Wednesday, August 27, 2014

first crossbow attempt

So it was hot last weekend. This is what my car read when I got on the road to head to Georgetown, loaded down with deer hunting gear, the crossbow, Marmaduke and Prine, and just the general accoutrement that comes with heading out of town to hunt, fish, and enjoy the weekend. I don't know why, but I always seem to look like the Clampetts when I travel. Add John and his gear to the mix? Where's my Suburban?

But I digress. Where was I going? Ah, yes. So it was super hot. And I just had a bee in my bonnet about deer hunting. With the season having recently opened, I was itching to at least go sit in the woods. Given that Georgetown is in Game Zone 5, a rifle hunt wasn't an option. As luck would have it, John just so happened to have a crossbow handy (thanks, Allsty!). Hey! I'm in business. Now I just needed to figure out if it was ok to wear a bathing suit under my bug suit so I wouldn't have a heat stroke. Because a bug suit is 100% an essential for hunting this time of year in South Carolina, particularly on the coast. I ultimately decided that saving my skin from 10,000 mosquitoes was more important than getting more than a little sweaty while sitting perfectly still in the woods. Ahh, South Carolina in August.

On to the hunt! I woke up extra early to layer up, lace up my snake boots, make sure I could actually cock the crossbow (hello, zero upper body strength), and get to my spot well before dawn. As it turns out, I wasn't quite early enough. I was about 100 yards away from my spot when I heard a bit of commotion, and I could barely make out 2 silhouettes hop back and forth for a second before scampering back into the woods. I think it's so funny how wildlife will freak out for a minute before running off:

"Someone's coming! Which way should we go?" [moves 2 feet] "I don't know man. Let's go this way." [moves 5 feet] "Wait, what about this way?" "Oh, yea that looks better." [moves 4 feet] "Just kidding, let's go your way." [finally runs off].
Long story short, I scared away 2 deer but it was much too dark to see whether they were bucks or does. Boo. So, I sat down at the edge of some thick woods, turned on my ThermaCell, got comfortable, loaded an arrow into the crossbow, and waited. Just little ol' me, and 7,582 of my new closest friends - mosquitoes. I swear, It sounded like a cross between an active bee hive and an interstate around me, there were so many. My bug suit really saved me, but those little s.o.b.'s were biting me through my gloves, even with the ThermaCell right beside me. Not to mention the fact that it was 85* at 5:45 am, and only getting hotter. But, I figured that since I'd already gotten up early, got dressed and geared up and trekked all the way out, I might as well just power through it. So, that's what I did.
My only concern was that I was moving too much every time a skeeter would make it through my glove. Apparently, I wasn't moving as much as I thought. The jacket of my bug suit has a pull over "hood" that actually covers your entire face and can tuck into the front when the jacket it zipped up all the way. It's nice a loose, so you don't feel like you have a bag over your head, and you can turn your head inside of it a little more easily without the hood/jacket itself moving. Does that make sense? Anyways, just when I thought I might be moving too much, I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. Flying DIRECTLY at my face was a big cardinal, and I happened to see him when he was about 1 inch from landing on the top of the crossbow. Now, I am in no way scared of birds, but when you're hyper-alert looking for any sign of movement around you and also trying to be as still as possible, movement that close to your face will most definitely startle you. True to my nature, I jumped about 6 inches in the air with a good, loud, "Aaahhh!" Thank you, Mr. Cardinal, for helping me scare away any other potential wildlife within earshot. {Disclaimer: I apparently startle more easily than others. It's a running joke with John, as well as the guys I work with. Never gets old with them.} I am not sure who scared who more, because he took off like a rocket. With that, I knew my morning hunt was shot.
Honestly, I was ok with calling it. It was super hot, super super buggy, and coffee/ breakfast/ the boat were calling my name. Rough weekend, huh? Before heading in, though, I did a little exploring and found the tracks of the deer I scared away early that morning, including where they did their little which-way-should-we-run dance before taking off down the road.
It looked to me like neither deer was that big. In fact, I could tell that one of the deer was fairly small, so I am guessing this was a momma doe and her little one. I did also find a super well-traveled game trail close by (to the left of those drainage pipes). I ended up going back by there Sunday afternoon to put up a trail cam and see what, exactly, keeps using this little highway.
I'll be sure to let you know what I find out!

Have you had any early season success? I'd love to hear about it! Until next time... 
Happy Hunting!


Friday, August 15, 2014

deer season: opening day 2014

It is here - opening day of deer season for 2014. Woohoo! Well, I take that back. It's opening day for some of us. Others will have to wait 2 more weeks until September 1st. Sorry, non-bow hunting friends (I don't bow hunt... Yet).. The two places I do most of my deer hunting are in game zones 5 & 6, and game zone 6 comes with an August 15th opener. Click the map to learn more about your game zone, and here to learn more about each zone's hunting regulations.
http://www.dnr.sc.gov/regs/pdf/hunting.pdf
Even though I won't get to hunt today (or this weekend), I can at least look back and remember some of my favorite hunts over the past several years. They are calling for temperatures in the mid 90's this weekend, so maybe that's a good thing...
1: When Ol' Gnarly went from a trail cam shot to an actual shot :: 2: A coyote and an 8pt in 1 morning :: 3: Bagging a 7 point Friday night and getting engaged Saturday morning :: 4: Solo time in the deer stand is good for the soul :: 5: One of the funnier memes I have seen - So true :: 6: Putting my blood trail skills to the test :: 7: Trying to catch a deer sneaking by from afar :: 8: Looking forward to [hopefully] spotting the deer that made this track a few months ago

Deer season, I'm ready for ya! I've got my rifle sited in and my doe tags ready.
Who's with me?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

dove season news

Did you see the SCNDR News update about this year's SC dove season? We officially get an extra 20 days of hunting! This is exciting news to me - particularly since this fall is filled to the brim with engagement/wedding festivities. [Side note - we have 5 weddings in October alone, including our own... Exactly.]

So, mark your calendars, fellow hunters. Yesterday began the the 3 week countdown.

You better make sure you have your essentials. Who's ready?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

they did it!

If you remember last week's recap of the Governor's Cup Series so far, you'll know that the Rascal was leading the pack in series points going into the Edisto Tournament. Our boys caught 3 sailfish & 1 blue marlin for the tournament, landing them in 2nd place behind the boat Trick 'Em (48). They were neck and neck going into day 3 of the tournament, but the winning boat edged ahead with their 2 blue marlin over the Rascal's 2 sailfish in the end. Either way, they all deserve a big congrats!
 
Saturday evening at Edisto Marina aboard the Rascal
http://govcup.dnr.sc.gov/Standings/Awards/
Awards Ceremony [I apologize for the photo quality - I only had my iPhone!]

In another interesting turn of events, the Rascal almost won the Outstanding Wahoo award. How does one almost win such an award, you ask? Step 1: hook up on a really nice wahoo. Step 2: try to reel him in towards the boat without snapping the line. Step 3: Succeed in doing so. Step 4: Enter: Mr. Shark. Oh yes - a hefty beast of a shark decided this dangling wahoo just looked too good to pass up, and it was his lunchtime. Step 5: Reel in the remaining 1/4 of your wahoo.
Jeff Dennis at Lowcountry Outdoors snapped this photo of Rascal angler Wes with what remained of that shark's lunch. The winning wahoo weighed in at 22.2 lbs, and this portion of the Rascal's wahoo weighed in at 22.8 lbs. Yowzers.

Curious what the overall catch summary was for the 2014 tournament series? Check it out.
BUT WAIT. We're certainly not going to stop there. Here it is. The moment we've been waiting for. THE RASCAL OFFICIALLY WON THE 2014 SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR'S CUP BILLFISH SERIES, out-scoring the 2nd place boat by 825 points. Say whaaaat!
So, as the tournaments come to an end, we congratulate the Rascal crew on a fantastic series and an even better win! Way to go, fellas! Who wants [another] celebratory beer? Yes, please! Read more here and here.

Until next year, happy fishing!