After a good cold front some new birds pushed in and our crew took advantage of it. Blake and I had been scouting several different fields and we had one that was really drawing them in.
The night before the hunt we hooked up to our Team WC enclosed trailer, filled with full bodies, shells and layout blinds heaters so all we had to do was get in and "crank her up".
Once we got to the field and unloaded all of our gear we still had 20 minutes before legal shooting hours. So we started singing and dancing around, just having good 'ol fun (it's all about fun with us) until crunch time.
Shortly after daylight, we started hearing honks off at a distance. We could tell that they were in the air and not coming our way. Blake and I started with our RNT Warbird Goose Calls really loud to try and get their attention. They slowly quartered our way but passed our field. Just before giving up we noticed the lead bird swung back and rest of the flock followed. The flock circled 3 times before committing and when they did, it was game on.
High five's and loud hollering followed after we were jacked up from calling them in from such a far distance. We had three other volleys, which made for an awesome hunt for everyone.
With friends and family experiencing another great morning in God's Great Outdoors, it doesn't get any better than this, especially in our home state. WeHuntSC!
Good Hunting ~ Daryl
The weather channel definitely got this one right. With freezing rain and gusting winds, our “crew” headed back out for another morning of Waterfowling. Once the freezing rain stopped, the temperature dropped to a delightful 10 degrees. Even in the midst of some of the coldest temperatures we’ve seen in a while, we gathered all of our reliable Drake Waterfowl Gear to ensure a comfortable hunt.
With the ground frozen, we utilized round decoy stands and shell body decoys instead of stakes for full body decoys. Once the ground blinds were in place, we hunkered down just before the morning light arrived.
Once the sky started to lighten up we had a small flock of divers fly by with 100% thrust on (the fly by was similar to a fly by from the movie Top Gun). Around 7:30am, we heard a distant honk and Blake and I started running our RNT Warbird Goose Calls and suddenly a flock of 5 “Canada’s” broke over the trees. They turned and started to fly across the field so Blake started calling aggressively and the geese responded immediately.
They circled one time and then cupped their wings and dropped their feet down and glided right into the decoys. I hollered “WRECK EM” with us harvesting three out of the five.
The beautiful sight of God’s creatures in those conditions is why we do what we do. It would have been real easy to stay in the bed, but “it’s what we live for!
Good Hunting ~ Team Wrecking Crew
It was time again for our annual Arkansas Timber Hunt with our good friends Taylor Sweetin, Eric McKinney, and the rest of the “Cuttin Outdoors” gang. Blake and I loaded up our Xpress 1860 bayou powered by a Gator-Tail 35 hp motor and headed to Clothing World in Columbia to meet my dad.
Once loaded up, we settled in for our twelve hour drive. We always look forward to seeing our good friends and some cupped wings in the “green timber”. It was a long ride, but we had a good time along the way.
After arriving in Stuttgart the first place we stopped was to see Butch Richenback at the RNT shop. The shop was full and Butch was swamped. We talked with Butch just a few minutes and then went next door to Mack’s Prairie Wings to buy some shells.
Early the next morning, we met up with our friends from “Cuttin Outdoors”, and then followed them to the boat landing. We had an awesome boat ride jumping logs and weaving through the trees. Our Xpress Boat and Gator-Tail Motor performed really well.
It wasn’t long until shooting hours after we had set out all of our decoys and our video cameras. We were very excited. Feeling “jacked-up” would be an understatement.
Shortly after day-break the mallards started flying and working our spread. Once they committed we hollered the signal “Wreck’em!” and the shots rang out.
It turned out to be a hunt of a lifetime, with three generations hunting together with our good friends, Taylor, Eric, Grant, Cody, Brett and Mason of “Cuttin Outdoors”.
We can’t wait to show the footage, so stay tuned for more wrecking from “crew”.
Good Hunting ~ Daryl
From balmy temperatures of 70 + to the mid 30’s in one day with wind and rain we thought we might have a shot. The cold temperatures helped push some Giant Canadian geese to the upstate of SC. Our crew loaded up the enclosed trailer once again and headed to one of our hot-spots, a freshly planted wheat field. We carried all of our decoys and layout blinds into the field and Blake strategically placed the decoys to work a North/Northeast wind.
With the cloudy and rainy skies we figured the geese would stay on the roost longer than their normal flight time and that was indeed the case. Around 8:00am we heard a flock of geese at a distance so we hunkered down and Blake started working his Banded Crazy Train. Our camera man Blake Langley was in good position and started filming the geese as they started to give our spread a “look see”.
They started to swing wide and when Blake saw that, he started double clucking and triple clucking and the geese responded immediately. Wings cupped and feed outward was an awesome sight to see and we harvested five birds out of the 1st flock. After some high fiving we got back into position and had a single come in silently, and we just let him do his thing.
We started hearing more geese at the opposite end of the field, so Blake and I both started calling. A flock of around 15 came across but they were heading in a different direction. When we saw them heading somewhere else we started pouring it on ‘em with our calling and they made a wide swing out of the field. We thought we had lost them and then suddenly they broke over the tree line. They already had their wings cupped and it was game on. We managed to harvest six more out of that flock and we got it all on camera.
While laying out in the rain, trying to film and not get the camera’s wet, the crew had an awesome hunt and we can honestly say, “It was raining geese”.
Good Hunting ~Daryl
Team Wrecking Crew
Most every duck hunter has dreamed about hunting in Arkansas at one time or another. When you set out to hunt in Arkansas you have a few things to consider. One major problem is to decide whether to hunt public land or to hunt with a guide service. In our recent trip we opted for hunting with a guide service. In this blog entry I’d like to share information about a great experience we had with Graveyard Guide Service. If you are considering hunting with a guide service, Graveyard Guide Service is located in McCrory, AR (just north of Stuttgart) and is a great place to go.
Justin & Jason with Graveyard Guide Service both try to ensure that your hunting experience is a “hunt of a lifetime”. They typically hunt over flooded rice fields, dry fields, and recently they’ve started hunting over some flooded timber for the ones who like to hunt in really close scenarios.
One thing that is a little different about Graveyard Guide Service is that they specialize not only in ducks, but in Specklebelly Geese as well. While hunting in the fields this additional specialty really adds to a mixed bag of waterfowl that you can get.
On our hunt there was something I vividly remember and that was that while hunting in the blinds, typically around 8:30, Jason would fire the grill up and man those biscuits and gravy will “smell it up”! So yes we chowed down right there in the blind and this is just another example of how Graveyard Guide Service goes out of their way to ensure you have a great hunt and enjoyable time. After the hunt, which usually ended around 1:00, they picked us up from the pits in their side-by-sides and then drove back to the lodge for a great lunch.
So if you are thinking (dreaming) about hunting in Arkansas, gives the boys at Graveyard Guide Service a shout GraveyardGuideService.com. Believe me we had a blast and plan to go back, real soon!
Here's a YouTube video where Drake's Migration Nation hunted with Justin and Jason of the Graveyard Guide Service
With hopes of shallow ponds and swamps freezing my father Pete (74) and I decided to hunt the river as the temperatures dropped in the low teens this past weekend. We were very optimistic on the way to the landing, but after arriving and seeing only one other boat at the landing our hopes slightly dropped. We thought we may have guessed wrong.
With all of our Drake Waterfowl gear on we managed the 19 degree boat ride really well. Once, we got to our hunting spot, my dad and I starting throwing out all of our Drake Breeze-Ryder duck decoys. I was very interested to see how well this year's models would work. We got the decoys out and got situated into our hunting spots and waited on daylight.
Shortly after day break, we had a pair of mallards fly across the river. I picked up my RNT Short Barrel and started hammering them. They responded immediately with a wide turn. They circled several times and within minutes they were feet down and wings cupped over the decoys. I hollered to my dad, “Wreck em!” and wreck’em he did, getting both of them one right after the other.
After retrieving his pair of mallards and getting settled back in we had two different pairs of Mergansers to work our spread. We managed to harvest three out of the four mergansers. During the next thirty minutes or so, we had a lull in the action not seeing many birds at all. Around 8:30, I heard a single "honk" and my dad hollered "Start calling". I picked up my RNT Warbird goose call, and started calling. Shortly, we spotted him up the river, coming down wings cupped and feet down. He sailed the last 200 yards and started to light in the decoys and I hollered to my dad again, “Wreck em!” and, again, he did just so.
This was the coldest day of the year so far and one I will remember forever. Hunting with my dad, is truly a blessing.
Team Wrecking Crew
This was the first opening day of duck season that I wasn't standing in water beside an oak or cypress tree and that is due to the fact of having mild temperatures and the lack of migrating birds. We found some geese in one of our leased agriculture fields a few days before the season opener and we made the decision to hunt them instead.
We loaded up our enclosed trailer with layout blinds, full body and shell Canada goose decoys and headed out to the field. After playing the wind and setting out our spread we began getting "locked & loaded" for the legal shooting hours.
It was very cloudy and it had been raining and early on this morning there was some fog so we adjusted our style of calling for those conditions. We had Blake Langley filming for us and he did an outstanding job for the conditions, location, while being mindful not to spook the birds. We had two small flocks work in and we managed to harvest five.
Shortly after our last volley, I saw a pair of mallards flying across the field and I picked up my duck call to give them a try. I made the comment, how sweet it would be to call them in our goose spread. They responded almost immediately and told the boys, "Game on!” They were very high, but they descended quickly and worked well with the wind. After five circles, we had them where we needed them. When I called the shot, "Wreck em!" shots rang out and the drake fell, as no one even tried the hen. So instead of icing on the cake, we added a big beautiful greenhead to the mix. We gave high fives and laughed for several minutes, over what had just happened.
Team WC ~ It's what we live for.
Schofield’s Ace Hardware in Florence, SC had their annual “Waterfowl Day” this past Saturday, and team Wrecking Crew (Ty Parker, Justin Thomas, Blake and I) supported their event along with having a Meat Duck Calling Contest for the youth and adults.
We brought our WC1 Xpress Boat powered by Gator-Tail 35, to use as a calling stage for the contestants. The kids really had a blast with the decoy display, layout blinds, and being able to step up in our Xpress boat. We tried to simulate a real hunt as much as possible and still have fun.
We had three calling contests: JR, Intermediate, and Adult contests, which Schofield’s donated lots of great prizes for the winners and all of the youth received gift cards for participation. Also, for the adults, Schofield’s offered a $20 gift card just for entering and how cool was that?
Along with the contests, our “crew” continued to support Schofield’s by representing our sponsor’s: RNT Calls, Drake Waterfowl, Yeti Coolers, and Mountain Khaki’s. We generated a lot of buzz with our Xpress Boat and Gator-Tail Motor and WeHuntSC.
It was a fun filled day, with lots of duck calling kids and adults, camo clothing and eyes in the skies, looking for the migration in the Pee Dee Area.
We appreciated everyone who came out to the event and would like to thank not only our sponsors, Schofield’s but our crew members(Ty Parker, Justin Thomas and Blake) who supported the event.
Good Hunting ~ Daryl
Team Wrecking Crew
I had scouted an area on one of our tracts of land, and found several good scrapes coming out of a thick bottom up to a food plot on top of a ridge. We placed trail cameras up to get a “look” and got several nice bucks on film.
My next available time to hunt was Wednesday afternoon, and I got in the stand around 3:00. Just five minutes later, I had a spike buck enter the food plot. The spike fed for over forty-five minutes but was very spooky acting.
I had texted my dad who was hunting a separate stand on the same tract of land, to tell him that deer were already moving.
The spike buck kept looking over his shoulder and actually jumped a couple of times, so I was really concentrating on the area where he had been watching. Then all of a sudden, the spike jumped and ran off into the thicket on the other side of the food plot. I thought wow, this could be it and sure enough a heavy dark horned buck stepped out. The buck started towards me in a slow walk and I chose not to shoot him head on, so I held off. Around the 70 yard mark, he stopped and turned giving me a good shoulder (lung) shot. I squeezed a shot off and he bolted into the thicket only running for 30 yards.
I texted my dad again, telling him BBD. He congratulated me and said, he would see me after dark.
This buck weighed in at 185 lbs and had a 17” spread. The right main beam had been broken off and which adds character to him and this hunt.
Truly Blessed with a good memorable hunt.
Raised by honest parents who could admit their first-born son was a klutz, I was shielded from firearms and sharp objects as a child. It wasn’t until I moved to Chesterfield County and befriended the son of a gun shop owner that I was really introduced to shooting and hunting.
My first three years have been quite adventurous thanks to JR Joyner of Patrick and Leigh and Paul Branch of Bennettsville. I should also thank Clyde Watson of Chesterfield, who allowed me to hunt his property and helped me celebrate killing my first deer, while also breaking the news to me that most respectable hunters don’t kill deer that weigh less than 100 pounds.
After three years and three kills … and not quite that many horns, I finally felt comfortable enough to venture off and hunt my own land. Failing to factor in the amenities that come along with hunting other people’s property, I found myself without a deer stand, sitting in a bright blue beach chair in a briar patch just off a cornfield with a dead tree limb above my head to use as a gun prop.
My first few hunts were peaceful as I tried to become one with nature, while also taking advantage of the quiet time to work on the newspaper. Most days at dusk, a group of does and two fawns would enter the corn field about 150 to 300 yards away. While the does ate, the fawns would romp and I would type away on my laptop.
My strategy was to allow the does to become very comfortable with me sharing their field in hopes they’d stick around to attract some large bodied, multi-horned suitors during mating season. Although I don’t know much about hunting, I am keenly aware that wild men chasing women usually leads to trouble, so the idea of the baddest bucks dropping their guard and becoming easier targets during “the rut” made perfect sense to me.
My plan finally came to fruition Oct. 26 shortly after I finished typing a story about the Chesterfield Rams defeating my alma mater in football. As I was putting away my computer and considering calling it a night, I heard a rustle in the woods beside me.
Propping my gun on my killing limb, I watched as a buck stepped out in search of the doe scent I’d placed about 50 yards away from me. A few steps later, he entered the sights of my scope and went down.
My loving wife, Wylie, sweeping our front porch a quarter mile away, heard the shot and began thinking of words to console me, assuming I’d missed. I on the other hand was standing over the body of a 9-point, 220-pound buck that I naively assumed would weigh about 100 pounds, just as every other “big deer” I’d previously shot wound up weighing.
As members of the horseback hunting group Carolina Marsh Tacky Outdoors, Wylie and I planned on using one of our steeds to haul any deer I killed home. However as we tried to lift the deer onto the back of her horse, we quickly realized this deer was going to be a little heavier than any I’d killed before.
Recruiting another friend and trading Wylie’s horse for my pickup truck, we finally got the deer loaded and hauled to Welshneck Wildlife for processing. It was there where respectable hunters stood around admiring the size of my deer that I realized I’d done something impressive. Of course that still led to some confusion, as I found myself surrounded by a bunch of men talking about “scoring my rack” while also taking photos for Facebook. Feeling a little sleazy, I headed home.
The following day was spent fielding calls from friends and family, most of whom expressed disbelief about my kill. The best call was from my mom, chastising me for telling her I’d killed “a moose” when all her church friends clearly saw on Facebook I’d killed a deer.
Life lessons learned from the hunt: The smell of a strange woman usually leads to trouble and never, I mean NEVER, lie to your mama.
Leighton Bell is editor of The Link whose rack scored 120. Whatever that means.