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How Now, Brown ... Buck?

Donald HortonBy Donald Horton

-- At 10 miles long and 3 miles wide, Sapelo is Georgia’s fourth largest island. It covers nearly 18,000 acres, and is also home to the Sapelo Island WMA. 

After being selected for a firearms quota hunt there, my friend, his son and I arrived on the island Wednesday evening, Nov. 30, 2005, after a ride on the state-run ferry. All equipment, food and supplies for the entire hunt must be carried and loaded on the ferry for the approximately 45-minute crossing to the primitive campsite.

After setting up camp, we attended the pre-hunt meeting where we picked our hunting locations. The following morning, we loaded on to one of the three farm wagons with the other hunters – 20 to 30 per wagon – for the 30-minute to one-hour ride to the hunting area. (The wagons return at 11:00 for the ride back to the camping area.)

The three of us were hunting in the WMA’s Keenan Field area. Due to our jobs, we were not able to arrive at the island early enough to do any scouting, so we were going in blind. Our plan was to wait for enough light to see before leaving the road at our drop-off sight.

At daybreak, we headed into the woods. Between the palmettos and underbrush, it was one of the thickest areas I have ever seen. After a few minutes, I found a piney area relatively clear of underbrush and decided to hunt there.

Within 15 minutes of settling in, four small does and a nice 8-point buck appeared. I took the buck with one shot.

While waiting at my stand and watching the fallen deer, I heard something coming in from upwind, making a lot of noise in the brush and palmettos. It was four wild cows, which are protected on the island. One of the cows walked to the dead deer and sniffed the bullet hole. She then spooked, ran a few feet, and then all four cows disappeared back in the tangle of underbrush.

After another 20 or 30 minutes, my friend and his son, having heard my shot, came over and helped me drag the deer back to the road.

-- Donald Horton

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