What excitement was building in the air as Ellie and I drove up to Patti’s in Lake City from Tampa. We were off on a grand adventure! After spending a wonderful evening at Patti and Dales house the 3 of us loaded up and headed to Estill, SC. But being the girls we are we made sure to stop in Savannah, GA to get in a quick shopping trip at Bass Pro Shop and have lunch. We arrived at Cypress Creek Hunting Lodge where Carol was waiting for us (Glory Ann would arrive a couple hours behind us). Danny got us all checked in and made us an amazing offers to upgrade to a buck hunt if we saw one! After enjoying a fantastic dinner Anita had prepared for us we were off to the range sighting in our rifles. The five of us gals were happy to have Danny on the range making sure all our weapons were dead on target.
For many of the girls there are not many hunting opportunities and we were all grateful to be out hunting together! Patti did a wonderful job coordinating this “Beyond BOW” event for the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program in Florida! We all sat around the lodge that evening “catching up” and telling stories. It was nice to meet the other fellas that had just come in from hunting and invited them to join us for a round or two of our traditional game of “Right, Left, Center”. We were off to bed early Friday night in anticipation of the morning hunt.
Saturday morning was a bust – none of the girls had game come in range, but that did not dampen our spirits! The shooting houses we were in were top notch, and the locations had lots of deer sign…we just had to wait for evening. After coming back to the lodge for lunch – and a terrific lunch at that – a couple of the girls took a hike. Ellie found a raccoon skull and we found lots of hog and deer sign around the fields behind the lodge.
The fellas that were there the day before had all headed out and a new guy was checking in. (Poor guy showed up to the hunting lodge only to find it full of women)! Soon we were all loaded up and headed back out to new shooting houses. What a fantastic night! I had hummingbirds visiting flowering bushes all around in front of me. I saw a momma dog and a pup way back on the forest line walking along the edge towards me – the little black and white spotted pup was so cute but I knew they had to belong to the locals that lived on the property edge. I look to my left about 20 min before dusk and there were 6 doe – 3 had to be yearlings. I did not have a shot – they were all lined up side by side – shot I got ready and tried to be patient. Soon 2 doe stepped forward from the line and started pawing the ground – it was then that I remembered the dogs. They caught sight or wind of them and the does were not happy. Finally the dominant doe took another step forward and I got my first ever deer. Show was clean and solid. I said a prayer of thanks and called Rob – He was tickled at my excitement and happy for me to! Now I had to sit there and wait for the guides to pick me up. I had heard other shots and was hoping the other girls got their deer also. It was long after dark before they came to pick me up. They stopped and pick up my deer before they got to the stand – as she fell right where she was hit on the side of the road. All I heard as I climber out of the stand was “What the heck?” I had no idea what they were about to tell me. Apparently that black and white pup had curled up next to that doe and let the momma dog walk off! They spooked the pup when they stopped. (The pup was later picked up by the momma dog as it was not around in the morning). It was a good doe – mature and about 100-110lbs, then we were off to look for deer that the Patti and Ellie harvested. Neither had run far and they were quickly loaded up. Glory Ann had taken a shot but was quite sure she missed – we looked for any sign and did not see a trace. We all shared our tales of the evening and headed back to the lodge. Our guides took the doe to the shed to clean them and put in the cooler till morning and we all showered up and went to bed. The gentleman that shared the lodge with us did not have the luck we did.
Sunday morning we were all back in the stands early. Weather was changing and it was raining on and off all morning. I did not see more than a couple songbirds and a few quail. The day was a bust for us ladies except for Carol. She did not have a good shot and so we all headed back to the lodge empty handed. After a wonderful lunch, the rains cleared up enough for photos and soon we were headed home with full coolers! Danny, Becky, Jeff, Anita, Justin and Quenton were all fantastic. It is always good to go back and visit old friends and make new friends. I can’t wait till our next hunt with them!
For more information on Cypress Creek Hunting Lodge visit: http://www.cypresscreekhunting.com/welcome.html
For more information on BOW Florida visit: http://myfwc.com/SAFETY/Safety_hunt_safety_becoming_an_outdoors_woman.htm
And last but not least the Cypress Creek Hunting Lodge blog: http://www.cypresscreekhunting.com/blog/
Until our next adventure….
Note: For a healthy deer population, the herd needs to be kept at a certain buck to doe ratio. I don’t kow what this is but I have heard state game biologists tell about how necessary it is to keep the proper ratio in order to keep a health deer population. The forest is not lush green pasture land so food is not as readily available as it might be in some places.
Herd management is important in getting and keeping a good healthy and disease resistant deer herd. An important part of deer management is keeping a good buck to doe ratio. Another important tool in maintaning this good deer population in maintaining the population level to a point that the available food is adequate to keep them well fed and developing properly. The best available tool to do all of this is a well managed hunting program. Places where a certain number of does are harvested each year, antler point limits are set and mature deer with small antler development are regularly harvested from the heard to remove that gene pool, the deer are big, healthy, well developed and have really nice racks. Cypress Creek practices quality deer management with the help of QDMA.