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Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew

Clint Patterson
Clint Patterson
Clint Patterson's Blog

I Think I Caught Turkey Fever
    WeHuntSC.com - Adam Smith's First Gobbler (that he called in)
  Yes, it's blurry but you'll see it better on the video

After the showing we had yesterday, we all felt like we couldn?t do any worse if we went back out again today.  Though, after we hunted yesterday, Adam went and bought a new slate and a diaphragm call.  He was pumped up about practicing calling birds in and I think he even went hunting yesterday afternoon just to see if he could get one to talk back to him.  Adam is pretty driven and when he gets something in his mind to do, then he usually works at it until he gets it done.  I have no doubt that he?ll be a good turkey caller before too long and his efforts today yielded some pretty impressive results. Keep in mind that this was his first time turkey calling without a deer antler. 

We all met early again over at my place and headed out.  We didn?t drop the striker for the slate on the way in this time so already it was a success in comparison to yesterday?s hunt.  This morning we didn?t hear many turkeys gobbling from the trees in the dark like we did yesterday.  We got set up and had our two decoys out in front of us.  We sat and waited and could hear one turkey gobbling way off in the distance to our left.  He was very talkative, but remained at a distance and didn?t seem to get any closer as a response to Adam?s calling. 

In time, the sun had risen and was up really high and we still hadn?t seen a turkey.  We were a little frustrated at the lack of action, especially since we actually brought the slate striker today!  We talked a little in between ourselves and even thought about leaving.  Then Adam looked at us and said ?Hey, patience kills turkeys? (referencing to a quote that Mr. Puette told me only a week earlier).   I said, yep ? you?re right and we decided to stay in another hour just to see what would happen. 

We sat and sat and the temperature started to warm up some.  Due to their positioning, Will and Adam couldn?t see as well as I could.  I had a better perspective so I was constantly scanning the tree line looking for any movement.  After a while, I saw something directly across the field from us that looked like the shape of a turkey, but it was so far away that I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me much like they do when deer hunting.  I ?whisper-yelled? at the guys and said ?Throw me the binoculars? and they reached to get the binoculars, but before they could grab them I saw the turkey move.  I repeated ?there he is, there he is, can you see him?? and they immediately perked up.  I could clearly see the turkey, but it took a few minutes before he came into Adam and Will?s view.  Adam was randomly hitting the slate call and I told him to talk to the bird.  He started slowly ?purring? at the bird and instantly the turkey puffed his feathers up.  I whisper-yelled again ?Can you see him? and by this time they had him clearly in their line of sight.  We were all excited and the bird was headed our way.

Adam kept lightly striking the slate call ever so often as the gobbler slowly strutted his stuff across the field.  It was awesome.  He would walk for a bit, then puff his feathers up and walk some, then like deflate and then puff up again.  It was like a cycle that he went through and he did this 3 ? 4 times within the minutes that he strutted across the field.  There was no doubt that this turkey was hearing what Adam was doing and responding to it.  Even once the turkey stopped and gobbled real loudly in response (and you can hear it on the video if you turn the volume up).  We were all glued to our seats as this big boy was strutting in the field like he owned it.  The bird was coming closer and closer. 

As the turkey got closer I noticed that I started getting some shakes going on ? the same kind of rush you get when a big buck walks out in front of you.  My heart began to beat more as the turkey responded and kept drawing in closer to us.  It was neat to watch this bird come out from about 200 yards away and come directly towards us.  I really thought that we were going to get some great footage of a kill shot. 

Finally, the turkey got close enough to us and he stopped and perked his head up.  He saw our decoys and when he saw the decoys his whole demeanor changed.  The turkey came up from the other side of a small hill.  It wasn?t until he topped the crest of the hill that he could see the decoys.  As soon as he saw the decoys he started walking differently.  He seemed to be more in a hurry and then he went hard to the left and was seemingly pacing back and forth for a minute or so.  He did this twice and then made a b-line for the trees.  As rookie hunters we really have no clue why the turkey did this, but our current theory is that when this turkey saw the decoys he felt that the male decoy was larger than him and got intimidated and immediately fled the scene.  The turkey we were calling had a beard, but it wasn?t a huge one.  This is what makes us believe this notion.

After the turkey went back into the woods we were all just sitting there deconstructing what had just taken place before us.  We were all pumped and excited and we all felt that same rush.  It was a pretty intense few minutes for some novice turkey hunters.  Again, we sat for a little while and then two more birds came from the corner.  I spotted them and then we went back into stealth mode in the woods.  Though, these two birds were just feeding and were hens.  They came out in the field and worked their way past us.  This was fine with us and we tried to give them time to leave, but we were ready to go.  We got up and I interviewed Adam and during the interview Will saw the hens working back down.  We paused the video to try to get closer and call them in, but had no luck. 

All in all I think it was a much better hunt than yesterdays.  To see the turkey blow his feathers up like that and come across the crest of that hill was a neat scene for me and one I won?t forget.  I hope to see that again in my life!  We headed back to the truck and yet again to Bojangles.  I don?t know if it?s a good thing to tell the wife-to-be, but I think I may have caught turkey fever! 

You'll best see this video if you blow it up to full screen and watch in 720p, but give it time to load



The Wrong Way to Turkey Hunt
   WeHuntSC.com - Will and Adam leaning on a tree looking at the turkey
  Adam and Will leaning on the big oak looking at the turkey off in the distance

This past week Adam and Will were fired up about turkey hunting.  They had been going turkey hunting with some soon-to-be mentioned hunters earlier in the week and I believe the boys are starting to get ?turkey fever? if there is such a thing.  They had been sitting with some experienced hunters and watched them call in some birds and I believe it got to them.  Their enthusiasm mixed with my recent luck of being in on a successful hunt made a combination for three rookies wanting to go turkey hunting.  We decided that we?d go about mid-week.

As the end of the week approached, Adam and Will had been making turkey calling, decoy setting up, and game-planning plans for our hunt.  On the Friday night before hand I had to go to a shower (which was a very enjoyable one for me).  I got a bunch of grilling stuff!  While I was at the shower, Adam and Will were at home practicing their calls, watching instructional videos, reading up on the web on exactly how to call correctly and the best positioning of decoys.  Will had also gone and watched where the turkeys went to roost the night before.  By the time the shower was over I was exhausted and ready for bed.  We agreed to meet at my place early the following morning in order to get set up before daylight.  Will was to be the hunter, Adam was to be the caller, and I was going to document the whole thing.

Will arrived to my house first and he showed me the decoys he bought + he was striking the slate call showing me how it sounded.  Will said that Adam had practiced with the diaphragm and was bringing it with him.  As we waited in the drive way on Adam, we loaded some stuff up.  Adam arrived shortly thereafter and we all piled into the truck.  As we sat in the truck, Adam told us that he?d forgotten the diaphragm call at his house as he rushed to leave his house.  He also told us that he stayed up until 1am researching and getting ready to be the caller for the hunt.  We could tell he was excited?like I say, these boys have caught turkey fever.  Even though Adam forgot the diaphragm, we thought we?d be ok because we still had the slate call and figured that would be good enough.

We got to the field really early and got all our stuff out of the truck.  We headed down to the field and I led the way because I had the bright light on my head.  As we walked in the dark, we heard a gobble in the trees really loudly which meant they were really close.  We were excited that they were already up and gobbling so early.  We had to walk about 350 yards to get to our location.  About 3/4?s the way in Adam noticed a ?shed? antler on the ground.  We stopped and looked at it for a moment.  It was a pretty nice shed?about an 8 point.  After pausing for a moment, we continued to our location.   We set up in a section of woods that is really like an island of woods out in the middle of a field.  Will put the decoys out and then all of a sudden Adam says ?Where is the slate stick?? and we all stopped and thought for a moment and in one instant a sense of worry took us over.  Will told Adam that he?d handed it to him back at the truck.  Adam remembered and somehow, in between the truck and the island of woods, Adam had dropped/lost the slate striker.  The immediate panic mode set in and we searched the ground for the striker.  The growth in the field was wet from the early morning dew and the more we walked the wetter our pants legs and boots got.  It was not a good situation.  We literally had turkeys gobbling at us from the not-too-distant trees as the sun was just starting to come up? and we were looking all around for the striker.  Adam thought he may have dropped the striker at the shed rack where we paused for a moment, so we turned around and went back and couldn?t find it there either.  We were running out of time.  We needed to get situated.  We were posed with the situation of hearing turkeys gobble at us, the sun coming up, decoys on hand, but no way of making any sound to get any turkey?s attention.  What would you do in this situation?  Well, what we did was grab the shed rack and used it as the slate striker.  It was not the best scenario in the world, but it was our only hope.  I mean hey, you have to get creative in scenarios like this!

We made our way back to the edge of the woods and sat down.  Believe it or not, the turkeys actually responded to the antler-against-the-slate combination a few times throughout the morning.  In the video below (if you turn the volume up real loud) you will hear one response that a turkey made to the antler/slate call.  I told the boys that Bruce Puette said you didn?t have to be a great caller to get a turkey, but somehow I thought we were pushing the limits with our shed antler stunt we were currently pulling.  We knew the odds were against us, but we remained hopeful as we continued to get random responses from gobblers across the way.

We had one hen fly in the field really early.  She flew down into the very middle of the field and slowly but surely she worked her way towards us. She remained solo the whole time.  Eventually she went on past us, but it was fine with us as, by this time, the antler call didn?t seem to be working like we wanted.  Though, we could still hear turkeys gobbling off in the distance in the trees across from us.  We decided to move closer to the other side and set up at the big oak in the middle of the field.  Since we were going to move we wanted to look for the slate striker for a second.  We looked for a few minutes and couldn?t find anything, so we pushed on ahead to the big oak tree in the middle of the field.   We sat there for a while, and nothing seemed to happen.  We ended up moving one more time and we heard the turkey gobbling a lot, but in the end nothing happened.

Since I like to draw positives from any situation, I?m chalking this hunt up to a lesson learned?and that lesson is: Be sure your slate call striker/diaphragm/any necessary hunting gear is secured in a bag before you leave to go hunting!  Initially Adam was upset because he dropped the striker, but in the end he was a good sport about it and even gave an interview about what happened that you?ll see at the end of the below video.

I post this blog because we aren?t professionals and don?t claim to be, but we sure do like to hunt!  Instead of not mentioning it or being ?ultra-cool?, I like to keep it real and therefore I posted the blog to let you know how our hunt went.  We?re not above messing up and it will probably happen again.  I?m sure you may have ended up on a frustrating hunt or two in your day and, well, today was one of those days for us.  I don?t guess our chances at getting a turkey were too high this morning, but sometimes in life you have to be able to look at a situation, smile, and not take yourself too seriously.  Sure the boys practiced calling all night and sure we woke up early only to scratch a slate with a piece of an antler, but I mean look at the bright side?at least we were able to wake up and to go out and hunt somewhere.  That?s a blessing in itself!  I try to learn my lessons and be able to laugh about it.  So feel free to give us a hard time when you see us, there probably will be more material like this to come and we?ll keep on learning our lessons!  Every once in a while a not-so-perfect hunt happens and today was that day for us, but we still went to Bojangles afterwards!




Muzzy Partners With WeHuntSC.com to Sponsor Next Season?s Archery Buck of the Year Competition
    WeHuntSC.com - Muzzy.com Web Page
  Muzzy's web site www.Muzzy.com

We are excited to announce that Muzzy is partnering with WeHuntSC.com to sponsor next season?s Archery Buck of the Year Competition.  Last deer hunting season we wanted to have an archery contest on the site, but we were so young we didn?t have time to get it all together.  This season is different as Muzzy has stepped up to the line and provided some nice gifts that will be part of the winner?s prize package. 

About Muzzy
Muzzy is a Cartersville, Georgia based organization that specializes in broadheads.  Muzzy also makes other bow and arrow accessories as well as some hunting calls and cover scents.  Muzzy also sponsors several TV shows.  See the list of shows they sponsor.  Also, Muzzy?s web site (which for you web nerds was written in PHP) has a neat page called ?Muzzy Moments? where site visitors who have harvested a trophy animal with a Muzzy broadhead can submit their picture and information and have it featured in the ?Muzzy Moments? page. 

So for any of you who hunt with Muzzy arrows or broadheads, if you get a trophy, be sure to post your information on our site and theirs!  You may just get featured in both!



139th NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits to be held in Charlotte, NC May 14 ? 16
   WeHuntSC.com - NRA Annual Meetings in Charlotte NC, May 14-16, 2010
  A Screenshot of the NRA's web site

The National Rifle Association?s 139th Annual Meeting & Exhibits will be held in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina on May 14 ? 16th.   If you?re in the upstate of South Carolina it?s not that bad of a trip, but if you?re in other parts of the state, it?s worth the ride!  The events will be held at the Convention Center which is just a few blocks away from the Panther?s stadium.  (See Google Map to location).

I might add that if you are going to attend the convention, then you may want to stop in and check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame which is also a few blocks from the Convention Center.  It is brand new and is just now finishing construction.  It looks likeNRA members and guests get an exclusive visit.  I can tell you that it?s an impressive building and that they?ve been working on it for a good while now.  How do I know this, because I literally ride right by the building every day going into and out of work!  I?ve almost hit some of those construction workers as they dart across the road to get to the job site in the daunting Charlotte traffic.  That brings up another good point?if you?re going to come to the event, be ready for some one way roads that change names whenever they want to coupled with chaotic downtown traffic in Charlotte. 

The weekend looks like it?s packed with events such as member meetings, celebration forums, speeches from key note speakers Sean Hannity, and Speaker Newt Gingrich with special addresses by Wayne LaPierre, Chris Cox, Lt. Colonel Oliver North, and Ted Neugent is going to be on hand and will give a seminar.  There will also be a prayer breakfast where my old Liberty University chancellor?s son, Johnathan Falwell, will give the keynote address with music by Charles Billingsley, Joy Lippard, and the Children of the World choir.  If you?ve ever heard Charles Billingsley sing before then you know that he is the truth!  He sang when I was at Liberty and he was very good. 

And the list of events goes on and on with auctions, firearms seminars, tours, shooting and defense seminars, workshops, etc.

If you want to know more about the events of this weekend, just check out the event web site at http://www.nraam.org/index.html.



The Day I Learned How to Turkey Hunt
   WeHuntSC.com - Bruce Puette and the turkey he harvested on my first turkey hunt ever
  Mr. Pruette and a picture of his bird from our hunt

With turkey season opening up this past week I had been looking to go turkey hunting with someone because I?d never been before.  I?ve got a friend who?s big into turkey hunting in York, some friends who turkey hunt in Chesterfield, and some in Pageland, but for whatever reason I couldn?t get anything lined up.  I called up fellow Central High Football Coach Craig Hatcher and told him to put feelers out with some of his hunting buddies and see if he could line anything up.  Craig called me back a day later and said that he?d searched high and low and that it turned out that he could get me a turkey hunt with one of the best hunters around.  Bruce Puette is a great outdoorsmen and is also a teacher in Pageland.  He?s also taught in Cheraw and I?ve always heard stories about how good of an all around hunter he is.  My dad has told me on several occasions that Bruce knows his stuff when it comes to hunting?and after my first turkey hunt with Bruce, I have to agree.

I called Mr. Puette on Good Friday and we lined everything up for the hunt.  I asked him when and where he wanted me to meet him.  He told me to meet him at the Exxon gas station in Wallace, SC at 5:00 am!  If you?re not from South Carolina or if you?re from different areas of South Carolina, it takes about 40 minutes to drive to Wallace from Pageland.  Wallace is right across the county line and is located in Marlboro County.  The Pee Dee River (where we caught those catfish last weekend) is the county line.  Once you cross the bridge you have left Chesterfield County and are in the city of Wallace.  Anyway, to arrive at the Exxon station at 5:00 am, I would have to get up at 4:00 am.   When I talked to Mr. Puette on the phone I was just excited about lining the trip up and wasn?t really thinking about the timing.  After we hung up, I thought to myself that I would have to wake up at 4:00 am just to get there.  Bruce said he liked to get out there early which meant that I wasn?t going to get much sleep.  For some reason I just can?t go to sleep until late.  I usually end up online doing something and can?t get free until late.  I tried to go to bed early, but still couldn?t.  I went to sleep around 11:45 and rolled out at 4.  It wasn?t that bad initially. 

WeHuntSC.com - The 4 hours of sleep look   
The 4 hours of sleep look  

I drove down to Wallace in the truck and met Mr. Puette at the Exxon station.  We pulled up at the same time and got some drinks and then headed out.  We drove a few miles and ended up at one of his hunting locations.  I thought that it was a good sign that we saw 2 deer cross the road in front of us as we were driving to our hunting location.  We dropped our trucks off not too far from the gate and then started walking.  We walked in by the moonlight and Mr. Puette was telling me about his hunting land as we walked in.  It was a pretty long walk to our final destination.  Mr. Puette had come out the night before and watched where the turkeys went to roost and they had gone to roost behind where the ground-blind was set up. 

The area we were hunting backed into a swamp and he said that the turkey?s like to roost near the water because no bobcats or anything will mess with them when they?re over the water.  As I got situated in the blind, Mr. Pruette put out 2 decoys about 15 yards ahead of us to our right.  Shortly thereafter, Mr. Puette came back in and we got situated in the blind. I backed my chair up into a corner of the blind.  We were there really early and it was still dark outside.  We just sat in the ground blind and talked for a while.  Mr. Puette was telling me that he had gotten up early that morning and read Jeremiah 33:3 which reads ?Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.?  We talked briefly about this verse and we talked about all kind of stuff.  It seems Mr. Puette woke up at 4:00 am too and was reading the bible while I was on my way. 

   WeHuntSC.com - The turkey had a lot of culculburs in him
  The turkey was covered in "culculburs"

As the sun started to come up we could see 3 deer way out in the field.  I tried to get them on camera, but the lighting was so bad that I couldn?t get them in focus + they were way out there.  As we talked in the ground blind, Mr. Puette told me that patience is what kills turkeys, not turkey calling.  He said ?Patience kills turkeys, not great calling?put that in your blog.?  He said that you don?t have to be a great caller to get turkeys to come in; you just have to be patient.  He said that his patience while hunting turkeys has made him more successful than his ability to call them in.  Though, from sitting in the blind with him, I?d say that he?s not too bad of a caller either.  Throughout our turkey hunt he used a slate call and a diaphragm call.

The light was starting to slowly shine through the trees and Mr. Puette started calling with the slate call.  Off in the distance we could hear turkeys responding back to his calls.  He would call a little, listen a little, call a little, and listen a little.  I would say that about 70% of the times he called there was some kind of response.  Slowly but surely, the sounds of the responding turkeys was getting closer and closer.  We initially heard these turkeys responding back to us around 7:30 am.  In time, the sounds got louder and closer and finally we spotted the first turkey that entered the field.  It came out to our right about 50 yards down the edge of the field and was headed straight to the middle of the field.  It was a hen and it seemed as if the decoys spooked it because it started a quick trot out to the field after it cleared the edge.  (In the video I say it was a Jake, but I was wrong?the first turkey was a hen) We couldn?t really understand why the decoys may have spooked the turkey, but we were still hearing more turkeys behind us on both sides.  Randomly we would hear gobbles coming from the right and the left. 

As we were situated in the blind, we were looking out of mainly 2 windows.  I had a window right beside me to my left and then there was one straight ahead of me that I could see out of.  There was also a window behind me, but I was backed into the corner and couldn?t really see out of it without turning completely around.  Though, Mr. Puette could see out of it easily. 

WeHuntSC.com - A turkey track in the dirt near where we were hunting   
There were tracks like this every where near the area we hunted  

We kept hearing calls and then 3 more turkeys entered the field from the same direction as the first one had.  This group was a group of Jakes (young males).  They did the same thing as the first turkey did?they kind of ran out to the middle of the field.  This was puzzling us.  Soon thereafter another Jake darted into the field following the first three.   We had 4 turkeys out in front of us and then we saw 2 more coming from way out down the left side of the field as well.  The sun was up by now and we could see well.  The mixed group of hens and jakes was out in the middle of the field, but no big gobblers had come yet.  At first glance we thought some of those Jakes were big ones, but after seeing them out in the open we could tell that they weren?t mature birds. Mr. Pruette even had his gun up on one of them, but then took it back down when he saw the bird wasn?t big enough.  They were close enough to shoot, but that wasn?t what we were looking for. 

We sat there and whispered to each other about the locations of the turkeys.  Mr. Puette had been saying that the big boys won?t be too long behind the hens and Jakes.  The group of turkeys had been out in the field for about 20 minutes now and Mr. Puette told me that this was the time-frame when most turkey hunters mess up.  He said that there was always this time in between when the hens get out and when the big gobblers arrive.  He told me that most people don?t see any big beards on the males and so they ?overcall? or start calling too much.  This is where his lesson on patience was tying back in to our actual hunt.  So we sat and watched the turkeys out in the field for a while. 

   WeHuntSC.com - Bruce Puette was all smiles after our hunt
  The post-game shot of Mr. Puette out in the field.  I'd say he was happy

The majority of the turkeys that were in the group out in the field entered from our right side.  So we kept looking out the right window just waiting on a big gobbler to arrive from the same direction. Well, we never saw or heard any more turkeys from our right.  Matter of fact, we hadn?t heard anything gobble for some time now.  I was beginning to think that we wouldn?t see a good turkey.  It had been a good while since we heard any kind of turkey sound at this point. Then Mr. Pruette leaned over in the ground blind to grab something.  I don?t know if he was grabbing for crackers or for a different kind of turkey call because he had a few different types of calls in his bag.  As he leaned over, I heard something moving in the woods behind us.  Since I had never been turkey hunting before, I didn?t have an idea of what a turkey sounded like walking through the brush.   Mr.Puette leaning down gave me the space to swivel and look out of the window behind me.  When I turned around all I could see was feathers about 15 yards behind us.  I got excited and started tapping Mr. Pruette really hard.  I didn?t want to talk because I didn?t want to scare off the birds because I knew at least one of them was big.  So I was tapping him and pointing behind me while trying to be quiet.  He looked out of the window and saw the bird and his eyes got real big.  I grabbed the camera and turned it on.  As he grabbed his gun, I stuck the camera out of the blind and was literally just pointing it behind us in hopes of getting the bird on video.  I wasn?t satisfied with ?hoping? to get the shot on video so at the last second, I brought the camera back in the blind and videoed Mr. Pruette taking the shot.  You?ll see it in the video below.  He said ?Big Beard, Got?em?.  We sat for a second and made our way out of the blind.  Mr.Puette made the shot somewhere around 8:00 am. 

WeHuntSC.com - Mr. Pruette with the turkey on the back of the WeHuntSC.com truck   
Another shot with the turkey on the WeHuntSC.com truck  

Sure enough, Mr.Puette had dropped him in his tracks about 15 yards away from us.  It was a nice turkey, but what surprised me was how this turkey got in on us and wasn?t gobbling at all.  He was just walking through the woods quietly.  Mr. Pruette told me that there were 3 birds in this last group and Mr. Pruette took the biggest one.  We got out of the blind and the big group of turkeys was still in the field.  They didn?t really scatter until we started walking out beyond the edge and then I saw how fast a turkey can really run.  We walked up to the bird and took some pictures and continued rolling the video.  The beard was a nice one and the spurs were about 1 inch or so.  Mr.Puette said the beard was a nice one and that it was so big that it looked like a paint brush.  After looking at the bird, we got the decoys up and headed back towards the trucks.  As we walked back to the trucks we saw all kind of turkey and deer tracks and we even saw more turkeys down some old logging roads.  We literally had birds all around us. 

Let me deviate for a moment and say that had it not been for the Thermacell we had in the ground blind, I don?t know if we could have made it.  I didn?t realize this until we got out to go and look at the bird.  We turned it on about 10 minutes after we got there and I was glad that we did.  Those things really work!  I was getting eat up by bugs as soon as we got out of the blind.

I was really glad that Mr.Puette had allowed me to go turkey hunting with him.  I would say that we had a pretty good time, especially for my first turkey hunt ever!  I learned a lot about how to turkey hunt from Mr. Puette and it was a trip that I?ll never forget. 

I guess all the stories I?d previously heard about Mr. Pruette being a great outdoorsman were true. 

If you want to see the birds, it?s best if you watch this video in the HD format (720 p) and blow it up full screen.  These controls are in the bottom of the player.... you'll probably need to give this one some time to load though.




2010 Turkey Season is Here!
   WeHuntSC.com - A pic of a gobbler on some WeHuntSC.com land
  This gobbler got within 2 feet of a WeHuntSC.com game cam...pretty soon, we'll have him on video!

Well the day has finally arrived.  Turkey season is in full force in South Carolina.  God bless all the wives, girlfriends, and friends of the die-hard turkey hunters around the state as they embark on a month long turkey hunting frenzy! 

I?ll admit that I?m no turkey hunting guru, but I am excited about getting out in the woods and seeing what happens.  With all the excitement and buzz building toward turkey season, I hope it?s going to be a good one.  The weather seems like its just right and we?ve been getting some really good pics on the game camera. 

Just a few weeks back Adam and I were in some sporting goods stores in Rock Hill, SC and the turkey hunters were out in full force stocking up for this turkey season.  You could feel the enthusiasm from the turkey hunters that we encountered.  It was neat to see everyone out and about and to feel the sense of excitement in the air.

Somewhere in the Florence area, J-Duck and Lee are game planning on some gobblers as well.  Hopefully they?ll be able to bring back something to the blog that will be fun to read and see.  I?m sure you frequently get tired of what I have to say. 

We?ve got a lot of gobblers all over one of the WeHuntSC.com properties.  We put the game camera out one week and came back with over 900 pics of various wildlife, but the majority were turkeys.  We?re working on a neat project that we?ll post about soon that just might involve one of these gobblers?at least I hope it does.  More on that later.



Liming the Food Plot
  WeHuntSC.com - Tecomate Seed Food Plot Journey - 4-wheeler loaded with lime image
  We loaded the 4-wheeler down with lime and the camera man was getting some footage

As you can see, this past weekend was a full weekend for me.  By the time Sunday got here I was dragging pretty good.  Though, we still had some work to do.  We returned back out to the remote food plot to put down some lime. 

To recap a little in case you are unaware of what?s going on? We are about mid-way through our Tecomate Seed online ?Food Plot Journey?.  Tecomate Seed and GroundHog MAX are sponsoring this online documentary.  The blog series consists of a yearlong blog where we take someone who is totally clueless about food plots (me) and document an installation of a food plot.  To this point we have collected our soil samples, had the readouts returned, cleared the land, and disked it up with the GroundHog MAX.  It is now ready to be limed.

 As a web developer, I started out totally uninformed about this whole process, but I have been learning a little.  It turns out that the soil preparation step of the food plot creation process is a critical step in the journey.  For a remote food plot, installation and soil preparation can be labor intensive.  We took soil samples back in January and sent them off to the Clemson Agricultural extension.  One of our locations came back with a pH of 7.0 because it had been prepped last year.  So with that one area, we are right on track.  Though, with other areas we are not as on target.  The pH in this specific location for this blog entry ended up being 5.2.  This is not a terrible pH, but the closer we can get the pH to 7.0, the more fertile the environment will be for our food plot products.

This is where lime comes in.  Lime helps reduce the acidity in the soil.  So if you have a low pH, then you?ll need to add some lime to raise the pH level.  How much lime should you add?  The result returned to you by the agricultural extension has the recommendations of lime and other minerals you may need.  Keep in mind that lime needs some time to go to work in the soil.  It?s not like you just put out lime and overnight the pH in the soil is adjusted.  Successfully changing the pH in the soil is comparable to making a u-turn in the Titanic?it?s not going to be quickly done.  It may even take us putting the lime out a few times over a few seasons to get the pH to reach our goal of 7.0.  In our specific case with this location, we are actually somewhat late in putting the lime out.  Many factors contribute to our lateness such as me being slack, a long cold and snowy winter, wedding planning, etc.  So because of our timing, we have kind of put ourselves in a tight spot with regards to giving the lime time to go to work. 

Lime is fairly cheap.  We got our lime from Lowes and it was pelletized lime.  Initially in my mind I had pictured lime being a grayish powder.  I?m not really sure why, but I had this image in my mind.  The pelletized lime we got was actually darker in color and it had a unique smell to it.  It didn?t smell bad, but it was unlike anything I?ve smelled before.  I think you can actually get the powder looking kind, or pelletized like we got, or even liquid lime.  I believe I?m accurate in that?if not, just respond to this blog and let me know.

Actually dispersing this lime was a quick and easy task in comparison to clearing out the land and running the GroundHog MAX over the dirt.  We had a spreader attachment that we hooked up to the 4-wheeler and all we had to do was drive.  The spreader had a gap in the bottom of it where the operator can control the rate at which the seed was dispersed.  Essentially, if you left a big gap in the bottom, then more seed would come out and if you adjust the gap to be narrower, then less seed would hit the spinning metal piece below and get spread in the area. 

WeHuntSC.com - Tecomate Seed Food Plot Journey - Deer Track in the Food Plot   
This was a track in the mud near the food plot  

This whole process only took about 20 minutes to do.  I think it took us just as long to unload and get everything out there as it did to actually spread the lime.  I will also add that when we got out to the remote food plot area, we saw a lot of deer tracks in the mud where we had previously cleared the land.  It had to be recent due to all the rain that we?ve been having.  Either way, I believe the deer are a little curious as to what is going on out in the middle of the woods.  Hopefully they?ll walk back through there next deer season and stop in order to eat some Tecomate Seed food plot product!  Though, we have to get something to grow in there first!  While riding the 4-wheeler, I stopped and took a picture of one of the freshest deer tracks.   I wish I would have put a quarter down beside the track in order to give you some perception of how big it was in comparison to the relative size of the quarter.  I?ll just tell you that it was a good sized track. 

So now that the lime is down, the next step will be to actually spread the seed.  The goal is to spread the seed after the last frost of the winter.  This is usually around the end of April to early May.  So in a month or so, we will return to spread the seed.  We will also take another soil sample in the fall to see where our pH levels are and to get lime and fertilizer recommendations for our fall food plots.




Catfishing on the Pee Dee
   WeHuntSC.com - Jason Fararooei Pic - Catfishin on the Pee Dee River with guide Robbie Burr
  Jason on his first catfishin' trip
We are secretly converting him to redneck

One of my Christmas gifts was a gift certificate for a catfishin? trip on the Pee Dee River with fishing guide Robbie Burr of Pee Dee Fishing Adventures.  I was excited to get this gift, but had never really heard much about catfish on the Pee Dee River.  I mean I knew the river had some catfish, but we always go down to Santee to fish for catfish in the summer.  I guess catfishin? the Santee is kind of an embedded mindset when I think of going catfishin?.  I was eager to see how a catfishin? trip on the Pee Dee would pan out. 

If you?ve read these blogs, then you know my schedule has been kind of hectic lately as the wedding draws near and as a lot of time is going in to our ?Food Plot Journey?.  For these reasons, it was difficult for me to actually schedule this trip.  Robbie is in high demand and finding a time when I could break free and go proved to be difficult.  This year?s reoccurring snow and cold weather also made scheduling this trip easier said than done.  However, we finally got a date that we both had open and I booked the trip and prayed for a day with decent weather.

The crew that I rounded up for the trip was Richard ?Big B? Blakeney, Coach Mangum, Jason Fararooei and me.  Both Big B and Coach Mangum are well educated on catfishin?, but Jason (The WeHuntSC.com videographer) had never been before.  We all wanted to see how Jason handled his first catfish and the overall trip in general.  For a non-southerner, he did pretty well.  Though, Jason did manage to fall asleep one time when we were moving the boat.  Since he fell asleep, I got some good video of exactly how strong the gel in his hair is!  Lol!  Also, you?ll see Big B imitating Pageland?s very own ?Smiley? in the video as he was wearing a toboggan and a hat.  You have to be from Pageland or have ridden through Pageland at some point to understand that one.   So this was the crew that you?ll see in the video later in this entry.

Ultimately, the weather turned out perfect.  We met Robbie at a boat landing at 8 in the morning and got everything together and headed out.  We would end up fishing in two different locations?one shallow water spot that didn?t have much current and then another location that was deeper that did have a stronger current. 

I was surprised at how clean, quiet, and scenic the river was.  We put in at a small landing and slipped quietly through an access creek that met the river and within 5 minutes we were out in the open water.  We almost had to stop in the creek a few times because Big B kept saying he swore there were some bream in the creek, but somehow we convinced him to continue on to bigger waters!  It?s just hard for Big B to pass up stopping and trying to find a bream bed.  Being out on the water, we almost felt like we were in unchartered territories because hardly any other boats were on the water and it was quiet and calm for the most part.  If you?re use to going to Santee and having to wait at the ramp to put in, use to seeing a lot of boats out on the water, and generally having the feeling that you?re competing with a lot of other fishermen, you should consider the Pee Dee sometime. There was no feeling of the area being crowded with other fishermen and/or boats ?at least the area we were gave me this feeling.  It was almost as If we had the whole river to ourselves.  This was a unique feeling that added to the overall quality of the trip.  

Robbie was a great guide and from talking to him and watching him operate his rig, it didn?t take long to figure out that this wasn?t his first rodeo.  Robbie handled all the setup of the rods, reels, anchoring, etc.  He took care of the whole nine yards.   Of course we helped him with anything that we could?we weren?t going let him do all the work.  He knows exactly what needs to be done and was on top of things all day long.  Robbie has his boat customized for catfishin?.  That is, he cut out some sections and made it easier to move freely across the boat + he?s got a jet engine on the boat which allows the boat to get into extra shallow water (if need be).

WeHuntSC.com - Catfishin on the Pee Dee with guide Robbie Burr - A picture of our cooler

Throughout the day we caught a couple of fish at each location we that we fished.  The catfish seemed to be more active in the morning than they were in the afternoon.  We were bottom fishing with shad as our bait.  We would move around to different locations and drop 3 anchors so that we wouldn?t spin around when the wind blew.  We had about 8 rods out of each side of the boat at any given time and we were just watching the tips of them waiting on one to take a quick surge downward. 

  WeHuntSC.com - Robbie Burr's
  The "Cheater Hook"

One neat trick that I learned on this trip was something Robbie called a ?cheater hook?.  Robbie ties a treble hook onto the larger circle hook and lets it hang about 3 inches below.  When he puts bait on the hook, he?ll put the larger circle hook into the ?meatiest? part of the bait and then hook the ?cheater hook? a few inches into the opposite end of the bait.  This way if a catfish pecks at the big hook, but misses, you still have a chance at landing him on the smaller treble/cheater hook.  You?ll see in the video where Jason (whom I?m calling terror-squad in the video) caught a fish on this ?cheater hook? and you?ll hear us talking about it when I say ?it paid off this time?.  Throughout the day we caught about 14 fish and I think about 4 of them were on the ?cheater hook??so I?m glad that Robbie had our rig set up this way.  While this may be a common practice for many, I?ve never used a set up like this.  I guess we live and learn right!  Though, if you aren?t using this rig, I suggest you give it a try sometime and see if it doesn?t pay off.

Over the course of the day we caught a lot of fish and I?ve got some of those catches meshed below in the video to give you a feel for what was going on.  At the end of the day was when Big B reeled in the biggest catch of the day... a 19lb cat while we were anchored up in the middle of the larger body of water.  While a 19lb cat was pretty big to me, Robbie says that they frequently get them way bigger on the river. 

Overall the trip was great and Robbie really took good care of us.  I think he even laughed at some of my corny jokes so you know he can handle just about anybody on a boat.  We fished, talked, solved some of the world?s problems, learned some things about catfishin?, ate a high class ham sandwich & lance cracker lunch, and had a great time! 

If you want to know more about Robbie Burr?s guide service and Pee Dee Fishing Adventures check him out at www.pdfishingadventures.com.  Not only will he put you on some fish?he?ll even clean them for you too!  Now that?s my kind of guide.

At the end of this video, I?ve got a short clip of the catfish being cleaned so if you are squeamish then you may want to click stop!




Sportsmen?s Classic Review
   WeHuntSC.com - Bud and Betty Game Calls

Bud and Betty Game Calls Exhibit 

Today Will and I road down to Columbia to check out this year?s Palmetto Sportsmen?s Classic.  As soon as we pulled up it was obvious that a good crowd was already on hand. The parking lot was crowded at around 3:30 in the afternoon.  

Will and I asked the first few Game Wardens if they knew Charlie Caldwell and? of course they did.  So far in my life, no matter where I?ve been in South Carolina? it never fails... If you ask a game warden anywhere around the state if they know Charlie Caldwell, the answer is always yes!  What can you say, Pageland people leave their mark.  We looked for the bald one around the event, but were unable to spot him.  Since we couldn?t find Charlie C to entertain us, we decided that we might as well walk around and check the event out.

I was impressed with how well the event was laid out and also with the sheer amount of vendors that were on hand.  I know this was not a national trade show, but for South Carolina it was more than I expected!  There were literally hundreds of vendors, displays, attractions, and people to see at this event.  Anything you could imagine in the realm of products from tree stands, 4-wheelers, game-cams, feeders, turkey calls, fishing lures, decals, T-Shirts, hunting guides, raffles, food, cooking spices, fishing guides, archery contests, real estate brokers, antler decorations etc?they were all there.  Any new products that are being featured were there and the place was as busy as a bee?s hive.  Today was Friday and so I imagine that Saturday will be even busier.  

If you like to see neat items or any neat concepts involved with hunting and/or fishing, then it?s definitely an event that you would want to attend.  Hoot, I must say that I did not see any rabbit exhibits, but I was unable to really focus on all of the displays because it was such a busy place. While at the event, we were both inside and outside looking at a smorgasbord of exhibits that would get the attention of any hunter.

If you?ve ever been to any event similar to this or attended something of this ?expo? like atmosphere, you probably left with knowledge of many new or trending items, but there were just a few that really stuck out to you.  Well the same was true for our trip today.  I will say though that not only did these items stand out, but even more so the people behind the booths were memorable.  Maybe it?s just me, but when I meet someone (in any setting) and get a real genuine vibe from them, I usually connect with them in a different way, like on a more real level.  There were tons of salesmen pushing all kinds of products, so what could make some stand out more than the others?  I guess if I had the answer for that question then I would have a money-maker on my hands!  Though, the ones who stood out to me today were a few different vendors all based out of SC.  I can tell you that all 3 of these organizations are not only passionate about what they do/produce/sell, but they were easy to talk to and came across to me as good, down to earth, genuine people.  The vendors I left impressed with were Cornell Huntin Products out of Honea Path, Bud & Betty Hunting Calls out of Pauline, and the Target Taxi out of Little River.

Cornell Huntin Products had a product that really struck Will?s fancy.  It is called the ?HuntPac? and is a very light, padded, chair that you can carry in on your back to sit on when hunting.  Frequently Will complains about his seating arrangement in his ground blind and ?they had him from hello? with this product.  It can support a very high weight capacity, is light, and almost perfect for getting you up off the ground enough to easily shoot in a ground blind.  The crew from Cornell Huntin Products was very cordial and really easy to talk to.  I encourage you to give their product a look.  More on them at www.cornellhuntinproducts.com

See the below video of the ?HuntPac? demo


Bud & Betty Hunting Calls sells a lot of differing products, but turkey calls seems to be their specialty.  The creator of the turkey calls is a National Wildlife Turkey Champion Hunting Call manufacturer.  I didn?t know that we had such prestige and recognizable people here in the state!  I guess I don?t get out enough.  Anyway, Russell and Kathy were nice people and if you?re into turkey calls I would give them a look.  Find more information on them and their products at www.BudAndBetty.com 

Another vendor who made an impression on me was Jason Bellamy from Target Taxi.  What is a Target Taxi you might ask? well it is the invention that you see and immediately say to yourself ?Why didn?t I think of that??  (Does that ever happen to you too?) The Target Taxi is a essentially a remote control car on wheels that you strap your decoys too and you drive it out, shoot your arrows or bullets at the target, then drive it back to see where you hit the target and remove your arrows.  You can see from the below video how this thing operated.  Not only was the product a neat one that stuck out to me, but Jason was a really nice guy! More on this product at www.target-taxi.com

See the below video of the Target Taxi in action

So all in all the SC Sportsmen?s Classic was a neat event to see.  I am glad that I took that half-day off work to be able to make it down.  We met a lot of people, saw some neat things, gave a few stickers out, and started forming some good relationships with people in the industry.  We even had some people say ?Yeah I?ve seen your sticker somewhere before? which made me proud!

Here's the wrap-up video with a collage of what all was going on 





Palmetto Sportsmen?s Classic
    WeHuntSC.com - Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic

If you have some free time this weekend you should check out the Palmetto Sportsmen?s Classic.  The event is held this coming weekend (March 26, 27, & 28, 2010) at the State Fairgrounds in Columbia.  Frank Addington Jr (The Aspirin Buster) will be on hand with his bow at the archery show.  See information on Frank Addington Jr and more attractions

The Sportsmen?s Classic will host over 300 exhibitors with products and the latest technology in:

  • Fishing tackle, rods and reels;
  • Hunting supplies, tree stands, camouflage and archery equipment
  • Boats and marine equipment and electronics
  • 4 wheelers and supplies

Admission for this event is free for children 10 and under, $6 for ages 10 ? 59, and $5 for ages 60 and up. 

See the list of exhibitors that will be on hand at the Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic

Hopefully we?ll see you there at some point this weekend!





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