Finding A South Carolina Public Land Buck Hub
State: South Carolina
Hunt: 22 Oct. 2022
Michael Wallace of the great state of South Carolina found some huge success recently! Keys for this hunt seem to be targeting diversity and aggressive terrain, Michael wrote:
First off let me say thank you guys so much for the top-notch content provided on this podcast! I have been listening to you guys for about 2 years or so now and really dedicated my time trying to get back into public land hunting.
I grew up hunting a very small 250-acre tract surrounded by hunting clubs until I was about 14-15 years old. There were a few nice bucks taken off the land but we ended up going the “club” route eventually. I had not set foot on public land since, until a few years ago a buddy asked to go hunting. At the time there were club restrictions for guests until late November*, so I said “well let’s go hunt this public land I grew up with.” We didn’t see a thing that day but the memories that grabbed me walking through that small 250-acre tract lit a fire under me!
*editors note: some hunting clubs have restrictions on what time of year guests were allowed to come hunt with members. In this case, guests weren't allowed until late in the season.
I was determined that I was gonna kill a big buck on public land. I started going to the public land on Saturdays and then running to my club on Sundays to hang cameras and load up all the knowledge I could on both tracts of land. It took its toll on me, and when November rolled around I was chasing bucks that seemed to be ghosts. I killed one deer last year. I had been listening to the podcast going to work and there were all these dudes killing amazing deer and it made me even more hungry! So I set out the last week of deer season here in SC and hung cameras on the public land I planned to hunt in 2022; applying the small amount of knowledge I heard on the podcast.
I walked and walked until I found these drainages. It was pretty steep terrain, steeper than any terrain I had encountered before while deer hunting. I go a few hundred yards and stumble on a very nice 8-point that was either shot or killed by a coyote. I told my dad that that was a sign I needed to hang a camera in there. So I hung a few cameras a couple of hundred yards away. I return the following week after the season goes out and I have a big 8 point on my cam at 4:15 in the afternoon. I knew then and there this was where I would start my scouting for the upcoming season. I decided I was focusing 100% on public land this year. I set out and started scouting the area from the previous year.
Every morning I listened to the show and particularly the 4 part series with Shane Parker, Paul Putera, and Michael Pike. I started going home and E- scouting using OnX, applying Topo and slope angle shading, looking for the lower and upper 1/3 steeper elevation. It brought me to a beautiful oak holler with 2-3 different transition zones from hard oak to tall pines and thickets you couldn’t crawl through. I found several scrapes and rubs along the ridges and drainages. I remembered in one show Shane Parker talking about mature bucks mostly checking scrapes at night time and that a lot of guys blow it hunting a scrape. I ended up finding a hub scrape 80-100 yards from the original ones I found.
I set cameras on the ridges and different elevations. I ended up getting 5 shooter bucks on camera almost every day for 2 weeks on 4 out of the 6 cameras I hung. After dialing in on a grid I thought the bucks were staying in, I started to apply wind direction and thermal hubs trying to get in to set up. I choose the hub scrape because there was a huge storm the day before from the hurricane that hit Florida. I had about a 40-yard window to punch an arrow through if one showed up. I got in 2 hrs before daylight and set up nice and quiet. I saw some does but not a lot of action. I was fixing to pack up when one of my shooters, “Blade”, showed up at 10:30.
He walked out 20 yards from me quartered with a perfect shot. I drew back and it was like a flash of lightning and he was gone; I didn’t even get to full draw. I got down and went to check my cameras at the scrape and sure enough, he had hit that scrape at 10:15. I return the following weekend and set up a little further back and he showed up again at 8:30 and caught my wind and was gone before I could click on my release. So now we are into rifle season and my buddy Aaron and I are checking cameras and I still have these bucks cruising through. I wanted to show Aaron where I got them on camera the very first time about 500-600 yards up another ridge. We are walking the ridge and we come upon two fresh beds, a scrape, and rubs.
We both knew this was the spot we needed to be in. I go back the following weekend and knock a deer off the bed coming in, I really considered leaving but something told me to stay. So I back out and I go about 60 yards up and walk straight in and sit down. I’m setting under a nice split white oak and there are acorn trees all around me. Daybreak comes and I’m looking down two very nice ridges that go into a transition down to a dry creek bottom, the wind is to my face and it’s about 55 degrees. It’s perfect for the spot I’m sitting. Around 7:30 I start hearing noises in the thicket to my left.
I can’t make it out but it sounded like a deer grunting softly. So I grunt one time faintly and it stops. It’s completely silent.
Then out of nowhere this buck comes running in with his head pinned to the ground flying up one ridge and down the other right in front of me! He is about 60 yards away quartered, locks up, and doubled back to go back from where he came. When he turned his head I knew it was “Blade”.
I shot and hit him quartered a little and he trotted off. After looking for blood we decided to back out for 2 hours and go back in. We were searching the whole ridge and only small amounts of blood showed up I was fearing the worst. About 30-45 minutes go by and I hear Aaron yell “He’s right here!” He ran about 200 yards and fell on the back of the ridge. When I pulled up OnX he was exactly in line with the deceased buck I found the previous year. On the way back to get my gear, directly across from where I was posted was a scrape with buck Urine in it from that morning.
It was an adventure, to say the least! I hope y’all keep bringing the content that has helped me and I’m sure serval others reach milestones in the hunting world! Thanks again and look forward to posting more big bucks in the future!
- Michael Wallace
It seems like Michael stumbled upon a gold mine on this parcel! He mentioned our 4 part series with Shane Parker and Paul Putera, where we focused heavily on buck hubs and scraping activity.
As we discussed in the series, Michael found a diverse area with steep terrain that was holding a lot of deer. Upon throwing some cameras out he found several bucks consistently using the area. This is just the kind of area Shane was talking about keying in on in our recent series. You can listen to the series here:
Click here to listen on Spotify
*note, these are the first episodes in a 4 part series. The episode numbers are 402, 404, 406 and 408
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