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!
Congratulations to Tripp and Ted on their bucks. Beautiful deer.
I will tell them. Did you make it to DP this year? We are going back for our anniversary in December.
No we didn’t. We love hunting at Deerfield, but we will be hunting here in PA this deer season.
Have a great season Leanne!
Maybe it was one of those VW sized South Carolina hogs! Hunted down there last year and got swooped by a big owl in the dark. I ended up sitting on the floor of the tree stand because the owl wouldn’t leave!!
i am sure it was not a hog. I have been around a lot of them and they make a good bit of noise and move fast. It is funny that you mentioned that about the owl. I was thinking about just that and honestly, they can be vicious! That had to be horrible! Lots of things can happen in a deer stand!!
Nothing like a big rush of adrenaline to start the day!
Exactly!!! That is what it was!
You want to go back on Halloween? Scary.
I was thinking about that!!!!! funny!
Almost forgot … I loved the story … it is SUCH a strange feeling to KNOW something is close but be unable to see. Sitting in pitch-black-darkness on a bear stand once, a black bear sniffed my boot. I could hear the bear perfectly well but could not see my hand in front of my face!!
Wow, what an experience! We do have bears in SC, but for some reason, there are none in this low country spot in St. George. Darkness can be scary- and I have bad night vision to begin with!
Well Ralph, I have been doing some research and as it turns out, there are bear sightings
in Dorchester County… I never even considered it.
If you ask me, that was NOT a deer!! Bear, maybe, but they don’t break sticks, usually, as they walk. At least not here in Jersey …
Thanks Ralph, but there are no bears at all in this area. Can’t imagine what besides a deer it could have been!