If you've noticed that I haven't been blogging as much and my activity with the site has been a little slower lately... it's because I've been doing a lot of updating behind the scenes that will hopefully serve everyone better in the long run. As you can probably tell, I've updated the site. I wanted to post a quick update to key you in to some of the new features. The site now has:
I hope that you will enjoy these new updates and I hope they make it easier for everyone to communicate. I'm going to continue to update the site with enhancements in the weeks/months to come. This update has taken me a lot of time and because of that the competitions have suffered a little, but I'm about to get on them here shortly as well. If something is a little off or doesn't seem right to you, please send me an email so that I can look into your issues as they arise.
I tried to clean up the design of the site and make it less "busy" so that it's easier to focus on collaboration and information exchange. As part of the update we lost a few message board posts, comments, etc. If one of your posts was lost I apologize and ask you to re-post.
Thanks again for your patience as I continue to work to serve SC outdoors better! Look for some more really great stuff coming in the future. We're not done yet.
This upcoming weekend is a big weekend for SC hunters and the city of Florence, SC. If you want to shop around, see the latest trends in outdoor clothing, artillery, weaponry, and everything in between just before hunting season gets here, then be sure to check out the Pee Dee Deer Classic as well as Schofields Annual Classic Extravaganza Event on Saturday July 28th!
For more information on the Pee Dee Deer Classic, just check out their web site at http://www.peedeedeerclassic.com
It's been awhile since I've had the opportunity to write a blog entry for the site. The workload at my computer programming job has increased dramatically in the last year, and it has severely limited the amount of free time that I could use for writing. I am still hard at work on the next entry in the Hunting for the Heart of God series, another devotional entitiled Daily Bread for Deer Hunters. I am also still working on The Cabin, a novel about spiritual warfare. Also, my wife and I are expecting our second child in September, and getting ready for his arrival has kept me quite busy. I do have several things that I want to blog about, including the ups and downs of running a hunting club, so I hope to add more content to this blog as time allows. For today though, I wanted to talk about my recent chance to spend some time behind the scenes with Ted Nugent.
Few celebrities polarize people like Ted Nugent does. It's amazing to me that he causes such dissent in the hunting community, especially considering that no one else in the world speaks out on the benefits of hunting the way that Ted does. People often complain that he is "over the top", but by being over the top he gets the message out to the world about the benefits of hunting every single day, in a large number of venues. No other person in the hunting community comes even close to doing this. But my intention is not to defend Uncle Ted. He can do that himself. What I am here to do is tell you about my experience with him back in mid-May.
I've been a member of Ted's internet forum for over ten years now. It's one in which myself and a few dozen regulars interact with Ted on a daily basis, share hunting stories, talk politics, and have an all around good time. Over the years, I've met Ted a number of times. Sometimes the meetings have been brief, and others have been a little longer. The most time I ever spent around him was at the 2010 NRA convention in Charlotte, when I was able to spend most of the day hanging out in his booth with several other members of his forum. When I got the opportunity to go backstage at his 2012 concert in Charlotte, there was no way that I was going to miss it.
I left work early on a Thursday in May and drove up to Kings Mountain, NC to have lunch with a friend from a local men's ministry. We ate BBQ and discussed the possibility of getting some men together for a Wild at Heart style hunting adventure later in the fall. When that was done, I drove on up to the Verizon Ampitheatre in Concord where I would meet with Ted. The parking lot gates were closed when I got there, and I was told that it would be about an hour and a half before I'd be able to get in. I drove down the road and parked under a shade tree in a shopping center parking lot and made a few phone calls, napped a little, and spent a few minutes reading.
I was third in line when the parking lots opened, and I quickly parked my Jeep and headed over to the Will Call booth, where my entry credentials were waiting for me. I had a brief moment of uncertainty when the attendent could not find my pass, but after a few minutes of searching he found it. He verified my ID and handed over the badge that would get me backstage. The instructions that I had received in my mailbox stated that Ted's manager would meet me at the main gate at 5:45pm and take me back to where Ted would be waiting.
By 6:00, the manager had not shown up. By that time, three or four other people had gathered in the area who were also supposed to go backstage. With the help of one of the gate attendents, we were redirected to a nondescript white gate near the back of the Ampitheatre. We were told to go over to it and wait, and someone would meet us shortly.
After a few minutes spent waiting at the gate, it opened and Ted's son Toby walked out. He remembered meeting me at the NRA convention a couple of years ago, and together we walked to a little outdoor patio area where Toby said for us to wait for a few minutes. As the little group of us sat there, a rock-and-roll looking fellow came up to us and said hello and that he hoped we enjoyed the show. Not being a Styx fan, I was unaware that it was Tommy Shaw, but one of the people in my group recognized him and told us who he was.
Moments later, Toby returned and walked us into the backstage area. As we entered, I recognized Marilyn Brown, the female half of Ted's photography team. She was at the NRA convention as well and has been on Ted's forum, and we waved at each other as we passed. Seeing him through the open door of his dressing room, I was dismayed to see Ted leaning on a cane. I had known that his knees were bad, but did not realize how much they were affecting him. Once we were all in the room, Ted's eyes lit up as he saw me. "South Carolina Sportsman!" he said, calling me by my internet handle. "Good to see you again, how are you?"
We shook hands, and then he introduced himself to the other backstage visitors. None of the others had met Ted before, and it was great to watch their reactions as he addressed each of them in turn. After the introductions were over, Toby suggested that we go ahead and get the picture taking out of the way, so we all got our turn getting individual pictures with Ted, and then one of the group as a whole. The photographer was James Brown, husband of Marilyn and long-time member of the Nuge Board forum.
When the pictures were done, we sat down and spent some time talking hunting, politics, and rock and roll. Ted had a lot to say, and hearing him hold forth in a personal setting was quite an experience. He had a lot to say about the current Presidential administraton, his henchman Eric Holder, and other high profile people. He had nothing but good things to say about the Secret Service agents who paid him a visit after the media misportrayed recent comments that he had made, and talked about the outrageousness of the recent ban on hunting privately owned Oryx in Texas. The conversation was only interrupted once when guitarist and vocalist Derek St. Holmes came in and introduced himself to each of us.
When it was time to go, I stood up and got ready to leave the room. As I did, Ted stuck out his cane to me, silently asking me to help him up. I did so, touched by his gesture. We shook hands again, and said that we each looked forward to our next opportunity to meet.
Toby escorted us out of the room, and James and Marilyn Brown left as well. I walked with them toward the stage, discussing the joys of brass rainbows with James along the way. Mr. Brown is a huge Class-3 enthusiast, and is known for his many full-auto weapons. I told him about the Slide-Fire stock that I had on one of my AR-15s, and although he had not used one, he said that he had heard many good things about them.
After saying goodbye to the Browns, I found my way to my seat, a good one, where I settled in for the show. Ted and his band, the Nigerian Rebels, put on quite a show. The only downside was that it was an abbreviated version of his concerts, since both REO Speedwagon and Styx would be playing later that evening. Not being a fan of either group, I left when Ted's time on the stage was over.
Like all of my experiences with Uncle Ted, I walked away feeling refereshed. He was enthusiastic, friendly, engaging, and present. When Ted talks to you he takes the time to look you in the eye, and to listen to what you have to say to him. I expected nothing less, and when I got home that evening I posted a note of thanks on his internet forum. He quickly responded to my post with on of his own, giving me a resounding "Yowza".
To that, I add my own, and look forward to my next chance at spending time with Mr. Nugent.
The below is a guest blog submitted by Dan Berkholder
I have a kind of funny story to tell. My wife and I have been married for a long time. We have met a lot of new people, and it seems like every time we meet someone, they ask us how we met. Each time this happens, we kind of look at each other, and wait for the other person to pipe up first. We didn?t meet in the most normal of ways. I was out hunting with a few of my friends. We were all dressed in our camo and blaze looking for deer in the early part of the season. We had hiked in to this area four or five miles with our packs on, and thought that there was no chance we?d run into anybody else. We came up on some deer tracks and followed them deeper into a thick wooded area. As we followed the tracks, they became fresher. We knew we were getting close. Not long after, we had found him. This deer was going to be the next trophy of someone in the group. Only 75 yards out she stood. I looked down my rifle scope, and began to line up my shot. Before I could get my crosshairs on the deer, I heard a gun shot. The shot didn?t sound close enough to be anyone I was with, but it wasn?t far away, either. I looked around at my friends. Nobody even had their guns in their hands. I asked if any of them took a shot, and they all said they were waiting for me. I looked back down my scope at where the deer had stood. He had dropped. Someone else had taken my deer out. I was furious. As I continued to stare in disbelief through the scope on my rifle, I watched two other hunters walk into the clearing and examine the shot. As I realized I was looking at another human being down my scope, I decided to put my gun away and pull out my binoculars. I wasn?t able to see much, so I decided I?d go and give those hunters a piece of my mind. When I got to the hunters, I realized I wasn?t going to be able to say anything rude. The one who had taken the shot was a girl about my age. She was hunting with her father and couldn?t be more proud of her kill. I congratulated her on the kill, even though I was quite spiteful, and told her that I could have taken that deer out with my eyes closed. She said ?You?ll have to show me that next time we go hunt together.? The rest, as they say, is history. We are now happily married with two children. Our relationship was built on hunting, and it?s a tradition we?ve kept alive. We take our kids hunting with us as often as possible. Author Bio: Dan Berkholder is the Online Hunting Product Manager at Sportsman's Warehouse. He enjoys edible landscaping, and is a devoted big game hunter.
Two years ago Mr. Bruce Puett took me on my first turkey hunt. On that hunt he told me that the key to turkey hunting was patience. He said ?Patience kills turkeys, not calling, not decoys, but patience? and just like clockwork he harvested a nice long-beard on that same hunt.
I?ve been hunting several times with Mr. Puett since then and every time we go I learn something new and usually see some kind of wildlife. I guess by now Mr. Puett knows that when turkey season comes rolling around so will a phone call from me! I reached out to Mr. Puett and lined up a hunt with him for this past Saturday. I was to meet him at the gate at 5:45am.
The next morning I woke up at 6:15 to realize that my alarm clock didn?t go off. I woke up in a panic with my heart beating 100 miles an hour. I was freaking out and was very upset with myself. I can?t stand when someone says they?re going to do something or be somewhere and then doesn?t fulfill their word. I had broken my own rule. I peeked out the window and saw light breaking through the trees and knew I was going to be mad at myself for some time to come. I called Mr. Puett?s cell phone and got no answer. In my mind I imagined him seeing my late call and not answering because he had turkeys gobbling at him and I should have been by his side. I came back to the room and sat down hanging my head in shame for breaking my word. Then my phone rang. It was Mr. Puett. I answered (trying to talk quietly) apologizing with every other word. Mr. Puett said ?Come on out here, this place is better later on in the day anyways.? A small glimmer of hope shined into my self-shame.
I got dressed, grabbed the camera, and ran out of the house as fast and quietly as I could. It was way colder that morning than in previous mornings. It was 38 degrees outside and I wore my thick layered camo clothing. It didn?t take me long to get out to the hunting club either. I parked and speed-walked to where Mr. Puett said he had the ground blind. I arrived to a gas-line. I turned left and saw 2 turkeys and instantly froze at the sight of 2 turkeys. By now it was light outside and easy to see. Then I heard a shrieking crow call and I realized that those 2 turkeys were Mr. Puett?s decoys and he was calling a crow call to indicate his location. I continued speed-walking until I finally reached the blind. When I saw Mr. Puett I was overly apologizing for being late and Mr. Puett was laughing at me and said it was ok. He was just glad I wasn?t in a wreck.
As I got situated in the ground-blind Mr. Puett was calling out and gobblers were hammering from out in front of the blind. The long-beards were very vocal and every few minutes we heard a gobble from the left, right, and middle. Every gobble seemed distant, but eventually they sounded as though they were getting a little bit closer.
Mr. Puett said he had to leave by 11:30 and it was getting close to 9 o?clock. We had time and were hopeful that we?d have a good chance at a gobbler. Mr. Puett had a thermos of coffee so he was all set. We continued calling and along about 9:45 we had a big turkey come out way down the gas line to our right. About 450 yards out a big-bodied bird was feeding momentarily in the clear lane of the gas line. I zoomed the camera in as far as I could and could barely hold the camera still enough to video this bird. It didn?t stay out in the clear long either. After a few seconds in the gas line, the turkey vanished back into the woods. Mr. Puett made some clucks and purrs in the direction of the bird, but it didn?t seem interested.
The clock got close to 10 and we had another turkey come out way down the gas line on the opposite end. It was a hen, but initially we couldn?t tell. Though, one thing was for sure?it was heading our way. I videoed this turkey the best I could. Due to our positioning in the ground-blind I took the camera out of the tripod and only used it on a monopod. This meant that the video didn?t come out as smooth as I would have liked and is a bit shaky. This hen continued to draw near to us, but it faded into the woods about 65 yards away from us.
It was a little frustrating that we had all these turkeys gobbling around us, but we couldn?t get any of them to come out near us. It was 10:30 and Mr. Puett said he needed to give his wife a call to check in with her. He had a quick conversation from the ground blind and no more than 30 seconds after he got off the phone we saw the biggest hen I?ve ever seen before just about 30 yards to our right. The hen had returned and was staring dead at us and was frozen. As soon as I saw it I started tapping Mr. Puett?s knee really fast and I signaled to him that we should be quiet. He knew there was a turkey really close, but he couldn?t see it just yet. We both sat frozen while I tried to steady the camera.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Puett saw the hen (at first we thought it was a jake) in my video camera. He began purring on his slate call because we still had turkeys gobbling around us near and far. I continued videoing the extremely large hen and about 20 seconds later Mr. Puett began tapping my knee extremely fast. I kept videoing, but turned and looked at him. He was grabbing his gun and I knew what that meant. As he stuck the barrel of the gun out of the front window of the blind I whipped the camera around and tried to get a kill shot on video. I was unable to get the turkey in focus but got it just after the shot.
What I didn?t see was what Mr. Puett told me after the shot. A big ?ol tom came out directly in front of our blind and he spurred the ?Thunder Chicken? decoy Mr. Puett had set out just in front of the blind. The turkey spurred the decoy then backed off and puffed up as if it was going back for more when Mr. Puett dropped the hammer on him. After the shot, the hen stuck around momentarily and I filmed her for a few minutes then she got out of there. I couldn?t believe that both of those turkeys came in so close right after Mr. Puett had made a phone call. The showdown happened around 10:45 and this proved Mr. Puett?s earlier phone call me with accurate. He knew the turkeys wouldn?t get fired up until a little later in the day and his intuition was right on?again.
Another unique thing about this turkey was that his beard was short. When we got close up to it we noticed where it had been eaten and then was regrowing. Mr. Puett said that "beard mites" had gotten into the turkey's beard and that's what caused it to be so short. I'd never seen or heard of anything like that before, but is was definitely the case.
What started out as a panicked morning where I was mad at myself for waking up late turned into another very memorable turkey hunt with Mr. Puett. I was glad that my lateness didn?t spoil our hunt and couldn?t believe how close we were to that turkey. It was another memorable outing just a few miles across the Pee Dee.
Some hunters just have a way of being in tune with nature and Mr. Puett is this kind of hunter. His knack for being in the right place at the right time, listening to, and reading nature?s signs always impresses me. I hope to be able to join him and learn more on future hunts.
I hope this blog post finds you doing well, shooting coyotes when you can, and preparing for turkey hunting season. I'm working in the background on some updates to the site and I'm hoping to push them out this summer. It's keeping me pretty busy to be honest.
I wanted to announce some good news and ask for your support. One of our biggest sponsors on the site has been McKenzie Outdoors who has sponsored several competitions giving their Scent Fan Duffle Bags to our winners.
The scent fan duffle bag has recently gained some attention from the market and is currently in the running to be "on the shelf" at Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is seeking feedback from consumers as to which products consumers actually want to see on the shelves. This is a great opportunity for a fellow SC outdoorsman to make some traction with his product and we're excited for Eddie McKenzie and his crew at McKenzie Outdoors.
We're rallying the troops to support McKenzie Outdoors by casting votes either by cell phone or through Facebook. The voting period lasts for 1 month. You can cast one vote per day so if you get a second and remember it, be sure to help support one of our most dedicated site sponsors.
Cast your vote here: http://getontheshelf.com/product/3069/Scent-Fan-duffle
More info on McKenzie Scent Fan Duffle - http://www.mckscent.com
Hello everyone! It's been a while since I have posted and just this past week something hit very close to home. The article below happened right across the river from our hunting land in Laurens County. We have killed a few hogs on our own land so this was very scary. My Dad called the Laurens County Department Health Department to confirm this and called our Game Warden we are friends with who said this type of disease 'brucellosis' is all over the state of South Carolina with hogs. I highly recommend you all read it and take the necessary precautions when hog hunting. What are your thoughts?
Man Hospitalized With Illness After Hog Hunting Trip