Raised by honest parents who could admit their first-born son was a klutz, I was shielded from firearms and sharp objects as a child. It wasn’t until I moved to Chesterfield County and befriended the son of a gun shop owner that I was really introduced to shooting and hunting.
My first three years have been quite adventurous thanks to JR Joyner of Patrick and Leigh and Paul Branch of Bennettsville. I should also thank Clyde Watson of Chesterfield, who allowed me to hunt his property and helped me celebrate killing my first deer, while also breaking the news to me that most respectable hunters don’t kill deer that weigh less than 100 pounds.
After three years and three kills … and not quite that many horns, I finally felt comfortable enough to venture off and hunt my own land. Failing to factor in the amenities that come along with hunting other people’s property, I found myself without a deer stand, sitting in a bright blue beach chair in a briar patch just off a cornfield with a dead tree limb above my head to use as a gun prop.
My first few hunts were peaceful as I tried to become one with nature, while also taking advantage of the quiet time to work on the newspaper. Most days at dusk, a group of does and two fawns would enter the corn field about 150 to 300 yards away. While the does ate, the fawns would romp and I would type away on my laptop.
My strategy was to allow the does to become very comfortable with me sharing their field in hopes they’d stick around to attract some large bodied, multi-horned suitors during mating season. Although I don’t know much about hunting, I am keenly aware that wild men chasing women usually leads to trouble, so the idea of the baddest bucks dropping their guard and becoming easier targets during “the rut” made perfect sense to me.
My plan finally came to fruition Oct. 26 shortly after I finished typing a story about the Chesterfield Rams defeating my alma mater in football. As I was putting away my computer and considering calling it a night, I heard a rustle in the woods beside me.
Propping my gun on my killing limb, I watched as a buck stepped out in search of the doe scent I’d placed about 50 yards away from me. A few steps later, he entered the sights of my scope and went down.
My loving wife, Wylie, sweeping our front porch a quarter mile away, heard the shot and began thinking of words to console me, assuming I’d missed. I on the other hand was standing over the body of a 9-point, 220-pound buck that I naively assumed would weigh about 100 pounds, just as every other “big deer” I’d previously shot wound up weighing.
As members of the horseback hunting group Carolina Marsh Tacky Outdoors, Wylie and I planned on using one of our steeds to haul any deer I killed home. However as we tried to lift the deer onto the back of her horse, we quickly realized this deer was going to be a little heavier than any I’d killed before.
Recruiting another friend and trading Wylie’s horse for my pickup truck, we finally got the deer loaded and hauled to Welshneck Wildlife for processing. It was there where respectable hunters stood around admiring the size of my deer that I realized I’d done something impressive. Of course that still led to some confusion, as I found myself surrounded by a bunch of men talking about “scoring my rack” while also taking photos for Facebook. Feeling a little sleazy, I headed home.
The following day was spent fielding calls from friends and family, most of whom expressed disbelief about my kill. The best call was from my mom, chastising me for telling her I’d killed “a moose” when all her church friends clearly saw on Facebook I’d killed a deer.
Life lessons learned from the hunt: The smell of a strange woman usually leads to trouble and never, I mean NEVER, lie to your mama.
Leighton Bell is editor of The Link whose rack scored 120. Whatever that means.
I got my very 1st deer this past week on Veterans Day and I am pumped up about deer hunting! I’m relatively new to hunting, but I visit the site frequently and stay up to date with everything. Clint asked me to share the story of my first hunt so I’m posting first blog below and I hope there are many more good stories to come in the future.
I have a good friend that took me hunting this past week at his farm. We got in the stand around 5am in the morning and man was it cold. I heard a buck running a doe down the river bank around 5:30am, but it was still too dark to see anything. Shortly thereafter around 6:15 what I believe to be that same buck came out of the tree line, but again it was still too dark to see the full size of the buck. My friend told me not to worry because the buck would be back at some point later in the morning. Seeking that buck got my heart beating and holding off wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but I knew it was the right thing to do.
Around 6:45am my friend hit a grunt call and 10 minutes later I was checking my iPhone (new hunter) when my friend hit me on the arm, he said "Get the gun ready, he is coming out!” I put the phone down, my breathing got heavy, and I was nervous and cold because I was under dressed (again pointing at my inexperience). The Buck came out and I had the muzzleloader up and ready to go. I had the gun positioned right over the lane and was ready for the buck to walk into it. The buck started marking his territory and strutting around messing with the limbs. My friend told me "Get ready because I will stop him once he gets going". At this point all I was thinking about was I couldn’t believe he is going to let me shoot this nice buck and what happens if I miss him?!?
By this time it was around 7:02am because the sun was just coming over the ridge in front of us. My heart was beating out of my chest, but I got as ready as I could be. My friend said “Can you see him?” I responded “I don't see him". At that moment I couldn’t see him because I was fixed on the lane that I thought he would move too. However, the buck was moving on towards the wood line instead of where I was looking. So, I moved the gun, got the scope on him perfect, and my friend got him to stop. My friend said “Take him now” and I pulled the trigger.
I felt nothing as I pulled the trigger, but I did began to notice blood, not from the deer, but rather from my own forehead, start to drip. Smoke was everywhere and I looked up and asked my friend "Did I get him?” and my friend responded “Yes he is down!!!!!!”
I couldn't believe it. Blood was coming down my face, I was shaking so much I could not stop both from nerves and from the cold, but I had got my very first deer on my very first shot!!!! I got “scoped” pretty good, but it was worth it.
Coming in first place was Jimmy Bradley of Pageland, SC with a nice 4-bearded gobbler
2nd place went to Bruce Puett of Marlboro County
And 3rd place went to Tony Pope of Kershaw County
If you were a winner please contact me here through the site and we'll get you your prizes shortly!
Thanks again everyone..
Turkey hunting season is just about here for most of the state. I, and many of you, are itching for Spring to turn the corner and to get out there and chase some gobblers. And with turkey season comes our turkey competition! We're excited to be hosting our 2013 Turkey Competition this year courtesy Columbia River Knife & Tool.
We'll continue to add sponsors throughout the month so the prize packages should get better in time. Be sure to take some good pics of your turkeys and BE SURE TO HAVE THE DATE IN THE PICTURE!
You need to be registered to the site to post pictures in the competition.
Last year I attended the Kelleytown Baptist Church Wild Game Dinner and it was a real treat. You may remember the blog I posted about the event. If you’ve never been you should check it out. There were several activities that were fun for the youth and competitions for everyone. I’m talking about archery competitions, skeet-shooting competitions, a BB gun range and even competitions for kids. The guys at Kelleytown do a real good job at putting this event on and the attendance of the event is a reflection of the quality of the event.
When the afternoon activities get over then everyone goes inside for a great meal (last year they had some good alligator on hand). Next up will be a duck calling demo by fellow WeHuntSC.com blogger Blake Hodge and then Hank Parker Jr. will be the featured guest speaker. So if you’re in the Hartsville area this coming weekend and want to attend a quality outdoor event then be sure to check it out.
I've attached the flyer for the event here in case you want to download it.
If anybody ever told you that predator hunting was easy… they were lying. Anybody who hunted in this year’s Predator Competition will tell you the same. We looked forward to the competition and planned for several months and when it finally got here the rain and fog made things tough on everyone. From talking to everyone at the check-in it seemed that the coyotes just hunkered down for the majority of the weekend due to the weather. Many of the hunters I spoke with said they saved their “best spots”, “honey holes”, and “go-to locations” for the weekend of the competition and still came out empty handed. The more I chase coyotes the more I respect the guys who are successful… and we did have some hunters who got it done rain or shine so let’s talk about the guys who came through no matter the conditions.
Help us make the competition better by giving us your feedback
1st Place & Big Dog This year our 1st place team was “Team Warner” out of Aynor, SC. Adam Davis, Josh Allen, & Dustin Paananen of Team Warner not only won 1st place, but they also won the “Big Dog” award. These guys brought in 2 coyotes totaling 68lbs. The big dog was 38lbs and it was a big one. Congrats to the guys for getting it done all weekend. Having the double-win they did not leave empty handed.
Click the below image to see a gallery of pics from the event
On behalf of the WeHuntSC.com team we’d like to say thanks again to the Sportsman’s Warehouse of Columbia, SC for letting us hold the check-in at their facility, to our gracious sponsors, and to all hunters that participated. We look forward to next year’s competition… see you at the check-in!
Attached is a video of our season and I hope you enjoy it, because "it's who we are" and "what we live for"!
Click Here for the Video
One of my favorite parts about running the website is meeting our competition winners and giving out their prizes to them. Over the course of last weekend and this past week I met all 3 of our competition winners. I traveled to the Cheraw, SC area and the Rock Hill, SC area to meet our winners. These upstate guys are really harvesting some nice bucks and running the gamut on our competitions. Low-country boys where are ya’ll at?
Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s competitions and especially our sponsors. Without the sponsors our competitions wouldn’t be possible. The winners walked away with some great prizes courtesy of some very generous sponsors.
Next up… the 2013 Predator Competition – SIGN UP HERE
Our top 3 winners were
Below are some pictures of the guys receiving their prizes.
I’m always excited to announce the winners and give out the prizes for our Buck of the Year Competition. This year we had some really good entries and we also adjusted the voting rules so that voters had to be site members and could only vote once a day. This reduced any possible “gaming” of the voting system which was a request from many site members.
So let’s cut to the chase… this year’s winners were:
1st Place: BHolliday’s “The Buck That Wouldn’t Give Up” – Chesterfield County
2nd Place: Rick Currence’s “Muzzleloader Buck” – York County
3rd Place: BRiv89’S “8 Point” – Chesterfield County
Congratulations to our winners and thanks for participating in this year’s competition! Now, we have some prizes to get delivered. So winners… contact me at Clint.Patterson@WeHuntSC.com and we’ll line up some logistics.
Could you use $50 extra dollars right around Thanksgiving? If so, then get as many of your friends and fellow hunters to register to WeHuntSC.com in the month of October and you could win. Here are the competition rules:
How do you refer somebody or what does that mean? A “referral” means that you tell someone about the site and as a result they register to the site. When someone registers to the site they see a “Welcome Screen” and on this welcome screen they can indicate the person who referred them to the site. This is where they would put your name.
It doesn't take much to share the link on Facebook or Twitter or to get some of your hunting club members to register to the site. Spread the word and be rewarded!