IMPACT!!!!!!! A Horrific Fall From a Deer Stand!
Nov03

IMPACT!!!!!!! A Horrific Fall From a Deer Stand!

Falling from a deer stand is the last thing that seasoned hunter Tommy Brown had on his mind that crisp fall morning in 2005. Living in South Carolina his entire life, hunting came as naturally to him as eating grits with shrimp. Tommy has always been drawn to the land, and working as an appraiser has been the perfect career fit for him. Anyone who knows Tommy will immediately tell you that he is a true outdoorsman. He named his only son Woods. As far as Tommy was concerned, there was no name better suited for a son. I’ve known Tommy for more than 30 years, but until the day I wrote this article, I never knew he is a Vietnam combat veteran. That’s Tommy Brown. Being a warrior didn’t define him, and he found no reason to bring it up. His easygoing style is only upstaged by his happy, charming personality and contagious smile. In a few months, Tommy was looking forward to celebrating his first anniversary with his soul mate, Carman Stone Brown, a beautiful young lady. Most people don’t get second chances at love, but this was a romance that was undeniable. My husband had hunted with Tommy many times over the years, mostly for ducks and doves. But this year, it was all about hunting for legendary whitetails during firearms season in Brown County, Illinois, where Tommy was to experience, for the first time, hunting monster bucks quite unlike the comparatively diminutive whitetails we see in South Carolina. Yeah, Brown County . . . the fact that Tommy’s last name is Brown made his eyes twinkle a bit more, as if he needed any extra twinkle that day! Climbing up those frosty rungs into the deer blind was a thrill that Tommy had anticipated for months, and he felt blessed as the night sky, filled with bright stars, morphed into early light. He thanked God for this amazing creation, and relished the time to sit quietly and take in the beauty before him. That single morning Tommy saw more bucks than he had seen in several seasons at home in South Carolina. As the hours passed, he soaked up the sights and sounds around him, not wanting to miss a thing. A flock of turkeys kept him entertained as they pecked their way through the food plot, and his excitement intensified when a doe ran out under his stand as a huge buck with a broken rack that looked more like a mule erupted from the woods in an unwieldy chase after her. The buck was in heavy pursuit, nostrils flaring, tongue hanging, and set...

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Alone in Total Darkness and Then this Happens!!
Oct24

Alone in Total Darkness and Then this Happens!!

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...

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SNAKE!!!! In my Deer Stand!!
Oct18

SNAKE!!!! In my Deer Stand!!

  Most of us have thought about the possibility of a snake making its way into our turkey blind or a ground blind for deer hunting, but I bet most of us have not thought about a snake in our tree stand! Well, that is exactly what happened to me on Saturday, the 15th of October. Its was a day like most other hunting days except, the fog was as thick as pea soup.   Even though it is October, this particular morning felt like the dog days of summer!  My deer stand is perfect for me.  It is somewhat open-aired, while being perfectly hidden from from the keen eyesight of the deer.  Being a bit claustrophobic, I don’t like to be closed in.  I have one phobia and that is ….NO,  not snakes, but wasps!  Everyone who really knows me well is aware of this terrible fear I have.  So, this stand works well for me because I don’t feel trapped should a wasp fly in.  No worries…no wasps, but little did I know there was another intruder in my stand. One of the best parts about hunting is arriving at your stand a good hour before daybreak. The idea is to get in your stand with the least amount of noise or light.  I typically can get settled in within a minute using only a minimum amount of light from my hat light as to not alert the deer.  After a quick look in my stand, I am ready to turn off the hat light.  In the blackness of the morning hour,  the dreary fog made my mind wander about how much it looked like Halloween.  An intriguing spider web hung off the black silhouette of a branch, and it looked like it had ghostly bat wings. As the sun tried to penetrate the heavy fog,  the landscape began to take shape.  The dog fennel, tired from the long hot summer, drooped under the heavy mist in the air. The fog hung around until almost 9 am, and about that time I was able to see shadows of a couple of does along the tree line, and a happy-go-lucky spike buck wandered towards me looking for a place to bed down for awhile. I like to bring my camera when I hunt,  just in case I see something that really deserves a quality photo.  I took a few minutes to try to capture the beauty as the fog lifted,  knowing that I still didn’t have a clear shot from my vantage point to hunt deer.   As I reached down to move some of the old and...

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Lovey Dovey!
Sep27

Lovey Dovey!

Here in the South, we make a big deal out of dove hunting, so it comes with a lot of fanfare! Unless you shoot clays, you probably have not picked up your shotgun in quite awhile, so the anticipation is at full throttle. It’s our third year as members of Honey Camp Dove Club, and Opening Day is the time when we all gather and catch up with friends we may not have seen since last season and enjoy a pre-hunt spread with all the classic Southern favorites. Our landowner/hosts, Dale and Hilda Shelley prepared grilled pork tenderloin, baked beans simmered on the grill, and chicken bog. As we give thanks for the day and for the beautiful food, we pray for a safe and successful hunt. Everyone is anxious to get out in the field, but not before we each say a word or two to introduce ourselves to new members. For some this is a good opportunity to brag about their favorite college football team. It is also a time to go back over the club rules, with safety always being the number one topic. We take turns blind drawing our stands and the excitement builds as we hope we have pulled a stand with great bird activity and some good shade! As we walk to the field full of corn and sunflowers, it is clear that it will be an exciting day as the birds fly into the field all around us. As the first female member of the club, I was a bit nervous when I joined a few years ago. Now there are two female members, and I was so excited that two young girls are joining in the fun!  They brought their BB guns and already have a keen interest in hunting, which is awesome since the main reason I started my blog, Camo365.com, was to inspire young people to hunt. Within just a few minutes, the field was full of action—birds flying and the sounds of gunfire were coming from every direction, and I scanned the sky for a bird to shoot. The first bird down is always the most important for me, as it immediately gives me confidence. As I gathered up my bird, I knew this should be a great day. My goal was to limit out with 15 doves, since the South Carolina limit has been raised from 12 birds to 15 this year. I always stand when I shoot, and I am on full alert the entire time, ignoring my phone and any other distractions. I kept counting out loud to make sure I knew how many birds...

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Is It Fall Yet?
Sep22

Is It Fall Yet?

It is so much fun to create a fall table.  I love it when my daughter, Alex comes home for a visit and we gather things from around the house to put together a fun look.  It is  easy to get inspired when we are serving doves harvested from the weekend shoot.  A little touch of cotton from a South Carolina country field and antlers from last years’s hunt add to the style. I found these great bird napkin holders about 15 years ago and I look forward to using them in the fall.  The rustic table and unexpected splash of gold with the flatware and napkins pulls the look together! I have discovered how nice it is to use blue when decorating.  Do you have a favorite tablescape you would like to share? Share this:FacebookTwitterPinterestGoogleRedditLike this:Like...

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Floundering Around… A day on the Inlet
Sep07

Floundering Around… A day on the Inlet

Living on the salt marshes in Murrells Inlet offers the perfect opportunity to fish the tidal waters. The summer months are passing by much too quickly, and soon it will be hunting season, which will abruptly put an end to any fishing excursions. So, we set out on a warm late summer afternoon for some time on the water. After gearing up at Perry’s Bait Shop, we set out with two bait pails full of live finger mullets, mud minnows, and fresh cut mullet, hoping to catch some redfish or maybe a shark. I am always up for an outdoor adventure, and my hopes were high to reel in something exciting and perhaps make a fresh fish dinner! A short boat ride to the jetties and the channel was exhilarating, as we sliced through the shimmering waters flanked by fluorescent green marsh grasses. The crashing waves at the jetties reminded us that the calmer waters were now behind us. Fishing by boat at the jetties can be challenging, and we totally respect the dangers that lurk everywhere. The currents, along with the wind and waves kicked up by the heavy boat traffic can cause anchors to break loose, and boats can quickly end up impaled on the rocks. I always keep a sharp eye on the rocks and make sure we are not drifting slowly toward them. From experience, we feel this is the perfect spot, as a lot of bait congregates there attracting the big reds and other sport fish. We always get as close as we can but always with a margin for error in mind. We rocked with the waves and the blaring classic rock music streaming from our radio as we settled in on what we thought would be the honey hole. We were excited when my hubby, Trippett caught a flounder and I caught a black sea bass soon after anchoring on the north side of the jetties. We had the jetties mostly to ourselves, with only a boat here and there that stopped by for a brief time. No one landed any fish that we could see. I was annoyed when I hooked up with a couple of toadfish, since they are horrible to have to take off a hook. We pretty much drowned the rest of the bait after that! After a few hours, we decided to get on back to the house. Trippett, my “in-house photographer,’’ snapped a quick photo of me with my single quarry, and I was excited about making a nice fish dinner that evening with the flounder and the black sea bass. In order to make the...

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