Deer season has arrived

By John Garner
Special to The Courier

Finally! Nine months has passed us by and once again, deer season has arrived. The smells of fall, college football, the leaves on the trees changing colors from green to a beautiful orange and red are what outdoorsmen live for. Life doesn’t get any better than that!

Whitetail hunting is in your soul and is undeniable to thousands of hunters in this area. Of course, once again, and as usual, many outdoorsmen waited until the last minute to get ready and all of a sudden realize the season is here. I decided this year that I would write an article on how to scout for that very elusive whitetail without ruining your chances for that big buck.

Every year I have many sportsmen say the same things to me, and the one thing I hear the most is ” I never see any big bucks.” The reason a lot of hunters never see the big bucks is because they turned the big bucks nocturnal long before the season ever started when they were scouting. When you scout for deer, every precaution that you take while you are actually hunting should also be taken when you are scouting. Don’t wear any scent, cologne, or perfumes when you are scouting. Don’t touch anything you don’t need to touch, and try your very best not to spook anything. Also, do your scouting between noon and 2 p.m. when the deer are most likely bedded. The most important thing though is this — get ALL the information you need in one trip. Don’t go into your hunting area over and over again, as you are just educating the deer and turning any big buck you might have had nocturnal.


Special to The Courier
The reason many hunters never see the big bucks is because they turned the animals nocturnal before the season ever started when they were scouting, according to John Garner.

Since we are very close to the season, a good method I use once the season begins is to walk down a creek with a 5-gallon bucket long before daylight. Everywhere you think deer are crossing, scoop up a bucket of water and throw it onto the bank where the deer are crossing and let all the debris wash back into the creek. Keep walking as far as you can and repeat this process on every crossing you see. Once you have gone as far as possible (hopefully half a mile or so), then you might as well sit on your bucket and hunt. Around noon, get up and go back up the creek. Anywhere you see fresh tracks is probably a good morning stand and a good place to set up a stand to start hunting. This is one way you can scout without spooking the deer. It is also a good way to watch and observe whitetails so that you can put in more stands as the season progresses.

Finally, let me say that the biggest reason that a lot of hunters don’t see the big bucks is because they shoot the first thing they see. You will see bigger and better bucks only when you start letting the little ones walk. If you want better bucks, then raise your own standards, improve your skills and do your homework. Practice makes perfect. Deer season does not start in September for the true deer hunter. The true deer hunter starts getting ready for deer season Jan. 1, when the season ends. It is a 365-day-a-year job. If you want to be truly good at a sport you truly love, then dedicate yourself and you will have tremendous results.

John Garner is the owner of Garner’s Firearms and Archery at 701 W. Main St. in Easley. He can be reached at (864) 859-3500 or