Ancient treasures and a walk in the woods

By DAN GEDDINGS
Posted 2/25/18

I stepped out of the truck and looked down at the ground. Something caught my eye. It was pink and had a very distinctive shape. It was a small arrowhead. "Woo hoo!" I exclaimed. My son Clayton looked up and waved. He knew what it meant.

We were …

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Ancient treasures and a walk in the woods

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I stepped out of the truck and looked down at the ground. Something caught my eye. It was pink and had a very distinctive shape. It was a small arrowhead. "Woo hoo!" I exclaimed. My son Clayton looked up and waved. He knew what it meant.

We were at our hunting club on the Edisto this past Saturday. The place is rich with artifacts. We've found arrowheads, pottery, scrapers, spear points and more. This was a scouting trip, but we usually work in a little time to look for ancient treasures.

We had already surveyed the club from the roads, looking for turkeys or turkey signs. We checked my game camera on the big cotton field but were disappointed to see there were no pictures. Apparently, I had forgotten to turn the camera to the on position when I set it out the week before.

A logging crew was clear-cutting a large section of pines near the club house and hauling the timber out on the Club House Road. I was worried that the road would be in poor shape because of the wet conditions and heavy truck traffic, but the road was holding up surprisingly well.

Cut-over areas are usually prepped with forestry equipment prior to setting out trees, but those disturbed areas are quick to re-establish new growth. That new growth will hide any exposed artifacts, but the roads are kept open, constantly disturbed, and are a good place to search - anytime.

The interior club roads are hard-packed sand and hold up very well to normal traffic - like pickup trucks. Clayton and I will walk the roads from time to time looking for things that are exposed by traffic and rain. In addition to artifacts, we've found railroad spikes, nails, chain links and bullets.

Sometimes we don't find anything, but it's always fun looking. On this trip, we picked up two arrowheads and a scraper.

Shortly after noon we were on the road to home. Sunday I rested, and I needed it.

Monday was a holiday, and I had plans to take a walk in the woods. I wanted to explore some nearby Wildlife Management Area land. The state of South Carolina has more than a million acres of land enrolled in the WMA program. Locally, there are WMA tracts in Clarendon, Lee and Sumter counties.

Monday morning was cloudy and cool. There was no wind, and I needed to burn a limb pile on my property in Clarendon, so I went there first. The limbs were dry and burned quickly, but I sat with the embers and ashes for a while. By mid-morning, I was on my way to the big woods.

My main objective was to walk some of the WMA property lines and to take a look at the lay of the land. I had scouted some of this property last year prior to the turkey season but only made one short midday hunt during the season.

The land is beautiful and has turkeys. I intend to do more hunts there this year, but I need to get familiar with the property. The property lines are marked with some signs and survey markers, but all the markings are old and not well maintained.

I do not want to stray onto any adjoining private property, so I always make it my business to learn the property lines before I hunt. Now is the best time to look. The winter woods are open, and snakes and bugs are not a problem.

I parked the truck and stepped out into a beautiful woodland of magnificent hardwoods and towering pines. It is one of my greatest joys to see a new place for the first time. I always yearn to see what is over the next hill, what lies beyond the next turn, and discover a piece of the world that has always been there but is new to me. I was not disappointed.

I walked slowly, unhurried, yet eager to see more. Turkeys are here. I noticed the scratchings in the leaf litter. Deer too. A wide trail was etched into the side of a hill. The soft dirt was marked by many tracks. The terrain is hilly, and there are not many roads in the area. I think there will not be many other hunters.

The solitude and beauty of the place will be enough for me. I hope to walk these woods many more times.

Reach Dan Geddings at cdgeddings@gmail.com.