By Rich Miller
It is still as hot as can be here and no rain. I had hoped that Hurricane Irene might drop us off some much needed moisture on her way by, but that didn’t happen, either. I have got some food plots plowed and ready to go, but with the lack of rain I’m not going to put the first seed in the ground till we get some rain. My dad is chomping at the bit to get something in the ground and has, but it’s not going to grow without rain.
The lower part of South Carolina has the earliest deer season in the country with an opening date of August 15th. I usually can’t wait to get down there, but the older I get the less important it seems to get to go down there and sweat to death and get eaten up by mosquitos. When I do get the chance to go down there, I usually hunt with Mark Tinsley, a long time friend that moved down there after college. He has some really good property with some great bucks on it to hunt. He has a strict management practice and it enables the bucks to be well above average for a South Carolina. Most all of the property is agriculture and is has corn, soybeans, and peanuts – with wheat going in after they are harvested. With all this food, it makes for some fun hunting with lots to keep your attention while sitting in the stand.
By the time opening day rolls around each year, Mark has done his homework and has a good buck scouted out. This year was no different; about a week before the season, he called to tell me of several shooters he had spotted. Most of he stands on his place for this time of year are set up on fields away from where the deer use the field. By doing this, the deer are not pressured and feel a lot more comfortable coming into the field during daylight hours. All of the fields are well off the road and secluded, to say the least.
On opening day this year, Mark headed to one of the fields where he had been seeing the big buck. When he arrived to the stand, there were deer already in the field, so he had to sneak his way to the stand. Luckily, he made it up and in the stand without being spotted. All of the deer in the field were does and fawns; but with them out there and feeding, it didn’t take long before some of the big boys decided to show their faces, too.
There were about five different bucks that came out together and started feeding. It didn’t take him long to figure out which one he wanted to put his crosshairs on, but he had to wait for the deer to get in range and give him a shot. The good thing was it was just a little after 5 pm, so he had plenty of time to wait the deer out. Around 5:30 the deer got to 250 yards from Mark’s stand and he was able get him ranged and turned for a shot. When the rifle cracked, his scope was filled with deer leaving the field and then there was nothing. When he looked over his scope all the other bucks that were with the deer he shot were standing on the edge of the field looking back at where the big buck had been standing. That was when I got the text saying he had a big 13-point on the ground. After a short wait, he climbed down and went straight to where his deer was laying – and for any of you that has ever tried to find a deer in standing beans in August, that was a pretty lucky feat in itself.
Mark seems to always pick up a good buck with his rifle opening week every year, but when the beans and corn are gone he picks up his bow and does the same thing, also. Now he gets to hunt a lot but the one thing he does for sure is puts in his time in and out of the woods. Whether it is getting stands ready, planting food plots, or filling feeders, he is always successful; but he makes a lot of his success, too.