As you know, we've been planting some Tecomate Seed Food Plots this fall. To date we've taken the soil samples, prepared the soil by spraying Round-up, plowed the soil up with the GroundHog MAX, came back in and put down fast acting lime and the seed. After that we came back and put down some 13-13-13 fertilizer and just prayed for rain. It was dry for a pretty good while, but then we finally got some rain. Since then the plots have started doing better.
The small plot is growing a little bit slower for some reason. It may be because of the density of the soil, but I'm not really sure. We planted Tecomate's Monster Mix in the small plot and it is growing, but it's not growing at the rate of the power line plot. The small plot currently has some growth and looks like a light green carpet on the surface of the soil. Hopefully we'll get some more rain to help boost the growth in this plot some more. It's coming along, but we'd like to see it "jump" a little bit more.
Power line Plot
The power line plot is growing really well. I think the soil in this location is a little more "sandy" in comparison to the small plot. This may be the reason for the better growth because the two plots are relatively close to each other. Whatever the reason, the power line plot is looking good. Because it's long and narrow (and currently green) it's looking similar to a golf-course. You can see what the plot looks like below.
We've also got a buck that has decided to make a scrape about 20 yards down from the tower stand. He's been regularly checking this scrape because he's frequently cleaning it out. We're trying to get him on film checking his scrape and we're keeping our fingers crossed. Hopefully he'll come out in the day-time before too long.
Here's a shot from the bottom up of the plot
Here's a before/after pic so far from this plot
I made a short video to show some different pics of these plots. You can see it below
A few weeks ago I shot that 8 pointer and then I mentioned that I was taking it to Chris Melvin of Pin Oak Taxidermy in Great Falls, SC to have the skull done in this new ?camo skull? design. I was anxious to see what the final product would look like and I recently got the mount back from Chris and have to say that I?m very pleased with it. The end product is very nice with a shiny finish and a very detailed design.
When I spoke with Chris he mentioned to me that he?s got some more new designs coming in and that, due to the technique used, no two camo skulls ever look the same so every one?s is unique. If you've shot a deer and don't want to do a full mount then you may want to give the camo-skull some thought. It's a unique design that isn't as expensive, but is still pretty neat.
Again, the price is $165 and the normal turn-around time is 2 - 3 months (given normal workload). Give Chris a call and/or email and tell him that we sent you!
Below is a video of my camo skull in good light to give you an up-close idea of the final product.
If you?re interested in a camo skull, Chris? information is below:
Chris Melvin email@example.com Pin Oak Taxidermy Great Falls, South Carolina 803.519.6203
We?re excited to announce that we?re going to have a competition for South Carolina duck and geese hunters on the site this season! The competition is made possible by WinnTuck, Lodge Creek Calls, and Hobo Calls. These organizations have donated products that will make for a great prize package for the winner!
The competition winner will receive over $400 worth of products listed below:
SEE THE RULES to find out more information about how the competition works. The most important thing you need to remember is to HAVE THE DATE IN THE PICTURE!
We?d like to give a big thanks to WinnTuck, Lodge Creek Calls, & Hobo Calls for making the competition possible.
Do you remember the blog I posted regarding the upcoming vote on November 2nd and the South Carolinian?s Right to Hunt and Fish? Well the date is just around the corner and we need to spread the word about this important vote. With enough votes from hunters across South Carolina, the right to hunt and fish will be written into the state?s constitution and ensure that future generations will be able to continue to enjoy the great outdoors.
See more data about the movement
Recently I met with Heather Clarkson from the SC Camo Coalition to talk a little bit about the importance of the Right to Hunt and Fish. Check out the video where Heather talks a little about the Right to Hunt and Fish Campaign.
Be sure to Vote Yes to amendment 1 on Nov 2nd!
If you have any questions or want more info, feel free to contact Heather.
Heather Clarkson Heather@scwf.org 803-256-0670
I just wanted to post a quick blog and relay some news. I was recently contacted by Billy Dunlap, publisher of two online news papers in the Clinton and Laurens areas. Billy was interested in re-posting our blog entries in a newly opened outdoor portal of his web sites. I checked out the two sites GoLaurens.com & GoClinton.com to see what was going on and it seemed like a good fit.
Billy and I exchanged some emails and I think it?s should be a win-win situation for everyone. Billy has already posted two of my blogs on his sites and will continue to do so. Hopefully this will give his readers more outdoor content as well as help promote our site more in his area of the state.
Derrick Outen is a character?and yes...a sharp-shooter. If you know him then this blog entry won?t surprise you much. I?ve been after Derrick to let me video one of his hunts for a while and we finally lined it up. This past Saturday morning, I met Derrick early in the morning and we set out on our hunt.
We ended up in a nice condo stand overlooking a field that is surrounded by woods. We made a point to be quiet and not use much light as we entered because sometimes deer bed down in the areas surrounding this stand and we didn?t want to spook any of them on the way in. It didn?t take us long to get up the stand and get situated. I also made sure I was on the side of the stand that would be filming the ?good? side of Derrick?s face just in case I had to get him on camera.
It was 43 degrees and the air had a crispness to it that felt pretty good. We sat and watched the sun rise from about 30 feet up in this spacious condo stand. It was a very picturesque scene to observe as you could see for a very long distance all the way around the stand. As the sun rose the beams of sunlight shined down onto the field for a really unique sight. As soon as the sun hit the top of the trees it was dead in our face. Derrick looked at me and said ?that?s why this is an afternoon stand? lol! We leaned back to keep the sun out of our face as much as possible. Eventually it finally got high enough not to bother us.
We sat and scanned the field for about 2 and a half hours. We had a great aerial view of everything going on around and beneath us. The only problem was that nothing was moving! Derrick had some food plot product planted in the field and some corn out around the edges?everything seemed just right. I was sure something was going to walk out at any minute. The cut-over had been cut about a year ago and so there was thick brush surrounding the field that we were overlooking. If a deer walked through the brush, as Derrick said he frequently sees them do, you would see the bushes and small trees moving as they came through. Normally one wouldn?t see this kind of stuff, but being up so high you have that visual capability due to the vantage point the stand gives you. He said if it?s a buck, sometimes you?ll just see antlers making their way through the brush in the cut-over. The thought of that scene just kept playing over and over in my mind, but no matter how hard I thought about it? it just didn?t happen.
The clock was ticking and I had to head to the beach to celebrate the one year ?engage-iversary? with the wife. We got down out of the stand and headed back to the shop. Derrick said that there was another cut-over that we needed to check on the way back in. We drove a little while and then parked the truck. We got out and started walking. I?ve never tried to just walk up on a deer before and didn?t really think anything like this would work. So as we got out of the truck I was asking myself all these questions about how we were really about to pull something like this off and if so, how was I going to get it on film. I didn?t have any answers that made sense to me.
We arrived to the edge of a cut-over and this cut-over was looking down on a really steep hillside. Derrick said that the deer were going to be on the hillside somewhere and that we needed to be as quiet as possible. He really knows the land well and we would be shooting at a down angle in a direction that didn?t pose any danger to anyone. Since we were out of the stand I was free handing the camera which equals a ?shakey? video. Also, at this location the sun was in our face again and it was bright. We took a few steps with Derrick leading and me in the back. After about 5 yards it was clear to see that ?quiet? wasn?t the word that would describe our entrance. There were just too many sticks on the ground, brush in the way, briars ripping our pants, and cuckle berries. It was thick and not fun to walk through. We got about 15 yards in and neared a tripod stand that he?s got on the hillside and he said ?there they go? and I looked up and saw 2 white tails just bounding down the brush-covered-hillside. They were getting out of there and I mean quick like. This is the scene that a hunter sometime sees, but hates to see it happen?that is, spooking a deer and watching them flee the scene. Right after he said ?they?re they go? I had started turning the camera on and he was propping up on the tripod stand. To my surprise, one of the deer got right on the edge of the woods and just stopped and turned around. I have no idea why this deer stopped, but when she did I heard Derrick say ?You ready?? Since the sun was directly in our eyes it was really hard for me to find the deer in the camera. I was bobbling the camera and mumbling?"uh, yea-noo, hold on, yeah I got her, go ahead". As soon as I said ?go ahead? Derrick pulled the trigger and the shot rang out and the deer ran to the right going out of the cutover and out of our sight.
I watched the deer in the screen and I told Derrick that I didn?t think he hit the deer. Derrick just stared at me and we had an awkward moment of silence and then he said ?You mean to tell me that you are doubting me?? The look on his face was reminiscent of a look that the football coaches gave us when we had just messed up and they asked a question?knowing that they knew what the answer was! I said, ?Well you could have hit it and I?m not saying that you didn?t hit it, but just from the way she ran off and the dirt I saw fly behind her? I don?t think you hit her.? Another stare down and question??Clint, you?re really going to sit here and say that you don?t think I hit that deer?? I got the camera back out and looked at the video and the video was tough to see because of the light and me moving it around so much ?Blair-witch? style, but at the end of it you could see the deer and the shot. We watched it back again and I said? ?You didn?t hit that deer. I?m telling you...you missed.? Derrick just shook his head in total disbelief that I didn?t think he hit the deer. The look on his face was one that I can?t describe accurately here in words. I think my doubting his shot may hurt our friendship a little! Lol! He said ?Alright?let?s go get the mule and see?but I?m telling you? I hit that deer.?
We headed back to get his mule (yes we?re in SC, but that?s not a real mule but a larger ATV) and on the way back I was thinking to myself that there was no way he hit the deer. I mean think about it?we just go walking through some cut-over, the deer jumps, he props up on a tri-pod, asks me if I?m ready, I give him the go ahead, and he shoots downhill at about 125 yards and he hits the deer?... all within 10 ? 15 seconds? Come on now..the odds were just too high working against us.
We got in the mule and headed out to the location of where the deer was and sure enough?we found blood at the location where the deer was standing when he pulled the trigger. When we found that first drop of blood Derrick gave me another long, awkward pause/stare basically letting me know that I was dumb for doubting him. It was again reminiscent of a look you may have seen in high school football from one of your coaches. We parked the mule and set out tracking. Derrick had also switched guns from the rifle to a shotgun in case the deer jumped again. We set out walking over this cutover again trailing this deer. The briars, cuckle berries, and everything else was sticking to us and getting in our way. Since it was early a lot of the brush was wet and so our clothes became wet after just a couple of yards tracking this doe. We walked and trailed this deer forever and we could easily see the blood trail and this deer was really moving after the shot. We only lost the blood trail momentarily and then regained it. This doe ran back up the hill, made a left, and then headed back down the hill toward the creek. We trailed this deer for about 115 yards and it took us about 20 minutes. We kept thinking we were just about to see the deer, but then there would be more blood further up. I told Derrick that we were going to have to add 5lbs to the weight of the deer because of how long the blood trail was. We were both surprised at how long the deer ran.
We finally found the deer lying down the hillside near the creek. It was a decent doe and, as bad as I hate to say it, he made a perfect shot. I mean the bullet placement was right where it?s supposed to be. When we saw where he hit the deer he kept giving me a hard time about me doubting him. We drug it to the next closest road. When we looked at the doe we noticed that the deer was really old because it only had about 4 teeth on the bottom jaw and those teeth were loose. We also noticed that this deer had been shot earlier in the season by someone. It looked like someone grazed the top of this deer?s neck with a rifle because the hair was gone and you could see the fresh scar on the back of the deer?s neck. I?d never seen one with that few teeth and that been shot before, much less that combination at the same time.
We headed back to the mule and brought it over to pick the deer up and guess what I got lectured about all the way to get the deer, all the way back to the shop, and all the way to the processor and back?that?s right??I can?t believe you doubted me? and on and on and on.
This is a good example of properly having the date in the pic
Below is the video I shot?be ready cause it?s quick and very shakey
All in all it was a good hunt and I won?t ever question Derrick?s shot again (whether he misses or not)! Lol! I will say though that he made a good shot and got it done in a situation that was probably not the best case scenario so I give him kudos for that. His shot was definitely better than my video!
A while back someone on twitter saw a link to our site and checked it out. Their response tweet was that they liked the design of the site and that it fired them up and made them "want to go kill something?" Obviously this individual doesn''t have a clear understanding of what hunting is all about as his words were a window into his personal view of hunting ...or should I say his trouble distinguishing the difference between hunting and killing.
I often meet people who are non-hunters and sometimes over the course of conversation we end up talking about hunting. Inevitably the conversation trends towards the hunting vs. killing debate. It usually surfaces in the form of "How can you shoot those helpless little creatures?" or "You try to kill Bambi?" This statement is typically a strong indicator that the person asking the question has never hunted.
I'd like to take a look into the hunting vs. killing debate from a hunter's perspective. Let's use a critical lens to analyze and deconstruct the meaning of hunting and also killing. What are the differences between hunting and killing? Where do the differences lie? What are the signs of both a "hunter" and a "killer"? Let's start the investigation by looking at hunters.
Hunters, first and foremost, have totally different motivations, thought processes, and core values than a "killer" does. The fundamental values of a hunter affect the way he/she views the sport. A hunter's beliefs and values prompt actions that are direct indicators that the individual is a true hunter. Over time these fundamental differences are outwardly manifested in the activities in which hunters engage. For this reason, you will find hunters involved in activities in which you will never see "killers" involved. These belief-motivated actions can be noticed both in-season as well as during the off-season.
In the off-season a hunter still enjoys many aspects of hunting. This is because being a hunter doesn't come for a season and then leave, its not seasonal, it's a way of life. Some examples of these off-season activities are those such as "shed" hunting where finding a deer's shed antlers is the goal, or with training any hunting dogs that a hunter may have, doing off-season scouting, competing in target shooting competitions and/or calling competitions, attending trade shows, moving deer stands, building duck blinds, practicing calling techniques, researching, planting and maintaining food plots to help with the health and nutritional diet of the deer, turkeys, ducks or other game in the hunter's area, or even watching hunting TV shows.
During the season a hunter doesn't merely look to harvest anything that walks through the woods, but rather is selective about the game that he or she does choose to harvest. A hunter won't shoot more meat than he or she needs in his freezer. Hunters also help less fortunate people by donating deer meat to them. It's common to find hunting clubs or deer processors working with local organizations supporting the needy. A hunter takes pride in being able to watch an animal mature over time and is challenged to hold the game in their area. A hunter also has a true appreciation for nature and the patterns found within nature denoting intelligent design from above. Hunters grow to appreciate the stillness of being in the middle of the woods, field, swamps, etc where one can momentarily elude the business and noise of everyday life. Sitting on the ground, in a stand, or in a blind offers one the time and place to ponder the wonders of the universe or anything else that may come to mind. The serenity hunters find out in nature can't be found in too many other locations and gives some hunters a natural high. This tranquil and peaceful place is where the hunter remains until he/she either encounters the game or the end of the hunt. Sure, a hunter wants to harvest an animal, yet he/she still enjoys the hunt whether an animal was harvested or not. When the game does arrive, whether it is a duck, boar, turkey, deer, etc hunters enjoy the instant rush that comes over us. The instant rush of adrenaline, rather than the kill, is what gets hunters hooked.
A hunter also has the discipline to watch their game for hours and never pull the trigger. When a hunter does pull the trigger, it is a calculated moment that has been in the making for some time rather than being a moment that randomly happens by chance. Harvesting an animal is the culmination of many factors some of which are: off-season scouting, scent control, successful hunting tactics, food plot, land/game management, successful calling, well trained dogs, and yes, an accurate shot. All of these factors coming together at once is not an easy feat to pull off. Therefore, when an animal is harvested it's the intersection of preparation, patience, and nature.
Hunters usually have hunting partners with whom they go hunting and spend time. Having a hunting partner is a good safety measure, it helps when any work needs to be done, and offers a chance for fellowship while participating in an activity that both individuals enjoy. It's commonplace to find fathers and sons hunting together. You see hunters also care about passing the tradition on to younger hunters. Because of the burden to share the sport and experiences in the outdoors, hunters strongly support activities which promote and educate hunting to youth. Fathers also appreciate the opportunity that hunting gives them to spend time with their children.
To see what happens when a non-hunting, father-son, duo goes hunting and realizes the rush of the hunt and the experience that they'd just had together see the below video
Hunters also get involved with organizations that support their sport and focus on the conservation of the sport so that everyone can continue to enjoy the outdoors. Organizations like Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Ducks Unlimited (DU), National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are ones that you'll see true hunters get involved with. These organizations bring a wealth of research, information, and synergy to their respective sport of hunting and work for the greater good of the hunting community as a whole. Hunters get involved with these organizations because the core principles and values of the organizations align with the core principles and values of the hunter.
The last thing I'll mention is that, due to the strong differences between hunters and killers, you'll seldom find hunters associating with killers, the two just don't mesh. Sure they may bump into each other at a processing plant every now and then, but you won't see them together much other than that. The old saying goes "You are what you hang around" and because of this notion, hunters are careful about the company they keep. Take a look at the people around you who hunt and think about who they do and don't hang around to see if it holds true.
We all have different perspectives, but the above is my perception on what makes a hunter and how you can identify and distinguish a hunter from a killer. Since I've elaborated on what I believe comprises a hunter, now let's look at the other side of the fence. Let's look at characteristics that I believe make up a "killer".
A "killer" is essentially the opposite of all the characteristics mentioned above that encompass a hunter. In my opinion, killers give hunters a bad reputation. In the same way that you'll see a hunter involved in specific activities and carrying out certain behaviors, you'll see killers not taking part in certain activities and also engaging in contrasting behaviors. Most of the time a killer's behaviors are in stark contrast to those of a hunter.
In contrast to a hunter, a killer does not appreciate the hunt because the hunt is what stands between them and a kill. Killers don't genuinely appreciate the wait, the silence, and the necessary time in a stand/blind that most hunters love because a killer doesn't really enjoy the peacefulness of nature, but rather is in a hurry to pull the trigger.
Killers don't respect the land they hunt on or animals they harvest. They don't mind littering or damaging the land they hunt on because the environment and conservation is not of their concern. Killers are also what we like to call "trigger-happy" and will shoot the first deer, turkey, duck etc. that they see. In the deer hunting world killers live by the motto "If it's brown it's down" because they're not concerned with game management or limits. I remember an instance related to this topic that happened when I was a kid that still sticks out to me.
In the mid 90's we were at one of our locals processing plants and everyone was talking about deer hunting while the guys were cleaning deer. The environment was the normal, upbeat, good-humored, environment that you've probably experienced before at a processing plant. We had been there about 20 minutes when some guys came up and bought in a very young doe. The deer was so small that it looked like it had just got rid of its spots. At the time I didn't really know what was going on because I was so young, but I distinctly remember the old man that was processing the deer's reaction to the situation. The guys drug the small deer up and immediately the whole processing plant went silent. Tension was in the air and it was thick. I vividly remember the awkwardness of the moment. The guy who shot the deer said he wanted some "tender meat" and that did not go over well at all with the processor. He gave the guy a death-stare and then shook his head in disappointment to let him know that what he had done was wrong. After that the whole place remained quiet until the individuals who brought the deer in left. Being young, I didn't exactly understand what had just taken place, but my dad explained it to me on the way home. In retrospect, I now respect the processor even more because even he didn't want to make money cleaning a deer that was so young because he respected the game and disliked doing business with a killer.
Another sign to look for that denotes a killer is what they do in the off-season. Killers rarely participate in, and do not enjoy, the off-season work that hunters love because its actual work and it doesn't involve or even come close a kill. Hunters know that working in the off-season can help their game and also keeps the hunter's flame burning year round. Killers on the other hand may do some off-season work, but from what I can tell, they don't seem to be too motivated about it.
After a killer does harvest a deer, they commonly boast about the kill as if it builds social status whether their animal was a trophy animal or not. Of course a hunter may brag about a nice deer, duck, turkey, etc they've harvested, but they won't go to the extent of self-promotion that a killer will. A true hunter doesn't need any self-promotion and doesn't thrive on his reputation because to a hunter it's not a competition, but to a killer, it is.
Killers aren't interested in taking others hunting because it only lessens their chances of making a kill. Sure everyone hunts by themselves at some point in time, but (if okay with the hunting club and/or land-owner) a hunter is always open to taking another person hunting, especially a kid because a hunter wants to share the enjoyment of the sport. A killer's viewpoint on that matter is the opposite because he/she isn't interested in sharing the sport as much.
Killers aren't concerned with adhering to the state/county regulations on game and don't mind breaking the rules because they don't respect the game, land, or sport as much as a hunter does. Due to this lack of adherence to rules & regulations killers will do things such as spotlighting deer at night, shooting before legal shooting time, hunting on land that isn't theirs, harvesting more animals than they are legally supposed to, etc. For whatever reason, a killer seems to feel above the law.
In the above paragraphs I've used a critical lens to compare, contrast, and note my view on the characteristics of both the "hunter" and the "killer". Looking deeper into the debate and deconstructing the meaning from a hunter's perspective provides unique insight with which you have the right to agree or disagree.
The term "Epistemology" refers to one's "way of knowing" and really forces one to ask the question "How do I know what I know to be truth?" Knowledge is derived from the merging of what we know to be true (truths) and what we believe (beliefs). This is demonstrated by the graph on the right.
Given an epistemological viewpoint, one can be more informed about hunters from understanding a hunter's core values and beliefs. One must know the truths about hunters and understand the sport from a hunter's perspective in order to be knowledgeable and informed in the debate. Looking at hunting from the vantage point of a hunter offers valuable insight for non-hunters and those who are critical of hunters.
Determining whether an outdoorsman is a hunter or a killer is a judgment that can only be made on an individual basis. Stereotyping hunters as blood hungry killers is unfair because many times that is simply not the case. I'm not denying that there are some killers out there. I'm just saying that you can't call us all killers until you get to know us and understand us a little.
One day while I was at Hickory Hills Smoked Products in Van Wyck, SC I saw something that caught my eye. One of the tables off to the side had some taxidermy displays and I saw something I?d never seen before among the displays. There was a skull mount with the skull painted in a really neat looking camo design. I walked over and looked at some of the samples, felt how slick they were, took some pics with my phone, and looked at the info about the guy who was doing it. The business card in front said ?Chris Melvin, Pin Oak Taxidermy, Great Falls, SC?. I was pretty impressed as I looked at the designs available and the samples that were on display. I made a mental note to myself about it and went on about my business.
The next day was when I shot the 8 pointer right at daylight. This deer was a nice deer, but he wasn?t big enough for me to mount in the style of a normal mount and since it was fresh in my mind I figured I?d give this camo skull mount a whirl?after all it looked pretty neat. I called back up to Hickory Hills and got the phone number for Pin Oak taxidermy and gave Chris Melvin a call. I told Chris that not only did I want my skull mounted with this neat new camo design, but that I also wanted to meet with him and talk to him about it and post something about it here on the site.
A couple of days ago I did just that? I went down and met Chris and got some more information from him about the camo skull mounts and saw some more examples. Chris was a real nice, easy going guy and I have to tell you that this camo skull stuff is pretty neat! I asked Chris some questions about the camo skull mounts and he told me a little about the process etc.
One thing I found interesting was the Chris has a very unique way of getting the skulls clean. He mentioned that many people boil a skull to get it clean, but that boiling it makes it brittle and more likely to crack. In order to get the skulls clean and let them maintain their strength, Chris uses something very unique. He uses a specific type of beetles and they eat everything, but the skull! Yes, you may find that rare, but I have to tell you that these things really get the job done. They also get the job done fast. Chris said that in a matter of days the beetles will have the skull as clean as a whistle. (If you want to see a pic of the beetles cleaning a skull, click here). After the skulls are clean he lets them air dry out for a while and then he prepares the skulls for painting.
While I was at Angelus Deer Processing getting my deer processed I showed some of the camo skull pics on my phone to the guys down there and they really liked this style of skull mount too. I?m writing this blog entry because you may be like me (and the guys down at Angelus Deer Processing) and have never heard or seen this style before. Hopefully I can help spread the word about this new technique in skull mounts and give Chris a little publicity!
Chris said that with all things normal the turn-around time with a camo skull is around 3 months. If he gets really busy then that can affect the turn-around time, but generally that?s about how long it takes. The camo skull mounts go for $165 and you can choose from a wide variety of designs and man I?m telling you they look good. I saw several designs on different skulls and they all looked different and were shining from the glossiness of the finish. I?d definitely recommend this style at least for one of your mounts and I?m going to post the pic of mine here on the site when I get it back.
Another note that is worth mentioning is that Chris can still give you a camo skull mount if you have the horns from a deer you harvested many years ago. Chris can get a fake skull and attach your horns to it. He showed me a camo skull mount that had real horns, but with a fake skull on it and it wasn?t easy to tell so they still look good.
Below is a quick video I made with a few different variations of the camo mounts
So if you have an old set of horns or if you want a neat new type of mount then give Chris Melvin at Pin Oak Taxidermy a call or email. Chris?s info is below:
Last night the wife and I went down to the Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited banquet. We had a really good time and hung out with fellow WeHuntSC.com blogger Gavin Jackson and his wife and some other friends from around the Pageland area. The event was packed with waterfowl hunters and there were tons of prizes on hand being auctioned off, won, and bided on.
We arrived to the event and walked around looking at all the items that were on display. There were some nice paintings, decoys, a corn-hole set, clocks, mail-boxes, and a really nice shotgun too. Everyone was mingling and looking at the items on the tables trying to figure out what they wanted to bid on during the auction. Fellow WeHuntSC.com blogger and world champion duck caller Blake Hodge was scheduled to do some demo calling at the banquet as well.
Around 7:15 the guy emceeing the event got on the microphone and said that it was time for Blake to do some calling for the crowd. The emcee told the crowd about all the awards that Blake?s been winning and Blake made believers out of everyone there. He really made those calls sing! Everyone in the room went quiet while Blake was calling and after he finished everyone gave him a big round of applause. While Blake was calling you could see people in the audience shaking their heads and looking at each other as if to say ?I can?t believe how good he is?. The emcee tried to lure Blake into coming hunting with him so that he could use his calling abilities to draw some birds in, but Blake gave him a quick no and the crowd laughed at his quick response. Imagine being 14 and getting up in front of a crowd of grown-ups who?ve been hunting way longer than you and showing them how to call. I imagine it could be a little intimidating knowing that everyone in the room was going to critique your style. Though it didn?t faze Blake and he did really well.
The gun of the year
Shortly thereafter it was time to eat and everyone munched down on some Jo Jo?s BBQ which was really good. Then came the auction where the prizes get bided on and sold. All of the money gets donated to Ducks Unlimited so the hunters don?t mind spending their money on the products plus it?s a tax write-off. When the emcee got going I couldn?t believe how fast he was talking. He was rolling his tongue and speaking faster than Bone Thugs n Harmony can rap! It was pretty impressive to hear.
The clock started inching toward 10 and the wife looked at me and I knew what that look meant. We had to leave and get back to Rock Hill. We left as the last product was being auctioned off. It was a really neat experience and if you?ve never been to a DU banquet you should check one out. I believe Gavin said that Chesterfield County may be having one in the future too. The Ducks Unlimited organization runs deep and has roots everywhere so most likely there?s an event happening near you sooner than later.
This past Christmas I was fortunate enough to get two Moultrie game cameras. The cameras also came with the Game Spy Connect feature which allows the game camera to upload images directly into a database that can be viewed online via Moultrie?s Game Management web site. Speak of the convergence of technology and hunting.
On a site note for you ?web-necks? out there, the online application is very neat. It has a slick, user friendly interface built with J-Query integrated into the app offering modal/light-box windows for easy photo viewing. The application allows users to view photos online, delete them, store them in galleries, change all the settings on the game camera right from your computer, check the battery levels on both the camera and GPS module, as well as integrating GPS functionality with Google maps so that you can pin-point exactly where your camera is located.
The system allows hunters to instantly see what game is coming by and when they are coming by?as in? I get an email a few minutes after it happens. I even check mine from my I-Phone throughout the day. On occasion I?ve been sitting in one stand and received an email letting me know that something got its picture taken at the location of the camera. With this level of functionality you don?t have to continuously return to the woods to check your game cameras, but rather only return to check on them when you need to change the batteries. This reduces the scent that you spread in the woods. All of this is really neat, but it does come at a cost. There is a monthly fee for this service. The rate you are charged differs depending on which level you choose. See the Game Management Packages.
Just as you would imagine, the gadget freak in me was excited to hook all this up and get it out and on a tree. I waited to start the photo-uploading service until we got some of our food plots up and growing well. I got the camera out and turned everything on just like the manual said. I waived my hand in front of the camera and 2 minutes later I had an email sitting in my inbox saying ?You?ve got deer? even though it was just a picture of my hand. Neat stuff! I was pumped about the fact that I would be able to be anywhere and see anything that passed in front of the camera! For about a month the camera did just as it was supposed to, but then I noticed I wasn?t getting any more pictures. I got back out to the woods the first chance I got and checked on the camera. I kept getting an error message saying that there was a file upload error. The error message read something like ?File upload error, Wait srvr response?. I didn?t know what was wrong with the unit. I put brand new batteries in it and everything, but still no dice.
Since the cameras are pretty expensive and I?m paying for their service, I figured the product should work. I called the Moultrie Game Management support line and the lady on the other end of the phone walked me through a couple of steps. In just a few minutes the information we gathered while on the phone was enough for her to have me send the camera in to be fixed. I went to the post office and put the camera in a box (if it fits it ships) and sent it on its way to Alabama. A couple days later I started getting pictures again in my inbox except this time they were of someone?s hands counting 1, 2, and 3. I knew it was back working again. A day or two later the camera arrived back to me and it came back with a new GPS module. I emailed in again and asked about the payment for the time in between when my camera quit working and when I got it back again. I got a quick response denoting that my payment had been suspended for one month. They fixed the product and made the situation right?like they should do.
I write all this to say that there still are some cases of good customer service out there. I would like to to promote Moultrie?s organization and customer service because they made the situation right. The steps taken to correct the situation are obvious ones to consumers, but ones that some organizations don?t take. In a competitive market consumers must look for more than just the product when we buy. Business processes that keep the customer in mind are the ones that help organizations thrive and prosper in the long run. So thanks to Moultrie for having cutting edge products and great customer service! After this experience I won?t have any hesitation about buying any more Moultrie products in the future. Moultrie?s customer service gets an A+.
Now let me run? I?ve got some new pics to look at here?
Below are some screenshots of Moultrie?s Game Management System application interface
The Moultrie Game Management System Photo Viewing Interface
Moultrie Game Management System Camera Status View
Moultrie Game Management System Settings View