Reflections on Hunting 14,500 Acres of Private Land

To hunters out west this may not sound like a lot of land; however, to those that hunt the East coast or the Midwest 14,500 adjoining private acres is quite a treat. Nearly all of this land is timber or swamp and the only fields are food plots.

The Forest’s proper name is Brosnan Forest located in Dorchester, SC. The property is owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad. Twenty-nine full time staff members run and maintain the property on a regular basis.

Numerous universities have conducted Whitetail studies on this population of whitetail deer. The property is free range and no fences exist around the borders of the property. The studies indicate that the female to male ratio is somewhere around 3:1 or 2:1. Which all things considered is a pretty good ratio. When serious management began on this property years ago the ratio was 9:1. At this time trophy production on the property was incredibly poor. A 6 point was considered a trophy buck at that time. Today all guests are informed that they should only harvest an 8 point that is beyond the ears in width. Antler mass is also to be consider when harvesting trophy deer. Today the average trophy whitetail at the forest is 120 inches; a vast improvement from the previous trophies which were only 6 point bucks. A true trophy for this forest ranges between 140-160 inches. For this part of the country that is an impressive animal. Each guest is allowed to harvest one buck and one doe per visit.

A few important takeaways from this unforgettable place:

  • Rotating stands to one hunt per week is ideal and always play the wind when choosing to hunt a stand
  • Food plots with an automatic feeder can be a deadly combination
  • Getting the buck to doe ratio as close to 1:1 as possible will result in bigger bucks and a more active rut
  • Quality deer management is the right approach even if your neighbors don’t play their part, it will help your local herd regardless
  • Studies at this forest and other locations continue to reveal that mature bucks appear to roam less the older they get

My dad took this buck during our time at Brosnan Forest. It is a mature 3 1/2 or 4 1/2 year old buck with heavy mass. Really just a good management buck. Unfortunately for me I need to work on my rifle shooting, but I’ll have plenty of time to do that in the off-season.

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