might move on to another spot, or they might eat up all of my corn, or someone else may hunt there and get one of my hard found deer.

I'm going to have to try to get back down here on Wednesday evening just to put out some fresh corn for Saturday.  A quick trip down right after work just to drop of some corn will have to do until my next hunt.  I can't wait to get back into that stand.


December 11, 2008 53° Low / 68° High - Heavy Rain 1 Deer Viewed

I like hunting in the rain.  In my experience, deer (and turkeys) will move in the rain, and they are often less cautious on rainy days than they would normally be.  That being said, it was raining really hard today.  Hard enough to make it a miserable morning.  Ted and I were hunting together, probably for the last time until our January hog hunt.

I badly wanted to go to the new blind, which I'll call the "orange gate blind" for the rest of this year.. but it's a little Ameristep popup blind, and I wasn't sure how it would be holding up to all of the rain.  So, I put Ted in stand 3, and I went to stand 6.  It's mid December, and I had worn my heavy boots this morning.  Once I was in the blind, my feet were feeling really warm, so I took off my boots and socks and sat there barefooted, in December, watching for deer.

At 9:10, I looked to my right and saw a yearling doe, probably 70 pounds or so.  I tried to get my rifle on her, but she didn't linger, and soon was out of sight in a thicket.  I saw nothing else all morning.  I left the stand at 11:00am and walked over to where I had seen the doe.  I found her tracks, and they were indeed from a younger deer. 

I drove down and got Ted, and we talked about where to hunt in the afternoon.  I really wanted to put some more corn out at the "orange gate blind" and check the camera there, so I suggested that we do that before we ate lunch.  We did, and the corn that I had put out on Saturday was again demolished.  While I swapped out the batteries and card in my trail camera, Ted walked over to check out the blind.  It was largely dry inside, showing me that those little $50 Ameristep blinds hold up well in heavy rain.

We had talked about hunting over on the main lease this afternoon, but I really wanted to hunt here, and the dry blind would make that possible.  We went back and cooked some lunch over at the corn trailer, having a brief break from the rain, and talked about what to do.  One of the club members had left another popup blind laying on the ground up near where I had hunted this morning, so we decided to borrow that for Ted and go hunt the orange gate road.

We put up the blind in the best spot we could find for Ted, but that spot is not great for a popup.  It really needs to be hunted from a climber, as Ted found out.  During the hunt, the wind and rain kept pushing his blind around, and he was not comfortable.  As we talked on the radio, I told him we could move him to a new spot, but he decided to tough it out where he was.  Unfortunately, neither of us saw anything at all for the entire afternoon.

Here are some of the pictures that I got from my trail camera.  This looks like a great spot to hunt in the mornings.  Click on any picture for a larger view.  As you can see from the timestamps on the camera, a group of does is feeding daily between 10:15 and 11:00am.



December 6, 2008 32° Low / 43° High - Overcast 0 Animals Viewed

I left home a little too early this morning and was sitting at the sign-in board at around 5:30.  I signed in for stand 3, then waited around a bit to see if anyone else showed up.  No one else had arrived by about 5:55, so I went on into the woods.  I stayed in the stand until 11:00, but saw nothing all morning.

After leaving the stand, I went and checked the corn pile; it needed topping off, so I added about 25 pounds of fresh shelled corn, then went up to check out the sign around stand 6.  I had intended to turn my feeder back on, but the battery there was too weak, so I left it alone.  I poured another 25 pounds of corn on the ground about 75 yards away from the stand, then went back over to the sign in board.

Jimmy and Matt were on the board, and just as I pulled in, they did too.  Neither of them had seen anything this morning.  We talked for a bit, and I learned that Mike (the club president) has the possibility of leasing the 2,200 acres adjacent to our 1,800, giving us a total of 4,000 acres.  If he did that, he would also try to add 30 members to the club, thus reducing our dues to around $1000 per year from $1500.

Also, Mike is going to ask each of us to chip in a couple of hundred dollars which he will use to buy a tractor for the club.  It'll be left at the lease, and anyone who helped pay would have free use of it.  Finally, every spot that can be a food plot will be made into one.  Looks like next year could be a great time to be in the club!

Once we said our good-byes, I went back to the new logging road where I had poured corn a few days ago.  The corn pile I had placed there was absolutely demolished by the deer, with tracks everywhere, so I added another hundred pounds there.  Then I went on down past that spot and picked out a place for Ted to hunt on Thursday and added more corn there.  Finally, I marked a place for Ted to put his ground blind.

That all done, I went and got lunch at the Riverdeck, then came back to the newly erected blind.  I sat there all afternoon, but saw nothing.  This looks like a great hunting location though, and I will be back in this stand for my next few hunts.  Unfortunately, the one thing that I did see once I got in my blind was that the location that I had picked for Ted was in the direct line of fire of any shot I would make from my blind.  We'll have to pick a different spot in that area for him on Thursday.


December 2, 2008 28° Low / 48° High - Clear 1 Deer Viewed

Just before I left for the lease this morning I walked down to my workshop and grabbed a few items that I would need on the lease later that day.  There was a little bit of work that I had been wanting to do on the land, and today was a good opportunity to take care of some of those things.

I started my hunt in stand 3 and once again saw my six point buck at around 8:00am.  If this deer makes it through the summer, he should be a nice 8 pointer next year, and if he gets past that, he may ultimately be a fantastic deer.  He was the only deer I saw all morning.

I left the stand at around 10:30, then walked back to my truck and drove it up to the blind.  One of the problem with this stand is that the sun sets directly behind it in the evenings and the hunter's silhouette can easily be seen by any deer out in front of the stand.  Using some camouflage blind material that I had brought with me this morning, I covered the back of the stand to try to solve this problem.  I had some blind material left over when I was finished, so I went ahead and stapled that to the front of the stand.

With that being finished, I drove over to stand 9 to take care of a problem that I had noticed the last time I hunted there.  The pine trees near the stand have grown out enough to partially block the view to the left where deer often cross the logging road.  Using my 12 gauge shotgun, I took care of this problem.  I was able to shoot the branches off of the trees that blocked the view, which will really help any hunters using this stand.

From there I went to the place we call the "staging area" and did a little crow hunting.  I called in two separate groups and got shots off both times, but never managed to bring one down. 

Finally, I drove over to the new logging road that Pete and I had discovered earlier this year.  I opened the gate and drove in, parking my truck about 100 yards down the road.  I then walked as far as the road took me, finding two wide open areas separated by a quarter mile of logging road.  There were lots of coyote tracks and some deer tracks, so I decided to give this place a try next time I hunt.

I emptied two bags of corn in the first open area, then cleared a spot for my ground blind, marking a nearby tree with some reflective tacks.  I then did a little more crow hunting, finally managing to get one of the black beasts on the ground.


November 29, 2008 39° Low / 53° High - Rain 1 Deer Viewed

Hunting alone again today, I was back in stand 3 long before dawn.  There was a cold, steady rain falling all morning, but I was pretty comfortable for the first several hours of the hunt.  Although I was paying careful attention, I didn't see anything all morning.  At about 9:00 the cold finally started to get to me, so I walked back to the truck to put on a Polartec undershirt that I had brought with me.  That was fun; I had to strip down to my bare chest to put the shirt on, and the cold rain didn't help the way I was feeling! 

When I got back to the stand though, I was much more comfortable.  I sat there until about 10:45, then decided to head into Heath Springs to get a piece of chicken for lunch.  It's about a 45 minute round trip, and I was back in the blind right around noon.  I had barely taken the first bite of my lunch when a buck walked out into the road about 40 yards from the stand.  At first I thought it was the four pointer that I had seen yesterday.

I got the rifle on him and started to slip the safety off.  I had made the decision to go ahead and shoot the four pointer the next time I saw him.  Now, for the record, I'm on the side of the argument that culling a scrub buck doesn't make a whit of difference in the quality of the herd.  The genes are already in the pool.  I was going to take him so that we would stop seeing him in this area, and because he likely wouldn't amount to anything anyway. 

It wasn't him.  A careful inspection through my scope showed that this deer had a wider rack than my four pointer; he was already outside the ears and had small brow tines.  Definitely not the one I saw yesterday, although very likely he is the twin to the one that I saw.  He stayed around for about 10 minutes, then disappeared into the woods.

At around 3:00pm I went back to my truck again.  This time I traded my lightweight rain jacket for my heavy coat.  The mist in the air was making it really cold out, and I needed something to keep me warm.  I was back in the stand 15 minutes later, and stayed there until dark.  Nothing else appeared all afternoon.

When I got back to the sign-in board, Phil was already there.  He too had hunted all day, but he had not seen anything.  Jimmy and Matt were still in the woods, and I was anxious to talk to Jimmy about a meeting he had recently attended.  The timber company that we lease our land from wanted to talk to us, and I was really curious about what they had to say.  He and Matt showed up at around 6:15pm, Matt having killed a really big doe over at what we call the "Blue Top Tower" stand.

Jimmy said that the timber company would like a 3 or 5 year commitment from us on our lease.  This is great news; it means we'd be assured that we would have the club for at least that long.  Further, they want to start enforcing harvest rules on bucks.  Nothing that's not outside the ears, which is our rule anyway, so no impact there.  Next year they also want us to save the jawbone from each deer that we kill (this is how they age deer), and also we will need to weigh each deer.  Finally, they will clear off some areas for food plots for us if we want, but we will be responsible for planting them.

All in all, I think these are excellent things.  We'll need to start keeping a record of each deer that's killed, which I've said for years that we need to do anyway.  Jimmy said that he would build a hoist for us over at the corn shed, and will come up with a way to store our jawbones.  These changes don't go into effect until next season.


November 28, 2008 34° Low / 63° High - Overcast 2 Deer Viewed

I was back in stand 3 this morning at dawn.  Having not gotten a deer on Wednesday, I decided to film Part II of the newest Wingshooters.net Outdoors episode, so I brought my camera and tripod into the stand with me.  As dawn began to rise, I saw a couple of squirrels, but no deer.  Around 8:00am, I accidently dropped a hand warmer onto the ground.  I leaned down to pick it up, and as I got back into position I saw a deer out in the logging road in front of the stand.

It was obviously a buck, and I quickly turned on the camera and started filming.  He was very alert and cautious, and my binoculars showed me that it was a very tall racked four point.  He had no brow tines, and his antlers were all the way out to his ears.  In fact, he looked more like a mule deer than a whitetail.  I briefly considered shooting him, since at that size he'll obviously never amount to a great buck, but our club rules are a little ambiguous about these situations, so I passed him up.

He stayed around for around 10 minutes before finally heading off into the woods.  I stopped the camera and settled back into my chair.  A half hour later another deer appeared way out beyond the 100 yard mark.  I turned on the camera again and hit the shutter button, then got my binoculars up.  A big doe, a great shooter!  I raised my rifle, fired, and saw the deer stumble before running across the road into the woods.  Although it was obviously a hit, I wanted to review the shot on the camera, but to my dismay I saw that it wasn't recording; I must not have pressed the button all the way down when I saw the doe.

It was disappointing not to get the shot on film, but I quickly recovered and went up and found the deer.  She had gone about 30 yards, nailed just over the shoulder with very little damage to the meat.  I filmed a couple more segments, then loaded her up and headed home.



November 26, 2008 25° Low / 54° High - Clear 1 Deer Viewed

I had initially planned to hunt all day today, but we've been pretty busy trying to get everything ready for our family Thanksgiving gathering, so I ended up heading down to the lease around 10:00 this morning.  There was nobody in the woods when I got there, so I went over to stand 13 to refill the feeder there.  From there I went over and removed the bracket for my Bushnell camera from the tree that it was on.  The camera had had some issues, and I sent it back to the company for repair.  They sent me a new one this week, so I wanted the bracket so that I could move it to another location.

It it interesting to note that when I was driving on the public road heading into the lease to get my bracket, I saw the same little black cat that I've seen twice during recent hunts at stand 9.  Seems like I'm seeing him all the time!

After that I went back over to stand 3 and put out a couple of bags of corn in two different locations, then installed the camera up at the far end of the viewing distance.  That all being finished, I finally went over to the stand and got ready to hunt. 

This past week during a Woot.com selloff, I bought a new point-and-shoot digital camera.  I've been wanting one that I could carry around easily into the stands with me, and I got a great deal (over 50% off) of a new Samsung camera that's capable of HD video.  I decided to make a new episode of Wingshooters.net Outdoors out of today's hunt, so I prior to getting into the stand I did a bit of filming. 

Finally settled into the stand, I spent the rest of the day watching for deer.  A little after 4:00pm a spike buck came out, but he only stayed around for a couple of minutes.  Nothing else happened all afternoon, so at dark I packed up and went home.


November 22, 2008 15° Low / 45° High - Clear to Overcast 0 Animals Viewed

On this, the coldest morning of the year so far, I was again hunting alone.  Pete had planned to come, but had to back out due to a busy afternoon today.  It was 14 degrees in the Cold Spot, and only 18 degrees on the top of the hill.   No one else was signed in on the board when I got there at 5:45am. 

I headed to stand 3, taking a little portable heater with me.  I didn't really need it; I had dressed appropriately and was really pretty comfortable all morning.  I didn't see anything but a few squirrels, even though I stayed in the stand until 11:30am.   When I exited the stand, I walked down to the corn and saw deer tracks everywhere; they've really been hitting this spot.  When I come back on Wednesday, I'll hunt this stand all day and will bring another bag or two of corn to liven things up.

After I left the lease I headed over to Randy Jordan's place.  Randy is my taxidermist, and I wanted to check in on my African animals.  No one was there when I knocked on the door of his shop, and as I headed back toward my truck to leave I saw Randy walking across the yard toward me from his house.  He unlocked the shop, and we went in and talked hunting for a good while.

As I was about to leave, a Greek fellow came in with a nice doe.  I stuck around while Randy skinned and dressed the animal, then quartered it for the hunter.  That done, I said goodbye to Randy and headed home.  He said that he'd been working on my mounts, and had the ears in place on two of the mannequins and had muscled them up a bit with clay and Bond-o.  Hopefully it won't be long before the first of the mounts is ready.


November 20, 2008 26° Low / 63° High - Weather 1 Red Fox Viewed

Although I had the whole day off from work, an appointment in the afternoon forced me to do another morning-only hunt today.  It was cold when I left the house; the temperature was in the low 20s, and I was glad that I had brought my heaviest clothes along on the hunt.  On the highway adjacent to the lease, there is a place that we call the "Cold Spot".  It's a little dip in the road at the base of Liberty Hill, and you can count on the temperature being ten degrees cooler there than at the top of the hill.  It was 21 in the Cold Spot when I went through it.

I got to the lease and saw that two other guys were already there.  Stand 9 was open, so I decided to hunt there.  I sat in the stand all morning, chilly but not uncomfortably cold, but saw no deer.  Late in the morning a beautiful red fox ran out of the woods to my right, crossed the little food plot, and entered into the pines parallel to my stand.  I found myself wishing fox season was open; I would love to get a red fox mounted to match my grey one.

Not long after that I saw the little black cat again, this time headed down the hill and back toward the main road.  I saw nothing else, and got down from the stand at about 11:00am.  I headed over to the first road to check out the deer sign over there.  Stand 3 was starting to show some activity.  In past years, this has been a great stand, but the logging in the area last winter really slowed things down there.  I was glad to see tracks in the road there.

I went on up to my feeder a half mile up the road.  I turned the feeder off a month or so ago, but there still was a bit of corn left in it.  I grabbed a plastic shopping bag out of my truck and filled it with corn from the feeder, then went back down and poured it out at stand 3.  That being done, my time was up for the day and I headed back to the house.


November 17, 2008 30° Low / 55° High - Clear 6 Gobblers, 1 Fox Viewed

Ted joined me today for an afternoon-only hunt.  We spent a lot of time thinking about the stands that we'd hunt from, and in the end we decided that Ted would to go stand 35 while I went a little further down the trail to stand 34.  We parked my Jeep just up the road from Ted's stand, then walked to our spots.

I had never hunted from stand 34 before, and although a lot of deer are seen from this stand, I didn't know what to expect of the view.  The stand sits near a deep valley, and I could see about 60 yards out in front of me over a small cutover before the land dropped off into the ravine. 

The afternoon was mostly quiet.  As the sun began to move behind the trees, I saw a flock of six gobblers come in and drink from a mud puddle created from the ruts of the logging road.  They stayed around for 30 minutes or so before moving off into the cutover.  Shortly after that, a grey fox went under my stand.  I leaned my head out of the window of the blind and watched him until he disappeared deep into the woods.  Fox season doesn't open for another ten days.

Before long I heard Ted shoot.  I had not brought the radios today, so I had no way to check in with him to see what he had gotten.  Nothing else showed up at my stand, and at dark I got down and made the long walk back to the truck.

Ted was waiting for me at his stand, having already retrieved his deer and loading it onto the truck.  He had seen three; two young does and one larger one.  He couldn't get a shot at the big one, and knowing he'd likely only get one more hunt in this year he went ahead and took one of the younger does.  We dropped it off at the processor and headed home.


November 11, 2008 32° Low / 61° High - Clear 5 Deer Viewed

I'm participating in a men's ministry this year, and we are currently studying John Eldredge's book Wild at Heart, and we meet every Tuesday night in a barn out in Indian Land, SC.  So, although I had the day off of work for Veteran's Day today, I could only hunt for a half day.  I was by myself again, and I went straight back to stand 9

The morning started slowly, but not too long after sunrise I saw a deer come out into the shooting lane about 70 yards in front of me.  I could see that it was a buck, and a glance through my binoculars confirmed that it was a four-pointer.  He came out of the woods and fed for about 10 minutes.  He didn't seem very spooky, and when he left the area he wasn't in a big hurry.

I kept watching, and 20 minutes or so later I saw another deer in the lane, this time about fifty yards farther out.  It was a bigger deer, but was also just a four pointer.  He was much more cautious, heading slowly up the lane toward our corn pile.  He stopped frequently, staring up at me in the stand, but he never saw me.  He didn't stay long though, and soon all was quiet again.

Before long, I saw something small and black come over the rise in the road and head my way.  It was a small black domestic cat.  He trotted quickly up the road heading toward the stand, then disappeared into the woods behind me.  Fifteen minutes later he emerged on the other side of the stand and continued on his way down the road, stopping occasionally to look for rodents.

Almost immediately after he disappeared, I saw movement on the edge of the woods to my right, behind club member Jerry's deer feeder.  Another deer!  I saw that it was a small doe.  I watched her for 5 minutes or so, when suddenly another doe leapt past her.  In the woods, I saw the twitch of another deer's tail, then all three were gone.  I was so focused on the first one that I hadn't even noticed the other two.  I wasn't sure what spooked them, and I kept watch, hoping that a buck had made them nervous, but nothing else showed up.

I stayed in the stand until late morning, then climbed down and headed home.  It was hard to leave the lease today; it was a great day to be in the woods, and I would have liked to have stayed all day.


November 8, 2008 43° Low / 66° High - Clear 2 Deer Viewed

Well, a bit of bad luck this morning.  Hunting alone this morning, I went to stand 9, which is one of the most popular and productive stands on the lease.  As soon as I could see the shooting lane in front of me, I could see that there were two deer feeding about 70 yards out from me.  I watched them through my binoculars for some time.  It was still to dark to determine the sex of the deer, but I could see that one was good sized and one was young.

They stayed out in front of me until it was light enough to see, and I could tell that both deer were does.  I got my rifle in position and aimed at the bigger deer.  Squeezing the trigger, I felt the recoil of the rifle and waited for the smoke to clear.  Federal Premium cartridges, while great bullets, are a bit smoky.  When I could see again, I saw both deer still standing there together, unfazed by the shot.  A clean miss.

I chambered another round and fired again.  I saw immediately that something had gone wrong, because the big deer went one way and the little one went the other, obviously badly hit.  I grabbed my pistol, a .40 Taurus 24/7, out of my backpack and started down the ladder.  Once on the ground, I eased down the trail, going to where the deer had been standing.   In the woods to the left, I saw the young doe lying on the ground, hit low in the liver area.  She was still moving, but I dispatched her with a quick head shot from the pistol.

I had, I remembered, bumped my rifle pretty hard coming down from stand 1 back on the 27th when I shot my last doe.  I hadn't paid it much thought at the time, but that's the only thing that I'm aware of that could have thrown my rifle off. 

I went and got the rest of my gear down from the stand, got the truck, and came back to the deer.  I went ahead and field dressed her since she was hit in a bad spot, then loaded her onto the basket and took her to a deer processor just down the road from the lease.  I was back at the lease by 8:00am, and I went immediately to the dirt pit, which is where we have a little rifle range set up.

Sure enough, my rifle was shooting to the right.  Badly.  I tightened the screws on my scope, then sighted it back in.  Since it was still early, I got back into the woods, this time going over to stand 3 for the first time this year.  I sat there for about an hour and a half, but saw nothing.

Back at the sign in board, several of the club members were there.  We talked for awhile, then everyone went their separate ways for lunch.  In the evening, I went over to the Family Stand, but saw nothing there.  Billy, one of the club members, shot a nice doe that evening way back on the lease, but of seven or eight guys hunting, no one else saw anything.


November 6, 2008 46° Low / 79° High - Clear 1 Deer Viewed

Having seen large buck tracks in the area on Saturday, I decided to give stand 13 a try this morning.  Pete (who didn't oversleep this morning) would be starting the day in stand 35.  My stand was beautifully located, and the bright colors of the fall leaves gave me a great setting to hunt in.  The leaves were the only thing I saw though.  Pete also saw nothing.

After the hunt we drove around a little bit trying to decide where to hunt for the evening.  We settled on me getting into the Salt Lick stand (which I rarely see deer at) and Pete going for the Family Stand.  We ate lunch at the grille down the road, and then got in the stands a little after noon.  I had to fight wasps for much of the afternoon, swatting them with my cap whenever they tried to come in the stand.

Around 5:00pm, I heard the Whap-BOOM of Pete's .30-30 bullet striking muscle, and I knew that he'd hit a deer.  I had neglected to bring the radios today, so I wasn't able to call him to see what he'd gotten. 

As darkness started to fall, I saw a deer come into my field from the right.  It was heading straight toward my stand, and looking at it through my binoculars I saw that it was a little buck with horns just over an inch in length.  As I watched, the deer turned and walked over to the corn pile in my field.  It ate for awhile, and I sat in place until he left, just as hunting light ended. 

When I drove down to the Family Stand, Pete was nowhere to be seen, nor was his deer.  This concerned me a bit, and I thought maybe the deer had run a long way away.  I locked my truck, then marked the coordinates of the Jeep into my GPS unit to make it easier to get back to if we got into thick stuff while tracking the deer.

The blood trail was obvious, and Pete's marking tape showed the way into the woods.  As I headed in, Pete hollered to me that he was on the trail.  I quickly met up with him, and he explained the situation.  It had looked like a good shot, he said, and he had not been tracking for long.  Leaving Pete to follow the blood trail, I moved out looking for the deer itself.  Correcting course each time Pete found blood, I quickly came upon the doe laying dead in a tangle of branches.

It was a good deer, and we broke in my "Glenn's Deer Handle" dragging her out of the woods.  After taking pictures, we packed her up and headed to the processor with Pete's lifetime third deer.


November 1, 2008 37° Low / 73° High - Clear 2 Deer Viewed

When I opened my garage door this morning, I was surprised that Pete wasn't there waiting for me.  He's usually early, but today he was nowhere to be seen.  I waited 10 minutes or so, then decided that something must have happened.  Pete only lives a few miles from me, so I headed in that direction, hoping to pass him on the way.  As I headed down Highway 557 toward his house, I saw a pickup truck coming my way.  Thinking it might be him, I turned onto a side road, turned around, and watched the vehicle as it passed.  Indeed, it was Pete.

I followed him to a gas station a half mile from where we had passed each other.  He had overslept this morning, awakening with a start to discover that he was supposed to have been at my house fifteen minutes ago!  It worked out ok though, and we quickly loaded his gear into my truck and off we went, me giving him the requisite hard time about oversleeping.

At the lease, I picked stand 2 and Pete got in stand 1.  I saw a spike early, and heard coyotes yapping all morning up to my right.  In fact, as I sat quietly, I heard one turn onto my logging road, headed my way.  I turned in my seat, getting ready for a possible shot opportunity.  As I did, a massive bank of fog started rolling in.  It happened quickly, and within seconds the area had gone completely grey.  The coyotes quit yipping, and the woods grew still.  I couldn't see more than 20 yards in any direction.

Soon, looking again to my right, I saw that a big doe had appeared suddenly out of the fog not 50 feet from me.  She was looking directly at the stand, and I wasn't able to get turned to shoot.  She decided I was trouble and disappeared into the woods, tail waving a warning.

Pete and I met up a little while later and headed over to the big side of the lease.  We found a nice parking spot at an intersection of two logging roads, then heated up some venison chili that I had brought with me for our lunch.  Chili eaten, we got back into the woods.  Pete went to stand 13 and I chose stand 16.  It turned out to be a quiet afternoon; neither of us saw anything.


October 27, 2008 41° Low / 59° High - Clear, clouds & wind 6 Deer Viewed

It was a great day to be in the woods today.  Neither of my buddies could join me today, so I was on my own for a late October hunt.  I saw two deer on Singleton Creek Rd. (the road my lease is on) on the way to the sign in board.  We haven't been seeing as many deer as usual on that road this year, so I was really glad to see even two of them this morning.

I signed in for stand 2 since Ted and I had seen as lot of tracks there on Thursday.  Before getting into the stand, I drove on past it and up to where our corn pile is located, then dumped out a bag of deer apples that Micki and I had bought in the mountains over the weekend.  That finished, I turned around and parked the Jeep below the stand, then got settled in for my hunt.

In the early morning mist shortly after the sun began to rise I saw a deer moving way up to the right of the stand, about 50 yards beyond where I had put the apples.  There were too many branches from pine trees hanging over the trail, so I never got a look at the deer's head.  I have to count it as a doe in my yearly tally of deer seen, but the body language looked more like a buck.  As I watched the deer move away, I remembered that I had forgotten to bring my shotgun today.  My plan had been to use it to shoot down some of the various branches that are hanging in the way of a couple of our stands.  I'll have to remember that for my next hunt.

Shortly after the deer disappeared, I heard a noise to my left.  Turning slowly, I saw something moving in the thicket in front of me.  I got my binoculars up and briefly saw a big spike buck.  I lowered my binoculars, but saw nothing with my naked eyes.  I waited, and he emerged from the briars, moving quickly and headed straight for me.  As he approached the logging road, he stopped and stared right at me, then turned and quickly sprinted into the woods, tail up.  He was the last deer I saw that morning.

I got down from the tree at 10:00am, and saw the spike's tracks in the logging road.  He had crossed not 10 yards from the stand.

Moving back to the truck, I packed up my gear and went over to the sign in board, changing my location to stand 1 for the afternoon.  Then, being really sleepy, I drove over to the old corn trailer, parked, and took a three hour nap in the back of my Jeep.  When I woke up, I was shocked at the difference in the weather.  When I had started my nap, it was a bright clear morning with no wind at all.  Now the sky was filled with heavy grey clouds, and the wind was blowing steadily.

I ate the sandwiches that I had brought for lunch, then drove over to the stand.  I dumped more apples in two different places in view of the stand, then parked the truck way up past the stand, out of sight of any deer that might come through the area.  I got in the stand, and knowing it was too early for deer to move I settled in and began to read, stopping and looking around at the end of each page.

The wind was really heavy, and I was not confident that I'd see deer since they don't normally move as much in the wind, but at 5:00pm I looked to my left and saw a big deer standing in the road to my left down below the apples.  I looked at him in my binoculars and saw that it was a large spike, bigger than the one that I had seen this morning.  He started moving toward the apples, but stopped suddenly, turned, and trotted off.  The wind must have blown my scent down to him.

More alert now, I went back to my book but stopped reading to look around at the end of almost every paragraph.  At 5:45 I saw something out in front of me in a little cut leading down into a gully.  I thought it was the wind blowing brush around, but my binoculars revealed a big grey doe, then another smaller one, then a brown deer behind them.  Both grey deer were definitely does, but I could never tell what the brown deer was.

The lead deer stopped and stared straight into my stand.  I stared back through my binoculars, never moving.  We looked at each other for five solid minutes.  My arms were getting quite tired by the time she put her head down.  I dropped my binoculars, then froze, knowing it was a feint and that she would look up immediately.  She did.  She feinted three or four more times, and each time she did I had quickly moved my own position, grabbing my rifle and moving it into position every time her head went down.

She finally got comfortable, and I was able to get in position to shoot.  She was still facing directly my way, and, hating frontal shots, I waited.  After several minutes she finally turned, and a neck shot dropped her where she stood.  The other two deer took off, and I sat shaking in my stand.  I thought about staying in the tree, but it was pretty early still, and I decided that I could go ahead and retrieve the deer, get pictures, and head on home and get there early.

I did this, dropping the deer off at the processor on the way home.

I've shown this one before, last year, but I thought it was worth doing again one more time.  A dead deer is heavy.  Really heavy.  And they can be hard to get into your truck basket when you're by yourself.  I came up with a handy way to do it, and thought I'd show this idea off.  Once the deer is behind the truck, I tie it's back legs together with heavy rope, then do the same with the front legs.  I then hook one end of a pair of tow-straps to each rope, then hook the other end to something secure in the back of my Jeep.

My 2001 Jeep had hooks in the ceiling of the truck right at the tailgate, and this was a great place to hook onto.  My 2005 Jeep doesn't have this feature, but it does have little hooks in the floor of the bed area that work almost as well.  Once both ends of each tow strap is hooked up, I lift one end of the deer while pulling the tow strap tight.  Then I move to the other side and repeat.  Going back and forth like this I can work the deer up into the basket with very little effort.  Here's a picture of this in progress:

October 23, 2008 39° Low / 50° High - Clear 1 Deer Viewed

Ted and I had a Thursday off to hunt together.  We started our mornings with me hunting in stand 1 and Ted in stand 2.  Our plan was to hunt until 10:00, then move one of my trail cameras and my bucket feeder to new locations before getting lunch in the area.  The morning was quiet, and by the time the sun was peeking through the trees I hadn't seen any activity.

With the rut coming on, I decided to do a little bit of calling, so I used my doe-in-heat bleat call a few times.  After bleating a half dozen times, I watched down the logging road, looking for deer.  Seeing nothing, I turned to look the other way and saw, very quickly, a small deer out in front of my.  As soon as I saw it, the deer turned and trotted off, not running, but not lingering either.  I imagine that it was just a young doe curious about the bleat.

That was the only thing I saw that morning.  Ted and I met back at the truck at 10:00, and he reported that he had seen a nice six point buck out in front of his stand, and had heard another deer grunting off in the thick stuff where he couldn't see it.

We proceeded to move my camera from stand 6 to stand 15.  There were a few tracks there in the road at 15, including one big heavy track.  I decided to hunt there in the evening, and Ted would hunt at stand 16.  The little trail to 16 was covered with tracks, and it may be a good place to put up a tent blind in the next week or two. 

Neither of us saw anything on our evening hunts.


October 11, 2008 64° Low / 79° High - Overcast 4 Deer Viewed

Pete and I did a half day hunt this morning.  We went back to stand 1 and stand 2.   We stayed in our stands until around 10:00am, with me seeing nothing and Pete seeing one four point buck.  After the hunt we saw that there weren't many tracks in the area, so it looks like the activity may have shifted to another part of the lease.

After the hunt we stopped by Randy Jordan's so that I could give him instructions on mounting the buck I shot a few weeks ago, then we went over to Hickory Hills to pick up the meat from my two deer.


September 27, 2008 78° Low / 67° High - Overcast 4 Deer Viewed

Today would be my last chance to get into the woods for the next couple of weeks.  Other activities are going to keep me away from my lease until mid October, so we had to make today count.  And we did!  Pete and I left my house at 4:15am, seeing a doe as soon as we turned out onto the main road.

We were the first ones to arrive at the lease, so we had our choice of stands.  I went to stand 1, where I had put some corn on Tuesday, and Pete went to stand 2, which was showing signs of activity on Tuesday.  The morning was quiet until a little after 8:00am, when I heard a shot from Pete's direction.  He radioed me to say that he had hit a doe.  It had fallen, then gotten up and run.  I told him to wait a bit, then go look for the deer.

He called me back shortly saying he had found bone fragments and blood, but the trail had petered out pretty quickly.  I checked the time, then told him to give it a bit longer and then I would come help him track the deer.  I stayed in my stand until about 9:30, then got down and drove up to where Pete was waiting.

The bone fragments worried me.  In my experience, bone often means a leg-broke deer, and a leg-broke deer is one that's going to be hard (if not impossible) to find, since it would most likely still be alive and moving.  I kept a positive outlook though, and we started looking for the deer.  The blood trail stopped almost immediately after it started, and there was bone and muscle lying in the dirt where Pete had shot the deer.

We searched for quite some time, but never found any more sign of the deer.  It looks like my fears were confirmed, and the deer was hit in the leg.  It will, most likely, survive.

We had a quick lunch on the property, then I took Pete over to stand 20, where he wanted to spend the afternoon.  I got back in stand 1 after swapping cards and batteries in my trail camera that was watching that area.  It was quite early in the afternoon, so once I got settled back into the stand I plugged the camera card into my GPS, which has an image view built in.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that out of the 700+ pictures on the camera, a great many of them showed deer.

In particular, one group of three does was showing up every evening between 5:30 and 6:30pm.  A good sign.  After going through all of the pictures, I got as comfortable as I could and took a short nap in the stand.  By late afternoon I was feeling refreshed and started paying attention to the woods around me.

At 5:00pm, I looked to my left and saw a deer crossing the logging road that my stand was watching.  I saw antlers, and after a quick look through my binoculars I saw that it was a shootable buck.  Not a monster, by any means, but still a nice deer.  I swapped binoculars for rifle, then, just as the deer was about to enter the woods, I fired.

The buck leapt straight into the air, then came crashing back down on all fours like an ocean wave.  Its tail was high in the air, and I knew it was a hit.  The deer disappeared into the woods, and only then did I start shaking.  I waited a short while, then grabbed my trail marking tape from my backpack, climbed down, and walked down the road to where the buck had been standing.  I found blood immediately, then another spot, then another. 

Rather than try to follow the individual blood marks, I put a piece of tape at the last spot I had seen, then circled down into the woods to try to find the deer itself.  I'd come back to the trail if necessary, but often just a quick arc through the woods will reveal your deer's final resting place.  This turned out to be the case for me; my buck was laying at the bottom of the hill where I had lost my last doe of the season last year to a pack of coyotes. 

I dragged the deer up the hill back to the road.  This sounds like an easy task in print, but in reality it was a struggle.  The hill was steep, the woods were thick, and I was exhausted and drenched with sweat by the time I got him back to the road.  I left him there, then staggered back to my stand, climbed back up, and collapsed into the blind's chair.

I sat there for another hour, knowing that the does on my camera might still come out, since the buck had been in a completely different section of woods from where my camera is.  At 6:30, just as I was about to give up and get down, I saw a young doe come walking up the hill to the corn over by my camera. 

I watched her feed, saw the camera flash a couple of times, and knew by the way she kept looking back into the woods that more deer were coming.  The second yearling soon appeared, and before long the biggest doe from my pictures showed up.  I waited until she was broadside, then took the shot.  She was gone when the smoke from my shot cleared.

I got down from the stand, this time taking all of my gear with me.   I left my backpack by the side of the road, taking only my rifle and some marking tape up to where the doe had been.  It took me about five minutes to find the first blood mark.  It was tiny, but it was definitely a hit.  I found another spot, then began to arc out in the most likely direction looking for the deer.

I came up empty after making a deep circle into a valley, so I went back up and began to look for more blood.  I soon found that the deer had gone in a different direction than I thought she would have.  I found a bit of lung tissue, then more blood.  I tracked it for about 30 yards, then, with the sky darkening, decided to go get Pete for help.

On the way out, I stopped at the sign in board and left a note saying that we were looking for a deer at #1, and asking for help if anyone was available.  Most of the guys in the club were in the woods, so I knew we'd have help when we got back to the area.  Pete was waiting for me on the side of the road when I went to pick him up, and when we got back to my stand it was getting dark, but we still had the last moments of daylight left.

We picked back up on the trail, and found the doe laying not 30 yards from where I had stopped tracking.  Pete put her on his Dead Sled deer drag, and he pulled her out of the woods while I went back for the truck.  In the end, we had two deer on the rack, and we headed for home, both dog tired and ready for sleep.


September 23, 2008 59° Low / 75° High - Partly Cloudy 0 Animals Viewed

I took a half day from work today to hunt, and Pete did the same.  He decided to hunt in stand 35, while I went to stand 16 hoping to see some of the does that Ted had seen last week.  We sat in the stands until dark, but neither of us saw a thing.  Before getting into the woods, we checked my trail cameras.  Both cameras are watching different areas that you can see from stand 6.

My good camera, the Bushnell, had absolutely nothing on it.  The StealthCam had 450 pictures, and actually did have a few pictures of does.  They were all feeding at 2:30am, but I imagine this is typical deer activity and not an indication that they are nocturnal.  It's far too early for that to be the case.

On the way out, we moved the StealthCam to a new location and will check it on Saturday to see if anything is moving in other areas.


September 20, 2008 55° Low / 75° High - Clear 0 Animals Viewed

I only had a half day to hunt today, since Arnold's 70th birthday party is tonight.  I ended up going to stand 6 as planned, but saw nothing all morning.  I left at 11:00am, then spent an hour or so talking to Jimmy and Matt, who I ran into at the sign in board. 

September 18, 2008 67° Low / 82° High - Clear 0 Animals Viewed

Another difficult day in the stand... I'm just not seeing deer this year.   I went up to stand 15 hoping to get a look at the big buck that Pete saw on Monday.  I sat there all morning and saw nothing.  Ted hunted with me today, and he also saw nothing at stand 16 that morning.  We had taken our four-wheelers today, since the roads were in really bad shape from the rain on Monday and Tuesday.  We parked way back at the main gate, two miles from where we were hunting.

At about 11:00, we got down and rode back to the trucks to eat our lunches, then go check my trail cameras before getting back in the woods.  On the way out we stopped at the sign-in board to see if anyone else was still in the woods.  There was a note from Trey on the board saying that he wanted to hunt near the gate this evening, and he wanted to know if we could move our trucks. 

We checked the cameras, only to find nothing on them.  Turns out though that the deer have finally found some of the corn on the side of the road at stand 6.  One of the three corn piles in that area was torn up, with many tracks leading to and away from it.  Maybe it's time to reconsider hunting this stand!

We went back to the main lease and moved our trucks out of the way for Trey's hunt, then got back in our stands from this morning.  At 2:45pm, Ted shot a doe, which he had to track for 100 yards before retrieving and field dressing it.  He got back in the stand, and I stayed put in mine.  I saw nothing all afternoon.  Ted ended up seeing nine deer in his stand.

When we got out of the woods, Trey was at the board.   He told me that Matt had shot the big buck on Tuesday that Pete had seen the previous day.  It was a 195 pound twelve pointer, and this explains why I didn't see anything today.  I think on Saturday morning I'll get back in stand 6 and give that another try.


September 15, 2008 72° Low / 87° High - Hot, Humid, Thunderstorms 1 Fox Viewed

Opening day of the general firearms deer season was challenging from many aspects that you'll soon read about.  Pete and I hunted my lease today, with him going to stand 2 and me going to stand 6.  Just after sunrise, I saw a fox come out of the woods about 50 yards down from me. It was the only animal I saw all morning. 

By the time we got out of the stands, the temperature was climbing and the humidity was rising.   I had parked my truck a couple of hundred yards down the road from my stand, so after walking down to get it I drove back up to the blind and walked over to get the memory card out of the trail camera that I had placed in this area on Saturday. 

I had my laptop with me (I'll have it with me every time I hunt from here out), so I dumped the card to the computer, but there were no pictures taken over the weekend.  I walked the card back to the camera, changed the batteries, then drove down to get Pete.  I had another camera where he was hunting, and this one had captured about 50 pictures and a few videos.  Together we reviewed the contents of that memory card, but there was nothing interesting in any of the captures.

We decided to go down to Camden, SC at lunch time.  Pete needed some wasp spray to take into the stand, and I wanted to get a few more bags of corn for the afternoon hunt.  We did that, then headed over to the big part of the lease.  Pete and I talked about hunting stand 15 and stand 16, but when we got over there I felt like I should really be back at stand 6.  I didn't have a lot of confidence in seeing a deer there, but I had invested a good bit of money in the new feeder and cameras and thought I should be using them.  Bad choice.

Pete decided to stay at stand 15, so leaving him there I went back over to my original stand from the morning.   I did see three does on the side of the state road.  Back in the stand, I sat there all afternoon, sweating, getting ant bitten, and still I saw nothing except turkeys.  Pete called me at 2:00 or so to say he had a small doe under his stand, but that it had walked back into the woods.  Later he called to tell me he had a 10 point buck and a spike in front of him.  As much as I wished he could have shot that buck, the club rules are pretty firm:  guests shoot does only. 

By dusk, rain and thunderstorms were moving in, so we decided to pack it up.  I slogged my way through the mud back to my truck, exited my section of the lease, then headed into the big section to get Pete.  Driving to where he was was an absolute nightmare.  The red clay roads were so slick with mud that several times I thought I was going to slide into the trees.  I got as far as I thought I could safely go, then radioed him and told him he had best walk the rest of the way to meet me.  We made it out of the woods, but I think from now on when rain is forecast I'll be taking my four wheeler hunting with me.

So, by the end of the day, I was glad that Pete had seen deer, but was exhausted with frustration from my own day.  The heat, humidity, ants, mosquitoes, and lack of deer made it a very difficult day.  Everyone else we talked to had seen deer, but everyone else was hunting in the large section of the lease.  I think I'll concentrate on that section myself for the next few weeks, getting back over to the small side once it cools down a little more.


September 13, 2008 68° Low / 95° High - Clear 0 Animals Viewed

My intention was to bowhunt the lease today, but I decided it was just too hot to spend the afternoon roasting in that vinyl blind again today.  A blind like that is a fine thing for later fall and winter, but it's just too hot for summer.  Instead, I decided that I'd still go down to the lease -- I needed to do that anyway so that I could reserve a spot for Monday, the opening day of the general deer season -- but rather than hunt I would sit at stand 6 and just watch, hoping to see if anything came into the feeder that I planned to hunt on the opener.

Arriving at the lease, I went first to the feeder at stand 2 to remove the blind since it wouldn't be needed for rifle hunting.  The corn looked fine, so I didn't bother to add any to the little bucket feeder there.  Then I headed over to my big feeder to check my Stealth Cam and replace it with a better camera I just bought, a Bushnell 357 infrared camera.  I had tested my new camera out in my back yard the previous night and captured these pictures of a doe and a fox:


The Stealth Cam had 377 pictures on it, and I quickly pulled it off the tree and replaced it with the Bushnell.  The Stealth Cam would be relocated to stand 2.  I brought my laptop along with me, so I used it to view all 377 pictures that had been captured over the course of the previous week.  In all, I captured numerous squirrels and small rodents, a raccoon, a skunk, some turkeys, doves, and lots of bugs and wind.  The Stealth Cam, it turns out, is far too sensitive to small movements of wind and varmints, and I'm only getting about three days worth of pictures on full batteries.  I can only hope the Bushnell does better.

After reviewing the pictures, I got into the blind that I planned on hunting on Monday and stayed there until dark.  I saw two flocks of turkeys, but no deer.  I'm hoping it's just the hot weather that's got them staying put.  


September 6, 2008 72° Low / 91° High - Clear and Humid 0 Animals Viewed 

Another solo bowhunt today.  I had gone back down to the lease on Thursday to put up a blind to hunt from today.  I put up my Ameristep Doghouse blind at stand 2 thinking that it would be the best place to get a look at a deer.  There are a lot of tracks going through that area, and I hid the blind really well back in some trees, giving me a perfect 20 yard shot at where a deer should appear.

I stayed in the blind until 11:00am, seeing absolutely nothing.  At 11, I walked back to the truck, enjoying the still-cool morning air.  That would change, but for now, it felt great outside.  I headed down to Camden during lunch to get some hunting supplies at the Wal-Mart down there, then got back in the blind for the rest of the day.

Though I sat there until dark, I saw no wildlife at all.  By mid-afternoon the humidity was becoming unbearable, so I think that hunting that blind again is going to have to wait until it cools off a little bit.


September 2, 2008 Moving the Feeder 0 Animals Viewed

I had the afternoon free today, so I decided to go ahead and tackle a difficult job.  After my experience yesterday in the swamp, seeing no deer and showing no evidence of them on my trail camera, I decided to take the plunge and move my big feeder.  I left home after work, stopping by the farmer's supply store on my way out to get some corn.  I got to the lease around 5:00pm and checked the board to make sure I wouldn't be disturbing anyone.

I had the lease to myself, so I headed on down the road, parking at the permanent stand closest to my feeder.  From there I made the hike back to the feeder, taking Ted's homemade deer cart along with me.  I had to dump about 75 pounds of corn out; it was just too much to deal with.  Empty now, the feeder was quite light, so I disassembled the legs, then tied the feeder and legs onto the cart.  I took my trail camera off of the tree and stuffed it into a pouch on my climbing stand, which was nearby, then removed the stand from it's tree and hoisted it up onto my back.

Pulling the cart with one hand and steadying the treestand with the other, I fought my way out of the woods and back to the truck.  I was drenched with sweat when I emerged from the woods, but at least the hard part was over.  I rested a minute, then walked across the road to another patch of woods where we had put a small bucket feeder for Pete to hunt over.  I grabbed it too, then returned to the truck.

After another short rest, I drove back to the sign in board to make sure that the first road was still clear of hunters.  As I stood looking over the board, a truck pulled up.  Jimmy, Matt, and Billy, all members of the club, got out of the truck and told me they had come to put corn out.  They volunteered to help me with my feeder, so together we all went up to stand 6, where I wanted to put the feeder.

Working together we quickly got it all put back together and full of fresh corn.  I thanked them for their help and we parted ways.  Driving back down the road to stand 2 where I hung the bucket feeder from a nearby pine tree and filled it full of corn too.  Work over, I headed home.

I forgot to mention the wildlife that I saw today.  On the public road that our lease is on, two deer crossed in front of me.  200 yards further along, a flock of turkeys crossed in front of me too.  On the lease road, I saw some more turkeys, then a fox on the way out.  The animals were on the move today!


September 1, 2008 70° Low / 91° High - Clear and humid 2 Deer Viewed

I knew it was going to be a difficult day in the woods as soon as I opened my garage door this morning.  The humidity poured into the garage, and although it was only 70° at the time, I was already sweating when I got in my truck and left home.  As I turned out of my neighborhood onto the main road, I saw a doe standing in the grass alongside the shoulder of the country road and hoped that this was a good sign.

I arrived at the sign-in board shortly before 6:00am and found one of our new members, Phil, standing there looking at the map.  He wanted to make sure that his hunt wasn't going to interfere with anyone else.  As we talked another member, Brandon, pulled up and signed in.  We chatted for a few minutes, then parted ways and headed into the woods.

There have been a few changes in the club this year.  We're not using cob corn this year for deer; it's gotten to be too expensive and our supply got used up too early last year.  This season we're putting out feeders and are using shelled corn.  I bought a Moultrie EZ-Fill feeder, and Pete and I put it deep in the woods back around the beginning of August.  I also put a trail camera there, and hoped that this would be the spot where I'd get a big buck.

In the last two weeks leading up to the season, I've checked the camera several times, but haven't had much luck with it.  I've seen lots of raccoons and squirrels, but very little deer activity.  Two days ago we put my climbing stand in the woods near the feeder, and that's where I'd be hunting this morning.

After parking my truck on the logging road closest to my stand, I made my way slowly and quietly down the trail toward the feeder.  The reflective thumbtacks I had put on the trees leading to the stand guided my path, and I had no trouble making it to the stand without making much noise.  I climbed the tree and began the long wait.

As the morning wore on, all I saw were squirrels.  Dozens of them, often ten or fifteen at one time, chased each other around the woods near my stand.  They were active all morning, and a small game hunter with a .22 would have no trouble filling his limit in those woods.  By 11:00am I hadn't seen anything, so I climbed down and headed back to the truck.  I drove back to the sign-in board and found Phil there again, this time chatting with Jimmy White.

Phil had seen a few does; Jimmy doesn't bow hunt but was just there to do some scouting.  We talked for awhile, then I left to get some lunch at the Riverside Grill, our usual lunch spot.  I had planned to take my lunch, but got too busy yesterday to bother with making a sandwich for today. 

After lunch I drove back to my stand, catching up with Jimmy as he drove slowly along the roads looking for sign.  Together we checked out a couple of spots for tracks, but found nothing worth getting excited over.  Parting ways, I started to get my gear out to head back toward my stand.  I was on the head of the trail about to make the trek back to my stand when I stopped suddenly and asked myself what I was doing.

My camera had shown very little evidence of deer activity back in those woods.  The squirrels back there were driving me crazy, and although it's a great looking spot for deer, there's not much of a view.  Did I really want to spend five more hours looking at that swamp bottom?  No, I decided, I didn't.  Stand 13 was right there beside me on the trailhead; a nice ladder that gets very little use.  I climbed it quickly without my gear and admired the view for a second.  Why not hunt right there?  I had tagged in for that stand anyway, since it was the closest one to my deep-woods spot, so I wouldn't have to go back to the board or anything.

I climbed down, moved my truck a hundred yards or so away, then went back to the stand.  I got to the top, sat down, and started to pull my backpack up when a half dozen wasps flew out from their nest, which was hidden by the fabric that camouflaged the stand.  It's amazing how fast you can go down a ladder that you would normally take your time with, but I was on the ground within seconds.  I hadn't been stung, but I definitely wasn't going back up there.

I decided to just go over to the first road and hunt stand 2, which used to be a box blind but was now a beautiful ladder stand looking over our newly thinned pine woods.  I spent the rest of the afternoon there.  At about 6:30pm, I saw a splash of brown as a deer moved through the woods 100 yards up from me.  I kept watching, and through a small patch of trees I saw the deer again for just an instant, followed closely by a second one.  I never got a good look at them, so I'll count them as does.

At dark I headed home, wet from sweat, chigger bitten, and worn out from a hard day in the woods.  I can't wait to do it again. 


April 26, 2008 57° Low / 84° High - Clear 0 Animals Viewed

Pete and I wrapped up turkey season today, hunting together on my deer lease.  We split up again for the first hour and a half, but neither of us heard any gobbling.  Getting back together for a few minutes, we decided to try a couple of different areas, so we split up again but yet again heard nothing.

At lunch time, we decided to say the heck with turkey hunting for this year.  Turkey hunting can be a wonderfully fun thing to do, but when the birds aren't making any noise, it can also be extremely frustrating.  For the third year in a row, I've heard almost no gobbling on my lease, and although we know the birds are there, it was just time to give it up.

We each did, on one of our walks, find a couple of turkey eggs.  Mine was broken, probably by a fox, and Pete's was intact but not in a nest.


April 17, 2008 39° Low / 80° High - Clear 0 Animals Viewed

I went down to the lease today for an unplanned afternoon hunt.  I spent the whole afternoon on the second road, and saw and heard nothing.  Got quite a workout walking around the lease, but still no sign of any birds.

I found a nice arrowhead over by one of our deer stands; the first that I've found on this lease.


April 11, 2008 60° Low / 82° High - Heavy rain 0 Animals Viewed

Pete and I hunted together again on this rainy day.  We split up completely, both of us having places that we wanted to try to hunt.  The weather was absolutely miserable, which can make for a fun but frustrating time.  We saw no turkeys for most of the day.  I did find a fantastic spot for deer hunting, and if the loggers don't touch the place I found this will become my "secret spot" for deer season.

On the way out, three gobblers crossed the muddy lease road in front of the truck.  Pete hollered out "Stop the truck!", and I laughed, showing him that my foot was fully down on the brake pedal.  The mud was so thick that we were still sliding along as the turkeys ran into the woods.  We got out and chased them for a few minutes, but we never saw them again.


April 5, 2008 49° Low / 64° High - Overcast 0 Animals Viewed

Pete and I hunted together again today.  We split up, with him going down into the swamp and me deciding to walk the length of the first road from pretty much one end to the other.  As we started to part ways, Trey drove up in his truck.  He and I walked up to the top of the hill, but hearing no gobbles we also split up and went separate directions.

I did get a few answering gobbles from time to time on the first road, but never had any luck getting the attention of any of the turkeys that I tried calling to.


April 4, 2008 42° Low / 64° High - Overcast 0 Animals Viewed

Pete and I went down to Gerald's house today to hunt on his land.  Gerald (Micki's father) owns around 100 acres just twenty minutes from my house.  We flushed a quartet of wood ducks off of his pond when we crossed the dam heading to the house, and saw a ringneck duck as well.

The land was very thick and difficult to turkey hunt on, and though we found some scratching where turkeys had been, neither Pete nor I saw or heard any birds.


April 1, 2008 51° Low / 75° High - Overcast 2 Hen Turkeys Viewed

It was opening day of turkey season in my part of South Carolina today.  I got to my lease just before sunrise and parked my truck in front of stand 9.  I was about to walk down the long road in front of the stand to start my hunt when club member Brandon drove up and parked beside me.  We chatted for a minute or two, telling each other where we planned to hunt, then said our "good lucks" and parted ways.

I walked on down the road heading toward a small food plot that is hidden down in the woods near where I parked.  I paused to owl hoot a couple of times, hoping to hear a gobble, but I got no response.  I walked on down to the field, then found a brush pile that offered me plenty of cover to hide in.  I sat in the makeshift blind for an hour or so, occasionally calling but mostly just listening. 

Hearing nothing, I finally got up and gathered my gear.  Looking around, I spotted what looked like a deer skull about 30 yards away, so I walked over to take a look.  Before I got there I saw the tip of an antler sticking out of a pile of pine needles off to the left of the skull, so I picked it up and was surprised to find the intact skull of a beautiful 8 point buck.  The original skull turned out to be a small doe, so I left that one where it was but kept the 8 pointer.

I then made a wide circle back to my truck so that I wouldn't have to carry the skull around with me all morning.  Moving on to the next area, I ran into Brandon, who had heard one gobble but had not gotten a look at the turkey that made it. 

I made several more stands throughout the course of the day, but never saw any gobblers.  I did see two hens over on the first lease road, but that was it.


February 16, 2008 42° Low / 66° High - Clear 1 Fox Viewed

I decided to do things a little bit differently today.  I got to the lease just as it was getting light enough to shoot, so rather than put out the caller I climbed up in stand 9 and bleated a few times with my old fawn-in-distress mouth caller.  I did a one minute series, waited five minutes, then did another short series.  Just after the second series, I saw a fox trot out of the woods to my right, heading straight for my stand.  I stood up and got him in the scope just as he sat down on his haunches and started looking around.  When he sat, I slipped off the safety and fired, then saw him collapse in a heap.

Not bad, I thought.  In the stand for less than 10 minutes and already got one!  I got down and walked over to my fox.  It was a good sized grey, and the 7mm magnum really opened him up good.  He was gutted from brisket to pelvis; I couldn't have done a better job with a knife.  Perfect shot to have him pelted out.  I got my pocket knife and finished the job of gutting him, leaving the innards in a steaming pile on the ground.  I put him on a trash bag in the back of my truck, then moved on to the next stand.

Rather than hunt the lease in a liner fashion today, I had decided to bounce around from location to location throughout the main lease, so I headed over to the tall cedar tower next.  On the way, I saw that Jimmy and Matt had been hard at work.  There was a new ladder stand around the corner past stand 10 replacing an old ground blind that used to be there.  I didn't stop at the stand, but moved on to the cedar tower where I called for 30 minutes with no response.

From there I went to stand 15 and saw again that Jimmy and Matt had been at work.  They had removed the old tower stand and replaced it with a new ladder in a better location.  The new stand sat right in the middle of a sharp turn in the road, allowing you to look in two directions for deer hunting.  It was a beautiful spot, and I can't wait to hunt it this deer season.  I put out my caller, then climbed up in the new stand.  Ugh.  No bench, and no carpet yet.  I knelt on the floor of the stand and called for 10 minutes, but was just too uncomfortable without a seat, so I moved on.

At stand 16 I found the old tower that Jimmy had moved from my last spot.  The tower made this area a much better place to hunt; the old ground blind that used to be here sat too low to offer a good look at this small field.  I called for a half hour from here but again, no response.  I moved back to the second lease road and found yet another new stand that they had put up.  This was a ground blind that offered a great view up one of our logging roads, so I sat here for awhile, but still no predators appeared.

Leaving this stand, I turned out onto the main lease road and saw Jimmy and Matt headed my way in their trucks.  We stopped and chatted for awhile.  They were on their way to stand 15 to install the carpet and bench and do a little brush cutting.  I laughed and told them that I had just hunted in the new stand, but couldn't stay due to the missing bench.  Anyway, they headed on their way and I went mine, moving over to another area to hunt. 

I made three more stands, but saw nothing else all day.  Still, happy to have gotten even one predator, I headed over to Randy Jordan's place to drop off the fox to have him pelt it out for me.  While there we talked about my African trophies a bit, which are due to show up at the tannery in North Carolina in a week or so.  I told him that I'd like to have him do them in this order:  warthog, impala, blesbok, and kudu.  Of all of my African animals, the warthog would be the hardest trophy to replace, so I wanted him done first so that I could have him safely on my wall.  I'd save the kudu for last since he would be the most expensive mount.


February 2, 2008 28° Low / 60° High - Clear 0 Animals Viewed

My third predator hunt of the year was pretty much a repeat performance of the previous one.  I started the morning off in stand 9, then moved on to the long road near stand 10, then continued on through the lease hitting various deer stands in a linear fashion.  I got in a couple of different stands than I did on the previous hunt, but my luck was the same:  nothing.

After making a half dozen stands on the main part of the lease, I moved over to the smaller section where the loggers have been working.  I made a couple of stands in there without seeing anything, so I went over to the dirt pit and put my caller out near the edge of the woods that border the pit.  There's a huge cliff here, towering 70 feet above the pit with a stand on top looking out over the whole area.  Leaving my caller in place, I drove back out onto the main road to get to where you can access the stand on top of the cliff.

Rather than get in the stand itself, I sat with my back against a pine tree near the edge of the cliff.  The caller and decoy looked tiny below me, but when I activated them with the remote control I could hear the sound of the caller pretty well.  I stayed here for about an hour, just enjoying the view, thinking that I would have to deer hunt from here one time next season.

I got no response, so I drove back around and packed up my gear.  Hiding my truck in a little dip in the dirt pit, I locked it up tightly and decided to take a long walk into the swamp to look for antlers.  I made a huge circle through the area and found lots of buck sign, but no sheds.  I was drenched with sweat by the time I got back to my truck, so I decided at that point to call it a day and head home.


January 26, 2008 30° Low / 50° High - Cloudy, snow, sleet, rain, then clear 0 Animals Viewed

It was a long day of predator hunting for me today.  I went down to the lease alone today, determined to learn how to hunt predators.  I started off on the second lease road since they are doing a bunch of logging over on the first road.  My first setup was made where we saw the coyote two weeks ago.  I put my caller and decoy out up on the road to the right of stand 9, then got in the stand and began to call.

I did a 45 minute sequence at that stand with no answer, so I moved on.  My next stand was on the long road just past the first stand, where you have about a 200 yard view.  I put the caller and decoy way down the road, then got back in the young pines and did another 45 minutes of calling.  Still no response.

Next I moved to the third road and called from an old cedar tower stand that I don't hunt very often.  I didn't like the setup very well here, so I only stayed for about 20 minutes before moving on.  The next stand after that was another cedar tower; it's one that I don't like to get up in because the steps on the ladder are so far apart that it's hard to climb.  I got in it anyway, and found that the shooting window was way too high as compared to the seat.  Again, 20 minutes here and I moved on again.

I got in the tallest cedar tower on the lease next just as some snow and sleet began to move in.  I really liked this setup a lot, and I believe I called something in here.  I heard something trot up real close to my stand, but I never got a look at it.  After 45 minutes at this stand, it was time to move on yet again. 

I couldn't really decide where to go next, but I finally decided to take a little break from the predators and look around a little bit.  I drove to stand 16, which is a little field that I don't hunt very often.  Parking the truck on the far side of the field, I got my pistol out of my backpack and shoved it into my pocket.  Then I took a walk deep into the woods behind an old box blind on the edge of the field.  As I moved further and further into the woods I started to see a few buck rubs, then a couple of scrapes.  I was obviously in the home territory of a big buck; and I may have even gotten a glimpse of him.  A deer snorted at me and crashed through the woods to my left.  All I saw was his rear end, but a big rear end it was.

I looked around a bit more, then walked back to the truck.  It was lunch time, so I drove up to the highest hill I could find and called in an order for take-out from the Riverdeck.  On the way over to the restaurant I stopped and opened the gate at the dirt pit.  I wanted to put my caller out, pick up my lunch, then go sit in the cliff blind and eat while calling for more predators.  The cliff blind sits high.. very high... atop a cliff that looks down over the dirt pit.  Unfortunately, it was starting to rain, and my caller is not waterproof, so I had to abandon that plan.

I went on and picked up my lunch, then came back and sat on a bench at our target range in the dirt pit and ate my meal.  After that I decided to go look for shed antlers for awhile, so I moved my truck down into a dip to hide it, then walked into the swamp behind the dirt pit.  Many of the trees in the swamp were torn up with buck rubs; this was obviously still a great habitat for the big monsters.  I walked from one end of the swamp to the other, but all I found was the skull, pelvis, and one leg bone from a small doe.  Oh, I found a turtle shell too; seems like I find them all the time.

I was tired out from my walk through the swamp by the time I got back to my truck, so I decided just to drive around a bit before doing any more predator hunting.  I took a trip up the first lease road to see how the loggers were doing.  Turns out that they had been busy; the woods have been thinned from one end of the road to the other.  We have a couple of potential new food plots, but the road is a total mess right now, and I worried about getting stuck.  I managed to drive the entire distance without any problems, but I sure was relieved to get back to the main road.

Next up, I did a 30 minute sequence of calls at the salt lick stand followed by 30 minutes at the family stand.  As usual, nothing responded.

There wasn't a lot of daylight left, so I decided to make one more stand for predators.  I went back to the long stretch of road between stand 9 and stand 10 and got set up just like I had done earlier this morning.  I waited for about 30 minutes before doing any calling, then tried a series of male coyote challenge calls and finally some female invitation calls, but yet again I got no response.

These predators are amazingly difficult to hunt.  Although it was great fun to be back in the woods today, it was frustrating not getting any responses.  Well, there was that one potential response earlier today, but I would have liked to have gotten a look at the animal.  Anyway, we'll keep at it and one day will know how to hunt these jokers.


January 12, 2008 36° Low / 57° High - Clear 1 Coyote Viewed

Ted and I opened up the 2008 hunting year today by heading down to the lease for some predator hunting.  Ted only had a half-day to hunt, so we took separate vehicles and met up at a gas station outside of Great Falls, SC.  On the road to the lease we saw a small herd of deer and two grey foxes.

We started off the morning at stand 9.  I walked down the road in front of the stand and put out my electronic caller and decoy while Ted set up his Ameristep ground blind.  He put the blind beside the ladder stand and got in.  I climbed up the stand.  Our agreement was that Ted would take anything that came into view on the long road in front of the stand, while I would shoot anything to either side. 

As daylight approached, I heard the sound of a predator coming directly in towards us.  I hadn't even started calling yet, but the sound was unmistakable.  It was still fairly dark, but I caught a glimpse of a coyote coming out of the woods directly in front of me.  He saw Ted's blind and turned and trotted off along the road leading deeper into the lease.  I raised my rifle, but couldn't find him in the scope.  My impression was that he had darted off the road to the right, into some young pines, but try as I might I never saw him. 

After that, I turned on the caller and let it go for awhile, but nothing else came in.  Getting down from the stand, we found the coyote's tracks in the road and saw that he had actually branched off to the left, staying on the road, rather than heading right as I thought he had. 

We moved toward the next deer stand, hoping to call along a 300 yard section of logging road bordered by young pines.  I was walking down the road to set up the caller when suddenly I saw a beagle standing in the road.  He looked lost, and I tried to get him to come to me, but he was scared and ran off.  Knowing that this stand was ruined, we decided to move on.

We gathered the gear then went and made another stand in a deep valley a quarter mile down the road.  The wind was picking up, and nothing at all responded, so we decided to head even deeper into the woods.  We drove over to what we call "Rattlesnake Road", jumping two deer on the way, then parked the truck and moved into a swamp bottom where we again called for a half hour or so.  Still no response.

Deciding to move toward where we had seen the two foxes on the way in this morning, we moved over to the first lease road and went down into another deep valley to call.  We put the caller out on a hill on the opposite side of the valley from us in what looked to be a beautiful setup.  Again though we got no response.

It was getting pretty late and Ted would need to go home soon, and he still wanted to try to sight in his Ruger .44 Magnum revolver.  We drove over to the "dirt pit", which is a place on our lease that's set up for target shooting.  After a quick lunch, we tried to sight in the Ruger but had no luck.  The recoil is so heavy that the scope mount would not stay in place.  We gave up and Ted headed on home.

I drove back over to the main lease and parked my truck in what we call the "staging area", which is a big field that we use to assemble our stands. I took a short nap, then went back to the dirt pit.  There is a pine tree that was starting to block the road into the pit, so I took a few minutes to cut off some of the larger branches.  After that, I took a walk back into the swamp behind the shooting area.

I found a couple of large rubs, and I found a nice trail camera that one of the guys had put out in front of a corn pile.  Looks like a great place to deer hunt.  I tried to stand in front of the camera so it would take a picture of me so that the owner would know that I had found his secret spot, but it never went off.  Must have been out of film.


  Copyright © ---- Wingshooters.net