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Deer Hunting Season Opens August 15

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

The calendar turns to August and the summer gives way to fall, although it might not feel like it due to the long, hot summer of 2016. Weather is always going to be a limiting factor for some hunters during deer season, like when the record flooding rains in October 2015 reduced hunting opportunities. In spite of the heat, doe-harvest restrictions, and the possibility of mosquitoes with the Zika virus, the more seasoned hunters of the Lowcountry wouldn’t dream of missing the excitement of opening day.
An economic boom can be felt in Walterboro and in rural counties as deer feed corn and hunting gear fly off the shelves, beginning with Westbury Ace Hardware’s Hunter’s Day Out on Saturday, August 6. Some hot deals will be good for one day only, and Uncle Miles Crosby and the I93.7-FM radio team will broadcast live about those, while other items in the Westbury merchandise flier will be offered until supplies run out.
You can listen to Lowcountry Outdoors on the radio every Wednesday morning at 7:45 a.m. for the latest outdoor sports headlines in the Colletonian. If you have a favorite hunting or fishing photo you’d like to share with the newspaper, please email those photos to [email protected] along with the names of those pictured, and pertinent info like the location and date.
When pick-up trucks with dog boxes are once again present on rural roads, everyone can see that the chase for a white-tailed buck is back on. These bucks run in bachelor groups during the early season, before the rut, so the anticipation of seeing multiple bucks during any hunt only adds incentive. Food plots can serve to concentrate deer, and hot weather means they might be bedding close to food and water for the sake of conserving energy and travelling less.
Scent control products are in demand these days with still hunters since early-season scouting is a double-edged sword. If you cross paths with a mature buck one time too many, he may disappear from the area due to the intrusion of human scent into his core area. That being said, getting some snake boots on the ground to look for deer tracks and droppings can be essential when deciding where to place a stand for a rifle shot, and archery hunters need to be even closer to the deer.

Lowcountry buck in velvet, June 2016. Photo By Jeff Dennis

Camo clothing that covers you from head-to-toe is a good way to defense buzzing and biting insects, along with the use of a Thermacell bug machine. Putting on long-sleeved shirts and long pants with a hat and head-net in August can be dreadful though. Simply walking to the deer stand can cause the sweat to pour, but especially so if exposed to direct sunshine. This is simply the way it is during the early season, so be prepared to wash the camo multiple times with scent-free detergent.
The 2016 deer hunting season in South Carolina will be the last year with No Buck Limits. A law was passed in the S.C. General Assembly earlier this year to provide for a five-buck limit per hunter beginning in 2017. The first month of the 2016 deer season will be bucks only, since doe season doesn’t begin until September 15. For about the first two weeks of the season many bucks will appear with velvet on their antlers, seen as an added trophy to some hunters.
A buck’s antlers grow back during the summer months, and the fast-growing tissue appears to have a fuzzy covering to it. At the end of summer the calcium in the antlers harden and the buck instinctively rubs off the velvet. The antlers appear white for the fall season and then each winter they cast off the antlers and only two bumps or pedicels remain visible on the head. Remember, the fur on early-season deer may appear reddish in coloration, since their darker winter coat doesn’t grow in until later.
Long summer days offer ample time to still hunt after work, but sometimes daybreak is going to be the coolest part of any August day. It all depends on the rainfall activity, which was decreased last month, generating the warmest July on record in Charleston, according to the National Weather Service.
Should you succeed in harvesting an early-season buck, have plans to butcher the animal promptly or carry it to a venison processor. The same goes for harvesting a buck in velvet, because submitting the rack to your taxidermist in short order will assist them in preserving the velvet for the deer mount. Just thinking of bucks in full velvet each year reminds hunters about the unique fever felt during the early deer season.

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

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (247 Posts)

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