My wife and I applied for the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge gun hunt, and we drew Gun Hunt #2 which fell on Nov 1-3 2012. This made me a happy guy, since that is just before the rut here in Central NC. She has been hunting with me for the past two years, and last year I got her into a climber with her own rifle - a Savage Axis youth .243. Her and my son share this one, and both of them shoot it well.
Anyhow, for the first 1.5 days of the hunt, it was pretty crowded as PDNWR is only a couple of thousand acres, but 250 hunters are allowed to draw.
I had the help of two friends who have been hunting there for years. My son and I had participated in the youth hunt in Oct and we were swatting mosquitos all day. Fortunately, early November was perfect deer hunting weather, with daytime highs in the low 60s and morning temps hovering around 36 degrees.
The second day I shot a small button buck that I mistook for a doe and we got some lunch. The first day only a half-dozen deer had been checked into the station. We started to feel a little disappointed since by this time in the youth hunt, my son and I had managed to jump a small 6pt buck and a turkey.
So we started to explore the refuge on our own a bit. I noticed that every time I had scouted, nobody had bothered to show me the actual area down by the river. My wife and I took the long dirt road past some fields that the US Fish and Game people flood after the deer hunts are over with. They manage cropland for waterfowl which makes this hunt an excellent opportunity to score a nice NC deer. So we scouted a bit and I noticed an area that had food, water, thickets, and some pine trees and I KNEW that this is where I would want to live if I were a mature whitetail buck.
That morning I got her situated in a pine tree between thickets near the edge of the river, and I walked about 300 yards down and setup in some hardwoods. We sat there for a couple of hours, and we each saw some does meandering in the woods but no shot opportunity arose for either of us. Finally, my wife asked me via text message if I was ready to go get some early lunch and I told her 30 more minutes. I waited 20 minutes, and got down
and started to walk back to her stand. I hear a SHOT! and I knew it was her. She started texting me saying she saw nothing but antlers and a big body that was quartering away, and knew it to be a good buck 'an 8 or a 10' lol.
And so after waiting about 30 minutes, and walking 30 yards from the spot of where the deer jumped into the woods, this is what we found: