John's Journal...

Warm Weather Bowhunting for South Carolina’s Velvet Antlered Bucks

Day 2: How to Find Deer When the Weather Sizzles

Editor’s Note: Jeremy Seymour, originally from Louisville, Georgia, has lived in Greenville, South Carolina, for the last 20 years. He's a competitive shooter and hunter and is on the Mossy Oak and PSE Pro Staffs, works fulltime for the Greenville Fire Department and is a part-time bow technician and archery instructor at Saluda River Archery ( in Piedmont, South Carolina. South Carolina has one of the earliest deer seasons in the nation.

Click for Larger ViewDuring September, I like to hunt hardwoods surrounded by pine plantations, especially if those hardwoods have some oak component. Deer like to eat acorns as soon as they start falling, but they don’t carry a calendar that tells them what day the acorns should fall every year. So, in those hardwood bottoms, they’ll come through checking the acorn trees in August and September, when we first start hunting, hoping to find the first acorns that fall.

I also like to hunt over soft mast crops, since deer love persimmons and muscadines. In those low-lying places with cooler temperatures, the muscadines and persimmons will start falling earlier than they will in an area that’s hot and getting a lot of sun. Just like the deer check acorns to see if they are falling, they will be examining those persimmon trees and the muscadine vines to start feeding on those fruits as soon as they start falling.

Click for Larger ViewPrimarily, the deer will stay in thick cover most of the day where the air is cooler, and they have plenty of shade. In South Carolina, we don’t have saddles like the terrain out West provides, for instance a dip in a mountain range. The type of saddles I hunt will be low places in a little hill or perhaps a gradual slope going over the top of a hill. Even a drainage area coming out of a field can represent a saddle, since it’s a low place where deer can travel almost unseen and walk easily between different types of habitat. These low places are the travel corridors the deer use often - especially during hot weather.

Click for Larger ViewWhen I'm hunting a new property, I’ll start with a topo map to pinpoint the low places on a property. After I find the low places on the topo map, I’ll go to the land and scout them for deer sign. If I can find hardwoods close to pines, or if I can locate mixed pines and hardwoods to hunt, I like to put my tree stand in the pines. The pines give me more natural cover, so the deer aren’t as likely to see me. Many times, I can find an isolated persimmon tree or two or three isolated oak trees in a planted pine plantation. In the southern half of South Carolina, I often can locate patches of muscadines, even in pine plantations. If you identify an area like that, and you can identify a pine tree big enough to hold a tree stand, you'll have plenty of natural cover. Plus, you'll be watching a food source where you know the deer want to come and eat. So, this is an ideal place to put a tree stand.

Click for Larger ViewWhen I find patches of muscadines, especially before deer season, I’ll use 0-17-17 or 0-13-13 fertilizer to fertilize those muscadine patches. I've found that a perfect place for me to take hot-weather bucks still in the velvet is a muscadine patch or a persimmon tree close to a creek where the air is a little cooler. I believe that the deer want to be cool, just like we do. I don’t really think they want to be hot and panting, just like we don’t want to be hot and panting.

For more information on early season deer hunting in South Carolina, go to

To get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and print books on hunting deer, “How to Hunt and Take Big Buck Deer on Small Properties,” “How to Hunt Deer Up Close: With Bows, Rifles, Muzzleloaders and Crossbows,” “PhD Whitetails: How to Hunt and Take the Smartest Deer on Any Property,” “How to Take Monster Bucks,” “How to Hunt Deer Like a Pro,” and “Mossy Oak Pros Know Bucks and Bows,” or to prepare venison, “Deer & Fixings,” click here on each. Or, go to, type in the name of the book, and download it to your Kindle, and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: How to Follow a Deer’s Blood Trail and Use a Dog

Check back each day this week for more about Warm Weather Bowhunting for South Carolina’s Velvet Antlered Bucks

Day 1: Hunting Whitetails in Hot Weather
Day 2: How to Find Deer When the Weather Sizzles
Day 3: How to Follow a Deer’s Blood Trail and Use a Dog
Day 4: Great South Carolina Buck Deer
Day 5: Hunt Deer on Small Acreages

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Entry 838, Day 2