As many of you are aware, this past hunting season has been a little cooler than normal. I?m interested in knowing what you to do stay warm. You?ve probably got some good, wind-breaking, waterproof, insulated camo pants, jacket, or suit along with some nice insulated boots and thick socks?and you probably even base-layer it with Under Armor?s ?Cold Gear?. At least that?s the approach I take, but when temperatures get really low (like they have been lately) the cold still seems to find a way to cut right through all that stuff and grab me.
I usually put my gear on inside the house and by the time I?m through getting it all on I?m sweating so I rush outside to cool off. Then by the time I walk to the deer stand or to the duck blind I?m sweating again and you all know what happens next?the sweat eventually dries and you are even colder! In attempt to counter this sometimes I?ll leave my gear unzipped or untucked until I reach my location. This helps a little, but doesn?t eliminate the situation completely.
With a few weeks remaining in hunting season I was talking about how cold it was and my mom said ?You ought to just get some of the heat wraps and put them on? because that?s what they used when they had back pain or something. At first I didn?t give it much thought, but after I went on a hunt and sat on a chair covered in ice for 3 hours I decided that I would take the time to find out. When I returned home I asked her about them and she explained a little more. Later on I went to the Springs Wild Game Center where I picked up some ?Toasty Toes? and then I went to Wal-mart and got about 3-4 different brands of those Thermacare?s Heat Wraps?.and the next morning I was so glad that I did! I guess they say ?Mama?s know best? for a reason.
I started off putting my base layer of Under Armor gear on. All of the warnings on the heat packs say ?Do not apply directly to skin? so I put them on after the base layer. Back in the day you had to shake those things to make them warm up, but now all you have to do is open the package and the oxygen makes them heat up. Got to love technology! So I took the ?Toasty Toes? and stuck one on my chest (where I pressed the camera against to keep it warm) and I stuck the other one to the other side of the camera so that it had heat coming from both sides. The "Toasty Toes" are unique in that they have adhesive on them which helps them stick to your clothing.
After applying the ?Toasty Toes? I took the Thermacare Heat Wraps and put one on my lower back and one on my neck. Within minutes I could feel small pockets of heat start warming up all over me. I knew I didn?t have long before I would be sweating on the inside of the house so I hurried up and got dressed. By the time we got to the duck swamp those heat packets were even warmer.
I was so glad that I had investigated, purchased, and used the Heat Wraps and Toasty Toes because those things saved me. I could lean back in my chair and the rail of the chair would press that heat into my lower back and it felt so good. Of course I didn?t tell anybody that I was wearing them?after all, I?m a man and can endure the cold!
You may laugh and give me a hard time, but next time you have a hunt in cold weather plan ahead and give some ?Toasty Toes? or Thermacare Heatwraps a try and see how your hunt goes.
What other methods, tips, or products do you use to keep warm during your hunts?
As the sun faded and the sky darkened the sound of wings filled the air. Shooting time ended without a shot but what transpired in that thirty minute window before dark was something to treasure.
My dad and I were invited by a cousin to come hunt his farm on the outskirts of town (Chester) this past Saturday. We had a chance to hunt this property a few years ago and we were able to take a few mallards. The thought of those memories had me eager for more. The hunt on Saturday started at about 3:30 p.m. My Dad and I got set up overlooking a flooded corn field. A few decoys set the stage for the afternoon hunt. Dad and I hunkered down on the other side of the berm behind a few mature sweetgum trees. The air was cold as we waited but the thoughts of ?wings in the air? kept my blood pumping. It wasn?t long before we saw a few mallards circling off in the distance. Those birds sat down on another pond and we soon realized that our plans and the ducks plans weren?t coming together. This pattern continued through the afternoon and the shooting time started to dwindle away. Our cousin came up with a few minutes of shooting time left and said that the full moon and recent ice had changed the ducks pattern and they would more than likely pour in right after shooting time.
Sure enough probably not five minutes after shooting time the whistling call of several wood ducks could be heard as they zoomed over our set up. Then the grunt of a drake mallard and quack of the hen could be heard circling overhead. It was as if the ducks were watching a clock and knew we could do nothing. They started to pour in and I was amazed. The ducks were literally crashing into the flooded corn stalks. As a novice duck hunter just being in that moment and watching the birds work was so satisfying. Most experienced duck hunters would?ve probably been disappointed but I was in a trance and enjoying every minute of it as the sound of wings echoed through the fading sky.
Below is a five minute video I put together of the hunt. I apologize for the quality as it doesn?t do the hunt justice, but hopefully you can get an idea of the experience. Turn up the volume and listen carefully. ?Do you hear wings in the air??
Sometimes people ask me ?What is WeHuntSC.com???so I figured I?d write a blog about it and try to give an adequate answer...
I guess the web site can be different things for different people, but it kind of depends on your perspective. Since the perception of the site can differ, I?ve tried to write from a few different lenses in case you happen to fit into one of the below vantage points.
From a Hunter?s Viewpoint WeHuntSC.com is a website geared toward the hunters of South Carolina. We are an information hub and an online location for hunters to share information, photos, videos, and stories. We are flexible and open to suggestions from our site audience and we try to adapt and accommodate as much as possible.
We promote hunting and conservation and we respect the game and land we are blessed enough to hunt. We support our governing body (SCDNR) and promote and abide by their regulations. Our site gives hunters another online area to debate and dialogue about whatever?s on our minds. Our site offers hunters in South Carolina a location to connect with other hunters who share the same interests and who are regionally close to them. By providing an avenue for information exchange, our site fosters relationships among the outdoorsmen of South Carolina and beyond.
From the metrics, it?s evident that hunters in states all over the US and from several foreign nations are also interested in seeing what we?ve got going on in SC. Hunters in other states view the pages of our site and seldom comment?they are just curious about us and what we?ve got going on. In that regard, our site is a window to the rest of the hunting world for what kind of animals we?re harvesting in South Carolina and how we go about hunting the game in our state.
Hunters come to our site to connect, to compete, and to communicate?and we try to have a good time with it!
From a Sponsor?s Viewpoint We also host various online competitions throughout the hunting seasons to give back to SC hunters. For an organization, these competitions represent opportunities to directly interface with hunters throughout the year. Organizations can donate products and sponsor competitions in exchange for publicity and marketing on our site. We monitor our site?s metrics daily and we continue to grow. If you have an organization interested in promoting via our site, just let us know and we can send you some metric reports if you?re interested in cost per impression analysis.
We also have a team of bloggers who blog about their hunts. Some organizations give us products to use/field test and blog about. This offers organizations a grass roots means to connect with hunters throughout the hunting season and the year. Our bloggers aren?t professional hunters with TV shows?we?re just normal guys who like to hunt?and write about it. We utilizemedia rich techniques of images, lightbox image galleries, and YouTube videos to document our hunts and any products that we may be field testing. When SC hunters have memorable hunts we?ll also post guest blogs that they submit. We have also done blog series when it made sense. An example of this is the Tecomate Seed Food Plot Journey where we did a year-long blog series of creating food plots.
We, our bloggers, our hunters, and fans all promote different areas of our site via social media. Organizations that partner with us receive product promotion, increased logo awareness, and greater brand recognition on our site, on YouTube, on Facebook, and Twitter. From this standpoint, we help organizations reach people in several different online locations.
From a Web Viewpoint Ah yes, the web! I am a web guy (actually a "webneck") by trade and this site offers me a place to sharpen a skill set. I keep this site up on the side with the help of a couple other individuals. Running this site helps me gain a greater knowledge about this platform, gives me a creative outlet, and helps me keep my mind turning. The challenge to innovate, keep fresh content, and keep users engaged is interesting and fun, but most importantly it forces me to learn. The push to try to be on the fringe with technology is an endless task and the struggle breeds knowledge.
I hope this entry has helped communicate what WeHuntSC.com is about from whatever perspective you find yourself. The site may change in time, well, it will have to change in order to survive, so stay tuned as we keep pushing to find ways to connect and engage online.
Last season was my first season turkey hunting and I have to tell you? I really liked it. Mr. Bruce Puette was nice enough to take me on my first turkey hunt and it was a blast. He made it look easy and then we gave it a shot! We fell short a few times and learned a little bit, but by the end we were able to call some turkeys in and get them on camera. We even got one to talk back to us while using a shed antler! Now that I know a little bit more about turkey hunting and have a video camera that will actually zoom, I?m really looking forward to this year?s turkey season.
And speaking of turkey season, I just want to let everyone know it?s already decided that we will be having 2 turkey competitions in the upcoming season?a Turkey of the Year and a Youth Turkey of the Year. Yes, you will have to have the date in the picture again so get ready for it! Go ahead and think about how you are going to take your picture and be sure to carry your camera with you!
We are in communications with some sponsors and I can tell you that it?s looking like the prize packages will be good this turkey season as well! We'll post more information about the competitions in the weeks to come...
This past year we started hunting a new piece of land in our area and one of the things we looked forward to doing was some off-season scouting. During the season we got a good feel for where deer were traveling, what food sources they liked, and the locations we should probably put stands in. Though, we specifically wanted to wait until the leaves got off the trees to walk around and see where any deer sign is when the deer haven?t been pressured in a while. We thought that we may be able to find deer sign in places that we didn?t expect and give us better insight as to hunting strategies for next fall.
This past weekend provided a great chance to not only do all that, but to do it in the snow! Since Adam and I were both in the area we headed out to do some scouting. We walked over a large portion of the land looking for sign and checking game cameras. One thing we noted was that the location of one of our feeders wasn?t feeding anything but raccoons and black birds! Walking in the fresh snow also gave us insight as to the paths the deer were traveling. And not one track led to that feeder?so yes, we?re going to move it!
As we walked over the land we saw a couple of prominent places where the deer were frequently walking. You could easily tell that they were deer trails because of all the deer tracks that were printed in the snow. One trail showed us where the deer were crossing a creek on the land. It was also good to see that one of the trails led straight to our Tecomate Seed Food Plot! One of the heavily traveled trails led us to several rubs on trees. It?s a good sign to see buck sign in the area and I was glad that we did get out and do some scouting.
The snow definitely gave us a unique perspective of the land. We?ll probably move some stands and do some strategic thinking about our food plot placements in the upcoming Spring & Fall. If you haven?t ever taken the chance to get out and walk your land after a snow, then I encourage you to do so because it could give you some insight that may change the way you hunt your land!
Another interesting note was that Adam was scanning the woods as we drove down the road and he spotted 3 does. So, like any webneck would do?we stopped, backed up, shot some film, and then tried to make bleat and blow sounds at the does.
One of my most favorite parts of working on the web site is to be able to give the competition winners their prizes! One of the winners quoted this past weekend ?Shooting the deer was good enough, now this is just the icing on the cake!? and that?s what it?s all about! Seeing the winners smile while they get their prizes makes us feel good and is rewarding for us too!
Again our winners were (See pics of the winner's deer):
The winners received some great prizes from our sponsors and each left with a handful of goodies to play with and we hope to get some ?field test? reports from them as well. I think in total we gave out just short of $2,000 worth of prizes to the winners. This is pretty good for the site just being a little over 1 year old and we hope it will get even better in years to come.
We did get some interviews from this year?s winners so check it out in the video below. Thanks again to the sponsors and to everyone who participated. Be sure to tune in early next season to see what competitions we?re hosting, what rules we?re enforcing, and what prizes you can win.
A field of whistling wings turned into a field of chirping crickets after the last snowfall. I had hoped to get one last dove hunt in before the end of the season, but the snowfall changed my plans just a little. A snow storm rolled through on January 9th and covered the cut soybean field in about 6 inches of snow and ice. My plan was to get in one more hunt on January 15th. I was sure that the snow and ice would melt by then but I was wrong. Well, with fingers crossed I decided to give it a shot anyways.
I had taken my cousin JD on his first deer hunt this past year and thought it would be fun to take him on his first dove hunt. Leading up to the snow storm the field was full of whistling wings. I joked that there were so many doves that my 4yr. old son Riley could have gotten close to a limit with his toy shotgun. Seriously.
I knew from scanning the field earlier in the morning that we were going to have a tough go at it because of the recent snow. The morning was cool and the sun shined bright that morning, but the field was still a soggy mess. JD and I set out across the field at about 9:30 am. The ice still covered the field in the shady areas which made our trek a little slippery. I found a good spot on the shady side of the field behind some broom straw. We sat down and talked about everything besides the doves that were not flying. We traded guns and talked about that for a few minutes. JD was toting his .410 shotgun that has been passed down through the family. I was carrying my 20-gauge side by side that has also made its rounds. We talked a little more about the rabbit hunters off in the distance that seemed to be having more success than us. It?s funny how you can almost visualize a rabbit hunt from listening to the beagles run. We were both a little envious of their success. Well after awhile I decided that maybe we could jump a few doves by walking the tree line. We got close a couple of times but couldn?t quite seal the deal.
After lunch we found our way outside to play a little football. Riley, JD, and myself tossed the football around a little while when the whistling wings of several doves flew overhead. I immediately looked at JD and could tell that he was thinking the same thing I was. I went back inside and grabbed his .410. The doves had flown into a set of pines next to my house and I figured we maybe could get a shot. As we entered the woods the odds were stacked against us. Thick briars, crunchy ice, and my little sidekick were all on my mind. Well, I let JD take the lead and Riley and I sat back and were his eyes and ears. After what seemed an eternity we spotted the doves. Two of them flew off without giving a shot and now we were down to one lonesome dove. JD made a couple of slick moves through the thick stuff that would?ve made those cottontails we heard being chased earlier envious and he got into position. One swift shot and the lonesome dove was down. JD?s first shot at a dove was a success.
We were all extremely excited. We cleaned the dove and I sent it home with JD. I told him he would probably have to wait till next year for his first dove meal, but it might make a good snack. It?s funny how sometimes when plans change the best memories are made. Does anyone have a good story of their first dove or first dove hunt? Please share.
*If you are one of the competition winners we will contact you via email soon!
You voted and now here are your winners:
In a couple of days we?ll have some happy hunters in South Carolina when we deliver the competition winners their prizes! I?ll take some pics/videos and will post a blog about the prize delivery too! If you?re interested in seeing the results of the voting, go back to the vote page to see the results.
Thanks again to all who participated and to our many sponsors who have donated the prizes for our competition winners.
Be sure to tune in early next season to get the updated rules for next year?s competitions!