Just because the southern part of the state has an August 15 opening date for deer season and a very liberal bag limit, hunting in southern South Carolina is not easy. During the early season, the air temperature is almost hot enough to boil eggs in a puddle. Temperatures usually will range between 80 and 100 degrees plus. However, due to the high humidity in that section of the state, the temperature feels like it’s over 100 degrees.
I'm often asked, “When you’re hunting in 80-100 plus degree weather, how do you manage your human odor, so the deer don’t smell you?” I believe that most of the cover scents that help to cover-up or reduce human odor probably work, but I've formulated my own cover scent that works well for me. I go to a drugstore and get a 4-6 ounce bottle of medical grade turpentine and mix six parts water to one part turpentine. I spray my clothes and myself with that diluted turpentine, because in South Carolina we have a lot of pine trees. If I smell like a pine tree, I believe I won’t alarm the deer.
I also wash my clothes and bathe in scent-free soap. When I take my clothes out of the dryer, I put them in a ScentLok bag. I keep a piece of carpet in my truck. When I drive to the place I'm going to start hunting, I’ll put the carpet down on the ground, take off all my clothes and put them in a pile. Then I get my scent-free clothes from my ScentLok bag, put them on and spray down with that diluted turpentine. Then I'm ready to go to the woods. I carry a bottle of diluted turpentine with me, so I can spray down in the stand as the weather gets hot.
Another thing I do that I've discovered that works pretty well is that if I walk by a cedar tree on the way to my stand, I’ll cut a small limb off the cedar tree and carry it with me. I’ll rub that cedar branch and the greenery on it on my gloves and the sweaty parts of my body, like under my arms, under my knees, around my crotch and on the outside of my hat. Then I'm giving off a cedar smell and a pine smell.
The biggest buck I've ever taken here in South Carolina came from Laurens County. A friend of mine owns 740 acres there, and he had given me permission to hunt on that land. This was a rifle hunt, after I’d been hunting my friend’s property for many years. Since this landowner friend of mine was managing his property for trophy deer, every day I’d go down and take a doe or two off his property. But he also told me, that if I saw a good buck to go ahead and take him.
I had a river behind my stand and heard a deer jump into the river and start to swim it. When the buck came out of the river, he went through a woodlot and popped out in front of my stand at about 45 yards, and I took him. Once I got out of my stand and went to him, I saw that he was a really big-bodied deer, weighing 185 pounds and scoring 120 inches. I know that trophy hunters don’t consider a 120-inch buck a trophy, but in South Carolina, that’s a really good buck. I took the buck by the landowner to show it to him, and he was excited I’d taken that buck off his property.