Last night I made a trip to Hartsville, SC to Kellytown Baptist Church. The church put on a ?Wild Game Banquet? that had a little something for everyone! The event was neat and I wish I would have arrived a little bit earlier than I did. To start off with they had skeet shooting competitions and as I walked up I could hear the final shots being fired in the tie-breaker rounds of the competition. I didn?t expect to know many people at this event, but before I even got in the door I saw a couple guys I know and even a guy who played on the state championship team with me back in 1997! The good ol? days just never die I don?t guess.
As I got close to the door I could see a Ducks Unlimited chapter breaking down a booth that they had set up outside of the church. I made my way into the church?s multi-purpose room and could hear music as and smell food as I entered. It?s always a good sign to smell some country cooking when you enter a room! The multipurpose room was big in size and there was a band playing on the stage. There were a couple of tables and displays set up around the room and I made my way to the back to where the Wrecking Crew & Blake Hodge were set up. Blake was on schedule to do a calling demonstration as part of the program. When I got to the back and talked to all the Wrecking Crew I noticed that my local taxidermist Carlyle Sutton had some displays set up and one of the deer looked awful familiar too! Since I knew a couple of people at the back I hung around there and put some WeHuntSC.com stickers on the Wrecking Crew?s table.
Once the skeet shooting competitions were complete and everyone made their way inside the emcee started making some announcements. He gave information on the door prizes and talked about the schedule for the evening. The preacher then blessed the food and everyone got in a line to eat the food we had smelled for some time. The buffet line consisted of catfish stew, catfish, rice, and alligator meat. It was the first time that I had ever eaten any alligator and I have to say?it wasn?t that bad! (It all tastes like chicken right?) I snapped some pics of the food and the line in the kitchen and then made my way back out. They also had a dessert table too. The dessert table had a bunch of cookies and cakes on it, but I was able to be self disciplined enough to pass it up this time.
After we ate Blake went up and blew his calls for the audience. I shot some video of Blake shooting, but I?ll have to say that I did a terrible job of filming it. I kept bumping the camera and I had the tripod head so tightly screwed into place I couldn?t budge it without being rough with it. So my apologies for the bad filming on this one!
After Mr. Patterson spoke the emcee gave out the rest of the door prizes to the audience. It seemed very fitting that a young kid won the shotgun that someone donated to the event since Mr. Patterson mentioned several times in his speech the notion of how it?s important for a boy to have a gun as he grows up. He always quickly followed that up with how it was also important that the father guide and instruct the kid on how to use the gun. It seemed like a good ending to a good night.
I was glad to have gone and met some new people, eat some good food, and hear a good speaker.
Below is a quick video I made from the event...sorry for the bumpy footage
In the most recent news and events we?ve seen how countries in the Middle East have used, and are using, Twitter, Facebook, & YouTube to organize, communicate, and overthrow governments, regimes, and dictators. The internet has increased social connectivity and is changing the fabric of many cultures around us. The same principle of technology being used to change the dominant narrative within a society parallels a shift currently going on within the outdoor industry.
Narrowing the focus, I?m specifically talking about how online video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo are changing the outdoor industry as they relate to hunting and fishing TV shows. What change you ask? Well, it?s not quite so evident yet, but as technology becomes more integrated into the lives of outdoorsmen it will become more noticeable. To further investigate this notion let?s look at the current dominant narrative, the disruption, and the resulting model that is arising out of the disruption.
The Dominant Narrative Currently, hunting and fishing TV shows are watched by many outdoorsmen on networks like the Outdoor Channel, ESPN Outdoors, the Pursuit Channel, Versus, and other networks similar in programming. These shows consist of quality footage, professional editing, and action packed content. The TV shows are fun to watch and they set the bar high for what trophy animals are in the outdoor world, they introduce new products, and give informative tips to the viewing audience. Many of these TV shows are made possible via the contributions of sponsors and other organizations that have a vested financial interest in the success of these shows. The sponsors and networks also have a financial interest in the success of the personalities they spend tons of marketing money creating. These shows reach their target audience sitting on a couch in a living room taking in the action?and yes, I?m an audience member too! This is the model that we have grown accustomed to expect and accept.
The positives for this model are obvious?quality content delivered directly to the target audience. However, there are some drawbacks to this model as well that can easily go unnoticed. Some flaws for this model are:
Cost - To have a show you must have financial backing or support from sponsors. Essentially it takes money to produce, edit, and buy the air time for the show. Thus, the need for financial backing from sponsors is never-ending. This model means you have to have money in order to have a show, to have your products(s) featured on a show, or to be a personality on a show. This model is expensive and makes it difficult for budding entrepreneurs and smaller organizations to get product placement in these ?prime time? shows. The barrier created by the necessary financial backing is a strong deterrent for many trying to ?break in? to the industry whether they have product(s), talent, or wisdom they aspire to share with the outdoor world. Many really neat products or bits of knowledge have never received high amounts of exposure simply because the people behind them couldn?t foot the bill to get publicity on this level of shows. It?s an understandable dynamic and it?s also becoming an outdated one.
No Exposure for Grass Roots Hunters ? Do you know someone in your local area who is an avid or exceptional hunter? I do and I also know that their knowledge and experiences could make for some good TV material?or at least content good enough to draw interest in the outdoor community. In the current model, these exceptional, local hunters won?t get much exposure. I also know some guys who were pushing to have their own hunting show on TV, but they eventually gave up as they couldn?t get enough financial backing to make it possible. The current model within the outdoor TV show industry makes it nearly impossible for grass-roots hunters to get exposure and promote their ways of hunting or fishing, their knowledge, and wisdom.
Authenticity ? In today?s society we seek authenticity...realness? and we can easily pick up on it when something or someone doesn?t seem to be 100% real. It?s not that hunters on TV are viewed as fake, but we, in the back of our minds, always think that these guys are hunting on a ranch somewhere or that they?re hunting in a pen. Whether they are or not is yours to decide. I?m sure you?ve heard outdoorsmen talking about how their hunting/fishing experiences ?aren?t like the hunting/fishing you see on TV? and this statement alludes to the notion that outdoor TV shows don?t accurately represent real life examples that they experience during hunting or fishing season. Whether the outdoor show is 100% real or not, the perception of the viewer often times leans towards the less authentic side of the argument. And as you know, perception is reality.
Lack of Availability & Sharing ? TV shows run on a schedule. You can easily figure this out by looking on your program guide in the newspaper or on your network?s program guide. You can also record programs and watch them at a later time. These are neat features for TV, but it still lacks in a few areas. You can?t watch these programs on a mobile device as easily. You can?t ?like? or ?share? or embed or search for and easily find these videos so that you can effortlessly share them with others. If the shows aren?t seen on TV then they?re not as easily accessible for viewing. Sharing and searching is out of the question as well in the current model.
The Disruption Enter YouTube and Vimeo. In this day and age anybody with a video camera can easily post videos for the world to see. The ability to document events on video and post them online has caused drastic changes in the way we communicate and share videos and media.
The videos posted on YouTube & Vimeo reach their target audience wherever they are via their mobile devices, Iphones, Droids, Ipads, Galaxy Tabs, computers, etc. We can consume these videos at work or at home. Though, the target audience for consumption of these videos is a mobile generation that?s constantly on the move, has a short attention span, is accustomed to interacting with media, and spends more time online than they do watching TV.
The online videos are instantly searchable, shareable, ?likeable?, embeddable, measurable, and they have the ability to go viral very quickly. These features are the same features that TV lacks. The new generations of hunters are pushing this disruption and in doing so are contributing, video by video, to the paradigm shift that is being observed. The end result will be a new, blended model in the way outdoorsmen consume videos and consequently a new way for marketers to reach their target audiences will be created along with the possibility for anyone to become a well known outdoorsmen.
The New Shifted Model The new model for video content consumpetion will consist of a blend of hunting TV shows that air on networks as well as prominent hunters who present their video content in an online, shareable, searchable, measurable, and ratable format. This new blended model has several benefits for many involved in this industry. Some of those benefits are:
More authentic/genuine content ? There is just something about a home video that gives an authentic feel. Whether it?s the bloopers or bumps of the cameras or moments of unsteady handling, when I view one of these videos I feel like the video is genuine. I feel like I have something in common with the person shooting the video and that common link is that the creator of this video is an everyday hunter/fisher just like me. It may just be me, but I feel that I can identify more with someone a few miles down the road from me with a hand-held camera than I can with someone hunting in a distant state harvesting deer/turkeys that are unrealistic animals for my area. This new, blended model will give me both types of content that I can consume. I can see the fancy editing and high-dollar product placement on TV as well as being able to see online content that I feel I can identify with on a greater level.
Cheaper marketing of sponsoring organizations - Along with working with ?big names? in the hunting TV show industry, sponsoring organizations will become more open to working with grass-roots hunters to have their products featured in their YouTube and Vimeo videos. Why would an organization reach out to the ?good old boys? who post YouTubes & Vimeos? They will do this for several reasons with the main one being that the cost will be much cheaper while the reach will become much further. Instead of having to pay for air time, editing, production, and backing high-costing TV personalities, organizations will easily save money and also work with local hunters to feature their products in the blogs and/or videos of the grass-roots outdoorsmen. They may donate products to these hunters or work some agreement up for promotions, but whatever they do will be cheaper for them than what they?re currently doing. The smaller entrepreneurs will start to jump on this and will start reaching the grass roots hunters and will cover ground in this arena earlier than the large organizations will because it is initially more attractive to them. The big boys will be a little behind, but they will catch up once they take note of the shift and start operating in the new blended model. Also, initiating change within a large organization takes more time so it will take the larger organizations more time to adjust.
Large organizations and smaller entrepreneurs will now both be able to benefit by receiving publicity and promotions from this new, blended model. Since viewers of the next generations will increasingly seek authentic videos from people they can identify with ?and will access the content where they spend most of their time (online)? the new generation of consumers will lean more toward online video than they will hunting TV shows. When consumers change where they?re viewing their media then so will the location of marketing change somewhat for the sponsors and organizations promoting products.
Increasing quality of videos - When hunters start understanding the ripple effects of the new, blended model they will start producing higher quality home videos. Just look at what has taking place on our site within this past year. Hunters are now carrying video cameras in the woods and are commentating while they video when possible. The videos submitted by our site users and bloggers are getting better all the time as well (and so are the available tools for creating videos). Hunters are spending more time documenting and editing the videos from their hunts. Current video editing software allows for some great, creative videos in the end. Over time more and more hunters will have better software and will produce higher quality videos and they will post them online! Organizations are noticing and are starting to donate products for our bloggers to field test and blog about. It?s cheap for them and the grass-roots outdoorsmen directly interface with the audience they want to reach which, in our case, is the audience of our fellow outdoorsmen here on the site!
Increased Exposure for Grass Roots Hunters ? Through these video sharing sites, local hunters will have an avenue to share their stories. In the new, blended model hunters will easily be able to reach greater size audiences (at the audience?s convenience too). The barrier for getting exposure will no longer be determined by the amount of financial backing that you can obtain from sponsors. Because of this increased level of content sharing hunting, knowledge, and wisdom will be more readily available. In short, anyone can create a YouTube or Vimeo channel and begin building their credibility and reputation online. Just go to Derek?s YouTube channel and tell me that you don?t see content that is intriguing to you?and this will happen to a whole generation of outdoorsmen who are figuring this out just like we are.
Ease of Availability - A TV show may air a couple of times. A YouTube/Vimeo video will always be there and is accessible 24-7. It?s way more convenient to find a video via Google search at your leisure than it is to find a TV show and be present when it airs or either DVR it and watch it later. Another intriguing fact about online video is the possibility for the video to ?go viral? and quickly circulate the net. Users can access these vides on any device and can connect from virtually any location. Its real time and it?s social and it?s easy.
More easily measurable ? Video views are quickly and easily measurable. I know TV shows have the Nielsen ratings and other methods of finding out viewer stats, but seeing how many views a video has on YouTube or Vimeo is way more easily accessible than waiting for ratings to come out and find out how many people watched a specific show. The view count on YouTube & Vimeo is as close to real-time insight as one can get. The ?view-count? on each video is a direct signal as to the visibility an outdoorsman is receiving and it?s easily available to both the sponsors and the hunters. The transparency reveals the truth and the stats can?t be manipulated. These quick and easy metrics help sponsoring organizations make an easy assessment of the value of working with various outdoorsmen.
Conclusion Don?t mistake what I?m saying here? I don?t think hunting shows are going to end because I think there?s a place and demand for them. I?m just saying that over time they won?t be in as high of demand. I think this change will become more evident in the coming years, but you can see it happening already if you simply look around. Just look on YouTube and search for hunting or fishing videos and you?ll see a ton of outdoorsmen having their own ?shows? via their YouTube or Vimeo Channels. Outdoorsmen are picking up on it and the sponsors are slowly starting to as well and they should!
What means more to you?? seeing someone on TV shoot a deer/turkey on a ranch in a distant state or seeing one of your fellow South Carolinians bag a good buck or turkey on a YouTube video?
The shift has begun.
There?s nothing I enjoy more than a slow grilled slice of venison backstrap, wrapped in bacon and glazed with sweet honey barbeque sauce. I often think about how lucky we are these days to have all of these ingredients at our finger tips, because not too far back in history figuring out which seasoning we put on our food wasn't the main concern.
On a cool evening in late October, the hoot of an owl echoed through the oak hollow I was hunting and quickly faded as a swift breeze rustled the leaves under my stand. It was as if I wasn?t alone. I started to think about an arrowhead my Dad found earlier in the day. These little treasures are hidden throughout the countryside. They have become harder to find, but occasionally when the land is tilled they can spring from the earth as if they had been planted many years ago. It was definitely evidence that this land had been hunted before. Not for sport, but for survival. I was immediately hit with a shivering chill.
This thought got me interested in hunting with more primitive weapons. My dad had an old re-curve bow that we dusted off and got in shooting condition. Although, much more advanced than what an American Indian would?ve used, it was very primitive to me. We also have an early Virginia flintlock rifle (circa 1770) that I intend to take hunting. (see video below) Having handled these weapons, I?ve gained a tremendous respect for the challenges that hunters faced years ago. These days my survival might not be in question, but I?ve got a sneaky suspicion that if the clock was turned back I wouldn?t have trouble turning into the whisper of wind that sent chills up my back that day I was hunting. Today?s technology is truly impressive, but sometimes it?s fun to step back and follow in the foot-steps of hunters many years ago.
The area where these arrowheads have been found was probably a dividing line between the Cherokee and Catawba Indians, so I'm unable to say for certain the origin of the arrowheads. Also, many arrowheads were traded from other regions which makes their origin even harder to pinpoint. The ones we've found are made of quartz and chert rock and come in all shapes and sizes. Some were probably used as spear points and others true arrowheads.
As the temperatures begin to rise and plans are being made for the summer crops the time is right to get out and search for these treasures. You never know what you might find. Check out this video of my collection.
The question that often arises around this time of year is, "When should I start looking for shed antlers?". It has been my experience that it's never too early. I have found sheds in the past as early as January 5th. That is only four days after the last day of deer season in South Carolina. One memory that stands out is a set found in early January several years ago by my Dad and I.
Dad and I set out on an afternoon stroll one Saturday or as we like to call it, "a walk in the woods". We decided to walk the fence line that bordered the pasture behind my Dad's house. As we started out we fought through a thicket of small sweet gum trees and a briar patch that was too thick for the slickest of cottontails. We some how managed to squeeze our way through and found ourselves in a young stand of pines. We found a well traveled deer trail and began to follow it. It wasn't long when we spotted one side of a nice eight point rack. I had just read an article not too long before our walk that stated that the more mature dominant bucks often loose their antlers first due to their increased energy output during the year to maintain their dominance. I'm not a biologist but this makes sense to me. I also read that often a deer sheds both sides of its antlers in the same general area. So we continued our walk and followed this deer trail. As luck or fate would have it, we stumbled on the match to the shed we found earlier. It was only approximately 200 yards away from the first one we found. Not a bad day for just a "walk in the woods".
My most recent find occurred this past Sunday. My son Riley, Cousin JD, and myself headed out for an afternoon stroll. My intentions were to check the field edges and then to check the pine thickets around my Dad's house. It has been my luck in the past to find sheds in those general areas. Well after about an hour of walking we hit the jackpot. We found one side of what appeared to be a six point. This find was a little unusual though. The brow tine on this shed was huge. I measured it at about 9 inches. The rest of the rack was not impressive. We will definitely have to hunt him hard next year to get him out of the gene pool. Check out the video.
To me these sheds are a treasure. Although they hold some value if you search an auction site like eBay, it is more than just a price tag. It is like finding a lost piece to a puzzle. It offers a glimpse of the unknown, because these animals are so elusive. The sheds that I've found in the past are from deer that I have never seen and haven't seen since, but it's this clue to the unknown that keeps me hunting. So don't hesitate to take that "walk in the woods", because it's never too early to find that treasure. Clint's blog "Shed Hunting" has a little more detail about the sport. Check it out!
Has anyone else had any luck?
I wanted to update the blog since my neighbor Griff Wilson emailed me a picture of the deer that the shed belongs to. I thought you may want to see the other side if the shed is never found. Pretty cool looking buck.
With 58% of the total votes John Shell has won the 2011 WinnTuck Waterfowl Competition! We had some really good entries in this year?s competition and it didn?t take long for the crew from the Charleston area to start logging a ton of votes. We had a major traffic surge in the site out of the Charleston area voting for John so I imagine that?s the area where John?s located!
John had a really nice pic of his dog on a dog-stand right over the water with the wood ducks (what I assume is a limit) hanging from the tree. Most importantly John did get the date in the picture as well! The combination of a good pic + a ton of votes = John?s about to get a bunch of free goodies!
See the voting statistics
Congratulations to John for winning and another big thanks to WinnTuck, Hobo Calls, & Lodge Creek Calls for donating products to make this competition possible! ? Oh yeah ? John, when you read this send me an email so we can figure out when we can get you the prizes.
At some point in everyone's life you're influenced by someone or something. In some cases these influences lead us in a direction that dead ends. Other influences ignite an internal fire and will lead us down a never ending road. One influence in my life that I'm thankful for and that will burn forever is my outdoor influence.
When I was twelve I can remember going with my Dad to a local pawn shop looking for my first deer rifle. At the time money meant nothing to me, but now I realize that was no small purchase. My Dad traded one of his shotguns and a sum of cash for that rifle. It was a semi-auto .243 that seemed to weigh as much as me. It was already equipped with a scope and it was ready for action. My Dad poured a lot of sweat that summer getting ready for the upcoming deer season. Now I realize that he did that for me because he saw the passion I had and he wanted to fuel that fire.
That first season came and went without a deer. I learned a lot that year. One thing was that a semi-auto was heavy and I needed a lighter rifle. We traded the .243 for a bolt-action .270. Another thing was that we had to get the stand out of the back yard. I know Dad (probably Mom) wanted to keep me close but that just wasn't working. So we moved that stand to an oak hollow that was a good hike from the house.
Not long into that season I had my opportunity for my first deer. A four point strolled down through the oak hollow and met his match. I was so pumped that I jumped down and ran all the way back home. My Dad was at work so I pulled Mom out of the house and we made the trek back through the woods to find the deer. My Mom always joked that she passed the hunting gene to me because she was 1/16th Native American. Well after watching her find that deer I would agree. My Mom passed away this year and I will always cherish the pride she had and interest she showed in my outdoor adventures. I told her to find a good hunting spot for me in heaven. No doubt that she influenced me.
Although hunting is now my favored outdoor activity, fishing was my first love. I was lucky enough to grow up with a small pond within walking distance from my house. I can remember many a day when my Dad and I shoveled up a few worms and hit the pond. As I got older I started to let my imagination wonder. My favorite TV show was Hank Parker's Outdoor Magazine. The jingle still rings in my head. "The house needs paintin, the yard needs mowin, where's he at? He's gone fishin!" Talk about influence. Well I had a many of battles with Hank on that small pond. (In my imagination). It would always come down to the last minute. I would be down a fish in the Bassmaster Classic with 10 minutes to go. I always seemed to catch that fish, whether it took me three hours or not.
As many of you would agree, those who have been bit by the outdoor bug will never heal. An outdoor influence is needed more than ever in today's world, and hopefully I can pass it on!
Share your story of what influenced the outdoors in you.
The season was coming to an end and I was looking for a way to get a few deer on the ground before it ended. So Instead of sitting in the stand I tried my luck at a dog hunt. I was invited on this hunt by a buddy that hunts in that area of Santee. We arrived at the club house to the sound of dogs barking as they were being loaded in the trucks. After signing in and drawing stands we headed out to the woods. Just after the dogs were turned loose they struck a trail. My heart started to pump faster as I heard the dogs moving my way. But in the back of my mind I had doubt, I was sitting on the edge of the of an open field, and I didn't expect any deer to run out in the open. But luck would have it both deer crossed the field.
The season was coming to an end and I was looking for a way to get a few deer on the ground before it ended. So Instead of sitting in the stand I tried my luck at a dog hunt. I was invited on this hunt by a buddy that hunts in that area of Santee.
We arrived at the club house to the sound of dogs barking as they were being loaded in the trucks. After signing in and drawing stands we headed out to the woods. Just after the dogs were turned loose they struck a trail. My heart started to pump faster as I heard the dogs moving my way. But in the back of my mind I had doubt, I was sitting on the edge of the of an open field, and I didn't expect any deer to run out in the open. But luck would have it both deer crossed the field.
This hunt was a blast! Surely I am going to attend more dog hunts next season.
It?s going to be like a second Christmas for the winner of the 2011 WinnTuck Waterfowl Competition! WinnTuck, Hobo Calls, & Lodge Creek Calls all donated the products that comprise a great prize package for this year?s winner so thanks to our sponsors for making the competition possible.
Thanks to all the hunters who participated and posted pics. We really had some good entries which made it tough to select the best. We had a tough time narrowing down the finalists and we decided to narrow it down to a top 5 instead of a top 3. Now the fate of the winners lies in the hands of the voters!
Voting will be live from 2/9/11 throughout 2/12/11. The winner will be announced on 2/13/11 and the prizes delivered shortly thereafter.
The top 5 pictures (in no particular order) were:
Be sure to go and cast your vote for the WinnTuck 2011 Waterfowl Competition winner!
The top 5 are below
Gavin Jackson and Justin Gainey
The Wrecking Crew
Dale Knight & Travis Johnson