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Blog Entries from the WeHuntSC.com blogging crew

To Cull Bucks or Not to Cull Bucks

Over the past few months I’ve been getting several bucks on camera. Most of them are small and a few of them are shooters. Mixed in with these bucks are 2 to 3 bucks that have really bad racks. By bad I mean these deer have big bodies and racks that do not reflect the age and maturity level of the deer, which to me indicates bad genetics.

Others have a decent rack on one side and a very mal-formed rack on the other side. Some hunters refer to these as “Cull bucks” indicating that they are deer that the hunter wants to “cull” out of the herd. Hunters want to remove these deer from the herd because of the bad genetics in the antlers. Hunters don’t want these deer reproducing and spawning more bucks with bad racks.

I’ve got a few deer that if I see I’m going to shoot. Yes I want them out of the herd and this past weekend one of these bucks came out right at daylight. At first I thought it was a big bodied doe, but after it got light enough I could tell that it was one of the bucks that I wanted to take out. So shortly after sun-up I eliminated the buck from the herd. This buck’s body was way bigger than his “spike” rack reflected. You can see the deer in the picture below.

Cull Bucks - Should you cull a buck?

However, some hunters are not of the same opinion about culling bucks out of the herd. Some hunters believe that all bucks can get big and have really nice racks regardless of what their racks look like any given year and the genetics of their lineage. I’m not mad about it and am not trying to start a ruckus, but rather am just interested in hearing everyone’s thoughts on the subject. So what do you think about it? Do you cull bucks? Do you think it’s a good practice or is it a bad practice? I’m interested in everyone’s game management tactics as it relates to cull bucks. 



Pin Oak Taxidermy
Pin Oak Taxidermy, Great Falls, SC

About 3 years ago I heard about and eventually went and met Chris Melvin of Pin Oak Taxidermy. Pin Oak Taxidermy is located in the Great Falls, SC area and is not too far off I-77. I first met Chris when I was seeking out the person behind the “Camo Skulls” that you may have previously seen here and here. Chris does a really good job with the camo skulls and his taxidermy skills extend beyond the camo skulls.

When I originally visited Chris he was doing Taxidermy part time and his business has been growing such that he’s gone full time and now taxidermy is his livelihood. Chris has turned his hobby and passion into his daily work due to the success of his business. One thing that was unique that I vividly remember from my first visit to Chris’ was that he had a small buck that someone brought to him that they had picked up on the side of the road. Chris took the deer in and has been raising him and studying the buck as he grows to help him with his art and taxidermy. This time when I went back to visit the little button buck has turned into a very nice buck! Chris had increased the size of his pen and also has a few does there to keep “Moonshine” company. At this visit Moonshine was in full rut and was very active moving around. It was really neat to be that close to a very large buck. Chris noted that if anyone wants to come by and check out the buck to feel free to stop by.

Chris showed me some of the latest mounts he’s done and the line of work he’s got awaiting him. I interviewed Chris and we talked about his process and various other items. I’ll let the below video finish out the story.

Thanks again to Chris Melvin for having me stop by and giving me an update on his business and services. Pin Oak Taxidermy has also been a supportive sponsor of the competitions that we host here on WeHuntSC and we are greatly appreciative of Chris’ support. So if you want to go and pet a huge buck, get a camo skull or any other mount, and/or also pick up some new WeHuntSC.com stickers, check out Chris Melvin at Pin Oak Taxidermy.



Great Customer Service at Nichols Store

If you are in the Rock Hill, SC area and like to hunt then you've probably heard about (or been to) Nichols Store. Nichols Store is a corner store that has transformed into a 1-stop-shop for all things hunting. Need a deer stand, rifle, scope, seed, bad-boy-buggy, deer processor, corn, clothing, boots, etc., etc… they have it all. Though this blog entry is not so much to talk about the products available at Nichols Store, but rather to focus on 2 customer service experiences that are the reason I keep going back. Nichols Store is on the south side of Rock Hill which makes it the furthest trip for me. I drive right past Dick’s Sporting Goods and the new Academy Store and keep driving about 10 minutes just to get there. And there is a reason for me not minding those extra miles so let’s get to it.

Last year my wife got me a gift card to Nichols Store for Christmas. I held on to this gift card and didn't use it until turkey season was just about to start up. I drove down to Nichols and bought several items and when I checked out the young lady at the register told me that beyond my gift card I still owed $60 dollars. I did find this odd, but didn'tthink too much about it as I hadn't really added everything up in my head. I was more excited about using my gift card and knew I was saving money so I just handed her my credit card and she charged me $60 and I was on my way back to the house. 

Later that evening I got a call from a number I didn't recognize in Rock Hill so I just let it go to voice-mail. When I checked the voice-mail it was the bookkeeper from Nichols Store. She left me a message saying that she was running numbers and realized that they overcharged me $60 dollars and that I could come back down or she could send me another gift card. I opted for the new gift card, but when I heard that message I knew that there were some good people at Nichols Store as they definitely didn't have to call me to give me money back. I’m sure many of you know that this was the right action to take, but you would probably also agree that good business practices aren't always common place this day in time. I was glad to know that honesty prevailed in this situation and I won’t forget it anytime soon either.

Seeing as how I’d had a good experience at Nichols Store I returned several times throughout the spring & summer buying mineral licks & trophy rocks for some of the bucks I’m working on this deer season. During one of my trips I saw a pistol that I liked and after doing some research I went back and bought the pistol. It was a 9mm Springfield EMP and man is it nice. It just feels good in your hand and is also concealable. I did like many of you probably would and went to shoot it the day after I bought it. I took it out with a friend of mine and on the 3rd shot the gun jammed. Odd. We got the gun unjammed and then shot it again and it kept jamming. This was rare for a Springfield and it got to where the action wouldn't even totally close when it had bullets in it. I called Nichols Store up and we took the gun back the next day. The gun specialist at the store agreed that this was abnormal and that the pistol should not be jamming like it was. Nichols sent the gun back to Springfield Armory and I waited on the returned pistol.

A few weeks later I got a call from Nichols saying my pistol was back and that it had been worked on and had new parts in it. So I went back down to Nichols to pick up the pistol. When I talked to the guy at the counter he told me that I’d need to pay $20 in shipping and noted that it wasn't Nichols Store fault for the gun jamming. Well it definitely wasn't my fault! So I told him I wasn't going to pay for the shipping and that Nichols should I push that cost back on Springfield. He really couldn't disagree with me since he knew I’d just walked out of the store 2 days earlier with the gun. At this point we went and found the store manager who instantly corrected the situation and said not to worry about. I wasn't too upset with the guy at the counter because he was just doing his job. Once the situation made it to management then the correct action was taken. I walked out of the store with the updated pistol and it’s been working fine since. 

In both of these scenarios the people at Nichols Store ultimately made the situation right. That’s what sticks out to me because it didn't have to happen and that’s the reason I’ll keep going back. Good customer service is not easy to find in today’s day and time, but when you find it… it makes all the difference in the world. 

Beyond the good customer service experiences I also see Nichols Store proactively engaging with hunters and outdoorsmen. They are always at every trade show or hunting event that you can find. They are avid supporters of the local Ducks Unlimited Chapter and they interact with hunters online on FB, Twitter, and anywhere they can find. 

When I look at all these factors combined I see an organization that cares about their business and the community they support. They could easily have wronged me in those 2 situations and went on with things, but they didn't. They could also not be supportive of local organizations and reach out to hunters like they do. The care factor + the support of the hunting community are what makes Nichols Store different to me. 

So if you’ve haven’t been to Nichols Store, be sure to check it out if you’re in the Rock Hill area and be sure to tell them that WeHuntSC sent you!

Lessons Learned From Trailing a Deer at Night

This past weekend I did a lot of work in the woods and it felt good. I’m just now getting around to doing the work that I wished I could have done in the summer so yes I’m a little behind. After making a lot of noise in the woods I hunt in and spreading my scent everywhere I figured it wouldn't be a good idea to hunt there and since Derrick & JD Outen helped me do the work I told JD that I’d come video him hunting in the evening. JD’s still after his first buck of the season for this year so we hoped to get one on camera.  We had a good time sitting it the stand, but luck just wasn't in our favor tonight. Though, while we were sitting in the stand we heard a loud boom not too far away. This meant that JD’s dad, Derrick had made a shot. Derrick took a shot right at dark and he text messaged us and said he was on the way. And so it began.

Derrick picked us up and told us that he shot a deer at about 235 yards out in one of his shooting lanes. We went to the lane and starting walking. You have to kind of know Derrick to be able to fully appreciate the mode he gets in during situations like this. This was serious business and Derrick was like a CSI detective on a crime scene. Derrick showed us the spot where he said the deer was standing when he shot. I know Derrick is getting old and his eyes probably weren't working up to par right at dark so I went beyond where the said he shot the deer. Derrick, JD, & I searched for blood for nearly 15-20 minutes. I kept telling him that he missed to his response of “Outen’s don’t miss”. I was just about at the point of telling him that we should give up when I looked down and low and behold I saw a drop of blood. I was nearly 30 yards ahead of where Derrick & JD were by then. I yelled out “I've got blood” and I could tell Derrick’s hairs on the back of his neck were starting to stand up. The CSI deer detective had upped the tracker mode one notch because he knew there was a challenge at hand. From that point on Derrick was methodical in how he proceeded.

The drop of blood I found was in the shooting lane and we were trying to figure out which way the deer took off in, but the problem was that we couldn't find any more blood. Derrick told us to not be straying off into the brush because if a deer had traveled down a specific path we needed to be able to see it and if we went into the brush we would create a path and make it more difficult to keep up with. I told the guys that I was going to drop my hat on top of the blood so we would know where our origination marker was. We searched and searched through the edge of the lane on both sides and couldn't find anything. We even got desperate enough to start walking through the brush looking for anything that would give us hope. We had strayed the course and broken our own rules. We were about 30 minutes in at this point and yes my sweat was attracting mosquitoes which made it “fun”. 

Derrick pulled us back to the drop of blood and said “Let’s get side by side and walk down this lane one more time” and to my surprise JD found another drop of blood about 20 yards from the first one. This small drop of blood was a glimmer of hope that reignited the troops. We moved the hat to mark the new, most recent drop of blood. And we continued stalking, crouching, slow-walking down the lane looking for more sign. I think Derrick may have put a new dip in to denote the new level of seriousness now that drop of blood number two had been found.

The blood drops continued about every 10 yards and were slightly leaning toward the left hand side of the lane. Derrick saw a drop of blood enter the brush and you would have thought somebody gave him $20 as pumped up as he got. He proceeded step by step through the brush finding random drops of blood smaller than a penny to trail this deer. It was indeed impressive to watch is controlled focus through the brush. We were about 40 minutes in at this point.

The deer cut across some thick brush and then into some open hard woods. Derrick commented “See if we don’t pay attention this is where we’ll lose this deer right now. Ya’ll don’t be in a hurry and look with every step you take to make sure you’re not stepping on blood”.  We were getting deeper in the woods toward the creek. We got found  more broken brush and some larger drops of blood which was a good sign. We were getting pumped up and gaining energy and then all of a sudden the trail completely stopped. I couldn't believe it. We searched in every direction and couldn't find anything. Derrick was even picking up on the existence of spider webs crossing trails and letting them still crossing the path denote that the deer didn't go in that direction. I got so frustrated I walked ahead another 30 yards to the trail by the creek just hoping to find a white belly somewhere, but nothing. I was swatting mosquitoes when I heard Derrick say “I don’t see any blood, but it looks like something ran through here… see how these limbs are broken.” Derrick keyed in on some brush lying over oddly and some broken twigs and kept following them. By the time he worked his way to the end of the trail he and JD were arriving to the road I was standing on. Derrick told me to look for blood and sure enough I saw a small drop about the size of a pencil eraser on a leaf. I couldn't believe it. I was standing right next to the creek and Derrick again got in the zone and proceeded toward the creek. We all stood on the edge of the creek (and it was a sizable creek) and saw blood on the edge. The deer had crossed the creek. I knew Derrick was going to tell us to go swimming when I looked to the right and saw the deer lying dead in the creek. We were about an hour in at this point. 

We all couldn't believe what had just occurred. We literally went from thinking Derrick completely missed to having moments of hope to being let down to be back up then back down again to ultimately finding this deer in the creek. It was definitely a challenging process in which many would have abandoned a couple of times along the way.  JD and I pulled the deer out of the creek and hauled it back up the road while Derrick went to get the truck. It was a gnarly antlered spike… what some would call a “cull buck”. 

It was a hunt and night of tracking that I’ll never forget. I, like many of you, don’t like giving Derrick too much credit, but the boy can flat track a deer… I will give him that. Using a computer is a whole different ball game, but I don’t know if a blood hound would have done us much better than Derrick tonight. I guess here would be the best place to also say that if he wouldn't have gut-shot the deer all this tracking wouldn't have been necessary :-) 

Ultimately the hunt was successful and from tonight’s experience I've learned some more about tracking a deer. I wanted to share some pieces of info that I've learned about tracking a deer and I welcome you to add more in the comments field.

  • First & foremost don’t be in a rush to trail the deer or you might push/bump the deer making your job of trailing the deer ever tougher
  • The more eyes you have helping look, the better
  • Tracking a deer at night is more difficult, having lights with good batteries is critical
  • Don’t initially go tearing off in brush looking for the deer because you may affect your ability to later read the way the brush is laying and cause further confusion for yourself
  • Take some kind of marker that you can leave at the last spot of blood that you find
  • Deer can travel a good distance without any sign of bleeding
  • As the length of time trailing the deer grows the urge to hurry escalates, don’t let this urge get the best of you and stay focused on the next drop of blood
  • If you follow the trail for a good bit of time and then it just seems to stop don’t get frustrated because this kind of thing just happens
  • If there are spider webs crossing paths where you think the deer went, but yet those spider webs are not broken, the deer didn't go that way
  • If you get completely off trail go back to the marker of the last spot of blood and start over making small circles out from the last drop
  • When a deer is wounded the path they take will be erratic and won’t make much sense at all, don’t let the zig-zagging bother you 
  • Deer generally look for a cool area to lie down and try to heal so if you completely lose the trail search near the lowest point of your property and/or near a water source
  • Any others you can think that should go here? Please add your thoughts to the comments below

So while sweating through briars and tracking a deer for an hour may not seem too fun, it’s definitely rewarding when you find the deer. The story doesn't always end that way, but tracking is challenging and that challenge is what makes it rewarding. What’s your toughest tracking story?



Derrick Outen’s Double-Buck Saturday

Derrick Outen's Double-buck deer huntHow can I start this blog out other than to say that every now and then a blind hog finds an acorn and sometimes they find two! My friend Derrick Outen had a memorable hunt and he even got it on video. So I’m posting this blog to help share this hunt and awesome footage with you.

This year Derrick has started videoing his hunts. He finally broke down and got him a video camera and tripod. (He did have some help from some knowledgeable friends too :-)). It didn't take him long after getting set up to start getting some good video. I think on the second hunt he took the camera out he got a really nice 6 point on video and that’s all it took to get him hooked on videoing his hunts.  So for the past few weeks he’s been carrying the camera in the woods with him.

This past weekend Derrick decided to break bad and wake up from his nap early and hunt. He headed out the stand. I’ll let the below video explain what happened next. I interviewed Derrick and we overlaid the audio on the video.


As you can see videoing your hunts is a challenging, but yet neat thing to do because you can then share your hunts with family & friends. If you’re able to we encourage you to start videoing your hunts as well!



2013 Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Banquet

This past week I attended the 2013 Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited banquet. This is my 3rd time attending the event and this year’s banquet did not disappoint. Robbie Boone is the Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Chapter President and he and his chapter members always run a well-organized, good eaten’, packed out event.  

Every year I always look forward to the event because I know there are going to be a ton of great prizes, some awesome Jo Jo’s BBQ, and a good time with friends. If the event keeps growing they’re going to have to find another event venue. Also important to note is the reason for the event. The event was created to help raise funds for Ducks Unlimited to help protect our wetlands and to ensure the overall health of duck hunting as a sport for years to come. DU Chapters all over the country host these events and the money goes to the larger Ducks Unlimited organization. These events are what help keep duck hunting stay a managed and successful sport for outdoorsman. Along with the overarching reason for these events the banquets also provide an upbeat, entertaining environment where attendees can walk away with some great prizes.

Neon Green Ducks Unlimited Light up signWhen I arrived to the event there was a line waiting to get in the door. At that point I knew it was going to be another packed house. Upon entering the venue, the walls were lined with prizes, auction goods, vendors, and some very nice duck prints, decoys, and even corn hole boards. My favorite item that I saw was a neon green & yellow Ducks Unlimited light. I’m always inclined to like some kind of gadget and I could envision that neon light on my wall (although I’m sure my wife would have greeted me with a “Hey, um, that’s not going in this house” type response). Though, I didn’t end up going home with the neon green DU light as it went for more than I was willing to pay.  However, some of my friends were more fortunate though… Derrick Outen left with a nice shotgun, Gerald Cato won a boat, and some others from the Pageland area walked away with various hunting items and gear. 

Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Cornhole board Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Lab Print

I don’t know exactly the levels of funds the chapter brought in as a result of the event, but I wouldn't be surprised if they were one of the most successful chapters in the region. It was a great event, for a great cause, and everyone seemed to have a good time. My only critique is that I wish they would have dropped the AC a few more degrees lower! 

The crowd at the 2013 Lancaster County Ducks Unlimited Banquet

Kudos to the Lancaster County DU Chapter for hosting another great event! I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.



This is Why...

This a message I received this morning from a participants mother!!!! I asked her I could post this...... It has brought tears to my eyes!!! I want everyone to read this and see just how powerful our organization is!!!

u have no idea how much I appreciate all that you all are doing for us . My son is super excited and I told Shannon a little bit but before we heard about OWL he had been in a really bad depression he would tell me he wanted to go live with Jesus and the angels he would hit himself constantly and do nothing but stay sad and sit in one corner of our house in his chair. When we met Shannon before his first hunt in Aiken county it was like a whole new person appeared over night he asked me daily (100 times) if it was time for his hunt! Since that day he has been sooooo different and hasn't been depressed at all he looks forward to each hunt and I haven't seen him as happy as he is now in years. OWL truely is a life changing experience and he will tell me that Shannon and his friends are gods helpers that make sad people happy. Not only has he changed at home but at school as well his teachers tell me its like he had a complete turn around that he went from not saying anything all day to talking and interacting with his classmates (mostly about deer and hunting) lol and to see my baby smile and be excited and enjoy life again is priceless I will never be able to thank you all enough or repay you all for everything you do but you all must know that my family and I are grateful for everything that you all do. We now have a second family our OWL family

Outdoors Without Limits - event

I want the house packed for this event.. please pass the info and help us with this event and great outreach organization!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to everyone that has supported us!!! 

2013 PEE DEE Ultimate Adventure Deer Hunt

“Dinner & Benefit”

Saturday November 16, 2013

The Chesterfield Conference Center

344 East BLVD

Chesterfield, SC 29709


The OWL program is dedicated to providing all people with disabilities the

opportunity to participate and enjoy the great outdoors.

Revenue raised will benefit the 2013 PEE DEE Ultimate Adventure Deer Hunt,

Chesterfield County Chapter and the OWL National Program.


Single Tickets -- $20.00

Couple Tickets -- $25.00

Junior Tickets (13-17) -- $10.00

Child Tickets and Hunting Participants -- Free

Table Partners -- $150.00 (Includes 8 Tickets)

Doors open at 5:30PM

Dinner at 7:00PM


Guest Speaker-Kirk Thomas OWL CEO/Founder

Live Auction to Follow

Raffles, Games, Silent and Live Auction will be held throughout the night


For information or tickets please call:

Heather Brock 843-287-1915, Drew Sellers 843-680-2643 or Keith Odom 843-439-3933

Outdoors Without Limits

Chesterfield County Chapter 4409 Jackson Rd West, Chesterfield, SC 29709

Outdoors Without Limits- how it became!

For Mississippi native Kirk Thomas, one date is etched in his mind forever -<st1:date w:st="on" month="11" day="27" year="1992">November 27, 1992. After a morning deer hunt, as he was heading back to his truck, a falling tree struck him and sent the 6-foot 5 inch, 321 pound former college football player hurling through the air.  When Thomas landed he was laying face up on the ground with a crushed back and a multitude of internal injuries.  After an operation, hospital stay and rehabilitation, at the age of 33, Thomas was facing life as a T-12 paraplegic requiring the use of a wheelchair the rest of his life.

Thomas didn’t stay down long. He worked his tail off rehabbing and working extra every day to get his strength back. He had to learn how to do everything without the use of his massive legs. “I had a family to take care of and to do this it meant I had to get my butt back to work selling heavy equipment. I never felt sorry for myself, I didn’t have time too. Besides there was no way I was going to let my disability rob me of life. Quite frankly, I never quit working. After I was moved to re-hab after my surgeries and hospital stay, I would call customers at night from my hospital bed in an effort to keep income coming in. After 58 days I left the hospital totally focused on being all I could be. I learned how to climb in my truck so I could start driving and get back to work. The way I saw it was simple, I was still alive, I still had the same responsibilities, I had a life to live and it was up to me to accept the responsibility to make the most of it. Since my accident I’ve had a total of 26 surgeries, was kept alive on a ventilator for 9 days, fought off and beat a blood bacteria infection that was suppose to be fatal and I have was close to death 2 more times. I chose to see and meet everyone of these challenges as an opportunity and most importantly as a blessing”, said Thomas 

In 1996, a renewed approach to life, combined with his love of the outdoors, led Thomas to create Wheelin’ Sportsmen of America, an organization that hosted disabled people at fishing and hunting events by pairing able-bodied volunteers to assist them. The efforts of Wheelin’ Sportsmen and Thomas began to be recognized nationwide. It wasn’t long before he began speaking all across the country in an effort to promote Wheelin’ Sportsmen and recreational opportunities for disabled people. His actions caught the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF’) attention and in late 2000, Wheelin’ Sportsmen became an official outreach program of the Federation. “The merger between Wheelin’ Sportsmen and the Federation was an awesome opportunity for both organizations” Thomas said.

“I have always thought that God had a plan for us all but for me… he presented me with the opportunity, desire and passion to help people and give back to others. This became my desire and mission that I live it every day. There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing people who never thought they could get outside and participate in an activity receive the opportunity to do so. When my accident happened, I was one of the blessed one’s; I had friends and family that made sure I got the opportunity to continue my love of the outdoors. After my accident I was asked to become a member of the AL Independent Living Council which I did. When I was around other disabled individuals it didn’t take long to find out the many barriers that disabled people faced when it came to doing anything mush less than participating in outdoor activities. I’ve always looked at what I do as a way to give back for all the support I received. I’ve dedicated my life to helping disabled people as a way to say thanks for the support I received. This is a part of me and it’s in my soul. As a matter of fact, I believe it’s why I sit in this chair everyday. It’s hard for some people to understand but, I have always seen my disability as a blessing and a gift from God. I wouldn’t change my disability or what I’ve gone through over the years for anything” said Thomas.

While at the NWTF, Thomas led the programs efforts serving as its National Coordinator /Founder of the Wheelin’ Sportsmen program. Thomas grew Wheelin’ Sportsmen from a grassroots program to a national network of activity, bringing outdoor events to thousands of disabled people across the country. He quickly became known as a well-respected leader in the outdoor world, winning numerous awards and honors for his work on behalf of people with disabilities. Thomas has testified before Congress concerning outdoor assessable recreation for disabled individuals. He has chaired numerous hearings to open up new opportunities for disabled sportsmen.  A powerful motivational speaker, Thomas is asked to speak all over the country sharing his story of determination, triumph and success.

Thomas’s life changed again July 2nd. 2008 when Thomas made the decision to tender his resignation as the Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF leader. Thomas said, “Making the decision to leave the Wheelin’ program was very hard. But the decision came clear and easy to me when my heart told me it was time. Wheelin’ sportsmen had been my life for a very long time. It was a vision and a dream, I witness its growth, and saw it help a lot of folks over the years. The Wheelin program will always be special to me but another new and powerful dream was leading me in a new and different direction.”

Thomas began focusing his efforts toward his new dream “Outdoors Without Limits” (OWL)” in 2008. Thomas serve’s as its Executive Director/Founder. “I am extremely excited about the future of OWL. We’re making a tremendous difference in the lives of a lot of folks, disabled, non-disabled, volunteers and our partners. Developing OWL has put breath back in me. It take’s a tremendous amount of hard work, but somehow it gets done” said Thomas.

The organizations design is unique but simple. It’s all about building community based chapters. “Chapters have the opportunity to focus their attention and efforts on providing disabled individuals opportunities within their own communities. We’re totally inclusive and we encourage everyone to get involved disabled or non-disabled. We take pride in allowing membership to be an elective. We don’t want the dollar to interfere with participation. While raising revenue is extremely important and needed you can’t allow it to negate participation especially when it comes to disabled participants who have never had the opportunity to try it. OWL has one simple and direct mission which is to provide opportunity. If we put the dollar in front of this opportunity we not only fail our mission but we fail the people we’re trying to serve. It doesn’t matter what kind of disability a person has or doesn’t have and age doesn’t play a factor. We have an assortment of programs and events our chapters can host according to their needs, abilities or logistics. We also host National Ultimate Adventure events. Most of these are co-hosted by a community chapter. Our Ultimate Adventure program is experiencing some outstanding growth. Simply put, we’re not all about hunting and fishing; we’re about getting folks outside so we can get the sun on their backs. There is an abundance of way’s to accomplish this. The only way I know how to run OWL is like a big ole happy and giving family. If someone comes to an OWL event and leaves without feeling like a family member or a part of the team, then we failed them and the OWL organization. Simply put, I see OWL as a life changing and saving organization for everyone who becomes involved. We take pride in proving this, said Thomas.

Thomas surrounds himself with a lot of great volunteers, a lot of which have worked with him since his early days with Wheelin’ Sportsmen. Some of these individuals have years of experience coordinating events and acting as advocates for people with disabilities. “OWL is a volunteer dependant organization and there’s no questioning the fact that our volunteer’s have always and will continue to play a key role in our successes. There would not be an OWL organization without them. I couldn’t be any prouder to have the help we receive. I know a lot of these people, and I know where their hearts are. They get the job done. As a matter of fact, when it comes right down to it, I receive a lot of the credit but these are the individuals that should receive it, not me. Volunteers are my hero’s and there the rubber that hit’s the road. OWL is successful because of their efforts. OWL volunteers are life changers and savers”, said Thomas.

OWL is guided by an eleven person National Board of Directors, and a five member Executive Advisory Board for specific needs. “These are respected individuals from either the conservation or business world; they take an active leadership role in the organization. I am more than pleased with our National Board and Advisory Board members. There willingness to step up to lead and lend a hand to help is priceless,” said Thomas.

OWL also has an Advisory Council that consists of disabled and non-disabled members. “These individuals play a key role in our direction and success. They are either volunteer leaders or participates that are heavily involved with OWL. We need and appreciate receiving their feedback and help. I have always said, to improve you have know what you need to improve on. The Council members do a super job in helping to improve and develop OWL. All in all, as an organization, we have come a long way but we still have a long way to go. We’re going to stay the course, continue our mission and do everything we can do to change as many lives as we can”, said Thomas.    

Kirk Thomas can be reached at 706.788.9878 or by cell at803.480.0167. His email address is kthomas@outdoorswithoutlimits.net. For additional information on the Outdoors Without Limits program visit their website at www.OutdoorsWithoutLimits.net.


About Outdoors Without Limits (OWL):   OWL is a 501c (3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education and opportunity for people with disabilities. Its goal is to educate those with disabilities about the possibilities of outdoor recreational activities while providing them the necessary education, opportunity and assistance to participate.

OWL was designed to increase awareness, resources and opportunities that directly impact people and the communities where they live. The program strives to challenge stereotypes about disabilities and promote awareness of “ability” in a positive outdoor environment. 

To get involved, participate or change the stereotype of what defines “ability” in your community go to www.outdoorswithoutlimits.net  for more information. 

SC Deer Managment Bill of 2015


As a SC deer hunter I wanted to make all other SC deer hunters aware of this Bill that was introduced into the Senate on February 12 so that you can voice your opinion.  QDMA sent out an email regarding this and I'm simply re-sharing the info from that email below. Also see the direct link to their email campaign.

Deer Hunter:

NOW is the time to improve deer hunting in South Carolina and YOU are the key to the process.  The SC Deer Management Bill of 2015, S. 454, was introduced into the Senate on February 12, 2015. If it is passed, this bill will make the following two historic improvements to our South Carolina deer laws:

  1. Bag limit of 4 Bucks and 4 Does statewide. The DNR retains the authority to limit the number of deer which can be taken in any given Game Zone.
  2. Tagging program for every deer killed - bucks and does. This allows the DNR to enforce the bag limits and monitor our deer herd. This program is separate and independent of the existing Deer Quota Program, which is substantially unchanged by the Deer Bill.

Please follow these simple steps TODAY to show your support for the SC Deer Management Bill:

  1. Go to http://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php and enter your Address, City, and Zip, then click "Find Legislators."
  2. Click on the name of your South Carolina State Senator (please focus your efforts on State Senators, not Representatives, because the Bill is currently in the Senate).
  3. Click on "Send Message to Senator __" in the middle of the webpage.
  4. Complete the required fields (shaded in red) and then cut and paste (Please do not change the letter) the following message into the Subject and Message fields:

SUBJECT: SC Deer Management Bill of 2015, S. 454


As a resident of [ENTER YOUR COUNTY HERE], I encourage you to vote for SCDNR's Deer Management Bill (S. 454).

I am a voter and I have a great interest in deer hunting and management in South Carolina. I am also a member of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). As your constituent, and as member of QDMA, I support S. 454 because it brings greatly needed deer management changes to South Carolina.

For years I have followed SCDNR's research of hunter opinions, deer harvest trends, and the impact of coyotes on recruitment of deer fawns. I support SCDNR's recommendations for a reasonable limit on antlered deer, a tagging program for all harvested deer to provide for enforcement, and a modest fee to support additional research and management efforts. It is time that South Carolina enters the mainstream of deer management and the recommendations proposed in this bill are a step in the right direction.

I hope that you will vote to pass S. 454 during this session, and that you will share my support of this bill with the other members of our county delegation.

Please contact me if you have any questions related to my support of SCDNR's Deer Management Bill.



Member, QDMA

Please join your QDMA leaders in bringing much-needed improvement to South Carolina's deer laws - be a part of history today!

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