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Opening Weekend is Here

Opening Weekend Is Here


All across the lowcountry of South Carolina the opening weekend of deer hunting has arrived. For those who didn’t have to work on August 15, it opened for you then, for the rest of us, we had to wait for the weekend to get to hunt.

With the new laws that go into effect in 2017, this is the last year of the archaic laws of unlimited bucks in the lowcountry counties. For as long as anyone can remember, the coastal plain has had a law of “no limit on antlered bucks.” And a recent conversation with Charles Ruth of the DNR, confirms that no one knows why or when this law was out into place. It has been a tradition as long as there has been hunting in South Carolina, just as has the August 15 opening day.

There really is no rhyme or reason why we have the opening day during the dog days of summer. With the mercury boiling out of the top of the thermometer, it is difficult to stay on stand, and for those who enjoy the ancient tradition of running dogs for deer, the heat is especially difficult on the hounds. But here we are, opening weekend.

In the coastal plain all seasons open simultaneously while in Game Zone three, only archery season opens. In either case, unless you are in a quota area, it is bucks only until September 15

Traditions run long and deep in the south and regardless of where you are on the subject, for tens of thousands of hunters the opening is upon us and there is joy in Mudville once again. Seven and a half months of preparation, anxiety and anticipation are over and once again we can climb into trees, blinds, sit on stumps and watch the sunrise, gun in hand and wait anxiously for the appearance of a buck whitetail deer. Few things in a hunter’s life compare with opening day. It is as revered as the anniversary, birth of a child and getting that promotion you so desperately wanted. The saving grace is that this comes around every year and the excitement is just as real and just as anticipated as the year before. Many times more so.

For the next four and half months, memories will be made, friendships rekindled and lives changed. As we enter the woods we will once again share in experiences that for many are life changing. For many are memories that help some escape the bounds of depression, anxiety and fear. For many, the times spent afield are the times they long for. The serenity, the peacefulness and the thrill of being in creation are what makes us feel alive. It makes us feel like we have moved past existing to living. It brings a joy that is hard to describe as we share in the ancient practice of pursuit of wild things in wild places. Opening day is as important to the sportsman as any day in our year, and for many it is the door to freedom, the door to fulfillment and the door to life itself. Be safe, be careful, enjoy and make only great memories during the 2016 season.