"You can go to Sumter from September 15 to January 1 and do your thing," Ruth says. "You'll find no antler restrictions, a three month firearms season, and virtually every kind of terrain this part of South Carolina offers." Three main tracts of national forest are scattered across the state's Piedmont region, but the 119,076-acre Long Cane District and the 161,216-acre Enoree District feature higher deer densities and better hunting access than the mountainous Andrew Pickens District. Big bucks are hard to come by, but hunter success is high, with an average harvest rate of 12 deer per square mile. Commercial pines dominate some areas, but streams and ridges are good spots to look for mast-producing hardwoods. "Hunting pressure is not what it used to be," Ruth says, "and good deer numbers make this a great opportunity for the average guy who needs a place to go."