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10-Point Buck taken at Cedar Knoll Hunting Lodge


Jon Martin with his Cedar knoll 10 point on October 8.



Hunting guide Jeff Hunt of Estill has been having a lot of excitement since the beginning of deer season, and assures me that the rut has begun. A long time visitor to Cedar Knoll Hunting Lodge stopped a 10-point buck in his tracks on October 8, and had a second buck offer him another shot during that same hunt. A peak period for deer activity between now and November 15 has this Allendale County hunting operation running hard to keep up with the bucks.

Located near Cohen’s Bluff Landing between Estill and Allendale, the 2500-acre Cedar Knoll Hunt Lodge is comprised of upland pinewoods that are laced with the creek bottoms and hardwoods associated with the Savannah River. Owner Hayward Simmons is a deer manager first and a capable host second, having managed both the deer woods and the hunt operations since 1985. Cedar Knoll is adjacent to Lake View Plantation, which is equipped with facilities and trails for equestrian enthusiasts.

Jon Martin has hunted at Cedar Knoll for the past five years, visiting from Vermont. On Monday, the morning of Oct. 8, he was taken to his stand by guide Jeff Hunt and instructed to sit tight until he returned. Cedar Knoll has a comprehensive plan for hunter success that includes very little human scent contamination in their hunting areas. By 8:30 a.m., Martin saw a doe appear out of the woods from his metal tripod stand, and not far behind her was a nice 10-point buck.

“Mr. Martin harvested that buck from a distance of 40-yards, and the doe ran off,” said Jeff Hunt. “He also reported another eight-point buck showing up along that same trail a short time later.” Martin did not shoot the second buck because Cedar Knoll has a strict rule of only one deer harvest per hunt. This keeps down any unnecessary wounding of deer and also relates to their scent-control policy.

If a deer is wounded, then the Cedar Knoll trail dog, named Red, is brought in for some tracking work. Red will lead and only the guide and the hunter will follow the dog into the woods after using scent control spray on their boots. Red is a trusted member of the Cedar Knoll team. Martin’s 10-point buck was not hard to find, and he enjoyed another successful visit this year to hunt the big bucks of the Lowcountry.

It’s not all about trophy bucks at Cedar Knoll though. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to trophy racks,” said owner Simmons. “I want clients to be happy and, if a smaller buck does that job, then they are welcome to harvest one. My message is simple; just refrain from shooting something they wouldn’t be proud of. Our high deer density allows us to enjoy harvesting mature bucks right alongside some up and coming deer.”

Visiting hunters will stay in the newly renovated lodge and eat the home cooking from a full-time chef. Booking a hunt at Cedar Knoll requires a bit of calendar management from hunters, since Cedar Knoll keeps a strictly-scheduled block of hunting days, buffered by periods of no hunting in order to let the deer herds relax a bit from hunting pressure. A bumper crop of acorns this year and a supplemental feeding program serve to attract and hold deer.

“We will hunt Oct. 7 through Nov. 15 during a five-week period that is the peak of the rut,” said Simmons. “Then we rest the property until about Dec. 13 and begin hunting again around the time of the second rut. During any deer hunt visit we can also schedule hog hunting opportunities.”

Offering deer herds a period of sanctuary is not all that common, but it makes sense in order to counteract hunting pressure. Consider that some duck impoundment managers are also now offering sanctuary areas in order to attract and hold ducks. The Cedar Knoll hunting program has offered great opportunities to shoot a nice buck since the 80’s. For more details and hunt photos visit the Internet at www.CedarKnoll.com.


Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (359 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com