|My three spent shells and a shed antler|
The last day of whitetail deer hunting season in South Carolina is January 1, and deer drivers will spend lots of time and energy during the final days, beating the bushes looking for big game. While these driven hunts are traditional, they are still evolving too, such as when regulations change and invasive critters appear. Bringing home some meat for the freezer is always the goal, but simply getting in the field and on the hunt are the true dividends. A New Year’s Day man drive for deer on a Lowcountry plantation is my last shot at deer hunting glory this year, or else I will have to live with the three shots and a miss I recorded in December.
Driven hunts for deer are those that use dogs or horses or manpower (or any combination thereof) to motivate the deer to break cover and get up and run. Standers are prepositioned at locations where they are likely to view any game before taking aim with a shotgun and firing shells loaded with buckshot towards the target. Antler restrictions on bucks and size restrictions on does are longtime constraints, but now one must factor in the new SCDNR buck tags too. Most driven hunts today also include the opportunity to open fire at wild pigs, coyotes and armadillos if they are encountered.
The setting for a many driven hunts involves large-acreage tracts of land with a pack of deer hounds that are under the control of a huntmaster and other drivers. However, it is becoming more common to go on a driven hunt where no dogs are deployed, instead horseback drivers ride through the woods whooping and hollering as they execute a plan to drive a certain block of woods. And of course a man drive for deer can actually be productive with only two drivers, but for covering any large acreage it is helpful to enlist ten standers or more.
To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.
To view past blog entries about Driven Hunts for Deer click on New Year's Day 2013 - 2012 - 2011
To view past blog entries about Driven Hunts for Deer click on Santee Delta - Middleton Hunt Club - Savannah River Site - Bang Bang Bang Bang