Bullock County Hunting

Location: Union Springs, AL
Dates: November 23–25, 2002
Hunters: Jeff Smith, Ronnie Conerly, Sandy Barnett and Booger


I was invited to hunt with Ronnie at his hunting club for the opening weekend of gun season.  The club has outstanding hunting and I was very excited about the trip.  Ronnie and I had not been to the club in a few years and I couldn’t wait to get back.  For many years, we hunted the club twice a year and videoed for a treestand company.  Over the years, we got several deer on tape being harvested with a bow.  The club has 5,600 acres with only a few members. It’s surrounded by thousands of acres of Pay-per-Day hunting.  The entire area is extensively managed for trophy bucks.  I could harvest quite a few does, but was not going to shoot a buck unless he was really big … like a 160 B&C class buck.  I saw a ton of deer during the trip, over a hundred, and several nice bucks.  I probably saw over twenty racked bucks in three days of hunting!  I saw four bucks over 120 B&C and never took the safety off.  It was a great hunting trip and can’t wait for the chance to go again.

You may wonder, "Why didn't he shoot any of these bucks?".  Well it's like this, Ronnie only gets one guest buck per year.  If I shoot a buck, for the rest of the season, any guest he carries to the club wouldn't be able to shoot a buck.  I was only going to shoot a buck if it was a monster.  Was it hard not to shoot one? No.  I never really considered shooting one - would I like to shoot one? Sure I would, but they have rules in place and we follow them.  

I hunted food plots in the morning which is normally not good hunting and I didn't see near as many deer as I would've had I hunted in the woods.  By hunting food plots, I could watch the deer for an extended period of time and make sure, if I shot one, it was a doe and not a small buck.  I didn't want to make a mistake and get Ronnie in trouble.

I took almost 3 rolls of pictures and some video.  I'll post some the pictures below.

With most of these bucks, I don't know how many points they have - I'll refer to them as an 8-point, 6-point, etc... just for reference.  People amaze me at how they can count points.  If a deer is around for 30 minutes and I can look at him with my Zeiss binoculars ... most of the time I can determine the number of points.  Some people see a buck running across a field at 300 yards and come back to say, "Man, I saw a huge 12-point with a big drop tine."  I don't know how they do it J

Just for the record, Booger is Ronnie’s Russell Terrier puppy – he’s training Booger to track wounded deer.  Booger is cool and a chick magnet … especially blondes in a black mustang in the Montgomery area J


Arrival:

Ronnie picked me up around 7:00pm on Friday night and we headed South.  Due to a huge wreck on the interstate just north of Montgomery, we arrived at the club around 11:00pm.  We meet Sandy at the mobile home and he filled us in on the deer movement he’d seen over the last few days.  After some typical hunting lies and discussion over where to hunt the next morning, we turned in a little after midnight.

The mobile home is owned by a couple members of the club and is only a few hundred yards from the gate to the hunting club.  The Enon Plantation borders the club and we were staying adjacent to the Enon lodge.


Day 1 – Morning:

Temp – 30 degrees

We signed out an area that has a long road that’s planted with rye grass, wheat and oats.  The road is around 20 steps wide and has some small plots in it. The road has a pine thicket on one side and hardwood scrub on the other.  I hunted in a Hanging Stand in a good crossing area with a small food plot a hundred yards away.  Several bucks came out and feed at the plot.  I saw a nice 8-point come out on the plot and eat for 30 minutes.  I had the green light to shoot all the does I wanted, a doe and fawn came out behind me and feed on some acorns for a while.  I felt the fawn was to little to wean and opted to pass on the doe.  A little later, another single doe came through but was going to fast for me to be certain it was a doe until it was to late.  All total, I saw approximately 15 deer with most of them being bucks.  The largest was an 8 point around 15” wide with good mass and height.  Ronnie and Sandy harvested a doe that morning.

We drove back to the camp, cleaned the deer and ate eggs, polish sausage and biscuits.

Day 1 – Evening:

Temp – 55 degrees

We headed out at noon for the hunt.  I planned to hunt a food plot – Ronnie, Sandy and Booger hunted together in a shooting house to video.  When I arrived at the plot at 12:45, I counted 19 deer on the plot.  I didn’t see any racked bucks, but it was hard to tell with that many deer on it.  They spooked as I tried to sneak up to the edge of the field.  All afternoon, deer came out into the field.  All total I saw 37 deer that afternoon and didn’t hunt until dark.  I saw at least a dozen bucks and some nice racks.  I shot a doe at 2:30 and had 6 deer on the field at the time.  Several basket 6-points came out on the field and feed.  Sometimes they would butt heads and push a little.  Around 3:30, one of the 6-points started staring at the woods beside the shooting house and I heard deer coming.  A nice 8-point walked out and the little 6 point took off like he was on fire.  The 8-point was around 16” wide and 160 lbs. with good mass but short points.  Not a shooter.  He had another deer with him than was a man!  He was a 200-pounder but had a bad rack.  It looked like someone had beat his antlers with a hammer when they started to grow.  These two bucks didn’t stay around long and headed for the woods.  I managed to get one picture of them.  Around 4:15, I had several deer in the field and another nice 8-point came out.  They all started watching the lower side of the plot and finally ran off.  A coyote walked out in the far corner of the plot.  I was told to shoot all the coyote and hogs I saw – I shot the coyote and he hit the ground.  I came out of the house and loaded up the doe.  It was 4:30pm and I’d already seen 37 deer with the best 45 minutes of hunting remaining.  I called Ronnie on the radio and they had shot 3 does and were coming over to meet me.  They had Booger with them, Ronnie’s puppy.

The doe I shot was around 70 yards and the coyote 120 yards looking straight at me. 

That night, we grilled out pork chops and burgers.  Eddie Lore came in from New York to hunt a few days.  He had just finished a hunt in the Catskills – he harvested a 6-point and 8-point on that trip.  He harvested a 148 B&C buck at the club last year.  He’s like 70 something years old and can tell some interesting stories. 


Day 2 – Morning:

Temp – 38 degrees

I elected to hunt a food plot and only saw a few deer.  Right after daylight, a doe came across the field - around 9:30 a doe and fawn came out into the field.  I saw quite a few turkeys feeding in the field.  We saw several deer on the 4-wheeler ride back.

Day 2 – Evening:

Temp – 50 degrees

Ronnie and I decided to hunt together on a shooting platform at a food plot.  When we arrived at the plot, there were 6 deer on it.  We setup on the platform and saw deer all afternoon.  We saw somewhere around 20 deer and several really nice bucks.  At one point, all the deer started looking at one corner of the plot.  I was watching the same point with my binoculars, this big shooter buck came out in the edge of the plot.  He was a dandy!  He was around 170 yards away and walked behind a clump of trees in the plot.  Ronnie was standing up and got down ready to shoot.  The deer stayed behind the clump of trees for a minute or so and another nice buck came out of the woods and approached this deer.  I couldn’t see what was said, but that first buck headed out of there and we never saw him again.  The second buck came out in the field and we looked him over for 30 minutes or so.  Ronnie decided not to shoot him.  He got spooked and ran out of the field.  About 45 minutes later, another nice buck came in the field and we looked him over for a long time.  We both guessed him at 125 B&C – Ronnie decided to shoot him.  He made an excellent shot – broke both front shoulders – the buck never made it out of the plot.  I got some good pictures before and after the shot.  We loaded him up and headed back to camp.  He weighed 200 lbs. on the scale – a hoss of a deer!  Ronnie shot 4 deer on the trip and they were all textbook shots. 

We went over to Dr. Boring’s camp that night and set around telling lies until 10:00 – typical hunting camp stuff.


Day 3 – Morning:

Temp – 39 degrees

I hunted a food plot and saw quite a few deer and 19 turkeys.  All morning deer would come out and I decided to shoot a doe – they were all bucks.  Buck after buck came out and finally at 10:00, I started to leave.  Just as I got out of the shooting house, I saw a deer in the woods at the lower end of the plot.  I got down in the field and used my coveralls and fanny pack as a rest in the prone position.  I expected the deer to be a buck.  It feed along over this ridge in the plot and finally it raised its head to look around.  It was a doe.  All I could see was its spine and head when it looked around.  The ridge was covering its body.  I was debating on whether to shoot it in the head or not.  It finally looked right at me and I could tell it knew something was wrong.  I decided it was now or never, as Elvis would say, and shot the deer right between the eyes at 120 yards.  It was a mess to load on the 4-wheeler but didn’t ruin any meat.

Day 3 – Evening:

Temp – 65 degrees

We only hunted a short time and headed back to the camp to head home.  I saw a few deer on the plot when I arrived.  They were coming around to put fertilizer on all the plots and I could hear the spreader in the distance.  We decided to head on early in the afternoon to get a jump on the long drive home.


Departure:

By leaving early, I got home around 8:30pm.  The trip home was uneventful - Booger slept most of the way after loading up on fries from McDonald's.  It was a great trip - some of my most memorable hunting days have been spent on that property over the years - I hope to head back to the place they call "Indian Mound" someday.


Pictures

Day 2 – Evening: Ronnie, Booger and a nice 8-pointer

Day 2 – Evening: Ronnie after the shot

Day 2 – Evening: I'm 6'5" - the deer has his nose touching the ground and is quite a bit longer than I am tall.

Day 2 – Evening: Ronnie's deer before the shot 

Day 1 – Morning: Ronnie and Sandy with a couple of does the first morning

Day 3 – Morning: They put these wire baskets in most of the fields - the wire keeps the deer out and they can determine the amount of grass the deer has grazed - notice around the basket the grass is gone - this picture was taken in November

Day 2 – Evening: A nice 8-point and a little buck

Day 2 – Evening: A couple of small bucks

Day 2 – Morning: An early morning doe

Day 1 – Evening: Small buck

Day 1 – Evening: Basket 6 or 8

Day 1 – Evening: Little 6-point

Day 1 – Morning: It's hard to see - that's a nice 8-point in the background - 15" wide with good height

Day 1 – Evening: This was a huge 6-point - I had the camera set on a slow shutter speed and just as I was about to take the picture he took off after a small buck - the movement made the picture fuzzy

Day 1 – Evening: This was one of the four mature bucks I saw - I don't know how many points he had - he was around the 200-pound range and was only out for a minute or so - I just snapped a quick shot with the camera before he disappeared in the pines

Day 1 – Evening: This is a nice young buck - probably 2.5 or 3.5 years old - 160 to 170 pound range - I watched him for 30 minutes or so feed and chase any buck that got close to him - he had an aggressive attitude

Day 1 – Morning: One of my favorite pictures

Day 1 – Morning: Fawn

Day 3 – Morning: I saw 19 turkeys in this field one morning


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