It was the last day of our deer hunt at Deerfield Plantation in St George, SC, and I was ready to find Mr. Big! Our guides took each of us to our stands deep in the woods near the swamp, hoping that this would be a great location to find that trophy buck that I know each of us wanted. My lean-to stand was perfect to view the stars through the thick stand of trees that surrounded me, and the blackness around me never seemed blacker that morning. As the guide’s truck pulled away and the rear lights vanished, I settled in for what would be a good hour or so until there was first light. Not a minute went by, and suddenly, a loud sound startled me that was too close for comfort. It was not “squirrel” deer noise; this was a sound that only something really large could make. It has to be a big buck that had been bedded down. I said to myself-don’t panic. I have jumped deer before, but this was much different. Slow-moving and heavy steady footsteps were coming towards the back of my stand, and the sound of cracking limbs convinced me it was something really big.
I slowly reached for my handgun, just in case…Somehow, the feel of the cold nickel on the barrel and soft rosewood handle of my Smith & Wesson calmed my nerves. I sat motionless for what seemed to be an eternity. It sounded like a moose lumbering my way, but we don’t have moose in South Carolina. Could it be Lizard Man? (You know how your imagination can go wild sometimes!) I could not see even my hand in front of my face and I kept questioning why a deer would come that close to me. It stopped right behind my stand, and I contemplated what would happen next. I heard it start to walk again, cracking the limbs from some fallen branches, and the footsteps continued and then seemed to get further and further away. I wish I could see something, I thought! But there was virtually no light, and I was relying on my other senses to try to figure out what was going on. I hoped it was going to stop by the corn pile that was 100 yards or so up the lane and remain there until twilight.
I have never felt time stand so still. It was so heavily wooded that the first light came slowly, and as I glassed the area, there was no shape of an animal anywhere to be seen. About an hour later, I hear a shot. And not much longer, another shot. I wondered if “my” Mr. Big had wandered away to another location and that one of the shots was taken at my mystery deer. I got a text from my hubby and he shot a good 9 pointer, and the other shot was from another hunter in our party who took a nice 8 pointer with a huge rack with a 19 inch inside spread. As the hours passed, I did not have any deer action. But for me, it is not the end result, but the journey; and this sit was one that I will always remember. There are so many experiences to enjoy out in the woods, and even though it was a bit creepy, it was a good test of my resolve to be able to handle whatever comes my way.
After the hunt was over, I climbed out of my stand to investigate the area and snap a few pictures of the deer’s bedroom. If anyone has shared an experience like this, let me know. I love learning about deer habits and would appreciate some insight!