A few years back I was invited to hunt by my friend / boss at a hunt club down in South Carolina; I was down for a company meeting and staying the next day to deer hunt seemed like a great idea as my friend had suggested the previous week, so I had packed my rifle and camo fleece and a pair of warm camo hunting boots. We ended Friday with dinner and cocktails at a restaurant, then headed out to the “Clubhouse” in a rural area outside a small town outside of Columbia, South Carolina where other members of the “hunt club” were pulling in to join together in some camaraderie, story-telling, football watching and of course some deer hunting; or so I thought anyway. With each new pickup truck that pulled up in the yard, out came another cooler full of beer. I was known at and introduced to the hunt club as “Rambo”, a knick-name given to me by my boss for my various tactical & hunting doings over the years that he had seen or heard of and especially a few rounds of paintball that occurred at our company annual sales meeting the year before, where my hard earned tactical skills of many years ago showed proficiently much better (13 “kills” out of 15 available targets in each of two games, the rest of my team didn’t have to do much!) than my ability to hit a golf ball as we usually played each year at that event. (The only birdie I EVER got was with a 12 gauge, not a 3 wood and a putter! My typical teeing off hard slice to the right I think might have hit a deer one afternoon on its flank over in the woods; but didn’t drop it, just sent a tail bouncing off) Anyhow, as Friday night went on, the party got bigger and louder and the stories of hunting one-upmanship around the outside campfire were only drowned out on occasion by those on the porch chowing down on some delicious Carolina BBQ while watching college football and cheering on their favorite teams scoring while downing another beer. The hooting and loud discussions and beer consuming went on thru the night, I think I called it quits at 3 icy cold Yuenglings and I finally excused myself to go to sleep in the far end of the hunt club building at about 11 pm, for I had an appointment the next morning with the woods; something I take seriously.
I awoke to my alarm at 5:45 am and how I had slept at all through the now very prevalent loud snoring of guys scattered around the hunt club that had I guess started some hours ago, I can’t say. I used the bath room, got dressed and entered the main room and kitchen to find that I was indeed by myself at 6:15, except for the loud snoring coming from everywhere. NO ONE was awake except for me. Out of 16 hunters; NO ONE was going hunting on Saturday morning except for me. Looks like I have my choice of where I was going to hunt for the morning today! I put my initials on a tag and picked a numbered stand from the wall map, hung it there, filled my Camelback with water, grabbed my rifle and headed out into the crisp cold morning air. I put a key in one of the camo four wheelers they had available, revved the engine and headed off down the trail to the woods and out to the area of the stand I had chosen. I parked the vehicle about 200 yards from the stand location; squirted some doe urine on my boot pads as I got out of it, grabbed my rifle off the hooks and quietly walked down the trail out to the stand. As I got to the end of the trail and the beginning of the clearing where the stand was located, I took out a container of buck tarsal scent and hung it on a branch about thigh high. By this point I had only about 20 minutes to sunrise and made my way to the tower stand ladder in the frosty dark. I mounted the ladder, pulled my Model 70 rifle up via my lifting rope and settled in for a nippy sunrise; throwing a camo fleece blanket over myself to add another layer of warmth.
Sunrise came and with each ray of golden light the woods and fields sparkled with glitter as the frost showed itself on each twig and the soybeans in the field below, my eye caught some movement down in the west end of the lower field at the wood line about 200 yards away, but it was a doe. Then; just moments after that, out of my right eye I saw something moving down the path I had walked out of. Following the doe scent trail I had laid and walking right over my footsteps was a large buck with a thick 6 point rack, I cranked up my rifle scope to 10 x and took a good look at him coming in. His main beam point on his right side had been broken off somehow but even with that his rack was quite massive for a 6 pointer, and he was in the 180 lb weight range. He now moved into the opening, and caught a whiff of my tarsal gland scent bottle hanging on the branch. I backed my scope out to 6 power so that I could have more field of view. He turned into the scent and stretched his neck out, giving me a good clean crosshair shot at his left side behind his shoulder with an angle for his heart. At 7:04 am the sound of a 30:06 rifle cracked across the valley, a buck wheeled around and started back toward the path it had come out of but dropped to the ground a few feet short of making it there. Buck down at stand #2.
A smile drew across my face as I got out my cell phone and called my friends phone number to report to him that while he and everyone else was sleeping off his/their beer, I had dropped a nice deer. “ummmm hmmmm” he said, “bring it on in and we’ll see you when you get back” and the phone went dead.
I returned to the 4 wheeler with my deer and was very surprised to find that the buck had actually laid a fresh scrape right next to it in the dirt where I had first squirted the doe urine on my boot pads, and despite seeing the 4 wheeler, he had come down the path of that doe scent anyway! Truly; Lust conquers all!
As the sound of my return on the 4 wheeler got to the hunt club building, one, then another fuzzy eyed guy came out to take a look at the deer stretched at my feet. “NOW,” I said, “is the time to have a BEER, when the hunting mission is ACCOMPLISHED and OVER!” and twisted off the top of an ice cold Yuengling and got an orange juice chaser.
Be THIRSTY my friends!