This past weekend I was down on the Santee all weekend long and man was it hot! I think the sun may hang a little closer to the earth down there because I sure did get burned. Also, I think there are some different kinds of bugs down at Santee that we don?t have around Pageland. Have you ever seen anything unique at Santee?
While I was down there I spent some time talking with the guys in the bait shop at Randolph?s landing about cat fishing, hunting, but mostly about alligator hunting. I have no idea about hunting alligators so I had a lot of questions and they sure did give me some good information and they also told me some good stories. From what I can tell, it sounded like fighting an alligator can be a tough, long battle. It also sounded like you better know what you?re doing before you go.
The crew in the bait shop started telling me about the regulations and process a person must go through just to be able to hunt alligators. Some of the guy?s couldn?t agree about the exact process so I looked it up on SCDNR?s web site. It turns out that there is a detailed process to it and there are several guidelines to follow. In retrospect, I think the complexity of the rules may have been the reason for their disagreements (or maybe it was just because people are used to hearing lies in a bait shop), but they were all close.
From DNR?s web site you can see that DNR divides the state up into 5 different ?units? with only 4 of the units having a gator season. The units with gator season are the areas of South Carolina that are coastal or near large lakes. SCDNR only issues 1,000 tags leaving each unit with 250 gator tags and those tags must be applied for. The application fee is $10 and if you get selected there is a $100 alligator hunting permit so to alligator hunt you need to have your mind and billfold right! Gator season runs for one month. It starts on the 2nd Saturday in September and goes til the 2nd Saturday in October. If you?d like to know more or see the rest of the guidelines for alligator hunting in SC, you can find information at SCNR?s site.
The "units" that SCDNR has in place for gator hunting
Back to the bait shop?the guys told me the story of last year?s biggest gator. Randolph?s landing is located right beside the dam. Just behind the dam is an area called the ?bar pits? where they say gators are frequently found. The crew in the bait shop said that last year a guy caught a huge gator that was about 14 feet long. They said that the man who caught the gator was fishing with his wife and was in a large john boat. They said he had to fight the gator for some 4 hours to get the gator to shore. They couldn?t remember the weight of the gator, but they said it was really heavy. I wish I could have seen that one. I bet it was a sight to see and to think of fighting something for 4 hours?he must have been tired.
On a side note, they said that there is a correlation with the distance (in inches) between an alligator?s eyes and the length of the gator. For example, if there are 4 inches between the gator?s eyes, then the gator is 4-feet long, if there are 10 inches between the eyes equals a 10 foot gator, etc, etc. I thought that was a neat trick to know, but it may be common to you!
The weekend at Randolph?s was a good one and was hot! If you?re a gator hunter and you get some tags be sure to check out the bar pits and be sure to take a pic of whatever you get and post it to the site. We may be down there again during gator season so if you?re planning a trip, let us know? we might come and film it.
Also, the guys at the landing were nice enough to let me leave some stickers in the bait shop just in case you?re in the Santee area and would like some WeHuntSC.com stickers.
As you know from reading our blog entries, we are putting food plots in at a few different locations with one of those locations being a ?remote food plot?. The location is deemed as ?remote? because it?s in a location that a tractor can?t access?i.e. back deep in the woods. This specific food plot is placed in some planted pines that have recently been ?5th rowed?, that is the lumber guys have removed some rows of the pines and they are now thinned out. To prepare the ground we used Tuffline?s GroundHog MAX and then we came back in and planted some Tecomate Seed Lab Lab Plus.
Since planting the seed, we came back and put out some Milorganite to keep the deer off the food plots for a few weeks while the food plot products grow. We also put out some ?exclusion fences? last week. We?ve had some rain and now the plants are starting to grow as you can see from the images in this blog.
Now that the plants are getting good root systems established and are starting to grow, we went back in and put down some ?Triple-17? fertilizer. We wanted to wait to put the fertilizer down until the plants started to grow, but we didn?t want to let them get too tall before we went back in so as to not damage them. Most of the plants were just a few inches off the ground so we didn?t hurt them. The 17-17-17 fertilizer is made up of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium which will all help the plants grow even more. It?s kind of like getting some supplements from GNC and taking them for weight lifting in hopes of getting the best results.
There is rain forecasted for the upcoming week, so I?ll be excited to see how the plants continue to grow with the fertilizer now on the ground. Also, I?ve got a game camera out over the plot now, but there are still no animals walking through. Though, keep in mind that this is the intended scenario. The reason we used Milorganite was to temporarily keep them out so the plants will have time to establish. In the coming weeks the Milorganite will start to wear off and hopefully some deer will start to come through.
As a web developer and a hunter I find myself taking on two contrasting identities and, often times, bouncing back and forth between the two. When I?m with my co-workers I?m the ?web guy? with a country accent and when I?m with my hunting buddies I?m ?the guy who spends too much time up in city working on computers?(which is not really workin)?! You may be just like me, the guy who makes the commute to work in the city and returns back south chasing deer, turkeys, and anything that will bite a hook on the weekends. If you are, then you'll be able to empathize with my sentiments that follow. Accordingly, no matter on which end I find myself, I end up receiving a hard time from both my fellow hunters and co-workers. Though, I?ve come to appreciate both sides (and the hard time that they give me).
To help me illustrate what I?m describing a little, let me tell you a story about one of my friends from the city. I frequently find myself talking people from Charlotte into coming down to Pageland and ?letting their hair down?. (My dad says I ought to work on the Pageland Chamber of Commerce). I have a friend who is a New Yorker that now lives in Charlotte and I talked him into coming down to the country for a day. I took him fishing and we spent a few hours on the pond and really didn?t catch much. Towards the end of the trip I asked him what he thought about fishing. His response kind of caught me off guard. I expected him to be critical of my guiding abilities and to talk smack to me. Instead he replied saying that he really enjoyed fishing. I thought he was being sarcastic and I asked him why and he responded ?Do you hear the birds? and I said ?yes?. Then he noted to me that he never hears the birds where he lives in the city. He went on saying how he didn?t know of any pond that he could go fishing in that was close to Charlotte. He commented on how he really enjoyed the peacefulness of just floating on a pond simply because it wasn?t something he gets to do often and that it was relaxing to him.
Earlier that same day I had taken him out to a shooting range and it was his first time shooting a rifle, shotgun, and pistol. He actually hit the bull?s-eye on his first shot with the rifle, but it did bloody up his brow a little. He was even able to hit some skeet as well. He did go home with a nasty bruise on his shoulder too. Thinking he would talk junk to me about his shooting experience, I asked him how he felt about shooting and he responded that he really enjoyed it as well. He spoke of shooting the rifle and the immense moment of silence right before he pulled the trigger. He talked about the power and intensity that is packed into those few seconds of silence and yet how he didn?t even hear the gun go off. Yes, he learned and had a new appreciation. He thanked me for bringing him to shoot and for allowing him to get a new perspective on guns. He even took the target with the hole in the bulls-eye back to his house to show off!
From my friends responses it appeared that the moments he experienced "out of his element" were invaluable to him and helped him gain perspective. I believe this is the case because lessons learned when you find yourself seemingly out of your element and somewhat vulnerable offer the most room to grow. The things that hunters find commonplace were new learning experiences and good memories for my friend. He was open to coming down and, as any country boy would do, we tried to get him ?countrified? as much as possible... and it was fine by him. His normal identity is that of a city boy (who at first holds a gun on his shoulder as if it were a surface to air missile launcher). By coming down and living the life of a country boy for a day, he learned and benefitted from real-world experiences that derived knowledge that you can?t get from a book.
My friend found himself in the middle of a day that was outside of his normal environment. As I thought about his experience and how he was so grateful and appreciative, I reflected on my own life and realized that my ?normal? is being caught in between these two environments. Going back and forth between the identities is my "normal" and I?ve learned to appreciate it. I like to, how do they say, ?get in where I fit in? and that?s about all anyone can do. Though, to ?fit-in? in the contrasting environments takes a little vulnerability and openness with the end goal being to learn about the other side and yes, to learn about one?s self.
Not surprisingly, one?s identity is directly linked to what they do and the activities in which they are engaged. I'm engaged in more than one activity which leaves me actualizing multiple identitities. Though, it is only from the perspective of the fragmented identity (i.e. living the experiences of both worlds) that I am able to draw a true appreciation and understanding for both sides. Because I?m not always in the city, I appreciate certain aspects of a city life such as being able to go somewhere where nobody knows me, or the ability to get to almost any type of store relatively quickly, or being able to work with an organization that has a large scale web site who can offer me employment. On the flip side, because I?m not always in the country, I appreciate going to a restaurant and knowing the locals, or the winding country roads that are free of major traffic jams, being able to get out in the woods and work with my hands...and, as my friend said, to hear nature around me. The fragmented identity sharply brings into focus the advantages and disadvantages of both sides, allows me to see if and when the two converge, and in doing so brings on diversity and broader horizons. Had I never spent a good deal of time in the city, I wouldn't appreciate the country...and vice versa.
It's not too bad being a ?webneck?.
The WeHuntSC.com team is excited to announce that Derek Coblentz will help us continue to bring content to the blog-o-sphere. Derek is an avid hunter based out of Hanahan, South Carolina and is also a gifted videographer with some great footage that you?ll see shortly.
Honestly, Derek?s video footage (and editing skills) makes our videos look weak! Now he doesn?t have any turkey slate calls being scratched with a deer antler, but he does have some turkeys and deer on video doing some wild stuff.
I don?t want to take anything away from Derek?s first blog entry that?s about to come, but I did want to take time to introduce him to you all and let you know who he was. I?m sure you?ll enjoy reading his blog entries and watching his videos on the site.
Since we?ve planted the seed, thrown out some Milorganite, and had a little rain, we expect the plants to start growing a lot soon. One of the steps to our journey is putting out some ?exclusion fences?. We went out on Sunday and put up 2 ?exclusion fences? in our Tecomate Seed Remote Food Plot. I had never heard of an exclusion fence or what it was for before we started this ?Food Plot Journey?, but I have come to realize what this means and the purpose behind it. Initially I asked myself why would we want to exclude any deer from our food plot, but it does make sense?even to a web designer posing like I know what I?m writing about!
An exclusion fence is essentially something used to guard a specific section of a food plot to keep the deer from eating it. Ultimately this demonstrates what an untouched/uneaten plant would look like. You use this as a compare and contrast measurement with the other plants (outside the exclusion fence) to see how much of the foliage is being consumed by the deer. It appears that the conceptual idea is that you plant a food plot and, as deer come by, they eat the leaves and vegetation throughout the summer. Though since a small section of the food plot has wire guarding it, then they don?t touch it. At least that?s what we want to happen.
For our exclusion fence we used some old tomato wire and that seemed to do the job. I imagine you could use chicken wire, chain link fencing, or whatever you have available to create an exclusion fence. We merely drove two stakes in the ground, placed the tomato wire on top of them. We then wired the wire to the stakes to anchor it and that was it. It only took us about 20 minutes to get two of these put down.
Since it had been raining previously, we already have some of the Lab Lab Plus plants starting to show up on the surface. There are also some weeds mixed in the middle of our remote food plot, but we?re going to go back and take care of them soon! So it?s actually starting to grow. I hope we continue to get some more rain to help the plants keep on growing. If they keep growing (and the Milorganite wears off) maybe the deer will start eating them. In time and with cooperation of the weather, we should have some plants growing at 2 levels. One level will be with deer eating the plants which would, as I envision it, be lower to the ground with another level being inside the exclusion fence which should be a little taller. I guess only time will tell. I hope to get some pics of the deer in there during the summer. I?ve got to get a game camera up in there soon.
I would also like to note that the Milorganite was definitely activated by the recent rains. We could smell it while we were working. It wasn?t overpowering and unbearable, but you could certainly get a whiff of it every now and then. I?m sure the deer are aware of the smell too because if not, the plants would have already been eaten down to the ground.
And the journey continues (with hopes of more rain)
As you can imagine, a wedding consists of a lot of planning and events which take some time to orchestrate. This minimized my window of available time to put seed in the remote food plot. As you can also imagine, Mother Nature doesn?t wait around on weddings to pass. So, I had to soldier up and get the seed down. I planned on putting the seed out with Mr. J.E. on the morning of my wedding day at 6:30am. Little did I know that I would be up all night and only get 3 hours of sleep before hand. It was rough and if you hear my voice, you can tell I?m struggling on the video. Though, we got the task accomplished.
The remote food plot is located back deep in some woods that we hunt in. The loggers came in and cleared out some rows of pines. To this point, we had cleared out one of the areas where the loggers removed a row of pines. It took some time to clean out, but I think it will be worth it. We then ran a soil sample and put some lime down to try to get the soil pH closer to 7.0. This is the same process that we are doing at our other food plot locations that you are reading about in the other blog entries only this is the remote food plot edition.
Since the ground was recently turned up, we only needed to smooth it back out and then spread the seed. We simply took the 4-wheeler back in the woods with a drag hare and a spreader. We used an old timey drag hare to smooth the soil back out. Mr. J.E. said that the drag was used back in the day behind a mule and you can see the wear and tear on the drag in the video. Though, it did the job and worked well.
After dragging it again, we detached the drag and attached the spreader. A few laps on the 4-wheeler (while I tried to commentate) and that was it. Understand though that we used an extremely large amount of seed for this very small location. The bag will seed one acre and we poured the whole bag over an area about ¼ of an acre. I?m not sure if this will result in an abundance or if it will hurt the food plot. I do know that there is ample amount of seed on the ground though. I guess time will tell on all this.
A week later my dad and I went back to put down some Milorganite in hopes of acting as a fertilizer and keeping the deer off the food plot for a few weeks (as denoted in the previous blog entry). Just a small note to self about this process, it always helps to have the right size pin for the spreader attachment or else you end up pulling the spreader around in circles with your hand! In between 2 Saturdays and a lot of events in between we were able to get the seed and Milorganite down. Since then we?ve had some rain so I hope everything will start to grow. For the next little bit, it?s up to Mother Nature.
(I had a million things running through my mind and I forgot the Flip, so I shot this video with the I-Phone...thus the blurriness)
As we continue our Food Plot Journey there is a critical step that should be taken within a few days of getting the seed down. Actually, it should happen right after the first post-seeding rain comes. There is a specific reason that we?re using this Milorganite, but first let?s look into what Milorganite is.
Milorganite is an organic, human waste product that is used as a fertilizer. Yes, you read that correctly, it is human waste. Milorganite is derived from dried microbes and is a slow-release fertilizer. The nitrogen in Milorganite is not released until growing conditions are favorable for the plant to grow. I would also mention that the level of nitrogen in the Milorganite is not great enough to damage the plants. See an informational video on Milorganite.
Barenbrug USA / Tecomate Seed representative Mike Lee described the reasons for using Milorganite on our food plots. Mike gave an analogy that is useful to help understand the reason for using Milorganite. He quoted ?If I were to cook you a nice, juicy T-bone steak, put it on a plate and set the plate on a picnic table covered with fresh manure, would you really want to eat it?? Obviously you wouldn?t want to eat it. Well, deer are the same way because they aren?t drawn to that smell either. This is beneficial to our food plot because not only does it slowly release fertilizer into our food plot, but it keeps the deer off our food plot and gives the plants time to grow. If we were to just leave the field as it is and let the products grow, then there is a chance that the deer may eat the plants to the ground before the plants have time to develop a good root system. If this were to happen, the field would look like a bunch of nipped-at-the-top green stems and it would kill the plants.
By applying Milorganite to our field we help ourselves out in 2 ways: fertilizing and protecting the plants. You may ask why would we plant a food plot and want to keep the deer out of it, since the purpose is to get deer to eat this stuff. Well, this will only happen for a period of time. After some rain and a few weeks, the smell of the Milorganite will go away and the deer will return. During these weeks when they?re away is when our plants should be growing (if everything goes well).
See benefits of Milorganite
Below is a diagram of how we have structured our food plot
This step is one that you have to execute pretty accurately in order to give your food plot the best chance for success. The timing of putting down the Milorganite is what?s important here. It needs to be done after you have planted the seed and a few days after the first rainfall is received. You can buy Milorganite at Lowe?s for around $13 per bag with each bag containing 36lbs.
With our field, we are dividing it in half with the spreading of Milorganite. Essentially we are creating another cross-section of our field and dividing it in half, but this half will be halving it with one side having Milorganite spread on it and the other side being left alone.
And the journey continues with the wait for something to grow.
Information in this post came from Milorganite?s web site: www.milorganite.com
Do mosquitoes bite you? If so, do you like it? If you don?t like it, then register to the site for a chance to win a Thermacell or one of Thermacell?s new lanterns. Thermacell is hands down the best mosquito repellant out there.
I can?t tell you how good of a sponsor Thermacell is to us, which in turn means how good of a sponsor they are for the hunters of South Carolina. Thermacell is working with us on a WeHuntSC.com promotional and we are randomly drawing names of registered site users to win prizes.
Current members don?t get riled up just yet?you?re already in the lot for the drawing. We are going to hold random drawings throughout the weeks of the next 3 months giving away these Thermacells and Lanterns. We are merely going to take the list of registered site users and draw names out of a hat and we will notify the winners.
See a Thermacell Testimonial from a Gander Mountain employee.
If you?re reading this blog and don?t know what a Thermacell is or what it does, then go to Thermacell?s web site for more information or see the below video.
We?ll get started not too long after I get back from the honeymoon and if you win, you?ve got to send us a picture of you and your new Thermacell!
This year we hosted our first Turkey of the Year Competition. In order to ensure that users wouldn?t submit a picture from years ago, we forced user?s entries to have the date of their kill written somewhere in the picture with them. As you may imagine, we heard from several individuals who said ?If I had only known, then I would have done it?. Well? now you know and next year you can do it! You have to start sometime and this year was our starting point.
For this reason we had a low number of user submissions, but nevertheless we did have some hunter?s that were able to get their information submitted successfully. Of the submitted entries to the site, Steve ?Brother? Black from York County, SC has emerged as the winner. Steve is an avid, year-round hunter and is a member of the Mossy Oak Pro Staff. He hunts deer in the fall, ducks around December and, obviously, turkeys in the spring. He took a trip to Arkansas this past duck hunting season and had a very successful hunt. Steve is known as one of the best turkey hunters around York County and the Rock Hill area. Steve has guided some TV show personalities on hunts and enjoys taking his young son hunting.
Steve was nice enough to take a minute away from work tell us the story about how he bagged his competition winning turkey along with some information about the calls he uses.
For more information about the calls that Steve uses check out his sponsor?s web sites at:
We?re excited for Steve and glad he entered the contest. We really enjoy giving back to the hunters of South Carolina! The days when we deliver the prizes are one of my most favorite things that I get to do being involved with this site. From winning the competition, Steve received:
Not too bad for a day in the woods!
A big congratulations to Steve and a message to all the turkey hunters for next year? HAVE A PIECE OF PAPER, PEN, AND CAMERA CLOSE BY IF YOU PLAN ON GETTING A TURKEY IN THE CONTEST!
Until next turkey season?
If you read these blogs then you know that we frequently monitor the site traffic to see what is going on with the metrics and to monitor our growth. We try to give periodic reports of site metrics to let readers and site visitors see who else is checking things out in South Carolina.
Turkey season did show growth in hits and we?re happy about that. From April 1 ? April 30th, in South Carolina, we had 987 visits from 60 different cities. The image below will give you a feel for the spread of hits that we received from South Carolinians.
See the detailed South Carolina report here.
On a national level we received 1,480 visits via 33 states, which is pretty good for just one month. It seems that others around the country are interested in what?s going on with the hunters of South Carolina!
The image below will give you a feel for the spread of hits we received from the national audience.
See the detailed national report here.
I also looked at the metrics from when we started back last September until now and we?ve had 10,395 visits and 77,568 page views with users spending an average of 6:53 seconds on the site. I?d say that?s a pretty good start for not even being up a year yet. So thanks to everyone who visits the site and contributes videos, photos, forum posts, blog responses, competition submissions, etc. The more traffic we receive, the better the competition prizes will be in the future.
And we keep pushing.