The cool mornings, warm days of fall

PHOTO PROVIDED"Little Richard" stands beside his six-point buck taken on a recent Lowcountry hunt.
"Little Richard" stands beside his six-point buck taken on a recent Lowcountry hunt.

There was some standing water, but I was surprised that the road was in such good condition. The Lowcountry had experienced heavy rains from the recent hurricane, and based on past experience, I expected New Road to be flooded.

At the highway I had stopped to open the gate and put the truck in four-wheel drive. Larry Robinson was the first stander. I could see water in the ruts just ahead. I had a truck load of standers and would need to be extra careful.

I eased along and stopped at the assigned stands, dropping off the eager hunters. I would take the last stand on this road, then make the return trip to pick up the standers when the hunt was ended.

"Little Richard" had drawn stand No. 10, and told me before we left the club house that he had missed a nice buck there last year. He vowed that he would not miss one this time. I just smiled and nodded.

The road was dry and surprisingly firm after that first stretch of standing water. At stand No. 10, I wished Richard and his lady friend good luck. The road ended just ahead at a junction with Cat Head Road.

I turned the truck around at the end of the road and stepped out. It was pleasantly cool. I could hear another truck coming. It was a dog driver with a box full of anxious hounds. Two other trucks loaded with hounds followed. They turned left at the junction on to Liston Pasture Road. I could hear water splashing and engines revving as they traveled the old logging trail.

There were no mosquitoes, but the air was full of tiny black lovebugs. They do not bite, but are so numerous that they are somewhat of a nuisance. It is their mating season and they will fly around for hours coupled together. I wondered if their flight was widespread and if other hunters would notice them.

Soon there were hounds and drivers sounding off in the distance. I forgot about the bugs and turned my attention back to the business at hand. There were deer tracks and hog tracks in the hard packed sand of the road. I also noticed a coyote track.

Over toward the Horseshoe, I could hear a big pack of hounds running. A shot sounded, then another. The hounds went on. I got a text from my son Clayton. Mister Charlie had killed a big black hog on the stand next to him. The dogs went on running another hog.

Now there was a pack of hounds opening in the piney woods between New Road and Liston Pasture. A couple of dogs came racing down the road and stopped near me to listen to the pack. Their ears perked and noses twitched, their legs trembled. They turned from the road and plunged into the brush to join the pack.

Something was up and running, and the hounds were in pursuit! The chase faded into the distance, and soon the big woods were quiet.

I got my little folding stool out of the truck and sat down in a shady spot. It was much warmer now. After a while my eyelids got heavy, and I started to nod off. A shot down the road startled me, then another. I didn't hear any dogs. The shots were from one of the standers on New Road. Then another shot boomed out from farther down the road. Something was happening.

It got quiet again, and soon a horn sounded ending the hunt. I got up, unloaded my gun, and put my stool back in the truck. Time to go get the standers.

As I drove up to stand No. 10, I could see Richard and his lady standing over a nice buck. I congratulated him and helped him load the deer onto the tailgate of my truck. He told us that the first shot had knocked the buck down, and the second shot finished him. He was quite proud.

When we got back to the highway, we found out that the single shot was fired by Mister Larry. He had taken a shot at a doe and missed. He did have a good excuse ready, though. It seems that the dogs were very close behind the deer, and dogs and deer came into the road at the same time. He had to wait until the doe turned from the road back into the woods to shoot - to avoid hitting the dogs.

Back at the clubhouse, we unloaded Richard's buck and pulled out of the way so that the next truck could unload Charlie's hog. It had been a good hunt, but it was getting warm and dinner was cooking. I think a nap was calling too!