Home » Hunting Journals » 2013 Trail Cam Gallery | Other Hunting Journals | Big Game Records
The 2013 Hunting Season

Things are looking good at the River Road Hunt Club this year.  We have a great group of guys, and as of the early spring I am seeing quite a bit of good deer sign on the property.  I think we'll have a lot of really nice bucks to hunt this year.

The downside of things is that we've got a very large number of coyotes, and I believe we'll really have to hunt them hard to knock the population down a little bit.  However, I'm up for the challenge, as are several of the other guys in the club.

I am planning to go on a wild boar and deer hunt late this year in Chesterfield, South Carolina, and I'm thinking that this might be the year to take my oldest son Paul to sit in a stand with me one afternoon during the deer season.  He'll be three years old this year, and it would be great to have him along for the hunt.

I'll also be buying a lifetime license for my youngest son David this year, and look forward to giving that to him in the future when he is old enough to receive it.

All in all, it's shaping up to be a great year, and I'm really looking forward to spending some more time afield here in South Carolina.

2013 Game Record
Animal Seen Killed
Whitetail Buck 6 0
Whitetail Doe 23 2
Turkey (Gobbler/Jake) 0 0
Turkey (Hen) 3 -
Wild Boar 0 0
Coyote 4 0
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, 2014 Final Hunt with Greg Animals Encountered

On the last morning of the season, I headed out from home at the usual time.  Greg would be meeting me at the lease this morning for our final hunt of the season.  At one point on Interstate 77, I checked "Find my Friends" on the iPhone and saw that Greg and I were relatively close together.  For the next little while we swapped leads as we each made a couple of stops.  By the time we hit Exit 55, I was just in front of him.

For the morning hunt, Greg went back to the stand at Road 4, and I went to the salt lick stand for the last time this season.  Neither of us saw anything.  After the hunt, we drove around and collected my trail cameras.  I had to leave two of my security boxes on their trees because I had apparently not brought a big enough screwdriver.  We looked at our pictures and saw two "new" big bucks that I had not seen at all this year. 

After that, we drove around and looked for places to hunt in the afternoon.  I decided to go to Stand 43, which was where the two new bucks had shown up, and Greg chose to go to the big field at Stand 25. 

The afternoon was largely uneventful for me.  I watched some fox squirrels eating corn, but saw no other animals.  After the hunt, I drove over to Greg's stand to pick him up, and I found him standing at the trailhead.  He had shot, he said, and he had blood.  We drove over to where the blood trail started and began looking for the deer.  It didn't take long; we found her not forty yards into the woods.  She was a good sized doe, and a great end to the season.

December 27, 2013 NC Hunt Animals Encountered

Greg had been telling me a lot about the property that he was hunting, and he invited me to come hunt with them at that spot today.  It's been years since I hunted in North Carolina, but I've got a lifetime license there and was ready and willing to give it a shot.

I left home around 4:10 am, and was at the property by about 5:30.  The drive was not bad at all, and I had no problem finding the land.  Greg was there waiting for me, along with Jonathan, who had been with us on the hog hunt and whose family owned this property.  One other fellow was there with his sister.

After saying our hellos, Greg walked me to the trailhead for my stand.  He showed me an orange marker on a tree and said to follow them to the stand.  It would be a double ladder a hundred yards or so out in the woods.  I started in and quickly found the second marker.  I looked hard, but could not find the third one anywhere.  I made several loops in what looked like the right direction, but had no luck finding it.

I was starting to sweat, so I took off my heavy coat, texted Greg to ask which way I should head, and then started looking around again.  I finally found the third marker in a direction that I didn't quite expect based on the position of the second one.  The markers were not reflective, which made them hard to find, but once I got going I was able to find the stand with no further problems.

The stand looked out over some corn about 50 yards away, and to the left was a long hill into a bottom.  Highway 74 was quite visible from the stand, and I could see the cars and trucks going by me.  The shot angle was safe though, as 74 was actually above the level of the stand and there was no danger of a bullet going onto the highway.

I stayed in until 11:00, but saw nothing.  Climbing down, I headed back to the parking area and met the guys for lunch.  We discussed our options for the afternoon stand, and I agreed to go back to where I had been that morning.  I had no problem finding the stand a second time.

The afternoon was pretty, but I never saw any deer.  By the time legal shooting hours ended, I was ready to pack it in and head home.  I said my goodbyes and thanked them for inviting me, and look forward to another chance to hunt with them in the future.

December 8, 2013 Cherokee Run Day 3 No deer seen

For the final hunt of the trip, we went to a new property.  We would, Tom said have a long walk to get where we were going.  Three of us went that way, and each hunter turned off into the woods at the appropriate location.  My stand was all the way at the bottom, and was a tall ladder looking over a corn feeder down on the edge of a swamp.

The stand location looked great, and there was hog sign all around, but throughout the course of the hunt, nothing showed up.  In the end, I climbed down and made my way back up the hill to the truck.

We were all disappointed to have not seen any real game, but I blame that on the weather and the lateness of the season.  Tom runs a great outfit, his properties are beautiful, and he obviously has plenty of deer and hogs in the area.  We just hit it at a bad time.  I'll definitely be heading back there for another hunt as soon as possible.

December 7, 2013 Cherokee Run Day 2 Two does seen

The radar showed rain on the way, and Tom had mentioned that he had enough covered stands for us to hunt if the storm hit us while we were out.  We drove out to the property, and Tom told me that he wanted me to follow a logging road until it came to a "T" intersection.  From there, I was to turn left and go until I found a red reflector marking the trail to my stand.  At the reflector, I would enter the woods and walk in a hundred or so yards and make my way to a tall double ladder.

I found the trail with no problem, and was settled in comfortably before daylight.  The sky was heavy with clouds, and I was dismayed to find that I had left my rain jacket back at camp.  I had completely forgotten it when we headed out this morning.  It wasn't long before the rain started.

I was surprised to find that I stayed pretty dry.  The thick pine canopy above me did a good job of keeping out the first two showers.  When the third one hit though, I knew I was in trouble.  I was drenched within minutes, and decided to take the backup option that Tom had told me about.  I climbed down and headed out of the woods back to the logging road.

When I got back to the "T", I stayed straight, going a few hundred yards up the road to a covered tower stand.  Once inside, I was out of the rain but was very cold and wet.  Nevertheless, I hunted hard for the next two hours until it was time to come out.  I saw nothing from the stand.

On the way out, I came upon two does standing in the woods.  They saw me at the same time that I saw them, but neither of them were big enough to shoot.  I watched them bound away before heading on back to the truck.

After lunch in the camp, we decided to get right back out into the woods.  We went to the same property, but to different locations.  Tom sent me to an old ladder stand that looked out over a fifty-acre cutover.  The stand had no real seat and no side rails, but turned out to be more comfortable than it looked.  I sat there until dark, but still saw no deer.

Several of our hunters decided to head on home after that hunt and skip out on the Sunday morning hunt.  With long drives ahead of them, they wanted to get back to their homes and into their own beds as soon as they could.

December 6, 2013 Cherokee Run Day 1 No Deer Seen

The weather was quite mild on the first morning of the hunt.  The group split up into two Chevy Suburbans and headed out to the property that we would be hunting.  Tom sent me to a ladder stand in a thick stand of pines that looked over a logging road.  He told me how to find the stand, and I started on my way into the woods.

The trail was clearly marked, and I came to the stand sooner than I thought I would.  It was a tall ladder with a surprisingly comfortable seat, so comfortable that I didn't need to use my cushion.  I settled in and hauled my backup up from the ground.  There was a hook conveniently screwed into the tree beside me, and I used that to hang my bag.  I stayed in the stand until 11:00am, but saw nothing.

Back at the camp, we had a quick lunch and a short message from Barry and Greg.  When we were done, we headed out to the second property.  Tom told me that this one looked remarkably like the Texas Hill Country, and having just been down that way a few months before, I had to agree. 

To get to my stand, I had to walk a good ways down a sandy road, then cut down through a thicket before emerging at a double ladder stand on a low hill.  The stand was comfortable, and although the shot opportunities were short, it looked like a good place to see deer.  Unfortunately, I saw nothing at all.

At dark, I shouldered my backpack and rifle and started down from the low stand.  When I got to the ground, I took my backpack off so that I could put my binoculars back in it.  When that was done, I put the pack back on, then reached for my rifle.  It wasn't there.  I looked around, and could not find it anywhere.  I knew that I had climbed down with it, but it was gone. 

I looked up and at first saw nothing, but then saw that the rifle had caught in the military-style netting around the stand.  I started carefully up the ladder, afraid that the slightest movement might jar it loose and cause it to fall on my head.  It didn't, thankfully.  It turned out to have been caught really tightly in the mesh, and it took a good bit of work to get it loose.

Once I got down, I headed back out through the thicket and out to the main road.  I was guessing that I could likely take a shortcut back to the road, but decided not to risk that and instead stayed on the main trail.  Back at the road, I had a short wait before Tom picked me up.  It was quite pleasant out, and I enjoyed the silence as I waited for him.

In camp, we had a good supper of hamburgers and then a message from Barry before we headed off to bed, ready to try it again in the morning.

December 5, 2013 Cherokee Run Hunt Drive Down

I left home at around 11:00am for this year's big event, a hog and deer hunt at Cherokee Run in Chesterfield, SC.  The trip was sponsored by New Wilderness Adventures, of which my friend Greg is the director.  My first stop was for a quick haircut and then on to Nichol's Store in Rock Hill to pick up a few essential items.  As I neared Nichol's, I checked Find my Friends on my iPhone and saw that Greg and I were only a mile or two apart.  We texted each other and decided to meet briefly at Nichol's.

After saying hello, looking around the store briefly and meeting Jonathan, another friend of Greg's who we would be hunting with, the two of them headed on up the road toward the camp while I made a few last minute purchase.  I was soon back on my way.  I checked Find My Friends and saw that the two of them had taken the more southerly route, and I was hopeful that we would meet up again as we approached Lancaster.  However, the way I went turned out to be a bad choice.  A logging truck had turned over in the road, and I had a long delay as I tried to get past. 

I got to the camp late in the afternoon and met up with them, and also got reaquainted with Barry Strickland, a member of the New Wilderness team whom I had met some years before during another event.  The other guys soon arrived and we all went into town for a steak dinner.

When we got back to camp, the owner Cherokee Run, Tom Naumann, showed up and introduced himself to each of us.  When he got to me, I told him my name and that I lived in Clover, SC.  "Ah yeah," he said.  "The town with love in the middle.  I know that area well.  I grew up off of Rea Rd. near Highway 51 in Charlotte."

"I did too," I told him.  "What road did you live on?"

"I lived on Summerlin Place," he replied.  "I knew guys like Robert Burns, the Jeffries boys, the Scruggs..."

"I'm one of the Jeffries boys," I exclaimed.  We then realized that we had known each other as kids, had played together, and had gone to church together.  It was quite a reunion for us there in that hunting camp.

November 24, 2013 Hunting with Greg 6 does seen

It was quite cold this morning, and Greg and I each headed into the hardwoods stands that we had corned on Friday.  Early on, Greg texted me to say that a deer had walked past his stand in the dark, but he had not been able to get a look at it.  I stayed in my stand without seeing or hearing anything until about 9:30.  It was extremely windy, and it just didn't feel like there were any deer in the area.  I did a little bit of still hunting, moving slowly up the road toward some south-facing valleys where the sun was providing potential heat for the deer.  I saw nothing, and at 10:30 I walked back to my Jeep.  I drove down to where I had been hunting, and I gathered up all of the corn that we had put there.  No need to waste it!

Greg had seen nothing either.  We checked a couple of cameras and decided that Greg would go back to the Orange Gate stand, and that I would go back to Stand 43.  We gathered up Greg's corn, and then put his out where he would be hunting and mine out where I was planning to go.  When all of that was done, we got into our stands for the evening hunt.

My area was quiet for the entire afternoon.  A few crows came in from time to time to eat the corn, but nothing else happened.  It was getting a bit frustrating, and as dusk bloomed I thought, This is BS.  This is a beautiful food plot, and I've been extremely quiet all afternoon.  There is absolutely no reason that this field isn't full of deer.  As soon as I finished with those petulant thoughts, two does stepped quietly out of the pines right where I was looking though my binoculars.  It was pretty dark and both deer were facing directly at me at a distance of about 150 yards.  Eventually they started toward the corn.  As they approached, I saw that there was a third, fourth, and ultimately a fifth and sixth deer behind them.

These had to be does since they were coming in in such a large group, and the fourth one was obviously larger than the others.  I switched from binoculars to scope, and for a moment had a hard time finding the deer.  I made a few adjustements and tried again, this time finding the big doe standing broadside.   I took the shot and was thankful to see the deer drop to the ground.

I went back for my Jeep, and then drove down to the deer.  It turned out to be a really big doe, around 115 pounds.  Once I got her loaded, I went to get Greg and found him looking for blood.  He had taken a shot at a doe, and after looking around for awhile, we determined that he had missed.

November 22, 2013 Hunting with Greg No deer seen

Today was the first of two full days that I'd be spending afield with my friend Greg Sailors.  Last weekend I came down to the lease and put corn out in a couple of spots for us, and when we got to the property this morning I was pleased to see that no one had gotten into those places ahead of us.  I tagged Greg in for the tower stand (#7) on the Orange Gate road, and put myself down in the swamp on Road 2.  It was good to be deep in the woods this morning, but unfortunately I didn't see any deer.  Greg got a good look at a young buck, but did not have any does come in.

After the morning hunt, we spent a few minutes looking around and checking cameras.  We found that the camera in Greg's field showed lots of deer coming in regularly, so we decided to keep him there for the evening hunt.  After looking at various cameras, I decided that I would go down to the big field at Stand 43 again.  Before getting into our evening stands, we poured corn out at a couple of spots for our upcoming Sunday morning hunt, putting Greg in the ladder at Stand 29, and me way down Rattlesnake Road in Stand 34. 

In checking the cameras, I found a really nice daylight picture of an eight pointer with a heavy rack.  From his body size, he looked like a 3.5 year old deer, but one with really nice antlers.  He was in the area of Stand 43, so I hoped that he would show up this evening.

In the afternoon, I sat quietly at Stand 43.  No deer were to be seen, but I saw two big fox squirrels; one black, and one grey with a black face.  They were fun to watch, but I would rather have seen some deer.  Greg had a fawn come in to feed during daylight hours, and several more came in when it was too dark to take a shot.   

November 10, 2013 All Day Hunt 3 Bucks Seen 

An all day hunt today.  I decided to try somewhere new for the morning and went to Stand 23 where I saw the big six point last week.  The morning started off quiet, but at around 8:00 am I glanced out the side window of my stand and briefly saw a buck cross the road.  He looked like a smallish eight-point, but I only got a short look at him and so am not sure.  Thirty minutes later, I saw a spike buck enter the field.  Before long he was joined by another, which turned out to be a five-point buck.  Together these deer ate clover for almost an hour and a half.  Nothing else showed up after they left.

In the afternoon, I went down to Stand 43 which overlooks a beautiful food plot; one of our biggest.  There was plenty of sign, but I saw no deer at all.

November 7, 2013 Quick Hunt No Deer Seen

We're spending the next couple of days getting ready for our son David's first birthday party, but I took a couple of hours today to run down to the lease to put out corn for the weekend hunt and check my cameras.  While I was there, I did two quick rattle setups; one in the new cutover, and one over on Road 4 where my old Orange Gate tower stand is.

Neither stand was successful. 

November 3, 2013 November! 1 Buck and 1 Doe Seen

With the rut starting to heat up, I went for a full day hunt today.  I started the morning in my usual Salt Lick stand.  The day was cool and beautiful, but nothing was moving all morning.  I tried a little bit of rattling as the day wore on, but got no response.  Around 10:00am, I went and checked my cameras.  I had lots of doe pictures, but only a couple of bucks on any of them.

The last camera I checked was at Stand 23 (Old 9), which has always been in a good spot.  I had a beautiful daylight picture of a young eight pointer, and a shot of two young bucks sparring.  I decided to hunt there in the evening.  I then made two or three stops and rattled at various places, all with no response.

After lunch, I came back and did another rattling stand out in the new cutover, and once again was skunked.  The wind was up a bit, and the sound probably didn't carry very far.  By 2:00, it was time to head to my afternoon stand. 

Nothing moved until around 4:30, when I watched a big bodied six point cross the road way down to my right.  He lingered long enough to give me a good look at him, and here was another deer that will be a good one in a couple of years.  I saw nothing else until dusk.  At that time, I noticed a deer way down in the clover field in front of me, but it was too dark to tell what it was.  After howling at the deer like a coyote to get it to leave, I got down, walked the quarter mile down the road to where I had parked, and headed home.

October 20, 2013 All Day Hunt 1 Doe and 1 Fawn Seen

Because it will be two weeks before I can get back into the woods, I decided to make this an all day hunt.  I left home a little before 5:00am and after stopping for a drink and a bag of ice I was soon down at the property.  A couple of hunters were already in the woods, but my Salt Lick stand was open.  I headed over that way, electing to spend the morning sitting in the Swamp Stand. 

Nothing moved all morning, and at around 10:30 I got out of the stand, snuck down into the swamp, and swapped out my camera card.  From there, I walked back up the hill and then out into the salt lick field, swapping out that camera card as well.  Back at the Jeep a few minutes later, I loaded up the pictures on my iPad to see what I had captured.

The same two bucks that I have been getting pictures of where showing up regularly at the Salt Lick, often after dark but sometimes right before.  In the swamp, I had a group of does tearing up my Buck Yum, and also a couple of good buck pictures.  One of them was a young eight point in broad daylight.  After checking those pictures, I went over to the big field on Road 13 and checked that camera as well.  There was nothing on it but a picture of one of our other hunters.  I saw that the angle of the camera was bad, and that it was facing directly into the morning sun.  I picked another tree and moved the camera to the other side of the field.

That done, I drove over to take a look at the food plot on Road 6 where I had hoped to go for the afternoon hunt.  The food plot wasn't doing quite as well as some of our others; although the Rackmaster is coming up, it's a little sparse in several places.  I did notice that the deer are eating the oats quite regularly. 

After that it was time for a quick lunch at the Riverdeck, where I spent a few minutes catching up with Kenny White, the owner, as I waited for my lunch to arrive.  Back at the lease once again I decided to check my other two cameras and pick a new spot for the one that's not getting any pictures at Old Stand #3.  Nothing interesting was on either camera.

Back on Road 10, I looked at the first food plot there and saw that it was doing pretty well.   The front half of the field is planted in oats, which the deer had obviously been eating.  The back half was clover and chicory, both of which were coming in nicely.  I picked a tree for the camera, but decided to go look at one other plot first.  Heading on up Road 10, I came to the long narrow stretch of clover that we have planted alongside the road.  I found some really nice tracks there, and the clover and chicory were thick and green.  I decided that this would be where I would likely hunt this afternoon, so I got into the stand to check out the view.  The seat felt a little low to me, and there was nothing that I could do to raise it up.  I did, however, have a plan.

I went from there down to the bottom field near Stand #29 and found it also thick with clover.  There were a good number of tracks there, but not enough to make me want to hunt it yet.  So, back down Road 11 I went, going out the back gate so that I wouldn't have to drive through my afternoon hunting area a second time.  I left the gate open at Road 11, then drove over to Road 9 where I picked up one of two new chairs that Scott Whitley had left for us.  I strapped that back on my Jeep, then went back to Gate 10.  I put the camera up on the tree that I had picked, then exited back out the gate, locked it, and went over to Road 11 again.  Heading from there to the intersection at Road 10, I parked near my afternoon stand (finally) and swapped out the chairs.  I had, in effect, made a huge loop just to avoid driving through that area too often.

At 4:00pm, a doe and a spotted fawn emerged from the young pines on the left and started to feed on the clover.  They stayed around for almost a half hour, and it was great to see deer activity that early in the afternoon.  We are trying something new this year and are not shooting does during October and the first part of November in an effort to reduce pressure on the deer.  It seems to be helping, as they are moving well.

Nothing else showed up all afternoon, so I finally headed home as darkness fell.

October 13, 2013 Afternoon Hunt 2 Does Seen

I left home around 1:30pm for an afternoon hunt.  Although I had hoped to get to the property early enough to check all of my cameras, I had to make a couple of stops on the way down, which slightly delayed my trip.  I got to the least a little after 3:30 and only had time to look at two of my cameras.  I had deer on both the Salt Lick field and the nearby swamp stand.  After pouring out some Buck Yum at both places, I decided that the stand to sit in would be the Salt Lick, since deer were showing up there more frequently.

I was expecting to find the wasps from last week still in the stand, so I climbed up with a can of Raid at the ready, but they were gone.  Someone else must have seen them there too and had already taken care of them.

After getting settled in the stand, I thought about doing a bit of reading as I waited for the deer to start moving, but instead decided to spend the entire time focusing on the woods around me.  I glassed the woodline constantly.  At one point, I saw just a bit of a doe standing at the far end of my viewing area, but she quickly moved back into the woods.  As I watched, another doe crossed briefly and also disappeared from sight.

Those were the only animals that I saw.

October 6, 2013 All Day in the Woods No Deer Seen

This morning it was warmer than I hoped it would be for the first weekend in October.  I got to the lease before anyone else, and had my pick of spots.  I decided to try my "secret stand", which is one that I spent the summer building.  It's quite close to the Salt Lick stand, but looks down into a swamp that runs in between two of our logging roads.

I got to the stand quietly and settled in for the duration.  Nothing moved in the swamp all morning.  I did make note of a couple of branches that need trimming to open the view a little bit, and after the hunt I walked down into the swamp to check my camera and try to do something aobut the limbs.  They were too high to reach, so I had to leave them be for now.

I had a few bucks and one doe on that camera, and I spent the next hour checking my other cameras.  All of them except one had deer on them.  After doing that, I drove around a bit and checked our food plots.  Many of them are looking good, and a few are looking great.  Only one showed a lack of much promise, but I hope the coming rains will help with that.

After getting lunch at the Riverdeck, I went back to the Salt Lick stand and took a two hour nap in the back of my Jeep.  It was uncomfortably hot, and I was pretty much drenched with sweat when I decided it was time to get in the stand.  I climbed up into the ladder stand, hooked my backpack on the hanger, got my seat cushion in place, and then settled in for the hunt.  A wasp flew by, and I checked my pack to see if I had brought my spray.  I hadn't, so I shooed him away with my hat.  Then I glanced up and noticed a huge swarm of wasps in the corner of the stand's roof.  They had not been there the previous week, and without my spray there was no way I could stay there.  I got down in a hurry.

I went back to my secret stand and sat there for 30 minutes, wishing that I had brought my wasp spray.  I decided to walk back to the Jeep to see if there was any there, but I found none.  I started back toward the stand, then paused.  I could, I thought, drive back to the sign-in board.  There's a lock-box there that has lots of useful stuff in it, including several cans of spray.  I debated doing that, but decided that I would almost certainly have to drive past someone in a blind on the way out or back in, and I might mess up their hunt.

In the end, I committed to sticking it out in the secret stand.  Once again, I saw nothing at all.

September 29, 2013 Afternoon Hunt 1 Coyote Seen

I got a late start getting down to the lease today, and did not have nearly as much time on the property as I had hoped to have.  I only had time to check two of the four cameras that I have, but both of them did show good deer activity including lots of buck movement.  At the Salt Lick stand, where I have been doing most of my hunting, that young eight point that I saw last weekend is coming in every evening, and sometimes a much larger buck comes with him.  I went back to that stand yet again today, hoping to get a look at the bigger animal.

I wasn't in the stand long before I saw movement at the far end of the food plot.  A big coyote stepped out into the field, and I quickly reached down for my Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle.  It's got a silencer on it, and is whisper quiet when shooting subsonic ammo.  I had brought it along today just in case a coyote showed up.  I quickly centered the crosshairs, then decided to shoot a little high since the distance was long.  That was a mistake; the dirt just beyond the coyote's head exploded in a shower of dust as my shot went exactly where I was aiming. 

The coyote trotted off towards the woods, and I took one more desperation shot but missed that one too.  I'm shooting CCI Standard Velocity rounds out of that rifle, which travel only a few feet per second under the speed of sound, so they are still quite fast.  They are extremely capable of taking out a coyote given the right shot.  The mistake was in thinking that they would drop at 100 yards.

That was, unfortunately, the only thing I saw that afternoon.

September 22, 2013 All Day Hunt 9 Deer Seen

Early this morning I received the news that my grandmother had died, less than a week short of her 101st birthday.  We knew it was coming and had spent some time with her yesterday.  I went ahead down to the lease knowing that there was nothing to be done today and that no gathering would occur.

Only one other hunter was in the woods when I got to the lease, and I was thankful to see that the stand that I wanted to hunt (old #6) was available.  I tagged in for it and made my way over there.  I parked a couple of hundred yards away and walked quietly up the road to the stand.  When I got there, I heard a deer blowing down in the woods, and I decided that I must have spooked her going in.  I got on in the stand and settled in and waited for daylight, spending those moments remembering Gram.

When it started to get light, I saw that there was one particular branch on a gum tree thirty yards from the stand that was blocking part of my view.  I decided to get out and go cut it, but before I did I looked to my left and saw movement in the shooting lane that was cut there.  I saw a young six point buck emerge and start eating corn.  He hung around for 20 minutes before moving off into the thicket.  A few minutes later, I saw him again as he crossed the logging road in front of me.

I stayed put, and he came back out a short while later, and this time he had a young fawn with him.  They ate corn and grass for awhile, and then departed.  Not ten minutes later, a much larger doe came out and stood in the road near the corn.  I saw that she was a good one and took the shot.  I could tell immediately that it had been a hit.

I waited a few moments, then walked down to where she had been standing.  I found a couple of drops of blood, so I made a short sweep of the woods for 30 yards, finding a little bit more blood on the way in.  With that, I walked back down the road, got my gear, and went back to my truck.  I drove back to the spot where the deer had been, and then checked the pictures on the trail camera that I had there, killing some time to allow the deer to die if need be.  I had a nice 8 point on the camera, but not one that I would shoot this year.

After a bit, I got out and followed the blood trail.  It went about 40 yards into the woods, and I found my doe lying dead in the bottom of a gulley.  I pulled her out with my Glenn's Deer Handle, took a few pictures, and took her back to the weigh station to get her jawbone and get a weight on her.  She came in right at 98 pounds.

After dropping the doe off at the local deer processor, I went back to the lease and checked my other cameras.  I got some good pictures, and after reviewing them I took a short nap in the truck.  For the afternoon hunt, I went over to the Salt Lick stand and settled in for a long afternoon in the tree.

At around 6:30pm, I saw a beautiful 2.5 year-old eight point step into the food plot.  He had a tall, symmetrical rack, and was about 13" wide.  Not a shooter this year, but definitely a good one next, and even better the year after that.  I watched him for 20 minutes or so, wishing that I had brought my camera with me into the stand.  He finally left the food plot.

He was back 15 minutes later, and after he stepped into the field he stopped and started staring across the plot.  I looked hard at the other end, wondering what he was seeing, knowing that it was probably more deer.  It was; two young does stepped out and began to look for food.  He trotted over to them and chased them off, and I watched them run around for a few minutes before they disappeared for good.

Soon after, another deer emerged and went quickly up the logging road.  I only got a brief look at that one, but think it was a spike buck.  Then, as it was getting dark, another doe and a fawn came in and got some mineral from the block in the food plot.  They didn't stay long, and as soon as they left I got out of the stand and headed home.

September 19, 2013 Afternoon hunt with Greg 2 Deer Seen

We met briefly with the biologist for our hunt club this afternoon.  He provided us with statistics on the health of our deer herd and reviewed our harvest data from last year.  Overall, he was pleased with where things are, although he was unhappy about several missing jawbones and at least one deer whose weight was grossly overestimated.

Late in the afternoon, I met up with Greg Sailors at my club.  We sighted in his new muzzleloader, and then checked his .270 to make sure it was set right.  We ended up making a minor adjustment to that one, and then headed into the woods.  I went to the Salt Lick stand, and Greg went to the Family Stand.

Early in the evening I heard a doe blowing down in the swamp to my right.  She continued to complain for a good twenty minutes, and then her final snort came from what sounded like the edge of my food plot.  I scanned the wood-line with my binoculars and suddenly saw her poking her head out from behing some sapling gum trees.  I could only see her head and neck, and was unable to determine how big she was.  She soon emerged and trotted up the road, and a fawn came out behind her as well.  I could have taken a quartering-away shot on her, but I hate that angle and did not even slide the safety off on the rifle.

Soon after they left, a huge coyote appeared for a moment, and then he too was gone before I had a chance to get a shot.  That was the last thing I saw that evening.  Greg saw one big gobbler, but nothing else.

September 15, 2013 Canceled Hunt --

On Saturday, my wife and my boys came with me to the lease where we checked my trail cameras and put out corn for today's opening day.  We left late, had a quick supper a the Creekside Restaurant on Lake Wateree, and then headed home. 

I set my alarm clock for 3:45, but at 3:15am the light in the bedroom went on and Micki woke me up saying that Paul was having respiratory problems and needed to go to Levine Children's Hospital.  I asked her to confirm that with our doctor's office while I woke up, and then after a bit of quickly gathering some needed items we drove an hour up to the hospital in Charlotte.

We were released relatively early with some new medicine, but I stayed home from the hunt just in case Paul had another respiratory event.

September 8, 2013 Food Plot Work --
A long day of planting food plots.  Five or six of us spent the day getting oats, clover, chicory, and lab-lab beans into the ground.  Now we just need some rain!
September 1, 2013 Deer Season Opening No Animals Seen

Although I had thought that I would do an all day hunt today, it turned out that I was only able to make it for the afternoon.  I had taken my pop-up blind down and put it near Old #3 yesterday, so it was waiting for me when I got there.  I got in by around 3:00pm, and sat watching a corn pile for the rest of the afternoon.  It was extremely hot and uncomfortable, and I saw no deer at all.

April 21, 2013 Turkey Hunting with Greg Sailors No turkeys Seen

This morning I had my buddy Greg Sailors, directory of New Wilderness Adventures, with me down at my lease.  We started out near Old Stand 10, where I started last Sunday morning.  Greg had never turkey hunted before, and on the hour-long drive to the club we discussed some of the strategies that we used.  I explained the concept of "shock gobbling" to him, and that's how we started our morning.  As we walked up the main lease road with daylight starting to break, I told him that I would do a few barred owl calls, and that we would probably hear a few owls answer me. 

I hooted, giving the well known who cooks for you, who cooks for you all call of the barred owl.  Within moments, and owl answered from within 30 yards of us.  Another owl joined in, and for a few minutes we were treated to the music of owls all around us.  We saw them fly across the road a couple of times, and we grinned at each other in awe.  When they quit calling, we started walking again and almost immediately spooked a turkey out of the roost.

We continued on up the hill, stopping when we reached the highest point of land in the area.  I called a few times, and we thought we heard a gobble from way up in the cutover.  We started up the road toward it, and immediately another turkey flew from a tree in front of us.  We continued on, but then heard a gobble closer, in the hardwoods behind us.  We decided to go after the nearer bird, so we headed into the woods.  We got pretty far in and sat down and called awhile, but nothing answered.  Finally, I pointed us toward another trail and got us out of the deep woods and back to the Jeep.

From there we went and tried another spot, but had no luck.  By then, it was getting close to 10:30.  I had promised a potential member that I would meet him at 11:00 to show him around the lease, so I sent Greg over to the Salt Lick to hunt while I showed the new guy around.  I spent about an hour touring the property with the guy, and he liked what he saw.  After dropping him off at his truck, I told him that I'd let him know within a week or so if we had any openings.

I went back and got Greg, and we tried calling from two more locations.  Nothing answered, so we finally went over to Road 9 and sat for the next two and a half hours.  Greg heard a gobble once, but ultimately neither of us saw anything.  As 5:00pm approached, we finally decided to pack it in and head home, empty-handed yet again.

April 14, 2013 Turkey Hunting 3 Hens Seen 

I was excited about this morning's hunt, knowing that the weather had turned warmer, the dogwoods had bloomed, and rumors abounded that turkeys all over South Carolina were gobbling.  With that in mind, I left home a little earlier than normal and was at the lease well before sunrise.  I parked at Stand 28 again and began making my way up the road to the Salt Lick stand.  I had only walked three or four hundred yards before I heard a turkey gobble.  He was close, so I found a thick clump of brush and hid myself on the side of the road.

I called a little bit from time to time, but never heard another sound.   After waiting an hour, I got up and started to continue up the road.  I think I heard a turkey in the brush across from me fly at that time, but I'm not sure.  I may have spooked one when I got up...  but since that was over and done with, I walked on over to the salt lick, calling every fifty yards or so.  Nothing answered.

I decided not to sit at the salt lick today, but instead headed back toward my Jeep, this time turning down Road 11 when I found fairly fresh gobbler tracks in the road.  I found myself a comfortable spot in a cedar thicket and trimmed a few shooting lanes.  I sat here for close to an hour, but yet again heard nothing.  Finally, I gave up on this area and walked back to the Jeep.  I decided to go to the very back of the lease, so I drove to a little valley below our cutover (where Stand 13 used to be) and parked.

From there, I walked up the hill and headed toward Old Stand 15.  I use "old" numbers, by the way, because we renumbered our stands a few years back and I've never gotten used to the new numbering system.  Anyway, I walked up the hill, and near Old 14 I saw movement through the trees.  It looked like a pair of hens, so I quietly got into position and did some very soft calling.  I got no response, and after awhile I moved a little closer.

I got a glimpse of another hen through the thick trees at one point, but she was heading in the wrong direction.  I waited a bit, but no gobblers appeared or sounded off.  I finally got up and walked to the field at Old 16.  There were lots of fresh deer tracks there, but no turkey tracks.  I decided to take a shortcut straight through the woods to get back to my Jeep, which I did with no problem.

Heading back down Road 10, I decided to find a spot and just sit for the last hour and a half.  I chose a spot near Old Stand 11, and sat comfortably hidden in some brush.  Nothing appeared or called, so I gave up yet again and went home. 

April 7, 2013 Turkey Hunting No Turkeys Seen

I got to the lease early in the morning, and found that I was the only one there.  I decided to hunt over on Road 10, working my way from Stand 28 down through the salt lick area.  I did several owl hoots after parking, but got no responses.  Walking slowly over to the salt lick, I continued to owl hoot, but still heard nothing.  The were lots of fresh tracks in the area, so I sat up on the edge of the field and waited awhile.  Nothing happened.  When the sun began to hit me, I moved to the shade on the other side, but still heard nothing.

Finally, I got up and moved around, ultimately deciding to take a short cut through the woods to get back to my Jeep.  I headed down the hill and stopped in amazement.  In front of my was an absolutely beautiful swamp that I had never seen before, with tall green grasses and lots of open spaces for shooting lanes.  I walked down into the swamp and found massive deer tracks.  This looked like a great spot for the deer season, so I looked around to see if I could find a place for a stand. 

It turns out that it was right in front of my face; there was a wide spot heading down the hill that would make a beautiful shooting lane.   I walked up out of the valley to the top of the hill and looked back down, admiring the view.  Moving down the hill again, I used my clippers to trim a great many branches and young gum tree saplings out of the lane.  When it was looking good, I left the valley from the far side and headed back to my Jeep.

I moved over to Road 9 and did some calling, but nothing was happening there either.  After quite a bit of walking and calling, I drove back over to the Salt Lick stand and sat there for an hour without anything happening.  I finally gave up, walked back to the Jeep, and headed home.

April 1, 2013 Opening Day of Turkey Season No Turkeys Seen

On this, the opening day of the 2013 turkey season in South Carolina, I left my house at around 5:00am and made the long drive down to my deer lease.  There were a few guys already checked in on the sign-in board when I got to the club, but the spot that I wanted to hunt on Road 9 was wide open.  I went ahead and tagged in for it and then drove my truck up the rutted logging road.  I parked at the bottom of our big hill there on that road thinking that I would walk up to the top, head down the road, and then come back through the swamp.

At the top of the hill I owl hooted several times but got no response.  I began walking slowly up the road, pausing here and there to listen for turkeys to gobble.  I passed Stand 13, where I had shot a nice buck the previous year, and continued on up the road.  As I got to the top of the little rise that marks the end of this stand's viewable range, a coyote jumped out of the brush 20 yards in front of me and dashed across the road into the woods.  I unslung my shotgun from my shoulder and waited.

Seconds later, another coyote came running out, and I took a shot at this one with a load of high-brass #4s.  I believe I stung his hind-end a little bit, because he changed directions quickly and ran back into the brush on the same side of the road that he had first appeared on.  I checked for blood, but it was too dark to see any, so I decided to come back down this way after doing a bit more turkey hunting.

I walked on up the road a ways, calling along the way, but still heard nothing.  After an hour of this, I went back down to the coyote spot.  I found scuff marks in the road where he had changed directions, and found my shotgun wad there as well, but no sign of blood anywhere.  I don't think I got enough pellets in him to do much damage, unfortunately.   From there, I made my way back to my Jeep and drove over to Road 10 to try another spot.

I parked near Stand 28, which is at the far end of a steep hardwood ridge.  Walking along an old road bed that goes down alongside the bottom of this ridge, I went about a half mile into the woods, but heard nothing.  I finally turned around and walked back out.  When I reached the base of the big hill where the old road ended, I heard a crow call, followed by answering turkey gobbles.  I listened closely, and it sounded like they were high above me on the other side of the main lease road.  I scrambled up the steep hill, and was pretty proud of the way I made it up without getting too winded.  That felt good, but when I let loose a few crow calls of my own, the answering gobbles came from back down in the woods below me.  The steep canyon walls had bounced the original gobbles off, making it sound like they were above me when they had really been right back where I was before.

I went back down, but never heard another gobble. Cutting straight through the woods, I made a long loop to the left, coming upon our old hardwood ridge trail.  I walked out on this trail, never hearing any turkeys.  The trail ended right near where I had parked.  It was getting close to lunch time, so I decided to go get a sandwich.  Heading out, I came across a truck parked at the intersection of Roads 10 and 11.  I got out and saw that it was old member Dan Hartless, along with a guest.  The guest had killed a jake.  I took pictures, and as we talked another member, Ken Morse, came driving up.  We all went to lunch together, then I went back to Road 9 to give it another try.

I heard nothing, although I tried calling in several spots and also just sitting quietly in others.  Nothing was happening at all, so early in the afternoon I packed up and headed home.

  Copyright © 2013 Wingshooters.net