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Winding Down

          There are only a few days left in the 2015 deer season here in South Carolina. For many it has been a season to remember and for others it has been one to forget. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. We have had a good season, but not great….or have we.

The majority of the 200,000+ deer killed in South Carolina annually fall into one of two categories, does and non-trophy bucks. Meaning the bucks antlers did not meet the minimum of the scoring system required to make the record books.  I am one of the few outdoor writers who puts very little emphasis on the size of antlers. It seems in this world of growing big old bucks the entire emphasis is on antler size rather than the joy of the pursuit. I sure hope that as things evolve, we too will evolve from the growing of big bucks with “hit lists” and bucks with names, to just going back to enjoying the sport of hunting for the sake of hunting.

The end of December for many is a last push to fill the freezer or to find that one buck that has eluded us for the whole season. The 2015 season has been different than any in recent memory. The temperatures and rainfall have really made it different and in many ways difficult for many to figure out. As I write this, we are finally having some December weather, but in a day or so, we are back to rain and well above normal temperatures. How does one hunt late season bucks when it feels more like spring than winter? I for one have not been able to figure it out. It seems the bucks are being very elusive and more nocturnal than normal. With the high temperatures, it makes it hard for the bucks to tolerate the heat. And late season food sources are struggling. With only two days of frost all season, the brassicas are not producing as they should, winter crops are not able to tolerate the heat, and it’s far too early for anything else.

The best advice I have been given is to hunt long. Meaning sit where you can see a long way and see if you can ambush a buck traveling from one place to another. The problem is that we do not know where they were or where they are going.

Regardless of where you hunt or how you hunt, enjoy these last few days and spend some time with your family enjoying the great sport of hunting. Sharing and passing along the tradition is one of the greatest parts of the sport. Whether alone or shared, these last few days are what will sustain us for another nine months until opening day emerges and we can once again enjoy chasing our whitetails through the autumn woods.