Dawson Evans kills big 7-point NC buck

Dawson Evans killed a nice 7-point, wide-racked buck on Nov. 5, 2023 in Franklin County, NC. It was a buck he had been watching for some time. And the hunt was over in just a matter of minutes.

“God aligned the stars yesterday evening. At 2:15 p.m., I sat down in the stand. At 2:19, I took the shot,” said Evans.

But his pursuit of this deer lasted much longer than that day’s hunt.

“We have been watching him since early September,” he said.

Evans was so familiar with the buck that he even had a nickname for the animal. He called the deer “Empire.”

And while many hunters may not consider a 7-pointer anything to get excited about, this one was special.

“Empire was a big-rack 7-pointer, around 20 inches wide,” he said. “He was top 3 on the hit list.”

The deer started off playing hide-and-seek from Evans.

“He stepped out in broad daylight. Then he stepped behind a tree and laid down around 40 yards. I grunted a few times, and he got back up and started walking. Once I stopped him, it was game over,” he said.

It’s the biggest buck Evans has killed so far, and he said it’s a hunt he’ll never forget.

“The best deer hunt of my lifetime. Beyond blessed to take the biggest buck of my life so far,” he said.

Click here to follow along on more of Dawson Evans’ outdoor pursuits.

NC hunter’s first buck is a Nash County doozy

Youth hunter Eli Tucker killed his first ever buck on Nov. 2, 2023 in Nash County, NC, and it was a doozy. The buck had a wide rack, with thick antlers.

The young hunter’s dad summed up the feeling of seeing his son harvest such a fine animal.

“Words can’t explain how proud I am. Eli has hunted hard since the beginning of the season. This buck finally daylighted on Halloween, so we knew we had to get on him quick. Eli made a great shot, and he expired at 60 yards. Congrats son! That’s a great first buck!” said Travis Tucker.

NC hunter kills Moore County monster

Hunting in Moore County, NC on Nov. 11, 2023, Dalton Wilson of Cameron killed a monster buck. The deer had a wide rack with heavy mass, and Wilson said killing it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Here’s Wilson’s story of the hunt from his Facebook post:

“First and foremost, I wanna give all the glory to the man upstairs, and there’s two special woman that gained their angel wings this year that are close to my heart, and I’m for sure they had a hand on each shoulder this evening. A once in a lifetime moment, I will forever cherish!”

“A lot of people thought this deer would ruin friendships, but I think it actually brought us closer with everything going on today. It was truly a blessing and a day that will be in our memories forever.

A huge shout out to Dallas Marsh, Justice Ledford, Michael Greene and Barry, for all the help, means the world.

This one’s for you Hazel Nall and Patricia Strider, heavens got some beautiful angels.”

6-year-old kills giant cull buck

The giant buck was 5 1/2-years old

CT Hallman, 6-years-old, killed a giant 6-point buck that weighed 195 pounds at The Territories in Newberry County, SC on Oct. 18, 2023.

The deer has been aged at 5 1/2-years-old, and he was quite the roamer according to Hallman’s dad, Thomas Hallman.

“The deer was a roamer. Of the 2500 acres we manage here at The Territories, this buck used most of it. My son CT put an end to a 6-week cat-and-mouse game that had no rhyme or reason,” said Hallman.

After seeing the buck show up at a small food plot that was set up in hopes of attracting a doe for the young hunter to shoot, Hallman picked up his son from school and went directly to the stand overlooking that very food plot.

The buck showed up again, and CT shot it with a .243

NCWRC confirms CWD in Johnston County

The following is a press release from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission from Oct. 13, 2023:

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) confirms a 3 1/2-year-old female white-tailed deer harvested in Johnston County has tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). The deer was hunter-harvested during archery season and represents the first detection of the disease in Johnston County since the state’s first recorded case of CWD in March 2022.

CWD is highly transmissible to other deer. It spreads through infected saliva, urine and feces of live deer and the movement of deer carcasses and carcass parts. During early stages of infection, deer may appear healthy, therefore, NCWRC stresses to hunters the importance of taking precautions when transporting or disposing of deer carcasses as this may lead to moving CWD to new locations.

Importance of testing

NCWRC’s Wildlife Management Division Chief, Brad Howard, said, although a new detection in yet another county is disappointing, it illustrates that efforts to determine the extent of the disease in North Carolina are working, including the cooperation from hunters who have submitted samples for testing of the disease.

“Now more than ever we need the cooperation of sportsmen and sportswomen. We need to continue to test as many hunter-harvested deer as possible to determine the distribution of CWD in our state and how many deer are infected,” said Howard. “It is also essential that we understand how important it is to safely dispose of deer carcasses. Deer hunters must be vigilant and mindful of carcass disposal. The last thing we want to do is inadvertently move it to a new location. We continue to stress to “don’t give it a ride.”

Howard confirmed that the current Surveillance Areas in the northwest and southeast portions of the state will remain unchanged.

“Johnston County will become a primary county. However, the realities of establishing rules and ensuring hunters are aware of the changes during an open hunting season are challenging, and so the rules will not change for this season for Johnston County,” said Howard. Hunters should still be mindful of this new confirmed detection and follow NCWRC’s carcass transportation and disposal guidelines to prevent the potential spread of the disease to other locations. NCWRC also recommends hunters submit deer harvested in Johnston and surrounding counties for testing. Hunters can use NCWRC’s interactive map for information on testing locations. Additional locations will be added to the map throughout the hunting season.

Proper disposal methods

NCWRC recommends that whole deer carcasses and high-risk carcass parts remain in Johnston County or be taken to a processor or taxidermist participating in the NCWRC’s Cervid Health Cooperator Program in an adjacent county for proper carcass disposal and test submission.

Hunters should follow one of the following disposal methods if not taken to a Cervid Health Cooperator:

– Bury the deer remains where you harvest the animal when possible.

– Double bag deer remains for disposal at the closest landfill.

– Leave the deer remains on the ground where the animal was harvested.

– Low-risk carcass parts, including boned-out meat, caped hides, antlers and cleaned skulls, cleaned jawbones and teeth, and finished taxidermy products are safe for transportation to areas outside of Johnston County.

To learn more about CWD and NCWRC’s response, visit ncwildlife.org/CWD.

Upstate hunter kills opening day buck

Brandon Pennington of Gaffney, SC got a quick start to South Carolina’s 2023 deer hunting season on opening day of gun season in Game Zone 2. And in a world of AR-15s, 6.5 Creedmoors and beanfield rifles, Pennington killed his first deer of the season with a single shot 12-gauge shotgun.

“Got in the stand late this afternoon and wasn’t even planning on hunting. Was sitting there less than 10 minutes and here he came out of the cutover to the edge of the creek. The good Lord blessed me again on opening day,” he said.

“The old single shot 12-gauge never lets me down.”

Kayaker found dead on Lake Jocassee

A kayaker who went missing this past weekend was found dead on Oct. 9 and has been identified as 23-year-old Joshua Morales of Auburn, GA.

Oconee County (SC) Coroner Karl Addis said the death was a result of accidental drowning. SCDNR divers found Morales’ body in about 46 feet of water at around 1:15 p.m. on Oct. 9.

Morales, along with a female companion and a dog, were kayaking on Lake Jocassee on Oct. 7, heading to a remote camping spot, when a wind storm caused both kayaks to capsize. The female and the dog were both rescued shortly after and treated for hypothermia.

Rescuers found belongings of Morales during the initial search, but they found no trace of him until Monday.

Kayaker missing on Lake Jocassee

According to Oconee County (SC) Emergency Services, a kayaker that went missing on Oct. 7, 2023 is still unaccounted for as of Oct. 9. The man was kayaking to a remote camping spot with a female companion when both of their kayaks were overtaken by waves and capsized on Lake Jocassee.

The female kayaker was found and hospitalized for hypothermia shortly after the mishap. She is expected to make a full recovery. According to SCDNR officials, neither of the kayakers were wearing life jackets.

Rescue crews have used sonar technology to search for the man, and have found some of his belongings. But he is still missing.

Lake Jocassee is a popular lake, located in South Carolina’s upstate region. It is known as a lake that can turn from calm to rough without warning.

Click here for an update to this story.

SC landowner kills hunting dog, threatens to kill more

On Sept. 23, 2023, William Gray of Sumter, SC said he was hunting on his property when he shot and killed a neighbor’s hunting dog that was wearing a tracking color and tags. Then he posted the following on his Facebook page:

So, whose dog was it? It was Garrett Williamson’s dog AnaBelle. Williamson said when the SCDNR Game Warden showed up, he seemed sympathetic to Gray. Williamson also seems to have some history with this particular Game Warden.

“He (the Game Warden) has voiced his distaste about dog hunting and houndsmen for years now,” said Williamson.

Here is the Williamson’s side of the story, just as he posted it on Facebook:

Hunting with dogs is somewhat controversial, with landowners calling for their property to be respected, and dog hunters often stating that they can’t control where their dogs run. Either way you look at it, in the state of South Carolina, killing a hunting dog, even when it’s on your property, is illegal. And removing the collar of a hunting dog is illegal as well.

Let’s take a look at exactly what South Carolina law says concerning hunting dogs:

We’re not lawyers, but from what we see reading these laws, Gray should have been charged more than $125, and should spend a minimum of 30 days in jail as well.

What do you think should happen in this case?