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The trails at White Oak

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The trails at White Oak

My buddy Addis -- the big lug.

It comes winding through the pines and tangled mass of vines and undergrowth. If he is to come from there, he will have to take that trail. If he does, I will take the shot. It is 86-yards. My range finder said so. I always expect them to come from behind me.

On the other end and on both sides, the Greenfield melds with the clearcuts.  It is like a pie with a slice cut out of the middle. Pines at one end, clearcut in the middle and both sides. The trails come from all directions. The trails show heavy use. There are many trails.

There is never a guarantee in deer hunting.

One trail is 356 miles long. I take it often . . . or use to. From my driveway to the front gate at White Oak is 356 miles and I have traveled it many times.

White Oak is like a second home to me. When I was sick, I went there to heal. Once a flourishing commercial hunting and fishing operation, it has shrunk in acreage and lakes. Still, White Oak offers some of the finest deer hunting and just general amenities in the South.

However, the weather forecast is not good. Rain and wind.

The lodge is full of Pitmans. It is their family Christmas gathering. I don’t know how many various children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews are there.

Robert, at 78 is the oldest. Two-year old Sophia the youngest. They range all in between and almost all of them hunt . . . or will as soon as they can safely handle a rifle.

It seems to me the bucks have gotten bigger. I have been coming here for over 25-years. I have a perspective and they look as though the antlers are larger. If the right one steps out, I’ll try to find out. I am still groggy from the sumptuous lunch and I struggle to stay alert in the shooting house.    

A doe and fawn step out. I range her at 245 yards. I have made that shot before and I have a good rest.

First, I take a few pictures. Then it is time. I shoot and she calmly looks up. What??? I shoot again and she walks back into the clearcut. I really can shoot better than that. That is it for me for the day. I suspect a problem with my rifle-gun. I smell the rain coming.

The next day it rains. I spent four hours in a stand and got wet. It was raining when I got down. It was raining when I reached the lodge. It rains over five inches.

I spend a lot of time resting, eating and visiting with various Pitmans. During a break in the rain, Joe Pitman takes my rifle to the range. It was not even on the paper at 100-yards. He corrects that for me. No wonder the doe was not alarmed.

I skip the morning hunt. It is still drizzly and I elect to nap instead. The afternoon will be my last afternoon hunt. The sky is clearing. I do not quite get to the stand. Doe and fawn standing in the greenfield.

It is the longest totally offhand shot I have made in years. It is 110-yards and I make a perfect shot

I have the deer meat I promised Jim Wilson. That is my sixth deer for the year. That is enough. I see a spike and a big doe just at dark and heard a lot of shots. Joe Pitman killed a fine, representative eight-point and three hogs.
    
He was hunting the same stand I hunted the first afternoon. The fine buck took the trail from one clearcut to another, just as I had expected one to do. That is hunting.
    
That was the White Oak trail for this year. I’ll go back for some spring fishing.
    
There is a chance we can get permission to fish the two lakes that were sold a few years ago.
    
The ones that hold so many 13-pound and up bass. Big Daddy loves those lakes. I would like to take him there again.
    
If not, I’ll just fish the lake at the lodge and check out some more of the trails at White Oak and visit with my buddy, Addis the huge doggie.    

Contact John L. Sloan at -- bowriter1944john@aol.com

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