2013 Deer Season
I live in Western North Carolina in the mountains, but I'm from the big swamps south of Columbia, SC, originally. My true passion is bow hunting public land in the mountains, however I do maintain two private leases. One is just North of Columbia, SC on HWY 215 (Richland County). The other is off of HWY 18, north of Lenoir, NC in Caldwell County.
The season starts for me earlier than most. The lower state of SC has the most liberal deer season in the Nation, with opening day being on August 15th, annually. This is DEER season...any legal weapon...no bow, muzzle loader and gun season like most states. Just a free-for-all deer season. It runs uninterrupted till Jan 1st. No daily or seasonal limit on bucks, a dozen either sex days, and you can buy four additional "doe tags" over the counter that can be used any time after September 15th.
The lease we have is roughly a hundred acres. It's a long, thin strip of land, probably four to five hundred yards wide at the widest point. One side is bordered by a mineral site for a local brick yard and has virtually no hunting on it, unless I do a little "light trespassing". The other butts up against two large tracts of land owned by primarily duck and dove hunters that manage the properties mostly for wing shooting. The lower boundary is about five hundred yards of frontage on the Broad River, and sports about forty acres of mature hardwood river swamp. The "upper" portion is a classic Upstate clay hill. The "hill" and " bottom" sections are separated by an active train track. This creates a huge block of land on which my brother Phillip, his best friend Roger and I are the only real deer hunters. We are hard core bow hunters, and very few deer are taken with firearms ever on this tract.
The 2013 season started out like this:
I arrived on Wednesday, August 14th. I have a 60's model camper right inside the gate. It's full of mice and empty 1 pound propane bottles, but it works for me. It sits on the end of the dam of a four acre pond. It's freakin' paradise. There was a Gulf front crawling towards us promising 4 days of solid rain, but it looked like on the radar that it might stay North of the farm, so there I was.
I had been there the previous weekend to hang a stand and put out some corn. I also hung a trail camera on the site. There had never been a stand or bait station at this location before. There is, however, a 2 acre food plot that is half cowpeas, and half chufa. Before I even took a piss (it's 2 1/2 hours from the house) I walked in and switched cards. 1015 pictures on a 30 second delay in only 3 nights! Four different 8 points, a couple scrubs and several groups of does and yearlings. The bigger bucks were all showing up well after dark, but 1 scrawny ass little 4 point with messed up horns was on the corn every morning, noon and evening. He was mine!
Opening morning came with torrents of rain. I mean shuckin' the damned corn. I went out to the Summit Viper anyway. I had a GI poncho and a Allen tree stand umbrella, so I stayed dry. I saw a big old nanny goat and two spotted fawns. I got down at about 10 o'clock.
That evening I hunted a lock-on down in the river swamp. Nothin'.
The Next morning, back in the Summit on top of the hill, I saw the same doe and fawns. It was still raining a steady drizzle. While climbing down, my bow in the sling swung down by my side. I went to slip it around to my back and knocked the dad-gummed thing loose from the sling and it fell fifteen feet to the ground. The string jumped off track, and I spent the rest of the day at the bow shop getting it checked, and restrung. It's a 2005 Mathew's Outback. I took it to the shop where it was purchased, and they fixed it for free. Gotta love Mathew's!
After some shot's on the range I returned to camp. It was late afternoon, still raining and I decided to take the evening off. I grabbed my rod and fishing pack out of the camper and stepped down to the edge of the pond. Second cast with a 1/4 ounce Mepp's Comet and a HUGE bass came in like a missile and swallowed that sucker. I immediately noticed that it wasn't pulling quite like it should. I mean it was a good fight, but somewhat subdued. I finally just walked backwards and dragged her the last 20 feet or so up onto the bank. I ran down and pounced on her. She was 27 inches long and weighed roughly 7 or 8 pounds. I noticed a pretty large fish tail protruding from her mouth. She had half swallowed a 1 pound bass head first and still hit my spinner!!! Nature never ceases to amaze me. My brother was pulling up, so we snapped some pictures and put her back in the water.
The rest of the weekend was rainy and uneventful. Roger hunted with us Sunday morning and saw a decent 8 pointer but didn't shoot. Phil and I saw 10 does and little ones between us. We cooked breakfast and talked about when I was coming back down. I reluctantly packed up my gear and headed home.
This is what deer hunting is! Opening weekend in North Carolina blog coming soon. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment. Check out my youtube channel at: www.youtube.com/user/briargoatkilla. See ya in the woods!