Orangeburg County, south of Columbia between the South and North forks of the Edisto River, has led the state in trophy bucks over the last few seasons. A 1803/8 non-typical and a 1602/8 typical taken there last season are proof that the region’s moderate population isn’t outstripping its forage base in a state not known for producing bruiser bucks. Four other counties-Aiken, Anderson and the lower portions of Oconee and Pickens-vie for top honors in a state with about 1 million deer. About 300,000 deer have been taken annually the last few years. State deer biologist Charles Ruth expects a similar harvest this season. “For a state our size, we have a good population and an extraordinary harvest,” Ruth says. “Last season about 160,000 bucks and 140,000 does were harvested. We would like to see those numbers up even more. There is a large portion of the state in which there are more does killed than there are bucks, but when you combine that portion with the rest of the state, which does not have an overriding need to kill more does, the ratio evens out.” Smaller WMAs, like the Webb Wildlife Center in Hampton County and Palachucola WMA, which straddles the Hampton County/Jasper County line, offer good hunting for those willing to leave the main roads. Sumter National Forest has 1 million rugged acres in the Piedmont region.