First I want to mention that I am well aware that not everyone hunts, likes or even respects hunting. I personally enjoy it and hold nothing against those who think otherwise. I hunt mainly for groceries – not for the thrill of the kill. I hunt also because I love to be outdoors, watching animals in their own habitats – not zoos. Most importantly I hunt for conservation. Let me just offer up some quick facts to validate this. Sportsmen contribute 4.7 billion dollars every day; adding up to $1.7 billion every year for conservation. Hunters and shooters have paid 3.95 billion in excise taxes since 1939. Hunting in America is big business, generating more than ONE MILLION JOBS in the USA. For more than 60 years, sportsmen have paid more than 7.6 Billion dollars for on-the-ground projects in every state, protecting our natural wildlife. The 2.4 billion dollars in annual federal income tax money generated by hunters’ spending could cover the annual paychecks for 1000,000 US Army troops. In summary hunters and fishermen provide more than 75% of the annual income of the 50 state conservation agencies. Sportsmen are clearly the largest contributors to conservation-paying for programs that benefit all Americans and wildlife. If you really want to contribute to conservation go out and buy a Florida hunting license as 100% of that money you can be guaranteed goes directly to conservation in our state!
Now that I have that off my chest…I just came back from a fabulous weekend with the Women in the Outdoors at the Cypress Creek Hunting Lodge just outside Estill SC.
We arrived on Halloween night and it did not take long to get our group in a festive mood! After getting silly with the gals for a while we had a wonderful dinner of BBQ chicken and fix’ns and called it a night as we had to be up bright and early to get into our stands before daylight.
4:30 am came early and darn was it cold! We saw many deer on the way into the forest. Henry got me to my stand and got me all settled in told me it was 150 yards to the end of the field but I could seen not a thing. I was so nervous as I didn’t even have my rifle – I had to borrow one from one of the guides (Bubba was a life saver!) because mine had an issue which I had found out about after arriving in SC. As the sun was coming up I saw an amazing blast of color! There were birch and sweet gum in full autumn dress poking out from behind crisp green pines and sandy colored fall grasses. It was a glorious morning…I learned about 8:30 am I did not have enough layers on to keep warm. Then the turkeys started coming out – they were so funny as they bee-lined it 150 yards to the feeder – I had their company for almost and hour then the rest of the morning was without incident. Lunch was ready when we got back and we hung out in the lodge warming up and sharing stories. At 2 pm we were all very antsy so Danny got us back out to the stands early and that gave us an extra hour for the hunt. I saw some cool birds and insects but no deer or hog and when I was picked up on the way out we saw over 30 deer just down the road hanging out! UGH. It was quiet for everyone on that evening hunt so Danny and the guides put us in different spots for the next morning. After another wonderful dinner and a raffle and closing the silent auction we were all off to bed.
Sunday morning came early and off we went. I was much more bundled up this time and never once got cold!. When Henry dropped me off he said the last hunter in that spot saw 2 – 6 point bucks and an 8 point so I needed to keep my eyes open. About 20 min later – just before dark lifter 2 deer crossed the road about 200 yards to my right. I knew one was a buck by the way he had his nose to the ground and he was chasing a doe….I got ready…they messed around in the woods behind me for about 40 min by then it was daylight and I was able to see that there was a small stream to my back left so I started looking around in the woods through my scope and I saw the 6 pointer that Henry told me about. He looked up at me through the thick forest as if to say “ha, what do you think your gonna do – You can’t see me and he walked off”…..never giving me a shot. I was on the edge of my see for hours and my abs hurt sooo bad. I finally relaxed after 30 min and looked up the road to see a bobcat cross at the same place the deer had crossed hours earlier. I knew then there was a game trail there so I readied my camera and just barely go his butt in the picture to the far right of my lens just before the trees – all you can see in the picture well is the black tip of his tail. I waited till about 11 pm and climbed down from my stand and walked around for a bit. I went back to the small spring fed stream and saw bobcat and deer tracks where I spotted the critters earlier. The shot was further than I thought so I was glad I did not try to make it. I took a few more photos and my ride arrived. Everyone had stories to tell about near misses and all the critters they saw. When the other van pulled in we found out Dana had gotten a nice 8 point buck! We were all very happy for her. If you want more information on hunting in SC please visit: www.CypressCreekHunting.com or www.LowcountryHunting.com if you are thinking about getting out more and maybe wanting to learn some basic archery, or hunting check out the Women in the Outdoors link on our link page – or just send me an email – I will be happy to set you in the right direction. Don’t forget to look at my photos from the trip to!