Because South Carolina's opening day of deer season happens so much earlier in the year than other states, it gives Palmetto State hunters a unique opportunity to kill a buck in full velvet. But hunters must overcome some negatives that keep many folks inside until the temperature begins to cool down.
For Lowcountry hunter Garrett Williamson, staying indoors isn't an option. He loves this time of year, and isn't going to let the heat keep him out of his deer hunting blind. But he urges hunters to be cautious, not just for the heat but also for what is often referred to as Mr. No Shoulders. And though he knows they are out there, he's not going to let a snake or two keep him out of the woods.
Just before opening day, while scouting near the area he would be hunting on Aug. 15, Williamson ran across a sizable rattlesnake. While he would normally let such a creature slither off on its own, he decided this one was a little too close for comfort, so he dispatched it, knowing he would be spending more time in the woods –– and often during the darkness of early morning or late evening.
"I had to kill a big rattlesnake the day before (opening day). I hate it, but man I spend a lot of time in the woods," he said.
He spent the evening of opening day in his ground blind but didn't get a shot at a buck as he'd hoped. As his hunt was ending, he stepped out of his ground blind to discover a copperhead right outside the door. He cut the snake's head off, not wanting to pull the trigger on his rifle and unnecessarily spook any deer in the area.
Williamson takes it in stride, accepting the snake sightings (and his trail camera photos of a bear) as just a part of the early deer hunting season in the Lowcountry. He'll still be in the woods, but he'll be keeping his eyes peeled too, which is something we should all do.