Home » Hunting Journals » 2012 Trail Cam Gallery | Other Hunting Journals | Big Game Records
The 2012 Hunting Season

This year at the River Road Hunt Club we're starting a food plot program on our property.  We've already hired someone to do the tractor work, sent soil samples off to Clemson to have them analyzed, and have put down the required amount of lime to bring up the pH of the soil. 

We've had a little bit of turn-over in club membership this year, and I'm glad to say that one of the new members is my friend Pete.  He's hunted with me as a guest for the past five years or so, and now becomes a full member of the club.

There were only three good bucks taken on the lease last season, so I'm hoping that some of the ones that we got on camera survived the winter (they should have; it was very mild) and will be even bigger this time around.

I have a short hunt to Alabama planned in January, with the possibility of going back later this year in November.  My wife and I have our second child on the way, due in September, which may change those plans.  If so, it's well worth it!

I'm also working on the latest entry in the Hunting for the Heart of God book series; another devotional which should be released sometime next year.

2012 Game Record
Animal Seen Killed
Whitetail Buck 9 2
Whitetail Doe 13 1
Turkey (Gobbler/Jake) 2 0
Turkey (Hen) 1 -
Wild Boar 0 0
Coyote 2 1
Fox 0 0
Bobcat 0 0
Squirrel - 0
Dove - 0
Crows - 0
Ducks / Geese 0 0
Notes: Clicking on any picture will show you a full size image of that picture.
 Click here for a "cast of characters" for my hunting journals, or here for a map of the lease
January 1, 2013 Final Hunt No Deer Seen

On the final day of the 2012 deer season, I went back to the salt lick for a final afternoon hunt.  Once again, I saw no deer, but I saw a big grey fox squirrel with a black face.  He was prettier than the black one I'd been seeing, but again I did not bring my .22 to the stand, so I had to content myself with  just watching him. 

After dark, I climbed down from the stand and made the last walk back to my Jeep, moving slowly to savor the time afield.  After getting back in the truck, I drove around to Road 9 and picked up our basket of jawbones, which we collect in order to give to our biologist to study.  Coming back out to the main road, I met Trey.  He and his son Jamie had been hunting, but they had not gotten anything.

December 27, 2012 Salt Lick Hunt No Deer Seen

Two days after Christmas, I went down to the lease for an afternoon hunt.  I went back to the salt lick stand, hoping that something would move.  A big black fox squirrel showed up, one that would look good as a full body mount.  I had brought my .22 with me, but had left it in the truck because it was raining so hard that I wanted to get to my stand as quickly as possible.

The squirrel stayed around all afternoon, but no deer appeared.

December 17, 2012 All Day Hunt with Greg No Deer Seen

The following day we were right back at it.  Greg got to my house around 5:15, and by 6:00am we were at the lease.  He wanted to hunt the swamp stand that he had been in a few weeks earlier, #15, so I dropped him off a few hundred yards from that stand and then drove to the other side of the lease to the Salt Lick stand.  I parked a long way away and made the walk to the stand just as dawn was breaking.

A little after 8:00am, a group of hen turkeys made their way into my field.  There were 32 of them in all, one of the largest groups that I've seen at any one time.  A couple of these birds were bearded hens, which is always interesting to see.  For the entire morning, they milled around the field.  At one point, several of them flew up into a pine tree that sat not fifteen yards from my stand.  One of them perched on a broken limb which soon gave way under her.  She tumbled halfway to the ground before regaining her composure and flying the rest of the way down.

Around 11:00, I left the stand and went to pick up Greg.  We went and got lunch, and then headed back to the lease for the afternoon hunt.  This time I went to Stand 19, which is a box blind over on Road 9.  I had killed a nice 11 pointer there a couple of years ago, and also several does.  I put Greg in 16, and parked halfway in between.  Walking to my stand, I jumped another group of hen turkeys.

I saw the turkeys again later that afternoon as they walked past my stand.  Again, one of them was a bearded hen, and this time I took a good picture of one of them.  Three times throughout the afternoon I heard a deer blow, but never saw one.  Greg had a spike cross in front of him late in the afternoon, but it didn't stay around, and he saw nothing else.

December 16, 2012 Half Day Hunt with Greg No Deer Seen

Greg and I went down to the lease on a Sunday afternoon for a brief hunt, planning on an all-day hunt the following day.  I put him in the Family Stand, thinking that would be a really good place for him to see a deer.  From there, I drove on up the road and headed for another large food plot that is fairly close to that one.  Passing through the Salt Lick stand area on the way to my box blind, I stopped and checked for sign.  The field was full of tracks, so I decided that this was where I would hunt the following morning.  I got back in the truck and headed on up the road to my stand.

Late in the afternoon, Greg texted me to say that he had heard a deer snort, but had seen nothing.  My area remained quiet.  He texted again a bit later and told me that there was a covey of quail moving around his stand, but still no deer.  By the end of the hunt, neither of us had seen anything.

December 2, 2012 Afternoon Hunt No Deer Seen

Pete got in touch with me ealier this week and told me that if I as going hunting this weekend, he'd like to come along with me.  Ever since he joined the club, he's been able to go on his own and we haven't gotten a chance to hunt together (or at least spend time catching up with each other during the ride down), so it was nice to have him along.

I'd been wanting to hunt a big tower stand that we have out in the cutover for quite some time, so I told Pete that this was where I wanted to go.  He chose to hunt in a tall ladder stand that we have on the edge of another section of that same cutover.  We tagged in for our stands, then went in the back gate to the lease.  My stand came first, so I got out of the truck and suggested that Pete drive it the rest of the way to where he would be hunting.  As I was getting my gear, I noticed that my wedding ring was really loose on my hand.  I mentioned it to Pete, and he told me about a product that Wal-Mart sells to help snug it on your finger.  

I walked quietly down into the cutover.  The tower stand is several hundred yards off of the main road, so it took a few mintues to get there.  Once I arrived, I climbed in and looked around.  The stand offered a great view in all directions, and I knew that just deciding which direction to focus on would be quite a task.

I spent the afternoon glassing the cutover, seeing nothing, but greatly enjoying the view.  At one point late in the afternoon, I noticed that something didn't feel right.  I looked at my hand, and my wedding ring was gone.  I checked the floor of the stand and did not find it, so I climbed down from the ladder and looked on the ground around the stand, but still saw nothing.  With daylight fading fast, I knew that if I had dropped it on the long walk to the stand, to find it would require some very quick action.  I thought that most likely it had fallen off right after I had shown Pete how loose it was, so I walked all the way back up to the top of the hill to where we had parted, inspecting the ground the whole way.  Not finding it, I returned to the stand in the same manner, searching all the way down the trail.

I was heartbroken when I got back in the stand.  I made one final search of  my backpack, and finally found it in the very bottom.  It must have fallen off when I got my binoculars and earmuffs out upon arrival in the stand.  With great relief, I finished out the hunt, but saw no deer.  Pete also saw nothing.

November 29, 2012 Afternoon Hunt 2 Deer Seen

In late November, I returned to the lease for an afternoon-only hunt.  It being a weekday, there were not many guys tagged in when I got there, so I pretty much had my pick of stands.  I decided to go to Stand 16, hoping to get a shot at a doe.  I wasn't in the stand long before a big spike showed up about 150 yards out from me.  I watched him for quite some time, and then remembered that I had my video camera with me.  I searched through my backpack to find it, and when I finally retrieved it I looked up and the deer was gone.

The day remained quiet as darkness approached.  As the end of the hunting time got near, I noticed that a deer had appeared at the little mineral block that's way out in front of the stand.  I looked at it as hard as I could through my binoculars, but could not make out any details.  It was probably a doe, but it did not look very big.  Since I couldn't reliably determine the age or sex of the deer, I finally packed up my gear and slipped quietly out of the stand, heading for home.

November 21, 2012 Hunting with Greg Sailors 6 Deer Seen, 1 Killed

Greg and I have talked about going hunting at my lease together since way back in January when we went on that Alabama hunt.  Today we finally made the plans work, and Greg arrived at my house at around 4:30am.  We were soon on the road and on our way to the lease.  My intention was to put Greg in Stand 34 way back in the swamp for the morning hunt, and I would go to 32, a tower stand overlooking a tucked-away food plot.  When we got to the lease, someone was already in 34, so we changed our plans.  I took Greg to another woods stand, #29, which is a ladder sitting on a hardwood ridge.  I went to #43, which is a double box blind looking over one of our largest food plots.

The morning started off slowly, with nothing happening at all.  Greg texted me to say that he had seen a button buck, but nothing else.  Around 9:30, I saw three, then four deer come running through my food plot.  The first two were small yearlings, followed by a doe and a spike.  A few seconds later, a six point came running through at high speed.  I texted Greg to tell him what I had seen.  I kept watching, and then another deer appeared, a big doe.  I looked at her long and hard, trying to see antlers.  Seeing none, I clicked off my safety and fired.  The deer dashed off into the woods.  I gathered my gear and went and looked for blood, but found nothing.  I made several large cirles through the woods behind the food plot, but still saw nothing. 

I texted Greg to tell him that I had shot, and that I was going to give it fifteen more minutes and then come get him to have him help look for sign.  He acknowledged, and I noticed that he had texted me while I was away.  He had seen a young nine point on the ridge.  Defintely not a shooter, but a deer to keep an eye on over the next couple of seasons.

Back in the food plot, I finally found a big pile of deer hair.  One little strand had a tiny amount of blood on it, so I started thinking that I must have grazed the brisket.  I followed the tracks, but still found no blood.  After another couple of circles in the woods, I went and got Greg.  We came back and started looking again, splitting up and going in different directions.  This time, I finally found a splash of blood, fifty yards or more away from the food plot.  I started following the trail.

It was a long blood trail, taking me ever farther into the woods.  I finally found the deer, but was dismayed to see that it was a spike; or at least a one-horned spike.  One antler had broken off near the base.   A mistake, but an honest one.  I started dragging the deer, occasionally calling for Greg.  He heard me and came down, and together we dragged the deer out.

After lunch at Jomar's in Lancaster, we returned to the lease.  The plan was to go check my trail cameras, and then get in our stands.  Greg would be in the Family Stand, and I would go to the cutover.  When we got to the lease, we met a couple of guys at the sign-in board.  One of them had already tagged in for the Family Stand; he had his young nephew with him and was going to try to get him a deer.  I decided to take Greg to 16, and I would go to 15.  At Stand 16, we checked my camera and found nothing on it.  Changing plans again, I told Greg that I'd put him in 34, and I would go to the cutover as originally planned.

Back at the board again, someone had already gotten the cutover stand that I wanted.  My alternative, 32, was also taken.  I decided to try 33, a wooden ladder at the far end of the road, and tagged Greg for 34.  Because the road to Stand 32 is visible from Stand 33, I decided that the guy in 32 may have parked near 33, so I bent the rules and tagged in for both 29 and 33 for myself as a backup plan.  Turns out that was a good idea, because the guy's truck was indeed parked in plain view of 33. 

I dropped Greg off at the swamp stand.  It was getting late, and a though struck me.  The waterhole stand.  I need to go hunt that.  That meant a trip back to the sign-in board though, and it was late enough that I might have to drive by other hunters already in their stands.  I decided against it, and went on in to 29. 

All of that, and neither Greg nor I saw anything else all evening.  I picked Greg up after dark, and we headed home, making plans to return in the next couple of weeks.

November 8, 2012 Afternoon Hunt No Deer Seen

I took a half day off of work today and headed down to the lease as soon as I left my desk.  The first thing I did was go to each of our food plots and put up little tomato fences that will show us how much growth we're getting.  The fences will prevent deer from eating from that little section, and we can compare that to the rest of the food plot. 

After that, I checked my trail cameras.  Most of the cameras had deer pictures on them, and all of them had coyotes.  We seem to have a lot of them this year.  None of the bucks on my cameras looked particularly interesting though, so I decided not to hunt in any of the spots where I had them.  Instead, I went down to the ladder stand at the end of Rattlesnake Road.

It was a beautiful afternoon in the woods, but no deer were moving.  As the sun began to set, I heard a bunch of coyotes start to howl across the swamp from me.  It was a chilling sound, and I listened to them until it was dark.  They quieted down right around the time I climbed down and made the short hike back up to my Jeep. 

Several guys were there at the sign-in board, but no one had seen anything to speak of.  Everyone had heard the coyotes, and I reaffirmed our need to shoot every one we see.  We all said good night after that, and headed to our homes.

November 4, 2012 Sunday Hunt 4 Deer Seen

I decided to take a full Sunday and spend it in the woods.  The rut is winding down, so I wanted one more chance to see some bucks chasing does.  There were a few guys already in the woods when I got to the sign-in board, but my favorite, Stand 16, was available.  I checked in for it and was soon sitting comfortable there in the box blind.

The morning was quiet initially, but I heard a couple of shots after the sun came up.  I continued to watch my little section of logging road when movement way out in the distance caught my eye.  Two animals ran into the road.  They were about 175 yards away, as far as you can see from my stand, and my binoculars revealed a young pair of does.  They started walking slowly up the road toward the little salt lick that sits on the side of it, and they were soon joined by an older, more mature doe.  I watched all three for several minutes until they finally disappeared into the woods on the right-hand side of the road.  A few minutes later, they crossed again and were gone for good.

I kept my rifle ready, hoping that a buck would be somewhere behind them.  Nothing appeared, and after 15 minutes or so I started to relax.  I then got a text message on my iPhone from fellow club member Scott Whitley.  "I shot one," it said.  "I can't find him."  I texted back asking Scott if he wanted help, but did not get a reply.  Tracking deer is something I really love to do, so I went ahead and got out of my stand, walked back to my Jeep, and drove down to the sign-in board.

 Scott's tag was gone, but I knew about where he had been hunting, so I drove over that way hoping to find his Jeep.  It wasn't there, so I cruised up and down the road for a few minutes looking for where he might have gone.  Not finding him, I went back to the board one more time.  As I sat there, he drove up.  He told me about the shot.  The deer had gone head down and plowed through the leaves for 30 or 40 yards, then had laid down.  As Scott started to climb down from his tree, the deer had gotten up and run off.  He fired a second shot, but did not think it had hit.  I asked him if he had found blood and was surprised when he said no, he was color-blind and could not see red.

We headed back over to where he had shot the deer.  After looking around for a few minutes, I found a massive splash of blood.  He pointed to a nearby hill and said that the deer had run up there.  We searched all over that hill, but the only thing I found was one wet spot where a deer had peed.  At first I thought it was his, but finally decided that the deer must have run in a different direction.  As we were searching, club member Steven showed up.  He had been driving down the road and saw our Jeeps parked on the side.

He joined us in the search.  Before long, I did find blood heading deeper into the swamp.  I began trailing it, and followed it for a couple of hundred yards, sometimes losing it completely before finding it again.  We got to the point where the trail hit a little dry creek, and could find no more sign.  We split up and searched for a long time, but never found anything else.

Scott finally called the search off, and he and I went into town to get lunch.  While we were sitting at a little restaurant in Heath Springs, one of Scott's friends walked in.  Scott asked if he knew anyone with a dog, and the guy said his dad had a lab that could find deer.  We finished our lunch and went over to his dad's house, which was on Hoke Road.  This was right in Arnold Kirk's old neighborhood, and was less than a mile from where I shot my first deer and from some land we used to lease.  We collected the lab and the friend's father and headed back into the swamp.

The lab followed the blood trail and came to the same spot that we had lost the trail at.  Like us, the lab could not find any other sign of the deer.  We let him run for quite awhile, but nothing ever came of it.  At 3:00pm, I told Scott that I needed to go on and get in my afternoon stand.  We all left the woods. 

I went back to Stand 16, and just at dusk saw a four-point buck come out.  He hung out in the road until dark, eating from the salt lick.  No other deer appeared. 

October 20, 2012 Much Needed Time Afield 3 Deer, 2 Coyotes Seen

Our second son, Jonathan David, was born on October 2nd of this year.  The busyness of having a new baby in the house has prevented me from spending any time afield in the last month, so it was with great joy that I got a chance to spend the entire day in the woods today.

The acorn crop has been really heavy this year, so my intention was to head way back into the hardwoods this morning and hunt at Stand 34, which is a ladder stand down at the edge of one of our swamps.  However, I was running just a little late this morning and when I got to the lease I saw that two hunters were already in stands that I would have to pass to get where I wanted to go, so I decided to just go over to Stand 16 instead.

Stand 16 is what we used to call Stand 3.  For the first five years that we had this property, it was a box blind that looked up a 175 yard stretch of logging road surrounded by a mixture of pines and a few hardwoods.  This stand has produced more big bucks than any other on the property over the years, and so I was surprised a couple of years ago when a couple of club members removed the box blind and put a ladder stand up halfway down the road.  This reduced the shot distance, but put the stand right where the deer used to cross.  I did kill a nice buck from the modified stand, but sightings of deer went way down after it was moved.

Earlier this year, I made the decision that we were going to take down the ladder and put a box blind back where it belonged.  I missed that old stand, and when the job of restoring it was done, I was greatly satisfied.  When I got in the stand this morning, it was so good to know that things were back the way they should be.  As if to confirm this, I hadn't been in the box for more than five minutes when a doe crossed the road not twenty yards in front of the stand.

It was still pretty dark, and although it was within legal shooting hours I had no intention of taking a doe this early in the day.  She crossed quickly but without fear.  The morning light began to grow, and before too long I realized that I had left my bottle of water back in the truck.  I got quietly out of the stand and made the 100 yard walk back to where I had parked, retrieved my drink, and got back in the stand.   Not ten minutes later I saw another deer emerge.  This one came out right where the old ladder had been.  It was a young eight point buck.  I got a good look at his rack and saw immediately that he needed some more time to grow up.  He hung around for five minutes or so, and then vanished into the woods.

The forest around me grew still again.  A bit later, I noticed movement 100 yards up the road.  I thought that it was a fox, but a quick look through my binoculars showed me that it was a good sized coyote.  I quickly raised my rifle, and as I did another one emerged.  They stood in the road together, and I sighted in on the largest one.  Slipping off the safety, I squeezed the trigger.  The coyote that I had aimed at dropped to the ground, and the other one took off into the woods.  Mine flopped around for several minutes before expiring.

I chambered another round, got out of the stand, and walked back to the Jeep to get a pair of latex gloves.  Coyotes are nasty things, and I wanted some protection before I handled him.  Donning the gloves, I dragged the large male back to the stand and took a few pictures of him.  After that, I got back in the stand and hunted for another 2 hours before it was time to head out for the morning.  I saw seven hen turkeys during the rest of the hunt, but no other deer.

After the morning hunt I took a 45 minute drive from the lease to one of two towns named Elgin, South Carolina.  In this particular Elgin there's a company called Innovative Arms who deals in Class III items; specifically, silencers.  I've started the process of buying a pair of them, and I had left two rifles with them earlier in the week to have the barrels threaded in anticipation of the ATF's approval on my applications.  I picked up my guns and headed back to the lease.

When I got back, I spent a few minutes doing some shooting at our little rifle range.  I ran through fifty rounds in my Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22, and another dozen or so through one of my Bushmaster AR-15s.  I enjoyed the shooting, but before long it would be time to get back in the woods.  First, though, I wanted to check my trail cameras.

Before leaving Stand 16, I had pulled the card from the camera there and saw that there was a nice buck on it.  He was a wide one, and I'd been getting pictures of him all summer.  I had not told anyone about this one, wanting to save him for myself.  At my Family Stand camera I had another wide but young buck on film, and at the water hole I found a really impressive picture of another buck.  I decided to hunt there, but the wind was completely wrong for it.  In the end, I decided to go back to Stand 16.

I was back in the blind by 2:00pm.  The day was quiet, with a few squirrels running around in the logging road, but nothing else making itself known.  I did a few grunt calls from time to time, and around 5:15 I decided to try out "The Can".  This is a call that simulates a doe who is ready to breed.  I did a series of three or four calls, and then sat back in my chair.  A few minutes later, I saw a deer come out of the woods on the right-hand side of the road.  I raised my binoculars to get a look at it.

The first thing I noticed was wide antlers.  I recognized the deer from some of my pictures, and I immediately raised my rifle.  "Please Lord, please," I said quietly as I got the rifle into position.  The deer was broadside, offering a perfect shot.  The zoom on my scope was completely wrong, but perfect shot opportunities don't last long.  I rejected the idea of adjusting the zoom and instead slipped off the safety, breathed out, and took the shot.

The deer leapt into the air, obviously hit.  I pumped the air with my fist and said "Thank you Lord, thank you!"  I sent text messages to three of my buddies, telling them that I had taken a shot at a big one.  I waited a few minutes, and then knew that I had to go look for blood.  Chambering another round, I got out of the stand and walked down to the area where the deer had been standing.  I looked for sign in the grass for quite some time, but saw nothing.  Back and forth I went, up and down the road, but still found no blood.  I moved my search into the two-track road itself, and found a possible scuff mark near where I thought the deer had been.

I investigated the area, but found nothing else.  Moving further up the road, I found a second, more obvious scuff.  This was what I was looking for.  And then I started to find blood.  My friend Trey was at the club, so I texted him to say that I may need help in a bit.  After that, I followed the blood trail for about ten yards into the woods, making sure that I knew which direction the deer had gone in.  With that established, I left the woods and went to my Jeep.  I couldn't find any trail marking tape, and my GPS battery was dead, so I drove down to the sign-in board and checked a lock box full of gear that we have down there, but there was no tape in it either. 

Heading back to the spot where the deer had gone into the woods, I grabbed the only thing that I could find to mark the trail... a roll of toilet paper.  I got back on the blood and followed it for 40 yards into the woods before it petered out.  At the end of the trail there were four possible ways the deer could have gone, and I investigated each of them.  No matter how hard I looked, I could not find another drop of blood or any other indication of where the deer had gone.

I looked carefully at the last blood spot, then looked around the area itself.  Two feet from the blood I saw legs... deer legs.  "There he is," I said aloud.  The buck had buried himself so deeply in a thicket of briars that I had completely missed seeing him.  I had no gloves and no clippers, so I had to pull him out by hand, scratching myself badly in several places.  It took a lot of effort to get him out, but I did it.  Using my deer cart, I got him back up to the road.  Trey arrived shortly after, and we took some pictures before shaking hands and heading home.

September 17, 2012 Back in the Woods 1 Deer Seen

We had a doctor's appointment later today, so I only had time for a couple of hours in the woods.  I decided to try a new spot today and went to a box blind named Stand 2-A, which I had discovered a couple of days ago.  It was raining when I got to the parking area for the stand, so I carried my rifle in it's case down the trail.

The stand itself turned out to be more cramped than I had thought, and it took me awhile to get settled in.  Once there, I watched the rain and listened to the thunder for most of the morning.  Around 8:30am, I saw a deer cross way down below me.  It was a nice but young eight pointer who needed maybe one more year before I'd consider taking him.  He didn't stay around long.

After he left, a group of turkeys arrived.  They parked themselves in the little clearing that I was watching and let the rain pour down on them, occasionally beating their wings to shake off the water.  They were still there an hour and a half later when it was time for me to leave.  I got out of the stand and left as quietly as possible, hoping to give this spot a try again sometime soon.

September 15, 2012 Opening Day 6 Deer Seen, 1 Deer Killed

I couldn't sleep last night, so at 3:30 am I got out of bed, got a shower, and got on the road.  I was leaving almost an hour earlier than was necessary, but since sleep was nowhere to be found I decided to just get moving.  I was the first one to arrive at the lease, so I tagged in for the Family Stand.  I waited for about a half an hour to see if anyone else would show up, but when no one did I went on over to my stand.

I made a very quiet entry into the stand and settled in and got comfortable.  I dozed a bit as I waited for sunrise, and I woke when I heard the woods coming to life around me.  I saw no deer for the first half hour or so, and soon was half-asleep again.  The sound of a deer walking though the underbrush snapped me awake, and after a moment I saw two fawns.  I only got a quick look at them before they bounded off.

Before long, a buck came into the field from the far end.  He was a seven pointer that I've captured on camera several times.  A young animal with a crooked rack, I decided to let him go for another year to see if his antlers would improve.  Behind him came a fawn.  Soon a doe came out, and they began to feed on the corn that I had poured out the night before.

After a few minutes, another doe came out from close to the stand.  She tried to approach the corn, but the buck ran her off.  The fawn spooked and ran off into the woods, followed by the first doe.  Soon the buck left to see where they went.  I was disappointed, thinking that the action was over, but once those deer had left the area the second doe returned.  She walked over to the corn and allowed me an easy shot opportunity, which I quickly took.

I gathered my gear and climbed down from the stand.  Walking over to the corn, I quickly found good heart blood.  That's a dead deer, I thought.  It took me about ten minutes to find the deer.  Although it hadn't gone far, it had taken a couple of unexpected turns in it's run to escape, which caused me to backtrack a few times to try to get back on the blood trail.

It turned out to be a doe weighing in at about 90 pounds; average for our area.  I took her to Hobb's for processing, and found that mine was the first deer that they had received this season. 

Returning to the lease, I found Dave Phillips, one of the new members, coming out of the woods.  We chatted for a bit, and then headed off in separate directions.  I scouted around a good bit trying to determine where to hunt in the afternoon.  The was a huge set of deer tracks at Stand #7, but they looked a little old.  It was also getting pretty warm, and that stand gets hammered by the sun pretty hard in the afternoon.  I decided to try somewhere new, and chose to go to Stand 2-A, a slightly elevated box blind looking down a skidder road into the swamp.

I sat there until dark, but saw nothing.  Back at the sign-in board I met up with Pete, who had told me that John Gibson had shot from the Family Stand.  We went over to see what he got, but did not find him.  We ultimately located him at the weigh-in station.  He had taken a button-buck thinking that it was a doe.  An easy mistake, we told him not to worry about it and headed on home.

September 14, 2012 Quick Trip No Deer Seen

With the firearm deer season opening in the morning, I made a quick run down to the lease to put out some corn and do a final check of my trail cameras.  My plan is to go ahead and take a doe tomorrow to get some meat in the freezer, since when our new son arrives in a few weeks I won't be able to get back in the woods for a little while. 

I put 50 pounds of corn out at the Family Stand.  My camera showed that there are a good many deer coming into that field every morning and evening, so that's where I decided to conentrate my efforts.

April 7, 2012 Morning Hunt 1 Hen Seen

This morning I was on my own as I headed down to the lease for a half day hunt.  Knowing that gobblers were hanging out in the area of the salt lick stand, I parked a couple of hundred yards away and slowly made my way down the road to the field.  I passed two other guys on the way in.  We paused briefly to say hello, and then moved on.

I set up my chair in a patch of young gum trees and sat down and began softly calling.  I got a gobble a hundred yards in the distance.  Over the next little while we went back and forth a little bit, but I was mostly silent.  The bird was closer to me when a bank of fog rolled in off of Lake Wateree.  It got so thick that I couldn't see for thirty yards, and the bird shut up immediately.  I sat that way for an hour before the fog lifted.

When it was gone, I called some more, but got no response.  Waiting another half hour, I stood up to take a restroom break, and as I did I looked to my right and saw a young hen go running off.  She had been coming down the road toward the field, and had seen me when I stood up.  I saw no other birds.  I waited another half hour without hearing anything before I decided to move to a new spot.

I went over to Road 4, the "Orange Gate" road where I had doubled up on turkeys two years ago.  I hunted there for awhile, and though I saw fresh turkey tracks I got no responses to my calls, and nothing came in.

April 2, 2012 Turkey Hunting with Ted 2 Gobblers Seen

Ted and I left my house at about 4:50am this morning.  After a quick stop to get ice for the cooler, we made the long drive down to the lease.  Pete was already at the sign-in board when we got there, so we stopped to say hello to him.  I asked Ted where he wanted to hunt, and he talked about how he had seen a lot of turkeys when hunting the Family Stand during late deer season last year.

That being the case, I dropped him off there at the stand and drove a couple of hundred yards on up the road from there and parked my Jeep.  I walked up the road to the salt lick stand, stopping occasionally to let loose with an owl call to try to get a turkey to gobble.  Once I got to the salt lick field, I got a response from on up toward the main lease road, so I stepped up the pace and walked up that way as quickly as possible.

When I got to the top of the hill where the salt lick road meets the main road, I saw Scott Whitley's Jeep parked there, so I turned around and walked down to a different field, trying to get another bird to gobble.  No more responses came, and after awhile I turned around and walked back to the salt lick field.  I set up my hunting chair in a clump of bushes and spent about 45 minutes doing some calling and waiting.  Nothing appeared.

I decided to walk back to the Jeep taking a very roundabout path through the woods rather than going straight down the road.  I made a very long, slow hike down into the valley below me, at one point finding a really nice waterhole that I had never seen before.  It was torn up with deer tracks, so I marked the spot on my GPS for later investigation.  After that, I continued down into the swamp and found a cedar tree that was further torn up by deer rubbing their antlers on it.  I marked this spot as well, and then turned back in the direction of the logging road.

Making my way uphill, I soon emerged about 100 yards above the Family Stand.  I didn't see Ted anywhere, but I found his footprints in the muddy road and followed them back toward my Jeep.  We soon met up just below where the Jeep was parked.  Ted had seen a jake and some hens, but no gobblers.  We decided to go try somewhere over on Road 9.

As we started up the road toward the salt lick field where we could turn my Jeep around, we saw two gobblers standing in the field.  They saw us at about the same time, and turned and ran up the road to get away.  If I had stayed in that field, I probably would have gotten a chance at them.

We went from there over to Road 9 and set up at two different points on the road.  Neither of us saw or heard anything, and after about 45 mintues we decided that we had had it for the day.

We went back to my house to do some work on my ATV.  I had gotten a winch for my birthday a week or so earlier, and had already mounted it onto the front of the bike.  Ted and I completed the job by wiring the winch to the electrical system.   It was a pretty big job with a lot of wires to run, but we got it finished in a couple of hours.

January 22, 2012 Alabama Hunt Day 3 No Deer Seen

As this would be my last hunt for the trip, I asked Allen to put me in a different stand today so that I could see some more of the property.  He chose one for me named "Grayhound", which was a tall tower stand on the edge of a swamp and surrounded by woods.  The stand looked 300 yards up a logging road to the right, and 150 yards to the left.

Adam, Allen's helper, described the location to me and dropped me off at the head of the logging road.  It was still quite dark when I began my hike, and he had told me that the stand was about 500 yards into the woods.  Walking in with heavy fog around me, it seemed a lot longer, but my GPS confirmed that the stand was right where I had been told.

This stand was a small elevated box, and I had a good view both up and down the road.  Wood ducks squealed in the swamp behind me as I climbed in.  I sat in the stand all morning, but unfortunately saw nothing.

When the hunt ended around noon, it was time for me to pack up and head home.

January 21, 2012 Alabama Hunt Day 2 5 Deer Seen

Allen woke us up early the next morning, and we had a large breakfast before heading into the woods.  He suggested that I go back to the Middle River stand.  The weather was bad, all rain and wind, and we went afield a little later than we normally would.  I was again dropped off at the head of the trail leading to the Middle River stand, and made a quiet stalk through the dawn up to the entrance to the field.

I got into the stand just before a huge squall of rain came through, and most of the morning was like that.  Heavy rain and wind dominated the morning, but I was comfortable and dry in my stand.  At one point I saw two large does cross the edge of the field 100 yards out from me, but nothing else appeared. 

Around noon Allen sent me a text message asking if I wanted to get lunch and then get right back into the woods.  I thought that was a good idea, so I hiked back out to the road where he picked me up in his truck.

We went back to the lodge for lunch, and then spent about an hour telling various hunting stories before getting back into the woods.  Allen again suggested Middle River.  We discussed this back and forth a good bit... I typically don't like sitting the same stand over and over, and also wanted to get a look at other parts of the property, but he said that this was the best place to see a good buck, so I went with it.

Within 20 minutes of getting into the stand, I saw a doe in the woods off to my left over near a feeder.  She stayed around for quite some time, but no other deer joined her. 

Late that afternoon, a doe and a button buck came out into the field from the right, and they started feeding out into the middle of the food plot.  A half hour later, a four point buck came in from the far end and started chasing the doe around.  He ended up chasing her completely out of the stand, and I saw nothing else that evening.

That night, Greg and I made a run into Brent to get some groceries and spend some time catching up with each other since it had been awhile since we'd been together.  We returned to the lodge and hour later, had supper, watched a little bit of a movie, and then we were all off to bed.

January 20, 2012 Alabama Hunt Day 1 3 Deer Seen

A few weeks back, a friend of mine named Greg Sailors sent out an email saying that he was looking for company on a weekend-long deer and hog hunt down in Alabama.  I didn't think much about it at first, but before long the idea started to sound like a good one, and the price for the hunt was a real bargain.  After talking it over with Micki, I decided to go.

I took Friday after work and left home at around 5:00am.  By 7:00, I had crossed into Georgia, and a few hours after that I was in Alabama.  At noon I was within a half-hour of the little town of Brent, where the hunt would take place.  When I got off of the interstate, I got a call from Allen Russell, the owner of the outfit that we would be hunting with.  He suggested that we all meet for lunch at the Sawmeal; a country-style buffet restaurant just down the road from the lodge.

I pulled into the parking lot at 12:30 and found Greg already there, along with a young teenager named Cory who would also be hunting with us.  Allen showed up a few minutes later, and we sat down for a round of introductions followed by a great lunch.  Shortly after that we drove over to the lodge, which turned out to be an old ranch-style house that had been converted into a hunting cabin.

We all wanted to get into the woods as soon as possible.  Allen had been trying to line up a hog hunt for me, but it turns out that there just weren't any in the area at the time.  I told him that was fine, and that he could just put me in a stand where I was likely to see a nice buck.  He suggested a blind called the "Middle River Stand".

Riding through the 3000+ acre lease in a Polaris Ranger, I was joyful to see the country around me.  The land was flat and open, a welcome change from the South Carolina hills that I'm used to hunting.  Adam, one of Allen's helpers, dropped me off about a half-mile from the stand and told me how to get to it by following a trail through the woods.  I did so, and soon arrived at a nice looking food plot set in the midst of the forest.

The blind was nice and comfortable; a double-sized Texas Hunter style blind that was elevated about 6 feet off of the ground.  I got in and opened various windows to cool it down inside, as it was quite warm when I first climbed in.  I sat in the stand for several hours without seeing anything, but then, late in the afternoon, a young button buck stepped out into the field not 10 yards from where I sat.

The deer was joined by two more from across the field.  One was another button buck, and the other was a nice doe.  Does were fair game on this hunt, but I decided that I would rather wait for a chance at a big buck.  Unfortunately, nothing else showed up, but I did get to watch those three deer for quite some time.

Back at the lodge, we had a hot supper of vegetable soup, and we all turned in fairly early to get rested up for the following day.

January 21, 2012 Small Game Hunt Missed one rabbit

Pete joined me today for a small game hunt down at the lease.  Our original intention was to spend most of the morning hunting, but a couple of administrative items on the lease took precedence.  We are moving forward with a food plot program this year, and since we don't have a tractor for the club we have to farm that work out to someone.  We decided to meet our first two candidates to show them around and get an estimate of what they would charge to plow our plots.

Several of the guys from the club also showed up this morning to help, and we split up into a couple of different groups.  One of the things we did was to collect soil samples from all of the locations that we wanted to use for food plots.  By the end of the morning, we had collected a dozen samples.

Pete and I went over to the grill and got lunch, and then came back to the lease to meet up with a potential new member for next year.  The fellow and his wife showed up at the appointed time, and we gave them a 2 hour tour of the property.  They liked what they saw, and said that they were interested in joining.

After they left, me and Pete unpacked our guns and headed out into the woods to do a little squirrel hunting.  We tried several different spots and managed to tree one squirrel, but were unable to get a shot at him.  I kicked a rabbit out of a brush pile and took a couple of shots at him with my .22, but missed both times.

In the end, it was a good day at the lease, and as always, I was glad to have gotten to spend some time in the woods.

  Copyright © 2010 Wingshooters.net