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Poulos Sportsman Club Turkey Hunt

As we marched up the old road bed, the anticipation of the morning hunt filled the air.  Brad Crawford spotted a couple longbeards strutting in the meadow the evening before.  With that being said we had a good idea of where the birds were roosting.  We planned on getting up on the ridge above the meadow for the morning hunt.  Brad led the way up the road bed.  Sam Poulos and Tank Johnson both armed and ready followed behind.  I was pulling up the rear armed with my video camera. 

Brad called out an owl hoot with a dead on response from the longbeards.  We sat up on the ridge and got ready for the action.  As Brad sent out a series of yelps there must have been four more birds gobbling off in the distance.  It seemed that we were in prime position.  With another series of calls it seemed that the gobbles echoed a little louder.  Back and forth we went when all of a sudden a soft yelp from a hen could be heard in the distance.  As Brad said later it was as if the hen grabbed the gobbler by the beard and said oh no you don?t.  The gobbles faded into the distance.  We got up and planned our next move.

 
Crossover Camo!  Can you see me?  

We heard one gobbler move to our left off in the distance so we figured we could get down in the meadow and see if we could draw him back.  As we moved down the ridge, Brad sent out a crow call and was answered by a gobble.  We scurried down the hill and called briefly and realized the bird was coming.  Brad stayed back on the ridge about thirty yards.  Sam sat out on the main field which is where we thought the bird would pop out.  Tank and I sat behind Sam about twenty yards in a little cove.  Tank and Brad both called for a few minutes.  I was in a good position to film Sam and any birds out in the main field but I realized I wasn?t in a good position when I saw Tank ease his gun around to my left and click off the safety.  With Brad and Tank calling the birds split the difference.  When the birds didn?t see anything out in the cove or meadow they got a little weary and all I could hear was a few putts that signaled the show was over.  Tank had a shot but it was a Jake so he didn?t take it.  Up the ridge Brad had a better vantage point and could see the longbeard in the back fanned out.  Too bad he?s tagged out.  Oh so close! 

It was an awesome morning hunt with a lot of gobbling, awesome calling, and tons of heart pounding action at the Poulos Sportsman Club.  I was glad I had some Wildlife Energy shots because I was whooped after a weekend of early morning hunts.  I got a kick out of Brad saying that he doesn?t sleep in April.  That?s about the truth. 

 
Brad, Sam, and Tank  

Although our hunt ended without filling a tag another hunter, Mark Cody, had better luck.  Mark was able to take his first bird by calling himself.  He was pretty pumped when we got back to the clubhouse.  I was able to snap a few pictures.  18 #, Double Beard 10 ¼ and 4 ¼, ¾ inch spurs. 

 
Mark Cody - 18#, Double Beard 10 1/4 & 4 1/4, 3/4 in. spurs  

Check out my recap video of the hunt! Turn up the volume and listen to some gobbling action.

 


Custom WeHuntSC.com Skull-lok?s by Jon Eichorn
     WeHuntSC.com - Custom WeHuntSC.com Skull-lok by Jon EichornWeHuntSC.com - Custom WeHuntSC.com Skull-lok by Jon Eichorn
  Custom WeHuntSC.com Skull-lok by Jon Eichorn
We are excited to announce that we?ve already got a couple of the prizes that some of next year?s deer competition winners will receive!  Jon Eichorn out of Iowa makes Skull-Loks and he?s made 3 custom designs for 3 of our upcoming deer hunting competitions.  As you?ll see below I?ve already had them out looking at them and I can tell you that they are quality and we?re going to have some happy hunters this coming season.
 
What is a ?Skull-lok? you might ask? A ?skull-lok? is exactly what it sounds like it is? it?s a way to lock your deer skulls onto a bracket which can be mounted on the wall.  The bracket just happens to be a custom design cut from metal and polished up with a good, smooth finish.  For our competition winners, the custom design is the outline of the greatest state with the Palmetto tree and crescent moon in it.  It looks really good too!  The end result is going to be the glossy metal, SC state shaped bracket, with a nice deer skull and antlers on top of it on the wall.  The only question is? whose house will these 3 skull-loks be hanging in???
 
WeHuntSC.com - Custom WeHuntSC.com Skull-lok by Jon Eichorn    
WeHuntSC.com Skull-lok  & pieces  
My mom just happen to be walking by when I opened the package and she saw the skull-lok brackets when I pulled them out of the bag and she said ?Oooh?what is that? I want one? can I have one?? lol!  Then I informed her of what they are and how they work and she said, ?Well can we just hang one up without the deer antlers on top?? I had to inform her that this wouldn?t be possible and she seemed saddened by this, but she definitely perked up when she saw the quality of the SC shaped piece.
 
Even with all the ridges on the wall mount everything is very smooth so no worries about cutting anything.  Jon did a really nice job from the concept, to the design, to the cut, to the glossy finish.  We?re pumped about being able to offer this new style of mounting brackets to 3 of our upcoming deer competition winners.  Jon is a creative guy and I?m sure he can do any custom design requested.  If you?d like more information on getting a skull-lok then contact Jon Eichorn on his Skull-lok web site.  
 
 
 
Thanks again to Jon for going the extra mile and donating these to our competition winners!
 
Regards,
 
Clint
 
 

First Turkeys

This season has been full of ?first? birds. I have taken 4 new hunters with me and some have taken their first spring gobblers. Going on these hunts is really enjoyable anytime someone gets their ?first? of any wild game.

 
  Sams First Turkey

Since we?re in the low-country of SC, turkey seasoned opened March 15th for our club. The night before the season opener a good friend of mine named Sam ("The coon hunting guy") and I decided to stay the night at the club house in order to get a good spot the next morning. We arrived at the club house around 10:30 to the sight of a large fire burning and three guys sitting around it trying to stay warm. We got out of the truck and Sam Introduced me to the other members of the club. By the end of the night it felt like I had known them my entire life. We all sat around the fire telling stories of different hunts that we have partaken in; everything from ducks to deer to turkey hunts. After an hour or two we took our gear into the bunk room and got setup for bed. We set the alarms for 4:00am. The next morning everyone sleeping in the house woke up at 4:00 o?clock to the sounds of five different alarms going off simultaneously. After a quick breakfast snack we arrived in a spot we had roosted two gobblers a few days before. When day light broke the horizon I hit the owl call, but didn?t get an answer back. This happened for about 15 minutes. Sam and I were stunned that the birds would not answer. We decided to just sit down and do a little bit of calling. Just after putting out a hen decoy and sitting down at the base of a tree, I started to call softly with my slate call. Sam turned and asked if I heard a gobble in the distance. I responded "No I was calling and couldn?t hear anything." Sam was sure that he heard a bird so we got up and started to make our way in that direction. After walking about 300 yards we heard a hen yelping right on top of us. Before we knew it we had to drop to the ground in the middle of the road because we had a bird right on top of us. A jake came out to the edge of the road and I told Sam to take a shot. Sam shot one time and missed and finished the bird with a second round as it was running down the road. I don?t think that the jake we shot was the bird that gobbled earlier that morning. Even though the hunt didn?t turn out the way we planned, with us setup to film the bird coming in Sam still got his first bird on the ground. If everything happened according to plan they wouldn?t call it hunting.
###

 
Denny And Danny  
 
   11 In. Beard 1 In. Spurs

My father?s good buddy Danny also got to harvest his first turkey on the opening weekend of turkey season. It was early Sunday morning and we made our way to a different piece of property. We all got out of the truck and walked down a little dirt road. By the time we got to the half way there was enough light to hit the owl call. We had three different birds answer us! We rushed down the remainder of the curved road and got to a little hard wood bottom where we expected the turkeys to come to. Well once again it didn?t happen as I had planned. As soon as we got set up we heard hens start yelping in the same area where the gobbles came from. I thought to myself these birds are probably already ?henned up? and wouldn?t leave the hens. After about an hour of listening to the birds gobble on that cool spring morning, they finally shut up. They wouldn?t gobble to any type of call we tried. I didn?t have time to stay there and hunt. I headed out to worship service back in Charleston. About 11:00 am I got a picture message from my dad of a bird. I called him and he explained that they setup of a food plot that was still growing from deer season. After an hour and a half of sitting patiently the birds emerged from the bottom making their way to the food source. Three gobblers came strutting into the decoys. Danny slowly rose up his gun and set his sights on one of the gobblers. He took one shot and it was a solid hit!
Danny had never been in a turkey hunt before. He told us that "it was the most exciting hunt he has ever been on." Danny said it was a big adrenaline rush watching the gobblers strut 25 yards in front of them, and he couldn?t wait for the bird he wanted to clear the decoys for a shot. The bird weighed 19 pounds had 1 inch spurs and a 10.75 inch beard. The key to that successful hunt was patience because If they would have tried to get closer to the birds after they stopped gobbling, the turkeys may of spooked and the hunt would of been over. Instead they knew the turkeys? patterns and cut them off while they were going to feed.
###

 
  Wildlife Energy Shots

This past Saturday Kyle Dyson and I had the opportunity to take Ryan Parson hunting with us. Ryan has never killed a turkey and was excited to give it a shot! Friday night Kyle and Ryan stayed the night at my house in order to get an early start the next morning. Not being able to decide where to hunt, we flipped a coin between the Wee Tee reserve and the ?Hell Hole?, both of which are government associated. The coin landed heads so the next morning we took our Wildlife Energy Shots and headed out to Wee Tee. At only 2 Fl ounces the energy shots blow the competition out of the water, they kept us wide awake and alert all morning! I had only been to the area we hunted once before during this past deer season. Because we were unfamiliar with the area, we left earlier than normal to get there on time. When we arrived at the gate there were two guys that were riding into the darkness on bikes. We all chuckled at the sight of the two guys riding bikes to hunt, but we soon found out they were smarter than we were. We started walking down the road at 5:00 am and didn?t stop until 6:15. Part of the reason it took us so long was because the property had changed so much from deer season. Everything was green and there was water everywhere we walked. We had to weave our way through the dry patches of the swamp to find areas we could walk across without getting wet. While we were walking the three of us crunched leaves and sticks with every step, we kept spooking birds out of there roost. We scared at least 10 different birds out of the trees on the way in. I knew that wasn?t a good thing but at least we knew that there were turkeys nearby. When we finally stopped walking we hit the owl call and heard 2 gobblers within 200 yards (at least we thought it was about 200 yards) from us. We walked a little further and hit the call. It sounded like they were across the flooded part of the swamp. We all decided to get closer in hopes of having the gobblers fly down on our side on the water. By this time the sunlight shining through the trees was good and revealed the beautiful bottom we were standing in. Kyle and Ryan sat down on trees adjacent to each other. I went to put out a decoy about 25 yards in front of our setup. As soon as I pulled the decoy out of my vest, we heard a loud Swoosh! The bird spotted me and flew away. It turns out the bird wasn?t 200 yards across the water. It was more like 100 yards and he was on our side of the flooded area. I felt terrible for ruining the hunt especially after walking as far as we did to get to the spot. We didn?t hear another bird that morning.

Knowing where the birds were roosted, we decided to go back to the same location on our next hunt. This time is was very different. We learned from our mistakes and decided to not get so close and let the birds move to us instead of us moving to the birds. When daylight broke we heard 5 different birds sounding off to the sounds of my owl call. We finally got setup and started calling. I began using the slate call and had the birds gobbling for about 30 minutes. Ryan does a vocal hen call using only his natural voice with no help of calls. We told him to give it a try to see if the birds would gobble to it. It turns out they gobbled to his vocals better than they did to the box or slate calls! I was amazed at the sounds he could produce without any calls. I set my calls aside and let him work the birds. After a few more minutes the bird came into sight. The long beard was strutting to the sound of Ryan?s call. He was about 80 yards away when we first saw him gobble. I told Ryan to use a soft cadence to try and lure the bird in and every time he did the bird would answer back with a loud gobble triggering the other 5 birds to gobble as well! It turns out the bird got hung on a flooded part of swamp bottom and wouldn?t cross the slough. Even though we didn?t kill him, it was still a great hunt!

 
  Kyle(left) And Ryan(Right)


This season I have learned to call less and listen a little more. On top of that I have learned patience is the key to hunting a smart long-beard that may be call shy or spooked easily. Another key to my success this year has been then use of the new CrossOver Camo pattern. The pattern is different from other patterns in that, compared to say mossey oak obsession, CrossOver has a variety of lighter colors. Most camo have the basic greens and browns, but cross over incorporates shades of white and different tans which helps me blend into many different backgrounds. I can stay hidden in pine trees, and swamp bottoms all with one pattern. There is not a camouflage out there that will keep you hidden if you can?t sit still. Without the help of my Thermacell to keep the bugs away I would probably scare off every bird that came into range by swatting bugs away from my face. I?m not sure I could hunt without one after being spoiled with its ability to keep my hunting area bug free.

 

 

Sams First Turkey

 

 

 

 Ryans First Turkey


This turkey season has been a great one and I?m looking forward to a few more good hunts before the season ends.
 

Derek

 


Guest Blog - Pee Dee Gobblers
The below is a guest blog submitted by Andy Belk
 
Armed with my vest of tricks and my trusty old 835 I coined "mule" due its ability to dislocate shoulders, I found myself in a familiar spot at daybreak with the first bird gobbling on cue right where expected (or hoped). I slipped around the edge of large oak/cypress stand bordering a cutover, finally stopping in front of a large wide bottom popular tree surrounded by budding iron wood trees. After several minutes of the gobbler sounding off at every crow and owl vocalizations, I gave a soft yelp to present my location also. He responded so my plan was to sit tight and quiet until fly down before engaging in any further turkey dialogue with the single gobbler, until another bird gobbled behind me spoiled that plan. In an attempt to be greedy I turned my head and gave a louder yelp in the direction of the new player, which responded with an approval gobble. With the two very vocal birds still safely on a tree limb and me setup close things seem to be shaping up to be a classic hunt when I noticed the familiar sight of a white head sneaking through the swamp paralleling my location, ?ahh?, the typical silent 2 year old gobblers attempting to beat the boss gobbler to a lonely hen. Sneaky walked to within 50 yards of my setup to take a peek but wasn't content not seeing a hen and continued on his search for love. Right behind him was another white head in tow also showing little interest in the ghost hen. As he passed, I let out a yelp followed with a soft purr. He returned to take a closer look hopping up on a deadfall for a better view, I quickly contemplated the range, "45-50 yards, gosh dang", as much I wanted I could not close the distance or increase shotgun range with telepathy alone. As a bowhunter I should know this well by now. I made the correct, albeit difficult decision, not to squeeze off. Nothing was left to do but watch the lonely gobbler wander back in the same direction he came.
 
As I sit thinking of what could have been, a group of crows harassing a hawk provoked the first cold shoulder gobbler into hammering out a gobble. He was now a couple hundred yards away, overcoming the anxiety of a boss gobbler in the area he gobbled once more, then again. He was obviously now strutting on an old logging road behind me. I gave another soft yelp and he responded. This correspondence of calls lasted 15 minutes with neither of us budging. With the situation not evolving I abandoned my favorite tactic of passive and sparingly calling and I threw out a hard cut to the locked up gobbler. He responded with a gobble, then another, and the second gobble was much closer. I gave one more loud cut with the same eagerness to hear a response. I readied the gun. I knew he was committed and within minutes a white head appeared. He was coming closer but attempting to swing in behind me. As I followed him with a bead drawn the increasing extreme angle to my left continued to pull the gun off my shoulder onto my bicep. As he stopped to look for his lady, I was well aware of the whollop that "mule" packs even in the midst of the excitement. Knowing unavoidable immense pain was in my immediate future as I squeezed off, the 2 year old gobbler flopped at the kaboom and I scrambled to my feet. I felt blood dripping from my nose, but no time for minor issues like loss of blood because the battered gobbler was attempting to regain his feet...and I was too! As he stumbled to his feet to make 3 or 4 more steps a second round from the mule out ran him to seal the deal. 13#, 9.5" beard and 1/2" spurs. (Those deep river swamp birds seem to weigh on average 4-5lbs less than field birds and even Piedmont birds).
 
WeHuntSC.com - Andy Belk's 1st Turkey
 
 
But the story continues.......
 
After breasting out the first turkey, there was no need to head home so early. It seemed as many of the hens were nesting and the boys were out looking for love so I headed to one of prettiest river flats in SC. This area is a favorite hangout for turkeys and hunters. Waking slow and deliberately, I allowed the live crows the due diligence of locating turkeys as not to "bugger up" turkeys by blind calling in a location fellow club members will certainly hunt later on.  However, 300 yards from the river I decided to toss out just one yelp since the pesky crows were drawing very little attention from any nearby toms.  I was answered by a turkey across the slough about 400-500 yards east, right where I began my search for a love sick gobbler.  As I rapidly moved back up the slough, the crows keep the gobblers pinpointed.  All they needed was a little sweet talk to overcome their case of late morning lockjaw. There was no way to avoid wading across the slough with snake boots that lost the waterproofing many miles ago.  A little murky water and wet feet was certainly not a valid reason to miss out on a chance for another Pee Dee gobbler.
 
I made my way across the slough and setup beside a large cypress which casted the perfect shadow to conceal my outline. The swamp looked almost magical in a sense; it is simply a beautiful place to be especially on a spring morning.  After another yelp from the diaphragm there was a quick answer from an old tom seeking a date for brunch. He was coming closer with each gobble then suddenly became silent which is often the tale-tale sign a weary bird is sneaking in.  Twenty minutes passed in a standoff of silence.  Finally, I saw a red head 60 yards out.  He was looking desperately, but seemed disappointed to not see his lady. I gave a soft purr, but with no visual he was not committing so he moved on angling away.  I was quite dejected at what transpired, until the obvious pounded me over the head. The younger bird at daybreak required aggressive calling to close the deal.  With hindsight fresh on my mind, I mustarded up the best sounding cut I am capable of producing and my effort was rewarded with not only a double gobble, but a gobble from two toms.  I replied again and they responded with the same enthusiasm.  Just like the first turkey, nothing to do now but allow them to make the final decisions. The next few minutes seemed like hours, and then finally I saw the same red head appear through the tall swamp grass.  It was too late this time, his eagerness had drawn him within too may footsteps. I had the gun shouldered and resting on my knee. I squeezed off with both beads of the barreled aligned on his neck.  At the blast my turkey sprung to the air, followed by his partner in crime.  An instant thought of "How in the heck, there's no way", then Flip, flop, there was my bird anchored like I expected.  My disheartened surprise soon changed to a much better surprise of realizing 3 gobblers were hanging out together rather than two, my target was DOA.
 
WeHuntSC.com - Andy Belk's 2nd turkey
15.5#, 1-1/16? spurs, 10.5? beard
 
 
With a two bird limit in that county, my season was finished in less than 3 hours. Next time down I will have the luxury of working a call only, but there are 3 tags left for other counties, if time will allow. 
 
Every day is a blessing, but considering some of the personal trials over the two previous springs kept me from the "spring turkey woods", I can't help but to believe the Lord smiled down me this one day and allowed me to take home two of his creatures and provided an awesome day in His creation.
 
 
Guest Blog by: Andy Belk, Lancaster SC
 

Deer in the Turkey Hunt
   WeHuntSC.com - My view at the first setup
  My view at the first setup

After a successful first weekend of turkey season hunting with Mr. Puette I was looking forward to, and hopeful about, the next weekend I would be able to turkey hunt.  The weather had been tricky a little lately, but it turned out to be a nice day on Saturday.  I would be venturing out with Jason Love and Mark Turner trying to track down some gobblers.  And after seeing the pic of JDHeatmag?s snake that struck at him, I went and got me some snake proof boots so I was ready to roll.

We met and headed out to the hunting land.  We got there a little later than when I had arrived the week before.  We parked near the entrance and headed out.  We walked in along some really white looking sand which made our journey in really stealth.  We were listening as we walked in hoping to hear a gobble from afar.  We made it in near to the area we would be hunting and we stopped and listened for a bit.  We gave the turkeys plenty of time to call if they were going to call.  We held up at the edge of the woods in hopes of not spooking the birds by walking in early.  The crows were calling and owls were hooting, but we hadn?t heard any turkeys.  Jason made some louder calls with his crow call and still nothing responded.  The initial thought was that the turkeys were deeper in the woods.

We walked further into the woods and set up.  Mark put two hen decoys out while Jason put a short blind around the area where I would be sitting.  We all sat at the base of 3 different pine trees.  Jason was to my right and Mark was to my left.  Mark had a better angle on the decoys and better vision.  Both Jason and Mark brought their guns just in case the turkeys came from either direction, but Mark was the ?shooter? as he was kind of out on a point overlooking the cleared out area of the woods.

WeHuntSC.com - Mark Turner scanning for a gobbler    
Mark Turner looking ahead for a gobbler  

As we sat down we listened for a while and Jason randomly called.  We still heard no gobbles anywhere.  Even though I don?t know a lot about turkey calling, Jason?s calling was sounding really good to my ears.  Our senses were on high alert as we listened for any sound and scanned the floor of the woods looking for movement.  About 15 minutes after we had been sitting there all of a sudden a loud sound came from behind us and to the right.  The area behind us and to our right was thicker and difficult to see through, but the sound we heard was a great sound to hear!  We heard the wings of a bird flapping as the bird came out of the tree.  A turkey had flown down to the ground and he was close enough for us to hear his wings, but yet we couldn?t see him and he had never gobbled.  I say ?he? because I?m assuming/hoping it was a big ol? gobbler.  When we heard this it got us fired up, but still we couldn?t figure out why we hadn?t heard anything.  I looked at Jason?s and Mark?s faces and I could tell they were paying close attention trying to figure out what was going on.  They both knew we had a bird somewhere near us that was on the ground and that wasn?t making a sound. 

We continued to sit patiently and waited on anything to clue us into where the bird was.  He had to have heard our calling if we were able to hear his wings fly down to the ground.  After a while both Jason and Mark started calling?some overlapping each other and sometimes right after each other.  It sounded really good and sounded like multiple turkeys in the woods calling out.  They didn?t over do it, but made enough sound to entice any big boy to come on over. 

        WeHuntSC.com - Jason Love to my right calling on the slate
  J-Love to my right calling on the slate & rocking the Thermacell

A couple of minutes later we heard a stick pop really close behind us.  At first thought this was kind of a jolt that makes you cringe because you know something is there and you really can?t move to see what it was.  It didn?t take long to figure out though.  We heard a dog growling!  Two dogs had run through the woods and when they saw the decoys they started growling at them.  Jason saw them first and when we heard the growl we all turned around to see what was happening because they sounded mad and in a hurry!  When we quickly turned around and made commotion the dogs got scared and high-tailed it out of there.  And that was pretty much the gist of our hunt.  We left shortly thereafter. 

After talking about the situation we think the dogs are in that area and are bothering the birds.  This may be why the bird never gobbled? because he had been chased by a dog before!  Who knows, but it was a frustrating end to a good hunt!  I had some really good footage of the guys calling and the setup and I was just waiting on the turkey to get in the picture too, but it never happened.

We started walking back out to the trucks.  On the way out we saw some turkey tracks in that same white sand that we had walked in on earlier.  Jason even noticed a turkey track that had stepped in Mark?s boot track.  This meant that a turkey had crossed the same path that we walked in on and had done it after we went in the woods.  The turkeys were in the area?and so were two punk dogs!

Mark headed home and as Jason and I rode back we figured we give another area a shot.  We drove down the road and saw 3 different turkeys out in random fields as we drove.  The turkeys were moving and we hoped for better luck and a hunt without dogs interfering!  We arrived to a new location and walked down the edge of the woods alongside a dirt road.  There was a field up ahead to our left that where we believed some gobblers were out strutting.  So we set up in the edge of the woods hoping to call the turkeys our way instead of going out in the open and spooking them.

WeHuntSC.com - Me wearing CrossOver Camo on the 2nd Hunt

Me wearing CrossOver Camo on the 2nd Hunt

    WeHuntSC.com - The Deer didn't like the decoys
  The Deer didn't like the turkey decoys

We sat down in some white oaks that were really near a creek bed.  Jason sat to my right again and we both leaned on two oaks that were side by side.  This time we had the Jake Intimidator set up hoping to cause a reaction by showing movement simulating a tom puffing up.  We had him lying beside a hen decoy.  We sat there and Jason started calling.  We listened and listened and never heard any gobble.  We were waiting patiently to hear a turkey when out of our left we saw a flicker.  The flicker ended up being the movement of a doe just across the dirt road.  I instantly turned the camera on and moved it to film the deer.  This doe was the first of 5 deer that were heading our way.

I knew that we would have to be extremely still because the deer were coming our way.  It was nearly 9:30 in the morning and the sun was out and it was shining right in there faces.  The wind was blowing across our faces which meant the deer would have a tough time smelling us because they weren?t down-wind of us.  The bad part was that I had my arm extended all the way out to my camera and the deer weren?t in a hurry.  These deer slowly walked across the dirt road and came up the embankment where we were.  It seemed to be 3 does with 2 yearlings.  They walked closer and closer as they browsed the ground for stuff to eat.  When they got closer one of the does saw the decoys and she didn?t like it.  She started stomping the ground and got all tensed up.  If you?re a deer hunter then you?re familiar with this site.  I still couldn?t believe the deer got this close to us without detecting us yet. 

Jason and I were whispering to each other this whole time.  He said that he was going to start calling the turkey call just to see what would happen.  Surprisingly when he started calling the turkey calls it didn't instantly scare the deer off.  I think it may have calmed them some, but they were still in question of the decoys, but it seemed to relax the one just a bit.  This whole time I was getting some great footage of these deer?and my shoulder and arm were shaking and burning about kill me!

A few minutes later I think the deer knew something wasn?t right and they bounded off back across the road.  It was difficult to keep them all focused in the camera the whole time they were there.  Just looking at the video you would think it should be easy, but when you?re sitting in the woods having to look in the small screen finder that was at a terrible angle for viewing since the camera was turned hard and to the left, it kind of made it difficult.  Also, I?m normally able to smoothly move the camera head around when pivoting, but the I didn?t want any extra movement so the pivots are kind of jumpy because I didn?t want to spook the deer off.

So you?ll see more deer than turkeys in the video below, but nevertheless ? it was a good time in the outdoors and that?s what it?s all about!

 

Regards,

Clint
 

 


SC Swamp Turkey
   WeHuntSC.com - Mr. Puette sitting at the base of the tree
  Mr. Puette sitting at the base of the tree

Turkey season starts on April 1st in my county because I?m located in the upper part of SC. I?ve been looking forward to it and have been counting down the weekends until turkey season got here.  This past weekend was the opening weekend and on Saturday morning I went turkey hunting again with Mr. Bruce Puette in Marlboro County. I had been looking forward to our trip and it turned out to be one of the most memorable turkey hunts I?ve been on. 

We met really early at the entrance gate to the hunting land.  Mr. Puette?s brother, sister, and nephew would also be hunting in other areas of the land as well.  We all set out going our different ways and Mr. Puette and I were heading to the back of the property where a swampy area backed in to the Pee Dee River.  And we went deep in the swamp.  Mr. Puette said that the turkeys hadn?t been working in the fields like they normally do by this time of the year so we were going to try something different. I was interested to see how the new CrossOver Camo would do in the swampy environment of the Pee Dee River area and it blended in very nicely.

WeHuntSC.com - The new Thermacell  
The new Thermacell that kept us mosquito free  

We walked in by the moonlight and as we began walking we stopped and looked at the stars and Mr. Puette pointed out the Big Dipper.  He said you can always find whichever direction North is by looking at the stars from the Big Dipper.  Even though we probably walked a mile until we finally got to our location it didn?t bother me much because it was a chance to get some blood flowing and warm up.  It was cold early that morning?34 degrees to be exact.  It was chilly and I didn?t have enough layers on and walking helped me warm up some.

We ended up walking through fields, 4-wheeler paths, old logging roads, even jumping trees, and yes?water higher than my ankles! The wet socks countered the new warmth that I had just gained from walking. I also found a pretty deep stump hole on the way in too.  My right foot ended up wetter than the left because I only found that stump hole with my right foot. Once we got back pretty deep in the woods we heard an owl hoot.  We stopped and every time another owl hooted we stopped to see if any turkeys responded. At one point Mr. Puette said that he was going to do an owl call to see if we could locate any birds.  I anticipated that he would dig in his pocket and get out a call, but Mr. Puette just held his hand to his mouth and yelled ?Hoo, Hoo, Ho, Hoooo? and amazingly an owl responded about 50 yards away.  To be honest, I was pretty impressed with how accurate Mr. Puette?s owl call sounded. Mr. Puette fired back with a ?WOOOOOoooo? that ended with a lot of bass in the sound.  The owl fired right back.  It was neat that he was able to get several owls calling to each other with just his natural voice.  The downside was that no turkeys gobbled back at us.  We kept on walking.

  

WeHuntSC.com - Mr. Puette with the gobbler on the way out

  Mr. Puette on the way out

We finally reached the furthest point that we could walk and we stopped again.  This time Mr. Puette pulled out a crow call and it made a loud shriek as he blew it.  We waited, and a couple of seconds later, a turkey, that sounded about 70 ? 100 yards away, hammered back at us.  Mr. Puette pumped his fist like a golfer does after sinking a putt and we headed toward the sound looking to make a setup.  We walked about 40 yards down an old logging road and Mr. Puette said we ought to set up on a tree that was about 5 yards off the path. 

Mr. Puette had been carrying his gun as well as a home-made blind that he created and a small stool.  He had given me a stool that I carried in too. The home-made blind was some camo, burlap-like material that wrapped around 4 wooden sticks.  He told me that 4 sticks and some burlap was a lot cheaper than most blinds you find in stores! He set this up just in front of us as I started getting the video stuff set up.

I had all of the stuff I needed to video setup and had got two Thermacells out and fired them both up because deep in the swamp mosquitoes are thick and even though it was cold? I wasn?t taking any chances.  I put the new Thermacell in front of us and put last year?s model Thermacell to my left.  Needless to say we didn?t get bothered by any bugs or mosquitoes during this hunt. 

We were finally situated and the sun was slowly starting to shine through the woods. Mr. Puette did some calling early to see if anything would respond and we had turkeys gobbling to our right, middle, and to our left.  We were definitely in a good location, but we were worried that the turkeys would come off the roost and go a different direction. Randomly Mr. Puette would call and the turkeys arbitrarily responded. We had to wait and to keep our eyes peeled.

WeHuntSC.com - Primos Slates used during the hunt   
Primos Slates used during the hunt  
I was sitting on the left side of the tree and Mr. Puette was on the right side.  As I scanned the woods (and I say wood because last time I used the word ?forest? I got criticized?thanks Hoot!) I saw something to my left that looked like a dark stump, but I didn?t remember seeing this stump before so it kind of caught me off guard.  Since I was in a new area, it was kind of ?hazy?, and since I couldn?t focus well I wasn?t sure.  I watched the dark looking stump and then all of a sudden it started moving and the shape turned into a fan-tail.  I was pumped! I tapped Mr. Puette immediately and told him that we had a gobbler about 25 yards to our left.  This turkey had slipped up on us and hadn?t made one sound. Yes, turkeys were gobbling, but they were further away?this one came in silent. 

There were so many trees and brush in front of us that it was not only difficult to see the turkey, but it was even more difficult to film the turkey.  In retrospect I should have turned the auto-focus mechanism off, but I wasn?t chancing any extra movements while he was that close to us. Because Mr. Puette was behind me (in the line of sight for the bird) he couldn?t see it.  The bird was standing behind a big tree and was stepping to the right, puffing up, spinning, and stepping back to the left, puffing and spinning and did this on repeat.  It was very odd, but he was staying in one spot.  The whole time Mr. Puette couldn?t see the bird and he kept asking me ?Are you sure??, ?How far out??, and ?Where is he??  Finally the turkey stepped out far enough to where Mr. Puette could see it.  At this point at least he knew I wasn?t lying about a bird being that close. 

     WeHuntSC.com - Turkey in the woods
  I could barely focus on this turkey
As we were watching this turkey strut his stuff in circles we had other gobblers hammering out from other directions.  We didn?t know where to look we had so many birds talking around us, but I kept my eye on the gobbler to the left. I was frustrated at this turkey because he kept spinning and puffing and spinning and puffing and he wouldn?t come out to where I could get a good shot at him with the camera and Mr. Puette was just itching to shoot him, but it would have been a forced shot so he held off.  Another frustrating thing was that the camera kept focusing on the underbrush of the woods rather than the turkey?so the majority of the footage I got is really blurry because we were so low on the ground and because the turkey was staying just behind the brush.  I bet we watched this turkey for about 15-20 minutes at just about 20 ? 25 yards away from us.  Mr. Puette even kicked the brush with his feet simulating the sound of a hen scratching, but nothing we did would entice this turkey to come any closer. Eventually the turkey faded back into the woods where he came from and we lost him. 

WeHuntSC.com - Turkey out front   
The turkey out in front of us  
We sat there a little dejected, but still hopeful talking about it the whole time and couldn?t figure it out.  We sat for another 15 ? 20 minutes and we even talked about moving to a different location.  Mr. Puette called randomly and nothing much responded and the thoughts of our hunt from last year came back to me.  I remembered Mr. Puette saying ?Patience kills turkeys?. We sat there a little while longer and then out of the blue we heard a loud gobble right out in front of us and Mr. Puette instantly grabbed his gun and got in shooting position. I couldn?t see any turkey so I asked him ?Where is he?? and Mr. Puette responded ?I don?t know, but he?s close!?  We sat there on alert scanning the woods.  Then I saw the dark spot moving through some woods out in front of us this time and I zoomed in on him. The turkey was finally moving across the front of our location heading to the right?which means he was getting at a better angle for Mr. Puette to shoot. Mr. Puette had the gun up and I was just trying to follow the bird.  With such dense wood and brush in the swampy area it was tough.  The turkey finally got out to where Mr. Puette could shoot and he didn?t waste any time. I couldn?t see the bird so I just filmed Mr. Puette.  A loud boom rang through the woods and I saw the bird fly up.  Mr. Puette said ?I missed him? and I said ?No you didn?t, he just crashed?.  I had heard the bird go down, but Mr. Puette didn?t.  He got up and walked over to that direction and the turkey jumped up and started running.  He got his gun up and the turkey turned and started running toward him! Mr. Puette rang out 3 shots and on the 3rd shot he stopped the turkey in his tracks and the turkey was only about 10 yards away from him. The footage wasn?t good on that so it isn?t worth posting, but I think he was about to get spurred had he not had that last shot in his gun!  After the hunt ended we took a bunch of pictures and videos.

As I was taking pictures Mr. Puette said ?Did you see that tree?? and I said ?What tree?? I had seen a thousand trees that were in the way of me filming the turkey, but obviously he was referring to one in particular.  He pointed and said ?Look at the ?Twisted Oak??.  We walked over and saw something that was pretty rare in my opinion.  Two white oak trees were side by side and one had fallen into the other and over time they had grown together.  It was a unique site.  I took some pics and videos of it as well. I know that I?ve never seen anything like that before?and those trees were huge.

WeHuntSC.com - The deer cracked acorn shell    WeHuntSC.com - The Twisted Oak
The deer cracked acorn shell   The Twisted Oaks

  WeHuntSC.com - Wildlife Energy & the turkey
  Wildlife Energy Shots & the Gobbler
Five yards from the base of that tree Mr. Puette picked up the top half of an acorn shell and said ?look at that? and I looked at it and said ?Yeah I bet some deer love that huh?.  He responded ?Look closer at it? and I did and when I focused in on it he said ?Look at the shape of the break in the shell? those are deer teeth marks that cracked it? and sure enough you could see the outline of the deer?s teeth. Mr. Puette sure pays attention to detail?especially when he?s walking.  He finds arrowheads and picks up on anything out of the ordinary.  He?s just got that knack.

After a couple of more pictures we headed back to base camp.  It was a long walk back to the entrance and I was definitely glad I had some Wildlife Energy drink with me on this occasion.  As we walked back over the path we came in on Mr. Puette was looking around every corner to see if any turkeys were strutting in the roads.  He?d already told me that if we saw another one that we would be stopping and setting up again!

 

Below is the raw footage of the hunt if you want to see it without effects

I always enjoy going hunting with Mr. Puette because there?s usually some action involved and I also always learn something. Mr. Puette says I bring him good luck, but I don?t know about that.  Most of the time whenever you take a camera in the woods it means that you?re definitely not going to see anything, but so far he and I are 2 for 2 with turkeys and videos.

WeHuntSC.com - Mr. Puette & the turkey

I hope to get in on more hunts with Mr. Puette and next time I?ll try to get better focus on the turkey!

Regards,

Clint
 


27th Annual Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic Review
 
Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic 2011  

SCDNR would probably have wished for a little nicer weather but my son, Riley, and I didn't let the rain put a damper on our time at the 27th Annual Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic.  If you're like me these events are an adrenaline rush.  I guess it's just being surrounded by things that get me fired up and this year the rain couldn't put out the fire on this event. 

As noted earlier, I had Riley with me so I didn't have too much of a plan for how we would explore the event.  He is 4yrs old, so I figured we would play it by ear.  Just a few minutes into our journey through the vendors we came up on a pop gun that Riley had to have.  I thought this was a good idea because it would keep him occupied.  Well, after a few pops from this thing I was searching the vendors for a silencer!  He was in heaven, so I didn't stop the popping, although we got some evil looks.  Riley made sure he gave those evil eye lookers an extra pop.  Oh boy!

As we made our way down the isles of vendors, I had my eyes peeled for products that not only caught my eye but ones that would make me a more efficient hunter.  A few of these that I noted were as follows:

McNett Camo Form

This protective camouflage wrap caught my eye as I am always looking for ways to conceal my gun, camera, and stand.  This is a stretch fabric wrap that reminded me of an ankle wrap or ace bandage.  It is not tape so it doesn't leave a residue and it can be reused.  I found this product at the Shooter's Choice of West Columbia stand and after the gentleman with them wrapped my arm with it I was sold. 

Hammock Seat

If you've ever hunted on the ground you know that the ground is not so forgiving.  Well, when I sat in the Hammock Seat I was ready for a nap.  This thing was very comfortable and swiveled to allow a shot at any angle.  I've killed a couple deer from the ground and I wish I would've had this seat then. 

Buck Smoke

As I stopped to take a picture with Riley and a wild boar, I caught a whiff of a deer scent that put me in search mode.  Man this stuff was strong.  I finally found the source and it was a scent called Buck Smoke.  It was a wax looking substance contained in what looked like a shoe polish container.  I was intrigued because this was a no liquid and therefore no mess scent.  This scent was being sold at the Big E Outfitters stand.  They had some amazing animals displayed at their stand.

Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag

Scent control is a must in the deer woods and I am definitely going to try this bag out this coming season.  I often find myself searching on the way to the stand for some pine or cedar to rub on my clothes before a hunt.  That is definitely not an efficient way to control my scent.  For me this bag is going to make it much more easy to seal my clothes up and control my scent before a hunt.  Definitely a must have for me.  The Mckenzie Scent Fan Duffle Bag vendor stand also was displaying the Jake Intimidator and Crossover Camo.  A dangerous looking combination. 

F2 Outdoors

Gator hunting has been the new rage in South Carolina the past couple years and this vendor caught my eye with the gator skull mount sitting ready to chomp.  Not that talking gators could get any better but they also were displaying custom truck seat covers.  This was a pretty neat looking set up that I'll have to check out this coming gator season. 

A couple other vendors that caught my eye were Pin Oak Taxidermy with the Camo Skulls and Hunter's Comfort with the Rack Shack hunting houses.  I was also impressed with the versatility of the Hunt Pac and the guarantee made by the X-Factor crew on their bow sound and vibration dampeners.   Riley got a picture with Brad Hoover of the Carolina Panthers at the Buck Yum stand.   I also picked up a Winn Tuck t-shirt and hat.  Winn Tuck had a really neat set up as you will see in my video.   I am also a sucker for things that are handcrafted.  A couple that stood out were the longbows made by Saluda River Bows (Doug Warren (803) 924-4285) and the kayaks made by Pledger's Craft.  These looked like works of art made for the great outdoors. 

Overall, we had a great time.  We closed the day with some cotton candy and a few more pops from the pop gun.  Did anyone else get out in the rain and check out the Classic?  Check out the recap video below.

 


Caution - Poison Ivy
 
Poison Ivy in Early Spring  

Most of you probably think about turkey season, green grass, and fishing as the winter turns to spring.   I think about Poison Ivy!  I was reminded of it this past weekend as my son and I walked through the woods behind my house. 

As Riley and I cruised through the mature oak hollow I soon realized that we had managed to walk into a maze of tiny red leaflets.  This new growth seemed to pop from the earth and surround us just for spite.  I picked up Riley and he got a free ride out of the woods.  The bad part was that there was nothing free about my journey through this maze of poisonous plants.  You?ve probably heard others say, ?If I look at poison ivy I get it?.  Well, that saying seems to apply to me.  You would think that after years of dousing calamine on my skin I would learn, but it seems that this pesky plant always gets the best of me. 

After maneuvering through the woods I thought it would be a good time to teach Riley about poison ivy.  The one thing my Dad always told me that seemed to stick was, ?Leaves of three, Let it be?.  Others that I?ve heard are, ?One, Two, Three, Don?t touch me?, and ?Red leaflets in the spring, it?s a dangerous thing?.  These mnemonics are a neat way to teach kids about the outdoors. 

As we enter springtime and make plans to chase turkeys through the countryside these plants are often hidden and harder to spot.  Check out the video below and see how it's hard to see in early spring.  These are the times that it usually gets me.  I?m pretty conscious of it in the late spring and summer when the leaves are broad and green and cover the edges of the timber, but I often forget about the early spring when it's hard to see.  Believe me when I tell you it's not any less potent in early spring.  I?ve found that washing the areas of the skin that have contacted the plant as soon as possible helps.  One tip would be to make sure you take off your watch when washing your arms.  I have made the mistake of not doing this in the past and paid the price.  I haven?t really found a cost effective remedy as I?d almost rather go to the doctor to get rid of it. 

Does anyone have a good remedy to share? 

How does this pesky plant affect your hunts?  I have buddies that get on me about how aware I am of it.  They seem to be able to sit in the middle of it with no consequence.  I have learned to respect it on the other hand. 

SCDNR has some good info on poison ivy.  A couple tidbits I picked up from reading their website is that only 70% of the U.S. population is allergic to poison ivy.  That means that 30% of the population is very very lucky.  Also, I didn't realize that poison ivy produces a fruit that is popular with wildllife.  Maybe it is not so bad after all.  Scratch that last statement.  Caution - Poison Ivy is bad!

 


Coon Hunting

Never would I of thought that staying up late at night and sometimes early into the next morning chasing dogs through the woods would be any fun, but it was surprising how much it appealed to me. One night last week after baseball practice I got a call from some good friends of mine named Sam and

 
  Sally At The Grand American In Orangeburg
Daniel asking me to go coon hunting with them. Sam had just picked up a new dog and wanted to try tree a coon with him. I like trying out new things so I agreed to ride along. With a chance to get footage for a blog, I had to run home and get my camera before we left. When I got back to Sam?s house they had all their equipment laying on the  tailgate of the truck. I would have never thought that coon hunting could be so expensive and require so much gear. They had 2 tracking collars, a tracking box, a handheld Garmin GPS system with 4 GPS collars, and 3 declarable coon lights, hip boots, and some leashes.

After about a 45 minute ride to Buck Horn Hunting Club in Summerville South Carolina, we finally turned the dogs loose. As soon as we turned the dogs out of the box they began to scan the hardwood bottom for any fresh coon tracks that were nearby. We just sat back and enjoyed the crisp breeze and gazed at all the stars while we waited for the dogs to locate some tracks and/or coons. Coon hunting was very relaxing, that is, until the dogs trailed and treed a coon. Daniel and Sam could pinpoint their dogs and tell me exactly

 
June Treed  
what their dogs were doing. The dogs have different bawls and barks for locating, trailing, and treeing a coon. After the dogs treed the first coon we started to make our way theinto the woods. Looking at the Garmin GPS, the dogs were 320 yards northeast of our position at the truck. The hard part began after we finally arrived at the tree. We had to shine the top of the tree and the tree adjacent attempting to locate a black and gray coon in front of a dark night sky. Shard eyes Sam finally spotted the coon, the boar coon made the mistake to look down into our lights and we caught a glimpse of his glowing eyes. The next stage of the hunt was not for the faint of heart. We put the ringtail in the sights of the .22 and let him have it. He fell out of the tree, and the fight began. The dogs jumped on the coon and grabbed it around its neck until it was dead. It all lasted about 30 seconds. Sam informed me that they do not shoot but 1/3 of the coons they tree. But the dogs needs a reward for all their hard work every once and a while. Walking the dogs out of the woods isn?t as easy as it sounds either. The dog?s leashes kept getting hung up on briars or trees which caused us to constantly stop and untangle the dogs. We finally made it out though and it was a hunt I won?t forget.
 
All and all it was an exciting night filled with dogs bawling in the night time woods and coons being treed. I love relaxing, letting go of all of my everyday stresses and worries, and just listening to the dogs run.

 

 

 


2011 Turkey Competitions Announced!
    WeHuntSC.com - The Montana Decoy
  Montana Decoy's "Mr. T" turkey decoy
 
The key to winning these competitions is to take a good bird and then to take a good picture!  Be sure to read the ?photo tips? on the competition pages.  To enter the competition you must be a registered member of the site and you must HAVE THE DATE IN THE PHOTO.  Ya?ll know how we do it by now so the same rules will apply.  The competition starts tomorrow (March 15th) and will run through May 1st.  We will narrow the pics down to the top 5 and then the site audience will vote on the winner starting on May 3rd.
 
Whoever wins these competitions will be really pleased with these prize packages because they are nice so go the extra mile to take a good pic! 
 
If you have any more questions, just shoot me an email?
 
Regards,
 
Clint
 

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