Jonathan Linens of Ringgold, Virginia lives within a stone’s throw of the North Carolina/Virginia State line. Before his Virginia season commences on October 3rd, he torments the North Carolina herd on every chance he gets as the archery season begins. And opening morning on his lease in Caswell County, the stars were aligned just right to bring a huge 140-class buck right into his kill zone. But, a bachelor group of juvenile bucks on his stand almost spoiled the party.
A visit to Person County on Sept. 14 turned into a once-in-a-lifetime road trip for Carla Inman of Canton, who killed a whopping 175-inch non-typical buck from a ground blind, then arrowed an 8-pointer in full velvet 20 minutes later.
A potential Pope and Young on opening day is about the best birthday surprise that any diehard hunter could yearn for. And during the first hour of daylight on the opening morning of the North Carolina 2016 Archery Season, Lawrence Green of Wake Forest was in the right place at the right time when a massive 141-inch eight pointer stepped out of the woods and right into Green’s lethal territory just two weeks after his 21st birthday.
Labor Day arrives this month, along with the onset of the first major wing-shooting opportunity, dove hunting. Dove season brings out anybody and almost everybody with a shotgun. The first major wave of doves arrives just in time for the thousands of acres of cut corn and tons of standing sunflowers planted in their name. The level of excitement may not rival the killing of a trophy buck, but the opportunity to shoot at winged targets dancing in the wind is on the annual bucket list for just about every hunter out there.
Dove season begins this month across the south, and the first few days — if not opening day — are the best times to take a limit. So does it work out that way? Is it the timing of the migration, the amount of birds available, or what?
A good dove shoot is a great way to introduce youngsters to hunting. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources provides a perfect venue where conditions and bird counts are generally good to excellent depending on the weather, for the exclusive first-day use of parents with children. Youngsters can absorb the experience by watching their father or mother shoot, eating snacks, drinking soda and running out making retrieves. Older kids can shoot at a few birds themselves. Accompanying adults may shoot during the hunt, just not while their youth is shooting.
Every now and then, hunters get stuck in a predicament close to the opening of deers season when their opportunity to hunt a property vanishes. It’s tough to shoot a wallhanger without having a tract of land to hunt. While there are several million acres of public-hunting opportunities across the Carolinas, access to a private tract of land gives hunters more control over their hunting missions. But what types of properties make for a good hunting lease this late in the game?
Aren’t hunters forced to lease massive tracts of land to get access to mature bucks? Not necessarily. While some hunters believe it is critical to secure large 1,000-acre tracts, Kelly Sutton of Morrisville takes a mature buck every year from one of his small 15-acre leases with barely enough real estate available to erect a single stand. And on the opening day of North Carolina’s 2016 archery season, Sutton followed through by bagging and tagging a huge 10 pointer minutes before dark on his Wake County lease.
Mandy Broadway of Greenville, S.C. finally drew an alligator tag on her third try, and she was determined to make good on it. So determined, that after hunting all day unsuccessfully on Saturday, Sept. 10, she decided to go the next day too. It paid off for her in the form of an 11-foot, 4-inch long gator from Santee near Elliot’s Landing.
While many gunners anticipate the first weekend in September every year to bag a 12-bird dove limit, hunters looking for a more challenging opponent look to the second weekend of the month, which begins the South Carolina 2016 alligator season. Every swamp, river, and lake becomes open hunting grounds for oversized reptiles where the tables can turn and hunters are no longer at the top of the food chain.